This is my web log, or "blog". I'm not much of a blogger (yet, anyway), so don't expect to post frequently. I'm also not using blogging software, so there's a bit of extra overhead to posting stuff and don't have an RSS feed for the moment. Mainly this is an archive of "diary" type entries, as distinguished from the less time-specific stuff in my writing section.

UK vacation

View from the B&B window in Oban
The point at Portnahaven
Inside the washback at Bruichladdich
Spirit still at Bruichladdich
Warehouse at Bruichladdich
At Lagavulin
Sunset over Loch Indaal
Windmill Pub

I just returned from my apparently usual February trip to the UK to catch up with friends since business travel has taken me their way less. I visited Erin and Marc in Glasgow and we traveled to Islay and Oban, then went to London to visit Colin and Anthony. These trips get packed in with adventures to report, which I’ll do by categor rather than chronologically.

Vanilla Extract tasting

I've been making homemade vanilla extract for a few years now. I like being able to choose the type of vanilla beans and control the production profile. There is some hope that homemade is better than commercial, and in general one expects it to be cheaper. But when adding up the cost of mail ordering bulk vanilla beans (still a lot cheaper than buying one at a time at the store) and buying the alcohol, it doesn't come out cheaper than a quality commercial extract.


Holiday Letter 2015

Landscape outside Yoichi distillery
The O.K. Corral - not the real one, but the movie set
Mist and sheer cliffs at Isle of Skye
At Yoichi distillery

2015 was mostly more of the same with no big news, but brought minor improvements to my focus and energy. The weight I lost last year came back, and I haven't wanted to deny myself baking in order to lose it again. I did a little cross country skiing in the winter, and kept the running up once the snows cleared, resuming weekly trail running and building long runs back up to 18 km distance. The hot summer knocked me back though, so for the rest of the year I tried to maintain a minimal base. I still go to the gym with an expensive personal trainer, so my overall health has been good.

Vinegar Mother

Vinegar Mother

I just bottled the wine that I started making last September. There were dregs from decanting the clear wine, that I didn't want to throw out, so I filtered them and put them aside to make vinegar. I added a starter culture of some cider vinegar I had made a few months ago. This batch of wine vinegar has only been going for about a week but already the mother has formed on top. It was fascinating, rather than being the usual smooth gelatinous mass, this has formed a complex wrinkled surface.

Attack in Ottawa

A few days ago was the attack in Ottawa that woke Canadians up to the idea that terrorist activity at home was a real possibility, preceded by another attack against military a few days earlier. I had been expecting that some sort of attack was possible for some time, and wondered about the timing and how prepared the emergency services would be. To some extent this came sooner than I had expected. However, it turned out not to be a foreign attack and from one perspective was just a lone guy gone mad.

Overzealous Anti-Discrimination Cases

There have been a couple anti-discrimination cases in the news recently that seem to me to hurt the goal behind the complaints. A bakery in Ireland has had a complaint filed for refusing to make a cake that depicts gay marriage, and recently a bakery in Colorado lost a complaint filed against them for refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding.

Site transformation

I have decided to change this site's infrastructure from a manually maintained one to a content management system. This will make it easier to add content going forward. During the transition some content will be missing until I get it all ported over.