Homemade: Iced Tea

I’ve been making my own iced tea for over a year now. It happens to be easy, cheap, and awesome. A few friends have asked me about it from time to time, and I have given them the basics of my particular technique, so figured I should expand upon it a bit at some point.

I tend to make iced tea in 2 litre batches. For every 2 litres, I tend to use 8 tea bags worth of tea. Not all of these should be caffeinated. More than 5 bags of caffeinated tea tends to go from ‘good caffeine’ to ‘enough caffeine to cause your hands to shake’. Given that there are plenty of flavored decaffeinated teas around where I am, I tend to use 4 bags of caffeinated tea as a caffeine base (usually orange pekoe) and the other half as decaffeinated flavored tea as a flavoring base. If you don’t care about the caffeine, feel free to omit the orange pekoe base. It doesn’t really change the flavor.

Whichever tea bags you choose, let them steep for a few hours (I tend to do mine over night). When removing them, don’t squeeze the bags, as it tends to result in not so good flavoring in the iced tea. After steeping, I tend to add half a cup of sugar. From there, you can also add stuff like a tablespoon or two of lemon juice, lime juice, cut up fruit, or other additional flavoring. And that is it really. Simple, with plenty of varriation.

A few things I have experimented with and have NOT managed to do successfully:

  • use honey instead of sugar
  • Roobios tea for flavoring doesn’t seem to work out quite well for the ones I have tried.
  • Bluckcurrant tea as flavoring. One of the worst batches of iced tea I ever made.

My favorite recipes:

Orange Peach

  • 5 bags of mandarin orange flavored tea
  • 3 bags of ginger peach flavored tea
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of sugar

Apple Pear

  • 5 bags of apple pear flavored tea
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • (Optional) Some apple slices

Lightly Lemon

  • 4 bags of orange pekoe tea (as a caffeine base)
  • 4 bags of lemon flavored tea
  • 1/2 cup of sugar

Easy and delicious!

Upgrading my RAID array

Last weekend I bumped up the storage capacity of my workstation. Given that I had to look up several sources to upgrade (my setup isn’t exactly straightforward) and the fact that one of those sources is now inexplicably unavailable, I figured I should leave myself instructions somewhere for the future.

With the exception of hooking up the new drive, this upgrade didn’t require powering off at all. Such are the joys of a RAID5 array.

My setup is an encrypted software raid5 array on linux, which sits at /dev/md0

  1. Put in the drive and power on.
  2. Figure out what the name of the drive is (mine was /dev/sdd)
  3. Add the new dri9ve to the array as a hot spare via “mdadm –add /dev/md0 /dev/sdd”
  4. My raid array has a write intent bitmap, which prevents the array from expanding. I temporarily removed it with “mdadm –grow /dev/md0 -b none”
  5. Then I told the array to actually use the new drive. Since I was adding my 5th drive, the command was “mdadm –grow -n 5 /dev/md0”
  6. Waited for 24 hours for data to be migrated. Checked on the progress by using “watch ‘cat /proc/mdstat’
  7. Re-added that bitmap using “mdadm –grow /dev/md0 -b internal”
  8. Told LUKS to resize itself to use the new drive as well using “cryptsetup resize cr_md0”
  9. Once that was done, I had to resize the partition using “resize2fs /dev/mapper/cr_md0”

And done. The array started getting usable freespace immediately, though again it took a few hours to have access to all my new space.

Haven’t had any problems with this setup. However, given a friend’s recent drive failure, I hope to be very thankful of this setup when I finally do have problems.

Guest Blogging: East Coast By Choice

Recently, my twitter friend Kimberly, writer of EastCoastByChoice, contributor to Undeathmatch, and all around interesting person was soliciting guest posts for EastCoastByChoice. Given that people often ask me about why I came out east, I figured it would be a good tale to write and submit (it helped that I already had a draft of said story). Kim has graciously decided to publish my story. You can read it here.

Guest Blogging: Undeathmatch

Undeathmatch, a blog made up of some Canadian writers, has been pitting various supernatural beasts against each other in both literary and popularity wise over the last few months. This month, they had a call for guest posts, hoping for something that might go toe to toe with the winner of the last two rounds, werewolves.

So I wrote something. I doubt they could take on werewolves popularity wise, but I would like to introduce the latest contender in (un)deathmatch, the mighty Golem.

Let the match begin!