Monday, June 28, 2010


A tough old cowboy from south Texas counseled his grandson that if he wanted to live a long life, the secret was to sprinkle a pinch of gun powder on his oatmeal every morning. The grandson did this religiously to the age of 103 when he died. He left behind 14 children, 30 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren, 25 great-great-grandchildren, and a 15-foot crater where the crematorium used to be. Sorta brings a tear to your eye, don't it?


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Catfish photos

A couple of catfish photos.

Mum is in the second one, she's about 4cm long.  There's a blurred view of one of the albinos at the left of the first pic.

That's a piece of zucchini they are disassembling.  They eat the skin off first, then the flesh.  They get a piece of zucchini about 8cm long, boiled, split in half lengthwise, and all the pith and seeds scooped out.  4 catfish will completely eat that in 36 hours.

Friday, June 25, 2010

New catfish

Well apparently my fish keeping skills are not too bad, as I think we now have 9 baby catfish – at least that’s as many as I’ve seen at any given time.  Could be more, I suppose.


They’re supposed to be hard to breed, all I do is keep the water about right and feed ‘em.  I did notice the larger albino spending a lot of time in a cave before, it might have been the female spawning, but had actually though the large one was the male.  Might just be older.


The fry spent the last week right up near the top of the tank, but just this morning I noticed they’re now down on the gravel with the adults, scrounging for solid fool.  They’re about 1cm long, and 2/3rds of that is tail.  I am a bit worried about them going near the filter intake, but what happens will happen I suppose – can’t do much about it short of putting them into a nursery tank, and I’d never catch the little buggers, they can move like you would not believe.  Nothing in there is having a go at them, luckily – the clown loaches and the dwarf gourami are definitely omnivorous meat eaters, but they are kept well fed so they don’t seem interested.


Will post a pic later, I’ll have to get my tripod set up first.  I need a shirtload of zoom to get a look at the little guys, which means too much shake for handheld.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dinner :P

Nice bit of olive oil and pepper and into the fridge for a little marinate...

Pretty amazing

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Still video

On an unrelated point, my catfish are breeding!  I have at least three baby bristlenoses lurking at the back of the tank.


First batch underway!


Adjusting the water flow is surprisingly easy with 78° of heat in the column, it’s much less touchy than I thought.


I took off about 75ml of heads, WOW what a pong.  Smells exactly like acetone IMO, you wouldn’t want to drink the crap even if it didn’t send you blind.


Waste water is coming off the output of the reflux column at bang on 53°, slightly cool but it does help the reflux action.  The pipe water temp is only 14° too, so I’ve barely got a trickle running.  The waste is dumping into the washing machine, at those temps I may not end up with much down the drain at all.

Yeehaw! Let's make booze!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New still

Lashed out this afternoon and bought myself a new top of the line reflux still.  This little beastie can extract about 93% of the alcohol from a wash.... at 95% strength.  This is so pure that drinking it would quite certainly kill you, and operating the thing has to be done with a certain amount of caution for fire issues, as the stuff is somewhere between flammable and downright explosive.

The whole rig is well over 4' tall to the top of the reflux column.  All stainless construction, twin digital thermometers, inbuilt coolant flow control.

The reflux column is sufficiently well developed that there are no tails developed in the distillate, ie no nasties that will taste like crap at best, and send you blind at worst.  You do need to dump the first 50ml of output to get rid of methanol, but after that it can just be left until it finishes producing distillate.  That first 50ml makes awesome degreaser, sticky label remover, laminex benchtop cleaner etc.

First run will probably be Thursday afternoon at this stage, I have a fermenter that should be settled by tomorrow ready for clearing, then I can siphon on Thursday and straight into the still.

Best bit - she will take the whole 21 litres of wash in one go and still it in about 4 hours.  That beats all hell out of 6x 2 hour runs in the desktop air still....  and I only have to clean the thing once at the end too!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

OK, I'm going to scream now.

I report a RIM comms error fault to the BOH crew via a TTA ticket.
BOH decide it's a transmission problem, so they create a SIIAM case for the transmission mob to look at.
Transmission scratch their heads over this, see a RIM mentioned.... so they pass me a TTA to check the RIM in case it's causing the problem.
This is why I drink.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Check out the second arrow around 0:49.

This is called a back tension release.... you keep pulling into the "wall" generated by the cams at full draw until you overcome spring pressure to allow the release to snap open, thus allowing a "surprise" shot.

The downside to these POS things is that the bow draws 50lb+ but you're only holding about 20lb at full draw, so you need a safety that is held in until you get to full draw, then you release the safety and begin to load into the wall for the shot.

Theoretically you hold the safety in, anyway.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A good read.

Someone posted this article on an archery forum with the query "would you intentionally lose to further the sport?".

My initial reaction was hell no - apart from not wanting to lose, I couldn't see how losing would further anything.

I was wrong.  Read and see why.