Back to the Future

Bonus post because today’s the day they traveled to in Back to the Future.

Holy shit 2015
Holy shit it’s really October 21, 2015 right now, you guys.

It’s very fucking strange to look at 2015 now, vs. when I first saw the movie.

Same deal with these two. It’s an experience watching a movie when you’re a kid and then living long enough to hit the year that it was supposed to take place.  I was a kid when Back to the Future and Escape from New York were released.  Now I realize we still don’t have flying cars and NYC/LA (thankfully) haven’t been walled off into prisons.

Call me Snake
Call me Snake
Keep calling me Snake.
Keep calling me Snake.

I still want a flying car, damnit.  And I still like Kurt Russel.

Don’t judge.

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(Temporarily) Unemployed

Six weeks of unpaid furlough is one of the deals that came with my job.  It’s not terrible, because other than the not getting paid part, I can pretty much use the time to do whatever I want.  I do split the time up so I don’t have all six weeks at once.  It’s a nice break after what happens here in the summer, too.

The other downside is having all that work waiting for me when I get back.

Screw it, I’m on (unpaid) vacation.  Not thinking about work for 4 weeks, damnit.  Booze and being lazy.

Have some flowers.
Here, have a random picture of yellow flowers.

Another bonus to furloughs?  Road trips.  Griffin and I did around 5300 miles in 2014, before he retired.  We hit 17 states, both coasts, a bunch of National Parks, and got to hang with some cool people.  I also had to replace two windshields on the Jeep, but hey.  Thank you State Farm?  Yes.  Thank you, State Farm.

2015 was occupied with a new puppy.  This fall, I’m flying back east to visit family instead of driving because Griffin isn’t able to travel in my Jeep.  Old dogs don’t mix well with narrow spaces in cars.  I’m kicking around the idea of getting a beater van in the spring to head out to Olympic National Park and Highway 101.

A badass sunset
Oregon rules

That’s one of the reasons why.  Also, Oregon’s beaches are 100% public access.  None of that bullshit with the private beaches… you can go anywhere.  And you can drink on the beach.  There’s just no way this could go wrong.  I’d throw a futon mattress in the van, for Griffin to stretch out on, and hook Viking’s crate up too.  He’s a jerk, because 9 month old puppies tend to be jerks, and would probably see how car seats tasted if I left him loose.

If I can have Griffin be comfortable in the car, then another trip out to the coast might be possible.  It’s not as far as driving back east.  He wouldn’t have to jump into a van the way he would into the Jeep.  Still, he calls the shots.   If he can handle it and wants to go, then we’ll do it.  His unofficial birthday is April 14th and he’ll be 11+ at that point.  The 14th was his shelter intake date and 11 is his estimated age.  Old man dog gets to choose, though.  He loved the beach, as long as his feet didn’t get too close to the ocean.  I’d like to do one more trip for him to enjoy, if he’s up to it.

Shit I’m doing on furlough, other than crashing on my sister’s couch for a week-

I’m putting in 5 gallons of mead today and another 5 when I find more honey that I like.  Also doing a 1-2 gallon repeat batch of hibiscus mead and aging it.  We liked it this summer and it was drinkable after 8 weeks.  A bit on the sweet side and could probably use some aging, so I’m going to experiment.  Oh, and possibly have 1-2 gallons of mead to take on a road trip in the spring.

National Novel Writing Month.  One month, write 50,000 words.

Doctors.  Shopping for winter.  Errands.  All that jazz.  Since our roads close in about a month and my only way out during the winter is one of these:

 

Drive it like you stole it. (Kidding) (No really)
Drive it like you stole it. (Kidding) (Honest)

Assuming we get snow.  There would usually be snow on the ground by now, but a combo of climate change and a second El Nino year means we’re getting punched in the junk twice this year.  I kid you not, I live at 8,000 feet and it’s 55 degrees out today.  At the end of October.

WTF is this?  I like winter.

Anyway, time to go get started on 5 gallons of mead.  It should be ready to go by June.

 

October mead update

Going from a suggestion by a friend, I figure it’ll be a good idea to post monthly updates on what’s happening with the mead projects.

October 2015-

Still in primary:

  • The light honey mead, from local Montana honey purchased at Costco.  It’s still bubbling away, and I’ll probably put it in secondary next week.  Happy with the way it tastes and with the SG.

Moved to secondary:

  • Cyser-  honey, apple cider, spices (nutmeg and cinnamon).  It tastes great, but I honestly can’t taste the booze in it. That could be a very good thing or a very bad thing, depending.  I went light on the spices, which turned out to be a good decision.
  • Utah honey mead- turned into a gallon and 1/3, so I need to buy some marbles to raise the level in the second carboy.
  • 1 gallon using the same honey I made the 5 gallon batch out of.  So far, it’s very consistent in how it tastes.
  • 1 gallon of coffee mead.  Jury’s out on this one.  I can taste a little coffee, but overall it’s very, very harsh.  Going to leave it in secondary for a while.
  • 1 gallon from honey a co-worker found at a local farmer’s market.  Also a bit on the harsh side.

I’ve got plans to start two five gallon batches, so we have something to enjoy next summer.  I also found some culinary lavender at Pike Place Market and am curious to see what that will do with a mead.  Finally, the co-op had killer bee honey on sale, from Brazil.  I’ll use that for just a plain mead.  The honey’s got an interesting flavor that I don’t want to influence with spices.

So that’s what’s fermenting and in the works for this month.  I’m hoping the cyser will be ready to drink around New Year’s.  I’ll see how it goes.

The hounds

Eventually I needed to get around to introducing the dogs this blog is named for.  Here you go:

Griffin-  who a 10-11ish year old Doberman from the Baltimore SPCA.  His previous owners left him in the lobby overnight, with nothing but a collar with his name on it.  It took him all of two days (and one attempt to mark the couch) for him to settle in.  I got very lucky with this dog.  He’s been my road trip buddy for 7 years, and retired from that last fall.  He has Wobblers, and riding in a car for long distances is no longer comfortable for him.  It honestly broke my heart to make that call, especially since it happened right before Viking arrived.  I was hoping for a year or two of road trips with both dogs, but it wasn’t in the cards.  He’s a professional couch potato now.  He pretty much does whatever makes him happy, and that’s how it should be.

Cannon Beach, OR
Cannon Beach, OR, 2014

Viking- who is really, honestly 100% German Shepherd.  Or, depending on who you ask, a purebred Lab, a wolf hybrid, or a straight up wolf.  He’s from Blackthorn Kennel’s Z-litter.  He’s definitely a dog who needs a job, so we’re working on tracking and IPO.  I’m also teaching him some service dog tasks, just to see how he does.  He is still a puppy… but serious and thoughtful, and has loads of confidence.  I’m very happy with this boy!  He also worships the ground Griffin walks on, and he’s got some big paws to fill as a road trip dog.  More in the future about puppies, breeders, and two dogs living together.  Blackthorn matched Viking for me, and he’s a perfect fit.

9 months old
Hey.

 

Viking’s already got a start on homebrewing.

He's helping.
He’s helping.

Good dogs.