Posted in 3BMC,Projects,RumblingsJuly 19, 2012
Absinthe is a spirit steeped in history. Writers, poets, philosophers, and bohemians have been inspired by its high potency and hallucinogenic tendencies for over 200 years. Known for its high proof and strong flavor, absinthe is made from a variety of bases with countless ingredients, but is always centered around the “holy trinity”: grand wormwood, green anise, and fennel. Five years ago, the US legalized the sale and consumption of absinthe and since then Three Blind Mice Craft Co has been itching to make a batch.
Production of quality absinthe hinges on two main things. First, you need a good reflux still (which we did not have) and second you need a few slightly obscure spices (which we had no idea where to get). But we were undeterred, and with our forefathers in mind, we persevered. Thankfully, acquiring spices is a bit simpler than it was one hundred years ago. The spices we needed in bulk (green anise and fennel) were bought at the market, and the rest I was lucky enough to find at Christina’s, my local spice shop in Boston. The reflux still was a whole other issue entirely, and resulted in us building a modular column attachment to one of our current pot stills.
Posted in 3BMC,Projects,RumblingsJuly 7, 2012
Three Blind Mice Craft Co has been talking about re-building one of its stills for a while now. Previously, we had two pot stills: one larger one with a condensing head on it and a smaller one without a head, both which connected into a vapor basket and a condenser. The problem was that neither of which could produce the level of purity that we wanted for some more difficult runs. So, we decided to upgrade the smaller one by soldering a reflux column on to it.
The parts list was basic: one 2’, 1 ½” copper tube, two NPSH to NPT copper fittings, two NPT to copper tube fittings, and 1lb of ceramic raschig rings. The intent was for the fittings to screw directly into the two parts of the head, but of course, nothing we do is that easy. I will admit, we did suspect that we would run into problems with the threading since our still is from the 1920s and was homemade by my fireman/plumber great grandfather, who probably “borrowed” all his fittings from who knows where. The existing threading could have been anything from NPSH to NPT to NST to NYFD threading to NHFD threading to a custom made fitting. So of course we were not surprised when the new fittings showed up and they did not fit. We moved right on to plan B, which involved soldering the fittings directly to the original head. The result was, like all of our projects, a bit of a debacle but largely successful. The result wasn’t the prettiest thing we have built, but it worked and went on to produce some beautiful absinthe!
Posted in Cycling,Projects,RumblingsMay 21, 2012
A few months ago I had a momentary lapse in self control and bought a bike frame on eBay. It was beautiful, Italian, and cheap. The decision may have been a bit hasty, but not without warning. My move to Boston had meant that I could finally get back on my bike, and I guess I did not realize how much I missed it. It was shortly thereafter that I decided I wanted to properly build a bike and it was only a matter of time before I found a frame and took a leap of faith.
The following months became a plunge into a full on restoration project that at times threatened to take over my life. I scoured bike forums and Sheldon Brown’s texts and pieced together opinions and bits of information. This was of course happening simultaneously alongside a fierce binge of bidding, buying, losing, and winning on eBay and Craigslist. The result however, was worth it. Four months later and a chunk of my salary gone, I had built something beautiful; a vintage 1985 Daccordi Turbo with the full original Campagnolo gruppo.
Posted in AdministrationApril 22, 2012
I’m back. After a productive two year hiatus, I have returned to Boston and to the field of Architecture. This reunion is the result of becoming an employed architect, which is something of a feat these days.
The move has meant that I have had to put a few projects on hold for the time being. In particular, my motorcycle will have to sit in a sad almost-finished state until I can find a few weekends at home to finish it up. But it also means that I will be able to start a few more productive projects. In the works currently are some architectural narratives and investigations, as well as the building of a new bicycle. Stay tuned.
Posted in ArchitectureJanuary 2, 2012
What makes a design(er) good? It is a question that plagued me while in school and has not let up since. It is the kind of question that pops up when you want it least and disappear just when you think you have it. Why are we taught about the work of Corbusier or Man Ray instead of the architect that designed my house? What makes them better designers?
Maybe great designers have a particular characteristic that makes them the best. Maybe it is being mindful. Or maybe being acutely aware of the world around them. Or maybe a good designer has a particular taste that just appeals to a wide range of people. But I don’t think this quite captures it – we are not really getting at the essence of what makes a good designer. These all describe a great designer, but they are not what makes a designer great. They are good descriptions, not driving forces.
Perhaps it’s genetics. Perhaps the great designers were simply born with something rare; they all have extra neuron connections in just the right place or a certain mole on their left leg. This could be it, but then why do we even bother to go to school? Why are we being taught architecture when there are already some people who are just gifted? Is it not just a fruitless endeavor for the moleless kids? Are there some people who will never be great, who will never have even one flash of inspiration no matter how much they try? That is pretty hard for me to believe.
Posted in 3BMC,Photography,ProjectsDecember 1, 2011
With apple picking season in full swing across the northeast, I knew it was only a matter of time before Chris would stop by and let me know that we were going to make some cider. This visit always makes me a little bit anxious because, to be perfectly honest, my relationship with cider is at best, shaky. Don’t get me wrong, I love cider dearly. I often have a gallon in the fridge and I am known for my mulled cider recipe. But when it comes to making it, things just seem to fall apart.
It just never seem to go as planned. Our first time ended in everyone getting a bit sick after drinking it, but that was only after we started out with a few totally failed attempts at fermenting pasteurized cider with bread yeast. There was also the time in under my bed in my old dorm room that I try not to talk about. But this time, we hoped things would be different. Firstly, we were considerably more experienced, and second, I was not in charge of it this time, Chris was.
Posted in PhotographyNovember 7, 2011
A hike up to the fire tower, Mt. Kineo, Moosehead Lake, Maine.
Posted in PhotographyOctober 28, 2011
Some photos of the farm this summer, Hawkshead Farm, Westbrook, Connecticut.
Posted in 3BMC,Photography,ProjectsOctober 20, 2011
Winemaking is a family tradition. My dad has been making it for almost 15 years, starting out with a trash can and some grapes in a cold back attic in his shop and graduating to a full range of equipment and techniques. It was only a matter of time before I learned the ropes.
I actually find it funny that it took so long to get around to making wine. My foray into alcohol production was done in reverse, starting with the most obscure and moving down the line to the most popular kind to make. That being said, it is always an enjoyable experience when you are doing something you have never done before.
Posted in Rumblings,TravelSeptember 10, 2011
This is a minimalist backpacking list for anyone going to the warmer parts of the developing world. This is my personal list, created and refined over six months of backpacking around India in 2011. It is amazing how little you need when you wash your clothes in the sink and try not to sleep outside.