Sunday, May 16, 2021

Customer service

 Posted yesterday about the chicken I made in the new smoker.  Didn't get done til fairly late so haven't tried it yet, but looking forward to some later today.  I mentioned the purchase story and thought I'd share.  Especially since it's actually about customer service.

Started thinking about a new smoker some time ago.  I have a big wood/charcoal fired side-box smoker that I've had for almost twenty years.  Got it used in a trade for some Harley work and it has been great.  Having a big group of people over you can fire it up at oh-dark-thirty and there is room for a lot of food.  I've fed sixty people out of that thing, smoking 15 to 20 pounds of pork along with macaroni and cheese and other various side dishes.  It is labor intensive though.  Hard to maintain the temperature, especially here in the Pacific NW where the outside temps stay generally cool and especially here on the coast where we get breezes that strip the heat from the box.  It is definitely a nice weather smoker and best for large groups.

Started doing some research and found a lot.  Pit Boss makes some great models, electric and pellet smoke.  Start at about $400.  Then I was at a motorcycle customer's and he had his little Masterbuilt running.  Paid about $150 on sale for it and loved it.  So I started looking.

Happened to be in a local sporting goods shop with a friend looking for ammo (he found his, nothing I needed but then I have stayed well stocked over the years so this shortage hasn't hit me much).  They had the Masterbuilt Sportsman Elite, normally $260 on sale for $210.  Propane powered, smoke box for wood chips, decent sized (40 inches).  I decided to pull the trigger and grab it.  They had two sitting on the floor and my buddy, who had also been thinking about it, grabbed the other.

So we find an employee with a hand truck and he pulls out both smokers.  Right about that time the owner walks through the door and asks what's going on.  Told him we were buying both and he announced that he'd have to give us a discount if we were going to buy in bulk.  I thought he was kidding but then he rang them up at $195 each instead.  Can't beat that for customer service, giving someone a discount after they've already announced their intention to buy at the tag price.

I'll be back.

As far as the smoker goes so far I've smoked a pork butt, skirt steak for fajitas, a stuffed pork loin, and beer can chickens.  Today I'm throwing in another pork butt.  I did discover that you can get better smoke by putting pellets in the tray, even though the instructions say to only use wood chips.  Not sure why they say that.  Hopefully I won't find out the hard way.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Beer Can Chicken: The Adventure Begins

Bought a new propane smoker.  Masterbuilt Sportsman Elite, the purchase of which is a fun story in its own right, but which I'll save for another time.  Been smoking with my sidebox barrel smoker for years but it makes for a very long day so this is a nice change. 

Got the Smoke and Spice cookbook years ago and couldn't recommend it more but I've never made any poultry recipes so here went nothing.

Need chickens, beer in cans, onions, and a kitchen injector cause I've never done that either.  Off to the store.  I have about two hours before I'd like to have the chicken in the smoker if I'm going to eat at a reasonable time.

Grocery store, no injectors.  Tractor Supply no pellets, spray bottles, or injectors.  Farm Coop has mesquite pellets and spray bottles but no injector but customer behind me says Ace Hardware has them.  Ace is the place, plus I get hickory pellets.  Oh, and an expensive hose for the front of the house but it was on sale.

Home.  It is now late but this shouldn't take long.

Kitchen is a mess as I ran the dishwasher before breakfast so haven't done the breakfast dishes.  Into the sink they go as it's a small kitchen with limited counter space.

Oops.  Out of Wild Willie's Beef Rub.  No problem as I have all the ingredients so easy peasy.  Put everything in a tall shaker bottle and then knock it over into an open kitchen drawer.  Sigh.  More dishes and containers covered in rub.

Moving on, inject the chicken.  I've made the injection but never used the syringe before. Bought a good one, metal, but injection fluid is going everywhere, every time I touch it. But finally thats done.  Rub the chicken and its time to set up the beer cans.  

Cut off the tops, drink half the beer (that was easy)  add chopped onions, garlic, and apple cider vinegar to the cans.  Smoker is running so time set chicken on cans and move them out.  Except that they won't stand up and keep falling over and spilling.  Turns out there's this great invention called a "beer can chicken rack", of which I have none.

No problem.  I can be inventive.  Turkey pan rack.
perfect except....

Its wider than the smoker.  Next.

Disassemble, spilling more stuff.   Put them in a pan to carry out and they promptly fall over in the pan.  But I got them out there, propped them against the little metal piece that covers the thermometer and there we go. 

 In the smoker by 4 so with a four hour smoke time I should be eating by 9.  Original plan was 6:30.  Sigh.

Good news is its a beautiful Pacific NW day and they don't get much better than this anywhere.  Rum and coke, music, backyard, and the prospect of barbecued chicken. 

Friday, May 7, 2021

Sanctuary: when is it OK and when is it not

I've seen quite a few "conservatives"  arguing that anyone promoting Second Amendment sanctuaries is a hypocrite if they opposed Sanctuary Cities by the left concerning immigration.  Trying to square that circle so I delved back into my thoughts on the matter.  Here's what I came up with.

I think it's important to distinguish between three separate actions.

1. Refusing to assist the federal government with local resources

2. Actively hindering federal government officials by blocking their actions

3. Actively hindering federal government officials by hiding illegal actions

I think I support 1.  The federal government can't coopt local resources or law enforcement.  They can pass a law stating that x is illegal under federal law but enforcement then falls on federal law enforcement agencies.  They can't require local police to arrest people for possession of a controlled substance.

I might be OK with 2 but at some point it bleeds into 1.  What if the federal government asks to be notified when an illegal alien with a criminal record (but I repeat myself since they all, by definition, are criminals but I digress.  Let's focus on some random MS-13 gang member.) is arrested so that they can pick him up for deportation and/or prosecution?  Maybe that notification falls under action 1 but since most government bureaucrats have time on their hands, making that phone call might be 1 or it might be 2.  Preventing federal officials from entering secure areas of a state building for law enforcement purposes?  I guess I don't really have any problems with that.  It is a state building, not a federal building.

I'm pretty sure I oppose 3 unless you are willing to pay the consequences.  The judge who snuck a convicted felon out the back door of her court room to keep INS from grabbing him as he came out the front is an example.  She may have been morally correct (although my reading of the case at the time suggested otherwise) but she must then suffer the consequences of her actions.  Prohibiting INS officials from raiding a business when they have evidence of criminal wrongdoing?  I'm no lawyer but I don't think you can do that.  I'd assume they'd need a proper warrant.

So now that I've delved a little, I'm no more clear on where I stand.

Tangential wanderings

Another related topic that comes into play then is whether the states can then enforce federal law in the absence of a willingness by the feds to do so.  Arizona ran into this during the Obama administration when federal law enforcement refused to enforce immigration law, so they directed their law enforcement to do so.  

I'm not convinced you can have it both ways.  Either enforcing federal law is the sole province of federal law enforcement, in which case sanctuary status is a perfectly acceptable response to state opposition to said law: or federal law is the responsibility of all citizens as much as state or local law, in which case all sanctuaries are defacto illegal.

I guess I'm going to have to give this more thought.  Odd how complicated moral decisions can be more nuanced than originally thought.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Liberated: A definition and a few observations


Observation 1: If you raised money and bought land, you didn't really liberate it, you participated in the system

Observation 2: If you bought land at 10,000 feet it probably doesn't have rich soil

Observation 3: You don't give off the vibe of a bunch of farmers so how exactly are you going to support yourselves other than by begging for money on the internet and buying food from the same oppressors from whom you bought the land?

Observation 4: Looking at the pictures, WTH?  Do you seriously think you can go off grid there?  Might want to watch a few youtube videos by people who are homesteading and living off/mostly off grid before you head off into the wild blue yonder.  Seriously, there are lots of them but since they are mostly white people I suppose you felt you had nothing to learn from them.

Observation 5: Did you get a post office box so that your welfare checks can continue to be delivered or do you just go with direct deposit?  Hopefully you have found a bank that has decolonized its mind to do business with.

Wrap up: Maybe when you start to struggle (read: die off in winter) the locals, who you will probably have annoyed by referring to them as occupiers and colonizers every chance you got, will step up and bring you down the mountain so you can go back to whatever colonized city you came from.  Maybe then you will have learned something. But I doubt it.  You don't seem like the type to learn.  Instead I suspect that you will double down on your hatred by finding ways to blame the "man" for your failure.  A few thoughts to help you get started:

A decolonized education system would have taught you the skills needed to subsistence farm at 10,000 feet (hint: there aren't any).

A decolonized assistance system would have provided everything you needed to survive on a 10,000 foot piece of desert without having to farm.

A decolonized country would not have forced you to liberate a piece of high desert and post all over the internet about your great victory, thus leading you to look like idiots in front of the whole internet.

That last one may have been snark. 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Face eating monkeys on the loose?

 I would also point out that after extensive search, we still haven't found any monkeys loose in my town, either.

Worrisome, to say the least.

Also, is it racist to call them monkeys?

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Internet speed testing

 I use a VPN.  Recently had some trouble with outgoing email which seems to have been resolved but that got me down a rabbit hole on speed testing.  Did a few comparisons.

Baseline: No VPN, Comcast service, hard wired to laptop.

VPN (which shall not be named, through US server) using Open VPN protocol

Same VPN, same server, using Wireguard, which some sites claim is faster, and some claim is slower.

Interestingly I got different results with Wireguard coming in at about half speed a few minutes ago, before I decided to write this post.  Either way, however, not sure that I am thrilled with these speeds and may do some exploring.

Other issue is that they were verified No Log, but seem to have been bought out by another company which has a bit of a sketchy reputation.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Oops I did it again!

 But since everybody loves waffles, I bought another one.  Search for "waffle" or "waffle iron" in the blog for history of "The Collection".  Meanwhile, here's a Sunbeam Model B from the late 20s/early 30s.  At least according to what I've been able to track down, which isn't much.  I'm mostly going off of a patent issued in 1929 that is stamped on the unit.