October 29, 2014

Bachelor Cooking

Having a chat with a co-worker today and got talking about food.  I mentioned that I had a heap of good barbecue for lunch, and he got all excited:

"Oh, I love barbecue, and wish I could make it.  You always make really interesting sounding food, JB..."

I guess.  I mean, yes, I think the food that I make is tasty, but it's not hard nor is there any real secret to cooking good food even if you're a bachelor.  While I make dinner for four now, it wasn't long ago that I made dinner for... well, just me.

The trick, I think, is having a slow cooker, a.k.a. Crock Pot.  With it, and some basic stuff, you can make a lot of decent food.  Then add in a few dozen resealable plastic tubs (tupperware, basically) and space in the freezer...

Barbecue Shredded Pork:


My Texas pals will cringe at this, but you can make a modestly fair heap of pulled pork in the crock pot.  Get a decent sized pork shoulder roast (as big as will fit the crock pot) and put it in there.  Add a bit of water, perhaps an inch, to the pot.  If you wish, work in some dry barbecue rub on the meat.  Put the whole thing, crock pot and all, into the fridge* and go to bed.  Next morning, just before you leave for the office, put it in the heater, lid on, and turn the heat to low.  8 hours later, you'll come home from work.  Get the pork out and into a cake pan, drain the water/juice (or save it to make beans... see below), chop up the meat, and return to the crock pot.  Add a bottle of sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's is really solid, IMHO) and crank to HIGH.  Warm through, serve on bread or buns.

Roast and Veggies:

This is one of the all-time favorites at Casa d' JB.  A beef roast, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper and onion powder and garlic and whatever else you like.  Into the crock.  Add some baby carrots, some green beans, and some potatoes cut into fourths.  Pour a can of Cream of Mushroom soup on it, and add a splash of red wine.  Low heat, 7 hours.  Remove the solids, add a bit of flour to thicken the liquid for gravy.

Beans: 


Get a pound or two of kidney or pinto beans (I like pintos), rinse and drain, then put into a container filled with water and cover.  Let soak overnight.  Drain, rinse, and into the crock they go.  Add water (or, if you have it, that broth from the barbecue you made above) and some diced onion, chopped bacon, and a fair measure of garlic.  Low heat, 8 hours or so until beans are tender.  Drain whatever liquid remains, then load up with castup, barbecue sauce, mustard, etc.  Whatever suits your fancy.

Ham and Bean Soup:

If you are fortunate enough, the end of a spiral cut ham will work great.  Otherwise, use hocks and cubed ham, or leftover riblets, or whatever pork source you have.  It really makes no difference.  Get the meat in the crock, add onion and celery and a bay leaf and some water.  Low heat for a LONG time... maybe 8 or 9 hours.  Put this on the night before, then go to bed.  In the morning, remove the bones and bay leaf.  Add a pound or two of Great Northern Beans that have been soaking in cold water for 24 hours, return to the heat, and let it go another 8 hours.  Serve with cornbread.

All of these will make a fair quantity of food that you can store in your plastic tubs in the freezer.  When you get a hankerin', pull out one of them and let thaw.  But the key here is that they all use the slow cooker.  That item is indispensable for a working single person.

*Putting the crock into the fridge cools the ceramic, making it take a while to heat up... Thus buying you more cooking time.  Without that step, cooking time can be reduced by an hour or more.  I put it into the fridge because I leave the house at 7:30a and don't return until 6:00p-ish.  Without that step, my food would be done long before I get home, and overcooked before I got home.

October 27, 2014

Oh, deer

Put my first ever whitetail on the ground yesterday.

I was a bit late getting to the hunting grounds, and was walking in as the sun was creeping up. Thinking I was gonna be wasting my time, I still cocked the crossbow and set a bolt, and stalked real quiet like into the woods... based on the advice given to me on the FaceCrackBookSpace by MattG from Better and Better.

I was about 20 yards from my tree stand when two deer spooked and took off. They'd been eating the acorns from the oak that was near where I'd set my stand. Had I been out earlier like I should have, I'd have been sitting in that stand with a 15 yard shot. Instead, I spooked two of 'em.

I stood there, quietly cursing myself, and thought "This day is a bust..."

Then one of them was foolish enough to turn back and stood about 25 yards from me.

I thanked my lucky stars, slowly raised the crossbow, and thumbed off the safety. He looked in my direction, but either didn't see me or didn't think he should be afraid of me. I was moving at a glacial pace, and hoping he didn't take off.

Walked over to my crossbow bolt and noticed it was well covered in blood. A good sign, for sure. Took me a couple minutes to settle down my adrenaline rush, but I finally calmed down enough to call the wife:

"Grmpfh-snksh..... hello?"

"Hi, babe."

"Honey? Is everything alright? I thought you went hunting?"

"I did. Gonna need you to make room in the freezer..."

She said that's one of the best wake-up calls ever. I'll take that.

Anyway, found the blood trail, started following it, and discovered that deer dropped about 20 yards away. The arrow went straight through his chest cavity. That was as good of a shot as I could want. A quiet "Thank you for providing for my family" and I started dragging him out of the thick brush.

Everything below the diaphragm was intact, and when I got into the chest, I found that his lungs were pretty much non-existent... Nothing there but shredded tissue. A quick, ethical kill, which matters more to me than anything else.

I took him to the house for a quick photo at the wife's insistence, then a drive to Farmland Locker, a local processor for carving. I suppose at some point I'll figure out how to carve a deer myself, but at the moment I don't have the time or equipment to do it properly. Should be getting my meat this week.

I sent a bolt from a standing position, it went straight through the deer, out the other side, and I managed to have the presence of mind to watch which way he ran. At least until he got into some thick brush I couldn't see through. But I had a general sense.

A small button buck, perhaps 120-130 pounds on the hoof. No trophy deer for sure, but I don't care... It'll make good eating. I managed to field dress him without much fuss, thanks in no small part to my frequent watching of "How To" videos on You Tube.

I'm pretty stoked about it.



October 6, 2014

Hell of a spot

I say what's on my mind and I end up pissing off folks.

Keep my mouth shut and people get pissed because I'm not speaking my mind.

Hell of a spot. Especially at home. 

September 21, 2014

They Call Them "Elections"

The news media is all up in a kerfluffle about some dude -- who might be dangerous -- getting past all the security and scrutiny and making into the front door of the White House.

Haven't they noticed this very thing happens every 4 years or so?

September 17, 2014

Nothing to See Here

No time to write.  And even if I did, I'm having trouble with the words putting into sentences thing.

Maybe another day I'll have something.  Maybe not.


September 2, 2014

I Has a Sad

The Mistress of Snark, Tam, has decided to close up shop on her blog.

Her writing was always worth my time, and more than one sip of coffee in the morning ended up forcefully exiting my nose when she did what she did best... Take a simple story and rip it asunder like a hungry puma on a hapless fawn in the woods.

In the end, she had enough of the consistent and unwelcome harassment of one of her readers.  It was to the point of stalking and that's just too creepy to have to deal with daily.

As Vonnegut would say, so it goes.  

She will be missed as part of my daily reads.

August 16, 2014

A Breakthrough

Was at the theater tonight with Missus JB and the Spawn. We saw "The Giver" (decent flick,  worth the coin) but about mid way thru the film, Missus leans to me and says "You have your gun on you?"

"Well, yes, why?"

And my head starts to swivel, checking exits and blockages to those exits (the fat guy isn't gonna be a problem,  nor the old lady... The dude in the blue shirt might be...)

She says "I can't put my finger on it, but something about that guy (subtly inclining her head in the direction) in the green shirt bugs me..."

Nothing at all happened, the movie ended without incident, and we got home safe, but it pleases me to no end that she had the senses alert and spoke up. 

(But part of me wanted to say "Babe, I'm awake and not in a prohibited area... OF COURSE I have my firearm.")

July 20, 2014

Scope Adjustments, Gun Pr0n, and Badly Needed Therapy

Because the interwebz loves gun pictures, because I've got nothing worth sharing, and because my wife loves me...

For a combination birthday/Father's Day gift, my wife provided me with this:


A Bushnell AR2x illuminated scope for my AR-15.  It has a T shaped reticle, and can switch from green to red.  Me like very much.  Here it is, mounted on my AR.


I mounted it myself, and my "boresighting" was done by looking at it and saying "Yeah, that seems pretty well centered on the gun..."

I know, I know.

At any rate, today being a bluebird day in East Central Hoosier Land, and being bereft of company (the Spawn are with their dad this weekend, wife.gov is working), I grabbed some targets, a box of American Eagle bulk 5.56, and the gun case and headed out.

Here's the first target, and those two in the 6 ring were the first two sent.


I started dialing the adjustments up in "a handful of clicks" before sending another couple rounds down range.  I was shooting at 50 yards, mostly because my eyesight is poor enough that seeing the bull at 100 yards without at least 4x magnification is nigh-impossible for me.  At any rate, in absolutely NO wind, at 50 yards, using bulk ammo, I finally managed to get it pretty close.

(Fortunately the range was empty except for me, so nobody saw me do the Snoopy Dance when that one hit the dead center...)

Replaced the target, and shot off a final group of four.  I don't know if I need to dial it to the right a few clicks, or if that was my mistake.

At any rate, I suspect more testing is in order.  You know, to make sure it didn't get knocked off center during the 15 minute drive home.

Oh, and for Gun Pr0n, I picked up this beauty yesterday:


The standard Mossberg 500A 12G pump shotgun.  I've been running a Mossberg Silver Reserve O/U for a couple years, and found that I can bust up some clays with general regularity.  Last fall, in Texas during Epic Duck Hunt the Ist, I used my Father-In-Law's 500 and found that I really liked it.  I prefer the safety where it is on the 500, rather than the location on a Remington 870, and the price was right at $225.  Couldn't pass up a chance like that, so now I've got a pump shotgun.

Today was a good day.

June 30, 2014

On Drugs and Healthcare Communication

Well, most of you know the saga of Missus JB and her bout with Bacterial Meningitis a couple years ago.

Her lingering neuro effect is having to deal with chronic headaches.  Not the "Oh, drat, I've a bit of a headache" variety, but the "curl up in the fetal position and turn off all the lights and put cotton in her ears to keep the sound out and have a bucket close in case she needs to puke" variety.

For this, after some experimentation, her neurologist finally found the right combination of medications: Celexa and Verapamil.  One of each, once a day, and she managed to go a good while without a headache.

Until last week.  When she mentioned that she was out of her Verapamil.

So, she calls the pharmacy requesting a refill last Monday.  They tell her that her neurologist hadn't called in a refill, but they (pharmacy) would reach out to the brain doc and get it called in.

It's worth mentioning here that, because of her insurance at the hospital where she works, she can only use the pharmacy in the hospital.  And, do recall that she was admitted to that hospital with the aforementioned life-threatening brain infection.  And she's been getting her Verapamil and Celexa at same pharmacy in same hospital for nearly 18 months now.

Two days later, no pills.  "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Mr. Pharmacy Man?"

"The doctor's office didn't call it in.  Said you need to call them."

So we did.  And they called us back the next day: "We won't give you a refill until Doctor Neuro has seen you for a 1 year follow-up in his office."

Wait, WHAT?  Why didn't you inform us of this condition, say, a few MONTHS ago?  Is there a reason you failed to tell us he wanted to see her again in July?

"OK, fine... When do you have an opening?"

"Thursday, July 10" (week and four days from today).

The hell you say?  No.  Tomorrow.  If not sooner.  Call in the damn prescription.

If they don't, we can have our Family Practice doc call it in.  He's really a fantastic doc.

I'm gonna raise some hell with her neurologist's office staff.  I wager that they don't want to hear "Your failure to communicate important information has led to increased health problems for my wife" from me.

They just angered a sleeping giant.  

June 24, 2014

What to Carry, My Input

Couple weeks back, buddy of mine who enjoys shooting but is just now getting into the idea of daily Concealed Carry asked the eternal question "What should I get for Concealed Carry?"

This question has no single answer and has been the subject of many debates and derision on the Al Gore Interwebz.  Here is my reply to him:

First and foremost, my biggest advice is this: Find a gun that you enjoy shooting.  Something that fits your hand, you can control, and you enjoy shooting every single day.  Granted, with ammo prices what they are, you probably won't be shooting every day, but the point is this: If you have a gun you like, you're more inclined to practice. 

I carry a Taurus PT145 Millenium, which is a sub-compact 10 round single stack .45ACP, loaded with 230 grain +P jacketed hollow points, in a custom Robert Mika holster.  I like it because it fits easily inside the waistband of jeans or shorts (be sure you have a good, stiff, quality leather belt) and is easily concealed by simply leaving my outside layer untucked.  I can conceal it by wearing a polo shirt or an un-tucked t-shirt.  The trigger has a long take-up, but a short reset, and if I can find the spare coin, I'll get a new trigger someday. 

I have, in the past, carried a Glock 19 as a concealed pistol, but I'd only do that in the winter, when I had on additional (and bulky) layers, because it prints far too much under a regular t-shirt. 

I've never had a problem with any Glock... As far as durability and simplicity goes, they are pretty much at the top.  Never fired a G30, though. 

Smith and Wesson makes the Shield, which is a NICE small CCW pistol.  Another option is a Ruger LC9, which is pretty compact, but only carries 7+1. 

Me, I'm not a big "Carry a lot of rounds" guy... If I need to fire my sidearm to defend myself or my family, I'm also going to be de-assing the area as fast as I can... I'm under no delusions that I'll be trading rounds for an hour and that I'll lose if I don't have that second 15 round magazine. 

I also stay out of the debate over "Stopping power vs. capacity" bull.  Friend of mine carries a S&W Bodyguard 380, loaded with +P rounds.  He shoots groups that are tighter than virgin pussy, and does it under stress, off-handed, etc.  Why?  Because he PRACTICES.  If you can put two rounds into a head under stress, the dude is either going down or he's wearing a kevlar face shield, which you should have noticed when you obtained your sight picture. 

Most important, repeated: Find a gun you like, that you can conceal easily, and get thy ass to the range for practice. 

So there's my take. It ain't the hardware, it is the user interface.  If you can pull, aim, and shoot reliably,  one gun is as good as any other.