Friday, February 26, 2010

Soda Can Stoves; Alternate Title: Who Needs Eyebrows Anyways?

It was a slow day at work, actually slower than normal. I had a nagging problem with some of my outdoor gear. I had put together a daypack based on my Camelbak Mule (post next week, I promise). I wasn't happy with the fact that I had nothing to cook with in it. Lets be honest with ourselves, sometimes you just NEED that cup of hot cocoa out on the trail. So I had the brilliant idea to build a Soda Can Stove. Methanol, open flames and thin aluminium, what could go wrong?
I grabbed a few designs off the net, figured in my head what I wanted to use as a design, and started destroying soda cans. First, I needed soda cans. This made my children extremely happy because they got to have soda with dinner two nights in a row. Second, we marked them out, cut jets, and cut them open with scissors. The third step was to attach the pieces together and epoxy them. The final step was to fill them with Methanol and light them off.
From sodacanstove

I made several different designs, different heights, and different number of jets to determine what the most efficient stove. My conclusion was that it doesn't matter, they all boil a cup of 60 degree water in slightly less than four minutes. I did find that your jets should be smaller than 1/16 inch, and that you should have less than 16, 10 to 12 seemed about right.
But wait, SigBoy, you mentioned something about eyebrows!

I made one tall stove, epoxy'd it, cut the jets, filled it with fluid and lit the fuel. It burned for about twenty seconds before I heard a loud pop and I was suddenly on fire. As near as I can figure, the space where the two cans came together allowed alcohol to get trapped and create pressure as it heated. This pressure caused the two halves to separate spraying everything in a five foot radius with flaming alcohol. My pants were on fire, my shirt was on fire. I smelled the acrid smell of burning hair, and I came to the immediate realization that my goatee, mustache, eyebrows and hair was on fire! I quickly put myself out and inspected the damage. To save you the dramatic details, nobody will accuse me of having a uni-brow anytime soon, and I had to trim my facial hair down fairly short.

follow the picassa link on the center pic to find my the complete how to in pictures

Friday, February 19, 2010

Throwing Down the Guantlet

Yep, she did it. Mrs. Sigboy threw down the gauntlet. I was looking at nifty cool T-shirts online at RangerUp, where two of them caught my eye. I was positively drooling over them. They would be an awesome wardrobe choice for most of the shooting matches that I attend.
Choice one:

Choice two:

Choice two is my favorite, not so much for the Missus; here is the shirt description:

There are two types of women in this world.

1) Women who want metrosexual sensitive men who cook gourmet dinners, wax their own eyebrows, paint their mate's toenails, and uses phrases like "Yes, honey bunny".

2) Women who like guys made of pure testosterone who live their lives jumping out of airplanes, kicking doors in, and shooting bad guys, never knowing when they're going to come face to face with the big Ranger in the sky.

P.S. Deep down in places they don't like to talk about at parties, the ladies in group one want us too.

Chicks dig shooters. Deal with it, frat boys.

My comment after reading this to my darling wife was, "Ah, the good old days." After which she promptly hit me. And than laid down the challenge.

"Ten pounds, you lose ten pounds, from what you weigh right now, I will let you get those shirts."

"Right now?" I asked, as I stood up from the computer and strolled over to the scale, stripping clothes off as I went. Now, I am by know means out of shape, at
6'02 I can carry a bit of weight around and not show it, but my management job makes it harder to stay trim. I jumped on the scale wearing only a T-shirt, socks and underwear. 217.8, thinking to myself, this is going to be easy, the only dilemma will be what size to order them in. "207.8, I get my shirts?" She nods at me. I have given myself four weeks to accomplish this feat.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tin Foil Dinners

This weekend was my first official Boy Scout camp out. The boys planned out all their meals and the choice for Friday night was tin foil dinners. I had never before had tun foil dinners so a little research was in order. The Internet was a wealth of knowledge about how to wrap up a bland piece of hamburger meat with some potatoes. This was not exactly what I was looking for, if I wanted charred pot roast, I could just make it before hand and take it with me. But, part of this calling is the experience, so I decided to participate whole heartily
The one thing that was stressed in my research was that they had to be well lubricated. Butter and oil were your ally, do not be sparing with them. I kept that it mind as I made my two tin foil dinners; I figured if one failed there would still be another.

The Classic tinfoil dinner. I used a garlic hamburger patty and doused it with red pepper seasoned olive oil. I precooked a russet potato for four minutes in the microwave, added carrots and onion, and topped it with a pad of real butter.

It came out alright, I should have cooked the carrots a bit before throwing them in, and added salt and pepper. The meat was perfectly done, but the flavors left a bit to be desired.

Barbecue chicken breast. I took one chicken breast, cubed it, and lightly browned in a skillet til about half cooked. I mixed in two slices of chopped bacon (remember, bacon makes everything better and I knew the grease wouldn't hurt), a healthy dose of onion, a heavy tablespoon of brown sugar, and a pad of real butter. Smoother that with the BBQ sauce of your choice and wrap it up.

It came out awesome, the flavors were great, and the added bonus was smelling it as it sizzled on the coals. Next time, I wont precook the chicken as much, but those that I shared with had no complaints.

So whats on the menu for the next tinfoil dinner? I am definitely doing the BBQ chicken again. I want to try something with sweet potatoes. Possibly Venison backstrap with apple smoked bacon. I am also considering a separate one for a vegetable medley.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wintergeddon, Part 2

The sky was clear and the stars shone brightly into the canyon. The red canyon walls were mere shadows against the starlit canvas of night. The fire had burned down to embers, occasionally flaring red with anger at a slight gust of wind. Orion hung low in the southern sky, a vivid reminder that others had come to this canyon long before me, if only he would share their secrets. Perhaps the knowledge would be to much for me, after all I generally learned all of my lessons the hard way. But, buried deep in my sub-conscious is the knowledge is that there is very little about life that I could not learn out here, beneath the stars.

We adjourned to our respective tents, cold sleeping bags awaited us, begging to be warmed by the heat of our bodies. I laid there, allowing my body to ease into the natural contours of the ground. The warmth of my down sleeping bag pulled me into a deep sleep. As dawn broke, I found myself curled deep in my bag. A strange sound assailed my ears, it was almost like the sound of a light drizzle, only more menacing. My comrade whispered from his tent, "Is it raining?"

"I don't think so", I replied. I wasn't sure what the noise was. Further investigation showed it to be sheets of ice forming on everything. This also included my muddy boots that I left outside my tent after a midnight run thru the mesquite. Luckily, the fire was there to dry them out.

As the sun rose, our strange fog filled and ice covered world became visible, overnight a thick blanketing fog had descended onto the Texas Panhandle and was hovering above our heads. All hopes of letting the sun come out and drying my tent were long gone. I would be packing it up wet and drying it at home. Mrs. Sigboy was going to love this.

We ate breakfast (where I discovered that my friend was a pie loving traitor) and broke camp. All that was left was one little four mile hike and Wintergeddon '10 would come to an end. The hike went with out incident, other than more mud and snow, and the freezing mist that hung in the air. My drive home was slowed considerably by the thick fog that only became thicker as I drove out of the canyon and pointed the truck towards home. My final thought as I returned home was that I was able to escape the cares of modern society, if only for a bit.

MA vs. CA, Round 1

I grew up in California and for about 60% of my life, I was interred, detained, forcibly held, tortured, a proud citizen stuck behind the wire. I grew used to the nanny state looking over my every action. When smoking was banned in restaurants I thought it was awesome. But little did I know that was only the beginning, but I learned from the errors of my ways. Because of my California Conservative upbringing I had a steep curve to the top. I tell you this because Jay G of Marooned fame has gone on a rant discussed a new proposed bill that would force MA restaurants to be more diligent about food allergies.
The point is that they are trying to avoid ER visits by listing the ingredients that are in the dish and/or in the kitchen. Jay G says it better than I could:
"Look, if you have a food allergy so severe that mere contamination from preparation will pose a life-threatening risk, it is incumbent on YOU to be informed about the culinary practices of any restaurant you visit. If you are so susceptible to allergens and do not perform due diligence in checking out that your food is not properly prepared to avoid a reaction, then I'm sorry but you've earned the ride in the back of the ambulance."

One of the adverse developments to my wife's illness is some pretty nasty food allergies. The smell of Guacamole causes her throat to swell; touching bananas causes instant irritation, swelling, and redness. These are just two of many examples. My daughter is allergic to fish, so allergic that she had a reaction simply visiting the Long Beach Aquarium (btw, great place, go if you can). This precludes me from two awesome things while out to eat with the family, fish and fajitas. Seriously, fajitas with the itty-bitty shrimp, chicken, steak, a good spanish rice and fresh guacamole-pure heaven.
A simple word to the server is generally all it takes. Do I think that the government should force restaurants to list all this stuff? Nope. Do I think that the restaurant is responsible if my wife passes out on the floor because I ordered a steak burrito with extra guac? Nope.
People, we all have to be aware of our situations and deal with them accordingly. Government interference or forced compliance is no substitute for what should be your responsibility. You know what you can do and what you can't.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


My first attempt at Chicken Fried Steak, complimented with ultimate mashed potatoes and broccoli.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wintergeddon, Part One

An Outdoors and preparedness charity group that I associate with (see how not saying Zombie Squad makes it sound better?) had their winter camping trip this last weekend. The local chapter that I am a part of decided we needed to plan one of those camping trips where it is cold, wet, miserable, and generally an awesome time; we succeeded on three out of four of them. We call this event Wintergeddon.

We had planned for a Saturday morning arrival, the original number of us was to be five. One last minute cancellation and two who didn't want to actually leave the
city limits left us with two, and we both arrived at the park at about 12:30. I had planned on making Venison Chili in a Dutch Oven over an open fire. Unfortunately, I forgot the Venison and had to stop at the small town grocery store in Quitaque (Kitty-Qwai) to pick up some stew meat. They did not have exactly what I wanted, but, in typical small town style, the butcher cut up exactly what I wanted. This led to my fashionably late arrival at Caprock Canyon State Park.

We drove down to our campsite and had our choice of appx 20 campsites to choose from; I would say that we did a very good job choosing the least muddy option. The fine red powdery caliche that forms most of the Palo Duro Canyon are and escarpment is some of the stickiest stuff I have ever see, and it can get everywhere when it is wet, not to mention reducing your friction coefficient to something approaching a Banana peel on a waxed floor. We dragged our bags out and pitched our tents. Every tarp that we had was put to use trying to protect equipment from the mud. I am glad to say that we were moderately successful at this.

With camp done, It was about 2pm and a small hike was in order, we planned a decent six mile hike and headed up the trail along the canyon wall. The weather was nice, about 35 degrees, clear skies and little or no wind. We departed with our small packs with a spring in our step, happy to be enjoying the outdoors. The recent snow and rain storms had not been kind to the trail. The erosion had washed the trail away in a few places, and made some of the switchbacks somewhat treacherous. Due to this we could not locate the second trail we needed and had to take the next trail. Now our hike was looking to be about 7.5 miles. It was no big issue, we had plenty of time, all that we had to do when we got to camp was start a fire and cook the chili. Of course, fate had to intervene yet again, and a unmarked trail, combined with a shitty map led us another mile out of our way. By the time we realized our error, the sun was dipping low into the sky. The terrain would not support an 'as the crow flies' path back to camp, so we hoofed it back up the trail and made it back to camp as the light was fading.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Character Flaw?

I need to rant, that is what most of this post is going to be. You have been warned.

About a decade ago, maybe a little less, I made a decision. I decided that I was going to be the best at what I did, no matter what it was. It didn't matter if it was work or play. I was simply going to be the best. The plan worked. I became enormously successful working at several large truck dealerships in SoCal. I did alignment and suspension work, and because of it, was known and respected across the country. I was making a small fortune, and was at the top of my game. Than I decided that I wanted to play cop. That worked too, graduated fifth in my Academy class before deciding that I liked my wife alot more than I liked the badge. To save my marriage a change was in order, and in typical Sigboy fashion it was big. We sold the house and moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I took a job as a Night foreman at another truck dealership. They had problems with their crew and needed to turn it around. Turn it around I did, bringing productivity up from 60% to just over 85%. No small feat considering what I had to work with. After I was done with that, they decided that they no longer needed my (expensive) services, so something new was again in order. That turned out to be tankers, fuel and propane tankers to be exact. It's fun, I got to keep things from blowing up going down the road.

So why am I telling you all this? The short version of my truck industry career? To set the stage for the next scene of course.

While in South Dakota, Mrs. Sigboy fell ill with a mysterious illness that manifested itself as severe allergies to, well, everything. Doctors could not figure it out, and I was given the options, move her out of here or watch her die. Seeing as how I liked my wife alot more than I liked South Dakota, it was time to move across the country, again. So we gave the house away, and the company I work for was kind enough to give me a promotion and a transfer to Texas.

I was promised the moon when they sent me down here, they wanted badly for me to take it. I was smart enough to know that there was no way it could all be true. But if half of it was true, I would be in a good place. I needed to start over anyways, and with the economy in the position it's in, it was a good plan to keep my job.

Almost a year and a half later, things have settled in at this shop. I have things as organized as they are going to get. It's a pretty good deal, my job is to keep about 13 trucks rolling thru Texas and Oklahoma, Five of them are stationed here with me and the rest are scattered about. I am very good at what I do and the drivers all know that they can count on me to do the right thing and keep them rolling, and it's really nice to have your boss 300 miles away. Both upper management and the drivers tell me that I am the best thing that ever happened to this yard. But it's not enough. I'm not happy. I'm not allowed to excel at what I do. I am to maintain the status quo, no more no less. any deviation off this line results in an immediate smackdown. If my shop is more productive than my boss's shop, I get a lecture, not productive enough, a different lecture. I suppose that what bothers me the most is that I do not feel that I am productive as I can be in this position, and nobody else seems to think I'm doing anything wrong. I have a cushy job, I do what I want, when I want. But I don't feel that it is enough. I can work at this job until I retire, collect my pension and do rather well for myself. But will I be satisfied? Is job satisfaction more important than job security? Is it a simple issue of changing my own standards of success? Perhaps I need to seek my satisfaction elsewhere. I don't know what the right answer is, I only know that something has to change soon, or I'm going to get myself in trouble, and I'm probably going to enjoy it in the process.
edit: I may have found the solution, thanks to Paule Kersey.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I had a very successful hunting season, I have enough Venison to last a year, I was even able to share with my friends. I made the decision to send the Mule Deer out for a European mount. Carl, as he has been named has returned and has been placed above the computer desk next to Frank, I thought that having a Whitetail and a Mule deer would look good on the shelf. Something is wrong with this display, I can't move the desk, and I dont really want to move the speaker. I will, maybe I need a bear skull to go where the speaker is.

County Line Carl:

Frank the Fighter:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bug Out Firearms

Somebody save us, the gun blogs are fired up with the tired classic; what guns to you take when the zombies come and force you to flee your home.
First the obligatory link roll. Here are people that have already done this post:
JayG, TheFirearmBlog, and the original source is The Survivalist Blog.

So the question is, what firearms go with your Bug Out Bag? Luckily I have wasted time devoted alot of thought to this very problem. First, let me clarify my Bugout plan. I have no real desire to evacuate unless absolutely necessary. I have food, water and shelter at my home. I can think of few things short of zombies and/or total destruction that would cause me to flee. Should that day come, I plan on hooking up my hippy hating pickup to my camper and packing as much stuff into that as possible. This way I am taking my shelter with me and stand a lower risk of becoming a refugee. With this plan in place, there is a long list of firearms that will be traveling with me. They include about four pistols, two high power rifles, two shotguns, two 22 rifles, both AR's and about 400 pounds of ammo (thats about 181kg for those on the communist system). The food water and other consumables are beyond the scope of this post, we can cover those later.

The next stage of the plan involves no camper and just the pickup. This lack of room shortens the list to the following:
1) Sig Sauer P226 in 40s&w
2) Sako FinnBear in 30/06
3) Remingotn 870 12 gauge with 20" barrel
4) Ruger 10/22
5) Colt 22 pistol
6) Evil Black Rifle

But should the unthinkable happen and I needed to Bug Out with just what I could carry, I think that the choice would be my bolt action 30/06 and the Sig. If I had room and I thought that I could add the weight, I would add a 22 pistol and the AR.

Alot of people question my choice of a bolt gun over the AR, to me it is simply a matter of power and precision over rate of fire. I can do more with a bolt gun than I can with an AR, and the pistol fills in most of the bolt guns shortcomings. The bolt gun takes my effective range out to unrealistic distances for defense (If I can see it, I can hit it), and the pistol gives me a higher rate of fire.

I have one final question for you. When all these bad things happen, and some long haired hippy PETA lover lets all the lions out of the zoo, do you really want to shoot one with an AR?

These are my choices; what are yours?
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