Archive for March, 2007

New Blog!

Posted by Karen in Work.
Tuesday, March 27th, 2007 at 10:00 pm

Because I love my new job just that much, I started a blog all about it.  There are so many great things I’m getting to learn about, see, and do, and I’m just so excited I want to tell everyone about it!  But to keep the Duoteam blog from becoming too eco-heavy, I decided to make it its own thing.  I might double post some things that I’m really, really excited about, but otherwise stop on by Freshwater Stew to see how exactly I bring home the bacon.  Look how easy we’ve made it – there’s a link to it in the Blogroll.  So easy. 

That’s better

Posted by Nate in Theater.
Monday, March 26th, 2007 at 2:32 pm

midsummer-new020807.jpgFriday evening happily marked the end of the longest theater drought I’ve endured since my debut as a fresh-faced mohawk-wearing 17 year-old (? I think ?) in Beauty and the Beast: 1 year, 5 months, and 21 days.  It’s been so bad there wasn’t even a "theater" category on the blog!  I mean, come on!

Oh, and it’s a record-breaking 77 degrees right now.  And our bulbs are coming up.  Awesome.

I heart winter (again).

Posted by Karen in Broomball, Bruno, Family, Friends, Weather.
Sunday, March 18th, 2007 at 7:10 pm

This is very belated, but still needs to be written about.  I’m a fan of winter.  I’m a big fan of spring, summer, and fall too, but it seems like a lot of people either whine all winter long about the cold and the snow, or just kind of quietly suffer through it.  Not me.  I love it.  There are so many fun things you can only do during winter!  Broomball for example, snowshoeing, ice skating, sledding, skiing, snowball fights… 

So imagine my surprise when this year I found myself hating winter!  Before we left for Ghana and Scotland it was too warm so there was no ice for us to play broomball on – major bummer.  Then when we got back it was like a million below zero and we had to just jump in to broomball games, no fun practices with our awesome team to get us all excited.  And I had a cold.  So I kind of went to the games and froze my butt off and was miserable and whiny the whole time.  But then we had a great fun weekend session of play-till-you-can-physically-play-no-more broomball, and things started looking up. 

copy-of-pict3159.JPGAnd then it snowed.  Heaps and heaps of snow!  FINALLY!  Nate and I took Bruno snowshoeing at Powderhorn Park and the little buddy got pretty tuckered out.  He had been getting pretty short walks when it was way below zero, so he may not have been in primo shape.  And then it snowed heaps and heaps more just a few days later!  So I got to go snowshoeing two more days that weekend!  And it was the most perfect weather, all sunshine!

pict0029.JPGI took Nicole with me on the first day, her first time snowshoeing, awww.  We went to explore some trails along the Mississippi where I will be spending quite a bit of time this spring and summer.  There’s a small but wonderful oak savanna there that volunteers have worked really hard to restore and maintain, and even in the winter it was a sight to see.  I took this totally ridiculous picture of us.  I’m such a friggin genius that I thought I was wisely blocking the sun from my eyes. 

pict0031.JPGSierra went with me the next day, and we went to Fort Snelling State Park.  We took Bruno with us because I realized from the previous day that the trails would be packed down enough for him.  There are so many people here who love to play in the snow and it’s amazing how fast they get out in it!  It can make it hard to find some nice deep fresh stuff, which is what I prefer to snowshoe in, but it’s so great to know so many people are getting out there, getting exercise, enjoying the snow, the sun, the fresh air.  We went on a long hike around Pike Island, and there were so many people out walking, skiing, snowshoeing, so many dogs, so many deer!  Bruno was completely overstimulated.

pict0005.JPGSo I completely fell in love with winter again, and just in the nick of time.  It’s all melting now, and I would have been worried if I hadn’t enjoyed any of the season.  But now I am getting excited about shedding some layers, digging in the dirt, planting things, and getting to actually do some of the events I’ve been planning at work!


Posted by Nate in Friends.
Tuesday, March 13th, 2007 at 9:40 am

Duoteam gets righteously pwned by Captain Stupie!

Stranahan’s COLORADO Whiskey

Posted by Nate in Day to Day.
Wednesday, March 7th, 2007 at 1:03 pm

stranahans.gifFeast your eyes, my friends, on a bottle of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey.  "What?!" you may say, "how does that work?"  Well, the Denver Daily News has a good writeup about the whiskey and the process that makes it unique – basically they use 4 kinds of barley grown in the "Northern Rockies" and ferment their wash at the Flying Dog Brewery.  (Sort of the reverse process for the amazing 1488 ale we had in Scotland – they use the wash from a distillery to make beer)  The wash is put in a holding tank at Stranahan’s and they distill on average three barrels per week in their unique combination pot / still column.  The whiskey is then aged for a minimum of two years (CO (or US?) law says it can’t leave the distillery until it’s 2 years old) in new charred American white oak barrels.

So basically we’re talking about an all-malt American whiskey made just an hour or two from my hometown using delicious Rocky Mountain water and a wash from a totally kick-ass brewery!  It’s different from other American whiskeys in that it’s all-malt, no corn or rye, and different from Scotch in that there’s no peat smoke.  I’m intrigued.  The Mmm, Whisk(e)y blog has some tasting notes that make me very, very excited to try this.

(Luckily I immediately chatted my mom in Fort Collins and not-so-subtly hinted this would make a fantastic birthday present.  I think someone’s going to be very happy when his 30th rolls around…  :)


Posted by Nate in Day to Day, Homebrewing.
Friday, March 2nd, 2007 at 4:39 pm

cask1.jpgGot a snow day today (Karen will hopefully post about the huge snow storm we’ve been getting) which is awesome – gave me time to finish up the caskerator!  (Still debating that name…)  First shot is the saw hooked up to the shop vac, a super nice configuration that lets me do work indoors on crappy days like this.  cask2.jpgAt right is the basic frame constructed.  Essentially I built a frame with plywood and bracing to get the shape, then started slapping 2" foamular insulation on it. 

cask3.jpgAt left you can see the corner detail.  I ended up just using wood glue to attach the foam to the plywood, seems plenty strong, and the interior bracing is good.  The whole structure firms up a ton once the back foam is attached.

3-2-2007-11-46-28-am.JPGHere’s me in my "project" shirt trying to figure out what’s next.  Those playing along at home will notice the kegerator is in the laundry room now – I knew the caskerator piece would be big but as I got it framed I realized the whole thing would be better out of the now-fancy-ish basement.

3-2-2007-12-50-47-pm.JPGAt right I’m cutting holes for the fans and an extra one on the left for gas and beer tubes to run.  By sizing the holes under a bit I could attach the fan right to the foam for a good seal.  My biggest concern in all of this, and a problem I didn’t solve until late in the project, was how to attach the caskerator and the kegenator.  3-2-2007-3-01-04-pm.JPGI was planning on just running a 4" piece of duct between them, but I couldn’t figure out how to seal it tightly and still account for the shift when things moved – I need to pull them off the wall to fill the CO2, adjust pressure, etc…  Eventually I ended up with what you see at left – a built out 2" set of foam with some softer foam insulation attached.  Also you can see the hacked thermostat unit that controls the fans.

3-2-2007-3-32-15-pm.JPGThe basic idea is to take advantage of the angle in the floor.  At right you can see I’ve anchored the caskerator to the kegerator at the base to act as a pivot point. 

3-2-2007-3-32-27-pm.JPGAt left you can see how I’ve shoved little shims under the front wheels to push the soft foam into the kegerator.  It ends up producing a really tight seal and still provides movement so nothing breaks when I move them.

3-2-2007-3-23-19-pm.JPGHere’s the kegs inside before closing it up – you can also just make out a wood and foam shaft I built to direct the air intake to up near the top.  I wanted every connection into the kegerator to have the cold air on the downhill side so it didn’t fall into the caskerator and make it too cold.  We’ll see how that works.

3-2-2007-3-39-17-pm.JPGFinally, success!  I’ve only got a british bitter on tap right now, but I’ve got a Scottish 80 Shilling standing by as soon as a tap frees up!