I think Fly Me to the Moon is the right title for my latest homebrew for all sorts of reasons. It is based on Graham Wheeler’s recipe for J W Lees Moonraker, a beer I don’t think I’ve ever tried but a strong, malty, dark ale sounds appealing to me. I’ve also got the song of the same name on the potential playlist for a jam I’m going to tomorrow afternoon (if anyone is near Fulham in London tomorrow afternoon, let me know). And then, when I went to fire up my thermonitor program on my Raspberry Pi to monitor the temperature, the line number of the last command was 1969; I could fire it up by typing !1969 and it reminded me that this year is the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing (July 1969).
I used the oven for mashing again and managed to exceed the expected efficiency, with an original gravity of 1.066 instead of 1.058. Depending on what the yeast does (Safale S-04) it is either going be extra strong or extra thick, either of which would be fine as outcomes. I’ve got it fermenting and made sure I’ve put the brewbelt into the right plug socket. Now the waiting (and watching) begins.
Drawing a painting can be tricky. Should you try and capture what you see or make art inspired by art? I tend to lean towards the latter, as in this sketch based on a painting by Vilhelm Kyhn in the Ashmolean Museum:
I couldn’t find much information about this painting online although I did find a photograph on Flickr so you can judge for yourself how much is the 19th century Dane and how much is me.
By every reasonable measure, spring has arrived. I tend to work by a simple, month based definition, where March is early spring, April mid-spring and May late spring. However, we’ve also passed the spring equinox, blossom is blossoming, buds are budding and, personally, I’ve done my first morning of the year where I’ve got up before work and gone out to do some gardening.
Nothing too heavy – just potting up some tomato seedlings (Solanum lycopersicum ‘Ananas’) that were starting to get quite leggy in their starter pots. I’d been growing them indoors but they will now live out in the polytunnel along with the ‘Artisan Purple’ tomato seedlings I potted up on Monday.
It’s also getting to that point in the year where the challenge becomes finding space for numerous pots with seedlings. But, still. Spring is sprung and that’s a good thing for the growing year.
I popped into the Ashmolean Museum today and visited their recently opened Dimensions exhibition. It isn’t a massive display but had a couple of particular points of interest.
One was the collection of Albrecht Dürer woodcuts, illustrating the depiction of three dimensions in two dimensional form. What a skillful artist and I love the way he included his initials in a little cartouche in each piece, often itself depicted as a three dimensional object.
The other thing that stood out to me was the opportunity to further explore the subject of dimensions using a virtual reality headset, including flying through a menger sponge. The headset became a bit uncomfortable after a while but it did give an opportunity look and ‘interact’ with a four dimensional hypercube. Go at a quiet time and spend a bit of time to explore… in several dimensions.
Following on from yesterday, another thing that I’ve almost finished is my current main sketchbook. I’ve got about three pages left but scanned and uploaded another batch yesterday, including this one from Sunday evening:
There was also another bassist, Al, in the house. We’d been sharing duties – typically, I’d do the the first two or three times through a song then hand over and, later on, take a solo using some bizzare, “what next!?” combination of FX. After the midway point, I sat out for a few songs to enjoy a pint and do some drawing. The wash effect here is achieved with a few drops of beer to moisten the felt tips. You’d have to have been there to name the musicians but I’m pleased with the energy and overall balance of the piece.
Fairly soon, I’ll have to pick out my next sketchbook and also work out my schtick for it. With this one, I’ve been doing each sketch across a double spread to give a 2:1 or 1:2 ratio. After a sketch I did today of an Orrery at the History of Science Museum in Oxford, I’m pondering the idea of doing field sketches, scanning them for reference and then finishing each one with some follow on painting. I’ve become fairly content with my sketching style but I’ve been slacking off on getting the paints out so that might be a useful driver to push more in that direction.
I’ve finally finished Bones(2005-2017). It never got any closer to representing the Kathy Reichs books (which would have been a hard call given the starting point was already divergent in almost every way), it didn’t seem to worry too much about skipping previous evidence when it came to wrapping up an episode and it remained pretty formulaic in how it was constructed. However, despite all that, I largely enjoyed it.
Given it endured for 12 seasons, I think that is pretty good going. The last extended series I watched, Haven (2010-2015), only made it to five seasons and I’d pretty much given up by the end of the fourth one. I think I saw one episode from early in season five and that was enough to confirm that I’d watched enough.
What’s next? I’ve started to watch season two of American Gods (2017-) but, from what I recall of the book it is based on, that shouldn’t drag out too long.
I’ve decided to rename my latest home brew as Shark Fin Bass, to remember the, erm unusual shape of the fermentation temperature curve:
I got it bottled today (12 bottles) and the little bit of leftover beer I got to sample suggests that it has survived the unexpected temperature hike. Now to leave it be for a while – a week or so in the living room and then out to the larder – before I can properly judge it.
I also made an attempt to minimise the amount of sediment in the bottle. I transferred it from the fermentor back to my jerry can, making an effort to minimise the amount of sludge I picked up. I still got 6 litres and then left it to sit for a while as I got on washing the bottles. It looks okay although that’s another thing I need to wait for a few weeks to judge.