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05/28/2007

get away on Memorial Day

A 4-day weekend due to the holiday was our chance to grab Armani and head out North. The Comfort Inn in Portage, close to the Indiana Dunes State Park, is a pet-friendly hotel. I drove us there, Tom sat in the back with Armani. The dog doesn't like to sit by himself in the car, probably due to that accident he was involved in, when he was little.

Our day on the beach was absolutely gorgeous! Perfect sunshine, but not too hot. The sand was still wet from heavy rainfall all thru the previous night. Lake Michigan was pretty cold, most people didn't dare to swim. And those who did, felt an urge to scream and shout - not me though, I enjoy cold water.

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Armani had fun digging holes and rolling in the sand. After some hesitation he even swam a little bit. We had to trick him into doing that, by throwing a stick in the water, just barely beyond his reach. 

Later in the afternoon we went for a walk along Cowles Bog trail, and we had a very filling supper at a Mexican restaurant. Tom didn't trust the beer garden at the Junkyard Bar & Grill - I thought the joint looked a bit wild, but would have been OK for something different to try.  

15:10 Posted in 06, Having Fun | Permalink | Comments (0)

05/23/2007

learn to make German bread

Not that it is a vital neccessity, but sometimes I really enjoy having good, healthy, natural bread. The kind that you can't really find in the USA. With a hearty, crispy crust, juicy but not too soft body, and no weird ingredients, like corn starch or soy protein.

So, after I successfully mastered the art of making real German pretzels - where the hardest part was finding a supplier for sodium hydroxide, I decided to learn how to make real sourdough. From nothing but rye flour and water. After doing some extensive research on the internet, I started my project four days ago.

To grow sourdough, you have to be able to provide an environment favourable to the right kind of wild yeast. If it's too cold, you'll just produce some kind of rotten, acid flour-water mix. If it's too hot, you'll kill whatever yeast might have been growing, before you even start to bake bread. I used a food warmer to keep my sourdough culture at around 90°F. Every 12 hours you stir it vigorously, and every 24 hours you add another cup of rye flower and luke warm water.medium_bread.2.jpg Last night my sourdough looked and smelled just right for the next step.  

I had picked one of the simpler recipes for rye bread from the dozens that I found on the internet. 70% rye flour, 30% wheat flour, some chopped up sunflower seeds, my sourdough and salt. Mix, kneed, let sit for 2 hours to rise and double in size - bake for an hour, then let it cool down over night.

Today I'm enjoying my first home made rye sourdough bread for lunch. It turned out totally perfect, tastes like nothing you can buy in any store here.  

18:20 Posted in 06, Having Fun | Permalink | Comments (2)

05/18/2007

the bulletproof gas station

If you're unfamiliar with an area, and would like to find out if it's *safe* or *rough*, here's a very simple test you can perform. Just visit a gas station in that area - during day-time.

I just went to play the lottery on my way home from work, at a gas station where I usually wouldn't go for gas, because of their prices. medium_bulletproof_1.JPGThe cashier was behind a bulletproof window, with a speaker/microphone in it, and a secure transaction tray - something I haven't seen in most banks, much less a gas station.

It felt a bit weird, and I caught myself uneasily looking back over my shoulder, trying to figure out if the guy waiting in line behind me carried a gun. I wouldn't have been surprised, if he wore a ski-mask.

Of course, nothing happened - but that area of Fort Wayne is considered *dangerous*, at least after dark. Even with the bulletproof glass, you might want to step backwards a little, if you're working in one of these gas stations. 

 

05/02/2007

took my *antique* IBM keyboard to work

I really got tired of having to switch my brain and fingers from German to US keyboard layout twice a day. Plus I think, I'll be spending a few more years at Indiana Tech - so it's OK to personalize my tools.

So today I took an old IBM PS/2 keyboard, manufactured in 1994, with 102 keys, German layout, and that familiar *click* to work. All I needed was a PS/2 to USB adapter, and some fiddling with the regional and language settings on my Dell computer.

Works like a charm! medium_IBM_keys.jpg