The Beginning of the Beginning

There’s that ultimate question.  As Douglas Adams phrased it, “How many roads must a man walk down?”  Most of us should have heard the answer to that one already.  This question burns in all of us.  It drives us to find purpose, to grow older and stronger, to develop our skills and ourselves, and to create something that will allow us to be remembered for years after we’re gone.  This question takes many forms.  Why are we here?  What is it all for?  Is there any purpose to it?  I believe that there is.  I also believe that the purpose is much more simple than we expect.  I will explain this in more detail in the future, but I don’t want to leave you in suspense.  So I will say that I just told you the answer to this question.  It is the very purpose that we are driven to by that simple question.  To grow, to develop, and to create.  All living things follow this path.  I know that many people may think that this answer is too simple.  That there must be something more to it.  I will explain that in future posts.  For now I will leave you to ponder.

Jalapeno Shredded Beef

This recipe is one I’ve been working on for a little while.  There was this little mexican food place I used to like to go to and they had awesome shredded beef burritos.  This shredded beef gets pretty darn close, and is quite tasty.  You can use it for Burritos, enchiladas, tacos, or whatever else.  When roasting the beef, the Jalapenos and onions that are in the pot with it get a little soggy.  they are still flavorful, but i like the crisp of the fresh vegetables.  So in this recipe I set aside some of the jalapeno, onion and garlic and then mix it back in with the beef after it’s been shredded.  It adds that crisp and helps to enhance the flavors that are already in the roast.  The Saltlick dry rub is a good solid choice, because it contains everything you’d need and you don’t need to mix it up yourself.  If you don’t have it, the key ingredients are salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and paprika.


  • Saltlick brand Garlic Dry Rub
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 3 Jalapenos
  • 1 2-3lb Beef Chuck roast.
  • 3 cloves of garlic

Coat the Beef Chuck roast generously with the Dry Rub. Wrap in foil and leave in the refrigerator overnight. Chop ¾ of the onion and dice the other ¼. Chop 2 of the Jalapenos and dice the other 1. Chop 2 cloves of garlic and mince the other 1. Put the Chopped vegetables in a large tupperware container and mix them up thoroughly. Put the diced onion/jalapeno and minced garlic in a small tupperware container and mix it up then place it in the refrigerator for use later.

Preheat the oven to 275F. In a roasting pan layer about 2/3 of the chopped vegetables on the bottom of the pan. Place the chuck roast on top of them. Place the other 1/3 of the chopped vegetables on top of the roast. Cover the roast and cook in the oven for 4-5 hours. Check the roast at 4 hours. Use a fork to see if it is ‘shreddable’ and tender. If not, cook for another hour or so checking every 20 – 30 minutes.

Once the roast can be easily shredded with a fork, pull the meat from the pan. Remove the roasted vegetables. You can use these for a spicy gravy or sauce if you’d like. Shred the beef and mix in the fresh diced vegetables from the refrigerator.

License Plate Scrabble – Official Rules.

I like to think I invented this game.  I’m sure the concept has been used before but I’ve fleshed out quite a rule set to allow you to have fun playing scrabble on road trips, or just generally anytime you drive around in your car with friends or family.

What you Need

A good vocabulary, the ability to spell, and a quick wit.  While playing this game you will be trying to ramble out words faster than other players in the car, and those words will give you points.  It might be helpful to designate one person in the vehicle to be a scorekeeper (Obviously not the driver) or just to keep track of your own individual score as you play. Or you can just play for fun and decide not to keep score.


To score more points than anyone else in the vehicle. Or just to come up with the most creative word combos.

How to Play

While in the car, use any license plates you can see to create words.  Most license plates do not have vowels in them, so you will be working off of only the consonants that are available.  You can add in only vowels to make your words.  You can also use the letters Y and W as wildcards.  The word(s) you create must use ALL letters from the license plate.  When there are no letters on the license plate it cannot be played.  Words cannot be used more than once per license plate.  Each added letter results in 1 point.  When multiple words are created, word combos can result in much higher scores than single words.

Example: You see a license plate with the letters ‘MNK’ on it.  You could yell out ‘monk’ adding in an ‘o’ for this word this results in 1 point total because one letter was added. You could also yell out ‘monkey’ as you can add in ‘y’ as a wildcard.  This word would give you 3 points.  You cannot use the word ‘Man’ because it does not use the letter ‘k’. In these examples, once the words ‘Monk’ and ‘Monkey’ are used other players cannot use these words unless the same letters appear on another license plate in view.

If the license plate has no consonants:

Then you can add only consonants to make the words.  In this case you are limited to only the vowels that display on the license plate.

Example: You see a license plate with the letters ‘AOU’ you could use the word ‘about’ as it uses all three of the vowels provided and only adds in consonants. This would give you 2 points as you added in 2 letters.

If the license plate has some vowels and some consonants:

Then you can either make due with what you have.  You can also substitute any vowel on the license plate for a single consonant. When you do this you cannot use that vowel in any words you create; unless that vowel occurs on the license plate more than once. Substituted letters are not worth any points.

Example: You see a license plate with the letters ‘ATL’ you could use the word ‘late’ and earn a single point as you used all three letters of the license plate.  OR you can substitute the letter ‘A’ for another consonant, but then the word you make cannot use the letter ‘A’ so with the same letters you could make the word ‘toll’ substituting the ‘A’ for an ‘L’ and adding in the letter ‘O’.  This would only be worth 1 point as the substitution does not count for points..  Using the letters ‘AAL’ you could substitute one of the ‘A’ characters for an ‘S’ and make the word ‘also’  In this case there is still a letter ‘A’ in your pool of letters so you can use this one, but you cannot use any additional ‘A’s.

Creating multiple words per license plate (Word Combos):

You can create multiple words using the characters on the license plate.  When you do this, if you can use those words in a sentence where they are sequential, you get to multiply your points for the letters added by the number of words created.  This can result in some very high scoring word sets.  However, the multiplier can only be applied when those words can be used in a sentence sequentially.  If they cannot be used in a sentence then you only get points for the letters added.

Example: Using the letters ‘FRS’ you could create the words ‘use fire’.  Then you would say the sentence ‘When all else fails, use fire’.  This would earn you 4 points for the letters added, multiplied by the 2 words you created, worth 8 points.  You could also create the words ‘if’ ‘are’ and ‘sew’ (Remember to use the wildcards).  These three words cannot be used in a sentence sequentially so you would only earn 5 points for the letters that were added.  Reminder, once these words are used, they cannot be used to create other word combos either unless the letters appear on another license plate.  So sometimes it may make sense to use common words like ‘if’ or ‘are’ to block other players from creating other word combos.

Scoring Overview

  • Players earn 1 point for each letter added.
  • Substituted letters are not worth any points
  • Creating multiple words can result in a multiplier if those words can be used in a sentence.

Additional ways to earn points:

  1. If you create a word that uses ONLY the letters on the license plate without adding anything then you automatically get 1 point.
    1. Using the letters ‘ATR’ you create the word ‘art’ this is worth 1 point.
  2. If you can name a common acronym for the letters on the license plate, IN THE ORDER THEY DISPLAY then you can earn an automatic 3 points
    1. Using the letters ‘FTW’ you can say ‘For the Win’ and earn 3 points. you could not do this if the letters were in the order ‘TWF’

How to Win

When the road trip is over, the player with the most points wins.

Additional Considerations

House rules are always welcome.  Feel free to comment below with your favorite house rules so that other players can use them.

Example House Rules:

  • No Onomatopoeia:
    • Onomatopoeia words like ‘Boom’, ‘Slap’, or ‘Cough’ cannot be used.
  • Single Language Only:
    • All words created must be from a single specified language. This is a good fairness rule when one person in the vehicle is multi-lingual but other players are not.  This does not mean that the word must originate in that language, only that it must be a word that can be used in that language.
  • Single Word Only:
    • Only single words are allowed.  This would negate the multiple word rules in the game.
  • No personalized plates:
    • Plates that are personalized (IE: OUTATIME) cannot be used to make any words.

Have Fun!

Jus’ Write

This blank piece of paper
In front of me
It annoys me so.

It can be anything.
A poem
A Story
An award winning novel
You never know.

When I look at it
I begin to frown

So I think
and I think.

And I write something down.

I love the Oxford Comma

I’ve been writing for many years.  I learned to write in a time when we were taught that when you are building a list of things, you always put a comma before the word ‘and’.  I am a big fan of this practice.  If i say ‘I like oranges, limes, and sometimes apples’  I will put that extra comma before the word ‘and’  That is the Oxford Comma.  I like it and it likes me.