Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Just for Kelly

Cheers to Kelly for his comment on Yoo Hoo. Just for you I will let everyone know that I bottled Treewhale Old Ale today, and it promises to be a stunner. I anticipate it to be around 7% Alcohol, at the low end. I would have an accurate number, but the recipe was lost and the hydrometer was broken when I made it.

For those wanting to try a commercial example and drink along, try Theakston's Old Peculiar.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Why Victoria is the Classiest city in North America

when I saw this link, I thought milk would come out of my nose. This is the coolest hydraulic semi-permanent instalation for public urination I have ever seen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Yoo hoo

I have decided to ask the potentially depressing question - "How many people actually read my blog?"

Notwithstanding the fact that I mostly blog for myself, I wonder how many people check it. A handful comment, but many others have mentioned it in passing who I would never suspect.

My request is that if you read this blog, even occasionally or in passing, that you post a comment on this entry, so that I can get an idea of who is watching (and adjust the content appropriately)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The house is now clean.

Two weeks after moving in and after untold hours of unpacking, cleaning, de-cluttering, throwing crap out, and stacking boxes in the garage, we are now living in a clean and tidy house with no boxes lying around.

We are unpacked.

To celebrate (admittedly we did this before finishing) I made Jenn and I Eggs benny with homemade hollandaise sauce for breakfast. I can feel my heart failing as we speak.

I discovered in the process that hollandaise sauce is actually really easy to make, like most things, you just need to pay attention to what you are doing and have your ingredients ready when you start. I've been making homemade mayonnaise for a year, and it is way more work (although a little less tricky).

Tonight we are having a barbecue for Jenn's practicum class, and tomorrow, Jenn's family are coming over to see the place now that it is presentable. What a full weekend we have planned.

Yesterday, though, we went shopping with a $500 gift card at Home Depot. We got all kinds of things that we decided (in our wisdom) that we needed as new homeowners. A couple of fire extinguishers, CO detector, big garbage can, rake, weed eater, fertilizer, weed killer, hose, attachments, bbq cover, a hand-held shower head to make cleaning beer equipment a snap, and a few other little items along the way. We only managed to get through about $350 of the $500, though, which should leave us enough money to paint at least one room, once we decide on colours.

Oh, and on Friday I took the day off to finish editing my thesis, and I did. Now all I have to do is to input the changes on the computer and hand it it, and I will be close, oh so close to finished my three year odyssey and putting another 3 letters behind my name.

I think I will celebrate with making beer. As soon as I bottle Treewhale Old Ale, I will have to make something else. I just wonder what.

Report on that soon.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Beer 2 weeks ago

So 2 weeks ago I made some beer. I was too hung over the next day to post the recipe, and I can't find the notes we made. Here's my best guess:

Treewhale Old Ale

13 pounds Rhar 2 row pale malt
10 Oz Crystal Malt (80 L)
6 oz Dark Munich Malt
1 tsp gypsum
1 tsp Irish moss

24 g Warrior Hops (90 minutes) 16.4%
14 g East Kent Golding hops (10 Minutes) 4.6%

Wyeast London 1028

We boiled that sucker up for 90 minutes and mashed at 156 degrees or so for an hour. I have no idea if it converted because Nick the Mighty Brewer left the Iodine at home.

I have no idea of the OG because I broke my hydrometer when I moved. (I have a new one now)

So it smells real good. I might bottle this weekend if the gravity is close to reasonable.

That's it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Jenn's Convocation

Today, Jenn convocated with her BMus class, while I wallowed in human misery for money. Then we went out for the supper that Jenn has been bugging me to take her to for over two years. We went to Jack's Grill, an Edmonton institution (not that Edmonton Institution, the one without orange jumpsuits) that serves up hella good food for hella lotta money.

We started with small tender squid, which was served tossed in very good olive oil with a confit of roasted tomato, nicoise olives, calamari tentacles, and fennel. This, for lack of a better word, was fabulous. We followed the squid with two entrees. Jenn had the Chicken breast stuffed with bacon and shallot with potato and spinach gnocchi and puree of squash, and I had the grilled duck breast with blackcurrant sauce and potato hash with duck confit and steamed baby fiddleheads.

Jenn described her chicken as the best chicken she has ever eaten. I had a bite. I believe her. My duck was outstanding. The danger of duck is that it will be either overdone and yucky or too rare and fatty. It wasn't. The sauce, a blackcurrant demi-glace was fabulous.

Because we had shown restraint with the appys, we went whole hog on the desserts. Jenn had a remarkable tarte aux citron, and I had a bread pudding with brandy and rum sauce with creme Chantilly, and coffee.

Then I came home and ironed and cleaned the cat box.

Many people writing online reviews of Jack's Grill have gone on at length about how rude the service is. Dismissive. Cold.


The reason that the busboy doesn't speak as he refreshes the bread basket or your water or coffee or removes your plate isn't that he doesn't like you (he doesn't) or that he thinks you are some hick redneck in from the country in your threadbare Sunday go-to-meeting clothes (he does). He doesn't speak to you because it would be inappropriate to do so. You aren't there to chat with the help, and they shouldn't spend their time chatting with you. This ain't earls. The waiters are middle aged men who have clearly been doing this for a long time. Corks are extracted from wine bottles without drama, drinks are mixed and poured without fuss and in appropriate portions. No patrons are subjected to any description whatsoever of the personal lives of the staff.

In this overheated economy, they have found that most remarkable of things - staff who know what the hell they are doing and don't make a fuss about it.

Jacks Grill gets five perfectly chilled dry martinis. Plenty of classics here, well executed.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Joy of Weather

So today from my office window, the staff and I watched a tornado touch down about four miles south-west. Then I went home, closed the windows on the upstairs bedrooms, and soaked up the rain that had gotten in. Happily, I have two fans, one for each soaked patch of carpet.

On the up side, the basement seems very dry. That is nice.

Last night, I got a phone call from Jenn at about 6:00, and all I could hear on the other end was Big Bad Voodoo Daddy live in concert. I sure do love it when I don't get to go to awesome concerts, but instead hear patches of them on a static-y cellphone while I drive on highway 16A.

Tonight, I had planned to get some work done, and hopefully that is what occurs. Whether or no, I should take this time to actually make myself something to eat. Off to supper I go.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

My computer is now set up

And my wife is out of the country until Thursday.

The cats are agitated, and I have my very own laundry.

Soon my whole office will be set up.

And Yesterday I made beer. And drank beer.

I am tired, but not as tired as I was on Friday.

I am looking forward to getting back to normalish this week.