Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

Somebody Tell Owl Gore To Sit His Giant Butt Down...

So I'm hanging out here early this morning, Googling around for good deals on replacement batteries and a new hard drive for my back-up lap top computer with one eyeball and watching re-runs of Glenn Beck with the other on Fox News.

Then just now a "Fox News Alert" comes across my TV window on the computer talking about an 8.5 Magnitude earthquake offshore of Chile in South America about 1:30 AM this morning.

This following a 7.0 magnitude quake off Japan a few hours earlier in the evening on the other side of the the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Of course in usual fashion the idiot news people have to say the words "there are [as yet] no reports of damage, injury, or deaths."

Another report said that "the extent of damages and injury are unclear."


If the details are "unclear", why don't the news morons just say "we don't know" or better yet...just say "there's been an earthquake, preliminarily estimated to be of magnitude 8.5, off the coast of Chili"?

"We'll get back to you when the sun rises and we actually know the extent of the damage."?

Hang on...just now at 3:04 AM they're updating the magnitude to 8.8 on the Richter scale and saying they have Tsunami warnings out from Central America to Antarctica.

So any way, my point this morning is this...

Get over it...there's nothing that we can do but watch the news organizations and "news people" spaz out and hyperventilate...

That would be because the earth has been vibrating like hell for how ever may thousands or millions or billions of years your religion (or the lack thereof) tells you it's been around.

I'm sorry as heck for everyone injured, killed, and suffering with damaged property, but at the same time I'm dreading the next week onslaught of news coverage.

Isn't it amazing that the Haiti story has virtually disappeared off the front pages of newspapers and your TV screen?

It's not that they are still not digging up dead people in the Caribbean and people aren't still starving and peeing and pooping in the bushes outside due to a lack of facilities, it's just that the news consuming public...particularly so called AMERICANS...and the idiots in the news business have no real interest in presenting quality information...they're interested in headlines and SENSATIONALISM.

So now, in the interest of extending to you my own personal, infinite internal database of obscure knowledge most people never care about or bother to learn (because they usually have better things to do...) I offer these tidbits regarding earthquake history here in the Western Hemisphere and the US specifically.

First of all...If I lived on the West Coast of the US, based on what I've been seeing going on on the Geological Service Website, I'd be packing my bags and moving the hell out...because if the "wild fires" and mudslides haven't gotten to you thus far, I say that the states sitting on the fault lines...anywhere between San Diego and the Canadian line...are due to shake harder than hell in the next year.

Think about it...the last real earthquake was in what ...1987 in San Diego during the World Series and the Northridge Quake in 1994?

Earthquakes don't care who is President.

Earthquakes don't care what Owl Gore says about "Global Warming."

Earthquakes just happen...earthquakes just ARE...earthquakes are the result of the realities of living on a planet that is not a "static structure."

Almost everyone seems to forget that the earth is rotating on it's axis at a rate of 1,041 miles per hour.

Add to that the fact that the earth is flying through space in it's orbit around the sun at a rate of...ready??

...about 67,000 miles per hour.

Then add the un-symmetrical gravitational pull of our moon, which is spinning around the Earth at a rate of a little more than 2,200 miles per hour.

Add all of that to the realization that we're all living on the outer thin skin...the so called "Crust" of the Earth...under which there is a blazing hot, 780 mile diameter, 9,800 degree core cooking the crap out of everything it comes in contact with...i.e. the source of volcano magma...and you can understand why things might just be a little bit unstable up here in spite of the best efforts of Obama and the UN and the patchouli stinking, Kumbaya singing, Barbara Streisand loving, tree hugging liberal/progressive Democrats.

Seriously Folks, I'm not a geologist or seismologist...but I could play one on TV...and I'm real concerned about the trend I'm seeing in the frequency of significant seismological "events" around the globe. There's nothing we can do about it, but if I lived in couple of areas here in the US I would be thinking about my own personal safety and that of my family and property.

Everyone knows about California, but having been in the business of designing significant industrial structures for much of the past 30 years I happen to know about and have written about here previously the areas in the New Madrid Fault Line in the central US suffering an a catastrophic earthquake in 1812 along the Mississippi River basin and the 1886 Magnitude 7.3 earthquake which struck in of all places, Charleston, South Carolina.

Think about it with me for a minute...CHARLESTON, SC?


(FOX News they say there is definitely a Tsunami wave traveling along the South American Coast, with a travel time to Southern California of over ten hours...)

I thought FEMA spent all of their time in Charleston, South Carolina worrying about Hurricanes.

OK Folks...stay calm...don't get all crazy and out of sorts...

I say forget the GOVERNMENT...forget the news, go to the store, keep your supplies in order and your powder dry.

Life and reality is going to come to your front door regardless of who you vote for...

...and when something bad happens, I say it's your own fault if you aren't prepared.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Laptop Woes

My Old Friend Is At The Doctor In The Shop...

I sorry to report that I finally had to drag my old HP Laptop Computer over to the computer shop yesterday.

I've had it so long (October 2006) it's like my alter-ego...and with each day creeping toward full blow Alzheimer's it serves more and more like part of my brain because it has so much stuff in it.

I paid near $2000 for it back then and used it as my primary computer until I bought the HP server PC, and it has been everywhere from Chicago to Key West to Pennsylvania to Kansas City and most places in between with me and never once let me down, so I finally was forced this week to give it a break and let it go see the computer doctor just this once I guess.

It had been limping around with power supply/cord and battery "issues" for the past couple of years but it was too important to me to give it up for any length of time because in spite of being...get this...A SIX COMPUTER is the second most powerful computer in the building right now.

Pat's new company machine might have a faster processor...I haven't used it and checked the specs yet...but my HP is a "Media Center Edition" with a 17" screen, weighing about 100 pounds 11 pounds, with every kind of port and cable connection known to man on it.

I can hook a cable TV connection to it and watch Food Network on it if I want to

It has 4 gigs of RAM and not one but TWO 120 gig hard drives, and I have two versions of AutoCAD, a full blown version of Photoshop CS3, and a whole bunch of other technical software which would take about a month of time to either download or install from CD's if something happened to the machine.

And that's right, with the addition of Pat's latest business laptop--another Dell--we have six computers here at the Turbo Pup Compound on the banks of the Mighty Tennessee River.

We're up to our ears in laptops, because in the past, before Pat went on "fur low", every time one died...

hold on...the phone's ringing...

GREAT NEWS...that was the computer shop (seriously) calling to say all I needed was a new AC power supply adapter and the machine would be almost good as new.

any way...every time one of Pat's corporate laptops died they just sent her a replacement, and since she worked remotely from the Island they didn't bother to pay to have the old one shipped back.

So you know what I...Mr self proclaimed computer nerd (in another life) did?

I hoarded those suckers and then I bought parts on line on e-bay and in the end managed to replace crashed hard drives and broken displays and keyboards and so now I have a little fleet of notebook computers varying in age dating from 2003 to 2007...and the cost me on average about $50 each.

When I started writing this posting, before I learned that my primary HP laptop was going to be OK, I decided that it would be a pretty good idea to take one of the other machines, upgrade the hard drive from 20 gigs to something larger, and put copies of Autocad and Photoshop and my PLC programming software and other important stuff on there so that when and if the day comes when my lover the left side of my brain the old HP has to go back to the shop or ...God dies, I don't go into full panic mode like I did over the past few days.

I absolutely have to get this latest PLC programmed and out the door before we head south to the Chili Cookoff, and I also have four more three-way valves to re-build, and now I have to go out the door and go pick up my old friend, Mr. HP laptop, and bring him home and order a new AC adaptor on line because I refuse to pay $89 for a new one.

While I agree that dogs might be "Man's Best Friend", in today's technical world a good laptop computer is worth it's weight in gold in my considered Redneck opinion.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Almost Famous?

I'm Associating With Celebrity...

Finally, after three months of research and development, I'm happy to report that I believe that I have my soon to be internationally recognized "Jamaican Me Cajun 'Green Butt' Chili" concoction completed, and scaled up to a 15 gallon recipe.

Late yesterday afternoon I called my good buddy and fellow Georgia Tech alumni John Howton, owner of Blackwater Grill, to give him the news and deliver the shopping list for Boston Butts and other stuff we were going to need for the Chili Cookoff.

John proceeded to blow me away...we hadn't spoken in about ten days...when he told me that Food Network's Guy Fieri's crew had just finished filming his restaurant to be shown on "Diner's, Drive-in's, and Dives" next month.

Isn't that TOTALLY COOL...or what?

I can't claim credit, but I did write to the show a few months ago to tell them about Blackwater and our Little Island in general, and turns out they called last week, said they had heard from a number of people about Blackwater, did a phone interview, then showed up last Sunday and again on Tuesday to film the show segment to be aired sometime in the next six weeks.

John's head was spinning I'm sure.

They also filmed a segment over at Southern Soul BBQ right around the corner from our old house on the island. We didn't spend much time there but it's still cool to have the people and places around our favorite spot on the entire planet featured for the rest of the world to see.

I wish we could have been down there because John invited a bunch of his friends and regulars to come out for the filming, but he knew we couldn't make it from Knoxtown with the trip next week already in the works.

This kind of stuff couldn't have happened to a nicer guy, a man who loves the restaurant business and has spent 45 years developing his skills and loves to deliver a superior dining experience to tens of thousands of satisfied customers every year.

Meanwhile we've got to start winding things down here going into the weekend and finish the last minute design details on the Chili Shack and some other professional stuff in anticipation of spending five nights in PARADISE.

It's 24 degrees outside here with snow flurries right now, and it's going to be near 60 tomorrow on St. Simons.

I just hope that the weather holds up for us there the following weekend...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More Butter Pornography Phantasies Fantasies

Drawing My Plugra...Is That Legal In Tennessee?

I'm sitting here trying to stop thinking about the King Crab Legs I have thawing in a giant boiler filled with lemon water in the sink right now.

You see, this evening after running a couple of errands and having a couple of cocktails at our local watering hole, I'm coming home and while those suckers are drained and steaming on the stove top, and a couple of ears of corn and some big red potatoes are boiling in a pot, I'm melting a stick of my new found friend--"Pugra"-- in a little stainless steel boiler and skimming the milk solids off the top of the liquid...and then dipping my steamed crab meat in it and thinking thoughts that probably shouldn't be associated with food....

You can take all of the above for what it's least I got over the idea of streaking unclothed down the street smeared in expensive dairy products...the voices told me it wasn't a good idea...

Things I Didn't Know I Needed To Know

Regarding My Cooking, I Try To Never Stop Learning...

Recently I was mindlessly watching Alton Brown on Food Network cook something in the last few weeks while working on my Truffle and Chili recipes, and the words Plugra European Style Butter stuck in my mind from his dissertation.

Alton was basically poo-pooing on my cheap store brand unsalted semi-sweet butter I buy three pounds of at a time when it's on sale for $2.99 a pound and keep in my freezer.

And here I was thinking I was some kind of culinary genius because I bought and stockpiled massive quantities of unsalted butter in my home, purchased on sale at low low prices.

I swear I break out in a cold sweat if I look in the two fridges and deep freeze and don't see two or three pounds of butter in our inventory...but I digress...

So any way, right after I heard Alton's reference to the Plugra (which happens to be a brand as well as a "style" of butter in this instance"), when I was raiding our local Fresh Market Grocer of their inventory of Ghiradelli Chocolate I also noticed that they stocked the "Plugra" brand and I bought a couple of sticks--a half pound--for about five dollars.

Then last night I had to break a stick out of the Fridge because all of my usual inventory was frozen solid, and I needed something to make my Bearnaise Sauce to go with the beef tenderloins, Asparagus, and Red Potatoes on the evening's dinner menu.

Boys and Girls, I have to admit that I was speechless when I tasted the stuff raw.

Forget the flavor for a minute, even the texture of this Dairy Ambrosia is different from the wax that they're selling us with a wrapper with the words "Butter" stenciled on it .

If you already knew about it, feel free to smirk and feel superior to me in my infinite Blogger Self Impotence.

If you didn't know, drop what you're doing right now and go buy five pounds and hoard it in your freezer, because this weekend I'm buying everything else I can find on the shelf and putting on my parka and sleeping with it in my fridge.

Or smearing myself all over with it and runing around outside nekked yelling "Plugra Rules"...

Or...WAIT...never mind...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Toys "Stuff" In My Attic...

"The trouble with owning a home is that no matter where you sit, you're looking at something you should be doing."

So on a whim I went up into my attic this afternoon. For some reason I hadn't had reason to make that journey since we had the home inspected prior to closing in 2008.

The visit lasted about 15 minutes but only covered the area that the previous owner had decked out with wooden planks for storage...I didn't feel like sticking a knee or foot through the hall or dining or kitchen ceiling and/or having to tape and mud "Virgil shaped holes" in the sheet rock.

I just got through climbing back down, dusted the insulation off my elbows and knees and folded the attic staircase back up into it's hole in the ceiling and as usual with home ownership my head is spinning with ideas and a list of things I need to do up there.

The real purpose of the journey was to look at the wiring in the master bedroom and at how hard it would be to add a light or lights in the expanded walk-in closet I'm planning on building this spring.

The good news is that adding lighting will be a piece of cake, the bad news is that I just can't leave it at ten feet of 14/2 wire and a 4x4 ceiling box...I noticed another half dozen things that need to be done before the temperature returns to spring/summer daytime levels.

Heck, I've got plenty of time on my hands...all I need is THE MONEY...


I'm Full Of Chili, & To Lazy To Post

Don't worry Ladies and Gentlemen...there's nothing really wrong here at the Turbo Pup Compound on the Banks of the Mighty Tennessee River.

Maybe after an early morning nap something will come to me to bitch about, but right now I'm too lethargic to Google let alone do a spellcheck on a few hundred words if I actually managed to write them.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Lazy Sun Son Of A Gun

Sunlight Deprivation Relapse...

Well, it rained and was cloudy all day and as a result I successfully managed to do basically nothing except chase some vendors around looking for price quotes and making some accounts payable calls to my customers trying to chase down some money.

That's the bad thing (besides with dealing with all of the government crappola) about being in business for yourself...everybody expects to get paid on time every few weeks or even up front on commercial purchases for new businesses like mine, and yet your clients--often giant companies--are generally cavalier with taking their time sending you the money they owe you.

Right now I'm basically in the "banking" business, loaning money to a couple of companies for going on three months now from the first day we started spending money if you count the time spent while the products were still in my shop in fabrication and programming and we couldn't bill them yet.

I've still got a pile of government forms to file with the State of Tennessee and the Department of Labor by April 15th, but I'm letting them lay in a pile on my desk festering because my brains start dripping out of my ears and nostrils when I look at them and start reading the instructions written in English and Spanish.

I got a form in the mail today--I swear I'm not making this stuff up--that was telling me how to find out how to get EEOC information which complied with the Americans with Disability Act.

It opened up with this paragraph:

"The law requires an employer to post a notice describing the Federal Laws prohibiting job discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, equal pay and disability."

Sorry folks, but I've got some news for everybody...I don't care what the Government says, any person which is deaf, dumb, blind, bearded, bald, crotchless-overall-wearing, transgendered Mormons or Quakers (and I mean all of those qualities applying to a single individual collectively) need not apply over here at my Company's Corporate offices, because I'm just not hiring them.

They'll have to fine me, sanction me, censure me, and send me to's just THAT simple.

Call me "I N S E N S I T I V E" I guess.


Sunshine And Warm Weather Causes Cures Mental Illness

I Want To Hang Out With Jack Nicholson...

Sorry, but best intentions aside I just couldn't stand it yesterday...letting weather not involving ice falling from the sky pass me by un-utilized.

After looking at the temperature on the wireless backyard weather station display every fifteen minutes, when the temperature reached 65 degrees F I broke down and took the NY Times Crossword outside with a Rolling Rock Beer and another Cigar and wasted another two hours laying like a lizard in a chair on the deck.

I fooled around so much doing that and having a fit of ADD induced home improvement urges--re-hanging the storm door on the carport and completing some more re-wiring in the basement lighting system that I managed to screw up and cook the prototype Boston Butt at 225 instead of 350 degrees F, so after three hours I still had undercooked meat that wasn't wanting to turn loose of the shoulder bone.

I salvaged everything by cutting the meat off the bone, tossing the thick fat sheath from across the bottom into the trash, and then chunking everything up and sliding it back into the oven for another two hours.

After that everything went as expected, except we wanted to eat before 9 PM so I left out a couple cans of Great Northern Beans because they wouldn't have had time to cook down.

Thus we ended up eating great tasting chili that wasn't quite as thick as I like to make it. The beans are supposed to be a background filler...about 25% to 30% of the volume, so the Chicken and Beef Stock made things a little soupy but it was still excellent in my opinion.

No matter, I'm going to bore Pat and the Turbo Pup and our neighbors with rerun portions again tomorrow night after I cook it down some more, and then freeze the balance and go to work transcribing the final formula for 15 gallons.

The recipe works as long as I follow it, and now all we have to do is wait 12 days for the opportunity to torture the taste buds of the judges and the general public with the results of my imagination and efforts.

Otherwise, I wish something interesting would happen in the news (other than some idiot crashing something into something else), and so until then I guess that the only thing else I have to say is...

Regards Y'all...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Acting Like It's Spring

Warm Weather Causes Procrastination...

I basically didn't get a darn thing done yesterday.

That is, if you don't consider sitting on the back deck in the near 60 degree weather with my shirt off, reading the newspaper and smoking the first cigar in a new bundle since some time in 2009.

Ok, I guess cooking my soon to be famous Chicken Piccata for dinner counts for doing something, but other than that and getting the Boston Butt into a Brine mixture to thaw out in anticipation of today's Chili Laboratory and Science Festival I really didn't accomplish much else.

And I loved every minute of it, but now it's time to take a nap and then get up and re-build some valves while the Chili simmers I guess...and it's going to be even warmer today so I have to lock the outside doors and close the blinds so I can concentrate.

Y'all have a LOVELY Sunday...if you will...