Sunday, May 31, 2009

Second fermentation

Saturday we poured the beer from the plastic bucket, above, to the glass carboy so it can ferment some more but more importantly, clarify. This is what it looks like now. Who'd want to drink this?

This was what was left behind in the bucket:
Now it's sitting on the kitchen counter, wrapped in a towel to keep it out of the light.

Tonight we plan on bottling. That should be fun. It will involve siphoning the beer from the carboy, back into the plastic bucket. Then using the spigot of the bucket to fill the 40+ bottles.

No, making beer is not easier or cheaper than buying it, but it's fun to make your own things. Right? Right?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

First bud

On May 20th I planted the bare root Scentimental rose, posted here.

Now, less than a week later, it's put out it's first bud. It's a leaf bud, not flower bud, but I'm still excited.
The growth hormones will send all the nutrients into the buds. If there's no latent bud up towards the tip of the stub beyond the bud that's growing, the stub will becomed deprived of nutrients and shrivel up. Then I'll come along and prune off the stub. Or I won't and it'll just stay there, being a dead stump and the rose bush will just keep on growing.
Roses really aren't hard to grow, any more than knitting is hard to do, or wine hard to enjoy. These are areas where people can really delve into the complexities and debate the merits of noisettes vs floribundas vs hybrid teas and so on, or cotton vs wool vs bamboo, etc.
Or we can just enjoy the pretty, fragrant flowers growing in the sun, while knitting a garterstitch cotton blanket, and enjoying a glass of white wine that was on sale at the grocery store. It's all good.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Second beer

I had a post all written but it's gone.

Anyway, Husband and I started our second batch of beer, an Imperial Blonde Ale. It boiled over and we got sticky stuff all over the stovetop and down into the triple glass paned oven door. Long story short, we now know how to take apart the overn door and clean it.

It's sitting in a corner away from direct light and in a few days we'll be bottling it. Then it should be ready for sharing with the friends and relatives coming for Fourth of July.

We have a name picked out for it, and will be having labels made. Will post pictures when ready.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A hole in my head and the role of genetics

Had a tooth removed today. The second from the last molar on the lower right side.

A year or so ago, I had a molar, second from the last, removed from the upper left side.

It's going to take a lot longer to eat now, and I already am a slow eater.

An hour later, I had lunch with Brother One. By that time, a big ol' blood clot had formed so I could eat, but half my face was still numb. It was a very weird experience. At least I didn't drool.

At lunch Brother One and I argued for 2 hours about nature vs nurture. He believes that life is 50% nature, 50% nuture. I disagree and give much much less weight to nature. You can have all the talent in the world, but it's society that grants or denies opportunities and your own decisions and choices too that determine how or whether you develop that talent.

After 2 hours, it was clear that neither one would change our minds and so we ended lunch.

It all started because I mentioned that I was having a nerdy day. I've been watching "Chuck" on Hulu and Chuck works as a member of the Nerd Herd that does home visits to fix computers. Then I was listening to the episode "Revenge of the Nerds" on the podcast "To the Best of Our Knowledge" on Wisconsin Public Radio.

The first segment was with Benjamin Nugent the author of "American Nerd: The Story of My People." He mentioned how WASPs would place themselves in the middle of a continuum that started with animals on one end, progressed to African Americans, Native Americans, then WASPs in the middle as "normal" and on to Asian Americans and machines at the other end. Nerds fall inbetween WASP and Asian American.

(As an Asian American, I guess this automatically makes me a nerd. And I am. I have no problem with saying that. Though whether I'm a dork as well is another issue.)

Anyway, clearly there are lots of problems with this continuum and the author discredits it. I mentioned this to Brother One and he started arguing that there are genetic differences between the races that give one race an edge over others in different areas.

That raised all kinds of red flags for me. Nazism and eugenics, the US forcibly sterilizing Puerto Ricans, segregation of all kinds, come to mind.

But Brother One was talking about evolutionary psychology which I read about in grad school but was treated very warily by sociologists. And that's just the beginning of our disagreement. I don't want to rehash our 2 hour argument here. I already have a headache from the hole in my head.

So this is what I have to look forward to this weekend:
1. hanging up some pictures
2. hanging out with Husband. Always nice.
3. Watching Pan's Labyrinth on DVD, which I got from the library.
4. More "Chuck"
5. More crocheting.
6. The Caribbean Festival on Auburn Avenue.

Maybe we will start up another batch of beer. We already have the kit to make Imperial Blonde Ale. We're down to about the last 8 bottles of the first batch and we're expecting 10 of Husband's relatives and friends from out of town for July 4 weekend. It would be nice to have some home brew to share.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Noro Shawl

Two projects done in one week!
This is a basic garter stitch top down shawl, knit on size 9 needles in Noro Taiyo and Furisode yarns. I cut out the colors I didn't like and kept the ones I did like and here it is.
It's just big enough to wrap around the shoulders and pin in front to keep the chest warm. I need to get a shawl pin. I got one in Denver last year when visiting BestFriend, but somehow lost it in the move.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Morning Planting -- Scentimental Rose

This morning, I took 15 minutes to plant the Scentimental floribunda rose that came in the mail yesterday. It came bareroot and I soaked it in water overnight.
It's pretty windy on the balcony. I hope it's still standing when I get home.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fortress of the White Heron

A few years ago, I took a class on printmaking and this is what I consider my masterpiece.

It's the Fortress of the White Heron in Japan. I loved the picture I saw in a book about architecure masterpieces around the world. It's white with green roofs and I love that color combo.

This one is the second of 2 prints I made because it's such a process to make each print.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sean Scully Malabrigo afghan -- Done!

Begun on Feb 15, 2009, finished May 16, 2009. I'm counting it as taking exactly 3 months, considering that Feb only has 28 days.

It's about 57 inches wide by 49 inches tall, before blocking.

As you can tell from the name, it's made with Malabrigo, held double, and inspired by the art of Sean Scully.

I love it.

eta: The inspiration came from a bunch of Malabrigo yarn that I had. One each in the orange, yellow, and purple. Two different blues in different amounts, and a lot of the two different greens. I started with making mitered squares but didn't like the way they looked.

Then I came across a book about Sean Scully's art and loved the stripyness of his work. I posted about the specific pieces in this post.

I did end up having to buy a few extra skeins of the greens to make that big field of green. I didn't really want to do that, when the goal was to use up the Malabrigo...but why am I complaining about shopping for more of my favorite yarn? I used other yarns too, mostly Cascade 220 and one Manos del Uruguay in purple, when I ran out of the Malabrigo.

Husband and I snuggled under it as we sat out on the balcony in the cool spring night, and I'm happy to say that it's as soft and warm as I hoped.

Now for the challenging part: washing it.

eta May 19: I washed it by soaking it with Soak in a big plastic bin in the tub. After 15 minutes, tipped over the bin and let the water out. Stepped on the blanket to squish out some of the water, then pushed it back into the bin. Took it to the washer and put it on the drain and spin cycle. Lastly, laid out a bunch of towels on the guest bed and let it airdry for a few days.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

One Benefit of Having a Blog

Tonight Husband and I went to French American Bistro (FAB) for dinner. We ordered dessert, the little chocolate cake with the molten center, ice cream and strawberry. I said, hey, isn't this what we had for dessert for our 9th wedding anniversary? Husband said no.

I said yes and pulled out my iPhone and pulled up this blog and showed him this entry. He then conceded that yes, we did have this for dessert last year.

Tonight we were celebrating Husband winning a court case. But also, 18 years ago, about the first week in May, we had our first date. Thus we were also marking, kind of, our 18th anniversary.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Next project!

As I near the end of the Sean Scully Malabrigo afghan, I'm already thinking about the next project I want to make.

I know of at least 4 people with babies or soon to have babies, so it'll be more blankets. I haven't forgotten Best Friend's Emerald cardigan, for which I've had the yarn for about a year now. However, that's wool and we're getting into Atlanta's hot season.

I'm leaning toward a crocheted hexagon blanket and found the perfect one at Attic 24's website with tutorial here. I have a bunch of white, pink, and various shades of blue cotton yarn I could use. And a ton of yellow and light blue linen yarn. Hmmmm.

The nice thing about crochet motifs is that you can make a bunch relatively randomly and then play around with placement later. On the other hand, seaming isn't exactly my favorite thing to do.

However, with the right Netflix, it might not be too bad.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ears ringing

I watched 2 episodes of Dollhouse on line with the headphones on and now my eardrums are throbbing. The audio on the little netbook aren't great. And the airconditioning units on the roof of the building across the street are so loud, I need headphones in order to hear.

Anyway, now I've watched the last 4 episodes of Dollhouse so far and really hope it gets renewed. I want to find out:

1. what happens with Alpha, because I heart Alan Tudyk, mainly because he played Wash on Firefly and anyone married to kick-ass Zoe has to be worth something. Plus, I love the funny and Wash (and Simon in his straight-laced understated way) brought the funny.

2. what happens with Sierra and Victor. Even as dolls, they have some feelings for each other and I want to see what happens with them. Because I'm all about the love.

3. what happens with DeWitt. She's the boss and holds everyone at arm's length. But she also programmed Victor as "Roger" to have some love and relationship in her life. Then she realizes that wasn't a great idea and so shelves "Roger." What's the consequences of that? Again, I'm all about the love. I also just read the recap for the episode "Echoes" on Television Without Pity and really want to see what she's like when under the influence.

4. what happens to the other dolls, esp Whiskey and November, who's now been freed?

5. what's the stories behind Boyd, Topher, Ivy and the other staff that they work at the Dollhouse?

As I watched, I worked on the Sean Scully Malabrigo afghan.

I have a ball of "Butter" Malabrigo and yellow Lamb's Pride Superwash in "Lemon Ice" and a ball of Malabrigo in "Tiger Lily" that I'll stripe along the right edge. When those are done, then all the Malabrigo will be done and the afghan will be done.

Yay! because it's getting a bit warm to have a huge lapfull of wool.

Notes about other Firefly alum:

I know this was the season finale for Castle with Nathan Fillion, another Firefly alum, but I had to turn it off half way through. I really want to support NF, but just can't watch a whole episode.

Also, I've put season one of Chuck on Netflix (did I mention that already in a previous post?) but may move it up the queue.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The ways in which I geek

First. Yesterday, I received the Torchwood Season Two Bonus Features DVD from Netflix and my own (used) copy of Firefly.

Second. I'm reading Firefly fan fiction every spare moment on my little iPhone screen.

Third. I am reading recaps of Torchwood, Firefly, and Dollhouse on line at , Television Without Pity ( and

Fourth. Now that I have internet access at home, I'm planning to watch Dollhouse on line.

Fifth. The new Star Trek movie opens this weekend. However, I'm not going to see it this weekend. Probably later and definitely on DVD. Because I heart the extras.

Since Husband is most definitely not a sci fi fan, I will have to find times when he's not around to watch all these hours of sci fi TV.

And just think of all the knitting time! Still working on the Sean Scully Malabrigo afghan. Because a huge lapful of wool is fun in 80 degree weather.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

chock-full of change

The past few weeks have been just chock-full of change.

First, I moved.
Second, a friend died.
Third, at the friend's memorial, I reconnected with an old acquaintance who has gotten married and now we're in neighboring neighborhoods.
Fourth, I got an e-mail out of the blue from friend I tried to reconnect with and now we will. Oops, got a call, she's bailing on me.
Fifth, I went to a national conference reception last night and ran into an old college friend. One of the first things she told me was that a mutual friend died.

Sadly, she was 35 years old and had heart failure in her sleep. Very much like my 30 year old friend who died in December of heart failure. More sadly, I didn't remember this friend. My excuse is that, um, I have a very bad memory and she was younger, so her time at the University of Wisconsin and my time there didn't overlap by much. Not much of an excuse, but there it is.

Okay. People need to stop dying on me!

In other news, Husband and I got an Asus Eee 1000A netbook, a little thing only 1o inches by 7 inches, and will soon have internet connection at home again. So I'll be able to blog more frequently, with pictures even.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Phillip's Memorial: Frogs Cantina

Today is Phillip's memorial, at 6pm at his favorite bar. I'll stop by after work, before going to see the opera tonight. "The Flying Dutchman" by Wagner.

Phillip's obituary below, from the Southern Voice

Activist Phillip Rush remembered for ‘creating communities’ Rush died April 28 of a pulmonary embolism

Phillip Rush, a longtime LGBT rights activist in Atlanta, died suddenly April 28 of a pulmonary embolism, according to his close friend, Doug Carl. Rush was 55.
“I think his passion in life surrounded community building — not just for the gay community, but for the entire community,” Carl said. “That was his life’s work.”
News of Rush’s death prompted shock and sorrow from many Atlanta activists and nonprofit professionals, who praised his ability to draw diverse people together.“He was always trying to find different ways to bring together people who wouldn’t otherwise meet, but who he thought would benefit from seeing a situation or issue through someone else’s lens,” said Allen Thornell, who worked with Rush when Thornell served as executive director and as a board member of Georgia Equality.“He worked to create communities,” said Thornell, now director of policy communications for CARE USA.
Atlanta activist Duncan Teague recalled how he first met Rush at a workshop more than a decade ago, then became friends.“What I loved about Phillip was that my impression is that he had come from privilege … and in spite of whatever that may have meant for some folks in that economic class, for Phillip that was never an excuse not to do for other people and never, ever an excuse to stop learning,” he said.
Rush wasn’t afraid to make mistakes as he tried to bridge some of the race and class divisions in gay Atlanta, said Teague, praising Rush as “an ally of amazing ability.”“He taught us all about what it means to do this diversity thing and mean it,” Teague said.
Friends and fellow activists posted dozens of messages on Rush’s Facebook wall, creating a makeshift memorial that illustrated the profound effect he had on those who knew him.The comments came from a mix of genders, ages and races, illustrating the diverse alliances Rush worked to build. They described him as a “hero” and a “mighty oak,” someone whose “quiet wisdom” and “heart, commitment and dedication” “added light to the world.”
In almost 15 years as a program officer with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Rush helped provide funding, support and encouragement to a variety of non-profit organizations. His role included work on the agency’s Common Good Funds and leading the “Managing For Excellence” awards, according to a biography of Rush posted on the foundation’s website.He also helped direct funding to gay causes. From 1994-1999, he led the Community Foundation’s Lesbian & Gay Funding Initiative for Youth, described by the agency as “Georgia’s first institutional response to the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.”
‘He will live on’
Rush left the Community Foundation in March as part of a layoff that was a mutual decision, said Alicia Philipp, president of the Community Foundation. “He was ready to start his own thing,” she said.Philipp said the two remained in close contact and like many others, she was “devastated” by his death.“One day we might forget the way his face would light up when he had an idea about doing something, or the cranky way he would ask a question — and it was always the right question,” Philipp said. “But we’re not going to forget that he helped start YouthPride or that he connected donors to all kinds of things around the environment and smart growth in Atlanta.“The things he made a difference in will have a lasting value,” she said. “He will live on in all the projects he helped connect people to.”
Rush launched Next Incarnation, focused on funding and non-profits, in March 2009.Originally from Nashville, Tenn., he graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1974 with a degree in sociology. Along with his career in philanthropy, he also held positions with two family businesses.
Following Rush’s wishes, Carl said he will be remembered with a “gathering” on Friday, May 1, at FROGS Cantina in Midtown Promenade, where his favorite stool has become a memorial marked by flowers.Rush’s survivors include close friends Carl, Robert Carroll and Ryland Leyton.