Smokin’ Spare Ribs 🍖 (3·2·1 Style)


So, recently I got a smoker attachment for my Char-Griller grill as a gift for Father’s Day. I tried it out today and the results we fantastic. I hit up the Google machine and some non-BBQ-ing Facebook groups for advice, tips, & tricks. (I imagine that they are as intense as guitar groups and I am just not ready yet.) I kept getting advice on the 3-2-1 method of smoking ribs. There are many variations of that technique. I think it went well. I tracked my progress with the #AiXeLsyDBBQ hashtag. Maybe I’ll do some more next time.

The quick and dirty of this method is…

  1. Get your coals to 225°-ish. (I used a chimney to avoid lighter fluid and it was awesome.) I added some wood chunks in the chimney, and on top once I spread on the coals. I did not soak the wood, but I may next time. Control the temp with your vents. Open a bit warms it up, closed cools it off… all because of airflow.
  2. Remove the silverskin, and put a nice rub on the ribs. I used one from the section of Walmart by all the grilling stuff.
  3. Put the ribs in the grill part if you have an attachment, or not on the heat for 3 hours.
  4. Pull the ribs out, wrap in heavy duty grilling foil, add some apple cider, apple juice, vinegar, pop, or whatever. I added some Straub. Unfortunately I made 2 racks and used the whole bottle, so I drank one myself.
  5. Put them in for 2 hours, smoking really isn’t necessary at this point if your wanna save your chunks or chips.
  6. Pull them out and unwrap them. I should have saved the drippings for the barbecue sauce on the side, but I did not. Shame on me. Do that.
  7. Sauce those ribs up. Liberally. Like, and obscene amount.
  8. Put them back on for 1 hour. (3-2-1… get it? Guys! They said the thing!)
  9. Always check with a thermometer for done-ness. They should be pretty damn done at this point, arguably overdone.
  10. EAT.

I know fall-off-the-bone isn’t competition style. A bone did pull right out of one rack, but the meat was in tact, not falling completely apart. I know the foil wrapping bit is then steaming not smoking… but, rules are made to be broken and a healthy dose of anarchy warms my little punk rock heart.

I would definitely do the ribs like this again. I may try a homemade sauce. This was pretty basic store-brand stuff from Shop ‘n Save with some dry mustard, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper, and Straub American Amber Lager. I may try different chips, or a smoker box, or to soak the wood. I even read some people eschew charcoal in favor of all wood once the fire is going.

I also threw on some baked potatoes, turkey legs, grilled veggies, and sauce on the attached burner.

Can’t wait to try out a turkey, pork loin, brisket, and whatever else I haven’t thought of. Mac n’ cheese? Jalapeño poppers? Meatloaf? Bacon?

What do you do in the smoker? What are your go to foods? Got any tips & tricks worth sharing? Do you click the tongs twice or three times? Before, during, or after?

Any excuse to drink beer and play with fire all day is a good excuse to me. Plus, the family was awed by my hereto unknown skills with smoked meats.

What music are you playing while you’re grilling or smoking?

This is the full adventure as told via Instagram:

New pickups for the Annihilator!


This is a copy of the Annihilator guitar developed by Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein and his brother Jerry Only of the legendary horror punk band, the Misfits.

Annihilator copy from AliExpress - A copy of the infamous guitars of Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein.

I ordered it from AliExpress. It seems to be a copy of the Oktober version. I think Jerry & Doyle originally worked with Rand to build the guitars… then Oktober made a run but Doyle has publicly and often decried their quality. Word on the street is that Dean will be making a production model. Doyle’s have been made from wood, graphite, and metal… with bolt-on sides since he can be a bit rough on them.

I had my go-to guitar guru (the inimitable Aaron Hutzel of Empire Music) recently do a setup and drop-in some Dragonfire Crusaders humbuckers. It sounds glorious through my Orange Micro Terror & a Laney 2×12 cab.

Here is a video of me playing it:

Here’s a short version of the video with annoying filters and stickers on TikTok:

I love it. I know its not “real.” I know it’s ridiculous. It’s fun. I’m too punk rock and too old to care what anyone thinks of the look, legitimacy, or irony of it all. Ha ha.

You can read about my first impressions here: My Guitars | The Annihilator Guitar

You can get one here if you have mad patience and expectations that match the sub-$200 price point: $189.0 US | Factory custom unusual shape Bat body Electric Guitar with Rosewood Fretboard, Bat inlay, Black Hardware, offer customized

Check out Empire Music if you want to see some really nice high-end Fender, Gibson, Martin, Taylor, & more guitars. Check out some of Aaron’s work on his Instagram, he gets to see some beautiful axes! If you’re in or around Pittsburgh, I highly recommend him for all your guitar repair, revision, and setup needs.

Check out a bunch of my weird guitars here on the blog and here on my playlist:

I may eventually set up a website just to catalog/showcase my collection. I have it, I just need to populate it. Would anyone be interested in that, or just me?

Vegetable Garden 2021 🌱


This year, I had some big help in the garden! These two have been gardening since they could walk, and I think they’re enjoying it and really getting the hang of it.

The kids have their own YouTube channel now, with a little hep from some old guy that blogs occasionally. Check out their gardening how-to:

I also made a map, and decided to make a chart of the suggested harvest dates on the tags just to see how accurate they are. I have been gardening since I can remember, and don’t know if I ever paid attention to that. We just picked stuff whenever it appeared & ripened.

Garden Map & Harvest Dates 2021

We made sure to get all the tags & try to document it all. The kids are loving math & science, so why not incorporate it into the garden? We can see if the harvest dates noted on the tags are anywhere near when the plants are actually ready.

I’m excited to see how it turns out! And, yeah, we got some more jalapeño since they liked it last year… and this time we’re trying some poblano too!

Whoa, Instagram is a trip down memory lane with these kids and gardening!

Get an A-Maze Mug! c[_]


Hey, we talked about it before… No one, not two, but three times.

It’s finally here! Get an A-Maze Mug from Ci3! How cool is that? Each mug comes with a dry-erase marker so you can solve the maze, both in a nifty box covered in mazes!

A-MAZE MUG by Ci3 & AiXeLsyD13
A-MAZE MUG by Ci3 & AiXeLsyD13

More cool maze-related merch coming soon. What else would you like to see? Socks? Masks? T-shirts? Books? Puzzles? Mirrors? Tiles?

I haven’t ever done anything to make my mazes available for any kind of sale, so this is exciting to me. What do you think?

I am eternally grateful to Mike Copen for the nudge and the opportunity. It’s so cool for artists, designers, entrepreneurs, & creative types to support each other.

Of course, I think they’d make great gifts for friends, family, teachers, co-workers, or even anyone that may be hard to buy for. Who doesn’t like a nice warm beverage? Solving the maze with the dry erase marker is a good opportunity to kind of zone out in a zen-like state, to help you regain focus to start the day or even decompress at the end of a long day! I know that’s the drive behind drawing them.

These would be great for coffee, tea, hot cocoa, warm apple cider, ramen, or one of my soup recipes.

Please, share the link if you’re so inclined. I’d like to see how far these can go. Thanks in advance if you plan on making a purchase!

Merry Christmas 2020 – From the Carroll Family!


Our church put out a call for video submissions for the Christmas Eve streaming service. Here is what we contributed.

I threw it together into one video and added some cheesy effects and titles.

This is…

  • The Christmas Carrolls performing “Away in a Manger”
  • Molly reading The First Christmas Night by Keith Christopher
  • Ian doing some prayers on the fly – take 1 & take 2. (We only sent take 2 to the church.)

Check out live & archived videos from the church here: https://www.facebook.com/hillschurchexport/live

Finally set up a place to rock.


I finally got a permanent place set up to rock. All my guitars, ukes, amps, pedals, and even an electric kazoo are easy to quickly access and just start rocking when inspiration hits.

AiXeLsyD13's Guitar Room
Axetopia? CBGB’s (Carroll’s Big Guitar Bunker)? The Guitarmory?

I have talked about it, or even blogged about it for years.

It still needs a name. I haven’t officially decided. I have been calling it “the music room” or “the guitar room.” Both of those seem boring. Maybe this? I find it amusing but clunky.

I may make some videos of guitar shenanigans as a creative outlet. Not sure what direction they’ll take. I’m not a particularly good or technical player, but I can demo some gear or do some fun silly stuff. I do already have a YouTube playlist started for my guitar-related videos.

The Postitive Grid Spark amp & app have really made jamming quick and fun… they have a cool in-app video feature, but it’s not much different than recording straight-up with the phone’s camera.

I have been having a blast playing along to stuff on YouTube… from stuff from my old bands, to Black Sabbath, to Snuff, to the Ramones, and my new favorite song to play along to; “Bigger than Kiss” by Teenage Bottlerocket.

More setup inspires more setup. I need a way to store my physical media (mostly CD’s) so it’s easily accessible. I have a lot. Too many probably. I need to build some shelves and the stuff I’m finding online seems painfully expensive and not quite a fit. And I’d like to dump that all on a personal media server. I have a lot of stuff not available on Amazon or Spotify.

The next itch I can already feel will need scratching is some kind of recording setup. I’d like to layer stuff I can hear in my head, without the aid of a looper. I miss the days of a Tascam 4-track with a cassette tape. Maybe I’ll delve into a nice simple digital version of that.

The kids have guitars, ukes, and a keyboard too… and now we almost need drums and a bass or too, right?

At any rate… it’s important to have a creative outlet. Live isn’t conducive to me jamming regularly with a band right now. I only seem to do mazes when the inspiration hits, and I blog pretty randomly. Music is one more option for expression, creativity, and constant learning/exploring. I hope to foster the kids’ musical expression and drive home how important it is to remain creative themselves and appreciative of art in general.

Keep watching the blog, social media, and YouTube if you’re interested in the musical stuff.

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Train your miscreants young.

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Making progress.

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Gonna need more walls.

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👽

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Green LED's! #AllMyAxes

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'MURICA. 🇺🇸🎸🤘 #SparkAmp

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So, I’ll take your suggestions in the comments!

  • What should I officially call the axe-cave?
  • Where can I get cheap media shelves for over 1500 CD’s & other assorted media?
  • What do you want to see in guitar videos?
  • What’s a good cheap recording solution?

Share your space to create in the comments too!

MazeMugs? A-Maze Mug? Something else? Ci3 & I need your feedback.


Mike Copen of Ci3 Sublimation had the idea to put one of my mazes on to a mug, and I agreed that it would indeed be fun. We need your feedback to help make this something that people may be interested in buying?

Here are some images that Mike worked up;

Do you like the names? Feel free to comment your own.

☕✍

I would also appreciate comments here on this blog post, or on my social media posts;

You can comment below without needing to login to WordPress. I believe it will let you comment via Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail logins among others.

We have gotten some great feedback so far, and I dig it!

I really appreciate Mike helping take my mazes to something other than doodles on paper piling up here at the house, or floating out there in the cyberspace ether unnoticed.  Ha ha.  I am unable to determine the correct path on how to go about making a book and if there would even be an audience for just mazes.  I’m really not into making a theme other than “here are some mazes” outside the occasional inspiration for something else that’s goofy(Or on something that’s goofy.)

Maze Mugs (or A-Maze Mugs?) Possibly Coming Soon!


My friend Mike is helping make my mazes a bit more interesting!  This is a prototype.  Please, let us know what you think!

Check out Ci3 Sublimation on Big Cartel and Etsy for all kinds of cool products from Mike.

I think you know you can find my mazes here.

Would you like a maze mug?  Would you like a maze on anything else?  I think the dry-erase thing is super cool.

…And Out Comes the Dookie.


...And Out Comes The Dookie

…And Out Comes The Dookie

It’s a new social media game.

Combine two albums you dig into one… just like some record executive or intern did once upon a time with Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II, combining the “best” tracks of each to make one pointless album.

I would suggest that you do two albums.  It can be different artists or the same.

If you want to be crazy try to keep the run time to a “real” album length.  I think Records hold 44 minutes of music and CD’s 74 or so?  About an hour would be good.

You can keep the artists separate like a split, or mix it all up.

Hell, you can combine 3 or more albums.  I am a fan of anarchy.  Just play.  Here in the comments, or online.  Use PicsArt or something similar to make an album cover if so inclined.

You can explain why you chose the tracks, or just let the mix speak for itself.

Just play.  Spread it.  Have fun.

We used to do stuff sort of like this on PittsburghBeat.com.

Here’s my fist offering; Rancid’s …And Out Come The Wolves mashed with Green Day’s Dookie;

01. Rancid “Maxwell Murder”
02. Green Day “Longview”
03. Rancid “Roots Radicals”
04. Green Day “Welcome to Paradise”
05. Rancid “Time Bomb”
06. Green Day “Pulling Teeth”
07. Rancid “Olympia WA.”
08. Green Day “Basket Case”
09. Rancid “Lock, Step & Gone”
10. Green Day “She”
11. Rancid “Ruby Soho”
12. Green Day “When I Come Around”
13. Rancid “Journey to the End of the East Bay”
14. Green Day “Emenius Sleepus”
15. Rancid “She’s Automatic”
16. Green Day “In the End”
17. Rancid “Old Friend”
18. Green Day “F.O.D.”
19. Rancid “As Wicked”
20. Green Day “All by Myself”

I sort of mixed up the tracks because why not? They do appear in album order.  The run time is just over 50 minutes. (Thanks Wikipedia & Google Sheets.)

Now, you do one.  Encourage others.  Show me what ya got.  I feel like I sort of did this once before already.

Wanna do a #maze or two?


I have been posting them to Instagram, just not here much.  I have a few I have drawn but haven’t shared.  I may share them here.  Is anyone interested in them?  Should I save them for a publisher or Etsy shop? I need to get with CI3 and make some mugs!

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So, who's gonna solve my #GuitarCase #Maze?

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Yeah, that one is on my guitar case. It would be killer if someone could complete that one… just not on the actual case. Ha ha.

Thanksgiving is my favorite. Maybe after Halloween.

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Give it a go. #maze #mazes #solvethismaze

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I am so proud of my little artist!

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Cleaned up my #maze from earlier.

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Another #maze if you dig.

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https://www.instagram.com/p/Bsa51dkBfyb/Who%20doesn't%20need%20a%20good%20inspirational/motivational%20quote/meme%20not%20and%20then?https://www.instagram.com/p/BsbyuFphJmL/

You know you wanna print one and try it, or use an app on your phone/tablet to draw right on it. Then you wanna tag me in social media with the solution or leave it here in the comments.