Politics From the Bayside and Whale Wars

I really like the band RISE AGAINST. However, I hate their support of PETA, and since they’ve enjoined their music, and their profits to PETA, I’m glad I have the ability to not pay for their music via the magic of the internet while still enjoying it.

PROTIP to punk bands out there – also METALLICA – don’t make political statements and then cry foul when people download your music instead of supporting your politics with your money. LOL, CAPITOLISMS!

Speaking of PETA, I at least respect the guy on WHALE WARS. First time he runs across a Russian whaling ship though, expect him to catch an RPG with his face. The fact that he only attacks the Japanese speaks volumes. The worst part about it is he’s taking food off the Japs plates. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sympathetic to responsible management of wildlife, but they fail it quite badly. It’s not like you go to Black Market McDonalds over in Japland and buy a whale burger. This is a land where fishing is like farming to Americans, and the Sea Sheppards really are taking food off the plates of the Japanese.

Now, I do believe they have a point where they accuse the Japanese of writing “RESEARCH” on the side of their boats instead of WHALING. However, I take this as the Japanese meme of avoiding confrontation. On that note, the captain getting shot isn’t nearly as likely as one of their “stink grenades” going off and tagging him. The fact that he’s like “OH MAH BADGE SAVED ME” just lends credence to the idea.

Furthermore the show isn’t forthright with what munitions the Steve Irwin has on board. The crew has tried to create RPGs on their own (photo gallery of expended munitions) and failed. Which is more likely: The Japanese, who are forbidden from owning firearms, shot the captain and somehow missed, or the crew of the Steve Irwin, which is a revolving door of idiots, screwed up an improvised rocket?

More on the point – which is an inappropriate show of force? The Japanese use a “sound gun” against the Steve Irwin (also embarrassing Engrish) or the Steve Irwin uses rockets and hazardous material (acid) against the Japs?

So the next bit to consider is why doesn’t the program show the whales being processed? Why doesn’t it show the rockets? The program wants to perpetuate this myth that somehow “stink bombs” are going to foul up Japanese whaling. (I would speculate if this worked, there would be footage of the Japs dumping the fouled whale meat into the sea). However, you never see the rockets, nor do you ever see whales being processed. Why? Because whales are processed below deck. While it might be unpleasant to work on a whale that stinks, any episode of Dirty Jobs is going to convince you that all dead animals stink, and there’s not much more to be done about it. Since the skin of a whale is pressure cooked to get the oil out, it’s probably thoroughly washed in seawater. A stink bomb might slow them down, but it doesn’t really hurt the Japanese. Hence the rockets.

If you wanted to make the environmental protection argument, ask the crew of the Steve Irwin why they blew the engines (and all the fuel, and all the oil and killed a sailor) into the ocean back in 1997 when they attacked the Nisshin Maru.

Post Deer Season Wrapup and One Year Homebrew

The last day of flintlock hunting and I’m empty handed. Not from lack of effort, mind you, but more from the weather. There’s a reason they didn’t fight battles in the civil war when it was the middle of a snowstorm.

My brother and I had been hunting the farm all day. I was using the flintlock but having serious doubts about this being a good idea. The problem was a constant wind (I’ve never winded the flintlock, I had no idea what the drift was) and when they called for six inches of snow, they were talking about “over the course of the day”. It was snowing when we got there, there were periods of hail, and it was snowing at sunset.

I had followed a deer trail from one side of the farm to the other end, the deer was there but having seen no deer beds and nothing but tracks, I doubted the deer was stopping. Given the weather I figured it might have gone to the pines on the far side but it went straight through. I knew the tracks were recent because they were on top of the snow but since the deer didn’t bed down, it wasn’t waiting for me or anything else. I took this as an opportunity to hike around the other areas to check for tracks or beds. Even in the places you would expect to find deer (acorn mast), there were no tracks and no beds. I checked mostly point to point, there’s no sense in line hunting alone. My brother doesn’t own a flintlock and has no interest in it so he was out with a shotgun for small game.

I had resigned myself to sitting on top of a hill in some light cover waiting to see if the deer would circle around. I had about 1h30m until sunset, so I figured it would be cold and boring. It managed to be both. With single digit temperatures in the valley and windchill on top of that, taking off my gloves to type on my phone quickly turned into OH GOD MY FINGERS ARE SO COLD THEY HURT. I was never so pleased with shoving my hands down my pants in public as I was Saturday on that hill.

Suddenly, a deer! Hunting goes from slowly poking around to sheer excitement with nothing in between when game is found. My brother was up the next hill over chasing a snowshoe hare when a deer came crashing through the bushes trying to avoid him. The deer was as suprised he was there as he was suprised he nearly got run down by the deer. I had heard the whole thing and suddenly my well placed stand with brush behind me became a liability as I tried to bring the gun around. I finally brushed the snow off the sights and found a lane to shoot through. I pulled the trigger and…

I actually watched the spark blow sideways off the frizzen and fall into the snow. George Washington’s ghost was laughing at me.

I reset the lock rested the gun again, and once again pulling the trigger lost the spark in the wind. I was trying to fire between gusts but deer rarely sit still and my firing lane was crowded anyway. There was a very real chance the deer would spook, especially since the lock isn’t exactly quiet and the delay between sparking and firing is enough to let the deer “jump the string” over enough distance. Given this was about a 50 yard shot, I was worried. One more spark in the snow.

Ripping my hat off, I supported the front of the gun on a thorn bush, aimed, then put my hat over the pan. This time the spark landed in the pan, but didn’t catch. By now the flint and frizzen were getting polished, where the face of the flint matches the frizzen so well it can no longer scrape the surface. Figuring I needed fresh powder I took down the gun and opened the lock to see that my pan had collected a layer of snow with all this false firing. I dumped out the pan and cleaned the rest with my fingers, which were now hurting again since I had discarded my gloves to help with the aiming and priming.

I pulled the powder tube over the pan and pressed the button. Nothing came out. Looking down the tube, it was also filled with snow, and to make matters worse the button to dispense powder bound in the down position. If George Washington were laughing before, his entire regiment was laughing now. I started to look for a place to lay the flintlock before realizing that six inches of snow is more than enough to lose a rifle in. I resigned to holding it across my chest in my elbows while I unscrewed the powder horn’s lid. I managed to dump powder into the pan wholesale (and all over me and the ground with the wind) and shove the horn in the snow upright with the lid laid on top.

Bringing the sites back onto the deer I see… Nothing. The deer probably winded me because she took of running away from my stand and onto the neighbors property, far and away from the longing sights of my gun.

The woods win again.

But all wasn’t lost, my brother shot a squirrel at about 25 yards, I was suprised he connected with it. We took it home as our only prize that day.

Dad always lightly fried up squirrels in butter, but Dad also really sucked at the whole preparing the other white meat. His squirrels always came out too small and cut to hell. There had to be a better way – and there was! In a stroke of brilliance, he prepped the squirrel shirt-and-pants, soaked the blood out, and what could we replace the blood with? BUTTER. How do we get it there? 15PSI. What do we use? PRESSURE COOKERS.

“But butter is insufficient!” you say?
ADD BACON.

The squirrel, now stuffed with bacon and butter, went into the pressure cooker along with about a half cup of water. We didn’t want to completely die. Actually we just wanted to hydrogenate that oil, as hydrogenated oil is the most flavorful of all the oils. Put the lid on, set it for chicken (lower heat) and let it roll for 20 minutes. The result was a forkable culinary delight. I could hear my brothers heart from across the room as he enjoyed the bounty of the woods.

To celebrate the end of deer season, I pulled out my mad elf clone. It had been sitting in the fridge lagering for an entire year, and this was the last growler from last year. How was it? Completely lacking in carbonation, which pissed me off. The growler top gave up at some point and all the carbonation seeped out. However, it wasn’t oxidized. The cherries were completely gone, but it was still tart, and very dry on the finish almost to the point of mouth puckering. It would have passed wonderfully well for a lambic if I chose to blend it. With it’s new status as a barleywine, we both enjoyed a pint before realizing it had refermented in the bottle. The ABV had gone through the roof, and after a pint and a half we were well on our way to being sloshed.

Under Pressure Part Deux: Pressure Cooked REVENGE

I finally figured out what was wrong with the pressure cooker. The instructions explicitly tell you when to turn the thing on. I figured out what it’s really doing is taring the weight of the lid and the bowl, so it knows how much moisture is left in the food and when it gets up to pressure and boiling. It’s actually a really neat design, but the instructions for it are crap. If you follow them, the clock never starts because you’re directed to load it with food and then turn it on. Completely on a whim the other night, I plugged it in before even taking the lid off and was amazed when it actually did the right thing.

ME: 1
INSTRUCTIONS: 0

I’m starting to really love it, but my wife doesn’t quite see the potential in it. She’s more of a “follow the instructions” type person, I’m more of a “whatever works” type person. Thankfully there was no mention of pork shoulder in her recipe books, so I had carte blanche to fuck around. I managed to score this entire pork shoulder for $8 at the market. It’s 9lbs of hip and meat (no asshole, sorry guys). I ended up trimming it to get the lid on the thing. The wife wanted to then throw sauce in there, but getting enough BBQ sauce for 9lbs of pork roast would have been quite a bucket. Instead, I just put in the minimal level of water and slammed the lid on.

10 minutes later it was up to pressure and I was amazed it went BEEP and the timer started.

For cooking something this large I probably could have skipped the water but I didn’t want it to burn. I planned on cooking it for an hour and seeing if it was done yet. The Pork Guide had suggested 30 minutes per pound for this cut in an oven at 350F, but I’m a busy guy. That’s four and a half hours of cooking time in an oven.

After the hour was up I wasn’t quite 100% happy with how it was done, so I fired it up for another 15 minutes. It came out perfect after that. The plan was to now transfer this to a pan, put on the sauce and throw it in the broiler for 10 minutes to get a nice glaze on it. The wife, however, saw how the meat was starting to pull from the bone and had other ideas. She grabbed the crock pot, dumped the entire portion of BBQ sauce in there, and started shredding the pork. After 1h15m in the cooker it wasn’t quite forkable across all the portions, so I ended up stepping in and cleaning it myself with an actual carving knife while she shredded. We cooked it for another 10 minutes in the crock pot and now I have approximately 7lbs of shredded pork in BBQ sauce to eat.

God, that’s a lot of sammiches.