Thursday, March 27, 2014
If my shed caught fire, which isn't entirely a half baked dream due to the amount of gasoline, toxic cleaners, and survival gear I have stuffed in there, if I only had time to rescue one tool it would be my OBD2. What the OBD does is read and if you wish clear your car's check engine light. This can be used by anyone, anywhere, and it will save you hundreds if not thousands in car repairs. Here's how it works:
You're driving down the road and your check engine light comes on, you pull over and plug your OBD into the data port under your dashboard. It will read the internal code and produce it on it's screen for you to look up in the booklet that comes with the reader or on the internet. Now you have some choices. You can leave it as is and drive the car to your mechanic and impress him with what you've found, saving him time and you money on getting the issue fixed, or you can fix the issue yourself. There have been plenty of times where my light will go on, I'll read the code and find after a google search that other people with my car have had the same issue and the fix is easy. Sometimes the check engine light will go off when your gas cap isn't on right or loose. After you fix your issue you can clear the check engine light by erasing the code and go on your way.
Everyone should be paying a little more attention to the device that gets you and your family where you're going. It doesn't matter if your a man or woman, older or younger, you have a responsibly to yourself and to others on the road to keep your vehicle in running condition. This device makes it really easy. The cost of this device runs from 30-50 bucks and can be found in most auto parts stores. The reason they sell them there is simple, they want you to go to them for parts and questions while you're self repairing your car, they don't want you blindly going into a dealer/mechanic only to have them charge you $150 to put your gas cap back on.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
...I'm sick. Whether it was kid cooties from school or the fact that we're in a never ending, cold, grey, winter, I'm sick and I need help from an unlikely pair, The turkey and the bear.
The Wild Turkey Hot Toddy has gotten me right as rain before, on days where I could afford to be sick, I take a few of these tasty spiked drinks at night and I wake up feeling soaked with sweat, and better.
So before you run to the local CVS or Walgreens, take a trip to the liquor store and pick up some Bourbon named after the truest of American birds ( so American Ben Franklin wanted it to be the national bird instead of the eagle) and make yourself one of these cold and flu erasers.
For the toddy:
2 cups of boiling water
3oz of Wild Turkey 101
Few splashes of Bitters
Boil your water and pour it into your mug, add the other ingredients and stir with the cinnamon stick.
Now don't start drinking these for breakfast because your day will end in a hurry. I like to start in the late afternoon and before bed I wrap myself up in some really warm sweats and call on the Sweat Lodge gods of yore to cleanse me of the evil spirits by sunrise.
Your homework tonight is to make your own medicine.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
I want you to take a good look at that picture. And I want you to realize that this picture represents how dads have been portrayed in the media...since media. We drink too much, spend too little time with our kids, are baffled by simple parenting tasks, can't change a diaper, and are generally lazy, immature, and clueless about how to raise a functioning human being. This is what we've been told: "Thank God for Mom!!!" because Dad is worthless.
Since childhood, many of us have been taught that dads are good for "bringing home the bacon" and not much else. But in a world where we're supposed to be accepting of different types of families, same-sex families, divorced families, stay at home dad families, it seems the last frontier for people is to accept that dads are capable, responsible, and, when encouraged, can be the partner you need to help take care of your children.
It's understandable that some people feel this way. Think about it, after you're told and taught over time that you're not good at something, you just believe it, and quit. When you're told that "you're doing it wrong" over and over, why try? Which is why so many dads give up and fall into the helpless role that helps no one.
Just as we need to support the idea that women should be paid equally to men for working the same jobs, so should we support the notion that dads can be caring, reliable, and nurturing parents.
It's easy to fall back on stereotypes...The funny but clueless dad...The stressed out wine drinking mom...but in a day and age where families are growing in variety, those stereotypes belong more on a cave wall than in the media which streams into our lives at a staggering pace.
Monday, February 10, 2014
American tacos suck. Most of us grew up with these flavorless monstrosities from a box, deemed authentic by red, white, and green labeling with a stereotypical pom pom laden Sombrero. I'm here to tell you firsthand that we were wronged.
Picture this...your mom has been slaving over a delicious pot of of Tomato Sauce (or Gravy if you insist) and you walk in and pop open a can of SpaghettiO's and plunk your spoon into the lifeless, pasty, red mush that fills the can....would you do it, would you have the nerve? Knowing full well that your mom was well within range of the wooden spoon drawer...I didn't think so.
A Mexican child would have the same gut feeling if he or she were to take a rock hard and stale tortilla from a box and load it with yellowish iceburg lettuce, faintly seasoned ground beef, and salsa that's about as zesty as a shoe. It's just not right
I had my first taste of what a taco could ( and should ) be, on a road trip with one of my coworkers to Matamoros, Mexico. Right across the border from Brownsville, Tx. Famished from the drive we unpacked and he led me right to a taco stand not far from his house. A little unassuming store that looked more like a cross between a butcher shop and arcade had me skeptical. We sat and Saul (Sah-oul not Sawl) ordered for the both of us...and kept ordering. There was a myriad of cutting and slicing, spreading and grilling behind the counter and the tacos started to appear within minutes of our order. They were small, on fresh grilled corn tortillas ( that were made on site), with pieces of smoked and grilled beef, pork, and goat that was rich and savory. Topped with a little fresh shredded cabbage slaw, avocado, or queso fresco and finished with a squeeze of lime these little snackalicious bites were so full of flavor I felt cheated. Cheated for years by Kraft and Cargill, being told that those boxed up pseudo-tacos were the real deal...shame on them.
To make your own version of these authentic Mexican street bites think simple. Buy fresh corn tortillas ( in the dairy aisle) in your supermarket, get some nice stew meat, beef or pork and slow cook until it falls apart, season with garlic, onion, cilantro, and cumin. You can also make fantastic tacos from organ meats like heart or kidney, or one of the greatest substances in the world...bacon.
Precook bacon on a sheet pan, griddle or grill your fresh corn tortillas with a little of that bacon grease brushed on for good measure. Fill taco with bacon, a little queso fresco, sour cream, and a squeeze of lime, and viola! The bacon is really reminiscent of the smokey rich meats that are used instead of the watery ground beef that we are used to.
In closing keep it simple, a taco is like a sandwich, it requires balance. Make a batch for a party and I promise you'll be the coolest gringo on the block.
Monday, February 3, 2014
...for those who aren't sure what a transmission is or how it works in your modern automobile, fear not. I'm not hear to bore you with ball bearing details and clutch pad doldrums. But you do need to understand the basics in order to get the gist of this post. The transmission converts the rotations of your car's engine into usable power to turn your wheels. You press the pedal, the engine turns, the transmission uses that to propel you forward...sort of. It's more of a translator if you think about it, without it your engine and drive shaft would be living in Babylon unable to speak to each other.
In a relationship it seems that love may be the easiest thing to stumble upon. You date for awhile and you enjoy how that person makes you feel and things start to click. It could be anything. They smell nice, do nice things for you, remember your favorite brand of peanut butter...sew the holes in your socks...and before you know it you've fallen in love with that person and feel that you could be around them forever.
But there's an issue. There always is, in any relationship. One person is clean, the other is messy, one is a cheery morning person, the other a night owl, one is an emotional anxious mush pot and the other a stoic stone in the face of adversary. Just as things come together, they start to fall apart. It's sad....but not hopeless. The first thoughts of this phase are "...but I love this person, love will sort this out, love is the answer"...and that answer goes over about as well as a turd in a punchbowl, floating in a cherry red sea of uncertainty and blame.
Like some wax poetic Jim Morrison lyric "The Love Transmission" is needed here. To convert and translate your deep rooted feeling for this person into...action. By hooking this transmission up via stem cells and synapses, your heart and brain can work together in unison to attempt to make things right. And the lubricating fluid of this relationship saver is....selflessness.
"I'm right, I feel this way, I want this" need to take a back seat to empathy in order for this transmission to do its job. "I understand you and even if I don't....your feelings and thoughts are so important to me that I will put my ideas of what is right aside and change my behavior to make you happy" Note, that you need to separate the person from the behavior, ala " I don't dislike you, I just dislike the way you eat all the funions without asking me if I want some". Now this needs to be reciprocated in order to work, but once you've gotten the idea into your head that you don't need to "get" something in order to feel empathy for it, it makes possible the conversion of true and deep love into actions that can bring together and bond a relationship on both smooth and rocky roads.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
...no one likes the way they look..at least not all of the time. And how could they? The constant bombardment from various media sources of what we're supposed to look, act, and feel like is relentless. Vogue magazine covers with women that have not only been touched up and airbrushed but have actually been carved up and frankensteined like some holiday turducken are giving women a highly unrealistic ideal of what beauty is. GQ and the like are not much better, touting that if your a man without perfect, hairless, ripped abs that somehow you're not up to snuff...it's not the case...don't buy into it.
Fortunately nature has found a way to combat this plastic vortex of trompe l'oiel imagery. Love
Whether it's a magic force surrounding us all that begs to be tapped into or a cold scientific combination of chemicals in your brain, love puts a nice glob of Vaseline on the lens of your life making everything seem like it's straight from a red shoe diaries episode. Big noses, freckles, weird ears, tummies, wrinkles, and other sightly blemishes not only disappear, they become endearing features that your chosen mate can distinguish you by.
As my first post of the new year I want to put out a message of love and acceptance. Of others as well as yourself. When you look at a loved one you don't see their laugh lines, or pot belly. You see the smile that brightens your day, the hands that help you, and the arms that hold you when you need it. Do the same for yourself and don't fall into the trap of clamoring through a graveyard of benign mannequin parts to mold yourself after.
Tonight's homework is to cut yourself some slack, because the rest of us will.
BOURBON TIP OF THE WEEK - Alright enough with the mushy stuff, it's time to get some serious warmth back into your bones with a Hot Toddy.
3oz of water
2 ounces of bourbon
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbl honey
1 squeeze of lemon
Boil your water then add the rest of the ingredients and let steep for about a minute. This drink isn't only great for taking the chill out of your day, but it's a surefire cure for the common cold.
Monday, January 27, 2014
I'm out of my funk
even though 2013 stunk
I'm on my own, and out of luck
but I don't really give a .....care!!!!!
Ladies and Gentlemen, for those of you who read my blog faithfully since it's conception I heartily beg your kind forgiveness for my recent hiatus, no excuses, my life took a James Dean like skid off the Highway of sanity and I needed to focus on things that were really important to me.....
Not that...you're not important. So this year look forward to my ramblings, reviews, and rants on politics, love, and bourbon.
I'm back in the saddle
but I don't have no cattle
I've got good news, I'm not so sad
I'm kinda into being a single....dad!!!!!!!!
BBQ Tip of the Week - It's cold out...wear gloves and a hat. Also throw a crappy old blanket on your grill to help keep the temp consistent when doing a slow roast or smoke, but...don't let it catch on fire, that would be bad.