Clone Wars!

November 2008:

Clone wars!

At last back amongst the surviving packets on the grand isobaric terrain of the intArweb.  In my travels I have seen many lonely deserted packets, dropped needlessly from their groups… 8, 32, thousands… why do they not care for the feelings of a single packet, leaving them to separate into fragments of bits at our very feet.  But behold, I have before me packets folded to my bidding.  Networks staged on the very air over my living establishment are now mine, MINE, at my very bidding… my beckoned call to bow upon my every whim and desire.

Oh yes… I have internet access now.  Clandestinely perhaps, but I never claimed to be a Greenpeace activist.  I’m not armed enough for that role, yet.

June 2010:

Time progresses and this blog consists of things I have ran across and/or learned within the last 2 years.  In some cases, simply being a documentation for me to refer to later, along with sharing to the rest of the world.  I forget more than I ever type, sadly.
No longer am I clandestinely pirating airwaves to gain ‘net access.  I find my own connection to be far more sound.  That, and I can afford it now 😉

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Ketogenic diet – take 2


After doing the ketogenic diet about 6 months ago, I figured I’d leave a bit of time for myself to reclaim my pride since I bailed. I decided now to go back to trying it again, only acclaimate myself to meal replacement drinks before jumping into Keto chow.
About 1 week ago I started the Keto chow brand ketogenic diet drink, which makes it much easier to eat in a ketogenic fashion without needing to worry about what contains carbohydrates and whatnot. So far I have to say, the product has come a long way and is more filling along with easier to whip up. I like having 4 small meals a day (like the zone diet), so I take the full days size of powder and divide by 4 then use that per drink.
It’s very simple, I use avacado oil as my fat source for the drink (which is almost taste free and very friendly to your digestive system), instead of heavy cream as they recommend since I’m lactose intolerant. If you figure there are 8 calories per gram of avacado oil, it’s easy enough to divide the amount of calories desired by 8 and get the number of grams to use. The idea is that the powder contains all nutrition and protein, while the added oil (or heavy cream) contains the fat the body needs. The concept of ketogenic is to withhold carbs as the body goes through ketosis, which then causes the body to use the stored fat as it’s primary energy source. It requires a bit of change in diet and control as well, but ultimately it can help blood pressure along with sugar levels in the blood.

In comes the cavalry, an easy to use meal replacement drink that can assist in moving towards ketosis.  I aim for 1,600 calories a day, with 41g avacado oil & 33-41g Keto chow powder per drink, depending on which flavor since each weigh different.  After that, this with that along with water and shake it up:

and this is one of four of the mixer bottles I use to mix them up & sit in the fridge for an hour or two.  After that, I pour each into their own hydro flask insulated container (20 oz), and put in the fridge until morning.

its a world of its own, and takes a bit of endurance since the first couple days require burning off the bodies glycogen to reach ketosis.  Once that happens, it’s all about drinking water & electrolytes along with the meal drinks and that’s it.

lets see how things go.  So far I’ve dropped water weight of 5-6 lbs, but that comes and goes through life.

Macbook Pro on battery – lid closed without issue

I’ve used Macbook Pro for years now, and up until I picked up my latest 2017 Macbook Pro I never worried about having external monitors.  It wasn’t until an incident with my iMac having a video module go out that I figured It’d be best just to have one computer for everything.  That’s when I picked up the latest 15 inch Macbook Pro, and dual monitors plugged in with HDMI to USB-C adapters.  (MUCH sweeter than previous setups on systems)  The biggest problem I ran into was not being able to close my laptop screen with the external monitors attached, without the system going into standby mode.  Before anyone says anything, the heat is expelled through the bottom on left and right openings to avoid the monitor being closed being an issue.

Up until MacOS High Sierra came out, I was using a 3rd party application called InsomniaX to keep the system from sleeping when the lid was closed.  It’s a great application, but for some reason stopped disabling lid sleep on battery when I installed High Sierra.  Problem.  After research, I found the easiest way is to run the following as admin in the terminal:
sudo pmset -b sleep 0; sudo pmset -b disablesleep 1

The following simply sets sleep time to 0, and disables sleep.  Since I use terminal quite a bit (I’m a Unix engineer), I put the following into ~/.bash_profile:
alias sleepoff=’sudo pmset -b sleep 0; sudo pmset -b disablesleep 1′
alias sleepon=’sudo pmset -b sleep 5; sudo pmset -b disablesleep 0′

With that, it’s easy enough to just type “sleepoff” at the prompt instead of the whole line… and if you want to enable sleep capabilities then type “sleepon”.

Anyway, not a breakthrough in science but it does fix a gripe.  Hope it helps someone.

Neurological issues

Today was a big deal for me personally and I wanted to share it with anyone else who may go through the same thing.
I woke up in the morning with no issues but for some reason when dealing with an issue with my cat that should have been a very small issue, my mind decided to send a signal through itself that began a chaos signal. That’s the only way I can put it. I could feel a feeling of suffocation rising up through my neck and throat, it honestly felt like death was coming. At that time, I didn’t care, and let it keep coming because there is nothing I could do. (I worry about other people, not myself).
It was a brain blip… one of the most chaotic things you could imagine. I literally found myself with NO other memories after. Like NONE.
I found myself trying to figure myself out at that time. There was lots more but that’s the most I’ll go into. It was 2-3 hours later that my memory returned slowly. It was the worst time of my life.
Now I’ll just say…. it’s nothing more than losing who you are. I’ve thought about it and when you lose who you are and what you know, it takes the very foundation of life away. As I sit here typing this I think about how I can remember things from 10-20..30 years ago… and then I think about how it felt losing the memory. It felt worse than death.

If you go through this, honestly I really do wish I could hug you so tight. It’s hell, and I never want anyone else to feel it.

Learning about people

I’ve learned quite a bit about people over the last few years and more so over the last year.
I’m noticing that people only devote as much time to you as they feel will gain them some form of income… be it your time helping them, or some other positive in their direction. Once it goes outside of that arena, I notice people will back away and disconnect from you no matter the amount of time. That’s slightly disconcerting when you’ve devoted a space of time to a person and those rules are applied.

21 years ago I began talking to a woman. We were close, but at the time things weren’t going to work out and we knew it. Somehow, we started talking again about 4-5 years ago. It was great but bad things happened and money became scarce. Of course I helped but there’s only so much a guy can help when he is 4-5 states away. Time drifted us apart for 2-3 years except texting randomly. Voice didn’t happen, and when it’s only text at that point it’s not real to me.. and I’ve said that.

So now I sit, caring about someone who is migrating by foot to California. I’m not Into asking why or whatever. When you have to beg to physically speak with someone, it tells me there’s a huge disconnect, and I’m not going to try.
I guess this is a documentary.

My Second Kombucha Wood Barrel

As seen in my previous blog (https://wp.me/pmBQH-yV) about purchasing a Kombucha wooden barrel from barrelsonline.com, I purchased another wooden barrel of the same kind in order to allow a staggered fermentation cycle and not do without Kombucha for a period of time while fermenting.

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In the above picture, the barrel on the left is the first barrel I purchased and the barrel on the right is the second barrel purchased.  For the new barrel, you will notice a stainless steel spigot instead of a wooden spigot as the first barrel has.  This is because I chose to try one out 3rd party since the wooden spigot is a bit tight to turn on/off which makes filling a bottle a touch hairy.  I also chose to not use lacquer on the outside to allow kombucha breathing through the wood.

The new barrel has been treated much like the first, except I simply took it outside and filled it with a water hose.  1 hour soaking, emptied, 1 hour soaking, emptied, 48 hour soaking, emptied and brought inside to fill with sweetened black tea.  It’s been in operation now for 1 day starting yesterday evening, and there have been no issues at all.  I’m impressed since this will be my second barrel, and I’ve seen posts from people stating that their barrel was horrid, leaked continuously, & was filled with glue.  Now, I will say the barrels do have wax to seal between the planks along with the ring of wood on the top.  This is apparent when you use hot water while washing/soaking and you can see the wax melting and changing clear while doing so until it cools.  It is also what seals any miniscule leaks that may form, as can be seen in the picture of the old barrel on the left.  The darker streak of color running down the plank seam formed from kombucha coming through as a moisture and the wax sealing that area.  The same occurred around the spigot insert.  That was all, nothing more.  That impressed me – a self-healing barrel.  Note that the inside does not have this since it was washed & rinsed.

Anyway, another barrel without any issues.  I’m happy with barrelsonline.com and their Kombucha barrels.  At least the 5-gallon ones 😛

American Oak Wood Barrels for Kombucha

I’ve been making Kombucha off and on for the last 4 years.  Recently, I’ve decided I’d get into it a little more seriously, since I can feel my body needing all the help it can get.  After doing a few brews for 3-6 week stints to experiment with flavor and sourness, I’ve found that I have more energy in general when I drink it… the non-caffeine energy.  So, I decided to go with a bigger container, but wanted something unique.  After doing research, I decided to go the route of a continuous brew oak wood barrel.

There are lots of places to buy wooden barrels, however only a handful that make them sitting vertically like this and have a hole at the top, along with a spigot hole made for being a spigot hole and not simply a bung hole in the middle like horizontal barrels.

The place I purchased mine was from http://www.barrelsonline.com. ($128+shipping which was $29.99)  The reviews weren’t good, but I figured I’d give it a shot since the alternatives from other companies didn’t seem much different and were quite a bit more pricey.  This particular one is 5-Gallons, with galvanized steel hoops that wrap around the barrel, and the wood is charred American Oak.  They say the order takes 14 business days, and I’d say from start to finish it was about that time.  It was shipped from Mexico, and while I’m not happy about that it didn’t seem that it effected the quality.  I chose a full-wood spigot, and the barrel to not be varnished so it could breathe.  The lid I didn’t care about so I chose cork… even though it’s never on and I cover it with a cloth cover I bought from Kombuchakamp.com with elastic to hold it on.

Below you can see the wood residue floating in the water before it was emptied the first time.

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Prepping it wasn’t hard, for me at least.  I’m kinda redneck’ish, so bear with me.  I put the barrel in my shower, and filled it with super-hot water from my hand sprayer.  Once I filled it entirely, I let it sit for an hour or so to let the wood expand/swell.  Honestly, it didn’t leak much at all and I was surprised.  I picked it up (held the top and bottom), and flipped it to dump the water out into the shower, then sat it back down again.  I repeated the process 3-4 times, with the final time being cold water.  The last time I made sure the sides weren’t leaking at all, and they weren’t.  I wiped it down, then took it out the the kitchen.

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I had 2 1-gallon glass containers with Kombucha already brewing, so I dumped those in as a starter batch.  I then brewed up a 2-gallon pot of black tea, threw 2 cups of sugar in and stirred it up, leaving it cool to room temp.  After, I tossed that into the barrel which made the level reach almost completely to the top!  I threw the cloth cover on that is in the picture, and left it go.

After a week, I came back to look at how things were going.  I was surprised to find a nice sized Kombucha SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) floating on the top already!  I left it go another week, and that SCOBY grew quite a bit, and lodged itself into the walls.  After pouring a cup from the spigot, the SCOBY looked like something from the movie Aliens, and gripping the walls ahah.  I knocked it off the walls and pushed it down into the kombucha to get wet, then covered it back up.

I am very happy with it so far.  The small line of moisture you see in the picture above appeared a couple days after I started brewing, and it was kombucha coming through.  It was simply moisture, and within a couple of days the wax filled the holes up and made everything perfect.  This barrel does a great job of keeping the sun and light away from the bacteria/yeast and lets everything do it’s job without any interruption.
The spigot does take a bit of muscle to twist due to being wood on wood, but it works nicely.

I have another barrel coming so I can have an uninterrupted barrel and another for brewing that can be emptied halfway into the other barrel for drinking.  This will allow the sugar to be added with the new tea, and not interrupt the content of the kombucha being drank.

Let’s hope the second one is as good as the first.  Also, the words “kombucha” I had laser printed into the front by the company before sending it as a part of the purchase for free.  You can choose whichever words you want, and as you can see I’m very inventive.

Propane as an alternative fuel – 1994 Toyota Pickup 2wd

I was looking for an older truck to move heavy things around like a motor block, transmission, or anything bigger than my car trunk.  I’m not a picky person, and was aiming for an 80’s Ford F150 or Ranger.  I ran across a truck that caught my attention since I like to experiment.  A 1994 Toyota 2wd pickup that was converted to propane and turbocharged!

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This particular one is rather unique in that it’s been a test-bed demo truck most of it’s life.  For the last 5-8 years she’s been living the used-truck life in the hands of 2-3 people, however.  The conversion to propane is the awesome part – All of the vacuum tubes & emissions stuff in the engine bay is gone, with the EFI system capped & fuel injectors unplugged.  A 27-gallon ASME horizontal propane tank is bolted into the bed of the truck.

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A propane hose is mounted through the floor of the truck bed, running through the frame into the engine bay running through the firewall where it connects to a propane filter, propane regulator, propane vaporizer, & propane mixer/carburetor.  The mixer/carburetor feeds directly into a Garrett T3 turbocharger (mounted on the engine exhaust manifold), with the EFI system intake tube feeding directly from the turbocharger.  Below is a picture of my engine bay.

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The ignition coil & module on my setup (as seen in this photo below the mixer & vaporizer) is custom, with a higher amperage pass-through to detonate the propane with a solid spark.  I’m running NEW stock NGK plugs, distributor cap/rotor, & NGK ignition wires.

Since there is a turbocharger on the system, an HKS turbo timer is installed, and vacuum sensor to be able to detect boost/air fuel ratio (AFR)/PSI/etc.  It helps alot when tuning the mixer after installation!  Another thing to note is on my setup the turbocharger has a direct oil feed from the oil sensor on the engine block to the turbocharger bearing and back around through a filter dedicated to the turbocharger, and back around into the block.

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For those who don’t feel like worrying about installing vacuum sensors, etc, you can tune the mixer just as I did:  the air/fuel screw 4 1/4 turns out and the WOT knob just a hair under fully rich.

The plus side of propane in Arizona is the ability to get an Alternative Fuel plate which allows driving in the HOV lane!  Propane also has a much higher octane, which allows a much higher compression ratio (14:1 or higher).  It requires a hotter spark to ignite, but burns clean with far less CO2 exhaust.  Propane enters the engine as a vapor (non-liquid) gas, with none passing the piston rings into the oil.  Propane also is VERY stable, and will not go bad just sitting in the tank, unlike gasoline which rots.  The negative is that propane gets a lower MPG by 10% or so, but usually is negated to the same MPG with a turbocharger.

The 1994 Toyota pickup is a reliable vehicle, but is not smooth riding.  Due to it’s light body, a bump is really felt but it sustains nicely.  Driving to work (30 miles one way, freeway) is rather nice, however.  Since it is turbocharged, the life really shows above 55 MPH and with a 5-speed manual transmission (5th gear is overdrive) the RPMs aren’t very high at about 3300 RPM at 80 MPH.

I have a few fixes to do, with the lower engine needing to have seals replaced to stop oil leaks along with maintenance changes of coolant hoses & water pump before the summer comes.