While July is a great month for long bike rides in Minnesota, I find myself dedicated to much more “couch time” than usual. My July obsession: Le Tour, the Tour de France, the big old race around France (or whatever you’d like to call it). While I consider myself the very opposite of the lycra clad, weight obsessed (both in body and machine), Skittle-colored hard-core roadie – I find the tour fascinating. The team dynamic, the strategies, and the torturous rides, climbs and descents. And then there’s the gloomy overshadow of drug use, hushed amongst the announcers, hoping they won’t alienate their audience. Drama, speed, egos, color. So how do follow it?

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Mobile Phones. They’ve revolutionized the way we communicate, the way we ignore people around us in real life, and the way we attempt to kill each other while driving.

Before number portability came along, the turnover rate between providers was a hefty 25%. People would change their providers (and consequently their phone number) whenever a bigger better deal came along. Or they simply wanted to try out another provider because their current one is run, owned, and staffed by jerks, only to find out their new provider is run, owned, and staffed by jerks.

The phone numbers were ditched and quickly recycled for new customers. This was a major factor in the number of wrong number calls, voicemails, and text messages in the 2000s.

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With the Minnesota Orchestra back in business (and now with their music director re-hired), Jessi and I purchased a subscription package of concerts to attend. With the orchestra pulling out all the stops on their repertoire, we wanted to attend almost all of the concerts. But that was unrealistic.

So when we couldn’t attend concerts that we wanted to hear, we could listen to them on the radio. And if we couldn’t listen in, there is the radio stream, which I could capture.

Radio stations have for the most part made streaming easy. Some have made attempts to secure their streams from easily being captured by using proprietary protocols like RTMP. But it remains that a stream is still a stream, and it can always be saved. It may just take a greater or lesser degree of difficulty.

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You’ve collected enough sap, and now it’s time to boil down to syrup. The first weekend of April was it for 2014, the freeze thaw cycle is over until next year. So let’s talk about turning that sap into syrup.

You don't need to be that scientific
You don’t need to be this scientific

First, plan on dedicating an entire day to cooking. Every year I’ve made syrup, it has taken me 12 hours from start to finish. When I make my boiling rig more efficient, I happen to get more sap and for some magic reason it always takes all day. Also, you want to boil outside. 5 Gallons of sap yields one pint of syrup. Would you be willing to dump 5 gallons of water in your kitchen?

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