Thunderbird Chicken Scratch

Last time I was in Florida my mom took me to a specialty BBQ store, Just Grillin, off of Dale Mabry in Carrollwood. I didn’t know such places existed. I thought everyone just bought their grills at a hardware store, Amazon, or direct from the company. It was a pretty great to be able to see and touch Yoders, Weber Summits, and other high-end BBQs. They also came by with some chicken they’d cooked in the back using a variety of rubs they sell. Oh yeah, the entire wall behind the register was full to the brim with rubs and sauces – most (if not all) of them local or competition group rubs. Any rub you wanted to try would be poured into a tasting cup. Sure, it’s not the same as having the rub on some food, but it’s certainly better than the blind buying we have to do with supermarket rubs. As a gift, mom said she’d get me any rub I wanted to try, so I picked up Thunderbird Chicken Scratch. Then a bunch of travel meant I had to keep waiting impatiently until I could finally try it. Last night I finally got my chance.

I asked the wife to get me some boneless, skinless thighs and legs from Costco. Boneless for faster cooking and skinless because no one in the house but me eats the skin. I checked the rub ingredients and it already had salt, so I would dry brine the thighs and legs with the rub. A couple hours before I was planning to grill, I patted the parts dry and I placed them onto a baking sheet. There I generously seasoned them – as in put rub over the entire surface by shaking it over the food. I wasn’t looking for pork shoulder-level coverage, but I wanted to make sure every bite had rub on it. Then I put the chicken into the fridge uncovered. I had been planning to cook them on the gas grill for a faster start, but the rub’s label stated it was developed to be eaten with smoked meat, specifically pecan. So half an hour before I wanted to start cooking, I fired up the kettle and placed a couple small chunks of pecan on the coals. I wanted a medium heat, so I spread a chimney evenly over the grill, leaving only a small area for flare control, even though I wasn’t expecting it to be an issue.

Pecan wood in the charcoal
Pecan wood in the charcoal

I grabbed the chicken from the fridge and used a silicone brush to paint some canola oil onto both sides of the chicken. Five minutes later, the grates were hot and I was ready to go. After throwing the chicken on, I left the bottom vents completely open and closed the top vent halfway. This measured 350ish on the dome thermometer which I know is inaccurate, but I note for consistency. I don’t usually bother with accurate measurements when I’m grilling chicken, only when I’m cooking indirectly. After 7.5 minutes, I flipped the chicken – it was looking quite beautiful.

Chicken on the grill
Chicken on the grill

After closing the lid again, I noticed the temp had dropped to 300 (one of the pitfalls of closing the lid with the coals spread everywhere is that it reduces flow from the bottom vent). So I reopened the top vent and it bounced back to 350 and stayed there. After another 7.5 minutes the chicken was at 165 or more on all but 2 pieces. So I left those on the grill with the lid open while I went to the kitchen to get a loaf of bread to throw on the grill. By the time I came back, the chicken was measuring a safe temp and so it joined its brethren in the cassarole dish loosely tented while I raked the coals to one side to create a smokey “oven” for the bread. Ten minutes later food was ready.

The chicken had a nice, seasoned taste with a little bit of a kick. I’m in love with with spicy – I eat Indian spicy, Korean spicy, and only Honolulu Thai spicy was a bit much for me. The inredients list has three types of hot peppers, but they’re in a ratio that provides a heat that doesn’t linger. It says, “hey there, tongue!” and then is gone in the next bite of salad or bread. The chicken was incredibly juicy (I wasn’t sure how it would be – I usually brine in a soy sauce concoction that my wife has adapted with various herbs to suit fajitas, lamb, chicken, and ribs) and I loved sopping up the chicken juices and bits of rub from my plate. I’m not sure how easy it is to get this rub outside of this store in central Florida, but I highly recommend it if you’re bored of your usual chicken taste. (Also endorsed by: my wife, my mother-in-law, and the guy at work that I talk to BBQ about and had a bite of the chicken)

Chicken is Done
Chicken is Done

Another piece falls into place for Docker

Yesterday I was at a conference dedicated to DevOps and so Red Hat and Google were there to talk about containers, especially Docker and Kubernetes. While summarizing it to some of my employees today, I was asked about what I see as the benefits of Docker containers relative to Virtual Machines. I mentioned that one of the great things is that Docker containers are immutable. All of your data’s actually written to a folder that’s essentially mounted in the container.

Then today while I was walking through the neighborhood with Stella I was thinking about that and suddenly into my head popped a reddit discussion I had with someone on /r/Datahoarders. This person had a bunch of computer OS backups with his data intermingled. I mentioned he was doing things wrong – he should have his data on a data drive or in a NAS, separate from the OS so that he doesn’t need OS backups, only backups of settings and his personal files. On my Linux computer I do this by having a separate home drive. On my Windows computer I’ve mapped “My Documents” to a separate drive.

And the lightbulb went off. Right now with my VMs, I’m backing up an entire VM, taking up gigabytes of space and taking lots of time to back up. Instead, with Docker containers I could merely worry about backing up the data store. The containers themselves don’t matter because I can always just grab them again off the repos.

So it looks like it’s time for me to learn OpenShift (since I’m all-in for Red Hat, I may as well learn their distro of Kubernetes) so I can better orchestrate all of this now that I’m moving from just a couple containers. Plus it’ll be fun to learn!

Scarlett’s recital

This year Scarlett did hip hop as her dance class and the instructor selected a Pink Ladies meets Hip Hop sort of outfit for the kids. Like last year I did a portrait session with Scarlett in her costume. Unlike last year, it actually came out nice this year. (Last year I rushed it and the lighting was off)

After seeing another dad do it last year, I decided to rent a lens this year so I could have much better low light performance. I rented the 70-200 II IS L lens. On the plus side, I was very happy with how close I was able to zoom to Scarlett without having to push the ISO past the limits of my camear. On the minus side, I just don’t have that much experience with dance photography and this year Scarlett’s class only had one dance. So although the lens was a reasonable $100 to rent, I am not sure if I’m going to do it again next year (assuming Scarlett does dance class again) since I only got 3 photos worth sharing.

“School’s OUT!” – Scarlett’s Recital Photos

Their song this year was School’s Out by the Disney-affiliated Kyra Christiaan.

The part above is Scarlett shouting “SCHOOL’S OUT!”

Scarlett’s Recital Photos

I love how dynamic Scarlett is in this photo. And you can tell it’s in focus if you look at her shoes or bow. She’s just moving faster than the shutter speed.

Scarlett’s Recital Photos

Mt. Vernon

Danielle and I went to Mount Vernon back when we first moved here and were exploring new things to do in our free time that were unique to the area.

Scarlett at Mt. Vernon
Scarlett at Mt. Vernon

We’d thought of bringing our parents to see Washington’s house and property, but the timing never quite worked out – you really want to visit in the Spring or Fall, not during the Summer or Winter. So it remained a place we’d only been to once even as we made multiple trips to the same couple Smithsonian museums and zoos.

Scarlett with mature dandelion

Last year, in pre-school, Scarlett learned a bit about the presidents: mostly that we have one and that some of the old ones are on Mt. Rushmore. This year, they still aren’t learning too much civics (they’re too busy teaching them how to read, write, and math), but Scarlett listens around the house as we’ve spoken about the current president. Which reminded her there were some famous ones and I think the school made a big deal of President’s Day in February.

Stella with mature dandelion

That said, Scarlett’s only six – 4 years ago she was just starting to talk and 5 years ago she could just barely walk. So she kept getting confused between Mt. Vernon and the White House. On the day of the trip she asked if we were going to Donald Trump’s house.

So many dandelions!

Once we got there, Scarlett marveled at the giant “doll house” model of Washington’s house. But what she enjoyed most was being our navigator. She got the map and she was in charge of telling us which way to go.

Stella

It was a very busy day, with lots of tourists there so the pace was a bit fast and the docents didn’t get to explain things about the house as much as I remember them doing the last time I went there.

Dandelion seeds fly away (you may need to open at 100%)
Dandelion seeds fly away (you may need to open the photo at 100%)

We didn’t explain slavery to Scarlett. She got a mini-crash course on it at school because she asked me some interesting questions in February. But the concept is so alien that she didn’t quite understand what she’d learned. Personally, I think it’s a deep enough and screwed up enough concept that I’m content to wait another year or two for her to be able to understand what it meant, what it said about us, etc. It’ll also be interesting to see how they teach it here. In Florida (when I was in school) they didn’t shy away from it like I ehar in other southern States, but I didn’t understand it completely until AP American History.

Stellal up against the wall

On the subject of Washington’s mansion, I tried to point out to Scarlett the ways in which the house was different from ours – the kitchen separate from the house, etc. But it’s only been 1-2 years since she could understand the concept of Danielle and I as kids. And, from what she’s said, I don’t think she thinks the world is much older than her great-grandparents. So it might take a bit more for her to appreciate those types of things.

Scarlett and young dandelion
Scarlett and young dandelion

You guys know I like to just post one interpretation of a photo, but sometimes I can’t decide. Which do you think is better? Color (above) or black and white (below):

Scarlett and young dandelion
Scarlett and young dandelion

As far as stuff like mortality goes, our current line is that only old people die. We will sometimes mention disease, but don’t want her to freak out at a bad cold. So she was able to understand the Washington crypt on the site.

Dandelion Sword

We ended the day with the photos you see here in a field where the kids wanted to pick dandelions.

Lots of Young Dandelions

I don’t blame them. Even as an adult, I do find it fun to blow the seeds away. What a beautiful way to pollinate.

Sam
Sam

Easter at the Farm

This Easter we went to the farm so they kids could hunt for eggs there and then enjoy the farm. Unlike my childhood, Easter’s pretty cold up here as you can see.

Stella and the Goat
With Aunt Dina’s help, Stella gets over her fear of petting goats.

It’s pretty ridiculous to me, considering almost my entire childhood consisted of going to the local park.

Stella’s been enjoying horseback riding for a bit now, but this was the first time she was old enough to do it on her own without me holding onto her the entire time.

Stella on Horseback
Stella on Horseback

Sam made big strides this time by actually allowing us to put him onto a horse.

Sam gets over his fear of riding horses to the degree that I can stand far away to take the photo.

And no trip to the farm would be complete without a session of feeding the goats. This time with Stella losing her fear of feeding them.

Feeding goats
Feeding goats

Fat Cat Happy Meal Toy

Fat Cat Happy Meal Car
Fat Cat Happy Meal Car

I brought out all my old cars for the kids to play with. They’re having a blast even if they don’t know who any of the old McDonald’s toys are representing. I have the Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers DVDs, but the kids haven’t shown interest in it yet. (They find it way scarier than Duck Tales)

Podcasts I’m Listening to in 2018

I’ve both added and dropped some podcasts since last time around. Where I’m listing the same podcast as last year I may use the same description as in the past with slight (or no) variation.

Public Radio

Radiolab – Heard about them because sometimes their stories are used on This American Life. Radiolab is a lot like TAL except with a much bigger focus on sound effects. It is, in a way, the descendant of the old radio shows of the 30s and 40s. (Approx 30-45 min)

Marketplace – This is a really good economics show.  They talk about news that happened that day as well as stories that have been pre-prepared.  This podcast has really helped me to understand the recession and why it happened as well as whether it is getting any better.  (Approx 30 min long)

Codebreaker: A tech podcast. Season 1 asked the question “Is it Evil?” of various technologies.

On the Media –  Although not always perfect and although it leans a little more left than moderate, On the Media is a good podcast about media issues.  Examples include: truth in advertising, misleading news stories on the cable networks, debunking PR-speak from the White House, and other media literacy items.  I tend to enjoy it nearly all the time and it’s a good balance to news on both sides of the spectrum, calling out CNN as often as Fox News. (Approx 1 hour long)

Fresh Air – Fresh Air is one of NPR’s most famous shows.  It is similar in topic scope as Talk of the Nation, but without any listener call-in.  Also, it tends to have a heavier focus on cultural topics (books, movies, etc).  Terry Gross has been hosting Fresh Air for decades and is a master at interviewing her guests.  Every once in a while there is a guest host or the interview is conducted by a specialist in that industry.  (Approx 1 hour)

Freakonomics – Essentially an audio, episodic version of the eponymous book. If you enjoyed the insights of the book, you’ll really enjoy this podcast. (Approx 30 min)

The Infinite Monkey Cage – a BBC radio show about science. A panel of scientists (and one media star who is interested in science) talk about a topic. The only bummer is that the shows are quite infrequent. Something like 4 weekly episodes per quarter (Approx 30 min)

History

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – if you’re a history buff you really need to be listening to this podcast. Dan’s well-researched podcast presents bits of history you never heard of in ways you never thought of it. He does a great job of making ancient societies relate-able. The only bad thing is that there is a long gap between episodes due to the research involved. (Varies. Approx 1.5 – 4 hrs)

Hardcore History Addendum – Meant to bridge the gap between Hardcore History episodes, it focuses on interviews and smaller topics.

The Dollop – A very funny and very profane look at American history. The premise: The host tells a story of American history to the other guy, who doesn’t know ahead of time what the story’s about. It’s a premise that leads to some great reactions from the person not in the know (usually Gareth, but sometimes they do a Reverse Dollop). Also, listening to this podcast is a great reminder that the past is full of some really messed up people and situations.

History Unplugged – I found this podcast when I was looking for Dan Carlin’s new podcast that’s supposed to bridge the gap between Hardcore History episodes. I enjoy his question and answer episodes. (20 minutes)

Tides of History – I liken this podcast to the other side of Hardcore History. Dan Carlin tends to focus on the big movers and shakers in history. So far, in Tides of History he’s focused a lot on the experience of the common man (or woman) in the time period he’s exploring. Very entertaining and, unlike Hardcore History, it’s not on a George RR Martin update pace. (Usually 20-40 minutes)

Comedy

WTF with Marc Maron – This is a pretty solid podcast which mostly consists of Marc Maron interviewing comedians.  As with any interview-based show, the episodes are hit or miss, although more often than not they are really good.  Occasionally he does a live show in which he’s still interviewing people, but with 4-6 per episode it’s much less in-depth.  And, since it has an audience, the guest is performing more than being open.  The only irritating thing is that Marc starts off each episode with a rant/listener email reading.  Most of the time this is neither interesting nor funny.  Clearly the reason people are tuning is is to hear the interviews or they’d take up a minority of the show instead of the bulk of the show.  So I wish he’d do his rant at the end of the episode so that those of us who just want to hear a great interview with a comedian we like can easily skip the monologue.  (Approx 1.5 hours long)

Science Fiction Short Stories

Clarkesworld Magazine

Escape Pod

There isn’t much to differentiate these two podcasts.  They both feature great selections of short stories.  I added them to my podcatcher to get a dose of fiction among the more non-fiction podcasts I usually listen to.  Also, there’s something great about short-form fiction where you have to build the world AND tell the story in a very concise way.  The main difference between the two podcasts is that Clarkesworld has pretty much just one narrator who’s quite incredible.  Escape Pod tends to have a group of narrators.  Most of them are great – every once in a while there’s a less than stellar one.  Clarkesworld tends to end the story with the narrator’s interpretation and Escape Pod tends to end with reader comments from a few episodes ago. (varies. 15 min to 45 min)

Movies

How Did This Get Made – Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas (plus the occasional guest) watch movies from the last few decades that will probably be in the future’s version of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. The movies are often incredibly baffling and full of strange plot points. One of the best parts of the show is “Second Opinions” where Paul goes to Amazon.com to get 5 Star ratings for the movie they just spent about an hour lambasting. Every other episode is a mini episode that previews the next show, has a section called “Corrections and Omissions”, and Qs and As. The first two sections are great. The last one varies depending on the quality of the questions and answers. It can be pretty funny, but sometimes I just skip it. (Approx 1 hr)

Twinsies – Andy Wood from Probably Science and another guy who might just mention that he has a film degree from Arizona State talk about two movies that came out around the same time and are almost the same movie – at least superficially. For example Antz v A Bug’s Life or The Illusionist v The Prestige. Good for film/pop culture nerds. (approximately 45 minutes)

News

The Bugle – Jon Oliver (from The Daily Show) and some other guy talk about the news. In a way, it’s like a How Did This Get Made for news. Also similar to The Daily Show in the incredulity of what people in the news are doing. (Approx 30 min)

Political Gabfest (from Slate) – This has taken the role that Talk of the Nation’s Wednesday slot left vacant when the show went off the air. They talk about politics (usually swinging heavily left or sometimes libertarian while ToTN was more neutral) and I get a dose of what everyone’s talking about in politics. (Approximatly 1 hour)

Common Sense with Dan Carlin – If you like the attention Dan puts towards Hardcore History, then you’ll probably love this take on the news. Usually Dan takes one (max 2) topics from the news and by the time he’s done with it, I’ve seen 2-3 different points of view. Sometimes there’s a clearly right point of view (the sky is blue), but other times each side has valid points and neither one has the complete high ground. Dan is a complex creature, like many of us. On some topics he’s more likely to agree with Dems, other time Republicans, and sometimes neither. Other times he agrees with their Platonic Ideal Version, but not their RealPolitik version. Either way, I’m always overjoyed when it shows up – which is somewhere between biweekly and monthly. (Approximately 45 minutes)

FiveThirtyEight Elections – a great, wonky podcast from the guys that brought you the most accurate election predictions. Has continued beyond the elections due to the odd circumstances of the new administration.

What Trump can teach us about Con Law – Hosted by Roman Mars of 99% Invisible and Elizabeth Joh, a constitutional law professor, it explores issues of constitutional law around statements, executive orders, etc that Trump has made. Very informative and explains a lot about how certain things that affect other politicians don’t affect the present. (15 minutes)

Culture

Sword and Laser – A fantasy and sci-fi book club. They interview up-and-coming authors and discuss the book club’s monthly book. Also cover news and upcoming new releases. (Varies. Approx 30 min)

Rocket Talk (Tor.com)note: I’m still subscribed to this podcast, but it’s been 19 months since the last episode. The host speaks with one or two Science Fiction and Fantasy authors about various things: their latest book, trends in the genres, publishing trends, etc. Sometimes a great show and sometimes I skip it halfway through. (Approximately 45 min)

Give Me Fictionnote: I’m still subscribed to this podcast, but it’s been 34 months since the last episode. A pretty hilarious (to my sense of humor) super short story podcast. It’s recorded live (which often spices up comedy) and seems to skew Gen X/Millenial in its humor.  (Varies, but usually under 15 minutes)

Talkin’ Toons with Rob Paulsennote: I’m still subscribed to this podcast, but it’s been 10 months since the last episode.The great voice actor behind two Ninja Turtles, Pinky, Yakko, and many, many other cartoon characters interviews other voice actors. It’s like WTF,  but without the annoying self-reflection 10-15 minutes that I always skip on Maron’s podcast. If you enjoy voice acting nerdom or want a place to start, check this out. It’s recorded in front of an audience which is often great, but once in a while leads them on tangents that take away from their great anecdotes. (Approximately 1 hour)

Boars, Gore, and Swords: A Game of Throne Podcast – two comedians (and sometimes some friends) discuss each episode of A Game of Thrones and each chapter of the books. While it’s primarily funny, it does sometimes lead me to some deeper insights into each episode.

The i Word: An Image Comics Podcastnote: I’m still subscribed to this podcast, but it’s been 15 months since the last episode. different writers and artists working on a comic for Image Comics are interviewed about their comic as well as something unrelated to comics that they’re really into.

The Allusionist – a podcast about words, where they come from, and how we use them

Nancy – A WNYC podcast about LGBT culture. It’s fascinating for me to hear about a culture I’ve absolutely no experience with and the differences in the life experiences of the hosts and their guests. Also interesting having Kathy Tu as a co-host because the bits of LGBT culture I’ve seen before were from a white perspective and she provides an asian perspective on the LGBT experience. (15 minutes)

Science

You Are Not So Smart – the host, who wrote an eponymous book, tackles topics of self-delusion. Examples include placebos, alternative medicine, and conspiracy theories. (Approximately 45 min)

Probably Science – some comedians who used to work in the science and tech fields bring on other comedians (of various levels of scientific knowledge) to discuss pop science and where the articles might be misleading.

Misc

99% Invisible – Similar in scope to the NPR podcast Invisibilia, this one was there first. It explores the things that are in the background of life. Examples include architectural details we often miss or stories that tell how regions came to be. Production is similar in sonic greatness to RadioLab.  (Approx 15 min)

Tell Me Something I don’t Know – a gameshow from the guys behind Freakonomics. Learn some new facts in a fun and often funny way.

GoodMuslimBadMuslim – a window into what it’s like to be a Muslim in modern America.

Politically Reactive – note: I’m still subscribed to this podcast, but it’s been 5 months since the last episode. W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu discuss politics with some jokes and some interviews with people mostly on the left, but sometimes on the right. They are respectful and always provide context to what’s being said.

More Perfect – Explores Supreme Court rulings and how they affect America.

Song Exploder – they pick a song and a member from that band explains how they put it together. They usually look at each layer of the track – vocals, drums, guitar, etc and talk about why each decision was made. Can range from interesting to revealing.

Milk Street – a cooking podcast that goes along with Chris Kimball’s new enterpise, Milk Street. (Approximately an hour)

Business Wars – focuses on business rivalries like Netflix v Blockbuster, Nike v Adidas, or Marvel v DC. Usually 4-6 episodes per topic and a reasonably deep dive into the subjects.

Imaginary Worlds – a look at what makes science fiction and fantasy so enjoyable whether as books, film, or music.