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Group Two
My Rants
Monday, 19 May 2008
Olive oil
Topic: Homebrewing
Sorry, I haven't posted anything for awhile. Last weekend I brewed a batch of beer and decided to try something I heard about. Olive oil. That's right, adding olive oil to the 1st fermentation. I've been reading about using olive oil instead of oxygenating the wort. Rather then getting into the chemical and biological whys, I'll just say it works great! I added less than a drop to my 5 gallon batch and it took off like there was no tomorrow. 8 hours after adding it I had reached peak ferment. I thought that it might even blow. This worked better then anytime I have ever used oxygen by a long shot.  I'm sold, from now on olive oil is all I'll use.

Posted by model.rockets at 3:06 PM EDT
Thursday, 13 March 2008
Can money buy happiness?
Topic: General

Yesterday I had a discussion/debate with  someone about the expression "money can't buy happiness". I thought I would put my thoughts about this on here.

This expression is only used by those with money. It's rarely, if ever, a comment that someone makes if they are poor or drowning in debt. Sure, we all know someone that is very well off that isn't happy with thier life. But, if you think about it, there is a much higher percentage of people that would certainly be happier if they had more money.

Just my 2 cents on the subject.

Posted by model.rockets at 8:24 AM EDT
Saturday, 1 March 2008

Topic: Political

I saw an article about "1 out of 100 Americans are behind bars" and found that fact very disturbing on many levels. The USA has a higher percentage of its population in jails and prisons then any other country in the world! Why? I'm sure there are many reasons, but I just want to cover some of them here.

I feel that it's not because we have more criminals, but because our country has a distorted idea of how to deal with people that have a problem. Sure violent people should be in prison, but how many people are there for victimless crimes? Crimes where they didn't directly hurt anyone. Crimes like marijuana possession, prostitution, driving under the influence (when an accident wasn't involved) probation violations, etc. Does it really warrant each state to spend close to $25,000 a year to house these people? And while these minor criminals are locked up, they are learning about how to commit other crimes. They are becoming hateful toward others, disrespectful for the government, and last but not least, they are not being rehabilitated.

I'm not for socialism, but, I do think, that kind of money would be better spent to educate people earlier in life so they can get a decent job to feed and house their families. These families would less likely have kids that would get involved with crime too. Who knows, it could snowball. When I think about how much it costs to put a child through college and how many people can't afford to, it upsets me to see this kind of money spent to house some of those that couldn't get an education. The poor and those with bad credit can't get loans for college so they are more or less destined to learn on the streets. I'm sure we all know what classes are taught there.

Once someone does spend time behind bars, they are more likely to return. Why not spend some of the money to rehabilitate them while they are a captive audience. (sorry for the pun) Why not give those convicted of victimless crimes mandatory rehabilitation classes as part of probation? Drunk drivers must attend alcohol classes and go back to driver school. Those caught with pot should be put on probation and take a drug dependency class. You get the idea. Fix the problem, not punish it. Don't put them in an environement that will teach them hatred, disrespect etc. Change them for the better or change them for the worst? The idea of putting everyone in jail just perpetuates the problem. Only those that are a direct danger to others should be locked up. Murders, rapists, child preditors, etc.

Another thought is to remove many of the laws against victimless crime. Thats right, get rid of those laws. Instead, make it a crime to abuse these new priveliges. Make it a stiffer penalty. Take pot as an example. Make it legal for adults, but if someone is offering it to kids on a playground, make that a crime. Give that crime some stiff penalties. Maybe have that person wear a home monitor for a minimum of 5 years. During that entire time, that person should have to perform atleast 10 hrs of community service each week and every week. That would free up alot of jail space and reduce the cost of housing them. Require the criminal to work and support himself. When he/she is done with work and community service, they must be back at home until its time to return. Hell, maybe put a shock collar, like the ones for dogs, on them to make sure they don't try to leave their home or yard when they aren't supposed to.

Well there's my rant for this week.


Posted by model.rockets at 8:40 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 8 March 2008 10:32 AM EST
Sunday, 17 February 2008
good news bad news
Topic: Homebrewing

Well my Hopslam yeast culture is still feeding on the sugars, so I didn't need to add more. Decided to move on to transfering the smoked porter into a keg. I've got 3 kegs left without beer in them. One with cleaning solution, one with plain water to flush the cleaning solution and one empty.

I started to gather all the parts for the empty keg so I could clean and sterilize them. For some reason the last dip tube that is left, is too long for the keg body. When inserted into the keg it hits the bottom with 1 1/2 inch still sticking out. Appearently the two different styles of kegs I own have more of a difference then the number of handles. Damn, one of the shorter dip tubes must be in a different keg. I have 6 kegs with beer in them. I don't want to start taking them all apart to see which one has the wrong tube.  (I did check the cleaning solution and rinse water kegs)

The only other solution is to bottle the smoked porter or one of the beers from a keg.  I choose to find the keg with the least in it. Here's where the good news starts. In the very back of the, unheated, storage room I found a batch of Golden Draak. I guess my earlier idea worked. Put whats left of this great brew way in back, behind some things so it's out of sight and I might be able to save the last gallon for awhile. I originally brewed it about Nov '06. It did work! I totally forgot about this one.

I decided to tap it and see if it was still good. No infections, but flat as can be. At about 12% ABV, I doubt anything would live in it. Well, lets pressurize the keg and get this brew carbonated and ready to bottle. Looks like I'll be cleaning and sterilizing this keg and some bottles later this week.

I'll take the filled bottles to work, where I have an extra fridge with many different beers I'm trying to save. I stash the last few bottles of each batch I brew in there as long as the batch was unusually good. I also stash rare or hard to find beers like some Lambics, Dark Lord Imperial Stout and many others.

I'll have to write more later. My kids finally woke up and want breakfast.

Posted by model.rockets at 1:45 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 19 February 2008 12:58 PM EST
How to get kids involved with model rockets
Topic: Model rockets

I strayed off the subject in the last post. I didn't mean to whine about my kids so much. The object was to figure out how to get all kids involved with model rockets.

When I attend rocket launches I usually bring extra loose motors and assembled rocket kits with me. Not for me to fly, I rarely have time, but for kids to fly. When I see a child that is hungering to fly a rocket for the first time, I'll offer him (or her) their first opportunity for free. I rarely see a child walk away disappointed after their first experience.

Now, how do you get more familys to bring their kids to a launch?

Posted by model.rockets at 10:18 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 17 February 2008 10:35 AM EST
Saturday, 16 February 2008
Now Playing: Just a Test to see what "now playing" is
Topic: introduction
Testing Testing

Posted by model.rockets at 2:40 PM EST
Homebrewing activities
Topic: Homebrewing

When I get home from work today, I think I'm going to relax with a homebrew, then work on a couple projects. First I need to keg a smoked porter. I hate having to tear apart a keg and sterilize all the pieces. Especially the long dip tube. Kegging is sure a lot easier then bottling though.

Another project will be to boil a pint of wort with light DME to add to my yeast culture. I'm trying to culture the yeast from a bottle of Bell's Hopslam. I need to figure out the recipe for this great beer since it is only available from mid Jan to the end of Feb. Why Bell's only brews this in the winter, I don't know. Seems like it would be a great summertime BBQ beverage!

I'm still researching the hops bill. So far my best guess from reading forums and searching the net is: Hersbrucker, Centennial, Glacier, Vanguard Crystal and Simcoe. Fortunately I have most of these in my freezer from before the hops shortage. I'm in some disagreement with which is said to be boiled and which is to be dry hopped.

On Sunday, I might brew up a batch of 2 hearted or a close facsimile. I can't remember the grain bill exactly but I think it is 10# pale, 1# 60L. (I'm at work and my recipe book is at home) For the hops I use 1oz at the beginning boil, 1oz at 45min, 1oz at flame out, then dry hop in secondary with 2-3 oz, depending on how hoppy I feel like making it. All Hops are Centennial.

If you haven't guessed yet, I LOVE hoppy beers!

Posted by model.rockets at 1:49 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, 16 February 2008 2:43 PM EST
Friday, 15 February 2008
How do you get kids to play with model rockets?
Topic: Model rockets

I don't get it. I can't seem to get my own kids interested in model rockets. I always thought that because Dad owned a hobby shop specializing in model rockets that they would be interested and feel they were the coolest kids around. I would've loved for my Dad to have owned a hobby shop. I would have been the most popular kid in school. Not my kids! They would rather sit in front of a video game and see who can push a button the fastest.

Kids now days aren't interested in using their hands to create something. They rarely ever get to feel the pride of constructing or assembling something with their own two hands. What skill are they learning by pushing a button at the speed of sound? I'm beginning to understand why American kids are falling behind in science and math. It's not necessarily the fault of our educational system.

It's not that I haven't tried to get them involved in rocketry. They used to come with me all the time to launches. They even flew model rockets for awhile. Soon my son was complaining "it was boring". I asked him why he thought that, and the reply was "because they don't blow anything up". Well I wasn't about to make warheads for him to launch!

You're probably saying to yourself "why did you buy them the video games in the first place"?  I didn't. Back when their mother was still around, we decided not to get either kid a video game for xmas. We knew this would lead to trouble later on. We asked our parents not to be the cool grandparents and be the first to get them one. Guess what my kids got that xmas? Damn were we pissed. We wanted to be the ones to get them their first game when the time was right. At the time I figured learning to socialize and gain new interests were more important to their growth then a video game. Eventually they would be the only kid on the block without one. That was when I felt was the right time. Of course, that is only because I didn't want them to feel they were neglected somehow.

I've tried to limit the time they could play. I've tried to take the games away. I've even flipped the circuit breakers to their rooms to keep them from spending too much time on those damn games. All this accomplished was, too much stress on my part and too much depression and anger on their part. Maybe I'm a push over. I don't want to widen the gap more then I have to. My parents and especially my Dad and I were about as far apart as could possibly be. I didn't want that to happen between me and my kids. I've always been open minded and want my kids to feel they have a cool Dad.  

Now I'm starting to get off topic. What to do to get them to enjoy a hobby like model rocketry, that will teach them something and give them pride in what they can accomplish with their own two hands? It doesn't have to be rocketry. It's just what I know a great deal about. I understand they will be their own person, with their own interests. You would think that someone who owns a hobby shop could get their kids involved in a hobby. I've given them RC cars, planes, models, trains, chemistry sets, electronic kits, kites, everything I can think of. They just aren't interested in anything but video games. Are these games THAT addictive? I must admit, I haven't played many video games since pong and asteroids. Clearly the graphics are better, but have the manufacturers done something to make them like a drug? I sure hate to see what society will be like when this generation grows up and have their own kids and family.

Well, enough ranting and babbling on about this. I have to close up shop and get home to make dinner. I sure hope someone starts reading these blogs. Maybe they can either straighten me out or sympathize with me.

Posted by model.rockets at 5:54 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 15 February 2008 7:45 PM EST
Monday, 11 February 2008
Stimulus plan hoax
Topic: Political

I've been getting excited about Bush's stimulus plan and the checks that most everyone will be receiving in May. I was thinking that I sure could use this money to buy this or that. Also, I thought that business should pick up at work around May because others will have that extra money to spend.

Last night I realized it was a hoax! It is nothing more then a bail-out plan for credit companies. Think about it. I, like most people, have debts. Most of us are getting behind because of the economy and preditory loans. Who's going to spend this extra money on anything but a debt? The local businesses like grocery stores, gas stations, video rentals, hobby shops, etc won't see any, if not, a very little of it. Most of all that money will end up in the bank accounts of major credit and loan companies.

Sure this will help the average Joe with his bills, but it won't help the economy to pick up by much at all. It just prolongs or prevents the multi-billion dollar loan companies from going bankrupt. Of coarse Bush's administration couldn't just give this money directly to the credit and loan companies or we would be up in arms about it. So they came up with this hoax, and so far its working. Wake up America! Bush has tricked us again.

A better plan would be to stop the laon and credit companies from charging the loans shark rates that would have found most Mafia members thrown in prison several decades ago.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Posted by model.rockets at 12:45 PM EST
Sunday, 10 February 2008
First entry
Topic: introduction

Well this is a first for me. Call me techno challenged, but I've never seen a blog before and here I am starting one. I'm not even quite sure what a blog is.

I'm using this for a means to rant and rave about whatever is on my mind at the time. Who knows where it may go or what topics may get covered. Sometimes I may report about a rocket launch or a weekend getaway. With the primaries going on and the elections next year, I may write about political views.

Maybe you have a topic that you'd like to get my opinion on. I can be very opinionated.

Humm. This first entry was reasonable painless.

Posted by model.rockets at 6:21 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 10 February 2008 6:36 PM EST

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