Date posted: June 8, 2015 | Filed under finn | Leave a Comment »


Date posted: June 6, 2015 | Filed under finn, photo | Leave a Comment »

Last night I did some consulting for a friend and then came home for a frosty beer. Looking at the half-full, unused Hefeweizen keg, I figured I might as well try fixing it, as I’ve known it’s been leaking for two weeks. I pulled the bad valve post and tried replacing the whole thing with one from my spare shorty keg, but of course it’s a different thread size. Then I remembered I had spare poppet valve stems, swapped the old with a fresh one, reinstalled it, and pressure tested it. It’s holding pressure finally! there’s a lot to be said for stocking spare parts.

* * *

I’m in love with the Canon f/1.4 lens we have at work, and I’ve been casually looking at inexpensive alternatives for the Nikon DX gear I’ve got. Most of Nikon’s really sharp AF-S glass is >$300, which is more than I’d like to spend, but it would be great to have a fully automatic lens if that’s what I’m going to pay. I have a 50mm f/1.8 lens which was inexpensive and works great; they make a 50mm f/1.4 for ~$300, but I like the 28-35mm range from a shooting standpoint. Nikon offers a 35mm f/1.8 prime for $200 which would be perfect, and my brother-in-law has one that I’ll have to borrow sometime to try out.

Nikon also made a bunch of razor-sharp manual prime lenses back in the day, an f/1.4 and an f/1.2, which are both compatible with my DX gear. I’m toying with the idea of buying one of the f/1.4s from eBay, if I can get the price down low enough, just to see what it’s like. One of my photographer friends says the local camera shop usually carries a few used copies, so I’ll have to ring them up and see what they’re charging. The f/1.2 is another matter entirely. It routinely sells for ~$300 on eBay, which is a lot of coin for a manual lens but I do see some examples for cheap here and there. I’ll just set up a Craigslist alert and wait it out.

* * *

A rough count on our YouTube page shows I’ve shot at least eight finished videos this year. Most of them are simple one-camera setups, which are pretty easy to bang out at this point. Now I’m learning about multi-cam editing in preparation for editing the Forest project videos I shot a while back.

I made a breakthrough on Tuesday after a few weeks of gridlock. I’d shot tons of footage and struggled with exactly how to start piecing it all together. At first I got hung up on the technical challenge of syncing everything together, adding B-roll, and timing it all. Then I realized I didn’t even know what I had, so I stepped way back and started cutting out the junk footage to where all I had was their answers, assembled in rough order. Using this method, I cut rough reels for two subjects and sketched out a workflow.

Then I installed Final Cut Pro on my home machine Tuesday evening so that I can keep working in my spare time, and set up a portable drive to move the project and all its files back and forth. I’m definitely enjoying this.

Date posted: June 4, 2015 | Filed under brewing, photography | Leave a Comment »

Rainy Vespa

Date posted: June 2, 2015 | Filed under photo | Leave a Comment »

Friday morning I worked from home because there was a water main break at our office, and apparently they don’t have sprinklers or flushing toilets. Whatever! It was nice to chill on the couch and catch up on small things.

Saturday I spent the entire morning moving concrete from a pile next to the garage over to the dumpster in our neighbor’s driveway. It took a lot of time and energy, and by the time I was done, I was ready to be done. Luckily we had a low-impact evening planned with friends, and grilling food and drinking beer was a great way to cap off a long day.

Neighborhood fox

While we were sitting in the backyard, this fox trotted brazenly into the yard, sniffing out some scraps under the picnic table, and made off with them before we could pick our jaws up off the ground. He was within easy throwing distance, and not the least concerned with us at all. I saw him again on Sunday afternoon cruising past the house, obviously looking for more picnic treats.

Sunday Finn and I took in the Farmer’s Market for some veggies, and we did some light chores around the house. I hung new hooks on the back of the garage for the second ladder my father sent me home with, and took the old rusty mailbox off the front of the house.

Brewing Outdoors

Then, Finn and Mama went to the park for a playdate with a friend, and I brewed up a batch of Session IPA with the propane burner.


After dinner, I helped Finn finish her homework, and then I took the girls out for some gelato to celebrate a fine weekend.

Date posted: June 1, 2015 | Filed under brewing, general, house, photo | Leave a Comment »

I’d like to say Memorial Day Weekend was spent in lazy pursuit of relaxation, but it kind of wasn’t. We were at the neighbors’ on Friday night for dinner and drinks, and had a great time, but one extra-strong beer gave me a pounding headache Saturday morning.


I took on some freelance work last week, and so I found myself behind a computer for 2 of the 3 lovely days we were given; in retrospect I would rather have left the money on the table and gotten outside with my family. Even so, Jen and I celebrated our anniversary at The Food Market, a wonderful hipster restaurant in Hampden. The food was delicious but the bar tab for 4 drinks came to $50, which is Manhattan money, not Hampden money!

Sunday was more work for me while the girls went out to be social; later in the day we were invited back over to the neighbors’ for a more low-key cookout which was what we were all really in the mood for.

Saturday our neighbor stopped by to mention he’s getting a dumpster to haul off a bunch of brush from his yard; he figured he’d have room left over and wanted to know if I might be interested in filling it for splitting the cost. Given that I’ve had a pile of construction rubble sitting alongside the driveway since last summer, I thought this was a swell idea, and will spend part of this coming weekend happily hauling concrete.

Date posted: May 28, 2015 | Filed under family, general | Leave a Comment »


Date posted: May 27, 2015 | Filed under humor, photo | Leave a Comment »

Look to the sky

Date posted: May 24, 2015 | Filed under finn, photo | Leave a Comment »

Eleven years ago today, I married this lovely woman. While it hasn’t always been easy, it sure has been interesting. I love you, blondie.

Date posted: May 22, 2015 | Filed under history, life, photo | Leave a Comment »

Last night I went downstairs to check on my kegs and found that they were sitting in about 4 inches of Hefeweizen. Careful application of some soapy water revealed the outflow post on the keg is leaking, allowing about two gallons of beer to fill the bottom of the kegerator. I pulled out my beer siphon, hooked up a tube, and cleaned it out manually.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had a flooded kegerator; this same keg was leaking from the main seal a year or two ago, and I fixed that with a new seal and some food-grade grease. It’s just annoying to have taken the time to brew the beer and then have it wasted by mechanical error.

Date posted: May 21, 2015 | Filed under brewing | Leave a Comment »