Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving was a simple, happy affair in Chugiak, AK. Thanksgiving up here usually involves the Packers at 9am along with plenty of Rainier beer. We missed the Packer game this year due to our focus on the smoker puffing away in the yard. I brined 4 large salmon fillets with a very basic brine. It was my first attempt at brining so I didn't want to overcommit to too many fish. Also, I just don't have the fridge or garage space to really lay out numerous trays filled with marinating salmon. So it was a test run, accompanied by a plethora of Vitamin R. My measly 4 fillets ended up tasting delicious after a 10 hour smoke in 125 degree temperatures fed by cherry and alder chips. Next time I'll have to ramp for more volume. No worries. It's not so much that smoking is a big production that takes a great deal of labor, as much as smoking takes 8+ hours, therefore demanding you to be in the general area for the entire day.

The conclusion is simple -- I need a smoker sooner rather than later in life (I suspect later is the probable choice, as the townhouse doesn't really allow smokers on our meager decks). Let's put that high on the 5 year plan.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Man V Food

I guess I am a fan of Man V. Food on the travel channel, though I don't feel like it. I always end up catching up with the episodes sooner or later, and I always end up disgusted at the end. Also, most of what he eats is not necessarily something I would like to eat. Why do I like it? My appetite for grease is long dormant. I guess I just enjoy the idea of a new city being explored down to the back room of a kitchen with some local chef. And it has been fun to watch the host noticeably plump up over the last year.

Well, the show that aired yesterday was in Alaska, so that made it all the more interesting. Oddly, they spent 66% of the show in Talkeetna. Cool town, but really? I had been to the breakfast place before, but I only bought some of their great bakery. Why didn't they show that? They have a very good bakery there. I haven't had the caribou burger at the other Talkeetna joint, but now I really want to do so. I'm not taking on that silly, huge burger that he did -- I'll just get a single, thanks.

He ended up at Humpy's right here in Anchorage. I'm not familiar with the challenge (it seems fairly new), but I am plenty familiar with Humpy's. I really dig the place, but for some reason Becky and I haven't made it there in a little while. I'm sure that will change now that the bug has been placed in our heads. I am not taking on the challenge though (It must cost over $100 -- 3 lbs of crab meat, plus everything else!?); I'll settle happily for the Bill's Way Halibut burger.


It was only -4 this morning! We're warming up.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It was -10 this morning when I started my truck, but happily the timer on my heating block did the trick. It kicked on at 3 am and warmed up the fluids for a safe start at 6:30. It's still flippin' cold though. The radio nob barely wants to turn, and this is just a warm up for the winter to come.

This morning I did pass a cycling commuter geared up with a light, studded tires, and lots of layers. Right on.

Once I arrived at work I spent the first hour chatting in the dark as the power was out for an hour. It is the last frontier after all.

The sun is out for the last few hours of daylight now and I can see the buildings and vehicles belching steam. It's almost time to leave for the gym in the 5 degree sunshine. We have almost 6 hours of daylight right now, and we ought to enjoy it because that number is retreating everyday.


Little Shoppe of Horrors is streaming tonight (and every Tuesday night) from 10pm to midnight (CST) in Madison, WI. Great show, great host. It's my Tuesday night destination.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Catching up

As of 8 days ago, we now have snow. There is only about 6-10 inches packed down so far, but the temperature is well below freezing so consider that snow a permanent base. This morning at 6:30 am I started my truck in -3 temps, but thanks to it being plugged in all night it turned over like a champ. I just need to dig out the timer so I can avoid having the block heater on all night. I'm told 3 hours is the golden number for maximum benefit in cold starts. It's only going to get colder this week.


I removed the seatpost and front wheel from my Orbea and placed the entire operation in the crawlspace. It's just not fun to have the whole bike in the dining room all winter. If I do get some riding in this winter it will be on the cyclocross bike anyway. Still, it is a sad note to sound. It is also a chance to hit the Elmendorf pool for lap swim a little more often. And the treadmill. I feel like I need to plan on the triathlon again, shave 10 minutes off my previous number, and power through the winter.


With the advent of freezing temperatures I have been painting more than ever lately. My Vampire Counts Black Coach is almost finished. I just need to base it properly and take some pictures. Gaming nights on Fridays are a reliable good time every week. Winter in Alaska is settling in.


Moon is a very cool movie.


I am pretty hooked on Scrabble on Facebook these days. Send a game request along, please!