Friday, August 14, 2009

Special Beer for a Special Boy

So tomorrow is the "early" judgement day. I plan on bottling the beer I made special for the birth of my baby boy. I have special labels designed, so I'll hand out handcrafted ale instead of cigars when he's born. There's no way I could brew another batch and have it be ready by his birth, so I sure hope this one turns out good! The recipe is for an IPA (India Pale Ale, and coincidentally the initials of our baby) that I modified for batch size and alcohol content. Used 2 types of hops that I've never used before and had 5 hop additions (again, Miller Lite's triple hopped brewed marketing campaign is bullshit!) Should yield 36 bottles of delicious 6.3% ABV yumminess. But final alcohol level and bottle yield will have to be determined tomorrow. I really hate bottling, so if it comes up with less than 36 bottles, I won't mind :) Hopefully it's worthy of sharing, otherwise I'm gonna have a lot of beer to myself!

This will all have to happen after I get back from Cub Scout Leader training. I've been warned that I'll need lots of caffeine to make it through 5 hours of "common knowledge" training.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Car Surgery

I love my car but damn this is ridiculous. I'm so used to simple 4 cylinder cars, ones that I've worked on so many times that I know them like the back of my hand. Simple tasks like changing spark plugs took 5 minutes! Not on this car.

5 hours. Remove intake manifold to replace spark plugs, remove rear valve cover to replace with newer version that doesn't leak oil. Replace power steering hose with one that doesn't leak fluid. Spent $300 in parts, and saved about $600 by doing it myself. Pretty big job but I'm glad it's done, even though I am completely sore today! The human body isn't meant to stretch like that for extended periods of time. I'm just thankful that the car started right up when it was all put back together. Runs like a champ again!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

It's on like donkey kong

Finally! After a couple months of being without a bike, as my trusty red Soma went to SF via ebay, here's what many beers, err hours in the garage have done.

Start: 84 Nishiki Prestige frame and a pile of misc parts.

Finish: Complete and road tested!

This ended up being a mix of 3 different bikes I bought off of craigslist/ebay, which were parted out for profit :) Some of the parts were purchased new, and the saddle is leftover from the Soma bike. Hopefully this hot weather and increase in light rail fees won't discourage me from commuting again, but either way, it's time to get back on the road and lose my "sympathy pregnancy" weight :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

All Alone

My wife and son are on their way to Oklahoma, and I've got the rest of the week off of work. Hmmm...what's a boy to do?

I've got a Lowe's card, lots of beer, and a hankering to do some home improvement :)

Not-so-extreme makeover time!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bottling Day

After 3 weeks fermenting/conditioning/dry hopping, it's time to bottle!

The gross looking carboy is lifted onto the counter. The proteins and yeast have settled to the bottom (called trub), and the leftover krausen stuck to the top.

The beer is siphoned into the bottling bucket, which rests for a few minutes to let any remaining sediment settle, and priming sugar is added for carbonation.

Using used bottles that have been cleaned and sanitized, they are filled and capped with this medieval torture device.

End result is a bunch of beer that will sit at room temperature for 2 weeks to carbonate. The remaining yeast in the beer will eat the priming sugar that was added to the bottling bucket and carbonate the beer.

Now the problem is that the carboy is now empty....time for another batch!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring time car time

I used to be pretty anal about keeping my cars clean. Used to wash every weekend and wax once a month. Well I've been lazy the past few years, and my poor Maxima has been suffering. No wax since last spring, and last wash was before our Flagstaff trip (my car's first time in snow!). The snow grit and grime and build up of dust was disgusting. I've been wanting to detail it but never had the time. Until today.

4 hours later, I have a shiny car again! It was not enjoyable like it used to be, but I'm happy its done. Pretty boring I know.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Homebrewing 101

Finally got around to making some beer. I've done this a couple times with friends but never on my own. Well, not entirely my lovely pregnant wife was quite helpful :) These pictures are from 2 weeks ago.

Here's the grains steeping in the water. At this point it's simply that, grains in water.

Now that the sugars have been extracted from the grains, it's called "Wort". Once this mixture begins to boil, then we add hops for bittering and aroma. This batch has 1oz of Simcoe hops for a full hour of boiling, then 1/2oz of Chinook hops for 40 minutes, then 1/2oz of Centennial hops for 20 minutes, and finally another 1oz of Cascade hops with 5 minutes left of boiling. Each variety brings something different to the flavor, and this is a LOT of hops for a 3 gallon batch :)

Once we're done boiling, we have to get it cold as fast as possible. A simple ice bath in the sink takes the brew from 212 degrees to 75 in 15 minutes. From now on, anything that touches the wort must be sanitized. The cooled wort is strained and funneled into a 3 gallon glass carboy.

Using a hydrometer, I check the original gravity (OG), which is 1.060. Distilled water has a gravity of 1.00.

Now that I've added yeast, it is officially beer. The carboy is loaded into my wine fridge so I can control the fermentation temperature. In this case, 68 degrees. The yeast will eat the sugars and convert them into alcohol and CO2 (aka fermentation). The CO2 is bled off via a blow off hose, which allows air to escape without letting air in. It was bubbling like crazy for 4 days, then slowed to 10 bubbles a minute. Now it's a bubble every other minute.

It's pretty much done fermenting now, with a final gravity (FG) of 1.019. I was hoping that it would finish about 1.016, but it's good enough. It'll just be a little sweeter than planned. Now taking the OG minus the FG, we get 0.041. We multipy this number by 131 and get 5.37. So my beers alcohol content is 5.4%, not bad at all! Right where a beer of this style should be. Now after 2 weeks in the fermenter, I'll add another 1/2oz of Centennial Hops, which is a process called "dry hopping". These hops will only effect the aroma. It'll sit another week and I'll bottle it! That experience will be completely new to me, and worthy of its own blog post :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Commuting Video

I finally used iMovie on my macbook for the first time and made this little video out of pictures I took on the way to/from work today. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Weirdest feeling ever

It's Thursday. I should be at work, but I can't be. My hours were cut and I can only do 32 a week. I have a TON of stuff to do, and deadlines to meet, but I can't be at work. So I'm home. It's an expensive day off. I'm so used to working 40 hours that I've become accustomed to knowing exactly how much will be on my paycheck. Not anymore. I actually WANT to be at work, this is a weird feeling. 

Saturday, January 31, 2009

I fall down go boom

Another beautiful day not wasted! Mike and I hit the trails at Hawe's in east Mesa today. Second time I've been there and I feel bad for not going more often, it's absolutely gorgeous! Some fun parts, some hard parts, and quite a few "oh shit" parts. One of the latter parts got me and I went down with the style and grace of a water balloon. Skinned up both knees and my right elbow, but it was fun! I haven't done that in quite some time, so I knew I was due for a fall. I might hurt a little tomorrow, but for now I'm still laughing. 

Did about 12.5 miles, reaching some of the higher points of the trail system, and finding the elusive "secret" trail and the mineshaft. Good workout, that's for sure. I'll be sleeping great tonight!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I is genius

No shower at work anymore meant no more bike commuting....unless I figured out how to get by without it. 

Today I rode 7 miles to the light rail station, paid my $1.25 one-way fare and rode to the station closest to my work. From there, a quick 1.5 mile trip to work was a breeze, and with a fresh change of clothes and some gel to manage the helmet hair, its as if I had driven. Without the traffic stress to start my day :)

Since my activity level has been nearly zero with all the holiday and studying madness, I cheated and used the light rail on the way home too, but it's still cheaper than driving, and 17 miles of riding (~550 calories burned!) isn't too shabby for someone who's been "out of it" for a couple months. 

Further encouraged by my new LEED AP status, I figure I need to practice what I preach and get back into doing more "green" things with my life. 

And speaking of green....there's a Filiberto's right by the Light Rail station, I'm totally gonna stop one of these mornings and get a breakfast burrito, and I'll drown it with green sauce. Mmmmm yummy. 

Monday, January 26, 2009

Green isn't a coincidence anymore...

Me, LEED AP. Yeah boyyeeeeeeee! I passed my test today and I haven't figured out if I'm more excited that I've accomplished a goal, or that I never have to take that f'n test again. It was just as hard as I thought it would be and then some. I'm so glad that the test gave instant results, because if I had to sweat for a couple weeks waiting for them, I'd go nuts. But alas, I have 6 letters after my name now, eat that Doogie :)

I have to thank my lovely wife and son for putting up with me and supporting my study time. Hopefully it'll be a while before I have to study for anything again!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Study Mode: Hardcore!

I'm one of them. Tucked away in a dark corner of the local coffee shop (Coffee Rush, not Starbucks), typing away on my Macbook, sipping a non-fat latte. Sorry Jayne, there's no way to sneak pictures of the Grecian God for you, it would be too obvious. Maybe next time :)

Desperate needs require desperate measures! With my big LEED test a week from today, I've got to cram in as much study time as possible to ensure a first time pass on this test. Out of the 4 people in my office to take the test, none have done it on the first try. 3 gave up on it and never retook it. There's a lot at stake for my pride if I don't get accomplish this mission! At $300 per test attempt, I don't wanna be the next chump to ask the boss for more cash because I didn't apply myself the first time. I don't think I need to mention "troubled economic times" or "recession" and what they mean to my ain't pretty.

I haven't taken a test in nearly 12 years. I never took the SAT either, so this is quite a daunting task for someone who's been out of the study/school loop for so long. I started studying in September, off and on, until the beginning of January, when I started getting serious. 

For the few people that read this blog, I'm putting my study and test goals up here now, because I don't wanna let you down with bad news next Monday. Cheer for me! 

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Before I head to bed...

NOTHING brought me down today. Not the traffic, not the noise, not the temptation of retail therapy (thanks Craigslist!), not the smelly dude at QT, not the dumb fuckers honking at me while I was working in the field, nothing. No barking from the dogs, no smog, and momma cooked a breakfast with no hog! Everything went my way and I'm scared to go to sleep because I don't wanna break the cycle. But that alarm's going off in 6 hours, so I guess I gotta. 

I love my life!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Marley & Me

Yeah yeah, I cried like a little girl with a skinned knee. What of it. 

Friday, January 2, 2009

It was fun while it lasted

As of today, I (and other employees) no longer have access to the gym upstairs in my building. A couple of us that bike commute use the shower in the mornings, and since we all have long rides, that shower is very much appreciated. The new owner of the gym doesn't want anyone in there that isn't paying for personal training...and at $300/month, I won't be going in. 

I can't get away with a sink shower, and baby wipes won't do enough. Looks like I have to give up bike commuting, which totally fucking sucks. The weather is nice and I was really excited to get back into it (after slacking the past 2 months). 

Looks like my bike will be on ebay soon, and it'll certainly sell for more than I put into it, so that's one positive. But I'll miss it dearly. 

Without my weekday adventures, this blog will probably get more boring than it already is!