Friday, May 30, 2008

New batches of beer

In my effort to spend more time doing things that I enjoy, I brewed 2 batches of beer last weekend. I brewed a batch of Vienna Lager with dry malt extract and a batch of West Coast Pale Ale with "booster (maltodextrin - increases "body" and alcohol content of beer). Both of these are Mr Beer mixes. My first batch of beer was the West Coast Pale Ale with booster and it was good. My second batch was West Coast Pale Ale with dry malt extract and it was not so good. Not undrinkable (only about 1.5 bottles left out of an 8 bottle batch [1 liter bottles]) but I haven't and won't offer it to guests. I'm not sure what the problem with the second batch was - I used less sugar when bottling because we thought the first batch had too much carbonation. The excess carbonation turned out to be a temporary thing so using less sugar in the second batch was a mistake. I also used the dry malt extract for the first time and I wasn't sure how to dissolve it so I may have "cooked" it. In any event the second batch of beer had some off flavors. I'll see how the Vienna Lager is. The 2 batches will stay in the fermenters for another week and then have to be bottled and sit in the bottles for 2 weeks to carbonate. I also ordered 3 more mixes from Mr Beer (using my birthday gift certificate) - I just received the Czech Pilsner, a Cherry Wheat, and a Pale Ale with Mr Beer Unhopped liquid malt extract (very hard to purchase liquid malt extract in a size I can use with the Mr Beer kit which was why I tried the dry malt extract.)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

More Cheeese

I'm enrolled in a year-long seminar to help me improve my productivity and figure out who I want to be when I grow up. The people in this group encourge me to make time to do things that I want to do and I do the same for them. So, I'm back to making cheese again. I shared the cheddar I made a few weeks ago with the leader of the group which resulted in much encouragement as she thought it was a pretty tasty cheese. Toay I will see her again so I made her a mozzarella. Lest you think I am some sort of strange dairy stalker, The Wife and I were invited to said persons home for a casual get-together as said person is also a friend. Mozzarella can be made quickly (about 30 minutes) so yesterday I stopped at the dairy and picked up 2 gallons of milk and today I made 2 batches of mozzarella. I'm always very proud of myself when I make cheese if I can beat the expected yield in the recipe. This recipe says that you should get a yield of about 3/4 lb or 12 oz. My yield was 17 oz. The Wife thinks that perhaps I am a little more patient than your average 30-minute mozzarella maker. But I still never get the really nice stretchy mozzarella that Ricki Carrol gets.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Not an auspicious start to the day

Yesterday I woke up at 4 AM in a bed covered in dog vomit for the second time in 2 weeks. I stripped the quilt off the bed and put a towel down for the dog, who at that moment seemed none the worse for wear. The next morning however I realized that in addition to the bed having been covered in vomit the DOG was covered in vomit. So I had to bathe her before I went to work. The Wife was also up early for a doctor's appointment and the dog looked so miserable that The Wife cancelled her appointment to stay home with the dog. A good thing as the poor dog yakked 3 more time before 10 AM. The vet came (AGAIN) and put the dog on antibiotics. The vet said she thought it was "garbage ingestion" [meaning dog is eating some random crap in the yard like, well crap from rabbits or birds] but it could be metabolic disease. So if it continues we have to take her in for blood and urine tests and provide a poo sample for testing. After 24 hours of food restriction and only ice cubes (it was very cute to watch her eat ice cubes last night) the dog seems to be on the mend. But she needs another bath.

You might want to put that back where you found it

Open letter to the person who picked up a small media cabinet that I had set out by the curb for trash pick up.

Dear Unsuspecting person:

I am sorry that you noticed the media storage cabinet at the curb and stopped to pick it up. I'm sure you thought "Hey, look. That's a perfectly good media cabinet that would look really nice in my insert room here." I know in US society today people throw away lots of really useful things just because they don't need them anymore. However, that was not the case with that media cabinet. That particular media cabinet is abosolutely soaked in cat pee. I hope you don't have a cat, or a dog that doesn't like cats, or a crawling child, or a functioning olfactory system. You see, a very strange yet very lucky cat lives in the house that recently housed the media storage cabinet. Said cat routinely ignores the litter box for no apparent reason and yet has lived lo these almost 12 years in a selection of homes with carpet and humans with funtioning olfactory systems. The same humans who carried the media storage cabinet to the curb last evening. We had the carpets cleaned yet again and because we now have all of our music loaded on our Ipods our CDs don't need a home in our dining room. We were going to donate the media storage cabinet to a charitable organization that is scheduled to come to our house next week for a pick up. However, when we realized the media cabinet was pee soaked we decided that we should just throw it out. Again, I am sorry that you thought it would look good in your house. I hope you realized it smells before taking it into your house and left if on the nearest curb like the guys in the VW commercial from a few years ago.

Friday, May 09, 2008

and another thing

We have been having hot tub problems for months. We got so frustrated in January that we had our hot tub guy drain the tub and leave it until Spring. We got in touch with him in late March and got a quote to fix it but we were basically going to do what we had done in the fall, again. That "repair" resulted in the circuit board getting fried, and I mean fried to the point of melting. So we decided to just get rid of the hot tub rather than fix it. Then the hot tub guy offered to buy it from us. So we asked how much it would cost for him to do for us what he would have done if he had bought the tub from us. For only about $200 more we could get what would be basically a new hot tub. It took forever but yesterday we had a working hot tub for the first time since September. We noticed steam coming from the hot tub this afternoon so I checked it and the temperature was 109! We talked to the hot tub guy who said "SHUT IT DOWN, SHUT IT DOWN" like it was a nuclear reactor about to melt down. We seem to have solved the problem but it just fit with the rest of the day. I think I'm still waiting for that third thing to go wrong before midnight. Maybe I should just go to bed. Might be safer there.

Sometimes I hate this house

While I was cooking dinner I heard, or more accurately felt, a crash from somewhere above my head. It sounded like something hit the floor hard in the master bedroom. I thought The Wife had fallen in a passed out, collapsed sort of way. So the dog and I went zooming over to the stairs and yelled for her. She responded that "she had something in her teeth." A fuckin' boulder perhaps. I asked her what fell in the bedroom and she said "nothing." She also said she hadn't heard anything. So I went back to cooking dinner, the dog went back to the couch, and The Wife came downstairs having removed the item from her teeth. We forgot all about it until The Wife went to the garage to get a soda from our extra fridge and said "I know what the crash was, and it crashed right onto the car." A full 4x8 sheet of drywall fell on the car. Of course, the car had been in the shop for he past 24 hours so if this had happened last night the drywall would have landed in an empty garage. I think I can get the scratches out or if I get the car detailed they can get them out. But fuck.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thoughts on turning 40

I turned 40 about 10 days ago. A friend told me, "the weeks leading to your 40th birthday are the longest years of your life." I didn't think 40 was going to bother me and it didn't until about a week before my birthday when I suddenly got really stressed about it. We celebrated with friends the night before and that morning and had a great time and the day passed. Once the day was over suddenly it didn't matter anymore that I had turned 40. It didn't change how I felt, it didn't change how I looked, it didn't change how anyone treated me. It was a complete and total non-event. I'm still not sure why it bothered me so much. On to the next 40.