Fat Daddy’s BBQ

July 16th, 2009

Big Daddy's BBQFood from street vendors carries with it some element of risk, whether that vendor is on the side of the road in a remote 3rd world country, or off the highway in rural Wisconsin. That’s a large part of its charm. This, combined with the promise of finding something truly authentic and delicious, makes buying food from these vendors almost irresistible.

So when we stopped for gas along Highway 18 in some forgotten town in Wisconsin and saw Big Daddy’s BBQ pulled up next door, there was no question but that we’d be sampling Big Daddy’s wares. And honestly, I have not had a brisket sandwich that good outside of Texas. The meat was moist and tender and flaked apart easily, a sure sign that time was taken to prepare it correctly. The sauce (they had two kinds – hot and mild, and I opted for the hot) was piquant and savory with just a touch of sweetness.

If you ever find yourself passing by Big Daddy’s on Highway 18, turn right back around and get you some grub. It’s worth a stop.

(I wouldn’t necessarily recommend holing up in the Lawn Motel, though. That could be taking dodgy to whole new levels.)

Thumbing a Drive

July 16th, 2009

Swiss Army KnifeI remember the glee I felt when I first stumbled upon an article discussing the merits of portable computer applications that can be run from a thumb drive, and I immediately set about scouring the internets for just such applications. I built myself a great little “Swiss Army Knife” of apps for doing everything from cleaning out registries to graphic design to antivirus to word processing to you-name-it. It was a damned sweet suite, although maneuvering through the folders to find the exact right program for the job did start to get cumbersome.

And then, after a particularly satisfying session using GIMP to draw maps for a wedding invitation, I decided to research portable apps once again to see what other gems I could add to the drive, and I found something so amazingly spectacular that there’s a gaping hole in my head where it blew my mind:


LiberKey is a complete suite of over 200 fully portable file management, audio, video, office, security, network, internet, graphics, etc. etc. etc. applications that fit onto a tidy 2gb USB thumb drive, with the added advantage of having a handy taskbar menu that groups all of the apps into their respective categories and subcategories for ease of use. You can easily add or remove apps from the suite and from the menu to suit your own needs, and the whole package goes along with you wherever you go.

Very nice.

And completely free.

If you feel like digging through over TWO THOUSAND apps on the way to greatness, try the Lupo Pen Suite, which seems to have a better interface but, like the Robin Williams character in search of coffee in the film Moscow on the Hudson, I cannot put myself through having to choose from among that many options!

In the interest of full disclosure, you’ll find that you cannot go wrong with PortableApps.com, which also has a lovely taskbar menu.

The Lap Film Festival

July 16th, 2009

film-projectorA little bit of Hollywood darkened my doorstep last weekend when a fantastic film festival came to town.

Okay, not really. The “film festival,” a collection of exploitation films from the 1930s, came to my lap courtesy the internets, so unlike an actual film festival there was no hoopla, no judging, no celebrities or auteurs, no madding crowds… just a marathon of vintage crap. And bonus – it was completely free!

The films are all available on what could possibly be the most awesome site ever created for those of us with a decidedly nostalgic bent: The Internet Archive. Scoot on over to the Moving Images section and be prepared as a rift forms in the space-time continuum and The Past spills out all over your Now.

My personal film festival was an exploration of exploitation, delving into such sensitive topics as drug addiction, sexual perversion, and insanity:

Interspersed among these five feature films were short films on bus safety (with ghosts!), television advertising from the 1950s and 60s, and rural civil defense television spots from 1965.

The internet: Making my lap happy since 1984.