Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Distracted, but there's more to it

I've really been using a different platform for the last few years, but the nail in the coffin here was Google's real name policy. I could have kept anonymous, but wouldn't have been able to keep posting at the time I made the choice I couldn't imagine not having this place to come and vomit up the contents of my mind.

It was an illusion of privacy, but I did feel comfortable in that veil. I felt it was enough that you would have to put a lot together to tie it all to me in a meaningful manner. I didn't name any names and never posted anything terribly intimate or embarrassing or even professionally damaging. This was largely random bits of stuff almost a journal, but with all the personal bits held back.

In the time I've been here I've posted a shy of 900 times in 5 years, on another platform that I use that offers anonymity I've posted over 1200 times in less than 3 years. I know for a fact that the anonymity has always been a part of that. I know no one there, I'm not trying to make money on that platform so it's not attached to anything that can be traced back to me. Why is that important? I don't know, but it I think the post counts speak volumes about my engagement.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How's it going blogger?

I've sort of missed this platform, but not really been in the mood to post here for a variety of personal reasons.

The summer has been hot, and I've been in the gym non-stop. I competed in 2 super-sprint distance Triathlons, went camping and generally went with the summer flow. I've started in a fairly committed fashion to follow the paleo diet, and even doing some HIIT in addition to my weight lifting.

Not terribly interesting in a lot of ways, but I'm feeling great and working on getting strong. Pulling 385lbs on the deadlift and working on strength and flexibility to do full depth front and back squats. I can do it with 135lbs on both, but I'm nervous about going up in weight on that particular lift.

What about you guys, been up to much?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Flying man short film

This is scary good. It's crazy how often superhero stories are told with superhero as the central character not focusing on the havoc that falls all around them. To pull a name out of the air take The Avengers. New York was fucked up, the majority of what we saw was the superheros with a small nod to that there were people in the city. The superhero in this story doesn't exist as a super or hyper moral person, just a dispenser of a certain brand of justice.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Meritocracy again, but with the rich and poor

Listen I know I ride on this meritocracy thing a lot, but once you read the book your whole world gets shaped by it. Michael Young was a damn visionary and I cannot understand why his work doesn't get more coverage. Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World offered similar warnings about propaganda, group think and genetic screening for your place in life, but Youngs warning about how they will come for us and swallow us under with education and testing is the warning that has actually manifested to a real threat to our freedom to live our lives.

This video is about experiments that observe the attitudes and behaviors of rich and poor people. These same behaviors are described and manifest in The Rise of the Meritocracy, towards the end where the meritorious assign more and more of the rewards to themselves and less and less to the dullards until they rise up violently. If you haven't read the book do yourself a favor and do, it's short possible a day or two worth of reading and it's amazingly informative.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

True Blood and junk

So many things I don't even know where to begin.

I've started on a rhubarb wine, that will take something like 2 months to finish up and is the reason that I'm going to buy another couple of carboys. It takes 20 lbs of rhubarb to make 5 gallons of the stuff, but I think it's going to be above average awesome.

The specific recipe and directions can be found in this PDF. I added about 6oz of thistle honey to it, and found that 10lbs of corn sugar only had me at 17 or 18 balling which is ~1.080OG so get 12 or even 13 lbs of corn sugar if you follow this recipe.

Next up, True Blood started and I still haven't finished watching last season. I think I have 3 episodes left and cannot find time for that, not to mention I'd like to watch the Game of Thrones season if I could get the time.

Oh sleep you cruel mistress.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Usb powered water bottle humidifier

Try to ignore the obvious/gratuitous mac in the background and see the beauty and awesome that is this tiny usb powered humidifier.

Via Lifehacker

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

anime suggestions?

A while ago The verge posted about anime suggestions, and I've been meaning to see what people thought of the suggestions and get feedback on which I should start with. I'll highlight the one's I've already watched some or all of in Green. In general, I'm not in love with shows that are gundam based. I've watched most of Big O! and forgave it's gundam-ness because it managed to on about the time of night I was watching tv every night. Oh Adult swim, I almost miss staying up watching you.

  • Code Geass
  • High School of the Dead
  • Lucky Star
  • Black Lagoon
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Yu Yu Hakusho
  • Gundam Wing
  • G Gundam
  • Death Note
  • The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi
  • Big O!
  • School Days
  • Afro Samurai
  • Evangelion
  • Full Metal Alchemist (Original and Brotherhood)
  • Detective Conan/Case Closed
  • Hellsing (Original and Ultimate)
  • Samurai Champloo
  • Onegai Sensei/Twins
  • Witch Hunter Robin
  • Speed Grapher
  • Love Hina
  • Devil May Cry
  • Welcome to the NHK
  • Goshuushou Sama Ninomiya Kun

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

High-Intensity Interval Training Infographic

This is mostly for my own reference, but maybe it's interesting to you too.

I've been working with weights in the gym and seen some success in weight loss, but I'm needing to add cardio if I ever have a prayer of meeting anything but strength goals. Being somewhat short on time I think HIIT is the way to go for my needs. I need to rest a bit this week because I've got a sprint triathlon this weekend, but this is a good reference for next week. I'll try the Tabata method for 4 weeks and see if it's worth anything, and then try the Little method.  Keep in mind I'm just trying to add days of cardio on my off days of weight lifting, the turbulence method would make it even harder to get through my lift sets. As it is, I sometimes feel like I need a banana just to get through my lifts. Adding cardio into that and I'd probably pass out.

The Complete Guide to Interval Training
More Health and Fitness News & Tips at Greatist.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

nothing gets done before midnight

Nothing gets done before midnight.

This phrase has been rattling around in my head for the last week or so, and seems to be the pace of things in  my life and household any more. I needed to bottle a beer to get it out of the damn heat, got to bed just before 1 AM. Needed to make a new round of protein bars, got upstairs at 12:01. If I plan on getting in a workout tonight, I'll wager you I don't get a wink more than 5 hours so I can get up and go to spin class. I don't have anyone but myself to blame I suppose, but it takes until almost 8 to get dinner cooked and eaten and some order in the kitchen restored. Then round about an hour to get the boy to bed, so I can work on something not family related. You'd be surprised how little you can get done in 3 hours.

Last night it was getting rhubarb chopped and into bags to freeze. I'm planning on making rhubarb wine, and my family sent me about 30lbs of it to get me started, I didn't even get that delivery until just before 9 PM, and didn't start working until 10:30.

In any event the summer is getting started in earnest after dragging it's feet all through May and I've got strawberries that look to be coming in nicely and tomatoes that I hope aren't in the pot too late to deliver some fruit before August. I've made a bit of a fence on one side of the back patio to try and contain a very mobile toddler, and am working on plans to make him something like this digger out in the back. I've got wine to make, a sprint triathlon in the middle of the month and more ideas for things to write rattling around inside of my head. In truth I've had the blogger page open in a browser tab for the last week trying to get around to posting something. It's pretty amazing to me that I used to post at least once a day here.

Sometimes I guess you just run out of things to say.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Going to Bat

I won't make any comments about either his service in the US military or the rest of his congressional record, but John McCain is sort of my hero this second. It's dull to watch for sure, but he introduced legislation to force cable companies and network operators to offer a la carte programming (choose just the channels you want) and prevent local market sports blackouts when the venue or team publicly funded. Both of these things are awesome, and chances of passing are about nill. The third point of the legislation should sound like an awesome victory for the startup Aero.

Source: The verge

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Blackberry Wheat and Hopville goes down

A few weeks ago I finally managed to get back on the brewing horse and get a beer done. It's in the barrel soaking up some oak, and that sadly means I need to start dreaming about the next batch to put in the damn thing. For the curious until May 6th you can see the recipe here on Hopville.

I'm starting to think I need a bigger primary fermenter as the nearly 6.5 gallon barrel requires just a tad bit more beer than I can fit in the space my bucket provides. So far I've been managing that by using my 3 gallon glass fermenter to hold the excess needed to top up the barrel, but it's introduced lots of racking to my process. For normal beers that's probably fine, but when you brew weird beers with fruit and other crap that plug up racking lines it's less fine. When you do have all that crap and want to filter some of it out...it's a lot less fine. I have an idea for how to do a great job filtering out stuff, but it would mean putting everything into a second vessel before transferring it into the barrel; racking is stressful enough without introducing an extra resting stop. I'm pretty sure I managed to get way too much oxygen into it the way I went about it this time so I'm probably going to revisit the intermediary filter vessel.

Shit like this makes me want a conical fermenter, even though it wouldn't take care of the the floating fruit conundrum. Maybe a conical with a false bottom? It would catch the largest particulate, but the meshing would have to be pretty fine to make the whole thing work. Oh equipment, you are a never ending conundrum.

To my next point, Hopville. So recently Hopville got purchased by another company, which makes me a bit sad as I've been using it as my recipe storage and brew process assistant. It looks like the new company BrewToad is going to be a good steward, and I have hope that their recipe manager will be an improvement over the buggy beta limbo Hopville has been trapped in for the 8 months or so. It did inspire me to checkout other pieces of software again. Hopville had been a relatively painless way of managing stuff, and my short trial of beersmith was around the same time I started brewing so I found the process cloying as a novice brewer. It asked for a lot of information to even get started, and on the whole wasn't how I wanted to spend my limited amount of hobby hours. I'm tempted to give the Beersmith 2 android app a try though. It looked kind of slick for brew day, as each step had a timer you could hit start on to help keep track of time.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Links to stuff you probably don't care about

Ever find yourself in need of Graphing paper, or Cornell Notes paper? No, well you're boring graphing paper is where all the cool work get's done. It would be handy from time to time to be able to print some of that stuff out for my occasional (frequent) larks into science land. Now thanks to the power and awesomeness that is the internet I can! Generated Paper has a bunch of templates, but to be honest it's all about the graphing paper.

Related and also crazy in it's own right One Thing Well is a collection of single purpose scripts and applications (web or otherwise) for that nerd in your life that doesn't care for Swiss army knife programs that suck at most if not all of their functions. (It's okay Busybox, someone out there loves you).

So Generated Paper via One thing Well via Lifehacker (duh)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Everything for sale?

This page turner of an article came to me by way of a social network, so you could say that it is likely that my friends are quite a bit more highbrow then yours. You could say that, but in that same breath I would have to qualify that I believe this person also runs a Medical Marijuana dispensary so... we'll call it a draw.

The article come from The Times Literary supplement and is a sort of crituqe/book review of two books.
One is WHAT MONEY CAN’T BUY The moral limits of markets by Michael J. Sandel, the second is HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? The love of money and the case for the good life by the father son duo Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky.  It's long and wordy and would be greatly aided by you having read either book I think, but in the case of What Money Can't buy may well have saved you the effort.

In any event it's a pretty interesting bit of reading about the morality of markets and probably gives Ayn Rand and all of her adherents heart burn, which is reason enough on it's own to read it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Google Power Search

Given the amount of my day that I spend answering peoples questions by typing in the question to Google and reading them back the answer, I starting to think that Google Power Search courses should be taught to in middle school.  Perhaps with brush up courses every year for the truly dense.

So if you or someone you know could use some extra google-fu check out the power search courses.

Via Lifehacker

Make space that wasn't there.

If you've never heard of Ikea hackers you should really do yourself a favor and check it out. They have an assortment of projects people submit that takes parts from Ikea and use them differently than intended.  Sometimes it's a pretty radical transformation other times it just mixing and matching various families to get an end result that is different than how the package is marked. It can range from really easy when the families are cut with uniform dimensions and holes, to really hard when people completely free form structures using pieces from the box.

This particular post from Ikea hackers was about a built-in closet with sliding doors that transformed a fairly useless space into a closet. The end result is really polished, and what got me interested in it in the first place.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Out of sequence

So I listen to Slacker for my steaming music fix and the thing that I love the most about Slacker is that they play all of the songs, regardless of if they are filler or interludes ect.  This is strange sometimes (think any Offspring album) and amazing others.  For some reason songs disconnected from the album can strike you differently.  For example Bankrupt on Selling by Modest Mouse on Lonesome Crowded West.  I own this album and have listened to it dozens of times, but I have never noticed that song before.  It was lovely on it's own.

----Listen to it in sequence how did it strike you?

Keeping quite to achieve goals

According to this article on Lifehacker, you should keep quiet about your plans to ensure you complete them. It's an interesting theory about symbolic self-completion, basically by getting the praise for trying something you don't feel the need to actually do something. I don't have a large body of contradictory evidence, but I've told this blog and others that I was working on my mash tun false bottom, even shown it to some people and still worked on it this weekend.  I've talked about my skull carving and CNC projects, and am still working (very slowly) on those. I don't know that it's a pure 1 to 1 comparison given that all of those projects where underway before I started talking about them, but I feel like I have several personal examples that contradict these findings.

I've also followed several project build logs of others that documented their process from concept to completion with feedback, adjustments and still went onto completion. It may be that there is a specific type of person that feels like symbolic self-completion is enough feedback for them to not finish a project. One might even go so far as to call those people posers, people that want to be something, but might not have the will to actually be those people.  My lack of progress is time bankruptcy at home more so then praise being enough to sate my need to build something.

What do you think? Is there weight to this or is it more nuanced then they make it?

Monday, April 15, 2013

shovel/funnel out of a jug

There is no point to this really, but the open handle makes me think that it would be really useful to scoop and funnel grain into small containers.  I keep coming back to this image going that would be useful for beer or feeding chickens or ... really not much at all.

Make via Lifehacker

I apologize ahead of time, I have a lot of links in my drafts I'm trying to find the bottom of the rabbit hole.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

And I really want to build this

Oh make and the things you show me that I don't have time to build.  Adult go karts? Yes, adult go karts that look like old timey hot rods.

So yeah, how much fun would that be?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fried Quinoa (like Fried Rice)

The other day I made a very large batch of quinoa for making this dish, and had a good deal left over so I put it in the fridge. I needed a meal idea and had chicken on hand so I looked around for recipes to use leftover quinoa and found this one.

The breakdown is really simple, if you've made fried rice it's the same.  Rice/quinoa for frying is best chilled overnight, if you cannot cook it and spread it out on cookie sheet and put it in the freezer.  The chilled starch is the secret to making amazing fried rice/quinoa at home.

Make two eggs dice and set aside
saute your protein, then the onions, garlic and ginger
add diced up eggs, quinoa, peas cook a few minutes then add soy sauce and fish sauce (I used Sesame ginger salad dressing instead)

I liked this better than fried rice, because it was lighter in texture and really packed a flavor punch.  In all I think prep and cook took about 15 minutes, so if you've got some left over quinoa this is really good.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stupid Draft folder

I have around 200 posts in it all the time.  I try to clear them out, and get down to around 150 either by deleting them or publishing them and then get distracted or bored and do something else so it just creeps back up to 200.

If I published them all I would hit an interesting milestone for this blog, almost a goal I guess but most of them are just a link to an article that I wanted to read, or a recipe or links to weight lifting forums or even just a project idea.  All of that will take work to flesh out and finish into an something even remotely interesting, and this platform is starting to show it's age next to the ease of use of products like Tumblr that really get's the platform out of the way so you can just focus on creating.  It makes it hard to come and queue up several posts because I cannot just say publish one a day at such and such time and be on my way I have to pick a date and time for each post. Add to that the cognitive burden of feeling somewhat attached to the stuff I've already written, so I check to make sure links aren't dead from time to time and repost video's that have fallen off the internet ect, and this becomes a major time suck.

Speaking of updating posts, the video that I transcribed of a talk John Cleese did fell off the net so I updated the embed link on this post.

That is all, just useless venting over drafts and a link.

Meritocracy impostor syndrome

I'm dredging up the Meritocracy business so put on your big kid pants and get ready for some more thought provoking crap. In this particular installment I thought I would cover a topic that was brought up somewhat passingly in Round 4 of the Rise of the Meritocracy, the impostor syndrome, well summarized here in comic form.

Chicken Fraud

In short you feel as though you are not as good as people have come to believe you are, and are certain that everyone will realize that you are not as skilled as you've led them to believe. A perennial favorite time waster of mine Lifehacker posted an article about how this sensation may actually be a good sign of both your competence and your intelligence.  In Rise of the Meritocracy the gifted members had no reason to doubt themselves or the spoils that they got for being better than others, every step of the way they had to prove and reprove themselves to take what they got. In effect the constant testing created a vanity and entitlement that prevented the Meritorious from really evaluating if they where in fact as smart and worthy as they believed themselves to be.

Sound familiar? I'm sure people of both political spectrums would be quick to point at one another, but I think we can find plenty of examples in business, education as well as in government.  In some ways you could almost point to the entirety of your country... but I'll leave that for bar room discussions.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

File this link under awesome

So Lifehacker hit me up with a little shot in the arm about DIY Cheez-its.  Cheez-its you can make at home, yeah, never leave your fortress of solitude with cheezy goodness.

That is all.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Progress of sorts

Man, my projects eat me alive.

So I'm working on power carving a wooden skull, and managed to completely burn out my black and decker rotary tool (think off brand dremel).  I still have a dremel, but I'm afraid that the tool isn't up for the task to I bought a more heavy duty rotary tool rated at 1/4 horsepower and bought a few different wood rasp tool tips to work on the details.  I was also having a hard time visualizing how the jaw connects so I bought a model skull.  All of that should be arriving today or tomorrow.  I'm not super sure of when I'm going to get back into that project, but the parts are here.

I 've been working on making a false bottom for my mash tun using the base of an old keg.  I burnt through the only cut off wheel I had on hand so I had to get some more, and didn't have a spanner wrench (I've been using the ghetto pliers method of unscrewing the nut) so I got a spanner wrench and a flap wheel to smooth the whole business down when I'm done shaping it.  I'm reasonably sure I may end up back at that hardware shop to help with my stand off's or at the very least a handle for the thing.  I'm also going to need a carbide bit for all the holes I'm going to drill in this damn thing.  The cut lines are mostly marked, but I need to decide on a design for legs to hold it off the bottom of the mash tun.  I'm reasonably confident that I'm only about 4 hours from done on this project, now I just need 4 hours to work on it.

I'm also working on a CNC machine.  I've come to the conclusion that since I don't have a functioning mill or cnc to do the work on I'm going to outsource the fabrication of my motor to drive shaft couplers so I need to get out the calipers and design the part so I can get it ordered.

What about you, what things are you doing to waste your free time?

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The witch is dead

It's only taking prodding, and death threats to various factions of my company but last week I finally turned off our legacy Windows NT domain. This may sound like a small feat, but our payroll system was still running on an NT machine, and I was not under any circumstance going to bring that into the current domain. So there floated a PDC, BDC and application server running that I couldn't get rid of. Anyone with experience with payroll will know the cost and complexity of payroll systems, particularly when multiple unions are involved. We have accruals and seniority rules that we have keep careful track of for scheduling and some individuals can work multiple job codes sometimes all in the same shift. It was a mess, and migrating our legacy data to a new platform was going to be a costly endeavor.

In the end the threats of bodily harm did the trick, as they did bite the bullet and migrate their data (otherwise I might have had to operate that server in perpetuity). I was a little nervous about shutting down WINS, as a few other admins that had migrated off NT said that they ended up standing up WINS servers later on. My understanding of Active directory was that it could run on just DNS.  I guess I'm out of excuses, and will have to start working on migrating our Exchange 2003 server to Exchange 2010.

This years to do projects are Exchange 2010, Active directory 2008 or 2012 (need to see if all of our clients will work on 2012), the second half of our desktop deployment and the final death of XP in our organization, a completely overhauled Backup System (new software, tape hardware and a disk2disk with deduplication), expanding the coverage of our wireless network, and working on to get our preventative maintenance/asset tracking system integrated into a different software package so I can retire that creaky piece of shit.

How's that for some IT nerd?

Monday, April 01, 2013

Sad, not all that pathetic

I had a strong urge to get something accomplished on Sunday, the wife took the boy to do church things so I had the house all to myself. I was so excited about it that I was up late on Saturday trying to map out a strategy for what to work on. For those keeping score at home I have a never ending project list, but the current list goes a little something like this.

  • Finish the Mantis Micro CNC machine
  • Finish cutting the bottom of the keg off to make a false bottom for my mash tun
  • Finish Ripping Seasons of Shows for wife
  • Design, and machine or order a commemorative plaque (see finish CNC above)
  • Lacquer a painting I did on a piece of oak mount said plaque and hang somewhere in the house

Well I finished none of that.  In the process of pulling out the box that has the CNC machine in it, I came to the grim realization that I needed to clean the basement before I could even consider working on anything.  There where no surfaces to even begin working on.  In cleaning up the living room most of the mess had found it's way down to the basement, so it was time to face facts and start sorting for discard and recycle.  I have more than a passing fancy for electronics, but for some reason just keep never getting started working on it. This doesn't stop me from reading electronic's magazines, and accumulating said magazines. I have 3 years worth of Servo Magazine and have subscribed to Makezine since it launched.  I recycled the servo magazines without a second thought because I over my fleeting interest in robotics, but I wasn't quite ready to just bin the Make magazines.  I spent a little while trying to figure out if my local library would be interested in receiving them as a donation, and was somewhat thwarted in that they only accepted substantial donations (10 years or more ect) based on their website.  I reached out to a local hackerspace to see if they wanted them, and they agreed to put them in their library so I'm feeling pretty good about that.

Basically all I accomplished was to toss out some magazines, do some laundry and wipe down a large section counter top.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Impending close of Google Reader

The collateral damage of me overreacting to the impeding close of Google reader has been somewhat staggering.  Both in the amount of time I've wasted preparing for it and in me trying to get a handle on my overflowing digital data.  For the time suck I've tried several feed readers, and decided to go with feedly because they are saying that we won't have to do anything if you sign in with feedly they'll import your feeds. I've been using the mobile app for a while now, and the chrome extension is acceptable. I was using a skin on Google reader called Reeder for Chrome that fixed all the white space Google introduced a few revisions ago and Feedly's Chrome extension is pretty close in appearance to that.  So bloggy friends you should give it a try.  In the event that doesn't work out I used Google Takeout to export my data so that I have all the feeds in .json format in the event I want to try a different reader later (Several readers have setup .json imports to get your feeds imported and ready to go.)  You might take some time to download all your bits before the shutdown if you really want to cya should feedly drop the ball.  All of that was really a wind up for what really has consumed the most of my time, dealing with my Starred and tagged posts from Reader.

I've been keeping track of many different things that I'm interested in, with the tag functionality of Reader, and this post on Hackaday.com gave me the keys to get some of the functionality back out of that data.  The original post was a python script to email article to your Evernote account, but the output was rather ugly.  Since then other people have added to that git hub scripts to dump to html files or directly import to Evernote.  Evernote is an okay note taking application (I prefer OneNote from Microsoft), so I've worked through my 707 Starred items from Reader somewhat sorted into notebooks so I can keep my track of my starred items.  Now I need to do the same for my various tags, but I'm finding some sites have gone dark so outside of the giant caching machine known as Google images and even whole articles are missing on the import process, particularly on sites that have changed some portion of their back end in the last several years.

For some reason working on my Reader data also prompted me to start reviewing my terrifying array of accumulated downloads, programs and such.  I have about 80gb of junk on my work computer I've been sorting though.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

This dude's mad!

If you're brewing and interested in science, and funk and good writing about beer why are you not following The Mad Fermentationist?  I've posted about him before I think, but damn it this guy I want to come apprentice on a brew with him or something.  Some part for just pure curiosity, and the rest because I feel like there is so much I would learn from him.  On of his recent posts was on wort fermentability, he's linking to a few different article with regards to adjuncts and specialty grains effect on wort fermentability, and talking about other factors at play.

In any event I can say that I've seen some beers get into insanely low final gravity, the lowest I've recorded was 1.006 the recipe is here, and as you can see it was Marris Otter, crystal 40 and crystal 10.  All of the interesting bits to this beer where from oak and hops, but it was one of my favorite beers in so much as I drank the majority of the 5 gallons on my own in around 2 months.  I'm fairly sure I had switched to my igloo cooler for mashing by this point, and was doing 90 minute boils.

It's heady stuff to think about and going forward my mashing process will been taking longer than my boil times, and I'm working on getting above 75% efficiency. I think that I'm already quite a bit a head of that, because of my secondary runnings/side batches but I haven't been taking good notes during the process so I haven't been trying to do blended averages and efficiency calculations.  I need to do measurements of wort pre-boil and take good notes to get an actual idea of what's going on.  In total I ended up with almost 9 gallons of beer on the day of my American Strong brewing, but I used 6lbs of malt extract in the main portion and added specialty grains and 1lb of dry extract on the side batch that was 2.5 gallons but included some of the primary batch because it was too much for my primary fermenter ect, ect.  In short beer was everywhere and I didn't write down what I did so all of this is from my vague memory of what happened that day.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

On Monetizing

This really came about because I was ruminating on ways for creative blogs like web comics, and web series, to monetize their product and how the limited ways that they can or do monetize ultimately limit and shape the edges of what those creative endeavors can or do become.  The first sentence that I managed to write down on this thought stream was about living in the cracks of fame, being known and loved by a small audience but not able to create broader appeal to take whatever creative project they are working on to the next level.  For reference much of this was in regard to Watch the Guild, SMBC Theater, various web comics and comedy blogs.

Shows like watch the guild and smbc theater don't make it on the large screen, even with their reasonably good production quality they won't draw mass appeal outside their niche for various reasons that are outside the scope of this little rumination.  This shortcoming  limits their ability to explore their craft and sharpen their story telling because at the end of the day they have day jobs and outside activities that will draw them away.  Various methods of democratizing payment have been floated and are being experimented with, but they rely on 3rd party infrastructure and require you to establish your base before you pitch your idea.  Indiegogo and kickstarter are clearly ways for established niche players to capitalize on their success and build bigger/better futures for those involved with longer running creative adventures they don't help sustain "micro level" production.  Blind ferret bundles comics together to form volumes on Looking For Group and SMBC Theater releases DVD's of each "season's" worth of sketch's, but a high percentage of that value is not going directly to the projects themselves but rather to pay for the physical goods, and also represents a real risk for those producers as most of the time they have to assume some risk to get the product made before they can sell it.  These avenues do pose risk for them loosing money.

Other experiments people are proposing call for direct contribution via Flattr (a kind of tip jar), but assumes people will remember or even consider giving money for things the creatives are just putting up on the web for anyone to consume. The urge to pay for things on the internet is not a strong one, and it represents another thing/service consumers have to sign up for and care about. The final approach I've seen is a hybrid subscription model with various twists.  They give some percentage and then charge for "deeper access".  In specific Me In My Place (MIMP NSFW) is pursuing this type of a model with their photography app.  They offer a mobile browser app that is supposed to give you additional pictures not shown on the MIMP tumblr (NSFW duh) blog.  On problem with this model is the push to move more subscriptions inevitably causes the creatives to show images that are supposed to be "subscription exclusives".  Since moving to the paid model I've found the pictoral quality is exceptionally repetitive, and the site appears to be having a harder time recruiting women to participate as models.  Whether this is a problem germane to erotic/semi-erotic work remains to be seen.  As a side note I've also seen a slight permutation of this model taken by a writer "retiring" work from her blog/site as it is compiled into books of stories for sale. For people just discovering her work the site's content can appear a bit thin, but she offers several books for sale.  You're left with an odd delemia as both a new and old reader.  New, you have to choose to buy her work based on a thin selection of current work which may or may not represent past work or as a long time reader your favorite stories have to be purchased to be enjoyed again. The site in question is Remittance Girl, a NSFW erotic story site, I'm not trying to be mysterious here, I just needed to get the warning in before I linked to it.  This may be an excellent model for the specific content being generated in this context, but I'm not sure how well it translates to other genera's.

I posit that hybrid "all of the above" approaches are needed to drive the continued creation of so called "micro content" single comics, stories and webisodes.  The compilation/tangible goods model via DVD, comic books, or real books, or other items for sale is one way for supporting the creation of independent creative material that has real draw backs for the creatives, where the flatr/tip jar has real draw backs for the consumers and Indie Gogo/Kickstarter success or failure could be an albatross for the artist in the future.  In the longest foreseeable future ad revenue and or sponsorship may be the lowest hanging and traditional route to cling to, but has a relatively low pay rate and places limitations to the type of content you can created.  For instance few advertisers want to be associated with profane, or pornographic material.

So sorry for serious adult face here to the people that actually read this silly blog from time to time, it was a though in my head and really the only place I had to plunk it.

Friday, March 22, 2013


If you are a fan of the Star Wars universe, or thought that you where be prepared to find that you are only passingly interested in the franchise. The author of the blog Kitbashed has more motivation and interest in the origins and mythos of Star Wars than you ever imagined you had interest in the movies.  He and several others are meticulously tearing apart the Lucas "I created everything ever ever ever" myth layer by layer, with primary sources, side by side comparisons of artwork and plot comparisons to everything that was going on during the time Star Wars, Empire and Return of the Jedi came out.

I don't know if I posted about them here or not, but The author of Kitbashed Michael Heilemann is the reason that I found out about the fan documentaries Star Wars Begins, Building Empire and Returning to Jedi.  I do genuinely apologize for those links and the 7ish hours of your life you may choose to spend on them.  I cannot recommend them enough, the production quality is really amazing.  In any event I've been following Michael on his blog Binary Bonsai for quite sometime now, with what started as an interest in some design project he had done, it was either a template for a website or web browser (it really was a long ass time ago I don't remember how I found him) but I think he's one of the feeds that came with me from Bloglines back when it was my RSS reader de jour.

The heart of the matter that I'm here for though, is that kitbashed didn't have a link on the site for RSS.  Now I'm an RSS whore, and will guess until I get it or roll my own feed with feedburner if a site doesn't offer one; I live and die by RSS.  On his about page he tells you the platform that he runs on (squarespace his current employer), and one handy Google search later this help page tells you the format for the generated RSS.  After a little educated guessing I got the RSS so if you want to subscribe to an awesome blog about Star Wars and it's origins here's the RSS Link.  Why go through all this work?  Well my choices to follow him where Facebook or Twitter. I barely use Facebook, and only have a Twitter for trolling so that was out.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Make yourself dumber

There are days I might be willing to consider this.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Another Meritocracy Article

This one comes from the ever respectable Economist Magazine and boy son I am dissapoint.

The author grasped at one of the points Michal Young was making, and tripped over a different one.  The money conflating quote

As for the rich strivers, there is nothing that you can, or should, do to stop people investing in their children, but you can prevent them from unfairly adding to their already privileged position. For instance, standardised tests were supposed to favour the brainy, but the $4.5 billion test-prep industry, which disproportionately caters to the rich, indicates that this is being gamed. Intelligence tests should be more widely used.
Bold added to highlight the real whiff.  Young's dystopia was largely centered around standardized intelligence testing.  Intelligence testing as a means for determining ones worth was exactly the dystopia Young was rallying against. The author of this article may well be forgiven for not knowing what would be a perfect solution as Young doesn't offer one, rather gives warning that focusing on intelligence will only be tolerated in society for so long before outright rebellion.  No model for the future is offered here, but Young clearly believes that humans deserve to have the ability to pursue what makes them happy, even if it doesn't advance the nation as a whole.

So in closing, way to misunderstand the source material.

More Meritocracy

Monday, March 18, 2013

Why Google?

So the big G is going to murder my favorite product on the internet bar none, Google Reader.  What's next, you going to kill the blogger platform next?  I can barely imagine all the people that I've told to start using this product over the year.  How many times I've tried to convince people that RSS is the best thing on about the internet that they don't even use and here we are.  So Feedly, charge for it please.  I want this platform to be around for a while.  I'm happy to pay for this service, because I use it every day.  Seriously.

So in closing, I'm sad and come July probably going to have a lot more free time on my hands.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Silly things that fill the day up

This sounds silly, but I was on a blogger break.  I was feeling a little used up mentally so I decided to take some me time and ruminate on why it is that I even post here in the first place.  The beer posts make sense, that's the stuff I'm doing and what interests me so sure I'll probably keep posting about that.  I post music sometimes, and generally it's the stuff that I'm interested in, or that I find challenging so I'll probably keep posting that.  My "book" reports, the things I'm reading and why they're important to the world at large where interesting to me, so those will stay.  On of the things I was posting about a fair amount was electronics and toys, and while those things interest me a fair amount I've stopped following "gadget" blogs and feel like this has taken a fair amount of weight off my shoulders.  It was a crushing number of posts to get through, and half the time it was about apple products that I didn't care about, and the rest of the time about cameras or phones or some other shit.  With that not taking up space in my head, I've been left wondering what to do.

I'm working on some art related things and I've been trying to write creatively more frequently, but those things take time so any posts about them would be few and far between.  I've been in the gym quite frequently of late and have a few goals related to that, but not terribly interesting outside the purely empirical sense so I don't think I'll post about that.  Maybe some general stuff related to what I'm working on and any sports nutrition/science stuff I come across.  I've been flirting with the Flexitarian diet on and off for the past few years and may be looking to make it a more permanent feature of our diet this year so Vegetarian recipes that I really enjoyed may be a feature as well from time to time.

What about you why do you still come back to blogger?

Monday, February 25, 2013


I don't know where to put this, it doesn't speak for me but it did speak to me.  She's got a way with words, and it's an interesting story.  Click past if it's not for you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

something to ponder

My wife likes that bumper sticker that says "what if the hokey pokey is what it's all about?"  I think it's absurdist existentialism, but Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has another thought on the matter.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Art is suffering?

So apparently art is suffering.  I started working on an art project not on the weekend that just finished but last weekend and I'm still borderline cripple from the experience   It started off innocently enough with an approximately 25lb block of wood and a dremel that progressed into neck muscles spasmed so badly that I missed a week of work trying to recover.

If that sounds pathetic, it totally is.  Ice, heat packs, Vitamin I (Ibuprofen), methocarbamol, and now flexeril. I've seen two massage therapists (at this point even my wife is giving me shit about happy endings, so feel free to pile on), and I'm looking for a chiropractor.  My stuff is messed up, Flexeril is potent enough my parents cannot get out of bed the next day when they have a 1/4 pill and I had a full pill. I still woke up at 4 am sore and tried to ice my neck again.  In my defense I handle my narcotics damn well, but still I was nervous.

In any event here's a picture of the damn thing that is killing me.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cascade Dark Ale

Racked into the oak last night, and I had interned to dry hop in the barrel, then I realized how tiny the bung hole is and decided I'm going to dry hop later.

I think I'm going to call this beer The Hop burner, with just shy of 8oz of hops and only 63IBU's.  I found another open 1oz pouch of hop pellets in my freezer.  I'm apparently very wasteful with my hops.

Any way well see how it goes with the oak, when I put it in the barrel the coffee roasty flavors where the dominate notes. I'm thinking head retention won't be an issue with this beer.  In 10 days my yeast took it from 1.083 to 1.024 (I didn't temperature adjust so it may be lower).

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Digital Short

Sometimes the Journey is the treasure. Some of the animation elements remind me of Aeon Flux and others of Ren and Stimpy. Taken together it's a pretty solid bit of animation with basically no spoken dialogue.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Beer Postings

Man beer postings just seem to lack their emotional punch without pictures don't they?

Well tough I didn't take any pictures so I'm just going to have to rely on my words to describe my most recent cockup in brew making.  I was on vacation for the last week, and thusly didn't have a beer ready to go back into the oak barrel when my "guest brewer" got done with it.  He did a wee heavy in it, and delivered it to my home rinsed and waiting for some beer to go back into it on Saturday.  Sadly I didn't have anything for the thirsty barrel so I went about correcting that.  I needed to compress the brew times and I wanted to do an IPA, so I settled on doing a Cascadian dark ale (aka Black IPA).  You can find my recipe here, it was a collaboration with my brew store beer savant and I did it extract for the convenience of time.  All said it was still about 4ish hours of work for a 1.083 syrupy mess.

Because it was a largish batch with high gravity I gave my yeast a head start with some corn sugar and yeast nutrient in about 1/3 of a gallon of water.  Over the course of the brew day I came to discover that my trusty digital thermometer had bit the dust and was reading inaccurately, so I was flying blind for a large chunk of the day.  When the day was done I had almost 7 gallons in my fermenter and that left and uncomfortably small amount of room for the krausen to work.  I stayed up until almost 2am listening to the airlock bubble away happily before deciding it might just stay in there.  When I woke up 8 hours later I had a huge mess, krausen gushing out the top of my bucket and filling my chest freezer turned kegorator.  In all I'd say I lost about 1/2 a gallon of what is going to be 8%ish abv beer.  It was a true day of mourning as I tried to clean it up, split the batch into a second fermenter to try and contain it.  All I can say is Danstar's Nottingham yeast is a monster, it powered through and as of last night was settled down, with the krausen almost completely collapsed, the airlock slowed to a mere bubble a minute or so.  I'm tempted to rack to the barrel just to be done monitoring the damn thing,  but first I have to come up with a way to strain out all the damn hops still floating around in there.  Whole leaf hops are such a pain in the ass.

Any how that's all I've got to say about that.

To ABFTS's question about how the american strong tastes, it's like doing a whiskey drop in a pale ale.  Scotch ales have a darker malt profile (and are offensively bitter), american strong is just a really high gravity pale ale.  Look at the grain bill, it's copper colored wort, and moved more towards amber from the char on the oak.  So far the feed back on it has been pretty solid, my gripe is the head retention is near nonexistent because of the whiskey and oak.  I've probably over compensated on the cascade dark ale, but I like some head when I pour.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Interesting Premise, I don't strictly agree.

The difference or line that I like to draw is that while I may appreciate things cherry picked from other cultures, I don't express that like by adopting it as my own.  Appreciation of a different genera of is not the same as trying to take ownership and combine with other things to make something unique.

The things Portlandia makes fun of really is the most extreme outlandish take on situations that makes them ripe for ridicule.  For instance insisting on meeting the chicken that you are going to eat for dinner.  It's applying absurdism to something the earnest desire to not be so removed from the production of our food.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Monday, January 07, 2013

Philip K. Dick

I'm not sure why, but I never really read much in the "Sci-fi" genera when I was younger.  I read some of the expanded Star Wars universe, but really that was it for Science Fiction.  As an adult I've sort of stumbled into the genera largely by accident, but I'm enjoying my time here.

The first book for me was from Richard Paul Russo's Carlucci 3-in1[?]. It was in the book bin at work and caught my eye, so I gave it a whirl.  It's 3 books rolled into one and pretty excellent, thought my disclaimer will be the first book stands head and shoulders above the other 2.  The sci-fi book I read last year was Betahuman[?] by Ian Wood, I read it because it was written by a High School friend of mine.  It's a debut novel, written during nanowrimo follows familiar story arc's but manages to add something to the genera as far as I'm concerned.  Really other than smoothing out some of the dialogue, it doesn't need any work.  The last Sci-fi book I read last year was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?[?] from Philip K. Dick.  I watched Blade Runner sometime last year so I was interested to read the book, but Adam Savage prattling on and on about his Blade Runner replica's in 2 separate video's this year really drove me to take the plunge.  The movie doesn't even hold a candle to the sun that is this book.  There are so, so many things that the movie doesn't even try to take on that draw together the plot that Blade Runner failed to make any sense of. If you liked the movie, but thought it was missing something I think you will love the book.

Any how I'm deep in the middle of a Philip K. Dick benge trying to read The Man in the High Castle[?] and I have a few more to follow, but if there is something I just have to read in the genera let me know.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Science Friday

I dig me some science and graphene is definitely a huge area of interest moving forward for the electronics industry, in some respects all industries if the charge profile is as good as they think it is.

via Geeks are Sexy