Grocery Shopping Online

I know that I’ve talked about Amazon Grocery before, last year in fact, but I got an email this morning from them basically trying to drum up interest in it again, and so I had another look.

They have really expanded their product line. Plus, with the addition of their “Subscribe and Save” thing, the prices are basically the same as you’d find at the store. It’s a neat idea, to have a regular order of the crap you always have to remember to buy anyway on an automatic order basis. Simple stuff like laundry detergent, toothpaste, cereal, and yes, even toilet paper. :)

So I set up a few automatic orders for various items. The automatic orders get 20% off their normal price, and they’re all free shipping, so it’s a pretty good deal. Definitely worth checking out.

I also found that somebody had made a Bonnaroo Wish List while I was browsing around over there. I thought that was quite clever.

Spending money like it's going out of style…

So, it looks like I’m buying a condo.

I’ve been looking at the market downtown for the last several months now, going to friends places in various buildings, tooling around town on my own and walking through various places, and just generally getting a feel for the area and its pricing. So last week, when Clay told me about some new construction going on near the South Main area, I had to check it out.

The place is impressive.

What’s more is that it was impressively priced. With new construction, there’s generally very little haggling over price. The price that is given is the price that it is. When it goes on the market, realtors tend to buy up the properties and then sit on them to make a profit and raise the prices up. Then you can haggle. But when you find a place that’s not on the market yet, the prices are what they are. And these were pretty good for downtown.

So I toured the place, went home and did the math, called a mortgage guy or three, and will be buying it here in the next 30 days. I went in and started the paperwork and have the place waiting for me, more or less.

Since they are still constructing the building, I won’t really be able to move in until sometime next month, and even then, the lower floors will still be under construction. But I got a place on the upper floor that was almost complete anyway. All that’s really left for them to do in my place is to put in the rest of the hardwood flooring (I’m making them remove the hideous carpeting in the bedroom area in favor of hardwood), and clean the place up.

For those of you who have been to my apartment, know that the new place is smaller than my current apartment, in terms of actual floor space. However, it is larger in terms of feel, because it’s basically one/two big open rooms. The pictures don’t really do it justice. But here they are anyway. :)

Mr. Beer Mishap

So I pull out the keg the other day to bottle the Blackberry Brew that I’ve been fermenting for a couple of weeks, and what do I discover? The keg damn near exploded, that’s what.

Like I’ve said in earlier posts, the screw top system seems to have a few drawbacks. For one thing, the level of tightening that you need to use is questionable. I appearantly overtightened the lid, and the result was that the keg was overpressurized. Given that it is a fruit based beer, there’s a lot of fermentation going on, which means a lot of gas released. With it too tight, the gas couldn’t easily escape the keg and the keg was bulging and bent out of shape. Fortunately, it didn’t actually burst, but it was indeed pressurized, as I discovered when removing the lid and hearing the fizzzzzzz sound it made.

The beer was fine and I was able to bottle it easily enough, but the keg is damaged to the point where I really can’t use it any more. It also did some damage to the tap mechanism, which is not surprising considering the quality of the mechanism anyway.

I’ve changed my next club order to get a new keg, along with a 2 liter growler. The keg is only $10, so it’s not a big loss or anything, still, it is a bit annoying. I think I’ll keep using the Mr. Beer keg for smaller batches, but I’m definitely going to go buy a more sturdy fermenting vessel and make some larger batches as well. I’ll probably only continue to use the Mr. Beer for experimentation purposes, since I do find that an 8 liter batch is darn near perfect in terms of speed. You can have a decent beer made from start to finish in a month with that quantity, whereas the next bigger size (5 gallons) would take at least 3 months or so.

All in all, given the quality of the keg in such circumstances, and the non-dishwasher safeness of it, I can only recommend the Mr. Beer setup for a) people new to home-brewing and wanting to learn easily, and b) people wanting an easy way to quickly experiment with new brews and styles. The lack of a proper airlock with a ball valve (to prevent contamination) just makes the Mr. Beer keg suitable only for very short fermentation times. 2 weeks, maximum.

Just be sure not to overtighten the lid.

Sweet Zombie Jesus!!

The impossible has occurred. The robot devil is skiing in hell right now.

Futurama has been picked up by Comedy Central! Whooo!

From Digg:
Comedy Central has ordered 13 new episodes of the animated series that Fox canceled two years ago. Billy West, Katey Segal and other stars signed deals this week to return the show to TV. In getting a second life, “Futurama” is following the path taken by “Family Guy,” which also found post-cancellation success on DVD and cable reruns.

Excellent. Love that show.

read more | digg story

New Photo Album

I just got access to the PicasaWeb test, and uploaded a bunch of pictures. Gotta say, this thing is great! Picasa is an excellent photo organizer, which now has a bunch of new features.

  • Geotagging of pictures, integrated with Google Earth.
  • Upload photos to your own online photo album.
  • Online albums have RSS feeds.
  • Choose the quality of your online pictures.
  • 250 meg of free album space (6 gig if you pay for it).

It’s good stuff, I recommend signing up if you haven’t already.

You can check out my public photo albums here.

Amazon Grocery

Just saw this on Digg. Amazon now sells groceries.

Looks like most of it is in bulk, but this also means that it qualifies for free shipping in a lot of cases. All non-perishable items as far as I can see.

So if you happen to need a lot of dish soap, or want to stock up on Mac & Cheese, or just have this craving for a freakin’ ton of jerky, click the banner above. )

Happy Towel Day!

A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have. Partly it has great practical value – you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

A tribute to Douglas Adams (1952-2001)