Podcasts worth looking at:

One of my new year’s resolutions (besides updating my blog weekly) has been to learn more ‘stuff.’ My wife would probably laugh at that statement since 90% of our conversations revolve around some new, really cool, thing I want to tell her about.

In the interest of sharing, I figured I’d make a list (looking at you, Buzzfeed) of the podcasts I’ve been listening to for the past month and my thoughts. Podcasts are presented from least likely to skip an episode to most likely.

  1. Planet Money – an excellent ‘economics’ podcast, interesting topics and great voices/sound quality. I always find myself engrossed in Planet Money.
  2. The Pollsters – a recent addition, I still get urges to look at polling thanks to my time as  Political Science/Pre-law major at YSU. This is really PC and they talk about methodology which is fantastic.
  3. Tested (Adam Savage) – excellent conversation about a wide variety of things, great background listening while toiling at my desk at home.
  4. Freakonomics – these used to be better, and to be honest I sometimes consider skipping them now, the insight of Freakonomics brought to other interesting topics. Its hit or miss whether its interesting or whether the insight is “worth it.”
  5. Serial – the internet sensation makes the list. Season One was excellent, season two is good so far, and with a relaxed release schedule it’ll be even harder to justify a skip.
  6. Hidden Brain – another podcast talking about behavioral and psychological trends I never knew about. The key here is that I find the host’s dictation and voice to be non-grating unlike the next several podcasts.
  7. Stuff You Should Know – interesting podcast about things I generally want to know more about, if I don’t I skip it. The hosts voices sometimes wear on me though.
  8. Where There’s Smoke – a self-development podcast, I usually skip around their archives until I see something I want to know more about. Mostly hit or miss, but still worth a look.
  9. Completely (Optional) Knowledge – run by Green Peace, surprisingly, its “the show that answers the questions you never knew you had.” Last episode I listened to was about the longest someone lived underwater by way of anecdote about underwater tea-parties into a story about living in a ‘long tube’ under the ocean. Interesting and well produced.
  10. What’s the Point – 538’s ‘latest’ podcast, this is like listening in to a discussion about how data is influencing just about everything. Host is great, I believe he’s worked on a few other economics related podcasts, but I skip around depending on the topic.
  11. This American Life – I, like many people, went through a love affair with TAL. However, after sticking with it for several years I just find myself less infatuated with the show now. I skip anything that doesn’t strike me as immediately interesting.
  12. Song Exploder – have not spent a lot of time with this one yet. Concept is interesting, have an artist discuss the creation of one of their songs–the meaning, etc. This week I saw that they’ve got MGMT with Time to Pretend. So that should be worth a look.
  13. Half Hour Intern – I want to like this podcast, but the episodes are hit and miss. The latest episode with the woman who does tattoos of nipples for breast cancer survivors was really interesting though.
  14. Useful Science – in a nutshell, they discuss scientific papers and their quality/implications. Often times I can take it or leave it depending on the field of knowledge being discussed.

Podcasts I might revisit soon:

  1. Intelligence Squared Debates – like many of the above, you sometimes have to skip around–but often these are very interesting. One very memorable debate had the topic, “The world would be better off without religion.” This was before all the current ISIS and domestic terrorism and I think if that debate were held again today it might sound very different.
  2. Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me – I started listening to this at the behest of my sister. I like it, but often come away feeling like I could’ve been doing something else.

Homebrew Chocolate-Chili Stout

The “Beaver Avenue Brewer’s Guild” (BABG) brewed this beer on January 10. I did some work on v1.0 of the recipe, I attached the recipe below.

I’m affectionately calling it Poseidon’s Wrath, a name first suggested as a taunt related to the snow this morning by Nikki.

Anyway, the beer went great. I believe made some adjustments based on using baker’s chocolate (decrease the hops because this adds bitterness), switched to a tsp. of cayenne pepper instead of Ancho and Serrano, and he planning on extracting vanilla beans, cocoa nibs, and cinnamon sticks for the secondary. All said, the brewday went extremely well and I think this recipe is going to work out great.

Poseidon’s Wrath Imperial Stout

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5 gal 90 min 47.6 IBUs 38.1 SRM 1.085 1.017 9.0 %


Name Amount %
Pale Malt (2 Row) US 11.906 lbs 69.06
Munich Malt - 20L 1.706 lbs 9.89
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L 1.19 lbs 6.9
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L 1.19 lbs 6.9
Chocolate Malt 1 lbs 5.8
Black (Patent) Malt 4 oz 1.45


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Goldings, East Kent 1.81 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 5
Willamette 1.16 oz 30 min Boil Pellet 5.5
Willamette 1.16 oz 15 min Boil Pellet 5.5
Goldings, East Kent 0.4 oz 0 min Boil Pellet 5
Willamette 0.4 oz 0 min Boil Pellet 5.5


Name Amount Time Use Type
Irish Moss 0.50 tsp 10 min Boil Fining


Add .5 lb cocoa nibs

Add 1 ounce of Ancho Chile at 0 min

Add 1 ounce of Serrano Chile at 0 min

Spam :(

I’ve been getting slammed with spam the last two weeks thanks to my two most “relevant” blog posts Dash v Automatic and Modernist Mac & Beer Cheese

Today I added reCaptcha to the site via BestWebSoft Google Captcha plugin. We’ll see if it makes any dent in the numbers. Regardless, any drop is better than having to navigate 5,000 comments to see if anything wasn’t spam.

If any interesting numbers come out of it (read: statistics) I’ll share them here in a few weeks.

Brewing the 15-minute IPA

With a boil time of 15 minutes, you’re getting a lot done. This recipe is designed mostly to test varieties of hops in a somewhat controlled environment. I add a small bag of specialty grains, in my version, to add just a hint of malt flavor behind the hops–I think it provides a better backboard for tasting the hops.

First, the recipe for a 1 gallon batch and then the process:

15 Minutes IPA

Grains, Yeast and Hops:

  • 1 oz hops, your choice. (I’ve used Citra, Mosaic and Chinook)
  • 1.5 lbs Light Dry Malt Extract [DME] (keeping it simple)
  • 4.8 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt 60L
  • SafAle English Ale #S-04 (1/2 packet)

Continue reading “Brewing the 15-minute IPA”

On Retropie problems..

An image of a retropie at work

RetroPies for Christmas!

For Christmas this year I ended up building a bunch of RetroPi’s with Raspberry Pi 2 “kits” (they come with a case, RPi2 and power supply)

I also ended up getting a controller, for my dad I got a Buffalo SNES USB controller. For everyone else, especially if your planning to play anything more modern, I’d want something wireless and with analog sticks like the Logitech F710

On all three of the RPi’s I did for others I used SanDisk Ultra 32GB microSD cards. These were the cheapest among the brands I like and I’ve found SanDisk not to go corrupt on me.

With one of the Pi’s, a friend of mine wanted to use an X360 controller. That ended up being a boondoggle because, after installing the X360 driver from the menu, it tries to use two controller spaces. I’ve yet to resolve that issue, save for plugging it in last so it takes up the ports of the next two spaces after all other controllers are plugged in.

All that being said, everyone that got one absolutely loved it.

The splashscreen I chose for my retropies
The splashscreen I chose for my retropies.

Resolving some problems

I also ran into a two problems, first with inputs not autoconfiguring in Retroarch. Worse than that, the cofigure controller for retroarch was missing from the retropie setup menu. I resolved the input issue by reflashing the image from Petrockblog (3.2.1). For some reason updating RetroPi from the binary was breaking autoconfig.

The configuration option that should be there
The configuration option that should be there

The second was with Player 2 input not working on the image I got from PetrockBlog (Retropi 3.2.1). However, I was able to resolve that by SSH’ing into the RPi and running the following commands (found here):

SSH'ing into the retropie to update and resolve the input problem.
SSH’ing into the retropie to update and resolve the input problem.
git clone https://github.com/libretro/stella-libretro.git
(this downloads the code to your pi; do it in your home directory)
cd stella-libretro
(this navigates into the source code you just downloaded)
(this compiles the code)
cd /opt/retropie/libretrocores/lr-stella
(this navigates to the directory on your pi that houses the stella emulation library)
sudo cp stella_libretro.so stella_libretro.so.bak
(this makes a backup of your old stella library just in case)
sudo rm stella_libretro.so
(this deletes your old stella library to make room for the new one; the backup is still there)
sudo cp /home/pi/stella-libretro/stella_libretro.so stella_libretro.so
(this copies your newly-built stella library from the source code directory to the directory where your stella emulation library lives)
If something goes wrong, you can revert to your old stella library backup by doing:
cd /opt/retropie/libretrocores/lr-stella
(navigates you to the directory where your stella emulation library lives)
sudo rm stella_libretro.so
(this deletes your newly-built stella library to make room for your old backup to be restored)
sudo mv stella_libretro.so.bak stella_libretro.so
(this renames your backup to make it work with RetroArch again)

A few tips I learned:

  1. Creating a ghost of the installation with everything I wanted on the SD Card was great for creating more RetroPies. I had to do all my setup on the first one and then cloned the card afterwards using Win32DiskImg.
  2. Edit the input configuration so that hitting both analog sticks (or another combination if your controller lacks those buttons) to open the RetroArch menu. The config file is located at \\RETROPIE\all\configs\RetroArch.cfg and you can uncomment the section regarding a menu combo and use the corresponding number for each combo (search the file for combo).
  3. Setting up SAMBA shares worked great for giving non-tech-savvy people the ability to add their own content.
  4. Installing the smartphone controller experimental package was a nice addition for people who don’t want to have extra controllers lying around all the time but occasionally wanted to play with more people.
  5. Most of the USB Wi-Fi adapters I tried had awful speeds, I ended up relying on Ethernet 90% of the time during my setups.
  6. Having a wireless keyboard (Logitech K400) was awesome (I now use it for my xbox one and HTPC)
Keisel was excited to try some of the games.
Keisel excited to try some of the games.