Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Game Night with my Kids: Wushu Actual Play

My kids have been begging me to run  one of the roleplaying games that their mother and I play, and after they did their chores and homework, we sat down to make some characters for the setting of their choice. They chose the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender for the setting, loving the idea of being able to control the elements and i chose Wushu for the system. I am been interested in Wushu for the past year or so, but have yet to find a game or players to test it out on. Lucky for me, my kids would be willing to even suffer through the hours long combats that the Palladium system enjoys (that last bit was sarcasm, if you didn't notice).

Going with the basic 5/4/3 for attributes a 1 weakness, here is the cast of characters:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Game Review for Spycraft 2.0

My game review from RPG.net:

Spycraft 2.0. I was asked by one of the players in my gamimg group if I would purchase and check this game out due to his desire to possibly run a game with it in a few weeks and felt that there were a few aspects of its rules that I would like. So I did what any good friend would do, I purchased it on that recommendation alone. When the .pdf download was finally finished, and I opened it up, I was shocked to see the amount of pages that this game had: 497. I was not excepting this game to be so large, I was expecting something with a hundred or so pages to get through the rules and setting stuff. Mind you, I had never even heard of Spycraft before this point and still did not know what type of system it would use. I’m a good friend, what can I say?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Farmer's Market and Card-Readers

We have a very small Farmer's Market in our little town every Friday, which consisted of only 6-7 stalls. At least, there are only that many when I show up, which is first thing in the morning due to when my job lets out. I am sure that there are more as the day progresses. This morning I only had a few bucks on me and picked up 2 dozen eggs for $1.50 a dozen. Can't beat that price for farm-fresh, organic, free-range eggs. The strawberries that the woman was selling, $1.50 a pint for quarter-sized berries, looked wonderful, but I had not the cash on me and it made me stop and think.

How many sales do people like these lose on a daily/weekly/monthly basis due to not having enough cash on hand or check with them?

Game Review for Gunslingers and Gamblers

Yet another RPG.net review that I posted there, and I have to say, i love this game. Especially for any sort of game in the western genre.


When you purchase this game, you receive a normal copy of the book with the background on each page which is very evocative of the paper that is used for Wanted posters that you see in Westerns and can even purchase. It works for the game and helps to keep you in the mindset that this is a western game. It also doesn't increase load times from the second copy of the book that you get, which has no background. While I like the mindset that the colored background gives, I much prefer the print version. Not only is it easier to print it, but the black text on a white background is much more crisp and easier to read than black text on a colored background.

Carbing it Up

I was told by another Paleo-er (which, we really need a better term to call one another now that I think about it. Unfortunately, since this lifestyle is still a bit too niche, it might actually do us a disservice though) that:

eating a crapload of carbs (complex) and low fat low pro... every 10 daya or so. Keeps your leptin up.
Now, I have been eating Paleo for the past 4 and a half months, with the only cheating I have done being small, very small, amounts. Even when cheating, I never do it enough in one day to even get down to the 80/20 principle that Mark from MarksDailyApple.com suggests for his followers and readers.

What is leptin? According to wikipedia, leptin is:

Leptin (Greek leptos meaning thin) is a 16 kDa protein hormone that plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure, including appetite and metabolism

The absence of a leptin (or its receptor) leads to uncontrolled food intake and resulting obesity. Several studies have shown that fasting or following a very-low-calorie diet (VLCD) lowers leptin levels.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Two Paleo/Primal Recipes

I took the both of these from the Fitness magazine, July/August issue from 2009 and modified them to make them more Paleo friendly. Basically because the food porn pictures looked very good. Also due to my wife getting a bit tired of meat lately, so I felt that I could try to spice things up in the kitchen instead of the usual burgers and other grilled meat that I am perfectly okay with eating daily. Especially the berry-mango salsa in the second recipe, I am very interested in trying that.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Game Review for Tri-Stat dX

After writing this review for RPG.net, my wife and I got to talking yesterday in the car. We determined that Tri-Stat dX would not be used with as near of frequency as it is online for our game group if we had a real-life game group. The reasons for this are two fold: Online, Tri-Stat dX brings combats to a quick end making it the system of choice and yet, Tri-Stat dX would more than likely read and play a bit blandly when sitting around a table. There is just not enough going on in Tri-Stat dX too keep up the mental facilities I feel that games like Savage Worlds, Gunslingers and Gamblers, Apocalypse Prevention, Inc, Alpha Omega, and Spirit of the Century bring with them. That is not to say that i would not run or play Tri-Stat dX around a table, but that is why I gave it a 4/4/ score at RPG.net.

On to the review...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wild Strawberries

One of the benefits to living in the woods is that every once in awhile, we get the opportunity for some authentic hunter-gatherer action!

This is a strawberry.  It is very tiny.  How tiny is it?

This tiny.  Here, it is pictured beside a farm-grown strawberry, purchased from a conventional supermarket.

Here's a closer look at the differences.

I think they're quite lovely, the way nature intended.  Though they get munched down by exploring children far too fast to do anything with!  But that's alright with me.

Next month we should have wild black raspberries.

Verdilak's take on their flavor:

Flavor of the Wild Strawberry: Not sweet at all, but gloriously tart. Not sour enough to make your tongue curl even a slight bit, but a great tarty flavor. If they could get this flavor in the domestic ones, I would become extremely happy.

Flavor of the Domestic Strawberry: Sweeter than the wild strawberry, but when tried one after the other, it is very evident that the Domestic is more filling due to its size but has very little flavor other than the sweetness. The Wild variety is bursting with flavor.

Update of the Feta-Stuffed Celery

Made the Feta-Stuffed Celery today as per the recipe for my kids. My youngest did not want anything to do with them but the other two loved the flavors and ate a few stalks each. My wife decided that they were decent and filling, but not her favorite thing ever. Then again, she isn't all that much of a fan of feta when  it is not in a salad.

Anyways, pictures are now up on the original post since my wife was kind enough to showcase us with her l33t photography skills.

Game Review for Alpha Omega

Another review I posted to RPG.net and I gave it a 5 for Style and a 4 for Substance due to a few things that were missing. However, it is an excellent game that I cannot wait to play again.

Disclaimer: While I received the pdf and print copy for free, it was not for me to review them, it was due to a give-a-way that was going on in the rpg.net forums around a year ago.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bad News about Climate Change

But great news to us Paleo and Primalers!

The concept of ocean acidification is pretty bad, what with its causing harm to shelled organisms. This was going to hurt the shellfish industry.

But it turns out that the amount of protein in plants goes down with increasing atmospheric CO2 ppm. This is because the plants cannot assimilate nitrates as easily (which is our main way of fertilizing, btw). This loss of protein slows plant growth and reduces nutrition content.

Carbon Dioxide Enrichment Inhibits Nitrate Assimilation in Wheat and Arabidopsis

The concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere may double by the end of the 21st century. The response of higher plants to a carbon dioxide doubling often includes a decline in their nitrogen status, but the reasons for this decline have been uncertain. We used five independent methods with wheat and Arabidopsis to show that atmospheric carbon dioxide enrichment inhibited the assimilation of nitrate into organic nitrogen compounds. This inhibition may be largely responsible for carbon dioxide acclimation, the decrease in photosynthesis and growth of plants conducting C3 carbon fixation after long exposures (days to years) to carbon dioxide enrichment. These results suggest that the relative availability of soil ammonium and nitrate to most plants will become increasingly important in determining their productivity as well as their quality as food.

They used ppm's predicted for ~2100 to show this, but also saw harmful effects on crop growth using ppm's similar to what we're going to see in the next 40 years, even assuming some progress on limiting CO2 growth.

This also means that higher CO2 means poison ivy becomes more virulent.

Bacon Fruit Cups

These are perfect for buffets, picnics, and other single-serving, no-utensils eating extravaganzas.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Feta-Stuffed Celery

My wife and kids seem to get tired of meat as a large part of every meal, so I am looking for items that I can make for them that does not have meat, like the following Primal recipe:

6 stalks of celery
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1/4 t. dried dill

Rather simple, clean the celery and cut off the ends as normal. Mix all of the above ingredients with each other, though only use half the almonds. Fill the celery with the mixture and top it with the remaining almonds, sprinkled lightly. Cut into 4 inch pieces and serve.

While this will not be edible by myself due to the fact that dairy and I are incompatable, my wife and kids love dairy and this would make a quick and easy snack for them.

Should have 4g carbs and 3g protein per serving, which is perfect for those of us who are eating this way.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Art of Smoking... food that is

The modern method of smoking foods evolved from its roots as a process for preserving. Long before refrigeration and chemical preservatives, smoke was used to extend the shelf life of most foods, especially meat. Wood smoke contains many of the chemicals (formaldehyde and acetic acid, among others) that slow the growth of microbes. In addition, the pH level of smoke is a very low 2.5, which is extremely friendly to microbes.

Today, smoking has become much more than an age-old technique for preserving, tenderizing, and adding flavor to food. Smoking has become an institution to festivals, clubs, organizations and above all, competitions. People are smoking cheeses, fruits, nuts, vegetables, salts, and anything else they can get their hands on.

This post, however, is about smoking meats. C'mon, its a Paleo blog, did you expect nothing less?

Meat to Use

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The great things about civilization

John Durant from Hunter-Gatherer.com posited the following question to other paleobloggers and I thought I would join in:

Here's the question. If you had to live as part of an actual hunter-gatherer tribe 10,000 to 40,000 years ago, what would you miss the most about the modern world? Culture and technology are likely to be popular answers, so get more specific. If you say music, tell us what bands. If you say the technology, tell us why UNIX stirs your soul. Make it personal. Try to find things that if given the choice between a perfectly healthy hunter-gatherer lifestyle without what you love about modernity and a "healthy" modern lifestyle based on the conventional wisdom, you'd choose modernity.

This question actually is something that I have been thinking about quite a bit over the past few months. When I read about the Hadza in a National Geographic magazine and how they live, it really sparked something within myself and is more than likely a large reason as to why I switched to a Paleo lifestyle so readily. While I think it would do me a world of good to actually live off the land as they do, I also have quite a few hesitations about it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Game Review for Apocalypse Prevention, Inc.

I originally posted this review to RPG.net, but felt the need to re-post it over here due to quality of this game and the number of sourcebooks that are coming out, on schedule. Unfortunately, since this review was written, I have yet to have been able to play or run a game using this system and setting. I hope to rectify this in the near future. However, what I said in this review still stands.

The cover touts the game as "An Action, Horror RPG... with a twist of Humor", and it gives some humor already in just the Disclaimer, though it is slightly lacking in the rest of the book. Starting off, there is summary of the setting, the mood of the game, playable races, and of the system that is used. I rather like a page full of short and sweet summaries of what the book is planning on giving you.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Water and Dehydration

When I first decided to go Paleo, one thing was topmost in my mind: What am I to drink? I lived off of green tea of the Arizona brand, I drank copious amounts of the cranberry flavoured Sierra Mist, and the best drink in the world for me was Canada Dry Ginger Ale. But, they all contained one form of sugar or another, and depending on the different brands they might contain more than one type of sugar.

I tried regular teas but I'm not one to drink green tea or english tea. I do like herbal teas, but as of yet I have not made myself any due to my preference for sugar in one form or another to make said teas palatable.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Friariello Barese Pepper Snacks

A delicious snack, Pimientos de Padrón is a Spanish dish of fried peppers with sea salt. Most of the peppers are sweet, but occasionally you come across a hot one. However, Padrón peppers are not all that easy to find in the States, so for this, use Friariello Barese peppers especially since they are all sweet and you never get one that is very hot.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

In Search Of A Game

I wrote the following for a college writing class. Names have been changed to ensure their safety, but the events described are very much so true no matter how many times I have wished the opposite.


If anyone doesn't know, every Wednesday, a bunch of Paleo/Primalers get on twitter and, while using the hashtag #primalchat, they attempt to have a conversation about whatever crosses their minds. It works, well, it works as much as twitter allows.

So after another person (FlyNavyWife) commented about how twitter sucks for chat, I set up a little primalchat at the link below. Who knows, if enough people use it, other sites might put it up as well, especially Mark from MarksDailyApple.

So go ahead, use it, abuse it, see what you think about it, and don't hesitate to give me a piece of your mind about it.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My 4 Month Update on Paleo

What have I learned/found out about myself since going Paleo back in January? First off, I have found that eating Paleo suits me perfectly. Too perfect, in fact. From my understanding, the adage to "Eat only when you are hungry" is an important one in going about the Paleo lifestyle. Hell, even the youngest child with a slim understanding of cavemen knows that cavemen probably went without food regularly due to hunting issues. Which means that I lived by it.

I ate only when I was hungry... which was mostly 24 hours to 36 hours between meals. Between you and me, I could have even gone longer but it felt weird not to be eating at least once a day, even though I was wanting to work up to not eating for at least 4 days due to many Native American "manhood' fasting practices. Did you notice I said "was"? Good job, gold star for you.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Coconut Flour Banana Pancakes

Confession: our kids are still cereal junkies.  We buy the 'good' stuff: whole grains, no corn syrup.  But let's be honest: it's all sugar.  However, there is one breakfast food i can manage to get them to eat, and that i can make completely healthy with no added sugar or grains--Pancakes!

2 bananas, mashed
7 eggs
3 tsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla
6 Tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients, and fry each large spoonful in about 1 tsp coconut oil or butter over medium heat.  If you don't like the dark color, a different oil would probably fix that.

Ban on Sunny-Side Up?

I love my eggs, as anyone could guess with my previous post on them. But my favorite way to eat them is with a runny yolk. I've even been trying to find the perfect time needed to hard boil their whites while leaving their yolks still runny in the center. So far, success has not been achieved.

On the way home from work in the mornings, there are two restaurants that serve breakfasts at 7am and I decided that since it was Saturday and due to hunger, I would stop in for some eggs and bacon. First place I went to was full of vehicles all around the parking lot as well as boats. I live near a lake and we have fishing tournaments every weekend, or so it seems. Walked in, got a glass of water, asked how they cooked their eggs (with butter or vegetable oil, I of course chose the butter) and orders 3 eggs, sunny-side up and a side of bacon.

Imagine my surprise when the waitress told me that due to new food-saftey regulations, she couldn't serve me eggs that were sunny-side up.

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