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Archive for January 2005
Cold Room, Part 6
Posted January 30, 2005 at 12:14:00 PM by Bean in the Beer category

It's been a while since I've put out a real cold room entry.  The main reason for that is that I haven't done much on it.  It HAD been working fine, chilling my kegs and an occasion sanky of Miller Lite to 42 degrees or so.  Key word in that last sentence: HAD.

As I mentioned in my last entry, the AC mysteriously stopped working.  After about 10 minutes of cutting through the Great Stuff I put down to hold everythign in place, I took it out of the wall.  I attempted to tweak the internal thermostat and it seemd to make it work again, but time would show that the thermostat was not functioning properly.  Regardless of what it was set on, it would turn on around 50F and off around freezing.  I guess it just wore out. 

So I thought about it, then thought about it some more.  I took the whole AC unit apart so I could take out the faulty thermostat.  In it's place, I spliced in a household extension cord.  I thin plugged the ends of the extension cord into my trusty old analong Johnsons Controls external HVAC thermostat.  Thos of you keeping up with the cold room saga will recall that the Johnsons Control thermostat was set up as the secondary thermostat in the previous configuration.  That is, it would shut off all power to the AC unit when the target temp was hit.  The internal thermostat just cycled the compressor to keep the unit from freezing up.  Well now, the Johnsons Control is the only thermostat in the loop, and it only cycles the compressor on or off to maintain (within about 5 degrees) whatever temperature I dial it to.  So the AC fan is always on, but the compressor (the real power sucker) only comes on when it need to.

So far this scheme seems to be working better than I could have hoped.  I am now keeping the beers between 36 and 40 degrees, or so.

I've had two drywall people come in to give me estimates on finishing my basement walls (including the area around the cold room).  They quoted $1190 and $1445.  Trach.  I think I'll just wait for my dad to get back from Florida (April) and do it myself.  He's also going to help me build a bar to accessorize the cold room taps :).

PS - Coffee Bean Stout, Badunkadunk, and the last few glasses of Winter IPA are on tap, and Another Round ESB is on deck.

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It Broke
Posted January 26, 2005 at 12:25:02 PM by Bean in the Beer category
One of the new brewing gadgets that I have been working on is a 3-wire temperature probe that could be hooked up to my laptop. (An aside: For those of you not in the know, my laptop is a $4000 486dx4-100MHz monster. That's right... pre-Pentium. It was the laptop I was required to buy for my 4 years at RHIT. It serverd it's purpose... and really wasn't THAT bad of a little laptop at the beginning. Anyway, since graduation, it has been used mainly as a controller for lights (via relay board) for HalloBean). Anyway... in my preliminary testing, I had a little C program that would talk to the chip and display the temperature. It worked well enough to convince me to hard wire the chip and build a waterproof probe out of it. Andy B. created a nice GUI for it and everything... it was gonna be so sveet. But, long story short - next time I hooked it up, not only did it not work, but it killed my laptop. RIP. Decided to abort that project and use an off-the-shelf temp controller instead.

Got a running training-schedule/calender from Irwin. We are both running in the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in April and the Indy Mini in May. Hopefully I can stick to it. Ran 4 miles at about 8 minutes per mile. As a treat afterwards, I went down to my basement to grab a pint of Winter IPA. On my first sip, I noticed it was a bit warm. 51F to be exact. It should be 38-41F. After a little investigating, I realized that the air conditioner that maintains the temperature in my cold room had gone kaput. Son of a bitch. Why is everything breaking? Now I have to either come up with a new way to chill the cold room (Chest freezer? Dorm fridge?) or find somewhere that sells ACs in the middle of winter.

Wednesday (today):
Just ordered a grain mill this morning. It should be here by Monday.

The Future:
A week from this Saturday, Irwin, Barkley, and I are getting together in Indy to brew again. This time, Hicks will be joining us too. We will be making 10 gallons of Sunnybrook Kolsch and 10 gallons of St. Chuck's Porter. We'll also be sampling the last 4 beers we've brewed (here and here) along with various others. We are going to attempt a few new things this time 'round:

  • 2 All-grain batches (instead of 1 all-grain and 1 extract)
  • Automatic maintenence of the mash temps (via external thermostat)
  • Grinding our own grain (with above mentioned mill)
  • Using steam to sanitize things
  • Utilizing the new handy-dandy sight tube on the boil kettle

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Pen Cannon
Posted January 18, 2005 at 12:20:13 PM by Bean

Yesterday, I got the following IndyCool email:

> Got some free time and an office supply cabinet?  Try some of these:

And it just so happened, I had access to a few pens, some paperclips, and rubberbands.  So I made the following trap for the next person that enters my office.  Current trap status: SET.

Pen cannon on a trip wire.

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Brewing Paraphernalia
Posted January 17, 2005 at 12:52:23 PM by Bean in the Beer category
Here is a list of things I want to do/build/buy with regards to homebrewing:
  1. Buy a grain mill, motorize it, and build a stand.
  2. Fix my carboy scrubber so that it doesn't get tangled as bad.
  3. Build or buy some shelving for storage of various brewing crap.
  4. Finish building the automated EHERMS controller.
  5. Replace brewing hoses.
  6. Build a sight gauge for my kettle.
  7. Get a bigger (10-gallon) HLT.  Any cheap cooler should work, assuming I can add a spiggot.
  8. Add a Thermometer hole to said HLT.
I have a gift card for Home Depot (Spanks N8), so i think I'll swing by there on my way home and try to get parts for 3, 5, 6, and maybe 7.

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Holes in Walls
Posted January 17, 2005 at 10:05:32 AM by Bean

I knocked two holes in my exterior walls yesterday.

Hole #1: Cat door.
I bought a swinging cat door to mount in our wall so that the cats can access the deck without me having to get my fat ass up to open the door for them.  It was a simple $20 door with magnets to keep it from flapping in the wind.  I started by removing a section of siding from outside to expose the plywood underneath.  I then traced a stencil and had at it with my jigsaw.  After removing some pink insulation, I drilled a few holes the rest of the way to the inside through the drywall.  I used the stencil again and cut a hole in the drywall.  I then framed the little hole with some 2x4's and snapped the door on the outside and the trim on the inside.  I cut the vinyl siding to side and reinstalled it around the cat door.  After I bolted it all in place and caulked around the edges, I added some carpet as a finishing touch.  Bang.

Hole #2: Antenna.
As mentioned here, I am stealing my internet access from John, down the street.  Well, stealing is probably not the best word, since I plan on paying half his bill, but it sounds better.  I got the Cantenna adjusted and all the networks up and running (though still unencrypted).  I drilled a hole through the siding, plywood, and drywall (next to the cat door) so I could leave my antenna outside and move the ethernet bridge and router inside.  Works like a charm.  Double bang.

Picture?  We don't need no stinking pictures.

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Free Cake Blog
Posted January 12, 2005 at 01:36:04 PM by Bean

Today was Tita's birthday at work.  We got her a big icecream cake from DQ.  I ate as much as I could (3 largish pieces) to do my part in keeping this precious treat from going to waste.  But as you can see in the picture at the left (low quality - taken by my phone), about one fifth of it melted away into a large mess of WASTE. 

Looking at this picture almost makes me want to cry.  Why, why would anyone pass on seconds, or thirds on somehting so tasty as DQ icecream cake?  It's got chocolate, it's got vanilla, it's got fudge and crumblys in the middle, and it's topped with frozen whipped cream and festive icing!  I've never wanted to make myself throw up so I could eat more as bad as I do right now.  I mean, how ofton am I going to get a chance to eat FREE DQ icecream cake?  NOT VERY!  Oh, the humanity.  RIP, DQ cake, You'll be missed.

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Taco Salad
Posted January 12, 2005 at 11:17:40 AM by Bean

I am currently eating a taco salad for lunch.  As I was warming up the taco meat, I remembered hearing one of those funny Bud Light commercials about "Real Men of Genius".  Here it is.


Funny stuff.  Right, Scuba Steve?

Old Comments
Posted January 10, 2005 at 01:18:52 PM by Bean
Okay, so I have a wireless network set up in my house feeding from a cable modem. My buddy down the road (John) has a cable modem too. I want to cancel my cable, steal (share) steal his broadband connection, and split the cost with him. He's about 1200 feet away. Here's a list of the equipment I have available:
  • 1 cable modem
  • 2 wireless routers
  • 1 directional antenna
  • 1 ethernet bridge
  • 2 usb access points
Start off by giving him a wireless router. Once that's hooked up, I can attach my directional antenna to the ethernet bridge and aim at his office (clear line-of-sight from my deck). I should be able to get access for a single computer connected to the bridge at that point. But the problem is, I want to rebroadcast the wireless signal at my house so that I can get access on my other computers. So, that's where the second router comes in. Should I be able to set it up just like I had it (connected to a cable modem), but connect it to the ethernet bridge instead? I sure hope so. Anyone out there done somehting like this before? Help? Advice?

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Weekend Plans
Posted January 07, 2005 at 01:47:21 PM by Bean

Tonight, we'll probably sit around and watch a few movies.  We are on NetFlix for the winter, so we've got a neverending supply stream.  Also, I have a long todo list, including but not limited to the following:

  • Fix a minor plumbing leak in the basement.
  • Go to the hardware store to buy some lightbulbs and gaskets for varioius items.
  • Get my wireless network up and running.
  • Hit up Best Buy and get a printer and a new TV-out videocard for the karaoke PC.
  • Tend to sick wife.

Saturday, Irwin and Barkley are coming down to brew again.  This time we are do 10 extract gallons of Badunkadunk (Dunkelweizen) and 10 all-grain gallons of Another Round ESB.  We should be able to sample our previous brews and maybe play a little pong.  Saturday night, I am trying to get a friendly poker game together for whomever may be interested.  Stef is planning on heading out with Brianna and Terri Saturday night, but those plans may be in jeopardy due to her recent sickness.

Sunday, no plans.  Probably try to knock out of of the items listed above.

In related news, I HEART FRIDAY.

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Mach 3 Power
Posted January 04, 2005 at 08:30:53 AM by Bean in the Plugs category
I've used electric razors, el-cheapo razors, and double, triple, and quadruple blade ones. They all have their faults. Electric ones usually leave my face dry and irritated, and don't provide a very close shave. Straight razors generally provide me with a nice, close shave, but ofton venture a bit too close and shave off a layer of skin or three that happened to be above the plane of that part of my face. And when my facial hair has grown a bit too long, neither style of razor is suffecient. I swear, when I have to shave after NOT shaving for a few days, it feels like the razor pulls each hair out by it's root, a root wich extends all the way to the pain center of my brain. That's why once I go a few days without shaving, I usually opt to let it ride for a week atleast, just to avoid the pain for a short while.

But not any more.

I bought a Gillette Mach 3 Power from Meijer last night, because I am a sucker for new fads with alluring commercials. And for a change, I am glad their marketing department was able to reel me in, because this razor is without a doubt the betz razor I have ever used. If you are a man (which I am pretty sure 98% of BeanBlog readers are), you NEED this razor. Suck it up and drop the cash for one of these bad boys and you'll see. 12 bones at your local megamart and one shave later, you'll be bloggin a blog about it too.

Old Comments
Posted January 01, 2005 at 07:33:01 PM by Bean

Whilst visiting Andy and Jeany Meany in Chicago for New Years Eve, we made an exciting discovery.  If it is after midnight and one drunk person calls another drunk person with a speakerphone cellphone, an interesting feedback loop is created.  Hillarity most definately ensues.

In related news: Andy made a bunch of kick ace appemetizers including but not limited to:

  • Chilli dip
  • Olive penguins
  • Cream cheese, sour cream, butter, and blue cheese spread
  • Meaty treats

In additional related news:

  • Happy 2005!

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