Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Thoughts of the day

This is useful: youtube video Into the Wood: Backcountry Medicine 101. It's similar to the buddy aid and combat lifesaver training I was given as a soldier (RBBSFBH) with additional, improvisational tips. Make sure to include duct tape, safety pins, and latex surgical gloves in any field emergency kit. In the cold, wear a sweat wicking layer (wool, polypro) on the skin, then a heat insulating layer (fleece, down), then a wind and wet blocking layer (goretex).

Yum. Sandwich made with bannock bread made on the griddle pan, pernil pork shoulder roasted in the toaster oven, raw yellow onions, roasted garlic, sour cream, and yellow honey mustard. For dessert, a Pillsbury chocolate fudge brownie made on the griddle pan, which turned out burnt on one side and gooey on the other side. It was a tasty way to break a 24-hour fast. The day before for dessert, I made a Pillsbury chocolate fudge brownie with evaporated milk, topped with chunky peanut butter and sour cream. I washed it down with whole milk. That was a very rich dessert; too rich, in fact. It triggered my 24-hour fast a day earlier than I had planned.

I've made 3 or 4 bannock sandwiches using the same formula. It's okay when made with chicken thigh or SpurTree beef jerk sausage. It's a restaurant-grade meal when made with pernil pork shoulder.

I like me some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I bought a 64 ounce carton of Yoo Hoo on sale for $2.99 on Wednesday evening. It was a relatively extravagant purchase for me. By the end of the evening, only a sip was left, and by Thursday morning, the carton was emptied. A little bit of Yoo Hoo goes a long way with milk, but I wonder how much I can water it down and still retain sufficient Yoo Hoo flavor. I think 1:1 or 64 ounces of water added to 64 ounces of Yoo Hoo.

I'm going to bake more of my brownies so they're mostly done but still hot and gooey on top, like a lava cake.

I'm having a change of heart about Duncan Hines milk chocolate brownie mix. I've reviewed it before as lacking flavor, but I like the current batch. It's more sugary than chocolatey, but it's tasty and crusts well. Maybe my tastes are changing or maybe the mix formula has improved.

Boiling the pork shoulder worked out okay. There doesn't seem to be a wrong way to cook pork shoulder or pork in general. It's a forgiving meat to cook. However, I had hoped it would also make a tasty broth for a bachelor soup. It did not. I allow I may have neglected to boil the pork shoulder long and/or hot enough to extract the fatty oils properly.

I successfully made roasted pork rind or crackling from pernil pork shoulder skin. It was crunchy and flaky. Supposedly, crackling is relatively healthy. The only issue is converting the pig skin into crackling takes me 4-5 hours in the Nesco on maximum heat. I don't know whether I'm cooking it wrong or the Nesco is the reason cooking takes so long. Scoring the skin so the grease will drain out is the most important step. Salting the skin is supposed to be important, too.

Best use of fatback is toasting it into a crispy bacon and saving the rendered grease. Adding pieces into bachelor stew or another roasting meat for flavor hasn't worked.

I made myself a full real meal after several days of short-cut food: White rice, chicken thigh roasted with onions and garlic, sour cream and hot sauce dip, steamed carrots, Pillsbury milk chocolate brownie with evaporated milk topped with sour cream and chunky peanut butter, toasted unleavened onion-and-garlic bannock, chunky peanut butter and grape jelly spread on slice of white bread, and pork bone broth.

My latest Bachelor soup: In the 3-quart mixing bowl and Nesco, 18.5 oz can of Progresso Rich & Hearty Hearty Chicken Pot Pie style as base, 15 oz can of Libby's sweet peas, 2 cloves garlic sliced, 1 carrot diced, approx 1/3 cup of white rice, fiori pasta, seasoned salt. Good with sour cream.

I've made 3 or 4 bannock pizzas over the last few days with SpurTree beef jerk sausage, DelMonte Italian herb chunky pasta sauce, sour cream, garlic, yellow onions, and carrots.

The toaster oven works well for making bannock pizza. It cooks faster in the toaster oven (10+ minutes) than in the Sunbeam or Mirro (20+ minutes) and the crust even tastes more pizza-like. Odd. Why wasn't I using the toaster oven for my bannock pizza earlier? I've been using the toaster oven to make 5-minute, cookie-flat brownies, too.

I've also been using the Sunbeam more. I'm positive the Sunbeam's temperature has lowered since its heating mechanism popped, but I prefer its lower walls and tougher cooking surface over the Mirro. The heat, although lower, distributes more evenly in the Sunbeam compared to the Mirro. I can fry eggs and boil water in the Sunbeam. Eggs require 130 degrees or 158 degrees to fry and water boils at 212 degrees. However, the Sunbeam temperature no longer goes high enough to cook bannock properly. A standard baking temperature is 350 degrees and different bannock recipes call for medium heat on a stove or 425-450 degrees in the oven.

Toasting liberally oiled bannock dough with onions and garlic makes a reasonable facsimile of crunchy pan-fried scallion pancakes. The dough must be made from flour, salt, and water because baking soda per my regular bannock recipe makes it puff up like a muffin or mantou.

Cutting firm frozen sausage is easier than cutting soft thawed sausage. The frozen sausage stays firm and won't fall apart under the knife like the thawed sausage. The technique works for fatback, too. I don't think it works for regular meat, though I haven't tried cutting frozen whole meat. Update: Whole meat is easier to cut while it's frozen, too.

Poking two holes in the bones to help the flow of oils out and water through the bones might help with bone broth. Old chicken bones makes for a nasty smelling bone broth. I have yet to boil my bag of saved pork bones.

Sweet potatoes, if stored too long, become strangely woody and tangy.

I bought a 5-pound bag of Eastern potatoes for a dollar. They're all growing sprouts and there's been some mold, which perhaps is why the potatoes were on sale. I can understand why people like potatoes as a staple. I've made mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, thin-sliced potato-chip-type fried potatoes, thick french-fry-type fried potatoes, and overwatered mashed potatoes that turned into potato soup. Each potato dish was easy to make and tasty. I'm a converted fan. I need to finish the potatoes soon before the sprouts grow bigger and more mold grows. There's some green tint setting in, too, which is supposed to be toxic, but whatever. I tried using the rice cooker and corn oil in the 1 quart mixing bowl to deep-oil fry the potatoes, but it didn't work; I ended up baking the potato slices.

I had to throw away about half a yellow onion that had sprouted and was moldy. It reminded me why I buy 2-pound bags and not 5-pound bags of onions despite that sales for 5-pound bags are usually better. I don't eat fast enough to buy large quantities of perishable food items. My frustrating cucumber losses are the best example of bachelor food waste. I've had to cut off pieces of sweet potatoes and potatoes. I'm now worrying I bought too much garlic on sale. The 5-pound bags of carrots I've bought on sale seem to hold up well, though.

Frozen vegetables and fruit are better than 'fresh' vegetables and fruit if the frozen kind are frozen when fresh and the 'fresh' kind take extended time going from farm to store. The freezing itself preserves almost all the nutrients. What about canned?

I wanted a serrated knife to cut cooked meat, ie, a steak knife, and found a Victorinox 3 1/4" Serrated Edge Paring Knife in the eating utensils bin at the Salvation Army. Next to it was a birds-beak Victorinox 2 1/2" Shaping Knife. I bought both for $2 plus tax. The pricing on-line for each knife ranges from 5 to 8 dollars. Neither knife is as sharp as reviews claim but I did buy them used, and they're sharp enough. The two knives were most likely 2/3 of a Victorinox 48042 Cutlery 3-Piece Paring Knife Set. The missing 3 1/4" Straight Edge Spear Paring Knife is considered to be the best of its kind. The missing paring knife isn't a big loss because I already owned a Kai 3 3/4" straight edge spear paring knife. I'm just annoyed that I bent the Kai's tip somehow the last time I cut up a pernil pork shoulder. I think it was bent by other utensils on the wash drying rack after I cut the pernil.

"Beauty is in the phi of the beholder." Judging by the many make-up tutorials on youtube, girls routinely put a lot of thought and work and invest a lot in their appearance starting from a young age. I can accept there is a common ratio for a pleasing feminine appearance, but girls have many tools to make themselves beautiful in person to men. Nonetheless, the vivid enthusiasm of the girls driving the make-up tutorial youtube sub-culture convinced me that feminine beauty hasn't been culturally imposed by men or concocted for commercial profit. Feminine beauty is a compelling need in primal female nature.

the professor provides a solid looking round-up of positive masculinity and Manosphere links.

Better Money Habits is a financial literacy educational project by Bank of America and Khan Academy. It's something I need to learn.

I wonder whether MGTOW icon Chris McCandless would have endorsed the movie about him, Into the Wild. The movie is more about what others thought of him rather than what he thought of himself. I doubt Alexander Supertramp would have approved of the movie, but perhaps at the end of his life, McCandless changed his mind. Slab City seems like my kind of community. I haven't read the book the movie is based on.

I walked to FDR Four Freedoms Park, which is a 7.3 mile trip according to google maps. It was okay.

From Dictatorship to Democracy by Gene Sharp looks interesting. (h/t)

The goal is to be a "strong, high trust culture that believes in itself", not a "weak, low trust [culture] that [has] lost the faith". As a college activist, I sought the solution through the hierarchical leadership of social elites boosting American solidarity with the traditional masculine social values I learned in the military. I now believe the answer is more elemental, more basic. We need to restore or perhaps newly invent a social trend of positive masculinity.

Gavin McInnes, the Godfather of Hipsterdom, is red pill. He's going to be tarred and feathered. Gavin McInnes is a vocal red-pill hipster. Wes Anderson and his brother Eric Chase Anderson are stealth red-pill hipsters. Red pill and hipsters - coincidence?

People see what they want to see. Related: Michael Crichton's Murray Gell-Mann amnesia effect of people uncritically accepting media accounts about everything else despite knowing the media is usually wrong within the reader's own subject matter expertise. Narrative is more palatable, enduring, and compatible with our social consciousness than truth.

Iraq again.

Regarding Joe Lieberman, who steadfastly did his duty while other Democrats abandoned theirs.

A disquieting post about Asian students cheating. The characterization is extreme. Given the Stuyvesant cheating scandal, I can't dismiss it out of hand, but it seems over the top and blanketly suspicious enough that it may be intended as a racial othering hit piece.

The Stuyvesant bowling team is painfully bad this season. The A-Team averages less than 500 and the team has been forced to go to a deciding C game every match so far, which is unthinkable for a Stuyvesant team within Manhattan. To their credit, they've won them all. On the plus side, the team is comprised of all juniors and sophomores, so they have a golden opportunity to train seriously and return with a respectable team next year. I gave the team captain, coach, and phys ed AP some suggestions to build a competitive team for next season, including a link to the USBC high school coaching guide, but I doubt they'll follow them. Oh well, I did what I could and that matters. I put paid to my selfish act in 2009 of donating $100 for a team practice while knowing my action wouldn't make a difference. This time, I'm comfortable that I sufficiently equipped the students and the coaches to choose a better path, and the choice is theirs to change course. If they don't, it's on them, not on me. Their regular season is 15 matches now; if I recall correctly, we only had 8. I'm envious. I like the new PSAL play-off format. It places more value on the regular season by eliminating the extra play-in round. I like how every regular-season match becomes a contest against the entire PSAL. Either come in first or have a high enough team average to earn a wild card outright. Only 32 teams enter the post-season: the 17 1st-place finishers plus 15 wild cards based on city ranking. Play-off seeding is based solely on city ranking. The city ranking is based on a formula of 2A+B over the regular season. It's a fair and straightforward system. The PSAL website is a big improvement. It provides all the information I wanted when I bowled for Stuy. My teams would have been around 10th on the current city ranking, which corresponds neatly with our reaching the quarter-finals every season. At the time, I thought we were underdogs, and we were compared to the top contenders, but apparently we were on top of the 2nd tier in the PSAL. I wish I knew that at the time; it might have changed some of the worst mistakes of my life. 12NOV13 update: The PSAL switched to a ladder play-off format that flips on 24 and then 16 in the 1st 2 rounds. Today, the boys team, seeded 27th, lost its 1st round match against 22nd seed Queens Vocational Tech at 34th Ave Bowl; the girls team, seeded 20th, won its 1st round match against 29th seed Beacon High School. 09DEC13 update: The girls team won against 13th seed Queens HS for Science at York College in the 2nd round and 4th seed Midwood in the 3rd round before losing to 5th seed Curtis in the 4th round quarter-finals. The Stuy girls lost A, won B, then lost C against Curtis. I shared suggestions for PSAL-wide standard basic instruction and the USBC coaching guide with the PSAL bowling officials. They seem enthusiastic but pessimistic.

Mets memories: Sid Fernandez's 4 Ks climbing the ladder in 1986 World Series Game 7 and Endy Chavez's great catch in 2006 NLCS Game 7. Enjoy the wonderful play-by-play by Vin Scully, who's on par with the great Bob Murphy, and Gary Cohen rising to the occasion on the Chavez catch.

I have a better opinion of Apollo 18 after rewatching it on DVD than when I watched it in the theater. The movie's found-footage verisimilitude is on par with the gritty realism of Kathryn Bigelow's Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. The grainy video texture of the camerawork, acting and characterization, effects, and sets depicting an early 1970s crew of NASA astronauts on a doomed mission to the moon are convincing with impressive attention to detail. The set-up is all there for a quality science fiction movie about highly competent, cool-headed, utterly isolated NASA astronauts thrust into a terrifying, claustrophobic life-or-death struggle on the moon. The texture and feel of the period piece feels authentic and the movie evokes sympathy for the suffering of good men trapped unfairly. The space horror story is just lacking. According to the film commentary by the director and editor, the film's writers were continually switched out, studio executives were butting in, and the movie was repeatedly reworked, reshot, chopped up, and rearranged. The story became a mash. Once I learned to overlook the flat story, I was able to enjoy the movie's aesthetic.

The Crazies (2010) is a smart B-movie remake that delivers on its advertising. It employs small-town, USA archetypes without descending into stereotype with the exception of the naive boyish soldier. I'm a fan of Timothy Olyphant.

2012's The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield is very similar to 2002's Spider-Man starring Tobey Maguire. The two movies are like projects submitted by two students in the same class where the plot was given to them as an assignment to make a big-budget, comic-book action movie. The 2012 film is not a frame-for-frame remake of the 2002 film; they're different in detail. The 2012 version is acted well and has some nice scene touches and point-of-view camera shots that aren't shared with the 2002 version. But the two movies tell basically the same story and they're not different enough to overcome their similarity. The Dunst MJ Watson and Maguire Peter Parker romance builds better than the Stone Gwen Stacy and Garfield Peter Parker romance, though not from lack of effort by and chemistry between Stone and Garfield. Insight into the characters is better presented in the 2002 version largely due to clearer dialogue and direction. Garfield straddles the line of overacting because he exceeds the material. Director Marc Webb, in his commentary, explains themes that aren't obvious in the scenes. Even so, 1st movies in a series set up the main course in the sequel, and the 2012 version is good enough so that I'm looking forward to its 2014 sequel. Marc Webb, who also directed 500 Days of Summer, commented that he likes to return to the theme of fictional movie romances and wishes real-life romance worked like movie romance. Here, I grew up using movie romances as my model for real-life romance and it turns out moviemakers use movie romance as a dramatic device, knowing it's make-believe. Ouch. Also, cold raw beefsteak - which Uncle Ben gives to Peter to apply to his bruise - doesn't actually have a curative effect on bruises, such as black eyes, beyond its cold temperature.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a cool, intriguing idea - the movie, not so much. It fell flat. Maybe the book was better. Anthony Mackie, who plays Will Johnson, played SGT Sanborn in Hurt Locker. I didn't recognize him. Good actor.

I watched the movie due to her glowing review, but Mad Minerva liked Skyfall more than I did.


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