Monday, August 31, 2009

My first trip to Cleveland Browns Stadium!

Saturday. Preseason NFL football. The Tennessee Titans travel to play my beloved Cleveland Browns. One of my cohorts in our little "North Carolina roving Browns party" on Sundays has had season tickets with 3 other guys for the Browns. One of them mentioned wanting to get out of it due to his sadness and frustration with the Browns' lack of success. I chewed it over, asked Art if it were to occur if he might be game, then proceeded to buy out the disenchanted owner.

Art and I own 1/4 of a set of Cleveland Browns season tickets.


So, our first game was Saturday. I used to go to quite a few Browns games pre-1996 when the "original Browns" were still around and not the Baltimore Ravens. But since 1999 when the "new Browns" returned, I had not been to new Cleveland Browns Stadium yet. Impossible to buy tickets online. Sure, I could probably buy some in person from a scalper in the Muni Lot, but that's difficult to pull off from down here.

Flash? Meet Section 504, Row 23, Seats 15-16.

Sure, they're high up. Sure, it's August 29th we began to get COLD. Sure, the players look like ants. But it doesn't matter. We have guaranteed tickets to BROWNS GAMES for the foreseeable future. And that can't be measured empirically.

Opening kickoff:

And I kept recording Joshua Cribbs and his kickoff/punt returns just in case something BIG happened, but this one was the best that would occur:

This was just too, too cool. I LOVE IT!!!!!

Dayton, OH is destroyed.

Friday morning. 7:00am. I hit the road for Dayton, OH. (Amazing how this anti-morning person can get up early when it's for something sweet.) By 2:00pm, I'm at Art's house. By 3:00pm, me Art and Doogie are at our first destination: Chappy's Taproom. 30 taps, and 27 of them craft brew. Nice. Appetizers and Stone Brewing Co.'s Sublime Self-Righteous IPA. A black IPA. Powerful.

Next? To the University of Dayton campus and Dewey's Pizza. The three of us met up with Shelley and the kids and all 7 of us DEVOURED some pizza. The cool thing is Dewey's allows you to split a pizza half-and-half with two different styles. So in total, 6 different pizza styles were killed. Yum.

Then, off to see a Midwest League minor league baseball game: the Dayton Dragons vs. the Lansing Lugnuts. (How great are minor league team names?) Lansing pulls out a 5-1 victory. We got some season tickets from someone that wasn't going, so we had a great spot along the third base line:

Three of us Kappa Psi boys had a great time.

Then....the carnage truly took form. After the game we arrived at The Dublin Pub for some post-game libations. We paid the $5 cover at the door, and upon entering a pretty blond, a "Guinness Girl", approaches us and asks "Guinness 250?" We all think, "$2.50 for a Guinness? That's a good price! Sure! Bring us 3!" Little did we know that it was a special brew: the 250th anniversary Guinness beer. For free. Nice!!!

We sit and listen to the Irish band, Uncle Hamish & the Hooligans. I only know the name because apparently in my fog I purchase two of their CD's. Art and I got some face time with Liam, the bagpiper. They have a bagpiper. And his name is Liam. Kick ass.
Then, it was just blotto all night long. In addition to the pints of Guinness 250, I got the bright idea to order up shots of Jameson's. After all, it's a frigging Irish bar. Ugh. Felt like crap the next morning, but I did manage to down my tried and true "med cocktail" before bedtime to avert a truly nauseating hangover. And it worked! Dayton was successfully destroyed.

I heart Jeremy Scahill

jeremyscahill: Is "war criminal" one of those forbidden phrases on TV?

(And as an aside there's also Tom Morello:
tmorello: Orwell right! Dick Cheney calling torture "enhanced interrogation". Perhaps war criminals like him will one day face "enhanced prosecution".)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's official: NC is "beer country".

After all, CNN says so.

Raise a glass to 'beer country'

  • Craft beer has turned popular brewing towns into travel destinations
  • Experts say Oregon, California and North Carolina offer some great brews
  • Wherever you go, make sure to talk to locals to get insider brewpub suggestions
updated 9:36 a.m. EDT, Thu August 27, 2009

By Breeanna Hare
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(CNN) -- When it comes to taking spirited vacations, wandering a vineyard falls flat in the face of handcrafted brew. With more than 1,500 breweries across the United States, beer is not just a drink -- it's a destination.

Wooden barrels of beer are just part of the draw at The Lost Abbey Brewery in San Diego, California.

Wooden barrels of beer are just part of the draw at The Lost Abbey Brewery in San Diego, California.

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"What's happened is that the old world has influenced the new world; the U.S. is now a travel destination for beer, [even] for people from outside of the country," said Julia Herz, craft beer program director at the Brewers Association.

"What's so great about beer is that you have this range," said Randy Mosher, author of "Tasting Beer: An Insider's Guide to the World's Best Drink." "It's from 3 percent alcohol to 20 percent, from super malty to very hoppy, and then you throw in stuff like fruit, spices -- you have an enormous range of possibilities."

With such a wide flavor profile, said Stephen Beaumont, author of "Premium Drinker's Beer Guide," beer travel is less about hanging out at the brewery and more about the tasting. In other words, don't look just for an incredible brewer, but also for an incredible city in which to drink beer.

Although it's a highly contested question that Herz calls "fodder for late-night philosophical conversations," there are a few brew towns that these beer aficionados identify as the cream of the hops.

Eat, drink and brew local

If you didn't know that Portland, Oregon, is synonymous with "Beervana," then you clearly need an introduction to the beer scene.

"In a lot of ways, [it's] a very highly developed town for craft beer," Mosher said.

The city has a reputation for going local, and Portland thoroughly applies that philosophy to brewing.

"When you live in Portland, you become entrenched in the whole hops and malts [thing] because you're living right where it's being produced," said Portland resident Angelo De Ieso of beer site Thirty percent of the world's hops come from the Pacific Northwest and Idaho, De Ieso said.

The other major pull is the "high concentration of breweries," Beaumont said. "Portland is a fairly small compact area, [but] they've got a free transit system, and they've got brewpubs chockablock."

Higgins Restaurant and Bar is a great place to get advice on navigating the local beer scene, according to Beaumont. And while you're there, you can sample their impressive beer list including Oregon-bottled Rogue Morimoto Imperial Pilsner and The Bruery's "Trade Winds" Triple out of California, a brewer that Beaumont notes is "up-and-coming, doing phenomenal stuff."

As for breweries, De Ieso said "the one that really stands out is Upright Brewery with their Belgian farmhouse style beers."

Another stop has to be Hopworks Urban Brewery, an all-organic brewpub fully powered with renewable energy. "They do a lot of the standard styles of Northwest beers, like the IPA, which is our flagship beer," De Ieso said. Try the signature Hopworks IPA for a taste of Pacific Northwest flavor.

SoCal brew style

Much further south, in San Diego, California, you'll find what Beaumont calls "a hotbed of innovation," where the beer tends "to be a little stronger, with more alcohol."

And while "all of California could be considered the state from which the innovators of craft beer came, San Diego specifically grabbed the golden ring from the merry go round and ran with it," said Matt Simpson, a craft beer consultant.

So when you're talking San Diego-style beer, for most beer geeks you're talking about The Lost Abbey. "The most notable guy right now is Tomme Arthur at Lost Abbey. He was one of the early adventurous brewers in Southern California," beer tasting expert Mosher said.

Known for Belgian-style beers and a "flavor first" philosophy, beer expert Beaumont said "they're doing some really innovative, interesting stuff in terms of barrel aging and unusual fermentations, beyond basic brewers yeast."

Beer experts also fawn over AleSmith, a microbrewery that has been pumping out diverse, high quality ales since 1995. "The special beers that they do are astounding, if not sublime," Simpson said. "They do a barrel-aged series, and those beers are limited to 250 bottles or less, so you can imagine the supply and demand market for them."

Flavors of the South

Although other beer lovers often skip over the South because of restrictive brewing laws in some areas, Simpson insisted that some of the best brew can be found below the Mason-Dixon line.

"One of my top three is North Carolina, with Asheville being the center of that. Not only is it a really fun place to visit, they make amazing beers," he said. "There's Foothills, a brewpub that has a breakout hit called Sexual Chocolate, an imperial stout that put them on the map of craft beer."

Simpson also touts his home stomping grounds, Atlanta, Georgia. "We have one of the top five beer bars in the world in the Brick Store Pub, across the board," Simpson said. "You can go to,, -- they're rating the Brick Store Pub as one of the top beer bars in the world. And if you're here for a few days you can hit breweries like Sweetwater, 5 Seasons, and Twain's."

Whether your drink town of choice is San Diego or Philadelphia, San Francisco or Boston, Beaumont recommends chatting up locals for clues on the local beer scene.

"Beer is a social drink, and beer people love to talk about the beer," he said. "You can find a local or savvy visitor who can tell you about something you've never heard of, and that makes it a phenomenal experience.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Not sure how it happened, or what I ordered, or what theater or film festival mailing list I'm on, but I had received an unsolicited email from B-Side Entertainment. They were touting an independent film that sadly was going straight-to-DVD, Visioneers. It seemed eminently entertaining: mindless office drones called "tunts", the threat of spontaneous human explosion, giving someone the finger as a friendly "hello", the Jeffers Corporation (the most successful corporation in the history of humankind) is so interwoven in society that the greeting of "Jeffers morning" is given. For $15 or however much it was, how could I go wrong? And soon it was in my mailbox.

The trailer:

Sort of an Office Space meets George Orwell's 1984 film. Billed as a "dark comedy", but there wasn't much blatant humor in joke form. Just outlandish and bizarre situations and characters to give the film its smiles.

Emotion and dreaming are the seemingly plausible cause of a growing epidemic of human explosions. Mindless cog George Washington Winsterhammerman, visioneer and Level 3 tunt, begins to have dreams. This frightens him. Is he about to explode?

Stress and emotion are the culprits. What better way to combat the growing threat than to neuter the minds of the masses then to dull them into quiet submission with mind control. And what better corporation to distribute the devices than the Jeffers Corporation? After all, the president of the United States shills for them.

George's relationships are all bizarre. The employees under him at work are a mixed bag of odd. His invisible supervisor (Charisma) on Level 4 is one to ask that his work be completed by a certain time, yet leaves sticky notes of smiley faces on his papers. His mindless wife abides by the latest book bandied about by a talk show maven, 1000 items to do or acquire to make you happy (silk robes, butter, a shotgun). His brother leaves Jeffers as a Level 5 ("a king among men") to find his roots and personal happiness. Never mind that his quest brings him to pole vaulting and leading a carnival commune in George's backyard.

What's better, to lead a drone existence with no chance of explosion? Or actually LIVING and experiencing emotion and dreams with the possibility that the next flirtation with increased heart rate and blood pressure will kill you instantly?

Dark and edgy. No real "new ground" here. Your basic "submit to your corporate master" film. Your basic "group think and mind control" film. Again, Office Space + 1984 is the mold.

Straight to DVD, but I found it above my HBO score and would have paid Matinee price for this one.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Assault weapons at health care town halls...

August 22, 2009. Real Time with Bill Maher.

"What do you think they would have said if it was Muslim men wearing Muslim garb who were showing up at these Obama events with assault rifles? You think they would have the same defense from the NRA?"

Think about it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Double Brew Day #2 - Orange Pale Ale and Gaius Plinius Secundus

Thursday saw a much-revered day off from work, and consequently an entire day full of brewing adventures. Two beers on the docket: Orange Pale Ale and a clone of Russian River Brewing Co.'s uber-hoppy IPA Pliny the Elder, named here by his Latin moniker Gaius Plinius Secundus.

First off, a pale ale infused with the essence of orange peel for a hoped-for juicy kick. With the variety of homebrew soon to be had in inventory, I wanted a basic pale ale for the masses to consume. But why make a "normal" pale ale? So I searched and researched and found some things to my liking that I cobbled together and hope will please.

The Orange Pale Ale recipe:
8 oz Crystal Malt 60L
8 oz Vienna Malt

9 lb Light Dry Malt Extract (DME)

1 oz Cascade hops 7.1% alpha acid (AA) @ 60 minutes
1 oz Cascade hops 7.1% AA @ 10 min
1 oz Cascade hops 7.1% AA @ 5 min
1 oz Cascade hops 7.1% AA @ 1 min

1 Whirlfloc tablet to clarify @ 15 min

1 oz coriander seed @ 5 min
2 oz sweet orange peel @ 5 min

WLP001 California Ale yeast

After primary fermentation is complete, for 2 additional weeks the carboy for secondary fermentation will include:
2 oz Cascade hops 7.1% AA
1 oz sweet orange peel

Hopefully the general public will approve.

Once that batch was racked over and the yeast pitched, it was time to do a quick clean-up and sanitation to begin brew #2, the Pliny the Elder clone. This is a huge double IPA with bursts of hops for the most addicted hophead of the bunch. If you've been following my homebrewing exploits, you may notice a common theme with hop additons: 1/2 to 1 oz of hops at minute 60, 15, and 5. Done. Usually 3 oz total. Wait until you get a load of THIS recipe!

8 oz Crystal Malt 40L
8 oz Carapils malt

9 lb Light Dry Malt Extract (DME)
0.4 lb corn sugar (to give extra fermentables and dry it out)

4 oz Columbus hops 14.2% AA @ 90 min
1 oz Columbus hops 14.2% AA @ 45 min
1 oz Nugget hops 11.2% AA @ 30 min
1 oz Centennial hops 8.0% AA @ 0 min
3 oz Nugget hops 11.2% AA @ 0 min

Whirlfloc tablet @ 15 min to clarify

WLP001 California Ale yeast

Then, once primary fermentation is complete, we transfer to secondary and in this fermenter we add:
1 oz Columbus hops 14.2% AA for 14 days
1 oz Centennial hops 8.0% AA for 14 days
1 oz Nugget hops 11.2% AA for 14 days

Then, after 9 days, for the final 5 days we add:
0.5 oz Columbus 14.2% AA
0.5 oz Centennial hops 8.0% AA
0.5 oz Nugget hops 11.2% AA

Whew. Hops galore for the boil. I mean, LOOK AT THEM!

A glorious full day of sanitizing, brewing, cleaning, racking, pitching. Now my kitchen sink is rendered out of commission for one week due to the "keep the primary fermentation at properly reduced temperatures" trick (notice the Maple Pumpkin Ale and Coffee and Oatmeal for Breakfast carboys in the background):

Due to the enormous amount of hops added to Gaius Plinius Secundus, 8 gallons of water were added for the initial boil to compensate for absorption and volume loss. Once the threat of horrendous boilover ceased, the result? The boil rocked. Hard.

The inventory and variety grows...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fox News: The New Liberals

I guess I should change my viewing habits now. It's Sean and Bill-o for me from now on!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Fox News: The New Liberals
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

District 9

Went to go see yet another movie in the queue: District 9, a documentary-esque exposé on a stranded alien spaceship hovering over Johannesburg, South Africa.

The trailer:

Pretty riveting allegory. And yes it is quite allegorical, as the tale is heavily influenced by South African apartheid and the social consequences of that failed ideology. The director is a young 29-year-old South African, and his experiences growing up shape the film. Racism, xenophobia, fear of the strange all run rampant.

The aliens have been stranded for 28 years now, and have begun to form humanlike qualities: violence, gangs, theft, prostitution; all the vices of a society. Revolted humans force the aliens into a segregated camp, District 9. Eventually, overcrowding and paltry living conditions result in the government instituting a forced eviction into newly minted District 10, miles and miles away from town. Mousy MNU agent Wilkus van der Merwe is set to take charge of the eviction. Until a dreadful accident occurs, throwing Wilkus into the world of the aliens.

Of course, it wouldn't be a good "evil government" scenario without the need to understand alien weaponry. Weaponry that is tied into alien DNA, rendering it useless to humans. Consequently, the powers that be are determined to find the key to humans using alien technology...and brutal experiments to achieve this knowledge are the result.

Bloody and gory. Who knew humans were similar to water balloons filled with blood when they explode. The grainy documentary footage results in many a camera lens splattered violently.

Powerful and thought-provoking. Forces you to consider similar human atrocities over the years against any ethnic group or race that is defined as "lesser".

Full Price.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Death panel debate! Classic.

"ObamaCare isn't about killing anyone. Given his Kenyan birth and background, I'm pretty sure his plan focuses on tribal medicines and holistic shaman cures based on leaves and roots and other kinds of Serengeti magic."

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Healther Skelter - Obama Death Panel Debate
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Saturday, August 15, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Disclaimer: as a kid growing up, my best friend Brian and I played relentlessly with our G.I. Joe guys. I was so looking forward to this movie. The first ad played during the Super Bowl last February had me excited for months.

The trailer:

And then? I went to see it. Ugh.

The cast:
Good guys: Hawk, Duke, Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Heavy Duty, Breaker, Ripcord.
Bad guys: Baroness, Cobra Commander, Storm Shadow, Destro, Zartan.
Shall I go above the garage and bring down my action figures for you?...

This movie was just..horrible. Not Transformers 2 horrible, but horrible. (I guess Hasbro toys make sucky films?) The special effects were pretty cool, albeit slightly stuttered and disjointed. But the plot? The dialogue? The character development?


Dare I say, for my beloved G.I. Joe? A paltry Wait for HBO score. Disappointing.

This being said, it was set up predictably for a sequel. And as horrible as this was, I will most assuredly see the sequel. And I know the suits in the movie studio know this. I am an enabler. Put out crappy product and the public will still see it. I feel so dirty.

At least it had the redeeming quality of hot babes in black leather and rubber fetish wear.

Funny People

Friday night. Yes, it's true. Sometimes I really pay full price to see a film. And on a Friday night even! The historical "date night". I know, insane. Fellow Dominican relief trip cohort Sabrina and I hit up Funny People. (And by "Dominican" I use it as an adjective for the relief trip, not the person. Sabrina is not in fact Dominican.)

The trailer, complete with some pottymouth words so, you've been warned:

A long film. A lot of storylines crammed into one film. The lives of struggling vs. established stand-up comics. The interdependent lives of three Hollywood friends (two struggling). The face of mortal illness. The opportunity to turn around one's life with a second chance. The relationship with that one woman who you loved (love) most. The possible reconnection with past love. The consequences with respect to interpersonal relationships.

A lot of ground to cover.

Granted it's a Judd Apatow film (The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up) so this one has that particular brand of comedy with the usual suspects. But it's a drama first and foremost. The comedy is the icing on the cake, or the gravy with dinner: the comedy is not the main course, but it's a tasty garnish. If you're expecting full-blown Adam Sandler / Judd Apatow raw humor (ahem, Sabrina) you may be disappointed.

That and it's oh so long.

A score of Matinee for me.


WOW. This. Was. Excellent. I've been waiting for this one to arrive, and it finally hit one of the local theaters. However, it didn't hit the usual haunt for low-budget, independent, and thoughtful films. It was at an older theater that has fallen off my radar once two newer ones opened up. Regardless, I'm insanely glad SOMEONE showed it.

The trailer:

Wow. WHAT a film. David Bowie's son (did I just type that? His SON?) directs a splendid mindfuck. A milder version of 2001: A Space Odyssey complete with creepy voiced computer, voiced here by Kevin Spacey. Sam Rockwell plays an astronaut on the moon. The Earth's energy needs have finally been solved by mining moon rock for He3, a natural by-product of the sun's rays on the moon. Easy. Clean. Problem-solver. Mining corporations set up bases on the moon and a crew of one minds the fort. Rockwell and GERTY the computer are the only inhabitants. Until...

It's so hard to type anything without giving anything away! Needless to say, the story takes a turn and what the character(s) think(s) he(they) know(s) is upended. Again, WOW. So good.

AND, as an added bonus Clint Mansell, formerly of the band Pop Will Eat Itself, did the soundtrack. Eerie. Epic.

Easy Full Price.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

NC HB 392...four years later

August 13, 2005 - North Carolina "Pops the Cap" with HB 392 and the beer world rejoices.

Time flies when you're enjoying the finer things in life, like locally brewed barleywines, imperial stouts, double IPAs, and the like. Four years. FOUR YEARS!!!! Today I brought out my bottle of NC's FIRST post-cap brew: Carolina Brewing Co.'s "Old 392 Barleywine". My last bottle. Won't drink it today. Just wanted to look at the label and produce a warm smile. I'll probably hold onto it for Year Five and do something special with it at whatever celebration that may occur then.

Celebrate grassroots legislation today. Celebrate North Carolina craft beer. Celebrate the cause of Joe Citizen contacting their legislators to produce valid change and MAKE A DIFFERENCE with respect to their passion. Raise a pint high.

Sure, it may be "just beer" you say. But regular people changed an archaic law. Regular people made pilgrimages to Raleigh. Regular people sent out mailers. Regular people made phone calls. Regular people attended fundraisers. Regular people told the government YOU WORK FOR US and this is what we want you to do.

And with that, any change is possible.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tweet Boxx Ep. 8

Sadly "Season 1" comes to a close...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Coffee and Oatmeal for Breakfast (stout)

Brewday on Wednesday. Brewed up a chocolate/coffee/oatmeal stout patterned after Founders Brewing Co.'s Breakfast Stout. A big beefy beer with plenty of slick gooey oats and blocks of baker's chocolate. Smelled w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l while brewing, especially during the final 15 minutes when the chocolate and coffee were added. Yum.

I've always been a fan of Breakfast Stout. A smooth coffee stout with just the right hint of chocolate. This recipe utilizes plenty of chocolate in the boil (and will in a week or so in secondary also) and coffee. I cold-pressed the coffee in the French press. Why not just throw in beans or grinds? Why not just brew a pot of coffee? Bitterness. In the boil, the beans or grounds would elicit bitterness. The heat of a coffeemaker would elicit bitterness. I just want coffee FLAVOR. So I scooped Dominican coffee from one of my relief trips into the French press and added cold water. I let it sit in the garage beer fridge for a day, then pressed down on the plunger and let it sit for a 2nd day. Then at the appropriate time I just poured the liquid in. Hope it works...

A smaller amount of hops were used here. A full ounce at the beginning of the 60-minute boil as usual, but then a mere 1/2 ounce at minutes 30 and 0. Want to be sure the coffee and chocolate flavors are apparent in the end. Cacao nibs were called for in addition to some baker's chocolate. But the ONLY place I could find nibs (Williams-Sonoma) ceased carrying them. Drat. So I used 3 oz of unsweetened and 3 oz semisweet blocks in the boil. Hopefully the oils won't kill any head retention once it's in the glass, but we'll see. Half the fun in homebrewing (besides throwing in odd ingredients) is the experimentation in process to see just what happens.

The recipe:

22 oz. flaked oats
1 lb. chocolate malt
12 oz. roasted barley
9 oz. debittered Belgian black malt
7 oz. Crystal malt 40L

9 lb. Light dry malt extract (DME)

1 oz. Nugget hops, 11.2% AA @ minute 60
1/2 oz. Willamette hops, 4.4% AA @ minute 30
1/2 oz. Willamette hops, 4.4% AA @ minute 0

3 oz. blocks baker's unsweetened chocolate @ minute 15
3 oz. blocks baker's semisweet chocolate @ minute 15

1 Whirlfloc tablet @ minute 15 for clarifying
1 Tbsp yeast nutrient @ minute 15

1 French press cold-pressed Dominican Republic coffee @ minute 0

WLP001 California Ale yeast

Secondary fermentation will require:
1 French press cold-pressed D-R coffee for 2 weeks
1.5 oz cacao nibs for 2 weeks (I will use Scharffen Berger cocoa powder)

Uh-oh. Looks like a storm's a-comin'!

Rain! Thunder! Boiling wort! A storm-nervous dog! Hootie! A little bit of everything:

(Sorry it's so dark, the boil really was impressive. Really.)

Once brewing was done, I transferred into the "fermentation area", in your home you may call it a "kitchen". To keep off-flavors away at higher fermentation temperatures (butterscotch, fruity esters, etc.) I wanted to keep the temp in the appropriate window of 68-72* F. If I just leave the carboy in ambient temperatures of the house, the internal reading would be 78-80. What to do? I want nothing but coffee, chocolate, and oatmeal in the flavor profile; no esters. I tried a homemade "carboy cooler" I read about in my books and online. Have the carboy sit in cool water, place a t-shirt over it to wick the water up into the shirt and keep it moist, then blow a fan onto it. The water wicks up the shirt, evaporates, and voila! Cooling! This really works! Fan on? 68*. Fan off? 70*. NICE!!!

Can't wait for this one! Looks delicious just sitting there!

The Hurt Locker

I was anxious when this movie finally hit Greensboro theaters. Sometimes, a smaller independent film will hit the big screen here, then one week later....poof! It's gone. As soon as I saw it hit the listings, I planned my time. A long 2pm-10pm stretch at work was coming, threatening to erase The Hurt Locker from the marquee before I'd even see it. I had a day off Wednesday with a brewday planned, so this film won out over a possible afternoon Greensboro Grasshoppers minor league baseball game as an appetizer to brewing.

The trailer:

I spent a great deal of the film on the edge of my seat holding my breath WAITING for something just awful to happen. The story of an Exploding Ordnance Disposal unit (bomb-defusers) in Iraq and the mindset needed to perform such a task. It's bad enough to be involved in the nerve-racking atmosphere of war, but to add defusing bombs on top of that???? I can't even imagine. Tension. Just tension. An Iraq War film that vividly depicts the soldier's perspective. No politics. No finger wagging. No preaching.

The dichotomy and relationship between the protocol-driven soldier and the reckless "new guy" drives the inner plot. Relationships within the unit, within other soldiers, within the ranks. Can you survive while being the "wild one"? Can you avoid madness?

A "Hurt Locker". What gives? Defined colloquially as putting someone in a world of hurt, putting someone in a hurt locker. Is the locker Iraq itself? Is the locker the soldier's worrying mind? Is the locker a street grid of insurgents hidden among the populace? Is the locker the heavily padded and armored gear worn by the defuser? Is the locker the coming home from war and missing that one thing you do best?

Powerful and tense. Nothing but Full Price here. The dollars coming in for this film are slim. Go see it while you still can!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tweet Boxx Ep. 7

A little weak this week, but we can't always be on our A-game. I know I'm not!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Triad Stage "Meet and Greet Your Seat"

Short post tonight. Short and sweet.

Spent a nice afternoon today at Triad Stage. It was the "orientation day" if you will for season pass holders to check out your seat, tour the theater, have some hors d'oeurves, pick up the information envelope, and pick up the Triad Stage Foundation donor packet. Whew. A lot of fun. At first I balked at the idea of renewing with Kimberly. I refused to renew our passes together. But I just love this theater so much. After much reflection, I just can't stay away from Triad matter the marital situation.

The 2009-2010 season is as follows:

When's the graduation party?

Saturday afternoon I took in a bit of educational advancement; namely, a trip over to Winston-Salem and "Beer School". A couple of hours to taste their wares and learn the finer points of beer. Granted, there wasn't a whole lot that was new to me, but it was still quite an enjoyable time.

Beer School is the program that Foothills utilizes upon new hire orientation to teach them the basics of beer and brewing so that they can at least have SOME working knowledge of the beverage they are serving. This was the inaugural event of opening the program up to the public. A whopping SIXTY people signed up and paid their "tuition". An impressive turnout.

Sarah, the general manager and wife of the brewmaster, put on a Powerpoint presentation teaching us students the history of beer, the why's and when's of brewing, and the numbers behind Foothills Brewing's success. During the class, taster glasses of their beers were poured, including the elusive and rather delicious Bourbon Barrel Total Eclipse Stout. WOW.

A great way to spend an afternoon with fellow beer geeks at my favorite brewpub.

And being such a good student, my diploma even made the refrigerator: