Rambette’s Becoming A Sexy Girl, Mreow!


I went up to Espressodude’s secure undisclosed location today to begin stenciling as well as to continue with detail painting. I shot the rims with ultra flat black and didn’t even get too much on the brake rotors! I was gonna mask the tires before painting the rims but hey, tires are already black, no?

He also designed the official Black Rock Army logo and recently made a stencil for application to vehicles and materiel (that’s a real word). The BRA is the name for a group of 8 or so allied camps at Burning Man 2012 and we have secured an entire block of Black Rock City whereupon we will build our forward operating base.

Blah blah blah, let’s get on with the picture show.

 

Now why would I paint my daily driver for something that’s held for 1 week per year and is 100 days away? As I told my folks when asked why I did something, “I don’t know…”

Actually, I do know. It strikes my fancy and so far it’s making kids, and quite a few adults, smile. I like bringing smiles and comic relief to the masses. Somebody’s gotta do it…

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How To Paint Your Vehicle For 70 Bucks


Y’all have probably seen Smurfette, my 2006 Kia Sportage 4×4 buggy. She just turned 105,000 and I decided to give her some new paint to celebrate this milestone. I used to paint my 1974 Datsun pickemup truck twice a year to change things up and to confuse the sherrif. This was 20 something years ago but the urge has been strong to do up Smurfette in the last few years. While I used to be able to do it for $12 back then, prices have gone up considerably. The upshot is that paint has improved as well.

Here’s what she looked like at 2,000 miles:

I’d been talking about new paint for the last few months. When I told Sweetpea, she said I’d lost it. Hell, I lost it yeeears ago and she knows it.

Last Saturday afternoon I was pretty bored. I headed down to Home Depot at 3 in the afternoon and got some paint:

I paid $5 a can but you can get a 6 pack for $24 when you order online.

I also picked up some masking tape, a roll of paper to mask the windows, and a Rust-Oleum Comfort Grip; a pistol grip can holder that’ll save you from carpal finger.

On the way to the Depot I stopped at the quarter wash and washed the hell outta the old girl. I got home and pulled the headlights out and masked the windows.

I got 10 cans of Deep Forest Green and 3 cans of Ultra Flat Black for the trim. I started at 5pm and finished by 9. Due to impending rain I went out at 11pm and shot the trim with black. Good thing too! I woke up to rain the next morning…

She came out awesome! This Thursday I’m heading over to he Bat Cave at Espressodude’s place to stencil it up. Let the confusion begin!Almost looks like I know what I’m doing. Think I’m gonna have to rename her. How’s Rambette sound?

There you go; a $70 paint job!

Cooking with Foxfur: Cucumber Hummus Wraps


We had a blast of summer weather recently and it put me in the mood to fix up some seasonal vittles. I learned this one from my wino-twin Anne. Sweetpea will buy a bottle of wine now and then and send me over to spend the night at her place. Kill a couple bottles, grill up some T-bone steaks, watch some movies. I lucked out to catch me a wife who’ll let me do that.

I nearly fell off my horse when Anne told me about this sammich. It has no meat! While this is unusual for me, it is completely outrageous coming from her. About as fucked up as a football bat as my old sarge would have said. Anne and I are always cracking jokes about vegetarians & vegans. I carried a ziplock full of bacon to an Occupy rally and magnificently offended their sensibilities although a few self identified vegans did partake…

Here’s whatcha came for:

Cucumber Hummus Wraps

  • Whole wheat or spinach tortillas, any size
  • 1 Cucumber
  • Hummus
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Sunflower or sesame seeds

Peel the cuke and slice it in half lengthwise. If you like, and I like, scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Now slice the half in half lengthwise then slice the quarter in half length lengthwise. You can do it again if you want a l’il challenge or want to add fingertips to your wrap…

Slap a tortilla on top of the bag. Spread a tablespoon or three of hummus on the first third of it. I use roasted garlic or pine nut hummus with a teaspoon of Tabasco sauce mixed into the original container.

Now sprinkle some sunflower seeds or sesame seeds on the hummus. Pine nuts, almonds, and crushed pistachios are dandy too.

Take 3 or 4 cucumber spears and press ’em into the hummus. Add a dash of salt and pepper if’n you so desire.

Now top with alfalfalfalfa sprouts (love that word!).

Roll it up, cut it in half, and throw it on a plate. Order up!

That right there is some fine summer vittles! Sometimes I’ll add roast beef and honey mustard or a couple slices of crispy bacon.

Serve with lemonade, limeaid, wine, etc.

Wheee!

Pyro School: Special FX Fireworks & Mobile Flamethrowers


I attended another pyrotechnics course at the same place as I took my general operator’s courses. The class was focused on proximate fireworks: fireworks designed to be used quite close to audiences and performers in theater, movie, television, concert, and sporting venues.

Flashpots, strobes, comets, crossettes, mines, gerbs, lances, airbursts, etc. Lotsa stuff to choose from. I’ve made and used many of these over the years and had a great time with them. You’d be amazed to see how close you can be to a properly designed and constructed pyrotechnic device…

The special FX pyrotechnics demo set up outside the classroom.

Comets and crossettes.

A concussion mortar. Loaded with an ounce of flash powder and ignited by an electric match, it sounds like a cannon…

Here’s my video of the live fire demonstration given today:

Also demonstrated was a commercial flame projector. Though nothing like the ones that I build, it’s still impressive for the simplicity of the device.

A commercial flame projector (“poofer”).

A view of the projector’s gas orifice and hot surface ignitor.

A video of Ken explaining and demonstrating:

Another highlight at today’s class was my friend Espressodude whom I build stuff with and camp with at Burning man. He has built “The God of Hellfire”, a motorized flame effect platform that traverses a full 360 degrees and elevates from 0 to 90 degrees (horizontal to vertical). With twin “flamethrowers” and an all electric firing system, it is quite possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever seen anyone build in their garage. He brought the flamethrowers out to my property a few weeks back for testing after the fire department asked him not to do it at his house anymore… Today was the first full system test. He had a custom trailer built to carry the self mobile platform that allows operation without unloading.

GoH in action.

His “Field Artillery Tractor” which is the tow vehicle. He built this during the winter of 2010.

Rear view of GoH.

A video of the God of Hellfire in action today:

I’ll share more on this particular project in weeks to come…

Cooking with Foxfur: Pasta Salad with Bolt Cutters


We’re in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures in excess of 73 degrees. Don’t laugh, it’s Oregon. It’s warm enough to dry out the webbing between our toes and evaporate at least an inch of water from the front yard. Seeing as how summer’s here, for the next three days anyway, I felt it was time for whipping up some summer fare: Pasta salad.

I decided to cook the pasta outside lest I risk heat stroking the cat and otherwise negatively affecting indoor air quality. I have a propane stove I made from a barbeque that someone threw off the bridge and into the creek last summer. That’s the thing with living in the sticks, it’s a free dump for the cityfolk. I wrassled the thing to shore with a comealong and removed the side wing burner assembly. I welded up a frame and stand from scrap angle iron and water pipe (that’s bong to you hippies) and since the burner valve was damaged I installed a propane regulator from a dead BBQ out in the yard. So I went out to use Frankenstove and LO! The burner grate thingy was gone!

Similar to cast iron, don’t clean it once it’s seasoned…

After turning the kitchen upside-down and finding no cooling racks, much to Sweetpea’s delight (Mrs. Foxfur), I decided to use the steel mesh from my gold dredge’s sluicebox. One problem: it wasn’t there either. I finally found something that would work:

Good thing the plastic was there to hold the rust together. I used the blade on the BBQ brush to knock the plastic off and the bristles to shine it up a bit.

A little pruning with the bolt cutters…

Let’s see Bobby Flay do this!

That being done, it’s time to start cooking.

Tuna Pasta Salad

  • 2 Cups pasta (shells, elbows, bow-ties, anatomical shapes)
  • 1 Cup mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip)
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Vinegar (cider, white, rice, glacial acetic acid)
  • 2 Tbsp Mustard, prepared (yellow, dijon, honey mustard)
  • 2 Pinches & 1 Dash black pepper
  • 3 Bell peppers or enough to equal 1 Cup when minced
  • 1/2 Medium onion or enough to equal 1/4 Cup when minced
  • 1 Cup green peas (1/2 can)
  • 1 5 – 6 Ounce can of tunafish

Fine Fixin’s

Set 2 quarts (4 cups) of water on to boil. Add a few dashes of salt. When boiling, dump yer pasta in.

You probably know how to do this but I’m having fun with the new camera and it just looks cool. This camera has a special food mode. My food is special.

Let it go for 8 – 10 minutes until it’s done how you like it. I like mine all denty like (al dente for you purists). Then drain it. If you don’t have a pot lip strainer, get one. Mine is stainless steel from IKEA. It’s imported (from Vietnam)!

Set the pasta aside to cool.

Now we’ll prep the veggies. I recently acquired an incredible ceramic knife. It’s the only knife I’ve ever had that will slice through a piece of paper just like Zorro can do! Got it at The Grocery Outlet, or as Sweetpea likes to call it, The Grocery Whorehouse: You never know what you’re gonna find but it’ll be cheap. Price wise, not quality wise. It’s like a garage sale for food!

I minced the onion up really fine, about the size of pickle relish. You don’t want (I don’t want) big chunks of onion. I mince the peppers a bit bigger. While cutting up the yellow pepper I found clear evidence of either alien life or genetic engineering within:

The tentacles retracted every time I tried taking a photo so you’re just gonna have to trust me…

The veggies were done thusly:

Sexy vegetables!

Combine the mayo, vinegar, salt, sugar, pepper, and mustard. Now whip it, whip it good. Slather it all over the pasta and mix until homogenous. That’s a big word. I like big words. Fold in the veggies until evenly dispersed. If done semi-correctly, you may just end up with something like this:

I like to throw all sorts of tidbits in mine. Diced ham, cheese, bacon, corn, green onions, crabmeat, etc. Don’t get too hung up on amounts of ingredients. I vary the amount of mayo and seasonings depending on how crazy I get with the tidbits. I’ll leave out the vinegar for the unadventurous and serve it on the same plate as their PBJ with the crusts cut off. You know their kind.

Get reckless with this salad. If you mess it up, put it in a nice bowl, cover it with foil, tie a ribbon over the top, and bring it to your neighbor. Just be sure to get your bowl back…

Cooking With Foxfur: Huevos Volcanoes


Here’s a recipe I’ve been making for almost 20 years. Have some leftover mashed potatoes, some eggs, and an oven? This is a great recipe that takes just a few minutes to prepare and 20 – 25 minutes to cook. It should be fun to make with the kids. I can’t positively say that as I have no rugrats of my own, but, since you get to play with the potatoes with your hands it’s a safe bet they’d really dig it.

Foxfur’s Huevos Volcanoes

  • ~1 Cup room temperature mashed potatoes
  • 1 Egg
  • Salt, pepper, or whatever seasonings you like on yer huevos

Place a 1 cup glob of the mashies on a greased cookie sheet, cast iron skillet, or piece of aluminum siding (remove paint first!). Use bacon grease for best results though Crisco (butter flavor rocks) or oil will work fine. Shape the glob into a Mount St. Helens type of volcano:

Eggs cook faster in volcanoes than ovens…
This one holds 1,000,000,000,000 eggs.

For 1 egg it should look like this:

Make the crater deeper than this…

Crack an egg on a spoon edge and carefully pour it in the crater. If you drop some shell bits in there, you’ve got some extra calcium. Don’t try to get them out. Just don’t. If you absolutely must (rebel!), be sure to use something like needlenose pliers, hemostats, or a roach clip.

I said carefully because it’s nearly impossible, heh. My crater wasn’t deep enough and turned out like the north face of Helens with a blowout / spillover. This ain’t Martha Stewart.

Now we’re cooking!

Sprinkle some salt, pepper, and garlic powder atop your huevo. For a treat you can place a spoonful of salsa or bruchetta it the crater pre-huevo. Heat your oven to 375F and stick it in. For a soft cooked egg with a runny yolk, shoot for 20 minutes. For a cooked through egg go out to 25 minutes.

Take the volcano out of yer horno (that’s Spanish for oven, gringo) and let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Gently jam a spatula halfway under it from multiple directions to free it from the sheet, skillet, or siding. Lift with the spatula and transfer to a plate and throw a side of bacon or Spam down next to it. I had bulgogi with mine for a complete leftover breakfast sweep.
Dowse with Tabasco or ketchup or both.
Scale up the recipe for more people. I’ve cooked up to 6 at once.
I’d continue ranting but I’m going over to a friend’s house to set stuff on fire. I’ll post some pics of that after I’m released from the burn unit…

E-cigarette Bulk Tanks: Single & Dual Coil


I’ve been telling you about the eGo-C tank-fed E-Cig for a while now. While I really like the system, I grew tired of constant refilling of the 1ml tanks. I go through 3 to 5ml’s a day and I’d rather be vaping than filling. I’ve been using a 3.5ml DCT (Dual Coil Tank) for a couple months and am quite fond of it. It gives more vapor and a better throat hit than the eGo-C does and I don’t have to fill or change out the tanks so frequently. The DCT uses replaceable cartomizers that I replace every 10 to 12 days. At $2.95 each ($2.50 each in 5 packs) this amounts to about $10 a month or a pack and a half of cigarettes.

3.5ML Dual Coil Tank

LR (Low Resistance) Replacement Carto (Cartomizer)

LR (Low Resistance) Replacement Carto (Cartomizer)

3.5ml DCT Components

3.5ml DCT Components

The tank works just fine on standard eGo type batteries (650mAh) though I typically use mine on my larger 1000mAh battery. Mine is a passthrough battery meaning you can use it as a normal battery or use it plugged into a USB port. It’s a great battery to have as you don’t need a separate charger and is an inexpensive way to get into vaping at a low cost with a top notch setup. The battery and tank cost $33 at Northwest Vapors. Use the redemption code FOXFUR and receive a 10% discount on your entire order, a foxfuramused exclusive! That brings the cost to under $30…

Installed On My 1000mAh Passthrough Battery

USB Charging Port - Mini-B

USB Charging Port – Mini-B

Another tank I’ve been using lately is a 1.2ml clear carto called by a few different names: the eGo Vision Stardust and CE4 Clearomizer being the most common. I really dig this carto due to the ease of filling and lack of maintenance required. Just unscrew the mouthpiece, fill, replace mouth piece, and vape on. It comes in 6 colors to coordinate with your wardrobe and sensibility or for easy ID of your different juices. This one has lasted more than a month and is still going strong! I just rinsed it out this morning and she vapes like new. These are a steal at $6.50 ($6 each for 5+).

CE4 Clear Cartomizer for KGO/EGO

CE4 Clear Cartomizer for eGo or KGO batteries

Easy Filling. Sealed by two o-rings, no mess in your pocket or hands!

The links in the text above point to my new favorite vape supplier, Northwest vapors. It’s the only storefront vape supply store in Oregon (that I know of) and is a 25 minute drive through some beautiful mountains on Hwy 47 in Vernonia. They can ship almost anywhere on the planet and offer great customer service as well as custom e-juice. Want some blueberry waffle at 36mg with a throat hit like Bruce Lee? They can do it for you. They made up some blueberry for me and it is wonderful. Sweet and true blueberry flavor, mmm! $6.50 for 10ml, $8.50 for 30ml.

If you choose to shop at Northwest Vapors be sure to use the redemption code FOXFUR and receive a 10% discount on your entire order. You can use this on your first and every order after that. I told them I blog about E-Cigs (it is the most frequently accessed topic on this blog) and would like to be able to offer my readers a discount. They immediately created the Foxfur code. I am not paid or compensated by them for traffic directed over there. I simply want y’all to save some money and your health.

Oh yeah, check this out:

Fuck Yeah!

I smoked for 33 years and was at a pack and a half a day when I quit. If I could do it you can do it…

Peanut Butter, Pickles, Bacon, & Beef


I just (barely) got back from eating the best burger I’ve ever had: The Peanut Butter – Pickle – Bacon Burger. This wasn’t a custom order. It was on the menu. All I had to add was Tabasco sauce. They even serve PBR in 16oz cans to cleanse your palate with between bites.

The Peanut Butter – Pickle – Bacon Burger

My friend had the Fun Guy Burger. (I can hear y’all asking why I didn’t put a Fun Guy in my mouth… Filthy perverts.)

The “Fun Guy” Burger with mushrooms and swiss…

Something to do the next time you’re in Portland. (Pssst, Minxy)

Killer Burger. The name says it all.

Cooking With Foxfur: Hoisin Ginger Prawns


If this recipe doesn’t make you mess your pants it’ll certainly mess up your shirt if you don’t know how to drive a pair of chopsticks…

Seriously (I use that word loosely here), it’s so good that I went out and bought a new camera and cooked it up again just so I could take photos of it and share the magic. Why a new camera? First, I realized that my pictures were looking like a sun faded menu taped up in a south facing window of a Korean restaurant. Second? I lost my camera a couple of weeks ago when friends took me out and got me all shitty for my birthday. Good excuse to step up from that Nikon “My First Digital Camera” I had…

OK! So last Sunday night I was thinking and it got all messy. I started out with “I want a monster truck!” and progressed to “How do they make colored concrete pavers?” then “Why do I have to use periods at all?” and “When am I supposed to take my meds?”. Somewhere around the point when the voices and I were singing the theme song to Gilligan’s Island I suddenly realized that my blood sugar level was getting lower than my box of wine and that I should probably put something in my belly. I had lotsa tasty veggies, plenty of oink, moo, and cluck, and hoisin sauce in fuck you quantities. Always wanting what I don’t have and seeking to make life more complicated than it has to be (lack of stimulation), I decided that what I really wanted was shrimp or prawns. I loaded up the Conestoga and the trusty, er rusty, shotgun, put on my body armor and Hello Kitty finger puppets, and rolled into town. I ended up getting some kickass 31/40 frozen prawns. They called ’em shrimp but saying prawns makes me feel all fancy like so that’s what we’re going with here.

31/40 prawns ain’t some oddball rifle cartridge, it refers to how many critters you get per pound. It’s about a medium size morsel of the size that you’d get in a prawn dish at a restaurant. This dish, if they served it, would set you back twenty bucks and you’d be lucky if there were more than 14 critters in the whole dish. These things only cost $6 a pound. They take a little time to shell but if you’re reading this drivel then you obviously have plenty of time on your hands…

Here’s a list of ingredients with approximate measurements:

Foxfur’s Hoisin Ginger Prawns

  • 1 Pound frozen medium prawns (shrimp)
  • 1 Pound sugar snap pea pods
  • 1 Red bell pepper
  • 1 Can baby corn, drained
  • 1 Giant hunk (3 to 4 Tbsp) ginger cut into matchsticks
  • 6 Cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 Cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (peanut, olive, or vegetable oil is just fine)
  • 1tsp sesame oil (see above)

AND, think about serving it atop a bed of coconut rice (easy!):

  • 2 Cups rice (almost any kind will do)
  • 1 Can coconut milk
  • 1 Cup water

There’s nothing too difficult about this dish. Don’t let the shrimp, umm, prawns, scare you. They’re dead.

One item that I highly recommend for any kitchen is a small rice cooker:

This one set me back ten bucks or 400 rounds of .22LR and will make 6 cups of rice at a time.

Dump 2 cups of rice in and add the liquids. The can of coconut milk will be 14 ounces or so meaning you’ll have to add about 1 1/4 cups of water to make 3 cups total liquid. I use light coconut milk having less fat but all the flavor. We’ll make up for the fat deficit by using coconut oil to cook the prawns with. My cooker seems to have a hitch in its giddyup when it comes to making this kind of rice. I plug it in, depress the cook lever, and it pops up in less than 5 minutes. I think it has something to do with the heat absorptive, refractive, thermoclinic or other fancy scientific termed properties of the coconut milk. I just take the rice pot out of the cooker base and set it aside for 10 – 15 minutes and unplug the cooker. I plug it back in after my prep routine is done and it comes out fine. For those not having a cooker, combine the rice and liquids in a 2 quart saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes. Set a timer or suffer burned rice. That’s why I bought the cooker. Something shiny always seems to distract me and I end up feeding the stuff to the cows and birds.

Next, dump the frozen shrimp in a suitable container and fill with cold water. Let it sit in the sink while you prepare the other ingredients and run some more cold water through it letting it overflow for a minute or so.

Get yer pea pods and rinse ’em all good like. Trim the ends off like so:

I don’t like the tough little ends and neither should you. The string along the edge is bad enough. The open ends allow yummy juices to infiltrate and infuse the innards with flavor. Now set them aside and move on to the bell pepper.

I learned a nifty way to prep peppers for slicing from a chef who looks like a serial killer that really knows his knives:

Pretty scary, no?

Slice or dice the peppers however you like ’em and toss atop the pea pod pile.

Now, the ginger:When you’re done with that, grab the ginger root. I like my ginger in matchsticks. It’s easier than chopping and dicing but still retains the promise of appendage amputation when done just wrong. The picture below shows the absurd amount of ginger I use.

Stand it up on end and peel it by slicing down the sides. Next, cut it into thin slices. Hold it between your fingers so that it stays together as you slice it.

Rotate it 90 degrees and slice it into matchsticks. You’ll end up with some that you won’t be able to cut into sticks. You can either mince these bits or smash with the side of the knife until you feel calm again.

Now comes the easy part that most folks think is the hard part but just takes a few minutes. Get out a bowl to put the peeled shrimp in, a bowl to put the shells in, and a straw for your glass of wine. I don’t like picking up my glass with prawn juice on my hands…

I bought deveined easy peel prawns. They’re sliced down the back when the crustacean wranglers devein them. If you buy undeveined ones you’ll have to figure how to accomplish the following steps. I’m lazy.

Grab the edge of the shell at the top where the head used to be and run your finger around to the other side of the neck. Gently peel the shell down towards the tail and grab any leg bits as you go. The shell is gonna come off above the tail, but, if you do it right, when the shell is down to the last segment or two you can grasp the bugger by the tail and pull it right off. The pic below shows one with the tail meat bit still intact and one without. Don’t worry if that bitlet gets away, you’re not missing too much.

M’kay. We’re done with prep and ready to move on.

Drop a teaspoon (or a tablespoon) of coconut oil (or whatever) into your wok or pan. Let it get all hot and melty like and dump in most of the ginger and garlic. Stir it up, keep it moving, and go for about 30 seconds. You’re infusing the oil, damn fine oil if you’re using coconut oil, with the flavors of the roots of the gods so that they will in turn infuse the critters of the gods with said flavors. Throw the shrimp in the pan and don’t let them sit. Cook for 2 minutes and set aside.

Heat up another teaspoon of oil and the rest of the ginger and garlic then throw the pea pods, peppers, and bebeh corns in there. Toss immediately to coat them evenly with oil and cook for 3 minutes or until the peas begin to turn a bright green color.

Dump the shrimp back in and go for another 2 minutes.

Pour the hoisin sauce over the whole mess and stir it in really well. Turn and toss to get the sauce all over and into everything. Cook for a minute or so. Pour it out on a platter or into a bowl or use your best Tupperware.

Mound up some coconut rice on a plate and carpet bomb it with obscene amounts of your hard earned prawny goodness.

Rather than prattle on about inane crap like I usually do, I’m gonna get me some leftover prawns, feed my foodhole, and go pass out…

Stress and Anxiety, Healing Through Sharing


A friend recently had an experience like none other in her life brought on by a level of stress and anxiety. Unfortunately it had to happen while she was at work. While it may be disruptive to her career, it may just have been the best time for it to happen, to bring it to the forefront, to begin her journey to self realization and healing. She asked a number of friends if her story was blog material to which we enthusiastically said “YES!!” She decided to go forth and blog. Her writing style is a thing of beauty. You NEED to read it to believe it.

I very much identify with her experience and that is something I have not gone into here due to a great deal of ambivalence about sharing with the world. It sounds ridiculous, I know. After all, I have shared some very candid details of the realization, after 40 years of confusion, of my bisexuality, not holding much back. I knew that it could help others, which, by the feedback I’ve received, I know that it has.

My experiences of profound depression and anxiety, the crippling effects of it, and the proper diagnosis and beyond successful treatment and near total elimination of it can and will help others who have been suffering with what I had suffered from for my entire life.

Here is the link to her blog. What a blog it is…

Breathe In Two Three Four

Cooking with Foxfur: Junk Fried Rice


Fried rice, the garbage disposal dish. Got leftovers? Make fried rice. You can put anything in it and it will be a damn fine dish. Got a half chicken gathering flies? How about that pork chop you’re thinking of trashing? Your hubby and the rugrats didn’t finish their ham at breakfast? So much the better if they didn’t finish their scrambled eggs. Did the folks sitting next to you at the restaurant not finish their plates? Go scrape their plates! Their loss is your gain. Been there, done that more than once when I was a bachelor… I really like to make mine from scratch but when I have bits of vittles like left over stir-fry, that half can of Spam hiding in the corner of the fridge, or diced up whatever that I forgot to use for another recipe, I’ll dump it in the wok and recycle it into a new dish.

The biggest hurdle you might face is the rice. You pretty much have to use cold, not necessarily refrigerated, rice. 4 to 6 cups of cooked rice will do just fine. I toss 2 cups of rice and 3 cups of water in the rice cooker and let ‘er go. When done I’ll unplug it and let it sit for an hour or three. If you’re in a hurry, dump it on a cookie sheet and spread it out to cool. Don’t worry about the type either. Long grain is what I like but I’ve used short grain, medium grain, sushi, jasmine, and brown rice. Hell, try wild rice, black rice, or Rice Crispies. Hmm, fried Rice Crispies… Some R&D is called for…

Remember: Cooking with Foxfur is primarily aimed at people who think they can’t cook. The other demographic is folks who worry too much about measurements. I’ll put an ingredient list below, BUT, please don’t follow it! Make additions, substitutions, deletions, and excuses as needed. You’re making dinner not rocket fuel. Just like tossing hand grenades, close is good enough.

So here’s what I started with:

A bewildering array epicurean detritus...

Foxfur’s Junk Fried Rice

  • A pound or so of meat
  • 4 – 6 Cups of cold rice
  • A can of corn, drained
  • A can of peas, drained
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 1 Green onion thinly sliced
  • Other tasty scraps

If you’re using fresh uncooked meat, why not marinate it? I used dark soy sauce, mirin, and sesame oil. You don’t have to drown the meat. Use a tablespoon of soy sauce, whatever type you like, a tablespoon of mirin (sweetened rice wine) although sake, wine, beer, or fruit juice will do just as well, and a splash of sesame oil. Use whatever oil you have. Cut the meat up into fine pieces. I go with 1/4 inch cubes, but do what you want. This is where you get to stick it to the restaurant and get even for all the unsatisfying fried rice you’ve ever had. Were their meaty bits too teensy? Use gobbing hunks in yours. Too little meat? Add three pounds to yours. Whatever you want is what you should have. Throw the meat in a bowl with the marinade. Do this before doing anything else. I like my meat to soak for half an hour before I start playing with it.

Git yer veggies. Put a good teaspoon or two of oil in the pan and heat it up pretty hot. Throw the veggies in and stir ’em around real good like. You want them all to get a bit of oil on them. Cook ’em until they’re a bit past what most folks would consider done. Not burned but not too moist. That’s how I like mine, anyway. Peas are a good indicator vegetable. They should be a bit shriveled but not all pruney. Don’t worry if you get some burned or black spots on them, it’s all part of the goodness. The picture below shows how mine look when they’re where I like ’em.

Stop when they look like this.

When you cook a little longer you’ll concentrate the flavors. The corn will be a bit denser, the peas a bit firmer, and the flavor a bit better. Toss the veggies aside. I usually use the bowl I’m going to serve with or the container I’ll put the leftover product in the refrigerator with.

Now grab yer meat. Heat up the pan with another teaspoon or two of oil. Throw in a bunch of ginger, either minced or cut into matchsticks. Drop a few cloves of garlic in as well. I like using the chopped stuff in a jar. I’d rather be outside in the yard setting stuff on fire than inside peeling and chopping garlic. Stir ’em around for 20 – 30 seconds and dump the meat in. If it clucked or snorted, cook the piss out of it. There ain’t no such thing as a medium rare chicken breast or a bloody rare pork steak that’s going to be good for you. Even if it’s beef, I’ll cook it til it’s well glazed and just a bit dry. Again, the flavor is concentrated and I love the firm texture.

Cook the pork (or other raw meat) with the marinade if using one.

Cook the meat until glazed with marinade.

Stuff your meat into the same container that your veggies went into.

The scrambled eggs are optional. I feel they’re mandatory. While I say to use two, I use three. There’s never enough eggs in the fried rice in any restaurant! It’s enough to make you want to bring a pocket full of eggs and sneak a handful in your bowl. When you beat your eggs, be sure to add salt, pepper, onion powder, milk, sugar, and whatever else you’d put in them for normal scrambled eggs. Drizzle a bit of oil in the pan, heat it up real good, and scramble the hell out of the eggs. It doesn’t matter if they’re not completely done as they’ll finish up when you mix them into the rice a bit later.

Now comes the part that stumps lots of people. An oft heard question is “How do I know when the rice is fried enough?” When you like it is my standard answer. It depends if you like your fried rice clumpy or grainy. I like mine with separated grains. I use 4 to 5 tablespoons of peanut oil for 4 to 6 cups of rice. Heat up the oil and add the rice. Stir and toss it around to get the oil worked through it. Break up clumps with your spatula or spoon. If it is clumping pretty bad or keeps reclumping, add more oil! Add a teaspoon or so, stir, bust up the rice clods and add more as needed. Keep stirring and flipping the rice for 5 to 10 minutes. I like mine pretty well done so I go for about 8 minutes. You don’t want the rice to be crispy or hard. Keep it between the lines…

Add 583,000 grains of rice.

Grab your bottle of soy sauce and shake some over it after 5 minutes or so. You might like a lighter soy flavor, I like a heartier, saltier flavor. Add a bit and taste it. Remember to keep tasting your food as you cook. Nothing makes me crazier than to see people cooking and not tasting! It’s like painting with your eyes closed. It’s the number one way to ruin your food as well as your reputation as a cook.

The perfect shade of brown.

You’ll notice above that not every grain of rice is brown. This isn’t a commercial or test kitchen. This isn’t a cookbook. This is Real Life! If I was going for a polished look the first thing I’d do is upgrade my shitty little point and shoot digital camera to something that actually renders colors appropriately. I’d rather spend my money on wine, ammunition, and fireworks.

If you really must have absolute uniformity, spread the rice out on a cookie sheet, fill up a Windex bottle with soy sauce, and mist the rice until all is right with the world. Be aware that it’s anally retentive people like you that make the rest of us look bad.

It’s time to bring it all together now. Grab your meatbucket and rain the meaty goodness down upon the rice. The veggies too! Be sure to add the scrambled eggs and green onions. Mix it all up good and thoroughly.

Add leftover fried rice to the next batch of fried rice.

There you have it, junk fried rice. For an even heartier flavor, add 1/4 teaspoon of MSG. Don’t listen to the pussies that would have you believe the stuff will kill you or it’s manufactured in Satan’s pants. The stuff is seriously good and no matter what the elitist foodies say, it’s a great way to boost the flavor of foods. It is no more cheating than adding salt or water to food. As a matter of fact, it’s much healthier than salt as the sodium content of MSG is far lower than table salt. Soy sauce, bullion, gravy, bacon, roasted meats, blue and parmesan cheese all have naturally occurring amounts of glutamate. It’s the reason savory foods taste the way they do. For you smart ones, you know the fifth taste: Umami, “pleasant savory taste”.

Whether you use it or not, fried rice made by your own hands will meet, and more likely than not, beat that which you find in a restaurant. Maybe not the first time but hey, you sucked pretty bad the first time you rode a bike, no?

Pyro School: Finale


I’m finally finished with all of my coursework for my Washington state pyrotechnician’s license! The last course, as far as I’m concerned, was the best of all. We spent a bit more than 2 hours setting up and loading racks of mortars and wiring them up for electrical firing. We spent less than 2 minutes firing them…

1 3/4 inch shells with ematches installed.

Electrical firing allows the operator a greater degree of control over the timing of launch of the shells which can give a show a nicely polished appearance. It also makes timing the show to music a bit easier. Lastly, it is quite a bit safer than hand firing shells due to the removal of personnel from the mortar racks.

Ematches are used instead of fusees (road flares) to ignite the fuses of the shells. An ematch is simply a wire bridge, a low resistance, small diameter wire that heats upon applying electrical current. The bridge is at one end of a small gauge pair of wires while the other end has stripped ends that are shunted, twisted, together to reduce the possibility of inadvertent ignition. The bridge is coated with a mixture of flammable compounds that burn insanely hot when given the juice.

A classmate loads a 2 1/2 inch shell into a mortar.

Wiring shells in series for simultaneous firing of three tubes.

More wiring…

More wiring…

Connecting the leads to a firing slat.

The firing slat runs alongside the mortars. This one has 50 individual pairs of connectors allowing 50 cues (single or multiply connected items) to be fired from the board in any desired order.

A full fan rack hooked up and ready to go.

Espressodude doing some wiring…

Espressodude is a good friend of mine and is the one who nudged me into earning my Oregon and Washington licenses. We camp together at Burning Man and build propane flame effects together at home in the Portland area. He is a crew member with Black Rock FX, an awesome group of highly skilled and dedicated pyrotechnicians who coordinate, install, and fire many fireworks and effects displays at Burning Man. They did the Flaming Lotus Girls Tympani Lambada as well as The Trojan Horse shows last year. If everything goes right and I get the nod, I will be on the crew this year in some capacity…

All loaded and ready to go…

20 roman candles quickmatched together.

Smaller candles are typically not used in big shows. Smaller shows like high school games and grand openings and the like will use them quite a bit due to their low cost.

Pepper (middle) was itching to spray somebody with the class A extinguisher.

Pepper is one of almost ten folks at the display company (where we trained / launched at) who have switched from tobacco to personal vaporizers (e-cigarettes).

A 200 point firing board.

The firing board shown here will set you back around $4,000. They’re well made and will stand up to a shitload of abuse (within reason…). Each point, when touched with the stylus, the black test probe, will fire whatever is hooked up to the corresponding point on the slats. The slats connect to the 50-pair connectors at the upper right. The board is powered by the sealed lead-acid 12 volt battery shown atop the board. It is connected to the board by the terminals at the top left corner. To the right of the terminals is a switch that selects between test and fire. In the test position it restricts the outgoing current to a few milliamps in order to check the continuity of each circuit. If the cue is ok, you’ll see a light illuminate as well as hear a tone from the speaker. Although we check each cue before connecting it to the slat terminals, something can always go wrong. Test twice, fire once. There’s no do overs during the show…

Each connector at the lower right corner of the board connects to a 50-pair cable.

A classmate firing his shells.

Shells launching!

Espressodude shooting his load…

The candle racks firing…

My training card sits atop my copy of the show report.

I need four more live shoots, two letters of recommendation, and the passage of a state exam to obtain my Washington state license. Two more live shoots and passing a state exam will net me my Oregon license. Because I love certifications and licenses (locksmith, gunsmith, heavy equipment operator, alarm and security installer, etc.), I’ll probably go for my Idaho license as well.

Fireworks display companies are always looking for people to help on their shows. Think about it. Most folks spend their Fourth of July eating brats (or chasing them) and passively watching fireworks shows. Then there’s us pyros. We’d rather let someone buy tens of thousands of dollars worth of fireworks for us to fondle, er, handle, load, and fire. Unless you’re the lead pyro you won’t be making much. You’ll do well to cover your gas and get a lunch or dinner out of it. Money isn’t the point of it though. The opportunity to work with like minded individuals and the chance to entertain a crowd with the harnessed power of a thousand year old art form, that right there is payment enough for me.

Remember, fireworks aren’t just for the 4th. New Years Eve, Christmas, weddings, parties, funerals, grand openings, and movies are but a few other events that make use of splodey goodness.

Google your area or state for fireworks display companies and give them a call. Most will be glad to train you or tell you where you can obtain training. Most states don’t require licensing to fire shows. Of course, if you don’t have a license, you can’t lead a crew on a shoot. If earning some extra money is one of your goals, get your license, put some time in as a crew member, get to know the operators, build a reputation as a safety conscious and hard working individual, and you’ll be able to lead your own crew.

Cooking with Foxfur: Eggs Bastardict


I couldn’t sleep the other night. Not as in “I didn’t sleep well”. I didn’t sleep a wink. I think it was due to having another class in the morning at pyrotechnician school with a live fireworks shoot. I ended up quitting my efforts to sleep and got out of bed at 3:00 AM. What to do… I settled on installing a new drive coupler in my friend’s washing machine (where I’m house sitting). 30 minutes later I was bored again. After a brief Facebook discussion about government cheese and bemoaning the fact that it’s no longer available, I was inspired to make a grilled cheese sandwich. I thought grilled cheese with Spam sounded like a fine idea.

As I began to forage the kitchen for proper ingredients I was suddenly inspired to go above and beyond what I had planned. As good and wholesome as it is, the humble grilled cheese was going to have to wait. I decided to rummage through the fridge and cabinets and come up with something blogworthy. I loves me some multi-ingredient cuisine…

I wanted a version of Eggs Benedict that didn’t involve the complexity of hollandaise. One should never attempt hollandaise while sleep deprived. Besides, I didn’t have any lemon juice for the sauce. I didn’t have any Canadian bacon but I did have Spam. I didn’t have English muffins but there were hoagie rolls, you know, the double wide buns that a polish dog is served in. What better to replace hollandaise sauce with than chili? Ready? Here we go…

Eggs Bastardict

  • A hoagie roll (or whatever)
  • 4 Slices of Spam (or bacon, lunch meat, sausage, hotdogs…)
  • 2 Eggs
  • Half a can of no beans chili
  • Seasonings to sex up the chili

The rolls wouldn’t fit in a toaster, not that I had one, so I used what I had. Toast the rolls over a low gas flame. Move them around so as not to blacken them, unless you’re into that kind of thing. I couldn’t get mine all golden brown like a newfangled piece of proper toast but they came out just fine.

If you don’t have a gas stove, use a propane torch. Don’t laugh, it works. Electric burners will work as well.

Cut your Spam in 1/4 inch thick slices and fry until brown.

I'm pretty sure this is the manna that the bible talks about

When done, place Spam on the toasted rolls.

Spam. It's what's for dinner.I almost called it quits at this point…

Next up, eggs! Scoop a bit of fat out of the top of the can and toss it into your pan.

Spamfat is the new butter...A few tips on frying eggs. Whether you use a non-stick pan or a traditional one, always use a fat or oil of some kind. It serves not only to prevent the food from sticking to the pan, which happens no matter which type of pan you use, but also as a heat transfer agent. It forms a conductive film that transfers heat to the food. If you’re concerned about fat intake, in which case you shouldn’t be looking at this recipe, use olive oil. Another tip for perfect fried eggs is to use a cover on the pan. Using one allows the heat and steam to be trapped and cook the tops of the eggs. You’ll have to test out how long to let them go until they’re done to your taste. Over medium heat I let mine go for about 3 minutes.

When the eggs are done enough for you, pile them atop the lovely Spam.

Looks like an owlNext up is the “sauce”. I use many canned foods but never allow them down my gullet without a bit of sexing up. I don’t think I’ve ever met a canned food (or any other food not prepared by me for that matter), that couldn’t use some seasoning. Prepared foods are made to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Don’t be afraid to add unconventional seasonings, just add something. I used Tabasco’s Sweet n Spicy sauce, onion powder, a teaspoon of chopped garlic, and some fresh minced ginger. The chili I found at Grocery Outlet. It’s like a garage sale for food. You never know what you’ll find there. They used to have Spam with Japanese kanji script on the cans…

Never eat something out of a can without modificationsI used half the can. Put it in a small dish or bowl, season it, and microwave it for 90 seconds. Taste and add more crap as needed. Pour the chili over the eggs, top with cheese, onions, fresh parsley, whatever, and grab a fork.

Shazzam!Oh hell yes! That’s a real breakfast. Try finding this at a restaurant…

A friend’s question about cholesterol reminded me that I’d tallied the nutrition information for this light and healthy recipe…

  • Calories: 1030, 550 from fat
  • Fat: 62.5g
  • Cholesterol: 585mg
  • Protein: 55g
  • Sodium: 3050mg

An interesting fact about the cholesterol content of this waistline whittling meal. The eggs: 430mg. The Spam: 80mg.

Spam is healthy. Case closed.

Tips on E-Cigarette Use and Maintenance


I have discovered some things in the past few months that have allowed me to increase my enjoyment in using my E-Cigarettes.

Some people have noted that they are not getting a very good ‘throat hit’ or significant vapor from theirs. This can be obtained by adjusting the way that you draw from yours. For a satisfying draw you need to slow and extend your draw. A fast draw as on an analog cigarette does not work well on these. Draw into your mouth slowly for 3 to 5 seconds THEN inhale into your lungs. I guarantee that you will notice the difference.

The following series of tips will help with your experience and ease of use of the eGo series of tank cartridge fed vaporizers (e-cigarettes).
I have seen many comments on forums where users complain of their eGo-C’s and eGo-T’s leaking. I believe that these leaks are nothing more than the buildup of condensation in the atomizer cone (the housing that the tank cartridge is inserted into).

When I remove the tank to swap in a new one or to refill the tank, I use a folded strip of paper towel to swab out the bottom of the chamber. Below is a picture of the strip (with a matchbook from NW Sausages to give a sense of scale).

Cut or tear a 1 inch strip from a folded paper towel. I used a towel from a roll that has half-width perforations but a full width piece works just fine.

Fold the strip in thirds lengthwise and then crease one end. Crease full length to be able to use both ends when cleaning two eGo cones.

Insert the strip into the atomizer cone between the center spike and the sidewall. Blot up the condensation by dabbing up and down while rotating the cone with your fingers.

Next, stuff half of the strip into the cone and rotate the cone with your fingers. This will wipe the sidewalls free of condensation.

A shot of the condensation and a bit of coloring on the end of the swab strip.

The use of a cotton swab to do the same thing as the strip. I’ve yet to find a cotton swab that is as absorbent as paper towels but I’ll use them when I’m on the road and can’t find towels.

Be sure to swab the contacts on the bottom of the atomizer as well as the battery contact. I prefer to use a cotton swab for this. Failure to keep these contacts clean can cause a reduction of current resulting in reduced performance of the atomizer. It can also cause blackened deposits to form due to the heating of e-juice between the contacts. I swab mine each time I unscrew the cone from the battery prior to charging.

Another tip that will eliminate possible e-juice leaks is to use silicone caps instead of the standard plastic caps that come with the tanks. These caps have a plug that extends into the tank body which ensures a better seal between cap and tank. The exposed face of the silicone cap seats positively against the face of the atomizer. The silicone material on the face also provides a much better seal around the atomizer spike that pierces the cap and feeds the liquid to the atomizer. The caps are available where you purchase your tanks (esmokeronline) and are included already installed on the tanks available from Mad Vapes.

A silicone tank cap shown installed on an eGo tank (style A – 1ml, the most common size).

An accessory tank that I am fond of is known as a DCT, Dual Coil Tank. The silver tube within the clear polycarbonate tank contains two atomizer coils and wicking material surrounding the air tube in the center. The silver tube is called a cartomizer, carto for short, because it combines an atomizer in the outer cartridge casing.The wicking material is continuously replenished through a hole in the side of the carto. This model holds 3.5ml of juice and provides a little bit different flavor and vapor than does the eGo tank. It also requires less frequent filling.

When using eGo batteries, which provide a nominal 3.4 volts, you should order the 1.5 ohm model. Order 1.5 – 1.7 ohm carto’s to replace the original carto. I find that I need to replace the carto about every 10 days. Your replacement frequency will vary proportionally to how much you use it daily. I estimate a useful lifespan of 12 – 14ml of juice, or approximately 3 – 4 tank refills. You will know it is time to replace it when you notice that the vapor production has fallen off compared to when it is new. I allow it to go for a while as I’m a cheap bastard and it’s a blast when I hit on a new carto and feel the awesome throat hit of a fresh set of coils. At ~$2.50 each, you’ll spend about the same amount per month as you did on a single pack of cigarettes.

The picture below shows the preferred refilling method. Simply remove the tip that extends from the top of the carto and gently push up on the tank by the bottom plug until the carto tube is just below the bottom of the top plug. Place the nozzle of your juice bottle against the inside of the top plug and gently squeeze the bottle until the liquid is right below the top of the carto tube. Next, press the tank back down being sure to center the carto so as not to damage the o-ring inside the top cap. At this point I reccomend dripping 15 – 20 drops of juice into the wicking material in the carto tube. DO NOT drip the liquid directly into the center of the carto tube! Instead, hold the tube at a 45 degree angle and drip the liquid on the side of the inside of the tube allowing it to run down to the wicking material. Drip 1 – 2 drops and rotate the tube a third of a turn before dripping more. Allow it to absorb a bit before dropping more. Once the wicking is wet it will absorb the liquid more readily. If you happen to get liquid down the center tube, all is not lost. Grab a paper towel and blow through the tube until no more liquid comes out the bottom. I suggest cupping the paper towel around the bottom to catch the liquid that will come out of the side vents just above the threaded portion at the bottom of the carto. Once the carto has been primed, reinstall the mouthpiece (tip) and draw rather hard to draw liquid into the wicking. Look at the feedhole through the tank and you will see a bubble or bubbles emerge from the tiny feedhole. Once no more bubbles emerge, the carto is primed. Allow the tank to sit for 10 – 15 minutes so the liquid is evenly distributed throughout the wicking.

Preferred filling position for a dual coil tank.

A top view of a carto (cartridge atomizer). The white material is the wicking. You can see the air tube at the center. The black wire is the wire leading to the top heating coil. The wires to the lower coil and to the center of the coils are buried in the wicking. The mouthpiece is inserted in the top of this tube.

The left vaporizer is an eGo-C cone on an eGo style 650mAh battery. The middle unit is a 3.5ml DCT on an eGo style 1100mAh battery. The unit on the right is a DCT on an eGo style 900mAh pass-through battery. A pass-through has a USB port on the bottom to facilitate charging as well as usage without battery depletion when plugged into a USB port on your computer or wall mount power supply.

An eGo style 900mAh pass-through battery plugged into the USB port of my laptop. Anne calls this my Robot Cigarette…

If you choose to shop at Northwest Vapors (I love them!) be sure to use the redemption code FOXFUR and receive a 10% discount on your entire order. You can use this on your first and every order after that. I told them I blog about E-Cigs (it is the most frequently accessed topic on this blog) and would like to be able to offer my readers a discount. They immediately created the Foxfur code. I am not paid or compensated by them for traffic directed over there. I simply want y’all to save some money and your health.

Pyro School: Finally Blowing Sh*t Up!


I went to the second session of pyro school today. When I signed in, the secretary asked who I was. I said Fox. “Oh! You’re the funny one!” Evidently I made an impression last time…

Today we practiced matching and not the OK Cupid kind. Match, also known as quick match, is an insanely fast burning type of fuse that burns at up to 300 feet per second. It is used to ignite multiple fireworks simultaneously or nearly so. Typically used for finales or large set pieces, it can be spliced and branched almost like wire.

Quick match linking multiple shells in mortars.

Info and diagrams of match and fuse connection methods are here

The segment on matching ended early, about 15 minutes before lunch. Larry, our instructor, was wondering aloud what we should do until then. I waved my hands in the air and yelled “Tell us some stories!” much to the amusement of the class. He gave me that sideways glance of his and said “Okay….”

He proceeded to regale us with tales from his 54 years of professional fireworks experience. Among them were the time he created a mushroom cloud for a show on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation using artillery powder, flash powder, and gallons of gasoline. Another involved Boy Scouts, a bonfire, and flashpowder, and I can’t remember the last one but it sure was great. After finishing, he looks at me and says “Satisfied?” I wanted to say “YAY! Thanks uncle Larry!” but settled for a simple yay instead.

During lunch, I showed a few people pics of the pyrotechnics and flame effects at Burning Man. Drug fueled hippie orgy music festival my hot ass…

After lunch we learned just what a pain in the ass it is to transport fireworks. It was taught by a different instructor that talked like a fucking sailor, salty motherfucker…

Then we got to the good part. The Live Shoot! We were able to shoot a 1.75 inch and a 2.5 inch shell. Because I’m somewhat of a teacher’s pet, I got to shoot 5 or so… I brought my hardhat, which has a nomex hood built in, and a pair of safety glasses, both of which make me look dead sexy as you shall see…

So get this. They call me forward, place a big splodey shell in my hand, and tell me to walk downrange and light it with a road flare. Didn’t have to ask me twice! The folks on the mortar line were friendly and very helpful. They went over the sequence of loading, ignition, and protective posture. Basically, you lower the shell into the tube by the attached match, assume the proper firing stance, remove the fire-retardant match cover from the end of the match, wait for the firing cue, light the sucker up, and lean away with your back to the mortar until it blows the shell into the sky. Y’all know me. I love me some explosions! Standing next to a 2.5 inch shell launching is a hell of a bang that you feel with your whole body. I loved it!

We received certification of participating in a live fire shoot of which I need three to be able to take the state test to acquire my license. I have another live fire next weekend that involves many more shells.

Here’s the obligatory pics…

"But I want to go play over there!"

"Ok Foxfur, that there's the splodey end."

Assuming the proper firing stance, keeping the flare away from the bangy thing.

BLASTOFF! What's that guy behind me doing?

Thinking dirty thoughts about pretty fireworks...

Geeky, nerdy, slutty Foxfur...

The first part in the series: Blowing Sh*t Up For Fun And Profit

Cooking With Foxfur: Sweet & Sour Blue Chicken


Today I’m going to be showing y’all how to whip up a Snooseville variant of sweet and sour chicken. I was going to call it “What The Fuck Chicken” but that could easily refer to nearly any of my chicken recipes including my famous chicken fried Spam… This recipe came to me last night as I was searching for a duplicate of authentic Americanized Chinese restaurant sweet & sour sauce. I’ve made many different types of sweet and sour sauce but, being the simpleton that I am, I loves me some of that clear and simple sauce. I stumbled upon the easiest sauce you could ever hope for and one that you can make from what you have on hand. All it takes is water, sugar, vinegar, cornstarch, and red food dye. After mulling it over for a while, I rejected the idea of red, too conformist, and thought of green or blue as a way of sticking it to the man. Seeing as how I was fresh out of green, I decided on blue. Feel free to substitute green, yellow, or black. Anything but red. Red is far too unoriginal for us, right? Right! So, without further adieu (which I have plenty of), here goes nothing.

Sweet & Sour Blue Chicken

1 32 ounce bag of General Tso’s chicken or battered chicken

1 large onion

2 Sexy carrots

2 Bell peppers

2 Teaspoons minced ginger

1 Teaspoon minced garlic

Sauce:

1 Cup water

1 Cup sugar

¾ Cup white vinegar

3 Tablespoons cornstarch mixed in 3 Tablespoons of water

Peel the onion and cut into wedges. Peel the carrots and cut diagonally in thin slices. Seed peppers and cut into ½ x ¾ inch pieces. OR, get fancy and use a really small star shaped cookie cutter. I’m not joking. People love stuff like this. You can get a job cooking at the White House with this trick.

Mince ginger and garlic and place in a little dish.

Combine water, sugar, and vinegar and stir until dissolved. Look at these fucking peppers!

I’m using a West Bend electric wok so I’ll be referring to my cooking vessel as a wok. You can use a wok, frying pan, maybe even a hubcap or gold pan. Whatever. I don’t care. You’re gonna do it no matter what I say.

Drizzle a teaspoon of oil into your heated wok. Dump in ¾ of the ginger and garlic. Stir it around for 5 – 10 seconds. Launch your carrots in and slap them around like my, err, a mouthy boyfriend for 60 – 90 seconds. Next, dump the peppers and onions in and go go go for another 3 minutes or so. Stop when the veggies are as crisp or as mushy as you like. Flip them into a bowl and set aside for now.

Now, get a firm grip on your chicken. I’m using frozen battered chicken because it’s what I have to work with and I’m lazy. If you want to cut up chicken breasts and dredge them in flour, be my guest. You obviously have a large amount of time on your hands so why not knit a sweater while you’re at it, smartass?

My chicken came with a packet of General Tso’s sauce. This sealed packet of communist aggression didn’t give up easily and had to be forced to surrender at gunpoint, pinko bastard! I banished the packet of dissent to the hinterlands of the freezer in a multicultural tryst with a package of frozen burritos. Adios, bitches!

Pour ¼ cup (2 ounces) of oil into your pan. I use peanut oil because it is domestically produced and does not support terrorism (unlike them fancy ass foreign oils…). For a real treat, replace ½ ounce (2 drachms) of the oil with sesame oil. Heat and toss in the remaining ginger and garlic. Dump the chicken in and stir constantly for 15 – 20 minutes. So long as it’s not pink and raw in the center you’re good. I like mine a bit crispy and brown so I’ll go for the full 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a container that DOES NOT contain the veggies. DO NOT let the chicken touch the veggies!

Pour the sauce mixture into the wok. Heat to a low simmering boil and stir until everything is fine and dandy. Now is where the blue (or color X) comes in. I only had ¾ of a tube of blue food coloring gel and used it all. I didn’t end up with nearly the depth of color that I wanted. I was going for something to gross out kindergarteners but ended up with something that Alice Waters would probably be cool with instead. Next time I’ll use liquid food coloring and have shitloads on hand. When in doubt, add more. With a recipe like this, which is totally asinine, go completely nuts and err on the side of recklessness. Who the hell is going to tell you screwed it’s up, huh? Of course it’s screwed up! You’re cooking with Foxfur!

Put on a pair of safety goggles and begin adding the cornstarch / water mixture. Be very careful!!! Many inexperienced cooks have suffered catastrophic facial burns requiring hundreds of hours of reconstructive surgery only to end up looking like Sharpei puppies hesitantly emerging from a food dehydrator. Don’t let this happen to YOU! The sauce will begin to thicken upon stirring the CS water into the sauce. Bear in mind that the sauce is hot and will appear thinner now than it will be when it is cool. If you add enough CS water, you’ll end up with something approximating brick mortar when it cools off. Or toothpaste like mine did. I didn’t care. It fit into my foodhole and stayed down. I win again! You can easily test the cooled thickness of the sauce by spooning a few drops on a cool plate or piece of aluminum foil. Let it cool for a few seconds and lick at it. Undignified? Yes. Most chefs are. Look at me.

Now grab your chicken and plunge it into the sauce. Mix it around in the sauce on low heat for a few minutes so that the sauce can work in and get all flavory like with it. Add in the veggies then fold, spindle, and mutilate. Pour the mess into a serving bowl or plate and prepare to disgust your guests.

Serve it on a bed of rice which may or may not have been dyed to a horribly contrasting color. Saffron rice, yellow, would be a good choice. The blue of the sauce should mix with the rice’s yellow and result in a sick-ass green streaked mess to grace the plate of your “friends” that you’ve invited to “dinner”, wink, wink.

Some final comments:

Cooking is not a science except in the case of cooking meth. You don’t want to fuck up on that. Recipes are mere guidelines. They’re the beginning of an adventure that only you will be going on and that only you can judge the success of. You wouldn’t pack a suitcase with only what a list told you to, would you? If you want to add pineapple to this recipe, fine. If you think your kids would like gummi bears in it, who am I to disagree? That actually sounds pretty awesome and will end up in a future recipe to be featured here. The only recipes where following the ingredient list and cooking methodologies are absolutely critical is when baking cakes and cookies. Nearly everything else is fungible. Get creative and use your imagination. The best recipes are the ones you’ll never find in a cookbook. They’re the ones passed around on 3×5’s by little old ladies in the back row of bingo parlors.

It’s just like life: Nothing exciting ever comes from following all of the rules all of the time.

Update: The General Tso sauce kicks ass on my Spam and Corn Fritters

Cooking With Foxfur: Stir-Fry


Cooking! Foxfur loves it. Nothing is more satisfying to me than taking a bunch of cool parts and building something functional and beautiful from them. Of the many neat things I build, only cooking gives me the opportunity to eat what I have made. Sometimes I can combine my creations with food for tasty results. See my post on cooking Spam with a flamethrower for a tasty example ( https://foxfuramused.com/2011/09/25/flamethrower-spam-at-burning-man-2011 ).

Today I will remove the mystery of my favorite method of cooking: the stir-fry.

Stir-fry combines three main ingredients: Vegetables, meat (or alternate protein source), and a sauce. Some folks may prefer to omit the protein and sauce. Why? I have no idea. Do whatever you like but for the very best result include the sauce.

Stir-fry theory is relatively simple. Cook the vegetables, remove from wok or pan. Cook the meat, add the sauce, and throw the veggies back in. Eat.

First the vegetables are cooked. A bit of oil is heated, perhaps a teaspoon or so, garlic and / or ginger added to the oil and stirred for 5 – 10 seconds and then the vegetables are added. These are tossed around and constantly turned in order to avoid burning. Vegetables that require a longer cooking time are added first and cooked for a little bit before the more tender ones are added. Carrots, broccoli, etc. are added first. I usually cook the broccoli separately. When the veggies have been cooked for a few minutes, add a few tablespoons of water and cover. This allows them to steam a bit. I typically allow 60 – 90 seconds of steaming depending on the texture I like. If you want uber crisp veggies, omit the steaming.

Next, cook the meat or protein. Again, add the oil, a teaspoon to a tablespoon depending on the amount of meat you’re cooking. Then the garlic / ginger. Add the meat. Cook the piss out of poultry, pig, or seafood. Trust me, you don’t even want to mess around with medium rare pork. Beef is negotiable. If you wish, cook it 2/3 to 3/4 done, it will continue cooking once the sauce has been added and heated.

Then the sauce. Some like to add the sauce directly to the cooked meat. I like to remove the meat and do the sauce separately. I like to use a mix of broth and soy sauce or other liquids. A good all-purpose sauce: 1 cup broth (chicken, beef, ham, giraffe, vegetable, etc.), 2-4 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2-3 tablespoons of mirin or wine of your choice, sugar or fruit juice for a sweet sauce, vinegar for a tart sauce, fish sauce for a hearty sauce, Tabasco for a peppy sauce. Really, add anything. You can’t ruin a sauce. I guess you can if you throw in some really crappy stuff like angostura bitters or Liquid Plumr or the like. Taste the sauce and add junk as desired. If it’s awful, feed it to the sink and start over. I’ve added some bizarre stuff to mine: A1 sauce, Worcestershire, Heinz 57, orange marmalade, maple syrup, grenadine, whiskey, root beer, Pepsi, and Mad Dog 20/20. Get creative! Add the sauce to the wok or pan and heat thoroughly especially if adding reserved marinade (which I highly recommend!). If you like a thick sauce, add cornstarch dissolved in a small amount of water, stir the CS water in and stir the sauce until it’s thickened and cook for 30-60 seconds to cook the taste of starch out of it.

Finally, add the veggies (and meat if you did the sauce alone in the wok) and toss to coat. Depending on the texture, I’ll cook it a bit more to infuse the saucy goodness into the tasty bits.

Serve with rice or noodles and shovel it into your food hole.

Here’s an easy example that I make at least twice a week.

Foxfur’s Furry Tofu (contains no fur)

1lb firm or extra firm tofu dismembered into 1/2inch cubes
1 large onion hacked into wedges
1 large bell pepper (red, yellow, orange, green, or polka dotted) diced into 1/2 to 3/4inch squares or trapezoids
A couple handfuls of sliced mushrooms (white, brown, magic, whatever)
1Tbsp finely chopped ginger
1Tbsp chopped garlic
Oil (peanut, olive, vegetable, palm, motor)

Marinade:
1/4C Soy sauce
1TBSP sugar
2-3 glugs of sweet chili sauce (optional)
Other crap you like (to taste)

Sauce:
1C broth
3TBSP Soy sauce
3TBSP wine (I prefer mirin)
2Tbsp sugar

Mix the marinade ingredients well. Drop the tofu cubes into a bowl and drown with the marinade. I like to let it sit on the counter for an hour or so.

Mix the sauce ingredients together. Set aside.

Add a teaspoon of oil to the wok or pan. Get that stuff hot but not smoking hot. The only smoking hot thing here is you, dear reader, mreow! Dump in the ginger and garlic and agitate it with a stick until it’s not quite done, perhaps 7.42 seconds. You want to kidnap the flavors into the oil not deep fry the stuff. Launch the onions and peppers into the wok. Keep ’em moving, do not burn! Cook for 2 minutes and then toss the mushrooms in. Slap the stuff around for another minute or two. Add a couple tablespoons of water into the bottom of the wok and cover. Drop and give me 25 pushups. Faster! Get up, remove the cover, evacuate the veggies to a dish or other suitable detention vessel.

Drain the marinade from the tofu into something that will hold it and set that aside.

Add a bit more oil, heat, do the garlic-ginger thing and dump the tofu in. Don’t worry if there’s marinade left in the ‘fu. It will get cooked into the cubes and be oh so tastay! Stir the fu every 10-15 seconds. Ideally you want the fu to be browned on all sides but chances are you’ll never be able to do it. I can’t. Whatever. It’ll be cooked. Keep going until you achieve the nirvanaesque state of light to dark
browning, your choice. I like mine a bit on the dark and kinda dry side of the spectrum. Transfer to the container with the vegetables to reflect on their impending doom.

Add the sauce and marinade to the wok and heat until it achieves a slight boil. Taste it and add stuff you like to taste. If it’s too salty add some water. At this point you’ll thicken it up. We do this by dissolving 2Tbsp of cornstarch in 2Tbsp of COLD water. pour half of this into the simmering sauce. Stir quickly to incorporate completely. Still too thin? Add the rest of the starch water. Still too thin? make and add more. Too thick? Add some water. Simmer for a minute or so.

Finally. add the veggies and fu to the sauce. Stir everything until coated with sauce. Continue heating and stirring if you want to. If you don’t want to, you’re lazy and need a personal chef.

Serve your splendid creation with rice or alone. Drizzle with sesame oil and shake some sesame seeds over it for a real treat.

I recommend washing containers and utensils as you go so as not to be overwhelmed with a stack of crap. Done right, you will be able to gorge and pass out where you sit. On coming to you will be greeted with a clean sink and should immediately have seconds.

Stir-fry is not complicated, it just looks like it when I write the recipe. You know me and words…