New Years Beer Resolutions


Being a home brewer is a great hobby but there is always a temptation and desire to step it up a notch and do something bigger, better, faster or more! To that end there are several things I want to try this new year with this hobby. I’m not that interested in brewing bigger volumes, five gallons at a time are great for us but I’m interested trying new things to increase my skill and knowledge at this fine craft!

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Pouring a Pint at Home in Style

What red blooded American hasn’t wanted to be able to tap a keg at home and pour yourself beer? Well if you home brew after a while you do get sick and tired of cleaning, sanitizing, filling, and capping bottles. The solution is to build yourself a kegerator to condition and serve beer draft style.

After performing research on all the best home brew web sites I was really inspired by the keezers I saw a decided to go that route. A keezer is a chest freezer that has been modified for use with beer.

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Quick, Free Apple Time Capsule Mount

Our house is wired for gigabit ethernet in almost every room of the house. This works out great for streaming media from our home theater PC. When our faith router finally died we decided to get an Apple Time Capsule as we have as few Apple devices in the house and the automatic backup would be a nice bonus. Additionally it’s a nice small all-in-one that will fit in with the new life in Bermuda.

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Victory! Analytical Dieting Success

On June 28, 2012 I reached my weight loss goal! Meeting this goal meant I had dropped by body weight by 12% and reduce my body fat by 29%. And I’m still this weight today almost a month later. Details on how I did this can be found in in my other article Analytical Dieting but I just want to highlight some final numbers as it’s always about what we can measure. Here is what my weight loss looked like over these 126 days:

As you can see a lot of ups and downs but there is a long term trend, just like the stock market. In fact losting weight is a lot like personal finance and it’s easy to look at the short term but you have to stay focused on the long term. Here are some other highlights of my change in those 126 days:

As far as weight, I am only 89.9% of the man I used to be! Woot! I went from 187 pounds down to 166.2 pounds which is a change of 20.8 pounds. Now, ideal weight is a hard measurement to make and it will be different for everyone. If you want to find your own ideal weight forget the internet and do what I did to find mine which is to work with your general practice physician to determined where you should be. For me, we settled on between 162 and 167 as the ideal for my body type, age, and activity level. One other measurement of interest is that I did drop 3 inches off my waist which means nothing I own fits me anymore.

Moving on to percent body fat, my starting body fat was 22.4% and after this quest it now sits at 16.0%. This means of the 20.8 pounds I lost, 15.3 pounds, or 73.5% of my weight loss, was fat. Unfortunately this is the one goal I didn’t meet as I was targeting a body fat percentage of  less than 14%. The reason why I didn’t lose more fat is simple, I didn’t exercise at all during these 126 days. So now I’ll be adding some weight lifting (the best way to convert fat in to other tissue) and getting that in line.

The last key measure was my Body Mass Index (BMI). Starting out I was at a BMI of 25 which put me ever-so-slightly in the overweight category. By the time this experiment was done my new BMI was 22.5 which is solidly in the normal range.

One last thing. I know I can get on a rant sometimes but you can do this too and the secret is simple! During this time I did read a lot on healthy living and on weight loss and it comes down to two major factors in life that shape our bodies. A lack of understanding of what even constitutes good diet and exercise, common sense is so wrong, challenge it! Also having the psychological control to resisting the urge to do things we know are bad, it does take willpower and strength. If you want to know more, I found a great video during this time that sums this all up nicely. If you can spend 60 minutes do yourself a favor and check it out and watch all 6 ten minute segments.

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cakes

The kids are out of school for the summer so at the Geek Dad HQ we’re going to be doing a lot of smart and fun activities that won’t break the bank. First up is conquering the afternoon snake with a quick lessing in “from scratch” microwave cooking! Today the kids are going to learn the classic five minute chocolate mug cake!

First up is the list of our software, we’re going to need this for each mug cake:

  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • A small splash of vanilla extract

For our hardware we will need

  • 1 large coffee mug
  • 1 microwave
  • Measuring spoons

The process is as follows and does take a bit of supervision but my 5 year old was able to measure everything except the vanilla herself.

  1. Add all the dry ingredients to mug and mix well.
  2. Add the egg to the mixed dry ingredients and mix well again.
  3. Add the milk and the oil and mix well one more time.
  4. And vanilla extract, and yup, mix it up again.
  5. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 2 to 3 minutes at 1000 watts.

My 17 year old 1000 watt microwave took about 2:20 second to cook the cake. While cooking the cake will really rise, don’t be alarmed! When done, allow it to cool a little which will take a long time if you leave it in the mug so feel free to  tip it out onto a plate if desired.

One last note, you can add almost anything to the batter, try experimenting. Add some chocolate chips, freeze dried coffee, or nuts to liven it up. Put it in a bowl and serve it with ice cream, chocolate sause and whipped cream. Have fun!

Microsoft SkyDrive on OSX

What’s not to like about Microsoft SkyDrive? Anyone that signed up for a free SkyDrive account before April 23rd 2012, can keep their 25GB online storage forever if they ask for it and new users still get 7GB. That much more than DropBox or other providers.

As a Mac user, I was happy to see they launched a MacOS X compatible client application for SkyDrive so I could use all that space. There was just one little thing that bothered me, I couldn’t stand that client has the SkyDrive icon sitting in my Dock and menu bar at the same time! That’s just bad form from Microsoft on this one.

Being this is OSX there is a quick fix however, just open up a Terminal window and type the following to modify the SkyDrive clients settings:

defaults write /Applications/ LSUIElement 1

If SkyDrive was already running, just close it and start it again and the Dock icon is gone !