Saturday, July 31, 2004

Seth & the 'ducks

The 'ducks and Seth's feeet. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 30, 2004

Hot chick & hot coffee

Seth with a 30-day old Goshawk. By late July when I visited it was 60 days older & learning to chase game.  Tomorrow we hunt the giant clam.Posted by Hello

Today we roasted my 3rd through 7th batches of coffee. Once again, a shortage of daylight was an issue. In theory, the window on the stovetop roaster allows one to view the beans as they roast. In practice, the smoke is obscures things -- and then it gets dark. We had some success when Molly used a flash light and I pulled the beans off the flame so we could take a look. However, that also meant I had to stop turning the coffee & that leads to an uneven roast.

Here is the score card:
First batch: Pretty good. A little like Peet’s -- a bit burned, but quite a good cup, of course, I like Peet’s.
Second batch: Burnt to a crisp. We left them on about 30 seconds too long and the fire was a tad too hot & the beans just crumbled in my mouth. We did not bother do brew. Now we know -- too much smoke means too much heat.
Third batch: We overcompensated. Beans had a distinctive bitter flavor. We did not brew, but instead roasted again. That really worked pretty well, but we left them on a bit too long, but the damage was not great and on Sunday morning we were pretty happy with the brew.
Fourth batch: Good, not as good as the first, but good. It is very clear that one can have much better coffee than most people w/o little skill, experience, care, equipment or daylight.
Can hardly wait to get bigger quanties of each bean so that different batches can be examined. Still, I'm happy with this super low tech approach so I can focus on color and smell initially.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Thinking about Geoducks

Seth with small geoducks collected in June. I'll post results of our efforts in a few days, but these photos give some idea of their appearance. They don't show, however, the foot that extends out from the bottom of the shell until the clam breast gets a massage, which convinces the clam to pull the foot in & that allows one to extract it from the sand. Next, the neck is retracted in these photos -- its really much longer before they are captured. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Hunts past

This Saturday Molly, Seth, myself & who knows who else will hunt monster Geoducks. I have great hopes that they can teach me how to harvest them & I can find them at Tomales Bay. We shall see. Here is a shot of the results of Seth & Molly's last hunt.

Digging Geoducks. The work has just begun. That weird metal tube will have to drop until its rim is almost level with the sand before someone can dive in after the 'duck. 
We ended up using a somewhat larger crew, but we got somewhat larger clams.
Posted by Hello

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Shedding light on coffee roasting

The second batch of trail-roasted coffee was a significant improvement. Why? It could be that the beans were better, or more to our taste. However, the first batch was done in the dark & I really could not see the color as they roasted and I remember making a few large adjustments in the stove's flame.
Clearly, one needs better technique and at least a thermometer to make the process more repeatable.

Still, the trip includes a couple mad scientists & they need their am and pm coffee fix & there is no longer any talk of falling back on my emergency supply of Peet's.

Monday, July 26, 2004

On the trail :: the first batch

Eight of us headed into the headwaters of the Yuba's North Fork, with the coffee roasting gear from Sweet Maria's. The first batch was better to look at than drink, although it improved significantly after 24 hours. Not ready to compete with Peet's yet, but if I crank up the volume, all the majors are in trouble. For better or worse, I don't have a record of which beans were used for the first batch. Later for that.
Above all, this was entertaining and the beauty of the freshly roasted, but not burned, beans impressed everyone.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Massage After Three Days of Yoga

The Windup
First, because of past experience with professionals in ski resorts, I was surprised that it was assumed that I would disrobe entirely. Second, except for one ski resort, the massage table was really fine and that was helpful. Third, I'd been working on my breathing for several hours per week for a month and for a few hours a day for three days running. The Masseuse made it clear that using the breath to relax the muscles, just like in yoga, would really help.

The massage lasted an hour. The massage oil was just fine; the masseuse had astoundingly strong hands and was skilled in the manipulation of towels so that if a Chronicle photographer had crept into the room, not much would be exposed. The most amazing event during the massage was the discovery of a cord-like structure in my right trapezius. It was so hard and well defined I thought it must be a misplaced ligament. Instead it was a fairly common formation caused by stress. Fascia bunch up and become much like a small rope, with the
muscles cells forming strands and the fascia forming a wrapping.

The masseuse spent at least 10 minutes trying to break that thing up & had noticeable success. At the end I could still observe it, but it was greatly diminished. As it becomes broken up, my shoulder mobility and comfort should improve. This experience is likely to cause me to seek out more of this level of massage.

After an hour with only a small bit of pain and a substantial feeling of relaxation, I was finished & I headed home.

The Pitch

After yoga, independently of whether the session goes well or poorly, I always have a sense of well being. Its almost like the effect of a great night sleep after hard, but not exhausting exercise. The longer the session lasts, the more fully I experience this well being. [During the time I climbed, I had the same result as long as the route was not physically painful i.e. no cracks!]

  • a great massage following
  • 3 days of 4+ hours of yoga
  • at the end of a 4 week period when I've averaged more than 12 hours per week of yoga,
I expected to feel great.

The Curve
Instead I felt really terrible for about 18 hours. I was unhappy; I was rude to people; I could not accomplish anything; I could not sleep well.

I felt a lot like I was suffering from a hangover. From the standpoint of my spirit, it was worse. I felt poisoned.

Eventually, I felt fine & now I feel just great.

I'd love to talk to someone who really knows physiology and massage for an explanation. The yoga people explain it as 'toxins released from the massage.' Well, OK. What toxins? Where were they? How were they eliminated? Is it possible that something else happens?

Could massage -- especially on an untrained body -- upset the lymphatic system?

Could the opposite happen --- does the lymphatic system not function well in muscles that take the stress, get invigorated by the massage & just have too much work to do all of a sudden?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Coffee to go

I've just ordered a travel pack of coffee roasting equiptment I hope will be suitable for kayak and backpacking trips.
  • Filtercone -Black #4 Size :: pretty standard, cheap, basic, works
  • Stainless Steel Popper :: pretty risky; this will have to work on camp stoves
  • 8 Pack Sampler of green beans :: pretty safe as long as skills and equiptment combine well
  • Cooper 550 degree Large Thermometer :: pretty dangerous - somehow I've got to instll (i.e. use a drill) this in the popper
  • SM Beanface T-Shirt- Natural :: pretty easy to operate
  • Zass 175 M Turkish Mill :: pretty exciting; it has great heft and amazing grind adjustment & eliminates need for weight training program

Monday, July 12, 2004

The deed is done...

I'm leaving for Italy on Sept. 22 & arrive in the afternoon on the 22nd & I'll leave Oct 25th & be back in time for OOPSLA on the 25 of October.
The only real question is: will the olive harvest take place before or after I leave?

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Salone del Gusto :: 2004 :: Puglia


Puglia is one of the regions of Italy featured in this year's Slow Food festival. A brief plug for Puglia:

Puglia, the true cradle of the Mediterranean, brings to the Salone del Gusto its historical knowledge from the Gargano to the silent, via the castles of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, the trulli (primitive cone-shaped dwellings), farms, cathedrals, caves, old towns, parks, nature reserves and the UNESCO-listed architectural wonders.
The regions long history is also a history of flavors’ celebrated through products known throughout the world (bread, extra virgin oil, vegetables, cheese and wine), symbols of a food culture still firmly bound to its origins and roots.

It is no surprise to find Puglia traditions of savvy and savor retained in the everyday activities of its hard-working people: small farmers and their wives, artisans and fishermen, breeders and producers.

Puglia, a land of convivial hospitality, brings to the Salone del Gusto its distinctive food products, which will be used to perfection by a team of top regional chefs. Publications about the art, history and culture will also be available.


  • A quick google for biking in puzzle results in interesting listings. The Gargano Peninsula looks great & the routes of the commercial organizations may provide a pretty good set of clues for camping, hotels, routes and sights.

  • Nice little map with commercial links. No roads, but place names, airports, etc.

  • Maps of regions witting puzzle + history, photos, links to accommodations -- including agriturismo.

  • Map with roads -- one can see blank spots on the coast -- good for kayaking?



Too many possibilities. Google: agriturismo Puglia


One candidate for illustration.
Rental of a place for a week while looking around may be a good idea.