Friday, March 30, 2007

Journal Pub

It used to be that every Friday was Journal Pub. Rather than getting together to discuss journals (ie journal club) the students and staff would get together Friday to just chat. For some reason the guy who was taking care of Journal Pub stopped doing it. At first, we just did one on our own with a few people in our lab, then a few more. Then I meet my boyfriend, but still no journal pub. So I contacted the guy who was setting them up and told him I had beer. Well that got a response. So we had a Journal Pub tonight with the homebrew. Everyone enoyed the beer very much. The surprise was that the few people who tried it, really liked the jalepeno beer. I had four different types of beer, a stout, a belgian ale, a maple brown and the spicy beer. The first three were in kegs while the last one was in bottles (I actually only brought in two bottles because a little goes a long way). Good thing I also brought the carbon dioxide tank in too as for some reason one of the kegs had lost pressure over the week. We also had drank enough to drop the pressure in one keg such that dispensing was slowing down. Can't have that now.

In the end the Journal Pub was a great success and I collected some money from the tip jar. This is a nice feature that was already in place but allowed me to get a few bucks for ingredients for the next batch and possibly that homebrew book I've had my eye on. So now it is time to plan the next batch. I am thinking of an IPA just for something fast and simple that has universal appeal. It also means that I can go from nothing to beer in about 2-3 weeks and keep the beer flowing. Then I can move on to a cranberry honey white, something that will be an amalgamation of two other recipes.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

So Sore

I had to power walk down to the theater on Sunday in order to get to the showing in time. Especially since it was the last showing of the day. It was so nice out, I was wearing my sandals. Unfortunately I am so sore from the power walk down then the haul back up the hill. I almost think it is a good thing I didn't end up going hiking on Saturday otherwise I might have been even more sore and in more areas. As it is, it is mostly my ankles, calves and buttocks. But my sandals also ripped up my feet a little so there are sore spots on my feet too. At least I got out and had some fresh air, sun and exercise. Since the walk down is about 35 minutes, and 40 minutes back I did get some good exercise and I managed to blow through some more podcasts. I noticed that I haven't been listening to anything on my iPod as I have been spending so much of my free time with my boyfriend.

I actually find it very strange to say I have a boyfriend. I sort of feel that I have hit an age where you date or have someone in your life but don't actually have boyfriends anymore. Boyfriends seem to be something that teenagers and twenty-somethings have.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The beer is kegged and chilling

So I found out yesterday why the beer I had previously kegged and attempted to carbonate naturally then pressure carbonate was still flat. I was getting really great head on the beer but underneath the beer was still flat. Apparently the beer needs to be cold in order for it to retain the carbonation. So where am I going to find a large empty fridge to stor two kegs in? Why at work of course. We have a large deli like fridge in the smaller lab that no one uses. I ended up bringing the Three Pistoles and the Maple Nut Brown to work on sunday before going to the movies in an attempt to chill them and see if they were ready. So today was the big day and lo and behold, the beer was carbonated and quite drinkable. I actually grabbed everyone fromthe lab and we went down for a mini-tasting. They liked the beers so it is time for a party.

I am thinking of having a keg party on Friday to share the wealth. I am trying to decide if I want to have a slightly bigger party here at work, or a smaller more selective one at my place. Since I don't really have a sofa, here at work might be a bit better. I also still have the Chocolate Stout waiting in the wings for the chocolate extract. Apparently only a few of the Whole Foods in the area actually carries the stuff and none of them are nearby and the only one I did find didn't have the extract on Sunday. So I will try to go during the week so I can have that beer ready for the keg party on Friday too. I figure that if I have three kegs of beer at the party and a relatively small number of people, I will still have beer left over for later. The alternative would be to bring the beer as a stout and get the chocolate later and repressurize the keg after addition of the extract. More painful but doable. I could also add the extract into the bottles and bottle the pressurized beer into the extract for bottled Chocolate Stout. Decisions, decisions with only a few days to decide. Oh well, I am sure everything will work out.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Music and Lyrics

This was a great movie. In fact, I liked it so much I want to see it again. I think this would be considered a chick flick which is normally not my style, but I really enjoyed it. The characters came across as well rounded and disfunctional at the same time making a great interplay off each other.

Hugh Grant plays the role of an old 80's pop band singer trying to make a few bucks to keep on the radar and keep the manager happy. Drew Barrymore plays the slightly odd character who can't seem to take care of plants but can finish a poetic line with a rhyming line. They meet when she comes in to water his house plants while he is trying to write a new song as part of a colaboration to get back into the game. She gives a better line than the one written and he jumps all over it. But due to a bad experience in her past, she doesn't want to write the lyrics and he knows from past experience that he can't write the lyrics himself. Add into the mix a sister crazy for the old pop idol and hilarity quickly ensues.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Reign over Me

I'm not sure I really enjoyed this movie. While I can say that it was good, I don't think it was more than that. It was mildly entertaining and there was some humour mixed in, but the moral of the movie felt a little forced. The ending seemed rather abrupt and with little lead up.

This movie was set in NYC and revoleved around a dentist running into an old friend and his desire to help that friend get him backon his feet. This friend has lost his family to a tragedy and was only able to continue living by staying in denial of the even and even of his family. Adam Sandler who normally plays the funny guy did a good job at being the tragic sufferer. Unfortunately, I kept waiting for him to be the funny guy which he really wasn't in this movie. Don Cheadle played the good dentist who was looking for a little personal time away from the marriage.

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Hiking was a bust

I was actually up and at the meeting point for the hiking this morning but I couldn't find any of the other hikers. I did find the photography meetup and a backpacking meetup (which maybe I should have asked them for more info before running off, looked like an interesting group) but alas, I did not find the dayhike group. I decided to go snowshoeing instead as a last push on the snowshoes, but alas, there was no snow to be had. So in the end, I went to the beer store for supplies for the nest batch and then I went and joined the movie meetup.

I decided that the next batch of beer was going to be a honey cranberry white. The hoeny white turned out nice if a little strong and the tentative tastings of the cranberry white seemed promising. So I decided to combine the two recipes into one 5 gallon recipe. I also found a cranberry concentrate syrup that I will use to flavour the beer along with cranberries. I can't wait to get this batch going to see how it turns out. While this is still not my own recipe, I find that I am now experimenting more and getting further from the recipes I have found online. I am looking into getting the book "Designing Great Beers" so that I can branch off completely on my own and try to come up with something unique that I like.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Wow, Hard drive woes

I recently tried to replace the hard drive on my laptop. I figured it would be easy. Back up the data, swap drives, replace data. Unfortunately swapping was the easy part. Once I got the correct tools, I had no problems swapping out the drives. I didn't have too much problems backing up the data, which ended up getting done in two different ways. It was the getting it back onto the new hard drive that was the problem. Once I formatted the disk and moved things over, the computer didn't want to start, then the permissions were horribly off and the disk utility had to be run several times. In the end it took about 2 days to finally get the hard drive backed up then another 2 days to get the data back on and all the permissions working correctly. The laptop is still at work but at least it is working. I will have to pick it up in the morning before I head out for a hike.

I decided last minute to maybe go hiking. I figure if I wake up in time then I will go, otherwise, I will catch up on sleep and cleaning. I haven't been home in a while. Mostly I end up back at the apartment to feed the cat then I am off and running. Since my boyfriend will be un in NYC this weekend, I will have lots of free time to get some of the back log of to do's done.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New hard drive

I filled up the hard drive on my laptop. Boy did that space go quickly. 60G gone over about 6 months use. I would normally have backed up things on my Linux box. I also wouldn't have downloaded songs for storage onto the laptop. But, since I can't get the laptop to talk with the Linux server, I am stuck with a rapidly filling hard drive. I just received a new 120G drive and am in the process of moving the data around. In essence this involves copying the entire contents of my hard drive onto another computer then swapping drives then moving everything onto the new drive. Hopefully I won't have to reinstall OS X but that might have to happen. I think this weekend that I will also try to boot up the old G4 Mac and try to get that computer to talk with the Linux server. If I can get the two of them to talk over the network, I might be able to off load from the laptop to the G4 then from G4 to Linux, painful but at least I will have backed things up. I guess I could just burn things onto a CD and have a secondary backup.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

More tests finished

I managed to get a whole slew of reports written and uploaded for the gear testing I do. It was not a good week when I found out I had at least 4 reports due in the span of 1 week. I had at least written most of each report over the last 2 weeks leaving proofreading and tying up the ends. The spanner in the works came when I received a new backpack for testing bringing the report count up to 5 due in the next few days. Add on the new man in my life and things became quite interesting. Thank goodness I invested in a laptop months ago. Double thank goodness that there is a wifi node at his apartment that I can use to get access to my reports (I find I am doing just about everything online nowadays). So I managed to get everything in under the wire. So I am now the proud owner of a set of YakTrax, a GoLite long sleeve shirt and a Redledge fleece jacket. I am now in test mode for a bivy, a backpack, snowshoes (hopefully West Virginia won't run out of snow any time soon), and two little pocket books. I also recently put in a application to test rain gear. I hope I get chosen for the jacket and pants set. I try to never get my hopes up, I send in an application then forget about it until I get an email saying congratulations. It is best to not get too attached during the application process.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Things On hold

I'm in dating mode right now. I have forgotten how much time new couples spend together. I have been spending most evenings with a guy I had meet earlier. It is becoming quite serious. This means I have been letting things slip. I just posted about 6 entries, including this one, on the blog in one shot in order to catch up. In the mean time though, my poor cat is not getting any attention, I have put my knitting projects on hold and I am barely keeping my head above the water with my gear testing reports and obligations. I find I have been doing more homework at work just so I can get some things done. As I had about 7 reports due in a short amount of time, my blog has suffered. I now have 4 reports left to submit and one of those four has not been started but is due after the rest. I am hoping to get that done this weekend. I have also been letting my knee exercises slip which isn't a good thing. I can feel the pain slowly creeping back in. Time to get back on the ball as I have noticed my eating habits slipping too. Not enough to gain weight but I haven't been eating as many veggies as I normally do. And since I haven't been spending as much time online, I haven't been chatting with my family as often. I did catch up with my brother and mother recently so I don't feel too bad, but I should try to catch my father at some point soon or I will start to feel really bad.

Trois Pistoles

Originally uploaded by Canadian Loonie.
I took this picture some time ago and only just uploaded it. This is from one of the first batches of beer I made. The beer is in the primary fermentation and as you can see, there is a lot of fermentation activity as judged by the active foaming action. It is interesting to also see that the sedement in the beer hasn't settled out at this point but instead is moving around due to the vigorous fermentation. IT was fun to watch, almost hypnotic.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Cow sock

Cow sock
Originally uploaded by Canadian Loonie.
I finally had a chance to get out and try the snowshoes. I was a little worried as I was driving out to WVA as there was no snow on either the roads or the fields. My hiking partner called ahead and they said the trails were open with fresh powder so off we went. It wasn't until we were heading up into the hills that we finally encountered snow. The going got a little slippery but nothing that a little cautious driving couldn't handle. When we finally found the place, the wind was really up and the snow was coming down. After stepping outside, dressed for DC weather and a warm car, it was cold out. We basically ran to the warming hut to put more layers on and get another pair of snowshoes. I ended up peeling about 10 minutes into the hike after we hit trees. The day was nice and I had a lot of fun snowshoeing. I really can't wait to get out again. I have a report to write up on these and a cool pic to go with it.

We passed this really cute cow shaped wind sock on our hike up to the trail. It was really windy and we had not built up any heat so the picture was taken on the way back. At that point, I was sufficiently warm to stop and take a few pictures. I nearly froze my hands off though, that wind was really biting. I had my film camera with me and snapped a few of the cow, thought I would try the blue filter I got off Freecycle. I am interested to see what it dows to the picture. As I didn't notice the mountains behind me, I had to pull the camera out a second time and snap a few more pics, freeze my already cold hands some more. The drive back was interesting as once we were coming down from the mountains we left the snow behind and the sun even came back out. The weather was great in DC.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

What a week

What a week, it is now March and I am really not sure how time got away from me. Maybe it is because there is someone in my life right now and we have been spending a lot of time together. I met him at one of the TGIF's. Several us of from the lab ended up over at the campus bar. As he knew one of the group, we sat next to him and started chatting. I didn't think anything of it until we ran into each other almost a week later and he convinced me to go back to the bar. So another TGIF was formed. I didn't want to get into another relationship right now as I am still new to the area but he is so nice and we hit it off so well. He is also really funny and fun to be around. He is quite different from the last few people I dated. He works at the hospital on campus so we meet up after work. We even go together for lunch one day. It was so nice and sunny out with a cooling breeze. So different from the last weekend where we had winter. This was almost late spring. I'll have to be carefull I don't get too much sun, I haven't seen it in awhile and I might get a burn.