Hop seeds

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I got some hop seeds in the post this morning.

I'm quite green fingered so why not grow the greatest plant of them all. Its supposedly really difficult but not impossible to propagate them, taking 6 or more months.

I have seen seeds in numbers of 50 on ebay for several pounds. Which is ridiculous when you sometimes find a few seeds in packs of brewing hops. I found Greenchronicle.com / Greenchronicle.co.uk sells them at a nice price. P&P is only 90p too. The uk website sells them in packs of 75. I may get some rhizomes (hop roots) sometime if I find some to make life easier.
Last year I found a website selling rhizome for £10 a plant. Fair enough it will save me money over a few years with it providing hops but the plant might not grow so well in my area, soil types ect. In the Joe Fisher & Dennis Fisher book, 'The homebrewers garden', it says to try out different varieties to find a type that grows well. A lot of money for trial and error.

Reading instructions on how to grow them on the web I found you have to plant them in the autumn in pots of sand and grit. Others say to put them in the fridge (simulate winter I guess) for six weeks then plant... After all this maybe ill grow a beard and start pipe smoking.

Resize images from nautilus

This is already popular with ubuntu blogs however theres no harm blogging it. It adds a image resize and rotator to the right click menu.

sudo apt-get install nautilus-image-converter
Restart gnome (log out and then log back in).
Use by right clicking a image and then select resize or rotate.

A Gerbil?

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Because I keep rats, I seem to be qualified to keep a gerbil. The owners didn't want it because it ate its cage. So we offered to take it. It doesn't like being touched. Its also hyperactive. Within an hour it chewed up a toilet roll tube, chewed partly another 5 and put a hole through its little cardboard box. Its very active. I mean my rats just sleep most of the day.

28 weeks later is a surprise

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I wasn't to sure about it before I sat down and watched it. I didn't go see it at the cinema because, well, squeals are generally rubbish and I avoid them at all costs. It's always going to be hard to top a Danny Boyle film. The man is a film making genius. Trainspotting, the beach, 28 days later and sunshine are all amazing films. My favorites being Sunshine, a true sci-fi film. I enjoyed it a lot. Then theres Trainspotting being more iconic than the rest and probably one of the best British films.

28 weeks later is directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. I don't know much about him but he did a good job. Danny Boyle was a producer. The film builds on tension and ultimately anyone can die. How horror films should be unlike Resident Evil, a poor predictable zombie romp. I think the budget was higher than that of 28 days, but it didn't ruin it. It still has a slight indie feel to it. Although thats lost more or well when you see london being bombed by the American army.

The Magic SysRq key

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I read an article on fosswire about reisub via digg. Refreshing my memory on this kernel trick. The Magic SysRq key allows you to input basic low level commands. So if somehow your desktop froze you don't need to hit the power button. The kernel will still be alive under all those programs/processes. By holding Alt and SysRq, thats the print screen button, and typing REISUB. You can restart your pc.

REISUB is actually several low level commands:
  1. Alt + SysRq + R – takes the keyboard out of raw mode.
  2. Alt + SysRq + E – terminates all processes (except init).
  3. Alt + SysRq + I – kills all processes (except init).
  4. Alt + SysRq + S – synchronizes the disk.
  5. Alt + SysRq + U – remounts all filesystems read-only.
  6. Alt + SysRq + B – reboots the machine.
For other low level commands have a look at Magic SysRq key on wiki. Some of them I didn't even know.

Burping Frog Plasticine

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Plasticine stop motion.

What happened to American Adventure?

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On the edge of Ilkeston, Derbyshire, there use to be a theme park called American adventure. I remember going a few times when I was little. As I got older I completely forgot about it. Not really my fault. No one talked about it. In Britain if you want to goto a theme park you goto something like alton towers, spend all day in queues, get on about 5 rides and go home happy.
I looked up American Adventure on wikipedia and I was shocked to find it had closed. It's even near 2 large cities Nottingham and Derby, but as it turns out it closed after "a period of difficult trading".

The website is now down, however the google cache reveals:
The American Adventure Theme Park has announced with regret that following a period of difficult trading it has taken the decision to close the American Adventure Theme Park near Shipley, Derbyshire. As a result American Adventure will not re-open for the 2007 season. All rides are currently being marketed for sale and the remaining staff are assisting with these disposals. It is anticipated that this exercise will be completed during this year when the leasehold for the park will revert to Derbyshire County Council.

The American Adventure Theme Park states that it has invested considerably in trying to make the Park a commercial success but a fall in attendances, which has been experienced across the UK theme park market, has proved impossible to overcome. The company would like to thank all of its staff and customers who over the years have contributed to making American Adventure a fun family experience.

The theme park has a funny history...
For example, in order of events:
  • It was originally the Britannia park started by Peter Kellard in 1985.
  • It was opened by a boxer called Henry Cooper (one of the greatest British heavyweights of all time).
  • Supposedly it rained a lot on the opening day. (not a great start)
  • Britannia closed 10 weeks after opening with a huge £9.5 million debt.
  • Henry Cooper and various other people were never paid.
  • Peter Kellard was sentenced 4 years in prison for fraud.
  • The County Council bought the park for £2.5 million in 1986.
  • It was sold to Grenada and finally called American Adventure in 1987.
The American adventure started with a log flume, runaway mine train, a Buffalo Rollercoaster, a pirate ship and a ferris wheel. Not bad for something out of the 80's.
Later additions included:
  • Missile roller coaster (which was the best roller coaster in the uk for sometime)
  • Rocky Mountain Rapids
  • Iron Wolf rollercoaster (gladiator tv show themed ride, oh the joy!)
Unfortunately after 1996 the park started to decline. In 1997 Grenada sold it to Ventureworld who changed a few things such as rides, branding and its name to "American Adventure World" though they gave up after a while and went back to "The American Adventure" (saves money I guess).
The park went from something like this: Crazy Cowboys and Indians...

...To something like this: Super happy family park thing

In 2005 some of the rides closed due to just generally being run down and the missile, not fitting in with super happy family park image, was put to bits and sold to Pleasurewood Hills as 'Wipeout'. In January of this year the park officially closed.

The park is now like a ghost town. Check out picasaweb.google.co.uk/gazandflyss/AmericanAdventureGoneButNotForgotten. Some great pictures showing how run down and empty (without people and most of the rides) it looks now.

Btw. I dont own any of these images used in this post, all rights belong to their rightful owners; Ventureworld.

Brewing yet another stout

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I got another stout kit, this time one I have used before. The edme dry stout kit. I used the same ingredients as my last brew expect no chocolate malt. Less oats more roasted malt. Lots of hops. Fuggle, willamette and cascade for finishing.
I used a sieve to keep everything in to steep. Makes things more easy. Less messing around to.
Will upload pictures sometime.

Godzilla vs the blue tack

Found a few Godzilla toys in the attic. The one from the American Godzilla film. So heres a 5 second stop motion.