Derek's Blog Page

Can a libertarian curmudgeon survive in a post 9/11 America? Is it possible to create the perfect meal on a Baby Q grill? Will Elaine finally succumb to her innermost desires? Check out my novels - which I am excerpting to separate blogs as I write them. Just click on my Profile button to access their links.

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Location: Citrus Heights, California


Near Space Press presents Net Assets



Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I've decided I'm being too harsh to Barnes & Noble.

Instead of demanding they repair my Nook, I'll be satisfied by a lesser action. Which lesser action, you ask? Simple.

Let Amazon create an ePub Nook competitor and drive B&N out of business. Root and branch. Stomp it into the ground, thrust a wooden stake through its rotten heart, cut off it's head, sew communion wafers into its mouth and leave its vampiric rotting corpse to turn to ash at the rising of the sun.

THAT would be sufficient compensation for their attitude towards repairing my Nook.

In other words, there's no reason to go to extremes.

Yes, Leonard Riggio, I mean your company sucks rotten eggs!

Barnes & Noble, your Nook customer service SUX!

If you happen to buy a used, or even used/broken Kindle 2 or Kindle DX, which is still under the 1-year warranty period, Amazon will swap it out for a new/refurbished version for FREE! And if it is past the warranty period, Amazon will do so for $135. That means Amazon *honors* its warranty whether the person is the original owner or a second owner.

That's just the same as warranties offered by car manufacturers. And large-appliance manufacturers. They *get* that the warranty period transfers.

Not so with Barnes & Noble. Say you've located a used Nook on eBay. The owner bought the Nook less than 1 year ago and they need to sell... So you buy it. But it's broken somehow. Guess what? B&N, that piece of crap company, WON'T honor any remaining warranty time - nor will it bother to repair the Nook at all! Not even for a fee! That's right. If you're not the original owner, you're shit out of luck with B&N!

Is it any wonder that Barnes & Noble is for sale?

Shame on you, Barnes & Noble!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Greater Tyranny or lesser tyranny?

Think about it.

If you go with the Democrat ('liberal') agenda, the U.S. federal government should have more power and control than the states or local governments. That's an opportunity-in-progress for 'greater tyranny'. On the other hand, the Republican ('conservative') agenda is to strip all but the simplest powers from the federal government and hand them over to the states and local governments. IOW, 'lesser tyranny'.

Why do I say this? Does anyone think that the politicians at state, county or local levels are somehow 'exempt' from the desire to exert anti-Constitutional (we're talking about the Bill of Rights here) control and abuse their positions for their personal gain? If anyone disagrees, just look at the messes at the state levels in California, Massachussets, Virginia, New York and Arizona amongst others. And let us not forget of the levels of corruption we're witnessing in Bell, California. A town of less than 40,000 residents, almost all of whom earn under $37,000/year and the 'city manager' managed to get his salary boosted to $787,000!!!

We here in the U.S. are supposed to be trying very hard to increase personal liberty and yet both major parties are screaming over which government gets the right to impose tyranny. Isn't it time to vote ALL the bastards out?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Liberty vs. Nationalism

I happened to be listening to the radio today and there was this commentator on who's, shall we say, of the 'conservative' bent. He mentioned this student (and had the student as a caller) who's fighting to force all classes in his school to have the US flag in each classroom and to make it mandatory for students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Naturally, this commentator ranted about how we need to have this budding statist succeed in his efforts - in order to help make America 'great' again. Really? So just forcing all children to mindlessly recite the Pledge (an oath created by a committed Socialist - literally, a member of the American Socialist party - who wrote the damned thing because he felt so strongly that we should all become Socialists and felt the best way to do so was to 'teach' (brainwash) the children) whether doing so infringed upon their personal or religious beliefs (Remember the 1st Amendment? You know, the one guaranteeing separation of Church and State? Well, there are several Christian faiths that don't believe in reciting *any* such pledge.), all in the hopes that by doing so we could program the chilluns into unwavering acceptance of (conservative) political values and - presumably - thus creating jobs and righting the economy.

Yeah. Right.

What made this country great was our acceptance of all individuals who wanted to share our ideals of personal liberty - and who were willing to bust their balls to make it happen.

'Nuf said.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I WANT a Holga.D digital Holga!!!

If you've ever seen the images you can get from a Holga, you know they are funky, retro and everything you've ever wanted in a cheap, 'ART' camera!

I own a glass-lens square-format Holga that I've retrofitted to take 35mm film in a 3:1 panorama mode. (It normally takes 6cmx6cm or 6cmx4.5cm images on 120-format film.) I also own and use a 120-format Holga that can take 6cmx9cm and 6cmx12cm medium-format panoramic images using a pinhole 'lens' Both of these are fun to use - so buy one and use it already!

However, to date, there've been no cheap, weird-lens, 'digital' Holgas. The site linked into the title of this post discusses making an open-source Holga.D Take a gander and submit your own input. Get involved! Let's make this happen!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Man, oh man! (Home) smoked chops!

Today we didn't feel much like doing any heavy cooking for dinner. So we made a tossed salad using some of the pre-shredded iceberg lettuce salad mix and we cut in some crookneck squash and a double handful of the cherry tomatoes (both of which we are growing in our back yard), took out and thawed two of those smoked pork chops, which we zapped in the microwave, and called it 'dinner'.

Let me tell you... Remember how I said in last post that we'd just sprinkled a little salt, black pepper and garlic powder on them before smoking them on the Weber grill? Hoo Doggie! They were SCRUMPTIOUS! Way better than any of those thin-as-paper store-bought smoked chops and MUCH less salty!

I'm saying that if you can take the time to shop for some thick, at least 1.25 inches thick, pork chops to smoke, do so! Set aside the time, get the grill, charcoal and wood chips and smoke your own!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Got some 4th Smoker Photos

The 4th went great!

Early in the morning, we fired up our Weber Performer, laying it out in indirect heat mode as we were planning to smoke two racks of pork ribs and four thick-cut pork chops. I don't know about most people, but we've gotten into the habit of taking our soaked wood chips and making small foil packets with them that we place on top of the cooking grill right above the two baskets of hot coals - with 6-8 small holes punched into the tops of the packets to allow the smoke to escape. This way, we get smoke for a longer period of time than we get by just tossing the non-wrapped wet chips directly onto the hot coals - just a quick tip.

Anyway, as I mentioned before, we had lightly rubbed the ribs and the chops down with a blend of salt, garlic powder and black pepper (ground, of course) and let the meat rest overnight. We didn't put our dry rub blend on the meat this time around. We cut the ribs in half and put all four half-racks onto one of those rib racks (We have a collapsible rack, but we're always misplacing the stands so I'm thinking of purchasing a Weber one-piece rack.) and centered the rib holder over the drip/water pan we'd placed between the coal baskets. We put the chops at each end of the rib holder and set our vents to hold the temp at around 250F. (12 cold bricquettes in each basket, with 12 HOT bricquettes on top. Bottom vents closed to about 1/3 open and top vents about 1/4 open works on our Weber.)

Anyway, the smoker packets stopped smoking at about the 90-minute mark and we pulled the ribs and chops at the 2-hour mark. Note the color on the meat! I forgot - and you would have too after tasting the meat! - to take photos of the ribs after I cut them apart, but we saw a solid 1/4" red "Maillard Reaction" rim to the meat so we definitely had a good 'smoke effect'. We had some spicy honey barbecue sauce to dip into, but the ribs were so tasty on their own that I only ate one rib with the sauce!

The two photos attached are of one of the half-racks of ribs and one of two of the smoked chops.

We also tossed 8 "Bubba Burgers" and 8 turkey burger patties onto the Weber after pulling the pork. We had to toss 8 bricquettes into each basket and blow on the coals to get the fresh coals lit. But then after we closed the flip-open parts of the grill back down we just put two more smoker packets over the coals and put the lid down. We flipped the patties after 1/2 hour and left them on for another 1/2 hour and pulled them. As soon as they cooled down enough, we double-bagged them in zip-lock freezer bags. We'll heat-and-eat them throughout the next couple of weeks.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

It seems ridiculous, but it's already the 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July! (Yes, I'm posting this on the 3rd, but it's close enough - and I expect to be far too busy cooking, celebrating and eating!

I wonder, how many of you are going to go beyond hot dogs and hamburgers for the 4th? We are. We've got two racks of baby-back ribs all seasoned up and four THICK pork chops and we're going to be smoking them! We'll save the chops for another day but the ribs are our dinner and we're planning on whipping up a tasty, spicy honey barbecue sauce to dip them in. Plus, we're gonna salt, pepper and garlic up a box of Bubba Burgers and smoke them as we let the coals cool down. (BTW, this year we're just seasoning the chops and ribs with a 'house-blend' mix of garlic powder, salt and pepper. We're saving the dry rub for chicken quarters later this month. Yum! Yum!)

We've found that smoking plain pork chops and hamburger patties and then freezing them as soon as they're 'blood-warm' captures the smokey odor in the zip-lock bags! And those bland-but-healthy turkey burger patties? Well, after smoking, they're quite the tasty treat!

Hope you have as nice a 4th of July as we plan to!

Yes, if all goes well, I'll be snapping photos of the smoked chops and ribs and I'll post them here.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Trade paperback version of "Net Assets" now available!

That's right, a 6" x 9" trade paperback version of Carl Bussjaeger's fascinating libertarian novel, "Net Assets" is now available over at CreateSpace for $18.95. If you haven't had a chance to pick up the ebook at Amazon, or if you feel more comfortable reading dead-tree versions, now's the time to order this first book in the "Net Assets" trilogy! An anthology of Carl's SF short stories will be released in August, 2010, and the second of the NA trilogy will be released in ebook and trade paperback format Fall, 2010.

The synopsis for "Net Assets" is:

"Once upon a time, there was an agency of the American government called the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA was tasked with the exploration and development of space. Being a government agency, it was very bad at the job. But also, being a government agency, NASA made damned sure that no one else would do a better job.
"And then the bureacrats' world came to an end."
In the early 21st century, someone has finally had it with the lost dreams and broken promises of government-sponsored space access. It begins quietly on the Internet, then grows into a small private company determined to do what many believed impossible: Private, affordable, regular orbital launches. For anyone. For everyone.
But as has been noted, "Ad astra per aspera."

This is a stimulating and provocative libertarian science fiction novel - don't miss it!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Carl Bussjaeger's "Net Assets" Now in Trade Paperback!

Yes, you read this correctly. Near Space has released a 6" x 9" trade paperback edition of Carl Bussjaeger's libertarian novel, "Net Assets". The link above takes you to a 'preview' of the book.

Amazon takes a couple of days to actually create the listing to purchase the book, so look for it by Friday. It costs $18.95 which is a good price for a trade sized book. Please, support Carl in his endeavors to release the other two in the Net Assets trilogy by buying a copy of this book!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Net Assets" available as ebook!

That's right, "Net Assets" is now available in several different ebook formats. The above link will take you to the Book List page of Near Space Press where you can find links to the Amazon (Kindle format) page and the Smashwords (Mobipocket, Palmdoc PDB, ePub and Sony LRF) page.

Please, check out this wonderful libertarian SF novel.