Thursday, April 30, 2009


.6" of rain overnight.

So far the upside down spinach is the best of the lot, and the upside down peas are 2nd best. Both have no bug damage.

Two of my tomato plants got got eaten by bugs last week (snails? saw a few). Two others nearby are untouched and the ones in the shade look best of all.

I put two iPlanters 2.0 of tomatoes out yesterday. The new revision involves inverting the cut-off bottom of the 2L and affixing it upside-down to the planter (which is upside down so the bottom is actually upside-up). Confused? This cellphone pic is horrific, but shows the overall gist.

Also, here is a grapefruit tree I grew from a yummy grapefruit I ate in late 2007. I let the seed dry for a few months then sprouted/planted it in 2008. I don't have any illusions that it will ever yield fruit. But the leaves are a lovely deep green. I also planted a lemon tree from scrounged seed at the same time but it looks terrible (right beside it; basically a twig with one ugly leaf on it).

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gardening experiments

Did a little bit of work in the "garden" (a 2'x4' patch of land next to the workshop).

I have a bigger patch, 2'x10' that I could use but it is north-facing. I may end up putting shadeloving plants there. But my reading suggests that some leafy veggies like beans and greens can tolerate partial shade.

So I xplanted some snow peas and spinach donated by my gardening wizard running buddy into the shade, along with some tomato and cilantro sprouts I'm starting in the greenhouse. We'll see what happens.

As if that wasn't enough excitement, I put a mustard and snow pea in (their own) iPlanter, which is an inverted planter made from a 2L bottle. The top is crushed in to give something to hold the roots with, and to make a water reservoir. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sync your smartphone/PPC with Google Sync

Right now it only does Calendar and Contacts, but that is pretty cool. That means I don't have to keep a Windoze around for syncing duties. Works great. When they start syncing Tasks then my smartphone life will be complete.

I use synce to move files back and forth between the linux workstation and the phone. Doesn't work great. No wildcard support, so when you are moving files you have to do some shell scripting to build the list of files, strip out the path and other data, etc. Works, but barely.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

batch[32] DipWick's Irish Red

Another try at the Smithwick's clone. When it was in the primary last time my heater was out and the house dropped into the 40s. Had to repitch after we got heat back in order to finish the fermentation.

BeerSmith Recipe Printout -
Recipe: batch[32] DipWick's
Brewer: Frater Mus
Asst Brewer:
Style: Irish Red Ale
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0)

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 18.93 L
Boil Size: 21.67 L
Estimated OG: 1.051 SG
Estimated Color: 12.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 22.9 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amount Item Type % or IBU
3.63 kg Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 85.02 %
0.34 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 7.97 %
0.23 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 5.31 %
0.07 kg Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 1.70 %
25.00 gm Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (60 min) Hops 16.0 IBU
14.00 gm Vanguard [5.00 %] (20 min) Hops 5.4 IBU
7.09 gm Fuggles [4.50 %] (10 min) Hops 1.5 IBU
1.00 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs Irish Ale (Wyeast Labs #1084) Yeast-Ale

Mash Schedule: mouse mash
Total Grain Weight: 4.27 kg
mouse mash
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min mash in Add 11.84 L of water at 163.0 F 152.0 F

26.17# of mash water @163F
31.06# of sparge water @190F

.5L decanted starter.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Planet Money podcast

There is a fantastic NPR finance show called Planet Money.

They've really helped me understand the complex financial instruments and power plays involved in our current economic fsckup.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Urban Peasant on ION Life

68_3 - KPXD ION Life , one of the free Over The Air (OTA) digital channels being broadcast, is running the Urban Peasant cooking show. Hosted by James Barber, now deceased after a very full life, the show is easily the best cooking show I've ever seen.

He is gentle, funny, caring, and pragmatic. Joe Bob says check it out.

COR radio system rebanded today

The City of Richardson radio system rebanded today.

Rebanding is a changing of assigned frequencies based on an FCC realloction.

The Bad News is that some older scanners do not know how to use the new frequency allotments, particularly with Motorola-based systems. Some scanners have firmware upgrades to help the situation.

The Good News is that the COR radio system is EDACS/LTR instead of Motorola, and most older trunking scanners can handle that. Both my new 246T and old 245XLT took the new freqs with no drama.