Weber Smokey Mountain, 22.5″

Several weeks ago, I was the lucky recipient of my very own Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5″ charcoal smoker. I had been looking at one for many weeks to complement the hand-me-down Weber Kettle grill my wife and I received last year.

There is no question about it, the smoker is bigger than I was imagining. Thankfully, the smoker breaks down into three manageable parts (charcoal pit, smoke ring, lid) so assembly and breakdown are manageable. And as can be expected from a Weber product, the smoker has a substantial feel.

I’m looking forward to perfecting my technique to the point that I don’t have to so closely monitor the temperature of the smoker. The temperature of the smoker can be regulated via 3 bottom vents and a lid vent. Other WSM owners have verified that sweet spots and settings for maintaining temperature are dependent on charcoal type used, outside environment, build of the specific smoker, type of starting method used for charcoal, etc… Part of the fun of a project like this is adjusting variables to determine eventual outcomes. Luckily, I have a very supportive wife so I don’t feel as much pressure to put out a perfect meal every time.

I’ve cooked on it twice, once doing baby back ribs, and once doing marinated chicken. I am looking forward to running this smoker through its paces as the years pass.

Cooking

Rome

Rome was an HBO series that aired from 2005 to 2007, and was a co-production of HBO and BBC. The series is set in the first century AD as Rome transforms from a Republic to an Empire.

There is a great deal to like about this mini-series. The look of the series is lush even when viewed on standard DVD discs. The production is superb, with an obvious effort to shoot as much as possible in Italy. And although the events portrayed in Rome have varying degrees of authenticity in terms of participants and timing, the show is basically accurate in its portrayal of Roman politics, lifestyle, and brutality.

Rome chronicles the adventures of Titas Pullo and Lucius Vorunus, two Roman soldiers that often are at the right place at the right time. Their good luck are eventually noticed by Caesar, and they progress upwards through Roman ranks to witness key historical events including the Roman conquest of Gaul, Caesars civil war, the assassination of Caesar, the introduction and rise of Octavian to become Augustus, and Augustus’ battle with Marc Antony.

As in many HBO series, the acting in Rome is phenomenal. Ray Stevenson and Kevin McKidd do a fantastic job portraying Pullo and Vorunus, and Ciarán Hinds (pictured) is completely believable as Caesar, a politician that excercised his desire for pleasing the people as well as himself. James Purefoy is a delight to watch as Marc Antony, and Tobias Menzies excels as Brutus. The rest of the support cast do an amazing job in bringing the desires and motivations or key historical figures to life.

The series was not renewed at the end of the second season due to the prohibitive cost of producing it (aka Deadwood). Although a film was promised and looked like it was going forward in early 2010, there has been little word on when or if it will be completed. I hope so, I’d like to see more.

TV

Spotify

I really like Spotify, I understand why there is so much hype about it.  That hype is well deserved.

I’ve been on other cloud based music services and all of them had at least one thing that made me go back to collecting mp3s.  Last.fm had a somewhat limited catalog, Slacker was the same.  The main deterrent always seems to be the fact that although I could skip songs on playlists, I couldn’t choose specific songs.  It was almost like a mandatory party-mix mode with no repeat functionality.

The Spotify catalog is impressive enough that I can forgive the few holes I found.  I quickly found music I hadn’t heard in years (Wire – Pink Flag album for example) which made me smile  And the best part of the service is that I can easily choose specific versions of songs to play immediately.

Another thing that I think has been done well in this roll-out of Spotify is the ability to actively tie into today’s social networking apps. Facebook users can easily tie into their friends public music lists, and info about tracks can be posted to Twitter and Facebook. One thing that I hope is developed at time moves on is either a WordPress.com widget or the ability to export recently played tracks to a RSS feed (Last.fm holds edge there for now), either of which would push Spotify into even more information channels.

Spotify comes with different pricing plans including the free plan which I am currently on.  Paid services removes ads, can increase audio quality, provides mobile support, and allows storage of playlist tracks on either computer or mobile platforms.  I have a link to bypass the invite process (which has a several day queue at this point), contact me and I’ll shoot you the link.

Listen Music Website

Noah (July 2011)

A selection of pictures of Noah from July 2011. First picture I can remember where he is showing teeth. Added bonus: a quasi-smile. 🙂

I’m testing out different post-processing techniques, not sure which I will stick with at this point.

Also of note: I’ve pulled out the Nikon D70 from the closet. First batch of pics had a lot of corruption problems.

Family Photos

Justin Timberlake – My Love (Oakenfold Remix)

I’m not a Justin Timberlake fan.  I have none of his albums, singles, or work physically or digitally.  I don’t dislike him either, I just realized a long time ago that his brand of pop both while in ‘N Sync and as a solo artist didn’t interest me.

I do have some of Paul Oakenfold’s stuff however.  Oakenfold’s remixes aren’t always better than the originals he starts with, but he does some interesting work.  I recently picked up the US version of Greatest Hits & Remixes and fired up Oakenfold’s remix of Justin Timberlake’s “My Love” (track 5).

Wow.

I’m not in the market for any more Timberlake nor any more Oakenfold either.  But this was an amazing effort that IMO made the song interesting and slightly addictive.  Give it a listen, its good!

Listen Music

Domain Name Change Coming

I’m not really sure why it takes 6 days for the “registrar” to approve the domain name transfer given that I crossed all the t’s and properly dotted all the i’s, but it apparently does take that long.  So sometime on or after Friday, the domain name will change to digifiend.com.

While I have been assured that no shenanigans will ensue, one can never really tell, can they?  I’ve been assured that all the permalinks will change properly, and I’m hoping for a painless transition.

Site

Sid And Nancy

Sid and Nancy (1986) is mostly successful at communicating the chaos associated with the Sex Pistols, the English punk movement, and Sid Vicious.

I say mostly because the film runs out of steam in the last half of the movie.  The film slows down unnecessarily when the Sex Pistols break up and drags on until close to the end.  Instead of properly presenting Sid’s progression from quasi-success to ultimate desperation and murder, the troublesome pacing resulted in me mentally hoping and urging Sid to stop meandering and get on with the business of knifeplay.

Even with the poor pacing, this film is a thing of beauty in terms of acting.  Gary Oldman does what I imagine every actor aims for when performing a role: he truly seems to become the character.  I wasn’t watching Oldman play Sid, I was watching Sid destroy himself.  Although Chloe Webb was more annoying than interesting and the rest of the cast didn’t match Oldman in terms of sheer acting brilliance, they did their job by not distracting from Oldman’s effort.  This movie is classic Oldman, and I wish that recent efforts (i.e. Batman series) showcased his skills properly.

Be patient while watching this movie, especially towards the end.  Your efforts will be rewarded.

Movies Watch