Friday, October 29, 2010

Label Maker

So far the beer making as been a lot of fun. Sometimes I feel like I'm back in science class with all the technical information available for the brewing process. Let's set that aside for a bit, we'll get back to that at a later time. This post is about one aspect - creativity.

Creativity is a big part of the brewing process but even that I don't want to talk about today. Today I want to talk about the label. Yep, it has nothing to do with the beer itself but its name and packaging. Granted I'm not selling nor distributing my beer I still feel compelled to name them and give them labels. So far I have only created names and labels and have yet to actually print them and put them on the bottle.

The first beers I made were from somebody else's recipe, the third was a modified recipe and the fourth is all my own. Since I added to the third I felt like I had made it my own. You know, like on American Idol when the performer sings somebody else's song and the judges tell the contestant that they had "made it their own". I changed up an existing recipe and thus "made it my own".

So for the "made it my own" beer I took and existing India Pale Ale recipe and changed it up a bit. So for that one I felt I could name it and make a label. The name is Cloud Cap IPA and here is the label.

The picture is of Mt. Hood with a lenticular cloud over the top of it. I love it when those clouds appear over the mountain, it looks like it has a hood or a hat on.

The fourth beer is all my own creation. I researched the ingredients and put together my own recipe for this one. It's an American Pale Ale. Sticking with the theme of NW living I came up with the name Puddle Stomp Pale Ale. It has a nice ring to it. Here is my label for it.

The red boots nailed it for me.

Someday maybe I'll perfect my beers and venture out and you'll see similar labels to this in your nearby Safeway. Who knows. For now I'm having fun with it and look forward to learning more about the process and coming up with fun and creative names.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jeep Adventure

So I've had my first Jeep adventure. The problem is... I wasn't in my Jeep.

Since my Jeep was bought used it has some used car issues. Not big ones, just maintenance ones. Actually, one of the reasons I chose the Jeep was because the maintenance was something I could do on my own since it's basic and has considerably less electronics and modern amenities. This week I decided to tackle one of the issue I knew was looming.

The problem... angry sparrows. That's what they call it. "They" being Jeep people. When the u-joints go bad on the front drive shaft they squeak constantly which makes a terrible racket. My Jeep's got angry sparrows and got it bad. So, being the diligent car owner that I am I wanted to take care of the issue as soon as possible. Monday night was the night.

During lunch I picked up all the supplies, looked up a couple websites on removing and installing u-joints, took inventory of my tools and was ready to go. That night we ate a quick dinner and I ventured out to my project. I decided to do the rear drive shaft first since it was the smaller of the two and easier to get to. I removed it and bam! I was ready to change out the u-joints. This is where the adventure turns.

One hour later! One hour, people. I was still trying to get the first u-joint out of the shaft. Hammering, prying, clamping, and hammering some more I couldn't even budge the damn thing. My poor son, he was trying to be so supportive and trying to encourage me during my frustration. It didn't work. I was loosing it with this damn piece rusted into place over the past ten years. I did everything the websites said including soaking the thing in WD-40. Nothing was moving that thing. What was I to do? I needed a hydraulic press.

Guess who has a hydraulic press. Work. Yep. Work. 18.4 miles away work.

"Hey kids, dad will be back later, I'm going to work for a while" "Yes, I know its 8 at night" "Mom will be home soon." "Yes, I know it's raining." "No, I can't take the Jeep, it doesn't have a drive shaft." "Yes, I know it's raining and I'm going to get wet." So rain be damned. I packed the shaft in my back pack, got on my riding gear and road my motorcycle in the pouring rain the 18.4 miles to the office. Why didn't I take the van you ask... Kathi had it. The jeep didn't have a drive shaft so the bike was my only option.

Once at work I got the u-joint out with a little creativity and the power of a 10 ton hydraulic press. The creativity came in with the rigging. We are not rigged for u-joints, we are rigged for 3" bushings. One of my bosses was there working late and was hanging out watching me. He asked if he could help and then retracted the offer claiming not to be mechanical.

The true adventure came on my ride home. On the way to the office it was sprinkling - on the way home it was a downpour. I am a fair weather rider and typically don't ride when the clouds are showing face. This night I didn't have a choice. The Jeep, at my own hands, was down and I needed it to get to work. Into the rain I went.

The whole way home I kept thinking about deer. It is the time of year they start showing up in the roadways and I couldn't get them out of my head. My visibility was poor due to the constant rain on my visor and my inability to clear it off. My helmet has no wipers. I ended up taking the rain to the face as I rode with my visor half raised. I was getting soaked. The rain was coming down hard and I had no choice but to ride through it. I was on a mission and an adventure. My butt was wet my neck was cold but I was going to replace this drive shaft tonight if it killed me.

Once home I had 100 pounds of soaked riding gear and clothes to shed and still had to put in the drive shaft. Taking off the wet riding clothes was harder than putting the shaft back in. By the time I was done it was 10:45. What I thought would take less than an hour ended up taking three and three quarters. I stuck my work light under the Jeep and completed the job. Success!!! Five minutes to remove the shaft, five minutes to put it back in - the rest of the time - ONE u-joint! Dang.

All in all I learned a bunch. The first thing was how to remove and install u-joints. The second, and probably most important, was not to take on unfamiliar projects on work nights.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Politics As Usual

Is Nov. 4th almost here? Gawd! I am so tired of the political ads.

The negative ads are the worst. At least, they are the worst of two evils. Listening to the ads you'd think that the person they are putting down is the most evil person in the world. The pictures shown of the opponent is always the least flattering photo that could be found and the music behind it is from the scariest movie you've ever seen. Dun, dun, dun... if you vote for this person you've just put Satan in office and they'll rip your soul out of your body.

Then on the other hand you've got the support ads. Always bright and cheery showing the candidate shaking hands with the average Joe or Jody, kissing babies, digging a hole for a new tree, or hugging their family. Is there something appealing about a guy in a button up shirt with a sweater tied around his neck? They alway seem to be wearing that in the commercials. The music is uplifting and positive and the images bright. You'd think the person was going for sainthood.

None of the commercial seem to be about anything that matters anymore. Just mud and mudslinging. He who ends up the cleanest at the end wins it all.

Good grief it gets old. The political ads just make me weary of the whole process.

Politics As

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sleep Kicking

Some nights we get Alex up to go to the bathroom when we go to bed. This event often results in something amusing due to his lack of awareness and total sleepiness. I would venture to guess that most nights he doesn't even wake up during the process. I often think it would be fun to video record this event but we haven't yet.

This week, the night of our test in Taekwondo, was one of the nights we got him up. Since we ate late we thought it was a good idea in order to prevent any "issues" during the night. That's what we call it. Issues. As usual it took a bit to get him to rouse and sit up. He's a hard sleeper so it takes him a while to come to his senses. Because of this he often doesn't know which direction to walk or starts talking nonsense like he's still dreaming. This night was no different.

I usually don't intentionally take advantage of his state of being in these moments - I usually don't have to, he'll do something on his own - but for some reason this night I did. We had all just earned our next belt level and had TKD on our minds so once he was up I said "sidekick!" and he busted out a sidekick. Once we were in the hall I said "jump front kick!" and he did one. Just like that, on command. No hesitation, he just did it and I was busting up. I knew he wasn't awake which made it so funny. The poor kid was at my command. I had a good laugh.

The next day I asked him if he remembers doing some TKD with me that night and he didn't. He did remember getting up, he just didn't remember kicking on command.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

One of Those Days

I'll never tire of this video. It's an oldy but goody. Today isn't one of those days for me but I've had them. You know, the kind of day where you can totally relate to this guy's break down. I think we all have them - bad days not necessarily break downs that is. The difference between us and this guy is a little self control.

A couple of years ago I did have one slip of control in my boss's office. I was holding a huge stack of documents that ended up getting slammed down on his metal bookcase during a heated discussion. Oops. As right as I may have been in the discussion my exclamation at the end was not right. Funny as it was to my coworkers it wasn't right. Live and learn.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I'm Still Around

I'm not dead. Yet.

I've just not had too much to say lately. The truth is, I've got a lot to say but I'm old and too tired right now to say it.


This is what we were up to last week.

This <--- click here

This <--- then click here

and This <---- and finally click here.

Congratulations Gus and Sara!!!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Cover Magic

Sometimes covers of songs are just the best. Without the original they'd be just songs, but following the original they are a reflection of the next artist to touch the work. This song, in its original form, is fun and kooky. As a remake... well, you decide. I for one love both.