Now, as all of my phantom readers out there know, I’m a programmer by trade. I use the internet on a daily basis obviously, and I’m pretty much as tech-savvy as a person could possibly be. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m also a libertarian – and what I see from the right on the issue of net neutrality is downright embarassing. The politicians who are against net neutrality in this country appall me, because if you understood the issue as I do, you’d understand that anybody who’s against net neutrality might as well have a tattoo on their forehead that reads ‘I’m owned by a corporation’.
Can you imagine a world where internet providers can bundle different services and charge you differently based on what sites you visit? The Facebook bundle – $5. The Google bundle – $15. You want to access an adult website? That’ll be $50 a month, thank you very much. Without net neutrality, this is exactly what will happen. Net neutrality is the only way to keep the internet the way it is now – a brilliant network where free exchange of information can occur. If the ISPs can start separating traffic and bundling stuff together, then you’ll end up with an internet that is structured the same as cable. Sports package costs X, social media package costs Y, if you want access to ESPN you’ll need to pay a premium fee! It’s ridiculous to think about, and the politicians who’re against net neutrality are either too stupid to understand what they’re supporting, or their too corrupt to care (just look at Ted Cruz’s laughably ignorant take on the subject here).
What angers me even more is that there are so called ‘libertarian’ organizations out there that are opposing net neutrality, but really these organizations like FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity and such are just fronts for big corporate lobbyists and corporatism. Crony capitalism is becoming more and more of an issue in this country – large corporations pay minimal tax, hide their money in other countries and get subsidies from the government in all sorts of industries, whereas small and medium sized businesses struggle to survive because they don’t have the ability to bend the rules in their favor. As a libertarian, one of the things I reckon is most important for the continued success of the nation is to end corporatism. Both the republicans and democrats are guilty of it, and I could probably count on one hand the number of politicians that are in power that don’t have ties/links to one industry or another. Just take a look at this great infographic on the subject – it will make you weep for the future of the nation.
Anyways – that got a bit off topic, but the point is, for anyone who liked the internet in its current form and doesn’t want it to be drastically changed in favor of internet providers and cable companies, net neutrality is an issue that you should be monitoring very carefully. If youve read this and you’re convinced, contact your congressman/senator. Sign a petition. Give money to the organizations that are fighting for your rights to keep the internet the way it is. Don’t be fooled either – these tax-evading, heavily subsidized corporations won’t go away until they get what they want, and their betting that regular Americans will forget the issue – that our attention span will be stolen by some other fight over some other issue and that we won’t notice when they try and sneak some ridiculous new law into place. Be vigilant, keep monitoring the issue, and eventually we’ll get some leaders in place who actually look out for what’s best for us and for the country.
As every American knows (or should know), Texas style barbecue is undoubtedly the best kind of barbecue. Anyone who tells you differently, or extols the virtues of the North Carolina style barbecue (or sour meat, as i like to call it) or the Kansas City ‘super dry’ style over good old fashioned Texas style barbecue is probably a dishonest man who’s looking to trick you into putting some subpar meat into your mouth.
So, why is Texas style the best? Gather round, children – it’s time for a little education.
First things first – Texas barbecue isn’t homogeneous across the state. There are four ‘styles’ that correspond to different regions – Central Texas, East Texas, West Texas, and South Texas. I’m partial to the Central style myself – I like the rub of the Central style better than the sweet/sour tomato sauce they use in East Texas. Central Texan barbecue is characterized by the deep, smoky flavors and the incredibly tender meat – and one of the specialties in Central style is the brisket, which when done correctly is mind numbingly delicious (I’m salivating right now). One of the more famous places that serves this style is Franklin Barbecue in Austin – if you’ve ever been to SXSW or been to Austin for other reasons, it’s likely that you’ve heard of Franklin Barbecue and their ridiculously long lines.
East Texas style barbecue is sauce-based rather than rub based, and that area is more well known for its ribs rather than its brisket, and pork is much more popular, whereas in Central Texas beef is the favored meat. I’m not the biggest fan of the Eastern style – it’s good once in a while, but I much prefer the cleaner and more focused flavors that can be found in Central Texas. For this reason, I’m not super familiar with the best Eastern style BBQ joints.
There is also Western style BBQ – it’s also known as ‘cowboy’ style which uses direct heat rather than the smoking method that is popular in the rest of the state. Cowbow style barbecue is pretty rustic, but the problem is that (as far as I understand), the direct heat is too hot and isn’t really the appropriate temperature, so the meat can sometimes be a bit tougher than one would like. Southern style is very influenced by our Spanish speaking neighbors to the south, and is much more similar to Mexican style ‘barbacoa’ rather than anything you’d fine north of the border.
The main reason why Texan style, and specifically Central Texan style barbecue is the best is because it is undeniably the purest form of barbecue. No other region treats the product with as much respect – we don’t slather sauce on, we don’t cut the meat up and mush it together – if you come to Central Texas, you get meat at its very best – smoky, slightly spicy, full-flavored and tender. My personal belief – and no offense is meant here – is that the other regions use their various concoctions of sauces to hide the fact that they just don’t know how to cook meat like we do. Who am I kidding – offense was very much meant.
For those of you looking for more information about Texas (and other, inferior) styles of barbecue, this article on eater has a lot of great information.
The first thing you may be thinking is – “what a weird name for a website”. Allow me to explain.
I grew up in Texas on 11 Penguin Street (don’t try to check on maps, there are a number of places that have this address), and when I was a kid I basically started using 11penguin as a screen name on AOL and other such ancient websites. I got used to the name, and it basically stuck with me through my teenage years and nowadays I basically use it for everything that I do online. I still live in Texas (although not at 11 Penguin any longer), and I’m a full time programmer and web developer. I called this site 11Penguin because that’s my online identity, and I plan to basically broadcast my thoughts to the world from right here. Things I may talk about include gaming (I spend far too much time gaming), web development and programming (and really anything else technology related that may be linked to my work/of interest to me professionally) and obviously the
great best State of Texas. Also, as a red blooded american male, I am interested in both acquiring and eating meat – by acquiring meat, I of course mean hunting. By eating meat, I mean exactly that – and in particular I like a good old Texas style barbecued brisket – that North Carolina sour vinegar nonsense is not for me.
I occasionally may stray in politics on this blog, and if you don’t like it, well that’s too damned bad for you – ain’t nobody forcing you to read this blog. I’m libertarian leaning on most issues, but more than that, I’m a practical person – and practicality in something sorely lacking in American leadership at this moment. As far as I’m concerned, both congress and the white house are doing an awful job, and I feel like the American people should use the next presidential election in 2016 to vote every single incumbent out of office – maybe then we’d get some competent leadership from one of the parties.
There may be those of you who read this blog who might think that they know my identity in real life. I’d politely ask you to stop thinking about it, and if you can’t help it , then stop reading. The whole point of having this little corner of the internet to myself is so that I can broadcast my unfiltered thoughts and ideas to the world (or to whatever poor soul happens to be reading). It is by definition a narccisitic, vain exercise – I’m writing to nobody for pretty much no reason. If you happen to come across this blog via some absurd internet deep dive, you should know that the intention of the blogger here is not neccesarily for people to read it – that part is incidental. This is just a safe space for me to put my thoughts down on metaphorical paper – a place to rant about what I want, talk about the things I like, and so on. If you’re offended by something here or you think I’m wrong – well, I don’t particularly care. Feel free to contact me through the contact page, but if I were you I wouldn’t expect a response unless you send me something that is actually interesting to me.
Anyways, that’s all for now.
Texas is the best.
Barbecue is delicious.
As you well know I’m a passionate hunter – I love supplying the meat my family eats. I know full well where it came from and that it’s not laced with terrible antibiotics and growth hormones that could cause health problems down the road!
I’m also a safe gun owner – I bought a gun safe when I bought my first gun. If you’re a gun owner on the fence about going to the extra expense of buying a gun safe, let me be an advocate for safes and give you multiple reasons why you need to buy a safe – NOW!
SAFETY. First and probably the most important reason to own a gun safe is: safety. Making sure that your guns are safe, secure and that you have complete control over who has access to them is extremely important, especially if you have children. Eliminating the risk that a child finding your firearms gives you peace of mind that they won’t be able to in injury themselves or anyone else. It also ensures that other people won’t have access to your guns such as burglars, visitors, friends, babysitters, etc.
THEFT PREVENTION. Gun safes not only keep people from getting access to your firearms, they also prevent burglars or thieves from stealing them as well. While some firearms could probably be easily replaced, some that may have sentimental value or some that are customized are much harder to. Having a gun safe ensures that no one will be able to steal your guns.
FIRE PROTECTION. If you are unfortunate enough to have a fire in your home, a gun safe makes it much more likely that your firearms will be safe. If your guns are store in a fireproof gun safe, the safe will provide protection for your firearms as they can stand intense or severe heat for some time.
AESTHETICS. Having a gun safe doesn’t mean having a huge, ugly metal box in your home. Gun safes these days are designed with aesthetics in mind with safes available with glossy finishes or shiny plated hardware. Finding a gun safe that will look good in your home isn’t hard to do!
INSURANCE. Dependent on your insurer, the type of policy you have, the number of guns you own and what type they are, you may be required to keep your firearms in a certified safe. Ensure that read your insurance policy carefully to find out if you need to have one as some policies can even require multiple safes if you have a larger collection. You may even be eligible for discount with your insurer if you have a gun safe as well.
ACCESS. Owning a gun for your personal and home protection can ensure that you feel safe. Keeping your firearms in a gun safe might bring up concerns about getting access to them if you really needed to. Fortunately gun safes are usually made to have locks which can be opened quickly and easily ensuring that your guns are still safe until you really need them.
KEEP OTHER VALUABLES SAFE. Storing your other valuables in a safe can ensure that they are safe from fire and burglars as mentioned above, as well as all other benefits listed here. Due to the size of gun safes many other valuables can be stored in them such as deeds, passports, birth certificates, jewelry, photos, family heirlooms etc. Keeping such items in your gun safe can ensure that irreplaceable items can’t be taken or destroyed in your home.
So here are your next steps, gun owner:
1. Do your research to find the right safe for you – there are fantastic sites that have gun safe reviews all over the internet, so there’s no excuse to not do your homework first!
2. Find a place in your home to place the safe. These things are bulky and require good structural support, but should also be hidden away so they’re at least a little tough for a thief to find!
3. Buy the safe and use it!
Your home is your castle, and it may also be housing a few unwanted freeloaders. No, no, not those family members who seem to overstay there welcome each Christmas. During the year there are a number of small creatures that suddenly decide that being indoors with humans is a much better living situation than staying outdoors where they belong. Squirrels in the attic are a common occurrence that I deal with time and time again, and I’m sure plenty of other angry Texan homeowners feel my pain!
These rodents are some of the worst offenders because they prefer to set up their homes in an attic or crawl space rather than finding a home in the wild, where they belong.
It usually begins as a search for safe shelter in which to build nests and rear their young. Sneaky little squirrels are very clever and they can slip through small building gaps along the roofline of your home. They also have very sharp teeth, patience and determination, all which help them gnaw their way into your home without much trouble. Squirrels especially love to set up their new nests in an accommodating attic – here they can play, climb and store food without being bothered, and there is always a quick escape route to the outdoors in the event of any threat.
Now, if you have squirrels in your attic it’s not all bad news – you can go hunting without leaving the comfort of your own home! Read this article on squirrel hunting, and then take the following tips and advice for attic squirrel hunting:
Poisonous Peanut Bait
There are proven ways to get rid of those annoying squirrels that have taken over your attic. You could decide to use poisons but then you have to deal with the removal of dead squirrels – which is not a very nice way to spend your weekend.
There is also the possibility of your family pet finding some of those poisonous pellets and devouring them unknowingly. Squirrels could even end up taking some of the poisonous bait outdoors where kids and other animals could be harmed. Poisons can work, but there are so many risks involved that it hardly makes it worth the effort.
Traps are a great alternative to consider using instead of poison. It’s a good idea to do some research into the best types of squirrel traps available on the market because if you choose the wrong one you will be unsuccessful. When choosing animal traps you have a choice between traps designed for live capture and others that are intended as permanent remedies to your squirrel problem. If you decide that you want to try and trap the squirrels then you will want to study all of the different designs and find the one that works best for your situation.
One Way exclusion Doors
These are devices that function as 1 way exit traps and they are highly recommended when squirrel hunting. Install them in areas where squirrels use attic openings, vents or construction gaps as entry-points – then when they go out of the exit portal they can no longer come back inside.
Get The Cats Involved?
Tossing a couple of big tomcats up into the attic space is a last ditch effort that some homeowners consider when all else has failed. Be warned: this idea is very likely to fail, as squirrels can be tough enough to hold their own against some felines.
If you find that you are unable to get rid of the squirrels in your attic space then why not call in the professionals? There are pest control companies who specialize in trapping and releasing wild creatures such as squirrels, opossum, raccoons and even snakes. They can even help by blocking access points and preventing future home invasions by curious wildlife.
When living in Texas you will find there are a number of different types of pests that you will have to deal with. These can range from cockroaches to spiders to termites to carpenter ants. Every season there is a particular pest that will have to be dealt with especially since Texas hardly has seasons. The state is known for its awkward, unforgivable weather as it can be hot one day and freezing the next. Some pests do best in cold damp climates while others survive through the hot and dry months, leaving all sorts of creatures to survive in Texas weather.
These creatures can live practically anywhere as there are many different species of spiders. Texas has an abundant of these with Grass Spiders, Brown Widow, Southern Black Widow, The Brown Recluse and the Common House Spider. The House Spider is the only one you will find most often around your home unless you live near open fields then you will have to deal with widows, grass spiders and larger spiders wandering into your home. The Brown Recluse has a venom that can make you sick and rarely is found inside a home. They are mostly near wooded areas. The Black widow female is one to watch with its venom as well, but only bites if it feels threatened. They can be located in attics, basements, and other dark areas.
Ticks are eight legged arachnids that make their way onto humans and animals from grassy areas and trees. They can attach themselves to clothing, fur and hair as it passes them and eventually finds the host of choice to latch onto. It provides a numbing sensation to the flesh when it bites to prevent the host from realizing there is something there. Ticks can carry Lyme Disease which can infect humans and pets. They can be removed from the skin with a hot pointy needle pried into the claws that are hanging on in the skin as it feeds on blood. Spraying the backyard from trees to grass will help get rid of ticks in your front and backyards.
These pests originated in Africa and made their way over through shipping boxes. They range in size and in Texas they can grow to be as large as a butterfly. Some also fly and are some of the most annoying pests you will deal with. They are very common and spraying around the perimeter of your living area will help prevent these creatures from entering. They prefer warm and humid areas which is why they are extremely common to find in Texas.
These pests are highly destructive to homes and buildings. You may not know you have them, but if you happen to see a small black flying bug with whitish wings then you need to see where they are coming from. This will help you determine if you have termites. It must be handled quickly as they work fast in eating the wood inside your home. They find their way through a crack within the foundation or building to get in near moisture.
Carpenter Ants are among the most common pest in Texas. They eat through rotted and wet wood to build colonies. They manage to destroy the construction of the building/home within a short period of time. The colonies are hard to get rid of when they expand. They move over to another area and continue eating until there’s no more wood left to eat. The only way to destroy these pests is to call a pest exterminator for regular treatment.
So, I’ve got a couple of visitors in town this week from New York, and they asked me what outdoor stuff might be fun to do in Texas. Those of you who know me well will be able to guess what I said – I told them to go find a place to shoot some guns – maybe go hunting, or go to a shooting range. I know the deer hunting season is over, but these east coast people don’t tend to have a lot of experience with firearms, and there’s plenty of small game that’s still permitted. These folks, though they’re my dear friends, are from NY, and unsurprisingly they were mortified at my suggestion.
So, being the gracious host that I am, I thought about it for a little bit and asked around. A couple of local buddies of mine suggested I take them to a shooting range of a different sort – an archery range – and to my surprise; they were actually on board with the idea. I’m not entirely sure what the fundamental moral difference between shooting a gun at a target and shooting a bow at a target is, but I hadn’t ever really shot a bow myself other than in summer camp when I was a kid, so I figured why the hell not.
Turns out, shooting bows is quite a bit of fun. It’s definitely more challenging in terms of accuracy than shooting a firearm, and it was a nice change of pace. My friends from NY also had fun with it (although quite frankly they were awful). I’m now considering buying a bow for myself to use at an archery range, and perhaps eventually for hunting. I’m leaning towards buying a recurve bow, because they’re cheaper, and I don’t mind the added challenge – compound bows seem somewhat similar to guns, and I already do that fine. The recurve guide on this site has a bunch of recommendations – I’m looking for a take down model that’s more portable. Right now I’m leaning towards Samick Sage – it seems to be highly recommended on a bunch of sites including the one above. If anyone has any recommendations on what recurve bow I should get, please let me know.
Anyways, the other thing I took my friends to do in the great Texas outdoors is we went to look for interesting rocks. Yup. You heard me right. To be completely honest, I found the whole experience pretty goddamn boring, but one of my buddies is something of an amateur geologist, and he requested that we go on this dull as all hell expedition. So that was a thing that I spent a beautiful Saturday afternoon doing – walking around a rocky area, looking for particularly odd looking or ‘interesting’ rocks.
My other buddy found something that he thought was potentially rare, but we used this chart of stones and it turns out it was something called an Agate. Which apparently is pretty common. So whoopdeedoo to that.
Apparently, Texas is a geologist’s wet dream – this finding-cool-rocks thing is called rockhounding, and Texas is a prime location for this horrifically dull activity. Still, it’s good to hear that there’s yet another thing that Texas is famous for – knowing that makes me feel a little less bad about wasting a beautiful day rummaging around for rocks.