i like my coffee like i like my sofas: covered in hexapuffs?

I’ll admit to being charmed by the concept of the Beekeeper’s Quilt that is kind of taking the knitting world by storm right now.

Copyright Tiny Owl Knits

Copyright Tiny Owl Knits

Pretty soon, Ravelry will be swarmed by them. They do look pretty sweet. I wouldn’t want to get stung by the pain of sewing all the pieces together however, so I’m staying very far away from even thinking about starting this sticky project.

Copyright Tiny Owl Knits

copyright Tiny Owl Knits

But what I did want to share is the amazing mind that is Tiny Owl Knits, the mastermind behind this pattern. If you think that this blanket is batshit…. wait until you meet the designer:

the beekeeper’s quilt from tinyowlknits on Vimeo.

today’s emotional deck* rollercoaster?

Finding out that a mistake that caused the team to mix 10 extra bags of concrete (at a cost of ~$30), will actually save over $150 in hardware and lumber (as opposed to involving the use of a something called a “demo saw”, or digging up and repouring sixteen 48″ footings).

*I might have mentioned that I’m building a deck, if I ever updated this blog anymore.

101 things update

It’s been a little while, so why don’t we catch up with what I’ve been up to?

Total Things Finished: 3/101
Days remaining: 926
To see the whole list with progress, click here.

New finished things:

  • 20. Buy new windows laptop for school
    • Picked up a Toshiba Satellite T235 before classes started, it’s working out really well so far.
  • 43. Cure/smoke my own bacon
    • Holy crap… so good.
    • I picked up a 10lb pork belly from Osseo Meats this weekend, and today I started curing three 3lb slabs:
      • Basic Dry Cure (from Charcuturie)
      • Basic + Maple Syrup
      • Basic + Garlic, Bay Leaves, and Juniper Berries

Things in Progress:

  • 28. Brew a cider
    • 5 gallons of cider from Pine Tree Apple Orchard, 1 lb honey, 1 lb brown sugar and 1 packet Lalvin champagne yeast have been making friends in my basement since 9/19/10
  • 50. Can things, eat them the following winter
    • 12 half pints of salsa (Spicy Tomato Salsa from this book)
    • 6 pints of tomato sauce

Tomato Sauce

  • 73. Buy a new tv or projector
    • I discovered that my hand-me-down 40″ finally died (after 18 years of service in two countries).  I’m currently investigating different brands/technologies.
  • 3 . Save 3/4 of the way to a new car (0.125%)
    • The urgency of this one got lessened, due to the arrival of Upgrayedd in August, but I still like the idea of having a car’s worth of money to blow when I finish my JD.

what’s capers, precious?


What’s capers… eh?

Given that I finally made a dish with capers for the first time ever yesterday, Nerd 2 and I got to speculating about what exactly they were — besides “mad delicious”.

We both hoped they were some kind of plant material, as opposed to:

  • Gecko gall bladders
  • Avian appendices
  • Snail heads (given their “gourmet” nature we suspected that they might be French)
  • The new Eye of Bat-ness
  • Jellyfish amygdalas
  • or Poop, of some sort

Turns out that they are flowerbuds.  Which is good to know.

it’s been a while

It’s been a month.

Well, more than a month, but June this has been a pretty eventful June, so how about a roundup?

Since June 1st, 2010 I’ve:

  • Turned 32. Not an age that cares many portents to it (it’s 33 that I intend to both beware of, and stay forever), but another year living nonetheless.
  • Took a week off of work for the pure purpose of chillaxation.
  • Gone on my first real grown-up business trip — one that reminded me why I love software development, and caused me pause in my decision to stop doing it.
  • Laid tile.
  • Co-opted Nerd 2’s PS3
  • Played too much of the same video game.
  • Booked a trip to take Nerd 2 home to meet the ‘rents.
  • Made a budget that has me: maxing out my retirement contributions, funding emergency & vacation funds, and paying cash for a fast convertible the day I get my JD, all while not living like a pauper (the secret? buy less yarn).
  • Read a book that while not depressing per se, made me fairly unhappy — though I’d totally recommend it, especially if you are a fan of The Police.
  • Considered joining in on this 101 in 1001 meme that’s been going around.  The idea of forcing myself to set SMART goals is intriguing, but I hate to-do lists almost as much as Jenni loves them — and you know how good I am at finishing projects that I start on the Internet.  So we’ll see. Right now I have 15 things… and the list would make a lot more sense if I was aiming for mid 2014, as opposed to Q1 2013.
  • Watched Star Wars episodes IV-VI back to back.
  • Felt vaguely guilty about not posting enough on this blog.
  • Considered whether it was reasonable in any shape or form to have the nervous breakdown before starting law school.
  • Decided it wasn’t.
  • Drank a lot of beers at a beer fest.
  • Participated in an awesome 3-Day Fundraiser, bringing in over $1200.
  • Graduated myself into Level 2 belly dance classes.
  • Made this long introspective list, intending to pass it off as valid and interesting web content.

So it’s not like I’ve been completely slacking. Just ignoring you… see?

for lack of a better place

This list of breweries in MN (via MNBeer) is interesting to me for a few different reasons:

  • The huge gulf between macro (Summit @ 82k) and micro (Surly @ 4k) breweries
  • The fact that Surly is the highest producing microbrewery in MN right now.
  • The fact that Crispin is apparently not brewed here.

Last weekend, Nerd 2 and I ventured to the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market.  I mainly wanted to see what I could find for fresh veggies, but Nerd 2 was determined to jump the gun and buy tomato and pepper plants, which he insisted on planting ASAP, of course.

Tonight, they are forecasting up to three inches of snow for our section of Hedoburbia.

It’s a good thing that the epic Friends School Plant Sale is this weekend, so the long, slow, road to recovery can begin.

miss me yet?

In honour of Don’t Believe Anything you Read on the Internet Day, I figured I’d see what I can do about reviving this old rag.

Yesterday, I checked out the 1st Annual Minnesota Beard-Off because my buddy Willis was competing.  There would be pictures, but Sauce was too packed (fire marshall anyone?) for me to even consider reaching into my purse for my camera.  Sadly, Willis did not emerge victorious, but I’d say the actual winner probably deserved it, no?

In new restaurant news, in the past 48 hours I’ve tried a new (to me) brew pub, “gastro-pub”, and $6 Indian Buffet.  I’ll definitely be going back to Barley John’s for the patio and the Belgian Tripel this summer, and India House is worth the drive to Fridley from TPHCorp.  The Lyndale Taphouse was pretty nice, and I did enjoy the food, but there is so much else going on in that area that I feel like I need to test out the other options before heading back.

Why the fancy drop cap? Because dailydropcap.com says I can. That’s why.

thank god its back

The gmail outtage is making me twitchy (it’s amazing and sad how much this article explains about me, and everyone else I guess), so I figured it’s time to post.

Since we last spoke:

  • the gloves of pain took 2nd place in their category — I’m going to go check out what won first place tomorrow.
  • the ash tree in my backyard decided to do this:Bad tree!

which, really, is unacceptable.  So $600 later, my backyard is minus one tree, but plus a giant pile of logs and a big old stump.  I celebrated this with an impromptu bonfire and Picasso, Chele, Marshall & I had a good time chatting, drinking tequila, and working on cutting down on the size of my wood pile.  [Insert Settlers of Catan joke related to trading for wood here].

Looking ahead:

Camping with the usual suspects over Labour Day is officially a tradition now or something.  It obviously won’t be the same without Nerds 2 and 3 turning our camp fire into a foundry, but I might whittle something in their honour.

Willis reminding me that Surlyfest tickets just went on sale also reminded me that the Autumn Brew Review is coming up September 12th, and forward-looking me bought tickets before they sold out within minutes.  Pedal Pub! And over 200 beers to sample.  I’ve completely lost all desire to brew lately — hopefully this will snap me out of that.

I’ve started in earnest to plan for what Nerd 2 and I will do on our Autumn Vacation.  It’s funny how frustrating it is to buy plane tickets when your criteria are: get the best possible price, for a round-trip flight to “Europe”, leaving sometime the 2nd week of November, returning before Thanksgiving.  I’ve eliminated the idea of flying into London though, which is making things look cheaper and less complicated.

Speaking of Thanksgiving! There may perhaps be plans afoot, so if you’re in the area, keep October 11th free.

i double dog dare you

To attempt to claim that the world is not a better place for the fact that this ad exists:


Well, the one good thing about being in a bloggy kinda mood this week is that I was relatively quick in noticing that Dreamhost suspended my account at midnight yesterday evening (so what if I hadn’t paid them since my CC expired last November)… Remember kids, abuse of email filters can by a dangerous thing.

In other news, those of you who follow me on the Twitter, or know me well enough to find me on facespace, already know that that 60lb mystery I was wondering about was one of these.  So it looks like I’ll be kegging before I start all-grain brewing after all.

Given that I’ve got everything I need to store, carbonate, and serve beer, the next step is to figure out how to serve it at a temperature that people will actually want to drink.  Beyond keeping a 25gal bucket full of ice at all times, my choices are a draft box, to chill the beer in real-time, or a fridge+taps (kegerator), to keep the beer at the appropriate temperature all the time.

The draft box is nice for the portability aspect (can you say “camping” boys and girls?), but the kegerator offers the advantage of being useable for lagering beers (which opens up the other half of the beer style world for me to play with). Also, the idea of a semi-permanent fixture like this in my basement is providing me with lots of other inspiration to do something awesome with the massive open space in my basement (can you say “Steampunk Bar + Home Theater” boys and girls?).  Add in the possibilities for a fun (and accessible for me) DIY project (take 1 fridge and/or chest freezer, drill appropriate holes, profit!), and a kegerator seems like the way to go.

Finding appropriate cooling units on craigslist is proving to be pretty fruitless.  Ads tend not to have pictures, or list useable internal dimentions (8 cu. ft. is not useful to me if it’s only 2 ft high inside).  Ideally, I’d like a standard chest freezer (not like the fridge-style one I’ve got in the garage), because then I can make/buy a tower to mount on top of it, and the surface of the unit can act as a general bar space (until a proper bar is built around it).  Something like this would be a great first attempt I think.  Something like this would be awesome for extra credit.

If I don’t find something used and not gross for a good price soon, I might just buy the bullet and buy new (though my kitchen might just get jealous if I don’t buy it a new fridge first).