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Sunday, February 5, 2017

More Tracks

I forgot to show the track in the ground effect I put on the back.

Playing with the phone camera to see if it takes better pictures than my tablet:









Friday, February 3, 2017

Half-Tracks

My World War 2 forces are in desperate need of transportation for the infantry.  I have put it off as long as possible because the idea of painting lots of trucks nauseates me.  So I started with half-tracks for my panzergrenadiers.



I play division level actions with each stand representing a company, and 2-4 stands a battalion.  Each has up to four "combat effective" stands that can shoot and close assault. Any additional stands represent assets.  That give the battalion additional capabilities or increased effectiveness.  So for this battalion of panzergrenadiers, the  half-track represents armored transport capability, and the square stand is a marker for where the battalions heavy weapons are adding concentrated support.  Here they are in "transport mode."



This minimizes the number of trucks and half-tracks that take up table space, and the amount that I need to paint.  Here they are deployed.  Note the placement of the Heavy Weapons support.


German half-tracks done, now time for some Opel Blitz trucks.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hilo and Beer

I drank beer in Hilo...

But I also ran.



You get the picture.  I ran every other day while we vacationed in Hilo.  This is my break from any intense half marathon training.  I allow myself this break twice a year for a maximum of two weeks. My next Half is in Santa Cruz, training begins two days ago.

Beer

You need culture, like this California Ale yeast streaked for purity.

I'm also still trying to catch some wild yeast using some impromptu wort making.


Of course if you don't want wild yeast in your beer then you need to inoculate a starter culture with the pure culture to have enough to out compete any wild yeast in the environment.


Running the grain through the Monster Mill.


Looking good.


Getting the beer tower ready.


Getting the mash/lauter tun ready.  Water is at 171 degrees Fahrenheit.


Mashing away.


Putting on the thermal blanket to hold temperature for the requisite hour.


Recirculating the wort pre-sparge.
 

Sparging


Collecting the wort.


Bringing wort to a boil.


Cooling the wort and collecting the cooled wort


After fermenting, transferring and then kegging - putting it on tap.



All that about running and beer - time for a beer!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Culinary Catch-Up

I've been collecting photos on my phone with the idea that I will "eventually" blog about it.  So here we go:

Hamine Eggs


I recently acquired an electric pressure cooker and while searching on whether such a device could truly achieve sterility (you need 15psi for 15 minutes to kill endospores) I found an article on cooking eggs for a very long time, or in this case, using a pressure cooker.  I cooked these for 65 minutes at "High" setting on my Cuisinart.  They were quite tasty.

Cheese



I recently made cheese.  I eventually read you shouldn't do this with ultra pasteurized organic milk, but too late.  I did it anyways and it tasted quite good after a relatively short fermentation period.

Coffee



I have a Fresh Roast SR500 and it does a great job of roasting coffee beans.  But I always like trying new things, so I made this effort using a gas grill and rotisserie.  It worked okay, but took a long time.  I think I will stick with the Fresh Roast.

Bacon wrapped Filet Mignon



A tasty way to end this post.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Reinforcements by Post

Too many projects, and a receding desire to paint 15mm infantry led me to turn to painting services.  I discovered Reinforcements by Post in Bangladesh.  They have a running special for WW2 infantry.  So I ordered a few bags in the hope of finishing a U.S. infantry division while maintaining the necessary figures for an armored infantry regiment for my U.S. armor division.

The service was very speedy and the figures were individually wrapped to protect them from the rough and tumble of a cross pacific journey.  I promptly based some up:


The square stand to the left in the top photo are some of my own painted figures serving as a heavy weapons (HW) support marker.  The order came with quite a few guys in long coats which are not shown here, but I will use as I need every soldier.  I may be a couple of companies (two stands) shy of the number I would need for a full roster.  I will cogitate upon this.

I bought some Plastic Soldier Company later war German Grenadiers.  These I feel obligated to paint up - at least two regiments worth.  The first battalion along with HW support is finished.


I'm very happy with these, but my splinter camo paint job needs some work.  Oh well, "Paint and Play" is what I live by.  It keeps me from giving up on the painting, and thus I get to keep playing.

Finally, I'm standardizing the basing on all of my War of Spanish Succession to either 60mm x 120 mm (infantry and cavalry) or 100 x 100mm for artillery.  Now the muskets don't extend beyond the base.  In order to avoid a complete rebasing I am gluing the metal stands to the Litko stands I purchased.  I used some wall patching compound to fill in the line and I think it came out pretty good.



Friday, December 2, 2016

This and That

Running
On Thanksgiving I ran in a local "Turkey Trot."  I think the idea is to run on the day you are about to over indulge on this annual feast in order to ease any guilt you may be feeling about all them calories.  I like supporting local running events.  It is difficult because they don't advertise them very well.  Apparently they had a run on Mother's day again and I missed it.  On a whim I did a search for "Turkey Trots," slightly worried what it might turn up, and was relieved to find this race advertised in the online version of the local newspaper.

These runs aren't chipped.  Time is kept by a clock in the stadium, and they almost never post the times online.  I took my Garmin so I know I ran faster than a 25minute 5k, but it wasn't a PR.  I placed 14th out of a field of about 60.  I'm good with that, and that is the last race for the year.  I generally like to squeeze 5k's into the schedule between training for half-marathons.  I just wish I had had more time to train for this one.

Miniatures

Finished painting this unit (regiment/combat effective) of French Dragoons modeled after the La Reine Dragoons.   I have dismounted figures for them also, not sure when I'll paint those as I'm swinging back to do some World War 2 figures.  I bought these guy many years ago from Imperialist.  The flag may be a bit large, but I painted it by hand and I like how it turned out.


Made some arrow markers for my ancients stuff.  The plan is to have them on when they are "loaded" and to take them off when "unloaded" as opposed to the put some marker on them or in front of them when unloaded.




I really need to stop rebasing.  I feel like it is all I am getting done these days, and I am slowing down.  Still, I like the new look to the right above.






I've been hankering a bit for the old style Piquet army characterization decks.  Its all part of my tweeking/modding of Pulse of Battle and Field of Battle.  The  cards with numbers are for morale chips, the other cards the players can put in their "hand" and play once during the game whenever they want.  It offers some interesting twists, surprises, and choices to the games.  I got rid of the Tactical Advantage cards in the play decks as that was too predictable.






Under the hill, or over the hill?  Up to this point I have always placed my hills on top of the game mat as you can see below.  But in the above picture I tried putting them below.  I kind of like it.

You might notice the new fields.  I purchased these from Hotz ArtWorks





Culinary
I brewed an Oatmeal Stout over the long Thanksgiving weekend.  I toasted 4 ounces of steel cut oats to add to the mash.  It smelled fabulous.  It finished at a 1.075 gravity, should make for a stout beer ~7% alcohol.  I used California Ale yeast.

I found this web page.  I am a microbiologist.  How hard can it be to capture my own yeast for brewing?  It is absolutely amazing, and a little frightening what you can find on Amazon.  I ordered in some agar along with some other cool toys for doing pure culture.  I've always wanted a pressure cooker.  Every thing I need should be arriving today, so hopefully I will be posting my adventures in this direction in the near future.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Merco Half Marathon

A storm front came in and I all but gave up hope of a PR.

It is a relatively local event so we just drove up the morning of the race.

The race is fairly new and the number of entrants not to many.  I didn't really experience any serious crowding issues.  The event was well organized, mostly flat, and the route aesthetically pleasing.

This is the first time that I stuck fairly stringently to a training plan.

Mo
Tu
We
Th
Fr
Sat
Sun
Totals

June 20-26

8.37
5.6


8.7
12.3
34.97
2
June 27-July 3
3.5
8
8.2
8.37
8.65
7
12.2
55.92
3
July 4-10
3.5
8.6
9.5
7
7
7.5
12.2
55.3
4
July 11-17
4
7.5
8.6
7.5
8.6
7.5
10
53.7
5
July 18-24
5
7.3
8.7
7.3
9.2
5
12.3
54.8
6
July 25-31
5.3
7.3
8.8
5
8.7
7.3
10
52.4
7
Aug 1-7
5
7.5
8.7
5
9.1
7.5
12.3
55.1
8
Aug8-14
5
7.5
9.5
7.5
9
5
10
53.5
9
Aug15-21
5
7
9.5
7
9.5
7.3
12.3
57.6
10
Aug22-28
5
7
9.5
7
9
5
10
52.5
11
Aug29-Sept4
5
0
9.5
6.4
9.5
6.4
14
50.8
12
Sept 5-11
5
6.8
8
6.8
9.5
5
10
51.1
13
Sept 12-18
5
6.8
10
0
9.7
6
14
51.5
14
Sept 19-25
5
6.2
10
6.2
9.7
5
10
52.1
15
Sep26-Oct2
1.5
0
14
9.2
13.3
9
14
61
16
October3-9
8
9
11
3
10.1
5
8
54.1
17
October 10-16
5
5
0
6
5
3
13.1
37.1
18








883.49

The foundation of this training plan was Hansen's Half Marathon book


On Mondays I did hill sprints based on Brad Hudson's book.  I did Saturday Hill sprints on weeks were I wasn't doing a long run (12+ miles on Sunday).  During the training cycle I set PRs for 1 mile, 5k, and 10k.  I really felt I was in for something special on race day.  My goal was to break the previous record of 1 hour 51 minutes.

And then the storm blew in...

Actually, it wasn't that bad, a few sprinkles and light wind.  Frankly, it was a little too warm and humid for my running preference. 

I knocked almost 5 minutes off of my previous PR at 1 hour 46 minutes and 6 seconds.

I definitely want to run this race again.  Having experience with the route could help me knock off a few more seconds, and I plan to be faster next year.

For spring 2017 I've decided to return to Santa Cruz.