Compare and Contrast:

Exam Room 1

Let’s see.

  • Our hand-me-down IKEA shelf is assembled and in the den (temporarily).
  • The coal cellar has been de-insulated and shot with Tigerfoam, as well as the southeast corner of the basement.
  • The 4,000 ton color printer is broken down and loaded in the Scout, ready to be driven to work.
  • The server is high and dry in the front corner of the basement.
  • Finn made it to dance class during the middle of the ice storm.
  • There’s 5 gallons of Pumpkin Ale fermenting in the basement.
  • My DJ Lance costume is assembled and ready for tomorrow.

Tigerfoam in

Date posted: October 30, 2011 | Filed under brewing, comparison, house, list, photo, productivity | 2 Comments »

I got about two cases of IPA bottled last night, after a brief panic about bottlecaps. In an hour, I’d washed and sanitized three cases of bottles but only counted out 49 bottlecaps. A quick text to Mr. Scout confirmed I could stick any remainder in a growler for the short-term, but as it turned out I only got about 4½ gallons from the fermenter. After siphoning off the good stuff, that was down to about 4¼ and I had three fingers of sludge at the bottom, two of which were good but muddy beer. I bottled the clear stuff and added a little sugar to the mud, bottling that separately and marking the caps. I figure it’ll settle in a few weeks and the last few sips will have extra, uh, flavor.

I also ordered more Tigerfoam for the basement, which should come in in the next week or so. The plan is to shoot the outside sill of the coalroom and any remaining sill in the basement that didn’t get hit on the first pass, then use any remainder for the wall back in the coalroom. Then I’ll put up kneewalls and insulate to try and keep the heat inside.

Date posted: October 27, 2011 | Filed under brewing, house | Leave a Comment »

Three Oceans Tour is a website about a road trip in a Tatra 47, the Czech-made auto that inspired the design of the Volkswagen Beetle. God, what a beautiful car.

Date posted: October 26, 2011 | Filed under cars, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

After a skip week last week where I was only one of two people who showed up for a class that never happened, I was back at figure drawing last night. Only one model showed up, and she’s someone I’ve drawn about ten times over the last ten years (plus two weeks ago) so there’s not much challenge as far as subject matter. I’m still working out the brush technique, and I haven’t done any research on paper yet, so I stuck mainly to the sketchbook and got a few decent poses out of the evening.

Meanwhile, my 8-year-old iPod is sick; any attempt to use a playlist results in a crash and shutdown. I put a new battery in it about two years ago but it’s not registering a full charge. I haven’t done any troubleshooting yet to determine causes, but I hope I don’t have to retire it.

My Smashing Pumpkin Ale kit is in, but I think I’m going to go all the way and brew it with real pumpkin (instead of pumpkin spice), which also means I have to run out and pick up some extra grains to boil it with before the extract goes in. I’m going to shoot for this weekend to get it going (first, I’ve got to bottle the IPA in the basement).

Date posted: October 26, 2011 | Filed under apple, art/design, drawing | Leave a Comment »

My order is placed; I’m advancing directly to 2011 from the dark ages of 2007. A shiny new iPhone 4S should be on its way to the house with my name on it, bringing better reception (I’m told), a better camera, Siri, and all of the bells and whistles I’ve missed out on. Rejoice!

Date posted: October 20, 2011 | Filed under apple | 2 Comments »

Another analogy, Gen-X is like the middle child. No matter how hard Gen-X works, it is not going to be the pride of being the eldest child nor the pride of being the youngest child. So, the eldest and the youngest get their sense of entitlement while the middle child works hard just to be recognized for its accomplishments.

…via the comments at Generation X Doesn’t Want to Hear It.

Date posted: October 19, 2011 | Filed under humor | Leave a Comment »

What a difference the right cough medicine makes. First I tried the CVS knockoff of Robitussin, which did absolutely zero for my cough, increased my snot output from six tissues an hour to twelve, and made my throat hurt worse. Then I tried Mucinex, which was exactly what I didn’t need. Let’s just say that my nose was not meant to expel that much fluid, ever. I went back to Dayquil, and life is good again.

A few weeks ago, during the height of Hurricane Irene, a big tree landed on our friends’ porch, flattening it. While we were blessed to have escaped the storm with no damage, we wanted to do anything we could to help them, so I offered my back and our truck to get it into a dumpster as quickly as possible.

Saturday morning I loaded up the Scout with the Sawzall and an assortment of heavy demolition tools, and found a group of men discussing strategy from underneath the fallen roof. We lightened the free-standing side by removing shingles, then split it in half with a chainsaw and broke up the clean side.

The heavy side was another problem. It came down and wedged itself between the house and one of the concrete pillars, with the pivot point directly above the door—a beautifully restored Craftsman, surrounded by original stained glass. After some discussion, I suggested putting a rope on it and pulling it off with the Scout, which wound up being the plan.

Pullin' porches

Five minutes of tying knots, a minute to spin the hubs, a light foot on the gas, and the whole thing pivoted up and on to the pillars. We adjusted the ropes and I pulled it off onto the lawn, where we broke it up and had it into the dumpster by noon.

Off the house, now off the porchAfter finishing up there, I headed home and did some Scout maintenance while waiting for the roofing guy. I installed some snaps on the soft top, wire-wheeled and POR-15’d some rust areas, tried scooting the Tuffy console forward, and pulled the drivers’ door panel off to make sure the linkage was working correctly.

The roofing guy brought his proposal over, and it looks really good. I like this guy, he has a BBB A+ rating, and my neighbor (anal retentive in a good way) recommended him. We’re going for it. I’ll be very, very sad to see the slate go, but happier to have a 30-year roof with a ridge vent in place for winter.

Today I helped another friend move his office out of his basement and into a converted church in Oella; between moving computers and running wire and testing equipment, I spent six hours making sure things go smoothly for him on Monday. When I got home, my girls had returned from Southern Maryland with St. Mary’s County ham, fried oysters, and several sides from the fall dinner, which I’d missed. Thank you ladies!

Scouting Oella

In other news, my IPA is in a secondary fermenter with the hops, and will be there for another two weeks. Im looking at a pumpkin ale for batch #5, and my neighbor (he of the commercial kegerator) is going to give me his single regulator as well as sell me his C02 tank so that he can upgrade. So I may be able to keg the IPA when it’s ready, depending on the timing.

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: October 16, 2011 | Filed under brewing, friends, house, Scout | 1 Comment »

Working with actual watercolor paper had its own set of challenges. With only 20 minutes to work on each pose, I would up having about 10-12 minutes to actually use the brush; the thick tooth of the paper took a long time to dry, so I had to be very specific with which areas I was going to use washes and then add detail.

I think I need to find a paper somewhere in between sketch weight and true watercolor weight.

Date posted: October 13, 2011 | Filed under art/design, drawing, photo | Leave a Comment »

I absolutely loved everything about this book as a kid: The New Yorker reviews Norton Juster’s “The Phantom Tollbooth” at 50. I have the hardback set aside downstairs in my boxes, waiting to be read to my children. I especially related to this:

The other shaping experience was listening to the radio. As both artists stress, having a pure stream of sound as your major source of entertainment meant that your mind was already working imaginatively, without your necessarily realizing it.

Date posted: October 13, 2011 | Filed under books, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

We had a visit from the roofing guy this morning, who climbed up to the peak like a billygoat and measured the whole thing out. He’s recommending we do the front porch roof when we do the slate section, which is probably a good idea, and he’s going to quote us for the gutter on the back side as well. So hopefully we’ll know something in a few days.

I haven’t been writing around here much; it seems like the days are flying by. Finn has been home with a fever and a cough since yesterday, and Mama and I both feel something in our throats too. Hopefully we can fight off whatever might be brewing in our immune systems.

Speaking of brewing, I have IPA in the basement almost ready for its second fermentation period. The foam is gone and the airlock is pretty quiet, so it’s just about time to transfer to a secondary carboy and dry-hop the brew for another week or two. The problem is that I don’t have another carboy, so I’m going to have to buy or borrow one in a big hurry. My neighbor is talking about replacing his single regulator with a dual-pressure version (for homebrew and commercial kegging) and offered his single to me—which constitutes much of the cost of a kegging setup.

Tonight I’m going to go back for my second night of figure drawing class this fall; I’ve got brushes this time, so I should be able to pick up where I left off in the summer.

Date posted: October 11, 2011 | Filed under art/design, brewing, house | Leave a Comment »