Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Pork Pot Pie, Precisely Prepared

It's about time I actually wrote down the recipe for my pork pot pies, as I've gotten them to a place where I'm quite pleased with how they're coming out. I haven't done this earlier, because for the most part I just wing it. It's really just a pork stew stuffed into a pie shell, and pork stew is one of the most forgiving dishes you can prepare.

So firstly, let's get the easy stuff out of the way: the pie dough. It's literally just this recipe, including the optional buttermilk powder. Doesn't get much easier than that.

Now the fun part, the filling. We will need, with no particular precision:

  • 1 head of celery
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 pile of carrots roughly proportional to the two ingredients listed above
  • A splash of cooking oil
  • 1.5-ish pounds of pork from a well marbled cut
  • 1/2-ish pounds of bacon
  • Brine solution made with 2 tbsp salt and 2 cups of water
  • 1 liter or quart of chicken stonk 📈
  • 2 packets of unsweetened, unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • A bay leaf
  • White pepper
  • Ground mustard
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Coriander seed
  • Garlic powder
  • Whatever other seasonings you feel like using

Since this will be a long post, let's continue after the break.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Fix It Again, Tony

Why fix something once when you can fix it twice?

A while back I got a few inexpensive motorcycle covers, only to fairly quickly realize that they are, in fact, cheap. They generally do their job of keeping the sun from baking the plastics on my bikes, but other than that they're kind of a fail, especially considering that half the fabric they're made out of (the lower, silvery half) actually isn't itself UV resistant, and has been slowly disintegrating in the sunlight. Lovely.

Anyway, that's a problem for future-me. Today-me needs to deal with the cheap, shitty snap-buckles they came equipped with to keep the covers from blowing away. They're made out of some kind of brittle, garbage plastic that seems to enjoy shattering at the slightest provocation.

That ain't holding nothin' nowhere. Luckily after the last time this happened I ended up buying a bulk pack of snap buckles, so I had a replacement lined up and ready to go.

A much better quality replacement, which honestly feels a bit pointless to use on this shitty motorcycle cover, but whatever I guess.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

By Any Other Name

For some time now, the rose bush has had a problem. When I first inherited it, it looked a little (emphasis on 'little') like this.

It has, over the past few years, grown to become a little bit more unruly.

The main problem being that the original stakes were nowhere near sufficient to be able to hold up the new growth, being both too short to reach and too weak to support the weight of the growing plant.

So a few months back I bought a new set of bamboo stakes, with the intent of giving the rose a little haircut and redoing the stakes completely.

Then I got lazy.

But I am lazy no more, as I've finally gotten around to doing a bit of yard work again, and I must say the rose is looking much more under control again.

Dead-headed, pruned back, and staked up with plenty of room to grow.

Into the sin bin with you, old stakes and tangled branches.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Or, not

So, I was getting tired. Specifically, tired of slathering my arms with sunscreen whenever I wanted to take a long bike ride during peak daylight hours. In the winter it's not an issue because the sun is low and I'm usually wearing a jacket to keep warm, and in the mornings I'm not bothered because the shadows are long and I'm not usually out for more than an hour. But the weekend and afternoon rides cook my arms with a bit more UV radiation than I'd like, and so I've started looking for alternatives to sunscreen.

In particular, I've started looking for long sleeve cycling jerseys.

Since most of my existing kit is Pearl Izumi, my first stop was to try their "Attack" lightweight long-sleeve jersey. It took ages to come in thanks to supply chain gobbledygook and when it finally arrived at my door I discovered that the sleeves were too long.

This was expected, of course, given that I have stubby little t-rex arms. What I didn't expect was for the sleeves to also be loose, which was definitely not going to work for me. I don't want wet fabric to be flapping around in the breeze when I'm trying to ride my bike.

So it went back for return and I polled the internet hive mind for advice.

I got a few good tips, and eventually settled on taking a quick trip up to SF to check out Ornot. They had a nice selection of long sleeve jerseys, and the sleeves were also too long on them (see the t-rex arms thing above), but crucially the sleeves were not loose and flappy. The jerseys seemed to be pretty good quality, so I bought two of them and gave them a try.

It was nice and toasty on Friday afternoon, so I rode up to the top of St Joseph's on Blackbirb to get some sweat going. As I expected the jersey did suffer from a little bit of wet-tshirt-syndrome due to the light color, and I decided that I didn't really care. It did the job of keeping me cool and comfortable and keeping the sun off my arms without needing to apply sunscreen.

As such, I am pleased.

While I was up there I took some other photos from the top. Looking out over the south bay.

And over into the Santa Cruz mountains.

It's quite lovely up there.

I'm going to keep my short sleeve jerseys in rotation since I don't always need the sun protection, and also they're still in good shape so it makes sense to spread out the wear and tear over them.

All in all I think these were a good addition to my cycling wardrobe.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

An improvement of exactly 220

My Garmin 810 has been serving me well for a number of years now, but it was getting a bit long in the tooth and part of the covering on the display was starting to delaminate, so I have been contemplating the idea of getting a replacement at some point.

As it would happen, a coworker was selling a Garmin 1030, which is only 1.5 generations old (there was a 1030+ released at some point, and then the 1040 was released just a month or two ago) for quite a good price, so I jumped at the opportunity.

It's a touch larger to make room for the bigger screen, and is a fair bit thinner (not that it really matters).

They also put the buttons down on the bottom edge, which is actually kind of a little unfortunate.

For reasons.

But luckily since it's a quarter-turn mount I can just give the unit a bit of a twist to access the start/stop button. Since I only have to do that once at the start of the ride and once at the end of the ride, this isn't a really big deal.

It is a bit silly though.

So it fits, mostly, on Purple Haze. That's good. It fits quite easily on Blackbirb thanks to the mount on that one being above the stem. I have a top cap mount on Crimson Ghost though, and on there.

Hmm,  yeah, that still counts as fitting I guess.

It might have been more wise to wait around for an Edge 830 to pop up (which is the latest version of the 810, though with the 1040 having just arrived one does wonder when an 840 might join the lineup). But, the price on this was quite good so I think this was still a good decision.

Not Giardia

Made a fresh batch of giardiniera on Friday/Saturday. Last batch was running low; I was down to only 3 pint jars yet left unopened.

I ran a little bit low on some spices since I just sort of assumed I had enough left over from the previous batch and didn't actually check. Lesson learned I guess. I'm pretty sure it'll still turn out just lovely though.

One big change from the last batch is that I didn't top the jars with olive oil. Last time I had some trouble with the oil burping out when I was canning the jars, and over all I didn't really feel like it added much to the experience, especially since after opening the jar I'd store it in the fridge, which would result in the oil solidifying on top. If I'm really desperate for it to be oilier, I can always just add some after I scoop out my portion from the jar.

Anyway, I now have two sets of pint jars, so I don't need to worry about making sure I time the new batch right for when the last jar from the old batch is used up. I can pick and choose whenever I want to make another, so long as I have at least 12 jars emptied. And as long as I remember to pick up a new pack of lids.

And more spices.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Inflation is Killing Me

So recently I also noticed that my iPhone's battery was turning into a spicy pillow, for the second time. It's an iPhone 7 so it's certainly been around a little while, and I already got the battery swapped once a few years ago.

But as is evident by the screen lifting on the one side there, the second battery is well on its way out the door now too.

Given that I am somewhat reliant on the phone remaining water resistant, since it sits in my jersey pocket when I'm cycling, this situation needed to be addressed.

Of course, since the iPhone 7 is quite old now, I decided that this 'addressing' would come in the form of an iPhone SE (3rd gen).

Meet the new phone, same as the old phone. I went with the SE because I like the smaller form factor, and I really prefer TouchID over the alternatives. Hopefully this phone will last me another 6 years.