About Me

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I have a pile of loves. I love my family and friends (how could I not?) like most reasonably well adjusted people. And anyone who knows me, knows I'm probably not as well adjusted as I should be, but where's the fun in that? I love food, ‘well prepared, fill you up to the point of exploding, but make you think about another helping’ good food! I love to BBQ and grill. I love machines and motorcycles. I have a couple of bikes. To be fair, I'm not sure if I'm allowed to call them motorcycles yet. They're being stubborn and won't run, yet... And I love trying to make something my own. I also love to rant on occasion (sometimes frequently) and every once in a while I love to write some shit down. I'm sure I have a lot of other things that I love, but this is a good start. I may not be interesting to some, but others may enjoy following me. Here's my journey through food, a bike build and all the shit in between. I call it as I see it and say what I think needs to be said. If that bugs you, you're probably too fucking sensitive anyway. I'm not sure where this is going, but I hope it's somewhere good. In the end it's all about laughing out loud at least once every day.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Whole new level to "What's your sign?"


First, I'm gonna say props to Josh Eckert for coming up with the current rendition of the Geek Zodiac, find him HERE. Check his stuff out. The few pieces I looked at are cool.

Second, I'm a fuckin' superhero! 'Nuff said there.

For those that understand why this zodiac is cool, there really is no need for an explanation. However, if you do require an some semblance of reasoning behind this post, well. I'm kinda sad for you a little. OK, I'm done being sad for you, I'm back to being fucking awesome!

I dunno where I'm going with this yet, so hold on. We might hit the curb a few times, but we'll find our way eventually. Here's my take on why this should become (if it already hasn't) a pivotal piece of pop culture. Most of us regardless of what our upbringing is grew up with at least some exposure to super heroes, comic books, action adventure movies, books, TV shows, etc...whatever, you still with me or do I need to slow down a little (if you say yes already, lay off the dope son)? So we all sort of spent our childhood pretending to be someone who we idolized. We may have moved away from our heroes as our own personalities developed and evolved, and then some of us moved back to our original hero. For example Little Johnny spends his time playing like he's Luke "I'm a boy scout" Skywalker. "Light Sabering (I just made up a word, don't spell check me, this is about cool, not spelling and grammar. Fuck, you really want to go there?)" around the play ground and his backyard having the goddam time of his life. He likes Luke 'cuz hes good and tries to do the right thing and his parents died and all that shit. Life is simple when you you're little and shit still isn't complicated, right?

But then as Johnny gets older, he decides that he's deeper than that, maybe goes a little goth? He Starts thinking may Luke's not for him, starts to wonder if maybe Luke's dad had a raw deal. Maybe ole Darth got the shaft as well, bein' a slave, almost not getting into the school he wanted. Him mom got kidnapped by weird looking desert nomads. And the girl he likes, likes him back, but society as a whole disapproves... So Johnny (by the way Johnny is now only answering to 'Razor', cuz in his mind he's that fuckin' cool) starts to sympathize with the dark lord (the original dark lord, Darth Vader, ok? I'm not scared, I'll say his name. Voldemort! So there! Different dark lord, different post, maybe...), and kind of goes into a dark phase in his life. He sees traits between himself and the Vader that are similar and thinks to himself, "Maybe Vader's not so bad. Maybe he made some mistakes and can't find a way out. Maybe Vader saw the suit and said "OMG!! I gots to get into that crazy ass helmet! The bitches will fuckin' love it!" Maybe I can find a way out of my dark place too..."

Whatever. Johnny, I mean Razor just needs something right now and it's not a prescription strength anti-depressant. Well maybe that too, but that's not my point. He found something that helped when he felt that no one else understood him. And that's cool. We all do some sort of escapism from time to time, right? Right?! Anyway, Johnny (by the way, drops the 'Razor' title cuz it was too much work to be that fuckin' strange and it didn't get him any chicks anyway. Just sayin'...) makes it to adulthood and is still into sci-fi stuff. He begins to reexamine his idols and realizes that Luke and Vader are the same guy! Holy SHIT!! He thinks "Wow, my uncomplicated little child mind had it right the first time! Luke is just as bad ass and troubled as his Dad, he just made better decisions!" A whole new level of understanding washes over him, he readjusts himself and while sitting on his futon in his mom's basement (he changed his name to Razor, you think he's moved out yet?) weeping uncontrollably he idolizes Luke once again, knowing that a large part of the trials of his own life are also similar to that of Luke. Except for the cool space ships, epic battles, bad ass alien buddies and (thank god) lustful thoughts of his own sister (I hope).

There's one other direction to consider that Johnny may go down. 'Razor' doesn't grow up right. He doesn't find like minded friends, and he gets ridiculed beyond anything anyone should ever be made to go through. He goes completely bat shit crazy. He won't take off his funky helmet or his converted flashlight 'saber' and he walks around with chinchillas in his pockets. All. The. Fucking. Time. Two things to consider here:

1) Just be glad he didn't focus all of his attention on actually making a working light saber. He might have shown up and fucked up everyone he was pissed at.

2) Stop. Bullies. Now. Do we need to talk about Bill Gates? He was probably bullied. He's not taking over the world. He's fucking buying it. And anything he doesn't want, Steve Jobs is happy to pick up on a discount! Like c'mon we haven't figured this shit out? The bullies laugh during the school years. The bullied become maniacal geniuses and try to take over the world. Genghis Khan didn't want to take over the world 'cuz he was greedy (well, he probably was, but that's not where I'm going), he did it 'cuz he was looking for the guy that teased him for 10 fucking years about his home made fur hat. Genghis was going to beat the crap out of that dude. He was gonna take over the world after that.

Whoa, I think I totally left the road on that one.... Back to the hero stuff.

K, I'm not the first one to analyze this shit, and I definitely won't be the last. So if my take on this somehow parallels the written analysis of someone else, I apologize, I'm not ripping you off, I'm trying to make a fuckin' point. We've all met this guy in varying extremes whether we realize it or not. Sometimes he, or she for that matter, cuts loose at parties of like minded people and dresses up as his fave hero. Or maybe goes to a convention in costume. So what? Is that a bad thing. As long as they're not going to work in the surgical ward wearing the crazy rubber helmet right before they operate on my brain or something, I'm cool with it. And even then, I may let that slide as long as they don't smell like a combination of mothballs, wet dog, feet and old cheese. Don't ask where that came from, I'm scared to look too.

Here's my point, we all, I mean ALL, at some point identify with a hero or fictional figure of some kind in some way ant some time. We all, a least once, wish that we could be the tux wearing spy, or the super powered person in tights. Hell sometimes we want to be the bad guy/ girl just because we want to go against every possible rule society has placed upon us. If you haven't thought of it that way at least once, you're lying to yourself and everyone else.So, not to get any deeper into this, we all have an inner geek, and it's fun to embrace it.

Go be your own rock star/ superhero/ monster/ spy/ treasure hunter/ mad scientist whatever you want. It's your life, no one else has to live it, and no one else has to judge it in the end. I'm definitely the last guy to judge you on this. I was excited as all hell as soon as I saw I'm a superhero. It's in writing, so it's official. You go be a rooster or a rat or whatever. I'm gonna be a superhero. I always wanted to be one anyway. So I guess I made it. Also I pulled a legit Jedi mind trick on a homeless guy today and one of my geek friends, who gets me, laughed her ass off and called me her hero. So I guess that means I should get a membership card and a plaque or something. Overall, it's been a good day. Go ahead, laugh. It's my blog I'll say what I want.

As a side note, I totally want to see which signs are compatible with which in regards to dating and relationships, but that's a whole other discussion...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Slow Grilled Ribs

Part of the premise behind this blog is that I want to share some (that's right some, you think I'm going to give away all of my secrets?) of my cooking and grilling adventures. Epic or catastrophic, It's going to be entertaining.

A month or so ago, there was a potluck lunch at my office. So, since it was my first real chance to show my coworkers what I like to eat, I was out to impress. I did ribs on my BBQ, really, really slow. I know what you're thinking, 'Ya ya, we all do ribs, What makes yours so fucking special?' Well, since I love ya, I'm going to tell you. Sit back, hold onto your ass (or someone else's , I'm not going to judge) and pay attention. I'm only going to tell you this once. Well, maybe more than once, but I've always wanted to say that.

What you need:
2 Racks of Ribs
Wood Chips
A whole friggen day
Reinforcements to help you eat.

The Rub:
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup cane sugar
¼ cup Kirkland organic no salt seasoning
2 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs onion powder
2 Tbs sea salt
1 ½ tsp celery salt
¼ cup sweet paprika
1 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs fresh ground black pepper
1 ½ tsp dried sage
½ ground allspice
¼ cup cayenne
Pinch of ground cloves

Combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl watching for clumps and lumps. Make sure you mix it together as evenly as possible.

The Ribs:
It doesn’t really matter which ribs you use. You’ll adjust your cook time to accommodate different cuts. Start the night before with ribs that are not frozen. Flip them over and peel back the membrane. If you leave on the membrane, it will tighten up and get hard and difficult to chew. I find the simplest way to remove the membrane is to use a meat thermometer to poke under the edge and get it started. Once the membrane starts to peel back it pretty much takes care of itself. Just keep pulling!

DO NOT BOIL THE RIBS!!!! Boiling starts the cooking process and will make them tough. It also severely shortens the grill time regardless of the temperature of the grill.

The next part is simple, cut each rack into two pieces and put the ribs on a foil lined cookie sheet and apply the rub to every exposed side and edge. Be liberal, the quantity of rub you just made will do two full racks of ribs.
Cover them up, and put them in the fridge over night.

The Grill:
You should plan for at least 6 hours of cooking time.

The next morning take your ribs out of the fridge and place them on the counter to get them up to room temperature then go out to your grill and get it prepped. Place a shallow roaster pan under one side of your grates. This is to catch the juices off the ribs and create a steam bath and semi-self basting system.

Make sure you start with a full bottle of propane if you are using a gas grill. Preheat your grill to 200 F to 225 F. You will be cooking with indirect heat so only turn on the burners for the side not under the roaster pan.

Take your time and get the temperature stable. While you are waiting, fill a large bowl with wood chips and water. I prefer a blend of hickory and mesquite chips. Let the wood chips soak for at least an hour. This shouldn’t be a problem since it’s going to be a couple hours before you need them.

While waiting for the grill to heat up, take the time to fold a smoker box out of aluminium foil. It doesn’t have to be pretty, just make it around 2” deep with a 3” x 6” opening and be sure to include a flap that can be folded mostly closed. If you have an actual smoker box or two, well jolly good for you.

Take your ribs outside with your oil and 2 cups of HOT water. Remember that the longer and more frequently you open the lid to your grill, the more heat you will lose so let’s try to keep that to a minimum, shall we? Open your grill and pour the water into the roaster pan. Wait a minute for the water to steam off the grill and then oil your grates. Place your ribs on the grates meat side down! Close the lid, walk away for 20 minutes. Go have a beer.
These are still done in full racks, but I found that cutting each in half  produces nicer results and are easier to manage.

OK, your beer is done. Come back to your grill. Put some chips in your box and close it. Open your grill, and flip the ribs, gently. Don’t knock off your rub that you so lovingly created and applied. That would just be sad.

Put the smoker box on your grates directly over the heat source. Close your grill. Go away and have a couple of beers. Every once in a while (20-30 minutes) walk by and make sure that the temperature is holding at around the 200 F mark. Adjust your running burners if needed, but do it a little at a time to avoid causing your temps to spike. That would be bad.

Sprinkle a little extra dry rub on if you want.

Ok, another hour has passed. This step’s easy. Grab a fresh beer (stop your grinning, this one’s for the ribs) and go open your grill. Pour the whole thing (ya, the whole thing. Stop arguing with me. It’s not my fault you didn’t buy more than a dozen) into the roaster pan. Check to make sure you’re still going to have lots of smoke and add more wood chips if you think you need to (smoking meat isn’t a science, it’s an art, it’s open to interpretation. Add more if you want to, don’t ask me, I like lot of smoke, you can do it your way if you want to bad enough). Close the grill go away for half an hour.

OK, now for the good stuff. Come back with your sauce and a meat thermometer. Check the interior temp. of the thickest, meatiest rib. It should be around 170 F. I know, I know, I’m using store bought sauce, Shame on me. I haven’t perfected my own yet, and if I had, I don’t know if I’d share it anyway. I generally like to use Cattleboyz. I’ve found it at Costco and occasionally Superstore. And if you love it and can’t find it, you can order it directly from their website, http://www.cattleboyz.com/, but it’s up to you what you want to use. You don’t need much, just go out and brush on a layer of sauce to your taste onto each rack of ribs. Close the grill and go away. Set the table, you’re almost done.

Fifteen or twenty minutes after you’ve brushed on the sauce go back outside you should be done setting the table (if you’re not, you’re probably drunk in which case you have bigger problems, call for help). Take your platter with you and rescue the ribs from the very scary heat. Tent the ribs in tinfoil for 15 minutes. Open the tent up and cut the ribs into singles (FYI: I use the term ‘cut’ loosely, the ribs will probably fall off the bone or be very close to it). Put a bowl of sauce on the table with a couple of spoons in it so that you can give yourself some for dipping.

Call in your reinforcements, divide the ribs amongst yourselves and attack! You’re on your own for side dishes and beverages. You’re probably drunk anyway and should stop drinking or not. It’s your prerogative. Enjoy the meat, you’ve earned it.
The key is to take your time and keep your temperature as close to 200 F as possible. If your ribs are a lot thicker, they’ll take longer, and they’ll be done faster if they are thinner. It all depends on your cut. Back ribs are meatier but have more fat, and baby backs and spare ribs have less fat but also a little less meat. They can be just as tender, but will have a shorter cook time.

There, that's what works for me. We're all different, so do what you want.

I'm working on something for my rotisserie. More details to follow, just be fucking patient.

First in a long line of face palms...

Well, as I said, I have a couple of would be motorcycles. They sat around for a while before I got my hands on them and then, because I was busy and in school (and broke), they sat around for around two more years. I'm fairly certain that they'll run after some serious TLC, but right now they have abandonment issues and are scared to let themselves be loved again. I get that.

So, what I have is a 1982 650 Honda Nighthawk, and a 1980 650 Honda Hawk. For the most part they are the same bike except for some minor differences in the frame and engine setup. I've been focusing on the '82 since it's more or less complete. I picked up a couple of parts and have done a ton  of internet research on how to make this grumpy old bastard run again (no literally, a metric ton, I mean it! There's a pile of 1's and 0's on the floor of my living room. Fine, fuck, don't believe me).

After some serious electrical (face palm #1) bullshit, (did I mention I'm a Mechanical Technologist, not an electrical guy?) I finally got the old fucker turning over. Oh, just in case you haven't picked up on it, I'm gonna call it names until it actually starts, I'm nice and sensitive like that. Ok, back to turning over, The engine turns nice and smoothly, the starter is strong, each plug has spark at the right time and the compression is good. I know lots of gear head speak, blah, blah, fucking blah... I stand there thinking why the fuck won't this thing fire? So I pull the carbs and have a look. No gas. Dang (face palm #2)... I know what you're thinking, Yes, there is gas in the tank, and yes it's getting into the carbs. I should mention I've had them off and cleaned them up real good once already, or so I thought (face palm #3). I find out the issue is the jets are clogged, fuck.

Alright, I've now solved the clogged jets issue, back to trying to start this grouchy son of a bitch (ya, I know, more name calling). Carbs back on the bike? Check. Battery hooked up? Check. Gas in the bike and carb? Check. Key on, switched to run? Check. Let's do it. At this point I feel like Gru from 'Despicable Me' (I watch kids movies sometimes, is that a problem?), I'm all excited, I think it's going to go, I thnk it's going to be awesome, I push the starter button, it turns, it sort of pops on a couple cylinders, and then a loud pop. My leg is wet, I smell a lot of gas, and no more pops. So I look down and see and feel that I've actually blown a fuel line fitting. The best part is it's buried nice and deep in the carbs so I have to rip the whole thing apart to get at it (face palm #4). Fuck it. I've had enough abuse (did I mention this is 'fun' for me?), I'm going to drink...

The way it is...

I have a pile of loves in my life. I love my family and friends like most reasonably well adjusted people. And anyone who knows me, knows I'm probably not as well adjusted as I should be, but where's the fun in that? I have a long list of other loves in my life. Some get the attention they deserve, others not so much. I love food, good, well prepared, fill you up to the point of exploding, but make you think about another helping good food! I think that's common knowledge to most people. I also love to BBQ and grill. I think it's sad when someone says they love food, but can't cook in any way, shape or form besides getting from a box, can, freezer, or a menu.

I also love machines, motorcycles and cars. I've had a couple cars and I have a couple motorcycles. To be fair, I'm not sure if I'm allowed to call them motorcycles yet. They're being stubborn and won't run, yet... What I have at the moment is an attempt to bring a couple of old Honda's back to life on the cheap. So far the "cheap" is working out, however I have a hunch I may not be that lucky for long.

I also love video games, pinup art, airplanes, rock climbing and bouldering, and I love to rant on occasion (sometimes the occasions are more frequent than others) and every once in a while I love to write some shit down. I'm sure I have a lot of other things that I love, but this is a good start.

I may not be interesting to some, but others may enjoy following me. Here's my journey through food, motorcycles and all the shit and fuck ups in between. I'm not sure where this is going, but I hope it's somewhere good. I call it as I see it and say what I think needs to be said. I'm not out to offend anyone. If I do, sorry 'bout that, but you're probably too fucking sensitive anyway. Otherwise, If you enjoy what you see pass it along to a friend or two. If I make one person a day laugh out loud then I've had a good day.