Monday, December 29, 2014

K&N Air Intake For Ann

In my attempt at capturing my man card back from my table runner post. I've recently installed a K&N Air Intake system for my truck.

Thanks to YouTube, I was able to slowly walk through this. The disassembly was a lot easier than putting everything back together.

If you have the idea to do the same and install your own, make sure you have an 11mm wrench and/or socket. Every single nut and bolt was 11mm, and I had a 9mm and 13mm that clearly wouldn't work.

After a couple of scrapped knuckles, I was finally able to use some pliers enough to piece the kit together and have it fully installed.

I read multiple reviews saying it will not only increase horsepower, but will also add 1-2 miles per gallon for your gas. I haven't driven it enough to confirm or deny that it does, but it's at least shiny and that's what us guys like, right?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Who Needs A Store Bought Table Runner ...

We purchased a new table earlier in the year, and since it's so much longer than our previous table, we've had to buy new everything.

We started looking for a new Christmas runner and quickly noticed a problem. The longest runner we could find (that we liked) was 72", but our table measured over 90+ inches. So, we built our own.

We saw this really nice Santa runner that we liked, so we decided we'd mimic that design for our. First we bought a ton of red velvet, 2 6" spools of white fur, a roll of black ribbon, and some silver glitter paper.

Measured the velvet out to a foot and cut ... and cut ... and cut ...

... and cut.

Got the exact lengths we wanted on the table and cut it down to size. Then took the ribbon and glued it down 5 inches from the center, above the end.

We let that sit for a few hours to dry, and then started on the fur. We wanted the fur to be reach wider than the 12", so we glued it half way onto the velvet.

As much as we love Rhett, he struggles understanding why he can't jump on mommy and daddy while they're in the floor, so we had to put him up ...

We were doing this in our office, and weren't sure if the glue would run through or not. Luckily, Dawn had the idea of putting the trash bags down, because it did run through, and actually bled some of the red onto the bags.

I cut down the glitter paper to the size I wanted it to be, leaving 9/16" on top and bottom of the belt and 1/2" on the sides.

Cut out the inside and glued the buckles down.

It's not 100% perfect, but for some first timers ... I'm pretty happy with it and our guests have already been oohing and aahing.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Review: Memphis Barbecue Co.

We had tickets to see Eric Church in Gwinnett, Georgia on December 11th, so since Dawn's birthday was the next week, I planned a little preshow excursion for us. She's a big Atlanta Braves fan, so the day started with a tour of Turner Field. Since me and Melissa Cookston are BFFs ...

see :-)

... I figured we'd check out her new restaurant in GA.

As soon as the door opens you get that real pit smell of burning wood and smoking meats. Yeah, that smell you just imagined in your head that smells so amazingly awesome. To be honest, I think the exhaust for the smoker is funneled through the ceiling and is carried to the entrance. Another step through the 2nd set of doors and this beauty is on the wall beside you.

How can you tell a great BBQ joint from a crappy one? If they have a monsterous pig on their wall (disclaimer, I cannot confirm that a BBQ restaurant will be any good if they have a large pig on the wall).

We sit down and one of the most magical things ever happened. Some places will give you a basket of rolls, hush-puppies, or cornbread. Well not Memphis Barbecue Co. You get a basket of delicious, freshly-made pork rinds.

To keep from the debate of what to ordered. We went with the Pitmaster Sampler. Then Dawn throws a curveball and orders a salad ... at a BBQ restaurant ... a salad.

As I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted by a salad, we ordered the Pitmaster Sampler. It comes with a half rack of ribs, brisket, pulled pork, cornbread, and 2 sides, which we picked mac 'n' cheese and beans.

It was a daunting task, but with my heart pig shirt on, I was ready.

It's not often that Dawn and I will both, for lack of better term, pig out, but when we do, it's usually just one of us and the other will proceed in laughing at the misery it has created.

Well, we were both oinkers, and absolutely cleaned the plate. I'm not sure if I felt embarrassed, or a sense of accomplishment, when the waiter came over and said "wow, I didn't think ya'll would come close to finishing this."

And now, the misery sets in ...

Although I was hating life at that time. I did notice on the menu as we were ordering that they had pork rinds to go for $4. I figured, we'll be on the road driving back home the next day, so it'd be a good little snack for the car. Little did I know that $4 got me, what seemed like, an entire pig worth of pork rinds. Don't get me wrong, I was NOT complaining, but wow what a healthy portion for the price.

If you're taking a trip to Atlanta, Gwinnett, Georgia, America ... hell, if you're reading this ... take a trip to Dunwoody. It's worth trip alone.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Review: Gary's Barbecue, China Grove, NC

On our way up to see Eric Church in Greensboro, NC, we were running a little later than we had planned, so we decided to grab lunch on the way. Dawn grabs the GPS and starts looking for BBQ places. We find a couple places on the way, but they all seem to be a good ways off the interstate, so we kept looking. She then finds Gary's Barbecue. It's in this place called China Grove, that neither of us had even ever heard of, but it seemed close to the interstate and had good reviews, so we said "lets give it a shot."

When you drive in from the interstate you have to go past the restaurant and do a U-turn to get in. This gave us the perfect opportunity to see if it passes the BBQ restaurant "eye test" ... You know, does it look like a BBQ restaurant? To be considered a BBQ restaurant, it has to be a simple, nothing too flashy, style building. It needs a stack of wood somewhere in the back/side of the build (if this is missing, you have to question what they're actually cooking with), and most importantly, you need to see some smoke rolling through the air somewhere other than above the bathrooms. Now, there may be some "fancy" places that serve pulled pork, ribs, brisket etc, but that's not a BBQ restaurant.

As soon as we pasted it I knew, this is going to be good. If the building itself didn't tell that story, the completely packed parking lot did.

The second we walked in I could tell this was a pretty cool place. They have all kinds of nostalgic ads, memorabilia, and cars in this place. The story of the building and how much they've grown in their 40 years is really cool to read on the menu, too.

Ok, so on to the most important part, the food.

We each ordered the chopped (we're in NC remind you) pork plate, and they come out exactly as you'd expect from a good ol' BBQ joint. 

The pork came out with nothing more than smoke and pork. As I mentioned above, the way you'd expect from a good ol' BBQ joint.

With that said, if you're going to have "plain" pork, your sauce better be amazing. Gary's sauce ... is amazing. It has that very tradition taste, but with a lot more flavor. If you're wondering about the fries, throw a dash of salt and pepper on them and chow them down.

When we do our random restaurant stops it's a hit and miss. We basically have to go off of pictures and reviews offline, and unlike mine, those reviews aren't always 100% correct :-)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review - Yard House, Greenville, SC

We decided to actually try Yard House out, one of the new restaurants (of what feels like 2 million) to join Magnolia Park, fairly early in their existence here. We tend to allow a new place a month or so before we venture to them, so they can work all the kinks out, but they have a really awesome beer menu.

Surprise, I ordered their BBQ Bacon Burger with a side of fries. I wasn't sure how the sauce would be, so I asked for it on the side. Turns out, the sauce is great on fries, so we both used it to dip into. The burger was cooked how I requested, and tasted great (I mean, you have to try to mess up a bacon cheeseburger).

The Mrs. went with the Carnitas Tacos with no guacamole and no pineapple (because that's just weird). Like my dinner, everything was very good.

We noticed on the dessert menu that they had a S'mores Brownie. I love brownies and she loves s'mores, so on my way to the restroom, I told the waitress to bring us one ... you know, kind of a little surprise to the wifey.

It came out and looked amazing. If you're curious how it tasted, just look at the next picture.

It wasn't expensive, but its a little more pricey than "average", so it may not turn into a regular stop for us, but we'll be going more than on special occasions.

If the rest of the new additions to Magnolia Park are anywhere close to Yard House (and what we know already of Another Broken Egg Cafe), the traffic nightmare MIGHT be worth it once you're ever able to make it to your destination.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Brisket #2

I've shied away from doing Brisket #2 for as long as I could, since I bombed the first one so badly. Well, I wouldn't say I bombed it. It had good flavor, but it was just dry (I think I cut it the wrong way).

Our neighbor 3 doors down (no, I'm not saying that our neighbor is the band 3 Doors Down), messaged me and asked if I'd want to join his friendly Brisket Throwdown. I figured I'd waited long enough and it was finally time to get back on the saddle, so I accepted. I knew if I told him I'd do it, I wouldn't be able to talk myself out of it.

We ended up waiting till the last minute to get the meat, so we had to drive about 45 minutes out to the local Sam's and pick up this baby. It was a just shy of 11lbs flat. 

Obviously since I hadn't used it but once, I still had some Oakridge BBQ Black Ops Brisket Rub.

Trimmed it up some and gave it a good layering of rub.

It went on Bullet Bill and I set my BBQ Guru to run around 225 degrees. I kept an eye on it for about 3 hours and then this guy took off to bed.

Got up and checked it a few times throughout the night, and it was pushing through like a champ.

Took it out and let it rest for 2 solid hours before it was time to take it out slice it up.

To help myself know which way to slice it, I took a notch out of the corner going against the grain.

The picture isn't the best, but you can see the great smoke ring I got on this brisket.3

The electric knife help make some pretty nice cuts.

This wasn't just, by far, the best brisket that I've ever made, but it ranks up there with the best brisket I've ever eaten, period. After my first brisket, I was dreading that thought of cooking another. After brisket #2, I'm looking forward to my next cook.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Rhett-man Turns 1

Everyone that knows my wife knows how big of a dog lover she is. Her news feed is dog stuff, dog stuff, dog stuff, dog stuff, me, dog stuff, dog stuff, dog stuff, guns, dog stuff dog stuff, dog stuff, and then something random. She's the one that cries if a dog is even "hurt" or "killed" in a TV show or movie ... it's pretty bad too. I'm not talking like watery eyes either.

From day 1, all she had really talked about  was wanting to get a dog and I kept shooting down the idea. It's not that I don't like them or anything, it's just I figured us getting a dog meant me having to take care of it and take it out to potty every single time (which isn't far from reality).

This past year, she turned the dreaded 3-0, so I thought the only gift to really lessen that blow would be to let her get a puppy. Even with less than a year of marriage under my belt, I knew not to pick one out myself and to give that honor to her, so her birthday present was a dog bowl and shirt.

The search began almost immediately, but I kept telling her "just don't fall in love with the very first one." Knowing how much she loves dogs, I didn't want her to just say "oh, this is a dog, I want it." I wanted her to pick out the perfect one that she just couldn't live without.

Well, surprise, she fell in love with the very first one we looked at, but little did I know then, it would also be the perfect one that she (and I) couldn't live without.

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourself to be picture overloaded. You've seen glimpses of him, but allow me to introduce you to Harley "Rhett" Fowler. I named him Harley since that's where we met back up and ultimately started our relationship as more than friends. Dawn picked Rhett because she loves Gone With The Wind. I ultimately got overruled on which name he went by, I mean, he was her gift.

Day 1 he was just weeks old, cold and scared on the ride ... home.

We laid out an old blanket in the middle of the floor for him to play on (and in case he had accidents (and he did) it would act as a little barrier to the carpet). The funny part about it though, for the first month or so, he wouldn't venture off the blanket. It was like his own little play area and he knew that was "his spot".

We couldn't figure out if he was cold or scared (or both), but he kept ducking his head between my body and elbow. Either way, it was the sweetest thing ever.

He was so little (or wittle as Dawn says it), that when we let him walk around in the backyard, he nearly disappeared in the grass.

He could even sleep long-ways in my lap.
(one of my favorite pictures)

And would fall asleep on both of our arms.

Shortly after we got him, he experienced his first snow.

The good and the bad parts of the snow. We took him on a short walk, and, well ...

He was too short to get on the chair and when we'd put him up there he'd just jump right down anyway, so we had to sit in the floor on pillows for weeks (or months) ... which led to a lot of stiff backs.

And of course, one of his favorite things to do ... seat steeling.

When we finally got him to spend some time on the couch, he still picked the pillows.

So we got him his own pillow, which he ended up using as a step up and down from the couch and not as an actual pillow.

I have to go out of town every now and then for work, but the trips are never as bad when these type pictures come through on my phone.

When I had to have my nose surgery, we were both a little worried how he'd act around me. We weren't sure if he'd get hyper and jump on me and potentially hit my nose or not. I got home, and got into position on the chair. Dawn sat him on the chair and he just walked up, sat in my lap and laid with me. He didn't stay like that forever, but he definitely knew he daddy wasn't feeling well and he just wanted to cuddle up with me to make me feel better ... it worked.

He absolutely loves going on walks, and he'll let you know when he's ready for one too.

Long before the training classes, he was a good walker. Like when I'm holding him, he has "his spots". He loves to walk on the lip or on top of the curb. It doesn't matter where we are, if there's a curb, he jumps up on it and strolls right down it.

What do I mean when I say "his spot". To be his spot, he has to be in my left arm facing the left. He doesn't like my right arm, and if he's facing the other direction, he'll turn around. Dawn can hold him like a baby, but if I try, he'll wiggle around to get right back in this position.

My favorite cartoon is Scooby Doo. One day we were shopping and I saw this "big" stuffed Scooby Doo, and had to get it for him. Come to find out, it ended up being on clearance, so it was a win-win, and Rhett absolutely loves it. It's kind of turned into his, um, "fun time" friend, but whatever works. 

His other best friend is his cuddle puppy. If you get a new puppy, you have to get one of these. They come with a thumping heart and heating pad that you can put in them at night, so they can cuddle up with them and not feel alone. From day one, whether it's the other room, or to grandmother's house, cuddle puppy isn't far behind.

He even throws him arm around cuddle puppy to hold it closer.

The 2 of them even stole my foot rest in my game room.

On the way home from his first ever hair cut, he still wasn't sure about car rides.

Although, there was this one time that we, um, let his hair cut wait too long.

Then there was that time that he stole Pop-Pop's seat while he wasn't home.

I'm not sure any boy ever would, but he did not enjoy having his manhood taken from him.

But Dawn being the good mommy she is, spoon feed him since he couldn't eat by himself.

He even likes helping me cook ... like father, like son.

And this is just him being adorable. Dawn calls this the "Hi" picture because it looks like he's waving, but he's actually got his arm bent down ... still looks like he's waving.

Now, you better watch out, he's so ferocious, he'll attack you ... with kisses and not let you out alive.

Ok, so the only time he's ferocious is when he's yawning ... lazy bum.

He even got to join our 1 year anniversary pictures.
(See how happy he is in his spot?)

He wasn't the biggest fan of his pool ...

but he does love swimming with his cousin in her big pool.

He likes riding in the new truck, because he can sit in mommy's lap and look straight out the window.

Trips downtown mean he gets to enjoy lunch outside on the sidewalks.

Lets not forget, he's also a scholar. He's graduated from Petsmart's 3 step advance training class.

If you give him an open space, he's full speed again. Of course it makes life easier when he's taller than the grass.

I mentioned that he's a seat theft, he also loves socks. So much so that we decided to give him his own pair to play with (trying to kill the excitement of stealing our socks) ... you just better think twice about trying to get them from him ... he's watching.

He's not a fan of the face washing part, but loves bath time.

He's even done a Mutt Strut. Which is a 2 mile walk/run to raise money for the local humane society. We weren't sure how he'd do, since he usually only walks around 1 mile around the neighborhood, but he, literally, strutted the entire 2 miles.

One of the perks of my job, is my boss allows us to work from home on Fridays if we hit goal the previous month. Rhett loves when I hit goal and even helps me get my work done.

He recently got to experience his first ever Halloween and Trick-Or-Treaters.

If there's one thing he's mastered, it's how to take a nap ...

It's not often he'll pass out in our arms, so we take full advantage when he does.

Snuggled with cuddle puppy ... gazing at Scooby.

I have no answers ...

His first ever trip to the park wore him out so much that he fell asleep while I was scratching his chin at a red-light.

I can't believe this little guy ...

Is now this 1 year old stud.

Some people question how much dogs really understand, but trust me, he knows it's a special day for him. He's been prancing around the house all morning. He even got to lay in the big bed with daddy while mommy got ready for work. Well, he got to lay ON daddy ...

I know people like to say which parent a kid looks like, but there's no denying that Rhett is my twin. We both have "smushy" faces and salt and pepper hair.

Happy Birthday to my little rug-rat, the one and only ... Rhett-man.