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By gzt (Thu May 17, 2012 at 12:57:43 PM EST) gzt, chess, lunch, war of the ring, tejas, cheap food, no theft (all tags)
I found my Ipod in my work laptop bag.


The wifing unit went down to Tejas to surprise her sister or something. I stayed up here. She's flying back on Sunday, which could be awkward, what with the NATO conference and all. There are a lot of road closings in teh downtown area, but I'm pretty much just directly north of the airport, so I'll go down Cicero instead. On a Sunday, that should cause no problems.

We just had this entire area constructed, like, three weeks ago or something. I think one line of cubes is slightly off. The edges are right in my field of vision. This will disturb me the entire 72 days or so that I have left.

The wifing unit told her employer how she's leaving in mid-August. She's still looking for other gigs to fill time between now and then, of course.

Mario Batali living off a food-stamp-sized budget: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/05/mario-batalis-food-stamp-challenge/ $31 per person per week. Interesting.

Also, eating "healthy" is not more expensive than the alternative: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/05/16/152823181/how-to-make-healthy-eating-easier-on-the-wallet-change-the-calculation On a "calories per dollar" basis, a lot of produce is fairly expensive, but if you do it as "cost per typical amount consumed", produce fares much better. After all, you're not going to fill up on spinach, you're going to have a couple ounces. The bulk of a vegetarian meal will be the cheap fillers, like rice and potatoes.

We've been doing more chess at work lately. This is good. I like chess. It's educational.

We might play War of the Ring tonight.

Okay, it is lunch time.

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the cleaning staff does not have sticky fingers | 31 comments (31 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Alternatively, the cleaning staff reads Husi by georgeha (4.00 / 2) #1 Thu May 17, 2012 at 01:01:39 PM EST



the food stamp thing by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu May 17, 2012 at 01:05:12 PM EST
being home all day, I watch the talk show/cooking show he cohosts, where he talks about how difficult it is to live on "that little". I admit that my kids aren't old enough to eat a ton of food, but it's seriously not that difficult to feed a family on that amount, if you're smart about it- like buying generics, etc. I guess food might be more expensive in bigger cities, and if you're used to buying expensive cuts of meat and the freshest organic produce, and all kinds of seafood, it might be harder, but I feel like I do pretty well without all that. Maybe I just have lower standards of what constitutes "good food".
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if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake
Part of the problem... by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu May 17, 2012 at 01:34:07 PM EST
isn't the cost of, say, fresh vegetables, but the way that food stamps and WIC and such are distributed. I went to a conference some years ago where one of the speakers talked about how the amount of money given for food is something like, enough for 2 servings of cabbage. But cabbage is only sold in heads, and if you buy an entire head of cabbage, then there isn't enough money for something else. (Cabbage is just an example, and probably not the best one, but the deal is that when food stamp funds are calculated for a particular family, the government agencies don't - or didn't, at least - take into account the fact that you can't buy 6 oz of something that is only sold in 12 or 16 oz quantities). Thus, people are more likely to buy prepackaged stuff that isn't as healthy but that fits into the amount of money they have to buy groceries.
--
The amount of suck that you can put up with can be mind-boggling, but it only really hits you when it then ceases to suck. -- Kellnerin
[ Parent ]
troll on by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #5 Thu May 17, 2012 at 02:15:43 PM EST
i've gotten in a couple of trolling threads about this topic over the years during which i've seen a fairly wild set of talking points on this issue, usually focused on bodegas and "food deserts." but i've heard this business about mismatched quantities and so forth. 

the way i understand it, in most states food stamps provide a maximum benefit of something like 3-6 dollars a day, with the more wild eyed crusaders claiming 3 usd. (i don't know how much cabbage you eat, but 3 usd pays for more than two servings.) is the situation that those 3-6 dollars must be spent on some particular day? or is that an average figure over a period of a week or something similar? (i suspect it is the latter.)

if it is the latter and beneficiaries are not expected to go to the local bodega or gas station every day to buy 3 usd worth of whatever, then in fact people can buy larger quantities with food stamps and benefit from buying in bulk. of course, if you have very limited funds doing so will lead to a reduction in variety of ingredients you can buy -- this, i find, is the actual objection blog commenters i've dealt with make (that and the fact that you can't have "fresh," i.e. grocery store produce department, blueberries and tropical fruit that aren't bananas on your corn flakes). 

it seems to me though that you can have a significantly healthier diet on food stamps than most people who have the means to buy whatever they want elect to eat themselves. the problem with it is that you'll typically be eating significantly plainer fare than you'd probably like and often eating the same things several times a week. it seems to me that people don't eat healthy on food stamps for roughly the same reasons people who won't eat anything that hasn't been air mailed from vermont don't. 


[ Parent ]
it's typically a month at a time, actually by gzt (2.00 / 0) #6 Thu May 17, 2012 at 02:49:56 PM EST
from my understanding.

yeah, you can eat healthier on food stamps than most people elect to eat. my wife's family ate pretty healthy and were rather poor at times - I don't know if they used food stamps but would likely have had about the same budget.

[ Parent ]
I can eat healthily sometimes. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu May 17, 2012 at 03:20:25 PM EST
What it normally takes is feeling secure and confident. My intuition on this is that insecurity trends to leave you needing the visceral security of the high calorie high salt foods rather than burdening your overtired intellect with having to reassure your body it's being looked after.

[ Parent ]
I'm not certain tf is trolling by lm (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu May 17, 2012 at 04:19:24 PM EST
But I will say that when my wife and I were on food stamps for a brief time in the 90s, our food budget almost doubled.

I don't know representative the county we lived in was of the program in general or how much the program has changed since the early nineties. But my limited experience suggests that it is very easy to eat well while on food stamps.

That said, one major consideration is transportation. If there is no good way to get out to a decent grocer in the suburbs and your only choices are exploitive inner city shops with 80 brands of cheese puffs and one aisle of produce which is already starting to go bad, then eating healthy is problematic. But that's not a problem with food stamps. It is, however, a problem that many people on food stamps face every day.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
i don't mean to suggest he's trolling. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #14 Thu May 17, 2012 at 04:40:55 PM EST
rather, i'm just signalling this is a favorite trolling topic of mine.

it sounds to me like the situation has changed since the 90s, but not to an inhumane degree. as far as the transportation thing, i believe in the issue of transportation in a rural setting, but not in the urban setting that is usually trotted out in this line of conversation. it's definitely true there are shitty neighborhoods in major us cities where the kind of shops you're talking about are all there is. admittedly, i've only lived in the bigger cities, but in my experience in a few of the largest cities in the united states, there are always real grocery stores around if you're willing to take public transit out of your neighborhood. now there are plenty of major cities i've never really had a chance to look around, particularly in the south and the more southernish parts of the midwest, but my impression is that not going to actual grocery stores is more of a choice than it is made out to be.

[ Parent ]
public transit on the south side of chicago... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu May 17, 2012 at 04:59:59 PM EST
...kind of blows. but, really, i was going to name a couple random intersections in like englewood or woodlawn where it might be hard to find groceries, but there was an aldi like a mile from each of them (different aldis!). so, whatevs.

[ Parent ]
the largest cities, sure by lm (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu May 17, 2012 at 05:03:00 PM EST
But in not so small cities like Cincinnati, if you live in the urban core, a decent grocery store might be close to two hours away by public transport depending on where you live.

In some places there are alternatives such as farmer's markets. But the vendors at such do not always accept food stamps.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
never been to cincinnati. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #18 Thu May 17, 2012 at 05:22:58 PM EST
i'm not sure what the urban core would mean, but i'm looking at a map that's showing grocery stores (real grocery stores, mostly "kroger", not including the kroger corporate headquarters that's apparently there) located so it looks like anywhere in town is not more than two miles from one. maybe the transit really sucks and i guess two miles can be a long way on some buslines, but i don't know.  

[ Parent ]
there's Kroger and there's Kroger by lm (2.00 / 0) #20 Thu May 17, 2012 at 06:12:44 PM EST
Oftentimes `real' grocery chains run massive dumps that are filled almost entirely with crap in poor neighborhoods. When I lived in Cincy, there was a Kroger less than a quarter mile from house. Nevertheless, I'd drive five miles to a different one because the one by my house had 80 different kinds of cheese puffs, 100 different kinds of cheap beer, and a small aisle of veggies that were already starting to rot. And, I kid you not, NO dried beans.

That store has been torn down since we moved to DCia. But stores like it were all over the city.

As another example, the neighborhood a friend of mine lives in had both a Kroger and an IGA. Both closed down. Someone bought the IGA with the intent of opening a proper neighborhood grovery store but ran out of money trying to bring it up to code.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
When I was unemployed by riceowlguy (2.00 / 0) #30 Fri May 18, 2012 at 11:23:32 AM EST
and therefore trying to squeeze every penny out of my food budget, I tried sometimes to have a healthy cheap diet.  Rice and beans and all that.  After all, I was unemployed, so I had plenty of time.  (I think I've said this before but I think food can be mapped in a four dimensional space whose axes are cheap->expensive, tasty->dull, healthy->unhealthy, and fast->time-consuming.  In general you can only get three of the four to go in the direction you want.  You can have cheap, tasty and healthy, but it's going to take time.  Well, when you're unemployed, you've got all the time in the world.)  However, I didn't have much energy because I was pretty depressed about my situation, so it was too convenient to self-medicate with crappy cheap convenience food (not quite as crappy as cheese puffs, but boxed macaroni and cheese, cheap cookies, etc.).

Given that, I think it's equally likely that the ghetto Krogers (we have them here too - when I was house hunting back in 2009 I made myself shop at one because it would be the closest store to a house I was looking at in East Downtown, and it was a big reason why I stopped looking in that area, although now there are some new grocery options in downtown proper so maybe I made a mistake - in ten or twenty years that house will probably double or triple in value if the area keeps on redeveloping) are just selling what their clientele want to buy.

[ Parent ]
It probably is the market at work by lm (2.00 / 0) #31 Fri May 18, 2012 at 08:59:58 PM EST
The problem is that, since the audience is captive, it isn't a free (in the economic sense) market. And it also doesn't help that it's a self-perpetuating cycle. People grow up eating the fare from such a place and learn to think that this is what food is. So when they grow up, that's what they look for at the store.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Also, refrigeration is sometimes an issue by lm (2.00 / 0) #17 Thu May 17, 2012 at 05:06:56 PM EST
Back in the day, I knew families living in small apartments that would buy milk in quart sized cartons because their refrigerator was too small to hold even a gallon sized carton or jug.

There is the option of saving bottles and filling those from a gallon. But when your fridge is that small, you then have to decide what else you aren't going to keep in it.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Not trolling, no by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu May 17, 2012 at 05:55:36 PM EST
Just trying to point out one of the things that I find somewhat annoying (and I'm not saying LFT did this at all - just that her post reminded me) when people who haven't experienced food insecurity start complaining that poor people could eat healthier if... There's a lot more that goes into it than the arguments that typically get trotted out. "Food desserts" are one thing - it's a whole hell of a lot easier to get to a corner store than it is to find a grocery store that sells reasonable amounts of healthy food in some places, sure, but it's even more complicated than that.

When I was a kid, my family was on food stamps and WIC and the government cheese program (I'm sure it had a name - I just remember the cheese). Food stamps could be used like cash. WIC came with a list of acceptable foods, and you could buy X number of the things on the list (that included stuff like baby formula, milk, certain kinds of breakfast cereals, a certain amount of fresh or frozen vegetables, etc.). Without those programs, my family would have gone hungry. Between those programs and the vegetable garden my mom planted (we were in the country, and we were fortunate to have a field that had been left fallow behind our house), harvested and preserved, we were fine. Had we not had the vegetable garden, though, we would have had much less variety in our diets and relied much more on processed foods, I'm certain.

I don't know the ins and outs of the program - i was a kid in the '80s when we were on it, and it's changed significantly since then - but feeding a family on a very limited amount of money, with the added constraints of transportation, lack of childcare (my mom stayed home with us because she would not have been able to earn enough to pay for the four of us to have daycare, much less to add to the family budget), and limits on the types/amounts of food, the whole notion of what it would take to get people on food stamps or other government assistant programs to eat healthier is incredibly complex.
--
The amount of suck that you can put up with can be mind-boggling, but it only really hits you when it then ceases to suck. -- Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
oh yeah by LilFlightTest (4.00 / 1) #22 Thu May 17, 2012 at 07:15:44 PM EST
we eat way more prepackaged stuff than we probably should, partly because real cooking takes a lot of time we don't have. That, I suspect, is a big part of the overall problem with eating healthier, especially if you're working a lot to try to support your family but you still fall short and need food stamps. We try hard to improve upon the prepackaged stuff we use, though, and I get the impression that a lot of people don't try, or don't have the knowledge or time to look for sales or pre-plan meals.

I didn't take your response as trolling, nor is this reply a troll- my original point was just that we aren't on food stamps, but we still spend less than the allowance on our food, and none of us have any vitamin deficiencies or weight problems. I'm the only member of our family on any kind of supplement (because I have a small child to support as well), so I can't be doing too horrible a job of creating a healthy diet for us- it's far from being a horribly low amount of money like some people like to imply.
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if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake

[ Parent ]
well sure by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #11 Thu May 17, 2012 at 04:19:09 PM EST
but it's not dispersed by the day. If I have $30/person to spend on groceries this week, which is the number Batali is working with, I can buy a hell of a lot of good food with that. Yeah, some may be frozen, but it's not horrible food. For instance, I could buy a couple boxes of whole wheat pasta, a bag of frozen chicken breasts, a bag of frozen broccoli, and some frozen spinach, and a can of tomato paste, and make a damn good meal that would feed the family and have leftovers as well. It's cheaper than fresh and while it's not great, it's not horrible either. And I'd have veggies and stuff left over for another meal. We spend less than that every week.
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if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake
[ Parent ]
I also just realized by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu May 17, 2012 at 04:28:01 PM EST
we go through almost 3 gallons of milk a week. If we didn't need that we'd have that extra money to spend on other stuff.
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if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake
[ Parent ]
for the longest time by dev trash (2.00 / 0) #25 Thu May 17, 2012 at 09:04:47 PM EST
We lived on $40 a week.  Family of 5.

--
I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR BALLS! ->clock
[ Parent ]
it's doable if you plan by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #26 Thu May 17, 2012 at 10:52:34 PM EST
pasta and rice make it easier, for sure. I don't know that we really spend that much more than that. We go grocery shopping every other week or so and spend about $120.

We're lucky in that my parents have a hobby farm, and I can get chicken and pork from them for free. Now I just need a freezer to really stock up, otherwise we don't eat meat much.
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if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake

[ Parent ]
we had a lot of hamburgers by dev trash (2.00 / 0) #27 Thu May 17, 2012 at 11:11:40 PM EST
and chicken drumsticks.
Mom also canned a lot.

--
I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR BALLS! ->clock
[ Parent ]
The NATO travel thing by barooo (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu May 17, 2012 at 01:51:02 PM EST
Teh wife returns from the Grandparents' house on Monday.  Flying into Midway.  She is quite nervous about getting home. 

man, i need a beefy taco now.
-gzt
midway by gzt (2.00 / 0) #7 Thu May 17, 2012 at 02:52:39 PM EST
she's flying midway, too. midway should be easier than o'hare, but getting through the 55 to 90/94 part could be hairy and the loop may be a complete mess. consider driving up western or something!

[ Parent ]
I'll be at work by barooo (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu May 17, 2012 at 04:01:01 PM EST
She hired a car service.

Not My Problem.  Although I suspect I will be pulled in if any drama occurs.

Our office is encouraging people to work from home on Monday, I might.  Even though I should be wholly unaffected by the whole mess. 

man, i need a beefy taco now.
-gzt
[ Parent ]
we're required to work remotely by gzt (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu May 17, 2012 at 04:03:21 PM EST
they're not letting people in teh building. but we're right here in the loop.

[ Parent ]
my gf by garlic (2.00 / 0) #23 Thu May 17, 2012 at 07:20:42 PM EST
in federal plaza, working for the feds in an Non-NATO related job, has to go to work on Monday.


[ Parent ]
I was kind of wondering by barooo (2.00 / 0) #29 Fri May 18, 2012 at 10:01:09 AM EST
what $insurance would do.  As paranoid as they are about security and whatnot I figured that they would encourage require people to Occasionally Work From Remote on Friday and Monday (as my boss always phrased it).

man, i need a beefy taco now.
-gzt
[ Parent ]
I lived on $20-30/week through much of college by nathan (2.00 / 0) #21 Thu May 17, 2012 at 06:17:23 PM EST
I also rented a futon in a guy's living room for $200/mo and kept all my things in a large suitcase. I had a friend with a beat-up old car who used to take me shopping - I was in a town of about ~70k people with no real public transit of any kind.

I wound up eating a lot of eggs, noodles and beans - meat less than once a month, most likely. My fruit ration was 10 pieces/week, which was probably pretty unhealthy, and my green vegetables ration was mostly frozen spinach and broccoli. I weighed less then than I do now, but I blame that on my wrongheaded approach to exercise (running and swimming,) and I wasn't thin or anything.

In my last year, I wised up and got a job reviewing beer, which paid for beer on almost a weekly basis. Beer has a lot of calories, so after that I was completely made. If I'd been paying for the beer, that would have been like half my food budget right there.

These days, food stamps are for everyone, even people with really bad doctorates.

yeah, i've done the same by gzt (2.00 / 0) #24 Thu May 17, 2012 at 08:42:21 PM EST
i mean, you saw the place i was at for 219/month, though by that time i had a job with a real wage so i was eating food.

i saw that article, it's a sad, sad game. i know some medievalists and classicists. but they knew that you don't get a degree in this sort of thing unless you're going to, say, princeton if you want a career.

[ Parent ]
Not including eating out, I live on about $40/week by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #28 Fri May 18, 2012 at 08:35:50 AM EST
I eat out maybe once a week. That $40 is an average. Every 3 or 4 months I need to stock up on staples like flour, cornmeal, pasta, sugar, etc. and spend more. Every couple of months it's time to make a big batch of chili/stew or soup to freeze. When those two cycles coincide it can be a $100 week.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

the cleaning staff does not have sticky fingers | 31 comments (31 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback