May 29, 2008
Again with The Princess Bride… I do not think it means what you think it means:
May 28, 2008
Just thought of this, as I’ve been sidelined filling out twelve different documents and emailing 4 different departments just to get something (that we’ve done before) done for a customer:
For each action you wish to undertake, there is an equal and opposite mountain of paperwork and bullshit that you must complete.
May 24, 2008
Just heard this on Fox News, related to the upcoming NASCAR and Indy races this weekend, regarding Del Earnhardt:
He was a legend in life, and he was a martyr in death.
I’m reminded of The Princess Bride: “I do not think that means what you think it means.”
Dale Earnhardt’s death, while tragic, was an accident. He wasn’t martyred. To suggest as such would be nearly as bad as comparing a presidential candidate to another who was assassinated in June– to score cheap points.
This is just one more reason why I’m glad I no longer watch Fox News (or any of the cable news channels) on a regular basis any more.
May 19, 2008
The homebrew club I belong to is planning on doing something very cool. Many members of the club are brewing their own version of a Russian Imperial Stout, a very strong beer which stands up well to aging. One of the members of our club recently started his own brewery (more on that in a future post), and happens to have a number of bourbon barrels sitting around that he’ll use for aging of certain beers.
So each member who wanted to participate has brewed some Russian Imperial Stout, and all of those beers will be blended after fermentation and aged in one of the bourbon barrels for 10 months. It should be a very cool thing to be a part of.
Due to the strength of the beer, it needs to ferment at least 3 weeks (preferably 4) to be ready to be added to the barrel. This past weekend was that 4 week mark, and our plan was to brew on Saturday morning. Between my brother-in-law (Dustin) and I, we were brewing 10 gallons, so that when the beer is complete, we’ll each get a full keg out of it.
I was running late, so Dustin started the brew without me. By the time I arrived, the mash was just about complete, and it was time to transfer our mash tun from the floor onto the rack we use during the sparge. This mash tun, of course, had 10.5 gallons of water, had 40 lbs of grain, and itself weighs about 20 lbs. All in all, it probably weighs 150 lbs when completely full, as it was on Saturday.
When I arrived, Dustin had placed the wooden handle of a rake through the handles of the mash tun to lift it. I looked at the rake, and thought to myself, “that doesn’t look as sturdy as the handle we usually use”, but I didn’t say anything. We picked up the mash tun, and started walking over to the destination. We got to the destination, started lifting the tun, and CRACK!
40 lbs of grain and the entire jet-black imperial stout mash ended up on the garage floor.
That cut our brew day very short. We didn’t have time to go out and re-start the brew, and that means it’s pushed out until this weekend. It has to be done this weekend, or we miss the window for the group brew, and they’re expecting us to have that beer ready, as having less than the expected amount will screw up the whole process. This is now twice as hard, because Dustin will be gone all weekend, so I need to find an extra pair of hands to help out, and still end up brewing in his garage. All while not pissing Joanna off, since it was SUPPOSED to be the last brew day for a few weeks, and now I’ve got to do it again.
About the only bright point was that we kegged & bottled the IPA. There are a few competitions coming up, so we really needed to get that done. It’s not fully carbonated yet, so I don’t have any real tasting notes. It did come out a bit higher in alcohol than intended (at about 7.5%, rather than 6.5%), but overall appears to have fermented cleanly and is on its way to where it should be.
But oh, how I wish I had stopped and told him to use a different, more sturdy, handle!
May 15, 2008
I’m a bit late on the post, but given that it was my wife’s first “real” Mother’s Day, I knew I needed to put a winner together.
She had asked me to download the Sheryl Crow “Lullaby for Wyatt” song a few weeks ago, and when I downloaded it to my work PC, she was understandably wondering how she’d even be able to listen to it. At that point, I decided that I’d create a special Mother’s Day gift from Wyatt, containing that song and all the lullabies that she sings to him at night.
There was just one problem: putting the song and 10 lullabies on a CD really only takes up about 25 minutes! So I went on a week-long search for appropriate motherhood/baby songs that would just absolutely tug at heart strings to break up the lullaby monotony.
I ended up with the below song list. I’m not an emotional guy, but even I was tearing up a bit listening to a few of these. For other new fathers out there, I hope you can get some legs out of this idea.
1. Sheryl Crow – Detours
Lullaby for Wyatt
2. Mae Robertson – Dream
I See the Moon
3. Amy Grant – Greatest Hits
4. Carly Simon – Into White
You Are My Sunshine
5. Céline Dion – Miracle
6. Shannon Moore – Night Night Songs
Itsy Bitsy Spider
7. Vienna Teng – Waking Hour
Lullabye for a Stormy Night
8. Susie Tallman & Merrie Amsterburg – Lullaby Themes for Sleepy Dreams
Hush Little Baby
9. Carla Lynne Hall – My First Child CD Single
My First Child
10. Lisa Loeb – Catch the Moon
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
11. Joni Mitchell – Ladies of the Canyon
The Circle Game
12. Cathie Ryan, Robin Spielberg & Susan McKeown – Mother
13. Sarah McLachlan – Wintersong
14. Ingrid DuMosch – Fun Bedtime for Alyssa
God Bless the Moon
15. LeAnn Rimes – You Light Up My Life
16. Melissa Errico – Lullabies & Wildflowers
17. Alison Krauss – Heartland: An Appalachian Anthology
Slumber My Darling
18. Barenaked Ladies – Stunt
When You Dream
I particularly like #7, a song sung by a mother to her child, who is scared of a late-night thunderstorm. #9 is also very moving. And #18, though slightly out of place (the only song not sung by a female lead), is really a fun song, wondering what’s going through the mind of a day-old baby when they dream, since they have no real life experience to dream about. Very cool.
And, of course, no CD would be complete without a label! (I created a classy front and back label for the CD case, but this is the “fun” one that goes on the CD itself.)
May 8, 2008
The Samuel Adams LongShot contest is probably the most well-known homebrew contest in the United States amongst the general public, but amongst homebrewers, there’s one that dwarfs it.
The AHA National Homebrewing Competition is the granddaddy of them all. With likely more than 6,000 entrants nationwide, it’s roughly three times the size of LongShot, and thus instead of a 3-region competition, there are 10 regions. With a competition that size, they break it into a 1st round and 2nd round. Also, with the size of the competition, simply making it from the 1st to the 2nd round is a big thing.
I submitted the Rye Pale Ale and the Milk Stout. Given that the Rye had scored very highly in the two competitions I’ve entered it (finishing 1st and 2nd in its category), I was almost expecting it to place. But results were released today, and the Rye didn’t do a thing.
But the Milk Stout took 1st in its category*, beating out 40 other stouts. That means it’s definitely advancing to the second round, where the stakes get higher (and the competition gets tougher). It’s one step closer to one of the top honors in homebrewing, a medal from the AHA.
Going up against 20 or 30 of the best stouts in the US, I’m not going to say that I’ve got a lot of confidence that I can make it into the top 3. But I’m mighty happy to get a shot against them!
* To see our names in lights, click here. In the Southwest region, scroll down to category 13, which is the Stout category.
May 6, 2008
I found a site to check the commonality of names, and apparently, I don’t exist!
Even worse, it finds that there are zero people with the last name Warbiany in the US!
Does this mean I can stop paying my taxes, since I don’t live here?
May 5, 2008
Wyatt is not short on personality. He’s quite a fun little kid, but he’s also inherited a strong will from Joanna and I.
Tonight, somehow he decided that sleeping just wasn’t in the cards. The normal routine is dinner, a little playtime, a bath and then sleep. Tonight we had a nice dinner out (and he got some nice minestrone soup), bathtime went well, and then sleeptime just didn’t happen. He wouldn’t settle down. Eventually we just had to set him in his crib and let him get to sleep on his own.
Well, after a bit of crying, he finally settled down. And I went in to check on him. This is the sleeping baby I found…
Daddy’s been known to fall asleep in positions like that, but that was mostly in college, and alcohol was involved. Wyatt must have just been a bit overtired!
May 1, 2008
For the size batches we’re doing (15 gallons), there’s usually a lot of equipment involved. Big welded stuff. Pumps. Fancy-looking burners capable of taking paint of the ceiling when lit at floor level.
You know, cool man shit. But USEFUL stuff, as manually moving 15 gallons of boiling wort from one location to another using muscle power is dangerous.
Well, we don’t have much of that. But that doesn’t mean we can’t brew good beer, it just makes it harder.
So I present our ghettofied brew setup!
The link takes you to a Kodak Gallery slideshow documenting the basic process of brewing, from start to finish. Enjoy!