[libations, MA] We have a meadery?!

Apr. 28th, 2017 02:39 pm
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[personal profile] siderea
[Content Advisory: Contains booze]

I just discovered, compliments of Groupon, the existence of the 1634 Meadery, up in Ipswich. How did I not know about this? Did you know about this? How long has this been there? Is this somebody I know? Has anybody tried any of their stock? Is it any good? Is it any good by Scadian standards?

This is less exciting to me now than it would have been 20 years ago, but, still, I'm amused and hopes it turns out to be a viable source. It would be nice to acquire a bottle when I felt like it, and without all the washing of glassware and standing over a hot stove and multi-month wait, so say nothing of the crying expense of honey these days. I wish them success.

In any event, Groupon has a deal on tours which includes a tasting.

ETA: And they have six varieties on the shelves of my preferred liquor store! I shall launch an expedition forthwith.

ETA2: Success! I scored a bottle of Pilgrim's Pride. Verdict: I've made better, but I've had worse. Not as Scadian-flavored as the tej they sell at Fasika, but definitely something I recognize as a proper mead and at 14.7% ABV it was clearly made in the Scadian way: as with drowning someone, you're not done until the bubbles stop coming up. This is no-saccaride-left-behind booze, and it kicks like a mule. $20 only gets you 500ml. The serving suggestions are either chilled or on ice, and I can see why. I, of course, tried it at room temperature, which at the time wa 76degF, and it has some unfortunate notes which are flashing me back to my undergrad meading days, a milder version of the tastes that caused me and my confederate to wonder if what we made was safe to drink*; those notes are probably suppressed when chilled.

* Okay, story time. My partner in crime and I got such a weird flavored result from our first batch of mead that we found ourselves wondering if we had actually managed to produce some variety of alcohol other than ethanol. Some of those are dangerous to drink, and we had no idea how any of them are made. So there we are in our dorm kitchen trying to figure out how to figure out what our little craft project consists of, chemically speaking. My collaborator is a chemistry major. I am, at this point in time, a materials science major, and say what is probably the most materials-sciency thing imaginable, something to the effect of, "If this were an metal alloy, we would be able to tell what was in it by the temperatures of its phase changes. You orgo types, do you have phase state diagrams for different alcohols vs H2O?" Now, presumably you can just go look that up off the internet; this was before the Web. She checked her textbooks, and didn't come up with anything. It being an engineering school, we then pretty much went door-to-door in the dorm asking if anybody had the reference data we needed; lots of people loaned us likely textbooks, and we pored over them, but no luck.

Now, as it happened, we were doing this on a Friday night, and, as it happened, the dorm was at that very moment holding a party on the ground floor. I don't know which one of us it was that got this bright idea: since we couldn't find the data we needed in references, we could derive it experimentally. We could take a sample of H20-C2H6O solution of known proportion – a Budweiser – and see what temperature it boiled at. My confederate had a candy thermometer. I went down to the party and grabbed a Bud.

(Note! I eventually realized that this wouldn't work, because we had two dependent variables, not one. My co-conspirator eventually realized that this wouldn't work because the candy thermometer was probably insufficiently precise to do the job. At least we only wasted a Bud.)

So there we are, in our dorm kitchen. The gallon apple cider jug which no longer holds cider and has the tell-tale U-shaped vapor lock sticking out of the cork in it is sitting on the kitchen table between my co-conspirator and I. The rest of the table is covered in textbooks all open to pages about the chemistry of ethyl alcohol. A saucepan of beer with a candy thermometer in it heats on the stove.

And the dorm Housemaster wanders in.

He's an affable gray-haired 70-something physicist, and I on no occasion before or after ever saw him on a floor of the building higher than the first. If you had told me he was no more able to climb stairs than a Dalek, I would have had no evidence to the contrary.

I am 19. My collaborator is 18. It's 1990. We freeze like two deer in a headlight.

"Are you girls studying on a Friday night? You should take a break. There's a party in the first floor lounge, you know."

And he wandered back out.

We never did figure out what was in our mead. An upperclasswoman who – perhaps crucially – was a biologist who liked to party hard, counseled us that if it didn't taste like something we wanted to drink, maybe we shouldn't be worrying so hard about whether it was something we could drink. Thus we resigned ourselves to the obvious and sadly fed it to the kitchen sink. Some weeks or months later, she actually found exactly the phase-state diagram we had needed and made me a photocopy; I may still have that piece of paper somewhere in my stuff.

things

Apr. 27th, 2017 06:10 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
why are they so thingy?

very short entry

Apr. 26th, 2017 10:37 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Grateful for:

moments of courage

planning for effective help & mutual support with partner

sunshine and rain making things grow

completely ridiculous flowers

got my meds
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[personal profile] siderea
I just learned that Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, passed away on Monday, at the age of 88.

I've thought for a while that I should tell you about one of the more valuable things I got from ZAMM, which I refer to now as Pirsig's Pejorative Just, and now it seems like a fitting tribute to share the relevant passage:
[...] the English faculty at Bozeman, informed of their squareness, presented him with a reasonable question: "Does this undefined 'quality' of yours exist in things we observe?" they asked. "Or is it subjective, existing only in the observer?" It was a simple, normal enough question, and there was no hurry for an answer.

Hah. There was no need for hurry. It was a finisher-offer, a knockdown question, a haymaker, a Saturday-night special – the kind you don't recover from.

Because if Quality exists in the object then you must explain just why scientific instruments are unable to detect it [...] On the other hand, if Quality is subjective, existing only in the observer, then this Quality that you make so much of is just a fancy name for whatever you like. [...] If he accepted the premise that Quality was objective, he was impaled on one horn of the dilemma. If he accepted the other premise that Quality was subjective, he was impaled on the other horn.

[... regarding the first horn, the objective premise] This horn was the mean one. [...line of proposed reasoning...] This answer, if valid, certainly smashed the first horn of the dilemma, and for a while that excited him greatly.

But it turned out to be false. [...]

He turned his attention to the other horn of the dilemma, which showed more promise of refutation. He thought, So Quality is whatever you like? It angered him. The great artists of history – Raphael, Beethoven, Michelangelo – they were all just putting out what people liked. They had no goal other than to titillate the senses in a big way. Was that it? It was angering, and what was most angering about it was that he couldn't see any immediate way to cut it up logically. So he studied the statement carefully, in the same reflective way he always studied things before attacking them.

Then he saw it. He brought out the knife and excised the one word that created the entire angering effect of that sentence. The word was "just." Why should Quality be just what you like? Why should "what you like" be "just"? What did "just" mean in this case? When separated out like this for independent examination it became apparent that "just" in this case didn't mean a damn thing. It was a purely pejorative term, whose logical contribution to the sentence was nil. Now, with that word removed, the sentence became "Quality is what you like," and its meaning was entirely changed. It had become an innocuous truism.
Now, when I point to a "just" – or an "only", or a "mere", or a "simply", or "but" – and say, "That's a Pirsig's Pejorative Just", you'll know what I mean.

And, if this is the first time you've seen this, maybe now you'll be better prepared to notice them slinking by, in the wild, yourself.

ETA: I wrote a longish comment below, further discussing ZAMM and my criticisms of it, which may be of interest to my readers.
redsixwing: Picture shows two water lily leaves with stem plants growing in their shade. (stems)
[personal profile] redsixwing

We had a very good weekend. Lots of garden work, lots of walking, and not a lot of stress.

garden spam )
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
This rescue kitty in Baltimore is looking for a forever home. The people who found her love her and she is super human-friendly, but she can't live with other cats!

http://synecdochic.dreamwidth.org/777659.html

Comment over there, not here please...
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[personal profile] siderea
A set of videos, of particular interest to programmers, compliments of Metafilter. Delightful, recommended.

These are lectures/demos of brilliant stupid programmer tricks:

1) A DOS executable that only uses printable bytes. (SLYT, 25:40 (yes, long, but so worth it, and accessible to non-programmers), audio and visual both required)

2) On the Turing Completeness of PowerPoint (SLYT, 5:33, audio and visual both required)

This is a work of art with accompanying making-of:

3) A Mind is Born (article with embedded SLYT, 2:21, primarily audio plus cool but inessential visuals) - a 2+ minute music video that is, in its entirety, a 256 byte program for the Commodore 64. This is now my answer to "can a computer program, in itself, be a serious work of art?" I understand about one word in five of the article; someone on MF said of it, I read most of the how it was done link, and I've been a programmer for 20 years, and I still say the answer is "black magic".

Oh, and a bonus blast from the past – I just got done fixing my broken video links post migration from LJ – 4) Life in Life (SLYT, 1:31, primarily visual, with cool but inessential audio). h/t [personal profile] nancylebov. I originally posted here; I had tagged it "sci", but I dunno, what do we call programming with cellular automata?

context, bad things, and good things

Apr. 23rd, 2017 09:09 am
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Hey! I'm here, I'm alive, and I'm more or less working on some things that will help with various things. Also some good things because Spring!

Context & Bad Things: Friday I commented a bit about being really miserable. A Bad Thing happened at school, and I was processing that. Read more... )

Good Things:

The plum, apple, and cherry trees are in full magnificent blossom here in Portland, with pear and crab-apple still in bloom but starting to drop petals and leaf out. There's that particular intense reddish pink that I want to call cherry-candy-colored but it is historically older and prettier than cherry candy! Sunrise cloud red-pink?

S and I are struggling with some communication with each other - I miss her nonverbal signals; she has a hard time finding the spoons to verbal at me - but we're very aware of it and love each other a lot and are working on it, and I think we made progress talking and listening before she needed to go to work. Progress is good!

I have discovered the Everything Croissant. You know all those seeds and spices and onion bits and more seeds you get on a good savory Everything Bagel? Try those swirled into a croissant with extra butter, and shaped like a giant muffin of croissant-y tastiness for extra silliness.

We got our community garden plot assignment at last! Payment, required training and volunteer hours, first day to weed and turn over, details of commute, and deal between me and S on who does what still to be worked out, but WE GOT ONE YAAAAAAY! And okay, it is far away, but still YAY GARDEN.

I have actually seen the sun at least briefly more days than not this past week.

One of my school kiddoes LOVES the sensory activity kit I put together for her and it is also helping with eliciting some spontaneous oral language stuff. Other stuff is complicated but hey smile of pure joy on little kid's face after squishing a squeezy toy and ringing a little silver bell = YES. Also several students keep giving me dandelions to wear at recess, so I do. <3



I have some time and some energy now and will try to go do some things accordingly.

Weekend gardening: seed order edition

Apr. 18th, 2017 10:27 am
redsixwing: Picture shows two water lily leaves with stem plants growing in their shade. (stems)
[personal profile] redsixwing
I am excite )

At least for the cold-season crops, it's go time.

siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Voice-hearers and clinicians: the World Hearing Voices Congress is being held in the US for the first time, Aug 16-18, 2017, in Boston, at BU.

http://2017congress.hearingvoicesusa.org
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
I did some things around my apartment. And brain. Yay. Yay.

Read more... )

I read part of a C.J. Cherryh book. And admired tulips. Tulips are cool.

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