08.12.11

Coming soon…

I have it working, but I need to do a bit of a write-up before posting futher….

But I built a beehive datalogger that I would like to share.

-g

02.10.11

On the pursuit of Happyness

The past two weeks has been excellent.

I have found my happiness again.

It has been lost for some time.

I guess the clear desert air and miles in the legs can help do that to you.

That and the company of people that are positive influences in your life.

I rode hard in southern Utah over the 4 day weekend in the sun.  Perhaps not as far or as hard as some.  But enough.  Enough to feel good.  Enough to suffer some.  Enough to flow the downhill singletrack and feel connected with the desert again.

A stay with a friend and a sharing of home-brewed beer.

A long ride overgeared with the group.

Unexpected guests one night, a pleasant surprise.

A nice ride solo with a new friend.

A fun ride with the girls, that reminded me to turn off the “training” mentality and have fun – stop, turn around, do it again until you make it – stop, turn around, ride down it for a picture.  These things I haven’t done in, well, some time.

A cool, neh, cold solo ride before home and a subtle reminder to keep it under control alone.

All in all, an excellent trip.

Straight into spending some extended quality time with a friend.

Family coming to visit and having a great time, despite inclement weather.  Smiles all around with the wind howling in your face.

An invite out of the blue from a good friend to share in a special evening for his family as his cousin performs with an outstanding jazz orchestra.

And more time spent with someone I really like.

I was reminded recently of a film I really liked, “The Pursuit of Happyness”

That is the climax of the movie, when everything he has been working so very hard for works out in the end.

But what I really like in the movie, it that he is very in tune with the idea of the pursuit part:

Christopher Gardner:

It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what. How did he know that?

Truth is, I have been unhappy for a while.  Perhaps unable or unwilling to admit it.  But unhappy.

These two weeks have reopened my eyes.

Happiness is about a choice.  To be in the moment, to be content with what it brings.  And to continue to pursue it.

Outside of Chris’ situation in the film/book/real life, the stuff isn’t going to make you happy.

Your outlook is.

And my outlook has shifted.

But I would also like to point out one more thing…

When you surround yourself with others, others who are good to you, good for you and are happy.  There is definitely some symbiosis.  The happiness is shared.  There is some element of connectedness that makes it better for all who are involved.

So choose to be happy, to embrace it and to pursue it.  And choose you company wisely, for they can make it all better.

-g

01.25.11

Life is a do-over

selfPortrait

selfPortrait

Today I sit here perplexed.

My life is a do-over. That idea as a kid that whatever happened before, doesn’t count. That you can go back to the point in time where something changed that you didn’t like, and do things differently. And hopefully have a different outcome.

As some (of my few reader) know, my wife of the past 9 years and partner to me for the past 13 decided over the past 15 months or so that she no longer preferred to be married.

And all manner of planning, of sense of determination, of knowing what the future held disappeared in what felt like a moment, but in reality took months.

And aside from the sadness, the hurt and the anger, I am left with a sincere problem.

The problem of too many choices.

For over the past 8 years, I have not held, in the traditional sense, a job. Certainly I did work daily. I raised my boys, I ran my house, I elevated our nutrition and cared about all goings on domestic. I even coached some cyclists to success in my personal time.

But what that look like on a professional resume, a gaping 8 year hole of not recieving a W2?

If I came to you, would you hire me? Would I get even past your HR department’s initial screening?

So, I have to take another tact.

Look at the possibilities and were to go from here. As I mentioned to a very good friend just this past week, I desire to do something that is not merely vocation, but a marriage of vocation with avocation.

I want to do something with my life whereby I make something that adds value to this world.
I want to do something that is cognizant of the environment and courteous to it as well.
I want to do something that I have a passion for and makes me happy.

In the words of Llyod Dobler:

I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.

So, where do that lead me?

I feel there are several paths for me to chose. None of them easy, none of them clear right now. None of them that doesn’t require me to invest a significant amount of my time and resources to make happen.

And none of them can be done simultaneously. Soon, very soon, I will have to pick a path and commit.

And that is terribly frightening.

-g

09.8.10

Long time, no programming…

It has been a while since a) I have posted here (for sure) but also b) I have written a line of code…

This past weekend I had a need for something…

I have in the past found posts online (forums, craigslist etc) where there was a picture that was on flicker, but it was just a link to the static image.

Many times, I would like to expore that users other photographs.

Take for example, this picture:

Which has the following url:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4061/4656738158_3524d85dd8.jpg

If I don’t know this person, than finding the rest of their photos is difficult.

I found this great page here that describes how to move from a static photo to flickr user’s home page:

http://www.bram.us/2008/01/12/my-priceless-flickr-tip-how-to-find-the-original-flickr-photo-url-and-user-from-a-static-flickr-image-url/

But that involved a lot of cutting and pasting.

So a little code to the rescue.

I first wrote this in Javascript, but I had difficulty in posting said javascript within the wordpress template. So I rewrote the code in php and I posted it here as a stand alone page:

http://www.gregsteele.net/?page_id=61

So, if you enter the static image url of a flickr image, the above page will generate the url and provide a link to the image on flickr and allow you to browse the rest of their photostream.

I hope others find it useful.

I do.

-g

| Posted in code | 69 Comments » | Print This Post Print This Post
05.19.10

the dude abides

no #30daysofcontent

just a definition and a personal pledge:

Main Entry: abide
Pronunciation: \ə-ˈbīd\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): abode  \-ˈbōd\ or abid·ed; abid·ing
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English ābīdan, from ā-, perfective prefix + bīdan to bide; akin to Old High German ir-, perfective prefix — more at BIDE
Date: before 12th century
transitive verb
1 : to wait for : await
2 a : to endure without yielding : withstand b : to bear patiently : tolerate <cannot abide such bigots>
3 : to accept without objection <will abide your decision>

abide

Pronunciation: \ə-ˈbīd\

Function: verb

transitive verb

1 : to wait for : await

2 a : to endure without yielding : withstand : to bear patiently : tolerate

3 : to accept without objection

The dude abides.

-g

05.13.10

#30DaysOfContent Day 11

#30DaysOfContent
Day 11
Today I am at war.
The lizard brain wants to dig in, declare war, take no prisoners, kill’em all and let god sort’em out.
And my presence wants to lay down, unattach, and let it all go.  Give it all away.
To be angry, to be sad, to feel something strong about something in your life is a reflection of your attachment to it.  You’re being defined by it.
To allow events to transpire around you, to feel the associated emotions and recognize them, accept them at face value.  To experience without judgement is to be present.
But how many of us can do that?
When presented with hard choices, how many can say “This is terribly sad, but this too shall pass”?
What I have been struggling with, is very personal.
And I want to rage, I want to fight and I want, as someone said to me recently, my pound of flesh.
But I have been thinking about that.  What does that get me?  Revenge?  Vengance?  Equality?
But how would any of that bring what I desire – Inner Peace?
Can being vindictive make me happy?
Will I be a better person in the future because of it?
Will I look back on this time, and consider it a defining moment in my life and something that I am proud of?
Or will I look and see regret that I acted poorly?  That I chose self over right?
I have been working towards a theme, something that is (in my mind) makes sense… The parallels between Eastern Philosophy (be it Buddism, Confusionism or Taoism, but mostly Taoism) and what it takes to be a good brewer or even a bike racer.
If Tao is the way, “this too shall pass” is a tool to follow the path.  And it parallels RDWHAHB, which is the mantra given to any new homebrewer when asked is they should peek, or check or make adjustments along the way…
Relax, Don’t Worry, Have a Hombrew…
Or in the words of Douglas Adams:
Don’t Panic!
-g

#30DaysOfContent

Day 11

Today I am at war.

The lizard brain wants to dig in, declare war, take no prisoners, kill’em all and let god sort’em out.

And my presence wants to lay down, unattach, and let it all go.  Give it all away.

To be angry, to be sad, to feel something strong about something in your life is a reflection of your attachment to it.  You’re being defined by it.

To allow events to transpire around you, to feel the associated emotions and recognize them, accept them at face value.  To experience without judgement is to be present.

But how many of us can do that?

When presented with hard choices, how many can say “This is terribly sad, but this too shall pass”?

What I have been struggling with, is very personal.

And I want to rage, I want to fight and I want, as someone said to me recently, my pound of flesh.

But I have been thinking about that.  What does that get me?  Revenge?  Vengance?  Equality?

But how would any of that bring what I desire – Inner Peace?

Can being vindictive make me happy?

Will I be a better person in the future because of it?

Will I look back on this time, and consider it a defining moment in my life and something that I am proud of?

Or will I look and see regret that I acted poorly?  That I chose self over right?

I have been working towards a theme, something that is (in my mind) makes sense… The parallels between Eastern Philosophy (be it Buddism, Confusionism or Taoism, but mostly Taoism) and what it takes to be a good brewer or even a bike racer.

If Tao is the way, “this too shall pass” is a tool to follow the path.  And it parallels RDWHAHB, which is the mantra coined by Papazian given to any new homebrewer when asked is they should peek, or check or make adjustments along the way…

Relax, Don’t Worry, Have a Hombrew…

Or in the words of Douglas Adams*:

Don’t Panic!

-g

*and don’t forget towel day is fast approaching.

05.12.10

#30DaysOfContent Day 10

#30DaysOfContent
Day 9
Now, yesterday we delved into a bit of Utah’s weird liquor laws and how it measures our transgressions.
I started down a really (to me) interesting topic of Brettanomyces yeast.  And I still would like to go there.
But I think the 2 readers I have need a little more background before we can get to that topic and discuss in a way that will be meaningful in the end.
So let’s talk for just a moment about beer and what it really is.
If you want to know more, and/or how to make it, I really recommend reading Palmer and Papizan.
But, in a blog length and depth format, here is where beer comes from.
Barley is grown.
Harvested.
Then the grain is seperated from the stalk and it is Malted.
Malting starts when the grain is wetted, then spread in thin layers on a malting floor.
The moisture causes the grain to germinate.
As the grain starts to grow, the Acrosperm releases enzymes that convert the carbohydrates, proteins and starches of the Endosperm into more soluble components, amino acids and lipids.
When the Maltster (the person who is contolling the malt process) determines that the now Malt has reached the desired stage, the grain is dried to cease germination.  Thereby leaving accessable chemicals and enzymes for the brewer to extract by mashing.
The brewer then takes these grains, and crushes them in a controlled fashion to allow the grain out of the husk, but without destroying the husk, as it would introduce tannins and other off flavors into the beer if over-crushed.
The grain is steeped in hot water.
In this time, called mashing, the enzymes reactivate and the starches, carbohydrates and proteins go into solution of the water.
The now sugar-water is drained, rinsed (sparging) and the liquid (wort) is placed in a large pot and brought to a boil.
Then hops are added at various times during the boil for bitterness, flavor and aroma.
After a minimum of 60 minutes of boiling to sterilize the wort, it is cooled down to fermentation temperatures, placed in a carboy (fermentation chamber).
Then yeast is added (pitched) to the wort and it is sealed with an airlock.
Yeast, in the metaphor I have used to explain it to my children, eat sugar, burp CO2 and pee alcohol.
Thus after some time, you have beer.

#30DaysOfContent

Day 10

Now, yesterday we delved into a bit of Utah’s weird liquor laws and how it measures our transgressions.

I started down a really (to me) interesting topic of Brettanomyces yeast.  And I still would like to go there.

But I think the 2 readers I have need a little more background before we can get to that topic and discuss in a way that will be meaningful in the end.

So let’s talk for just a moment about beer and what it really is.

If you want to know more, and/or how to make it, I really recommend reading Palmer and Papizan.

But, in a blog length and depth format, here is where beer comes from.

Barley is grown.

Harvested.

Then the grain is separated from the stalk and it is Malted.

Malting starts when the grain is sprayed with water to make it damp, then spread in thin layers on a malting floor.

The moisture causes the grain to germinate.

As the grain starts to grow, the Acrosperm releases enzymes that convert the carbohydrates, proteins and starches of the Endosperm into more soluble components, amino acids and lipids.

When the Maltster (the person who is contolling the malt process) determines that the now Malt has reached the desired stage, the grain is dried to cease germination.  Thereby leaving accessable chemicals and enzymes for the brewer to extract by mashing.

The brewer then takes these grains, and crushes them in a controlled fashion to allow the grain out of the husk, but without destroying the husk, as it would introduce tannins and other off flavors into the beer if over-crushed.

The grain is steeped in hot water.

In this time, called mashing, the enzymes reactivate and the starches, carbohydrates and proteins go into solution of the water.

The now sugar-water is drained, rinsed (sparging) and the liquid (wort) is placed in a large pot and brought to a boil.

Then hops are added at various times during the boil for bitterness, flavor and aroma.

After a minimum of 60 minutes of boiling to sterilize the wort, it is cooled down to fermentation temperatures, placed in a carboy (fermentation chamber).

Then yeast is added (pitched) to the wort and it is sealed with an airlock.

Yeast, in the metaphor I have used to explain it to my children, eat sugar, burp CO2 and pee alcohol.

Thus after some time, you have beer.

I might spend some time going through more detail of the process soon.

-g

05.12.10

#30DaysOfContent Day 9

Well, I had day 9 in the bag.

I wrote a nice homebrew article and saved it. Went to go to beers withNeil an started itunes on an update.

Come home and it is still running (bogging everything else down – the price for 65k+ songs I guess) and I cannot post.

So iPhone post will have to do.

Ironman2 movie and beers at the bayou.

Tried EpicBrewing’s offical offerings tonight. The pale ale had Ali Goulet’s pic on the label. The Belgian was good, but hot on the alcohol. I think Monday I will get a case and lay it down.

Moved on to the Boulevard Saison Brett which was low in Brett flavor despite a 2009-2 date stamp. My comment was that my Brett Saison from Feb had more Brett flavor.

Finished off at home with a Bock Off. The bubbles of which intro a a topic for later on chaos theory.

More back in the traditional vibe tomorrow…

-g

05.11.10

Other sources of Content

While #30DaysOfContent seems to be going well, I thought I would share a list of others, who though they may not be participating in such a challenge, produce excellent CONTENT on a regular basis.

Mike See – http://lacemine29.blogspot.com/

Fantastic photography (and now videography) and a monster snowbiker.

Chiot’s Run – http://chiotsrun.com/

A great garden blog. Nice photography as well.

Dan Connely – http://djconnel.blogspot.com/

Another science/engineer/athlete dork.

Seth Goding – http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/

Some introspection.

Mad Fermentationist – http://www.themadfermentationist.com/

Great beer blog on wild and crazy styles.

Watcher – http://watchingtheworldwakeup.blogspot.com/

A great local blog with MUCH science content about the world we live in…

If you have others, I would love to hear about them.

-g

05.10.10

#30DaysOfContent Day 8

#30DaysOfContent
Day 8
Is this getting easier?  Am I hitting my stride?
Or am I running out of ideas and conversations to have with myself?
I feel the pull of a linked post.  Lots of pictures, lots of links, lots of formating and indentation calling me.
There was a post recently on the Watcher’s blog where there was a discussion of yeast.
One of my last beers I did a yeast experimentation.  I brewed a saison and bottle conditioned half the batch on the standard primary fermentation yeast strain.  The other half I inocculated with a “wild” yeast called brettanomyces.
It is a comman wild yeast in a lot of belgian beers and many american beer which try to create these beers.
I grew the brett from a bottle of Orval as they also bottle condition with this variety.
It is interesting as a yeast, since it is highly alcohol tolerant, which allows it to ferment to a lower final gravity.  Ok, I just lost all my non-brewing audience with that one, so, how about a primer?
Brewers will often talk about gravities.  You will hear phrases like “high gravity beers” as well as the measurements of OG, SG and FG.
So what does this all mean?
SG: Specific Gravity
Specific Gravity is also Relative Density, or how dense a liquid is compared to water.
OG: Original Gravity
This is the SG of the wort (pre-beer liquid) before yeast is added and fermentation begins.  It, in combination with the yeast selected (more on this another day) define how strong the beer can become.
FG: Final Gravity
This is the SG of the beer when fermentation is ended or stopped by the brewer.
Basically, to get from these measurements to something most consumers care about (and perhaps shed a little light on weird Utah liquor laws):
(OG-FG) * 105 = Alcohol By Weight or ABW
ABW * 1.25 = Alcohol By Volume or ABV
What does that have to do with Utah?  Well, most of the beer drinking world knows %alcohol in terms of ABV.  But Utah regulates it’s over the counter and draft beer by ABW.
So while it is not “full strength” beer, it isn’t terribly weak either.
Standard “6.4″ beer is 6.4% ABV.  But that is only 5.1% ABW.
Draft beer in Utah is 4% ABV or 3.2% ABW.
Is it weaker than elsewhere?   Sure, but not a huge amount.  And the reality is, unless you are dealing with mostly macro-beers, alcohol content is all over the map and varies with both brewer and style.  And even the style guidelines that beers are judged under can have a range of target alcohol that can be several percentage points.
So, what does that have to do with the wild brett and the saison?  Well I think that will have to wait for another day, but at least you know that I will be here writing tomorrow, so should be soon…..
-g

#30DaysOfContent

Day 8

Is this getting easier?  Am I hitting my stride?

Or am I running out of ideas and conversations to have with myself?

I feel the pull of a linked post.  Lots of pictures, lots of links, lots of formatting and indentation calling me.

There was a post recently on the Watcher’s blog where there was a discussion of yeast.

One of my last beers I did a yeast experimentation.  I brewed a Saison and bottle conditioned half the batch on the standard primary fermentation yeast strain.  The other half I inoculated with a “wild” yeast called brettanomyces.

It is a comman wild yeast in a lot of belgian beers and many american beer which try to create these beers.

I grew the brett from a bottle of Orval as they also bottle condition with this variety.

It is interesting as a yeast, since it is highly alcohol tolerant, which allows it to ferment to a lower final gravity.  Ok, I just lost all my non-brewing audience with that one, so, how about a primer?

Brewers will often talk about gravities.  You will hear phrases like “high gravity beers” as well as the measurements of OG, SG and FG.

So what does this all mean?

SG: Specific Gravity

Specific Gravity is also Relative Density, or how dense a liquid is compared to water.

OG: Original Gravity

This is the SG of the wort (pre-beer liquid) before yeast is added and fermentation begins.  It, in combination with the yeast selected (more on this another day) define how strong the beer can become.

FG: Final Gravity

This is the SG of the beer when fermentation is ended or stopped by the brewer.

Basically, to get from these measurements to something most consumers care about (and perhaps shed a little light on weird Utah liquor laws):

(OG-FG) * 105 = Alcohol By Weight or ABW

ABW * 1.25 = Alcohol By Volume or ABV

What does that have to do with Utah?  Well, most of the beer drinking world knows %alcohol in terms of ABV.  But Utah regulates it’s over the counter and draft beer by ABW.

So while it is not “full strength” beer, it isn’t terribly weak either.

Standard “6.4″ beer is 6.4% ABV.  But that is only 5.1% ABW.

Draft beer in Utah is 4% ABV or 3.2% ABW.

Is it weaker than elsewhere?   Sure, but not a huge amount.  And the reality is, unless you are dealing with mostly macro-beers, alcohol content is all over the map and varies with both brewer and style.  And even the style guidelines that beers are judged under can have a range of target alcohol that can be several percentage points.

So, what does that have to do with the wild brett and the saison?  Well I ran down the rabbit hole and think that will have to wait for another day, but at least you know that I will be here writing tomorrow, so won’t be long…..

-g