Been keeping busy. The dog keeps getting bigger and smarter. She's able to jump over the baby gates I've been using to pen her in the kitchen. She's also figured out how to stretch up and reach the counter so she can steal treats off of it while I'm not looking. But she's a great dog and I love her even when she is being a jerk.
Nick from NYC was out to visit last week. We had a good time and he was able to get all his stuff out of the basement of the old Russell Street house and mail it home. One of the highlights for me was last Friday when I hosted, what my friend Asia termed, Drew's Brews. Basically I invited a bunch of people over to help me drink the four gallons of porter that Steven and I brewed up. I'm hoping to repeat it again this weekend with a batch of pale ale.
This evening I went to Ignite Portland at the Bagdad Theater with Nick's friend Ingrid (who has a nice food blog). I was really impressed with the event, the speakers with the except the snake oil peddler who was trying to convince everyone that biodiesel is going to save us from our energy problems were all wonderful. I had a hard time picking favorites (though the history of the stick figure and why Germany loves David Hasselhoff stand out in my mind). I can't wait for the next one.
I just finished reading Queen of Candesce by Karl Schroeder. I'd read the prequel, Sun of Suns, last New Year's and loved it. I don't have the words to describe how amazing these books are. I'm just awestruck at the way he's able to construct a space opera that's convincing at every level; from the cloak and dagger intrigue of politics to the physics of constructing a city on the inside of a cylinder floating in air. In many ways it reminds me of the sweeping imagination and vision of the first Matrix movie (the big difference being that this sequel didn't suck).
I spent a good chunk of the day bottling my first batch of beer. I'm not saying it turned out great, but I had really low expectations and it surpassed those. I started with 6 gallons, bottled a total of 67, 12-oz bottles. Four bottles cracked while I was capping them, but once I started paying attention to the position of the bottle's seam, I had pretty good luck. Once I finished, I poured the leftover flat beer from the carboy into a pitcher (it had a crazy amount of yeast in it) into a small pitcher and ended up with a nice afternoon beer buzz.
Two more weeks and I'll be drinking proper beer. I think Joe Lane would be proud. Oh, and speaking of Joe Lane, go check out his photos from touring a brewery in Vermont.
Update: beer is "done" but it tastes pretty funny. I used bleach as a sterilizer but didn't rinse it properly so it gave it a weird metallic taste. I'm hoping the next batch will be better.
The last couple of weeks I've been trying my hand at home brewing. Etta's dad, Ron, is the part owner of a building that has/had a brewery in it. They kicked the the tenants out after they got way behind in their rent, and ended up with all the old equipment that he wasn't easy to sell. He gave me a glass carboy and I went down to the home brew shop in town and bought a couple of beer kits.
I'm pretty sure the first batch is going to be fucked up. The kit I used was three years past its best by date, that and I didn't mix it up enough when I put it into the fermenter, and it got too cold and the yeast fell out. I put an electric blanket around the carboy to warm it back up and waited a few days. Finally after four days of nothing happening I opened up the closet to dump it out and it was going crazy bubbling. So I figure it'll be my test batch for bottling, I'll make all my big mistakes on that and not feel bad when it's a mess.
I started a second batch yesterday and it's been doing much better. It's already bubbling away in the closet next to the first batch. I've got much higher hopes for it.