Brewing Thoughts

February 12, 2008

Coming Out of Hibernation – Brain Dump

Filed under: Family,Food,Homebrewing,Politics — jidd @ 12:03 pm

What? An actual post?  Well, if any of you out there are still reading this page… (other than the comment spammers that is) it’s time for an update.  I’m just going to dump all the things that have been lingering in the back of my brain that I’ve wanted to post about.

So, what’s new?  Hmm… Melanie will be 4 months old tomorrow.  I can’t believe how much she has changed already.  We haven’t weighed her recently, but she’s gotta be up around 13 or 14 lbs now.  She’s gotten out of the “lump o’ baby” phase and has gotten playful and is starting to have personality.  So far, her eyes are still a beautiful bright blue and her hair looks more auburn all the time.  I’m not sure where her blue eyes came from, but I hope they stay that way.

Melanie’s dedication is at church this weekend.  My folks are going to be down from Oregon, so we’re in full house-overhaul mode at home.  Between taking care of Melanie, taking care of her grandparents, and trying to get the house in order poor Courtney hasn’t hardly gotten any rest at all lately.

Speaking of getting the house in order…  1 year after moving in I finally got around to getting the front door fully operational.  Back when we moved in, our Realtor got the house re-keyed for us (thanks Margy!).  However, the locksmith said that our 85 year old front door lock which was without a key was irreparable, so we’ve just used the side doors that come off the driveway as the main entry.  As Courtney will attest, I don’t take “It Can’t Be Done” very well.  I set about researching this door lock and finding a way.  Last weekend, for the first time I was able to walk out the front door, lock it behind me, and use a key to get back in through the same door.  It’s the small things.

The landscaping is still, well, nearly non-existant. A while back I had some guys come in and drop a few trees and grind the stumps.  One tree was alread dead, one was a fruiting mulberry that made a huge mess, and the 3rd was a gnarly old fig tree stump that just kept sending up runners and refusing to die). The same guys graded the front yard and cut it down a few inches to accommodate new sod, and did most of the trenching I needed done in order to install sprinklers.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve never done sprinklers before and made a few mistakes along the way.  Not the least of which was ripping out about 15′ of our main water line thinking it was an old sprinkler line.  Anyhow, between being sick, being busy, or having rain every weekend, they’ve been stuck at about 80% completion most of the winter.  But I did get a few tree roses planted along the walkway. =)

I am finding myself increasingly distracted by all things food.  Well, maybe not quite all things, but enough.  As most of you know, I’ve brewed beer for a few years know.  Well, I started a few years ago, took a hiatus, and am now getting back to it. I have a passable batch of Belgian White on tap at the moment, and plans for an Irish Stout and a Red Ale as soon as time permits.  Also, within the last year I’ve started roasting my own coffee.  There is really something wonderfully alive about fresh coffee that hasn’t sat on a shelf slowly dying for who know how long.  Also, I have a batch of homemade Lemon Cello underway.  Not strictly “lemon” cello, I made it from a combination of Meyer lemons, regular lemons, and a little bit of orange. It should be ready sometime after Valentines Day.

Besides that, lately I’ve been making homemade yogurt, granola, chicken stock, chili powder, and probably some other stuff I’m forgetting.

Most recently, I’m fixated on meat.  Not just  your standard steak, chicken & pork chops. Au contraire.  I want to cure, smoke, brine, age, grind, and eat my way through a pile of carcasses big enough to fill a cellar.  But wouldn’t that would mean that I’ll need to build a smokehouse and root cellar?  Sure, but for some reason I don’t find this daunting.  Wouldn’t any sane person think of this and say, “but I can buy sausage, bacon and pastrami at the market/butcher.”  Why doesn’t my brain work that way?  I see a slab of bacon at the store and dream of how much better you could make it at home.  German sausage? Yeah, I love the stuff.  Why can’t I just be content to eat it at the Sale or buy it from some guy in Reedley? Sure, zwieback seems to be the holy grail of Mennonite food for some reason.  While I don’t have anything against the stuff, I’m just not that interested in making it.  Surely sausage making is a higher calling.  Surely, my desire to do this indicates some sort of mental illness.

Hmm… another area that I have some firm opinions about but haven’t had (taken) the time to fully indulge recently.  But here are a few briefs: 1) Ron Paul – I don’t know much about him other than that he is supposedly a libertarian in republican clothing.  Being libertarian myself, I really need to look into this more.  I think it’s safe to say that his changes at the oval office are laughable right now, but in general anyone that can bring libertarian principals into the discussion and public eye is a Good Thing©.

On a related note, this is an interesting article on how much our government’s war on marijuana costs us every year.  Very bad things happen when you artificially criminalize something which fundamentally should be a matter of personal choice.  Just like during Prohibition, our government has created a situation where obscene amounts of taxpayer money are spent to enforce a law that is simply unjust and completely contradicts basic American principles.  Black markets are created, taxpayer money is wasted, lives are ruined, and for what?  Our national panties are in such a knot over marijuana that we’ve utterly abandoned an amazingly beneficial crop that our government used to beg farmers to grow.   If you have time, give that first article a read.  It is brief, and it does a pretty good job of putting into perspective the scale of the resources that are spent on this menace.

Anyhow, if you’ve made it this far, I apologize.  I’m sure there is more, but I’ve subjected you to enough abuse for now.



September 19, 2007

Geek Lust

Filed under: Intellectual Property,Politics,Technology — jidd @ 8:38 am

This is the kind of computer tech that just makes me giddy. It perfectly illustrates the kinds of things that are possible when we can get past the intellectual property BS and start working collectively with the sum of knowledge and experience that is available to man. It’s a bit long for a web clip, but I really recommend watching this. It really is phenomenal.

var FO_325 = {movie:””,width:”425″,height:”350″,majorversion:”7″,build:”0″,bgcolor:”#FFFFFF”,allowfullscreen:”true”,flashvars:”file=” };UFO.create(FO_325,”ridiculous-image-technology-coming”);

August 3, 2007

Only 7 Years Late

Filed under: Humor,Politics — jidd @ 8:39 am

George Dubya consults with his doctor about a possible cure:


July 30, 2007

Monday Politics

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Politics — jidd @ 1:32 pm

Old People Are Expensive
What’s wrong with this picture:

“Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—programs that serve older people—already exceed 40 percent of the $2.7 trillion federal budget. By 2030, their share could hit 75 percent of the present budget, projects the Congressional Budget Office. “

Can anyone say “unsustainable?”

Sex for the Motherland
This would be amusing if it were just a story about a bunch of horny Russians, but unfortunately the Kremlin’s current parallels to the path of Nazi Germany are quite striking.

Army Offering $20,000 Bonus For ‘Quick’ Recruits
Brilliant, we already have a problem with gangs utilizing our military for free training, now we’re going to pay an extra $20k bonus for the accelerated program.

May 2, 2007

Kids These Days

Filed under: Family,Politics,Religion — jidd @ 10:08 am

No Bullshit

Question(s) for the day:

What are our responsibilities in terms of respecting our elders? When does it become justifiable, or possibly essential to contradict our parents, elder family or even church leaders?

I recently received a forwarded email from a dear, elderly family member whom I haven’t seen in several years. However, while this email purported to be raise political concerns about a presidential candidate, nowhere did it once mention this candidate’s position on any issues or even point to actions this individual had taken that were in any way suspect.

No, this email simply pointed to the candidate’s ethnicity, the religions of his parents, and where he had lived during his life. Any time ethnicity or religion was mentioned, it was in ALL CAPS to be sure that you noticed.

I generally disregard most of the political forwards that I get from my family, however this one struck a nerve. While it has obvious political implications, the argument it proposed wasn’t political, it was racial and religious.

Not surprisingly, my response has started a bit of a firestorm. However, as I stated in one of my replies to another family member on the distribution who suggested I just delete the message, “I am compelled both by my faith as well as my personal integrity to denounce racial slander when confronted with it. To do otherwise would be traitorous to my eternal soul.”

So I ask, when is it right to call bullshit on our elders?

I’ll close this post with the same way I closed my response to the email. This is a variation of a poem by Martin Niemöller, inscribed at the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston, Massachusetts.

First they came…

They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

April 5, 2007

Christianity vs. the United States of America

Filed under: Politics,Religion — jidd @ 2:50 pm

Recently, a college friend whom I haven’t seen for about 5 years found me on MySpace. After some meandering, I ended up on said educational institution’s MySpace Forums, reading a thread asking “Can Christians be Democrats?”

After skimming through about 30 posts vaunting the various popular mainstream Christian views on Republicans and Democrats, I couldn’t help but jump into the fray.

Unsurprisingly, my suggestion that government be agnostic was not the most popular view in the room. The concepts of personal responsibility, separation of church and state, and liberty quite frankly seem to be completely lost on that audience.

The United States has thrived because since it’s inception it basically (in principle at least) let people do what they wish, provided they did not interfere with another’s right to do the same. Granted, we’ve had our own battles over equality, but by and large things were an expansion of the concept of unalienable rights to all parties. How else is a heterogeneous society to survive?

Jesus CampOn a related note, I recently watched Jesus Camp. Has anyone else seen this? Thoughts, reactions? It makes me curious about the demographics of Christians in America today. How many Christians watch this film and are ashamed to wear the name Christian in comparison to how many watch it and just think “damn liberal media.”

If anyone is interested in reading the discussion which precipitated this post, enjoy. My contributions begin on the 3rd page.

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