Brewing Beer – Batch 0

(Cross posted to Chelsea Blog)

Today I began batch zero of brewing beer at home. My first attempt was, well, I don’t know yet. I have bubbles from the fermenter, which indicates that at least something is happening. It took a lot longer than I thought it would, although I had no frame of reference.

Many thanks to the Cork ‘n Cap in Jackson for setting me up with the gear and a good starter recipe. I made an English Ale, so once the beer goes into the bottle (hopefully around Friday), it will be ready to drink by 26 Aug.

I used the burner on my grill so I could keep all the moisture outside and in the hopes that the larger burner would speed the boiling. By going outside, however, I managed to get a nice, red sunburn (and a not a little dehydrated). If this turns out, I’m going to invest in a turkey fryer for some serious heat. Oh, and the chance to deep fry a turkey. (Seriously, it’s actually very, very good.)

I’ll put something up here when I know more about the beer. Anybody else home brewing in Chelsea?

The Idiots Guide to the NHL Lockout

Wow, I am so glad I can buy a football soccer package on cable; they screwed with the basics of hockey.

Don’t get me wrong, the players deserved a lot worse than they got, but when I read crap like this:

They extended the blue lines and decreased the neutral zones, making it easier to maintain control of the puck onsides, and allowing more room to operate on power plays

I weep. Jeez, let’s just cork all the bats and give the players ‘roids so we can have a season-long home-run derby. Oh, wait…

Go Ajax!


Dessert – Grilled Nectarines

Quick and easy dessert, perfect for the summer.

Take one ripe nectarine. Cut in half, remove pit. On the expose halves, sprinkle with a generous amount of sugar or Splenda. Sprinkle to taste with cinnamon. Grilled cut-side down over medium flame for 5 minutes. Rotate half a turn and grill 5 more minutes. Flip to the skin side and grill for 5 more minutes. The nectarine should be warm through and slightly soft.

Remove, let cool momentarily and dig in. Especially good with a little honey.

And I don’t usually like fruit. Thanks to J– for the great idea.

20 Technology Skills Tech Writers Should Have

Inspired by this post at the Shifted Librarian:

  1. Spreadsheet Skills
  2. Database Skills
  3. Scripting Skills
  4. Electronic Presentation Skills
  5. Web Site Design Skills
  6. Email Management Skills (including outgoing mail)
  7. File Management Skills (non-Windows)
  8. Computer Network Skills (including Wireless)
  9. Installing Software Skills
  10. Distance Learning Skills (vendor agnostic)
  11. Computer-related storage devices (DVDs, SANs, USB Drives)
  12. Knowledge of PDAs and cell phones
  13. Advanced Electronic Research Skills
  14. Electronic Copyright Knowledge
  15. Computer Security Knowledge
  16. Web Content Delivery Skills (RSS, Newsreaders, Forums, Blogs, etc)
  17. Fontography Skills
  18. Basic to Intermediate Electronic Page Design Skills (using Word templates doesn’t count)
  19. Advanced Markup Skills
  20. Basic to Intermediate Skill in at least one area of expertise that doesn’t relate to writing.

You might get away with not having one or two of these, but you better be supplementing them with other items. It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who can “write” but have zero clue who they are writing for. I saw a comment the other day in reformSTC that every minute spent using the product of a tech writer is a minute not spent completing the task the user needs to accomplish. What a profound statement. It was, in true writer fashion, pounced on and flamed out of conversation.

That’s too bad. Maybe it’s not a true portrayal of the concept, but it’s a hell of a lot closer than the attitude that users are idiots because they didn’t read the entire chapter of Help on composing a widget.

Art Fair

Ah summer in Ann Arbor, when tourists come into the “city”, streets shut down, and artists from around the one-day’s-drive area congeal in the gutters to disgorge their “art” on overly-anticipatory populous. Yes, it’s Art Fair. But not just one Art Fair! Oh no, this is Ann Arbor, where even the artists can’t get along. So there are four fairs going at once (although, attempt to explain that to someone from out of town and you’ll get blank stares).

Of course, the day I need to find it, ArborBlogs is down and I can’t get this year’s Art Fair Bingo. (To tide me over, I may have to recycle last years Bingo cards.) If anyone has this year’s card, post a link in the comments.

Will we go? Yeah, I guess. It’s kind of like Tulip Time in Holland: If you don’t go on vacation during the festival, you’re guaranteed to be sucked in. Plus, I need my annual injection of art-on-a-stick and chances to insult people on Political Alley.