Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tipsy Tuesday

Ever since I got my dad the Mr. Beer brew kit he has been hooked on brewing his own beer. I remember him attempting to make his own when I was a kid but it did not last too long between it not being very successful and my mother very much was against this hobby (it does create an odor that may not appeal to all). When I was an undergrad I took a microbiology course that included a lab component, in this lab we made a batch of beer and in doing so I became aware of what Daddy had been doing wrong. When you bottle beer while home brewing you need to add a bit of sugar, aka priming sugar, the yeast metabolize this sugar and convert it mainly into carbon dioxide, which creates the fizz that is associated with beer.

Daddy had been trying to add the priming sugar to the bottles individually and it was messy, difficult and often did not produce the right amount of carbonation. Too little carbonation and you have a flat beer, not very appealing I imagine. If you have too much carbonation you will have to get a ladder and lick the beer off the ceiling if you want any, which WeaselMomma probably would have done if this happened to her Coors Light the day after Lent. In micro we added the priming sugar to the bucket and then bottled it, worked every time. The Mr. Beer kit's instructions agreed with my lab protocol and Daddy adopted it and low and behold it works! And so without that challenge he has had time to experiment with other aspects of making fermented beverage. Like when I managed to get him a sample of super yeast, he is still playing with it since the first batch.

One of his recent challenges is making hard lemonade, one of Baby Sibling's alcoholic beverages of choice. They have very different versions of how this came about, Sibling says Daddy just offered to make it because he was interested in the challenge, this account is Daddy's version:

The continuing adventures of the BrewMeister……

Following my great success with Bill's Kickass Ale, I have continued to develop my excellent, high quality low cost Brew. I found a hops source which charges less than $2.00 per ounce for high quality leaf hops in pound quantity, which drops the price of 5 gallons by up to $5.00. The first batch was a bit weak but drinkable; Richard loved it and with his revitalized taste buds that is saying something. The latest batch is the best of all. I used the new Hops (Glacier alpha of 5.9) and boiled it for an hour.

But alas my euphoria of creating the perfect brew was short lived; my bubble was burst. My ego deflated. My youngest daughter asked a very degrading question: Can I make Hard lemonade? The BrewMeister was degraded! Humiliated! Why would the BrewMeister want to make disgusting swill like lemonade? Nonetheless, if a true BrewMeister can make peanut butter out of shit (sorry Texas) hard lemonade cannot be that difficult.

A Google search for hard lemonade gave several ghastly recipes involving killing the yeasties and artificial carbonization. Peasants!! A true BrewMeister does not kill yeasties and artificially carbonate. They deserve to drink supermarket swill! My first batch will be bottled in a few days and my bet is that between Richard and my daughter it won’t last long.

Now, about that Peanut butter challenge…

Microblogologist again, I have no idea what this weird peanut butter reference is, perhaps NukeDad can enlighten me as he is from Texas. There is a chance Daddy was testing his experiments when he wrote his post, I wouldn't be surprised one way or the other with him, lol. According to the Sibling this nasty concoction was delish, as I have in the past I question her taste... Of course the fact that I am not a fan of lemonade and any form of lemon with the one exception of lemon bars might make me a bit biased about something lemon flavored (do NOT get me started on one of the most vile drugs in the world, carbonated lemon flavored magnesium citrate, and what I believe should happen to the idiot who came up with this absolutely wretched drink!). I hope you all enjoyed this post, feel free to leave some ego inflating comments for Daddy, mayhap we'll convince him to start his own blog, though that might not be a good idea since I won't get these lovely guest posts from him then! Quit laughing Uncle Richard, you might not get enough oxygen to your brain if you keep it up!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I'm a huge McFan of McMommy!

McMommy, who is fabulous and if you do not read her blog you are totally missing out, had a fun idea to have her McFan's post fan pics similar to the one she made for Oprah when she joined the twitterverse. This has given me the motivation to go through with an idea I have had for awhile now and show you, my dear reader(s), how a blog addict such as myself views the world, which can be very different from how "normal" people view the same world.

It all started when I decided I was hungry and didn't want to go home and cook or perhaps had no time to do so because I had lab work after water aerobics and decided to hit the local Wendy's before heading back to my hermit cave rock I live under according to BFF Pasha apartment or lab. I did this somewhat frequently until one night I was totally thrown off, they had to close the road in front of the Wendy's and I REALLY wanted my kid meal and chocolate frosty with cookie dough added (I love that they will spike my frosty with the dough stuff for I think a quarter!). I was trying to figure out how I could get to the Wendy's as I passed it and observed the layout of the barricades. And then, just when I thought all hope was lost I looked ahead and saw the golden arches of a McDonalds. I had no idea it was there because I don't get out much this is on the opposite side of town from where I normally am. I got my happy meal, complete with toy for Niecey and decided that I like the McD's kid meal better than Wendy's except for the lack of the awesome frosty goodness (I hate that McD's "chocolate" shakes are really vanilla shakes with some chocolate flavor added, gross!) and so have switched over.

Another reason I enjoy going to the McDonalds is that it reminds me of two of my favorite bloggers, McMommy and HappyHourSue (her blog title is Happy Meals and Happy Hour, which you would know if you aren't her husband and read her awesome blog!). And so dearest reader(s), I present to you what I see in my mind when I am going on a happy meal run:

Welcome to McMommy's, can we take your order please?

Here is the menu for the food:
A happy meal option that is extra happy!

Here is the McCafe menu:
McMommytini anyone?

And here is what comes with the most popular meal by far at McMommy's, The Happy Hour Sue Happy Meal:
The yummy crusty browned part of the turkey stuffing.

And your very own Bathtub Gangta Mini!

So there you have it, a blog addict's view of the world. And Melisa, I remember you bringing up this question in a post at some point and this should be proof positive for you that you are not the only one that is often reminded about their bloggy friends/idols, though my being the one that is proof that it happens might not be the most reassuring as far as if it is sane or not ;).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I have not posted in a long time. There are various reasons for that, most of which I will eventually blog about but mainly fall under my being very busy with work, dealing with my health issues, having family visit, and just life in general. I've tried to keep in touch a bit, through twitter, blog comments, e-mail and skype. I thank everyone who has cared about how I am doing and especially those who have checked up on me to make sure I am ok, I am (mostly) and I will be fine. I have not forgotten about you all nor this blog, I have many plans for it, unfortunately more plans than I have time at the moment but I will eventually get this blog back up off the ground. In the mean time you can browse my archives, I have a few decent posts mixed in there, if you haven't already and want a Microblogologist fix ;).

All that aside the true purpose of this post is to pay tribute to one very special little girl, Madeline Alice Spohr. This is a little girl who was born prematurely on 11/11/2007 (11 weeks and 1 day early), she passed away on 4/7/2009. In her short time on this planet she has touched a lot of people, in her death she has touched even more, both in person and on the internet. People from around the world have heard about this beautiful child who was taken from her family way too soon and in the week since she has passed away have donated thousands of dollars to her March of Dimes team. That money will go towards helping families with sick babies and towards research that will help prevent prematurity and find treatments for those babies who are born premature or with other conditions.

The March of Dimes was founded in response to the polio epidemic that claimed many lives in the US and around the world, they proposed that everyone could spare a dime to help find a cure/vaccine, and one of the most successful and long-lived charities was born and as a result polio has been eradicated from the US and most of the world (it is still an issue in some third world countries due to lack or resources, education, and anti-western sentiments in certain populations). Their current focus is now primarily on prematurity, both its prevention and treatment and research funded by the March of Dimes has greatly improved the chances of babies born prematurely and made it possible to save babies born extremely premature (about 23 weeks is the current minimum gestational age that is potentially viable outside the womb) and they are working on treatments that will help spare these micropremies from the high chance of disabilities associated with being born so early.

Maddie's amniotic sac broke early, when her mother was about 19 weeks pregnant, this resulted in Maddie's lungs not being able to develop properly. During gestation the fetus "breathes" amniotic fluid which aids in lung development and maturation. Maddie fell ill with a respiratory infection and her fragile lungs just couldn't keep up. Today, the 14th of April, a mother will speak at her baby's funeral. They have asked that people wear purple to celebrate Maddie's life and that instead of buying flowers that people donate to the March of Dimes. I have included the badge for Maddie's March of Dimes page, their original goal was $3000, since news got out about Maddie's passing they have earned over $25,000 in donations. That is simply amazing. If you would like to donate to Maddie's team simply click on the badge below, maybe we can help prevent another mother from speaking at her baby's funeral, because no parent should have to go through the hell that Maddie's parents are going through and every baby deserves a chance to live. Thank you to all who donate and to Maddie's parents for sharing their precious daughter with the world and reminding us what is most important.

Note: Please forgive any errors in this post, it was mostly written from memory and I've been trying not to cry while writing it, not an easy task (I simply cannot imagine what her parents are going through).