Extraordinary item

love ulster riot

Income statements report revenues, expenses, gains, and losses occurring in the normal course of business. But unique or rare incomes or expenses outside of the purpose of the business are reported as extraordinary items. These are infrequent, and unusual.

For the period of September 2013 to August 2014, I want to report on the some extraordinary items I found dumpster diving. I go through a lot of rubbish piles, bins, skips: what Americans lump together as “dumpsters”. Seeing a skip like the one above makes my heart skip a beat.

From a University Comp Sci dumpster

15″ dell monitor
17″ dell monitor
5 keyboards
3 mice
2 optical drives
UK kettle leads

I used the monitors in the PC, and made birthday cards out of the keyboards. The drives were fucked, but I used them for parts and modelling. Maybe €50 worth total?

From hotel/restaurant dumpsters

8 milkcrates
A2 Whiteboard with a stand (€60 new, cleaned, and repaired stand)
Ironing board
Expensive brand saucepan (€110 new, cleaned, and repaired handle)

I used the crates on the back of the bike to hold groceries. The rest were things I needed to buy, but didn’t have to. Probably saved me about €60.

Found while cycling
€30 lock, found with key (needed unsticking)
€20 pump (lost)
€30 scarf, found in bag with receipt on windy December day.
3 cheap backpacks
pair sunglasses
About €40 lost notes and coins
2 reflective vests

A good haul – particularly as I’d otherwise have to buy these things. Being able to see these things and stop to pick them up is a reason to cycle in the city. I’m sure if I had a car, I’d have picked up other, heavier shit from the roadside, and gone to proper recycling centers. I’d value it about €50, and then add the €40 cash.

Sub total: €210

Then the extraordinary losses that came out of the blue:

Kids threw a bottle of water at me when it was pissing rain, and we were soaked.
Lost about €20 cash.
Bungee cords off bike (nicked, so €.50)
Losing the veneer of normality early November with colleagues when I spotted the A2 whiteboard and doubled back to grab it before anyone else did.

I’d value all those losses about €30.

Total: €180 income/savings from just picking shit up off the ground, and rooting through some selected dumpsters. That’s 75% of my gym membership. That hunting/gathering feeling is paleo as fuck too, and is guaranteed to put 20lbs on your totals. Expect to see these tips on T-Nation soon.

Any cool shit you guys have found?


Modelling Success


My plastic robot models came 10 days ahead of schedule. I ordered two High Grade kits: the Zaku II and the 0079 Gundam. Each cost me only 1p due to a pricing error. But they sent me the wrong kit – I got a Real Grade 0079 Gundam instead!

I slapped the Zaku II together this afternoon. It was a pretty easy build, especially as I’m used to 28mm or 1:72 models in hard styrene and pewter. I’m amazed at the engineering in a 2002 kit -the whole thing fits together by friction between the hard styrene and polycaps. It doesn’t feel like a real kit without glue for me! It seems to take heat and burning effects well (at least sprue does). I will probably weather it with inks, and do the blacklining with inks.

The Zaku II now sits on my PC and stares disapprovingly.

It has good flexibility in the limbs, but none in the torso. I probably won’t piloting it for iceskating in the 0084 Winter Mobile Suit Olympics. Here we go!

Where do you see yourself in in 5 years time?

I love doing interviews. But preparing for them makes me question everything in my life.

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years time” is such a strange question. What kind of answers have you given to that in interviews?

“What have you done in the last year since your previous application?” is another strange one. From 2012-2013, I checked into hospital because I was suicidal, then graduated top of my class. Most of my friends emigrated. One killed themselves, and a handful tried. You then have to ask yourself: does this mickey mouse bullshit for a tech startup even count? Is this data analytics experience what you’re looking for?

“Given your experience in other fields, why should we hire you?” This is one of my favourite questions to be asked. It’s a great chance to summarise your fit with the role, and even ask the same question to the interviewer: “what is it about my background that has taken me this far in the application process?”. I wish we knew what it was about us that makes us worthwhile as people.


Back in 2009 , I had a reasonable idea that in 5 years I would be in a professional job. I hoped the pain in my hands and arms would stop (it did). I hoped I wouldn’t have any more seizures (I didn’t). I hoped I’d still be together with the woman (we are). But I didn’t see China coming, or the going from 68kg to 88kg and getting strong while I was there.

Bit of a bind at the moment. Where do I see myself in 5 years?

Neck has flared up pretty bad. Irritated and tight, Had to leave work early yesterday, but no one seemed to care that much. Seems to have been a combination of the exams and study last week, the three weeks of PC overuse, and pushing myself in the gym Monday, when my neck couldn’t support it.

Probably going to be back in physio for another 4-6 weeks. But at this stage, both the neck and my low back have become chronic illnesses. I’m struggling to work, study, get around, see friends and do things I enjoy. I’ve been in constant pain for about 18 months, and I really can’t hack it any more.

I’m getting a referral to a pain clinic to talk medication, management techniques and lifestyle shit. I’m also trying to get a medical card. The physio should help in the short-medium term. But working somewhere else, and not studying, would be a great help to me. Saving for a Masters, and using that to get exemptions for professional exams, would seem to be the best way of managing this.

I’m tempted to go back to college and study biology, and go into microfauna/ plankton biology. But then, I’m not sure if I want to be an academic, and do lab work for 10 years

Or do the 1 year Bachelors in computer science for more a business analytics focus in the career.  A Physics friend who’s similar to me is joining the Finance dark side. Part of me wants to quit office work entirely and retrain as a welder, work for a few years, then get management jobs in industry.


Woman is suicidal and self harming again because of the pressure she’s under in work and Masters – no further action taken since last crisis three weeks ago on changing her antidepressants or visiting doctor again. I said that if she had a life-threatening physical illness, she would be seeing a doctor, and this should be treated no differently. When the next crisis comes, I don’t know where it will end. I have advised her to take urgent action to cut stress, see doctor and exercise, because the next crisis could see her dead. I really haven’t got enough resources to deal with this over the phone, particularly when she’s 160km away and I can’t physically do anything. All I can do is identify trends in her behaviour, and try to guide her towards the help she needs. It’s gone past being emotions being like tides, coming and going. I feel quite powerless. If she refuses to get help, I have to step back and let her get on with it. This situation is probably the most aggravating to the back and neck. About one in three times she comes over, I have to cradle her while she cries from midnight to 2AM. My neck and back usually go into spasm, and I have to take painkillers and valium to sleep. We have about another 3 weeks before I crack, I’d say. The pressure is too much, and I have done as much as I can. Ball is in her court now.


In 5 years time, I’ll nearly be 30. And if my health is better,  still this bad, or even worse, my choices now could save me a lot of pain in the future.

Return on Investment

One repeat exam out of the way. Another 4 in a month’s time. This one went a lot better than the original exam in March – I was prepared and had the cripple supports I need. So good return on the €50 I spent repeating.

It also struck me that I can’t write for more than a few minutes at a time, and typing is also getting painful. I definitely blame this on overusing the computer for video games/anime when I get home. Haven’t a lot of spare time or energy at the moment, so my time goes on what’s easiest, and gives consistent fun per hour. But the decreased functionality and increased pain are negative externalities not reflected in the ROI formula for the PC. 

This isn’t sustainable, so I’ve been doing shit around the house, like repairing holes in the drywall, making fly traps, polishing and fixing shoes, and making sourdough rye bread to try and keep off the computer. I figure I have to be able to do these things myself down the line, even if only to teach them to my kids. 

My buddy got me a Husqvarna hand axe as a late birthday present- he said it was probably the most “me” gift ever – something that was seemingly frivolous, but borderline useful. We had two hatchet heads fly off their handles during camping trips last year. I figure it’s worth a few bob to have, even if it gets used a dozen times a year for 5 years. If the Happening happens, and gas gets cut off, it’d be worth having a axe for a wood stove.

Because I’m living in the city, I went on a perfectly normal, perfectly healthy 10k cycle in the park with a hatchet in my bag. I went to an isolated part of the park early in the morning, shooed off the deer, walked across a stream, and chopped some softwoods and hardwoods. It’s definitely better on the beech and ash than then crap we brought before. We are heading into Autumn, and there were some very large gilled bracket fungus on a live tree. The total diameter was about 20″. Might try ID it next weekend if it’s still there.

Began writing another short story too. This is a little less mopey. It’s about a young emigrant living in an totalitarian state that controls his country. He tries to reconnect with his roots, while adjusting to the big city. It might be a magical realism story where he and his people were primitives who practised pyromancy and human sacrifice in a great swamp, but most people emigrated for an easier life in the cities, where they formed an underclass. The protagonist would be part of a government programme to educate, accommodate and include heretics of the great swamp in developed society. 

However, the depressing China story for Fatman started as a cyberpunk story, where an ex-ganger has to work for a corporation to support his girlfriend, who has become addicted to cyberspace. That got edited out, because I think people’s eyes glaze over when they read cyberpunk cliches. “Cyberpunk” fiction is dead anyway, fuck it. We’ll see how it turns out on the first draft.


Exercise was shit all weekend, bar two 10k cycles. Didn’t have that much pain, but had to take difene and valium Saturday to sleep. Felt weak and lethargic Friday to Sunday.


2×20 one leg bridge on stability ball

2×20 leg raise on ball

2x1min bird dog static hold

2×10 lying leg raise 

3×10 lunges @ 2kg

3×10 BW squats

front plank – too much neck pain

1×4, 1×3 chin ups with static hold/slow negative

RC/Shoulder retractions 2×10@2kg

prone cobras – 10 secs each position

Felt strong during the workout, but squats were very shaky. Finding it hard to keep torso upright while barefoot. Might try it with WL shoes to get some mobility back. Left trap and neck tight during the afternoon.

Sour and underseasoned

We’re on a food kick. I make about 2kg of chilli in a crockpot every week for vittles. 

Chilli’s composed of roughly:

  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, garlic powder
  • 800g 80:20 beef mince
  • 500g chickpeas + 500g kidney beans, in 4 cans total.
  • Paprika, chilli, parsley, oregano siracha hot sauce.
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • crumbed 81% cocoa dark chocolate
  • large bag spinach

Bung it all into crockpot on low for 8 hours. 

Total cost €8.50, about €1 per serving.

I get about 8-10 large servings, and it doesn’t need a carb on the side, so it’s great for lunch boxes. Great on rice though, with sour cream and strong cheddar over it.

I don’t brown the mince or onions any more, I just fuck it into the pot before I sleep. Then I mix in a large bag of spinach at the end and leave the spinach to wilt.


 My other stock dish is shchi or borscht and rye/ buckwheat kasha. This is a Russian WW1 recipe. 


  • 1 large onion, diced. Fry the onion for borscht.
  • 4 cloves garlic, garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large white cabbage roughly chopped or 800g sauerkraut, or both.
  • Add white vinegar and pickle juice if you use fresh cabbage.
  • Two beets, chunked. Add 2 more beets, and half the cabbage for borscht.
  • 400g fatty stewing beef diced, or 400g pork with bones.
  • Parsley, bayleaf, black pepper, dill.
  • Over the top when serving: creme fraiche/greek yogurt/smetana (any creamy dairy product over 20% fat works)

Again, crockpot on low for 8 hours, or an hour on the stove, and leave warm in the pot for the afternoon.

Total cost €7-8, about 5-7 large servings, so roughly €1.4 a serving. It needs a little time to ferment, and is better the day after.

It’s less filling than the chilli, but it’s more delicious, so it goes quicker. It needs a carb, so I eat it with roast buckwheat groats boiled into a porridge (kasha). I also make a dense rye loaf from a WW2 recipe using baking powder. 

My other dishes are a pseudo-Japanese salmon donburi bowl, a West-African sweet potato peanut curry, a few Indian dishes, and pork shoulder/hock done in honey and balsamic vinegar. When it’s in season, I make a nettle and pea soup that’s Great Famine-tastic. Could be another post on them though. 


I love cooking and finance, so I was the only dude in our school to do Home Economics in secondary school. I used to make stuff in class and sell it on lunch breaks. It definitely taught me life skills like budgeting, cookery, nutrition and sewing. Then I had Scouts covering the other skills like home repair, gardening, bike repair, firelighting, emergency response and camping. Totally masculine, which balanced out to about 60% homosexual sissyfag. Covering my bases at least. 

But my girlfriend doesn’t like my cooking, she says it’s all sour, soupy, earthy foods that are underseasoned. I don’t want to knock ability her in the slightest – she’s been on TV cookery shows – but we have different tastes. I wonder if people’s tastebuds have been ruined by overseasoned and oversalted foods, because I find boiled and fresh vegetable pretty flavoursome.

Maybe I’m just a terrible cook.

Maybe I’m just a freak, as usual.