Streaming sticks/boxes, etc.

I won’t say I’ve tried them all, but I’ve tried more of them than most people. As usual, there is a back story and a lot of history as I am usually an early adopter. Here are my streaming platforms in the order that I purchased/used them and my overall impression. I’ll end with some musings on where all this is going. Continue reading “Streaming sticks/boxes, etc.”

SlingTV, the first few months

Screenshot from 2015-03-18 07:55:42I was psyched when I heard about SlingTV. I had actually used a Slingbox a few years ago to watch content off my Tivo from hotel rooms. This was before Netflix had a great library or Amazon had dabbled in content and the only option seemed to be iTunes … I actually watched half of the first season of “24” on an iPod classic (ya, the one with the 2.5” screen) … how the days have changed.
Here’s the back story. I moved from a city with Charter cable in August of last year to a rural location in New Mexico. I’m lucky to have 12Mbps DSL, via CenturyLink, for streaming and I also put an HD antenna on my house to pick up over-the-air broadcast networks. Not part of this post, but I also have a 4/2 wireless ISP connection, via Higher Speed Internet, as the DSL upstream isn’t robust enough for me to work from home. Continue reading “SlingTV, the first few months”

Back to blogging (?)

Screenshot from 2015-03-17 08:23:51It seems like every few years I get the itch to write a few posts. Maybe I will keep it up, maybe I will not. It’s been a tough year with a lot of changes, that’s no excuse.  But for now, I do have a few ideas to blog about. Expect a few updates in the next few weeks regarding my move experience with the worst company in the world, maybe some tech updates, maybe some brewing updates, maybe some riding updates…..(now in New Mexico)
I updated my WordPress site this morning with no hick ups and will be dabbling in the new editor for my first post in years (actually the second now that I just posted this) … about SlingTV.

Cherry Melomel … sort of

I had some old left over honey from a group brew of medium sweet mead several years ago.  It had crystallized and darkened somewhat, but still had a very pleasant smell and flavor.
I was bored and wondering what I could do to use the honey so I can give the giant honey containers that I have to my father to fill with fresh honey from his hives.
I kicked around some ideas and just decided to wing it with a kitchen sink of stuff and hope for the best.
I went to the grocery store and shopped around for some concentrate or juice that had no preservatives, was not too expensive, and sounded good in a mead/wine as I had some wine yeast left over from my Perry. Continue reading “Cherry Melomel … sort of”

Big Benny's DryPA – single hop (Centennial) IPA

I brewed again this weekend trying to build up my stock after the three year hiatus. I started with the Dead Ringer IPA recipe from Northern Brewer, but went a bit higher on malt color and extract amount. The name is from the single hop that I used with a bit of a stretch (Centennial = 100, Benjamin Franklin on $100) and I’m dry hopping as well as using a well attenuating yeast (Safale US-05), of which I pitched two packets.
I’m fermenting in a 7.5gal carboy and will rack after a week into a 5gal carboy for a two or three week secondary before bottling. Continue reading “Big Benny's DryPA – single hop (Centennial) IPA”

Rebrewing … getting back into the hobby

You may have read my post regarding a Perry and read that I’m going to start brewing again. Here’s the long story and my next steps.
Due to my wife’s job(s), we have had to relocate three times in three years.  We were living in Blacksburg, VA for 4 years.  I had an awesome brewing setup.  I had an entire basic kitchen in my basement along with a double miller sink (stove, fridge, kitchen sink, cabinets, drawers, and the double miller sink) as well as a great cellar for fermenting and even lagering in the winter months. When we had to pack up and move to Raleigh, NC all the brewing gear got shoved in a shed or closet where we lived.
Since I know that was a short term arrangement, I never got around to brewing. Likewise a year later when we moved to Ithaca, NY; where we only lived for 10 months. Continue reading “Rebrewing … getting back into the hobby”

What to do with all these pears … Make a Perry (and some preserves)!

We have a pear tree. No idea what variety, but they are hard pears and were turning yellow and rotting in the center so we decided they were ripe enough to harvest. We ended up with about 35 lbs. of pears. I did some searching online and I think we have Green Anjou, but we can’t really be certain.
My wife, Stacie, picked the really nice looking ones and is packing them in saw dust to soften so she can eat them (pears are her favorite fruit). I took the middle of the crop and made pear preserves with a very light syrup. This was challenging as there were lots of bad spots that were found once I pealed the pears so some of the medium sized pears were the size of walnut halves once peeled, cored, and the bad spots cut off.
I took the remainder of the pears and made a pear wine, which even though it’s technically not a Perry, (which is either a pear mead or a sparkling pear fermented pear juice and mine (recipe below) has a lot of added water and table sugar), I’m going to call it that as it has a nice ring to it. Continue reading “What to do with all these pears … Make a Perry (and some preserves)!”

Trail riding in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park

I’m going to document our trail rides in and around the Great Smoky Mountain National Park because I’ve found very little useful or helpful information online.  Hopefully, someone who is interested may search for information like this and come across my descriptions and find them helpful for their own planning or to get ideas.  If you come across this and know of other sites, please let me know and I will link to them so as a group we can improve the knowledge of horse access in and around the GSMNP. Likewise, if you would like to post your own trail rides, I can take your information and write it up or I can allow you to create your own.  If there is enough interest, I can even get a new domain and create a trail riding forum/blog with additional features. I’ve added a category and a some tags for Trail Riding (and GSMNP), which you can see at the bottom of this post.  I’ll try to post our trail rides at least monthly as we tend to go once or twice per month.
We recently moved to Tennessee and now live within 20 minutes of the Tremont area of the GSMNP.  We have our own horses and trailer and these ride descriptions will be geared towards similar people.   Continue reading “Trail riding in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park”

It's not the GPS that is the problem, it's the stoopid.

There was yet another story about some people who died a horrible tragic death because they used a GPS.  I know it’s a tragedy and shouldn’t happen, but it’s not the GPS, it’s the (stupid) people.
I’ve heard of a couple who were lost 7 weeks after taking a logging road in the Pacific Northwest on their way to Vegas (one of whom died), this family in Death Valley, a group of SUVs getting lost in Utah, I remember a bus that tried to go through a tunnel that it didn’t fit through, a man who drove a bus into a lake, and another lake story, I’ve heard Park Rangers tell of getting calls from cell phones where someone asks how to hike out of where they are lost using a GPS, and many many others.  All usually blamed on the GPS.
Every one of these stories seems to “blame” the GPS, in fact this story calls it “Death by GPS.” As harsh as this seems it’s actually the “STUPID” that is the issue (so the story should be re-titled “Death by STOOPID”).
Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a gadget guy and I love my gadgets. I had an early version of the hand held Garmin GPS which was marketed to hikers, campers, and the like. I have an in-dash GPS in my car, my wife has the ubiquitous GPS suction cupped to her windshield, both our phones have Google Maps with turn-by-turn instructions (walking, public transportation, and of course driving). Continue reading “It's not the GPS that is the problem, it's the stoopid.”

New safe guidelines for pork doneness #USDA

Apparently, I’m a month or two slow on the uptake, but last night as I was prepping the grill to gill a pork tenderloin my wife, Stacie, mentioned that the USDA had recently updated their minimum safe temperature for pork down from 160°F to 145°F.  I can’t explain just how happy this makes me.
For years, ever since a spectular dinner at The Pink House in Savannah, GA, I’ve been “underdoing” my pork.  The dish I had at The Pink House was a medium rare pork loin dish with a disclaimer on the menu that the USDA does not recommending pork cooked to a medium-rare doneness.  I ate it, I didn’t get sick, and I’ve been doing it that way since then.
My dinner guests often scoff and ask for the “done” pieces of a loin and I have gotten away with hogging (pun intended) all the pink pieces.