Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Yo Mama Dental Floss System - Surround Sound

New album y'all!!!

So the idea hit me just a few days ago to take some previous recordings, add some new things, and call it an album.  So here it is! 

Dance your butts off and laugh your butts off, cuz that's what this is all about!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Shortline Monday again! (vol 3)

So I've shared some 10,000 Lakes stuff lately and want to broaden the experience just a bit. A few years ago in the internet I got wind of a musician from Denton who went by the name of Fishboy.  And the songs I heard were a lot of fun.  Like other shortline projects and my own music, his songs had sort of a homemade feel, a surreal lyrical flavor, and a depth of creative ideas.  The first album of his I ever got was called Little D, and it was songs about Denton.  Soon after I discovered his music, he came out with Albatross.  Jamie and I went to a show in early 2008 to see Albatross performed in its entirety, along with the band Poison Control Center from Iowa.  They were badass as well.  And before them was Teenage Cool Kids, also from Denton; they were wrapping up a tour with Fishboy and the PCC, and the singer's voice was almost gone.  He said he could use a cough drop or some Chloraseptic. And when you finish a tour in January, I can totally see that.  Wish I had somethin' for that guy.  The first singer in the show was one Sparlin Jessels, who sang really heartfelt songs, and broke a string.  It was an amazing show.

So later after the show in that freezing night in 2008, I picked up some more music and felt creative again.  It was later I discovered an older album by Fishboy, called Zipbangboom.  It had a few songs on it from other areas of the internet so I bought it off iTunes.  And that's the album I want to share with you tonight.  It's on Bandcamp for a listen but it can be yours too if you want.

Before I post it all, the thing that put the pieces together for me was when I picked up Little D.  I realized his last name was Michener.  Sounded familiar to me, but it hit me that his older brother Dirk was at the Beck concert back in '96, and also was in Cavedweller, and jammed with an old buddy of mine, T Bobcat.  I thought that was incredibly cool.  (The Beck show and soon-after interactions and times were pretty awesome too, but that's another blog.) 

So, for tonight, I present Zipbangboom, an album that takes you places.  It starts with a disappointing and/or unusual Christmas, then you meet an interesting mover on a busy day, find your way through a dream you may have had, to a dream someone else did have.  Then an apology with precious wordplay. You get to meet the tallest President, experience daily routines like never before, and try to prevent an assassination with help from a robot cousin. By this time, you feel like you've had a long day, but you've still got to fix a car and fall in love. By that time you're so tired you're asking questions with the last of your energy.  So now a little bit of instrumental refreshment... which leads to being able to hear everything anyone says whether you like it or not.  And then there's a song still in your head from earlier... and it sounds different now.

So without further ado:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Shortline Monday! (Vol. 2 of Shortline Sunday)

Yesterday was a really busy day, and Easter, and all of that stuff.  So, here I am this evening making up for it with post #2 of crazy music madness!  Tonight's entry is of the most recent album I have released.  It was supposed to be a full album, but what happened was a song would get done here, another one would get worked on there... not 100% coherent.

See, all the previous 10,000 Lakes albums were done on tape.  One of the main themes of a 10,000 Lakes album was the idea that something could be recorded fairly quickly, ranging from one night with all the instruments, lyrics, and a tape recorder, to a more laid back approach, and completion over a month or two.

This one was done over a three year period, and not by analog means.  The early versions of some of these songs came about in '05, and the last recording was done in '08.  I was involved with a podcast at the time, as well as producing and recording rap music.  So I had gotten comfortable with recording higher quality music, and doing other creative things.

After waiting for so long and realizing that this project should stand on its own, I finally put together the 6th 10,000 Lakes release, "Pots, Pans, and Ceiling Fans.  And here it is:

Here's a bit of description of each song:

1. Metropolis - this song, along with Hairbrush and Discount Biscuits, was done all in one evening session in '06 or '07.  The idea was to create a full album, but these three songs were all I ended up with.  It was a good start, including randomness and irony.

2. Hairbrush - In the 3-song session, I wanted to make the most surreal song possible given the musical style.  And of course, add some power chords.  On "Cat Hospital" I had mentioned a fictional Carlos Santana song called "Hairbrush," so I made it into a real song. 

3. Fishtank Mountain - By song 3 or 4 on all of the previous 10,000 Lakes albums, there was a folksy song, or a ballad.  This song fit into that category.  I also had become a very big fan of Wesley Willis by this time.  His signature style was to repeat the song title four times as the chorus, and end the song with an advertising slogan.  I only used the first half.  It ended up being the most popular song I've ever made.  Here's the live in-studio version:

4. Discount Biscuits - Wrote the lyrics to this song at work.  That's where the lunch menu stuff comes in.  I wanted to do an all-keyboard and vocals song in the style of "Tablecloth" from "Cat Hospital," and "Rough Noisy Bowl '82" from "Minnesota Hat 1982."

5. Pots, Pans, and Ceiling Fans - This was the second song I recorded for the new album.  It was recorded in a snap session in '05 along with a song called "Brisketron" which was not included in the album.  It had to be re-recorded several times using the keyboard solo from the original mix, to sound just right.  The idea behind the song was hidden meanings and ridiculous puns.  The first lines are a riff on an Audioslave song.  It then delves into wordplay, jokes about instructions on household products, and of course some funky guitar stuff.

6. Squeegee In Hand, Windshield Far Away - recorded in 2008, this was the eventual cap on the whole album.  It was a bit of a style-copy of "Mambo #4" in the long-song, jam-band sort of recording.  The title came from, of all things, the MySpace page of one of my other projects, Dr. Tissue.  On MySpace, if you had a band page, you could fill in a tour schedule complete with location, time, date, other bands, the name of the show, etc.  So it was a perfect opportunity to come up with ridiculous band names, festivals, venues, and prices.  For example, a festival in Antarctica at 5 a.m. that costs $79,000, featuring Dave and The Robot Arm of Classic Rock, and 9000 Mermaids With Tambourines.  Anyway, one of the "band names" was Squeegee In Hand, Windshield Far Away.  So that's how that happened.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Big Bad Bank Teller

Here's an amusing story I once wrote, about the Big Bad Wolf and the bank teller who one-upped his 'tude. 

The Big Bad Bank Teller

I’m not the villain I used to be.  The times were once good for me, and the art was simple.  Just be bad.  They’d say, “Be as bad as you wanna be.  The good guy always wins.”  So, I figured, the badder, the better.  I knew my role.  But that was a long time ago. 
            Today is Wednesday, two days before I have to make payroll.  It starts to rain outside, so I rush into the Fifteenth National Bank on Hargrove Avenue, (celebrities have to keep things discreet,) so I can deposit my latest royalty check from DreamWorks.  “Should be no big deal,” I tell myself.  I’ve got payroll set up and checks already pre-written to my crew for Friday.  My check is burning in my grip – it’s a big one, and I don’t feel comfortable having it exposed.  Not that I can’t defend myself, I’m just not in the mood for that all the time.
            The line is long for some reason. I mean it’s 10:30 a.m. and a thoughtful person would expect either quicker service or fewer customers, especially at a bank that isn’t even trying to be the biggest kid on the block.  So I wait.  I look over at the tellers and who they’re serving.  There’s a real fruit loop of a lady chatting with this one teller who looks like that nutty guy from Anchorman.  They’re chatting away about her mortgage as if they’re talking about a wild spring break in Cancun.  Then, one spot over, there’s this poor sap trying to get away without filling out another form.  The teller he’s stuck with looks like she reads her training manual to her kids every night.  I’m hoping I can skip over her.  Over to the right, there’s this Troy Aikman-looking guy with a jug full of change.  He’s going to be a while, and his teller has this toothpaste-commercial smile like Saddam Hussein could ask her out and she’d say “Certainly, sir!”
            Anyway, after fifteen minutes of shuffling around in line, I’m up next.  Troy Aikman’s still giving his teller the Coinstar treatment, and my check is still bothering me.  I’m getting antsy, so I look over it again to make sure my signature is perfect and the account number is correct.  While I’m reading, I hear, “Next please.”
            It’s the training manual lady.  Great.  I walk up and explain to her that I need to deposit my $48,000 check.  Simple enough, right?  Nope.
“Sir, I need two forms of identification and your thumbprint for a deposit of this size,” she says.  I cringe. 
I fire back with, “I’m Big.  I’m Bad.  I’m a Wolf.  What more do you need?”
“As I said, sir, two forms of ID and your thumbprint.”
“Does it look like I have thumbs?  No.  I’m a WOLF!”
I sling my driver’s license on the ledge, and as I hunt for my credit card, I notice her nametag says “Katrina Bedlam.”  Oh, there’s a real pleasure.  I hand over my credit card, and she walks off.  Right then, the toothpaste lady calls her next customer.  Forty-five seconds later and I would have had it easy.  I guess the bad guy never wins, even if he’s trying to make financial transactions.
            She comes back. 
“Funds will be available in seven business days minimum.”  Yeah, there’s good news.  So I explain it in simple terms.

“Are you kidding?  I need this by Friday!”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Wolf. We need to verify these funds are available from the other bank,” she says.  I glance at her, and the only emotion she shows is a slightly noticeable smirk.  It fades away in seconds.
I tell her, “Hello!  It says ‘DreamWorks’ right on the top!  I think it’s a good check!” 
Swimming in frustration, I start regretting my role in the Shrek movies.  I thought it would be fun to play along and do something different in movies, but I question myself sometimes.  As I ponder… she says:
“My, what a big attitude you have!”
Oh hell no.  Now it’s back to business.  I think fast.  I’m going to have to undo the deposit and drive two hours to cash this check at DreamWorks’ bank.
“Listen, just cancel the deposit.  I gotta pay my crew.”
She gets this hoity-toity look and hands it over.  Finally, the end of this nightmare.  I flick her the middle claw and high-tail it out of there.  While I walk past, the security guy in the corner gives me the evil eye.  I realize my whole day is wasted because of this mess.  The check still bothers me since it’s worth so much money.  I grip it tight, and as I walk out of there, I think to myself, “If I’d been younger I could have huffed and puffed and blown this standalone banking center down.”

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Weird Wednesday

OK. I heard the audio to this on Russ Martin this afternoon, and seeing it finished off quite a Wednesday.  After hurrying this morning, blasting Slayer on the way to work, arguing with someone who really had problems getting something figured out for someone, making a super quick lunch trip to Wal-Mart (broke a time record with this one,) seeing baby geese by the pond, getting ahead of the game at work, and somehow getting around severe traffic with no issues this afternoon, I come home to look up this video.  Life's exciting and unpredictable.  This goat's pretty predictable though.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Shortline Sunday!

I thought it might be kind of fun to share some music on this blog, since along with writing pithy short pieces and expressions of life, I make music too.  So here comes Shortline Sunday.  Shortline music is basically any type of music that has a lot of randomness in it lyrically, and that is a lot of fun to record, without any talent requirement or anything.  Or, musical freedom and randomness.  It's sort of like a freewrite, but with music too.

I'm going to try doing this every Sunday, it may just be a song or a link (with commentary.)  But sometimes it'll be an album.

So for my first Shortline Sunday, I would like to present the fourth album from 10,000 Lakes.  Cat Hospital, released in October 1999.

It had been a couple years since the previous 10,000 Lakes album, and a lot of personal changes had happened since then.  So I caught the music bug once again and started coming up with lyrics and music ideas on the guitar.  I also bought a Casio CA-110 and had been messing around with it to come up with some song ideas.

At the time I was in computer school, which was a thing in '99.  I had just bought my red Ford Ranger, which now has 219,000 miles on it.  Jamie and I had recently gotten into our first apartment, and were still figuring out how to get by.  So it was a very versatile time.  Nothing was quite settled, so much was new, and  I was also doing temp work during that period.

I don't know if I've written about the individual songs before, but if you're skimming through them, I can give you a bit of backstory or a tidbit about each one.

"Insurance" was fun, the idea behind that started with looking through the phone book for some goofy ad and I ended up on an insurance ad and made a song out of it.

"Atlanta" was a remake of a previous recording I couldn't find.  The line I remembered was "Get that hamburger out of your hair," which seemed like a funny line, so I reused it.  Still don't know how the heck I did that guitar solo type thingy.

"Kansas City Chiefs" was a tribute to this poor guy:

"Dallas N. Tollway" was about all the time I had spent on the road picking up supplies when I worked for Dad, and also my time as a courier.  I once got lost and saw a highway sign but couldn't read it.  It didn't look like John Carpenter or R.L. Thornton, but it looked like a name.

"Tablecloth" is a stylistic tribute to all the weirdest lyric makers out there, especially my old friend Quentin.

"Mambo #4" was a 'jam band' sort of thing.  I had like 8 minutes left on that side of the tape, and I had also just discovered, so I thought it would be a random way to lure Lou Bega fans to my weirdness.  90's trolling, LOL, sheesh.

"The Soup Factor" was my 'song with actual rhyming lines and stuff' thing that I thought would be important, to show that I do have a little sanity behind all the goofy stuff.

"Dennis The Phantom Menace" is a direct take on the play on words from Hal Jay on the WBAP morning show.  Star Wars: Episode I came out in '99 and I thought it was a funny pun and would make for a good song.

"Cat Hospital" of course, is the title track.  For about a year I had the privilege of commuting back and forth on 635.  Every day I would pass by this one shopping center in north Dallas, the back end showing, and in bold letters there was "CAT HOSPITAL" on the back of the building.  I thought that was a funny concept, a hospital for cats only.  So it became this song and the album title.

"Sofa" was my quasi-love song.  I thought that sitting on a sofa would be the most mundane thing that had nothing to do with love, so it became the title.  Also I made up a whole bunch of weird things that nothing to do with love and threw them in there.

"Boxing Match" was the super-surreal anything-goes song reserved for the folks who got this far in the album.  It was sort of a let loose and be weird type of idea.  Well all the songs are like that, but Boxing Match put a point on it.

"No Room For A Bonus Track."  I recorded this album on a 60-minute cassette.  And, after recording Boxing Match, I realized I still needed to make a little room for a bonus track that would go in kind of secretly.  But there wasn't much tape left.  So I was kind of sad there for a minute, and then I quit being sad and immediately recorded this song.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Thoughts on Music

I've been a fan of music all my life.  It's always moved me, no matter the genre or the time when it was recorded. Really, it's genetic.  I've got a family picture from generations ago when my grandpa from Mom's side was a little boy, and the whole family was standing there, and I believe it was his dad who was holding a fiddle.  I remember my dad telling me a story once, when he was a teenager and brought home a Beatles record, and Grandpa kind of wrote it off and said "It'll all go back to country."  I was always amused by that, because it was an exercise of the generation gap in the 60's and 70's, and because in a way he was right.  Country music has always had high points in popular music, such as Garth Brooks' entry to the stage in the early 90's and of course since American Idol became a thing and focused on vocal artists.  Also when bluegrass got intertwined with pop culture when O Brother, Where Art Thou was released.  And these days we can thank Dave Grohl.

Personally, I've been involved in music since about first grade, when I wrote silly songs and got out the tape recorder just to do a recorded performance.  Then another time in 4th or 5th grade, and then in high school and beyond I got a real kick out of writing and recording songs, even if, and especially if they were goofy and ridiculous, and got my friends into it too.  There's something about telling jokes, and making music sort of play along, that's always interested me.

For years I really didn't like rap music or modern country.  Later I couldn't stand polka or reggae.  These days, I'll listen to any type of music, just because it's art in it's most expressive form.  It's crafted like writing, it's performed like acting, and it's focused on one sense but affects all of the senses.  A few years ago I bought a polka record at a thrift store for a quarter, just because.  It turned out to be a really good record and was about certain areas of life that other genres don't focus on.  It was new to me. 

You can go anywhere with music, as in it can take you anywhere.  My dad is a bluegrass musician and loves it more than any other type of music.  To me it's pure, it's about yearning, it's about love, it's about fun, it's about spiritual depth.  And learning how to play it is a challenge of it's own.  I think that's part of the reason I love metal so much, just because with both it's not hard to listen to something that's difficult to play.

I also love electronic music.  I got into it a little bit back in the big beat days when Crystal Method, Fatboy Slim, and the Chemical Brothers were topping charts.  Some of that type of music is repetitive and catchy, some of it is really complex and also difficult to learn to emulate.  I liked it, and still do, because it's great to work to.  It's great road music.  And much of it is really uplifting and energetic.

I'm also drawn to jam bands, or really anything random and complex like jazz.  Right now I'm jamming to Tripping Daisy.  They're pretty good, they can do something mellow and thoughtful and then floor it with rock energy.

I don't really know where I'm going with this, but lately some of the musical artists I grew up with are making new music.  I think it started with Limp Bizkit - they recorded their first album in a while a couple years ago.  The Beastie Boys' last album came after a long wait, as did Primus's Green Naugahyde. They Might Be Giants re-emerged after a long hiatus, as did Beck, and of course The Pixies (23 years since the last new studio recording.)

It's nice to hear new music from established artists who took some time off or did their own thing or a while.  Some I suppose do it because they're raising kids, or got tired of traveling, or maybe got hurt, or just opted for career change only to rediscover their creative side.

I say bring it on!  There's nothing wrong with some new songs and some new expression.  There are ears waiting to hear that one song that will make them love music again.  As for me, I'm loving a great deal of the new music being made by artists young and old.  Some of it sucks though.  But some of it's pretty amazing.  You gotta look for the good stuff; it's not just gonna show up when you turn on your radio.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Special Feelings

September 6, 1997, in the late afternoon, I was expecting to get married to my favorite person, wearing a pretty yellow dress.  We were in small town Texas, barely two nickels between us to rub together, and hotly in love.  I stood there in front of God, family, and friends, in slacks, a short sleeved white shirt, and I think, a black bowtie.
Moments later I was knocked over with Jamie's beauty.  To me she walked, with her beautiful white dress. Her flowing red hair was curled and designed into this luscious covering I'd never seen before. Blossoms of baby's breath flowers were adorned in her hair. Her dad was giving her away to me, and I felt the weight of responsibility and love battle it out in my soul.

The moment we got married I felt like I was going through a tunnel of change.  It's as if my soul was going on a joy ride in a Maserati spaceship into some unknown universe.  Her beautiful blue eyes locked with my eyes, and as we exchanged vows, we never lost eye contact.  It was intense and amazing, and we both meant it.  To this day, that's the most hardcore moment I've ever known.

I've only gone through the tunnel twice - once when Jamie and I got married, once the moment Grace was born.  Life changes come like a log chain through the heart, but in a good way.  It's no less intense than a log chain throuh any part of anyone, but it carries the weight of meaning something heavy, serious, and wonderful.

True love and true change in life means so much.  I'm thankful for it, and I'm also thankful about being this far on the other side of it.  It's a bit of a bummer to feel old, but this summer... Jamie and I will celebrate the 20th anniversary of our first date.  We went to see a Pauly Shore movie on our first date, after plenty of flirting at Dairy Queen. 

I may be getting older, but... Wow.  It sure is nice to be able to have some major fanfare about something so long ago.  Romance can still live among us aging folks.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Yard Work

A lot of people I really respected and loved passed away last year.  On top of that, life, of course, moved on as it does.  It was an experience that I'll never forget, and I share it because I believe we all have life thrown in our faces not in small doses, but all at once, like a stinging snowball of reality.

I'll post more about that later on.  But for now I want to share something else about life. It may be obvious, but the best way i can illustrate it is that life is a really wide fence.  All of our hopes and dreams are on the other side of the fence, because we're not on the other side yet.  Because fences are tall we can't see what's on the other side, but from where we stand, we see what's on our side and adapt to it.  At some point, we're going to cross over that fence.  All of our hopes and dreams are there, but if and how they materialixe is a mystery.

One idea is that we take care of the yard on this side of the fence.  Perhaps the other side isn't even a yard, or garden, or anything.  Another is just go get a ladder and climb over it to see what's on the other side and go get it.  Yet another says fill up your yard, find a way to the top and compare landscapes.

To me that's all good, but, I ask myself about these things.  Like, why is there a fence in the first place?  Can there be an open area of thought that leads one from dreams and ideas to clarity and accomplishment? 

I know how crazy the world can be, so that's why I'm stuck at the fence.  I think in a way we all are.  Time to do some yard work.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Cigarette

Author's note: I wrote this years ago, describing something that happened even years before that.  A cautionary tale about smoking. Sorta. And if you want to see the "spot," I'll send you a picture.

           Most everyone says cigarettes are bad for you, and that same most everyone will probably tell you that smoking will kill you.  And then there’s that one person who will tell you that a family member smoked for years and died of lung cancer or emphysema, and doesn’t smoke because of that experience.  I imagine I could tell you that same story, but it wouldn’t make you put the one out that you just lit.  

            Tell you what, I’ve got a story for you.  No, you don’t have to put yours out.  Actually, I think I’ll light one myself.  Hang on.  Okay, let’s share this ashtray.  I have to tell you about this one cigarette I smoked.  No, not this one right here.  I’m not playing a trick on you!  

            Before I tell you about this particular cigarette, I’ve got to tell you about Marty.  Marty, yes, she was a smoker, but that’s not the point.  She was the security lady at a place I used to work.  At the time, I installed cabinets and paneling at a high-rise downtown.  She was the one that let us construction guys in to do our work.  She was once a truck driver, and talked the talk.  If two of us came in to do some work, she would say something like: “Hey look, it’s Dipshit and Shitdip!” At first it was annoying, but we got used to it.

            What does this have to do with cigarettes?  Let me light up another one and I’ll tell you.  One day the whole crew was working there in one of the penthouses.  I was driving in that morning, like any other day.  I had a smoke on the way in, lit it on the freeway and flung it out on the side street.  The problem was that since I was driving slow, the cigarette didn’t land on the road, it landed in the bed of my pickup.  I didn’t know, but it landed squarely on a couple of padding blankets I’d used the day before to move some furniture.

            Ah, good.  Your sly smile tells me you know where this is going.  Hey, is your lighter out of juice?  You can use mine.  Anyway, I walked in the building and signed in – I almost signed in as “Dumbass” since that was Marty’s nickname for me at the time, but I didn’t want to be a smartass and a dumbass at the same time.  Three hours later, Marty came up to the penthouse, looking for me.  I sighed, and without any greeting, she stared me down and said, “Give me your cigarettes!”  I had no idea what her problem was.  So I gave up my smokes, and she grabbed my ear, in front of everyone, and dragged me out.  Being on the top floor and having a death pinch on your ear all the way down to the ground was one thing, but when she showed me the burnt-up blankets and the melted spot in the bedliner, which was right above the gas tank, I freaked.  It was like being pulled through some unpleasant vortex.  

            Oh, everyone knew.  The guy that put the fire out was working in the same penthouse.  I’m thankful it was him, he was the fire sprinkler installer.  If it was the painters, they probably would have roasted hot dogs over that fire instead.  I spent the rest of the day completely numbed by the experience.  

Marty never called me Dumbass again.  I had earned a higher honor.  For the next three months, my name was “Smokey,” and every day for a year I looked at that melted spot in the bed of the truck, wondering how many cars would have exploded had the sprinkler guy never shown up, and how long would I have been in jail.  

            You don’t believe me?  Dude, come look at my truck.  I’ll show you the spot.  I see you’re putting your cigarette out.  Well, that’s good I suppose, as long as you know the dang thing’s out.  Yeah, smoking can kick your ass.  Just don’t ask about the time I quit for a month. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hearing and Speaking, Listening and Singing, Learning and Raising

As a musical artist who has been scarce on the recording scene for some time (not like I'm famous or anything, I just haven't done a heck of a lot of writing over the last few years,) I've recently rediscovered some older music that I've had in the back of my mind.  At some point in life bands go on hiatus, or individual singers take a break. 

If not to raise a family, the obvious other reason is to settle down or take care of oneself.  We all grow up and have other priorities.  It doesn't matter who you are, if you have to travel for work at some point you're going to settle down.  Hell, even if you don't travel for work, at some point the priorities change.  Especially if you're in a band.  I was in a podcast once, the two stars of the show lived fifty miles apart, and even a biweekly show was hard to do. 

There was, of course, no money in it; it was strictly a labor of love, and as producer I was surprised we held it together for almost two years - the show went on after us for almost another year - but it was an amazing thing.  We would take turns buying beer and goodies for each new show.  We organized so much behind the scenes. We got good at it.  The two stars were different, but one was the head, one was the heart.  I took the part of the ears.

Sometimes I look back and think about how it didn't take off like a rocket.  It easily could've.  We all really grew from it and did our thing over time.  Personally though, I look back, and I'm thankful to have met so many cool people, and at the same time have my ears put to work, and learn how to get comfortable with a microphone. 

Such is life.  There are so many days that are just repetitions, a routine we're all tied to that we have to do, even though the big clock is ticking.  But life has more.  It's difficult, after getting used to life, to realize how gradually the routine changes.

The real challenge is seeing the little things for what they are: the big things in disguise, playing checkers with us, but on a chess board.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Chili Dog Recipe

So over the years, I've developed a chili dog recipe that will certainly go through some more changes (like a specific chili recipe.)  But the one I've relied on for the last couple of years seems to be a hit, and takes no more than 30-40 minutes from start to finish. The details are important and make this one stand out. So here goes:

Toasted Chili Dogs

- One 8-pack hot dog buns (use wheat or Whitewheat as these are more dense than regular buns, and hold up better with toppings, and toast better)
- A pack of 8 beef hot dogs (light, low-fat, or organic)
- One 8 oz. package of shredded sharp cheddar (2% is best because it melts well with the other ingredients)
- One 15 oz can of Wolf Brand Chili (regular or turkey, doesn't matter, no beans, they just get in the way)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 shakes Tabasco
- Optional ingredients - sliced jalapenos, sour cream, side items

Get two pots, one full of water to boil the hot dogs, one to warm up the chili.  Boil the water first, including your garlic powder and Tabasco.  Once it's rolling add your hot dogs.

While the water heats up, get a baking pan and spread out your hot dog buns evenly, so that that they can hold all the ingredients in them.  Take a small amount of the shredded cheese and sprinkle it in the bottom part of each bun. 

In the other pan, add the chili and keep it on a low setting while stirring.  When the hot dogs are done, use tongs to add each one to the buns. 

At this point you want to preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

When the chili has gotten warm enough use a wood spoon to cover the hot dogs up, don't overload them, you should have some chili left over.

Add the rest of the cheese on top, actually it shouldn't take all of it.  But most of it.  Place the pan in the oven (should be preheated by now) and let bake for 10-12 minutes. 

While it's cooking, get out plates, napkins, jalapenos, the remaining cheese, sour cream, and any sides you've come up with.  When you're done or close to it, the oven's going to beep.  The cheese will be melted, the buns will be nice and toasty, and it'll be time to eat.  Don't forget forks in case the dogs are too topping-heavy.  Enjoy!


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