Phase 2 Home Brew

I’m ready to move on from small batches to larger batches of home brew.  I’ve had the kegerator for a while.  It came with a dual pressure gauge CO2 tank, but my local beer distributor said something about a two week waiting period to fill it, so I haven’t bothered.  They have prefilled ones I can use, but I have to put a deposit on them, just like I would on a prefilled keg.  When I do that, I can at least hook up the brew to one of the taps.  I’d rather have them fill my own 5 lb. tank for $11 or $12, and not have to plunk down the deposit.

Mostly, I’ve just used the kegerator as a fridge for bottled beer.  It’s time to up the game.  Brewing small batches, and bottling them, is useful for bringing them outside in warmer weather.  But, when I brew a 5 gal. batch, it really is easier to keg it in the corny than bottle two-plus cases.  I have a really old bottle capper, probably from the ’30s, and a source for bulk unused, uncrimped caps for about three cents apiece, which is reasonable for a home brewer.

The funniest thing about the corny keg is that when I first got it, used, in really good shape, for a very reasonable price, it still smelled like cola inside.  Yuck!  Well, it has to be cleaned and disinfected between each use, anyway. Continue reading

Eagles or Vikings?

Eagles or Vikings?  I don’t have a dog in this race; I’m a Giants fan.  I don’t hate the Eagles the way I do the Broad St. Bullies, but during the regular season, I’ll only root for them if they’re not playing the Giants.  The Giants sucked the wind right out of the clouds this season, almost as badly as the Browns, so I have to pick another team to root for, post-season.

Half my family still lives in MN; it’s the Vikings for them.  My other half is as ambivalent as I am.  Neither of us cared enough to watch the games during the regular season.  But, if there is some “Hail Mary” play that wins the game, the way the Vikings beat the Saints, we don’t want to miss it.

We have the tortilla chips.  All I need to do now to prepare for the game is make the quacamole and queso, just in case it’s a close game instead of a blowout.  If it goes into overtime, we can break into our tin of leftover peppermint bark that I made for Christmas.  Our home brew APA is still fermenting, so, for brewskis, we’ll have to go with Yuengs or Oskars.

G’day, Saturday

It’s positively balmy outside, sunny, with little snow left on the ground.  A flannel shirt, with no sweater or jacket is sufficient — it must be in the 40s.  Ben started giving me his “what’s that?” bark, so I looked around to see what got his attention.  An older model Porsche was snaking its way down our driveway.

My other half was out chopping wood, in his grungiest old clothes reserved for that, and general barn duty.  The Porsche driver saw him first, and drove down to the barn and wood pile shed.  He stepped out of the car, wearing a pristine Untuckit shirt.  Those are unmistakable because of the length and shape of their hemlines.  No way was this guy not lost.

He knew he was at the wrong farm, and was looking for directions to one which is now a B&B.  He was only about a mile and a half from his destination.  Giving him directions was easy.  What astonished me most was that he didn’t have a GPS.  A car that old wouldn’t have had one built in, with a dashboard display.  Still, I would have expected him to have, say, a Garmin, that he could plug into a cigarette lighter/12 volt plug, or a cell phone that could be used as one.  Sure, a GPS can be a little off, telling you where to turn, but not by a mile and a half, so it was obvious he didn’t have one.

Luxury cars (and sports cars) are very common around here, but nobody from this area drives somethng as impractical as a Porsche.

We’ve had people turn in here before, not knowing they were lost, asking where they should park for our pick-your-own strawberries.  It happens, although their first clue should be that there is no sign out by the road advertising it.

No harm, no foul.  Still, it was an interesting way to start a weekend.

Love Letters from Nicky

Apparently, these were sent a week ago, but I never noticed until today, when I went in to clean out my inbox.  Both are replies to a really ancient post here on TRN.  Read ’em, and LOL.

This one came in on the 12th at 6:11 pm:

Author: Nickolaus Pacione (IP address: [redacted])
I didn’t event shit.  I revealed something about you that you failed to omit.  The Rusty Nail’s sources were a bunch of pseudo-academia fabulists who fabricated every source about me.  Fan History got the history right about me as I invaded Barker’s website in 2000. The slash fandom sees me as a threat because of The Fandom Writer as The House of Pain E-Zine picked this because she knew my hatred for Melissa Brite went back to turning 20.  Look you Taig, you realize you encountered someone who got your goat because they told the truth at your expense. The Rusty Nail’s lackeys aka some of your noted fanbase was caught red handed plagiarizing some of my better known creative nonfiction outings like a little faggot.  I didn’t get noticed for writing about talking dogs, you did.  I got noticed because I got into it with trolls as I was never a fucking troll as you claim.  You whitewashed the history in the independent press as you didn’t realize what I did when The Cabbie Homicide emerged.

I “got noticed” for writing about talking dogs?  That’s news to me.  His ad hominem attack is to be expected; unfortunately, he missed on both my ethnic heritage and religion.  I agree he didn’t “event” shit.”  He didn’t invent it, either, but he’s awfully familiar with pounding away on a keyboard to produce it.

This one was sent nine minutes later, at 6:20 pm:

Author: Nickolaus Pacione (IP address: [redacted])
“FBI file” sounds like you fabricated that source like you drew from many of your sources about me.  If one shits on The Cabbie Homicide, they missed the point of why I wrote it.  I was the same age as it came from a frightening taxicab confession as I found the article about the case as it unfolded between 1993-1994.  I introduced something quite real as I am criminally underestimated — Melissa Brite’s big mistake in 2003.  I was already a cult writer by the time I wrote Cabbie as my would be publisher in 2005 discovered this piece as it appeared on Instead of urinating on my name verbally on a regular fucking basis you should see what I accomplished by introducing H. P. Lovecraft into a public school.  I held my own with him as Ramsey Campbell did as I also held my own with Kevin Lucia (by the way you’re welcome for me finding him.)  Instead of acting like a little bitch when someone told the truth about you and your tenor on The House of Pain — I discovered your “schmuck bait” button.  Mention The Clause in the same sentence as The Cabbie Homicide;  as you got freight-trained the second time when I showed you “You’re In” with a creative nonfiction piece no one saw before.  You’re dealing with someone who found Stephen Glass’ fabricated bullshit on a whim.

At least he didn’t misspell his story title this time.  Remember the one version he published with the title “The Cabbie Homocide”?  WTF is he talking about with a “schmuck bait” button on House of Pain?  For that matter, wtf is “You’re In”?

I used to be better at interpreting his word salad.  I must getting a bit, um, rusty.  Oh, well, it’s been a while.

Post Holidays

I like this time of year.  Today, it finally warmed up above freezing, so our winter wonderland is melting.  Yeah, I had to dig out my car, but it was so nice to be able to go outside with nothing more than a vest over my flannel shirt, and an Akubura hat to shade my eyes!  As Gomer Pyle USMC would say, “Shazam!”

The other thing I like about this time of year is that everywhere has post holiday sales.  I’ve been a little short of Christmas decorations since the basement of two houses ago flooded when the water heater went.  Never did replace the items that had to be thrown out, but over the past 20 years, mom has given me a bunch of her old ornaments, little by little, which helped fill in for what I had to toss.  “Here’s a box of ornaments I found.  Would you like them?”  Um, yes please.

So, post-holiday, with the super-sales, I’ve been able to stock up on LED lighting, and other seasonal decorations for next to nothing.  Oddly enough, home brew items are also available for a hefty discount.  Brewer’s yeast is different from baker’s yeast, but it’s super inexpensive this time of year.  You can use it for beer or wine.  Whatever I brew will fit in my corny, which fits fine in my kegerator.  What’s the point of having a full wet bar in your rec room basement if the taps are for show only?  Sure, the kegerator can be used as a refrigerator, but that’s not its raison d’être.

Hello 2018!

Happy (belated) New Year!  I hope yours is off to as good a start as ours is.

Sure, we got a nice blizzard with near zero temps last week, leading up to, and followed by occasional sub-zeros. Those are Farenheit.  None of the snow has melted, yet, but it’s a bit of a novelty to get powdery snow that drifts, instead of our usual heavy wet stuff, so it’s kinda fun.  We could skate on our pond if we wanted to; it’s that frozen.  Neither one of us feels like clearing the snow off it first, though.  The snowblower attachment for one of our tractors did a really good job on the driveway, although the top end by the road is always a bit tricky, and when it’s this cold, rock salt doesn’t really work.

We visited mom yesterday, as scheduled, and brought along the new Stander brand walker, three cases of Poland Spring water, and the bananas she wanted us to pick up for her.  After she was done with her initial 10-15 minutes worth of complaining about various things that had nothing to do with us, she settled down, and cheered up, as she always does.

The niftiest thing about it being this cold for an extended period is that I can bundle up like a hodge-podge version of an Eskimo to go run errands, and not one person thinks I’m dressed oddly.  All hail the insulated winter overalls, mukluks, Pennsylvania Tuxedo jacket, and Russian fur hat (that I bought in 1978 in Moscow)!

A couple of days ago, I was in a checkout line behind a guy who was also wearing a Pennsylvania Tuxedo jacket.  On our way out of the store, he turned around, and said “nice jacket,” to which I replied “I was just about to say the same to you.”  Chuckle.  It’s a Pennsylvania thing.  Woolrich is great.

Anyway, I hope all of you have a fantastic 2018.

Merry Christmas!

It’s late enough in the day that I can report it was a good one.  Everyone, humans and critters alike, really liked their presents.  The dog and cats, especially, are so easy to please.  My other half loved his, which are basically replacements for old favorites that have seen better days, and should be consigned to barn duty.

Mom was thrilled with her watch.  She was always complaining about the batteries in hers dying, or how hard they were to get on and off her wrist, now that her fingers don’t work so well.  So, I found her a solar model, in a tank watch sort of style, with Roman numerals, a metal band to match that unclasps with a pinch, clasps with a press, and has a fairly large, easy to read face.  She’ll have to have some links removed.  Anyway, she’s eager to go have that done.

As usual, we catered dinner for my mother.  For hors d’oeuvres, it was curried eggs, and babaganoush with mini stoned wheat thin crackers.  Not Christmas-y, but it’s stuff we all like, and it kept us occupied while the rest of the meal that needed reheating did so.  The main course was the usual turkey, with all the fixin’s.  Dessert was a sampler of spritz cookies, peppermint bark, and a slice of pumpkin-spice bundt cake.  We grew the pumpkin that went into that cake.  We left mom with all the turkey we brought over that we didn’t eat, which we always do.  She surprised me by wanting some leftover cake, peppermint bark, cookies, and even some babaganoush.  Maybe it’s because I used Ghirardelli white chocolate chips for the candy instead of crappy old Nestlé.  She passed on the leftover stuffing and cran-apple sauce, which is normal.

Holiday feasts don’t faze me at all.  So much of it can be done a day or two ahead.  I did more cooking on Christmas Eve Day than I did on Christmas Day.  Started mid-morning, and didn’t finish until late afternoon, by which time I realized I hadn’t eaten a thing all day, and was just a bit peckish.  My other half had worked all day on plumbing, and out in the barn, so we went out for Sunday “taco night” at our local bar and grill.  After all that, those tacos were da bomb!  Normally, I couldn’t eat all three tacos, but I was ravenous.  There were no leftovers to box up to bring home.

I hope everyone had as good a Christmas as we did.

Hmm … 7th Gen Fire HD 10

Hey, it works.  The first thing I did was disable Alexa.  The only things in my household that I
want to obey hands-free voice commands are live mammals.  Next, I worked on the other settings.  Within 20 minutes, I’d beaten it into shape, so, yeah, it’s pretty easy to figure out.

I still prefer my laptop, for much easier typing, but the 2017 version of the HD 10 isn’t bad for a cheap-o tablet.  YMMV.

Strange Christmas

Each year, it’s a challenge to get each other anything either of us wants.  The good old days were when I got a reversible, variable speed power drill, with a set of screwdriver bits, or another year, when I got electric hedge trimmers.  Hubby got socks, when he asked for them, and stuff like flannel shirts, a barn jacket, etc.  That’s not working, anymore.

This rodeo, it was all “What do you want, or what do you need?”

This year, hubby got a nice multi-fuel space heater for the barn, because he wanted one.  He helped me pick it out. Some surprise, right?  At least, it can’t go wrong.   There are a couple of other presents, about which he knows nothing.

When asked what I want for Christmas, other than the Marshall Crenshaw/Bottle Rockets tickets he bought, with my approval, I couldn’t think of anything immediately.  I did ask him to go blow the $100 gift card we got from our old realtor more than a year ago for a local fancy restaurant –’cause we can’t use it anywhere else.  It won’t cost us anything, unless we top the $ limit on the gift card.  Of course, we will tip well, and that’s out-of-pocket.  So be it.

Mostly, I want a .22 rifle.  It’s a weenie thing that any kid could shoot.  The paperwork is easy enough to fill out, and I’m sure I’ll pass the background check.  I’ve already asked, and yes, we will go looking for one.  There are lots of gun shops within a 20 mile radius of here.  *fingers crossed*