Thursday, November 20, 2014

How to Sell an Unwanted Car on Craigslist as Quickly as Possible

As I've shared in the past, I live a bit of a double life.  White collared, card-carrying member of the rat-race by day, skinner of squirrels and killer of pigs by night.

My weekend car is a 1999 beautiful, red, beat-up Chevy Silverado pick-up with 185,000 miles on it.  I love this truck and to my recollection, it has only let me down once (story to come).  Many a good times have been spent in and as a result of this truck.  My daily driver/beater is a 15 year old Volvo S80 4 door sedan with 150,000 miles on it.  I'm not proud that I drive a European car / Volvo but it gets me from point A to point B so I can feed my family and afford to play on weekends.  Plus, it helps that a really close friend who is as honest as the day is long and an all around solid Christian guy has been a Volvo mechanic for 29 years!

Recently, my wife wanted a new car ("new" meaning we let some other shlub take the depreciation kick in the teeth and bought a 3 year old car with 4,500 miles on it).  Our marriage has evolved to where the wife gets a new car, I get her old car and we sell my old beater for pocket change.  Yes, I could afford a new car/truck but am (i) cheap and (ii) tight and (iii) don't like assets that INSTANTLY drop in value.

So, we take possession of the new car and I list my old beater on Craigslist.  If you've never sold a car on Craigslist, let me share a little secret.... it stinks.  You have to deal with people saying they want it who then don't show up, people who want you to take payments, people who will hit you in the head with a piece of pipe and steal the car and people who are running a variety of creative scams involving fake cashiers checks, shipping and foreign mission trips.

But the biggest issue is the process is a major time-suck.  AND, most people want to look at it on weekends.  AND it is hunting season.  AND weekends are made for hunting, not being hit in the head with a piece of pipe.

My goal was to not try to get every nickel out of the car and do something different to distinguish the car from the other 1,000s listed on Craigslist so it would sell as quickly as possible.

Below is my masterpiece.


2000 Volvo S80 - Affordable European Performance and Luxury - $2500

Please text or email. No phone calls.

For Sale -- One well experienced 2000 S80 gray Volvo.

While in this car, I can guarantee:
- Women will NOT take off their tops and throw them at you.
- You will NEVER get a "thumbs up" from a bunch of kids on a bus who think you are cool.
- You will NOT get dates because of the car.

Bottom line: if you are one of those shallow, weak people that lets a car define them, this car is NOT for you.

However, if you are a renegade... a person of special confidence... a rebel... one who goes against the grain... a person who marches to their own tune, read on Winner.

General Description:
Mileage: 148,000 miles
Body Style: 4 door sedan
Exterior: Institutional gray. Is the paint perfect? Heck no. The car has the required door dings, semi-oxidized paint and delaminating clear-coat of an automobile of this desirable vintage.
Interior: Beige leather. The minor splits and cracks are a permanent record and testimony of past good times.
Motor: Yes. The car has a solid, straight 6.
Transmission: automatic. No pesky clutch to destroy your left knee.
Amenities: power windows, power locks, power seats, power moon roof. The car is just dripping with power!
AV: The stereo has a poor-man's audio jack so you can play music off your phone, just like a car made this decade.

I've owned this car for the last 80,000 miles. It has been well maintained by Southwest Automotive (Volvo specialist). It has served its purpose. Time to let someone else live the dream!

- Meat locker-like AC
- runs well
- bone cracking cold AC
- current registration and inspection
- cold AC
- New tires (5 months old)
- drives well
- gets occupants from point A to point B
- Volvos are the safest cars on the road
- AC will combat global warming if given enough time.

- 148,000+ miles with the associated coffee stains, dings, dirt, wear and tear, etc.
- No one writes rock songs about Volvos
- ugly as homemade sin

Who should buy this car?
A person looking for decent transportation who does not give a rat's rear-end about coolness or looks.

Who should NOT buy this car?
A person who will come by to look at it and point out its dozens of flaws. I KNOW it has flaws. It is 14 years old with a boat-load of miles on it. If you would like a beautiful, new Volvo, please contact your local Volvo dealership and cut them a check for $42,000. Problem solved.

Also, I'm not set up to deliver the car, take payments, dismantle it and ship it to Nova Scotia or anything weird or out of the ordinary. PayPal payment scam artists, Nigerian princes, Deputy Assistant Finance Ministers for Upper Volta, and cashier check forgers need not apply. I'll sell you the car when you place cold hard cash in my hand and we fill out the paper work. We can meet at a bank or in dark alley under the cover of darkness, your call.

Is the price negotiable?
Is the Pope Catholic? Heck yeah. Make me a realistic offer and we'll make a deal.


"Steve", the first person to call on the ad, is picking it up this Sunday!  Mission Accomplished!


A Man in the Woods

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

An Ice Chest in the Kitchen: Idiot-proof Method for Cooking a Perfect Venison Roast

Field & Stream recently had an interesting article on cooking wild game in a cooler or ice chest. The article went into a bunch of history and the French roots of the method.  This all sounded rather prissy yet while the French are, in general, really crappy at defending themselves, they CAN cook.

Always up for something different, I thought I'd give it a try.  To say it exceeded my expectations would be an understatement.

Most venison roasts I have prepared are tasty but tend to either (i) fall apart whether it was over indirect heat on the grill (wrapped in foil) or in a crock pot (excellent for stew however) OR (ii) are dry and tough.  Hitting the perfect middle ground consistently has alluded me.

Below is the general overview of the procedure, as modified in typical A Man in the Woods style.  Recipes, like instructions and most traffic laws, should be viewed as mere suggestions so feel free to experiment as you see fit.  My mother along with a good friend from Louisiana (where all men cook) taught me to cook more by feel than anything.

0.  Find, kill, gut, butcher and process one (1) deer.

1.  Place a thawed, ~2 lb venison roast in a large bowl.  I used a roast from a doe hindquarter my daughter killed last year.  A backstrap would be excellent too.

2.  With a very sharp, thin bladed knife, stab the roast 50+ times like it tried to jack you in a drug deal gone bad.  One of the multi-tined, thin bladed meat tenderizers would work well but you'll have less fun that way.

3.  Add the following marinade ingredients to the bowl:
  • Several (8-10) splashes of soy sauce
  • Several (8-10) splashes of Worcester sauce
  • Some (~1/4 cup) of Italian dressing (this one was shiitake mushroom)
  • A couple (1-2 tablespoons) of Adam's Best Rib, Roast & Steak Rub (but anything along these lines will do)
  • Some (4-5) splashes of Heinz Tarragon vinegar
  • Some (4-5 splashes) of smoked Tabasco sauce (my personal favorite)
  • A little (1/2 teaspoon) of ground ginger

4.  Spoon / slather marinade on both sides of roast, ensuring that it soaks into the stab wounds.

5.  Cover the bowl and leave at room temperature for several hours.  If you have a horrible dog named Dixie who is prone to counter-surfing and stealing food, MOVE IT BACK FROM THE EDGE!

6.  Sear, on high heat, (the roast, not the dog) on a BBQ grill for ~8-10 minutes a side.

7.  Place roast and marinade in a large Ziploc bag and seal it with as little air as possible.  The original F&S article suggested vacuum sealing it which would obviously work.

8.  Put a large pot (~gallon) of water on stove and set to high (to bring it to a boil).

9.  While the water is heating up, add ~ 1 gallon on HOT tap water to a small cooler.  My tap water peaks out at 114F.  Add boiling water to bring up the cooler water temperature to ~150F.  The F&S article called for 140F but I wanted the roast a tad more done than medium rare.

10.  VERIFY the water temperature with a digital meat thermometer.  Don't guess or you'll just waste your time.  You can get a digital meat thermometer for $10-$20 from 1,000s or sources.  It is well worth the investment and will give you years of service.

11.  Place roast/bag carefully in water bath, making sure top of bag is out of the water in case it is not perfectly sealed.

12.  Close lid.

13.  Threaten family to not open cooler lid and let the heat escape!

14.  Sit back and wait!  F&S said to let it go for 1.5-4 hours.  I let it go overnight (probably 8 hours) just because I started it at night and it was time to go to bed.  The beauty of this method is you really can't overcook it.  That MAX the inside of the roast will get is ~145F or so.

15.  Slice thin and enjoy!

A few notes:
  • F&S said to sear the roast afterwards in a hot pan with some oil.  I did it beforehand on the grill.
  • The roast was firm but totally moist inside.  Nice and pink.  I assume it had an internal temp of ~140F for several hours.  It looks and tasted quite a bit like perfectly cooked roast beef.
  • I started off at 154F and the water temp had dropped to 136F in the morning.
  • This would be great to set up in the morning and "cook" while you are at work and then whip up some sides when you get home or even better, set it up over lunch at the hunting camp and return that evening to a hot meal!
  • I plan to try this with ducks too very soon.  


A Man in the Woods and occassionally, the Kitchen