Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sly: The Next Generation

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
 
This weekend was pretty chill… not gonna lie… basically it was a bunch of running around for groceries & such… and then Saturday night we had a wonderful Portuguese dinner with Izzy’s Aunts and some of their friends. We ate suppas… which apparently some Portuguese sweet bread with roast beef, cabbage and au jus over the bread… and we also had Easter Bread… and some of our amazing homebrew. Good times…
 
Sunday morning, we then met up with a few at a small restaurant called Joy of Eating in Vallejo for a Portuguese breakfast… which was very similar to an American breakfast but with sweeter bread. I had chicken fried steak with scrambled eggs & potatoes with scallions. Mmm mmm mmm…
 
Aside from that, not a whole lot to report… we relaxed a bit… watched some shows… did that whole thing. The movie we watched though was a great little kids flick called “Song of the Sea” which is an Irish animated tale from director Tomm Moore (“Secret of Kells”) and the voice talents of… well, honestly the only I knew was Brendan Gleeson. Anyway, the story is about a family that mans the lighthouse out in the country… it starts with a pregnant mother (you know where this is going, right?) reading a story to a young boy… and then there’s a sweet family moment, putting the kid to bed… and then UGH time for the baby to come out… and the mother is never seen again… but the sad father has a little girl named Saoirse… who the little boy now kinda hates because… you know, this baby took my mother away. Rrrrr! Six years later, the little girl discovers that she has some mystical powers… and the stories go from there… but all I can say… is go f**king see this movie! With your kids! It’s a great kids flick… the animation is absolutely amazing & inventive… voice acting is okay… seriously, it’s pretty sweet, go see this movie now. I’ll say it again, rent it & check out this flick with your family… it’s cute, funny & everything that you want in a kid’s flick. Enjoy! You’re welcome!
 
Tuesday night, we had some training for a big Meals on Wheels event this weekend… and because I had done it a few times before, guess who was nominated to be a captain for the event? And guess who found out about it at the training last night? Not that it’s a huge deal or anything… or that I’m really ill-prepared, because I have the utmost confidence in my competence… but yeah, odd that I volunteer to help out & it’s like “Hey, you’re taking this over, is that cool?” “Ugh… sure? Yeah… so… anything changed since last year.” “Oh yeah, a whole new thing… but you’ll figure it out & teach others.” “Yup… can’t fail!” Anyway, we went through it last night & yeah, it’s gonna be a great event to raise a few million bucks for a great charity!
 
After training, Izzy & I watched “Find Me Guilty” starring thespian Vin Diesel as a low-level gangster who represents himself during the longest-lasting RICO case in the history of the United States with the Mafia… and yes, it’s based on a true story. This movie is directed by Sidney Lumet (most famous for the classic “12 Angry Men”) and also stars the likes of Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”) and Ron Silver (bad guy in “Timecop”). The premise of the story is that Tony (Diesel) is a guy who’s serving a 30 year prison sentence for drug trafficking… when he’s brought into a conspiracy case against the Mafia, basically because the state thinks that they can get him to be a witness on their side in return for a reduced sentence… but they’re wrong, Tony won’t turn on his friends. While everybody else on the defense is lawyering up, he decides to represent himself since… well, his last lawyer took $250,000 of his money to completely screw the pooch & get him 30 years. More on the lead actor later… but I just want to mention that Peter Dinklage and Ron Silver are amazing in this movie. Dinklage always is... as Izzy put it last night during his speeches, “What’s happening is totally boring… but he has my attention with every word.” Or something like that… not sure if that’s an exact quote. Basically, he’s able to keep you captivated during otherwise boring blah blah blah that you see in most courtroom movies. Ron Silver also does a great job as the judge… like where it actually stands out in a few scenes, which was kind of unexpected. Basically this movie is a little odd (hence why it wasn’t a large release) as a lot of the context & music choices make it seem like a f**king black comedy… which it kind of is at times… but it’s also a courtroom drama… and a heartfelt drama most of the time… so it’s got a really weird feeling throughout. Overall though, I’d say check it out… it may just blow your mind… but probably not.
 


Okay… I’ll admit it… I’ve never really seen Vin Diesel as a real actor. I’ve mentioned before that he’s basically the Sylvester Stallone of our generation… like a caricature of what an action star should be, more than a real thespian. However, I’m starting to realize a few things about that comparison that is quite prophetic… and also reassuring for his career. They may be two of the smartest mother f**kers in Hollywood. I mean… think about it. Okay, Sly back in the late 70’s had what very well could’ve been a one-hit wonder in “Rocky” that he turned into six (and counting with “Creed” later this year & let’s face it “Grudge Match” is another Rocky) movies based on that fairly one-note character… the semi-likeable, dim-witted, ultra-motivated boxer. Not only that, he then also had the “Rambo” franchise… and “The Expendables”… that’s AT LEAST THREE TRILOGIES!!! Including two in the 80s! That itself is commendable… and the man can barely talk! Let’s not forget one-off masterpieces like “Demolition Man”, “Tango & Cash”, “Over the Top” and all that. Occasionally he tries some more dramatic stuff like “Copland” & something like whatever “Oscar” was supposed to be… but he knows his strengths & has now basically rebooted his career in his SIXTIES to continue his money-making empire with “Expendables” and “Bullet to the Head” and stuff like that. It’s f**king insane! Vin Diesel… seems to be modeling his career after the same kind of thing… but with a few key differences… first off, he can actually speak. Yes, the voice is deep & gravely… but he also has the ability to annunciate when needed, hence voice over work like Groot and just less parody & frustration from the movie viewing public.  Here’s food for thought… the original Rocky won Best Picture and had a sh*t ton of sequels… and nobody watched “Rocky Balboa” except me. Conversely, the original Fast & Furious was so critically acclaimed that VIN DIESEL DIDN’T EVEN STAR IN THE SEQUEL & the 3rd movie went straight to DVD… and yet #7 in the serious is breaking every Spring release record and grossed a billion dollars in the past ten days! The Riddick trilogy is his Rambo… in the dark. “The Pacifier” is his “Stop! Or my Mom Will Shoot” but Vin’s was actually kind of funny. He pulled out some great acting in this “Fine Me Guilty” flick which I argue that Sly really hasn’t been able to do in any of his films. All I’m saying is that this guy could be one of the smartest guys in Hollywood… and we’ve all underestimated him because there’s no way that he can look the way he does AND be super-intelligent… like Stallone… like Schwarzenegger… like The Rock. All I’m saying is… keep an eye on this guy… he’s making studios stacks of cash… he’s social media savvy… and he & Terry Crews could be governors of your state sooner than you think.
 
This weekend is going to be fun… we have Learn to Homebrew Day this Saturday & Sunday we’ll be helping out at the Meals on Wheels event! Lots of good times! Have a great day everybody!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

NFL Draft Guesses

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
 
As many of you know, I’m a big football fan. Not nearly as much as basketball (my first Love) but it’s still pretty noteworthy. The past few years since I disconnected my TV (for a multitude of reasons) I haven’t been able to see as much as I usually do… but I keep abreast with what’s going on the NFL and even some college here & there… so here are just my thoughts on what’ll happen in the NFL draft in a few weeks… as usual with my draft predictions… this is just how I would do things if I were a GM… but there’s a very good reason that I’m not a GM for a pro football team… as you’ll see below. Oh, looks like commissioner Roger Goodell is making his way to the podium now…
 
1.       Tampa Bay – Jameis Winston – QB from Florida State – This one is pretty much a lock… former Heisman winner, from Florida, on a Florida college team, picked by a Florida pro team, who desperately needs a quarterback. I have to laugh whenever you hear commentators question picking somebody because of off-the-field issues (outside of felonies, of course). I believe it’s basically to cause controversy… because look at the top two quarterbacks being picked apart, you have the charismatic, out-going, outspoken at times Winston… and then you have the quiet, reserved & realistic current Heisman-winner Oregon QB Marcus Mariota. Both are criticized for being either too braggadocio & confident… or too quiet by not feeding into the bullsh*t… and yet, when you step on the football field, who gives a f**k as long as you make plays & influence your teammates at that position? Also… what’s the happy medium that their basing that on? John Elway, Joe Namath & Joe Montana were pretty f**king cocky… Peyton Manning is f**king everywhere… Tom Brady talks sh*t on the field but all the right things in the press conferences… I’m pretty sure that Jay Cutler is retarded based on his mannerisms… what? Are you looking for Andrew Luck’s demeanor? Trent Dilfer has more Super Bowl rings than he does. Anyway, he’s gonna be the first pick. Period. Would’ve been last year probably too. The reason you have the #1 pick is probably because your quarterback sucks (or was injured all year, shout out to Indy).
 
2.       Tennessee – Leonard Williams – DT from USC – Now, this is where the draft REALLY gets interesting! Tennessee has the number two pick… and obviously needs a LOT of players to be relevant again. Yes, their current quarterback situation consists of a guy who couldn’t even start on his college team (Zach Mettenburger) but at least looks like a QB… and that’s only after a guy that was never really good & I can’t understand for the life of me why anybody thought he was ever good, even in college, because he absolutely sucked every single time that he played surprisingly retired at the age of 26 out of the blue (Jake Locker)… so it would make some sense to pick Oregon QB Marcus Mariota at this spot. However… since they have so many other needs… I’d consider trading the pick. Look, I’m a believer in Mariota & think he could really be great… but I know it’s not going to go well for him when he doesn’t have an offensive line that can protect him, people to throw to or a decent running back to help take the burden of him to learn the pro game. Also, he’d better get used to losing wherever he goes… as he’s never really felt that at Oregon. Basically, here’s the top three scenarios I see with the #2 pick here:
 
a.       If they keep the pick, I think they go with the Leonard Williams who’s being compared to Warren Sapp and will tremendously help their waning defense and be an anchor for them for a long, long time on his way to the Hall of Fame (only slight exaggeration?)
b.      They make a trade with the NY Jets so that the Jets can pick Mariota… and the Titans get their 6th overall pick to use as they wish and maybe even something like Jets QB Geno Smith or another key player who could start immediately… or at least like a 3rd round pick. I don’t know, I’m obviously not a GM but that seems fair.
c.       They make a trade with Cleveland so the Browns can pick Mariota… and the Titans get the 12th & 19th picks… and again, maybe another guy who could start for the Titans. Seriously, what’s QB Johnny Manziel going to do if the Browns pick Mariota? Throw him in maybe? The only problem is… I don’t see the Titans really wanting him over any prospect later on the 2nd round or 3rd round or something… this is just my guess. Basically, Mariota is in demand for some teams& this is the prime position to get him ahead of everybody else.
 
3.       Jacksonville – Dante Fowler – LB from Florida – I’m not going to lie… I’ve never seen this guy play, only a few highlights. Why? Because the Gators have sucked since Tebow left mostly… but also again, I just haven’t had TV the past two years. However, I understand that this guy is supposed to be a great 3-4 LB/DE guy who always has high draft priority nowadays… and after guys like Raiders LB Khalil Mack wrecked through the league last year, this seems like a pretty good fit for Jags coach Gus Bradley’s system… so I’d say go for that. They already have their QB for the next few years in Blake Bortles from last year (again, Florida kid goes to Florida college to Florida pro team) and they need a lot of help to be relevant… but this is probably their best bet… unless of course trading down, but that’s unlikely.
 
4.       Oakland – Amari Cooper – WR from Alabama – I just want to state that this is what I THINK will happen, based on team needs & tendencies. The Raiders… are always a surprise. I think the Khalil Mack pick last year was the first time in a decade that I just didn’t go “what the f**k?” when the Raiders made their top-10 pick… so basically anything they do will more than likely be “out there” but probably WIDE out there… like a wide receiver… and the best one in this draft is Amari Cooper. It’s really between him and Kevin White from West Virginia… who’s taller & bigger than Cooper, more in that Calvin Johnson, Randy Moss mold of big play deep route running receivers that the Raiders always want (as most teams in the NFL but nobody else was going to pick Darrius Heyward-Bey in the top 10 EVER!). So why do I think they’ll pick Cooper instead? Because the Raiders are unpredictable… but the reason I like him over White is that yeah, he’s a little smaller… but he’s still fast & stout and has great hands… he’s also a proven winner… and he’s more in that dependable Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison, Andre Reed, Tim Brown mold of receiver… not the biggest, not the fastest, not the strongest, just the best & most determined. Roll Tide… to the other side of the Bay.
 
5.       Washington – Randy Gregory – LB from Nebraska – I think they’re best pick would be to solidify their defense with the best player available… and that’d be this guy who can play defensive end or linebacker depending on the scenario. I’ve only seen the highlights… but he looks like a beast.
 
6.       NY Jets – Marcus Mariota – QB from Oregon – Again, if they don’t work some trade out with Tennessee for that #2 pick, this is really the latest that I expect Mariota to last. There’s a lot of talk out there about him dropping to the Eagles at #20 (which I’d LOVE) and the Jets not really looking for a QB because Geno Smith was two years ago… but I think that’s all BS so they can grab him at #6 like last year Teddy Bridgewater went from consensus #1 pick to #32 based merely on speculation. He’d be a good fit for them too… because he’ll probably have to run for his life all year unless they upgrade their offensive line & the people around him.
 
7.       Chicago – Kevin White – WR from West Virginia – Brandon Marshall is gone… Jay Cutler is still a pussy… and he’ll need people to throw at… so Kevin White (or Cooper if they switch picks) would match up well with Alshon Jeffery to form quite the young receiver duo for Da Bears.
 
8.       Atlanta – Vic Beasley – LB from Clemson – They need defense… so I’m down to either him or a big linestuffing defensive lineman like Danny Shelton from Washington… but I’ll give it to a more local flavor like Beasley (Clemson is in South Carolina, a few hours from Atlanta).
 
9.       NY Giants – La’El Collins – Tackle from LSU – I assume they’ll want somebody to keep their QB Elisha Manning from being destroyed… and I’m told he’s the best out there… seriously though, what do I know about offensive linemen though? I know you want them BIG but nimble… but even then, it’s just a rolled ankle away from being Tony Boselli… sigh… what could have been?
 
10.   St Louis – Dorial Green-Beckham – WR from Oklahoma/Missouri? – This kid has been in some issues since being the star receiver of the SEC two years ago… including getting kicked out of Missouri… transferring to Oklahoma… getting kicked out of there… but he’s still 6’6” and basically has most of the upside of a potential star troublemaking receiver in the Randy Moss, Dez Bryant, Terrell Owens mold without the wear & tear of playing college football… so I see somebody desperate for a receiver boost to take a gamble on him. If the Rams don’t take him as high as #12, then he’s definitely not getting past Kansas City at #18. Both teams need a LOT of help on wideouts… and a deep threat like this will help out QB Nick Foles get used to the Rams offense, paired with speedster WR Tavin Austin.
 
11.   Minnesota – Brandon Scherff – Guard from Iowa – I have no idea if they’re going to have “disgraced” superstar RB Adrian Peterson next year… but they’ll still want to protect QB Teddy Bridgewater and run the football from time to time… so they’ll probably go with the best lineman available… or possibly a receiver, but my money’s on the offensive line.
 
12.   Cleveland – Shane Ray – DE from Missouri – There’s no way they pass on Mariota if he’s still available here… but I don’t see them using a first-rounder on another quarterback… but probably their early 2nd rounder on one of those 2nd tier QB prospects. They just need help all around… and if Shane Ray falls this far, I can seem him anchoring their defense for a while.
 
13.   New Orleans – Bud Dupree – LB from Kentucky – Not going to lie… this pick is mostly because of the name. Can you imagine? Bud Dupree as the anchor of the New Orleans defense? It just rolls off the tongue so naturally… even better than Bobby Boucher! Also, he’s a great athletic talent, 6-4, played in the SEC, all that stuff… probably not a bad pickup honestly.
 
14.   Miami – Marcus Peters – CB from Washington – It’s either him or Trae Waynes from Michigan State but Miami needs help in its secondary… and since I don’t know much about either from watching them play, I have to go with highlight reels & who the “experts” say are best. First secondary player off the board…
 
15.   San Francisco – Andrus Peat – Tackle from Stanford – Sweet Jesus, is anything sadder than the mass exodus from San Francisco the past few months? All of their linebackers retiring, their coach going off to coach college, a handful of players that’re going to be suspended yet again… if Dupree, Beasley, Gregory, Fowler, Ray or any other possible linebackers are still available at #15, I’d say they go for one of them if just to stop the bleeding… but since they’re all picked on my board, why not go with the Stanford behemoth who can help QB Colin Kaepernick get back to not sucking? Then again, he may be gone earlier too… and that would just suck… the Niners need help… and I still have faith in Colin, I’ve been a HUGE fan of his since the Reno days… but it’s gotta be tough.
 
16.   Houston – Landon Collins – Safety from Alabama – Not sure why I’m going with this guy… but big safeties are a priority in the league now (as they always should have been since I’ve been yelling since I was in junior high that you can probably take giant out-of-work receivers & place them in your secondary to incredible results!!!) and he’s supposed to be the best. Alabama just makes good pro players. Fact.
 
17.   San Diego – Todd Gurley – RB from Georgia – I see the Chargers as the team that’s going to bring back the 1st round running back selection… and it’s really between Gurley & Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon who goes first. For Gurley, you have the guy who’s blown his knees & has his off-field issues… but when he does play, looks like a grown ass man playing against children most of the time. For Gordon, he’s the hard-working spark plug kind of back who just consistently finds holes & broke all the NCAA records… but it’s at Wisconsin… and they own all the rushing records since nobody else even tries anymore, they just pass-pass-pass at all other schools. Name the last great Wisconsin quarterback. I thought so. So that’s basically the argument… 50-50 shot on the next Bo Jackson? Or the steadfast Curtis Martin kind of running back? Interesting choice to be made…
 
18.   Kansas City – Devante Parker – WR from Louisville – Again, KC needs receivers… and if Green-Beckham isn’t available here, then they might make a reach for another highly prospected receiver like Parker.
 
19.   Cleveland – Jaelen Strong- WR from Arizona State – I’ve seen this guy play a few games… and I’m always baffled by how little people talk about him as a pro prospect. He’s huge, he’s got great hands, he’s dominated big games, he’s a Sun Devil receiver… and anybody who’s seen football and/or “Jerry Maguire” knows about Sun Devil receivers… and yet most experts are like “eh, second tier receiver… could be a good pro… maybe…” and I’m like WATCH OUT! THIS GUY’S A POTENTIAL BEAST! Anyway… Cleveland needs a few good receivers since Josh Gordon can’t get his sh*t together… but also it won’t matter if nobody can give them the damn ball…
 
20.   Philadelphia – Trae Waynes – DB from Michigan State – I would LOVE for them to get Strong if he’s around… but they’re OK at receiver for the moment I guess… they could also go for a big guy on the offensive or defensive line… but they REALLY need help in the secondary… so go with the best available… and he’s used to playing in the cold weather too, being in East Lansing the past few years. Also, I have no idea what the Eagles are doing with their transaction this past little while so… not even going to try to explain it… just believe in the program.
 
21.   Cincinnati – D.J. Humphries – Tackle from Florida – Probably going to with the best lineman available… they’re pretty solid elsewhere.
 
22.   Pittsburgh – Danny Shelton – DE from Washington – Not going to lie… kinda forgot this guy was still around but he could definitely be the new anchor for the Steelers defense for the next decade if he drops this fall. There’s a split where experts think he’s a top-10 pick… or late first-round… but here’s the fact… he’s HUGE!!! Like… potentially dangerous to himself & others huge… so there’s health risk involved… but this is football, there’s always a health risk involved… and defenses like the big space-eaters in the center of their defense. Absolutely last spot he’d be picked… is here at #22 by the Steelers… but probably earlier…
 
23.   Detroit – Arik Armstead – DT from Oregon – Again, space eater… and they have a big void to fill after Ndamakong Suh finally got p-p-p-p-p-paid! They tried filling it temporarily with aging Haloti Ngata, but it’d be great to have this guy take some of the load off the veteran while also learning the ropes. Just a thought…
 
24.   Arizona – Melvin Gordon – RB from Wisconsin – TWO running backs in the first round? Surely I’ve gone MAD!!! Look… it’s a good fit… they need a run game to open up their passing game… why the hell not? They almost made the playoffs last year… and the Niners are definitely set to tumble… so yeah… this could be the year of the Cardinal?
 
25.   Carolina – Cedric Ogbuehi – Tackle from Texas A&M – Taking the best lineman available… and this guy’s pretty good… and I think I’m just going to cut off my predictions from here… everybody else in the first round is just going to go with either the best player left… or the best player for their system… that’s why they’re on top, right?
 
Anyway, these are my “bold” predictions for what will happen… and we can revisit them after the draft… or more appropriately in a few years when we can really dog my picks… or exhault my Nostradamian skill for telling the future! Have a great day everybody!!! Yay football!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bottling Easter

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
 
Friday night, Izzy & I watched “Space Cowboys” starring Clint Eastwood, James Garner, Tommy Lee Jones & Donald Sutherland in this pseudo-comedy about four geriatric former Air Force astronaut candidates from the 50’s who missed out on the Apollo missions because their… I don’t know… boss? Commanding officer? It’s kinda vague exactly what kind of influence he (James Cromwell) really had over them… but they sent a chimp into space instead of these four. Now, forty years later (made in 1999) there’s an aging Russian satellite that’s malfunctioning… and the only person that can fix it is the creator of the antique guidance system that’s on it (Eastwood). However, he wants to go to space… and take his buddies along with him… and basically just stick it to the guy in charge of NASA (still Cromwell somehow, forty years later). So the outlaw Josey Wales gets the band back together with an elderly “Casanova” (Sutherland), Rockford-turned-preacher (Garner) and… well… widower crop duster Tommy Lee Jones playing Tommy Lee Jones as only Tommy Lee Jones can play. It’s a pretty good little flick… kinda BS at some points… but really what do you expect with the premise? Overall, I’d say check it out… maybe with your parents… you know, make ‘em feel like they could be astronauts still… cuz chances are they’d thought about it a few times as a kid.
 
There were just two things about this movie that kinda bothered me. First off, the flight controller was apparently having some kind of f**king issue with his prosthetic teeth (caps) because they’re basically sticking out the entire time & I know he’s supposed to be chewing on gum constantly… but it looks like when you put peanut butter in a horse’s mouth the entire time. It was off-putting… but still, kudos to him for still acting through it. Secondly, spoiler alert… so turn away if you must, I have a minor issue with the ending. Okay... again, spoiler alert, to start the 3rd act, Tommy Lee Jones’ character Hawk is diagnosed with inoperable cancer… so he’s going to die soon… gee, I wonder who’s going to have to sacrifice himself when they’re in space. That’s not the issue… I liked that. My issue is that… he sacrifices himself to save the others… and just before the credits roll, there’s a scene set to Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon” where you see… basically Tommy Lee Jones’ astronaut suit sat up against a moon rock and enjoying the view of Earth as if he were in a lounge chair during his last few moments… not a bad way to go out, right? Except for one little thing… forgiving that I assume for TLJ to make it to the lunar surface, there was probably some kind of re-entry collision with the ground… if this is truly his final resting place… then basically what you’re seeing is the suit containing the corpse of a man who died GASPING for air in the infinity of space, alone… and I’m not going to lie… instead of watching the reflections off his gold-plated astronaut visor, I kinda wanted the visor to flip open at the last minute revealing the frozen, contorted face not unlike somebody beholding the Ark of the Covenant. Yes, it’s a horrible & image to imagine… but hey, that’s just me… play ‘em out, Frankie! Roll credits…
 
Saturday, Izzy & I helped out for her class’ final reading of their literary works at the SAFEhouse for the Arts. Izzy read a short story about her recent BS with the electric company (where basically because used less electricity than most first world citizens do, she was penalized & charged about five times as much in penalties) but it was very well written & even pleasantly humorous. She & about a dozen other gifted artists shared their poems & short stories… and a good time was had by all. I know what you’re thinking… and no, I didn’t read. I manned the bar. Somebody has to get that money to help fund the arts. Good times…
 
Sunday was Easter… and I’ll be honest, it was the first holiday where not having my dad around since his passing kinda hit me a little bit. Basically I awoke Sunday morning to my mom calling from Utah (an hour ahead & I was sleeping in) and saying “Happy Easter” and playing this ridiculous little blue plush bunny that says “Meeeeeh somebunny loves youuuuu… ntntntntntntntt (bunny chomping)” and then my niece & nephew joined in. Along with having my lovely ladyfriend by my side … Really a good way to be woken up if I say so myself… and also it was raining… which I also enjoy immensely. After chatting it up with them briefly, my first thought upon hanging up was “I should call my dad and wish him a hap…” and then it kinda hit me… just enough… and it probably didn’t help that basically what I was looking at while laying back in my bed was his mini-urn hanging over my closet. It also probably didn’t help that my dad looked a lot like Jesus most of the time growing up… long hair, beard, basically picture White Jesus with Aviator sunglasses… and the alleged point of Easter is that He arose three days after being killed to seek revenge on his conspirators… or something like that, I think the story kinda tapers off after he comes back… like people went “Holy sh*t! He’s alive! He’s reborn!” Then Jesus kinda wanders off while they’re busy telling their friends or something? I don’t recall a big meeting where He says anything about His return or any deeds that He di… NO! NO NO NO! I’m not getting off track with another “What the f**k is Easter exactly?” rant… back to the point. Anyway, so the thought of the three days… turned to three weeks… and then the three months that it was been (how zombie trilogies go, right?) and it was kinda like… “Yeah… he’s not coming back… and I miss him.” Did I know this before? Absolutely! Hell, my stepmom had him cremated & a party in his honor within three days… and we’re not on speaking terms. Not that I’m bitter or anything, it’s just any time that my brother or I try to figure out what’s going on with “the estate” there’s no contact back… so I assume it’s either being given away to family members that aren’t us… or being wholesaled to try & finance the massive debt that was probably kept from us. Alas… that was my moment… and then I squoze my ladyfriend & we began our busy brew day… cuz what can you do other than move along happily with your life? On that note, here are some pictures from our walks...
 







The day started with a special new brew for us known as a SMaSH recipe. SMaSH stands for Single Malt and Single Hop… so basically the recipe is fairly simple, usuing only one grain to extract the sugars from… and then one hop variety during the boil and/or fermentation. Though the recipe is simple, it’s also a great way to experiment, toy with, and accentuate or find out what flavor qualities come from the malt & hop being used. For this first time, we thought that it’d be interesting to try to do an English Pale Ale using Maris Otter grain, which typically has a bready/biscuit flavor… and UK Kent Golding hops, which compliment it well & are often used in English Ales of all sorts. Though the malt will typically be pretty one-note, you can toy around with the hop additions during the boil to empathize different levels of bitterness and aroma… all from the same hop variety. Anyway, here are some pictures of the process…
 










 

Another big thing that happened… was that Izzy & I FINALLY bottled our Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout that we started back in October & has been fermenting away in our five-gallon whiskey barrel from Seven Stills for a little over two months now. Remember, the ABV was about 11% BEFORE we put it in the whiskey barrel… and let me tell you, all it really did was add even more complexity to the flavors… and basically mellow out the alcohol burn you normally get in the mouthfeel with a beer this big… but it’s also probably around 13-15% ABV now… so yeah, VERY delicious & boozy… and it shall be called… $teve’s Birthday Cake! Here are pictures… including Izzy’s reaction shot to this deliciousness in her mouth…
 







 

Now that he had an open whiskey barrel, we put our Scotch Ale from a few weeks ago in there to age. The Scotch Ale by itself seems a little on the lighter side from most Scotch Ale recipes due to our attenuation probably being in the 60-70% range where Elevation 66’s equipment helps them to get in the 80% range… but still a very delicious, full flavored beer… and now it gets the barrel aging treatment. Here are some more pictures of that…
 





Lastly, we also transferred our Cactus Milk Stout to secondary fermentation… and this looks and smells like it’s going to be a truly delicious beer…
 









Anyway, that was our Easter weekend… oddly enough no deviled eggs, but I’ll be sure to bring that up for this weekend… or maybe a random breakfast. Hope you all had a wonderful time with your families or at least just having fun! Have a great day everybody!!!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Mama's Visit

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
 
My mom & stepdad came to town for the weekend… and we had a pretty fantastic time! Friday, we headed across the bay to Oakland to check out the Chabot Space & Science Museum in the Oakland Hills. They had a lot of interactive learning centers, some great exhibits about space, a Bill Nye climate change area, an IMAX theatre & some large telescopes that are pretty incredible feats of machinery. Here are some pictures…
 



















For dinner that night, we met up with Izzy’s Aunts at Elevation 66 Brewery and some of their wonderful food & beverages…
 





 

Saturday, we went over to the Museum of the Farallones on Crissy Field…
 
Then to the Asian Art Musem… but when all of the area around the Civic Center was shut the f**k down for some reason, we doubled back and went to the Randall Museum… and we found out that they had their Train Exhibit open… and my stepdad LOVES trains…
 






Sunday, we drove down to Harley Farms to see some goats and get some fancy cheese… with a stop along the way to get some food at the world’s greatest Taco Bell in Pacifica of course…
 








 

We also stopped by Half Moon Bay on the way back to check out the thrift stores, get some ice cream, and hob nob at The Ritz-Carlton…
 
 
 
What better way to top off the weekend then… another dinner at Elevation 66 Brewery before dropping them off at the Oakland airport?
 


Of course in between all of the stops… there were lots of chats about this & that… the future… how much we miss each other… how glad my mom is that I found somebody like Izzy & vice versa… all that mess… but it was also coupled towards the end with roommate bullsh*t… and that beef is about to be squashed the only way I know how… with my foot on top & tricks gettin’ in line, hoes down, G’s up… but more on that next time maybe… until then, glad that you could come visit mama!!! Can’t wait to see you again soon!!! Have a great day everybody!!!

Where Should I Go Next?