Friday, September 13, 2013

Don't Let Go

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
 
It’s been a very busy few days… but I’ll catch you up briefly. First & foremost, Dizzy & my first batch of homebrew is going along splendidly thus far through it’s first fermentation process… and it seems to have so much SCIENCE going on the first few days… that we may be able to move to 2nd fermentation this weekend (to give it that crisp, clear, clean appearance). Obviously we’ll keep you posted… since we’re both pretty excited about it.
 
My newest roommate Red Sox has just been a beast going through & getting the apartment cleaned up and ready to go in her first few weeks with us. She’s already arranged for a decently priced cleaning lady, we’ve gone through the living room & kitchen to clean up as best we can in preparation for her, and we’ve been establishing some ground rules for picking up after ourselves with the other roommates… and I already like it because she’s very proactive & doesn’t really hold back, whereas I’m a little more chill & “don’t want to step on anybody’s toes” but I’m quickly getting over that. I like this way better. Sh*t gets done! So yeah… it’s nice having a clean apartment & not have to passive-aggressively tell somebody to pick up their shoe collection that has gathered in the living room. Yay!
 
Both my niece & nephew are in school now, Vinny’s in kindergarten & Kairi’s in the 1st grade (so actual full 7-hour days now) and they both seem to be loving it… and even my brother seems to enjoy it when I chat with him. Of course he’s still telling me that I need to get a PS4 & all the newest games on the PS3 so that we can blow up cops & rob banks or whatever… but yeah, he seems to be doing okay. Now if he could just get a job & stop living off my mom that’d be REALLY awesome.
 
My dad is needing his knee replaced… finally. The mixture of a life full of strenuous physical activity, above average height & age has finally caught up with him… and all the cartilage & tendons in his knee have been pretty shot for a while… but the doctor basically said there was no more that he could do… so he should be getting one of his knees replaced soon… and I assume the other isn’t too far behind. I’ll admit… it really sucks to see my dad (and other men that I respect in my life that are older than me, like uncles, Wingman, etc) who have their bodies starting to fail them… and it’s a kinda grim reminder that we’re all mortal (believe it or not) but you just have to appreciate the things that you have now & enjoy them while they last. Don’t worry, not going to get all sentimental & that jazz… but yeah, hopefully it all works out for them… and can’t wait to seem my dad or the others again as soon as possible, preferably by Christmas.
 
On Netflix, I stumbled upon this documentary called “Klitschko” about the heavyweight champion boxing brothers Vitali & Wladamir Klitschko from the Ukraine. Now, I didn’t really get into boxing until after Mike Tyson had lost his f**king mind, Evander Holyfield & George Foreman were well past their prime… and basically Lennox Lewis & Nasim Hamed were the key figures with this guy Roy Jones who was coming up… so not the greatest time ever. However, I watched this guy named Vitali Klitschko a few times on HBO… and it blew me away. It seemed so effortless for him… it was like watching Ivan Drago from Rocky IV but just with pure precision in his jab, very patient & kept his head away from his opponent (didn’t hurt he was a fellow Eastern European giant), almost instinctual dodging of … and then once he got his wore his opponent into a haze, he would just destroy them with jab/hook combos & they’d fall down. Then there was the Lewis-Klitschko fight where it was a bloody mess (and Lewis definitely helped by dragging his laces on an open brew wound) but yeah, always respected him as a fighter. Then his younger brother Wladamir came to be a champion as well as Vitali was succumbing to age.
 
This documentary basically follows them from growing up in the Ukraine (apparently near Chernobyl) behind the Iron Curtain of communism… and then being introduced to Western life via kickboxing tournaments in Miami & the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta… and then how they went into the pros & enjoyed the highest highs and lowest lows… all backed by a strong family bond. It’s really an incredible story & I highly recommend that you check it out. Warning: There will be a lot of subtitle reading because they speak a lot of German. Yes, German. Not Russian. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.
 
However, I think my favorite movie so far this year was one I watched last night called “Gravity” starring Sandra Bullock & George Clooney, directed & written by Alfonso Cuaron (“Children of Men”). I’m sure that you’ve all seen the previews for the premise… and I’ve been anticipating this movie since I first heard of the premise a while back. Basically, a team of astronauts is aboard a space station when a satellite thousands of miles away is destroyed… but the resulting orbiting debris heads their way like giant bullets and destroys their space station… and now they’re essentially marooned in space & have to find their way back. The tone of this movie was amazing is just establishing the atmosphere of the isolation, physical discomfort, your senses being shot, and just constant dangers in every aspect of being in the cold vacuum of space. I don’t want to spoil anything but the effects, sound, everything seemed almost perfect to keep the theme alive, keep the audience entertained & enthralled. The only part I thought was odd was one part where Sandra’s character says the thing she likes best about space was the silence… and that basically cued a musical score, which I thought was odd… but hey, it still worked. Oh… and I’m pretty sure that Sandra Bullock will be nominated & probably win her SECOND Academy Award. It still feels weird to say that for Ms. Wildcat from “Speed” but… yeah, great movie. Go see it… in 3D if you can. It’s amazing… and only like 80 minutes too. Other than that, not much else going on… so here’s some news about the Apocalypse…
 

Apocalypse Solution? - Florida officials trying to eradicate the Giant African Land Snail, one of the world's most destructive invasive species, plan to deploy a new weapon in the battle - Labrador retrievers. State agriculture authorities say they hope the dogs will add to their success in fighting an infestation of the slimy snails, which were first spotted by a homeowner nearly two years ago and quickly swept through the Miami area. On Wednesday, officials said that since the start of an aggressive extermination campaign they have collected 128,000 of the snails, which can grow as big as rats and devour plants as well as stucco and plaster in a hunt for calcium they need to grow their big shells (which can probably also be sold to finance other projects). In large numbers, the snails can cause extensive structural damage to buildings. "We see a lot of strange things in Florida and this one makes the top of the list," said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. "It is a very serious pest." Putnam said $6 million has been spent so far to eradicate the munching mollusks, which may have been introduced to Florida by a Miami Santeria group, a religion with West African and Caribbean roots that was found in 2012 to be using the snails in its rituals. That’s right… they’re blaming Africa… get used to the idea. The snails can carry a parasitic rat lungworm that can cause illness in humans, including a form of meningitis, although no such cases have been identified in the United States… but it COULD happen, therefore panic. To stamp out the snails, a team of 45 people regularly fans out across Miami, sometimes using rakes and getting down on their hands and knees to hunt for them. The snail fighters are also using bait, chemical treatments and experimental traps to root out the mollusks, helped by phone calls from local residents who report sightings. Joining them soon will be canine detectors, including a Labrador retriever being trained to sniff out the snails. "They're very good at detecting the Giant African Land Snail," said Richard Gaskalla, the head of plant industry at the Florida Agriculture Department. "So we're building four-legged technology into this program as quickly as we can." The Giant African Land Snail has no natural predator (salt?), posing a challenge to eradication efforts. But it can give off a strong odor that dogs can be trained to detect. Officials showed off a black Lab named Bear who is expected to soon wrap up his three-month training and start accompanying the snail hunters. Two other Labradors are also expected to be trained, they said. Officials say they believe they have contained the snails to the Miami area. Gaskalla said the program was showing success, with a sharp drop in numbers found. "The number of detections this last year were in the thousands; now they are down to around 200 to 300 a week," he said. So why haven’t they started doing this earlier? And for the snake species that threaten our very existence? Perhaps the dogs aren’t strong enough or can’t traverse the swamps? Perhaps they don’t have the amount of large mutts able to take on this load? Perhaps they’re afraid that their new army of trained canine assassins could turn on their masters? In either case, at least they can use them to hunt down giant snails.
 
Saturday, Dizzy & I will be probably doing beer stuff… then going to see Bubbles race with her dragon boat team at Treasure Island… and then probably more beer stuff (cleaning & preparing bottles for our first batch of wholesome goodness). So yeah… should be a good little time… and the weather’s supposed to be gorgeous as usual out here. Have a great weekend everybody!!!

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