Mad Max and the Zen of Exterior Decorating


What started as a simple paint job has taken on a life of its own. Each day I see something that can be added or improved upon. Each day brings more WTF looks, WHY? comments, and COOL! compliments. In addition to the appearance enhancements, I have been treating Rambette to many badly needed structural upgrades and powerplant maintenance services. These last two have me at around $1,500 which isn’t as bad as it initially sounds. I’ve saved massive amounts of money by changing the oil every 30,000 miles (instead of 3,000 miles as recommended by big oil and their whores at the motor oil companies) and neglected nearly every other maintenance procedure. You know the old saw about not fixing what’s not broke… Rambette is at 108,000 miles and still going strong.
Recent maintenance points:
New engine oil, differential & transfer case gear oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and engine coolant & thermostat
New spark plugs and wires
New shocks, coil springs, and sway bar end links
New mass air flow & throttle position sensors
New parking brake shoes
New PCV valve and hose
New driver’s side power mirror
New serpentine belt and idler pulley
New front CV halfshafts (axles)

All of these I have done myself and saved a couple thousand dollars in the process. Most of these things YOU, dear reader, can do for yourself. All it takes is a manual, a little bit of time, and suspension of disbelief in yourself. You may have to buy some tools but the cost of these is inconsequential in the big picture. You will still save money, lots of it, and have some pretty cool tools to mystify your friends with.

Recent appearance upgrades include:
Tail light blackouts
Hood, body, and trim details
Lift points on the hood
More paint…

Enough words, more pictures!

To get to the spark plugs, remove this…

And these…

And you’ll end up with this:

 

Installing the new axles. Foxfur loves him some big and sexy tools. The ratchet drive handles pictured are 3/8, 1/2, and 3/4 inch. The 3/4 inch drive handle is not absolutely necessary but sure is handy. The set I have (Proto) will cost you around $600 unless you can find a used set. Mine were free. Right time & place and all that.

New at the top, old at the bottom. The old rubber boots were torn and letting in dirt and crap. It took less than 1 hour per side. To put that in perspective, the spark plugs took 3 hours. It would have been faster but me & Mr. PBR took our time…

Struts, coil springs (and new tool: spring compressor!), cabin filter, MAF, TPS, PCV, etc.

On to the appearance upgrades.

The tail lights were so bright as compared to the paint job that I decided it was time to balance them out. I initially used a tinting spray:

It’s from VHT. I wasn’t very impressed. It’d be ok for building a normal rice racer but looked a bit too glossy for Rambette. I remasked the lights and shot them with flat black.

I came up with the design on the fly and ended up with this. Now it looks like this:

They are nice and bright at night but look cool as hell 24 hours a day.

A friend posted this pic of a Hyundai Elantra on my Facebook page:

Find the entire story here.

It gave me the idea for my next project.

I had a box of 500 3/8 x 1 inch long stainless steel bolts lying around just waiting for that special project. In just 24 hours it went from this:

To this:

The lift points are simple 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch U-bolts from the hardware store.

I also got my veterans license plates! $34 to the state. If you’re a vet please look into getting yours. It will increase public awareness of just how many of us are out there and will allow vets to identify each other.

One night last week I was out in the front yard testing out Grizelda MK VI, my fire poofer, after upgrading the accumulator with an old 5 gallon propane tank. The accumulator allows more on demand volume for poofier flames.

What once looked like this:

Now looks like this:

And just for poops and guffaws, I decided to see how it would look atop Rambette:

Seriously.
Get off my lawn.

Another recent project having to do with Burning Man (besides Rambette and Grizelda MK VI) has been stencils. You saw the BURN SHIT one above. The other one is “KEEP BURNING MAN POTENTIALLY FATAL” which is a plea to the organizers to not try too hard on the whole safety thing. Not that they’re going to, but, with 60,000 people there and an estimated 70,000 in coming years, it represents a real threat to my enjoyment of dangerous good times in the desert.

One more Burning Man related score. I found some hot short shorts that match my orange unsafety vest!

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

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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…

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.

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

Smoking Bacon At Home (and on the go)


Last week I received my Ovale eGo-C personal vaporizer (e-cigarette) and am thoroughly enjoying it. I’m down to 2 smokes a day! More on that in another post. I’m now eagerly awaiting a tasty shipment from Johnson Creek Smoke Juice. They’re the folks that provide Blu e-cigarettes with all of their yummy flavors. And just what is this delicious flavor that I’m so eagerly anticipating?
Bacon.
Yep. Now there’s a way to get your USRDA of both bacon AND nicotine in one simple inhalation. Only a Luddite would fail to recognize how technological advancements like this can enhance our well-being and improve the overall human condition. Bacon with no fat, tar, carbon monoxide, or sodium. Amazing…

Bacon Smokers Rejoice!

I’m buying my e-cigarette supplies from Northwest Vapors. 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.

Playing With Food


My folks moved west from Vermont to California in the 1960s. Mom found some artichokes at the market and was intrigued. She bought two and took them home to cook them for that night’s dinner. She put them in the oven and baked them for 30 minutes, seemed long enough. She cut them in half and served them up. They chewed and chewed and chewed. She thought to herself that these damned things must be an acquired taste. “I think I overcooked them.”

When I was in the sixth grade I got all A’s and a B+ on a report card (first and last time that ever happened). Mom took me out to the steakhouse for an “Atta Boy” dinner. I ordered some wide-cut fries with my steak. I grabbed the ketchup and shook it up. I didn’t realize the cap was off… The folks to the side and in back of us got some free ketchup that night…

20 years ago we had a power outage during a big winter storm. After a few hours we began to get pretty hungry. I wrapped some sweet potatoes in foil, put some rice and broth in a pot, and pulled a canned ham from the cabinet. I placed them all on top of the wood stove to cook while we were outside pulling each other around on skis with the truck. When we were thoroughly exhausted we went back inside. Food was all over the fucking living room! I forgot to remove the lid from the damned caned ham… We asked the neighbor if we could borrow his dog to help clean up. Best dog trick ever!

Big Love with an Old Flame


It seems like only yesterday, but I fell in love with her many years ago. Our relationship has been on and off over the years. It wasn’t her, it was me. You know how it is, sometimes life gets in the way. My priorities got confused and at times I even forgot her. When I first discovered her she was hot, real hot. As with many relationships it mellowed as I got used to her initially overpowering presence. I began to see her as more sweet than hot, not that she minded. She’s always had good taste but the nature of it changes, always for the better though. And I absolutely love her body! Silky, smooth, salty, fragrant, and with a reddish complexion that truly defines her.

I met another saucy individual in the last twelve months, Frank. Initially he appeared hot, I’m talking red hot. But you know the old saw about books and covers, eh? Yeah, I’m subject to falling for it, building something up and being disappointed by the end result. Frank appeared to be red hot, I mean he had it written all over him, really. My first experience with him was lukewarm at best. Not too hot. He just didn’t taste like I thought he would. He’s really sweet but I was expecting more character from him. It was my own fault. At least I didn’t have much invested in him. He was pretty cheap, all things considered, but his sweet and salty taste is appealing nevertheless. I still keep him on the side as he can provide me with pleasures that my old flame cannot. Their bodies are totally different. I cannot realistically expect him to deliver the satisfaction to me that she does and vice versa.

I am thankful that the person that I am is able to love blindly. I do not discriminate by appearances and if I fall in love it’s just that, love. Love allows one to challenge assumptions, to open their mind, to accept differences, and to follow their heart no matter what others opinions are. If someone disapproves of my idea of love or how I choose to express it, it’s on them, not me. My love is fluid. It doesn’t matter where it comes from as long as it’s hot. I know it turns some folks off completely, but hey, you don’t have to engage in my kind of love if it makes you uncomfortable. Some cannot believe the ease with which I practice my love. Others believe it takes great bravery. A few even see it as masochistic, exposing myself to pain unnecessarily. They just don’t get it. They could easily do it if they simply let go of prejudicial notions that they’ve grown up with.

Back to my old flame. I’ve been seeing her pretty regularly for the past few years. Quality is said to be better than quantity but I beg to differ. I really needed to see more of her. That has proved difficult. She is, how do I say this, rather expensive. Yeah, I pay for it. There’s no shame in it. Neither of us feel cheapened by it. It is a mutually consenting business transaction after all. I pay for her and she satisfies me and my needs. She is totally unique in the world. I’ve been around the country many times and have yet to find another so satisfying to me. If you want the best you’re going to have to pay for it.

Last week I told my wife that I had to see more of this old flame. She rolled her eyes and asked why I needed more of her than I already had. I told her that I need what I need and that it’s difficult for me to articulate those needs. Sweetpea doesn’t care for her but she doesn’t mind if I have her in the house. I also spend quite a bit of time with the old flame out in the travel trailer where things can get really hot without bringing tears to Sweetpea’s eyes. So I decided to head into town to see if I could get a bigger helping of her. I should state here that I’m a honorable man. Sometimes I’ll pick her up in a restaurant and use her but I always leave her there. Others love her and I don’t feel right in taking her home in situations like that. It’s just not right. But in this case I was going to find her in a new location and I was prepared to lay down good money to take her home. Again, with my wife’s understanding and support.

I drove to the big city and went to a district where I thought I might be able to locate her. My hunch turned out to be correct! I saw her, money changed hands, I brought her to my rig, got her comfortably settled in the back seat and headed for home. Several times I looked over my shoulder to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. No sir! She was as real as real gets. She was much bigger than I’d ever seen her but that’s a turn on and very appealing.

I finally arrived home and opened the truck’s rear door. I picked her up and carried her into the house. I set her down in the kitchen and just couldn’t help myself. I started in on her right there while my wife slept just yards away. After we had some sloppy fun I decided it was time to wake Sweetpea and show her my old flame. When she walked into the kitchen she gasped. Then she giggled. She was amazed at how big my old flame was. I still hadn’t gotten over that myself. Sweetpea asked if I was happy and I sighed and agreed that I was. I didn’t really think Sweetpea would mind but with these things you just never know. Even though she said it was ok beforehand, I was still nervous that she might be upset. It was mainly the money that I thought she’d mind. Once I told her how much it cost me she was totally cool with it! She told me it was better to pay the price I had rather than to pay for it in smaller amounts for briefer encounters that never seemed to last. She was excited for me that I would not have to pay for it for some time to come. She headed back to bed and told me to have fun.

My old flame...

The Great Teddybear Massacre


A group of burners (Burning Man junkies, not pot smokers) extended an invitation to me to come to their “Cute Shoot”. This is a wholesome family event that features exploding teddy bears. These bears are unstuffed and restuffed with Tannerite (a legal impact sensitive explosive compound), 1lb propane cannisters, cans of V8, and numerous combinations of the above items. The animals are bought for about a dollar a pound at the Goodwill bins distribution centers. After stuffing, the animals are placed a safe distance downrange and engaged with high velocity rifles. Rimfire rounds and pistol rounds will not usually detonate Tannerite. One exception is my friend Anne. She detonated a bear with a Glock 17 (9mm) pistol. That’s not an easy shot with a 5.5 inch barreled handgun fired from an unsupported position at 30 meters. Nice shooting Anne!

I rigged up a portable flamethrower with a tank that you strap on like a backpack. I made it specifically to help with the cleanup of the bits of fluff generated by exploding teddy bears. It worked nicely and the land owner was pleased with how it burned up the scraps. I was originally going to drop a 20lb propane tank into an REI expedition backpack but it wouldn’t fit through the top entry! Then I figured I’d buy a smaller diameter 10lb tank that would fit into the pack. I spotted a hank of rope I had in the back of my truck and decided to use it to rig up shoulder straps and save 90 bucks by not buying a new tank. I used an 8 foot long piece of that rope, fit each end with hot melt adhesive lined heat shrink tubing, doubled the rope, looped it through the collar handle on top of the tank, passed the ends through a gardening kneeling pad, and threaded the rope through holes in the tank’s base ring. I also made a 90 degree adapter for the propane tank to ease mechanical stresses on the tank valve. An 8 foot hose leading to the Manchester Power Jet hand burner completed the rig. It’s easy and cheap and really works well. You can also use this setup for walking your driveway, logging road, or cow pasture to burn weeds and it’s a dandy and fun way to get your burn piles lit up in the fall when they’re a bit wet. I have removed the gas orifice from the top tube which is the burner gas delivery tube. This allows a longer and fuller bodied flame. If you’re only burning weeds, you can leave the orifice in place to conserve propane.

Mixing 1 pound Tannerite charges to stuff the bears with.

Mixing 1 pound Tannerite charges to stuff the bears with.

A Tannerite stuffed teddybear ready for the firing squad...

A Tannerite stuffed teddybear ready for the firing squad...

He shoots, he scores!

No more teddybear...

Teaching a panda bear to defend herself from propane crazed teddybears.

Teaching a panda bear to defend herself from habitat destroying teddybears.

Another rabid teddybear taken out of action!

Another rabid teddybear taken out of action!

I was a little heartbroken by this one...

I was a little heartbroken by this one...

Cleanup is always more fun with a flamethrower!

Cleanup is always more fun with a flamethrower!

 

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.

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!

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.

 

My summer vacation: What I did at Burning Man


Burning Man 2011 was my first burn. I’ve been meaning to go for 15 years but work and caring for sweetpea had kept me away until this year. I retired a year and a half ago and Sweetpea said to just go and do it.

The desert is one of my favorite places to be. I was sent to many deserts while serving in the US Army, but the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada is unique among them. No sand for starters. Just talcum powder fine alkali dust. No plants, no animals, no washes or dry streambeds. Just flat wide open expanses that stretch for 30 to 70 miles with only mere feet in elevation difference. It is truly one of the most beautiful environments that I have ever had the privelege to visit. I was there in late July, long before 55,00 other people were there to share it at the burn. It was quieter than anywhere else I’d ever been and totally empty of everything. Nothing but lots of nothing. That all changed in early August when advance crews began to build the world’s largest temporary city.

What I did at Burning Man…

I played with my fireball generator, AKA “Fire Poofer”. I design and build propane flame effects and built this one, “Grizelda MK IV”, to bring out to the desert.

Elder Wrong, Burning Man’s own PBR guzzling Mormon missionary, manifesting his own “burning bush” through the miracle of the fireball generator. You can follow Elder Wrong and his mission at: http://ElderWrong.wordpress.com

Directing traffic on ‘A’ street. DO NOT fuck with a man with a sign, a gun, and orange hair. It’s just not a good idea…

 

Hanging out with the pretty ladies of Burning Man. This is Piney. She is one of the founders of the Booby Bar, a bar featuring two giant domes with huge pink nipples on top. Sadly, 2011 was their last year of exsitence as supporting the boobies was just too tiring and didn’t allow enough time for the supporters to experience the burn. Piney is also a member of Reno’s “Controlled Burn”, a fire conclave that features fire spinners and very large flame effects including two liquid shooters firing 20 gallons of gasoline into columns of fire reaching altitudes of 100 feet into the night sky.

Firing sunset salutes with FOGBANK, the propane & oxygen fueled sound cannon built and operated by Espressodude. The sound of the cannon reaches 180 decibels, twice as loud as an F-16 with afterburners engaged. Espressodude also served up over 50 pounds worth of Starbucks coffee beans in the form of espresso to the citizens of Black Rock City. His espresso, made with one of his two commercial espresso machines, was provided free of charge to the citizenry. His name comes from the fact that he uses his machines at home to consume up to a dozen shots of espresso per day. He is a VERY high energy individual and I can’t even begin to keep up with him…

Brushing my teeth and having it documented by Ben tang of Ben Tang Photography.

Roasting and eating midgets in Terminal City. Here I have shrunken Elder Wrong and thrown him on the barbee. We ate of his flesh but, of course, he was raised from the dead with no complications. We saved some leftovers for him which he greatly enjoyed…

Hanging out with more of the beautiful ladies of Burning Man. Here is the exquisite Miss Savannah. She handmade a wonderful pendant for Sweetpea who was unable to attend. I am honored to count her as a friend and was privleged to be able to wrap my arms around her for hugs and photos.

The pendant Savannah made for Sweetpea. So many of my friends know and love Sweetpea from my frequent mentions of her. Notice the map cast under the resin and the words “Black Rock Desert”. Thank you so much Sav. The Sweet One and I love you very much!

Dressing up for nighttime adventure. I’ll let you use your imaginations… The skirt made from a pair of US Army paratroopers trousers was graciously given to me by Quick, the beautiful Chief Warrant Officer of MASH 4207, “The Best Care On The Playa”, a medical relief camp providing comfort to the afflicted of BRC.  The gold helmet is my genuine kevlar helmet brought home from my gig in the US Army.

Cooking Spam with my 1.5 million BTU liquid propane fueled flamethrower. Knowmad provided the heat while I held my meat. Nom nom nom…

Sunset over the Flaming Lotus Girls 2011 fire art installation, Tympani Lambada.

Burning Man, something to do before you die.

The Foxfur Nebula?


It Exists!

The Foxfur Nebula

Details: This nebula is about 2,700 light years away, and is a red emission nebula, although it contains some blue sections.  I’m hoping to add color data to this later, this is a narrowband Hydrogen Alpha image.  Notice the Cone Nebula on the left side, made famous by the Hubble picture of it.  I’ll have to take a closer up view of the Cone with the C11 at a later time.

From the Buena Vista Observatory

Some blogs that I enjoy


I still haven’t figured out how to post links to my favorite blogs on the homepage so I’ll do it here…

I’m Going to Burning Man, whatever shall I wear? A blog by a friend who is a crafting queen, awesome outfitter, and funny girl. Not to mention hot, mreow…

DustyCouture.com By Dusty Bacon, Burning Man’s fashion authority! See my earlier post “Dusty Bacon on Foxfur”. Visit his site if you have no idea what Burning Man is or what outfits one could possibly wear in the middle of the desert.

Redneck Fag An interesting gentleman. His description of himself: “Calling this blog “Redneck Fag” is meant as a joke in reaction to the sanctimonious Leftists. I’m not a real redneck. I’m really just a middle-aged, middle-class, middle-brow, middle-of-the-road, “don’t tread on me”, “don’t fence me in” classical liberal Republican farmer and businessman who just so happens to be a fag.” Recent posts include topics such as astronomy, philosophy, lady pirates (with guns, hot!), and literature.

Big Gay Al’s Big Gay (Gun) Blog “From the Coordinator of the Michigan Pink Pistols, a GLBT and Kink friendly, shooting sports group. It’s called “Big Gay Al’s Big Gay (Gun) Blog,” as it’s mostly about guns and gun rights, Open and Concealed carry, and sometimes about other things, and it’s so GAY!” What is it? It’s super, thanks for asking! Again, this is not another single issue blog (Boring!). His status updates at the end of each post crack me the hell up…  “Current Mood: Calm
 Current Music: Rocky Horror Picture Show – Sweet Transvestite
My Carry Pistol: RIA M1911-A1 .45ACP 100 years old and still going strong”

More to come…

Dusty Bacon on Foxfur


Last month I was fortunate enough to attend Controlled Burn’s Compression Fire & Arts Festival in Reno, Nevada. I had a blast meeting, in person, so many people from the Burning Man community that I’ve met in various online forums.

I brought with me some of what I will be wearing at Burning Man including the infamous shoulder armor rig. It began as a 3 dollar second thought at a thrift store and soon took on a life of its own and consumed over 100 hours of my time bringing it to its present form. I was hanging out around Espressodude’s up-armored Xterra and Kernul Killbuck’s Urban Assault Vehicle on the bridge when I was approached by Dusty Bacon. Yeah, THE Dusty Bacon. Burning Man’s fashion expert himself asked if he could take a photograph of me wearing the armor. You know me. I’m rather shy, hesitant to share, and bashful, but he coaxed me into it… He took three photos that I have been dying to see. Today I found them. He wove them into a wonderful video highlighting the burner fashion that was all about on that beautiful summer day in downtown Reno. I won’t tell you where I appear in it as you really need to watch the entire video to appreciate the day’s fashions and Dusty’s photography. Three minutes of bliss…

Compression! A Fine Example of Reno’s Burner Styles 

I have not embedded Dusty’s video or screencaps here because they are his, not mine, and you need to see his burner fashion site to believe it.

Foxfur in armor. Weapon and helmet courtesy of Kernul Killbuck.

A closeup shot of the armor showing a few of the message plates.

 You may notice that there are V’s where U’s should be. I lost the U stamp in my set so had to make do. Thanks ancient romans!

Each plate was beat to hell and dented up, stamped with messages, hammer contoured to fit the specific spot on the armor, riveted or bolted in place, chemically antiqued, buffed, and paint filled to enhance visibility of the messages. There are more than 30 plates.

Wheee!

Disabled Relationships


Today is Sweetpea’s 40th birthday. We were planning to go to a rock and gem show, to a lunch at a Japanese restaurant that we’ve not been to together in years, and then I planned to surprise her with a new car. This morning started off quite well. Her pain level was at a “dull roar” as she put it. I was very excited as that is sometimes a good sign that we will make it out the door together. As the morning went on I could tell that her pain was increasing by a number of signs. The amount of time she was able to move around without sitting to rest, the length of her shower, the length of her sentences or the timbre of her voice. Truthfully, I knew that it was most likely that we would not make it out today. But I had the hope that we would. As it turned out, she did not feel well enough to leave the house today.

13 years ago, less than a year after we were married, a careless driver in a large truck made a stupid decision that resulted in a broken neck, a spinal injury, a twisted back, a dislocated shoulder and various other smaller injuries. It robbed of her health and vitality and took from us all of the plans we had made for our future together. It took away the body that she had so proudly trained and disciplined in the United States Army. It took away choices that should have been ours to make. It changed both of our lives in a way that we had never imagined possible when we stood together in the rose garden under a blue sky, daffodils and trees in bloom, and pledged our love and lives to one another.

She suggested that I go out and enjoy the beautiful weather that we are fortunate enough to have today. She suggested that I perhaps go to my favorite spot in the park near our library and watch the ducks, watch the people, or sit and type on the notebook. She said that she would be fine curled up with her book and our kitty by her side. 

The park is beautiful today. The ducks are up to their usual ducky activities. The violets, pansies, ans alyssum are beaming at every passerby. The people are walking and talking, sitting and running doing their thing. At this very moment two ducks are busy making baby ducks less than fifty feet away(!). Of all this I am glad. I only wish that she were well enough to sit beside me and take all of this beauty in together. Her limitations are something that I have no control over and that is a very frustrating situation for one who can repair almost anything that almost anyone can break. She is the one intricate machine that I have no skills to restore of perfect. Acceptance of this, of her condition, of the limitations that it places upon our relationship, is a difficult proposition. Acceptance has been gradual over the past years and is a progressive process that cannot be accelerated or hurried. It is not always a forward and linear process. It will see ups and downs, progress and recess, but it does continue.

We are entirely dependent upon each other. She on me for emotional, physical, and financial support. I on her for strength and purpose. I am so very glad that that I can be here for her. in fact I am happy that I able to do so. I cannot imagine her on her own trying to deal with a life disarranged by chance and circumstance. We do the best we can with what we have. As she reminds me, it could have been worse. She is not paralyzed. She is not dead. We still have each other and she is my world. She is the reason I get up every morning. She is the reason that I do not give in to despair. She and her outlook are the reasons I keep on going.

She heals me.

It could always be worse...

Out of the mouths of babes


Miss Bee and I spent a great afternoon together recently. Gabbing up a storm and, surprise, went out for sushi. Sushi Mio is a new favorite of mine. The creamy scallops are out of this world…

After sushi we took a stroll through the park and saw that the kids had been writing with chalk on the walking path. The kids are alright

It made our day.

Little things like this remind us that we’re never too old to decide not to grow up.