Monday, September 23, 2013

OKTOBERFEST!!! - The September Edition

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Well, it’s been a busy few days. Over the weekend, the Wingman’s Eldest got married in Utah… and I’m sure it was a beautiful ceremony, though I wasn’t there to experience it first hand. That is the one major drawback of living in California… a lot of my family & friends live two states (and an ever more expensive Southwest flight) away so I don’t see them but a few times a year. It’s nothing like before when I would typically see my mom, brother, niece, nephew & dad all over the course of a week because they all lived within an hour’s drive. The Wingman & other friends would be every few weeks or monthly… and then extended family & such would be maybe once a year. Luckily technology can help to bridge that a little bit but… it’s just not the same to me. I mean… I really enjoy seeing my mom, niece & nephew using the PS3 chat and all… but it’s usually just the kids screaming because they’re so excited to see Uncle $teve on the TV… and then them running around & jumping off the furniture while my mom’s back is turned & trying to talk to me over their screams. Cute… but yeah, not quite there.
Speaking of my niece… she got in trouble… like pretty bad trouble I think. Apparently the other day, she was at school (1st grade if you’re keeping score) and the way it was explained to me by a 3rd or 4th party… was that there was some thing going on with a friend wanting to play with another friend or whatever… and Kairi said that she was going to “gut you like a pig”. Yup! My adorable six-year old niece allegedly threatened to gut another six-year old like a pig. Yeah, let that sink in for a moment. However… then I got to thinking “Where did she learn that?” My brother can be a bit of a psycho at times… so before raising kids I could definitely see him saying that… but not around them… at least as far as I know, so I gave him the benefit of a doubt. Well… apparently… in the latest installment of “Ice Age: Continental Drift” there’s a character named Captain Gutt (voiced by the great Peter Dinklage) and I haven’t seen it… but apparently there’s something said along those lines in that movie… and of course, Kairi being a sponge of all things cute and/or evil, she soaked that right up. She has had a talking-to about its appropriateness, I assume grounded for a bit & hopefully that’ll be that… but you never know with these things. The kid’s parents may be asshats or something. So yeah, kids say the darnedest things.
Huzzah! I have a book review for you! I know it’s been quite a while since I reviewed a book… hmm… I think the last one might’ve been “Pimpology” a few years back… but in my newfound budding passion for learning about beer & homebrewing, I’ve read “How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Beer Right the First Time” by John J. Palmer. The book comes pretty standard with most first-time homebrew kits, either this of “The Joy of Homebrewing” which Dizzy is currently reading & I may have a review at a later date… but first batch first. “How to Brew” is a great resource for anybody looking to brew their own. The first few chapters go over the basic steps & preparations for the brewing process… and then the following chapters to more in-depth into the science & variations of each step. For example, the process will be something like:
1)       Boil the wort
2)       Add hops
3)       Chill wort
4)       Siphon in fermenter
5)       Add yeast
6)       Let ferment for a few weeks
… and so on… but then the next chapter will explain why you boil the wort, then what temperature to add the ingredients & why that temperature and not higher or lower… and then the different kinds of things you add to the wort like the wheat, barley, hops, extracts, etc… and then why a quick chill is preferred & a few different methods… and then more in depth about the yeast used & why different beers have different instructions. Along the way it also explains a little bit of the history of beer & origins of certain recipes… and of course plenty of advise on how to start with a few simple batches… and then when you’re ready to step your game up and try preparing your own mash (ingredients)… and then how to vary the recipe to meet your liking or get a desired effect. I found it REALLY interesting & can’t wait to test my own product from reading this first book. I understand that my first batch may not be excellent… but it’s pretty simple & once I know that I can get the process down, then it’s time to really experiment. As you can probably guess, I’ll keep you posted about it… but yeah, it’s a great book for the subject. I highly recommend it.
Tuesday nights, Dizzy & I watched “Grosse Point Blanke” starring John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd, Alan Arkin & Joan Cusack. It’s a mid-90’s romantic comedy about a hitman (Cusack) who goes to his hometown of Grosse Point in suburban Detroit to A) Kill a man for money and B) Try to rekindle a relationship with the woman (Driver) he ditched a decade earlier at the prom to join the Army and start on his current career path of “moral flexibility.” In his trip down memory lane, he finds that his childhood home has been turned into a convenience store & his love interest is still pretty pissed at him… but yeah, she’s at least willing to hear him out because… I guess he’s John Cusack? I mean… I can understand that. The man hasn’t aged a day since 1984. I assume he has a horrendous portrait in an attic somewhere. Anyway, it’s a pretty standard rom-com with plenty of awkward moments, a rival hitman (Aykroyd) trying to take him out, his therapist (Arkin) who encouraged the whole thing now trying to avoid his constant barrage of calls & spoiler alert: He ends up hooking up with Minnie Driver. I know, shocking! That being said, if you haven’t seen it, check it out… it’s okay… it’s a rom-com so I assume that anybody who has been interested in ever seeing it already has… but still.
Saturday, it rained buckets in the morning… so after some breakfast, Dizzy & I headed over to my buddy J-Mo’s apartment down the street where they were having a gaming party testing out one of their game designer friend’s new game called “Bomb Squad” (available on the Mac now, I believe) and it’s basically one of the greatest games ever… and it’s really just simple enough, yet strategic, for just about anybody… and you’ll have a GREAT time playing it. Anyway, we played that for a few hours while catching up, having food, drinking beers, etc. When we mentioned that we were doing homebrewing… basically everybody was quiet for a minute… and then wanted to know when the party was going to be. So we’ll definitely have to keep them posted as well. It’s starting to sound like I may not have enough beer to support a “tasting party’ until we have 3-4 batches at least now… but yeah, that’ll be around Thanksgiving or early December I think. Great times with great peeps!!!
Saturday night, we watched “Olympus Has Fallen” starring Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart & others. After seeing “White House Down” a few months ago, it’s basically the exact same plot. An agent who wants to be secret service (Butler-Tatum) is the only person that can save the President (Eckhart-Foxx) from mercenaries during a hostage situation at the White House while the Speaker of the House (Freeman-Jenkins) takes over Presidential duties. The only difference really in this one… is it’s a strong R rating for violence & language whereas “WHD” was almost PG-13 I think… and somehow, this movie was even MORE farfetched& over the top patriotism and just… this is not how an assault on the White House would’ve gone down… at all. I’m not saying that “WHD” was a lot better… but I enjoyed it a LOT more. I wouldn’t recommend this movie… and it pains me to say because it’s a good cast, decent director, just a horrible script I think.
Sunday morning, Dizzy & I woke up and headed out to Japantown to see a Sumo Wrestling demonstration. We were going to go last year, but it conflicted with the Utah family reunion… so we were really looking forward to it this year… and it didn’t disappoint (like Ssisso Lounge for lunch kinda did service wise). They had a few professionals including a 3-time former yokozuna champion come out & display the standard techniques, exercises, etc & then had a few matches where the champion took the field… twice. Very impressive. I highly recommend it!!! Here are some photos…

Afterwards, Dizzy had to go to work, but I met up with Bubbles & a special surprise visit from Jackie D flying in on business to go to Oktoberfest by the Bay at Pier 48 (over by AT&T Park where I’ve helped with a few charity events before). Yes, OKTOBERFEST!!! Even though it was kinda mid-September… but still, there was a great oompah band playing… the beer was flowing pretty well… most were decked out in their lederhosen, spats & feathered caps like a German Players Ball… and yeah, great times with great people!

Afterwards, we headed over to 21st Amendment for some food & yet more beer… and we ran into Carmen (my former roommate from almost 3 years ago) who was actually working the event & she joined us briefly. Yay for surprise roommate cameos!!! The food was okay, beer was pretty good, but eventually it turned into Jackie D & myself going to Thirsty Bear for some more beers & catching up. Again, great times with great people… kinda wish Dizzy could’ve been there but we all have our responsibilities.
That’ll probably do it for tonight. More adventures on the way though… and this weekend, we battle our first batch & maybe even start yet another in our homebrew adventures. Have a great day everybody!!!

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