Saturday, May 18, 2013

Walmart Score

I went to a local Walmart last night and struck a good emergency supplies deal. They were renovating, and had a bunch of shelves full of clearance items that they were trying to pawn off on some unsuspecting goon...then I came in :)
First off, I have some tiny camp stoves that burn alcohol. A good source of alcohol fuel is gas line antifreeze, and one of the best varieties is the HEET brand in the yellow bottle. Normally, they are abour $4 for a 355ml bottle but Walmart had been selling them for $3. In this particular clearance aisle, they were marked down to a buck a bottle !! There were 14 left, and I'll leave it to you to speculate on how many I bought. Needless to say, I won't be buying any more in this lifetime...
These are 12 oz bottles, and my tiny stove requires about one ounce to boil 2 cups of water...

My second find is a little less glamorous...the nicest way I can put it is "poop bags". Reliance markets these double walled toilet bags that have some sort of "bio-gel" inside for taking care of the nastier qualities of human waste. Well I wouldn't normally buy these, and hope not to use them, they could come in handy...
At a regular price of $14.48, I wouldn't look twice, but marked down to a loonie? Well that's a different bag of sh-----aving cream  :)
You can see from the label that these are meant to just insert into a variety of "Loos". I did a bit of searching online, and the most humorous article I could find made me laugh out loud...
So there you have it; an otherwise innocent visit to Walmart increases my supply of emergency supplies.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Lunch-time Retreat

Yesterday it was mostly rainy, drizzly, and just plain dull. Nevertheless, when noon came, I needed to get away from my desk so I retreated to my van and started rummaging for a hot lunch. I found a can of Kirkland Chicken Breast meat and some cheap ramen noodles...Bingo !! Time to fire up a stove. The JetBoil is a bit small so I went with my Brunton Talon, and GSI Soloist Pot...

come on...boil !!
The stove is a tiny if not typical single burner canister stove. The orange canister is actually the one that came with the stove...I'm trying to use it up but it seems to be lasting forever. This is because it only takes 3-4 minutes to get a boil, which uses very little fuel.
With all the cold dampness, I needed some heat. Enter the cheap butane heater from Rona of all places...
only 4000 btu, but nice...
ok how's the chicken and noodle coming?
nice flame...
and we have boil...
m-m-m-m-m...
I'm not a big fan of these noodles, but an added can of chicken changes everything. So, in the span of 30 minutes I got to get away from my desk, play with some gear, and have a nice lunch. Luckily, my van was still stocked from a recent weekend trip, but I've been sneaking out there alot lately and doing this sort of thing, so a restocking exercise is in order. It's always prudent to have some canned items on hand, along with some fresh water, and a means to cook. Only complaint: I kind of burned my tongue, likely from eating too fast.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

JetBoil Cheapskate

First of all, I'm cheap in many ways, in particular I don't like paying unfair sums of money for something easily accomplished at far less cost. Case in point; C-O-F-F-E-E. A nice cafe mocha or other gourmet specialty can easily kill 5 bucks. It's not that I've never wasted 5 dollars but I'd rather waste it on MY terms...call me crooked  :)
With 2 teenagers, I'm often sitting in my van waiting for one to come from a practice, or other activity. during such times I retreat to the "kitchen" and fix myself a drink or a snack, or both. While I have no end of stove options, for convenience I often rely on my JetBoil Zip. It will boil water in a couple of minutes, and I usually try to have several varieties of hot chocolate, coffee etc on hand...
My "system" is designed to defeat the need to purchase those $7 butane canisters from places like MEC. Those expensive canisters contain a high-grade butane-propane mix designed for serious outdoor endeavors.  I don't normally need that in the comfort of my van, so I have adapted the JetBoil to accept cheap butane canisters from the local hardware store. These cost about $2.50, or a third of the price. The downsides are that the whole unit is a little unstable, and the straight butane is not quite as hot or efficient. Neither of these are significant problems for me. Here's a couple of picures of the adapter...
These adapters are readily available on Ebay for less than $10, well-made and worth it.
So, in a couple of minutes I can be sipping a nice beverage...
For these episodes, I normally opt for an instant powder concoction such as the Nescafe individual Cappuccino:
The JetBoil is great to have for other uses too. The whole unit stores together quite compactly, and can be carried in a small knapsack or fanny pack, to be used on a hike or walk. It's also good for power outages, and can be used to cook or heat foods other than just water...


Sometimes, I break out the heavy artillery and make real coffee, but that's for another post...

Operation "Johnny Paycheck" Update

Back in January, I whimsically revealed Operation Johnny Paycheck , essentially predicting that I was heading for Retirement. Well, Phase 1 ...

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