Mad Elf Clone

Todays thank you goes out to The Mad Fermentationist.  He provided the Mad Elf clone I’ve been looking to brew forever.

Also a “real ale” has been launched for women in the UK. It apparently cost close to $70,000 USD to develop, which means that their fermenter is surely made of solid gold. Also a glass has been developed especially for women, and it apparently scares small children with it’s thick, veiny appearance.

Windows Mobile 6 for T-Mobile MDA

I own a T-Mobile MDA which is actually an HTC Wizard. If you don’t live in America, let me tell you about the situation here. When you go to the cellphone store, you sign a contract for many years, and usually purchase a phone. Getting an unlocked phone or just a SIM card in America is unheard of. The phone you’re purchasing is usually locked to both the carrier and the region (US). You cannot install any software on it outside of what you’re permitted to by the carrier, and all around the deal sucks. So when I read that HTC was offering Windows Mobile 6, I ran over to my TMobile store hoping for a holiday upgrade…

My relationship with T-Mobile is probably a textbook case for divorce, including domestic violence. I used to own their older XDA, until the screen broke. Of course, I had loaded my own roll of the OS on that also, and had the phone CID (Country ID) unlocked and SIM unlocked. When I walked into the last T-Mobile store for the repair, the rep plugged in my phone, told me I had made “unauthorized changes” and he would need to keep my phone. CID/SIM unlocking is a breach of contract for T-Mobile customers, so if I breach my contract and I got my phone through the contract, there’s probably a strong legal argument the phone is theirs. But, we never got to the “legal” part of the argument, I reached to get my phone and the rep pushed me, I tripped him and ran out of the store. It was absolutely surreal. It was a broken phone anyway, WTF? I still could use the buttons on the front and MS Voice Command to call. I used Outlook to keep the address book in shape.

Fast forward two years – I’m on my T-Mobile branded HTC Wizard (bought at another store where the reps don’t give as much of a shit) and realize that the T-Mobile Wing is another HTC Wizard, running Windows Mobile 6. Bonus features: It doesn’t have the “screen redraw” bug, IE is upgraded, and it has Windows Update. Big win – Windows Update means I’m not under T-Mobile’s thumb. I call up T-Mobile, and I ask when they’re going to update Windows Mobile on the Wizard, oops, MDA. The guy they connected me with tells me that Windows Mobile 6 won’t run on my phone and I will have to purchase a new one. I told him I’m a developer and I know it will run, they should upgrade because of “security concerns”. “Nope, it won’t run on your phone”.

Fine, assholes. Now it’s on.

Trying to contact HTC did no good because they are only authorized to distribute the phone with a barebones bootloader for the carrier to load their own Windows on. They would be happy to sell me the generic phone, or Windows Mobile 5, which is their current licensed version of Windows. The guy explained to me that they don’t usually get calls from individuals. At least he was helpful in explaining that Microsoft licenses Windows Mobile to the telcos to load their software on. I asked about Linux for shits and giggles and he said there were no drivers, but they were open to the idea.

I considered calling Microsoft but I have a feeling unless I wanted to license a million units, that would be futile.

So back to fishing around, I decided to check my old haunts. It’s like hanging out at a Pep Boys, there’s a lot of posers and homosexuals, but if you can find someone knowledgeable, there’s some good stuff to buy and some good discussions to have. The leaked ROM is called “Crossbow” and like everything else fun, electronic, and illegal it’s stolen from China. I picked this up reading the Windows Mobile 6 forum. And similar to those guys, I have the dreaded MMS doesn’t work following the T-Mobile Instructions problem. (Yes I know the gateway is wrong).

The Million Dollar Question: Anyone on K5 have T-Mobile, a Wizard, and have a working MMS setup in their WM6 rom?

Update: The problem was with AT&T. My wife is on AT&T, but my buddy with his Palm is on Cingular. XDA Mobile 6 Release 5 RC1 with .Net 3.5 works for sending, but still gives the error if you manually sync it. Something about the settings in the comm-manager for Push is broken.

So I suppose I should post how to screw T-Mobile and do the upgrade. You don’t need an unlocked phone for this, you will need Windows XP (NOT VIRTUALIZED), ActiveSync 4.x, a USB cable, and a willingness to pirate software since there’s no official T-Mobile WM6 for the Wizard.

1) Download MFRAZZZ’s ROM. ONLY HIS ROM. His ROM has the radio and bootloader updates stripped out so you won’t brick your phone with the wrong BIOS or radio.
2) Read This Post. If you’re sure you have a Wizard G4 (firmware at boot reads 2.xx.xx1) you just need this file and run FIRST and SECOND. Reboot if prompted. (G3 Wizards, click the link and wander around in there).
3) Grab Soft SPL and copy the nk.nbf to the directory softSPL lives in.
4) Connect the phone, sync, upgrade. You should see GRUB bootstrapping the ROM right before the screen goes white. Go through the wizard and the phone will reboot with WM6. The first time it boots, it takes about 5 minutes (or a small while) to unpack, then it’s good to go.

Update 2: I can send MMS messages but not get them. What the fuck t-mobile?

Osage Orange

Me and Travis were trying out new hunting grounds since it looked like rain on the farm. Unfortunately the public lands are mostly geared towards deer, which makes small game hunting not that fun. As we walked next to this river, we came across a small grove tucked into a flood plain. The plain itself obviously harbored deer, but we didn’t see any. What we did run across were some interesting trees and a small grove of felled fruit. The fruit was waxy, and I never had seen it before in the wild. I cut one open, and the center was a waxy mess of seeds, with orange like flesh on the outside under the skin. Tasting it, it was sort of lemony, but not bitter. Of course, this means I needed to take one and… EAT IT.

Using the Identify By Fruit guide,  I found out I ran across a grove of osage oranges. SHOULD I EAT IT?

Have a Good Yule

I would say it’s been a good holiday, I gave my wife the locket and she really liked it. Jordan came over with a bottle of Six Grapes Port, and even their standard stuff is good. Their reserve port is almost as good as cream sherry, but oh my god does the standard stuff go down well and sneak up on you.

To add insult to injury, I had to take a half hour poop this morning when I rolled into the office.

Kelly got me two of my wishlist games – Mario Party 8 (which is fantastic fun – alcohol or not) and Raving Rabbids 2. Raving Rabbids 1 still gets occasional play time for some of it’s crazier games, and the second one looks awesome. Too bad I passed out before playing it. Which means – Guess what we’re doing tonight guys!

The chocolate stout I brewed also came out nicely. It needs something to support the middle but as a stout style, it’s spot on the guidelines. It starts out with a dark grain taste, which rides out to a subtle chocolate ending. I would say this one is a keeper.

Christmas Shopping

Yesterday me and the Men (Jon and Travis) went shopping for our womenfolk. I had considered new chains for the stove, but ended up trolling State St for their jewelery. I’ve learned a few things, the first being that if the price of brass is up for shooting supplies, the price of gold is up for jewelery. I wisely listened to my father for the shooting supplies and bought the one guys entire stock of powder and bullets, but sadly cannot make my own jewelery. Turns out it’s not up a little, the price of gold has doubled. Score one for Ron Paul! Score one for purestrain!

There’s basically three types of jewelery left on the market: Gold, Silver and Fake. The fake stuff is all $20, but it looks good. Perhaps it lacks the luster of gold, I wasn’t impressed with it, nor would I buy it for my wife. The silver stuff is impossibly hard to find. Everyone, and I mean everyone, wants gold. Or so I’m told, because checking the commodities market, silver is much more stable price-wise than gold. So what’s going on here? Gold is currently expensive, so everyone is trading in their watches and chains and whatnot (this is called “estate jewelery”). Silver is stable, so everyone is buying that for the Holiday. Similar to January being guns and computers month on trade ins, I suspect gold is going to crash after Christmas. This leads to wildly varying prices at the stores, and I just figured out I got royally ripped off.  I intend on correcting that tonight.

Bagged and Tagged

I got a deer.

The Pig Deer

Not the biggest deer we’ve ever seen on the farm but a fat, fat little buck. He was post shed, so he went on my antlerless tag, and it was a clean lung-lung kill.

Me and my father went up to the farm Friday morning, and got into the woods. I snuck to my standard stand which gives a commanding view of the intersection of the valleys, while dad pressed back into the pines he likes to hunt. I saw a much larger doe over a bush, and tried to take the shot. As much as I love the Marlin 336, the 30-30 caliber with it’s thin jacket doesn’t make it a fantastic bush pusher. The 30-06 is a much better caliber for this with it’s much thicker jacket around the bullet. I’m playing with the idea of loading 30-06 flat-nose bullets into 30-30 cases but without the velocity, I don’t know if this is a fantastic idea. It’s one of those where you make 10 or 15 rounds and then test-fire them. But back to the chase, I saw a doe over a bush and thought I had a shot through a gap between the bush and it’s buddy. The first shot caused the deer to pause, but not panic. It also cleanly missed. When I racked the next round, the deer took off. I took another shot at the back of it’s neck and was outmaneuvered again by the bush. Dad radioed me to ask if I had connected with anything. Since the deer slowed down going up the hill I said I maybe hit something, I knew the first shot was a miss but the stumble up the hill made the second shot a likely hit. Dad volunteered to come by and help search for hair and blood. Hunting in a lot of ways is like a very cold, wet episode of CSI. Hair and blood indicates a hit and provides a trail, no hair and no blood means no hit.

Dad started to press his way through the bushes when another deer tried to sneak out. This deer was doing the sneaking crawl which deer do where they try to crawl under bushes with their head down and evade people. He almost made it too, I saw his head as he passed between two bushes and had the crosshairs on him. Had he crossed the gap faster, he might have made it, but curiosity killed the deer. Actually that’s wrong, the 30-30 killed the deer, but curiosity gave him pause long enough to make it an easy shot. I cracked the rifle once, the bullet hit just behind the shoulder blade, passed through the first lung and blew up over the heart. With no blood pressure, the deer stumbled once, laid down, and died.

Dad, hearing the next shot, assumed the first deer had come back down the hill and I had put another round into it. He was obviously elated to have both deer tags filled in the first hour of hunting so easily. I put a spare blaze orange hat on a tree over the deer to mark where the first one fell and we pressed on to try to find the second deer. There was no sign after a this second, more extensive search, so we returned to the first one. We looped a rope around it’s neck and pulled it out of the woods. The drag always sucks, 125lbs of dead weight is nothing to sneeze at, and we paused several times so we didn’t die of a heart attack. Gutting the deer is a pretty standard affair, start at the bottom and work your way up. Tie off the intestines on both sides to prevent poop from pouring out of the asshole and the bowel, then remove all the lower organs in a bundle. Next cut out the kidneys from the backstrap, pull out the stomach and liver, and cut the diaphragm. Fountain of blood! The lungs and heart pour blood into the chest, which is always a mess, so cutting this open always results in a gore-bath. Unfortunately this is the only way to do it, so the best bet is to just pour out the blood once it all flows out, reach in with a knife, and cut the windpipe. With any luck, the whole pulmonary system (heart and lungs) will come out intact. The good stuff is the liver and heart, those go into a bag, and cut off what used to be the lungs from the heart. The heart is like fillet mignon, it’s layers of fat and muscle built up as the deer grows. The liver is an acquired taste, but I like it. Finally you need to get the genitals out of the deer. This is accomplished by cutting the pelvic bone in two (this is where a heavy, sharp knife comes in handy) and cutting out the asshole along with the rest. If the ass was tied off first thing, this is easy. If you forgot to tie it off, expect to get covered in piss and shit from the intestines collapsing and the bladder opening from the loss of pressure. If you do screw it up, hose out the deer, otherwise it should come out cleanly as an entire unit of excreting organs. Cut carefully and think about it. Dump out the body one last time after freeing the genitals. The rest of the deer is run to the butcher shop to be turned into sausage, ground deer, steak, and cutlets.

Vanilla Chocolate Irish Stout

The basis for this beer was a Mountmellick Irish Stout kit. It’s a no-boil kit which comes pre-hopped. I know the readership is going to groan at the idea of using a pre-hopped no boil kit, so in advance: Fuck you.

Alright, now that we’ve got that out of the way, lets get on to the specifics:

  • 1 can of Mountmellick Irish Stout
  • 1 lbs of crushed chocolate malt steeped at 155F for one half hour
  • 2 tbsp hershey’s coca (not hot chocolate)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla flavoring

Warm up the stout can in warm water while preparing your grains. Since the yeast is freeze dried, take a cup of warm water, add table sugar, and shake the yeast in. The malt will come to a boil and the hot break won’t be obvious since chocolate malt has a lot of trub to keep the bubbles thick. Do your best. At the end of a half hour, fire up the stove for an hour boil and pull the grains at 170F. Once the boil is done, cool wort and add the stout kit. Use warm wort to wash out stout can. Stir thoroughly. Pour into fermenter. Add cold water (I use a brita filter to get the crap out and soften things up a bit) to the fermenter until you hit just a hair over 5 gallons. Add yeast. Attach airlock.

The adventure here came soon enough: The krausening action was so intense it blew foam out of the airlock. I let it ferment for 10 days and cleaned out the airlock twice more. I use rum and water in the airlock to keep it sterile. After the OG of 1.070 dropped to the FG of 1.025 and seemed to hold, I bottled it. When bottling, add the vanilla and coca to taste, and then add priming sugar and bottle as usual. Mmmm, if it’s as good as it was bottling, this beer is going to be fantastic.