Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mr. Mom -- Part 2 Coming to a Computer soon near you

In mid-March, my dear wife Paula, will be headed back to Ethiopia on another BEMM aid trip. During that time, I will be (gasp!) performing the household Mom (along with the limited Dad) duties.

Now those of you who know me well, probably recognize this is not my strong suit. I'm not particularly good at selecting clothes, doing hair, or listening to large quantities of whining or tattling. And going shopping -- yikes. But I did do this once before. And everyone survived. More-or-less.

Now I will be attempting to reprise my starring role in Mr. Mom - Part 2. This time the trip is longer, and there's an additional kid in the mix (Thomas). But I've also been a lot closer to day-to-day kid care since my first starring role in this ongoing film series, so we will see if I've learned anything.

Right now, I'm in the planning in planning how I make the job as easy as possible. Two things that worked well last time were: cornrows and McDonalds. Beyond that, I'm just warming up, but am up for suggestions!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Signing Results

Four pleasant hours spent at Cheri O's last weekend resulted in 8 book sales and a few conversations with interested buyers. I hope a few of them went home and purchased on Amazon.

So was it worth while?

On balance, I would say yes, but not overwhelmingly so. I'm encouraged enough to consider doing another one -- perhaps this time somewhere in Omaha. And when INCENTIVIZE is "released" on Amazon, perhaps I could do another signing at Cheri O's.

Next time, however, I think avoiding sub-zero temperatures would be better.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Beer update, and other stuff

The beer was actually good (at least one bottle of it!). I half-expected to encounter a heavy, sickeningly sweet, flat and hazy fluid. Instead it was clear, properly carbonated, and nutty with only a slight hint of sweetness. Kind of reminded me of Newcastle brown ale, only a little nuttier. So I can call the first brew effort a success. I have a seasonal sage bear in the fermenter right now -- it can be bottled this weekend. And a mix for an IPA to make next. When I do so, I will be trying out some new equipment, a nylon bag to hold the grains/hops, and to make the beer clearer going into fermentation. I love to experiment and try new things.

On a more sober note, the house is currently filled with the smell of burning electrical insulation. When Paula went in to wake the twins this morning, the PTAC (compact heating and air conditioning unit -- like the ones you find in some motels) that heats their room was off. She started it, and it sparked a couple times, but began running. When I went in a few minutes later, it was sparking again, and smoke was billowing out of it.

Thank God this happened in the early morning, rather than late at night -- I could easily imagine the thing starting fire.

Now the smell is everywhere.

Of course, Thomas, whose bed is forty feet away, slept through the whole thing, and had no idea what I was talking about when I ordered him out of the room in the midst of all that smoke. Man, that kid sleeps deeply.

Now awaiting the arrival of the HVAC repair people. Undoubtedly this will be expensive, but at least no one was hurt and the house is still standing.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"I Like Beer... makes me a jolly good fellow."

That song still makes me laugh. So does "Beer is Good" by Psychostick.

For Christmas, I received a home brewing kit. After a couple of weeks of waiting for additional equipment and ingredients to arrive (why do kits always seem to be lacking an item or two, like a strainer?), I brewed my first home-made beer. It is a nut brown ale -- yeah, I also had to get some chestnuts and roast them for this concoction. Finding chestnuts was harder than I expected, despite their reference in a famous Christmas song.

Anyway, the brewing took about four hours from start to finish. Then the beer ferments for two weeks. Then I had to bottle it, which was a bit trickier than I expected. After bottling, it has to sit for another two weeks while the newly added sugar (in the form of honey mixed with a little water) carbonates the brew in the bottles.

Now all the required time has nearly passed, and tomorrow I am ready to sample. Wondering if it will be delicious, or will be sipped once and immediately dumped down the sink...