Thanks AppleCare!

I just got back from the Apple store with a new battery after my original one gave up the ghost. 11 charge cycles (yeah, I know, but I run it on AC power most of the time) and it was showing 169 mAh total capacity. They agreed and replaced it with a new one, which is currently charging. It didn’t quite pay for itself, but the plan came close.

The First Full Volume Boil

Well, it’s done and in the chiller to ferment. I made a brown ale and pretty much had to re-do the entire recipe because the extra volume messes with hop utilization, steeping, etc. So it’s a pretty much new beer. 7.25 pounds light extract, 1 pound 90L crystal, .2 pounds chocolate malt. Hops are an ounce of 8.9% Amarillo and an ounce of 3.4% Willamette.

I also tried out a new method of cooling the wort. I’ve got an immersion chiller, basically a big copper coil, already, so I picked up a pond pump, some tubing and adapters to connect it to the chiller, and filled a large cooler with ice and water and then used the pump to recirculate that ice water through the coils. It worked remarkably well, bringing the six plus gallons of wort from boiling to below 80 in about 15 minutes.

Some observations, in no particular order.

1. Trying to maintain a boil on a windy back patio is tougher than it sounds.

2. Having a kettle with a spigot is VERY handy for filling a carboy.

3. Having a kettle with a built-in thermometer is also VERY handy.

4. Maintaining steeping temperature is not easy. Good thing I’m going to all-grain soon…

5. Cleanup is a lot easier outside.

I think the next one will be done in the garage, but I’m going to have to make a support structure for all of the components so that I’m not doing so much lifting and bending over.

A New Brew Kettle

After a couple weeks of missed connections and clashing schedules I finally met the seller of a 9 gallon stainless kettle. I’m finally going to be able to do full volume boils, or at least I will be able to once I get a good propane burner. I’ve also got to pick up a thermometer for the extra port on the kettle. Maybe a trip to the brew store is in order?

Another Day Of Working In The Yard

After I got back from Liturgy some friends came over to help work in the yard and garden. Thanks to their help the brush has been cleared, some sod has been laid down on one of the dead patches, and the composter is completely full.

I also replaced/upgraded the irrigation controller with one which allows me to run different zones on different schedules so that I can water the back yard and garden more often than the front yard. Replacing the controller was painless. It actually took longer to program it than it did to mount it and connect the wires. I’ve got a rain sensor to install, but ran out of time, which is too bad because we’ve got rain coming this week. Oh well. It’ll go on next weekend…


I got out to see the Watchmen movie tonight. It was really, really good! It definitely diverged from the graphic novel in places, but visually it was incredible, the story line was great, and even though it was long it definitely didn’t drag. I’m definitely glad I didn’t wait for it to come out on video.

A Trip To The Range

I got together with some co-workers this evening and spent some time at the range letting one of them try out my CZ. He’s in the market for a good 9mm and has been leaning towards a Beretta M92 or the Taurus clone. Having shot them I really wanted him to try out the CZ before making a choice. I think it made a good impression on him! I also ran some rounds down the LCP and the .40. Scavenged some brass to go in the to-be-sorted bucket for this summer’s reloading project.

Some Garden Work

I spent some time working in the garden today, planting seeds, a few tomato plants, some peppers, and clearing brush. It’s starting to look like a back yard again and the garden’s looking good. I’ve also got a jasmine planted by the garage and I bet as the flowers open it’s going to smell great!

Star Marines

It’s a little disconcerting how time jumps ahead between books in the same trilogy, but something tells me that it was intended because it figures heavily into the storylines themselves. After liberating Ishtar the Marines are sent back out to find out what happened to an exploration ship at Sirius. During the investigation they find new allies and new enemies, while at home even more radical changes have been taking place…

The Battle At The Moons Of Hell

This series looked interesting so I decided to try out the first one. It’s pretty good! Quick paced, easy reading, consistent story line, short chapters. It’s the opening chapter in what looks like a much larger series. It starts off with a hijacking and goes into the rescue mission, presenting everything from both sides’ perspective. I really liked it and will be picking up the following installments after I get through the ginormous stack I’ve got to read right now.