Monthly Archives: March 2006

My list of the best classic rock songs of all time.

For my money, they are:

Stairway to Heaven (natch)–Led Zeppelin
I don’t think this little ditty needs much explanation. It’s timeless classic that I never get tired of. It’s just incredible, and with good reason.

Rock and Roll–Led Zeppelin
I love how fast this song flows. As soon as it starts up my heart starts racing. The hard edge it has and the great mix of lyrics and instruments. I hate that Cadillac basterdized it and now people only know it that way.

Layla–Eric Clapton
I love this one unplugged more, but it is incredible. It’s intense with great lyrics. Great flow. Especially unique because a lot of love songs by a guitar god don’t work. This one does.

Sweet Home Alabama–Lynard Skynard
Probably the single most recognizable first 2 seconds to any song ever made. Great party song. Always appreciated when it plays. Just love it.

Free Bird–Lynard Skynard
This one is controversial. You either love it or hate it. I love it. So there. It’s my list. I love the lyrics and how they work together so well. I personally find the guitar work amazing. This song is one (of many) reasons I always wish I could play the guitar.

Pride and Joy–Stevie Ray Vaughn
This intro might be neck and neck with Sweet Home Alabama on recognition. Great song. Love/tribute song that works well. Tons of guitars (I love guitars) and it has a blues feel and I love the blues too. As soon as this song starts I start moving. It has great energy.

Hotel California–Eagles
I love this song. Great drinking song. (Actually most of these are) I have a hard time understanding the meaning of all of it though. But that’s OK. I still love it. The way the words tie to the instruments is great. And the pace works extremely well.

American Pie–Don McLean
You can’t be surprised about this one right? I mean, come on. Great song. Great info in the song. You can debate what he was talking about in the song forever. Plus, it’s easy to remember the lyrics to when you need to sing kids to sleep at night.

Honorary mention but not quite good enough
After Midnight, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, I Shot the Sheriff–Eric Clapton
White Room and Crossroads by Cream
A ton of other Led Zeppelin and Lynard Skynard songs.
Misc songs by Santana, Jimi Hendrix and the Doors.

They are called classics for a reason.


PS. My cutoff point was Van Halen. Van Halen is NOT classic rock. They are too new to be considered classic rock.


Apocalypse is coming

I’ve started to grow my hair out. For the past 3-4 years I’ve had a buzz cut. Somewhat because I’m lazy and don’t like to make time to go get my haircut, somewhat because it’s cheaper than haircuts and somewhat because then I don’t have to screw with it. But I recently decided to grow my hair out. So far I look like a bushy chia pet. But there is one major problem. There isn’t as much hair growing back as there was before.

This is not a good thing.

I’m OK with the idea of being bald. In fact, I think it’s kind of cool. Bald is beautiful right? Right? Not to mention, my wife thinks bald guys are hot, (she thinks big guys are too so I have it made…unless she is feeding my ego..hey, wait a minute) so I’ve got that working for me, but I don’t think I’m cool with it actually happening. In fact, lately I’ve spent a lot of time obsessing over the seemingly large reduction in the amount of hair on the front part of my head. You don’t notice it as much when the hairs barely stick out of your skin, but when you can look in the mirror and basically count every little strand of hair, it’s a little concerning. I’m really not sure how to approach this new facet of my life. For the next 10-20 years I’m going to be the guy who is struggling with his hair loss and doesn’t know what to do with his hair.

I promise, no matter what happens, I won’t be this guy. Dude, it’s time to let it go.

Another sign that the world, as I know it, is coming to an end:
I was listening to the classic rock station here in town. No big deal, I pretty only listen to that station when it’s not sports. The problem was, they were playing songs that were made after I was born!! Those songs are not classic rock!! They are cool rock. Or something. But not classic. Classic signifies that they are old. They are not old. Those songs are hip and cool!! Go back to playing the songs that were made before I was born and then I can live with them being called Classics. If songs “created” after I was “created” are called Classics the inference is that I am also a Classic. I AM NOT!


On the road again…

Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway…

Someday. Someday this will be me.

Adventure Cycling


Post about nothing

I don’t have a lot to say today. I’m home with a sick child. Funny rules day-cares have about kids with fevers, even if they have no other symptoms, but they have to stay home. At least I got to enjoy a nap this afternoon. Naps rule.

We just agreed to buy a quarter of a cow with another family. We should end up with about 10o pounds of beef. (It’s what’s for dinner) At first we thought we should just get a quarter ourselves, then we thought that was too much, and now I’m thinking we should have gotten the quarter. We’ll see once we get it if we can get it all in the freezer. I’ve been rejiggering (is that a word? I’ve just turned into the President) our freezers to free up important space for dead cow. Not to mention eating as much as we can out of the freezers.

I see the weather is starting to turn. That means good things. Bike rides after work should be coming up soon. Working in my garden. Getting the kids out of the dang house.


Follow up to the weekend

I thought I would do a final followup to this weekend’s smoking activities.

Overall I was pleased with the finished product. I think the brined pork butts may have been a little too salty by the time they were done, or at least they seemed to me to be excessively salty. I think if I leave the salt out of the rub in the future for things brined in salt and that should solve that problem. But, for some reason lately I’ve become more sensitive to salt so that could just be me thinking that. The pork butts didn’t reach complete “pulling” stage because I pulled them when the internal temp was about 180 or so. In the future I may leave them in until 195 and see what will happen. I was happy with chunking I was able to get out of them. I had it today in a sandwich and it was great. Even used some of my homemade sauce with them and I think I’ve decided to quit buying sauce.

I think in the future I’ll make sure to trim a lot more fat off the ribs before I cook them. It’s hard to trim them after they are cooked and I have a hard time eating that much fat with my meat. But I don’t think I’ll do ribs too much in the future. I was able to buy both of those pork butts for the same price as one slab of ribs so I think they might be a little too pricey for my liking. They were crazy tender though and the bones came out almost completely free of any meat so that was a sign they were cooked right. On a side note, we gave the dog two rib bones and she was deliriously happy. I haven’t seen a dog that happy before. This is only the 2nd time she has ever had bones from dinner. Both in the last two months or so. I think we are getting soft on her in our old age.

I also will make sure to eat the smoked products on the day they are cooked. Fresh out of the oven is so much better than waiting until the next day that it will encourage me to get up even earlier to get things in the smoker so that they will be ready in time for dinner.

I was happy with the smoker/oven setup, although not with the necessity of cleaning the oven the following day. We self-cleaned the oven the following day and the whole house filled up with smoke. I don’t really want to repeat that again. Of course, I could put the butts in a pan, or put something under them to catch the drippings.

Our dinner guests on Sunday night enjoyed the food so that was good. The only Q they’ve ever had was Famous Dave’s so I have to take at least a little pity on them.

Attending to the fire in smokey with it’s offset firebox is a little much. This has always been my bane with smoking foods. Messing with the fire so much gets tiring, and frankly, I am the kind of person who wants to be doing 5 things at the same time and when I’m smoking foods I really can’t do anything but watch the fire. I had picked up a hot plate when I was end capping at Target one day and Friday night I set out the hot plate and my cast iron skillet in the smoker to see if they would make it hot enough to work in my smoker, but it wouldn’t. Too much area to heat up I think. Basically, by doing this I’m using the heat from the hot plate to be my heat source to get the cooking temperature in the correct range, and the heat from the hot plate will also cause wood chips placed in the skillet to smoke and thus you are smoking and cooking at the same time. (If you want to learn more about this google “trash can smokers” from my convenient google search bar to your right, or click here.) Anyway, what this means is that in the near future I’m going to build a trash can smoker to use. I think this will allow me smoke more often because I won’t have to watch the fire as much. And most importantly, making a trash can smoker is cheap and easy.


Smokey and the Bandit Part II

Things started off well today. Over to your right you will see a picture of old smokey puffing away. It’s hard to see the smoke, but trust me, it’s there. If you took one sniff of me you would know what I’ve been doing all day.

Here is a shot of the butts and ribs (the brats were forgotten, sadly, this morning so they wait for another day) after smoking for 6 hours and just before I slid them into the oven.

I decided to take the easy way out for the remainder of the afternoon and cook them in the oven at a nice low temperature. Thay way I can make sure they are done, and most importantly, get in a nap without worrying about the fire dying.

The smell in the house while they were cooking in the oven was heavenly. I think using the oven is the way to go in the future. Why waste that smell outside? That’s what I say. Make the whole house smell like BBQ. YUM!!

Are they good? Yes. We had a little tonight when I was shredding the pork and it was incredible. The ribs seem like they will be good. I tried to cut them tonight but when I picked them up they broke apart. Yum!! Can’t wait to eat it tomorrow.


Smokey and the Bandit

So, this weekend I’ve decided to fire up my little pot bellied smoker and char up some animal flesh. MMMMMM. Yum. I love me some ‘Que. The critter of choice this weekend is the North American swine, otherwise known as a pig.

I drove around the burg here and tried to find myself a nice big Pork Shoulder, or Boston Butt, but couldn’t find one. Not even at the so called “Meat Market”. (this will hopefully be averted in the future as I plan to buy a pig straight from the farm in the near future) So I had to settle for a little bitty Pork Butt from my local Mega-Mart (but not Wal-Mart, blech). I got two, so that will give me about 7-8 lbs, pre cooked, of potential Pulled Pork goodness. I’m also going to throw on a big ‘ol slab of spareribs and some pork bratwurst. I figure if the smoker is going might as well fill it up.

This pic is of the butts in the pot after I made up the brine. I stole the brine receipe from Alton Brown of Good Eats fame. I’ve used brines before for pork roasts cooked in the oven (after seeing him talk about it) and they really are the bomb for Pork. I won’t cook pork without one now. They infuse a ton of flavor and help make the pork more moist. Have you noticed when you eat a chop or hunk of pork that it is dry and not very tasty, unless you have a sauce with it? That’s because pigs have been breed over the past 30 years to be extremely lean and that makes them dry when they cook. The brine helps keep that dryness away, and brings a ton of flavor to the table too. Surprised you didn’t know that.

This here is a pic of the ribs after a liberal coating of my “secret” rib rub. I’ll tell you what’s in it, but not the proportions. Brown Sugar, Paprika, Salt, Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper, Onion Powder and Garlic Powder. Put it in a container and shake well to distribute. I wrap these in plastic wrap and set them in the fridge overnight to get a nice thick coating on them.

I plan to cover the butts in the same rub in the morning after they come out of the brine.

More to come tomorrow and Sunday as the smoking begins.