beer

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:31 pm
jcharles00: (Default)
I finally got the beer brewed. I was pretty close on my time estimation.. I think I started at 1p and finished a little after 10p. As always, mistakes were made, but none that bad. It definitely went better than the last time. I screwed up the rest schedule a bit, and I added the juniper infusion too early.. maybe the worst mistake was not wanting to wait for the 190 degree wort to cool, and,not thinking,  pumping it into a brand new PET plastic fermenter.... and then watching the bottom of it melt. I lost three gallons, and had to use my large fermenter, which may or may not be contaminated. 

I used a Kveik yeast for the first time, and I was a little worried that it died in transit, but it was very active the first day. I went to harvest some yesterday, and none was left on the top.. I'm a little confused, as it should still be working and should be top fermenting. I am supposing that maybe it's done working, which sucks, because the beer is very low alcohol content at this point. This could make sense though, as I ended up with probably 9 gallons and only boiled one off.. I need to be more careful not to add too much water. 

Cleanup went pretty well. I used a keggle sized brew bag for my grain, so it was easy to get that out all in one go. I also came up with a pretty good system of flushing all the vessels by using long output hoses and just connecting them to different inlets. The latter was slowed down a little because I'm stuck using my hot liquor tank pump to circulate the boil. (which happens while I'm cleaning all of the other stuff) I should probably buy another pump. Also, the boil kettle made a pretty decent mess by splattering hot wort a couple of feet all the way around it. Not sure what to do with that as I really need to leave the lid off so it evaporates off. 

I will probably rack the beer to secondary fermenter this week. So far it is definitely the prettiest beer I've made - it has a nice golden color, and I expect it to wind up pretty clear after cold crashing. 

video games

Sep. 8th, 2017 02:41 pm
jcharles00: (Default)
I haven't been very into video games in a while. I was pretty into the original NES when that came out, and then I had a super nintendo.. but it just wasn't the same, and I was pretty out of it shortly after that. Although I suppose I did still enjoy the video arcade, but that didn't last long either. 

I've had occasional forays back into it. A friend gave me a PS2 at one point and I had about 3 games I liked. Then later I played a MMPORPG (Project entropia, now called "Entropia Planets") for a while. I dumped a lot of money into that only to realize that it wasn't very satisfying. 

As I've mentioned here before, I've recently attempted to get more into gaming, mostly because it's a social currency where I work, and I really don't have a whole lot of social network outside of the office. I've found a couple of ok games, but last week I randomly tried out Player Unknown Battlegrounds after watching a little video of it from a friend. The whole shoot-y game style has never been my thing, but there's something oddly addictive about this one. I think it has something to do with short rounds. It's a survival game.. basically, 100 people skydive into a map, and the goal is to be the last one alive. You scavenge equipment and vehicles, etc. I guess there are two schools of thought to strategy - you can go try to kill everyone else, or you can hide and try to be stealthy. I generally attempt the latter, because honestly, I suck at video game shooting. I suspect it has something to do with lack of experience with this type of game - The mechanics are so similar to all the other shooty games, that I'm sure most of the players have their 10000 hours in on it. 
Another thing this game makes me think of is go / no go decision making. It's kind of a risk/reward thing and it totally applies here. I have a hard time being offensive because it has a much higher probability of ending in failure, even though the reward of successful offense is much higher than the reward of hiding. 

I've been trying to figure out how to get better. I bought some new ram for my computer, overclocked my processor and have been tweaking settings, and then just trying to do more of the shooting stuff. remains to be seen if there is any marked improvement.  I'm curious how long this will hold my interest. 
jcharles00: (Default)
So, I went for many years without films being much in the way of social currency, but now they are again, mostly due to a limited IRL social circle and a software development oriented work life. I am not that into modern video games, so aside from guitar equipment, movies are the only thing I have to talk about with the other UX designer who works in the next cube over. 

Last night I saw the new transformers movie. I loved transformers as a kid - I grew up during their initial cartoon run and had a whole hell of a lot of the toys. I think I've seen all episodes of the recent movie franchise, because, well.. I like going to the movies.. but they were all pretty lousy. Not much of a story and I always felt like I was looking through a camera lens that was zoomed too far in. My hopes for this one were equally low, but the integration of an Aurthurian theme piqued my interest. Done to death, but still works for me. 

Reviews were bad. 4/10 stars from NYT, 17% on rotten tomatoes, etc. I actually liked it. There were many problems - cheesiness of some characters, really bad/fast edits, glossing over many plot points, etc. but overall, they weren't that distracting. With a little more love, it could have been a truly great sci-fi flick, but as is, it was solidly entertaining. 
jcharles00: (Default)
A teammate and I - I'm in the blue and white helmet

So I did the 200 mile race. ..but I stopped at 100 miles. I had a good time though. The first 50 miles were great. The gravel was packed down and fast, and there were several rocky downhills that were fun to fly down. The second 50 miles were a little tougher. a lot more climbing, and I had burnt up a lot of energy by that point. I ended up walking several hills, but still made a decent pace. (averaged 12mph) Towards mil 100, I started struggling, but not for the reasons I normally might.. My heart rate was super low, and I wasn't exactly tired. I think it was mostly that my arms were exhausted - something that I usually don't ride enough to encounter. I'm sure the rocky terrain didn't help. I just didn't have the mental toughness/strategy to cope with that flavor of discomfort. I think I also was a little dehydrated. I stopped at the 100 mile checkpoint and decided to stay even though I didn't feel particularly bad. It didn't help that I was dumb and entered the race on a single speed bike.

FTR, I felt the strongest that day that I have in months. I think I did a lot of things right, especially nutrition and hydration. The first 50 miles I was feeling so good, I didn't drink as much water or energy drink as I should have. But I ate hourly, and it worked ok. My bike worked well too. I was worried about my tire situation.. especially the front, which wasn't intended to be used tubeless, had blown off the week before, and was observably leaking the day be for the race. it worked fine during the race. the rear seemed low a couple times, and I stopped to fill it up, but I think it was just my mind playing tricks on me. I also managed to get rid of all the creaks and rattles that I'd been dealing with prior to the race. Saddle didn't hurt until the last mile.

In retrospect, I think I would have done ok had I continued on. My performance and feelings at the end would mean "you're done" on a regular length ride, but I think for this distance, I was really ok. My brain just wasn't ready to accept that.

I'm glad it's over with. I had told myself that I wouldn't do this again. Really, I think that was mostly because the anxiety of having had to enter the race 6 months ago and worry about training all that time really wore heavily on me. After having done it, I actually enjoyed it, and part of me is a little bummed I didn't complete it. I could see trying it again, and maybe using a regular multi speed bike to finish it, but I'm still not sure about that 6 month worry time, and honestly, the whole thing was pretty expensive when you add up a $250 entry fee, couple hundred support crew fee, two days vacay time, gas to drive to kansas and back, hotel, equipment/nutrition used, etc, etc. We'll see. Right now I'm happy to just be able to ride for fun on whichever bike I feel like at the time.


jcharles00: (Default)
The 200 mile race is this weekend. really looking forward to getting it done. if you're curious, here are the maps - http://dirtykanza.com/course-information/ . 

Lately, I feel like I'm getting dumber. I'm sure some component of this is related to aging, and I'm sure my mind isn't as sharp or flexible as it once was.. but I think some of it is environmental. Web browsing is my main source of new knowledge, and that seems pretty stale from all the political crap. I don't feel like I'm around other people who share interesting knowledge much - another component of getting old perhaps, and by the same token, maybe I'm avoiding people who do have interesting knowledge because I don't feel like I have much to offer in that department. The transition into corporate design is much less design than corporate, leaving me with little to talk about. 

jcharles00: (Default)
Recent (and always) recurring thought - It's really a bummer that we spend so much of our lives "at work", where work is something that doesn't _really_ benefit ourselves or the general population all that much. All the talk of robotic automation and basic income is really exciting, but I don't suspect that I will get to benefit from it in my lifetime. 

Lately I've been feeling like I'm making some headway in songwriting, but there's just not enough time. I get like 4 hours after work to do anything, and there's usually housework/maintenence/etc that needs to get done in that time too. Maybe I will feel like I have more time after this June race is done and I can quit training for it / worrying about it.

slow going

May. 11th, 2017 09:50 am
jcharles00: (Default)
I have been lax in making my first post here on dreamwidth. I still haven't taken the time to figure out the security model. It seems like it's more granular than LJ, but that's about all I know. I think Dreamwidth is also a lot less populated than I had initially thought it was. I think I (wrongly) expected some kind of huge revival or something and that I would find many new folks to talk to.. but it's kind of dead here too. The 2017revival community, which seems to be the main way to find other active users, is pretty unhelpful. The standard list of questions there doesn't really tell me a lot about people other than their favorite fiction. (which is limited to almost exclusively television and movies) I've poked around some existing communities and they seem pretty dead. :/ Regardless, I still think moving off of the LJ platform in light of the russia stuff and the anti-lgbtq stuff was a good move. 

I did a bike race last weekend. It was a metric century (~62 miles) but I took a wrong turn and cut it down to around 50. It was a slog. I have been struggling with the bike I ride gravel on. It's single speed and the gearing has been frustrating for me. I can really only get it up to a stable 17mph on the flats, but at the same time, if I have to climb anything, I slow to a crawl. For this race, I averaged 14 mph. Honestly, I feel like this is ok.. This is still training for the 200 Mile race in June, and if I can do 14 for that (I probably wont be able to) it would be a quite good result. Still, it feels terribly slow compared to where I think I should be. Really just looking forward to getting the June race over so I can stop thinking about it. 

I've been doing a ton of Genealogy research lately. It has really become like a crossword puzzle for me. I think the biggest thing I've realized recently is that there's so much more to be gained by filling in all of the ancillary people, rather than just trying to get surname lines back to the end of time. The new DNA functionality of Ancestry.com has been helpful too. It doesn't do the work for you, but if you have a decent amount of info in your tree, It can really help you find more people to add. 

Still putting off finishing the electrical panel for my homebrewing setup. It's daunting, but really not difficult. I just need to do it. 

funerals..

Jun. 12th, 2016 10:41 pm
jcharles00: (hand)
..seem weirder the older I get. My Grandma Reynolds passed away last week. Her death is maybe less emotional for me than others in the past because it was really time. ..or maybe I'm just getting desensitized to it. Either way, she wasn't having a good time. Her heart just kept getting weaker and weaker, and for a person like her who thrives on independence, being forced to slow down was the worst possible thing to happen. It didn't help that she fell and broke her sternum a month ago. I can't imagine the pain given her condition.

So the viewing was today. It's strange how little corpses look like their former inhabitants. It's weird that we put the body on display. It makes me wonder about the reasons that custom started and has endured.. proof of their passing? I guess the more relevant part of the whole thing for me is seeing family and family friends that I don't see very often. That part makes sense, I guess, although it really puts into perspective how loaded up with random crap our lives are and how little we're connected to even the people closest to us.

Grandma was a pretty big presence in most of my life. I will miss her. Definitely not the same without her around.
jcharles00: (hand)
a departure from my regular whining.. everytime someone on my friendslist posts (which is pretty infrequent) I start thinking about ways that livejournal could be revitalized. I'm kind of curious if the russian owners are finding success with the lowest common denominator entertainment news postings that appear so frequently. I'm sad that I'll probably never make "new" friends here the way I could when it was active. I feel like I could really benefit from the deeper communication and more pragmatic privacy this site has as opposed to all the newer stuff.

Today I considered starting a community called something like "the ones still here". I don't know what the numbers are like but it seems like the american users of old here probably number in the low hundreds. I wonder if the other people left feel the same way and would be interested in this.

honestly, I think a lot of folks would come back with a simple re-brand, but that's not in my hands.

holy crap

Aug. 6th, 2013 10:38 pm
jcharles00: (hand)
i just went for a ride in penasquitos canyon. it was only going to be an hour and then I was going to go back to work because I have stuff due in the morning. got seriously lost. took a headfirst dive into a dried up creek bed that was all riverrock. eventually turned around, got back on the main trail.. and got lost again. it was getting dark and i was nervous. there is scat all over the trails and I know there are mountain lions. and rattlesnakes.. and apparently tarantulas. I saw one. and that explains what all the weird holes in the ground are. As dusk passed I found what looked like a trailhead, and it was.. glad to be out, but I was on the wrong side of the canyon from my car. had to go like 5 miles to SR56 and take that for another 12-15 to where my car was. I was already drained before I got out of the canyon. as I got out of the car at home I felt like shock was setting in. so cold. my leg is messed up from the creek bed. I couldn't get unclipped and my bike took the leg with it despite the knees protests.

I feel like crap. I realized that I didn't even get dinner. that train has passed, nothing around here is open this late. i'm going to be totally crippled in the morning I think.

ouch

Jun. 9th, 2011 10:39 am
jcharles00: (Default)
I'm feeling pretty rough today. I think there are two key factors. First, I pulled something in my back working out last night. Injury isn't really much of a reason to feel lousy, but this particular injury is because it's recurring and takes a long time to heal. Secondly, I slept like crap. I wasn't tired at 11. I eventually went out to lay on the couch, as it's easier for me to fall asleep there. I think the fact that the cats are more likely to come hang out with me there has something to do with it. I woke up at about 3a to a thunder storm and the dog doing his storm pacing. At 8a I really didn't want to get out of bed. my legs were really sore from plyometrics yesterday.

So now I'm sitting here at work staring at my design for the International Bicycle Design Competition. I've only got 6 days left to finish it, and I'm just not feeling it. I think I'm going to attempt to slap it together and get it entered, but I don't even know if this will be good enough to put in my portfolio.

As for good news, I won an award for my Hyrdorail design. It was the one of my projects from the last semester that I felt had a chance to win something. I'm glad I got it because it helps me feel authenticated as a designer. I still have issues since I'm just kind of a drop-in to the program and my portfolio hasn't gotten me in to grad school, but being able to say that a board of judges liked my design over a bunch of others certainly helps.

I also managed to finally get a couple of pieces of the garage siding installed last night, which is kind of the lynch pin in making the garage usable. (not because it needed siding, but because the siding pieces are currently taking up all of the usable garage space) Now that I have a method for putting them on, the rest should be relatively easy. I also bought a attic vent fan to hopefully help with the heat problem in the house. It's been 82+ degrees with the a/c running all day lately. The fan is going to be a pain to install. I guess a lot of it is that I don't want to go in the attic. It's gross up there, and really freaking hot. I'm going to have to fabricate a baffle board for the fan , and then find an existing electrical circuit to tap into. I'm really not fond of working with electrical stuff. anyway, maybe I can get it done this weekend.

Per a recent discussion with one of my friends, I've been practicing sweep picking on the guitar. I haven't actually practiced guitar in a long time. It's something thats cool enough to get me to pick up the guitar and i seem to be improving slowly.
jcharles00: (Default)
for those who may not have noticed, this journal is still updated, however, is by-and-far friends only.
if you would like to be added, feel free to ask.
jcharles00: (Default)
one of belinda's cats is pretty ill and she's got a hefty vet bill coming. to pay for it, she's put some of her smaller paintings up for sale at discounted prices. check them out over here.

i'd gotten kind of attached to the red one, so i bought it. ;)


i really wanted to get a whole entry in tonight, but i'm going to crash. czech out the paintings and help sick cats.

record

Nov. 26th, 2007 09:17 pm
jcharles00: (Default)
the new buddyrevelles record is pretty awesome.
jcharles00: (Default)
here's a photo from that last post about the dig. i think generally people don't know what to expect when you mention archaeology. in this case, there were 6 pits total. one kind of caved in, one was refilled (i guess they were done with it) and a couple ran out of interesting things.

in the photo, the unit with the guy in the red shirt was really the prized one. it had one or more fire pits, as well as some brick and mortar remnants.

the nearest unit showed some stuff on the ground penetrating radar (where the two raised sections are) but there wasn't much there save for a lens of old shells. lower in that pit was more brick and mortar, so it's likely that both pits are inside of the same feature. i sifted a lot from this pit. there was a ton of tiny decaying brick chunks and mortar, etc, but there were also some interesting flint pieces and both historic and prehistoric pottery sherds.

the pit to the near left was the one that deteriorated. i don't know many details about it since i wasn't there when they were working on it.

the unit to the far left that professor shurr is working in had a "birdstone" which are generally though to be the handle of spear throwing devices called atlatls. when i was there, he didn't find anything more.

digging.

Aug. 9th, 2007 09:02 am
jcharles00: (Default)
i went on an archaeological dig yesterday near south bend. it was pretty cool. i figured i ought to go to this one while i have the chance since all other archaeology students get the opportunity to travel great distances and go on big digs.. i figure that i'm lucky to have the chance to get in a small indian trading post within 2 hours of me and for free. i didn't do any hardcore work. i think about the most interesting stuff i did was sort midden, which was just like dumping a bucket of everything that comes out of the pit onto a sorting table, shaking the dirt out, and then bagging whats left. most of it was bits of deteriorated brick and mortar, but there were a few arrow points, historic and pre-historic pottery sherds, nails, pins, bones, etc. one of the pits was a meter and a half deep and very stratified, which i think isn't a terribly common thing to find. this particular pit held historic and prehistoric fire pits as well as the other debris.
i think it would be fun to go to field school and be able to do this stuff more readily, but there certainly are down times to it. even at the most active, it's not the most exciting work in the world. still, i had fun.
jcharles00: (Default)
well, i managed to lose 5 pounds last week. i only skipped one day and have added some upper body work out to the rest of the routine. seems to work well. my diet has been better too because i have been many days without fast food. (save a jimmy johns) but i'm still eating regular crappy food.. i'm just making it at home and it seems to be for the best.

speaking of, i've been making an effort to cook more and it's going ok. my big score for the week was a can of this excellent green tomatillo sauce that was only a quarter. i've been putting it on everything. most notably the gigantic breakfast burritos i had for dinner the other day. i also took some time and figured out how to do pancakes. i know it is a simple procedure, but it's one of those things that i never took the time to learn right - i'd end up with a pan full of half burnt-half raw stuff. but i think i've got it now. viva la pancake!
salmon patties are on the list, but i'm a bit frightened of that still.

my food related "what grinds my gears" for the week is lettuce. that crap doesn't stay green long enough to eat it all. ..even if i eat a salad or two every day. and they don't sell small bags at the store. that really grinds my gears.


i'm not having any luck selling stuff. i had a bite on the bike and the grill, but they both passed. i really need to just start going through the garage and basement and throwing things away. too much stuff. other things on the list are actually calling to get info on the short sale thing for the mortgage and maybe going ahead and getting a storage unit and beggining to pack it up. it's not like i use even a quarter of the junk in my house.
jcharles00: (Default)
went to a rock show

was slightly involved in a brawl

didn't have band practice

may or may not have been accomplice to an illegal act

saw 2 movies

instant messaged with my brother in france (where he said he had eaten mcdonalds)

called dad

thought about a lot of people from the past who i miss

ate a ton of awesome food.
jcharles00: (Default)
i am again ansy. except today i am being mouthy as well. i shall blame the blue cheese for my disposition.

Jessie came up yesterday to visit giving me adequate reason to clean the house. it needed it too. the cats have turned into destroyers of cleanliness. anyway, we hit the city grill which i've not been to in what i estimate to be 2 years. karen complained about her earlier visit to the place on the grounds that everything was a strange combination, but based on yesterdays meal, i maintain that it is still one of the best places to dine in town. (golden corral aside, of course)
then it was over to the west side so she could grab an assortment of wines and boozes for her dad. i can't say that i visit all that many liquor stores/wine shops, but villiage bottle shop never disappoints. we tried kitchen art too for a couple of things only to find that they closed at 6. (mind you, it was like 9:30 at this point, so it wasn't the largest surprise)
i still don't really know what to get my dad for fathers day. we've worn out getting him harley stuff, he doesn't want tools.. etc. i may have to settle for just a card.

i am going down to indy to see the lorettas tonight. i kind of hope there is more going on post show, but if not, i am also kind of hoping to get back here in time to hang out at hunters where tylers wife michelle is having her birthday time.

what else..
spanish is going ok. the teacher just talks for most of the time which makes it go quickly, and i kind of feel like i might be learning something. i need to stay on top of the readings though.

oh, and i don't know if i mentioned it, but if anyone ever considers getting a netgear SC101 network attached storage thing, don't do it! it's a piece of crap. i was going to take it back but then realized that it wrote all my data in a propietary format, so i really don't have a reasonable way of fixing things. ugh.



if anyone is interested, i'm selling my char griller super-pro grillw/ cover ($75), a gary fisher BMX bike($75), an old console stereo($10), a hodgepodge set of golf clubs(20) and a rickety old tripplet tube tester(20). talk at me for details.
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