Wherein I Drink the Ale I Made!

Cheers to not being poisoned by my own concoction!

Sorry for not posting on Monday but it was a holiday and I was distracted by important things, mainly Mass Effect 2 (That game is soo good!)

You can see the first two parts of this series below:

Wherein I attempt to brew an Ale

Wherein I attempt to brew an Ale Pt. 2

last night marked two weeks since I bottled my ale; which meant that they were fair game for consumption. I opened the chilled bottle with some trepidation, my wife was convinced that my sanitization regimen was lacking and that the beer would be tainted. The beer passed the sniff test and so I moved on to the next step pouring the beer. With the exception of some sediment the beer appeared fine, it had good carbonation and a nice foamy head.

Well, there it was nothing left today but taste the fruits of my labor. The beer turned out pretty good! Darker than an amber ale but lighter than a stout. The beer had a subtle floral smell, much like the hint of green apples, and nice roasted malty taste to it.

I was sure when I started this process the beer was going to be terrible but I have to say, I’ve paid money for worse tasting beer. I have a few bottles and if local friends want to give it a try and let me know what they think they’re welcome to come by and give it a taste.

Things I learned from this whole experience:

  • Beer is not that difficult to make
  • Gravity and physics are crappy things to count on when bottling. Next time I use an auto-siphon.
  • Make sure your bottles are not screw-top!
  • Have a place you can go to ask questions of more experience users. I was lucky enough to have the fine folks at Talking Time to answer my questions.
  • Get something to filter out sediment. It doesn’t seem to hurt anything but is kinda gross
  • Get a second big metal pot for the sparge.

I’m happy enough with my results to try this again. I’m not ready enough to start making my own recipes yet, so I’ll still be buying mixes, maybe a nice gingerbread ale or tripel?

Yeah, I don't have a name for my beer...

Apple Crisp ale in my Odd-tober Fest 2009 pint glass

*glug* *glug*

It’s a Festivus Miracle! Internet Gift Exchange Loot

Talking Time (TT), the only on-line community worth being part of, has a winter gift exchange every year. Members of the forum sign-up and then we do a secret santa style exchange, though Festivus, as we call it, is full of in-jokes and TT only memes. I’ve been doing Festivus for two years now and both times it’s been a blast. This year my secret Santa (ninja Santa on TT) had some difficulties in getting everything together and missed the deadline for mailing things out. Then there were some communication problems and by the end of it I was sure I wouldn’t be having any Festivus cheer.

At the beginning of this month I went to a friend of mine’s birthday in the Bay area, a friend who also happens to be a member of TT and whose birthdays are giant events with people coming from as far away as Indiana! It turns out that my ninja Santa was also attending his birthday party and brought the first part of my gift. She tells me there is more coming, something to do with eBay and assembly…

Who cares though? Here is all the cool stuff Luana (Loo-aun-a) got me for Festivus:


for me?

Such nice handwriting

That's Percy... He's a thing we have over at Talking Time... It's convoluted.

I've only flipped through it so far but it looks interesting

Yum genre fiction

Of course it wouldn’t be Festivus (or Talking Time) without something horrifying:


a hideous amalgamation of Mario and Mickey Mouse?

Happy Festivus everyone! I can’t wait to see what the rest of my gift is.

Ultramarines: HQ Units

This was more of that “needs more metal miniatures” I was talking about last weekend… So here are some pictures of the various HQ units for my Ultramarines Army in Warhammer 40k. I think I painted these seven or eight years ago before I came up to college. I bought into 40k during third edition. Instead of saving the money I made at my job for college I spent large amounts of it on little toy soldiers and their accessories.

Since moving up to Davis I haven’t done a lot of painting or playing WH40k which is a shame because I really do enjoy the game and the hobby. (Worse I have friends up here who want to play it with me!) Maybe if you see these and tell me how great they look, how you want to see more, and wonderful things like that I might find the energy/time to finish assembling, painting, and playing with all the models I have lying around.

I don’t know how Games Workshop or Privateer Press takes pictures of their models… However they do it, I wish they’d share. I swear while these might not be professional grade models they don’t look as bad as these pictures make them appear. If the pointer hovers over the image you’ll get some inside commentary on painting these little guys!

Tiny space marines fight across enemy held desk

The Old Marneus Calgar

Captain with power sword and storm bolter

Chief Librarian Tigerius



Veteran Sargeant

There is an apothecary in that group photo but every picture I tried to take of him was a blurry, white mess. That’s it for the HQ. If I continue doing this I’ll put up pictures of my Elites next.

I want to see more games like TWEWY

Silly name, good game

I finished The World Ends With You (TWEWY) last Friday. The game was an enjoyable romp. The story didn’t make a lot of sense and the character (and costume) design was atrocious but the gameplay was solid and more important scalable. Why is scalable bolded like that? Because it is the single greatest thing it has going for it and the single greatest thing I wish started showing up in more games!

TWEWY doesn’t punish a player for not learning the minutiae of its various game play mechanics. It doesn’t penalize you for not being able to sink in the hours and hours to master controlling characters on two screens simultaneously, or learning the intricacies of its mini games (like tin pin slammer and fashions.) TWEWY is only as difficult as you want it to be. You can set the difficulty level at any time, you can set how your secondary characters works at any time and you can safely ignore all the mini-games, sub-plots, and interesting game design elements if you want, and still see the ending of the game.

More difficult than it looks.

Why is this so important? Well, I’m not six or sixteen anymore. I have a fucking life now and I no longer have the luxury of six or seven spare hours in a day to immerse myself in my favorite pastime. If I did I’m sure I could master all the nuances of tin pin slammer, or figure out just what types of experience go into making my pins evolve. Seven-year-old-me loved that shit and ate it up. Seven-year-old-me had the free time to memorize enemy stats and talk endlessly about the differences in the magic systems in various JRPG gaming franchises and how that compared with said systems in western game franchises (oh, the misspent hours of my youth…) I do not.

I don’t want to hear anyone down in the comments say something like “Maybe you just suck at gaming,” or “If you can’t commit to a game don’t play it.” The answer to my lack of time isn’t to give up my most cherished pastime. And you should slam your head against a wall for thinking I, or anyone else, should. The average age of a gamer today is 34. In general 34 year-olds have full-time jobs, family commitments, social commitments, community commitments, etc. What they don’t have is a lot of free time to sink into games that demand they ‘master’ them in order to enjoy them.

God, these kids look stupid.

I just wish more designers did things like this. The difficulty in video games has been declining for years, but as implemented in TWEWY it allows the player to decide, on the fly, how difficult they want things to be. So, when the player is looking for something more challenging or has the time to sink into it they are rewarded for it. At the same time I can play and enjoy the game as well.

Here is a case where gamers can have their cake and eat it too. So why aren’t designers catching on?