Matilija Poppy

Thought I'd at least put something on the front page to push that bike crash cut below the fold. So here's a picture of a Matilija Poppy, from the Tijuana Slough

Matilija Poppy

Spontaneous Adjustment

In the grand tradition of my dad's blogs, I will heretofore document my bicycling injuries.

I've been pretty lucky, all in all. I can't recall so much as a scrape that I've received since some idiot in La Mesa driving a Green Mustang ran me over. (OK, he only actually ran over my wheel. It still wasn't fun.)

In fact, I think that means that my previous bike - the Raleign SC-30 - has so far lived its entire life without an accident.

The new bike - which I have so far had less than a month - can no longer claim the same.

Because of my particular measurements and riding preferences, I purchased an adjustable stem. Before leaving work, I made some adjustments to it (raising it higher).

Unfortunately, I did not torque it adequately. As I was comming to a stop at the stop sign in front of the information booth at the north entrance to UC San Diego, it decided that my adjustment was incorrect and in fact should be ALL THE WAY DOWN.

The result was a fairly minor fall, all in all. Two scrapes, a couple of bruises, and a chomp from my pedal.

- Left Knee

- Right Knee

- Pedal in left Achilles

Blood connects most immediately with other humans, but the worst of has been the bloodless bruises. My steering column had an intimate date with my chest, resulting in invisible bruises that leave me groaning every time I attempt to adjust my torso. And a huge bruise around my left knee is silent until I try to do any of the everyday tasks - tying my shoes, picking up my cat, or just resting it against the car door - that I take for granted.

All in all I count myself lucky. Beyond the inconveniences, so many I know have suffered so much worse. It makes me wonder if I'm just a wimp w.r.t. injury.

And to put it in perspective: Not far past the fateful stopsign are a pair of long, steep descents. If the stem had collapsed on one of those, at 30-40MPH instead of nearly zero, I can only imagine that I could have wound up #6.

Instead, I instantly got up and pulled the bike off the road, hopped around for a few moments dumbstruck, and sat down for a few minutes. Knowing how much it hurt on the inside, it felt incongruous to watch everything continuing on as normal around me. Cars stopping and continuing on, kids playing on the grass across the street with their parents, bicyclists completely unquestioning of the akimbo angle of my handlebars and oozing blood.

After that, fueled by adrenaline, I just tightened my handlebars and continued on home. In light of how my ribs have hurt for the next few days, and the massive bruise on my left knee, I'm rather astounded at how normal the ride was after that.

At least I got a nice sunset out of the ride:

Union Tribune pricing

The San Diego Union Tribune recently implemented a paywall: One can only view a limited number of articles before being redirected to a Subscription Offers page.

OK, fine, I get that the UT is bleeding, and that Doug Manchester didn't purchase the paper solely to advocate his political views. But you never win fans by charging for something you used to give away freely.

What I find interesting, though, is the pricing structure. An "unlimited digital-only" subscription costs $3.50 per week. A Sunday-only paper delivery, which includes the same "unlimited digital-only" subscription, also costs $3.50 per week.

There are a number of ways of viewing this. The one I choose to take is that the UT recognizes that their content is the only thing they have of value. The Sunday paper only just pays for itself with revenue from advertising/coupons, hence it can be given away for free once you have chosen to pay for the content - it makes no difference to them either way. And the paper delivery of the rest of the week is the albatross on their neck, just costing them extra money, so you're going to have to pay up if you want that delivered.

It is at the same time mind-boggling to admit that their primary purpose for being, their namesake (the "news paper") is worthless. But in an era where so many papers have gone under for refusing to admit that fact, perhaps it is an admirable admission.

Warm days, cool nights

We're finally reaching the time of the year that cool evenings are a treat, rather than a punishment.

Note that sometime around November, I'll be noting that the feel of direct sun in the warm afternoons are a treat, rather than a punishment.

Mr. Beer #2

Mr. Beer #2 is in the fermenter. This time it is the Witty Monk Witbier recipe. Of course, I could not resist adding some additional sugar: A cup of white and a cup of brown.

Now I have this to help with my brewing:

I'll use that to measure the gravity over time. This contributes a) a better understanding of the pace and completeness of fermentation, and b) an ability to calculate the actual alcohol content of the final product.

As an example, here is the first measurement:

Brix refractometer showing a line at 12.8 degrees brix

Specific Gravity of Mr. Beer #2, in Plato units
DateBrix (°Bx)Temp (°F)Plato Units (°P)Specific GravityABV (%)
5/4/2012 11:00 PM13.07612.51.0500
5/6/2012 11:42 AM11.47310.051.0401.41
5/7/2012 11:27 PM7.8714.371.0174.48
5/8/2012 7:01 PM7.1713.271.0135.05
5/9/2012 8:30 PM7.0733.111.0115.13

Expected post-fermentation ABV (via recipe): 6.6%

Expected post-carbination ABV: 7%

Since the last listed measurement, the refraction index has stayed at 7&degBx (as of 5/13, but unlikely to change). So I supposed it'll just get to sit there a bit while the yeast clean up any outlying acetaldehyde and what not.