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.

 

Why Can’t People Just Fix Their Own Repair Issues at Home?

The problem with many people these days is that they are just too dependent on others. They cannot do even the simplest tasks on their own. Technology has made lives easy for everyone. Many people need to toughen it up. Things might have been made easier these days, but it won’t always stay the same. There are instances when one needs to be independent and do things without seeking for help from others or from technology for that matter.

Growing up in Texas, we were taught to be strong and resilient. At a young age, we were taught how to hunt or be in dangerous places on our own. We were taught how to cut trees and make them into useful logs. We have also learned other household chores. We can even fix appliances and other items at home that need to be fixed. Most of all, we were taught how to cook. From barbecues to pizzas, we know exactly what to do to eat a sumptuous meal on our own.

You cannot get help at all times

For instance, when there is a problem at home, many people tend to get professional help right away. A simple roofing problem that can be fixed by just climbing on the roof is entrusted to others. Some even spend hundreds of dollars for a very simple repair task. Even cleaning the house, which is too easy, others have to rely on someone else to do it for them. There are even those who have personal shoppers.

When ordering for a kitchen faucet for instance, they ask for help from someone. Well, this is not really a good attitude. If you can do the job, then do it. If you want the best kitchen faucet, you can look for it here. There is no need to ask others to look it up for you. If you want the best pull down kitchen faucet, then just visit www.kitchenfaucetkid.com/best-pull-down-kitchen-faucet-reviews. You might need technology to research, but you still do the remaining task by yourself. You can even install those faucets without asking for help. Take note that when there is no one else to help you out, you have to learn how to fend for yourself or else you won’t survive.

It’s a tough world

You might think that you are from a wealthy family and so you don’t need to worry about doing things on your own. You can always pay someone to do it for you. However, this won’t be the same case for the rest of your life. We live in a tough world. Anything can happen. Perhaps tomorrow, you won’t be rich anymore. Thus, you need how learn things on your own so you can do them when you can’t afford paying someone else to do it for you. Stand up and start learning how to do things now. I am so glad that I was born and raised in Texas since I have learned a lot in life. I just hope others will start to be independent too.

Background checks for gun control. Have we gone crazy?

  • February 17, 2015 at 4:47 pm

The world is going crazy if I’m reading the papers correctly. Recently the Texas Senate committee passed legislation that would allow everyone to carry a firearm. By everyone, I mean your neighbor to the teenager going to high school. Are they being serious? Isn’t the world a dangerous enough place as it is?

I’m all for the constitutional rights to carry a weapon. I think most Texans will agree with me on this. I love guns and am a fierce opponent against gun control. But even I think they have taken it too far now. With all the recent public shootings, I think it’s time we take a step back and figure out how to allow free gun possession while not creating an ever increasing danger in the world.

Looser firearm laws is just plain dangerous and is something cooked up by republicans who don’t realize the danger they are putting us all in. Just to clarify my point here, it’s not the possession of guns I have a problem with. It’s the fact that concealed firearms are legal. I don’t want to be looking around to see who has a gun all the time. What’s the point of carrying a gun with you 24 hours a day? I can’t think of any good reasons to be honest. Let’s get real, we might live in Texas, but we’re still a civilized state.

Right now we’ll just have to wait to see how the Senate votes on all of this. I really hope that they see things a little more clearly.

The main reason I’m so passionate about this topic is that the gun policy right now just isn’t enough. It’s a flawed system. Let’s say you want to buy a gun legally. You’d go to a licensed firearms dealer and buy a gun subject to a background check. The issue is that a background check is not always enough. Shouldn’t you look at the intentions of why you need the gun? Even then, not all gun sales are actually legal, and not everyone buy guns from a licensed firearms dealer. This creates the problem that background checks are not performed on everyone carrying a gun in Texas. That’s a big issue.

Even then background checks by themselves are flawed. They don’t always uncover the entire criminal past of the subject. Even when using the best background check service, there just isn’t a guarantee that it will prevent unnecessary gun violence. It only takes a little but of common sense to understand this.

For example, I use a background check service called Instant Checkmate myself to verify the identity of those around me. But when you read some of the online Instant Checkmate reviews you’ll soon understand that this process is not perfect. A service like this finds a lot of information, but it just doesn’t find everything.

Right now, the only thing we can do is wait to see how the Senate votes on this issue and hope the results won’t bring us more unnecessary violence. I love Texas, and I don’t want to see it destroyed by this.

Getting the Lowdown on Barbecues and Roast Pork

  • February 12, 2015 at 6:09 pm

Barbecues are one of those things that you either take seriously or you just take for granted. They are the easiest things to do, come in all sorts of varieties, and there are personal preferences for every individual. It also happens to be one of those foods that if you burn it to a crisp, somebody might still like it.

Even with all the available varieties, there is a lot of respect for personal preferences. This is especially true because some things are almost impractical to recreate, but people don't really care if there are big noticeable variances from expectations.

While traditional barbecues do not really use any marinade or dry rub, today's barbecues have gotten so sophisticated that there are rubs and marinades available at the supermarket. The use of commercial marinades is supposed to make sure that a person can have the same quality and taste for all his barbecues, but, really, what's the fun in that?

Some people would say that with a standard formula for dry rub, the meat would always taste the same. However, again, the variables even within the same piece of meat are not the same and you should end up with different levels of flavors. Again, who cares? In the world of barbecue, a dry rub 20-pound piece of meat gently smoked for 24 hours would have the same consistency all throughout the meat even if it were unevenly shaped. Then again, which meat cut is not unevenly shaped? It's like reading the water ionizer reviews for 2015 from http://www.waterionizerreviews.net; you have to ask if there are really any differences between these products.

Incidentally, there's an annual roasting contest in Kentucky and the contestants come from all over bringing their smokers and ovens. One of the most hotly contested competitions is the roast pig category. Technically, a roast pig is not a barbecue. In this case, however, the pig carcass has been marinated for days, or treated like ham, and cooked in a closed smoker, turning on a spit. These are not in any way like the roasted pig in other cultures, like the Hawaiian roasted pig, which is cooked under the ground with hot coals, or the Chinese roasted suckling pig with a crispy reddish or golden brown skin. These competition roasted pigs look like big hunks of barbecue pork after they are done. The competitors must be doing something right because most of them have their own restaurants or specialty shops where they sell their goods.

When you think about it, you have to realize that it might be the equipment, or it might be the practice in a commercial kitchen. It's like asking, “ does the epic soccer training really work? To view the answer, click here. Maybe they just do it differently. For those without a barbecue pit, or a smoker, there are ways to barbecue large chunks of meat. First off, you need a convection oven, or an oven with a rotisserie. Second, you should have a tray underneath to catch the drippings, and where you can put in your herbs and aromatics. These are the basic requirements for roast pig. Otherwise, if you want it to look and taste like a barbecue, use choice cuts instead, and use a dry rub or a marinade the meat overnight. For pork belly, you would lose the crispiness and the crackling-like consistency of the skin, but that's a different story.

Bowhunting In Texas 

In the great state of Texas, there are many forms of wildlife for a bowhunter to choose from. As a bowhunter, I realize that this sport is a special sport that helps us hunters bond with the beauty of nature. Going out into the woods, listening to the birds and watching for signs of the animals that we have chosen to hunt. It is such a peaceful but exciting day.

One of my primary reasons for bowhunting besides my love of being in the woods, is the fact that I can feed my family fresh meat. This is meat that has not been processed and had chemicals added to, like the meats that we have to purchase in our stores. I feel this is a much healthier lifestyle for my family.

Living in Texas, gives me the opportunity to have access to the wild game and places that are not far from my home to hunt. If you have ever traveled across the great state, you are no stranger to the fact that there are many herds of deer, feasting upon the grass and brush that grow there naturally. There are also many wild pigs and rabbits that inhabit this state. This makes bowhunting in Texas a great opportunity.

As a bowhunter, I have learned to respect the woods and the beauty of nature. Only taking the game that will provide the fresh food for my family. I know that in order to have a successful day in the woods, that I must be aware and cautious, respecting my surroundings. I know that one careless smell or noise will send my deer miles away.

As I head out into the woods, with my bow, I feel the excitement of knowing that I will soon be alone with nature and hoping to have more fresh meat for my family. As I enter my hunting area that I have selected for today, I know that I have selected the best bow for my morning hunt. The bow has the speed and accuracy that I need to bag a deer. It works smoothly and efficiently, giving me the confidence that my day will be a success.

I make my way to the back of the field and conceal myself in a group of trees, knowing the deer will soon be coming for a drink at the nearby pond, or tank as they are in Texas. I wait patiently, listening for the foot steps of my deer. Suddenly it appears, a beautiful 6 point buck. Standing proudly the buck enters the clearing and walks to the pond.

I feel the excitement but I know that I must stay calm and steady. I raise my bow and take a careful aim at this beautiful deer. Slowly and steadily I pull back the string of my bow, positioning my straight arrow on the target. Smoothly I release the arrow and watch it glide quickly to my target. My hunt is now complete and I am filled with the satisfaction of knowing that I had selected the proper bow and hunting technique and my family will once again have fresh meat for our meals.

Knives and Appliances for your Kitchen

Ok, I love barbecue but sometimes ya gotta use the kitchen. So let’s talk about knives and rice cookers (yep, rice can be a good change once in a while).

One of the key differences that I’ve noticed between home cooks and professional kitchen staff is the emphasis on equipment. Home cooks, even highly skilled home cooks, often have subpar equipment in the kitchen, and they often have too much stuff that’s not that useful. Professional chefs recognize the importance of versatility in their tools. Typically, a professional chef will have three or four knives that are of the highest quality, whereas home cooks always seem to have a vast array of mediocre knives. Even when it comes to appliances, home cooks often have useless, late night shopping junk in their kitchens – things like bread makers, rotisserie machines, and other appliances that provide very little versatility. In the place of all this, a professional will often just have a really high quality oven in the kitchen.

As far as I’m concerned, there are only a handful of items that are absolutely necessary to have in a kitchen. The most important and versatile tool that a chef can have is a good quality knife. One top notch knife that’s well taken care of is worth more than ten average knives that are dull from use. Typically, a chef should have a set of three or four basic knives – a typical 8 inch chef’s knife, a paring knife, a fillet/boning knife, and a knife with a serrated edge. Having more than these four types of knives in your kitchen is probably a waste of money. There are a couple of also good guides on chefs knives and paring knives here – for fillet knives, you can check out this guide.

Now, on to appliances. A good oven is an essential in any kitchen. The modern oven was invented about a hundred years ago, and to this day, it remains one of the most versatile kitchen appliances available to the everyday American. Forget about the turning rotisserie rack, the bread machines and the magical steamers – in fact, you can pretty much ignore any kitchen appliance that you’ve seen sold on late night infomercials. A good oven, a good stove, and a few decent pots and pans are all you need. Cnet has a good oven buying guide that you can take a look at.

The one item that I would say isn’t completely a waste of time is a rice cooker – particularly if you cook a lot of Asian food. While a rice cooker isn’t a particularly versatile tool, even a mediocre rice cooker usually does its job really well. With a good rice cooker, you can more or less guarantee that you’ll never mess up when you’re preparing rice. I’ve read a whole bunch of reviews on rice cookers, and according to this site as well as many others, Zojirushi rice cookers pretty much blow the competition out of the water.

Another thing you should keep in mind when shopping for kitchen appliances is that you should always choose something that performs one function really well over something that has loads of functions. If you have a rice cooker, you don’t need it to also cook porridge or risotto. Chances are, you won’t ever use these extra functions. What you want is a well cooked, fluffy bowl of rice at the end of it. The same applies to other appliances – you don’t need an oven that has twenty different options – you just need an oven that has really accurate temperature control.

Keep all of this in mind the next time you’re shopping for your kitchen and you’ll find yourself saving money and space – what’s more, you’ll probably become a better cook as well.

Why I Own a Gun Safe

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!

How to Hunt For Squirrels In Your Attic

  • January 24, 2015 at 11:09 pm

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.

Trapping

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.

Pests You Have to Deal With in Texas

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.

Spiders

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

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.

Cockroach

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.

Termites

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

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.

Outdoor stuff I did with my NYC Buddies

  • January 18, 2015 at 12:04 am

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.