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Mike Macgirvin


  from Diary and Other Rantings
Finally found one decent beer on this side of the world. It's manufactured in Gippsland, Australia (think that's close to Melbourne)  and is called appropriately enough 'Moonshine' Dark Scotch Ale. It's a high gravity malt beverage resembling barley wine. If you've ever had Sierra Nevada 'Bigfoot', that's what this is like. Except Bigfoot is something like $13.00 for a pack of little teeny-weeny bottles - and I thought they were gouging. This stuff runs $35 a sixer. Oh well, beggars can't be choosers. It doesn't taste quite as smooth as my own brew, but at least it's something I can pick up at Dan Murphy's when I get desperate. I don't have a lot of other choices when it comes to wicked good beer.

  last edited: Tue, 27 Nov 2007 22:58:05 +1100  from Diary and Other Rantings
Nothing spectacular today. Well, ok - there was that head-on collision at the top of MacQuarie Pass this morning. Guess that counts for something. Glad it wasn't me.

Dug into the mysteries of 'udev', or why your Linux box can't seem to use 'eth0' ever again with another hardware address, insisting on eth1, eth2, etc... Well in fact it can re-use eth0, but you've got to find the file (/etc/udev/rules.d/z25_persistent-net.rules) where they store the MAC addresses of every adapter that ever gets plugged in and fix it. It's not exactly something that comes up on a web search for re-configuring net adapters under Linux. You kinda' haveta' figure out that 'udev' is the culprit and track it down from there.

Worked a bit more on this website. Lots of under the covers changes that will make a lot of people happy. But I'll let them figure it out.

Now I'm settling down to a homebrew. It's done. It's not the best I've ever cooked up, but considering what I've got to work with - it's absolutely the best beer (the first decent one) I've had in this country. It'll do (quite nicely). I've got 5 cases to go through before I have to make some more - and I can only drink a couple bottles at a time before the walls start spinning. So this should last a month or two.

It cost me about $15-20 a case all told. Over time I should be able to make it better and drop the cost to about $5/case. If you consider that anything better than toilet-water beer costs $50-$60 a case - and lasts about a week, it's a pretty fair savings overall. Should be able to trim my monthly beer budget at least in half, and not have to drink the disgusting swill that sells as 'premium' beer here.
Brewing Day

  from Diary and Other Rantings
Sunday morning, and it's brewing day today. I'm starting to run out of my last batch of homebrew, and I'm not happy paying about $60 for a case of commercial beer (that I don't really care for). Anyway, I found another little brewing supply house in Albion Park; and I'm all set up to cook up a batch of my flagship brew  - Förnikatör. It's been a couple of years since I made a batch of the good stuff.

Well, actually I'm doing the poor man's version today - with extract instead of a full mash. Just like I did in my early twenties before I discovered the fine art of mashing. The extract version runs about $15/case. I'll cook up the full on version maybe next time around. Turns out the road services here won't deliver a 25kg (~ 50 lb) sack of malt - and nobody around here will sell one. So it looks like I'll have to get a sack split in half and sent in from Sydney in two separate shipments. That runs up the cost a little bit, but it works out to about $8/case. However that still works out as a good value; especially for Förnikatör - the absolute best beer on earth.
The Student Lounge

  last edited: Thu, 18 Oct 2007 12:14:24 +1000  from Diary and Other Rantings
Somebody broke a water pipe in our building, so I trudged across campus for a cup of coffee this morning. Ended up at the student lounge. Now the lounge has a cafeteria, and a large stage (with an impressive sound system) where all manner of folks get up and play music.

I got in line next to the espresso machine, which oddly wasn't staffed - even though it's still morning. It was a rather long line though. What are all these people buying? Scones?

Nope. Beer. They've got beer taps with about fifteen handles. All pumping wildly at 11AM. This is something you don't see in the states. People buying shots of tequila and schooners of beer before afternoon exams - and all apparently sanctioned by the university.

Interesting. I made a note of this; however it is unlikely I'll be spending a lot of time over there in the early mornings as the students are doing. If only because I didn't really care for the beer selection...
Lost in Translation

  from Diary and Other Rantings
BELGRADE, Serbia (Reuters) -- A 23-year old Serb was found dead and half-eaten in the bear cage of Belgrade Zoo at the weekend during the annual beer festival.

The man was found naked, with his clothes lying intact inside the cage. Two adult bears, Masha and Misha, had dragged the body to their feeding corner and reacted angrily when keepers tried to recover it.

"There's a good chance he was drunk or drugged. Only an idiot would jump into the bear cage," zoo director Vuk Bojovic told Reuters.

Local media reported that police found several mobile phones inside the cage, as well as bricks, stones and beer cans.
99 bottles of beer on the wall

  from Diary and Other Rantings
I just opened up an old box in the garage and found the very last bottle of Förnikatör, probably from my very first batch - 15 years ago. Such a waste not to share it, but I couldn't let this discovery go without popping the top. Damn this stuff is wicked. Time to lock down the keyboard for the night - so I don't type something I'll later regret.
I still have a bottle, Mike. Are you telling me I shouldn't let it sit around much longer? Or should I put it up on craig'slist?
I believe your bottle is about 10 years old. Best to drink it. Beer doesn't improve with age like wine. If it's any consolation, I'm now working on a 1994 Sam Adams Triple Bock that was in the same box. Tastes like soy sauce and motor oil. The Förnikatör was far from its peak, but it was still 100 times better than the Sam Adams.
The church of cosmic trips

  from Diary and Other Rantings
The Supreme Court ruled that it is OK for members of a small church in New Mexico to consume N,N-dimethyltryptamine - otherwise known as DMT. The devout followers insist that this allows them to connect with their deity. No doubt... DMT is one of the most powerful hallucinogens on the planet.

OK, so let's say that this information makes you choose to join the O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal community. Did you know that you can cook it up in your kitchen? It only requires a few things. A special type of lawn clippings, a bit of lye, some lemon juice and some Coleman lighter fluid. The complete recipe is right here...