Displaced Geek

Just a city geek and father coming to terms with being replanted in farm country

Isla Nublar Phase Three

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And it’s still square.
To Be Continued…

Written by Peter

April 19, 2013 at 1900

Isla Nublar Phase Two

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And they’re all pretty damn square, too.
To Be Continued…

Written by Peter

April 18, 2013 at 1700

Isla Nublar Phase One

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To Be Continued…

Written by Peter

April 15, 2013 at 1500

The Shopping List

Plain Lumber

    2x3x8 #43
    2x4x8 #1
    1x3x8 #10
    2x4x10 #7

Pressure Treated Lumber

    2x4x8 #16
    4x4x10 #23
    2x6x10 #15
    2x6x8 #6
    1x4x10 #30
    1x4x8 #12


    4×8 23/32 OSB #2
    4×8 T111 siding #8
    Corrugated metal roofing panels #4
    concrete – 60lb #11
    12x8x16 cinder-block #9

Roughly 1 Metric Ton assorted hardware

To Be Continued…

Written by Peter

April 10, 2013 at 1700

Toddler Sick Day Fun

So the other night Gabriella informed us that her tummy hurt.

Coupled with her behavior and some other evidence unsuitable for readers with weak stomachs, it seemed a bug of some sort was upon us. Consequently, Friday was a bit of a sickday around the house. Lots of snuggling on the sofa watching old Disney movies, and things like that.

But there’s only so much musical animation one can take at a time, so we decided on doing a few “projects”.

Unfortunately I didn’t count on her “tummy bubbles” shortening her attention span so much. After several failed attempts at crafts pulled from our veritable library of kids craft books, Gabriella agreed to simply help me do a “daddy project”. Limoncello!
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Peter

February 23, 2013 at 1400

Posted in parenting

Tagged with , , , , , ,

Wherein I “Cook” with Beer.

Forgive the brevity, this is only even getting posted because I said I would.

Here we go. Somehow, despite being out of town the day before (and the morning of), I got it into my head that I was going to make food for the Superbowl. I also decided that rather than make food I’d made before, I would try out all new recipes I got from a podcast. Better yet, they were recipes that weren’t actually written down anywhere, but instead just copied by me while listening to said podcast. This is how it turned out.

The plan was sausage, peppers, & onions (cooked in a mix of Otter Creek’s Copper & Winter Red Ales); accompanied by a series of sides/dips like sour cream & caramelized onion dip (made with Copper Ale), guacamole (made with Black IPA), and a kickass restaurant style salsa with no beer whatsoever. I had pans for the Hop Cream, Beer Hummus, and possibly 7-layer dip, but that never manifested.

  • The sausage was delicious. But let’s face it, cooking sausage in beer isn’t exactly a novel idea, so no big surprise there.
  • Emma‘s restaurant style salsa was also delicious, but has nothing to do with beer.
  • The guacamole was perfectly tasty, but we were pretty split as to whether or not you could even taste the beer, so clearly not worth it.
  • The sour cream & onion dip stunk.
  • Allow me to explain. In my humblest of opinions, sour cream & onion dip should taste at least slightly, if not strongly, like …wait for it… onions & sour cream! In this recipe, however, you’re supposed to caramelize the onions, and then deglaze the pan with beer. Once you’ve done that, you’ve created a delicious, sweet mass of caramelized onions, with a slight beer flavor. However, it completely and utterly undoes any bite from the sour cream. And since the onions are now sweet, they lack any bite whatsoever, so you’re left with a sweet, creamy dip that’s so bland no one wants to eat it. One way this might be able to be salvaged, is to add a bit of fresh chive and use it as a vegetable dip, but even then I doubt it’ll even approach being the most memorable dish served at any party.

    Meh, I’ll continue to use beer as an ingredient from time to time, but in the future I plan on using a bit more common sense instead of blindly following directions.

    Written by Peter

    February 16, 2013 at 1246

    Posted in food

    Tagged with , , ,

    Recipe Site Showdown: The Finale

    Previously: Parts 3, 2, & 1

    Recipe Sharing:
    Recipe export & social sharing. 15 points possible.
    Look & Feel / Ease of Use:
    Pretty self explanatory, includes general website usability, and brew specific qualities like east of transition from search to creation, etc. Important but possibly a bit subjective. 10 points possible.

    It’s time to knock the rest of this out, because it’s gotten a bit depressing.

    Brewersfriend allows recipe export to three formats: text, HTML, and BeerXML. the process is simple, and despite a plethora of warnings about possible discrepancies, I’ve never had any issues that a simple glance didn’t immediately identify, or any that were difficult to resolve. There are no so called “social” sharing options. 10/15

    Hopville currently offers no social sharing or export functionality. 0/15
    A quick E-Mail confirmed that active development of Hopville’s current version has been on hiatus for a while, but is planned to resume soon.

    Brewtoad should be the clear winner in this category. The entire site is social, with several community-driven aspects built right in, including integration with all the social sites you’d expect. But though their about page claims that “[…]Brewtoad follows the BeerXML standard and allows you to import (or export) your recipes into our database with barely any effort.[…]”, and their support forums have several requests for it, they have no export option available whatsoever. 10/15
    Although my query in their support forum went unanswered, Brewtoad did eventually claim via twitter that export is a “likely” feature for a 2013 rollout.

    Look & Feel / Ease of Use:
    Brewersfriend may be powerful, but it’s much more kludgy feeling than the other competitors. Working out recipes is about as much fun as using a slide rule. 5/10

    Hopville is by far the easiest site to just “whip something up” on. It’s clean looking, the UI is more than moderately responsive, and everything is always right where you expect it to be – a highly intuitive design. 10/10

    Brewtoad is pretty. When viewed on a touchscreen device, it’s probably perfect, which makes sense since it looks like that was their intent from the start. While mostly quick, the UI feels like those initial Web2.0 sites that did a lot of big floaty things with no purpose whatsoever. Every ingredient selection requires an entire new faux-window style popup, which feels like it slows things down. While clearly not the ideal interface for keyboard & mouse style interaction, recipe creation flows pretty well once you figure it out. 8/10

    So I guess our results look like this:

    Hopville: 11 + 40 + 10 = 61
    Brewersfriend: 16 + 30 + 5 = 51
    Brewtoad: 22 + 40 + 8 = 70

    Brewtoad is the clear winner, so why do I feel like I wasted my time? Possibly because despite (or perhaps because of) my half-assed attempt at being scientific & impartial, I’m expressly dissatisfied with the results.

    I started all of this nonsense because it felt like I’d been using a multitude of sites to brew, and I wanted to get it down to just one. But it doesn’t seem like that’s practical at the moment. Hopefully, Brewtoad or Hopville will work out their quirks, and I’ll be able to revisit the issue. They both show amazing potential, and make recipe creation a fun and engaging activity. But the inability of either one to let me export, coupled with my unwillingness to give up local access to my recipes,limits me to the option I described as both “klugdy”, and “about as much fun as using a slide rule”: Brewersfriend.

    I warned you it was a little depressing.

    Written by Peter

    February 8, 2013 at 1630