Stress Eating, a sort of Feeding the Active Writer post.

I know I’ve been spotty lately in posting to this blog.  There have been things going on that for the most part I don’t talk about here.  And I’ve been struggling with a number of issues.

And that brings me to the topic of this post.  I have a tendency to “stress eat.” Now, when you’re trying to bring your weight under control, while having issues that trigger the stress eating, you run into an issue.  You run into several issues.

One can attempt to just “tough it out” and resist the urge to stress eat but, the urge just grows, adding to the stress, until you finally break and gorge on something, which leads to disappointment and self-disgust which causes more stress, and there you are once again.

It’s enough to make a man snatch off his hat, throw it on the ground and stomp on it.

The trick, I have found, is to find something that satisfies the urge for stress-eating and does so either without breaking diet or not breaking it too badly so that you can continue to make progress once you get past the immediate issues.

To that end I’ve come up with a dish made with riced cauliflower and psyllium fiber powder and…stuff (the stuff varies).  The basic is to bring one and a half to two cups of liquid (more on that in a moment) to a boil, add in three cups of the riced cauliflower, then stir in a tablespoon of the psyllium fiber powder.  Simmer for a few minutes and you have something with about the consistency of oatmeal.  Add a bit more liquid and it’s closer to a soup.

The riced cauliflower provides bulk without adding a lot of calories or net carbs.  The psyllium fiber thickens the liquid giving it more “body”, and also helps with providing bulk so you feel full after eating.  Other stuff can be used to add protein, fat, or even more carbs to match what your daily goals are for your diet.

You can do a lot with it depending on what you do with the liquid and by what flavorings you add.

Use broth as the liquid and add a bit of meat cut into small pieces, some heavy cream to add some fat content and you’ve got a “cream of whatever” soup.

Broth again, a bit more liquid to thin it out a bit, meat bits, some olive or avocado oil for fat, and you have “chicken (or whatever) and rice soup”.

Use almond milk (possibly with some heavy cream to add some fat content) as the liquid, sweetener, cinnamon and maybe some maple flavoring and you’ve got a reasonable substitute for oatmeal.

Add curry powder, turmeric, cumin, and whatever other spices strike your fancy and you’ve got a sort of “curry rice”.

By controlling what you add to the basic cauliflower, psyllium, and liquid, you can go from just a few grams of protein and net carbs to a full-meal’s worth.

And it allows me to self-medicate with food for the various stresses I experience without wrecking my diet too badly.

“Stealing” labor?

selfCheckout
Image Credit: pin add / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

I have heard the various complaints about the idea of self-checkout lines at the supermarket.  They are “depriving” someone of a job.  Or they are “stealing” the labor of the folk using them.

These arguments are basically ridiculous.

Once upon a time, not all that long ago, the way one shopped for groceries was to go to a local grocer, hand him your list, and he’d go back and select produce, canned goods, and what have you, bring it up front, ring it up, take your money and hand you your bag.

Then, someone had the bright idea of opening up the shop, letting people select their own goods and put them in a basket, bringing it to a checkout where it was rung up and you paid and took it out of the store.

Was “requiring” you to go back into the store and get your own produce, canned goods, and boxed goods instead of the grocer, or his help, doing it for you sealing your labor?

When I was a kid, it was common to have someone bag the groceries and take them out to the curb. You’d bring your car up and they’d load the groceries for you. However, while I was still quite young that service went away and you had to do it yourself.

Was making you take your own groceries out to the car and load them up yourself stealing your labor?

I was in my teens before I first encountered the idea of a “buffet” restaurant (a smorgasbord place in Florida).  In one of these, you get up from your table, go to the line, get your own food and take it back to your table to eat rather than have a waiter or waitress do that for you.

Was making you get your own food stealing your labor?

From time to time I’ve gone to “pick it yourself” farms or orchards where you go out into the field and pick your own berries or apples or what have you on your own and then carry it back to pay for however much you cart off.

Was having you go out and pick the produce yourself rather than having someone else do it for you “stealing your labor”?

Mind you, the first two of those things are now being added as a “value added” that you pay extra for, and that’s the key.

Eliminating each of those things, the grocer filling your list and bringing it out to you, and they “bag boy” taking your stuff out and loading it into the car for you allowed grocers to compete on price, reducing the cost making groceries less expensive for the people buying them and folk can be very sensitive to price when it comes to basics like groceries.  One might assume that the money the business saves by having you do the checking out just goes into the owner’s pockets, but that would just leave an opportunity for competitors to set lower prices and “steal” customers.  This is especially true in the places that market themselves as low-cost leaders–exactly the kind of places which are most prone to introduce self-checkout lanes.

There’s another factor as well.  The stores local to me generally have six to eight self-checkout registers in the space that would previously have had two regular lanes. Indeed, the checkout where I do most of my grocery shopping has as many self-checkout lanes as all the regular ones combined. That means that the checkout is more parallel, more people having their purchases rung up at the same time. This means that the lines are shorter.

“Standing in line waiting” is as much “my labor” as running stuff over the sensor while the computer rings it up. From that perspective “self-checkouts” actually reduce the time and effort on my part.

Lower prices, less time spent waiting in line, freeing both  money and time to be spent on other pursuits.  It’s pure win.

“To Protect and Serve”: A Blast from the Past

protectandserve

That’s a motto still sometimes emblazoned on police cars.  It’s a nice thought but there doesn’t appear to be any reality behind it.

The first thing you need to understand is that the police have no obligation to protect any individual.  Even in the special case where the court has issued a restraining order on your behalf the police have no obligation to protect you from the person restrained. This has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

The theory is that police serve to protect “society” rather than individuals.  There’s just one problem with that, what is society without its individuals?  Take away the individuals and show me “society”.

Now, on a certain level they have a point.  The police cannot guarantee each individual’s safety.  They can’t put a 24 hour guard on each individual, not even each individual who has a restraining order against someone.  Can’t be done.  Thus, it would be unjust to make them legally liable for failing to provide that protection.  They can’t always be there.

But there’s a problem with that.  Since they don’t have a legal responsibility to provide protection, many take that to mean that there is no responsibility, legal or moral to even try.  They may not always be there but even when they are there they have no obligation to intervene.  This additional level of lack of concern for the individual was confirmed in New York were police were only a few feet away from a man being brutally attacked at knifepoint until after the victim, thanks to his own training in martial arts (and suffering multiple knife wounds in the process–please consider that those who recommend martial arts training as an alternative to being armed for self defense–he survived but he’ll carry the scars until the day he dies).  Only once the knife wielding attacker was subdued did the police emerge from the motorman’s compartment (on which the attacker had previously banged the door claiming to be a cop so their claims they didn’t know ring a little hollow).

To be blunt, a duty to protect “society” which does not include a good faith “best effort” to protect the individuals that make up that society when they actually encounter situations to do so is nonsense.  It’s not protecting “society”.  At best it’s protecting the regime which seems more the job of a third world dictator’s secret police than the peace officers of a free society.

Without that best effort, “to protect and serve” isn’t even an empty motto.  It’s nothing but a bad joke.

Sarah Hoyt had a good one yesterday over at According to Hoyt:

Hello boys and girls, dragons, minotaurs and tadpoles! There are concepts so obviously and moronically evil, whose proponents use such irrational and ridiculous arguments to defend them, that the only way to comment on them is with gifs. Lots and lots of gifs.

yay
I know you maniacs like it!

This is because when people think closing their minds, ignoring the lessons of history and stomping their little hooves while saying “but I want it” is a rational argument, the only thing a rational human being can do is treat them as they’re acting: like toddlers.

tantrum
But I want magical democratic socialism. I want it!

 

More at the source.

Kobayashi Maru?

idont-believe-in-a-nowin-scenario-meme-maker-i-dont-believe-in-a-no-win-scenario-51888352

Kirk, famously, does not believe in the no-win scenario.  Well, I do.  What I don’t believe in is the no-try scenario.  And, frankly, when it comes to self-defense, I don’t believe in the “fair fight” scenario.

If I’m fighting at all it’s because I’m in fear of death or serious bodily injury. In that case, I have not just a right, but a duty to make the fight as unfair in my advantage as possible. I have a little girl waiting at home. She needs her father. She depends on her father for material support, for values education, for a multitude of things. Those things are not just a privilege but a duty. I would be remiss if I did not do everything in my power to come home safely so I can continue living up to that duty.

If that little girl means more to me than my life (she does) then she certainly means more to me than yours, not because I’m a “tough guy” but because I am not and and don’t pretend to be.  I have no interest in trying to prove how tough I am in some display of fisticuffs.  You want to consider me some kind of wimp because I’m not interested in duking it out to see who’s more “macho”?  Fine.  I’m good with that.

On the other hand, you want to put me in fear of death or seriously bodily injury in a situation where I an’t just walk away from it safely?  Well, then you’ve made your choice and will have to live, or not, with the consequences.  You see, my one, my only, goal is getting home safely to that little girl.  My goal become to put you in the no-win scenario.

Challenge that at your peril.

A Snippet

From the sequel to The Hordes of Chanakra.

Kaila stared out over the sea until the sun sank beneath the waves before them.  Several times, someone brought her a cup of water which she drank before handing the cub behind her, not even looking to see who had brought the cup.  Once Keven asked her if she wished to eat. She merely shook her head.

As darkness descended, leaving only the light of the larger moon shrouding the sea in gray, she shook her head and stepped back from the stempost.  She turned. Crewmembers stopped what they were doing and stared at her for a moment before hastily averting their eyes and returning to their tasks.  She walked to the rear of the ship, stepping over cordage, sidling around casks and tools, obstacles she had scarce noticed before.

As she crossed the length of the ship she let her eyes turn from side to side to inspect the crew.  While they did their tasks with alacrity, they kept casting fearful glances at the dark sea around them.

In the stern, Kaila found Marek using a cord to measure the height of stars.  Shillond stood next to him, his eyes wide but his attention turned inward. Kaila knew the signs.

“The crew are fearful,” she said. “Not of us but–” she tossed her head. “–out there.”

Marek nodded. “The sea at night is a frightening thing.  They expected to pull up on shore overnight.”

Kaila looked back over her shoulder. “A frightening thing indeed.  Who knows what it can steal from you.”

Shillond blinked, his attention turned outward once again. “Kaila…”

Kaila raised a hand. “No, father.  Kreg and I both knew that death could claim one of us and not the other.  I only wish we had…more time.”

Kaila closed her eyes.  She felt the grief well up in her again.  She gathered the grief and squeezed it into a hard, tight ball, then pushed it down deep inside her.  When she opened her eyes, they were dry. She felt the muscles of her face settle into the expression she had worn too often in her life, hard and stern.  Only since…she pushed that thought away. She would be what her king needed, what she has always been, a fearless knight, ready to die at his command.

“Kaila?” Shillond’s voice held concern.

Kaila shook her head.  She turned her face to the king and bowed. “What is our course, Your Majesty?”

“We shall sail…four days I think before we turn north and seek the coast and thence on west to Trevanta.”

“How may I serve?”

Marek smiled. “My strong right arm, as always.  Keven has confiscated the crew’s weapons. Choose from among them as best suits you, then rest.  Your watch shall come later.”

“As my King commands.” Kaila bowed again and backed away before turning and finding the hatch that led to the interior of the ship.

A single oil lamp dimly lit the passageway to the officer’s cabins in the rear of the ship.  Kaila kicked aside a piece of the shattered doorway as she returned to the cabin from which she and the others had escaped.

Keven sat on the room’s bunk, a motley collection of swords arranged on the floor in front of him.  Two oil lamps lit the room in a ruddy glow.

While Kaila stood in the doorway he picked up one of the swords and inspected the edge.

“The King said I was to choose weapons,” Kaila said.

Keven waved a hand over the swords and knives on the floor. “There is little enough to choose from.  Some, I think, were fine blades once but years of salt and…”

Kaila held up a hand.  Something tugged at her head.  No, not her head. Her heart. She turned and frowned at the door on the opposite side of the narrow passage.

“What is through that door?”

Keven stood up. “That would be the purser’s quarters.  I had planned to search it next, but we needed weapons before we needed gold.”

Kaila knew that Keven spoke true.  But something…something called to her.  She laid her hand on the latch. The door opened at her touch.  She stepped into the doorway but only blackness met her gaze.

Kaila held her hand out behind her.

“If it please, Your Highness.  A lamp.”

She felt the weight of an oil lamp fill her palm.  She brought the lamp around and held it as high as the ceiling would permit.

A modest room with a single bunk.  A sea bag lay on the bunk. A desk filled the forward part of the room, with a large strongbox underneath it.

But the desk did not call to her.  She turned to the aft end of the room.  She took another step, only dimly noting Keven following her into the room.  Kaila ran her hand over the wood. Something…something was there. Did that plank move?

She worried at the plank, shoving it this way and that, trying to get it to slide aside, or to slide out.  Her movements became increasingly frantic. A low growl escaped from her throat.

She drew back her right hand, clenching her fist.  Before she could strike, Keven caught her wrist. Surprised, Kaila looked back, her hand opening of its own accord.

Smiling, Keven pressed the handle of a small throwing hatchet into her hand and took the lamp from her other.

Kaila nodded her thanks then turned back to the plank.  She chopped. Again and again. Wood chips flew. Her breath came in ragged gasps as tears ran down her face.  She continued to hack until finally, with the head of the hatchet wedged into the wood, she twisted and the plank cracked, falling away from the wall in two pieces.

The falling plank revealed a false wall, with a space barely a hand wide.  In the shadows of that space, something gleamed.

At Kaila’s gesture, Keven brought the lamp closer.

Swords, two swords concealed within the false wall.  Not just any swords but shashyn, the Great Swords of Aerioch, both with scabbards and belts.

Kaila’s eyes widened as she recognized the swords.  One she knew as well as her own hand. It was the sword she had carried since first she took up arms, the sword her mother had carried in her last battle.  And the other. That one too she knew, the sword chance found at a bladesmith’s in Trevanta, the sword that had suited Kreg so well.

Kaila drew the swords from the wall.  She pressed the hilts of the two swords to her bowed forehead.  Tears dripped from her eyes.

“What?” Keven’s voice seemed to come from far away. “Is that…your sword?”

Kaila drew a deep breath and lowered the swords.

“I had wondered how this ship chanced upon us,” she said.

“They were sent after us,” Keven said. “A spell.  We questioned the captain.”

Kaila nodded. “For such a spell they would need something bound to us.  And as the spell drew them to us, it also drew me to…” She held up her sword.  Her hand tightened around Kreg’s sword for a moment, and then she sighed again. “If only…”  She shook her head. “Keven, Kreg’s sword is long for you, but would suit better than any of this crew’s ill forged ironmongery.”

She held out the sword. “And I think Kreg would be honored if you would use it in his name.”

Keven nodded and took the sword. “Shall we see what else we may find?”

Kaila buckled her sword around her waist so that it hung at her right hip.  She smiled a smile she did not yet feel but knew that, in time, she would.

“Yes, let us.”

Strangely, the weight of the sword at her waist seemed to relieve one in her heart.  Perhaps the time would come when she would laugh again. Perhaps.

“Mandatory Buybacks are not Confiscation”

At least according to Amy Klobuchar.

Buyback

This, of course is utterly ridiculous.  Let’s leave aside that “buyback” is a misnomer to begin with–you can’t buy something “back” if you didn’t sell it in the first place. (But then, government tends to think everything belongs to them and you only have it because they graciously allow you to keep it…until they don’t.) Let’s break it down.

It’s mandatory.  That implies certain things:

  1. You are not offering enough in your “buyback” to get me to voluntarily part with my guns.  I mean, even if I hadn’t lost them all in a tragic boating accident.  Oh, sure, you may be offering enough for some people, and maybe even for me to part with some of my guns (If I still had any; had a couple of real dogs in there–well, I was young and didn’t know any better), but I know going in that you aren’t going to offer enough to get me to part with all of them, not voluntarily.  And you know it too otherwise there would be no need for “mandatory.”
  2. Since you are not offering enough to get me to voluntarily part with my guns, you are, by definition, not offering a fair price.  Oh, you might think it’s fair, and if you find somebody willing to take it, great.  More power to you (except you’re using tax dollars, which means you’re insisting that I pick up the tab for it).  However an actual “fair price” is one that both parties to the transaction agree to.  And you can’t fall back on “market price” because if you’re banning the sale of the guns.  There no longer is a market for there to be a “market price”.  You’re just declaring whatever you want as the “fair price.”
  3. Since you’re not offering a fair price, one which I will agree is sufficient compensation to get me to part with my guns, you must, therefore, have some other reason to get me to do so.  You might try what you think is “reason.” You might appeal to my public spirit to give them up for “public safety”.  The problem with that is that my guns are no threat to anybody except those who mean harm to me and mine.  And, to be honest, I am very little concerned about the safety of those who mean harm to me and mine.  Stopping them from harming me and mine is paramount in that equation.  And no way does my giving up my guns serve to prevent them from harming me and mine.
  4. Thus, since what you consider to be “reason” is nothing of the sort and is definitely insufficient to convince me to voluntarily give up my guns, you are left with only one alternative:  force.  At least you must have the threat of force.  You must have the viable threat to send armed individuals to forcibly restrain me and forcibly take my guns away from me.
    1. That the threat is sufficient for many, that the willingness and ability to send those armed individuals, is sufficient to get many to submit and hand over the guns for whatever “price” you offer to them does not make it any less a use of force, any less a “confiscation.”

Look, force is force even if it’s just “threat of force”, and even if you pay some conscience money afterward.  If someone forces another to have sex it’s still rape even if they just used intimidation and never struck a blow.

And even if they drop a C-note on the dresser on their way out the door.