Archive for October, 2006

3 days, 3 beers

Posted by Nate in Homebrewing.
Friday, October 27th, 2006 at 10:05 pm

The kegenator was looking pretty sad with nothing ready on tap, and what with the holidays fast approaching I knew some drastic measures were needed.  Behold!
(clockwise from the back)
Wednesday: Rye Stout (Christmas)
Thursday: Jalapeño Cream Ale (Sierra’s birthday)
Friday: Mild Ale brewed with wild rice (Thanksgiving)

Say it with me: yum.  Also have a pumpkin beer aging to perfection which should be the crown jewel of the Thanksgiving lineup, although I have to remember to save some for my dad – it’s one of his favorites.  And an attempted clone of Town Hall’s Thunderstorm, an amber ale brewed with orange blossom honey, lemongrass, and … coriander?  I forget.  Mine’s got the honey and I steeped a whole box of the Mandarin Orange Spice tea in there.  Really delicious so far.

(The shirts and tubs of water are twofold: the shirts block the light which can skunk the beer and the water wicks up the shirts keeping the beer nice and cool as it ferments)


Posted by Nate in Family, Travel.
Monday, October 23rd, 2006 at 9:11 pm

img_5348.jpgSo the marathon was awesome.  Made me want to run one.  Really.  Maybe.  Either way it was a sweet event, and the weekend trip was – as always – a ridiculous whirlwind visit, but very fun.  We made these hot fluorescent signs to wave as our runners went by, and it ended up being a great plan because some of the places we tried to catch them were like a constant stream of humanity rushing by and it became really hard to stay focused on looking for your person.  I had to keep envisioning what they were wearing and how they were running so I could find them, but they still saw us way before we saw them.  (The signs say Fredel and Laurie, it’s Laurel and Freddie mixed up.  Long story.  Jason made the "run damnu ruuunnnn" sign.  Don’t ask.  Also don’t ask about FroYoHoCho.)

pict0113.JPGHere’s a long distance shot of them behind a lady in a blue vest.  I know my dad got some video, but for now this is what I got.  They’ve got white shirts over black running gear and Freddie has a white hat.

img_5353.jpgAnd here they are at the finish – Freddie did me proud and grabbed a beer as soon as he crossed the finish line.  His IT band was flaring up really badly during the race and Laurel had some cramps in her legs and feet, but they made it!!  Color me impressed.

img_5337.jpgWe also got to have a nice lunch with Grandma and Grandpa – she’s been saving a beer I gave her for a few months and we finally cracked it open.  A nice belgian Grand Cru, yummy.  She even said it tastes like pineapple, which is totally a flavor I get from from that yeast!  True, we were also eating pineapple chunks at the time, but I think that just brought out the flavor in the beer, since it was honestly already there…  Clearly I got my discriminating beer taste from Grandma.

Overall, a great if hectic visit.  Now, if they would just STOP(!!!!) working on I-90 and 94 I would be much happier and maybe make that commute more often again…  Stupid "open-road tolling"…

Going abroad, Mead, and Marathons

Posted by Nate in Family, Homebrewing, Travel.
Wednesday, October 18th, 2006 at 12:02 pm

Whoa.  Kind of a lot happened in the last few days, and lots more coming!

We just booked our tickets to visit my brother in Scotland and Karen’s brother in Ghana!  Going to be a whirlwind two-week trip in January…  Super exciting, I’ve been to England and Ireland but never Scotland, and definitely never Africa.

Early this morning I started a batch of mead that if all goes well will be used for the toast(s) at our wedding.  It uses cranberry honey and I threw in about 4# of frozen cranberries – the hope is the tartness will balance out any residual sweetness, and coupled with high carbonation it should be very champagne-like and delicious.  I didn’t chop or otherwise mess with the cranberries which may end up being a mistake, we’ll see how much flavor comes through in a few weeks and maybe I’ll add some more.  The guidelines I’m following say you can go up to 8#, so I’ve got some wiggle room…  Anyway, I’ve been stressing because time is getting short for aging and especially for all the work involved with the méthode champenoise.  (read here, scroll down a bit)  High hopes for this batch, fingers crossed!

Finally, we’re going to Chicago this weekend to cheer my sister on in her first marathon (and her b/f Freddie).  Whoa, indeed.  My knee is improving, but I’m still nowhere near jogging, let alone a freaking marathon!  So I can’t quite relate to that distance except that it seems really far…  Good luck, kids!

The battle rages

Posted by Nate in Home Improvements.
Friday, October 13th, 2006 at 2:09 pm

So far I’ve put both a chunk of money and a ton of time into trying to get the paint off the GD basement floor, and I hate to say it but the floor is winning.  Every few days I have a brainstorm and – sure I’ve solved it – hustle off to the hardware store to get the last thing I’ll need to finish this project…  And so far I’ve been wrong.  Here’s a quick list of what I know doesn’t work:

  • ReadyStrip paint remover.
    • It actually works really well — in the places it works at all.  There are as-yet (wait for it!) unexplained patches of the floor that simply Do Not Yield Their Paint.
  • Manual scraping
    • Oh, it works ok for a little while, until you realize you spent half an hour and have (maybe) cleared half a square foot.  Again, as with the stripper, there are DNYTP sections.
  • A big concrete surface grinder machine
    • I feel like this may have done a slightly better job with the diamond cutting blades instead of the carbide ones I got, but in the end it basically amounted to manually scraping the entire floor only much quicker.  Still patches that DNYTP and a few pits in the surface that the blades didn’t get to.
    • The machine was like this one but without everything in that feature list that says "new".  Must’ve been the old model.
  • 3M Safest Stripper
    • Like ReadyStrip but even slower acting.  Does a fantastic job on the paint that will come up at all, but at this point there’s really none left.

So…  That’s discouraging, to say the least.  You may be wondering, as I was, will anything get this paint off?  Well, I’m sure there is some Dimethyl Toxic Whatever horror I could use, but at this point I’m not sure even that would work.  Why?  Well, here’s one thing that works:

  • A Makita angle grinder Karen borrowed from work.

Sweet.  But the thing’s so small already and because it’s an angle grinder you can only hit about a centimeter at a time which makes for really slow going.  Also it’s darn near impossible to avoid uneven grinding, leaving little scallops in the floor (tiny, but still)…

266942435_23df6bffcb.jpgThe revelation for me while grinding was the depth I had to go down to in certain spots to eliminate the color from the paint.  I had read about it happening in concrete but hadn’t seen it, but apparently somehow the paint had sunk down into the pores of the concrete and bonded itself there instead of on the surface.  I’ve also noticed while scraping that there was in fact a layer beneath the orange, a gray gloss that must have chipped up in places before the orange went down – and the places that took the most grinding showed no evidence of this gray!  So…  Seems like the gray paint bonded nicely to the surface and those are the parts I can scrape and strip, but where orange paint hit concrete directly it made patches that DNYTP.  And that depth and bonding make me think even a crazy chemical stripper wouldn’t work and might even make the paint sink deeper into the concrete.

Whoa.  So now I’m planning to rent one of these and grind the whole floor down.  Or call around and see if I can find a stand-up version of that.  Hell yeah.  You haven’t beaten me yet, floor!!

The weekend

Posted by Nate in Beer, Friends, Landscaping.
Monday, October 9th, 2006 at 1:19 pm

pict0071.jpgCody had to hold the cellphone while Frances took a call.

pict0072.jpgKatie’s eye fell out and she ate it.

pict0074.jpgI raked a ton of leaves

pict0077.jpgpict2542.jpgKaren’s dad helped us cut down the overgrown tree/bush in our backyard.

pict0080.jpgpict0082.jpgWe drank a ton of beer.

Season ender?

Posted by Nate in Soccer.
Friday, October 6th, 2006 at 8:05 am

Early in last night’s soccer game I had a good break on the right wing and was coming in towards the goal.  There was a teammate in the center ready for a pass, but the goaltender came out and I thought I could poke it past him into the goal.  I reached out with my right foot and sure enough got it past him, on-net, but not as hard as I wanted.

… I never got to see what happened, but I’m told it didn’t go in – their defender got there in time.  The goaltender fell/dove for the ball as I was kicking it and landed hard just below my kneecap.  I could feel the whole works buckle backwards, hyperextending pretty badly.  Ow.  Really, really, ow.

I didn’t feel any specific "pop", just a general scrunchy stretch like when you roll your ankle hard, and even this morning it’s not visibly swollen.  I’m sure there is internal swelling since I can’t quite extend or bend it fully, but at rest with a brace on it’s not really hurting.  Very hard to walk, though, since my range is so limited.  Wah.  I’m going to give it a day or two and see how things go before I think about going to a doctor – the fact that I can put weight on it and lack of swelling makes me think it’s just a bad sprain and probably nothing tore.  We’ll see.

And you know how I have a desk job, and 95% of my days are spent totally in front of my computer?  Wouldn’t you know today’s the day we’re moving a T1 line to the new building, which means physically hauling 5 servers up and down stairs and across the street to their new home.  Son of a…

Stupid paint

Posted by Nate in Home Improvements.
Thursday, October 5th, 2006 at 12:31 pm

10-2-2006-7-28-25-am_0011.jpgWe’ve been picking off bits and pieces of the basement project over the last week – on Friday, Sierra and I moved everything out of the basement and into the laundry room and the storage area.  Pretty tight fit in those areas now, but it left the floor empty and made painting the walls much easier.  We were painting on October 1 so we picked a color called "October Sky", it’s a nice creamy light color that should go well with what I’m hoping for the floor and trim.

10-4-2006-7-54-14-pm_0003.jpgI’ve been testing various methods of getting the paint off the floor and having limited success so far…  Manually scraping the hell out of it works sort of, but it’s really a lot of work and very slow.  While at Ace getting the paint I found a product that promises low-odor and great effectiveness – sweet, sign me up!  It worked great on the test patch I tried a few nights ago, so last night I spread it out on about 1/4 of the floor.  I had run the test with a really thin patch of the goop to see how thin I could go, and it seemed that it worked even with a super-thin application.  Awesome.

…only it didn’t work.  I got up this morning to go scrape the paint off and it wasn’t coming – or, it was, but only bits, or what seemed like "half" of the coat of paint, if that’s even possible…  I’m guessing I put it on too thin?  Or the fact that I kept misting it with water last night, thinking keeping it moist would keep it active in such a thin layer?  Anyway, no go, at least at that level of stripper.  So I mopped up the mess I’d made on the section I tried to scrape and went back over the whole thing with a thicker coat.  I’m not going to spray it at all, just leave it until I get back, and hopefully it will have worked its magic on the paint below.  Stupid paint.

Pumpkin Madness!

Posted by Nate in Garden.
Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006 at 8:36 pm

Well, it all paid off: we are the proud growers of an enormous "Cinderella" pumpkin!  And at least one good smaller one, and possibly two more if they ripen before we get a frost… 

9-30-2006-2-24-04-pm_0007.JPGThat’s me trying to get back to the big pumpkin to cut it free – the garden, as you may recall, is incredibly overgrown.  The pumpkin vine basically took over everything, crawling up and over the tomatoes and out into the alley.  After the summer heat broke and we got some more rain, two new pumpkins started growing and they seem to be doing very well.  Just a race against time to get them ripened and picked.

9-30-2006-2-25-42-pm_0008.JPGTa da!  Got the sucker picked and hauled out of there – amazingly, the pantyhose solution worked!  I had no idea how strong that stuff is, but it grew to over twice what I could stretch it by hand and still held the 45 pound pumpkin suspended.  That’s right, I said 45 pounds!!  No state fair winner, but damn big for our little garden…

9-30-2006-2-30-52-pm_0010.JPGThe little guy is only 15 pounds.  It seems big until you see them together.  Now what are we going to do with them??  Probably cut and peel them and freeze them, either before or after boiling and mashing – I’ll read up and see.  They should keep for a while, it would be great to have home-grown pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and even Christmas.  Yum…

Holy new blog!

Posted by Nate in The Blog.
Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006 at 3:08 pm

Announcing as the new and improved online headquarters of DuoTeam.  Please, please, please update your links — a script on the old blog will continue to try to pull people over here, and if you subscribed directly to our old atom feed (not feedburner) please update your link to  That one will be permanent, as hopefully everyone on it is getting this post via RSS already.

Whew.  Keep an eye out for bugs and let me know in the comments here, k?

Now maybe we can get back to posting!