Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 travels

Somewhat for myself, a list of travel I (or Helen and I) did in 2008:

Lake Tahoe for a weekend of skiing
Mammoth Mountain for a week of skiing

Disneyland for the company winter trip
Boston to see my Grandfather
Lake Tahoe for a weekend of skiing

Lake Tahoe two weekends for skiing
NYC for Helen to go to the Opera, and me to hang out with Kacy and Kevin

Boston for my Dad's 60th birthday
Lake Tahoe for one weekend of skiing
Pittsburgh for Carnegie Mellon's Carnival

Qatar for the first graduation of Carnegie Mellon Qatar and a side jaunt to Jordan to see the Dead Sea and Petra
Los Angeles for Helen's grandmother's 80th birthday
San Francisco for my bachelor party (not exactly travel, but people traveling to see me!)

Lake Tahoe for Jeremy's wedding

No travel!

Helen and my wedding in Burlingame (again, not travel but our favorite people came to us)
Maui for our honeymoon (Lahaina/Ka'anapali and Hana)
Boston and Maine for labor day

No major travel

No major travel

Maine for the Maine Brewery Festival
Los Angeles for Thanksgiving

Mendocino/Fort Bragg for beer tasting
LA for Christmas
Maine for Christmas

Miles flown in 2008:

Friday, December 05, 2008

Holiday Ale postmortem (or How I accidentally started a lambic)

The holiday ale was just thrown down the drain.

Cause: bacterial growth

Symptoms: persistent "fermentation" (aka bubbling in the airlock), even far past the window it should happen, a weird sour apple smell out of the airlock.

  • Percent sugar recorded at ~3% by hydrometer after almost two weeks with consistent bubbling implies a "gusher infection" per How to Brew
  • That sour lambic smell that shouldn't happen in a holiday ale.
  • Wort tasted and confirmed un-sugary and un-alcoholy. And just plain wrong. Yes, I drank bacterially-contaminated wort.
Things to do better next time:
  • Sanitize equipment better (we used unsanitized equipment to squeeze the hops bags outside the acceptable temperature range to do such a thing, and I can think of a couple other things we could sanitize better)
  • Sanitize hands (hand sanitizer purchased)
  • Take a specific gravity reading so I can earlier test when something seems wrong and pull the plug earlier, with more confidence.
Ok, that's all I got, folks. Scotch ale being brewed next week on an evening.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Current brewing projects

Back to brewing

For my twenty-first birthday, my parents bought me a True Brew beer brewing setup. I brewed two True Brew kits in college, and then moved to California.

When I brewed in college, I fermented beer in the basement. The apartment was also air conditioned, overall keeping the beer within the range of good fermentation temperatures (68-72 approximately for ales).

In the bay area, however, most people don't air condition. This presents a problem to trying to keep the beer within good fermentation temperatures. Our apartment doesn't have AC, and I never felt comfortable that we could keep the beer in a good fermentation range. I didn't try to solve the problem, I just left the equipment in the closet.

About 2 months ago, I saw a Brewcraft Rogue Dead Guy kit on, and on an impulse, I purchased it! I got back into brewing!

During fermentation, it actually stayed at pretty much the right temperature in our back closet in November, and last weekend I kegged it (kegerator setup to follow in a subsequent post). Last night, we drank the first beer from the keg! Although a bit flat, it was pretty tasty and I will work on carbonating it a bit more.

More posts to follow, including:
  • Kegerator setup
  • Fermentation cooler setup (I can brew ales or lagers year round!)
  • Current projects

Monday, September 29, 2008

Distress versus correction

This Marketwatch story says:

Critics also say the plan inadequately addressed job losses and a distressed housing market --problems that underlie current economic weakness.

The housing market was a bubble. No question in my mind. So why don't reporters say the housing market is being corrected? When stocks fall after a bubble, it's a correction. When housing prices plummet, it's "distress".

Congressmen: Do not, under any means, artificially prop up home values. Please.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Randy Pausch succumbs to cancer

I never had Randy as a professor. I was on campus for recruiting the day of his last lecture but I didn't know what was going on and I didn't go. All the same, he's been an amazing cheerleader for Carnegie Mellon, an amazing cheerleader for optimism, and an amazing role model.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Support craft beer!

I like beer. I like stouts and IPAs, I like ales and lagers. I like Belgian beer, British beer, German beer, and American microbrewed beer.

One of the great things I've discovered at brewpubs is that you can get a half gallon of beer to go in a glass jar called a growler. The beer stays fresh about 7-10 days in a refrigerated, sealed growler, and once the growler is open it's good for another few days.

Helen and I are going up to Lake Tahoe next weekend for a friend's wedding, and I want to bring back some beer from Fifty Fifty Brewing. It's a four hour drive back - certainly, in the summer, enough time for the beer to warm up.

So what's a beer guy to do? Buy a specialized beer growler cooler of course! So I went over to the nice folks at Cape Cod Beer, and ordered a growler cooler. It can fit up to two growlers, and looks like it should keep the beer cold for a little while. If I'm on a longer trip, I can even use ice packs to chill beer.

I hope to keep buying craft beer on trips and check the beer cooler on the way home. Great way to extend the trip a bit.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Failing airlines

For those following along at home, 3 airlines have halted operations in the US in the past week.

A moment of silence for Aloha (intra Hawaii and Hawaii-west coast), ATA (low cost carrier, code sharer with Southwest), and Skybus (Columbus based ultra low cost carrier, started up last May.).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

2 bicyclists killed in Cupertino when deputy drives across double yellow line

Two riders, Matt Peterson and Kristy Gough, were killed on Steven's Canyon Road in Cupertino on Sunday when a Sheriff's deputy crossed the double yellow lines and struck them. The riders were riding single file on the shoulder. The deputy possibly fell asleep at the wheel.

Sports Illustrated has a pretty good editorial about the dangers of mixing cycling and cars.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A phrase not on the internet

I coined a phrase this weekend after going off piste. "It burns when I ski."

I figured I must not be original, but this phrase does not exist anywhere on the internets.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Evil ad

Via Facebook/Scrabulous, I'll let this ad speak for itself