real life

The colorful Interior shot…

018100_8140013016Aside from dinner, its about books, all things shiny, study, work, hiding out and generally living like a medieval monk.

It’s mostly quiet… not counting whatever racket I generate or music that amuses my neighbors…

Unpacking is still being done… its an “as needed” thing, not to mention an unsettling commitment to staying put..

My house has wheels for a reason..


A magical budget upgrade..

100_8960 100_8963 100_8964The salmon was $9 or $10 per pound… after I cured it in koshering salt, sugar and dill weed.. its gravlax. $40-$50 per pound..the last step is smoking the gravlax which sells at around $100 per pound…

No way I can afford that, no matter how much I like it.

But there’s always a way around things..

The smoker was a walmart $100+ floor model but I got it for $20 because it wasn’t shiny anymore and the door wouldn’t close… reason being, they put it together wrong… So I made an offer, took it home and spent 2 minutes putting it together correctly…

The slab on top is a pizza stone that fits inside the smoker…when I want to use it as a wood fired pizza oven… I rearranged the fire pan put in a baffle so the stone isn’t in direct contact with the fire… etc. etc. etc.

The gravlax gets a cold smoke for four hours and its all done…

The fire pan this go round is a hotplate so I can keep the heat control tight at 100-120 degrees..

Of course its close to 11:00 PM and I’ll be messing with it till 3:00 AM, but its one of those no brainer insomnia chores… so I’m happy about it….

Essentials… sort of

100_6931I manage to get flour everywhere for some reason, but its not radio-active, toxic or a bio-hazard “Most of the time”..

That being said my favorite daily use essentials are… a pepper mill, manual coffee grinder and a French press all of which work fine regardless of power outages..

Hot water for coffee, cooking and what-not is a little more complex.. but just as basic. It can be done with charcoal, wood, propane, electricity, even in my solar oven or a gallon pickle jar I keep around for sun tea…

That part is whatever… its not a survivalist paranoia twitch-fest, I just tend to like versatility and have manual back ups.. it’s a guy thing and I like to go places without electricity or propane dealers.. yet still want coffee ground 3 minutes before I use it..

Besides, I just don’t like having my routine disturbed by floods, earth-quakes or three day power outages..

I can’t stop or change any of that.. but one can determine how they react to and deal with “stuff”

Castle and moat

100_8718home sweer home 005home sweer home 007100_8615I like to live on commercial property, it usually has 220 and natural gas lines, the neighbors don’t care what I do or how much noise I make.. security tends to be good and the nights free from idlers… I like that I can drive a truck through the door and move my house inside… there’s lots of room and I can do whatever, the overhead storage is a has a rest room and what not, so its pretty much nirvana for the insomnia prone.. occasionally during monsoon it becomes waterfront property…but it’s a nice change from relentless heat.. For about 3 hours, then its a sauna and the heat becomes suffocating rather than merely blistering… But at least there’s no snow…

The shop is still being arranged…. more tools and equipment to move in, projects to consolidate, complete then dispose of… I’m lacking my silversmiths bench, lapidary tools and need to move in a beautiful push cart that I plan on refinishing for the renn-fair circuit… there are exhibition booths to build and photo back drops to set up… As well as a work bench for stained glass and God knows what..

I really need the space and aside from that most apartment owners don’t like welding or paint booths in the living room….much less saws running at 2:00 AM.. or kilns, foundry furnaces and noxious smells…

Its really not that odd.. rent is a third of a house, I can do whatever, when-ever and everyone is cool.. the owner says if I want to build an apartment in the rafters or make a loft its all good..

I won’t but the option is nice..

I got this spot because the feds changed the rules on airplane hangars… you can’t turn them into studios anymore much less live in one.. but it’ll do.

I don’t care about social life or entertaining.. it’s about work, art impulses, dinner and my beloved privacy… I don’t like distractions or anyone eyeing a work in progress, the GF being the only exception since shes about as twisted as I am….

I’ll never understand her attraction to me.. I live like a monk, but she thinks I’m funny and I never tell her no if she wants to learn stuff.. I don’t have that “a woman’s place is___” thing in my head..or “you can’t”, it’s just nonsense, there is no competition about anything.. we’re co-conspirators..

Sometimes 1+1=11 not 2

End of diatribe…..

I have some suspicions….


I’m supposed to be going to New Zealand to visit the GF.

However as an incentive..not that one is required, she’s decided to fill my idle time with courses at the New Zealand School of Food and Wine.. Plus anywhere else I want to go so I keep busy as per my compulsions..

Which is pretty sweet…

But I suspect she plans to have me bring back homework from charcuterie classes in the form of pancetta and be her personal chef…

Whatever, it works for me…

Besides they have lamb and mutton as well as an ocean full of fish on all sides….lets see how they like lamb tacos not to mention civiche…

Assuming I don’t get arrested for prying mussels off the rocks somewhere or other hi-jinks involving free food..


100_6920I like pointing out the obvious almost as much as redundancy and the whole passive aggressive thing..

My friends know I’m messing with them and make sure I suffer for it… not that I do, I laugh when they try to annoy me..

But I digress,

I live in a little trailer or at least sleep, cook and hide there, when I’m not in the shop or out running around which is most of the time..

The point is, I can pretty much cook, bake or do anything else I want in three feet of space, with whats at hand… even a $20 oven from a salvage yard.. a $1,500 oven from Home Depot might be wonderful..but it just does the same thing I’m already doing, plus I don’t have to cough up $1,480..

Win Win…. besides, I don’t have to deal with house guests.. which is win, win, win.

Its all part of the master plan…

Budget 101

100_6945 A good pizza costs minimum $15-$20 at a non chain, non-soggy, non-greasy pizzeria..

Make your own exactly how you like it $1.50-$2.00 add a few friends who bring beer if you’re so inclined and you have a social event..

Or hoard it and have whats left for breakfast…

I happen to like ramen…. but the first thing I do is throw away the seasoning packets and mess with my dinner… an egg goes in.. be it boiled, sliced, raw or egg thread style, then add whatever, red pepper flakes, ginger, scallions or anything else I can think of… a hot and sour riff isn’t out of the question, nor is Miso…shrimp, cod fish shavings or nori unusual.. it still comes in at under $1 and won’t kill you like the dollar menu will…

The thing about making a budget a non suffering part of life is being able to like what you have or change things around in such a like what you have.

You can have a survival mindset and fight through it.. OR enjoy it and prevail in a happy jolly kinda way..

Secret two is a pantry..3 is knowledge.. 4 is to adapt and cross cultures as often as possible.. its mostly the same stuff done in different ways…

Hummis assuming you like it… is $4 or more, made at home starting with chickpeas on the hoof is .25 cents… chapatis, naan, and pitas to name a few flat breads cost about the same..if that.

As take out or retail, its expensive stuff..but made at home, it isn’t and its the bomb..

Apparently I’m not over gravlax love yet….

100_8935 100_8936 100_8941 I had thought soft baked egg’s, polenta and shrimp would be a nice breakfast… which was correct… until I thought about bruschetta, which led to gravlax and in turn drifted into randomness.

Why I have no idea, I’d been awake for hours, had coffee and most of my faculty’s were intact…

I blame project week which is a personal tradition that no-one but me gets..The premise is, do new stuff, learn new stuff, make new stuff, build something and leave no “I wanna do X” behind… project week can last up to a year since I have a sketchy time sense, but that’s a different issue..

Project week is the bomb… and it can be anything that improves life or infrastructure.. mostly my dinner.. this go round is gravlax, curing bacon, home-made mozzarella and building a bicycle trailer… Bread, baking and pizza are a daily thing..

Roasting green coffee beans is on the list…. but what I want to do is pretty specific and has nothing to do with popcorn poppers or cast iron skillets..

Later in the week, the smoker gets a work out…. followed making a set of instructions for a friend who asked me how to cook chicken.. which is basically, season it, wrap it in parchment paper, set the oven at 400 and come back in an hour.. with photos.

It’s fun to me… which is kind of the point no?