Sunday, May 22, 2011

Beer Labels - Palate Wrecker

It must be a San Diego thing.  Last week I had a Tongue Buckler from Ballast Point, this week I see that Green Flash is releasing a Palate Wrecker.   What next: Tooth Chipper, Throat Torturer, Lip Lasher?  I'll be on the look out.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stormshit Trooper

Have you seen the Paul Verhoeven movie Starship Trooper?  In the movie the heroes fight bug aliens that attack in waves of chitinous clicking and mandible drooling mayhem.  If the movie wasn't so silly it would be horrifying.

We are in the end game of my project at work and the thought struck me that at this stage in the development cycle my reality has a lot in common with the soldiers in that movie.  I'm a bug hunter.  The bugs come at me and I kill them; but no matter how many I kill it seems there is always another one behind it.   As in the movie, most are easy to kill,  but every so often there's a boss bug that's a little harder to get your blaster zeroed in on.  In the end it's a loud and messy affair with blood and guts spraying everywhere.

This isn't to say I think our project is buggy.  I think we've done a great job but the reality is that everyone on the greater team is now looking for the flaws.  It's a time of focused negativity.   People are pointing out things that they don't think are optimal and we have to look into them whether it's really a flaw in the implementation or a tweak to the design.  Is there really any other profession that goes through a stage of a project like this?   I can't think of one.

This is hardly my first bug rodeo but in my experience it doesn't get any easier with repetition.  Perhaps though, If I think of myself as Johny Rico, mobile infantry, it all wont suck so much.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Beer travel round-up: Sunday May 15, 2011

Harpoon Oyster Stout at Meadhall
I had a short beer tour Sunday with stops at  Meadhall, Deep Ellum and The Sunset Grill and Tap.

This was my second stop at Meadhall since they opened a few weeks ago.  It continues to be disappointing.    I like the actual bar and space but all the most interesting kegs on their beer board are always kicked and the food is priced outside the budget of my beer discovery excursions. A few less expensive small plate items would be much appreciated.  The staff is pleasant albeit somewhat distant.  The management seems to hover around ignoring customers and creating an atmosphere of intimidation.  I don't get what sort of atmosphere they're aiming for but casual pub it is not.   Maybe they're on to something.  Personally, I think they need to rethink their approach. 

Our next stop was Deep Ellum, my favorite place in greater Boston for drinking good beer.  It has such a fun vibe.  The staff are all smiling and busily serving customers.  It seem like they actually all enjoy their work.    It's unusual for me to order two beers of the same type in a row but I enjoyed the Jolly Pumkin E.S. Bam so much I had to have a second.  I skipped the charcuterie this this time and instead tried their deviled eggs.  Nothing special.  I had better ones at The Abbey in Brookline.

Out last stop of the day was at the Sunset.  I'm sorry to report it was a let down.  I've generally had decent experiences at Sunset but recently thing haven't been so fun.  It's not that the staff was unfriendly just that our bartender was never around.   At one point I tried to order a beer but was informed that both first my initial choice and then my secondary choice were both kicked.  I said I needed a minute to pick out a third choice from the beer list but the bartender didn't return for another 10 minutes.  And the place wasn't packed.  It was modestly busy.   Also, at no point did the bar tender mention any of the brews that might have replaced the kicked kegs.  I have no problem with kegs kicking, I just hate it when there isn't something quickly being plugged in behind it.

I had two beers are Sunset.  The Cisco Peschish Woods and a Ballast Point Tongue Buckler; two radically different brews.   I'm not a fan of Cisco beers in general.  I root for them and I wish them well but so far their products haven't impressed me.  The Peschish Woods is a small batch sour beer - small enough they don't list it on their web page.   I'm just starting to gain an appreciation for sour beers but again this one wasn't a stand out.  First off it had no head at all.  Second the mouth feel was really thin.  I don't expect a lot of body from the sour beers I've tasted but this didn't have as much body as a good Chardonnay.  It tasted good though.  It was very, very tart.

The Ballast Point Tongue Buckler was a very unusual brew.  I'm not even sure what the beer I drank was.  My web searching has turned up 'Imperial Red' as the description but if there wasn't some chili pepper elements to the beer I'd be very surprised.  There's some mention of a 'Chipotle Tounge Buckler' out and about but I'm hesitant to say this brew had any Chipotle element.  Chipotle is a strong flavor and this brew's pepper was more of an after burn than a full on flavor assault. 
Tongue Buckler

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Irish Male

I was conversing with someone on Reddit's beer forum this morning when I recalled a drink I'd had years ago called an Irish Male.  It is a glass of Champagne with a shot of Irish Whiskey in it.   I learned about this drink from an old Clarke Gable movie but I don't recall the movies name and I can't find any reference to the drink on the web.

I've made the drink on a few occasions as a sort of a joke.  If I recall the movie correctly, its name is meant as either a brag or a derision in that only an Irish male would be in pursuit of being as drunk as this drink will get you.  I've never had an appetite for more than one or two but I'm sure it gets you where you're going.  If you actually drank these all night the headache the next day must really be something special. 

If you happen to stumble across this post in your own search for information I'd like to hear any details about the drink you can recall.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Just Watched: Hobo with a Shotgun

My laptop battery is about to run out so I'll keep it short.

This is fun, ultra bloody satire.  It's a lot better than it's brother film Machete.   I found it reminiscent of the Evil Dead films. 

I really enjoyed the work of the character actor Jeremy Akerman as the corrupt police chief.  He has some of my favorite dialog from the film:

"Grab your guns boys.  Grab your guns.  We got homeless people to kill.  Let's go make some dead bodied"

Friday, May 13, 2011

Just Watched: Pot Zombies

I found this film under free movies on my Comcast On-Demand service last night.  You don't watch a movie called Pot Zombies expecting much.  I knew it was low-budget, I knew it was probably stupid but I held out hope it had a funny stoner charm.  It didn't.

To say this movie is low budget is a understatement.  It's a no-budget film.  It reminds me of the films I made with my Boy Scout buddies in Junior High - though I think we had better acting and a better story arc.   

To be fair, I watched this movie with only the help of a couple of beers.  In a room with a bunch of people passing a water-pipe it could be hilarious, though I doubt it.

I give the guys who made this movie credit.  They made a movie for cable and I haven't.  The 'actors' look like they had a lot of fun working on the project.   It would be cool to say I was in a cheapo horror movie.   I know I would have participated and enjoyed the process if I'd had the chance.

But none of that means the movie would be good and this one isn't.  It's so stupid it's stupid.   

Monday, May 09, 2011

Welch-Dickey Loop hike

 I hiked the Welch-Dickey Loop trail this weekend.  This is a 4.4 mile trail that starts just a short way off Rt 49 in Campton/Waterville.  I had wanted to hike Osceola from Tripoli road but found the road still closed.  This was a spur of the moment backup plan and it was a great find.

If you like ledge scrambles (and who doesn't) this trail is for you.  I ascended the steeper Welch approach and had some real slippery moments as some drizzle wet the rock but overall had no difficulty beyond a few rock  ledge steps that I had to overcome in less than graceful fashion. 

For years I've held the Cardigan climb I did last week as the cream of the crop in terms of its ease of effort to greatness of reward ratio but I think this climb tops it.  Cardigan is a bit easier overall because you can skip a lot of the exposed rock if you're not feeling up for it but the views on Welch-Dickey start about a mile from the trail head and don't stop from there.

The hike last weekend hobbled me for most of the following week so I was really pleased to find this hike did less damage. I'm sore but I'm not limping. It's progress.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Fitness Quest Update

I've been pretty quiet about diet and exercise the last month or so.  This isn't because I've given up but I've certainly been off track.  That said, in Ireland I experienced a lot of the benefits of my previous hard work and while it's been hard to stop 'vacation mode' living,  the fear of hurting myself and screwing up vacation is behind me and it's time I started getting serious again.  To that end I dusted off my backpack and hit the trails for the first time in a long time yesterday.

My destination was the summit of Mt Cardigan.   I've climbed Cardigan many time before (albeit years ago) and it has one of the best reward/effort tradeoffs in the Whites.   It has an awesome granite cone summit topped by a fire tower.  The steep rock is both challenging and a lot fun to scramble across.  The picture flattens it out a lot but trust me, it's a leg burner.   There was also still quite a bit of snow and ice in the shady places so that created some additional challenges.

I've never been very fast going up hill and that hasn't changed but in my younger days I was a speed descender and I would always push myself to cover a lot of downhill fast.  While the itch to reach the car isn't gone the old knees weren't going allow that so slow and steady was the pace.  Even so It was pretty uncomfortable.  The fact is I'm pretty damn sore today and Naproxen will be my buddy till at least Tuesday. 

I'm pretty excited about this however.  Being able to hike a hill like Cardigan again and live to tell the tale was a goal from the start.  Compared to some of the hikes I want to complete this summer, this was an easy one, but it was an important first step.  Hopefully the old body will heal up and I'll be even stronger on the next.  That's the plan for now anyway.

Dogfish's Robert Johnson Hellhound

I was disappointed I never could find a bottle of the Miles Davis inspired Bitches Brew so I pretty jacked when I walked into Harrington's in Chelmsford and saw Hellhound on the shelf.  I don't know when I'll drink it but I'm looking forward to it.

Apes are Monkeys

"Language is the liquid we are all dissolved in. Great for solving problems, after it creates the problem." Lyrics from a favorite Modest Mouse song seem apt to introduce this great post on why it's okay to say apes (and therefore humans) are monkeys now while previously it wasn't as scientifically justified.

Tired of monkeying around « Zygoma
The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism