Coopers Pale Ale 2007

Fermenting: 19/01/2007 Bottled: 04/08/2007

Coopers Pale Ale can

Thanks to a kind donation from Danny Haynes of the Haynes family for the ingredients of this brew.

A can of Coopers Pale Ale, 1 kg of Brew Enhancer 1, which is 600g dextrose and 400g Maltodextrin boiled in a pot with some water. Added some tettnanger hops for flavour and aroma just as I took it off the stove top.

The previous night I had made up a yeast starter for this beer. I added a tablespoon of brewing sugar to a cup of water. I also added a small plug of honey I had in the cupboard, a couple of teaspoons worth, maybe. I mixed this together until it was dissolved. I then got the yeast out of the bottom of a couple of long necks of Coopers Pale Ale and added it to this water/sugar mixture. Once the wort was in the fermenter I added the yeast, a little worried it may or may not be active and a good idea.

But it was bubbling 24 hours later so I guess it worked fine. The terribly high temperatures in Sydney at the moment aren’t going to be the best for the beer, but I guess we will find that out in a months time.

Also, apologies to all those who got excited by the title of my previous post. I didn’t think about all the different ways that ‘a reason for celebration’ could be misconstrued.

Bottling notes: Finally got some energy and bottled this beer – seven and a half months in the fermenter. It seemed a little bland when I did a taste test – not sure if all the hop flavour escaped during the long ferment or if that’s how this Coopers can comes out.

Reason for celebration

Amber Pint

Finally bottled the Cascade Draught I started fermenting back in August. It was quite a dark amber in colour but the flavour was hard to describe. Once it is carbonated and rested another month or so we will see what it’s true character is.

I hereby declare you to be: Honey Longbrew

Zenwalk Linux

Zenwalk Logo

Zenwalk is a GNU/Linux operating system designed to be modern, fast, rational, complete and evolutionary. I installed the latest version (4.2) on my laptop this weekend. Compared to recent Ubuntu and SuSE installs, it was a little intimidating as it was completely text based and asked hard questions that you may not know the answer to – such as which mouse driver you want to use for X.

Once installed the XFCE based desktop is fast and easy to use, but configuring the underlying system was a bit strange to me. Zenwalk is based on Slackware and doesn’t seem to have it’s standard configuration files where I expected them within /etc. I couldn’t get the wireless lan working, the Zenwalk tool wifi-radar didn’t like my setup. Eventually I created a wpa_supplicant.conf file manually and finally got connected. Since then I’ve written a small script that runs iwconfig, wpa_supplicant and dhcpcd that connects my laptop up to the local network. Post a comment or use the contact form if you’d like a copy of my config files.

Zenwalk is really up to date for a linux system. The version I am running was released on January 6, 2007 and has the latest version of all it’s small number of packages. The kernel, for instance, is version, which was released by the linux kernel maintainers on 16 December, 2006. VIsit Zenwalk’s page on Distrowatch to see full version info.

If you’ve never tried linux before I’d still recommend you stick with Ubuntu but if you have slightly older hardware that could use a speed boost or you want to give a more marginal distribution a spin and don’t mind fiddling with a few config files yourself, Zenwalk could be worth a look.

Zenwalk Desktop


Lifehacker logo

Lifehacker is a website that links to lots of other websites and is all about getting things done. They describe themselves as the productivity and software guide and exist to help people use technology to save time, not just spend that time trying to get technology to work.

I often see links to the latest Lifehacker articles on Delicious Popular. The site is occasionally Mac-centric but that’s okay, there is still lots of good info there for the rest of us.

One example is this link to some free online investment education from Morningstar. Or the Emergent Time Tracker over at David Seah.

Lots of good stuff that can be helpful in daily life. Not as helpful as the Word, of course, but still good.

AIDS in 2007

Aids Ribbon

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a collection of symptoms and infections resulting from the specific damage to the immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Aids was first recognised in 1981 and is currently regarded as pandemic. I don’t regard myself as anywhere near educated on this topic but I think we should all be making more of an effort to understand and support the struggle against Aids.

It seems like we don’t talk about Aids much anymore, like it was overcome some time ago.

In 2005:

  • Between 33 and 46 million people were living with HIV or AIDS.
  • Between 3 and 6 million people were newly infected.
  • Between 2.4 and 3.3 million people died from the disease.

60% of the world’s HIV infected population live in sub-Saharan Africa. China is quietly having a boom in AIDS but not publicising it to the world, similar to their treatment of bird flu cases. Here in Sydney, the proportion of the gay community that is infected is 15-18%.

The numbers are staggering and hard to comprehend. BHP Billiton is even funding AIDS treatment for it’s employees in southern Africa as a business efficiency. I don’t know what difference once person can make, but surely this is something we each need to confront, however uncomfortable it might make us.

Lots of online resources to find out more. Here’s a start: Wikipedia AusAID World Vision

Holy Folks

Holy Folks plush dolls

Before Christmas I was dodging my way past the toy section at Kmart Merrylands when out of the corner of my eye I spotted some strange looking dolls. $30 Australian will buy you one of these – Noah, Moses, Mary or Jesus.

The main feature of the doll are it’s magnetic hands and the accessory you get with each one:

  • Noah has two small elephants
  • Moses has some stone tablets
  • Mary has a baby Jesus
  • Jesus has a staff

The tag line is Pray and Play, hence the magnetic hands.

Say, “Hello!” to Holy Folks™, the high-quality, loveable, plush characters, inspired by your favorite stories and scriptures. These huggable, familiar friends are the smiling examples of faith, patience, courage and love. Comforting and heartwarming, Holy Folks™ will never leave your side. Play and pray with your new best friends. They’re always faithful, always smiling!

You can see better pictures of the dolls on their website if you are interested. I don’t want to bag them out, but I worry sometimes about the image we Christians put out to the world. All I can comprehensively say is that the dolls look a lot happier in the official photo shoot than they do wedged a couple of rows down between the Bratz dolls and the Robosapiens. Perhaps the expression on their faces is patient endurance and grim determination.

Holy Folks plush dolls

Any suggestions we can send these folks? How about – a Paul doll that comes with your choice of iron chains, attacking snake or eye scales? Or maybe an Eve doll with an apple in one hand and a fig leaf in the other.

Sydney Ports

Pacific Princess steaming out of Sydney Harbour

Out of the window at my new workplace I have a clear, presently unobstructed view across Wharf 8, the top of Darling Harbour across to Star City Casino, then across to White Bay.

Today the Pacific Princess came in for a stopover on her way to Port Vila in Vanuatu.

On other days we see giant vehicle carriers like the MV Falstaff.

MV Falstaff

I like to keep track of upcoming ship movements via the Sydney Ports website. The movements page lets you know who’s coming in and going out.

One of the highlights of our day is when tugboats haul a giant ship out of White Bay and turn it around in front of us. The ship then steams off under the Harbour Bridge and out of Sydney harbour, bound for various exotic destinations.

Another boat that just went past was the Duyfken. It is a replica of a 17th century Dutch “jacht” that was built in Fremantle, WA to help tell the story of the Dutch contact with Western Australia 170 years before Cook ‘discovered’ the east coast. The current journey celebrates 400 years since the first documented European contact with Australia in 1606. The Duyfken is moored at Cockle Bay until the end of January.