Next time I’ll do it myself!

Five lions are always better than one

I was going to write about some of the books I found at my parent’s house today but I have all sorts of books and I’m getting more and more all the time. So a blogpost about books didn’t seem to be that interesting. Then I was going to blog about the state of education in California and how the Legislature intends to deal with the problems in the upcoming year but, that takes a lot of research I haven’t quote done yet (I might do it someday.) So, I was kinda at a loss as to what to make today’s post about… I could do another picture diary of Ninja Turtles or video game manuals or some other random thing I have in my closet but I wasn’t feeling that either.

So what is a blogger with writer’s block to do? Oh it’s February and my Let’s Play of King’s Quest II: Romancing the Throne starts!  I can write about that… Except I haven’t started it yet. Hrmm. Hrmm. I got my W-2s and I can do my taxes now and get a fat tax return! No, that is boring… I know!  I’ll talk about how I was ripped off last night by Dimple (They bought out part of Tower Records.)

Dimple is a one-stop music/movie/video game store that also sells vinyl and objects usually found in a Hot Topic. I’ve never shopped at the store all I knew is that they bought used Movies, CDs, and Video games. I recently needed to make some money and after putting numerous items on eBay was slightly burned out making auctions and wanted something simple. So I forego the internet and head over to Dimple with the entire American Voltron cartoon collection, the kind that came in these nice fancy tins. Now prices for these thing seem to be all over the place on-line. Amazon has volume four for just over five dollars, volume one for sixteen, and volume two for over thirty… Ebay’s prices are just as erratic with brand new copies costing $9.99 and used ones in good condition for over thirty. Perhaps there is some misunderstanding and some of these are in the tins and others are not. I don’t know. I do know though that all Dimple gave me was $16.  Yup, if I had wanted to buy a CD (and who does that anymore) I could have received $20 in store credit. It doesn’t matter how cheap these things are now I would have made more money if I hadn’t saved myself the minor trouble and sold the things myself.

Dimple isn’t the only store that does this. Gamestop is notorious for its used game policy. Gamestop will give you less than half of what a game is worth in store credit, even less for cash and then put it back on the shelves for just under the price of a brand new copy. The margins they have on used games are criminal. This is why I always sell my games on-line.  Even if I don’t get much I’m guaranteed to get more than I would from Gamestop and the person buying from me is likely to get the game cheaper as well!

Laziness is expensive I guess.  Here are some more cool pictures of Voltron:

JPRart

lastscionz

Mborkowski

Don’t read this! Go watch history being made!

With so many momentous things going on I think there are better things you could be reading about today.

Al Jazeera’s coverage of the happenings in Egypt – Al Jazeera has been seeing a lot of traffic since the trouble in Egypt started. They have correspondents on the ground (most of the cable news networks and some of the major networks no longer do,) and they’ve given far more coverage to the events than American media has.

Tunisian Revolution – The secular uprising in country of Tunisia is what started the large scale rioting and demand for right throughout the Middle East.

Jordanian Riots Cause Reform

Student Riots in Yemen – Have forced the country’s autocratic ruler to stop grooming his son to replace him.  Students have larger goals too forcing out the autocrat entirely.

By the time this goes up I’m sure other people will have taken the initiative do demand their governments recognize their natural rights as well.  I only wish our government was more supportive of such movements.  The United States was founded by people who were tired of seeing their natural rights denied, but our government often asks against the words found in our Declaration of Independents:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

For too long the United States government has actively worked to make a mockery of Mr. Jefferson’s word and their meaning. I encourage you to remind the President and your elected representatives of that fact in the hopes they will reconsider American policy towards Egypt and countries like it.

Things I found at my parents house: Sega Dreamcast!

 

It's still thinking?

 

 

Ninja Turtles, computer game manuals, and books aren’t the only things I found boxed up in the spare room at my parent’s house. I also found video games! My original PSX which I decided not to keep (PS2s do a fine job at that) and my trusty ol’ used Sega Dreamcast.

I only have one controller but, I have this nifty adaptor that lets me use PS2 controllers on the console!  I also have one of those generic mega saved game cards, which still has my saves on it after eight or nine odd years! Everyone knows the tragic story of the Dreamcast and how its failure ended Sega’s console making days. The system is sturdy and the games for it are a blast. This almost went up for sale a few weeks back but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I haven’t played it yet since bringing it up but I need to because I have some pretty good games for it:

 

Web browser, PSO, Powerstone, Rayman 2, Soul Caliber, Skies of Arcadia, Starlancer, and Virtua Tennis

I could have sworn I had crazy taxi or the Simpson’s variant. I can’t find it anywhere though so I guess not.  I wonder if I can get it cheap? Out of all of those games I enjoy Powerstone and Virtua Tennis the most.  Powerstone is simply mindless fun and Virtua Tennis is the best sequel to Pong I’ve ever seen!

 

Wherein I attempt to brew an ale

Last year I purchased a beer brewing kit from the Brooklyn Brew Shop. I put up a quick post on the kit and then months passed without it ever being mentioned again. Well, the fact that I had grains, hops, and a brew kit sitting around the kitchen for nearly three months bothered me too; so, over last weekend, on Martin Luther King Day to be exact, I decided to do something about it. I brewed an apple ale.

The first and most important step in beer brewing is to clean and sterilize everything you plan on using first. If I ruined my beer this is where it happened.  I diligently cleaned everything with sanitizer but it only takes a few stray microbes to kill of yeast. I was careful but I’ve never brewed beer before and so I don’t know if I was diligent and paranoid enough about cleanliness.

Once you’ve cleaned all the tools you get a pot full of water, get it boiling and then dump in your grain and let it cook for an hour. It’s a lot like making a giant pot of oatmeal. Regulating the temperature of the cooking grain is important because it determines what type of beer you will make. I had trouble keeping the beer in the correct range for an ale. I don’t know how big of an issue this is; friends say it shouldn’t be too much of one. Once the grain is cooked you run it through a strainer, capturing all the water it was cooked in (wort), add some more water, and then run the wort through the grain a couple more times.  Then you boil the wort for an hour adding hops, and other things for flavor; this recipe called for apples and a cinnamon stick.

After the wort was boiled I strained it again then put it into my carboy, added the yeast, shook it up, and capped it. It sat venting for three days (you don’t want it to explode) and now will sit for an additional two weeks (in the dark) before I move it to bottles. The fact that I won’t know if the beer is a success or not until near the end of February has been the most difficult part to deal with.  My fingers are crossed, and I’ll certainly mention the end results here!

Cooking the grains
Straining the wort
Running wort through the grain again
The boil

Steeping apples in the wort after boiling

Cooling to room temperature

transferred to the carboy, in cabinet with blow-off tube in place