Tuesday, September 4, 2018

How to Store 52 Buckets of Basic Food Security

There are many types of Food Storage.  The type of storage you do depends on what you are trying to prepare for.  The most important part of preparing is deciding WHAT you are preparing for.  If you are preparing for a flat tire on your car then have a spare and jack, or roadside assistance.  If you are preparing for a financial emergency then save money.

This entry is about preparing for a FOOD emergency when you can't simply go buy more food at the store - either because you have no money or because the stores aren't selling food (economic collapse, cyber attack on financial system, region-wide electricity outage, trucking strike, EMP, food disruption, etc.)

Here are examples:

"Short on Money Prep"

Buy extras of 1 or 2 weeks groceries and HABA (Health and Beauty Aid) Products.  Store them in the back of the kitchen cabinets or a closet.

This is in case you run short on money one week.  You don't have to worry about food.

"Electricity out for a Month Prep"

This is 1 month's worth of food that can be stored and prepared even if the electricity is out.  This includes things like canned meat, possibly dehydrated milk, peanut butter and the like.

Consider what emergency you are preparing for and come up with a plan of action on how to prepare.

The following is a plan of action on having a year's supply of LONG TERM STORAGE BASIC FOOD SECURITY.

The storage of food below is for basic life in the event of a truly catastrophic emergency that fundamentally effects food supplies in America for more than 2 months.  It is a year's supply of basic calories for 2 people.  This food storage assumes continued access to drinkable water and continued access to fuel necessary (propane, electricity or wood) to cook food that requires lots of energy - such as beans and cornbread.

Examples of what such an emergency would be:

1) An EMP or Solar Storm that takes out the major transformers for the nation and require months to a year before they can be replaced.

2) A major nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan that would create a "nuclear winter" affecting crop growth in the Northern Hemisphere for up to a year.

3) A crippling injury that takes a year to recover from or a year before I start getting Social Security Disability.

I have other food preps for other emergencies.  Other food preps are more flexible and many of them can and will be used even if there is no emergency.  The prep below, however, would never be practically used unless there was a major food or income disruption that lasted more than a couple months.

Kept at normal room temperatures these items will last 20-30 years.  However, I would probably replace the beans every 3 years because beans tend to get tough over longer periods.

The prep below is not complete.  It could use some additional components, such as powdered milk, powdered butter and powdered eggs.  But, I'm going to keep it as inexpensive as possible.  The goal is to have 1 year's basic calories collected over 1 year of preparing.

This is 52 BUCKETS that can be created over 52 WEEKS.  Each week I will purchase 1 bucket worth of supplies and transfer them into MYLAR bags that are then heat sealed with oxygen absorbers (except for the sugar which gets no oxygen absorbers).

18 FIVE gallon buckets of rice with oxygen absorbers
10 FIVE gallon buckets of beans with oxygen absorbers
2 FIVE gallon buckets of sugar stored with NO oxygen absorbers
2 FIVE gallon buckets of flour
3 FIVE gallon buckets of cornmeal stored with oxygen absorbers
Iodine tablets (to reduce the risk of cancer) plus iodized salt (10 lbs).
8 TEN POUND buckets of oats (from Auguson Farms)
1 FIVE gallon bucket of misc - baking soda, baking powders, etc.
8 (bucket equivalent) amounts of canned veg, beans, fruit, etc.

A five gallon bucket of rice is 36 lbs.  I can buy two 20# bags of rice at Walmart for $8.43 each.  That means I can create 1 bucket for $17 (plus the cost of the mylar bags and bucket itself) and have 4 lbs left over.  The left overs will accumulate until I have 16 lbs of left over rice that I can put with another 20 lb bag.  So no rice is wasted.  I will be storing 18 buckets x 36 lbs of rice = 648 lbs of rice at a cost of 42 cents per lb.  This is a total cost of $272 for the rice.

The beans will be more expensive to store.  Each bucket will hold 35 lbs of dried beans.  I can buy 20 lb bags of dried beans at Walmart for $14.38.  10 buckets x 35 lbs of beans = 350 lbs of beans at a cost of 72 cents per lb.  This is a total cost of $252.

Next is sugar 2 x 35 lbs = 70 lbs (Walmart Great Value) at 33 cents per lb = $23

Flour is next 2 x 35 lbs = 70 lbs (Walmart Great Value) at 29 cents per lb = $20

Cornmeal... BYU did a long term storage test on Cornmeal and it stored fine for over 10 years.  Their tests ran out to 33 years of storage... 70 lbs at 5 lbs costs $2.28 x 14 = $32

The 80 lbs of oats are a little more expensive at $19 per bucket x 8 = $152

1 bucket that include Misc, Salt, Iodine Tablets etc.  = $20

Lots of canned veg, fruit, beans that would fit in the other 7 buckets if I were to put in buckets - which I wont.  The average cost for a can of food is 75 cents x 360 = $270
Vegetables run 44 cents per can, fruit runs 86 cents per can, beans run 85 cents per can.

**Buy canned food that you will eat - even if it's more expensive - that way it really costs nothing.  It's food that you were going to eat anyway.  This will also naturally rotate your stock, even if it takes 3 years to normally eat 360 cans of food, it will be rotated with plenty of time to spare.  Just replace it as you eat it.  Keep the oldest cans in the front of the closet ("rotate your stock").  The 2 year expiration date on cans of food is regulatory, not real.  Canned food lasts much longer than that.**

The cost of all the contents for 1 years basic nutrition for 2 people is $1,021.

45 buckets = $135 (Home depot buckets)
45 bucket lids = $90
Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers = $110

The cost of the storage materials for all this food is $335.

TOTAL COST = $1,356
for 2 people to eat for 1 year with plenty of left-overs.

That's a lot of work and a lot of money to do all at one time.  The 52 bucket plan is to create 1 bucket each week.  So it will cost $26 per week or $104 per month to execute this plan.

Alternate storage food included Pasta (but not egg noodles) and dry potato flakes.


Each week create a storage bucket.  Alternately I could create 4 buckets at the same time each month.  Most people's budgets run month to month - so it's the same planning either way.


It's better to have the food than to not have it, so it can be stored where ever.  But if it is stored where people live it will be more stable and more protected from mice.  A 5 gallon bucket is 13 inches wide and 15 inches tall (with lid).  If you figure 5 feet high of stacking then they can be stacked 4 high.  52 divided by 4 equals 13.  So you need about 15 square feet of floor space.

Most people sleep with the bottom of their mattress about 1 foot off the floor.  A queen size mattress is about 30 square feet.  So you could remove your box spring and replace it with 24 or more buckets.  Keep the frame in place so you still have side rails, headboard and footboard.  Just replace the box springs and slats with 5 gallon buckets.

I can store 24 buckets under my full size mattress. I will place plywood on top of them to create a flat surface for my mattress and put a duvet cover over it. Another 24 buckets will go under the full size guest bedroom mattress with the same setup.  It will also help stop me losing my socks under my bed, and will keep the dog from going under it and not coming out.

That just leaves 4 buckets that I can put in a closet.

Additional information: https://www.lds.org/topics/food-storage/longer-term-food-supply?lang=eng&old=true

Alternately one could spent $2,000 per person on stuff like this: 
$1,960 one person food storage kit

If you go to the internet you can purchase the items in the picture as a "one year kit" long-term food storage.  Here's what this expensive $2,000 per person kit actually includes:


9 Cans of Hard Winter Wheat.  That is the same as 1.25 buckets of wheat.  It's about 45 lbs of whole wheat kernels.  It could easily be replaced with 45 lbs of white flour properly stored.  My bucket system has 70 lbs of properly stored flour.  It might need to be replaced every 5 years, but so what... it only costs $20 to replace.

5 Cans of Elbow Macaroni.  Each can holds 3 lbs of elbow macaroni, so you're looking at 15 lbs of elbow macaroni.  At Walmart elbow macaroni sells for 75 cents per lb.  So it would cost $11.25 to replace.

3 Cans of White Rice. Each can holds 5.3 lbs of rice.  So 16 lbs of rice.  We already know that a 20 lb bag of rice costs $8.43.

3 Cans of Quick Rolled Oats.  This is the same as Quick Oats on the Walmart breakfast aisle.  Each can holds 2.5 lbs of oatmeal, 7.5 lbs total.  We can get a bucket of 10 lbs of oats already prepped for storage for a cost of $19.

That's it for the grains.  Let's add it up 7.5 lbs of oats, 16 lbs of rice, 15 lbs of macaroni and 45 lbs of wheat.  That's a total of 85.5 lbs of grains. Is that enough for 1 person for 1 year?  I think not.  In the storage plan we did with buckets we are storing over 450 pounds of grains per person (rice, flour, oats and cornmeal). So our storage plan includes 5x more grains.


6 cans of beans.  3 Cans of Lintels and 3 Cans of Pinto Beans.  Each can holds 5.5 lbs.  That's 33 lbs of beans.  Dry Beans cost 75 cents per lb at Walmart.  Replacement Costs $24.75 By the way a pound can of cooked Pork and Beans is about 55 cents at Kroger. They claim to provide 100 servings of beans.  So 28 cans of Pork and Beans from Kroger (about $16) will replace the beans in the expensive pack.

14 cans of vegetable based meat substitute.  "Vegetable Meat Substitute" is defatted soy flour that is pressed into shapes with artificial meat flavorings.  In the pack it is artificially flavored like chicken, beef and bacon.  I have eaten it... It is disgusting.  So basically it's soybeans without the fat. If you canned the actual soybeans then it would be about 5 lbs per can.  That's 90 lbs of soybeans.  If you replaced it with 90 lbs of any other beans then it would cost 75 cents per lb... Replacement Costs $70


18 Cans of dehydrated vegetables, which they claim is 551 servings of vegetables.  But there's no way that's true.  For instance they have 2 cans of dehydrated chopped onions that they claim is 217 "servings."  I guess that might be true if a "serving" is a teaspoon or a tablespoon.  But that is not a true serving of vegetables.  Let's replace the 551 servings of vegetable with canned veggies (that have a shelf life of 2 years minimum, closer to 5 years at least). A can of corn (14.5 oz) costs 65 cents and is considered 3.5 servings of corn.  A can of green beans is similar. So a "serving" of vegetables costs 18.5 cents.  If you actually want 550 servings of vegetables (about 2 servings a day for a year), then you would need to spend only $102.  You would need to buy 157 cans of vegetables.  That's 13 flats of cans.  It might cost a little more if you wanted to include canned potatoes because there is only 2.5 servings per 66 cent can, not 3.5.


11 Cans of dehydrated or dried fruit, which they call 94 servings of fruit.  You can buy a 2 lb can of their (Auguson Farms) banana chips for $9 on Walmart's website or you can buy the same amount of banana chips at Walmart for $6.72.  So it isn't that much more to buy the stuff that is already packaged for long term storage.  That's not bad.  But if you want freeze dried strawberries there's only 6 oz in a $17 can which they call 18 servings.  I don't know about you but I don't want to eat rehydrated strawberries.  I, personally, would skip trying to store this and just go look for wild berries - like blackberries - in season.  You could just buy canned fruit!  A can of peaches (or other fruit) is 3.5 servings and costs 95 cents. I buy the fruit in "heavy syrup" because in an emergency situation you need all the calories you can get.  No one will be dieting!  27 cans or $27 will replace this with fruit you will actually eat throughout the year.


16 Cans of dried eggs and dairy products.  There is value to this.  Dried milk and eggs are good for eating, drinking or baking.  I would suggest buying what you want to have stored separately.  BUY SEPARATELY. 


1 Can of Sugar.  1 can of sugar is 5.5 lbs.  This would provide 1/4 ounce of sugar per day. That's less than a tablespoon of sugar per day.  Eating oatmeal?  Need sugar!  Drinking coffee or tea? Need sugar!  Want to make anything sweet (like pancake syrup)? Need sugar.  We are storing 70 lbs of sugar for $23.  70 lbs of sugar is 3 oz per day - 6 tablespoons.  Want more? Store another bucket or two.  Costs for the sugar in this "kit" about $3


9 Cans of Breakfast, Soups, Bread Mixes and Desserts (like Brownie Mix).  I like this category and I think you should buy premade pancake mix.  You can get 10 lbs of Krusteaz Pancake Mix *just add water* for $7.50. Plus we already stored 80 lbs of oats with our grains.  Add to this some *just add water* brownie or cake mixes and we are good to go.  I would say $30 will take care of this category for a year.  Cycle through them... because pancakes and brownies are good anytime.

Let's add it all up... $289 worth of food (not counting diary/eggs/butter powder) for the amazingly low cost of $1960.    Enough said.

FINAL RECOMMENDATION for 2 people: (not exactly what was listed at first)

Store 18 buckets of rice and 10 buckets of beans.  2 buckets of  sugar (70 lbs), 2 buckets of flour (70 lbs), 3 buckets of corn meal (70 lbs), 8 buckets of quick oats (80 lbs).  Supplement that with 60 cans of fruit 240 cans of vegetables, 60 cans of pork and beans (or similar).  Add 20 lbs of instant pancake mix separated into smaller mylar bags and 24 packets of *add water only* dessert mixes - stored open and used through out the year.  Keep extra oil, salt and pepper, baking soda, nuts, tea, popcorn, and coffee on hand.  Pasta and pasta sauces in jars (2 year storage life), pickles in jars, condiments in jars as eaten.  If you eat meat like chicken and want to can it then keep 50+ pints of canned chicken on hand (that's about 200 lbs of purchased bone in chicken after the bones are removed and it's canned... cost about $100 if you get leg quarters on sale) this will also render about 30 quarts of stock - made with the bones and skin and canned in quart jars.

Today's prep of dry food.
Sugar, Rice, Beans, Macaroni, Potatoes
Each bag is 1 gallon, each bag is 3-5 lbs
depending on the type of food in it.
On top is the "Impulse Sealer"
used to seal the mylar bags.

Update 12 hours later:

So I made a run to Kroger and to Walmart and spent about $100.  Here's what I got and what I found out.

20 lbs of rice was $8.43... exactly as expected.
20 lbs of beans was $14.38... exactly as expected.
25 lbs of sugar was $7.60... which is .65 less than I expected.
3 lb bags of elbow macaroni were $3.84 per bag.
   Macaroni is great for variety and can be easily paired with canned tomato products to make a meal.
I also added two 1 gallon mylar bags of instant potato flakes. Again, variety.

I also bought 34 cans of vegetables for .44 per can.
12 cans of ranch style beans for .84 per can.
9 cans of peaches in heavy syrup for .94 per can.

This is cheaper than Kroger vegetables at .50 per can.

I already had about 40 cans of vegetables to which I added another 50 cans of vegetables and fruits.

So I currently have about 90 cans of veg/fruit/beans.  This is 25% of my goal of 360 cans total.

I already have 20 lbs of oats in long term storage.  This is 25% of my goal of 80 lbs.

I have 90 lbs of rice in mylar bags for long term storage. This is about 14% of my goal of 650 lbs.

I have 60 lbs of beans in long term storage. This is about 17% of my goal of 350 lbs.

I have about 40 lbs of sugar in long term storage.  This is 57% of my goal of 70 lbs.

I have about 25 lbs of flour/pancake in long term storage.  This is 36% of my goal of 70 lbs

I have about 10 lbs of cornmeal in long term storage.  This is 14% of my goal of 70 lbs.

Another way of looking at it - 245 lbs of dry goods, 19% of my goal of 1,290 lbs. In the first month.  At this rate I will have my goal completed in 5-6 months.  Another way of looking at it is that I want to create "about" 100 lbs of DRY GOODS food storage (not canned food) per month.  I'm currently at 245 lbs.  So I am about 1 month ahead of schedule.

The final tally of food won't be exactly as planned..  I have added macaroni, for instance.  But this is how I will get to my goal.  Keep chipping away.  If I spent $110 next month on just rice I could add another 260 lbs, which would get me basically to the half way mark.  Chip away.

STORING ANYTHING means I have SOMETHING stored.  How long could I feed myself and my wife on the food I already have stored?  I'm thinking months... am I storing too much food?  I don't care!

Rice and beans average about 1,500 calories per pound (uncooked).  I have 150 lbs stored right now. That's 225,000 calories of food.  Divide that by 4,000 (2,000 per person per day for 2 people) and you get 56 days worth of food.  Add to that pancakes, flour based tortillas or other food, cornbread, sugar and oats PLUS the canned food.  I easily already have 90 days worth of calories stored.

The 1,000 lbs of rice and beans that I will store as part of this prep will provide 2 people 1 year's worth of calories at 2,000 calories per person per day.  Adding in the additional 300 lbs of other dry good preps and 360 cans of food will give a good cushion in calories, variety and nutrition.  It's always good to have extra in case something spoils, gets rodents in it or we have an extra mouth to feed.

Sept. 14 update:

Another 40 lbs of rice, 20 lbs of beans, 10 lbs of cornmeal, 15 lbs of flour and 10 lbs of "water only" instant pancake mix (which I count with flour).   I updated the tally above.  That's an addition of 95 lbs total.

I ordered 30 lbs each of "just add water" chocolate cake mix and "just add water" blueberry muffin mix.  These can provide good variety.  Each ounce of mix is 130 calories according to the nutrition information.  That seems a tad high, but it's at least 100 calories per oz TIMES 960 ounces is 96,000 calories of dessert.  Eaten 2-3 ounces per person per day (4-6 oz per day) it would provide at least 6 months worth of dessert.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The New Prepper Threat is War between India and Pakistan

India Pakistan Nuclear War
India and Pakistan have been in shooting wars almost constantly.  The last shooting conflict was
2016.  The last major incident was 1999.  They have had 4 major shooting conflicts since WWII.  Now both India and Pakistan have nuclear missiles.  They each have about 100 Hiroshima yield nuclear warheads.

Pakistan is particularly dangerous on this front for two reasons. First, they have a "First Strike" policy that includes using nuclear weapons in response to a conventional attack.  Pakistan does not feel it could win a conventional war with India, so their first strike policy is central to their defense.  The second reason this is more dangerous than most is because Pakistan believes that attacks by terrorists are backed by India, so large scale terrorist attacks could be a trigger for nuclear war as well.  Finally, Pakistan has less than perfect control over their military.  They recently had a number of their own naval officers try to take over a naval ship with the help of terrorists.  The ship was retaken after hours of fighting.  If this happened on a nuclear armed submarine then it's a big problem.

The really unstable actor in this potential war is Pakistan.  Pakistan was formed as a Muslim nation separated from India after WWII.  Kashmir is the land that connects Pakistan, India and China.  Why does is matter? First it's a religious thing, and Muslims take religious things very seriously in a military way.  Second, and probably more importantly, it's a WATER thing.  The glaciers provide both water and hydro electric power (or potential power) to India, China and Pakistan.  India is the big power broker over the water rights.  So WATER will start the next nuclear war in Asia.

Pakistan's own water research and meteorological departments have concluded:

"But the signs of water stress are everywhere in Pakistan — in the form of water scarcity, resource depletion, and even contamination. The situation is further compounded by uncertainty introduced by climate change and the prediction by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) that the country will become water scarce by 2025. With a per person annual availability of water at 1,017 cubic meters, Pakistan is fast closing in at 1,000 cubic meters, which indicates the country is water scarce. Although, the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), a government agency that carries out water research, had asserted that the country crossed the ‘water scarcity line’ way back in 2005 after having crossed the ‘water stress line’ in 1990."  

I, personally, believe that the next war will be considered a continuation of the Siachen conflict over the Siachen glacier watershed region in Kashmir.

"The Siachen conflict, sometimes referred to as the Siachen War, was a military conflict between India and Pakistan over the disputed Siachen Glacier region in Kashmir. A cease-fire went into effect in 2003.[9] The contended area is nearly 1,000 square miles (2,600 km2) of territory.[10] The conflict began in 1984 with India's successful Operation Meghdoot during which it gained control over all of the Siachen Glacier (unoccupied and undemarcated area). India has established control over all of the 70-kilometre-long (43 mi) Siachen Glacier and all of its tributary glaciers, as well as all the main passes and heights of the Saltoro Ridge immediately west of the glacier, including Sia LaBilafond La, and Gyong La. Pakistan controls the glacial valleys immediately west of the Saltoro Ridge.[11][12] According to TIME magazine, India gained more than 1,000 square miles (3,000 km2) of territory because of its military operations in Siachen.[13] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siachen_conflict

Water scarcity (when water is believed to be unfairly controlled by India), widespread terrorist attacks, loose controls on 100 nuclear weapons, declining financial aid from the U.S., increasing isolation, a religious fervor against India, and a fractured nation that desperately needs a COMMON ENEMY in order to keep the country from shattering into warring tribes.... this is what stands on the edge of nuclear war between India and Pakistan.

The Pentagon regularly "war games" a conflict between Pakistan and India... Every single scenario ends in an exchange of nuclear weapons. 100% of scenarios!

Pakistan's launch of battlefield nukes in order to stop an Indian army (or lose the forward deployed nukes to surrender) would lead to India's launching of strategic (city killing) nukes at Pakistan that it developed to deter an invasion from China.


In the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's the ideas of "Nuclear Winter" were common.  The U.S. and Russia had thousands of nuclear warheads pointed at each other, and the threat of full scale nuclear war seemed real.  However, at no point during that conflict was there anything near the current pressures on Pakistan, nor was there any serious of the dangers of misuse.  Today both the danger of misuse and the pressure to use the warheads are real.

Now we have two neighboring nations each with 100 nuclear missiles pointed at the other in a region that is so mountainous that nuclear weapons have a fairly limited impact... so many more would need to be used.  As a matter of fact one of the reasons the U.S. didn't use nuclear bombs in the Korean War was because it was decided using nukes in such a mountainous region would "diminish the deterrent effect" of nuclear weapons by showing what a limited effect they could have.

What happens if 100-200 nuclear bombs are detonated in an India/Pakistan conflict?  The answer is nuclear winter in the northern hemisphere, if not worldwide. Nuclear winter reduces sunlight by 15-40% and lowers temperatures tens of degrees.  Crops cannot grow in this environment - particularly the very environment specific mono-culture crops grown to feed the U.S. and the world.

Here is a video of the reduction in sunlight caused by such a war.

Crops will fail and there will be a run on grain stores worldwide in the event of a nuclear exchange.

According to Foreign Policy in Focus, "According to studies done at Rutgers, the University of Colorado-Boulder, and the University of California-Los Angeles, if both countries detonated 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs, it would generate between 1 and 5 million tons of smoke. Within 10 days, that would drive temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere down to levels too cold for wheat production in much of Canada and Russia. The resulting 10 percent drop in rainfall — especially in Asian locales that rely monsoons — would exhaust worldwide food supplies, leading to the starvation of up to 100 million or more people." https://fpif.org/global-nuclear-winter-avoiding-unthinkable-india-pakistan/


Different emergencies cause different problems and require different preparations.  If you were to prepare for another Biblical Noah Flood, then you would need a boat and a year's worth of food plus seeds and whatever you needed to eat until you could grow more food.  (This is imaginary, obviously.)

An Solar EMP would take out the electrical grid for 6+ months so you would need energy, food, water, the ability to survive without transportation, etc.

A hurricane might only require 2-4 weeks without electricity, food or clean water.

A cyber attack on America's communication infrastructure would crater the economy and transportation and possibly electricity for 2 weeks to 6 months.

What does a nuclear winter in North America require?  Electricity will still be flowing.  The economy will still work.  You will still go to work and get paid.  There will still be oil, natural gas, and global transportation.  There will, however, be a shortage of food... particularly grains, and very particularly rice... but also wheat and corn.  This affects feed stocks for lifestock.  The reduced sunlight will affect pasture grasses, tree nut harvests and the California food basket.

No one will care about the disruption in avocados as much as the disruption in flour, corn and rice. Prices will go through the roof.  Hoarding will happen.  To what extent this impacts basic food security is up in the air.  Corn is the basis of the U.S. food chain followed by wheat.  Without corn there is no animal feed.... Cattle feed depends on corn. Chicken feed depends on alfalfa.  What do you eat every day - cow, chicken, wheat and corn.  Fats from cows  and corn/vegetable.  Tomato products are a big staple as well.  Followed by rice and oats.  Finally sugar.

Basic Food Security

I'm approaching this as a basic food security issue for one year.  That means I want to have basic nutrition stored for one year for two people.  That includes - Rice, Beans (replace meat), Oats and Sugar as the basic staples.  Again, this is for TWO people for ONE year of basic calories (2,000/day.)

18 FIVE gallon buckets of rice with oxygen absorbers
21 FIVE gallon buckets of beans with oxygen absorbers
10 TEN POUND buckets of oats (from Auguson Farms)
50 lbs of sugar stored in plastic airtight bags with NO oxygen absorbers
Iodine tablets (to reduce the risk of cancer) plus iodized salt (10 lbs).

That's the basics.  I don't think there's much need to go beyond that for this particular crisis.  The total cost of this prep is about $1,000 and the prep will last 10 years.  These preps will not be used unless there is a long-term food shortage emergency.  This type of emergency has probably only happened once in America - in the South during the Civil War... but at that time food resources were more local than they are today.  So the chances of it are very small... say less than 1%.  So it might happen once in the next 100 years.  These preps only last 10 years. So it's almost certainly $1,000 wasted.  I have wasted $1,000 on much less with much less thought.  If I want to maintain this prep for the rest of my life (about 30 years) I will need to replace the stocks twice.  I'm OK with that.

A 5 gallon bucket is 12" wide and 14" tall.  If stacked 4 tall then 50 buckets will take up 12 square feet of floor space.  a 4'x3' closet stacked 4 buckets tall with other packages (such as sugar) stacked on top would be required for this.  I am going to use a 12' long wall.  So the buckets will form a line 12 buckets long and 4 buckets high along the wall.  Then I will put a movable false wall in front.  I will only need to access these supplies in a real long-term food emergency.  So they will be fine.  I just want the space they are in to be connected to an air conditioned space for maximum storage life.

For this prep my local water supply from underground water will be safer than trying to do any rain catchment.  I will not try to store 1 year's supply of water.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Beware of XJBikes.com Forum - They give bad advice.

Two great running XJ650 Maxim's.  According to the experts
on XJBikes.com the one on the left can't run because it
has pods, an imaginary intake leak and the wrong size
battery.  According to them the one on the right can't run
because the carbs have never been cleaned, it has pods,
it has the wrong size jets, it has the wrong size battery,
and the starter has to be rebuilt.

Luckily neither of these bikes reads XJBikes.com because
they both start, idle, run, drive and stop wonderfully.
If I listened to the experts at XJBikes.com each bike would
be in pieces and cost thousands of dollars to "repair."
I own TWO well running 1981 Yamaha XJ650 motorcycles.  The reason they are well running is because I ignored the horrible advice given to me on XJBikes.com. 

About 6 months ago I bought a 1981 Yamaha XJ650 motorcycle. It's 35 years old and I'm no mechanic so I went to XJBikes.com forums to ask questions and get answers on issues with the bike.  What I found when I got there was a small group of very strident people who insist that you follow their plan on what to do to your bike.

All advice starts with:

1.  You MUST, unequivocally, tear the 4 carburetors  down to the bone, clean them and rebuild them.  Whether the bike is running or not.  It's called "taking them to the Church of Clean."

I told them that I have no experience doing this, I don't feel comfortable doing it, and I feel like if I try that the bike (which was running) will never run again. No matter what I said they would not relent.  Any question I tried to ask was responded with "Have you taken your carbs to church yet?"

2.  They HATE Pod air filters.  These are the individual single air filters for each carb.  Since I had pod filters on my bike ANY problem with how the bike was running was blamed on the pods.  So any supposed solution that they gave me for an issue that didn't work... they blamed the pods.

3.  I found that the advice they gave was CONSISTENTLY OVERLY COMPLICATED AND WRONG.

I decided to test this theory.  I said, "My bike stopped running.  I was driving it down the street and it lost power.  I don't know why.  It didn't want to start.  I put it on the kickstand and checked everything but didn't see anything wrong.  Then when I tried starting it, it started but ran poorly the mile to took to get home."

They gave me literally page after page of things to do to FIX THIS.  Starting with the carbs, moving through rebuilding the petcock and the gas cap, checking the coil voltages and redoing the valve spacing.  Plus they blamed the pods.  They were not happy when I responded that the answer I was looking for was "out of gasoline."  Because that's what happened.

Their response wasn't "Ok, funny." or "It's always the simple things."  Their response was, "How many miles had you driven.  The bike should get better gas mileage than that.  You need to tear your carbs apart, take them to church and get rid of the pods."

This advice was for a running motorcycle.

When I told my old-school biker brother that my bike stopped running on the side of the road the first thing he said was, "You ran out of gas didn't you?"

4. The advice was worse than useless.  It was dead wrong in really bad ways. Not being able to give any advice would be useless, but their advice was worse than useless because it would actually make a bike never run again.

I have a 2nd 1981 XJ650 motorcycle that I bought with a carb set that didn't work right.  The previous owner had followed all the forum's advice and after months of failure sold the bike to me for a bargain.  I brought the bike to my shade tree mechanic friend who fixed the carbs with no problem.  But the carbs would hang on a high idle.  They would start idling OK and after riding the bike wouldn't idle down.  It would hang at 3500 rpms.

This is actually a common problem after carb work on these 4-carb bikes.  I read every thread on the forum related to this.  They consistently insisted that it was an air leak.  I read thread after thread where people followed all of their advice, took their carbs apart repeatedly and got nowhere. In the end every thread was abandoned without a solution.  One guy sold his bike for parts.

The answer is: RE-ADJUST YOUR IDLE.  That's literally the answer.  The carbs have 3 individual idle screws and a master idle knob. I turned them all down to zero and started from scratch.  It immediately fixed the high idle issue. It's possible to get the screws in such a configuration that one of the "slave" carbs takes over and causes this issue.  But in looking at years and years of posts, the experts on the forum never changed their response to this issue.  Even though their response never fixed the problem and was wrong, they didn't change.

When I posted that I had fixed my issue by doing this they continued to insist that I hadn't fixed the problem.  They said I had only masked it and that unless I followed their advice my motorcycle was doomed.  Literally, that's what they said.  After driving hundreds and hundreds of miles.  They never relented.

The first bike I bought never really seemed to have as much top end power as the 2nd one I bought.  They insisted it was dirty carbs and the fact that I was using pods.  I would have to go back to the original air box and strip my carbs down to the core, clean and rebuild to factory specifications.  I didn't do that.  I looked on other (non xj650) forums and found the answer.  "If you lose power when your throttle is open all the way it's because you main jets are too small, put in larger ones." I did that.  It took 20 minutes and cost $20.  The problem was immediately fixed.

WHEN SOMETHING IS BROKE, FIX WHAT'S BROKE... that is a logical thing to do.  But for some reason the people on this forum insist... and I mean they INSIST ... that everyone who comes there rip their bike down to the core and rebuild it from scratch.  They don't care how much it might cost and they don't care if the person has the mechanical experience necessary to do it properly.  They didn't care when I said over and over "I don't feel comfortable doing that." They insisted.  Then when people follow their advice and end up with a non-operational motorcycle, they blame the person.  "You must have done it wrong."

THESE BIKES AREN'T THAT COMPLICATED.... If you end up going on that forum, feel free to search for specs or general information.  It's good for that.  But their direct advice when it comes to running issues with your motorcycle is ill-informed, and will probably serve you poorly.  Try finding your answers on other forums where people understand how to fix the particular issue you might have.

It's hard to say something bad about seemingly well intentioned people who do come across as experts.  But it has to be said.  The problem is THAT THEY COME ACROSS AS CONFIDENT EXPERTS.  But any amount of research on previous threads on the forum consistently show that their advice is ill-informed, wrong, and generally useless.  What's worse is that it takes a motorcycle that is 99% right with one small issue and turns it into a basket case with a frustrated owner.  That's why I'm writing this post.  Have they never helped anyone?  No.  I'm sure they have.

My point is BEWARE.  Think for yourself.  These guys aren't the geniuses they proclaim to be.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Encaustic Pear #1 and Encaustic Pear #2

These are very important pears.  These are my first representational pieces in encaustic.  Some pieces render better online than they do in person.  These two pieces have a much better presence in person.  They are the first of many similar pieces.  They represent my current phase of small still lifes in encaustic.

Encaustic Pear #2, 8x8" on cradle board

Encaustic Pear #1, 9x12 on watercolor paper

Previous important pears:

Pair of Pears, Acrylic on canvas, 12x36"

Colored Pencil Pear, Watercolor Paper, 6x8"

Monday, July 30, 2018

Purposeless Non-Accomplishment

The center of the Milky Way Galaxy
I doubt anyone will agree with the following thoughts. That's all the better.

I have really enjoyed Jim Carrey's transformation from movie clown to Buddhist's-like artist. The idea of separating ones self from the preconceptions and programming that we are all indoctrinated with is a big part of being a prepper or a homesteader - I think.

The hardest thing to release, maybe impossible, is the idea of "having a purpose" or THAT accomplishing ANYTHING has any more value than accomplishing NOTHING.

The image on this post is a the most detailed image ever taken of the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.  Billions and billions of Earths could be fit within the space of this image.  It was taken with a large array of radio telescopes that were invented and refined over decades by hundreds, if not thousands, of scientists and engineers making advances both large and small in dozens of fields of endeavor.  The result... this image.

The day before this image was released it did not exist in the world.  The moment after- it did.  Here's the question.  What difference did it make?  You can fit billions and billions of Earth's inside that image.  The center of the Milky Way has existed for billion of years. The Earth has housed billions of people, trillions of life forms. So what difference does it make?

Returning to the image.  What difference would it make if the image was never taken?  One moment it didn't exist in the world, the next moment it did.  What changed?  If you had never seen it would it make a difference?  If the millions of man hours put into accomplishing all the technological advances over decades - both large and small - never occurred would it matter?  The answer seems to be "yes" it would.  Look at what all of that technology accomplished?  Space exploration, satellites, communications, electronics, computers, knowledge of the very existence of things and people.  That's HUGE!

Yet, it's not.  100,000 years ago a human came up with the idea FOR THE FIRST TIME of grinding a hole in a small seashell and passing a piece of leather through it to hang around her neck.  (That's literally true.)  It took 10,000 years for that idea to spread to all Homosapien Sapiens who existed on Earth to emulate.

Here's the thing... that image of the center of the galaxy is 100,000 years old.  It is 100,000 light years to the center of the Milky Way galaxy, meaning the energy recorded is from 100,000 years ago.  The picture is of the center of the galaxy when homosapien sapiens were just "inventing" the technology of a hole in a seashell. Did it matter to that human (and they were 100% as human as you are) what the center of the galaxy looked like?  Did it matter to the center of the galaxy whether a minor ape species on a speck a planet a billionth of a billionth of it's size did or didn't see it?

5,000 generations from now (100,000 years) the center of the galaxy will be literally no different than it was 5,000 generations ago but humans will probably not exist as a species.  Why? Because each "technological" advance DECREASES the functional lifespan of humanity.
Model of Homoerectus

Here's how it works.... prior to homosapien sapiens (modern humans) there were homos (humans) along side near homos (apes).  There were australopithicus (not homo). About 3.9 million ago.  They survived for millions of years.  The nature of their species was that it COULD survive for millions of years.  It was little different from most other apes, other than it walked upright.

Homoerectus (Upright Man) existed from about 1.5 million years ago to about 300,000 years ago.  Again... it existed for over a million years - so it COULD exist for over a million years.

There's no reason to believe that homosapiens sapiens (Wise Man, ie. Us) could not exist for that long when we first evolved.  We actually lived as smart as we are today for hundreds of thousands of years ... but we started killing off everything around us fairly early in our existence.

Geologically everywhere that homosapiens settled en masse we killed off all the major animals over 400 lbs in size, and many over 100 lbs.  This is particularly true in areas where the animals did not co-evolve with homos.  In Africa the major land animals evolved to fear and keep their distance from homos.  In other areas such as the Americas, Australia and elsewhere they did not evolve to fear humans.  As a result the major land mammals were hunted to extinction within a few thousand years of humans arrival.

This still did not necessarily shorten the potential existence of humans.  We appear to have reached an equilibrium.

Then 10,000 years ago humans began to exceed nature's ability to naturally support the growing population of humans.  Agriculture was the natural outcome of this pressure ON HUMANS to support a larger population.  It can be argued that agriculture created more humans or that more humans REQUIRED agriculture... but regardless that transformation doomed humans to a much shorter existence as a species.

Agriculture shortened the existence of humanity by hundreds of thousands of years.  The desertification of agricultural areas occurred within a few hundred to a few thousand years of humanity creating agriculture.  The reason is not because the land can't grow crops. The reason is that humans can grow offspring FASTER when they use agriculture.  In every area humans eventually grew offspring faster than the land could grow crops.  The result was spread and migration.

(As a comparison we have only been seriously growing crops in Kansas for less than 100 years.  Inside 1000 it will be desertified for certain.  It might already be if it weren't for the Ogallala Aquifer.  Large scale agriculture removes all barriers to desertification, only irrigation delays the inevitable.)

Today we look back at the last 10,000 years of human history and say look at what we have done!  Cities, civilization, technology, energy, science, etc.  But what we do not see is the exponential growth of human beings and the exponential growth of resource use. (This is not a 'humans are bad' tree hugger article.)

The result is that we have created an unsustainable population (from an evolutionary standpoint) - particularly since the advent of agriculture, and certainly since the industrial revolution.  It's important to replace the phrase "industrial revolution" with "energy use revolution." Humans were always industrious, what changed was our energy use patterns.  Moving from manpower to animal power to coal power and finally to petroleum power.

What this did was to expand the number of humans on Earth from less than 5 million during the agricultural revolution and the early formation of "civilization" to nearly 7 billion today.  For the first 1000 years of the A.D. period human population did not appreciably increase.  The entire Earth went from about 170 million to about 340 million - essential doubling in 1,000 years.  This is a number that is orders above what a pre-agricultural humanity could have sustained... but it was a pace that would keep humans alive for tens of thousands of more years, if not hundreds of thousands.

At each limit of human population we have found new energy sources to exploit.  The last blast came with fossil fuels.  Coal and oil.  I'm not saying that coal and fossil fuels will "destroy the Earth." Far from it.  The Earth is indestructible and life on Earth will exist until the sun turns into a red giant and burns off all the remaining atmosphere about 3 billion years from now.  No human will see it, that's mathematically certain.  No large species has ever survived more than 100 million years, and humans aren't likely to make it another 10,000.

No, the Earth will be fine.  Humanity, however, and homosapiens as a species has found the limit of our existence.  Unquestionable, the idea that homosapiens will exist in 100,000 years (just 5,000 more generations) is absurd.  It would be reasonable to think we can survive for another 500 generations at SOME LEVEL of population - probably numbering closer to the 300 to 500 million.  But even that number is unsustainable from an agricultural standpoint once the fossil fuels are gone in another 100-200 years.


The point is exactly that.  What is the point?  In the time it takes light currently being created at the center of our galaxy to reach us humanity will not be in a technological place to see it... even if there are any homosapiens left on the planet.

In that way, this image of the center of the Milky Way galaxy represents the turning point of humanity.  The light in that image that we have just now observed as technological masters and the dominant species was created when a homosapien was drilling a hole in a seashell by the side of the river.  The light NOW BEING GENERATED by the center of the galaxy will arrive on Earth to a homospien species that if not extinct will be so scarce as to be the same as the seashell drilling human.

It's a fascinating thought.  So what's the point?  Enjoy life.

Purposefulness is an Illusion

Returning to the original idea... stripping away our cultural programming (Western Affluent Capitalist Deist) we return to the idea of what are we doing?  Technically, in reality we are only doing one thing - creating little carbon copies of ourselves and then raising them until they can do the same.  Past that we have no purpose as either individuals or as a society.

If you ask someone with children "Why do you work?" The answer is "to support my family."  Past that if you ask "why do you work?" The answer gets more complex.  "For Retirement" "To have a better life" "To create a legacy" whatever that is.

There is no such thing as a legacy.  No wealth lasts past 5 generations.  No legacy lasts past any major upheaval - war, political turn-over, basic reworking of the economic system.  The "Washingtons" don't rule America, neither do the "Hamiltons." Andrew Carnegie was perhaps the wealthiest man on Earth only 100 years ago.  His 5th generation offspring carry the name, but not the riches.  And that was in a society that stayed essentially the same - Still America as a geopolitical entity, still Democratic as a political structure, still Capitalist as an economic structure, still Christian as a religious structure.  Imagine how "legacy" changes when one of those basic underlying elements change.  The children of Augustus (Rome) have absolutely no impact on Germany or even Italy today.

So, what is legacy if not just a minor extension on the idea of "supporting my family?" So what is one's purpose after your children are established as independent households.  For most people it is so they can "retire." There are other achievements, of course.  Promotion!  Creating "something!" Making more money.  But they are accomplishments without purpose other than perhaps stockpiling resources for the day one stops accomplishing monetarily... i.e. retirement.

Here's a question.  What is retirement?  "I get to not work anymore."  Here's a secret. You can do that now.  At least 100 million Americans do not work.  Most of them are children.  The next largest cohort are unemployable (inner city, don't want to work, drug addicts, lazy).  I do not include criminals in this category because technically they work.  Some of them work very hard, particularly drug dealers.

What are you trying to accomplish?  The real answer "I don't want to work but I want to maintain the same - or better - lifestyle."

You can't.  Old age creates a worse lifestyle.  Youth has a better lifestyle with less money than middle age does.  Massive amounts of high calorie food are not "lifestyle." It is pre-death.  Giant living quarters aren't "lifestyle" either... it's just more space.  "What about travel?"  What about it?  Perhaps a week or two per year (2-4% of your time) you get to see something ever so slightly different than your normal existence.... "Look it's water touching land next to a palm tree!  We can now die happy." Generalized travel is rarely sustainable, and the fact is that most people don't really want that.  Some bring their house with them in the form of a giant Recreational Vehicle.  But their lifestyle remains identical, only the scenery outside the window changes.

So, again... what's the purpose?  There is none.

There is no purpose which means there is no difference between being purposeful and purposeless.  Purposelessness doesn't have to be the goal any more than purposefullness has to be the goal.

Accomplishment or non-accomplishment... there is no difference.  Happy life or miserably depressed... there is no functional difference.

What is my point?  I have none.  It's just information because I'm passing the day with a laptop.  See you around.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Joining Crossfit at 50 (technically 49)

My theme this year is "50 and Fighting It."  

Up to 135, most of the girls do more.
I'm technically obese (starting weight 258 at 6'2") but I don't necessarily look it.  I haven't worked out since I was 19 years old.  I never took PE in High School.  I only actually exercised from ages 18 - 19 in the army.  I was also in the Army at ages 20 and 21 but never had to exercise because I'm smart and knew how to get out of PT (physical training).  I'm one of the few guys in the Army who entirely skipped PT for 2 years.

That doesn't mean I haven't TRIED to work out.  I've joined the gym from time to time and tortured myself on the weight machines for a week or two before quitting.  That's the generally work out pattern.  Start a "program" that isn't really working out so much as it's goofing around.  That's things like walking 5 miles 2-3 times a week for a month or so or joining a gym and doing machines for 2-3 weeks then quitting.  I would do that about once a year.  I haven't done any actual working out - high intensity, no bullshit, make myself really sweat for 30 minutes - since my U.S. Army days. So about 30 years, give or take.

Additionally I am weak.  I mean "pencil neck geek" weak.  I spent the last 30 years doing computer work and eating steak and ice cream.  Whatever part me looks like muscles is really just fat over weak tendons and hollow bones.  When I exercise I can't breathe, I want to quit, and I hate life.  I have never been an exerciser.  I only did it in the Army because if I didn't I would go to jail (and even then I skipped out most of the time.) On top of all that I'm a weak-willed quitter.  If I can quit I'll do it.  I hate exercising.

So why did I join a Crossfit Box 2 months ago?

Walmart!  Go to your local Walmart on the first weekend of the month and watch the parade of humanity going into the store.... Fat, Fatter, Fattest, Limping, Slumping, Riding on Wheelchairs, Using Canes, Can't Walk, Can't Breathe, Destined for a future of Physical Pain and Misery.  Watching people at Walmart is my #1 motivator to do the thing I hate most in the world.  It's the ghost of Christmas Future!

Being fat, weak, on drugs, shuffling down a slope of misery and pain from age 50 to age 75 isn't just possible.  It's 100% guaranteed if I don't eat right, lose weight and get strong.  I can't be old and weak and obese.  So I have to make sure I'm old, strong and skinny.

Since I don't know how to create a real workout plan and I wouldn't make myself follow it if I could, I chose to just join a Crossfit "Gym" (they are called Boxes not gyms).  At Crossfit all you have to do is SHOW UP. The workout is already scheduled.  Everyone does the same things at the same times.  Sort of a group misery thing!  The main thing is that all of the exercises can be modified (and are modified) so that anyone can do SOMETHING related to the exercise that is prescribed.  I don't do most exercises as prescribed.  I do "MODS" or modifications.  Why?  BECAUSE I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO A HANDSTAND PUSH-UP.  But that is an Actual Crossfit exercise.  So most people do modifications.

I Only Have 3 Goals with Crossfit

1. Show Up.  If I show up then I've won.  I can sign in, get back in my car and go home.  I have met my goal.  However, if I show up I might as well do the stretching routine and warm up.  Since I'm already warm I might as well TRY to do the workout.  At some point I've done HALF of the workout, so I might as well TRY to finish it.  Before I know it the workout is over and I survived (generally barely).

Where most people count Push-Ups or Pull-Ups, I count Show-Ups!

2. Do What My Trainer Says.  The trainers aren't Drill Instructors trying to push people to their breaking point.  My trainer often tells me to use LESS weight, or how to modify an exercise so I CAN do something approximating the prescribed movement.  She shows me how to do proper form. So I do what she says.  And when she says, "Go Faster or Push Harder" then I try to do that too.

The great thing about Crossfit is that all workouts are trainer supervised.  You show up and follow the plan.  There's someone (or multiple someone's) there to help you out and keep you safe.

3. Don't Quit.  If I can't run then I walk.  If I can't do a regular push up then I do a half-ass knees on the ground, dragging my fat belly push up.  But I don't quit.  I might go slow or have to stop to catch my breath, but stopping isn't quitting and I try.  It's hard.  It's miserable.  It's humiliating because I'm the slowest, weakest, fattest.  But I don't quit.

That's it!  I don't HAVE to get any stronger.  I don't HAVE to get any faster.  I don't HAVE to get any better.  I just have to Show Up, Do what my trainer says, and Don't Quit.

How's It Going?

It has been 10 weeks.  I did one week of "on-ramp" where you are the only one there and they show you how to do the basic moves. Then I have done 9 weeks of WODS (Workout of the Day) in a regular group session.  I've shown up to 32 workouts in total over 10 weeks. That is more exercise than I've done since Basic Training. That's an average of 3 workouts per week.  When I feel like I need a day off I take it.  A couple weeks I only went twice.  Once because my wrists were really sore, and another time because they were doing lots of Max Weight lifting, which I'm not going to do.  I'm almost 50 years old.  I don't need to try to lift Max weight.  I am not willing to injure myself trying to act like I'm 25 years old.  Luckily they don't do that often.

Once they did "Murph" the Memorial Day workout. 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats, and 2 miles of running!  HAHAHAHA!  Not no, but hell no!  My trainer's hands were a bloody mess the next day. Blisters on top of blisters.  It took them 10 days to heal.  She still liked doing it!  I'm not that stupid!  Happy Memorial Day, drink a beer and eat a hot dog.  I don't do crazy!  Generally the workouts are very doable and very scalable, however.

No I didn't fall down.
This is an actual exercise.
Called "Floor Sweepers"
Have I said how much I HATE exercise.  I don't mean "I don't like doing exercise but I feel like a million bucks afterward." I don't!  I feel like I'm about to pass out afterward.  I can't breathe - or couldn't, I'm getting better.  I would rather lay around and do nothing.  But that's not an option... Why? WALMART!  So I have to do it.  I have to. I H..A..V..E.. to.  It sucks.

It works!  After only a few weeks I felt more mobile.  My legs got stronger first... lots and lots of squats!  Then my shoulders stopped hurting and started firming up.  My wife noticed my arms are more like they were when I was in the Army - like coiled springs.  They don't LOOK different but they ARE different.  My breathing is easy.  My core strength is 10x better.  No more grunting to get out of a low chair.

YES, I am only 49.  I'm not 69!  But when you eat cupcakes, steak and ice cream for 30 years without doing a pushup, 49 is the new 59!

I Can Do This Forever

There is nothing about Crossfit that I can't keep doing.  I have no desire to stop doing it.  All I have to do is show up.  I don't feel fear or dread.  I know it's going to suck!  But it sucks in a very predictable way.  I'm in a group of people for whom it also sucks.  The thing about Crossfit is that everyone is working to their maximum ability.  I'm doing fat tummy pushups while someone else is doing really vigorous pushups.  I'm lifting little weight (or just an empty bar) when others are lifting 155 lbs.  I'm jogging slowly when others are sprinting.  Everyone works to their ability, and everyone is sucking air so no one is looking at someone else and thinking "what a weakling."  It's group misery on a schedule, so you know it's going to end soon enough.

It costs $130 per month (for my box). I don't know if the price is the same other places.  That seems like a lot for a gym.  Most cost $30.  But, most gyms are a room full of weights and a sign that says "exercise at your own risk."  There's no personalized training, no program, no group motivation.  Crossfit is aerobic, core, mobility, flexibility, gymnastics, weight training, etc. all rolled into one.  Every workout is like a box of chocolates - you never know what misery you're going to get.  But, every day is different.  I still haven't flipped big truck tires - even after 32 workouts.  Maybe they did that a day I wasn't there.  But eventually I will!  That will look like fun until I have to do it, then it will suck.  But I'll do it.


Yes, I've lost some weight, but that's because I changed my diet.  Yes, I'm stronger.  But I'm not an Olympian.  I don't look like a guy in a magazine.  I never will.  I never have.  What do I care?  I'm not trying to get laid.  I'm just trying not to end up a miserable, couch bound, fat man on 6 different medications with a walker and lots of medical bills.  The $130 a month and 3 hours I spend a week working out, plus all the crap I've stopped eating are a small price to pay.  It's not hard.  It's just harder than doing nothing.  Not a lot harder. Just a little harder.  Well worth the effort!  Why?  WALMART!!!

On Losing Weight

I've lost 20 lbs in 4 months, but that's not because of Crossfit.  It's because I cut sugar out of my diet except very rarely.  I've cut most meat out of my diet (but not all meat), and many days I don't eat any meat at all. I supplement with EAS Myoplex shakes (at Walmart in the pharmacy section), because protein intake is very important when you are weight lifting and exercising heavily.  I use Sparkpeople.com to track my calorie intake and nutrients.  I generally eat nothing after 6 pm.  I also generally work out at 8 am on an empty stomach.  That means I eat my breakfast at about 9 am and generally stop eating by 5 pm.  That means I don't eat for 18 hours each day.  It's called "timed eating.'

I don't do anything to an extreme.  I did eat a vegan diet for about 4 weeks but didn't think it was sustainable.  So what do I eat?  It's boring.  I have oatmeal with blackberries, blueberries, cashews and agave nectar (at Walmart on the sugar aisle) for breakfast, generally.  On days I work out I add a protein shake as soon after I finish working out as possible.  The oatmeal keeps me full until 2 pm.  Then I eat Triscuit crackers with Pimento cheese and some turkey luncheon meat (the good stuff).  That fills me up pretty quickly and satisfies my fat requirements.  Around 5 I generally eat a few more triscuits with cheese.  Occassionally I eat something that seems like dinner (chicken thighs and a veg.) That's it most days.  I drink a couple beers per week.

On the weekends I'm in my car all day driving around.  I have oatmeal before I leave and a 12 inch Subway all veggie sandwich with guacamole and Sun chips in the afternoon.  Or I drive through Panda Express and have a Panda bowl.

Stupid right?  When I go out out to eat I generally eat Italian - Spaghetti and Marinara (no meat or cheese), or I do a Mexican restaurant - Corn Chips, salsa, guacamole, and a side of beans and rice.

No diet coke.  Mostly water.  Some unsweetened tea, or mildly sweetened with Stevia.

What I have learned is that I ate too much sugar.  I'll eat a piece of cheesecake or drink a root beer from time to time now.  But that's about it.  I ate too much meat and cheese and dairy.  Now I stick to chicken or turkey and skip that when I can get away with it.  And I ate WAYYYYY too much VOLUME!  A plate of food is way too much food.  Doing that 3 times a day is the recipe for obesity. Breakfast is NOT the most important meal of the day.  I eat it at about 9:30 - which means it's more like brunch.  Then I eat again at 2 or 3 so that's more like "linner." Then a "midnight snack" at 5 or 6 pm.  Eat light, stay light.

I found food that I like to eat, and found versions that are better for me.  Triscuits are whole grain. Corn chips are whole grain.  Sun chips are whole grain.  Etc.  Yes I eat Pimento cheese - which is almost pure fat.  But it satisfies me very quickly.  1/4 cup of pimento cheese on triscuits with a side of sliced turkey is very filling.  A subway sandwich loaded with veggies a guacamole plus the Subway vinaigrette on 9 oat bread is just as good as loading it up with meat and mayo.

In America most people literally go from meal to meal.  That's how they plan their day.  I go from activity to activity - exercising, training dogs, doing art, motorcycle ride, hanging out with my wife, cleaning something, writing an article, etc.  And I take a break to eat when I need to.

But, anyway, that's how I lost weight.  Crossfit training sessions might burn 300-400 calories.  That cannot offset a Standard American Diet (S.A.D.). I eat about 1800 calories a day and lose 2/10th's of a pound a day on average.  If I run 5 miles I lose 3 lbs in 1 hour, but most of that is just sweat.  There's no rush.  If you're 50 like me you know it took decades to gain the weight.  Taking a year or two to get it off is perfectly reasonable.  I'm down to 244 (from a high of 265).  My goal is 210.  So another 35 weeks should do it.

This is a breakdown of a random day's eating. It could be healthier, but then I wouldn't do it.

Friday, May 25, 2018

1982 Yamaha XJ 650 Maxim Diaries

Pleased to introduce "Your Bike"

Fully operational and ready to ride.  My red one is named "My Bike."


So, I went and picked up the new '82 XJ650 Maxim.  Its name is "your bike."  So my red '82 XJ650 Maxim is "my bike" and my new black '82 XJ650 Maxim is "your bike."  It was 2 hours away.  When we got there not only did the guy have "extra parts" he had boxes and boxes of EXTRA PARTS.  The bike has brand new Progressive shocks on it ($250), but he had ANOTHER pair of BRAND NEW Progressive shocks that he included.  Plus an extra tank, a new tank sealing kit, extra forks, the original seat, 3 instrument clusters, 2 ignition switches - one with a matching gas cap, an entire EXTRA 4 CARB SET, manuals, a headlight assembly, full set of signals, both handlebar control sets (multiples), gasket sets, and more and more and more.  About 100 parts in all.


I got it back to the farm at about 7:30 pm.  Tried to start it.  It turned over but didn't fire.  So we changed the tank, no difference.  Then we (me and my brother) pulled the carbs off "my bike" and put them on "your bike."  It fired right up and ran like a champ.

Adding a 2nd XJ 650 to the stable.

Latest Addition.  750 tank.  An XJ 750 Maxim tank will fit on an XJ 650 (at least for my year 1982).  The 750 tank holds a gallon more gas than the 650 tank.  So I get extended range.  Also my 650 tank wasn't pristine.  It had some rust in it when I got the bike.  I cleaned it out and etched it (no liner added), but it still wasn't perfect.  It's nice to find a 750 tank that's pristine so I get a cleaner tank plus higher fuel capacity.

The original 81 XJ650