17 02 2008

Just got done bottling my first batch of beer. It feels good, but damn, that’s a lot of work. There’s something to be said for economy of scale (and for beer that’s immediately drinkable). I’m going to aim to cut down on some of the time in some steps during my future brewing endeavors, especially the whole “cleaning the bottles” thing. That sucked. Beyond that, I’m hoping to develop a sense for what alters the flavor in each batch or recipe.

 This batch was a clone of Newcastle called Oldcastle, purchased from Midwest Homebrewing Supplies. Up next for home brewing is going to be Edwort’s Apfelwein.

Y: The Last Man

17 02 2008

Y: The Last Man, the masterpiece comic series by Brian K.Vaughan and Pia Guerra is done. How do I feel?

(I can’t hide clips, so unfortunately, there is one very key spoiler below. Don’t read on if you care about the end of it all).

I was just slightly less than satisfied with the ending. I’m glad it was left open, yet with a sense of ultimate resolution. I read a review from the Onion A.V. Club (is that national or by city?), and they effectively summed up my thought that there should have been more plot resolution in the flashbacks than was. I would like to have known exactly how the world accepted the return of men (via new Yoricks).

Overall, I think Vaughan did a great job conceptualizing a realistic response to such a population collapse, from doomsday naysayers, to political changes to exactly how anyone (women or men) would pull their heads out of their asses, work hard and make the best of such a situation.

You can’t tell me that if we found out we’d be out of oil in five years that we would be without sufficient energy ten years later. You change focus, bust out the big brains, conserve and labor to make things as easy as possible. But I digress…

I read the trade backs leading up to ~ issue 52 around a year ago, and I don’t remember everything so vividly, but one thing that I always remember is that Aussies owned the seas because they were the only ones whose country allowed women to command subs, thus they were the only ones who knew their shit on one. So sweet…

Anyone else have thoughts on the story as a whole?

lessons, headfirst, on February first

2 02 2008

I had a number of thoughts after leaving the bars tonight. They all kind of mishmashed for me, and what I convey next in my writings is what I best recollect.  These are my thoughts on such subjects:

humility – No matter what you do and how caring you are, there will always be someone who is more so. On top of that, the more you think you think of yourself, the less others (probably) think of you.

caring – I was walking down the street with a group of people leaving the bar tonight. It was two guys, two dolls and me. I felt kind of outcast because one of the two girls was my ex-girlfriend, ad I didn’t know the men. I kept getting ahead of the other four because they were having a snowball fight and laughing. I felt kind of shitty and not at all like laughing, but the other non-gf girl said it seemed like I needed a face full of snow. I smiled and said I thought I did, so she grabbed a handful and whitewashed me! I laughed, then told her I was really good at snowbanking and tossed her in. That was all I really needed to feel happy, and I was grateful for her thoughtfulness.

relationships – So I saw my ex and had a minor conversation with her. It was fine. I’m not angry, but I do finally see what dumpees mean when they don’t see eye-to-eye when the “let’s stay friends” statement is made.

self-esteem – A friend I hadn’t talked to for years said hi to me and admitted she had a crush on me all freshman year. She said that every time she saw me her sophomore year, it brought her spirits up. I was really happy to hear that someone felt that way about me. It kind of made my night! -)

love – I realized that love is so tough to attain. God knows I’ve tried to convince myself that I was in love so many times, and really, I only feel like it’s been about three times (out of three times as many relationships). I don’t enjoy looking for love, since looking seems to lead to dead ends. Instead, I’ll adopt the idea of going with the flow, and hopefully that will lead me in a more positive direction.

I do say that I have more than one model of the type of woman I’ll be keeping my eye out for. These women probably have no idea that I admire them, but I have mini crushes that I know won’t go anywhere, and I keep an eye on them to appreciate the way they handle themselves and their lives. They range in age from 19 to their 50s, and they’re all very cool women.

drunkenness – It’s fun and awful at the same time.

responsibility – I’m horrible at it. I wish I had more of it.

Dreamhost Fucks Up Big Time

15 01 2008

From Scattered Genius: DreamHost Fucks Up Big Time!

I got hit with a $120 bill for hosting WAY early. Oy. Hopefully my account is still good. I’ll have to check.


12 01 2008

Bits and Pieces – 23 [maybe Madison?]

Date: 2008-01-11, 8:23PM CST
Seeking moderately to exceedingly attractive man aged 23-40. No beards. No mustaches. Please, no crooked teeth either. Sideburns are acceptable as long as they aren’t too long. You preferably brush your teeth twice a day. You do not leave items such as cheese or cilantro to rot for several weeks before detecting a rancid odor that pervades your kitchen. No snoring. No balding. I am a voracious reader, so I am not interested in any man who does not enjoy literature, and by literature I do not mean the kind of books one finds on the bestseller shelves at Borders. By good literature, and you will at least be able to agree or disagree with me having read it yourself, I mean great works such as Anna Karenina, Ulysses, or Remembrance of Things Past. I also enjoy discussing other kinds of literature, such as history/science/philosophy, but please do not be one of those men who sit for hours pouring out like a spout all his philosophical meanderings just to impress everyone. It makes no difference to me whether you filter your water, but you must use recycling. I am more interested in those who know/study an additional language to their native tongue. Someone who values/creates art in some capacity is also preferable—you must at least have some appreciation for aesthetics. Although you may not be certain of his existence, I have no interest in anyone who actually believes in God.

I have no children. No diseases. I cook exotic dishes. I seldom smoke. My favorite writer is Nabokov. I do not care for John Steinbeck. I am attractive—I am neither fat nor ugly. I often wear skirts, knee-high skirts. I do not like camping unless it only lasts for a weekend. I love sleeping on trains. I love to see scattered orange peels on the ground. I love big cities. And I love receiving presents. Thank you.

How to…

19 12 2007

I added a new section to the site: “How to…” In the spirit of teaching yourself things, my goal is to show people how to do said things. My first “How to…” is going to be on getting into PA school. It’s a learning process, right?

Stop to Smell the Pine Boughs

19 12 2007

A great piece by Garrison Keillor, from the International Herald Tribune :

Stop to Smell the Pine Boughs 
by Garrison Keillor

It was Christmas in the New York City subways last week, musicians heading off to play Christmas gigs, and in the Times Square station a wild-haired old man out of a George Price cartoon pounded out “Winter Wonderland” on an electric organ, a rhythm attachment going whompeta-whompeta-whompeta, and two crazed battery-powered Santas dancing the boogaloo, nearby a young trumpeter giving “Oh Holy Night” a good working over, and then the doors closed and we racketed uptown as an old codger came into the car and launched into “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” as he limped up the aisle, jingling his Styrofoam cup.

I am pretty much hardened to Christmas music, except at the end of the Christmas Eve service when the lights dim and the glories stream from heaven afar and the heavenly hosts sing Alleluia and then, from long habit, tears well up in my eyes and I weep for the dead who enjoyed Christmas so much and for humanity in general, and then we go sashaying out into the cold starry night and walk home.

A big orange and some fresh pine boughs and “Silent Night” are all I need, and cookies, of course.

They are the strings that when I pull on them I pull up the complete glittering storybook Christmases of my childhood.

Even when I’m in in Manhattan, the combination of orange and evergreen and the holy hymn brings back a snowy night in Minnesota and the colored lights, the mound of gifts, the deluxe mixed nuts in the cut-glass bowl, the candles, the faint air of Lysol from the toilets, and the cologne of my uncles as they sit munching their peanut brittle.

I stood in line at a pine-bough-decked-out Starbucks behind a tall, beautiful, dark-haired woman who ordered a venti mocha latte, 180 degrees, seven pumps, 2 percent, no foam, and though the headphones around her neck were playing the Beatles who were back in the U.S.S.R. spreading their broken wings and learning to fly, and finding Gideon’s Bible to help with good Rocky’s revival, the smell of chocolate and pine brought back the lights, the snow, the whole blessed day.

The advantage of growing older: a few details stand for the whole, just as in poetry.

The aim of a festive season is to attain amiability, and perhaps actual joy, which we may find in our private moments but which at Christmas we seek to attain together, thus it is a true test of the power of the community to elevate its members, without which we may as well take to the woods.

The family gathers, with its checkered history of jealousies and resentments, hoping to share warmth, to instill the most sullen member with a measure of cheer, and if it cannot do this, then it will break apart.

We left our families to escape our disapproving elders and find friendlier authority figures who give us permission to be original and write our own stories.

All we parents, no matter how wonderful we may seem, have said and done bad things to our children, and so we are relieved when they escape us without apparent permanent damage. And we hope for forgiveness, and for them to want to be with us at Christmas.

But how can we make them happy this time, when we have failed so often in the past?

The beauty of Christmas is that it is not about us, our creativity, our fabulous décor, the glittering gifts we can afford, but about a story and ritual that lift us all.

The other night I saw a young man standing on the corner holding a gas can and asked him if he needed a ride.

He said he’d been to a party at his sister’s house and a guy started beating up his sister and the young man jumped the guy and the cops came and broke it up and the young man had forgotten to ask his sister for money to buy gas for his car which was now out of gas and here he was on a cold night, far from home, a little drunk and very broke.

I did what anybody else would’ve done, and all the way to the gas station and back he was a little incredulous, but that’s Christmas. It isn’t about me, just as it isn’t about the shepherds in the pageant who are worried about forgetting their lines.

Not a problem. We all know the lines. Just do what the others do and try to beam when it seems appropriate.

Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” can be heard on U.S. public radio stations. Distributed by Tribune Media Services.