Friday, May 30, 2008

My afternoon changed in a heartbeat. It was Friday, sunny, 3:00. The doorbell rang with a quick burst of anticipation...

The first few books in the Hard Case Crime novels arrived today. Hooray! Pulp fiction lives!

The first in the series, Grifter's Game, is a mere 205 pages, so I'm sure it will be consumed with famished recklessness.

There was no mistaking the taste, not now, not after many years. When you work in a racket, even briefly, you learn what you can about the racket. You learn the product, first of all. No matter how small your connection with the racket or how little time you spend with it, this much you learn. I had played the game for two months, if that, in a very small capacity, but I knew what I had on my dresser. I had approximately sixty cubic inches of raw heroin.

Oh these are going to be fun!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The homebrewing bug.

When in DC a couple weeks ago, Duke (one of the few "regulars" who leaves comments on our blog - come on, people, leave a comment!!!) had brought 3 bottles of his latest homebrew for Chris to try. The liquid, pictured at left, was consumed heartily tonight. Duke's Porter (or whatever he named it) was a tasty concoction of roasty malts and just the right amount of hoppiness to cut through. He had discussed the lack of oomph in the color, but regardless it was a tasty beer. Good job Duke!!!

In other news, James of "James and Monica" is down here this weekend visiting his parents in Gibsonville (Monica and the boys certainly came along too). On Wednesday, a trip to Triad Homebrew Supply was in order as James is getting back on the homebrewing bandwagon. The hop bines growing along his fence beg to be thrown into a boiling cauldron of beery magic. So Chris and he went there and bought some supplies for him to reach his goal of homebrewing with his homegrown hops. Chris had done the same thing last year here.

A pale ale and an IPA recipe were purchased at Triad for personal delivery back to Alexandria. Chris nabbed some books (Radical Brewing and Designing Great Beers) and also a new racking cane with tubing. There are the makings of a smoked porter recipe dying to be brewed in the Gordon garage fridge, and one day quite soon those grains and hops will become delicious libation.

Updates on the results will follow soon...

[Chris], Hillary & El Presidente

From an email rec'd from Kimberly's fancy phone today:

From: Kimberly
To: C/K Gordon
Subject: You, Hillary & El Presidente
Date: Thursday, May 29, 2008 10:13:18 AM

Good Morning Cutie-

Thought that you might enjoy this from my new Chuck Todd blog....

SUNDAY, 8:33 PM -- Clinton arrives at Sabor Latino, a bar in San Juan. Outside, Secret Service has taken stronger security measures, with some agents openly brandishing weapons in what is apparently a sometimes unsafe community. But inside, Clinton shows no worries, and is in fact having quite a good time. Some of her supporters hand her a Dominican beer, called "El Presidente." They offer cheers, and it's bottoms up for the New York senator


El Presidente, a Gordon garage fridge staple since the D-R mission trip last February, is sullied by the junior Senator from New York. Sheesh. You'll notice in the above photo it has a prime top shelf location (along with Dad T's stash of Michelob for some reason). A beer of this sentimental value need not be tarnished like this. I bet it wasn't even a good photo op, so she didn't even take a good hearty swig. Sigh....

YouTube finally makes it big

The latest video from Weezer is a smorgasbord of YouTube "celebrities" doing what made them "famous". According to Weezer's website, they flew in the actual people involved, not just stand-ins or look-alikes. Awesome.

Following some links concerning the video, there was a terrible plummet into the People magazine website, but it did result in a nifty little blurb about the cast and the concept:

For the "Pork and Beans" video from alt-rock veterans Weezer, music video director Mathew Cullen gathered all the biggest Web celebrities – like Chris "Leave Britney alone!" Crocker, Miss Teen South Carolina, Lauren Caitlin Upton, Jud "Evolution of Dance" Laipply, Tay "Chocolate Rain" Zonday, and many others – and mashed them up into a YouTube sensation of his own. By the end of Memorial Day weekend, the clip had more than 3 million hits on YouTube, and became the most-viewed video on the Internet.

"The whole concept was based on the song," says Cullen. "It's an anthem to not conforming to what people want you to be. I wanted to celebrate the creativity and individuality that's happening on the Internet. These are all completely different people from different walks of life who have achieved their fame through unorthodox or unintentional methods but regardless they did something that people loved."

Cullen also got inadvertent stars like the Afro Ninja to participate. "There are a couple layers to pop culture," he says. "I wanted to show them there was a next chapter, that there was some redemption of what happens. For Miss Teen South Carolina, for example, she embarrassed herself through what she said but in this video, you can she is blending the word 'maps' in a blender. In the end, everybody we included really embraced the positive message."

As with all viral videos, Cullen hopes this version of "Pork and Beans" isn't definitive. "It's Weezer's mash-up of their favorite stuff," he says, "but I don't see the video as done. It can be mashed up and changed and evolved. We want video to be a living thing on the Internet."

The track for "Pork and Beans" can be found on the band's latest self-titled release, also known as the Red Album. The CD hits stores on June 3.

Enjoy "Pork and Beans":

Monday, May 26, 2008

Julia heart Obama.

Chris can't in good conscience go to bed tonight with such incendiary Clinton comments from the previous post on his mind. There has to be a happier way to finish the day.

There is. And the remedy is Julia Sweeney. Enjoy, and good night:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I went to Café Press and I ordered an Obama sticker for my car. I guess that’s it. I’m in for Obama. I actually loved what he said about bitter people turning to religion and guns. Of course, I see it the same way. Oh I hope he wins, I really, really do.

I decided to take off the bumper sticker that I have had on my car for a long, long time now. It says, “Imagine no religion” with a rainbow on it. Before Mulan even knew what that meant she knew our car amongst all the other white ones by the rainbow on the back.

Once I got my car serviced and the mechanic gestured towards my bumper sticker and said, “You know some people could take that the wrong way.” I said, “No, I that’s the way I mean it.” He squinted his eyes at me. I was glad my car had already been fixed.

The only thing bad with having an anti-religion sticker on your bumper is when you intentionally or even inadvertently slide in front of someone a wee bit too close or you are speeding ahead or getting around someone and I think they must think, “See, no religion, what a jerk.” But mostly I get positive feedback. I have several times had people gesture to me to get me to roll down my window so they can tell me they feel the same way about religion. Sometimes I am not sure if they are actually taking it the other way, like, how awful would it be with no religion. Anyway, I liked it's ambiguity and I liked it's reference to John Lennon too.

Now I say good-bye to it. I loved my rainbow and my “Imagine No Religion.” (I got it from the Freedom From Religion Foundation at a conference.)

I could have both bumper stickers.

I guess I just want one bumper sticker on my car. When I see people with lots of bumper stickers, I think the stickers better be REALLY funny ones, or they’re nuts.

Now I feel that Obama and I are going steady. I’m committing to him, his sticker will adorn my car.

What's next? A sign on my front lawn?

That's too far and too fast for me and Obama for the time being. Let's just take this one sign at a time. First the car, then possibly the lawn, then - maybe a... T shirt.

Eventually I will send money to the actual campaign. OHGOD, I hate myself! That's terrible. But I can't afford that level of commitment at this very moment.

Oh Barack, can't you just accept my wee bumper sticker for right now? I can see in your eyes you want me to send you actual money, but I am not ready yet, I'm just not ready, darling. Let's talk about it later. Don't pressure me with your great speeches, taunt me with your veiled derisive religious comments. I will fully commit with money eventually, I swear! Just.. for now, let's celebrate the fact that I ordered a bumper sticker from Cafe Press. I know, I know, I didn't order it from your own campaign website. But my darling, Barack, your stickers on your website aren't that great. They have this eighties look to them, the bright blue and everything. I got the one with the peace sign made out of the "O" - that was way cooler, don't you see??

Sunday, May 25, 2008

"Crass, low, unfeeling, and BRUTAL"

There has too recently been uttered one of the most awful statements we've heard in a long, long time. Friday, May 23. Did we hear that right? Did she really say that?

It is statistically an impossibility for Senator Obama to NOT be the Democratic nominee for President. That being said, if by some chance occurrence that Senator Clinton pulls out the nomination, it will be a difficult decision for the Gordons to make in November. We'd never vote Republican (John McCain), but would we then in fact vote for Clinton? Would the collective Gordon vote go for Ron Paul? Bob Barr? Ralph Nader?

We can stay silent no longer. Her tactics have sickened us for the final time. Watch this video.


She still won't get it Keith, no matter how blunt you are.

Mr. Pibb + Red Vines = crazy delicious

With the disappointing Prince Caspian crap at the theater, there's the need to fill the void with some truly quality Narnia video. Enjoy this absolute classic:

Pass the Chronic - WHAT? - cles of Narnia.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

The first movie in the "Chronicles of Narnia" series, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was a captivating film. The story, the action, the scenery, the magic, all were interwoven with great skill and finesse to make it a fine use of two hours. With the 2nd installment, Prince Caspian,, not so much. But first as always, the trailer:

The four Pevensie kids are back in Narnia, a mere one year after their last adventure, but 1300 years in Narnia time. The magical animals and creatures of Narnia have been exterminated by the Telmarines, a race descended from rather local parts to us. Those who survived the genocide have gone into hiding, leaving their history as just a "fairy tale" to the Telmarines who run the show now. The prince is expendable now that his uncle has borne a son (well, actually his uncle's wife has). So he races to the enchanted forest away from those who'd rather see him dead. A blow of the ol' "Horn of Susan Pevensie" when in a pickle whisks the kids from jolly old England back to Narnia. The fight is on for rightful claim to thrones and one's existence.

When all is said and done, you leave the theater just not CARING for Caspian quite frankly. The action is slow-going, the story muddles along, intricate backstory portions of the book are glossed over if not outright passed over; you just don't care. And it doesn't help that Caspian's dialect is a bastardization of a Saturday Night Live Antonio Banderas spoof plus Mandy Patinkin in The Princess Bride. You can't take him seriously...and you just don't care. "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

House of Gordon movie score? A low, low "Wait for HBO" grade. Disappointing. We shan't proceed with acquiring the entire movie series on DVD now. The Lion, the Witch. and the Wardrobe in Gordonian possession will be enough. And OK OK we get it, the lion is Jesus Christ. Enough already!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Iron Man

In a bit of some "funk and doldrums" post-DC, what better way to break free than to take in a deliciously entertaining popcorn movie? Iron Man certainly fits the bill. Per the IMDb: "[director] Jon Favreau describes the film as 'a kind of independent film-espionage thriller crossbreed; a Robert Altman-directed Superman (1978), with shades of Tom Clancy novels, James Bond films, RoboCop (1987), and Batman Begins (2005).'" As always with The House of Gordon movie posts, the trailer for your viewing pleasure:

Robert Downey, Jr. was absolutely AWESOME in this movie. He plays to a T the prickish womanizer who you genuinely come to adore and enjoy his company...or maybe it's because of the Gordon love of sarcasm and smart-assedness. A thrill for comic book lovers! Now don't go thinking that just because it's a Marvel-based film, it automatically gets a huge Gordon score. Some comic book movies were just awful: 2003's Daredevil and 2005's Elektra. (The Gordon jury is still out on the two Fantastic Four movies in '05 and '07.) This movie legitimately garners a big score because it was FUN and an entertaining ride for a solid two hours; plus, it had an actor who actually, well, ACTED. Again, Robert Downey, Jr. was just outstanding here. This warms the Gordon heart because frankly when the trailer first appeared on television during a Daily Show with Jon Stewart episode, it looked a little forced and corny. Thankfully, the movie blows the trailer out of the water.

Score? A stout House of Gordon FULL PRICE victory.

The movie differs from the comics though in a big way. I mean, the donning of the suit of "iron" is a little more intensive in the movie than just lugging around a suitcase full of pieces parts. Scanned from the Gordon archives (actually the boxes of comics in the office closet):
Ironically, the above issue includes the first appearance of Terrence Howard's character Jim Rhodes, who later becomes War Machine. This is a pretty cool comic to find as (spoiler alert!), Howard's Rhodes gazes upon a 2nd armor suit in the movie and states, "Next time." Chills, I tell you. Chills!

As an aside, enjoy the inner back cover of this January 1979 issue. Poster anyone? Click to enlarge:
In conclusion, while in Alexandria last weekend at the Brannon hosuehold reading (and I quote James in one breathless run-on) Entertainment-Weekly-the-best-magazine-ever there was a great bit of news concerning the Marvel movie future:
Following Iron Man's impressive $98.6 million debut this weekend, Marvel Studios has set a date for a sequel: April 30, 2010. Meanwhile, the comic-book-based entertainment company has unveiled the roster of superhero movies it plans to release during the next three years:
Thor — June 4, 2010 (with Stardust's Matthew Vaughn on board to direct)
The First Avenger: Captain America — May 6, 2011
The Avengers — July 2011 (bringing together the characters of Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, and Thor in one movie)
Ant-Man — In development (with Hot Fuzz's Edgar Wright attached to write and direct)
All of these features will be financed, developed, and produced by Marvel. While the company had enjoyed great success for more than a decade with movies based on many of its popular characters — including Spider-Man, X-Men, and the Fantastic Four — it only recently started fully financing and producing its own films. Iron Man was the first major release under this new plan; The Incredible Hulk arrives in theaters on June 13.

Abso-frickin-lutely giddy, I tell you! Giddy!

(Almost forgot! The Gordons are mocked and abused by friends for staying all the way through the credits when they see a movie. For Iron Man, STAY THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE CREDITS. You'll thank us.)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hard Case Crime

When Kimberly enrolled in Nurse Anesthesia school back in the fall of 2005, Chris wondered what he could do to be around the house and not make too much noise while she studied. Then it hit him...make his way through the Star Wars Universe via books (well, all the ones except for the kids crap). Start at the beginning and read his way through to current releases. He had two years to complete the mission, and thankfully he succeeded. Right before graduation in 2007, he had made his way through gobs and gobs of $6.99 mass market paperback books. There are now 97 Star Wars paperbacks on the shelf so far to date. 97! Now all he has to do is catch up on the occasional Star Wars paperback release every month or so for the new ones. Neato.

So now, when not reading American History books (the 704-page Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence is currently slowly being consumed) and there's a need for some fun, some candy, some cheese, some pure unadulterated entertainment, there's a fresh idea:

At lunch one afternoon about 2 weeks ago at Walgreens, Chris sat in the Jeep in the parking lot "away from it all" listening to Terry Gross's Fresh Air on NPR, and an interesting interview took place with Charles Ardai. Ardai publishes "Hard Case Crime" novels, reprints of old stories and also new books of classic crime and pulp fiction. Think film noir on the page. It was an intriguing interview to say the least. Classically painted covers, pulpy stories, fallable heroes. Fifty titles had been published since 2004, with the 51st book (Fifty-to-One) comprised of 50 chapters, each chapter titled one the books in order of publication. Pardon the pun, but how novel!

So tonight, with Star Wars - Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice completed, a Barnes and Noble online order was initiated (with Christmas gift cards) for the first few books in the Hard Case Crime series. This should be fun!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Monty Python or real life? Or neither?

Fellow fraternity brother Bones sent this video to us via email. And there was plenty of hearty laughter that followed.

Sometimes life parodies itself. I could have sworn this could be a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch, but apparently this could be real.

What's the minimum crew?
-- Uh, one I suppose.


Sadly, upon researching the interwebs concerning this clip for our blog, it is discovered to not be real. It has been verified that the "interview" was in fact the comedy duo of Bruce and Dawe. Damn. If it were real it would have been killer.

And now for something completely different, a proper Monty Python interview sketch:

DC Trip Day Five: Sunday 5/18

Nothing too remarkable to report for Sunday. The Miglins, with a long 8-hour drive ahead of them, left early back to Ohio. Then at 12:30pm, the Gordons and the Brannons had their usual pre-Gordon-departure brunch in Alexandria at The Chart House on the Potomac. Mimosas, lobster omelet, seafood quiche, crabcakes and eggs, and eggs benedict were the order of the day for the 4 of us. Then, with full bellies, we picked up Sam and Maxie (the Brannons were gracious enough as always to babysit the pooches for us and give the boys some entertainment value). Finally, it's the 4 and 1/2 hour drive back to Greensboro. Another fantastic DC trip comes to a close. I'm sure we'll be back soon...

DC Trip Day Four: Saturday 5/17

Saturday, the day of the Brewers Association Savor beer and food event. Yum! But first, some sightseeing....

Duke and Susan came down from Mt. Vernon, OH for the weekend as well, and we met for breakfast Saturday morning at our hotel, the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel. Blah. Paid too much for a rather bland and crappy breakfast buffet. Oh well. From the we hopped the Metro to Arlington National Cemetery as Susan registered her mother there in the National Women in the Military Memorial. We stopped to check the final draft of her registry and see the display. It was rather touching for Kimberly and I, as we have no personal connection with anyone in Arlington. Susan did a really great job for her mom and it was genuinely moving.

From there, back on the Metro. We thought of hitting one of the many many museums, but it was such a nice day it would be a shame to be cooped up inside somewhere. So we traveled to the Eastern Market for their Saturday street fair. Tents of paintings, sculptures, knick-knacks, produce, all sorts of trinkets and whatnots. Inside the Market, besides the butchers and bakers and florists, there is the world-famous Market Lunch counter. Sadly, a fire at the old historic brick building forced a move across the street into a temporary spot. But in 2 years or so, the old digs should be completely remodeled and repaired, so the market can move back to its older venue. Luckily, North Carolina Ave SE borders the outdoor market, so Kimberly was forced to pose underneat the signage. She's a good sport when Chris has the camera...

We then left the Market to meet Monica and James at the National Sculpture Garden, another outdoor venue to soak up some sun. A leisurely afternoon by the fountain, strolling around the gardens to view the sculptures (some odd, some basic). It was nice to be on vacation and not have to "be" anywhere. The Gordons, Brannons, and Miglins just hung out and took pictures and talked and whatnot. Then, it was time to head out and get all gussied up for our main event: the Savor event. So we walked from the Garden across the Mall to the hotel while James and Monica took the Metro back to Alexandria to get changed.

The Savor event was held in the Mellon Auditorium in DC, yet another easy Metro ride away. A gorgeous interior as you can see. 49 breweries with 2 beers each, plus interesting and "modern" food pairings to go with each beer. Three sessions were held (Friday night, Saturday afternoon and evening) with 700 tickets for each. 700 people in one auditorium juggling sampling glasses, programs, and food...and keeping vertical. The food in some instances was frankly lackluster. As this was a beer AND food event, we thought Kimberly would find plenty to enjoy as she is not a "beer person". $85 for her ticket wasn't worth it, but reeally, ahead of time, who knew? But for beer geeks, this event was stellar! Brewers pouring their wares, giving you direct access to talk to them and ask them questions and just be a groupie. It was a lot of fun. A late-night Kimberly-planned bar crawl of the Dupont Circle area after the event fizzled out a bit as the ladies were becoming tired and sleepy. So Duke and Chris took it upon themselves to keep the flame alive and go out. Stops at District Chophouse and Brewery for a bite to eat (and some beers) and then The Brickskeller's sister bar RFD's for a few more pints were in order.

"How can you go out when you're tired?" was asked. Duke and Chris look at each other and respond, "We just do."

That's wisdom right there.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

DC Trip Day Three: Friday 5/16

Friday was a(nother) fun train trip up to Baltimore for an Orioles/Nationals game. Monday through Friday the MARC train leaves Union Station in DC and drops you off literally next to the warehouse by the park. So easy.

One of the quests was to revisit the "best crab cake we ever tasted" (BCCWET). Seriously. The BCCWET was at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Easily. Here's a photo of the delicious find from previous years:

This year, we were determined to try a street vendor's wares alongside the ballpark version for a proper taste test. We ventured around the sidewalks perusing the tents and booths. Sausages, burgers, hot dogs, peanuts, souvenirs, but not a crabcake to be found. Upon asking the folks selling other foodstuffs, they all said the same thing: the crabcake guy is on the corner one block over. Time to make a trip.

A deep fryer for crabcakes, plus a grill for other yummy varieties was found. We placed our order, and began the tasting. The vendor's was far too breaded (but understandable giving the outdoor fryer and wanting to keep the thing whole for the walking masses). Virtually no lump crab here, just stringy (and hopefully) crab meat. Chris asked for his with cheese, and the vendor proclaimed he never heard of anyone get one with cheese before. Come on, it's CHEESE, it goes with everything! Sadly, the sidewalk crabcake vendor could not compete with The BCCWET.

Next on the docket was inside the park. We make our way to the spot, and are flabbergasted to see "Big Mario's Pizzeria" on the signage. Wh-wh-wh-WHAT???? We inquire where the crabcakes went to. Luckily, the elderly ladies there knew what we were talking ahout and said they are now on the 2nd level. Whew. So we make our way to the proper escalator to get to our seats, and they are "Club Level". Chris bought "best available" online, but didn't realize they were Club Level. Luxurious spacious innards, with lounges, bars, restaurants, private box entrances, and all-around spoiling of the ticketholders by the attendants. James was floored. We can get used to treatment like this!!!

The Diamond Bistro Restaurant inside was our destination for our next crabcake. Less breading, lump crab involved, but overall...not enough lump crab as the stringiness aspect was present more than we liked, and the breading was still a little too much. I don't want a breading sandwich, I want a CRABcake sandwich! Better than outside, but even the Club Level cannot rival the BCCWET. Next time we go to Camden Yards, we'll mingle with the "common folk" and try to find the proper crabcake stand on the 2nd level. Always good to have an excuse to go back.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

DC Trip Day Two: Thursday 5/15

Chris is, as you are most probably aware, a big Nathanael Greene fan. Upon moving to Greensboro in 1996, his interest in the Revolutionary War took a dramatic upswing with the local battlefield and colonial history around here. He's already visited and taken photos of Nathanael Greene statues in Guilford Courthouse National Military Park and also downtown Greensboro. Upon further "Googling", he discovered one in Washington, DC! Cool! Located at the corner of Maryland Ave NE and 4th Street NE, tiny Stanton Park in a residential neighborhood. Sitting proudly atop his mount in the middle of the park is Nathanael Greene.

It's not really near a close Metro stop, so James indulged Chris and drove into town this day with the boys to sightsee and get to Stanton Park.We loaded up the crew into the baby-wagon and headed into town with the rough idea of "between Union Station and the Capitol, but behind the Capitol" to find our general. We found it and good parking karma fell our way as we needed to just walk a few blocks over after finding a spot. We arrived on the scene and took in the statue. The boys had a ball running around the park while Chris-the-nerd absorbed every nuance of the statue. Another Nathanael Greene sighting for this groupie blogger.

Afterward, we made our way back through DC to one of the most beautiful monuments in the district in our opinion: the Jefferson Memorial. We drove around and parked at the memorial lot, which resulted in a leisurely stroll through some wooded areas to get to the tidal basin. We spent some time reading the excerpts of his writings on the walls, reflecting in quiet reverence as the memorial suggests, and basically enjoyed a fantastic view of the Washington Monument from across the water.At the memorial, we made plans with Monica for the "kid exchange" as she got out of work. She'd take the Metro into town, we'd pick her up in the baby wagon, then she'd drive home with kids as we did adult things. After our galavanting, we'd then pick up her car that she took to the Metro stop in Alexandria and get back home. Genius.As we made our way back to the memorial parking lot, we stumbled upon a slightly hidden gem (and in DC there are always hidden gems): the George Mason memorial. Located in a wildflower garden, a large statue of George Mason, contributor to the Bill of Rights, sits on a garden bench with his books from Cicero and Locke. He rests comfortably and leisurely among the flowers. It's rather peaceful and reflective. So many spots within the town offer quiet refuge from hustle and bustle.

We make the transfer, then the "grown up" boys head back up over to Capitol City Brewing back near Union Station for latelunch/early dinner. Seats at the bar next to shiny copper tanks are always a bonus. Pints of "Fuel", a stout infused with coffee, and their altbier and their porter were consumed. We needed to fuel up to prepare for our next night of beer geekishness: a Sierra Nevada tasting back at The Brickskeller with the owners of the California brewery themselves.

"Brewery ambassador" Steve Grossman talked us through the history of Sierra Nevada, their beers, and their rather cutting edge methods of conserving energy and becoming as self-susatinable as they can be. Solar panels on the parking garage, fuel cells, recycling, their own wastewater treatment, the whole nine yards. The beer sampling was much more subdued and educational than the romp that was the Lupulin Reunion the night before."Only" eight samples to be had tonight, with just a smattering in the high alcohol range that the previous night destroyed us with. In sampling order, all obviously Sierra Nevada beers:
1. Ruthless Hefeweizen
2. Summerfest
3. Pale Ale
4. Brown Ale
5. Porter
6. Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale
7. Torpedo Extra IPA
8. Bigfoot Barleywine
Another nifty night to hobnob with brewery royalty, as the bearded owner Ken Grossman sat at the table next to us and chatted us up throughout the evening. Another beer-filled trip of geekery to The Brick. But a much more laid back and straight-lined walk to the Metro tonight...

Monday, May 19, 2008

DC Trip Day One: Wednesday 5/14

Early, early morning on Wednesday, the Cherokee made its way northward for yet another adventure in Washington, DC. The main event? The Brewers Association beer and food tasting entitled "Savor" on Saturday at the Mellon Auditorium on Constitution Ave NW. But as it turns out, many other events for the Gordons rivaled or frankly even surpassed that one particular event. Let's explore...

An 11:00am arrival in Alexandria, VA resulted in the unpacking of the Jeep and a quick perusal of the neighboring fence's James-n-Paul cooperative hop farm. Cascades were easily observed going bezerk with growth (thanks to the heady placement of a compost pile) and some Nugget vines were slowly bringing up the rear. In the photo James proudly holds growlers of Sweetwater Tavern's Oatmeal Stout and Great Lakes Brewing's Blackout Stout for an impromptu late morning beer tasting before the day's adventures. Sweetwater's was a smooth stout with plenty of surprising roasty character, and the Blackout was a high octane stout of boozy thickness. Chris preferred the Great Lakes (shocker) but it was not determined aloud which stout James leaned towards.

In Washington, DC between the hours of 2:00pm-4:00pm at the Newseum on Pennsylvania Ave NW, a wonderful occurrence takes place: NPR's Talk of the Nation is broadcast LIVE. James called ahead and reserved tickets to the studio to be part of the live audience. Chris and James took the Metro into town and entered the Knight Studio on level three of the Newseum. For some reason, people did not fill up the front row! Our two adventurers took their stations in the front directly next to the producer's and engineer's table. Hour one was Wednesday's usual "Political Junkie" Ken Rudin and the week's political scene, plus special guest "Republican" presidential candidate Ron Paul. Newsy headlines were discussed as was Paul's book The Revolution: A Manifesto, his candidacy, and ideas. Enjoy a quick video:

The second hour was a discussion with Philip Gourevitch and his book Standard Operating Procedure about the photographs of military personnel mocking, jeering, and abusing Iraqi prisoners. What were the backgrounds concerning these soldiers? What was the other side of the story concerning the photos? What was the atmosphere and mindset to even snap these photos? Then the second portion of the second hour had journalists Dana Priest and Amy Goldstein of The Washington Post and their investigative reports series entitled "Careless Detention" about illegal immigrants in crowded detention facilities with inadequate medical care. It was a potpourri of journalists and political bigwigs that left James and Chris in awe. The broadast ended with a photo op with Talk of the Nation host Neal Conan. And Chris unthinkingly left his copy of Conan's book Play by Play: Baseball, Radio, and Life in the Last Chance League at home. A missed autograph moment. Conan joked that Chris was one of the three people in the country that actually BOUGHT that book. Then it was just a tad of sightseeing in the Newseum and a stop at the giftshop. A fun afternoon! And it was soon to turn into a fun evening....

A quick Metro ride to Dupont Circle and DC's famous beer bar The Brickskeller was our destination for Wednesday night. The "Lupulin Reunion" took place here. A "contest" of highly hoppy beers took place here in years past called the "Lupulin Slam". Lupulin by the way is the name of the gland within the hop cone that contains all the powdery yellow pollen that gives the hop its aroma and bitterness. A regular lineup of microbrewery "rock stars" took the stage to tout their wares and generally engage in a bawdy and raunchy evening of jokes and sarcasm. From left to right in the above photo: Adam Avery of CO's Avery Brewing, Kim Jordan of CO's New Belgium Brewing, Rob Tod of ME's Allagash Brewing, Greg Koch of CA's Stone Brewing, Sam Calagione of DE's Dogfish Head Brewing, Tomme Arthur of CA's Lost Abbey/Port Brewing, and emcee Daniel Bradford of Durham, NC's All About Beer magazine.Twelve samples were divvied out to the crowd. TWELVE!!! This could be a dangerous evening for all involved. In serving order:
1. Allagash White
2. Port Brewing - Moonlit Sessions Black Lager
3. Stone - Vertical Epic 07.07.07
4. Dogfish Head - Festina Peche
5. Lost Abbey - Isabelle Proximus
6. Avery Fifteen Anniversary Ale
7. Allagash - Oak aged Triple with Rosalarre culture
8. Avery - Hog Heaven barleywine
9. Lost Abbey/Port Brewing - 2nd Anniversary Beer
10. Stone - Oak Aged Bastard (2007)
11. Dogfish Head - Palo Santo Marron
12. Avery - Samael's Oak Aged Ale (2008)
Unreal. Needless to say, the walk from "The Brick" to the Metro was a blurry, sluggish, stumbly one. When all was said and done, Chris was awake and active for a full 21 hours straight, from the early wakeup to get to Alexandria early in the morning to the final trip (or stumble) to bed after a hard day's and night's worth of fun and games. A good time was truly had by all...including "that guy" in the picture of Chris and Stone Brewing's icon Greg Koch. There's always "that guy" who makes his way into photos. Please, if you can help, for all that is good and humble in this world...don't be "that guy". OK? Thanks. That's all I got. Day Two posted tomorrow....

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


We pause our regularly scheduled bloggishness to travel up to Washington, DC for a wee bit for sightseeing, NPR's Talk of the Nation live at the Newseum, and Orioles/Nationals baseball game, and the Brewers Association Savor beer and food event.


We'll return with an absolutely stunning account of our travels early next week.

(Look at the timestamp on this post! Ugh....)

BTW (by the way) for all you non-text-messengers, "BRB - TTYL" means be right back, talk to you later. TTFN!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

No thanks, I got it myself.

For just the 14th time in Major League Baseball history, and only the 8th time in the 107-year American League, an unassisted triple play occurred. One player getting all 3 outs in one play. Amazing. Indians infielder Asdrubal Cabrera adds his name to history. The full list.

Indians / Blue Jays in the 2nd game of a doubleheader. Blue Jays on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Trying to start a rally, they run before contact is made. A line drive right into Cabrera's glove, then boom! Three outs. Chris was watching it live on DirecTV's Extra Innings package, and unfortunately the announcers for that telecast were Toronto's. Crazy.

The video from the Cleveland television telecast:

Now the Indians have had THREE players accomplish this all too rare feat; one of whom did it in the 1920 World Series!

Again, amazing.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy 20th Anniversary!

In Cleveland, OH in May 1988, a little outfit in Ohio City right by the West Side Market brewed its first batch of beer.

Great Lakes Brewing Company

In honor of this microbrewery longevity milestone, GLBC has brewed an amped-up version of their award-winning Dortmunder Gold lager. Not many brewpubs or breweries brew a Dortmunder-style German lager let alone brew it well, and frankly GLBC's is fantastic. So, for their amazing 20th year in brewing existence, they've brewed up: Imperial Dortmunder

It's listed as available through September, so hopefully there will still be some in late August when we go up to see Nine Inch Nails. If so, the Jeep will transport some beery cargo southward.

Happy 20th to a House of Gordon favorite!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Euphonium euphoria

Kimberly and Chris both worked Saturday. Kimberly 7a-3p and Chris 2p-10p; yet another instance of our horribly incompatible schedules. Kimberly and a gaggle of coworkers then skipped a few blocks over to hit the Salute! NC Wine Festival in downtown Winston-Salem for post-work libation. Afterward, dinner at Foothills Brewing for the hospital gang. Yum.

Once Chris got out of work, he raced home to pick up Kimberly to skip over to Backstreets to the downstairs bar to hear the band Hot Politics, a jazzy funky collection of musicians where the lead singer plays a euphonium for cryin' out loud. Fellow CRNA Jeremy heard the band a week or so ago and raved about them. So, let's meet up and give 'em a listen. Backstreets was smoke-free, dark, and intimate. Big plus: the usual 10-ounce limit at Foothills for their Seeing Double IPA was poured as a full pint at Backstreets. The big downer: they served their Pinot Noir cold. Ice cold. What gives?

At any event, we enjoyed ourselves with a late night out with friends listening to some "phunk". And another late, late night for the House of Gordon? 1:00am and we're still out? Are we revisiting our youth or something?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Holy crap! Auntie Em!

A tornado touches down in Greensboro of all places!

Associated Press story

Greensboro Fish-Wrap story


Luckily for us, the damage occurred 6 or 7 miles to the west of us along I-40 past Hwy 68 by the airport. Planes were pushed around, throwing one into the construction for the FedEx hub:

Heavy rains started by us around 9:30pm or so as we were watching our TiVo'd Dancing with the Stars. Then at 10:00pm as we made our way to bed, instead of E.R. there was constant local weather radar on the screen. 11:30pm or so the tornado hit an industrial park off I-40 near the airport. The House of Gordon is unscathed, but there's quite a bit of damage near us.

All is well with us.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Baseball's best players...via uniform number

Sports Illustrated recently ran an online story compiling the best players in baseball by their uniform number, i.e. the best player to wear #5, or the best player to wear #20, etc. It was some interesting reading (for one member of the House of Gordon at least) but didn't generate much controversy. Some folks tried to argue that for #42 Mariano Rivera is a better choice than Jackie Robinson, but they are respectfully full of crap.

Some Cleveland Indians made the list to Chris's joy. Some players were listed who at one time wore an Indians uniform (Bert Blyleven, Rick Sutcliffe, Roberto Alomar, etc.) but couldn't consider Cleveland their "primary" team. Here are the Indians who made the cut:

#18 - Mel Harder

#19 - Bob Feller

#29 - Satchel Paige

#52 - C.C. Sabathia

#63 - Rafael Betancourt
Peruse the entire list. Anything you agree with 100%? Anything stand out as idiotic?