30 September 2006

It also contains very high levels of electrons!

Posted in And I left the ring... at 9:05 pm by indecisive79


This is a real sign found at a real lake. So the person responsible for this sign claims to have known that it is completely ridiculous. The lake had bacteria problems, so to keep people from swimming in it, they put up this sign. Apparently, the guy in charge thought that people would associate the word “hydrogen” with “hydrogen bomb” and be scared enough to stay away. What I find interesting is not that someone would put up a ludicrous sign for an even more ludicrous reason; what’s surprising is that this guy didn’t think that the word “bacteria” might scare people into not swimming in the lake, given our culture’s penchant for anti-bacterial everything.

20 September 2006

Mead (again) #4: Anodyne

Posted in we are drinking beer at noon on tuesday, without a reason anymore at 1:06 am by indecisive79

I didn’t wake up with the intention of making mead today; it just seemed like the thing to do at the time. Same as last time, except I didn’t use a starter, added more yeast nutrient, and made it with a bit higher gravity (i.e., higher sugar to water ratio), though it still should be somewhat dry, especially since I think this yeast strain dries out a must a bit more than the Premiere Cuvee. The pace of fermentation never got going last time, which led to me adding extra nutrient and energizer after a couple weeks. Hopefully this will be fermenting faster (though maybe not quite as soon, since I didn’t use a starter).

P.S. Does anyone recognize the pun in the name of this mead?



Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast

4 tsp yeast nutrient

2 tsp yeast energizer

~10.75 lb Campbell Apiaries tupelo honey
enough water to hit ~4.25 gallons of must


made mead @ 11:50 p.m. on 19 Sept 2006
original specific gravity (SG) = 1.088

expected final SG = 1.000(?)

expected alcohol content (by volume) = 11.6%

14 September 2006

hit and run communication #3

Posted in another postcard from the highway at 11:19 pm by indecisive79

The apartment complex I live in has two signs that I see while I’m across the street waiting for the bus.  They both say “Apt’s” instead of “Apartments.”  I can’t figure out if this is the nongrammatical use of an apostrophe to form a plural (i.e., more than one (abbreviated) “apt”) or the quite grammatical, though nonstandard and not formal, use of an apostrophe to indicate the ellision of letters due to limited sign length (such as “int’l” for “international” or “gov’t” for “government”).  Both because I’m a cynical masochist (masochistic b/c I chose to live here), and because I’m not inclined to think that businesses should use shorthand on official signs that represent themselves to the world, I tend to presume the former.

7 September 2006

hit and run communication #2

Posted in another postcard from the highway at 9:28 am by indecisive79

Recently seen on a T-shirt:

“Muslims love Jesus too.”

A sword for the Lord and contemporary Bible distributors

Posted in if I'm stuck in this motel room at 9:26 am by indecisive79

So yesterday was Gideon day on campus. Nice-looking guys in suits distributing green New Testaments to anyone who wants one. They’re non-professorial old men on a college campus who (usually) manage not to look creepy, which isn’t an easy task.

So there are a few things that seem very weird about them. First, they have named themselves after a biblical man who is a hero in his young life (the story everyone remembers), swears he won’t lead his nation into monarchy, but then makes himself de facto king while he allows the country to fall into all manner of paganism. Did the Gideon Society take on this name to provide an institutional trajectory? Let’s hope not. Second, I find it curious that the society which is probably responsible for the most widespread free Bible distribution in America, and maybe the world, would assume that the only proper form of God’s holy word is a four hundred year old translation commissioned by and named after someone who was almost certainly gay, a lifestyle condemned by nearly all the KJV-only crowd. (And yes, I’m giving props to an old professor of mine; deal with it.) And don’t get me started on the incompleteness of these New Testaments+Psalms+Proverbs that they hand out; I’m not sure there’s even a reference to Gideon in them… Third, I believe their membership consists only of men. Though I don’t agree with the theology, I understand why some Christians think that women should not hold office in the church or preach from the pulpit. But for goodness sake, these guys aren’t preaching, and they’re barely even talking! Can’t a woman hand out a Bible just as easily as a guy?

I suppose that I appreciate something about what they’re doing. They are trying to spread what they see as the good news, and they are doing it in about the most polite manner possible, which is infinitely better than the typical hellfire and brimstone quad/street preachers (whom I haven’t heard from in awhile, actually). They just stand there and offer a Bible to anyone who will accept it. But simply offering a Bible–or, I should say, about a quarter of a Bible–seems like such an inadequate gesture compared to the task that the church is called to, i.e., to invite people to join in the furthering of the kingdom of God by letting them see the community of faith in action. But even so, I always take one of their testaments; after all, this outdated text actually functions quite well as a handy reference work in my field of study.

3 September 2006

Mead #3: Orange Blossom

Posted in we are drinking beer at noon on tuesday at 4:57 pm by indecisive79

So I’m a month late for this. The official national day to make mead is the first Saturday of August. Well, I started last night with the starter, so I’m exactly a month (well, a non-leap year February) late. I’ve meant to make mead for quite awhile. I tried a very half-hearted attempt to make some a few years ago (using Sourwood honey from the Smoky Mountains which I bought while waiting for my mom’s car’s breaks to stop smoking (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t something like this that gave the mountains their name)), but that failed miserably; I also tried to dry out some mead that someone gave me several months before that (fermentation had stalled while it was still way too sweet, and he was moving away and didn’t want it so he gave it to me to see if I could save it), which also didn’t quite work out either; those of you who go way back may remember that this was the glass bottle that was sitting in the corner when I was hosting small group. So I consider this my first real honest attempt at making a mead (even though I’m numbering it “3”). I’ll probably split the mead into multiple kinds after a couple weeks worth of fermentation to experiment with different ways of spicing (or not) the mead. If you want a brief but photographically illustrated lesson on how to make mead (it’s terribly simple), check out a friend’s recent brew.
Also, this is my first time using a starter while brewing, following hot on the trail of the first time I’d used a starter to make bread (kalamata and sun-/oven-dried tomato ciabatta) last week.

It’s also occurred to me that I’ve had a number of alcohol-related posts recently; I swear that’s not all I think about, and I’ll get to other stuff later.


Orange Blossom Mead


Red Star Premiere Cuvee yeast

1/4 tsp yeast nutrient

1/4 tsp yeast energizer

1/4 cup Campbell Apiaries orange blossom honey

about a cup of water



2 tsp yeast nutrient

2 tsp yeast energizer

~10.5 lb Campbell Apiaries orange blossom honey

about 4 gallons of water or so (enough to reach the desired gravity)

Info for brewing geeks like me:

Made starter @ 4:00 p.m. on 2 Sept, made mead @ 3:30 p.m. on 3 Sept.

original specific gravity (SG) = 1.080

expected final SG = 0.992 (if this yeast behaves like it has in my wines)

expected alcohol content (by volume) = 11.6%