Friday, August 26, 2011

1970s Bianchi Project

Just picked this up last night. Not exactly sure of the year or the model because most of the frame graphics are gone and a lot of the components have been upgraded over the years. Based on the Carnielli stem, (so cool), I'm guessing early or mid-1970s, according to what the Internet says. I have fun plans for this one, but I'm not going to share them yet, since pre-sharing on the Internet seems to lead to failure in many cases.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I Made This

Well, sort of. My first copy of my first book, due out officially September 1st from Northern Illinois University Press. It's even on Amazon, but don't buy it there, see if your local book seller will order it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ginger Beer Batch No. 2 Taste Test

It looks good, at least...
Well, it was okay. It wasn't great, but it was okay. There's still a lingering yeastiness, and the ginger isn't as obvious as I would like, although it does make its presence known in the aftertaste. Using the champagne yeast produced an ideal amount of carbonation, although there was some minor exploding action when I released the excess carbonation before refrigeration. I might use less yeast next time, and I'm thinking that the key to a really excellent flavor might be in adding some flavor elements after brewing, including lemon peel and perhaps a touch of ginger syrup. In short, I wouldn't say that I've achieved my goal of the perfect ginger beer recipe yet. Stay tuned, I'm going to keep trying.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Richman Lighting Portable Lamp

We bought this lamp at a neighborhood curio shop this weekend. The handwritten receipt the lady gave us said "industrial lamp," which I don't think does it justice. Can't find anything (didn't try too hard) about the company, but they were (are?) located in Los Angeles. I'm no good at dating stuff like this: maybe 1960s? 1970s? Anyway, it's our new desk lamp.

Ginger Beer Again

In which I jinx the current batch by blogging about it before it's ready.

I tried to make ginger beer last summer and it was dismal failure. Short version: If you want your ginger beer to be yeasty and terrible, I suggest making it in a plastic bottle with baking yeast. If you come across a recipe calling for either, keep looking for a better one; or rather, substitute good glass bottles and brewer's yeast. I'll write a longer post about brewing ginger beer at some point with recipe recommendations and such (assuming that my current batch doesn't explode or go rancid or develop sentience or something).

The bottles pictured here (yes, from IKEA) are in Day 2 of fermentation at room temperature. The recipe I'm working with says 3-5 days for this stage, during which carbonation occurs. Since I'm working with glass bottles, which I don't want to explode, I'll probably do 3 days before I refrigerate for another week. I'm contemplating releasing the excess carbonation before refrigeration, as some other recipes I've seen indicate.

PS -- If this is the last post I make about ginger beer, you should assume that this batch was terrible and I've given up completely and will forever be satisfied drinking Fentimans instead of brewing my own.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Phillips Loop Frame Before Paint

Headset and bottom bracket bearing cups and head badge will be popped off before sandblasting and painting.
I'm finally getting around to working on this project. It's a Phillips loop-frame roadster, probably from the early 1950s. When I bought it two years ago, it was missing the proper wheels, about half of the rear rod brake mechanism, and had a plastic saddle on it. Everything else, including the cool Phillips-branded pedals, chain guard, lamp bracket with a "P" cutout, and Phillips-branded one-piece handlebar/stem, seems to be original. Obviously in bad need of paint work, I'm having this one sandblasted and powder coated in classic black. Some loaner 26" wheels and fenders from another bike will suffice until I can find a cheap Flying Pigeon to salvage for 28" Westwood wheels and rod brake parts. It will have to be a single-speed for a while, but the long term plan is a three-speed. The goal for this one will be a city/errand bike that both my wife and I can ride.
This is how it looked the day after I brought it home.