Why Net Neutrality is Crucial

net neutrality

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.

 

 

Why Texas Barbecue is Undeniably the Best

barbecue

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.

 

11 Penguin

Dallas

Hi yall,

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.

11Penguin out.

 

NSA Spying Gone Too Far

A few days ago I watched the documentary about Edward Snowden called Citizenfour, and it deeply saddened me to see the reality and extent of NSA spying. The way the public is being treated is absolutely appalling and a like Snowden, who should be held up as a hero, is living in exile and probably fear of his life. I have been long researching the horrendous actions of politicians in this country, but the spying is by far one of the worst.

So, I am not taking action to protect myself and my family. One solution would be to go off the grid altogether and stop using all forms of electronic communication equipment. But to me this would mean leaving something behind that I love, i.e. the ability to access unlimited amounts of information and knowledge at the click of a button. Additionally, it will not solve the problem and stop our imbeciles in government to stop spying on the public.

Fortunately there are lots of nice people on the Internet that are willing to help someone like me, and I’m proud to say that I have taken the first steps towards protecting myself. The very first thing I have done is to use the Tor Project for a lot of my web browsing especially if I am not using my own computer. It essentially anonymizes your online activity including instant messaging and helps to stop outsiders learning from your online habits.

My personal computer at home now uses a secure VPN connection that I continuously switch between Switzerland, Holland and Finland. All three have far more stringent protections when it comes to personal online data and the VPN provider I use does not keep log files. So even if a government agency approached them with a court order to reveal information about me they would have nothing to provide. Sweet!!!

Next up was my voice communication. I have stopped using Skype and have also ordered a Blackphone from Switzerland which is essentially a Smartphone with built in anti-spying security. This is probably one of the items I am looking forward to most, as your Smartphone is always on you. Spying agencies can essentially determine your every move and potentially listen to what is going on in your location even when you are not on a call.

My home phone system was a different problem. I was hooked up to the good old fashioned phone line with an ancient phone, so I was pretty sure I was wide open to being spied on. First thing I did was order a VoIP adapter and signed up to a secure and encrypted VoIP provider. Then I reviewed lots of cordless phones and picked one with a built in answering machine.

This last part of my new secure comms system is not yet fully in place, but once I have it all set up I will post again with some of the details for others to follow. So far everything has been really simple to set up, I just need to figure out the VoIP adapter set up. I’d love to hear from readers about some other protections that are available.

Texas Summer Fun

If you like warm weather and staying active, then you have to check out Texas in the summertime. The Lone Star State is loaded with places to go and things to see, especially during the summer months when the sun is out and it stays warm all day and all night long. Here’s a closer look at some of the great summertime activities that Texas has to offer.

First up, there’s Schlitterbahn, which is widely known as one of the best water parks in the world. It’s a family-friendly place, but at the same time has rides that will attract thrill seekers. Of course, Texas is so big that there it actually has three different Schlitterbahn locations, making at least one of them easily accessible wherever in Texas you find yourself. Most importantly, considering how hot Texas summers can get, going to a water park is a great way to combat the heat and have a great time.

Sticking with the theme of water, give Sea World San Antonio a visit. There’s plenty of marine life to sea, not to mention the interactive shows that Sea World is famous for putting on that are both entertaining and educational for the whole family. Of course, that’s only part of what Sea World has to offer. The park also offers thrill rides for its visitors, including some that will give you the opportunity to get wet and stay cool in the summer heat.

A favorite of my friends and I has been getting into some team sports. We really enjoy football (of course, it’s texas after all), but we’ve also given quite a few other sports a try. We’ve tried paintball, and had a really fun time with that even though we were sweating quite a bit in all of our protective gear in the texas heat.

For something that’s a little more unique to Texas, you can go tubing on the Guadalupe River. It’s a cross between whitewater rafting and the lazy river that you’ll find at most water parks, and it’s done on a small, but fast moving river in the heart of Texas. It’s easy to rent tubes and find transportation to and from the river, and in between there’s nothing but basking in the summer sun while you go floating down a river.

For the slightly more adventurous types, there’s always windsurfing off of South Padre Island. Even if you’re not an experienced windsurfer, there are places to get gear and take lessons, allowing you to try a new and exciting activity in a picturesque location. Of course, if you are an experienced windsurfer, you’re not going to find too many places better than South Padre Island.

If you want to get away from the water, there are plenty of hiking, biking, and camping opportunities at Big Bend National Park. Just about any outdoor activity you can imagine is possible inside the park, as Big Bend is one of the most expansive national parks in the country, and if you can stand the heat and traveling all the way down close to the Mexican border, it’s a great place to visit.

Finally, if all you want to do is kick back, relax, and do some fishing, Texas has you covered. Freshwater game fish like bass are popular in Texas, and just like everything else in that state, they come awfully big, giving you a chance to reel in a whopper. If that’s not enough, Texas has enough coastlines to produce saltwater fishing as well, so if all you wan to do is fish, Texas is the ideal place to be.

Reasons Why Texans Love Outdoor Activities

When you think about Texas, you will always remember about outdoor activities. Texans are big fans of anything outdoors. From trekking to a simple picnic, you can always find Texans doing something outside. This is also the reason why a lot of people travel to Texas just to experience an authentic outdoor adventure.

The best sceneries

You will surely love going outside if you know that you can see breathtaking views. These sceneries are perfect for those who love taking photos. They are also perfect for those who just want to relax and appreciate the beauty of nature. From beautiful mountains to the luscious green forest, these sceneries are one of a kind.

Tons of activities

If you are adventurous, there are places across the state that offer zip lining. You can go for wall climbing or mountain climbing if you dare. You might also want to check out parks and recreation centers. There are a lot of sports centers and golf clubs. Anything that you can think of can be done when you are in Texas. If you don’t have enough time to do all these adventures, then you can just choose from among the local parks in the area. You can also bring your baby with you. Just make sure that you have the best jogging stroller from http://www.toddlervirtues.com. You can also order a double jogging stroller through this site if you want your exercise to be more comfortable and fun. Whether you are up for activities or just some quiet time alone, Texas has something in store for you.

The best weather

In most parts of the US, cold weather can be felt all year round. Well, it is obviously not the same thing in Texas. It is a state where the sun always shines bright. Therefore, if you wish to have a more relaxing temperature and a perfect one for outdoor activities, then you must consider visiting Texas. You don’t have to visit tropical countries just to experience a sunny day.

The Texan spirit

Over the years, Texans have excelled in outdoor sporting games. They have also shown that they are the authority when it comes to outdoor activities. In short, it is in the spirit. Texans will always keep that spirit within them. This is why when you visit Texas you will not just love the state because of its amazing views, but also because of its people. You will always have the energy to go out and have fun because you know that you will always have these energetic people who will be with you in your journey.

Give it a try

If you are still not convinced, then go ahead and just give it a try. When you are there, you will then understand everything that is written here. No matter how exhausting these activities are in the end, you will definitely love them. In fact, once you have tried them out, you will go for these activities over and over again.

The Life and Times of a Texan

Hello, everyone. I hope all has been well wherever you call home. What a week we have had around the world — there is so much evil and violence everywhere! Sometimes I really wonder what is going on and how things become so bad. The world has not always been this evil like it is now. It gets harder and harder each night to watch the news, especially all the stuff about ISIS. All you ever see or hear is something bad going on somewhere. In this country or another one. It is just hard to find a good place to call home nowadays. I do think that my beloved United States of America is still the very best country to live in by far. Things would be better if our government would step up to the plate and be leaders.

Instead, they try to make everyone happy. That’s why we have 1/3 of Americans living on government assistance. When you are a person of power you are not always going to make everyone happy. There are going to be times when you make others mad by doing the right thing! That is why it is hard to be a leader. The great ones always make the right choices.

The other day I was talking to a longtime friend of mine about all of this. He agrees with a lot of what I say about our country and our world. He is very technologically minded and is always getting the newest electronic gadgets. He has recently bought some products from one of the local sip trunk providers and he said it did make the difference in his phone quality. I am thinking about making that same purchase. He always has good ideas that I end up borrowing from.

We also talked about this upcoming weekend. We are having our first big get together since we bought our new home. I love hosting events. Mainly because I get to fire up the grill and have some barbecue. I have never seen a person mad at a barbecue. It is pretty hard to be mad smelling the smoke and hearing the sizzling of the meat. You know Texas is the best place for barbecues. The only other state that I have been to that can almost compare to Texas is Alabama. My cousin lives in Alabama at some Oxford Apartments. It is always a great trip out there when we go and visit him and his wife. That is something that I look forward to every summer. I always like to show him whose barbecue is better. He suffers from low testosterone but is working on increasing his testosterone levels. In the meantime I just remind him that my T is as solid as my grilling skills. You know what people say? Everything is bigger in Texas!

Texas: Why it is So Easy To Love

At least half of the 10 fastest growing US cities are found in the State of Texas according to recent figures released by the United States Census Board. I’m sure you’re wondering why? Well, don’t. There are plenty of reasons why Texas is one of the most sought after places in the continental US. More and more people are choosing to not only visit but also to permanently live here. Let me give you a brief discussion on the advantages of living in Texas, as well as a quick rundown of what you can enjoy while visiting this place.

They say that the main reason why a person chooses to go someplace else is the availability of livelihood there. For some years now, Texas has been consistent in terms of job availability in view of its booming oil and gas industries. More than that, it has been making headway in its manufacturing, tech and business services. Plenty of blue-collar and white-collar jobs are now being offered here and the fact that the presence of military has increased as a result of the 9/11 incident helps a bit. People feel more secure, safe and protected, helping them adjust better once they do move to Texas. Another perk is that the cost of living in Texas is considerably cheaper compared to other States. The land here is cheaper and the land acquisition process is very much efficient.

The taxes here are similarly lower. Did you know that of the seven states in the US where residents are not required to pay personal state income tax, Texas is one of them? How cool is that? As such, people get to enjoy their pay checks more. As for businesses, more tax incentives are given, which is why more companies are setting up or moving their businesses here, thereby creating more jobs for the locals. This is what government officials should be geared towards and not the useless and pointless politicking they all seem to enjoy.

If you are only looking at visiting Texas, that’s fine too. There are several things I could suggest to make your vacation in these area more enjoyable one. For those who love arts and culture, you will find here a large and comprehensive collection of Modern and Latin American Art. There are also museums here that feature the rich history of the State as well as precious artifacts and items, which you can enjoy perusing. Speaking of precious items, in case you are interested in semi precious stones, you can click here and learn more about the wonders of these precious commodity.

Going back, Texas also has several theaters and symphonies where you can relax and immerse yourself in 18th century plays and classical music. As for outdoor activity enthusiasts, this State is also full of beaches where you can enjoy all sorts of water activities like sailing, sea kayaking, jet skiing, game fishing, snorkeling, and many more. You can even have the romantic experience of horseback riding along the coast of the beach. Texas is a beautiful place to explore and live in so make the most out of it when you do decide to visit it.

A Great Idea For Your Next BBQ

Finding reliable products can be a challenge.  With cheap foreign products in our stores, things tend to break down more often then they last.  It is sad that this is the state of our things.  What ever happened to the pride that came with saying, “Made In America.”

I’m Texan, born and raised.  But, I can’t be the only person out there that is fed up with electronics not working as intended.  I can see why they are so cheap, since half of them don’t last as long as they should.  I can’t understand why people buy them.

So, it may come as a shock to some of you when I left Walmart with an electric knife sharpener.  You might say, “11penguin!  What are you doing!” And I couldn’t agree with you more.  I must admit that I had a moment of weakness, and when I walked out of the store with the box in hand, I was already doubting my purchase.

You see, I don’t buy things lightly.  I am a man of my word.  I think politics are a fools errand at the moment, and I have much disinterest in the government involving itself in my affairs the same as any other man.  I got this electric knife sharpener because I was in a crunch, and if there is anything I trust, it is the advice of a friend.

Later in the day, I was planning on having a barbecue with some of my neighbors.  My neighbor next door had their family over for the holiday, and I volunteered to make them a meal that would remind them of Texas long after they left the state.  The only problem was that this was the first BBQ in a while.  Everything needed to be pulled out of storage and cleaned.  When I at last got to my knives, I realized I had run out of time.

I usually keep my knives in pretty good shape.  I keep them clean, and I even dry them before putting them away.  However, I never bothered to sharpen them.  They were a nice set from the in-laws a few Christmas’s back, and I had never gotten around to it.  When I first tried to cut some meat, the knife went no where.

Instead of butchering the meat and ripping it apart with a dull knife, I took my friend up on a bet he had made.  He suggested an electric knife sharpener, with the promise that I would also love it.  With no time to spend, the bet was on.

So after I got home, I finished setting everything up.  The first thing I noticed was how quickly the electric knife sharpener sharpened my set of knives.  It no time at all, my set of half a dozen knives were sharpen then I could remember.  Working fast, the machine was safe enough for me to trust it to my kids, giving me time to prepare for our guests.

Lets just say, that thanks to this electric knife sharpener, my guests had a meal they won’t soon forget.

Fitness Shoes for my Active Lifestyle

As all of my regular readers know I love hunting and the outdoor lifestyle. During the off season it’s important for me to still keep in shape. Over the past three years I have been training with a weekly CrossFit group, a spin class at my local gym, and the running club.

The combination of all these activities keeps my body in top condition. The downside is they all have a monthly membership cost and every year you need to invest in a range of new gear.

One of the most expensive pieces of kit you need is shoes. Not just one pair of shoes. I need a decent pair of shoes for every activity. Last year I purchased all my shoes without doing any research and only one pair lasted the entire year.

This year I set aside more time to ensure the shoes I buy are higher quality than previous years.

Shoes for CrossFit Training

I really enjoy CrossFit and I spend more time at the CrossFit gym than anywhere else. It’s important that the shoes I buy for CrossFit are made from a strong material and provide solid support.
I narrowed the choices down to a top three after speaking with a number of other athletes at CrossFit.
The next phase of research was to check out all the online reviews. This process didn’t take very long and the end result was the Reebok CrossFit Nano 4.0 shoes (click here).
I’ve never owned a pair of Nanos before but from all the research I did the vast majority of people enjoyed wearing them and more importantly would buy them again.

Shoes for Spin Classes

At this point I am going to have to confess, I didn’t do any research or even try to find the best pair of shoes for spin class because the shoes I used for spin class last year are the same shoes I used the year before. I am also just going to use the same shoes again this year.
The Giro Privateer MTB shoe still looks brand new and I have been using them for over 2 years. The quality of this is amazing and easily the best value pair of shoes I have ever owned.

Shoes for Distance Running

The shoes I used last year for running club didn’t fare so well. So this year it is important that I research the market better. The problem with trying to buy running shoes is there’s too much choice!
I started my research online and thirty minutes later I had a list of questions and shoes that I presumed would be a decent buy.

I decided to speak with other runners from the running club and they all had mixed opinions, but I did manage to get some questions answered and narrowed the list down even further.

My last port of call was the running store. I spoke with a store representative and he guided me in the right direction. My running shoe of choice was the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14.

DIY Hunting Rifle Repair: A Gift For My Dad

One eventful weekend, in the year before the last, my dad and I decided it was time to go for a hunting trip that had long been overdue. As we were clearing the dust from my dad’s collection of firearms in his garage, we came across his old Parker Hale 30-06 bolt action. The discovery made my dad reminiscent about the hunting experiences of his youth, up until the day its wooden stock got cracked from the internal magazine to the fore-end.

I wanted to give my dad a present, and decided to consult with a gunsmith on how much it would cost to get the gun’s stock fixed. I received a quote of $350 for a total repair, but this was hardly worth it, given that the net worth of the rifle itself was no more than $450. More importantly, I was tight on cash those days (God bless America), and simply couldn’t afford it. I still wanted to get my dad’s antique rifle fixed one way or another, as a present for his upcoming birthday, which is why I resolved to fix it myself. I had attended a couple of decent gunsmithing schools to learn a thing or two about weapon crafting and maintenance, and it wasn’t like I had anything to lose – the gun would remain dysfunctional at worst, and would get repaired at best!

Up until now, many of you will be wondering if I simply glued it together. You may be surprised, but your intuition is correct, I did exactly that. Both Gorilla Super Glue and Zap-a-Gap Glue are good choices due to their unique shock resistant formulas which are more durable and tight compared to other brands. I picked up a bottle of Gorilla Super Glue from Home Depot at a price less than ten bucks.

I’ll admit that fixing a rifle stock using super glue is quite simple, but only so long as you keep your fingers from getting glued together. Ensure that every side of the crack is evenly covered, without putting on an excessive amount of glue that could seep out and harm the wooden finish. Don’t panic if you overdo it though, just wipe the extra glue off quickly before it dries and clamp the stock together, leaving it to dry for a whole day. If any extra glue remains on the surface after drying, use a soapy, hot water solution with a rag to get rid of it. Gun Gods has more info on gunsmithing and even some tutorials.

I tested out the rigidity of the fixed Parker Hale and was more than happy with the results. I test fired through two boxes of ammo to see if it really worked, and there was absolutely no separation of the glued part at all. However, I had been slightly sloppy with the glue, which had resulted in some unevenness on the surface where some residual glue had dried.

In any case, my dad was really delighted with my present, since now he would be able to relive the days of his youth on our coming hunting trips, with his trusty old Parker Hale rifle slung on his shoulder.

Thinking About Living in Texas?

Like many folks, you may be considering a move to the Lone Star State. Also, like many folks, you may have heard that the winters here are hot, and the summers are even hotter and more humid. Not to worry however, you don’t need to cancel your moving van. There are several options available to you to help manage Texas’s warmer months and keep you cool when the thermometer is rising.

One of the best ways to beat the heat is to make sure that the building or home you’re moving into has centralized air conditioning available. This is a fairly common feature in Texas, but it never hurts to make sure it’ll be available to you, as the summer temperatures can soar into the high 90’s, and even break triple digits! You may also want to check out the price of installing a central unit if one isn’t available, as the savings may outweigh the initial costs over time. It’s also harder to put a price on the personal comfort of walking in from a baking hot Texas summer day, into your cool, sixty five degree living room while the cicadas buzz outside your windows! I would also recommend looking into a whole house air purifier. You can find some recommendations at http://healthyairlab.com/best-air-purifier-reviews/.

If your new place doesn’t come equipped with central A/C, invest in a good standing or box fan, or a window A/C unit to help keep your home cool. One of the worst feelings is sitting still and sweating in 99 degree weather with 100% humidity outside in the middle of a hot August day! These provide a very cost-efficient method of keeping your temperature cool and your wallet happy. Try experimenting with them to create pathways to move air around in your house, so no one room stagnates in the summer heat. This has the added effect of keeping your whole house cool with just a few, cheap fans.

Also make sure you have lots of shade available, and if you’re able, check to see if there are trees that come with your property. Trees and the free shade they provide can significantly lower your cooling costs, and provide fresh oxygen, as well as pecans if you’re lucky enough to have one in your backyard. If not, you can always plan to plant a fresh sapling and watch it grow, along with your new investment here in the Lone Star State!

An additional option that is available to you is to set up or even construct homemade breezeways; tunnels that will pull and filter the breeze through your home or living space. Try opening up windows or patio doorways, and let the breeze draw through your home. This works great during the spring, when temperatures start to rise but the cool winds keep blowing. You can also add fans to help keep the air flowing, as hot, stagnant air is one of the biggest contributors to rising cooling costs in the home.
The last tip you may want to consider is to head out to new locations and do some sightseeing when the weather turns hot. Most commercial and government buildings have centralized air, and it’s an excellent opportunity to get out and see more of this great state, as well as beat the heat! Take a trip to the state capitol, or visit some of the amazing museums, galleries and historical sites that Texas has to offer!

Rice as a Side to a Barbeque

Barbecue is one of the traditional styles of cuisine in Texas. A variety of barbecue styles are featured all over the regions of the state. I have come to love the delicious savory taste of barbecues in the area. And as an all time favorite, eating barbecue has become more anticipated when paired with different side dishes. I often explore and prepare a wide range of selections to add excitement to my barbeque days. To have a satisfying and sumptuous meal, I recommend rice as a side dish to your chosen Texan barbecue. Aside from its distinct, simple taste that easily goes along with other tastes, it is way too easy to prepare, especially if you use a rice cooker (any of these will work). Here is how you can prepare a great complement to your meal in a few steps:

  • Before you place the rice inside the cooker, get its measurement with a cup. Some rice cookers have a removable pot or bowl, while there are also others where you just place the rice directly inside the cooker.
  • If necessary, you should rinse the rice. This is to wash off chemicals that may be present. I advise you to use drinking water for rinsing. After draining the water, you can now go ahead with the next step.
  • Get the correct measurement of the water. Every rice cooker has an on/off switch and it just cooks itself without constant checking. After a few minutes, the light will change to notify that it’s already cooked.

As a side dish, you have the option not make your rice plain. When I had my first experience, I tried to have it fried and flavored with butter. It was remarkably delightful. If you want to have a lighter rice side dish, instead of butter, you can use vegetables. This is more of an Asian style. I remember once I felt like trying Asian food and so I experimented with a new side dish with rice as the main ingredient. Playing with the spices and flavor was fun. Who’d have thought that the palatable Texan barbecue can become more desirable to the taste buds. To have it simply put, rice can be the perfect side dish to your Texan barbecue, which is proven and tested. Match it with your preferences like I did. There are times when I prefer fried over plain and there are also times when I prefer it stickier that it was before.

Rice also has its benefits that would make it even more advisable as a side dish to grilled food. It’s low in cholesterol and sodium, which makes it good for the heart.

I have been traveling all over Texas to taste the different barbecue of each region and I always look forward to rice as their side dishes. I always ty to explore how they prepare their rice. Having a nice side dish surely adds wonder to every tasty Texas barbecue.