Monday, December 08, 2008

A late evening's walk home.

Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
The other night, after a long evening with too many cocktails, I decided to walk home. It was about 9pm and pretty cold, but I had liquid courage to help me along the route. I also stopped in a Pearl Specialties and picked up a great Nub cigar for the trip. While I was buying it, the owner came out and gave me a signed baseball cap from Nub. How cool is that? I must have exuded the need for a new cap.

The walk was pretty uneventful, yet with the night sky and crisp air, I couldn't resist trying to take some photos. This one i tried to steady the camera to minimize bluriness. I think I was 88% successful.

I have been walking home almost every evening for the last week. Wednesday night's aren't that conducive for walking since I have Beer judging class in SE at 7pm and need to get home, change and head back out. Yes, in a perfect world, I would adjust my schedule to go to the class directly from work, but getting home from SE Powell to North at 10pm is challenging, so I drive.

What has been going on? Hmm. Well, Anna is studying in Philly, so I have been traveling out there pretty often to visit. We enjoy our time together and do some touristy things, but mostly it is us time and not much else. So excited she is coming home in a week. The holidays would be challenging apart. Oh, and Phoebe will be home too - all three dogs together again for 3+ weeks. Woo hoo!

I'm working on a new storyline for a book. Not gonna divulge it here until I get something more concrete down on paper. Well, not exactly paper, but you know what I mean. I am developing the opening and some characters - specifically the bad guy and his badness. It is pretty fun, but it shows me I have some things to learn about writing. A friend suggested taking some classes and I think I will do just that. It can only help.

The holidays are here and I find it funny that 10 years ago, all families involved would fight over who got the adult kids for Christmas eve or Christmas day - whereas now, everyone goes out of their way to schedule the family Christmas on a day other than Christmas. In the end, it works out great for us because we get Christmas to ourselves. Makes for other busy weekends, but well, that's the rub isn't it?


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Crazy Philadelphia

Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
We went to the 4th of July Celebrate America parade in downtown Philadelphia on Friday. What a crazy environment. They shut down a primary artery in downtown- Ben Franklin Parkway and setup vendors and music and activities for everyone. It was free and somewhat free of hassles. In Portland, anytime you go to a public event, you get searched and prodded and your water bottle taken. Here, while there were police everywhere, it wasn't a situation where I felt like the man was keeping me from having fun. We walked around a lot amongst probably 100,000 people. Honestly, the crowd felt a little light, but as the day went on, it grew and grew.
The parade was a typical 4th of July parade. Not a small town parade, but not a big float one either. There were a couple of marching bands and dance troupes and floats with Miss Philadelphia and the local municipal workers. One thing we were not prepared for were the insane costumes and the string bands. Yep, whole marching bands with banjos and the like. Did i mention the crazy over the top costumes? Most of the day, we were joking and commenting that we hadn't seen too many tattoos nor tall bikes or anything that would be commonplace in Portland. And then the parade came and we saw Philly's alternative scene. They love the crazy outfits.

Oh, and I didn't plan this photo. It happened that way.

Victory Brewing PA

Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
Yup, another microbrew under my belt. We ventured out to Downingtown, PA to visit the famed Victory Brewing. Victory knows what HOPS are and uses them well. They have a few beers that showcase that HOPS are their bitch - The Hop Wallop, HopDevil and WildDevil. Wow, all the beers were amazing.

Thank you Victory

Friday, July 04, 2008

Why not - only 30 minutes away

Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
Flew into Newark this morning on my way to Philadelphia. Yeah, I know, Newark isn't Philly - I was trying to save money....

Once I arrived, I realized how close I was to Yankee Stadium. Yankee Stadium is in its last year of use and will be torn down. I'm a Yankees fan, so I had to actually see the stadium before I died...I know, a little dramatic. Deal!

So I ventured north @ 6am and saw the stadium. Woo hoooo.

There you go. Now I'm in Philly and we're relaxing after hella amazing sushi.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I built this

Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
This is what keeps me busy on the weekends when Anna is away. The plan is to have this Pergola be the centerpiece of a revamped yard. Maybe we'll have you over for a bbq in August when we get it all cleaned up.

Ok, now off to mow down the morning glory.

and pick slivers out of my palm.

and pick raspberries.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I think I'll name him Deery

Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
Yeah, when we get around wild animals, they get funny names like Deery, Elky, Squirrelman, Birdy, Wolfie etc. This lovely fella came and hung with us at Wallowa Lake in far eastern Oregon last weekend. Anna was in town and we were out there relaxing for a few days for our friend's wedding. Upon my return, I referred to it as a weekend of drunken debauchery. Not necessarily Anna and I, but....

Honestly, we had a blast. The trip started off a little stressful with Anna arriving late Friday night and the need to leave around 5:30am Saturday morning for what we were told would be a 7hr drive. It turned out to be only 6, so we arrived around noon only to find out they wouldn't let us check in to the cabin until 3. That sucked because we needed to change into wedding clothes and the wedding was @ 2pm. I hate you Wallowa Lake Resort - you have no compassion. When we asked if there was a place to change, they recommended the toilets at the state park. ugh. We planned on just driving out of the crowded zone to the woods when we came upon the hall that was hosting the reception. Luckily it was open and we were able to change and prep there in time for the wedding. Crisis averted.
The rest of the weekend was a blur for many. Terminal Gravity was the beer of choice along with plenty of other distractions. We spent a lot of time in the trees right by the lake which was stunningly relaxing. I loved spending time with Anna and our friends - even some new ones we met that weekend.
On the way home, we chatted about maybe looking into property we could call a vacation spot. I'm not sure I want something where all the families go with their gaggle of kids and SUVs, nor something that is 7hrs drive away. I'm thinking 150 miles from Portland would be the limit. Anyone got any ideas where I might find some cheap land?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Walking home through SE Portland

Sorry for the last of photos on these entries. I'm usually out there snapping away when I walk. I just haven't the last few days. Not sure why. It may be that I am passing items I have already seen or snapped, so I just enjoy it in my mind's camera.
The last three nights have been a little blurry. I have been out with friends each and every evening. I got caught up with Tomas @ Roux. Had beers with John @ Green Dragon and cocktails with Meghann and Montia and friends at Bonfire in SE. Each time, I walked either too or from the location and experienced all that Portland had to offer. Last night was cool. It was about 11 and I was around 28th and SE Stark. Now that was a walk. Instead of staying on the main streets, I wandered through neighborhood and such. SE Portland is alive! Wow. And you know what? There are bikes everywhere. This city really needs to get its ass in gear and put up some more bike parking. At some of the bars, bikes are not even locked to anything, just to themselves because there isn't anything left to lock to. You can't get a kryptonite lock around a tree. I just feel that the city is thinking this may be a phase, but its not. I did see some new bike racks up by SouthPark downtown that they were installing. It will be cool when people go out to the symphony on their bikes and the Schnitz will be forced to accomodate them for the business.

We're doing a bike afternoon here in Portland. It started out as a couple of guys gonna bike and beer, but I think it may turn into something a little more. No naked riding, but I think we may have more fun than we think. I know I have been soo excited to get back on my bike and get out there. I even bought a new saddle for it.

Today's list of to do's first:
  • eat breakfast - done
  • drink iced coffee - in progress
  • put clean laundry away
  • clean up bedroom/bath
  • install new drip water system for garden pots
  • hit rebuilding center to get some lumber for pergola
  • work on cleaning up backyard for Anna's visit next week
  • have fun and enjoy the sun
I won't try and do all of that, but lists keep me from sitting in front of the TV. Have I told you I haven't watched much TV this week? Maybe 2 hrs. Kinda crazy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A social life....

Wow, it has now been a month since I left Bryn Mawr PA and Anna for the drive back to PDX. I'll say it right now- I miss her bunches. She's my best friend and my conversation partner. I'm glad we have all those rollover minutes because when she gets me on the phone, we don't stop talking. At the end of the conversation, my ear is all sweaty..ewwe.
Back in Portland, it seems to be an endless social activity train. Seriously. The day after I returned I went to a show and then the next evening was beers with a friend and then it was movie night and then another show and then beers with a friend and then a night out to a book reading and then...... you get the picture. I don't know if this is just the cyclical activity of live - everything happening at once - or if I am now just trying to find activities to keep me from being lonely. Heck, I loved sitting in the evening watching TV and I still haven't watched the last two episodes of LOST. Wow!
I have been walking. Not as much as I would like and my belly keeps telling me so. I'm no where near as out of shape as I think I am, but I know I could do better. Pete, my across America driving buddy, said he would take me rock climbing, but I had to prove I could handle it. Chris, a longtime friend is always looking for a running buddy. I want to do both those things. I just have to put my mind to it I guess. I have the time! :) See, that's what's weird. For the past 12 years, I had a schedule to keep. It was more subconcious than anything and it wasn't rigid, but it was a schedule. Now I realize I don't have that schedule anymore and it freaks me out. It's been a month of fun, now I should buckle down and accomplish something with all that free time. Heck, maybe I'll work on those 6pack abs I've been thinking about.....uh not.
So, check back often. I plan on writing more and more here. Oh, and go for a walk.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tales from the Road - a new blog

As you proly know, Anna is heading to PA soon for school. We're taking the trip across the nation in our silver Jetta. We'll document the journey on a new blog. Come on over and join in the fun:

Tales from the Road

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A nice evening walk home...

Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
Ventured over to the Green Dragon to wax poetic about work with some friends on Thursday afternoon and suddenly it was 7pm and I had to head home. Anna offered to come pick me up, but I really wanted to walk. There was something in the air and I knew I had to walk off those few beers somehow. I put in my headphones and turned on a podcast, lit my cigar (an oily bitch) and headed home.

Normally, I get a little annoyed by SE Portland because there isn't a direct North/South route via public transportation. You have to head into downtown to pick something up. Since I was walking, I had some choices to make. Side streets? Main streets? Head back downtown and do the normal route? I ended up walking over to MLK and taking it all the way up to Skidmore. All the way, the sun setting to darkness. What a great opportunity to take some photos.

As I got to MLK off Morrison, I realized the amazingness of the night sky, so I snapped a couple of photos of the gas station there. They didn't turn out too good, but it gave me the idea to document the entire walk with photos of signs and stuff. I then started snapping away. I have one of those point and shoot cameras that I really don't know how to use. With the flash off in low light, it gets a little blurry, so I had to experiment.


Then, I started seeing the interesting stuff that I always see when I walk around Portland. Not sure if others think it is interesting, but damnit, I do!


And my favorite of the night:

04 10 2008

In the end, I didn't get home until after 9pm. Not normal, but the whole time, I loved every minute of the walk. Even after getting home, I wasn't tired. The next morning, I got up and headed to work. Other than being the first nice day of the year, I had a different feeling. Something had changed and I have a new outlook. Was it the walk? Was it the sun? I smiled at everything and everyone and they smiled back.

I love Portland!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Because I love America!

Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
Wow, what a day. We ventured into Philadelphia to have some crazy tourist fun. I figure that I'm a big guy, so I can look like a tourist and be pretty safe. Adding in the map in one hand and the camera in another is a great idea.

We started off with Eastern State Penitentiary. We have been to Alcatraz, so thought this would be similar. It was, but different. We were able to wander around ourselves with an audio guided tour. This place, built in 1817 or so was a model prison for the future of penology. I love saying and writing penology. The prison is a wagon wheel design and its purpose was to keep the prisoners isolated completely. No common areas or anything. The cells did have an outdoor area, but it was walled off for each cell. Wow. Oh, and this prison was around until 1971.

Then it was off to Independence Mall and the birthplace of AMERICA. We were able to see the Liberty Bell, but not the constitution. Independence hall had already given out all the tickets for the day. We could have done a free tour at 4pm, but were already at Triumph brewing down the street @ 4. And yes, Triumph Brewing was excellent.

Triumph Brewing surprised me. It was a little upscale in the decor, making me wonder about their beer. Well, after the first taste, I realized this was the shit. They know what they are doing. We did the sampler tray which gave us a great view into the brewer's mind. My faves were the Amber and the IPA. I ended up having an IPA in a larger glass. Anna had the Amber. I will go back to Triumph if I can.

After Triumph, we ventured to a Belgian beer basement where we had a couple of other beers and some fondue - both cheese and chocolate. Wow, everything there was amazing.

While @ the Belgian place, we looked up BSG on our phones trying to find a locale in Phili to watch it. We found a place in North Phili and took off. The drive was fun and we were able to see another part of Philly that we wouldn't normally see. When we arrived to the location - Whitman Tavern - we were early, so ventured over to Petco to look at the snakes, insects, rats, hammies and birds. It was wierd, but fun. When we got back to the "event," we spoke with the organizer and discovered that this was not a BSG event. We had happened upon his blog which implied a BSG connection, but there wasn't any. Oh well, chalk it up to experience.

So, in the end, we ended up back in King of Prussia chillin with our $10 Heiniken.

nighty night.

Going to jail

Going to jail
Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
gonna go check out the eastern pennsylvania penitentary here in a few minutes. we're having a cup of joe first at a coffee shop across the street mugshotscoffeehouse. we got anna an apt yesterday. so we're free tourists today and tomorrow. gonna go see where amerika was born.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Phili day 1

Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
Got here late last night and are staying in King of Prussia, PA. I love that I'm staying in a city with a three word name. Our first day actually started pretty early as we arrived after 1 and didn't get to bed until around 3am. We've been a little tired most of the day, but the day ended up being a success. We visited Villanova first thing and checked out the campus. Wow, they are uber catholic. There is a crucifix everywhere.
After meeting with advisors and then a small quick tour, we went to check out our first apartment. I honestly was concerned because we only had one apartment visit setup and I'm a shopper. Well, after being turned around a little, we found the place and were immediately sold. It is indeed expensive, but perfect for a non-car-driving Villanova student. Wooo hoooo. We secured it and were done with our chores early. Our early evening entailed meeting other Villanova nursing students and learning about the program Anna will be attending next month. All in all, a great day...

And then we wanted a beer. Next to our hotel was a Hooters. It was simple, so we ventured in. First off, terrible service. Secondly, the food was icky. Lastly, no microbrew. But there was an upside. They didn't charge us for 2 $4.50 Sam Adams. Now that's a deal.

But wait. We still wanted a beer for the hotel. Did you know that in Pennsylvania, you can only buy beer from either a beer outlet or a restaurant. No beer sales in stores. So I asked the concierge at the hotel where I could get some beer and 1/2 hr later, I paid $21 for a sixpack of Heinekin and a sixpack of Yingling's. And the best part? I got them at CHILI's.

Where the fuck am I?

Friday, March 21, 2008

I love you!

I'm sitting here in our office doing the morning ritual of drinking some coffee, reading the news, checking email and twittering when I sat back and realized...

It is our 10th wedding anniversary!

I sat there for a moment in reflection about the past 10 years of love, affection, friendship, adventure and well love. I have a big old grin on my face from ear to ear.

I love you Anna and look forward to the next 10 years.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I bottled some beer last week

02 19 2008
Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
Along with the occasional drinking of the beer, I like to take fresh beer and spray it all over the kitchen and my body. It is a cleansing ritual of sorts. No seriously, last week, I bottled our beer and make a humongous mess. After like the 10th spill, I just laughed and grabbed yet another beach towel to sop up the mess. All in all, I would say we lost maybe 1/2 gallon of brew. Not bad. In some ways, I'm glad it happened that way. Now I know to head back to the brew supply and find the proper tools for bottling.

We ended up with about 10 22oz bottles, 1 1 liter, 1 50oz bottle, and about 1 case of 12oz bottles. They are in the basement bottle fermenting. We'll have a little get together the first weekend of March to check out the end result.

Now to decide on a new brew for March/April.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Walmart @ 6am in Chehalis

Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
Coulda bought a gun! Seriously!

The other 'Couve

vancouver bc
Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
So yeah, I'm here in the other Couve - the one farther north. I had the opportunity to head up here with a new friend Wayan and we're sitting in a restaurant playing with OLPCs. Pretty cool seeing a bunch of geeks get giddy about a laptop built for children. Oh, and the sun came out.

Not sure what will transpire between now and Monday. Will keep you posted.

oh, and we've already hit 2 microbreweries. too bad there aren't many more.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

the Brewing of the Beer

Ahh, summer of 1992. Remember those wonderful days of our youth? If you weren't born yet, I feel strange about you reading my blog..... Well, in the summer of 1992, just after graduating from Linfield, I decided I wanted to make homebrew beer. I visited Powells and picked up a book and set out to acquire the items needed to brew beer. The funny part was that my dad laughed at all the equipment relaying stories that he used to brew beer in the bathtub. What was wrong with the bathtub?....he would ask....


Fast forward to 2008 and Mikey, Anna and I are brewing some beer. Mike and I visited Steinbarts for the ingredients and lo and behold, beer was being brewed. Granted, we started with a beer at the Green Dragon, then wings at Fire on the Mountain and oh yeah, a pitcher of Amnesia. Who says you shouldn't dring when brewing?

The simple steps are as follows:
  • 2 gallons of water heated to 150 deg.
  • 1/2 lb of Victory malt and 1/2 lb of Crystal malt cracked.
  • Grains in water for 10-15 min.
  • Remove grains (we had a mesh bag to facilitate this.)
  • Add in Malt Extract (gooey stuff) and bring to a boil.
  • Stir Stir Stir.
  • Boil for an hour with 1 oz of Amarillo hops.
  • After boil, cool WORT to 75 deg.
  • Mix WORT with 3 gallons of clean water in a bucket.
  • When temperature is around 75 deg, transfer to CARBOY - straing out hops while pouring through fresh hops.
  • Add Yeast!
  • Store in dark, yet moderately warm space. In the winter it should stay above 65, but no higher than 75 deg.
  • Attach fermentation plug and hose and leave for a couple of days.
Those are broad strokes on the process. There are many more steps in the process even I don't know. I guess we're making an Extract Ale similar to what a Sierra Nevada would be like. We succeeded in getting the WORT boiled and strained into the Carboy. Only one minor spill. We added the initial yeast and moved the carboy to the basement to vent off. After a day, nothing was happening, so I asked a brewer and it was suggested that the yeast may have been bad. We added more yeast.
One day later, still no activity. I asked another brewer and he suggested that the basement may be too cool for the yeast. After moving the carboy upstairs, it just took off and began spewing the goop that happens when beer ferments. What a joy to see your little baby spitting off gas.

So, here we are. The beer is actively fermenting in a bedroom closet. We need to get and clean bottles and begin planning for batch 2. So So exciting.

mikey stir


Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I did pretty well last week even though it was hella cold. I gave up on Thursday afternoon before crossing the Steel Bridge. The cold biting wind on my face was just too much. I did walk yesterday and my route took me across the Broadway bridge and up Interstate to N. Mississippi. I had to stop by Widmer for a happy hour beer. I tried to pull in others via Twitter and text messaging, but no one was available. I did learn this. Even though the 23oz glass of brew is only $3, it isn't necessarily what one should order. Unless you drink it fast, it warms up before you can finish. Next time I'll order the pints.

When I walk, I think. I usually put together lists in my head. Some of those lists come to fruition, others not. Yesterday, my list was about beer. Tinymeat wants to brew some beer and so do I, I I have been thinking about what equipment I still have. When I got home, I grabbed the homebrew book and began putting together a list.


As you can see, I have many of the items listed. What is crazy is that most of it was stored in a big pot in the basement along with some 3 and 5lb bags of malt, some hop pellets, a thing of yeast (that should have been refrigerated...,) and sugar. Now, I don't know how much of this is salvagable, but the equipment will still work just fine. The pot has some surface rust which may or may not doom it to the scrap bin. I'll have to figure that one out. Also, I have some hose, but none of it is the length I require. So, we'll need to do some shopping at some point. 15 years ago when I brewed last, the only resource for beer making equipment was FH Steinbarts which was pretty darn spendy. Now luckily we have places like Home Depot. Still, we'll have to hit up Steinbarts for the ingredients at least.

So, we're off and running I guess. A friend has bottles and I have space in the basement to store beer while it ferments, albeit with the cats. Soon, we'll have a beer tasting party somewhere.

Next up, an outbuilding to store the still......

Some of the stuff I found:
beer suppliesDSCN7663DSCN7662

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

The bridge.......again

Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
Where were you at 2am Sunday morning? How about 2am this morning? Wow, what a weekend. I have to say that one of the best moments of the weekend was walking around downtown at 2am Sunday morning. Yeah, it was a little cold and a bit damp, but the city was quiet and enchanting. We were downtown to see a show at Dantes and then needed to head over to NE to pick up my friend's van and find him a hotel for the night, so we walked. The Burnside Bridge was closed even to bike and food traffic and MAX was long shut down, so we ventured down to the waterfront and across the Steel bridge. We even caught it when a freight train was rolling across. So cool, so loud.

When I say we, I mean Mr. WizardBoots and I. See, the weekend started with a walk home from work and then an evening out with Spindrift, one of the bands we like. They were playing at East End. An internet friend of Anna's - Wizard Boots - came to Portland to see the band. We hit it off and became fast friends, so Saturday, after waking and coffeeing, I took him out to show him Portland. I love doing that. We hit up Rocky Butte, Pittock Mansion, Hawthorne and Bridgeport Brewing. He and I then went downtown on Saturday night to see a band named Hello Lobster - devo-ish. We missed most of their set due to a misunderstanding and going to the wrong venue. That's what you get when you have a few beers on an empty stomach.

Sunday was quieter, but not as quiet as you would expect. Wizard Boots came over for dinner and then he Anna and I went to Revolver Studios to catch Spindrift again in a small private show. The studio is owned and operated by our friend Colin and his partner, so they wanted to do a grand opening in style. There were about 100 people there once the band started, but it was a school night for many, so the crowd thinned as they played. I would say about 60 people were left when the band finished. They performed a great set that had people dancing, swaying and clapping excitedly. Oh, and to listen to a band perform with just their amps and a powered mic is way cool. Like I said- intimate.

Two busy days and three late nights has me a little raw and tired. Not hungover or sick, just worn out a bit. I feel I lived like a rawk star a little this weekend and I love it.

some more photos of the weekend

Despair in the Westerner Hotel

Ok, I guess I had a couple of beers.

We learned chess on the fly.

the fog. times like this is when I want to learn photography.