Sunday, May 17, 2009


I've been tracking my grocery budget in an excel spreadsheet complete with monthly subtotals, graphs, and a "savings" column. It's not Type A. I'm just bored. Or easily amused I'm not sure. I've already spent as much this month as I normally would in an entire month. I blame having to occasionally cook vegan muffins, tofu scramble, and potato pancakes (the ingredients for the scramble cost a little over twenty bucks!) Not really a big deal, but there are some, unusual?, items in my kitchen/fridge at them moment. Like the ~4 ounces of extra firm tofu and bag of spinach in my fridge. Or the bottle of extra virgin olive oil and garlic on the counter (the potatoes don't really stand out, I'm a carbs kinda guy).

None of that really bothers me, but it did get me thinking about what my normal diet was costing me (health-wise and money-wise). I've been eating much healthier than I have in the past. Consider this time two and a half years ago I was having cigarettes and Mt. Dew for breakfast, eating Doritos or Goldfish for lunch, and having Hot Pockets and beer for dinner. A little over two years ago I lost the cigarettes (and my sunny disposition). And last summer I replaced the Mt. Dew with an apple and shortly thereafter added a bowl of cereal to the morning routine, granted the cereal is usually Golden Grahams, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, or Lucky Charms, OR Quaker Oat Squares if I can ever find them on sale, so the cereal isn't exactly healthy, but it usually comes with some vitamins and extra-sugary milk; ingredients I haven't seen on the label of Mt. Dew. Last fall I swapped out the Doritos with crackers (Triscuits or Townhouse) and added in a sandwich on homemade wheat bread. So far this year I've even started eating peaches and bananas with regularity (and I stopped buying beer at the grocery store - a case or two a week is a bit silly and really expensive). Breakfast and lunch have been fixed, but dinner, to this day, remains hit or miss. Sometimes it's cheese and crackers with fruit or potatoes. Other days it's Ramen or corn dogs or frozen fish sticks. Sometimes it's chili or tuna casserole with leftovers served for the rest of the week.

Money-wise my meals run between $1.25 and $2.00 a meal. It depends on how much fruit I go through and what's on sale. A loaf of bread costs about $2 to make and I go through 3 loaves every two weeks, so yes, it would be cheaper to buy bread at the store, but homemade bread provides that extra knowledge of what exactly is in it. And it is soooo tasty warm and covered in butter. I've started looking at items in the store thinking "How many meals could I get out of that? And how much would it cost per meal?" Does anyone else do that?

Most cost effective AND tasty dish? Pizza.
From Taste of Chicago, WI

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Over the years I have been fortunate to live in some places with some pretty rockin' (not to mention rocky) camping areas, and at every opportunity I would venture into the wilderness to enjoy the silence and the stars. On a recent excursion, however, it occurred to me that I had only ever been "kid camping". The realization came when the sun dipped behind the hillside and I ducked into my tent to equip my pjs and prepare for bed. My fellow campers encouraged me to stay up for a while with calls of, "If you go to bed now, we're dog-piling you every hour until the sun comes up." It was then that the moment dawned on me - I had never been camping AND drinking. All my camping experience was of the "s'mores and story-telling" variety not the "I wonder if this flaming log would work well as a brandinOWWWWWWWW".

There are some differences between kid camping and non-kid camping that are worth noting. First, anything goes. You might think that's for kid camping. It's not. Anything adults can do to entertain themselves once the sun goes down is in bounds, and adults have a much wider range of toys at their disposal (like squirt guns filled with lighter fluid or everclear and a hatred of eyebrows). Second, kids can camp anywhere and on anything. Ice need only be melted. The pitch of a water-based campground is soothing. Any temperature is the right temperature. Rocks and hard-packed dirt are the equivalent of pillows and a padded mattress. And sunrise cannot come soon enough. Adults on the other hand need pretty much their entire living rooms setup in A CAMPGROUND before they'll even consider spending more than a couple hours away from home. Tents are to be setup as a food station and to keep the bears distracted from the tasty humans packed into the can (not unlike sardines in a tin). If one is to venture out and setup camp away from the stereo and xbox in the camper, they will find that rocks litter the entire area not one smaller than a coconut or smoother than a hedgehog's backside, and the dirt is so hard-packed as to give one sweet dreams of being water boarded on a bed of nails. As for the sun, adults might as well be vampires with slightly grumpier dispositions. This was the camping trip when I realized I had become an adult and taken part in an adult camping trip. And wished I could go back to kid camping.

This was also the same trip that made me wonder why I had lived in Arizona for seven and a half years and never been to Sedona before. It's really beautiful as these pictures can attest to. And these.

From SSO Camping

From SSO Camping

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Subtitled: That make me get up and dance around my apartment like a goof

Gallery Piece by Of Montreal
Tonto by Battles
Freedom Hangs Like Heaven (Live @ Bonnaroo) - Iron & Wine

I don't know when this happened, but apparently I have a sense of rhythm. I'm still completely tone deaf, so while it sounds (to me) like I could pass for Sam Beam on karoke night I more accurately sound like your Uncle Lou after a hard night of cigars and whiskey.

It's hard news when a body finds out that The Dance is still alive inside them, especially after so many years of subjecting it to oppression and enhanced interrogation. Oh, oh, I love this song (now playing: Boy With A Coin - I&W). Wait, what are my feet doing? Stop that! No shuffling! What are you doing? Are you moving to the beat?! Holy hell are my hips gyrating?! Someone please help, I don't know what's going on or how to stop it. Oh no, now that cute girl on the couch is laughing at me. AHHHH, this is SO embarassing, please, someone put on Limp Bizkit, quick! Why is she getting off the couch? No, don't leave, wait...what are you doing? Oh no, the dance has infected us both, we're hopeless! It's like some sick plague, save yourselves, chop off your footsies lest they infect others! AIIEEEEEEEE!