The Techno returns

My Reneka Techno is back online

Despite the happy face I put on to my friends and family, like the archetypical sad clown, I have been masking my true feelings. The truth is that I have been suffering in silence for the past few months since my Reneka Techno espresso machine decided to die in an impressive display of noise and steam.

A glimmer of hope appeared last week, when a box of replacement parts arrived from France, and I began to rebuild the machine, hoping it would one day return to the greatness I knew it was capable. That day is today. I had my first home-made cappuccino in months today, and the Techno is back in operation. Armed with some freshly roasted beans, I look forward to a new golden age in the months ahead.

Techno pumps

I’m continuing to work on getting my Reneka Techno espresso machine back online. This French contraption first came into my world in December, 2002. Since then, it’s been a reliable producer of top-quality espresso drinks, at least when I feed it with my freshly-roasted beans.

My trusted friend has suffered his share of health complications over his short life. The boiler temperature probe has failed twice, once recently. In the past month, the pump started failing as well. No matter, a quick email to Just Espresso lead to the arrival of a new pump and probe. Now the only thing standing in my way of espresso nirvana are two small adapter pieces that I need to move from the old pump (pictured left) to the new pump (on the right). Despite my best efforts, they are impossible to remove. An email is in to Just Espresso. Hopefully, they can come up with a solution soon??????

Hydroponicating

I’ve done it again…found a new hobby to waste what little free time I have left. My latest venture is an attempt to have fresh herbs available at all times by taking advantage of an approach to growing called hydroponics. Instead of soil, this technology bathes the roots of the plants in a nutrient rich solution to optimize growth while minimizing, well, bugs.

I have an elaborate contraption circulating water on my balcony right now, but I may be foiled by the prolonged winter that seems to be plaguing the area.

Back in black…or grey

I’ve begun restyling the site with a slick new look. While I have plenty of other chores on my plate, I’ve managed to waste yet another perfectly decent weekend hacking around with css, html, and Photoshop. At least the content from my iWeb site is back and soon I can actually get around to writing new entries other than self-referential site updates.

A new respect for cold

Ishir in the cold after skiing

After a long month of work, I recently escaped to Stowe, VT for a few days of relaxation and skiing. An amateur skier, my previous experience on the slopes has been rather limited to a few moderately successful tours down beginner paths and a clumsy, prolonged tumble down an intermediate course.

The first order of business was to equip myself appropriately. My fashionable, but impractical, black overcoat stepped aside to make room for the more durable North Face parka above. With a rented set of skis, boots, and goggles, I was ready to tackle any slope (provided it was clearly marked with a green circle).

One variable that failed to enter into the calculus of an enjoyable ski experience was the importance of adequate hand-warming. Despite double-gloving in preparation for the frigid Vermont air, my fingers were greeted to a novel combination of pain and numbness that I previously was unaware was possible. I waited a good 30 minutes after the second day??????s ??????run?????? before any semblance of normal sensation and function returned to my digits.

Despite the lesson in the function of my peripheral nervous system, I am finally gaining greater comfort in this sport and beginning to understand why others consider facing almost certain doom sliding down icy paths on thin planks an enjoyable experience.