Creative Cooking with Spam


Call me silly, many do, but I absolutely adore Spam. The wife and I go through 3 cans a week. Really. The most popular consumption method in our house is “Spambled” eggs.

Spambled Eggs

  • 1/3 to 1/2 can of spam, cubed (1/4 to 3/8 inch cubes)
  • 1/2 medium white onion, sliced or minced
  • 4 medium or 2 jumbo eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Lightly brown the Spam cubes in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir / toss every 30 seconds. Add the onions to the Spam and cook until translucent. Crack eggs into the pan and add the vinegar quickly. Stir eggs to incorporate everything into the mix. Cook until it’s done to your taste.

The vinegar keeps the scrambled egg “clumps” smaller, gives a creamier texture, and adds a nice tang to the eggs. I use rice vinegar, usually seasoned (has salt & sugar in it), but I’ve been using garlic rice vinegar lately. White, cider, and wine vinegar work just as well, it makes no difference at all. You can omit it entirely if it creeps you out but it won’t be the same…

Onions. I typically use white onions. I’ve used yellow, red, Walla Walla sweets, Hermiston sweets, And Maui sweets and they’re all wonderful, especially the WW’s.

Flamethrower Spam

  • 1 Can of Spam, sliced
  • 1 Coat hanger
  • 1 Propane flamethrower

Pull the Spam loaf from the can intact. Stand upright. Slice into 6 slices. Use wire cutters to remove the hook and neck of hanger. Straighten hanger then fold in half. Put a few twists in it 6-8 inches from the pointy end and sightly spread end. Slide a slice onto hanger. Light flamethrower (it helps to have a friend run the flamethrower) and hold the Spam in the middle of the flame, turning and moving constantly. Cook until browned. Serve with your favorite side dish.

A medium flame works best until you perfect your technique. Knowmad the bunny runs the ‘thrower in this photo.

Mmmmm!

If you don’t have a flamethrower, a charcoal fire, camp fire, house fire, or burn barrel will do just fine. Here’s a link to an episode of my cooking show that shows the technique:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HORuS9gOtQw 

Enjoy the Spam. Don’t be afraid of it. The ingredients are listed right on the can. Don’t believe the bullshit about ‘mystery meat’, lousy quality, or the rumor that it’s made from people. If it was good enough for grandpa, it’s good enough for you.

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Fire Toys


Here’s some photos of propane burning fire toys I have built. While I’d love to make a step by step tutorial, the nature of these systems prevents me from doing so. They aren’t inherently dangerous, quite the opposite actually. Rather, the construction and operation of them by individuals unfamiliar with building systems like these may lead to accidents that can be prevented by a little bit of knowledge. I built this “fire poofer” based on seeing photos and diagrams elsewhere on the net. The first two photos show the construction details of poofers. These are from The Department Of Spontaneous Combustion. The concept is simple. The poofer consists of an accumulator tank that also serves as a base. Rising from the accumulator is a manifold consisting of an inlet for the propane gas, a safety valve to shut off flow to the solenoid valve (or hand operated whistle valve), a solenoid valve (or whistle valve – a quick opening and closing valve typically used on steam whistles and air horns), a vertical ‘stack’ or pipe leading upwards, and a pilot light to ignite the released propane as it emerges from the top of the stack. My manifold is truly overbuilt. It is made up of stainless steel and 5,000 PSI hydraulic fittings (propane gas pressures seldom exceed 150-160 PSI). It’s what I had laying about in my workshop. It can easily be built from plumbing fittings available at most home improvement stores for less that $100.

Poofer fired by electric solenoid valve. It allows multiple poofers to be fired individually or simultaneously by remote control or programmable controllers. Of course, it can run a single fire poofer using a button like I do with mine.

A manually operated poofer. I’d recommend stepping up to a whistle valve for smoother operation.

The rest of the pictures are of my fire poofer.

Yes, yes I can!

Overall view

A closeup shot of the manifold

The pilot light

A wide open blast. It sounds like a jet engine. Has a deep throaty whistle / roar.

At Burning Man. Running it with short bursts or ‘poofs’

Controlling the solenoid valve with a signal generator

My “Auto-Fire” control

A finished view of the “Auto-Fire” controller box. The 10-turn pot allows fine control of the firing rate. It ranges from around 1 shot per second to 17 per second. On and off periods are identical, i.e. 1 second open, one second closed. Future iterations will allow adjustable periods independent of each other.
The timer circuit is based on a 555 timer IC and a solid state relay. It’s a 4 channel relay so it has expansion possibilities.

A video of the poofer running in Auto-Fire mode:

In manual burst operation it will produce fire rings in still air

I don’t know what this one came from but it’s from something of ours and looks cool

One of our propane flamethrowers (modified Manchester Power Jet commercial weed / brush burner)…

The Manchester Power Jet hand burner puts out 750,000 BTUs. See details at Manchester’s website. They’re not cheap. Expect to spend around $200. Here’s one for $130. That’s just the burner, no hose or regulator. They have a package deal including them which costs $220. I don’t use a regulator with mine, never have, not needed. I want wide open, right now, burn it all kind of flames. You can get a 10 foot hose online or at a propane dealer. The valve that it uses is what’s referred to as a whistle valve. It allows nearly instant full opening as well as infinitely variable flame adjustment.

A whistle valve available online from McMaster-Carr.

Here I’m running two Power Jets and the fire poofer at the same time. I’m using a foot switch to run the solenoid valve on the poofer.

 

A manually operated poofer:

The manually operated poofers can use a whistle valve (best due to the speed of operation) or a ball valve (less expensive). Electrically operated (using a solenoid valve) poofers cost the most to build and require a power source to operate the valve. I like them due to their adaptability to automation and remote operation. Manual ones are quite safe to operate but you are so close that you can’t appreciate the look of the fireballs and flares.

Be careful and have fun. Wear all cotton, wool, denim or aramid clothing when operating any fire toy. Synthetic fabrics melted onto skin are decidedly un-fun…

Update, May 5th, 2017. Nick Poole, another flame effects and electronics enthusiast, has a poofer build at Sparkfun you should check out. He listed this page as reference used in his research, AND, he’s still alive! If you’d like to improve your chances of survival and integrate a microcontroller into your project, go and learn how here.

Feel free to leave a question or comment below. I’ll try to answer your questions. Be sure to click “Notify me of responses” or whatever it says so you’ll know when I answer it. You’ll have to enter your email address to use this option but don’t worry, you won’t get any spam from me.

Concealed Carry Handguns – Foxfur’s Picks


Here’s a subject that I’ve been wanting to blog about for a while now. Self defense. Specifically, the most effective self defense option: Handguns. I am a gun lover plain and simple. I was a gunsmith and federally licensed firearms dealer and manufacturer. I was a unit armorer in the United States Army, a military gunsmith, serving with the field artillery, “King of Battle”. I have been collecting firearms for more than 20 years. I live in the forest where I, and my friends, can shoot on the property at any time we like. I met my wife in the Army on a firing range. She can outshoot me with many of the weapons we own. We are up to five gunsafes now and really need a sixth. We likes our guns!

Handguns are an effective means of self defense that can be employed by anyone. I have trained a wheelchair bound woman, who is darned close to quadraplegic, to use, and use well, a revolver. The only person I can’t train is one who refuses, for whatever reason, to touch a firearm. Good luck with that pepper spray… The first rule of a gunfight is to bring a gun. Nuff said?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman, straight, gay, or bi, we all are potential victims of violent crimes. Steps can, and should, be taken to reduce our exposure to these crimes but there is always the chance of a random encounter that might just put your life on the line.

Carrying a firearm for self defense carries great responsibility. I won’t go into this as there are many who are more qualified to give you that information better than I could ever could. A quick google search will return many options. I may post some links on this in a future post.

This post is simply to share what works for me and Sweetpea. Handguns that suit our tastes and needs. Here are a couple of handguns that we own and carry for defensive purposes.

My preferred piece is the Taurus Millenium Pro PT-145 in .45ACP (.45 Auto). It is lightweight, ultra compact, has a high capacity (10 rounds), can fit in the waistband of virtually everything I wear, and has a cavernous bore that can throw a very big bullet at very bad people. 

Taurus Millenium Pro PT-145 Sub-Compact .45 Automatic

Taurus Millenium Pro PT-145 on the Taurus website                                   It’s about the largest caliber in the smallest package that you can carry. 10 rounds is a lot. I hope I never even have to fire one round, but it’s good to know that round has 9 brothers to back him up if he needs it. This is not designed to be a target grade handgun but it can hold its own. It will shoot a 3 inch group at 25 yards if I do my part. 

Another handgun we carry is the Ruger LCP in .380ACP (.380 Auto). LCP stands for Lightweight Compact Pistol though I like to call it the “Little Cute Pistol”. Cute but effective… Some debate the effectiveness of the .380 Auto as a defensive round. I don’t know about your tolerance but I don’t function well with any size holes in me and would quickly lose my motivation after the first hole was installed in me. Chances are that bad people have similar preferences to mine with regard to close range lead poisoning. This handgun is incredibly small, small enough to be entirely concealed behind my open hand, super lightweight, I can carry it in a shirt pocket quite easily, and has a capacity of seven rounds.

The Ruger LCP in .380 Automatic

 The Ruger LCP on Ruger’s website

This is the one I drop in my pocket when I’m making a large cash withdrawl at the ATM, running into the quik-mart, or even just strolling around the property. It’s only a touch over 5 inches in length and a hair over 3/4 inch thick. Teensy.

Feel free to leave questions with the comment feature. I’d be happy to offer what advice I can to those interested. If there’s any interest, I may, in a future post, share some home defense options in the way of shotguns and rifles.

You’ll note that I do not refer to any “less than lethal” options for self defense. It’s because I don’t believe in them. Period. If you want to face down a desperate thug, someone desperate enough to pull a knife or a gun on you, with a can of Mace, a puny knife, or a flimsy baton, that’s your choice. I will do everything in my power to return home each day when I leave the house. It’s not a matter of killing, it’s a matter of surviving.

Foxfur plinking with a Professional Ordnance Carbon-15 pistol in .223 Remington. A Ruger Vaquero in .45 Long Colt is slung around his waist.

The Carbon-15 is a carbon fiber, instead of aluminum, AR-15 pistol that fires the .223 Remington / 5.56mm NATO rifle round, the same round as our soldiers fire in their M16 / M4's.

 This is another favorite pistol I carry when hiking around on our property. Fun!

Occupy Portland?


I decided to go down to the Portland waterfront to check out / be a part of the Occupy Portland protest this afternoon. I’m not activisty or agitatorish at all but it seemed like something fun to do. In a sea of nebulous agendas and questionable motivations, my goal was clear: to raise public awareness of me. I donned my trademark orange safety vest and headed out. As hard as I tried I couldn’t get any newsies to take my photo. I thought I stood out enough but without dreads, or a serious sign, my efforts were fruitless. I figured a “Hi Mom!” sign was a bit tasteless, so I made a sign with my signature phrase: “YAY!” along with the Burning Man logo, heh heh. I brought along a bag of bacon which virtually nobody was interested in except for one dog who ate two pieces before the hippie who enslaved it yanked it away saying it was on a strict vegan diet. Oppressor!

Here’s some random pics…

YAY for YAY!

You’re either with me or against me! Who can oppose YAY?

It’s just like Halloween but without the treats.

Powerbars for carnivores...

 Bacon: Part of a balanced protest.

Pluto is my favorite Disney character!

 Whatever… Total downer.

Well Dressed Longshoreman

I love his jacket!

This was my last photo before my camera’s batteries went dead.

The crowd was enormous! I’d estimate it to have been around 3,000. I was impressed with the organized labor showing. Their signs made the most sense out there and had no spelling errors at all. Other folks signs were not so good… “Eet the Rich!” “No Jobs for Oil!” “Nutere the Fat Cats”…

Don’t get me wrong. I’m giving this a pretty light treatment but it’s in accordance with one of my core principles of not taking myself too seriously. The folks there were for the most part very sincere and polite. The crowd was incredibly well-behaved as demonstrated by a group of citizens surrounding two anarchist agitators and making it clear that they weren’t going to let them pull off any shit that would damage the overall image of the protest. I wish it had been captured by a news crew!

The rally ended and the march began. The marchers were orderly and considerate, moving along and obeying the boundaries of the street as laid out by the Portland Police. The police were absolutely fantastic. Very helpful, friendly, and polite. My hat is off to them. They blocked traffic to let us pass through the streets unimpeded and returned waves with a smile. I love it!

I peeled off the march when I saw a food cart peddling chinese food. I ordered some General Tso’s chicken with rice and headed for my truck. Although I am used to footmarches in my combat boots, today was not the day for it. I had my protest experience and had fulfilled my duty under the social contract.

All in all it was a good time. If an Occupy movement comes to your city, participate! There were hippies, yippies, yuppies, and businessmen and women. All walks of life were represented. It may not make a difference, but then again it just might…

Brooklyn Badges – Inappropriate Merit Badges for Adults


Mish mentioned some kind of funny and improbable merit badges that were available somewhere. Our friend Elaine posted a link two weeks ago on her page that pointed me right to the source. Brooklyn Badges. Robert Marbury is the genius behind these extremely high quality embroidered patches. He has 21 different badges available. I’ll display some of them below. I’ve attached them to my Burning Man un-safety vest to show everyone just how accomplished I am in various improbable areas of dubious skills.  

Safety Third!

 Among the badges are:

 

Apple Bong Badge

 

Bacon Appreciation Badge

 

Crop Dusting Patch
 
Drunk Biking Badge

 

Drunk Showering Badge

 

Spanner in the Works Badge

Over the course of my life, I have demonstrated my proficiency in the skills necessary to truly earn these badges. Until now I had no means to share these accomplishments with the world. Robert has finally given me a way to show others just how damned good I am. Thanks Robert!

They are amazingly affordable at just four bucks each. They are of amazing quality and it appears they will stand the test of time. Robert’s customer service is second to none and he uses faster than light shipping technology. As far as I recall, they arrived the day before I ordered them! Now that’s fast.
 
Go see his entire line of badges at Brooklyn Badges.