The Meat With No Name, Part 1

The Italians and Spaniards don’t have a name for air-dried venison backstrap.  That’s a problem.

On a cow, this cut would be called the loin, but it’s a deer so we just call it a backstrap because….I don’t know…it sounds better than loin?  It certainly makes more sense because it’s a strap shaped chunk of meat that runs down the back. If we air-dried a beef loin it would then be called Bresaola.  If it were done to a pork loin it would be called Lonza (in Italy), Lomo (in Spain), or vegetable (in Germany).  The type of animal matters, this is civilization!

Since our finished product has no official name, I feel compelled to name it…you know, for the good of the world.

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A Book To Change A Life

I read a lot of books.  Almost all of them are some form of science fiction or another, but I wanted to give a shout out to a very special non-fiction book that has changed my life.  That is to say, it changed my worldview.  A little background…

When I started college, I wanted to be a conservation agent/conservation police officer/game warden, whatever your state calls them.  I wanted to follow in my uncle’s footsteps not only because I looked up to him, but also because I have always loved the outdoors.
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My Take On Hunting

I recently made a comment about not enjoying the whole “killing” part of hunting.  I didn’t think much about it because I’ve said it for years, but several people asked me why I hunt if I don’t enjoy killing.  I thought this might be a good time to explain myself.

"Are you making fun of my antlers?"

“Are you making fun of the size of my antlers?”

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A Rant About Bacteria

I talk about curing meat frequently on this blog, mostly because it’s delicious.  I recently had a discussion with someone about food safety and bacteria.  We disagreed with each other, strongly. This can be a good thing for a lively discussion, but sometimes you run up against some serious brainwashing (typically provided in the form of paranoia from a parent or a government agency) and then the discussion becomes more difficult.

Anyhoodle, I don’t worry much about bacteria because it is predictable, mostly.  I keep a clean kitchen and I understand what causes bacterial growth and how to stop it.  I mean, c’mon, unlike them, my cells have a nucleus!

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Classy Gift Card Holders

It’s that wonderful time of year again.  The time when people spend hours thinking about what the “perfect gift” would be for their friends and family.  People toss and turn over it.  They wonder if the thing they think their friend would love is just actually something they really want.  My grandma needs a 20” planer, right?

A flashlight nearly as big as a dog....perfect present for my sister?

A flashlight nearly as big as a dog….perfect present for my sister?

In today’s world, people frequently just fall back on gift cards.  They work well as presents, especially because sometimes the person is saving up gift cards from multiple people to purchase, say, a 20” planer.
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Best. Explanation. Ever.

First and foremost, I did not come up with this explanation.  Did you think I would?  If so, you haven’t been paying attention.  My explanations tend to ramble on and on until I get caught in a web of Futurama and Simpsons quotes that grow more and more obscure, then everyone leaves.
No, this came from an avid reader in Canada named Ryan Foster.  Great guy.
Basically, we were trying to explain what is so good about self publishing to a traditionally published author and his fans.  Naturally, I went with a grandpa Simpson reference.
Ryan’s example was that the world of books was akin to music venues and acts.

You can go see a big time show in a huge venue with a big name.  Since Ryan is Canadian, I’ll go with Rush.  A Rush show is cool as all get  out!  The ticket will cost you a pretty penny though and you can probably guess accurately at the set list.

Or you could go see the band at the tiny venue in town.  Sure, they might have to stop in the middle for a quick 1 minute tune of an instrument.  They are small and can’t afford 10 guitars in case one falls out of tune. The ticket will cost you 5 bucks and you might end up running into the opening act at the bar and buying them a drink.  If you stay after the show you can almost certainly walk up to them and say you liked what they did or take a picture with them.   This is almost certainly how Rush got their start, but I wasn’t born at that time.
In my mind, this is self publishing perfectly defined.

I was a bit (ha!) of a tie dyed, long haired, freaky person in college, so naturally, I went to lots of shows.  I remember a few of them. Here is an example.

I went to a Keller Williams show at Mississippi Nights in St Louis.  It’s gone now.  It was a terrible venue.  It was cramped, smokey as all hell, they had a “drinking cage” for when people wanted to drink at an underage show.  For whatever reason, Most of us in St Louis loved that place.  Anyhoodle, I went to see Keller, but the opening act was the Charlie Hunter Trio.  They seemed pretty cool.  Then, for only two songs during the opening act, this gorgeous lady walks out and they announce that she is touring with Charlie Hunter and was going to play a song or two.  (opener for an opener, kind of).  She brought up an electric piano and proceeded to sing with the voice of an angel while tickling that keyboard like a pro.  She played this weird mash up of country and jazz with a hint of funk rubbed on it.  I was blown away, as were many of the people in the venue.  She played two songs and then stopped.  To this day I have never heard a voice as sweet as that.

Later in the show I left the drinking cage to get another drink (weird, isn’t it?) and ran into this honey-voiced beauty also walking up to the bar.  I told her how much I loved her songs and I how talented I thought she was.  Corny, I know, but I meant every word of it.  She squeezed my shoulder and thanked me profusely for the words of encouragement.  Then, being a gentleman, I bought her a drink.  No, no, this isn’t that kind of story, I was dating my future wife at the time.  Eyes up front people!  No, I just wanted to thank her somehow and buying a drink seemed like the right way.  We chatted for a bit in the drinking cage and then she had to get back on stage for a big ensemble thing.  She shook my hand and reminded me her name was Norah.

Two years later this woman won 5 Grammy Awards and all kinds of other craziness. It was Norah Jones.

Now, I’m not saying that all indie authors are going to have this track, although Hugh Howey kind of does.  These two artists are outliers in the data.  Most will be more like Charlie Hunter and Keller Williams.  They are excellent musical acts that are approachable and won’t break the bank.  You never know what they are going to play from one show to the next.  You can grab tickets at the door (usually).

The same goes for self publishing.  We are not all perfect.  The vast majority of us won’t be superstars.  We might mix up genres on you, and we’re usually happy to talk to you.  We’re approachable.  Sure, we might need to stop for a few seconds and tune an instrument, but it’s all part of the show.

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New Covers!!!

When I was shopping around for a cover artist for the Finding Their Path, I was quickly turned off by the process.  Not only were they very expensive, but they seemed to not be responsive to email.  The first artist told me a cover would be 1500 dollars and the second didn’t respond to an inquiry for ten days.  I know everyone is busy, but an email is not hard to respond to with a simple, “Hey, I’m at a busy time right now, blah blah blah”.

So, I went shopping for pre-made covers.  This was kind of fun and also kind of weird.  Turns out, at least half of the pre-made covers are all for romance novels (who knew?) and you kind of had to sift through a bunch of that stuff looking for a diamond in the rough.

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More than a door

Do you remember the way screen doors used to be?  Just a rectangular wooden box with a big spring that went “bwong bwong bwong” as you opened the door farther?
I like those doors.  I like them a lot.  They remind me of so many things.  My favorite one was on the tiny shack of The Clown, the Lake of the Ozarks first floating restaurant.  The handle was a giant hand carved clown head.  It had an exceptional “whack” when it shut too!

Since I happen to be in the market for a screen door, I decided to build one.
I had some rough cut cedar left over from the deck construction, but it was all 2×6 and I needed 2×2.  I guess I could go buy some 2×2….hey wait, I bet it would be easier to just buy an awesome table saw and rip those 2×6’s into the size I need.  Yeah, that seems much easier.

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A Good Deal

In honor of the new book, Finding Their Path, having such an awesome opening week, I have decided to have a big sale.

A sale you say?

A sale you say?

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An Extension

Finding Their Path has now been released!  Click the Books tab for more info on it.

This is the third book I have written and I think it is the first time that I had a decent number of readers waiting for it to come out.   It was totally different than the book releases for the previous two and it was a ton of fun!

The acknowledgements section doesn’t offer enough space though, so I am expanding it right here.

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