Jake and I entered the 2008 Pacific Cost Brew off with a batch of American Brown Ale we had made about a month ago. The contest was held today, and while we didn’t win anything it was a great time. Not to mention we got free t-shirts, tasting glasses, and the opportunity to try a variety of good beers. We are definitely at the low end of the brewers with our very lax production schedule, bottling instead of kegging, and doing partial mash instead of all grain. A couple of brewers had 7+ entries in kegs which was pretty impressive. Everyone was essentially an enthusiast and were all very supportive and encouraging of each others efforts. The contest was held in Potrero Hill, with tables for the brewers, a couple of tents, a DJ, and surprisingly cooperative weather. We drove over around 12:30 to set up our booth and taste the other entries before the general public started in on them. Molly had made cookies as palate cleansers / bribes and Jake had made a nice label for our bottles so our table area looked pretty good, almost professional one might say. Poured beer till we ran out around 4:30 and the results were announced at 5. Definitely a good experience and hopefully one that we will repeat in the future.
A good day for all. We started letting the cats explore the deck with supervision and Chufi finally found the catnip plant. He was extremely, EXTREMELY, interested. Rachel and I had a nice dinner sitting out on our deck watching the sky change color and get more and more dramatic. Can’t beat good food, company, a glass of wine, and an amazing sunset. The pictures speak for themselves I think.
A number of you have been wondering what our place looks like, so at long last I have pictures of a more or less clean apartment. The summary is we are on the bottom floor of a duplex built out over a canyon. It is an 800sf 1 bedroom, with a walk in closet and nice deck that is about 50 feet off the ground. Right in the trees for us!
I recently tried this Pinot Noir from Germany. I now know why the Germans are not renowned for their red wine. The bottle was the best part, with the raised glass painted monkey, a real classic. Sadly the wine tasted kind of like the monkey, which is a tasting note I don’t particularly care for in my wine. Alas.
Grilled up a little of the mighty Mike Spencer catfish special. Super easy to do and tastes great. Get yerself some meat rub from whole foods, such as the Blackened Cajun or Jamaican BBQ (in the meat section, not the spice section) or if you aren’t into shopping at Whole Paycheck, grab similar products off amazon (Cajun Jamaican.) Get some catfish fillets, which are great because they are cheap, environmentally friendly, and taste great. Lightly butter the fillets then totally cover in seasoning and grill on full heat 3 minutes a side. Very tasty. I tried to use tongs to get flip the fish which was a bad idea, you really want a spatula or more specialty fish grilling equipment. Thanks again to Mike Spencer!
I recently read The Kite Runnerafter hearing it was a good read from my friend Molly. Definitely not disappointed. It is pretty easy reading and I cruised through it in a couple of days, the characters were great, with good pacing and plot. I have no basis for deciding weather any of the portrayals of Afghanistan were accurate or not, but I did enjoy reading them as I know very little about that part of the world and even the fictionalized version is probably a step in the right direction for me. Anyway, a good read, recommended.
Last Thursday Rachel mentioned she was itchy from various bites.
I too had noticed I had been bitten a few times. I thought it was
fleas given the kind of bites I had. Having just moved to the
‘country’ in Sausalito it didn’t seem too improbable that the cats
had gotten fleas, even though they are indoor cats. A quick
combing revealed that they hadn’t a flea on them. However I did
get a tiny little bug about the size of a spec of dust off
Wooderson. Looking around on the internet we found there are a
variety of mites that bite humans, most notablely rat mites and
bird mites. Our cat Wooderson has taken to sitting near the
bathroom staring at various spots on the walls and we have heard
some scrabbling noises in the past, so we assume we have rats or
mice in the walls. Thus we must have rat mites. Gross! While
trying to press my ear up against the wall to listen for rodents I
found another mite on the wall. Needless to say we stayed up way
too late looking up stuff about mites on the internet.
Friday Rachel took our captured and frozen mites to work with her
for hopeful identification by the entimologists she works with.
However, none of them are mite specialists and there are something
like 45,000 known mite species so it is a bit hard to pin down.
They did however image the mites for her, so as you can see in the
gallery we have a lovely picture of them. All the evidence did
point to rat mites though, and a specialist I emailed the pictures
to definitely thought it was a rat or bird mite (they are quite
similar) after a quick glance at the photos. Great, we have
biting mites in the house.
My upstairs neighbor Kevin and I went poking around under the
house Saturday to see if we could find any holes the rats could
get in. Given we are built out over a canyon this is actually
quite an undertaking as you end up on scaffeling 10-30 feet up in
the air. I went out and found a variety of animal crap on the
scaffeling (cat or racoon) and a good sized hole under our tub
with various chew marks on it. I took a bunch of pictures
(including jamming the camera up the hole) which indicated there
was at least one rat living there, possibly under our tub. We put
a rat trap by the garbage thinking that was were they were getting
food, but no luck. Unfortunately I managed to get myself and my
clothes covered in mites and didn’t figure that out for several
hours so got super bit up and got lots of mites in the apartment.
I sprayed with RAID but Rachel and I slept in the livingroom
anyway that night.
Sunday Kevin took the fight to them, we went back
under the house with a gallon of spray and lots of mesh wire. He
got up on the scaffeling this time and sprayed all over the place,
up in the holes, the piles of animal dung (and swept said dung off
the scaffeling) and then went and stapled metal mesh over all the
holes. I was there for moral support, suggestions, and to call
911 if he fell off the scaffeling. Quite an undertaking!
Afterwards I went and sprayed some more in the bathroom in a
hole by the toilet and under the baseboard by the tub which also
has a hole behind it. I’ve only squished 4 or 5 mites since then,
so hopefully we managed to wipe most of them out. They can’t live
without their host rodent for more than a couple of weeks so if we
keep killing them and the rodents can’t get in we should be good.
If not, well, I think the landlord will have to call in the
Quite the weekend.
I’ve been trying to get glass doors for two bookcases from Ikea that we recently got for the new apartment. I didn’t think it could be that hard, yet somehow it is. Emeryville didn’t have them in stock when we got the bookcases, and they wouldn’t have fit in the car if they were in stock, so I’ve been trying to get them for the last couple of weeks. Buying them online isn’t an option because the shipping costs more than the items. ($200+ dollars to ship to flat pack doors? That’s just crazy talk!) The online site does allow you to check stock for each store, which is nice, and I’ve been doing that. Until recently the doors were always out of stock when I had the time to drive over there. But today they were in stock in East Palo Alto so I thought I’d take a long lunch and drive down there and pick them up, and grab some sweedish food while I was at it. I didn’t want to have there be any stocking problems so I called the store to double check and was redirected to the toll free order by phone number. Unfortunately they wouldn’t let me buy them over the phone and then go pick them up, but was assured they were in stock. I drove down there (which took ages due to google screwing up the directions, doh!) and eventually found an employee who looked up the doors and told me there were 6 left and where I could find them in the self serve section. I hussled over there and sure enough there was the bin with the label for the doors I wanted – but no doors. I found another employee and asked them why they computer said there were six doors but non actually existed. They said it was strange but maybe they were still on a palate up in the high towering shelves and I should really talk to someone else. I found the person I was supposed to talk to, and they went and checked the bin to confirm I wasn’t just a retarded customer and sure enough there were still no doors to be found. The palate of doors up in the shelves idea was dismissed because a palate of doors would be more than six. The conclusion was that the inventory system was just wrong and what can you do? Totally unconcerened about several hundred dollars of inventory missing. Maybe Ikea shoots the messenger, because when I eventually got back to work they were still listed as available on the website. Highly dissapointing given Ikea’s usual good experience.
The Center for ecosystem survival is having their annual bowl-a-thon
and silent auction Saturday, March 15th down in Daily City. Like
any something-a-thon you try and get donations from friends,
coworkers, or yourself. Either on a flat rate or per event (like
per pin based on your best score.) $35 dollars worth of donations
gets you in the door for 3 hours of bowling and pizza and
softdrinks. You need 4 people to reserve your own lane and lanes
can have up to 7 people. Higher donation levels get you
progressively better swag, like the event shirt. Which Rachel did
again this year, and the image she drew for it looks great. The
silent auction is fun, last year we got a couple of discounted
gift certificates to a couple nice restaurant. Go
to savenature.org and check it
I recently got 24 inch widescreen monitors at both work and at home. There is no going back.