Jam Flavors I Have Either Made or Plan to Make

In the fall of 2015, I ran a Kickstarter called Jammly. It was to raise money to play around with jam and jelly ideas.  It was successful and raised a little over $3000.  Unfortunately, it did take me quite a long time to fulfill all the orders.  It turns out when you offer jam as a reward, AND you get a lot of backers, you end up making A LOT of jam.  in the end I wound up making somewhere around 600 jars of jam (I needed about 400 for my backers).  While the Kickstarter itself was successful, it ultimately cost me a lot more money, but I was quite happy I did it.  I learned a lot, created some interesting products, and met a lot of great people along the way.  At the moment, the rest of my life is too busy to do anything substantial with Jammly, but I do still have some jams, and I still make small batches occasionally when the mood strikes.  My hope is that someday I can find a way to add it back into the stuff I'm doing in a more meaningful way, but for now, it will have to just stay a fun idea.  

  1. Apple Rosemary Jelly - I've made batches of this before, and I personally, love the mix of savory and sweet.  However, I think some were a bit put off by the "woodsy" nature of the rosemary.  Next time I need to tone down the rosemary and maybe introduce a little more brown sugar.
  2. Smoked Pear Jam - This one is one of my bigger hits I think.  You peel and chop the pears then cold smoke with a sweet wood (apple, etc).  Then just make a relatively regular jam from there with it.  I love it, but the smoking bit makes it fairly labor intensive, so I don’t make it often.
  3. Raspberry & Prosecco Jam - this is my daughter's favorite.  I think the suspect the prosecco adds just a bit of a sweet bit to the raspberries that makes for a good combo.
  4. Spiced Blueberry Jam - Another one of the first I made with Jammly, and a popular one.  Blueberries plus lots of somewhat savory spices (anise, peppercorn, cinnamon, etc.) and just a bit of dutch cocoa.
  5. Glogg Grape Jelly - nobody ever knows what glogg is, but I love it.  It’s a mulled Swedish holiday wine (orange, cinnamon, cardamom, port, red wine, amongst other things).  I took all those flavors and made a straight up grape jelly with it.
  6. Strawberry & Rose Jam - I made a small batch of this for Erika and Susan's wedding, but I want to make a larger batch this year - it's just strawberry jam, with a bit of rosewater and a little vanilla bean.
  7. Thai Peach Jam - Another one I made primarily for myself.  This was also a riff off an older project, Potionotics (mixers for cocktails).  This includes peaches, lemongrass, Thai bird chilis, and ginger.
  8. Plum & Shiso Jam - Last fall I wound up with a lot of plums and shiso leaves at the same time.  After tasting (okay, eating) a bunch of both, I added some ginger liqueur, and poof, another jam I'm pretty pleased with.
  9. Watermelon, Citrus, & Chile Jelly - We had half a watermelon that needed to be used up, and I was wondering if you could make a jelly from it.  This is sort of a riff on the chili fruit sweets you see in Hispanic markets.  I don’t love it, but it tastes as I imagined.  It's sort of like marmite - you either love it or hate it.
  10. Marionberry Lemon Marmalade - Another I made for Erika & Susan.  It’s a straight up lemon marmalade (tart and tangy), but with big fat, Oregon Marionberries tossed in to sweeten it up.  Since its super purple, it's very surprising to get that tart lemon in the first bite.
  11. Grapefruit & Gin Marmalade - I just want to make a Salty Dog (Gin and Grapefruit with Salt) in jam form.  Haven't made it, but I need to try this winter.
  12. Gin & Tonic Jelly - I made versions of this in 2014 and liked it, but feel like I can improve. The gist is to take all the botanicals infused in gin and add them to white grape juice.  Then make a grape jelly with it and at the last minute, add a little tonic syrup (it’s a thing) to it for that bite you expect in a gin and tonic.
  13. Rum(my) Raisin Jam - I mean it's all right there in the title, rum, raisins, maybe some brown sugar, heat it, blend it, eat it on toast. The darker the rum, the better.
  14. Chocolate Raspberry Jam - Another relatively successful Potiontics project was a barrel aged Chocolate Raspberry Liqueur.  This just converts that flavor profile to jam.  The trick is to use cocoa nibs when making the jam, then be vigilant about getting the bits out before canning.  This adds chocolate flavor without all the extra sweet.
  15. Strawberry & Black Peppercorn Jam - This is yet another cocktail syrup I'd made in the past.  For some reason, I just love black pepper and sweet berries together.
  16. Absinthe & Fig Jam - I've made this one a bunch in the fall when our friend Liz gives us more figs than can be eaten (or should be eaten) at one time.  It’s a play on an existing popular Fig and Port Jam out there but substitutes absinthe.  The fennel flavor goes well with figs.
  17. Apple Pie Jelly - This one I have made, its a bourbony cinnamon apple jelly that I like quite a bit.

Podcasts I'm currently listening to

I listen to podcasts pretty much all day - it's my version of talk radio.  Here's the ones that are in the regular weekly rotation currently.

Daily Tech News Show - Daily Tech News Show is hosted by Tom Merritt and does what it says in the name. Each show delivers the top stories in tech combined with analysis from regular contributors and guest perspectives from the top names in technology. Or as listener Alan Char says it, “discussion and analysis of tech news in an entertaining and balanced way that is easy to understand.”

The Morning Stream - TMS is the Frogpants morning show, but not like the kind you’re used to. Join Scott Johnson and Brian Ibbott 4 days a week! Great guests, great laughs, and all kinds of stupid stuff await you here.

Current Geek - Staring Scott Johnson & Tom Merritt, weekly on Fridays at 5pm MTN time! All those nerdy stories have no chance against these guys! And we are joined by guests! Who? Tune in to find out!

Funemployment Radio - Funemployment Radio is a daily, comedy podcast based out of Portland, Oregon since 2009. Hosted by Greg Nibler & Sarah X Dylan.

Make Me Smart with Kai & Molly - Because none of us is as smart as all of us. Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly is a podcast about the economy, technology and culture. Hosts Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood use their expertise to connect the dots on the topics they know best, and get help from listeners and experts about the ones they want to know better.

Gastropod - Gastropod looks at food through the lens of science and history. Co-hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley serve up a brand new episode every two weeks.

Side Hustle School - A daily show for everyone who works a regular job and wants to start an income-earning project on the side. In each episode, listeners will hear a different story of someone who's started a side hustle—along with what went well, how that person overcame challenges, and what happened as a result. The show is written and hosted by Chris Guillebeau, the New York Times bestselling author of The $100 Startup, The Happiness of Pursuit, and other books.

Cord Killers - Helping you watch the TV shows and movies you want when you want where you want and on whatever darn device you please.

We Have Concerns - We Have Concerns is a show made by Jeff Cannata and Anthony Carboni (that’s us). We take science, philosophy, anthropology, or current event stories, usually submitted by the audience, and talk about what they might mean, with some comedy improv bits thrown in. iTunes called it one of the best podcasts of 2014 and one of the best series out there for people new to podcasts.

Racist Sandwich - Chef Soleil Ho and journalist Zahir Janmohamed interview chefs and purveyors of color and tackle food's relationship to race, gender, and class in their bi-weekly podcast from Portland, Oregon.

On Being Sick

Today I got the news that my red blood count, hemoglobin, and iron levels were all on the low side of normal - and I couldn’t be happier.

It may seem like a strange thing to be excited about, but considering where it was, this is a huge improvement.  Last September I'd been feeling pretty bad.  I was very run down and thought I had some cold.  I went on a work trip for a week, and it was where I bottomed out.  I was exhausted the whole time, struggled to concentrate, struggle to eat and frankly was having a hard time doing anything other than lying in bed. 

By the time I got home, I realized I needed to go to the doctor and went that week.  After a blood test, my doctor called me back alarmed because my red blood count and hemoglobin were both critically low.  Further tests proved I had a bacterial infection and his assumptions were I was bleeding internally which had caused severe anemia.  I was put on strong antibiotics, acid reducers, and referred to a gastroenterologist.  And so began a multi-month journey of tests that provided little insight, blood and iron transfusions, and being stuck with needles multiple times a week.

I can say that I have more energy now than I did even a month or so ago.  More than that, I think the multiple months of being sick have me focused on generally trying to make myself feel better.  To that end, I'm trying to be more active and have been going to the gym again - something I'd stopped doing altogether last year, even before I started feeling sick. 

I do have to say, I am incredibly grateful to be in the job I have currently.  As a full-time Microsoft employee, I have the best insurance I've had in my entire life, I think.  My out of pocket expense for all of this was probably less than $500 (for context, the bills I've seen so far at more than $40K and I don't think they are all in yet).  And my manager was incredibly accommodating in allowing me to work when I could, and take off time when I needed.  Travel tends to be a big part of my job, and while I wasnt able to cut it out completely this fall, I certainly did less than I have in years past.  If I was still i the startup world, I would have struggled much more to juggle work and being sick and I certainly would have been much more out of pocket on the expenses.

Updating site

After I joined Microsoft full time I shut down Techgeist and left this as a landing page.  But I'd like to do something with it and somewhere to at least write occasionally, so I'm spending the weekend doing a little revamping.  It may take a bit to get it up and running - pardon the mess.