1 Month Old Apfelwein

After slightly over a month of fermentation in the primary carboy, I’ve racked my wild yeast Apfelwein to the secondary carboy.  It already has a brilliant clarity, so I’ll really be surprised if I find much of any sediment at all in the secondary fermenter.

Since I started this batch, I bought myself a refractometer so that I can more precisely measure the sugar levels of my brews. I saved a bit of money by getting one that only measures in brix, but that’s alright.  There’s plenty of calculators around to easily convert to specific gravity. Specific gravity is the measurement of solids in water, in this case we measure sugars which are fermented into alcohol by our yeast.  The original gravity of the Apfelwein was measured with a hydrometer and measured in at 1.055 SG.  Tonight, measuring it with the refractometer, it measured at 6° brix. The total alcohol by volume is at 4.2%.  Since this is the first time I’m using this yeast, I’m not sure if it is done fermenting, though I’m pretty sure it is.  I’ll know for sure if when I take my next reading, the specific gravity has not changed.

This is a wild yeast after all and I know nothing about it’s performance. It is highly possible that using it over time, it may mutate into a yeast strain that is more alcohol tolerant and can produce higher alcohol concentrations. We’ll see.  This yeast produces a lot of fruity notes, so I’m very curios as to how things will turn out with it. Since I plan on reusing this yeast a few times to see how later generations perform, I’ve saved the yeast so that I can wash it and have it ready for my next batch. Yeast washing is a process of separating good, viable yeast from the sediments that are created during the fermentation process. I think that for my next few batches of beer, mead and cider, I’ll plan on making an extra gallon of must or wort to ferment with this yeast.  Those should be fun experiments.

So, what about the Apfelwein that I originally started writing about?  How does it taste, etc.? Taking in mind that this is still a very young apfelwein and most apfelweins don’t come onto their own for several months, this isn’t too bad.  It’s a bit sweet, since roughly half the sugars were fermented out and it’s a lower alcohol concentration than I was hoping for. It is fruity, and not just as in apples. If you’ve ever had Welch’s White Grape Peach Juice, that is what I’m tasting here. I find it very interesting, considering this is fermented apple juice after all.

I think it’s time to leave this youngster alone for at least a few more months before I test it again. I’ve been told at 4 months apfelweins become drinkable and at a year, they just start to come into their own characters.  We’ll see what time has in store for this youngin!

New Orleans vs. FHA

This was sent to me by email, and though I’ve made no effort to verify if any of the story below is true, I can see it happening and would not be surprised at all if this were true.


Rebuilding New Orleans caused residents often to be challenged with the task of tracing home titles back potentially hundreds of years. With a community rich with history stretching back over two centuries, houses have been passed along through generations of family, sometimes making it quite difficult to establish ownership.  A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the lawyer three months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply from the FHA:

“Upon review of your letter adjoining your client’s loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin.”

Annoyed, the lawyer responded:
“Your letter regarding title in Case No.189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 206 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased by the United States from France, in 1803 the year of origin identified in our application.
For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France , which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain . The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Queen Isabella.
The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus’s expedition…Now the Pope, as I’m sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it, and the FHA. I hope you find God’s original claim to be satisfactory. Now, may we have our loan?”

The loan was immediately approved.

I’m getting annoyed with @Sprint

Back in December, I bought a new Samsung Epic 4G phone. This phone was the replacement for my previous phone, the Palm Pre. I liked my Pre very much, but I had incredible hardware issues with it, which caused me to end up replacing my phone 6 times in about 14 months. All I wanted was the ability to move off of my Palm Pre to another phone that would give me less issues and get that phone at the subsidized price. It seemed fair, after the grief I went through with the hardware issues I had with the Pre. It took a bit of work, including having to threaten to leave Sprint and speaking to their retentions department in order to get them to allow me to change my phone.  I was not asking for a free phone and I was going to extend my contract by 2 years anyway.

So after finally being allowed to buy a new phone, I started looking for a new one and settled on the Epic. It’s a nice phone, it has the features I want and it is 4G ready. My hesitation was that I would increase my cell phone bill by $10/mo for the 4G service that was not available at the time. I was assured by the Sprint employee that 4G service was going to go live in our area by the first week of next month. Well, that did it for me.  I bought the phone and I’m not sorry I did buy it.  It’s a great platform and it fits my needs well.

Later on, towards the middle of January, I find myself at the Sprint store again. I was there with my wife because she was having trouble with her Palm Pre, not really a big surprise. Since I was there, I inquired about the fact that I wasn’t receiving my 4G service and it was well past the first week of January. I was told that there were some delays and that things were back on track and 4G service would be available towards the beginning of the next month. Are you seeing a pattern yet?

So today, instead of going to the local Sprint store, I decided to see what answer I would get from an online chat operator.  Below, for your reading enjoyment is the chat transcript.  I’ve only removed my personal info.

Your session ID for this incident is 2264290.
Time Details
02/23/2011 12:58:26PM System: “Please wait and the next available account specialist will be with you shortly.”
02/23/2011 12:58:46PM System: “If you are chatting today for Technical Support, please call 1-888-211-4727.”
02/23/2011 12:59:06PM System: “If you are a corporate business customer and need assistance with your account, please call 1-800-927-2199.”
02/23/2011 12:59:22PM Session Started with Agent (Sammy K)
02/23/2011 12:59:22PM System: “Thank you for contacting Sprint. My name is Sammy K.”
02/23/2011 12:59:22PM ME: “I want to know when 4G service will be available in my area. I’m getting pissed because every month, the sprint store employees say the same thing, “It’s coming soon, we expect it to be next month.” And the next month, it’s the same song and dance.”
02/23/2011 12:59:48PM ME: “Hello.”
02/23/2011 01:00:01PM Agent (Sammy K): “Hello.”
02/23/2011 01:00:47PM ME: “Do you see my question, or do I have to repeat it, and if so, what is the point in requiring people to ask a question before starting a chat?”
02/23/2011 01:00:48PM Agent (Sammy K): “Please provide me your area ZIP code to check this for you.”
02/23/2011 01:01:00PM ME: “XXXXX is my zip code”
02/23/2011 01:01:09PM ME: “(insert City name, State).”
02/23/2011 01:01:27PM Agent (Sammy K): “Please allow a few moments to check this for you.”
02/23/2011 01:01:40PM ME: “No problem.”
02/23/2011 01:03:35PM Agent (Sammy K): “I have checked the details and found the 4 G services will be available in your area within first week of the next month.”
02/23/2011 01:03:47PM Agent (Sammy K): “Our technicians are working on this.”
02/23/2011 01:04:06PM ME: “Ironically, that’s what the sprint store employees have been saying since December.”
02/23/2011 01:04:07PM Agent (Sammy K): “I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you in this regard.”
02/23/2011 01:04:25PM ME: “I’ve been paying $10 extra a month for service I’ve not yet received.”
02/23/2011 01:04:37PM Agent (Sammy K): “I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you in this regard.”
02/23/2011 01:05:30PM Agent (Sammy K): “The 4 G service will be available within the first week of the March.”
02/23/2011 01:05:46PM ME: “I bought my 4G phone with the understanding that I would have 4 G service in less than a month and it’s getting frustrating.”
02/23/2011 01:06:12PM ME: “Is there anywhere as a customer I can go to see the progress, where it’s available and not available?”
02/23/2011 01:07:05PM ME: “I’m sorry, but since you’ve echoed almost exactly what the sprint store employees have been feeding me since December, I have a hard time believing.”
02/23/2011 01:07:39PM Agent (Sammy K): “I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you in this regard.”
02/23/2011 01:08:21PM Agent (Sammy K): “Our technicians are working on the 4 G service and it will be available in your area very soon.”
02/23/2011 01:08:27PM ME: “I don’t want apologies, I want answers or a way to find out for myself. Is there someone I can talk to that will have a better answer?”
02/23/2011 01:08:57PM Agent (Sammy K): “Can I arrange a call back for you?”
02/23/2011 01:09:18PM ME: “Yes.”
02/23/2011 01:09:46PM Agent (Sammy K): “Please provide me the phone number on which you want a call back.”
02/23/2011 01:10:40PM ME: “You can call me on my cell, XXX XXX XXXX”
02/23/2011 01:10:59PM Agent (Sammy K): “Please allow a few moments to arrange a call back for you.”
02/23/2011 01:11:28PM ME: “Thank you.”
02/23/2011 01:11:33PM Agent (Sammy K): “I have changed you plan effective from today.”
02/23/2011 01:11:39PM Agent (Sammy K): “Please disregard my last statement.”
02/23/2011 01:14:09PM Agent (Sammy K): “I have arranged a call back for you.”
02/23/2011 01:14:35PM Agent (Sammy K): “You will be contacted within 24 hours.”
02/23/2011 01:16:15PM Agent (Sammy K): “Is there anything else I may assist you with today?”
02/23/2011 01:17:26PM ME: “not at this time. Thank you.”
02/23/2011 01:17:42PM Agent (Sammy K): “Have a nice time ahead.”
02/23/2011 01:20:35PM Agent (Sammy K): “I know your time is valuable and I would like to assist you in resolving any question you have today. Would you like to continue chatting with me today?”
02/23/2011 01:20:57PM Session Ended

Once again, I get the same old song and dance, but this time I just got a monkey on the other end who was trained to click on macro buttons instead of give real answers.

31 Tap Salute!

While on a business trip, I stopped for gas somewhere between Montgomery and Auburn Alabama. I don’t recall exactly where this was. They didn’t support pay at the pump, so I went inside to pay for my gas. Once inside, I saw this:

Has anyone seen more taps inside a gas station than this? I count 31 taps. I have to admit, I’ve never seen draft beer sold at a gas station before.


On January 31, I started a batch of Apfelwein, loosly based off of EdWort’s Apfelwein. I had intended to use a small amount of it as a test to try out a strain of wild yeast that I had cultivated last April.  After stepping up the starter and tasting a sample of the beer that I had poured off, I decided to use the yeast for the entire batch.  This yeast had a very sweet flavor and a fruity smell to it.

After starting the Afpelwein, I decided to try my hand at a time laps video.  This video consists of over 4000 photos taken over the first 48 hours of the fermentation.  It’s been compressed down to less than 4 minutes. Viewing tip: Choose 1080p, view it in full screen and let it buffer before viewing.

Vomit tastes better than bubble bath

The other night my wife took my oldest daughter to a birthday party.  Afterward they returned with a few party favors, one of which was a Micky Mouse Coin Bank/Bubble Bath combo.  She was all excited about the coin bank and I didn’t know about the bubble bath in in until she brought it to me last night when her younger sister managed to get the top off and spill it in her bed room.

I took the bubble bath and poured the remaining liquid into a plastic water bottle and put it in the bathroom for later use.  Ally likes her bubble baths, as I’m sure most little girls her age do too.  Before I put the bottle in the bathroom, I made sure to tell my wife, that way she knew what it was.

Apparently, my mother-in-law who stays with us didn’t get the memo.  Since she doesn’t speak English and I don’t speed Spanish, we have some great conversations.  I can’t say I don’t like not being able to understand each other, in fact I know many who would love to have the same problem.  Sometimes, it’s not very convenient though.  Unknown to me, she thought the bottle of bubble bath was a bottle of fruit punch instead.  Last week, my wife’s uncle gave us a box of sugar free Hawaiian Punch packets that you mix into individual bottles.  Since it’s sugar free, we’d been letting the girls have some.

So, the M.I.L. takes the bottle of bubble bath from the bathroom and moves it from the bathroom and into the fridge.  The liquid is water melon scented and is a fruity red color.  I can understand how she mistook it for fruit punch, because I did the same thing tonight when I was getting ready for my workout.  As I was getting me some water, I spied the bottle of fruity red liquid and thought it would be mighty tasty.  I unscrewed the lid and took a big swig.. Only to find myself running to the kitchen sink and vomiting.  It was not an enjoyable experience and just thinking about and writing about it makes my body shiver with disgust.   It is a very difficult flavor to get out of your mouth and even now, about 3 hours later I’m still tasting it.

I can say with authority that vomit tastes better than bubble bath, no matter how enticing the scents are.

After I recovered my composure, I went out to my screen room where my weights are and completed my workout.  Today is day 11 of Stronglifts, workout A:  Squat @100 lbs., Bench Press @70 lbs., reverse curls x3 sets to fail and push-ups x3 sets to fail.

The weights are really starting to feel heavy and really make make me work up a sweat.  On the bench presses, I’ve really started noticing the strength difference in my left and right shoulders.  Last summer I injured my right shoulder causing an inflamed rotater cuff.  Since October of last year, I’ve tried to let my shoulder heal and have done hardly any physical activity.  The constant pain really put me into a depression and I totally quit working out and completely fell off my diet, putting back 20 of the 48 lbs. I lost last year.  Now I’m trying to play catch up.

On bench presses and over head presses, I struggle with my right shoulder more with the lifts.  I’m hoping that I’ll be able to build my strength up more and the last remaining pain will eventually go away with some strengthening.

Tonight’s workout:

Stronglifts 5×5 day 11
Date: 2010-06-07
Repetitions: 1
kcal: 401
Weight: 265.0 lbs.
Heart Rate: 89 / 126 / 167 – bpm (min/avg/max)
Duration: 00:41:57 (HH:MM:SS)

Just Stronglifts day 10, starting week 4

Once again, I just worked on my Stronglifts.  Today is the 10th day, or the first day of week 4.  Not a lot to report, just workout B tonight.  Squats @ 95 lbs., Over head press @ 65 lbs., Dead lifts @ 130 lbs., pull-ups and prone bridges.  Pull-ups still give me trouble, and my shoulder is starting to get sore again.  I’m going to go pop some Motrin and see if that helps.

Stronglifts 5×5 day 10
Date: 2010-06-05
Repetitions: 1
kcal: 351
Weight: 265.0 lbs.
Heart Rate: 98 / 126 / 149 – bpm (min/avg/max)
Duration: 00:36:38 (HH:MM:SS)

No running, biking or walking tonight.  My treadmill doesn’t like me any more and it’s been storming like crazy today.  I hope to ride my bike tomorrow though.

Better late than never – Stronglifts

We got back from a trip early morning on the 2nd.  A short 2.5 hour nap later, I’m heading to work.  After work, I laid down to take a short nap before I worked out and ended up sleeping nearly 6 hours.  Yeah, I was tired!

We needed to get dog food and I got duped by my wife into a “quick” trip to Walmart that lasted an hour an a half..   So finally once I’m home I can finally start my much delayed workout.

I don’t really feel like making the graphs tonight, so just a copy and paste of my workout stats tonight.  Just Stronglifts and no cardio tonight.

Stronglifts 5×5 day 9
Date: 2010-06-02
Repetitions: 1
kcal: 311
Weight: 265.0 lbs.
Heart Rate: 87 / 119 / 149 – bpm (min/avg/max)
Duration: 00:38:20 (HH:MM:SS)

Yeah, if your noticing I put on some weight on my trip.  All that eating out, but I’m sure most of it is from sodium.  It’s hard to eat low sodium when your eating out nearly every meal for a week.

Do people really fall for this crap?

I received this spam email the other day. Do people really fall for this?

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Counter-terrorism Division and Cyber Crime Division
J. Edgar. Hoover Building Washington DC
Records show that you are among one of the individuals and organizations who are yet to receive their overdue payment from overseas which includes those of Lottery/Gambling, Contract and Inheritance. Through our Fraud Monitory Unit we have also noticed that over the past you have been transacting with some imposters and fraudsters who have been impersonating the likes of Prof. Soludo of the Central Bank Of Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Aziza, Anderson, Wallace Fred, none officials of Oceanic Bank, Zenith Banks, Kelvin Young of HSBC, Smith Williams, Daniel Wilson, Ibrahim Sule, Dr. Philip Morgan, Dr. Usman Shamsuddeen and some imposters claiming to be The Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Cyber Crime Division of the FBI gathered information from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICCC) formerly known as the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) of how some people have lost outrageous sums of money to these imposters. As a result of this we hereby advise you to stop communication with any one not referred to you by us.
We have negotiated with the Federal Ministry of Finance that your payment totaling 2.3million united stated dollars will be released to you via a custom pin based ATM card with a maximum withdrawal limit of Three thousand us dollars a day which is powered by Visa Card and can be used anywhere in the world were you see a Visa Card Logo on the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM). We have advised that this should be the only way a which you are to receive your payment because it’s more guaranteed, since over Fifteen billion us dollars was lost on fake cheque last year 2009.
We guarantee 100% receipt of your payment, because we have perfected everything in regards to the release of your Two million and three hundred thousand us dollars to be 100% risk free and free from any hitches as its our duty to protect citizens of the United States of America. (This is as a result of the mandate from US Government to make sure all debts owned to citizens of American which includes Inheritance, Contract, Gambling/Lottery etc are been cleared for the betterment of the current economic status of the nation and its citizens as he has always believed Our Time for Change has come because Change can happen).
Below are few list of tracking numbers you can track from FedEx website to confirm people like you who have received their payment successfully.
Name : Donny Peterson: FedEx Tracking Number: 870456747216
Name : Angela L.Johnson: FedEx Tracking Number: 870456750392
To redeem your fund you are hereby advised to contact the ATM Card Center via email for their requirement to proceed and procure your Approval of Payment Warrant and Endorsement of your ATM Release Order on your behalf which will cost you $260 only nothing more and no hidden fees as everything else has been taken cared of by the Federal Government including taxes, custom paper and clearance duty so all you will ever need to pay is $260 only.
Contact Information
Name: Nicolas Franco
Email: nicolasfranc1009@yahoo.cn
Do contact Nicolas Franco of the ATM Card Center via his contact details above and furnish him with your details as listed below:
Your full Name:
Your Address:
Home/Cell Phone:
On contacting him with your details your files would be updated and he will be sending you the payment information in which you will use in making payment of $260 via Western Union Money Transfer for the procurement of your Approval of Payment Warrant and Endorsement of your ATM Release Order. After which the delivery of your ATM card will be effected to your designated home address without any further delay, extra fee or any authority raising eyebrow.
Upon receipt of payment the delivery officer will ensure that your package is sent within 24 working hours. Because we are so sure of everything we are giving you a 100% money back guarantee if you do not receive your ATM CARD Shippment Confirmation within the next 24hrs after you have made the payment for shipping.
Once again we are so sure of you receiving your payment at no any other cost as we have taking it upon our duty to monitor everything in other to cub cyber crime that is perpetrated by those impostors.
Thanks and hope to read from you soon.
TELEPHONE: 206-666-5283
FAX: 206-666-5283
Note: Disregard any email you get from any impostors or offices claiming to be in possession of your ATM card, you are hereby advice only to be in contact with Mr. Nicolas Franco of the ATM card center who is the rightful person to deal with in regards to your payment and forward any emails you get from impostors to this office via the above fax number so we could act upon it immediately. Help stop cyber crime. So contact is office via the above fax number so we could act upon it immediately. Help stop cyber crime.