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Cosy apocalypse

Posted Wednesday by John Birmingham

So, how's everyone's cosy apocalypse going? I had a pretty decent day, today. Somehow managed 2K+ words on THE SHATTERED SKIES, and a bit of thinking time on a COVID19 project. (What? Too soon? Naaaaah).
I'm luckier than most people in having a super abundance of work to get on with, so I'm not going to complain about multiple deadlines. After a couple of weeks in which I really struggled to get any productive writing done, I seem to be moving on SKIES again. And in some ways the enforced slow down has worked to my advantage. It let me do some really deep architectural work on the structure of the various narrative arcs. I collapsed a couple disparate storylines into each other and amped up some of my villains.
I still need to get a fucking move on, but I'm feeling better about the whole thing. Did some good inventive swearing with Admiral McLennan too.
Had a day off exercise today, but thanks to a long, early morning dog walk I managed to make my minimal calorie burn. I was scheduled for cardio but instead ended up teaching Thomas how to hit the heavy bag without breaking his wrist. Probably a good investment of my time.
Had moussaka for dinner. It was nice.

20 Responses to ‘Cosy apocalypse ’

insomniac puts forth...

Posted Wednesday
I work from home a lot too so I think we're coping better than those suddenly thrust into it full time, and I now have a co-worker, so things are looking up for me, while she's the one who is struggling. Prior to that there was just a neighbourhood cat who used to visit before he moved, and a magpie who used to look in the window near my desk. "Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle", the magpie said. Yes, I'm fine and not at all insane.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon ducks in to say...

Posted Thursday
I live rural and have to gird the loins to do a shop in town tomorrow. Have no idea what it will look like, maybe a burning wreck with ravaging hordes, maybe shuffling old people blinking in the light stubbornly refusing to let go of the new public space they seem to rule before catching the virus, maybe an all female lesbian paradise (thanks to SBS for that movie in my formative years of two guys waking up in an underground bunker society full of women and running around under the threat of castration before they escape into the perfectly fine air topside with a bevvy of attractive open minded females). I work from home occasionally but not full time. Its a bit of an adjustment - the place i work for is under extreme financial stress and because i do numbers i'm under pressure. So its less: "look outside at those cute wallabies feeding on the green grass" and more "look at those effing wallabies eating the green grass in that cursed warm idyll, screw you sunlight". We are all working from the kitchen table - the kids took full advantage of not being supervised so they forced our hands and we all work together like the ultimate micro manager. Now we have to pack up each day and clear the table of work - which mentally works. Its that act of packing it away that helps delineate work/home.

WA n'ker asserts...

Posted Thursday
Name of that movie please.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Yesterday
bahaha - i had to look it up, it was many moons ago. The name of it is almost a cliche . . . . . Sexmission lol. Polish movie from 1984

WA n'ker reckons...

Posted 21 hours ago
Trooper!

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted Thursday
" And in some ways the enforced slow down has worked to my advantage."... well good to know that a pandemic has some upside. Excited to read more in the Shattered Stars universe.

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Murphy_of_Missouri reckons...

Posted Thursday
This apocalypse can suck my nuts.

I'd rather be a pile of goo.

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she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Thursday
I have to admit this working from home thing is a struggle. I work in store support for Hammberbarn, and since we're an essential service we were supposed to be alternating one week at home and one week in the office. That lasted three days and then we all got sent home indefinitely. I have to say Hammberbarn's management have been excellent, really supportive and there's been some insanely fast moving innovations they're rolling out to keep the stores open and customers and staff looked after. Be nice to your Hammerbarn staff, they're really getting smashed :(

As an introvert I foolishly assumed that I had been preparing for this isolation thing my whole life, and to an extent that's true. But the working bit has thrown a spanner in the works. If I was just forced to isolate at home and do nothing I'd be set, but it's been a struggle to find a balance between home and work at home, especially when my pets see my presence at home as either an unforgivable intrusion on their own schedules, or an opportunity for hourly food dispensing.

My 70+ year old parents have also not grasped that I'm supposed to be working; two weeks ago Dad wrote off their car (he's fine), and a control freak having to wait for insurance assessors and then insurance companies to guide his life in the short term was not pretty. At one point he was calling me four or fives times a day to either provide updates or get advice, and that's before I go through the level of hell involved in helping them buy a new car. Then this morning Dad rang me to tell me mum had had a 'fall' which gave me an instant ARGH moment. Thankfully she's fine, she tripped over a speed bump in their lifestyle village, but the last few weeks have driven home for me the sudden reality that my parents are elderly. This was a shock for me, and an even bigger shock for them, because at 75 and 77 they didn't think of themselves as elderly either!

This has been a long way of saying that working from home in a pandemic while my parents create their own brand of havoc and serving my cats' hourly needs (last night the house panther decided that 8pm was bed time, and wouldn't settle until I went into my bedroom and patted him until he fell asleep. He did not understand that it was not bedtime for ME), has played merry hell with my ability to focus and concentrate on writing requirements for a safety application for stores when my inherent penchant for procrastination is running riot.

So how's everyone else's apocalypse going?

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted Thursday
I had to try explain to my mother how to sign up for Skype. Over the phone.

jl mutters...

Posted Thursday
Oh good lord, that IS bad.

she_jedi is gonna tell you...

Posted Thursday
Dear god man. How long did that take? Also, you win. Also, have you tried using Team Viewer to remote to your mum’s PC and handle stuff for her? It’s been a lifesaver for Dad and I. Although every session is begun by me reminding him that he has to his PC turned on and Team Viewer open in order for me to be able to remote in.

Dave W has opinions thus...

Posted Yesterday
We had the inaugual W family videochat the other day. My parents, my 3 siblings, and me and Mrs W.

5 windows, at least a pair of people in each window. At least 3 people talking at the same time the whole way through. And my older sister was on a bush-walk at the time.

she_jedi mumbles...

Posted Yesterday
HAHAHA!! Well that sounds like an overwhelming success lol!

Dirk puts forth...

Posted 24 hours ago
I can advise using Jitsi. https://jitsi.org/

it just involves sending a link and works on chrome and firefox.

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WA n'ker mutters...

Posted Thursday
Been re-watching "The Last Ship", spewing they stopped at series 5.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted Yesterday
I know rite?

she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Yesterday
Is that still on Stan? I just finished Locke and Key so I'm in a position to start a news series...

WA n'ker would have you know...

Posted 21 hours ago
Yeah man, still there. Been smashing it
"Get the 5 inch on to it!:

she_jedi reckons...

Posted 6 hours ago
Found it! Watched the first episode last night, I am ready binge the hell out of this :D

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Matthew F. is gonna tell you...

Posted Yesterday
I was looking forward to lockdown, which seemed like it was going to coincide perfectly with my novel edits, except of course I'm in one of the areas supporting everyone else's homeward exodus so I've been in the office every day of it except today, when I had a cough I wanted to play it safe on. (Doc says it's just the regular seasonal bug, not C19).

It's been surreal so far, the instant ghost town in the CBD and all the strange shifting of the culture I'm seeing around me online, but the real hard edge of it hasn't cut near me yet. If my biggest complaint is "but where are MY multi-day Netflix and book binges?" then I'm probably doing OK.

Apparently I've been tapped for possible secondment into one of the other agencies doing much more frontline stuff, so things might get interesting next week. We'll see.

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MY TOP FIVE POST APOCALYPSE SELF IMPROVEMENT HACKS THAT YOU NEED TO ACTION TODAY

Posted March 26 into Funny by John Birmingham

Seemed an approriate time to republish this.

It can be hard in this crazy go-go post-apocalyptic world of ours to stay focussed on what’s important: you and the better you inside you just waiting to get out of you—like the giant tapeworms which helped bring down our civilisation.

People don’t change. (Unless they’re infected with tapeworms or the zombie virus, or if they’ve been injected with a nanite swarm by our robot enemies). Most people still look for secrets, amazing tricks and life hacks that will make everything better right away.

Unfortunately there are no “overnight successes”, not even last night’s successful overnight raid on the rival scavenger camp which had been hoarding all of those tins of premium dog food. We got the dog food, but lets never forget we had to leave old Vernon behind to slow down the human-tapeworm hybrids chasing us.

Vernon was slow. He didn’t adapt. Not to the end of the world as we knew it. Not to the bullets I put into his leg as we fled the scavenger camp. And certainly not to the challenge of all those tapeworm people burrowing in through every orifice.

But think of all the incredible, adaptable people you truly admire in our post-apocalyptic world today. They didn’t succeed because of one power move. They succeeded because they followed my Top Five Amazing Self Improvement Hacks That You Need to Action Today.

So stop aiming for radical personal change.

A magic bullet cannot save you. But five well-aimed conventional bullets into a slow-poke like Vernon almost certainly can.

I’m not saying it’s easy. But there is no more chance of escaping the hard work of self improvement than there is of escaping the robot slave mines of Area 7. So, stop looking for “quick hacks” that bring faster results. The only hacking that works since our computers went dark is the sort involving machetes and the undead, and of course my Top Five Amazing Self Improvement Hacks That You Need to Action Today.

1. Think of your time as money. OK. We stopped using money after the banks collapsed, but we do barter and we only have a finite amount of things to barter with. Time is finite. It’s more important than ever to learn when to delegate a task rather than do it yourself. Do you really need to sharpen all the stakes guarding the zig-zag road into the strategic hamlet? Is dragging a heavy rock to the trebuchet commanding the riverine approaches the best use of your time? Probably not, now that Vernon’s comely young hand-fasted woman is single again and that big old yurt of hers can get cold and lonely on a nuclear winter’s night.

2. Improvise, adapt, overcome. When those tapeworm-human hybrids sprang their ambush, I improvised a distraction for them. I adapted to the situation, the same way that Vernon will soon adapt to his new life as a giant flesh-eating nematode. And I will overcome his woman’s objections to sharing her yurt and bed roll with the guy who, lets face it, murdered her husband, by offering up a dinner of delicious dog food that Vernon’s unavoidable murder made possible. I improvised, adapted, and will overcome. You can too.

3. Schedule your energy. It can be difficult to filter out the noise and actually achieve what we set out to do, every day. Rather than trying to avoid distractions completely, we should schedule around our energy instead. Plan to do, say, an hour’s work hammering and grinding salvaged tea spoons into arrow heads, followed by five minutes of rest. Read the Facebook on the hamlet bulletin board, to catch up on who’s had their face cut off by the Inquisition lately. Check on your mail, if the postman still lives. But just be aware of and prioritise around your times of maximum productivity and avoid the infamous afternoon slump when more than one sleepyhead has found themselves waking up in the communal cook pot.

4. Networking. Did you know that over one hundred percent of people still find their jobs through networking? You can safely bet that successful hamlet elders didn’t get to the top by living in a bubble. Not since the last domed city collapsed. Now more than ever, networking is a necessity.

So how do you pull it off?

It doesn’t involve throwing yourself at everyone you meet. Truly effective networking involves being your authentic, fabulous self, and becoming your own best cheerleader since we’ve already eaten the rest of the cheerleaders. Looking to grab up that sweet, sweet gig as village herbalist? Think you’ve got what it takes to replace the blacksmith one day? You could spend all your time chewing bark and grass or begging for an ironmongery apprenticeship. Or you could just make friends in the Assassin’s Guild. In the modern world, it’s not who you know. It’s who they’re willing to kill in return for a couple of tins of stolen dog food.

5. Get started early. One thing that hasn’t changed even as everything else has? Successful people get an early start on their success. That crucial hour before dawn, when most people are still hiding from the vampires, you could be up cutting a deal with our vampire overlords to guarantee your position as hamlet chieftain in return for guaranteeing them a regular supply of human blood going forward.

6. Always under-promise and over-deliver. I promised Five Amazing Self Improvement Hacks, but I’m going to give you Six.

Eliminate ANTS.

No. Not the giant, man-eating fire ants which have proven all but impossible to eliminate, but the other, even deadlier ANTS: Automatic Negative Thoughts.

Negative thoughts happen to everyone, but the worst thing you can do is let them bring your day down. Focus on learning how you can change your perspective and realise your most fantastic self even as the world dies screaming all around us—it’s well worth the effort.

Don’t think, omigod these human nematodes are going to catch up with us.

Think, omigod these human nematodes are my chance to finally get into Vernon’s hand-fasted woman’s hand stitched britches. Huzzah!

Staying optimistic keeps me almost as excited as those well stuffed britches. And by staying optimistic and excited, your day will always be worth it, no matter how few you have left.

From The Seven Stages of Drinking Martinis.

3 Responses to ‘MY TOP FIVE POST APOCALYPSE SELF IMPROVEMENT HACKS THAT YOU NEED TO ACTION TODAY’

Barnesm reckons...

Posted March 27
Can Recommend 5 STARS

A few seasons ago I was just another human worker in the robot slave mines of area 4 who escaped fleeing into the Forbbiden Zone Delta (mutagenic gas) but after applying your hacks now I AM WARLORD of Forbbiden Zone Delta (mutagenic gas). Thanks, John Birmingham

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Dave W mumbles...

Posted March 27
5 Stars to Mr Bermingham

Hello Big friends of Mr J Bermingham. I am writing to most honourable big friends to offer the financial services of Reverend smith of our most noble church. His services really work and advices kings and presidents of how to make money on the New York stock Exchanges. Please contact for best true advices of Reverand smith. Enclose a stamp addresed envelope for guidances. Yours most faithfully

Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 27
Please benevolent reverend what is your recommendation for the purchase of splitting mauls? Asking for a friend who is seeking to fuel the Magnificent Fires of Survival with many cords of the Blood Wood. I have submitted my subscription via Western Union to your church.

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Turns out if you ignore the end of the world it goes away

Posted March 24 by John Birmingham

Like everyone, I've had a bit of trouble concentrating recently. You know, lots of stuff happening. I've been trying to wrap up the first draft of The Shattered Skies and I'll admit, it's been tough. I was cruising through this manuscript, cranking three or four thousand words a day without breaking a sweat, and then all of a sudden I wasn't.

Instead I was obsessively checking newsfeeds, obsessively hunting stores for pasta and rice, obsessively refreshing my Twitter and Facebook feeds. None of it was helping me focus on work. It was all pretty goddamn stressful, if you want the truth of it. Not just the end of the world, but the way it was interfering with my deadline.

So yesterday I took some time out. I dipped into my copy of a pre-release book I've been sent, The Organised Writer, by Antony Johnston. You may know Antony, you may not. But you would know his work. He's prolific.

This is one of his...

I promised him I'd look at an early copy of his new book and give him a cover quote if I liked it. I did like what I initially read, but then, you know… The end of the world got in the way.

By happy coincidence I put down The Organised Writer just before the most useful chapter, so when I returned to it yesterday it was like a cool drink of water in the desert; a discussion of how important it is to keep your mind clear at the start of the day.

I have not been doing this of late because, you know, the end of the world and everything.

This morning then, I took Antony's advice and cut myself off from all distraction. You might think that's something I do every day, but not like this. I refused to read the news, to check my email, to listen to the radio in the car, to play a podcast, to do anything that might suck me into the vortex that the whole world is currently disappearing down.

It was a merciful release. It's just after 5 o'clock now and I first checked today's news about half an hour ago. I stopped after a couple of minutes. It was super fucking stressful. Because of course it was. Nothing is getting better. It's only going to get worse for a considerable time yet.

The information I needed, I mostly already have. Stay the fuck home. Wash your damn hands. I'm not going to apply for any of the relief packages of programs the government is putting together so I don't need to stick my head into the cyclonic howling shit show of their massive incompetence – which is a relief, really.

There is likewise nothing to be gained from social media. In many ways it's less horrific than normal, because people are making an effort to pull together. That's nice. But going there means diving deep into the end of the world again. And frankly, I'm over it.

So I worked on my book, I'm writing this blog post, I'll write another one, and now I'm going to go check my email.

If you are feeling desperate, anxious, whatever, I suggest you try take a break from the news yourself.

I will provide appropriately distracting content on the morrow.

11 Responses to ‘Turns out if you ignore the end of the world it goes away’

insomniac asserts...

Posted March 24
I can save you a lot of time regarding the news.

1. Cases will still be doubling every 3 to 3.5 days (and I think it's accelerating)
2. Scott Morrison (and the whole government) will still be shit
3. Communication will still be poor
4. Muppets will still be muppets

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she_jedi reckons...

Posted March 24
I found last week was a roller coaster in exactly the way you described. I'm incredibly fortunate to not normally suffer from anxiety but last week was hugely stressful and anxious. This week I've been better simply because my employer gave us a clear plan about working from home. I'm new in this role so still on probation, and I found myself fretting about whether we'd shut the offices down and go on unpaid leave etc. Being a single income household that was a stressful prospect.

But your suggestion about going dark on the news is a great one; I start working from home tomorrow and I'm going to implement this for the day and see how my concentration and stress levels go :)

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Dirk would have you know...

Posted March 24
In 1978 a band called The Sweet released a song called "Love is like Oxygen". Yes Burgers I am that old. You probably know it too. It you don't it's this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRgWvvkSvfk

At the moment you can swap out news intake for oxygen as well - please keep breathing though. I check out the news at the moment once a day the old fashioned way: the eight o clock news bulletin on tv. If in the meantime shit is going down, I will get push message on my phone, so when an asteroid is dropping down on us, split pea soup and salted herring are banned or something similar happens I am warned.

As JB said: we all now know the drill. Let's all keep sane and KBO ... Keep buggering on Burgers, KBO.

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jl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 24
There is a trick to dealing with extreme stress. Focus on exactly one thing.

This can be something very simple, like putting on your boots. It can be something very complex, such as a large-scale operation with a lot of people involved. If simple, one action completes a discrete task. If complex, break it down to separate simple tasks. One action completes a discrete and necessary part of the total equation. Give yourself a realistic daily goal, execute the simple tasks. Build in appropriate time; i.e. if you think something will take x amount of hours, plan for 2x. Anything involving other people that is time sensitive allow at least 3x.

It all starts, however, with putting on your boots and taking the first step. Finally, never be afraid to pull people in or to delegate sub-tasks. It will make for a stronger final product.

Last thought? My bud Howard says when you think you can't go another step, just make that next step no matter what. One step adds up to a thousand. This is the guy who went through the Q-Course with a gunshot wound in his thigh.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted March 24
I bounce between anger and fear.
Anger because smart people have been warning about this for decades. Decades. Our society is almost purpose built for catastrophic pandemic.
Also we are one misfolded protein, or a slight change in a lipid later from Project Blue.
Fear because La Bobette is an ICU nurse, Show quality grand-daughter is under 2 and my Mum is 79. And we are governed by dyspeptic arse-monkeys on meth.

NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted March 24
Lipid *layer*

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Spanner ducks in to say...

Posted March 25
Adapting to working from home is weird. MrsS is working at the other end of the house working and Mr19 is working doing IT help desk from his room.

At work I’m extroverted and do a lot work face to face. The isolation is difficult.

For a while we all had our doors shut to concentrate. Now they are all open. The sounds of office conversations as we all make phone calls give a veneer of normality.

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Murphy_of_Missouri mumbles...

Posted March 25
I've been too busy fighting with the fucking abortion of an LMS called Blackboard in order to "teach" (what a fucking lark!) online.

So, what is going on?

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Halwes would have you know...

Posted Monday
Good advice mate. It's easier for us in the bush to turn the world off than you I reckon. I've been listening to the Melbourne Ska Orchestra instead of switching the news on. What a great group of uplifting musicians they are. Nikki Bomba for PM ! One funny aspect of this whole thing. A lifelong Yolngu mate, Barayuwa, and I were having coffee and discussing the edict that all Aborigines should go back to the homelands to wait this out. Barayuwa said " 50 years ago they told us not to set up outstation communities, then they tried to starve us out of the outstaions calling them cultural museums etc and now thay are telling us to go back there". Can't blame Yolngu for being terrified and confused. Chronic illness and overcrowding in urban centres will be fatal to many. The World Health organisation website is the only one that should be counted on for information in my opinion. Some of my mates on farcebook have been coming out with the most ridiculous theories that I've ever heard and once chinese whispers have taken off then ridiculous becomes farcical. I have dusted off my copy of The Plague by Albert Camus to see what might be still up the sleeves of "the authorities". My concern is that this issue will accelerate the world's slide in to authoritarianism as the preferred form of government.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted Wednesday
OT.
just occurred to me.
I never thought we’d see a limit or boundary of the influence of Clubs NSW.
Closing the pokies is possibly the most interesting thing of this Fed Gov’s Covid19 actions.

Dave W is gonna tell you...

Posted Thursday
Obviously they could have just moved the pokies so that there were further apart from each other.

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Home cookin'

Posted March 23 by John Birmingham

I suppose we're lucky. We've always cooked at home. It's not always easy, of course. Especially not during the working week when you've got four people coming and going from all directions. I'll admit, I'm not above just buying a hot chicken and tearing it apart to throw between some bread rolls. But hunkering down at home will mean cooking more at home. I can already see that from the number of pots of leftovers piling up in our downstairs fridge and freezer.
There's a big container of Bolognese sauce, of course. But there's always a big container of Bolognese sauce, somewhere. Another pot of leftover beef bourginon. Ham and vegetable soup. And sundry curries, here and there.
Jane cooked a very nice recipe from the New York Times the other day, baked shrimp with tomato and feta. (They call it shrimp, and it's their recipe.)

I would never have thought to put seafood with feta, but it worked and it worked well. Tonight we're looking at an oxtail ragout, which I think we got from a Karen Martini cookbook. It went into the slow cooker yesterday, came off the heat last night, and sat in the fridge which allowed the excess fat to rise and harden overnight. I skimmed that off this morning and returned the stew to a low heat. We make this all the time, usually with mashed potatoes on the first night, and pasta or gnocchi on the second.


One thing I'm going to get into over the next couple of weeks, possibly months, is cooking with beans. I don't often do it, but you can get a lot of eating out of one pot of chili beans and bacon.
One thing I'm not going to be doing? Baking breads and cake. I have no skills at all. Thankfully, Jane does.

27 Responses to ‘Home cookin'’

Leftarc has opinions thus...

Posted March 23
I have a deep love for my slow cooker, which will be getting a workout over the next few weeks. That, and my wood fired oven has me ready for all sorts of culinary adventures.
However, never underestimate a bacon and egg sandwich with HP sauce.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted March 23
I never do.

jl has opinions thus...

Posted March 23
Its been forever since I had HP sauce. Lovely stuff. A bit tough to find here.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted March 23
Ah! DM me (somehow) an address. I'll send some.

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jl puts forth...

Posted March 23
Wow, you guys go all out, that looks amazing. Much simpler fare around here, but I'm really looking forward to the summer vegetables. Especially young Indian corn on the cob. So colorful and tasty.

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insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 23
We too are mostly home cookers. What we are finding being at home all the time is that we are eating healthier than ever, and managing to shed a few pounds in the process.
I guess we'll get to being a bit more fancy at some point such as mincing some chuck, and making pasta from scratch.
I might make something to last a couple of days. The go-to is a pork scotch fillet slow cooked in a fantastic bbq-like sauce using smoked paprika.

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jl asserts...

Posted March 23
Might get into some traditional favorites this summer. Something I've been meaning to do for a while is to go catch some smallmouth bass and have a lock-down friendly cookout. Fry up the fish over the fire, eat it with potatoes and corn roasted in the coals. Simple, all that's needed is a little butter.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted March 23
That sounds amazing.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon reckons...

Posted March 24
I do most of the home cooking here as well. Luckily it is the time of year for saffron milkcaps from my secret spot, great in strog/spag/with bacon etc, after all the rain my stinging nettle patch rebounded and the veg patch is cranking. The stinging nettle is surprisingly tasty and versatile - made some pasta last week with it (to get that bright green look and different taste). I usually mix some up and freeze it in batches. Might get some salmon out tonight and bake them with a topping of that. Shops are slowly getting back to normal (still not there and a hive of dirty virus carriers) but i'm lucky i live rural and have facebook (boo hiss spit) - but i only use it for contacting businesses not for the socials. Have a lot of producers around that don't have markets to sell at - all the meats (grass fed beef, free range pork, goats (made for a great curry last week), sheep and the hilariously named The salami guy who makes a frigging great truffle salami). Also a couple of backyard mini producers like Farmer Dougs gourmet potatoes - that old dude sells at markets and i'm trying to arrange sending him money via electronic trf and him leaving me a box out the front of his gate for pickup - i get fantastic product and he gets rid of his sudden stockpile.

jl mutters...

Posted March 24
Locally produced is the best. And the nettle- regarded by many as a weed, but versatile. My mother-in-law dries it for tea.

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 24
I'm trying to buy meat and vege from small businesses around here rather than from the supermarket. The latter will survive. I want the former to also survive this.

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Murphy_of_Missouri mumbles...

Posted March 24
I'll never get hungry enough to eat oxtail.

My battalion messhall in Korea has a day a week dedicated to that sort of thing.

I made it a point to ride my bike to someone else's messhall.

Sometimes starvation is preferable.

Murphy
On the Outer Marches

FormerlyKnownAsSimon mumbles...

Posted March 24
haha - i used to say "peasant food" but with the proliferation of cooking shows all those cheap cuts are now expensive.

Brother PorkChop swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 24
Murph, you just haven't had it cooked right. Nothing better on a cold winters night, or just stuff it in a pie. Make it into a deluxe shepherd pie.....

Brother PorkChop asserts...

Posted March 24
And everyone knows Army cooks are tradies at heart, just fitters and turners in any life.

Murphy_of_Missouri mumbles...

Posted March 26
Oh, the cooks of 122nd Signal Battalion were passionate about their art. I was just as passionate about not eating it after the first dose.

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Brother PorkChop is gonna tell you...

Posted March 24
Situation normal here - I typically do most of the cooking, especially the protein part. Herself is an awesome prepper and dishpig. But I have dusted off the mix master and dough hooks as well as the sausage and the pasta attachment on it. I have a freezer full of chicken stock so that on tonight as chicken, noodle and veg soup. Last night was roast rump cap with rice and asian greens. Tomorrow night will be the aforementioned pasta. That is if the whole WFH thing doesn't get in the way. Microsoft Teams has a lot to answer for.

Dave W swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 24
Microsoft Teams- true dat, Brother.

I just had an hour of death by video conference.

NBlob would have you know...

Posted March 24
Brother Pork Chop!
I think of you most mornings on the way to work as I pass the lake of Weybas. Must catch up for a refreshing beverage before the end of the world.
If you are friends with any of these reprobates on the book of Face DM them to point you my way.

Brother PorkChop ducks in to say...

Posted March 25
Sounds like a plan, let me see....

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Barnesm puts forth...

Posted March 24
"cooking with beans" which is isolation could give rise to issues. "Ham and vegetable soup" is that just an upmarket description of pea and ham soup? or are other vegetables included?

Those dishes and descriptions do sound good, heading into cooler weather does allow me to use the slow cooker a lot more.

Dave W ducks in to say...

Posted March 24
Cooking with beans. Or we could call it "pasta e fagioli" and it sounds a hell of a lot more appetising.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted March 24
No, pea and ham soup is different, and to be honest I prefer it. But I am not the Power in the Kitchen.

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted March 24
Looks like this is gonna be a tasty apocalypse.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon reckons...

Posted March 24
Hey - if an archaeological dig down the track is going to go through the contents of my gut i want to make sure they say the words "going on the contents of this males last meal he was an important person in human society with a rich varied diet..."

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NBlob reckons...

Posted March 24
I found a marked down slab of cheap forequarter lamb chops on Saturday, I thought the time of that had passed. I turned them into highly adequate lamb & veg pies Sunday night, a big one for us a small one for home bound mum. No leftovers, no complaints. As good as it gets.

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Spanner reckons...

Posted March 25
Is there a link for the recipe of that ox tail ragout?

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Home gym

Posted March 20 by John Birmingham

I rebuilt my home gym yesterday, which is a fancy way of saying I cleaned up under the house. It was getting pretty dusty down there and my little friends the possums weren't helping much either. It did take about two hours to get everything swept up, dusted out, wiped down and ready to rock. But I was having trouble concentrating on my writing – no surprise there – and rather than give into frustration I decided I'd achieve something in the world of real things. With no idea when I'll get back to a real gym and trainer, this seemed a good investment of my time.

I'm luckier than most people, however, because I've got a pretty good set up at home, one that's worked for me well in the past. Like most old Queenslanders there's a lot of space under our house, more than enough room for me to have a weights bench, a running machine and a heavy bag hanging from the rafters. There's even room for kicking drills. My weight plates and bars are old and gnarly, but so am I, so that's no biggie.

It's been about a week or so since I last stepped onto the mat for jujitsu, and it could be months before I get back to training. I can start to feel the endorphin withdrawal in my muscles. I can also feel frustration turning to something uglier, exacerbated by the same fears that everyone has at the moment.

I know from defeating my last bout of depression that exercise is the best therapy for me. If you end up in lockdown at home I'd recommend it for you to; even if you live in a tiny apartment and it means downloading an app like the 100 Push-up Challenge, cos that's all you have room for. It all helps.

I've got some other things I'm thinking of doing, like hosting a weekly cocktail hour on Zoom, or maybe restarting the book club. I might do some live readings online somewhere.

But today I'm just going to lift some weights and hit the bag. Hard.

17 Responses to ‘Home gym’

Naut mumbles...

Posted March 20
Movement is life for many of us, so good to see you taking steps to keep your body moving.

I am hoping that if we go into a full lockdown they don't ban cycling outdoors. That is going to be critical to my mental health!

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted March 20
They'd have to go the full French route for that. I think we'll all be in lockdown within a fortnight, but probably not to that extent. Australian cities are much more open than European ones.

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Bondiboy66 puts forth...

Posted March 20
Well done that man!

Naut, my missus went and bought a Kickr indoor cycling trainer for the reason you describe...until then she continues to ride outdoors. Might have to use it myself! Waiting to see if pools are shutting...luckily the beach is just down the road.

Dave W has opinions thus...

Posted March 20
I went the indoor cycling trainer route last winter, following a muscle tear. Physio recommended it. It's fantastic, to the point that I (a) barely ride outdoors anymore, dodging cars isn't fun and (b) bore everyone I know by talking about it incessantly.

I use zwift as the trainer software and I highly recommend.

Naut is gonna tell you...

Posted March 23
I would love a kickr, but those things cost a fortune!
My local Sat group ride has migrated onto Zwift

Dave W is gonna tell you...

Posted March 23
They do cost a bit, plus the monthly subscription. The fact that the physio 'prescribed' it smoothed the financial path in the W household.

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Peter Bradley would have you know...

Posted March 20
It is obvious to all of us who have ever exercised regularly that your performance not only at the physical tasks but the mental tasks lifts with regular exercise. It is also obvious it is easier many days to sit in front of a screen with a glass of wine in our hand. Getting that balalnce right is a task of Sisyphos.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted March 20
Testify, wine brother.

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Leftarc would have you know...

Posted March 20
We are about to go into lockdown, and people are working from home next week. In my case, it's if my boss falls over, and I am ready and healthy to step into his boots.
Will be pumping up the bike tires this weekend (along with getting the vege patch back to production status). It would be nice to have a funny, insightful and balanced podcast to listen to.....

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted March 20
Good the hear you are putting in place what you need to survive mentally. Take care and though I know you will, at this time be kind.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted March 20
Well, I lifted those weights. I hit that bag. Couldn't find my gloves so I had to go 'empty hand' on the bag and be careful not to break anything. The weights were a pleasant surprise. My year of training with Darren has given me a lot more strength than many years of training by myself ever did.
I cooled down with some tonfa drills. The tonfa is an old peasants weapon that became the basis for the riot batons cops started using about 30 years ago.
I chose this as my grading weapon for black belt a few months back and have been promising I'd find time to start mastering the basics. (And I mean the actual basics. Like how to swing one without hitting myself in the face). It was nice to have time to do some of that today. And I only hit myself three or four times. Maybe five.

Matthew F. ducks in to say...

Posted March 22
If you would care to put a camera in your workout area, I for one would be prepared to double my Patreon pledge in return for a monthly "JB hits himself with a tonfa" video montage.

(Autocorrect wants that to be "with a Tonga" which I will accept as an alternative.)

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jl would have you know...

Posted March 20
Yeah, I've spent a large chunk of my life in lousy little outposts with bad circumstances. What we always did was worked out a ton. Sound body, sound mind. You don't need fancy gear; it sounds like your humble set-up is a few notches above the minimum set-up, John. Amazing what you can do in a small space with hardly anything. Ammo cans full of sand, doing calisthenics with weights, the possibilities are limited only by one's imagination.

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she_jedi reckons...

Posted March 21
Going away for Christmas and New Year meant skipping Pilates for a couple of weeks, and suddenly it’s the middle of March and I haven’t gone back and DEAR GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE??

Mind you I started a new job mid January after that trip so that didn’t help with getting my routine back in place. This post has given me the metaphorical kick up the pants I needed, especially as we’ve a lockdown looming. Western Australia has finally had two suspected cases of community transmission this week, after getting to 50 odd cases with people coming home from overseas with infections. It’s beginning :(

jl would have you know...

Posted March 21
Lucky you, She Jedi.

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tqft swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 23
It's council kerbside cleanup time and we are cleaning the garage up too.

But I might be radical and not hoist the exercise bike but actually use it

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Brother PorkChop mumbles...

Posted March 24
Yep, after just joining a gym 3 weeks ago, now I am shut out. Was going so well too. So, like you JB, I have dusted off the home set up, cleaned some rust of the bars and will look at sewing the bag back on to its hanging straps after the boys broke it by swinging off it-muppets. And try not to eat too much.

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From ABC News: "Russian President Vladimir Putin is being protected from coronavirus around the clock."

Posted March 19 by John Birmingham

In unrelated news: sudden unexplained rise in deaths from the common cold leave Moscow medicos baffled!

3 Responses to ‘From ABC News: "Russian President Vladimir Putin is being protected from coronavirus around the clock." ’

Murphy_of_Missouri would have you know...

Posted March 19
Oh?

Did they build a ring of fire around him? The Pope will be none too pleased that they stole the Catholic solution to plague.

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Dave W puts forth...

Posted March 19
Moscow medicos are not baffled. In fact, there is no unexplained rise in deaths from the common cold. In fact, the common cold has always been the cause of this many deaths. And Putin cannot get the common cold. Or any other kind of cold. This fact is very well known.

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WA n'ker ducks in to say...

Posted March 19
Reminds one of "There are no ghosts in the Soviet Union "
Tovarich@

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