Wolf Tacos or Woof Tacos

Wolf vs woof

Al was getting on me for the way I pronounce the word wolf. Apparently I say it pretty similar to the way I pronounce woof. Somewhere deep inside my brain, I actually am trying to say the two words differently, and I think I actually do say wolf with a slight l sound that imperceptibly differentiates it from woof. But will grant her that it sounds pretty similar.

Joe brought up an interesting point. Wolves is not pronounced the same way. That word is more acceptable.

Wolf Tacos

Somewhere around the time this conversation was going on, Taco Bell started advertising their breakfast menu a lot, along with some other new items. Al and I discussed that maybe we should check them out.

Then one night, I had a dream. I was in Taco Bell with Al, and I ordered a wolf taco. They had them on the menu. The wolf meat looked like chunks of beef. Al made fun of the way I said wolf. With that, the owner walked in.1 I asked him how you say wolf, figuring he would know, since his establishment was serving wolf meat. He said it like I said it. So there. I’m right.

Wolf tacos.

  1. The owner of that Taco Bell or the owner of ALL THE TACO BELLS. I don’t know which. 

MAGFest 12

Dan “Danimal Cannon” Behrens brought the band Critical Hit to the attention of my corner of the Internet (at www.TheShizz.org). Critical Hit is a list of physically attractive musicians who play covers of game music as arranged by someone who doesn’t play in the band. This isn’t yet the part that disturbs me. The fact that their covers are plastic and only 1 member of the “band” plays at a given concert is a little but not overly unnerving. What bothers me is that Danimal’s revelation that my last decade of regularly packing myself in a small room with a bunch of sweaty nerds to listen to guitars wail to Castlevania now makes me marketable demographic.


OK. “World Winds” disturbs me a great deal too.

Continue reading

Cave of Trouble

Cave of Trouble (CoT) is/was several things. The name that we made music under for one. It was also the band that worked for Chook Industries. It slowly morphed into only being a label for the music we made. Somewhere during the Chook era, we made a website for the band, and even touted the latest music we were working on, the Cigarette EP. That was a project we actually finished but never updated the site with. That also has never seen the light of day on the posts I was doing on CoT albums. Maybe someday.

This site had a cool feature I was rather proud of, one that is now defunct. The web server checked the weather in Salisbury, MD and displayed a drawing of the appropriate weather behind the monster graphic. Currently, I just have a random weather image being displayed. Also, at the bottom of the page, the weather was displayed in a line that said, “The weather at Bayland is _______ at 7:03 pm.” Bayland refers to [Bayland Aviation], located at the Salisbury airport

So, here is the original version of the Cave of Trouble website.

Cave of Trouble

Black Beans

So here’s a recipe I make a lot. It originated from something I found online. I then gave it to Mike and forgot about it. He made some modifications to it and sent it back to me. I made some more modifications, and this is the end result.

Note: Mike currently has a version of this which is sometimes referred to as Mike’s 14 Hour Beans. Who knows exactly what the details of it are or how good it is. We do know that the last 10 minutes of the cooking are extremely time sensitive…

Black Bean Soup

Prep 15 min • Cook 8 hour • Makes 8 • Source Tim Gray


  • 1 lb of dried black beans
  • 3 pieces of bacon
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 2 serrano peppers
  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 juice limes


1. Sort and wash beans.

2. Finely chop onion, peppers, and garlic.

3. Fry bacon and chop.

4. Fry onions in bacon fat.

5. Add all ingredients to crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours. Alternately, simmer on the stove top in a covered dutch oven for about 6 hours.

6. Near the end, mush the beans against the side to thicken.


Adjust the amount of water added for thicker or more watery beans (1-3 cups of water).

Adjust peppers for desired hotness. You can also add cayenne pepper powder.

the mindlab

The original mindlab site was an offshoot of the Chook Industries website, version 2. The mindlab was supposed to be Larry Snow’s personal website. Larry was the president of Chook Industries. Most of the activity on the site was from mid 2000 to mid 2003. Mike authored almost all of the posts if I recall correctly.


Note, this was back in the day of expensive domain names and limited shared hosting accounts. The original mindlab was pretty cutting edge, as was the whole Chook Industries site. It was a PHP driven site which read content from a collection of plain text files, one for each post, and generated an RSS file. Yes, RSS back in 2000. We had it listed on the Netscape RSS directory, pretty much the only place on the internet that used RSS. I also used the RSS file to automatically generate content for the Chook Industries main page.

Circa 2010, we moved servers and I did a quick redesign of the site, where I detached it from Chook Industries and split it off into its own website. At that point, Mike did a few sporadic posts and then stopped.

So, with that being said, here are both the original and 2010 versions of the mindlab:

Cast iron pans

About 12 years ago I decided to purchase some cooking wares. I had just started graduate school and was cooking on my own for reals for the first time. All my friends were buying the $20 47-piece kitchen utensil set and a bunch of crappy pots and pans. I decided to do something different.

I ended up buying some stuff ‘for life.’ I think I spent $40 on the knife; I don’t remember about the pots. That’s neither here nor there. The point is that I still have the these items and I still use them a lot. I can see easily getting another 10-15 years out of them. Most of my friends’ 47-piece utensil sets started to self-destruct in about 9 months, necessitating the purchase of a new 47-piece utensil set about every 2 years or so.

The pan – cast iron

For a frying pan/skillet, nothing beats a good cast iron skillet by Lodge. They are cheap and American made. My mom gave me a vintage one, which most aficionados swear by because “they don’t make them like they used to,” but frankly, I like the new one more. I actually have two, and 8″ one and a 12″ one. I use the 8″ one more since I’m cooking small things, but for some things the 12″ is needed. You could easily make do with just a 12″ one, or possibly a 10″ one.

Contrary to what you might read, cast iron is a poor conductor of heat compared to copper or aluminum. So you want to match the size of the pan with the size of your burner. It does retain heat well though. I’m finding that the 8″ pan is great on all my stove’s burners, while the 12″ is pushing it a bit on the large burner; it develops a hot spot in the center. It’s usable though and is great in the oven. I suspect a 10″ one would be just about perfect.

You don’t want to cook acidic things in cast iron. So heating up some tomato sauce is probably not a good idea.

I hear carbon steel skillets are similar to cast iron and could also be a good buy, particularly if you want a different form factor. I’ve not tried one.

Seasoning and cleaning cast iron cookware

The key to cast iron is the seasoning and care. When you get the thing, give it a good scrub with hot water. Dry it off and stick it on the stove for a bit on medium heat. Get it nice and dry. Then turn on the oven to 450°. Rub a coat of oil all over the pan. I’ve been using safflower oil and it works real good. After you’ve rubbed oil all over it, get a clean paper towel and wipe most of it off. Stick it in the heating oven, let it cook at 450° for 30-60 minutes, then turn off the oven and let the it all cool down together. This process can make your place smell a little bit, so I have to do it when I’m home alone. Do this 2-4 times. Now your pan is seasoned properly. I’d do this with new pans even though they come ‘pre-seasoned.’

You probably want to avoid olive oil for this step and the reapplication steps later on because it’s a low heat oil and can really smoke a lot. Canola oil is probably fine if you don’t want to go out and buy safflower.

For regular cleaning after use, scrub it with only hot water. Don’t use a sponge that gets used with soap. I have a separate scrubby pad for my cast iron pans, a Dobie pad. Or don’t even scrub it under water if it doesn’t look like it needs it. Just wipe it out with a paper towel, using a little bit of salt in the pan if you need to scrub out some junk.1

Now that you’ve scrubbed the food bits off, dry it off and throw it back on the stove. Heat it up for a couple minutes on medium to dry it out nice and good. Then rub a thin coat of your oil (safflower again) on the cooking surface, wiping off the excess. Then turn off the burner.

The more you use the pan, the better it will work. Just keep it dry, and re-oil/re-season it when you think it needs it.


My pan cooks scrapple easier than anything I’ve ever cooked scrapple on. Cooking foods like scrapple are great because they help season the surface more. So go out and buy some Rapa early on because you “have to season” your new pan.

Bacon can be good as it has a lot of fat, but it can also have a fair amount of sugar in it, which can make goopy stuff in your pan.

  1. If you do this while the pan is still hot, you can probably skip the reheating and oiling.