Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Another Sequel?

I listen to a classic rock station here in Wisconsin and every now and then they will throw in some new and almost new music. This is one of those songs which I thought was a remake of Sweet Home Alabama until I finally got to hear the whole song the other day and then realized what the song was about, Northern Michigan. Then imagine my surprise when I found out Kid Rock sang it. Needless to say I was shocked, I didn't think he had any songs I actually liked. It is called "All Summer Long."

And then I did a search on Kid Rock and found this song called "Amen".

Can it be possible that a "Hollywood" type (yes I know he is from Detroit) might actually get it?

Most of the songs I have heard him do I didn't really care for but now I may have to start to listen to more of his music to see if he might have any more songs as good as these two.

Who would of guessed?

Monday, May 26, 2008

It's Red Wing Time

Sorry wings are on so I am going to let the pictures tell the story. By the way it is 2-0 right now late in the second period.





WINGS WIN!!!! 3-0

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Smells of the U.P.

I had a busy day today, ok not really. But I was busy this morning trying to decide how I wanted to cook the ribs today (reminds me of someone else I know trying to decide between polka dots or plain fabric). Of course they were going into the smoker but the big decisions needed to be made. Do I want to marinade them or put a rub on them. Tough decisions but I finally made up my mind. What really made my decision was when I looked into the cupboard and there staring me in the face was some left over rub from another rib cook out. The bbq sauce decision was an easy one since I had spent yesterday making some.
I really hadn't planned on writing about the ribs but they came out so good tonight I thought they deserved at least a mention. I used the St. Louis cut this time instead of the baby back style I normally use. The St. Louis cut has more meat on them and as I found out also takes longer to cook. This might possibly be my best effort yet cooking ribs I am going to give them a 4.75 out of 5 with the only improvement needed is a little more cooking time.

The real reason for tonight's post is this:
I know of a couple of hoodlums out there will know what all this is for and I hope they are drooling right now. This is the peach cobbler we used to make when we were at the cabin or out camping. I think this could possible be one the the best smells in all the world, peach cobbler cooking over an open fire at night. Brings back memories.

This is one of the simplest cobblers to make. Just follow the pictures.

Start by lighting a fire in the chimney starter.

Dump everything into the dutch oven.

Cook. Oh the smells when it is cooking.

Take off the fire when done.

Serve with ice cream and enjoy.

I wanted to make this tonight because I haven't made it for a couple of years and I thought I might need a trial run before I make it next weekend. (By the way do I need to bring my dutch ovens with me or will there be one or two available?)

What could be better, bbq ribs and peach cobbler, oh yeah.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

WINGS WIN!! The wings win and in convincing fashion with a 4-0 victory. Other then the first 10 minutes of the first period the wings dominated this game. The first period they took 4 penalties so they spent half the period playing short handed. Once they killed off the penalties the game changed. The Red Wing defense took over and gave up only 7 shots over the last two periods. The inexperienced Penguins started to turn the puck over and the Wings took advantage. I have to say though I really like Sidney "The Kid" Crosby, he is going to be a great hockey player. I just love the way he plays the game.

Tigers win. I know I was going to spend some time writing about the Tigers but they have been playing so bad I thought maybe if I ignored them maybe they would turn it around. So far it hasn't been working so maybe I will start to pay a little more attention to them when the Stanley Cup playoffs are over. By the way the score was 19-3.

Pistons lose. I don't watch a lot of basketball but I do pay attention to the Pistons when they get into the playoffs. There isn't a better person than Joe Dumars in all of sports. He was a class act as a player and continues to be as the front office person for the Pistons. He is the reason the Pistons continue to be good year after year.

Our Saturday
I got up this morning and the first thing I wanted to do was write about the REO Speedwagon concert we went to last night. After that the wife reminded me we had to take the car to Sheboygan today and get an emissions test done. This is something that is required in the county we live in. If we lived another 5 miles to the north we wouldn't have to have an emissions test. It's like watching a doctor operate through a glass window. You watch them take the car a perform different test on it and then the last thing they do is test the gas cap. Why? I don't know, they just do it. The car passed with flying colors.

After that we went to Home Depot shopping, spent to much money and then we headed to Fond Du Lac to the new grocery store we were at last weekend. The wife needed to pick up the key limes for the award winning key lime pie she will be making for next weekend. Saturdays are always our shopping day I am suppose to have our weekly meals planned out so we can get our groceries for the week. I didn't have any plans and that is not good when you are already in the grocery store. I quickly came up with a plan and we hit the isles.

Some of the groceries we bought today are shown below for our dinner.
Tonights menu was grilled salad brushed with olive oil and then served with raspberry vinegarette, lemon butter grilled salmon, and grilled prawns with Emeril's Essence sprinkled on them. The salad was good, different and definitely worth another try. The salmon was a much better effort than the last time I made it. I took the skin off before I grilled it this time and sprinkled it with a little Emeril's before I brushed on the butter flavored lemon juice. Overall a 4.75 out of forks out of 5, I'm not sure I can improve much more. The prawns were good but I think I may have over cooked them because they were just a touch tough. It could be from them being on the large side too, still good though.

For dessert tonight we had grilled pineapple spears brushed with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. I can't tell you how simple this is to do and how delicious it is, a great topper to a fully grilled meal.
I can't think of a better way to top off the day than by watching the Red Wings win tonight.

Rolling with the Changes

I was telling the wife last night things sure have changed at rock concerts since I first went to one almost 30 years ago. We were talking about this as we were sitting in the Fox Area Center for Performing Arts waiting for REO Speedwagon to come on stage.

First of all you need to picture what type of place were were sitting in. Think about an opera type auditorium with the stage in front, orchestra pits, the lower bowl, and rising balconies around the sides and back. The seats were covered with
cushions and plush red fabric, and armrest. I don't think there is a bad seat in the house. We were sitting in the third balcony (out of 4) in the back row and they were fantastic seats. We were about 20' above the band and approximately 80' away. I felt as though I was almost looking straight down on the band. The balcony we were sitting in was steep. The person's head in the row in front of us only came to our knees when they were sitting down. This place has great site lines. Up until this point the casino in Mt. Pleasant was the most comfortable place I had ever watched a concert from (which was coincidently REO Speedwagon) but now this place is, and I doubt I ever watch a concert from a better place. I should also mention this place only seats about 700-800 people a far cry from the 60,000 to 80,000 seat stadiums I have watched concerts from.

That isn't the only changes the people have changed too. Well maybe not the people but the age has changed, they have gotten older. There weren't any drunk or stoned kids, nobody running around looking for free pot or trying to find a "buyer" for their alcohol, nobody passed out or laying in their own vomit, I didn't see any obscene tee shirts, and none of those "cool" looking people outside scalping tickets. What I did see was grown people anywhere from 30 to 60 years old, some even with their kids, well dressed with khakis and button shirts, hair combed, and filing in and out of the theater in an orderly manner. To the right of us were two older ladies, mid 50's maybe, and to the left of us were a couple in their mid 40's or so.

The other thing I noticed was nobody holds up lighters anymore while the songs play. Instead of lighters they use the glow from their cell phones. My, my how things have changed.

I enjoyed the concert. REO was better tonight than the night I saw them in Mt. Pleasant. They seem to have more energy, the music seem to have more energy, even the audience seem to have more energy. I am not sure how many of the original memebers are left but the singer, Keven Cronin, is still there. Even so I thought the music they played was good. I'm sorry I don't have any pictures or video but the security guards (they were old ladies in their 70's - no joke) wouldn't let me take my camera in with me. As you would expect they played plenty of the old songs with a couple of the new songs from the latest album they produced. One song they preformed was Take Me Out to the Ballgame. They have been asked, along with other bands from what they said, to do their renditions of the song by ESPN Baseball Tonight to air on future shows. They had rehearsed it once that day and sang it that night. It was definitely the most rock and roll version I have ever heard.

They played their usual encore, as every band does, but instead of one song they played two, Riding the Storm Out and 157 Riverside Avenue.

Rock and Roll shall live forever.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Memory Disks, Sidewalks and Birds

Everybody already knows all about my camera problems in the last couple of weeks and how I was treated by Canon. I have already mentioned that I thought Canon went above and beyond what they needed to do to have a happy customer. My only complaint, and believe me it was very minor, was they didn't send my memory card back with the new camera they sent me. Well guess what was on my back porch when I came home at noon today for lunch? That's right another Fedex package and guess what was in it? Right again, my memory card plus the batteries from my old camera. Now doesn't that just top all? Only one problem though, the old memory card doesn't work in my new camera. I don't think I will complain though.
For Sale: One (1) 256 MB compact flash card, slightly used but still works fine, may have one or two purple haze pictures on it.

If anybody has any use for this memory card let me know they can have it because I have absolutely no use for it.

It has been well documented that we moved from the hustle and bustle of Arlington/Washington DC area to the country of Wisconsin. In DC the sidewalks are are wide and always crowded with people. I thought you might enjoy our new sidewalks here in Wisconsin.
As we were walking tonight on the "sidewalks" of Wisconsin we never passed another sole, nobody bumped into us trying to go somewhere, and I think 5 vehicles may have passed us on the road. Life is a little different here in Wisconsin, just a touch slower. The only thing we saw tonight was this little bird out on his own evening stroll.
I should also mention while I was home today for lunch setting on my front porch was a UPS package with my new 4 gig Sansdisk. I'll bet nobody knew we had a segregated house when it came to delivery men. Fedex uses the back porch and UPS uses the front. It won't be long and the government will step in and desegregate my porches.

And speaking about birds last week on my way up to Wausau I saw a bald eagle. They are such a great bird and worthy of being our national symbol. I never tire of seeing one.

And speaking about Wausau here is a picture of the building I am the project manager on.
As you can see it is starting to come to a finish. Don't ask me what I think of the architecture on this one. Well, ok, personally I think the architect missed the boat with the design. To me this building doesn't jump out a say anything, just another plain old building. This is a manufacturing plant for a major window maker you would have thought they would make a statement of some kind with the design. And that's to bad because this is a LEED building which means it is a green building, very energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

Just in case you are wondering no I didn't take this picture.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Garden

The other night I think I may have mentioned I am growing a garden this year. This is the beginnings of that garden.
Pretty impressive huh? I miss having a garden back home in Michigan so this is the next best thing. As soon as I don't have to worry about frost anymore (around late July) I am going to set my garden down on the ground in front of our deck. It should be a good spot because the sun hits this spot all day long. I will give periodic updates as the garden progresses.

Speaking about sunshine I was reading older sister's blog the other day and she was complaining about all the rain they have had over the last few weeks. Well late me tell you something all we have had for the last week or so is sunshine. If fact we could use some rain. The farmers have all the fields planted and one of the guys at work told me the corn is starting to show in the fields. The weekend is suppose to be in the '70's and sunshine. Maybe we will wonder down to the ballgame in Milwaukee. The Brewers never get rained out because in their new stadium they can put the roof over the stadium in bad weather. Wasn't baseball meant to be played outside regardless of weather?
I was outside tonight playing with my new camera and took this picture. I think I am going to really enjoy that macro lens. You don't know how many years I have wanted on of these lens. The wife thinks I have gone nuts with the camera she threatened to have me committed after she saw me taking pictures of food. She just doesn't understand, it's cheap entertainment. I have always enjoyed going out and taking photos I just got away from it when the kids were growing up. I was always chasing them to one place or another. Now the youngest may try to tell you I never took any pictures of him but that isn't the case at all. I have plenty of pictures, especially of him playing ball in the last few years. I am hoping the district games don't get rained out while I am there because I want to take more pictures while I am there.

I just purchased a 4 gig sandisk memory card so I should be able to take plenty of pictures while I am there. If my ciphering is right that baby should hold over 1000 photos.

I think my next purchase will be some photo editing software. I have been using Picasa 2 and I am starting to realize its limitations. I think I need something more because there is other things I want to do with my photos and can't right now. Canon sent some new photo editing software with the camera but I think it is along the lines of Picasa, it has limitations.

I was at Johnsonville Sausage yesterday and try to talk them out of 10 pounds of brats for the weekend but they would have none of that. I don't know if anybody has every tried Johnsonville products but for store bought brats and sausage they are pretty darn good. If you ever get a chance try their Sweet Italian Sausage in spaghetti sometime, it really adds a new flavor and much better than the dreary old hamburger.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Guess What I Got Today?

So I am sitting at home today at lunch time watching First Take on ESPN and guess who shows up? Yep it was the FEDEX men (I guess it takes two to do deliveries now) with my camera. I was elated to finally have my camera back from Canon even though it was only a week.

I tore open the box and the first thing I find is the invoice from Canon describing what was wrong with the camera, blah, blah, blah. The next thing I read is the amount owed $0.00, cool. I then notice inside the box a complete set of operating instructions, now that is cool they sent a new set of instructions. I took the books out of the box and below them was another box. I am thinking "Boy that Canon company goes first class when they send cameras back to people." Then I notice a new cord for the camera, huh? New batteries in a package too. Wow, that Canon knows how to take care of customers. Then I lift up the Styrofoam packaging material and what do I see? A black camera! What? My camera is silver, did they make a mistake? I grabbed the invoice and start reading and it says "We regret to inform you that the parts were not available for your camera so we sent you one of equal or better value than the one you sent in. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you." Inconvenience? I send in a Canon Powershot S1 1S that takes pictures at 3.1 megapixels and you send me back a Canon Powershot S5 1S that takes pictures at 8.0 megapixels and you are sorry for the inconvenience? Don't be, apology accepted. I'm happy I just wish you would have sent my memory card back but I will live. I will gladly buy a new memory card and will never say any bad words about Canon.

What I like about this camera is I can mount my bounce flash on top of it. This will be a huge improvement in pictures taken inside the house. It also has a built in macro lens, a lens you can actually touch the subject you are taking a picture of.
I realize this may not be the best subject for a picture but it was the only thing that would hold still for me in the wind tonight. Oh the possibilities.

I did take some pictures of dinner tonight which I will share with you.
A while back I posted a dinner that showed all the ingredients lined up that I used for that meal. My two half century old sisters quickly asked if I was turning into one of their favorite blogs "Confessions of a Pioneer Woman." I thought they said this because she made ketchup or something similar to that in one of her post. Then I decided to check out her post and then I got it, she too lines up all her ingredients she is using for the meal she is making. So much for me having an original idea.
This is one of those quick meals that takes about the same amount of time to make as it takes for the pasta to cook. Here is a hint form Mario Batali I use and it works, after the pasta is cooked take about a cup of the pasta water and put it into the pan with the rest of the ingredients. My understanding is this will help everything to stick to the pasta better. If there is an another reason for this please leave a comment but for now that is my story and I am sticking to it.
This is the finished product. I gave it a 5 out of 5 forks. Simply delicious. I think the Kentucky ham had something to do with it. It is a real ham with no water added and 1/3 of the salt of a normal ham you would buy from the store. I think this may be the best ham I have ever had.

Stayed tuned because I have my camera back and I am ready to post new pictures. Now I just have to figure out what all the buttons do.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Jock Update

I thought I might spend some time tonight and update everybody what I have been up to for the last week.

As everybody knows I had to send my camera out to get fixed so I haven't had any pictures to post. I have received word that I will have my camera back tomorrow. I can hardly wait since I found the macro lens for it. I am curious to see if it will do what I hope it will do. My camera has never been good at close ups and I am hope the macro lens will do the trick. I want to be able to take pictures like the one big sis took this weekend.
Last weekend I finally finished a side job I had been working on for two weeks. After this one was finished I received another one to finish the kitchen at Midland Christian School and I worked on this one for the last week. One problem with this one though, it was a freebie. I had told the school two years ago when I knew they wanted to finish the kitchen I would do it for nothing. I kept my word but it took a lot more work than I originally thought it would. Oh well. I just received word today I have a good chance of designing the new Diary Queen in Midland. It looks like to me it will be one with ice cream only, smart people.

Oh I did the usual chores around the house that is expected of me like mow the lawn (with much straighter lines I might add), got the weed whipper out and trimmed all around the house and trees. The lawn looks pretty good other than the mess from installing the new septic system. I wish the landlord would get it cleaned up. I got my garden planted with cherry tomatoes, big boys, red and green peppers, basil, parsley, and some other items. I should mention that all my garden is planted in planter boxes. When I get my camera back I will start taking pictures and show the progress it makes. I just need to keep the wife away from it because she has a habit of killing plants.
Last Saturday we went to Fond Du Lac to check out a new grocery store the wife had learned about from a coworker. Turns out this may be the best grocery store in the area. It reminded me of Meijers. They have the best choices of produce in the area. They even had key limes, imagine that.

And speaking about key limes the wife and I have finally settle on a key lime pie for the contest. I am about sick of key lime pies so I will be glad when this is over. The first key lime pie the wife made was from Barefoot Contessa which was very good and very tart. The third pie she made was a dud, it won't be coming to the contest. The last one she made this last weekend is from Emeril. You don't have to freeze it and you actually cook it. It has a sour cream topping on it. Very good, maybe a touch better than the Contessa one, not so tart. But the best one is the second one she made. Ohhhhh I got to tell you it is sooo good. I can't tell you where it came from, at least not just yet, but trust me it's good. Championship good.

I have been doing the usual cooking around here, nothing to really report on for I haven't done anything unusual or new lately. I did cook a pork butt yesterday in the Weber with my new Smokenator 1000. After ten hours of long slow cooking out comes some of the best tasting pork you will ever have. I love those bbq pork sandwiches with cole slaw on them. This might be one of my favorite meals.

I did make a new type of bbq sauce this weekend, it's a little tangy. I may take out some of the vinegar and replace it with a little brown sugar to sweeten it up a bit. I think I might bring this one with me next weekend. The other bbq sauce I have been working on just didn't get it the last time I made it. It is missing something and I just can't figure it out.

That's about all the excitement we have had around here for the last couple of weeks. I have a couple of post ideas I hope to get to this week while I have a little time.

The above pictures are compliments of peej from last summer. The first one is Iw0 Jima memorial. It is a good picture and would have been a great picture if he had got the whole flag in it. The second one is taken on Pennsylvania Avenue looking back at the capital building.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

This is Who I Am, I Think

Ok since everybody has felt compelled to describe what they do for employment I should probably try to explain what I do and how I got there. For most people it won't seem to exciting but for me I enjoy it.

Even though I never graduated from Michigan Tech the education I did receive helped me tremendously to get started in my current profession. After Tech I ended up at Mid Michigan Community College where I graduated number one in my class. I was actually trained for heating and air conditioning service but I ended up getting a job with a architectural/engineering firm in Midland. I was hired as a draftsmen but my boss must have seen something in me because he took the time to teach me how to design heating and air conditioning systems, plumbing systems and fire protection systems in commercial buildings. I also took some initiative to learn all I could from him so I wouldn't have to be a draftsman all my life. Now I don't mind drawing and still do some today but if I wanted to make better money I needed to learn the engineering end of the business. Before I left there I was designing complete buildings systems by myself, life was good other than money.

Sometimes the best way to get ahead in life is to change jobs so thats what I did. I went to work for a contractor and I did all the engineering, heating and air conditioning and plumbing systems, for the buildings we were building. While I worked there I did several notable building (at least to some of you out there). Some buildings I did in Dow were 827 Bldg, Patent/Law Office Bldg, 1803 Bldg, 1776 Bldg, Larkin Lab Office Bldg, and many others I can't remember. Outside of Dow I did Mancino's restaurants (Midland, Mt. Pleasant, Big Rapids, Cadillac, etc), Visiting Nurse Association at the Midland Hospital, Data Room at the Midland Hospital, an operating room at Midland Hospital, a vacuum cleaner plant in Cadillac, Great Lakes Junior College in Midland, plus numerous other buildings and plants around the area.

From here I went into business for myself for about 7 years. When the economy went south in Michigan and stayed there it was time for me to move on. The headaches and stress of owning your own business just isn't worth it when you can make more money working for somebody else than for yourself. I had thought about taking another job for a while but I didn't really know how employable I was since I had been out of the loop for so long. I also knew I would have to leave Michigan which I didn't mind I was just hoping to hold out long enough to see all my kids graduate. By midway through 2006 I knew I would have to leave sooner than I wanted. I finally decided to test the waters for jobs in the fall of 2006 so I posted my resume on Monster.com. I thought this would be a good test to see if anybody would actually hire me. Two days after I posted my resume I pulled it because I couldn't keep up with all the calls. I couldn't believe it I was actually wanted. I still get calls every other month or so and I get emails almost daily. I found out I had just about the perfect experience for what people were looking for out there. Little did I know.

My biggest decision was what part of the country do we want to live in? If it had not been for kids I probably would have went west but because of kids we decided we wanted to stay with a days drive of Michigan. That is how we ended up in Virgina. I had a great job in Virgina. I was doing everything I loved to do designing heating and air conditioning systems for commercial buildings. I was doing buildings by myself with very little interference from anybody. I was doing the type of buildings I like and also the type of systems I like to do. I didn't have any employees to worry about and I didn't have to collect money. Oh I did have a draftsman that did most of my drawing for me but I wasn't responsible for him. Besides he was the presidents brother-in-law so if figured he was his problem. I worked directly for the president and vice president of the company, it truly was a great job and great pay. I did a Max and Erma's restaurant out in Dulles airport, did a million dollar conference room for AARP in downtown DC, worked on a 250,000 square foot office building for the Army Corps of Engineers, plus numerous office buildings all around the area. I also did a new Day Care Center for AOL.

After the wife was laid off from her job because of economic reasons she made one trip to Virgina and found a job. She too loved her job but there was one problem, the city life was hard for us to deal with (so we thought).

When that call came from Green Bay Wisconsin it was hard to ignore. Soon a job offer and a chance to move back to the mid west. It was with another contractor. I was going to do their engineering and a little project managing too. The job hours are from 7:00am to 4:30pm except Tuesdays when I start at 6:30am (and Shay thought 8:00am was early)and I am free to come and go as I please. The engineering I do now is more along the lines of industrial engineering, mostly for food plants like Johnsonville, Grande, and plants like Kohler where they make engines, generators and toilets. I still design heating and air conditioning systems and some plumbing systems it is just a little different type now. This part of the job I enjoy and I would be happy if that is all I did. But, like I said I also do some project managing. I am currently in charge of a 350,000 square foot manufacturing complex with a 70,000 square foot office building attached to it. I have to make sure we have enough employees there to do the work, I have to make sure we have all the material there to do the work, I have to do billings, and I am expected to take care of all the employee problems that crop up. I am having flashback nightmares. This is what I left behind in Michigan hoping to never have to worry about again. Have I mentioned I hate it. The construction of the building is going along nicely, we will be done ahead of schedule and the company will probably make more money (net profit) on this project than any other job they have ever done. I still hate it, the stress levels are high and I can feel it. All I want to do is what I am good at, design buildings.

I still so "side" work which I truly enjoy. Some recent buildings I have done some of you might recognize are the Coleman Library, the new Wendel's store in Mt Pleasant, numerous township offices, Midland Christian School, Lux Funeral Home in Mt. Pleasant, Rosebush Manor, and Burnout Motor Sports in front of Jay's.

So who am I? I am not sure, I think I am still finding out. In the last year and a half I have gone from living in the country to the city (and a big one a that, DC) and back to the country. If you would have asked me before I ever lived in a city if I thought I could live in a city I would have said NO! A funny thing has happened since I left the DC area 8 months ago, I found out I miss it. I can't explain it other than there was always something to do or someplace to go. Bored on a Sunday, hop on the Metro and go watch a ball game. Just want to get out, go for a walk in the cemetery or in the Washington National Mall. Take a trip to the Smithsonian's or one of the many other museums in the area, most are free. And if you are into people watching there is no better place than DC to do it. Then why did we leave? I think it was what we were living in. It was a small apartment, 500 square feet at the most. We could never get away from each other and it caused us to go stir crazy.

So now what? I believe we will be moving back to DC in the near future. I wouldn't be surprised if the wife goes back there early in the fall because her former employer has offered her a substantial raise to come back. I will follow by the first of the year after the elections are over. I have been talking to my former employer and he wants to wait until after the elections because of the uncertainty of the economy. He says they are swamped with work buy wants to wait as a precaution. Other than that I am welcome to come back.

I guess I turned out to be a country boy who is a mechanical engineer/project manager that wants to be a city slicker who is a mechanical engineer.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Anybody Seen My Camera?

Sorry no pictures tonight because my camera is somewhere between me and the repair shop. I also have an APB out on my old Canon AE1 so if anybody knows it where abouts I would appreciate it if they contact me. I would suggest for anybody that owns a digital camera or camcorder that they check the Internet and make sure they don't have one of the models with the bad CCD Image Sensor. Several models of cameras and camcorders had bad CCD image sensors installed in them and it doesn't matter if it is a Canon, Nikon, expensive or inexpensive camera. Just my luck I have a camera with the bad sensor in it (by the way it is a Canon). Canon (I think most of the camera manufactures are following suit) will repair the camera for nothing and they will also pay the shipping. Beware if you start getting purple haze pictures this is probably the problem.

I did make Sunday dinner this week and it was bbq baby back beef ribs and grilled asparagus. That's right you read that right I did say baby back BEEF ribs. Now don't get me wrong I still prefer pork ribs over beef but every now and then you need to throw a changeup to keep things off balance.

I haven't cooked beef ribs for a few years now and I though maybe it was time again. The first time I cooked them it turned out to be disaster. They were tough, kind of like eating a raw hide bone. I have hesitated since to cook beef ribs but after doing some research on them I figured I knew what I had done wrong back then. I don't think beef ribs are as for giving as pork ribs, they need to be slow cooked over low temperatures. Everything I read said they need to cook anywhere from 4 to 6 hours. From what I understand you can't cook them to long as long as you apply the long and low method.

The cooking method I chose to use was my trusty Weber Gold and the long low smoking method. Now imagine my surprise when I got home from shopping Saturday and sitting on my back porch was my new Smokenator 1000 for my Weber grill. I can't tell you how excited I was to see it because I had just ordered it on Thursday. This thing is suppose to turn a Weber grill into a lean, mean, smoking machine. I couldn't wait to try it.

Last night as I was getting the ribs ready I decided to use a marinade this time. I made the marinade out of rice vinegar, hosin sauce, pineapple juice, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Today I read the instructions for my new Smokenator 1000 and assembled it into my Weber. I fired up the charcoal (not gas for you people who cheat) and brought the Weber up to temperature. I put the ribs in the Weber and let them go for just over 4 hours. After 4 hours I sauced them up with some of my homemade bbq sauce and then took them off the grill. I then put on the asparagus and cooked it until tender. And just like that Sunday dinner.

The beef ribs I will give a 3 out of 5 forks because they weren't as tender as they should be. They pulled easily off the bone but they could be more tender. Next time I will let them cook longer. I do have to say they were really moist and the credit goes to the Smokenator 1000. They had real good flavor. The bbq sauce turned out good too, this is probably the batch I will be bringing home with me. I was worried this morning when I made it because it seemed like it was missing something. I almost threw it all out. It is amazing how much the flavor changed in it out on the grill.

The asparagus will get a 4.75 out of 5 forks. Olive oil and pepper and put them on the grill. There was still some wood left over from cooking the ribs and I think it developed a little smoke because the asparagus had just a slight smoky flavor to it, delicious. After I took the asparagus off the grill I give it a quick dusting of parmesan/reggiano cheese.

When I get my camera back I will share some photos of the Smokenator 1000 and how it works. I will also have a better idea if I like it or not. So far after using it today I would say it was a good investment.

I also just made some peach cobbler for dessert tonight. I am trying something new and I am hoping it turns out so I can bring it home with me in late May. So far it looks good. I made it in the oven tonight but next time I will make it outside on the coals.

Key Lime Pie Update
The wife made a new recipe for key lime pie today and we will be sampling and evaluating for the next couple of nights. I will let everybody know if it is the winner or not. I think she will have a hard time beating the one she make a couple of weeks ago. We had some other people sample it and they are clamoring for the recipe. I think everybody else is in trouble if we bring that pie with us.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Who Wrote This Song?

Do you now who wrote this song called All Along the Watchtower? You might think it was Jimi Hendrix, but it wasn't. He did make the song famous though, I think at Woodstock. This video isn't from Woodstock but it is an incredible rendition of All Along the Watchtower. If you notice Jimi is a left handed guitar player. You might think to yourself 'so what.' Well, take a closer look at the guitar and if you notice he is playing a right handed guitar upside down. Where would he have gone down in rock 'n roll history if he hadn't died so young? Does he look stoned?

Maybe you think Neil Young wrote it. Neil Young is a great song writer but you would be wrong if you thought he wrote All Along the Watchtower. I knew he could play guitar but he is better than I thought. Doesn't he have an unique voice?

No it is not Eric Clapton or Lenny Kravitz but I thought you might enjoy this version. Kravitz's singing voice along with Clapton's 'slow hand' guitar playing is a video worth watching.

It was my favorite version until I found this one. If you only listen to one of these versions listen to this one.

WOW!! Simply incredible, that's rock 'n roll at it best right there. The beginning of the song is the way it was originally written, a slow ballad or folk song. It was Jimi Hendrix who made it into a rock song and these guys take it to a new level. By the way the band is Dave Matthews Band and no they didn't write the song although they certainly take it to the next level. Watch the guy on the violin, he really gets into the song.

Could it be Bruce Springsteen? He is a great songwriter and easily could have written this song. But alas it is not.

This may be the most remade song of all time. This song has been performed by such notables as Pat Boone, David Glimour (of Pink Floyd), Elton John, Heart, John Mellencamp, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Pearl Jam, London Symphony Orchestra, Ten Years After, Allman Brothers Band, and Tiny Tim. But guess what? Yep, that's right none of these are the ones who wrote the song.

Ok by now either you actually know who wrote the song, your curiosity has you and you just need to know, you googled it already just to find out or you just don't care anymore. What ever it is I won't make you wait any longer. Here it is.....

If you haven't figured it out yet that is Bob Dylan with his version and yes he is the original song writer. He originally intended the song to be a folk song but after her heard Jimi Hendrix's version he thought Jimi had improved it. There is some thought out there that he plays it that way as a tribute to Jimi Hendrix. Dylan wrote the song after a motorcycle accident when he was reading the bible daily. There are suppose to be a lot of references to the bible in the song.

Which version is your favorite?

Monday, May 5, 2008

No Sunday Dinner

Nope, no Sunday dinner to post this week. Did you miss it? Because I sure did. I got bogged down in work this weekend so I didn't have time to make our normal Sunday dinner. I got an email earlier in the week from a local contractor (local to Michigan that is) and they needed drawings done by Sunday evening so I worked 12 hours on Saturday and again on Sunday. About 8:30 Sunday night I finally finished. It was a new manufacturing building for a company that makes parts for planes or jets or something like that.

I did accomplish one thing that has been on my list of things to do, not necessarily on my bucket list but something I wanted to do. I made ketchup this weekend. I have been wanting to make ketchup for a while now and after some research I finally decide to try.

Most of the recipes I found started out with tomatoes (imagine that). If you start with tomatoes from the vine it takes quite a few of them to make ketchup. Then you have to cook them, peel them and crush them. Sounds like a real pain in the you know what. About a week a go it dawned on me

"Why can't I use crushed tomatoes from a can?"

Dah! How dumb.

Now you might be asking yourself "Why would he want to make his own ketchup? There are good ones on the shelf in the grocery store."

I will answer this question. In my research about ketchup I found out companies like to load up their ketchup with sugar and salt because us Americans like our sweet food and salt. The sugar doesn't bother me so much but the salt does. I like to control the salt in my food and if I make my own ketchup I can do this. Besides I think I may have told someone before this is the base of my bbq sauce. Now I am in control.
The above ingredients is all you need to make ketchup.

"Organic crushed tomatoes?" you ask.

Yes, if you look under where it says crushed tomatoes you will see it says 'No salt added.' I don't go out looking for organic food but I buy these crushed tomatoes because of the salt or lack there of. Now go ahead and look on your can of crushed tomatoes you have in the cupboard, I'll wait................................
Look on the back, if it is a 28 ounce can it will say something like 160 mg of sodium. The crushed tomatoes I am using say 20 mg of sodium. The normal can of crushed tomatoes have 8 times more salt than the organic tomatoes. Be forewarned though, just because it says organic does not mean low in sodium. The other can I have in my cupboard says organic and it also says 160 mg of sodium.
Ketchup as it turns out is pretty easy to make. Start out by 'sweating' one onion and then throw in the rest of the ingredients, cook for about 1 to 2 hours, depending on your desired thickness, and you have it.
Once everything is cooked to your satisfaction put into the blender and blend until smooth.
It will keep 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator or simply store it in the freezer.

I sampled some of the ketchup and it wasn't to bad, especially for my first try. I wasn't as sweet as store bought ketchup but it still had good 'ketchup' flavor. I think it will make a good base for my bbq sauce I will be making next weekend.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Music Sequels Cont.

Okay so it took me a few days to actually think of a song with a sequel to it. When I did finally think of one I couldn't believe how obvious this particular song and sequel are. If you have ever been to a sporting event you will know this song, the sequel that is. The original song wasn't near as popular as the sequel.

The name of the original song? Rock and Roll Part 1. The name of the sequel? Rock and Roll Part 2. How could I miss these songs? As I said above Rock and Roll Part 2 is probably the most played song ever at any sporting event.

The originator of these songs? Gary Glitter. Apparently he has a history of problems with little girls because he is presently serving a prison sentence in Vietnam for child pornography. I am surprised they didn't execute him.

The first song isn't very good so if you are only going to listen to one of them listen to the second video. If you are in for a good laugh watch the first, it is quite a get up Gary Glitter is wearing.

Rock and Roll Part 1

Rock and Roll Part 2

I wonder, how long did it take to write these songs?

I think I might have to question the band's sexual orientation after watching the videos too.