Saturday, January 30, 2010

Anybody Want A "Mushy Slushy"?

Just Add Sugar & Food Coloring...

Dang it, I want my money back.

For might ask?

How about the crappy XXL Long Johns I bought at Wal Mart which must be designed for people in China that consider themselves to be of the size "XXL" but really wear Boy's size 6x, and then there's the crappy Ski Bib pants we rushed out and bought at Burlington Coat Factory for $29.99 at lunch on Friday, also in size "XXL"...but which make me look like some mutated cross between "The Michelin Man" and "The Pillsbury Dough boy" (think Ghost busters) when I put them on this morning.

If I were 6'6" tall they might fit correctly.

I put everything on and walked outside and all of the birds took off and flew away and a neighbor's dog peed on itself before running away as I stomped through what is left of a nice snow and sleet storm on the way to the mailbox to pick up the newspaper this morning.

I don't blame them because I was pretty alien looking lumbering along with excess fabric surrounding a man basically wearing a couple of rubber bands around his middle and thighs and ankles underneath a circus tent.

Any way...I'm pretty pissed off now because our weather turned to "almost freezing rain" about 3:30 AM this morning and moushed and sqoushed and slopped everything that had fallen earlier up into something about the consistency of a cheep Daiquiri or Snow Cone, so sledding is out today unless things drop back below freezing, but tonight things are going down into the teens over night so I guess I might get a few test runs in tomorrow.

The other thing that bothers me is that with the sloppy wet mush the scenery is hardly worth shooting photos of which takes away my other aspirations for the day.

At least we missed a utility interrupting Ice storm but going from 7" to 11" forecast to what we have outside should make Owl Gore and the tie dyed, Patchouli stinking sniveling tree hugging booger eating Global Warming Alarmist shut the &^%$ up and leave my wallet alone for the next 25 years because the guys wearing coats and ties at the National Weather Service and The Weather Channel blew it in my opinion.

So nobody better come to my house in the next month and tell me about Spotted Owls and Polar Bears and melting Glaciers in the Himalayas unless you want a giant man in ill fitting clothing to punch you in the nose with his calculator.

Time to calm down and go cook breakfast I guess...

Virgil's Vexing Vexations

Out Of The Frying Pan...

OK, it's about 3:30 AM and our snow and sleet has converted to freezing rain since midnight, further packing things down in the yard and on the deck and causing the tree limbs to start glistening and making me nervous about the integrity of our electrical power services.

Meanwhile, having mastered the design of crazy adult sized sleds made of surplus beach chair parts I've turned my attention back to my up coming St. Simons Island Rotary Red Hot Chili Cookoff and the recipe and booth supporting the cooking and presentation thereof.

As is normal in my life, instead of taking the easy route and just breaking the old booth out of storage on the island and doing some touch up paint, after Googling around looking at Caribbean theme photos I found this picture of a little patio bar

and I've decided that with John's permission I have to attempt to modify our existing structure in an effort to replicate something like this for this year's Chili event.

So now I have a couple of hours into doing preliminary sketches on grid paper and after taking a nap I'll refine things and do a bill of materials and see where the weather takes us.

Stay tuned to this channel Y'all...

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Weather's Here

Wish I Were Beautiful Was 20 Years Younger

OK, we officially have a winter storm going on outside my back door.

The forecast has bounced all over the chart today, steadily rising from the 4" to 6" range this morning to a high of 8" to 12" around dinner time, then settling back to 7" to 11" right now...looking at the deck we've already had a couple of inches and they say most will come after midnight.

Toss on top of that the predicted extra 3 or so inches tomorrow and this will probably set my personal record for the second or third largest snowfall outside a building I owned.

Of course the "Blizzard of '93" in Atlanta is still the record for me and will hopefully continue to be if I have anything to say about getting the hell out of here and back to the Georgia Coast sometime in late 2010 or early 2011.

I like snow still, don't get me wrong...I used to love it and pay money to travel to ski slopes and ride cabled contraptions to the top of mountains so I could slide down on a pair of expensive rented planks, but with my bad circulation in my legs and torso and 50 years of mileage on the rest of my body a good snow once or twice every ten years is about all I need to feel fulfilled in life.

You know you're getting old when you see a "snow event" as they call it on the Weather Channel as an annoying inconvienance or a "Photo Opportunity" rather than a good reason to miss school or work and run around outside like an idiot doing cartwheels and getting soaking wet and risking frostbite.

Since everyone at my house works from home, and since this storm hit on a Friday it really doesn't provide anything but a little drama and an opportunity to try out the new snow shovel and sled tomorrow.

Twenty five years ago I'd already be outside walking around in the stuff as it comes down tonight, but more recently we've had three or four small snows in the past two winters that I didn't even put on shoes and leave the house until most of it had melted.

I guess that there's a time for most everything in life, but these day's I just look for some Spanish Moss draped Live Oaks, a little beach sand, and warm coastal breezes and leave the frozen powder to the youngsters.

New Sled Takes Shape

Rube Goldberg Hits The Slopes...

Well, I made it through the evening keeping one eyeball on the Weather Channel while cooking dinner, and then I tried to lay down and sleep for six or so hours but I was so engrossed in design problems relating to how to convert a beach chair into a workable sled that I gave up about 12:30 AM and got up and got dressed and came down here to the shop.

Since then I've been making sawdust, managing to set the smoke detector off a couple of times grinding my way through some 45 degree bevel cuts with the only old carbide blade I have in the building.

This is what I have come up with so far. Remember that I started out with a used version of one of these:

and then I cut it apart and started fooling around with some scrap lumber I had laying around in the shop and an old reflector off of a 4' two lamp florescent shop light that had died.

upside down mounting the main skis/runners:

Things started taking shape and just kept growing and growing until I had this silly looking thing when I was finished...

It ain't pretty but it is definitely strong.

I have a couple of cans of green spray paint to color the bare wood but I'm too lazy to put it on there right now and I don't want to get paint on me and my clothes since it looks like I'll get to give it a test ride/slide in the next 48 hours.

As you can see it has a steerable front end and even a brake function to keep me from breaking the sound barrier or knocking down people and trees hopefully.

I'd like to be able to say that I insist that anything I ride on or in weigh a few thousand pounds more than I do (remember I have a Chevy Suburban) and, while if I keep adding wood and bolts this monstrosity could come close to my 240 pound bulk I think that by restraining my enthusiasm it's still going to actually end up a few hundred pounds less than me in the process.

Still, I may need to call the Tennessee DOT and see if I need a tag or some sort of permit or possibly a "wide load" sign and an escort truck with a flashing light if I ride the thing down the nearby hill on David Lane.

Pay attention to the national news and the ASSociated Press story's on the storm because there may be something written about them having to pry me out from under a tractor trailer or hoist me out of a tree or off of the roof of a house if this thing works like I think it will.

If we get ice or sleet instead of wet snow I may just be able to set some sort of downhill land speed record.

Anybody want to take up a collection to buy me a ticket to the Winter Olympics?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Forecast

Caught Without Water Proof Pants...

No, I'm not talking about "Depends" or other "Adult Diaper" products...the water I'm worrying about could be infiltrating from the outside because I just noticed that the Weather Nerds and Computer Models have updated the forecast here in Knoxtown to include somewhere between 4 and 8 inches of snow falling Friday night.

I take that to mean we will at least see two snowflakes in my back yard, with the possibility of suffering power outages and having to slog through two feet of stuff to make it to the bank or post office if they're still open when the "winter weather event" arrives.

Regardless, I guess that we'll run out for drinks at happy hour, then come home and after I cook dinner I'll be forced to retire to the basement workshop to fine tune the details and drill some holes and drive some screws into the raw assemblage which is taking shape as a home made adult sized snow sled.

I'm pretty pissed that I have managed to buy Pat a set of water resistant ski bibs while I'll be running around shivering, soaking wet because I currently don't own a pair of jumbo sized bibs--the old pair were victims of the house fire--although I do have pretty good gloves and a nice parka.

The emergency supply cabinet is in good shape however, with fresh batteries for the flashlights and drinking water and lamp oil for old fashioned lamps with wicks and there's five gallons of gas for the generator and an extra 40 gallons in the Suburban .

The only thing we're missing is a fireplace, something that almost every other house on this street has but our previous owner apparently didn't want or appreciate when the house was built.

A good fireplace is worth it's weight in gold when weather like this approaches with the peace of mind that you know that you can stay warm and at least boil water if someone is having a baby for coffee and other hot drinks or just to wash your arm pits. Our house on St. Simons even had a fireplace which we used a few weeks out of each year.

Any way, wish us luck and pray for snow instead of sleet and freezing rain and we'll probably be no worse the wear come Monday.

Regards Y' to follow...

New Beach Chair Sled In Process

Up-Coming Weather Conditions Require new Equipment And Technology

Regular readers know that recently I've spent some time drawing cartoons, making calculations, and stacking up blocks of wood and left over metal and fabric parts from an old beach chair for the past couple of weeks now trying to get some sort of conveyance put together in anticipation of the next bout of winter weather.

I was until last night starting to get all excited and wanting to get into a hurry, but unfortunately for the school kids and the grown kids like me they've reduced our snowfall accumulation estimates for this coming storm down to around 1 inch this morning.

That doesn't matter to me however...and as usual things could change by 9 AM or sometime after lunch time.

Any way, after laying around here being useless for a couple of days thinking about people and things I shouldn't be thinking about, I'm now resolute in forcing myself up vertical, getting off of my butt and going down into the basement and bolting together what I call my ultimate adult sled...

The patented and trademarked "Rogers Crazy Turbosonic Suicide Sliding Machine."

That would be the "RCTSSM" for short--helping those of you taking notes and wanting to write about my demise after the obituary is published.

Speaking of obituaries, I just learned that a good friend and drinking buddy of mine, St. Simons Barrister Tom Swift (no relation to the storybook character), passed away this week after fighting diabetes and more recently pancreatic cancer.

Tom left behind a wife and two daughters and an Island full of people who, along with the passing of his 90 plus year old father last year, will miss the gentle character and intellectual whit of two gentlemen who were singular institutions on our little coastal Georgia island.

RIP Mr. Swift, and say hello to your father for me...

Blogging Re-runs

Falling Back On My Previous "Body Of Work"

I'm feeling sort of lazy this morning, so I was poking around the Blogger site and looking at statistics and stuff and I realized something worth writing about.

All of y'all out there that aren't bloggers probably don't know the amount of information that my "Site Meter" can give me about who's reading and where they're reading from and how many times they stop by in any given day to see what I'm up to.

Just in case you haven't been paying attention, you can scroll down on this blog and down there in the left hand column is a little box called "Site Meter" which is generally intended to stoke the ego of the blogger and be used to monitor demographics and other readership details for the purpose of making money selling blog ads...

but I'm too stubborn to make you have to wade through ads for silly consumer crap you have plenty of opportunities to buy while slogging your way through the rest of the internet to get to me and my ramblings.

So you don't see commercial ads on this web page but know that I'm sitting here watching YOU and I know if you've stopped by and I like it...torturing you with my demented thinking and humor.

You can go down there right now and double click on it (my "Site meter") and see things like that I average about 50 "hits" a day and I have regular readers living everywhere around the world--from the former classmates and friends down on the Gulf coast in Florida, to my fellow Blogger up in Kentucky going through some traumatic events needing God's Grace, and the frequent commenter over in Louisiana and let me just say that everyone is welcome and appreciated although I don't attempt to make a dime for my efforts here other than ensuring my own personal sanity and/or insanity such as it is.

Any way, using "Site meter," every now and then I end up noticing a spike in readership based on some particular topic.

Over at my cooking blog, The Redneck Gourmet, it is historically seasonal with the words "Grilled Crab Legs" and "Pork Butt" leading the way most of the year. The holiday season causes things to ramp up, and the summer holidays like Memorial Day and July 4th and Labor Day get a lot of views on the page with people trying to grill things and otherwise cook things I've already mastered and written about.

Over here at this blog, for some silly reason, my Gaza Stripper photo archive on Google gets the largest consistent number of hits...generally from the Middle if I turn up with my head cut off I guess that you can assume that I succumbed to a" fatwa" issued by some third rate Islamic Cleric in a fit of yelling at me and all of the rest of the infidels out here in the world.

All of that said, I was cruising around "Site Meter" this morning and noticed a couple of hits from the same city in California--a state where the liberal residents generally avoid me like the plague or E-Coli, and when I checked the incoming link out it led me to a particularly eloquent piece I wrote back in August of 2005, entitled...

Why Does Government Fund The Arts?

After All, It's A Really, Really Bad Idea

I'm learning late in life that there has been an artist hiding inside my body. It must have been there all along because I haven’t had any surgery or an out of body experience or anything, but it’s rather surprising to me just the same.

I knew from a fairly young age that I liked music—learning to play at various ages and abilities the guitar, the piano, the trumpet and more recently taking to dragging a briefcase full of harmonicas around with me on the occasional musical evening out.

I actually like "blowin' the harp" the best because, although I have the least time and financial investment in the endeavor, I’m 200% better than I ever was on any of the other instruments. On the Harp I have the ability to improvise and “take a ride”—something I envied in a few trumpet players I knew back in high school and college.

I’ve also started working part time with water colors and acrylics and believe that I could really do some good, marketable work if I’d buckle down and stop wasting time blogging and watching the news.

My acting and theater adventures are pretty much over for the time being, not because I lacked the motivation and talent, but because of my inability to tolerate the petty politics and insufferable moronic ineptitude of the slovenly people that are currently posing as board members and individual show managers. Talk about EGOS…

Perhaps part of the problems I had with the “artsy theater crowd” here on the island was they were all flaming, bedwetting, sniveling LIBERALS and I’m such a blazing conservative LIBERTARIAN.

Just for fun I would go to rehearsals or to weekend set builds wearing my “Celebrate Diversity” T-shirt that features a dozen and a half different brands and calibers of handguns in a chart on the back.

My favorite Tee
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Then again, it might have been my insistence to bringing MY radio into the theater during the week when I was working solo on the sets and listening to talk show hosts
Neil Boortz, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity.

On a number of occasions people would come into the theater while I was working and out of the clear blue demand that they be allowed to change the station on MY RADIO to guess what—National Public Radio. I usually resorted to turning the radio off when someone else came in because I’d rather listen to “Nine Inch Nails” or “Tiny Tim’s Complete Greatest Hits” than listen to NPR for five minutes.

I think that it is a great idea for parents to encourage their kids to participate in the arts. Simple things like buying your kids a box of Crayola Crayons and a ream of plain office paper at a total cost of $5.00 is a great start. Buy your kid a cheep piano and make your boys learn to play like Billy Joel so they can date girls like Kristy way...I think that it's great that our public schools have music class, art class, and drama classes for all ages of students and I’m completely behind the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for marching bands and class plays.

I guess what I’m saying is that I fully support government funding for the arts when it comes to ARTS EDUCATION, what burns my aching butt is other forms of government funding involving supporting unemployed, unemployable, idiots and morons that paint cows purple or put
a Crucifix in a jar of human urine (brought to you with tax dollars by the National Endowment for the Arts), or guys like this that sew a dead fetus’ head on the body of a bird and display it as ART?!?!?!? WTF?

BEIJING --A Chinese artist who grafted the head of a human fetus onto the body of a bird has defended his work as art after a Swiss museum withdrew the piece from an exhibit.

"It's precisely because I respect all life that I did this," artist Xiao Yu said Tuesday. He said the bird and fetus "died because there was something wrong with them. ... I thought putting them together like this was a way for them to have another life."

Swiss museum visitor Adrien de Riedmatten, 29, filed a complaint on Monday with the district attorney of Bern, Switzerland, calling for an investigation into the piece, which was on display at the Bern Art Museum.

"I want to know where this baby comes from and if it was killed for this work," de Riedmatten said.

"We know about the problems of late-term abortions in China and we have the right to ask ourselves questions."

What was he thinking?
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The work was removed, curator Bernhard Fibicher said Tuesday, because museum directors didn't want the controversy surrounding it to overshadow the rest of the "Mahjong" exhibit, which features avant-garde Chinese works from the last 25 years. The museum is planning an Aug. 22 symposium with artists, philosophers and ethics experts before deciding whether to re-exhibit the piece.

I know that I’m taking the story slightly out of context because it didn’t happen here in the United States—it happened in Switzerland—but I suspect that if the piece was offered for display in San Fransisco or NY City, the “usual suspects” and the rest of the “Artsy” crowd would somehow manage to crack open the government’s wallet and toss a few thousand dollars at the cost of the production of the show.

My question is, should the government be paying for the production, acquisition, or display of ANY ART unless the artist and the works have attained a status of bona fied historical value?

It seems quite acceptable to me for the
Smithsonian Institution to attempt to acquire Vincent Van Gogh’s masterpiece “Starry Night” using government money (tax dollars) because the piece has historical significance and besides—it’s bound to go up in value.

Starry Night...
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On the other hand, tossing my hard earned tax dollars at some starving asshole living in a sweltering Soho loft with his tie-dyed hairy legged girlfriend is NOT, in my considered Redneck opinion, making a good investment.

Just look at most crap they put on pedestals out in front of and hang on the walls of most public buildings. Most of this shit you’d have to pay someone to haul off after a yard sale, but the government and their “Artsy” consultants see fit to toss ridiculous sums of your and my money to support these struggling businessmen.

I have a message for all the little kids out there and their parents that think that they are raising the next Grandma Moses or Picasso—teach your offspring to read, write, and do math FIRST—then encourage them to draw, paint, etch, sing, act, sculpt, chisel, make wood chips in the floor, sew doll heads on stuffed animals, or whatever else you deem to be classified as ART.

What you don’t need to do is expect to raise an ignorant “Artsy” moron that can’t hold a job for two months waiting tables at a Pizza Hut and then expect to clamor and lobby the government to INCREASE FUNDING FOR THE ARTS.


It’s just that simple...

That was a pretty darn good piece of writing right there, even if I do say so Myself...


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Anybody Want Some Championship Chili?

Good...I Have It Coming Out Of My Ears...

Long story short even longer (hey I'm writing a blog and I have to have something to write about, RIGHT?)

My regular readers may remember when I got into the competition chili cooking business a couple of years ago.

Since then it's been a strange combination of death and illness and hyperventilation and finally near perfection and success, but I digress...

The first year, 2008, found me sitting on St. Simons Island with an invitation to supply the recipe and cook with my good friend and fellow Georgia Tech alumni--restaurant owner John Howton--representing his Blackwater Grill ( ) restaurant in the "Rotary Red Hot Chili Cook off."

Problem was, I got sick and spent most of the month of February in the hospital, and then the week before the event one of John's Chef's got killed in an auto accident on the causeway leading from the mainland to the island.

The funeral was in Albany, GA and was the same day as the Chili event, and in light of John's need to attend and pay his respects and me limping around like a three legged dog barely able to hold my head up longer than fifteen minutes we reluctantly had to withdraw from participating.

Turns out the weather sucked and I needed the rest any way so I just stayed home and kept cooking Chili.

Then last year, in spite of having moved away from our little Island to Knoxtown, John called and re-extended the invitation to be the guest chef and bring my recipe, and we said not yes but "Hell Yes" and drove south, spending five glorious days with good SSI spring weather building a front end of our booth and putting together about fifteen gallons of chili based on Top Round Steak.

Here's a look at things on that Saturday morning as we unloaded the Chili Ingrediants first and then proceeded to build my rendition of a "Bayou Cajun Fishin' Shack":

(click on the images to enlarge if you can stand it...I'm the giant guy with the ever greying, ever balding head/pony tail in the overalls...)

That whole thing is actually built out of "blue board" foam insulation like you use on a new house, supported with lightweight wood framing and designed to be transported in a single trip in a Ford Explorer and stored in a garage or storage building in a minimal footprint.

Pretty Cool Huh?

I cooked the giant pot(s) of chili back behind in the back and the rest of the team stood behind the porch wall and reached out and served the chili tasting cups out of the door and windows giving a nice effect.

Any way, when the dust finally settled we ended up claiming "Second Prize-People's Choice" out of 31 teams, which was really equal to first prize because we came in second to the Glynn County School System Team which, as you can imagine, had everybody with a kid in school voting for them by default.

(That's John and Rhonda and Pat and Missy the Turbo Pup and I celebrating after a LooOOOG Day)

We're re-using the Bayou Chili Shack again this year but I'm going to re-paint it to look a little more colorful...sort of a Cajun meets Jamaican or Bohemian/Key West with some pastels and and other brighter colors just for fun.

I might even wear my Dreadlocks wig this year at the risk of scaring the women and small children in the process...

The thing about making competition chili is that you're torn between making something which people could sit down and eat a bowl full of, and just falling back to dumping some meat and beans into the pot and a few thousand pounds of hot peppers along with spices which will somehow get the judges attention over all of the other crap cooked that day in giant pots by a bunch of drunks who have been up all night partying.

I'm not being arrogant when I tell you that there is some crap cooked at these events that tastes like what it looks like...CRAP. How in the world people can show up and waste their time not having a clue what they are actually producing and how it will taste is beyond my spiritual and intellectual understanding.

I make a dedicated effort to cook serious, edible chili which doesn't rely on Napalm for effect and doesn't taste like raw kidney beans and Kerosene when I'm finished. I think that our recognation from the crowd last year justified my efforts and makes me want to do an even better job in 2010.

Just like last year when I based my recipe on Top round steak and home made beef/chicken stock (most people just use ground beef and canned stock), this year's "Green Butt" Chili recipe is going to be based on Boston Butts, slow cooked down and hand processed into shreds and chunks.

I just got through eating the last of this week's effort--the third cooking of the basic recipe--yielding about 3/4 gallons which took two days to put together and then sat simmering on and off another couple of days on the stove top.

The rules for the event say that you can cut and prep all of your ingredients before the morning of the cook off, so we start on Thursday making stock and slow cooking the meat, then we bring everything down to the waterfront park on Saturday morning in giant covered plastic and stainless steel tubs and light the propane fire about 8 AM in preparation for having something available for the "Judges Random Tasting" about 11 AM.

I don't see any way a person could compete in this process without owning or being associated with a restaurant or other commercial kitchen because the quantities of food and the sizes of the containers is beyond what I want to own and buy on E-Bay.

So any way, as is usual with my cooking efforts, the first time I put things together this year was the best texture and flavor so far, with the second and third pots being very edible but falling short of my semi-professional "Green Butt" standards.

I think that it's down really to adjusting the cooking time and possibly fine tuning the chili powder/spice mixture in order to keep the meat from falling apart too much giving a "mushy" mouth feel when you eat a spoon full.

I wish everyone could come over to St. Simons Island on March 6th, enjoy our beautiful little slice of the Atlantic coast, and have a taste of our chili and help raise money for charity, but in any event I know many of you will be there at least in spirit cheering us on.

There's no amount of money which can buy the opportunity to do stuff like this--last year we raised nearly $50,000--and I'm just happy to be able to contribute to the Rotary Club's efforts and have so much fun in the process.

Time to finish cleaning up the kitchen and get back to studying industrial hard chroming processes for my valve rebuilding project I guess.

Y'all have a Lovely DAY now, and somebody send up a flare if we get snowed in and you don't hear from me for a couple of days...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Snowing Potato Chips

Quick...Everybody Run To The Grocery Store...

It's too warm to stick today, but we're getting some nice little snow showers here in Eastern Tennessee on the banks of the Mighty Tennessee River.

The forecast for Thursday night and Friday/Saturday is a little more interesting, and I guess the key to what happens will be when the cold air gets here versus when the moisture arrives.

I still haven't gotten a good feel for how Knoxtown handles winter precipitation because last winter was so hot due to Global Warming and we've only had one giant cold snap that lasted a couple of weeks the first of this month and it only snowed a few inches before staying below freezing for what seemed like a month but was only two weeks on the calendar.

While living in Atlanta for 27 years I was always amazed at how people would watch the TV weather and run screaming to the stores and clammor around buying bread and milk and peanut butter and toilet paper like the world was ending if a single snow flake was predicted to fall.

People here don't seem to be quite so hysterical when it comes to frozen water falling out of the sky, but just in case I have to go now and buy toilet paper and peanut butter and bread and milk just in case...

that's what you're supposed to do isn't it?


Winter Induced Mental Lethargy

Oh...I don't know...where to start this morning?

As a preface, I guess that you can just consider this posting to be one completed out of duty rather than out of passion, because I guess I can consider myself to be semi-speechless...stuck here in Eastern Tennessee overwhelmed by my own insanity.

After a week of weather verging on being springlike, the past couple of days here yielded rainfall totaling over two inches, then yesterday the temperature plummeted as the rain moved out and to my amazement it was snowing about 2 PM but just lightly with no accumulation.

Snow is predicted again this weekend, so I guess I may have to turn my attention back to the beach chair sled project and see if I can get it bolted together in order to facilitate sliding down a hill if the opportunity presents itself.

The good news is that my client in the Midwest is happy with my PLC panel and reports that they will have it installed and start testing later this morning, so with some initial feedback in hand I can finish the second panel and get it in the box and shipped off to New England later this week.

In other news on the business front, I got another shipment of fancy three-way valves and a purchase order giving me the go ahead to rebuild them to some new specifications I'm developing. What started out as a simple mechanical exercise has turned into a fairly complex engineering effort which could possibly yield a nice monthly revenue stream in fiscal 2010 if things go the way I've planned.

I'm not the smartest guy on the planet, but I have this queer ability to dwell on little details, even when people tell me that it doesn't matter, and sometimes I end up tripping over something which really is important buried in the minutia which distracts all of the other so-called "experts."

I just hope that the stupid government will stay out of my way and let me do what it is that I know how to do, and not make me spend too much time filling out forms and mailing giant chunks of money I manage to earn in to some office in Nashville or Atlanta.

The Turbo Pup will probably spend this morning sitting by the kitchen door awaiting the return of her mom around lunchtime. She did very well considering she's spent so little time by herself or with just me and her sitting around all by our lonesome.

All of that said...or unsaid...time to straighten up the place and do a little reading before getting back to work I guess.

Regards Y'all...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rainy Night In Georga All Day In Tennessee

Slow Cooking Chili With The Turbo Pup

Well folks, I spent most of the day Sunday living a bit out of character as a "stay home dad" with our little Missy The Turbo Pup looking at me and wondering where her mom was and when she was coming back.

This morning the Turbo Pup's Mom had to pack her bags for her first business trip in over two years, and then when everything was in the proper quantity or quality and in it's FAA/TSA approved position she flew south to Sarasota, Florida (on an airliner because at her age her arms get tired) for a business meeting all day tomorrow, and the Pup is facing only her third night alone without her Mom in the past three years...the first two nights being about a year ago when I was in Indianapolis on business and Pat had to go back to Pennsylvania to attend a funeral.

It's our own fault that it's such a traumatic experience for our fuzzy little girl, but we enjoy her company as much as she enjoys being in charge of the proceedings generally and the first couple of days of this week will just have to serve to train her that she can get by on her own if mom and/or dad have other things to do besides sit around the house all day.

Meanwhile, in the middle of this "Puppy Drama" I'm engrossed with the task of cooking my third batch of my soon to be world famous "Green Butt Chili" which I'm trying to get together for this years St. Simons Island Rotary Club Chili Cook off in early March.

Beating the "Second Place-Peoples' Choice" Award will be difficult but I'm forced to try again if I'm going to compete in the process.

In fact I think that I hear the kitchen timer going off so you will have to excuse me while I go poke at my pot now...