Monday, June 30, 2008

I'm melting...

It's 35 degrees today.'s not as much fun as I thought to sand and prime walls in this kind of heat. I'm determined to get the sanding done today, but the priming might be for another day. The heat just sucks the energy right out of you.
I did buy the paint today though - meep! It's so nice. I love the colours.

Well...back at it. I'm trying to think of reasons to stay in my nice chilly basement but there's nothing for it. Back to the ladder...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Good things come to those who work

I'm typing this entry in my empty living room on my new laptop.
Eeees nice.
Someone I know was getting a new laptop and sold me their souped up old G4 12 inch powerbook for a very nice now I have a nice little laptop for all my laptoppy needs. It is the laptop I need and want, set up for wireless and I don't do any hardcore things that I'd need anything more for. I've never gotten myself one as the cost was too much...but used I could go for. AND it fits in my monkey it was a perfect match.
I lurve it.

I've been a busy little thing here, what with J and I emptying the entire living/dining room yesterday. Then today I washed all the walls twice and filled the holes. There are a few rough areas where the old owners tried to work their particular brand of "magic" that I need to work on tonight and do some sanding and repatching, but tomorrow is "rent me some scaffolding day" and I can sand and prime the walls and maybe, if I feel rather ambitious start on the ceiling...which I am dreading. I enjoy painting, but the prep and anything to do with ceilings leave me cranky.
I've picked some nice colours - a mellow yellow for the hallway and one wall and a nice mossy green and a mushroom beige for the other walls. It'll be nice...I just have to get through all the boring prep work that needs to be done before the fun part of the colours gets here.
And best of all...the gawdawful light fixture above the table will be going - it's all brass and glass and I've hated it ever since we moved in. I actually did a big fabric canopy and redecor of the table area a few years back to hide it until we could get around to this. Also the light fixture in the stairs that has never really worked reliably ever will be replaced. It'll be fantastic!
Let there be light!
But it's really happening! No turning back now. Soon my living room will look spiffy...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sarcasm keeps me going

Doing 3 days work in one day is AWESOME.
Yup, I love no breaks and a 5 minute lunch break of snarfing down cereal.
Lets just say when people found out I'd be off work for a week they came up with a bunch of things that "had" to be done before I left. They are cool projects but man...moderation would be nice.


Oh well, at least after this I'm off a week to paint the living room...s'nice.
I got to do VTR on J's show last night which was fun...and I think I'm getting a laptop...and it's Magnus's birthday it's a great excuse to make a blueberry pie.
Only 3 more hours til home...I should get back at it for the final push.

Ah...thinking about that, it's not so bad :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ryan vs. Dorkman 2

Fanfilm that is very cool...the effects are perfect.

Dorkman for president.


I don't have much to say...I just stumbled across this picture of The Dandy Warhols while hunting down this video (not their best). Most of the video is tacky, and the song is average, but it doesn't get better than dancing syringes and for some reason I needed a bit of that to get ready to face today - yesterday was a long sucky tired day at work and today will be a long one too. I remembered this video from when I was much much younger and I figured it'd make me smile. I was not wrong.
I have to admit, when I think about it, that the Dandy's make sucky vidoes...but live they are one of the best bands I have ever seen. They do have a lot of great albums and better songs than the one above like this or this or this (warning: willies)or this (warning: this is uberlame. I feel embarrased for them just watching it).
I will say though, at the risk of tossed objects, the photo is dandy.
We now return you to your regularly programmed day.
Yup. Good luck with that.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I love the smell of biru in the morning...smells like victory!

(Sing with me to the tune of "I am Evil Homer")

I'm the queen of biru!
I'm the queen of biru!

Yes - finally the strawberry nectar that I've been brewing for the last while has been bottled. Last night I did the final racking off leaving the scunge behind and with the help of my biru minions (aka J and Magnus) it was primed and bottled.
I now have 37 500 mL bottles of beer. Squeeee!
I did lose about 2 litres during the brewing from the crazy yeast blowoff and about 1.5 each time I racked due to all the strawberry sludgy stuff I had to leave behind. Then there was the bottle or two worth I spilled down the front of myself trying to lift the pail full of beer up onto the kitchen counter by myself before bottling... (he heh - I smelled grrrrrrrrrrrreat!). In the end, I was left with a nicely cleared, pleasantly red coloured beer. There was part of a bottle left at the end and we shared the warm, uncarbonated dregs between us as a bit of a taste test - not too bad if I do say so. It is a mild flavour, but good. A few weeks of aging should carbonate it up and fill out the flavour a bit.
I can't wait to try some...
Now I have to finish up the labels...and then get geared up for my plan for my week off next week - paint my whole living room and hallway, ceiling and all. But, when I'm done THAT I can celebrate with a glass of my very own brew.

The White Minstrel brewery has successfully bottled their first batch! :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I've got special shoes so I can run and jump and plaaaaaay!

Take a gander at my new Birkenstocks.
My old pair of Birks, rest their souls, were grudgingly retired in the fall, after 15 years of adventures when they fell apart (literally) beyond repair (*sniff*). I bought them waaaay back in Vancouver as a young sprog and they have served me well. And now, I am happy to say I have version 2.0. They are extra spiffy with a fresh scent of mint. They are comfy, cruelty free and I like them a lot.

I'm a barefoot or sandals person, and am picky about shoes, and not having sandals was driving me crazy. I saved my shekels up for these new ones and today I picked them out and took them home.
In the words of Steve Martin - "I've got happy feet!"
Here's to 16 more years of adventure with these ones...

Friday, June 20, 2008

An open letter to the gophers living on the path across the river

Hi are you?
You're very cute you know...all furry and squeaky, standing up to watch me go by. I appreciate that someone notices me. The little peeping cheering squad is nice when I'm running. But not so much when I'm biking...
The thing is, you've gotta talk to your kids...they're getting out of hand. They keep darting about all over the road, playing chicken and not looking before they cross the path...I narrowly missed 2 of them today on my bike. I'd feel terrible if I winged one of them - just remind them to stay away from the bikes ok?
They're too cute to get skooshed.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Useless Fact # 438

A while back Blacula (and the following cheesy sequel) were on TV late at night.

Blacula was good for a laugh. And then some...
The queen was amused.

Later that week, while watching Pee Wee's Playhouse (what?) we noticed that the King of Cartoons is none other than the guy who played Blacula.

How awesomely bizarre is that?

I *knew* I'd learn something useful from Pee Wee eventually.

The word of the day is bizarre kiddies.
When you hear it, make sure you scream and yell and jump up and down!

PS - Turns out Laurence Fishburne is also Cowboy's a wierd old world.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Paint skillz. I haz dem.

Eez good no?

They were the most beautiful skies...they always had little fluffy clouds in them

Last night I went to bed early.
Then I slept in and didn't run.
I LOVE sleep :)
I think I may have caught up from a few very busy days.

On saturday night KraftyKuts from the UK was here in town and he played a fantastic set of breaks. Despite the smaller crowd (a hip hop opening act sort of drove off some of the crowd) he played a great set - even some Beastie Boys and Chemical Brothers and Simion came up. The final track was a remix of Bittersweet Symphony by the old favourite of mine. Made me grin ear to ear...I stayed up all night - haven't done that in ages. The event ended just in time for J and I to drive up to the train bridge and settle in all snuggled in a blanket and watch a most spectacular sunrise. It was beautiful. A great evening all in all. Then home to I had to help my sister in law paint her baby-to-be room the next day.
I did survive (tho at first, I was thinking I might fall off the ladder painting!) and after a while I woke up and had a good time - She, Mum-in-law and I did 2 walls green and 2 yellow, with a light blue ceiling sky complete with fluffy clouds all over, courtesy of moi. It turned out very well, considering I wasn't quite sure how I was going to do it at first (they're very trusting these people!). All she has left to do is the wall paper border with jungle animals on it...not too shabby. I took a photo and if it turned out I'll stick it up later tonight - the lighting was odd so I don't know how well it turned out.
After a father's day BBQ we came home to veg...and now it's back at the world.
So needless to say a lot of sleep sure was nice last night. I feel almost human now :).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Note to self...xnay on the affeinecay

Perhaps it was unwise to drink obscene levels of caffeine before trying to core and assemble a microarray out of hundreds of little 1 mm cores and wax punches.


Anyone want a milkshake? :)

Freestylers are playing at my house

Last night the Freestylers were spinning at a club downtown. Yes...the Freestylers were here. In toontown. Go figure?
I have no idea why they'd come by our neck of the woods on a thursday night...but I was glad they did. There was some fine breaks music played and as a bonus, the sound system had been set up and run by pK Sound...who are the kings of solid, bass driven sound for live venues. Imagine music with bass so loud that your drink gently bounces across the table (which it did) and yet your ears do not hurt or ring and everything is crystal clear. 8 bass cabinets...oh yes. And no noise issues...just very good, very loud sound to shake your bottom to.
Which I did.

The downside is I had to go to work today...and I'm really tired now. I don't go out on worknights as a general rule, but the Freestylers won't probably be back here...well...ever really, so it had to be done, despite how bagged I feel at the moment.
Luckily Magnus made chicken cordon bleu with asparagus, potatoes and fiddle heads for us supper before, so I had energy to burn (I love having guests who will cook for me :) ). I've never had homemade chicken cordon bleu was truly outstanding. And now I can make it for myself too as I've been harvesting Magnus's brain and stealing his cooking skills. Soon all his knowledge will be mine...bwaha!
Good day really.
Now I must recharge with caffeine and get through this day and head home to napping, possibly barbecuing and some Galactica.
Ah. stimulants. My new chemical friends...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Beer update

I'm probably the only one interested about this, but I'm happy to say that my beer is now racked into the secondary fermentor - a glass carboy with a bubbler valve on top full of vodka, wrapped in light protectant (posh description of taped up garbage bags :) ) to keep the skunkiness light reactions away from my precious precious brew. The krausen had fallen, and there was about 2 inches of berry sludge in the bottom of the primary fermenter that I left behind, all gungy strawberry bits and yeast. I lost a bit of beer, but I think the beer is better without it. I added some pectic enzyme powder to the carboy before I put the lock on so perhaps that will help clear the beer up a bit. If not I'll boil a bit of water and dissolve some more in and add it in a few days...we'll see. It takes a while for beer to clear up and it will take probably about 10 days before I can bottle it.
It smelled amazing...
I pulled the brilliant act of sterilising the carboy by filling it full of bleach water in the kitchen and then realising I couldn't lift it to empty I had to siphon out some of the (delicious and flavourful) bleach water before I could rinse it and use it. Magnus managed to not mock me too much while I figured that out. J was working luckily, so the mocking was kept to a minimum. :)
I just wish I could find the jar so I could use the whatchamajig to read the specific gravity of it. I need to be sure it's done fermenting before I bottle it...I forgot to find it before I racked the no intermediate reading either. The scientist in me is wigging about that, but it'll be OK.
I heard it bubble this morning before I left...and grinned ear to ear. It's pathetic I know, but I really love making beer.
It makes me grin on the inside.
It's like baking or cooking an elaborate meal. You get the fun of making it and then get to enjoy it at the end.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Coldplay just cancelled BOTH their Edmonton and Calgary concerts.




I opened my box of Mini Wheats this morning to find my glowing Indiana Jones cereal spoon in it. It rocks. It lights up...and there's a greenish skull on the spoon. That glows. Green. Whenever I want it to. It makes the milk look slightly green...which sounds gross, but really is rather neato.
Yes, pictures *will* follow. For some reason I am enthralled by it...if I were a little kid I do believe I would have been so excited that I would have peed just a little bit the first time I made it light up...that is how cool it is.

And yes I did say "Spoooon!' like the Tick before having my breakfast.
And yes the cereal did taste better.

Stop laughing.
And no you can't share have to get your own...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Blah blah blah...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I am so very tired.
Suddenly I'm all busy and tired (my own fault for staying up late) but I'd like to just curl up with a cat and have a nap and relax. Three day weekends make it that much harder to slip back into things again.
Silly work...why can't they pay me to sit at home, eat arrowroot cookies and read pulp novels? I'd think the odd scientific thought to earn my keep...
Oh well.
Back to it then :)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Beer on the brain

Well...Ze foaming has finally calmed down as of this morning- no more explosive bursts of foam out the sides of the tub under the lid or through the's odd the reduction...the krausen is down below the top of the pail now. At least I don't have to watch for explosions anymore, and don't need to keep rinsing seeds out of the blowoff tube :) Another day or so and I think I can rack it to the carbuoy. I feel as though I should take the lid off to wash all the crud and seeds from around the rim of it, but I don't know if mucking with it would give more chance of contamination that just leaving it alone for another day...being a labrat with crazy sterilization training for bacterial and cell culture work, it seems so...crude.

Hope it tastes good...:)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

It's alive! ALIVE!

Well...the beer is DEFINITELY brewing.
It's so krauseny it's freaking me out actually.
They said if you add fruit to the beer it really foams...well it's true. It's foaming like nothing I've ever seen before. It's in a brewing pail with about 5 inches clearance, but it's actually bubbling over the top, so I put on a brewing lid, with a stopper and small tube that feeds into a bucket...and it's bubbing awayvigorously. I've never grown yeast this well even in the lab! It's bubbling out the sides occasionally too, but I can't just let it bubble all over the place or it'll be contaminated. This way it's relatively contained and it won't blow up, as it has ways to vent. I keep checking the hose occasionally to make sure it's not gummed up with seeds...I'm thinking this was not quite the way to do it. Next time I'll try adding the fruit *after* racking...less messy. It keeps foaming out the top when I rinse the worries about the yeast taking this time :)
The top floor of the house smells like fruity beer and bleach...not so great, but it should die down in a few days and then I can rack it into the carbuoy. We're relaxing to the sounds of's odd.
I just did my 5 K fun run today, and after a victory breakfast at my favorite local diner (taters....) I must go be a bit domestic. My friend Magnus of The Shining Path is moving here today...he's going to go to the University in the fall and is staying with us until he finds a place. It'll be good to see him. I should go make the place a bit less beery and tidy for when he gets here...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Berry Brewin' I write this I am making strawberry beer.
I've been trying to for ages and the combination of laziness and life have kept me from it. I've had the stuff to do it for ages, and today and finally getting to it. I have 4 L pureed frozen strawberries (5 500g bags) that I'm adding to the boiled wort, to pasteurize them, along with some pectic enzyme and the yeast...and hope to have a nice light lager with a strawberry flavour very soon. Currently the house smells like berries.
In a week I'll rack it and hopefully in no more than 10 more days bottle the red tasty goodness. Then I must be patient...hopefully in July sometime there will be a tasting...gotta get back to the brewing in the

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Chewie's got it going on

Because it's *my* friday I thought I'd show you what would have happened if Chewbacca had been captured on the Death Star. He's a lover not a fighter...just because he didn't talk much, you can't say he wasn't happening with the ladies.
And yes, I do need to get out more.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Sooooo...I'm still full the next day.
Love that. Get people from all over the world bringing food and man - good stuff. You have to try everything and me and food are always best of friends...

I walked to work this morning and it was beautiful...the rain had just ended so there was this crazy sparkling mist over everything, and the pelicans and geese were on the river by the weir looking for breakfast. Me? I was sauntering along with a mug of coffee and some music and thinking "This is a great start to a day".
It was...and is.

I'm off to it.
Have some cake and a stroll - trust me. It'll do you a world of good.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Geo 1, Cake 0

The cake has been eaten...devoured you could say.


Cooking with Geo volume 1 zillion: Recipes I've snooched: English Toffee Cake

"I was told that there would be cake. The ratio of people to cake is too high..."

Today is a potluck at work. Because I bike or bus it to work, I always amuse my coworkers by assembling my desserts (which I am told I must bring or else) at work.
This morning was no exception. I had to assemble my English Toffee Cake for the potluck...a few of my friends arrived to see me in an apron with a hand mixer whipping cream, folding in lecure (I can't even pretend I can spell that word) and gelatin and sprinkling toffee bits. I've been thoroughly mocked...but they still want the cake. I like it too because I can futz around and make yummy dessert and have a piece and then not have a whole cake sitting around my house to eat.
This recipe is one of the few "public" recipes I'm allowed to share from the coffee shop Roca Jacks I was baker/night manager in in university. It was always devoured as soon as we put it out...I've no picture of the cake, but suffice it to say - it is easy and deeeeeeeeeeeelicious. People freak over it all the time.
As a little plug - you want kickass desserts and good (in house roasted) coffee and you're (for some reason) in Regina SK? Go to Roca Jacks. They'll hook you up.

It's just this simple: Take a good chocolate cake recipe (box, from scratch, whatever) that makes two 9 inch round cakes. Use it to make 3 cakes instead of 2 so you get 3 thinner layers of chocolate cake. You'll have to adjust the baking times a bit but you're big'll work out. Trust me.

Ingredients: You need 3 thin chocolate cake layers, 1L whip cream, some icing sugar and vanilla, a package of Knox gelatin, some of your favourite lecure (Cream de Ccao is the best, but Kahlua will do) and 1c or so of chopped up skor bars or other kinds of toffee...That's all.

Let the cake layers cool COMPLETELY. You can't skip this. I made mine last night so they're good to go. Then take 1 litre of whipping cream and add 1 t vanilla and 2 T icing sugar and stir together in a clean, chilled bowl. Before you whip the cream take 1/3 cup of your favourite lecure (Cream de cacao, Baileys or Kahlua all work great) and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Sprinkle 1 package of Knox gelatin over top of the lecur and let it sit (don't stir it yet).
Now, whip the cream until it is stiffly whipped. By the time this is done the lecure should be about room temperature. Stir it to dissolve as much gelatin as you can (some won't stir in, don't worry about it). Fold this into the whip cream and mix gently to get yummy whip. Layer cake + 1/3 the whip + plus 1/3 the toffee bits and repeat 2 times. There's enough whip that it makes thick yummy whippy layers. The gelatin isn't critical, but it helps the whip set and thickens the lecure so the cake will last a few days in the fridge if you don't eat it all right away (yeah right). Let it sit in the fridge an hour or so to set the cream and let the toffee sort of skooge together into yumminess.
Cut and eat and make groany noises.
I don't have a camera at work so I don't have a picture of this, but it's easy and yummy and looks amazing-I can't wait to eat at least one piece of it today at lunch.

Gotta go...much lab work to do to plan around lots of cake.

Monday, June 02, 2008

I like wagon fruit

We grabbed a dragon fruit this weekend for a family barbecue. It looked like something fun to try, along with some Guinness cheddar (which was heavenly) and watermelon while we waited for the barbecued beast to be done.
Man they're yummy...odd flavour. Like a kiwi and a pear mixed together. The family all tried it tentatively and thought it was OK...J and I loved them so I think they'll be a regular in-season nibble at our place.
It's a bonus that they look like some sort of crazy space you'd get on an off planet expedition.
They've been renamed though - our niece declared she loved "wagon fruit"...and it stuck in my head that way.

Crazy space fruit for everyone :)

Cunning Plans

 Life is wierd ya know. It seems a lot of things have been hitting me hard lately. Been distant from people, including my partner who is dea...