Thursday, February 27, 2014

RIP Harold Ramis

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Saturday, we stopped by the Oak Barrel Homebrew shop in Albany to get a few things for our next few batches. What will they be? Well, one is going to be our first beer entered in a competition (of course if we can stand drinking it but we’ve got a great record thus far). With the SF Homebrewers Guild, they’re having a competition of “American Beers” for around Memorial Day / 4th of July timeframe… so we checked the beer types that will be permitted… and we’ve decided on… wait for it… a Honey Amber Ale. Devised a pretty damn fine recipe in theory… so we’ll see if we can execute it… and hopefully it turns out pretty damn well. We also got most of the stuff for our next batch after that… a Blood Orange Hefeweizen. The only snag… finding some f**king blood oranges. Time to hit up some farmers markets or something.
After that, we headed to Downtown Berkeley (never been) and had lunch and a few drinks at Jupiter. They make some of their own beers & had a few guest taps… but we stuck to their concoctions. The beer was pretty good… and the food was decent too. I can see that place probably gets pretty crazy in the weekend evenings but yeah, pretty nice place. Feel free to check it out if you’re in the area.
Sunday was Dizzy’s sister’s birthday up in Lincoln (near Sacramento) and she had recently moved out on her own… so we loaded up some furniture & knick-knacks and brought them up to her as a gift. Along the way though, we stopped by Heretic Brewing for a quick sampling… and of course we shared our growler of CHP (Chocolate Hazelnut Porter) with other at her birthday party… and our brew as well. They were all HUGE hits… but it’s free beer in cow country so… yeah, it was to be expected. We were there for about 7-8 hours before heading back… but it was great hanging with family & friends and just having a great ol’ time. There was even a fellow homebrewer up there that we kinda shot the sh*t with & talked shop… and yes, there was dancing & singing later in the evening. Good times!
Dizzy introduced me to a podcast called Nostalgia Critic. She did it a few weeks ago when he reviewed the epic movie classic “Face/Off” during Nicolas Cage Month… and when I found out that he has a regular weekly series that he’s been doing for a few years now… I had some backlogging to checkout. First off, it REALLY doesn’t help that he looks like The Wingman. Secondly, we REALLY have similar tastes in movies, humor & tend to get a little excited / frustrated when we can’t seem to find the right words in our vocabulary to express ourselves. Thirdly, in spite of that, he seems like a pretty nice guy… who occasionally talks sh*t on Hollywood but… let’s face it, hard not to these days. Fourthly, I’d like to think that my Movie Lists (that you haven’t seen steadily in a few years, sorry) would tend to be like his a bit… except that he has some pretty amazing skills at doing the weekly filming of his reviews & always to seem to have a lot of clever insights & perspectives. I can only imagine that it’s a full time job for him… as opposed to my occasional hobby. Anyway, the point that I’m getting at is… check his sh*t out at “That Guy With the Glasses” and check out a few videos. If you don’t like it… then I feel sorry for you. If you do like it, feel free to tell him that I sent ya. Here’s some news…
China Update - A Chinese man is attempting to make history by becoming the first person to sue his government over the country’s dangerous levels of air pollution. Li Guixin submitted a complaint to a district court in Hebei province, asking the Shijiazhuang Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau to "perform its duty to control air pollution according to the law,” according to the state-run Chinese language publication Yanzhao Metropolis Daily. On Tuesday, pollution levels in Beijing topped hazardous levels for the sixth straight day, according to the U.S. Embassy pollution monitor. The most recent ratings were literally “beyond index,” meaning they exceeded the already most extreme measurement levels of air pollution. The World Health Organization’s China representative told a briefing in Beijing on Monday that both the government and industries in China need to make a better effort to curb pollution levels across the country. “We have to put more pressure on all of the authorities and all the industry production to improve so we can actually reduce the very heavy pollution,” Bernhard Schwartlander said. The court has not yet decided whether to take up Li’s complaint, but he is still the first known individual in China who has attempted to sue the government over its failure to curb dramatically increasing levels of pollution… and therefore may be silenced in the very near future. Chinese law reportedly makes it difficult for nongovernmental organizations to sue the government or industries over pollution levels. The BBC said higher courts in the country have already rejected Li’s complaint but that the district court is currently deliberating whether or not to take up his case. In addition, Li is asking for compensation for residents who are affected by the pollution. "The reason that I'm proposing administrative compensation is to let every citizen see that amid this haze, we're the real victims," Li told the paper. "Besides the threat to our health, we've also suffered economic losses, and these losses should be borne by the government and the environmental departments.” In his complaint, Li said he has spent money on air purifiers, face masks and even a treadmill so that he can exercise while avoiding going outdoors during levels of extreme air pollution. “Li Guixin couldn’t take a walk or run like in the past as air quality worsened, and he also has to wear a mask now when he goes out,” said Li’s lawyer, Wu Yufen. “His case is relevant for everyone in our city.” Good luck sir! Having been to Beijing… I can confirm… it’s a f**king sh*tstorm of pollution. I was there the one day a year that it rains… so the air was kinda fresh for… about five minutes until the rain stopped… and then it was back to coughing and gagging. I mean… it’s only about 30 million people that live in Beijing so… I can see how it’s not a HUGE problem… but let’s face it. It’s been a highly publicized international issue since the Olympics six years ago… and it’s only getting worse so… again, good luck sir!
Marilyn Update - A massive statue of Marilyn Monroe that has turned heads for two years in Palm Springs is headed east. The Riverside Press-Enterprise says the 26-foot-tall, 34,000-pound statue (“That’s a HUGE b**ch!”) will be transported in April from California to Hamilton, N.J., where it will be part of an exhibit honoring its designer, Seward Johnson (dirtiest real name I’ve heard in a while… wait, is it pronounced “Soo-urd” or “Sea-word”). A going away party, open to the public, is planned for March 27. The statue of the "Some Like it Hot" star arrived in the desert resort city in 2012. The sculpture depicts Monroe trying to push down her billowing skirt in her memorable scene in the "Seven Year Itch." The "Forever Marilyn" statue, on loan from The Sculpture Foundation, was previously in Chicago. Palm Springs officials say they hope to eventually lure Marilyn back… but ugh… she’s dead, right? OH! They mean the statue? Oh okay… that’s… probably easier. By the way, is anybody else a little pissed that last year they made about 0.1% of the income that estate for the Megan Fox of the 1950’s did? Just… try not to think about it too much… and make sure there are no sharp objects nearby when/if you do. Anyway, road trip to Palm Springs? Cuz I’m sure not going to Jersey to see it…
Gold in Dem Hills - A Northern California couple out walking their dog on their property stumbled across a modern-day bonanza: $10 million in rare, mint-condition gold coins buried in the shadow of an old tree. Nearly all of the 1,427 coins, dating from 1847 to 1894, are in uncirculated, mint condition, said David Hall, co-founder of Professional Coin Grading Service of Santa Ana, which recently authenticated them. Although the face value of the gold pieces only adds up to more than $28,000, some of them are so rare that coin experts say they could fetch nearly $1 million apiece. "I don't like to say once-in-a-lifetime for anything, but you don't get an opportunity to handle this kind of material, a treasure like this, ever," said veteran numismatist Don Kagin, who is representing the finders. "It's like they found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow." Kagin, whose family has been in the rare-coin business for 81 years, would say little about the couple other than that they are husband and wife, are middle-aged and have lived for several years on the rural property in California's Gold Country, where the coins were found. They have no idea who put them there, he said. The pair are choosing to remain anonymous, Kagin said, in part to avoid a renewed gold rush to their property by modern-day prospectors armed with metal detectors. They also don't want to be treated any differently, said David McCarthy, chief numismatist for Kagin Inc. of Tiburon. "Their concern was this would change the way everyone else would look at them, and they're pretty happy with the lifestyle they have today," he said. They plan to put most of the coins up for sale through Amazon while holding onto a few keepsakes. They'll use the money to pay off bills and quietly donate to local charities, Kagin said. Before they sell them, they are loaning some to the American Numismatic Association for its National Money Show, which opens Thursday in Atlanta. What makes their find particularly valuable, McCarthy said, is that almost all of the coins are in near-perfect condition. That means that whoever put them into the ground likely socked them away as soon as they were put into circulation. Because paper money was illegal in California until the 1870s, he added, it's extremely rare to find any coins from before that of such high quality. "It wasn't really until the 1880s that you start seeing coins struck in California that were kept in real high grades of preservation," he said. The coins, in $5, $10 and $20 denominations, were stored more or less in chronological order in six cans, McCarthy said, with the 1840s and 1850s pieces going into one can until it was filed, then new coins going into the next one and the next one after that. The dates and the method indicated that whoever put them there was using the ground as their personal bank and that they weren't swooped up all at once in a robbery. Although most of the coins were minted in San Francisco, one $5 gold piece came from as far away as Georgia. Kagin and McCarthy would say little about the couple's property or its ownership history, other than it's located in Gold Country, a sprawling, picturesque and still lightly populated section of north-central California that stretches along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. The discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, about 50 miles northeast of Sacramento, set off the California Gold Rush of 1848. The coins had been buried by a path the couple had walked for years. On the day they found them last spring, the woman had bent over to examine an old rusty can that erosion had caused to pop slightly out of the ground. "Don't be above bending over to check on a rusty can," Kagin said she told him. They were located on a section of the property the couple nicknamed Saddle Ridge, and Kagin is calling the find the Saddle Ridge Hoard. He believes it could be the largest such discovery in U.S. history. One of the largest previous finds of gold coins was $1 million worth uncovered by construction workers in Jackson, Tenn., in 1985. More than 400,000 silver dollars were found in the home of a Reno, Nev., man who died in 1974 and were later sold intact for $7.3 million. Gold coins and ingots said to be worth as much as $130 million were recovered in the 1980s from the wreck of the SS Central America. But historians knew roughly where that gold was because the ship went down off the coast of North Carolina during a hurricane in 1857. So there you go… what seem to be nice people walking their dog… stumble upon a sh*t ton of gold coins and now… I assume just get to continue living their dreams in Gold Country… and probably a BUNCH of trips around the world or Ferraris or whatever on top of it all. Not a bad little story… and queue the crazy wave of new-age prospectors (yes, I’m talking about them joining your dad, Dizzy!).
Anyway, that’ll do it for today… this weekend should be a lot of fun… what with a new brew to make (competition quality hopefully), Oktoberfest lager to transfer & our Winter Warmer being ready for tasting… on top of free time to do whatever the hell we want… yeah, it should be fun. Have a great weekend everybody!!!

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Most Interesting Athlete in the World

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Wednesday night, I watched “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” starring Michael Rooker on Netflix. I had this sitting in my disc queue for a while as I had heard it mentioned a few times before as kind of an underground slasher flick. So, here’s the story that I gathered. The movie was shot in Chicago in 1986 on a budget of like… $100,000. However, the movie was considered so dark & violent & graphic at the time… that it took almost three years of appeals to make it releasable to the public after its initial screenings at some festivals. The story is based on the confessions of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas (Rooker) and is directed by John McNaughton (also directed the legendary “Wild Things” & another movie I’ve been interested in checking out called “Mad Dog & Glory”). The plot is that there’s this guy Henry who becomes a roommate with an ex-con part-time gas station attendant named Otis & his sister Becky. They’ve all fallen on hard times, but make ends meet somehow (usually selling drugs) but Otis soon finds out that Henry… has a dark side. Sure, he knew before that he killed his mama & that’s why he was in jail… but apparently… it’s even darker. Henry kills… almost randomly… and never the same way twice… basically just for the thrill. Well, Otis is intrigued… and gets off on the rush of his first kill… and the movie goes from there. The movie is… basically just a cold, exact, calculated telling of Henry’s killings with no real need for reasoning as to why he does it. He just enjoys doing it… and even has a bit of a code… or does he? It’s actually done fairly well if you’re into creepy stories with seedy underbellies… you know, as opposed to stories with morality conflicts& happy endings. Even the awkward soundtrack that’s a mix of slow score, coupled with some synthesizers… and inserting some screams of terror or something along with it… really helps to create that atmosphere of just awkward observation, but with a little glimpse into the twisted mind of a serial killer. Michael Rooker (aka Merle from “Walking Dead”) acts the sh*t out of this… and yeah, I really liked it… but it’s definitely not for everyone. Watch with caution. Also, as far as the violence… yeah, it’s bloody & there are a LOT of slow establishing shots of murder scenes… but if you’ve seen any horror movies in the past 20 years, it’s nothing compared to those.
Thursday night, I watched a movie from last year called “Phantom” starring Ed Harris, David Duchovny, William Fichtner, Lance Henriksen (briefly) & Sean Patrick Flanery and written-directed by Todd Robinson (“White Squall” & “Lonely Hearts”). The movie is “inspired” by true events… but not really sure how much of it is real… but whatever. In the late 60’s, an epileptic Cold War Soviet submarine captain (Harris) is sent on a top secret mission on a moment’s notice. Along with his crew, there are a few extra “specialists” (led by Duchovny) who are testing a cloaking device known as “The Phantom” (title). Well, once they get out there… the specialists turn out to be KGB… and they take over the submarine, complete with a nuclear payload, and head towards the U.S. Naval Base at Midway to start WWIII… unless the captain and his crew can regain control of the submarine… and not die in the process. If you’re a big fan of “Hunt for Red October” or “U-571” or any of those kind of movies, then you’ll probably love this. Ed Harris gives an amazing performance as he’s prone to do. I like that they’re supposed to be Russian, but they all have the standard American accents, which is good… because I’m sure they’d all be awful to listen to. I love that David Duchovny is my elder doppleganger (hope to look like that in 20 years when I’m 53 as well) but… you know his acting style is… very muted. You’ve seen the X-Files and/or Californication. He delivers lines almost monotonically… with occasional yelling, but always maintaining the stoic face and immediately returning to almost utter boredom. Perhaps that’s his secret to eternal youth & banging cocktail waitresses… but aside from that, not the greatest actor in the world. Sorry, Filly! Overall though, the movie was decent… not great or anything… but like I said, if you like that kind of movie, check it out. If not, you’ll probably pass.
The Real Life Most Interesting Man in the World – So… I was watching the Today Show this morning… and I’ll be damned if I didn’t see a story that was just ridiculously awesome to me. Did you know there’s a 55 year old Olympian in these Olympics? His sixth? Oh… it’s more than just that too. His name is Hubertus von Hohenlohe-Langenburg… excuse me, PRINCE Hubertus von Hohenlohe-Langenburg… and he’s obviously skiing for Mexico. Obviously, right? Because he is… skiing… for the country of Mexico… in these Winter Olympics. Fact. More facts that you might find interesting (and possible straight out of a future Dos Equis commercial):
·         Born in Mexico City in 1959 (dual citizenship)
·         He’s a descendant of German royalty (hence the Prince)
·         Heir to a Volkswagen fortune
·         German pop singer under names Andy Himalaya and Royal Disaster
·         Gallery-level photographer & artist
·         Businessman
·         Six-time Olympic Alpine skier (1984, 1988, 1992, 1994, 2010 & 2014)
·         Flag-bearer for the country of Mexico
·         Wore a Mariachi-inspired outfit during his latest run (previously Goucho)
·         Currently resides in Liechtenstein
·         Speaks five languages fluently
Anyway, check out a few interviews with this guy… I think he’s on Piers Morgan soon & he’s been running the gamut the past few days. I’m just saying… he seems like he’s going to be okay when he decides to retire from skiing. Now he’ll have more free time to take pictures, bang 20-year old model-actresses, pick up another language (Swahili?) and release a few albums before living the quiet life. What? Ladies… he’s single… and here’s another article about the guy that takes a little different turn courtesy of the great writers at Grantland.
Anyway, that should do it for this entry. I should definitely have some more stories to share after this weekend… which includes a trip to Sacramento & beyond. Have a great weekend everybody!!!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
It’s been a busy few days with SF Beer Week activities and some minor household issues (leakage in rental apartment) but aside from that… pretty nice. Here’s just the rundown on a few movies that we saw over the week… and a special trip into the jungle… sorta.
First up is Alfred Hitchcock’s classic “Rope” starring Jimmy Stewart. Two college chums kill a former classmate in their apartment in the first few seconds… place his body in a trunk… and then immediately hold a dinner party with his family & friends… placing some of the food & decorations right on the trunk in the middle of the room… to pull off the “perfect crime”. I’m still not quite sure how that part was going to work out… but this was made in 1948. Maybe it was a LOT easier to get away with murder back then. Anyway, one of the friends invited though… is their former college instructor (Stewart) who starts to suspect a few things as the evening progresses… and the guest of honor doesn’t show. Now, it’s a fairly simple premise & obviously adapted from a play (since it takes place all in one room over the course of about 80 minutes). However, as you may have heard, Hitchcock knows how to properly build suspense… and is a master of the craft of moviemaking. The entire movie is maybe a dozen (or less) continuous shots of dialogue, following them across the room, other actors entering & exiting, while maintaining the focus of the audience’s attention exactly where it needs to be. One of my favorite scenes in particular, is one towards the end when the party is wrapping up… and the camera basically focuses with the trunk on the left, the hallway to the dining room, and off camera to the right is the actors that you’re hearing. The maid is cleaning up the presentation on top of the trunk… and over the course of about three minutes, the camera doesn’t move… she’s cleaned off the trunk… and now is heading back with some books to place in the trunk… GASP!!! Okay, so to stop right there, go check this movie out. Like right now! If you haven’t seen it & you like suspense movies, rent this & see how it’s done. Great flick! I’d happily watch it again. Besides… it’s Jimmy Stewart in his prime…

Next up was “30 for 30: The Price of Gold” which is ESPN’s sponsored documentary about the 1994 attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan that was later found to be linked to rival skater Tonya Harding and her husband Jeff Gilluli among others. This film focuses on Tonya Harding from growing up in Portland, Oregon… being raised as a bit of a blonde lower-middle-class tom boy… rising the ranks of the figure skating world… and after just missing out on the 1992 Winter Olympics… now she had another chance in 1994… but it wasn’t going to be easy. You’ve all heard the story I’m sure. During trials, Nancy Kerrigan is whacked in the knees by an unknown attacker… then within days, it’s found that the whole thing was orchestrated by Tonya’s husband Jeff Gilluli… but then it’s a question of “Was Tonya behind it?” There’s a lot of hearsay & circumstantial evidence… so Tonya is allowed to go to the Olympics… with Nancy who trained ferociously to go (in place of Michelle Kwan). However, this movie goes into a little more detail than even I knew… so yeah, definitely give it a gander. It’s worth it. It’s quite the interesting character study if you want to put it that way.
Last up is “Harlem Nights” starring Eddie Murphy & Richard Pryor. Murphy also wrote, produced & directed the movie… so you know it’s good, right? Sugary Ray (Pryor) owns an illegal casino in 1930’s Harlem and along with his trusted right-hand man Quick (Murphy), they struggle against a lot of organized crime, corrupt cops & other factors trying to force them out of business. It was recommended by Max on Netflix as an action-comedy… and with a cast featuring these two comedy legends as well as Redd Foxx, Arsenio Hall, Miguel Nunez, Della Reese and yes… even Charlie Murphy, it did have its funny moments. However, it was not exactly rip-roaring fun by any means. Mostly it was just a lot of curse words… some somewhat funny scenarios, but poorly executed… and a few parts were just plain bad. And no, I didn’t go into this movie expecting it to be a true-to-history piece about 1930’s Harlem or anything like that… but yeah, it just wasn’t that thrilling. The most disturbing part I think was watching the Madame played by Della Reese (“Touched by an Angel”) and just… well, she’s horribly foul-mouthed… gets in a street fight with Quick… just not exactly what you’d expect from Della. I’d say pass on this one… but thought that I’d share it with you.
Saturday, while running around during SF Beer Week, we stopped by Easy Bay Vivarium (reptile habitat) because… you may not know this… but Dizzy loves animals. Basically anything with four legs or less, she considers absolutely adorable… even reptiles. Don’t worry, I took a few pictures of some of the selections readily available at this establishment for you… and we'll call it an APOCALYPSE UPDATE on the size of some of these bastards...


We also stopped by an aquarium where...
they were obviously slashing prices by...
about .04%

Anyway, that’ll do it for this entry. GO SEE ROPE!!! Have a great weekend everybody!!!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thin Man & Bacon Girl

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
There have been a few recent posts on the Terrible Lizard Brewing blog about our SF Beer Week adventures… but now it’s time for the more journal-ish part of the blog… about just my silly ass. So here’s what you might have missed. Ugh… One night, Dizzy & I watched “The Ladies Man” starring Tim Meadows, Will Ferrell, and the ageless one Billy Dee Williams. Seriously… did you know that Lando is in his mid-70s? Which means that he was about 65 when “The Ladies Man” came out… and 43 when he was f**king Lando in “Empire Strikes Back”!!! Mack fact, Jack! Black don’t crack. Anyway, I’ve reviewed this movie before (go see it if you haven’t) so I won’t bore you with it right now. Check out the archives.
Courtesy of Netflix, we watched “The Croods” starring the voice talents of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Catherine Keener & others. The Croods are a family of Neanderthals who basically spend their days hunting & their nights hiding in a cave to avoid getting eaten. Until one day, their curious older daughter (Stone) goes out into the night… and finds a slightly more evolved young man (Ryan Reynolds) who tells her that the world is going to end in a great destruction that’s coming. Well, it comes… and now this family must escape dangerous creatures and make it to… I don’t know, the Great Valley (for all you “Land Before Time” fans out there). It’s a kid’s flick… and it has some funny moments… but yeah, fairly predictable. The weird thing is that I remember this show having a poster at my bus stop for… I don’t know… four months leading up its release… and then I didn’t see it anywhere. Maybe that’s how the kids shows are nowadays. If they don’t have $100 million the first week, then they’re fast tracked to DVD sales to make way for the next one that will… but yeah, good to see Nic Cage still getting work. He’s the father Ugg by the way. Check it out if you have kids… or if you don’t, you’re not really missing much. Whatever you do… don’t be a dinosaur / ice age nerd and be looking for anything resembling scientific fact or reason though. Just remember, it’s a kid’s flick. There will be farts.
Thursday night, Dizzy & I had a little bit of a Valentine’s Movie Night and were going to the El Cerrito Theatre to watch “The Thin Man” which is the original of the Nick & Norah series… but that showing was sold out… so we decided to just swing by Silver Screen Video & pick up their copy. Oh, you haven’t heard of the Nick & Norah series? They’re from the 1930’s is probably why… but it may sound familiar. It’s a former detective husband Nick Charles (William Powell) and his playful heiress wife Norah (Myrna Loy) and they investigate murder cases… basically because they’re bored… and usually have cocktails in their hands while doing it. Also, this movie was directed by W.S. (stands for Woodbridge Strong) Van Dyke… who get this, from 1917 to 1942, directed 91 films. That’s almost four films per year… so basically the opposite of directors nowadays who direct one every four years. Also, this movie also had one of the great suave Latin lovers of the day… Cesar Romero. What’s that? Oh you’ve heard that name somewhere? Because he was the f**king Joker in the 60’s Batman TV series… but before that, he was even MORE awesome. Anyway, the movie is kind of a Hitchcock detective flick meets the Marx Brothers as Nick & Norah are always quick with the witty remarks & impeccable comedic timing… and I absolutely loved it. They movie was fun, intriguing (if just to see the separate beds in the master bedroom & the jargon of 80 years ago when the movie was made) and just a good ol’ time at the movies. Sure, it would’ve been cool to see on the big screen but… oh yeah, I have a big screen at home. Problem solved. Now we’ll probably have to see some of the other Nick & Norah movies… and I’m perfectly okay with that. Now for some news…
Jersey Bacon Festival - Get ready for bacon like you've never eaten, drunk or worn it before. Bacon milkshakes. Chocolate-covered bacon shaped like roses. Bacon-flavored toothpaste, dental floss and lip balm. Bacon bourbon, margaritas, beer and vodka. Bacon ice cream sundaes. A BLT sandwich with a full pound of bacon. They're all on the menu this week as one Atlantic City casino stretches the bounds of good taste and cardiovascular health with Bacon Week. The festival at the Tropicana Casino and Resort gives new meaning to the term "pigging out." The idea of a bacon festival is not as far-fetched as it might sound. Americans eat about 1.5 billion pounds of bacon a year, according to the National Pork Board. And the website counted nearly 30 bacon festivals around the country from late April through December 2013, many of whose tickets sold out in minutes. "Bacon is like heaven," said Nadina Fornia, of Egg Harbor Township. "If you're going to die, die with bacon on your lips and a BLT in each hand." Perhaps a little dramatic… but she was drawn to the casino Monday by the promise of bacon in far-out forms, including milkshakes and beer (not in the same glass, thankfully.) She also heard about the bacon-infused vodka. "That is my quest today," she said. Fornia tried a bacon bloody Mary mixed with a smoky bacon beer. Despite the overwhelming salty taste and the small strip of bacon floating in the glass, it tasted mostly like sharp tomato juice, she said. Nearby were chocolate covered pretzels with crumbled bacon bits; chocolate-drizzled potato chips with bacon, two kinds of pasta dishes with bacon, bacon cupcakes, and bacon wrapped around a fake green stem to form roses, which were then dipped in chocolate. "The first taste is chocolatey, then it's all bacon," said Melissa Ehrke, of Egg Harbor Township. "I was a little surprised I liked it, 'cause I was afraid to try it. It's that whole sweet and salty thing." While bacon-flavored grooming items are sold at festivals around the nation, they were encountering some skepticism at the Tropicana this week. "There are people that are just crazy for bacon," said Denise McGrath, of Neptune City. "But bacon toothpaste or floss? I'm not that crazy." James Sanders, of New York City, was in heaven trying as many free samples of bacon-flavored items as he could get his hands on. "I love me some bacon!" he exclaimed between bites of ... something. "I don't even know what this is, but it's got bacon in it. And it's good!" Sanders said eating bacon is a multilayered experience. "You keep chewing it and chewing it, and the flavor comes out the more you chew on it," he said. "And then you get to the fat and that floods into your mouth. I just love it." Carrie Jorgenson and her husband, Mike, were downing the bacon bloody Mary beer concoctions, while channeling celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. "I love pork. All things pork," she said. "That's what Emeril used to say, that pork fat rules, and it does." So… in other words… it’s like our Bacon Day parties… but over in on the Jersey Shore. Good to know but… I’ll stick to the West Coast… cuz you and I know it’s the Best Coast.
Anyway, again, be sure to check out the Terrible Lizard Brewing blog for some of the fun recent events in the world of $teve & Dizzy. Some of the things coming up from SF Beer Week include us helping with a 200+ gallon batch of IPA, a Barleywine festival, a big homebrew party with the SF Homebrewers Guild, and a bunch of our own homebrew things like starting a new batch (Oktoberfest), bottling another (Winter Warmer)& sampling a few others (Bourbon Barrel Porter & Quick Mead). Have a great weekend everybody!!! And Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Sweetest of the Sweet Science

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
So… I kinda hafta get this out first & foremost because… well, you’ll see…
RETURN OF DMX – Yes… the multi-platinum rap GOD, star of Season 1 of “Couples Therapy”, and occasion Christmas carol enthusiast is returning to the limelight… and it’s even better than you think. This time, he'll be stepping into a boxing ring… against everybody’s favorite neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. Yes… Hate Crime will be coming to your TV set in the near future… with commercials. Although no contract has been signed, a promoter is negotiating the bout as we speak. "DMX has promised to 'beat his ass,' but no contract or paperwork has been signed or agreed to yet," DMX spokesman Domenick Nati told CNN Wednesday. Best part: Zimmerman said the celebrity boxing match was HIS IDEA!!! Boxing was his hobby, he told Radar Online last month, even prior to the "incident." The incident, of course, is the February 2012 encounter in which he shot dead an unarmed 17-year old Trayvon Martin. He stood trial for murder but was acquitted last year. "Prior to the incident, I was actually going to the gym for weight loss and doing boxing-type training for weight loss," he told Radar. "A mutual friend put me in contact with Damon and provided me with an opportunity and motivation to get back in shape and continue with my weight loss goals and also be able to help a charity out." Damon is Damon Feldman, owner of Celebrity Boxing and a self-described opportunist whose claim to fame is putting together bizarre matchups. Think Tonya Harding, Michael Lohan. He said last week that he was accepting offers for someone to step into the ring for a three-round, pay-per-view fight with Zimmerman. "The news has been out for an hour and my e-mail is overloaded with 8,000 people wanting to fight George," Feldman told CNN on Thursday. Early Wednesday morning, he said he'd picked the contender. Out of more than 15,000 e-mailed requests, he's going with DMX. Praise Jesus! "The match will be one of the Biggest Celebrity Boxing matches of all time," his news release said (uppercase emphasis his). But in order to find out where and when it will take place, we'll have to wait until next week. Feldman said Wednesday he was shooting for March 15th. Of course… if you’re looking for a fair fight… DMX is who you want in the ring. He's out for blood, he told TMZ. Not only will he break every rule in boxing, he said, he'll "beat the living (expletive)" out of Zimmerman. Not everyone welcomes the chance to see Zimmerman taking punches… even if it’s HIS IDEA!!! Rev. Al Sharpton told a Los Angeles group Wednesday that he was concerned "about the precedent that it sets." Yes… Rev. Al Sharpton doesn’t like the idea of grown men getting paid money to fight. I wonder how he feels about boxing in general… or the predominant denomination of athletes who make their living at it professionally. You know, Tommy Morrison and such. Too soon? "We must be very careful not to glorify or in any way sidestep the implications of making someone whose only claim to fame was killing an unarmed young man named Trayvon Martin into a cultural celebrity or hero," Sharpton said. A petition has been launched on calling for the planned boxing event to be canceled. "This is a blatant show of disrespect and nothing positive or righteous would come from such a stunt," it reads. Yes… it’s horrible… but George Zimmerman wants to do it… Earl Simmons wants to do it (DMX)… they’ll both be compensated… whatever. Let it be, Reverend. Besides… who doesn’t want to watch a man who’s overcome everything from child abuse… to crack addiction… to a top rapper… to a Hollywood leading man… in & outta jail… and now, he’s going in the ring against a guy who’s famous for doing stupid sh*t that the laws in Florida condone. THERE WILL BE BLOOD!!! And I want to see it spilt. More to come…
Tuesday night, I watched “You’re Next” starring… well, it’s a horror flick so you may recognize a few faces… but the only I did was a guy I knew from a few Farrelly Brothers flicks in the mid-90’s. The story revolves around a very well-to-do family who meet at their isolated summer home in the woods to celebrate their parents’ wedding anniversary… but then some unexpected visitors start picking off family members with crossbows… and machetes… and it goes from there. That’s really the whole story… and yes, it’s VERY predictable, even the “twists” that they throw in… but overall, not horrible for a horror flick… just that it’s been done over & over again. Better than most I’d say though. There are a couple parts that are just really cheesy… but hey, that’s half the reason that you watch, right? Yeah… pretty standard… that’s about all I gotta say about that.
Wednesday night, I was invited to a special screening of “The Monuments Men” starring George Clooney (also directed & co-wrote), Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchette and a host of others. This tells the true story (by Hollywood standards) of a group of art professors, architects, etc. who braved WWII to find & return countless pieces of incredible art during the final days of WWII. See, as the History Channel will confirm, Hitler’s plans were to take almost all of the art in Europe (and eventually the world) and move it to his epicly massive Fuhrer Museum that we planned to build in his hometown of Linz, Austria as a symbol of his Third Reich being the epicenter of all culture in the world. So while he was invading & taking over countries… he would then send in specialists (similar to the Monuments Men) in to get the art and send it back to Germany for storage until construction was completed. Well, then they ended up losing ground… and so then they started storing the works of art in secret locations… and then when their defeat seemed imminent, the orders were to simply destroy the art and wipe away a very large part of European culture along with it. Literally MILLIONS of pieces of art were involved in this epic snatch-and-grab job. So that’s where these Monuments Men come in… and try to find & take back all of the art before it’s destroyed. The problem is not only the Germans burning the art… but the Russian have their own team doing the exact same thing, looking for the art in order to start paying reparations for the 20 million people who died in the war. So then it’s a race against the clock… and by the way, it’s a bunch of middle aged art nerds in the middle of WWII.
I really enjoyed this movie… but it’s exactly what you would expect. There’s a few surprises but no real major twists. Americans & Brits are the good guys… the Germans& Russians are bad… the French are arrogant & so on. Some of the jokes may be a little high brow than I’m used to… and others were just… not that funny… but you know, it didn’t really drag on until a little towards the end. It’s a full two hours… you’ll have a few laughs… you’ll see a great historical story… it’s what you want it to be. No more, no less. Another special treat of this screening was that it was hosted or something by The Legion of Honor Museum (they have a few of the recovered pieces by the way) and one of the actual Monuments Men was able to attend… which by my calculations would’ve made him like… 95 to 125 years old. They presented him… and I’m pretty sure that he had no idea what was going on… but still, kinda cool. I’d recommend checking the movie out… but not necessarily in a theatre where they’re going to charge you $15 a pop… unless maybe you’re a well-to-do art student. I think Dizzy would really like it… and maybe get some of the jokes that missed with me.
Thursday night, Dizzy, Jackie D & I went to Brainstormer Trivia Night at Rogue Ales Public House in North Beach. It’s exactly what it sounds like… drunk people form teams (some are veterans there every week) and compete with trivial knowledge & offensive team names. Our team name of “Harry Seaward” was tame considered to some others… like “Philip Seymour Hoffman – Five Days Sober” and “Putin, Eat My P**sy Riot”. Anyway, six rounds of questions running the gamut of popular culture… and basically rounds of beers to accompany them in order to win fabulous prizes. Well, despite my suspicions that some of the teams were blatantly cheating by using their phones… we finished 4th on our first time staying until the end. I’m proud of us… and I feel like we can do better in the future… but we’ll see if I can afford it. We were there for about four hours so that we’d have a table so… drinks were had.
That’ll do it for tonight… join us next time when we’ll share all the adventures of SF Beer Week, starting today & running until next Sunday. It should be quite interesting… or at least I’ll try to make it seem interesting. Have a great weekend everybody!!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

XLVIII - Roman for Suck

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
So Friday night, I went out for drinks with Jackie D who is in town on business… but also moving back to the Bay Area in a month or so… which is AWESOME… though I do fear for my liver a little bit… but it’s all good. We started by going to Tres Tequila Lounge & Mexican Kitchen (actual name) and ordering some Mezcal cocktails (mine had bacon) and shared some enchiladas & tacos… but then we went a few doors down to a place called Saison, which was even a little more upscale ($18+ cocktails) but provided a nice atmosphere & our bartender Chase took care of us… like for the next five hours. During drinks we caught up on happenings & just had a good time… and of course the next day I felt the effects in the morning… but it wasn’t too bad… and well worth it. Well… maybe not the bar tab… but still, good times.
Sunday was the Super Bowl!!! Don’t worry… those are probably the only exclamation points you’ll see about it. As you know… the Seahawks basically dominated the Broncos like they were led by Elway in the late 80’s… but Jackie D & I watched the game at Golden Gate Taproom, enjoyed a few beers, and let’s just say that we both went home with somebody else that night… I went with Dizzy of course so don’t even get that rumor started. Basically between the Friday night debauchery & Sunday’s, Dizzy & I did some beer things that I’ll elaborate more on in another post on the Terrible Lizard Brewing site (bottled our mead & bourbon barrel porter… and transferred the winter warmer to secondary carboy). So how about some movies that I saw?
Thursday night, I watched “The Bourne Legacy” starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton & the great Stacy Keach (without his moustache). This is the 4th in the Bourne series & the first without Academy Award winner Matt Damon… but it’s also directed by the writer of the original trilogy… so yeah, maybe a few more steady cam shots than Doug Liman? It sure seemed that way. Anyway, the plot is that because of the original trilogy & Jason Bourne (Damon) exposing all the government secrets about these super soldiers… now the people in charge are in full “disavowalment” mode & killing off these super soldiers to get rid of the evidence. One of them (Renner) narrowly escapes a drone missile aimed at him… but now has to find some medicine provided by the government that not only helped to give him his increased strength, but keeps him from dying a gruesome death (fail safe). As he tries to avoid detection, he goes to the manufacturer & meets up with a doctor (Weisz) who he’s met repeatedly for checkups on the drugs that he was taking as part of a “clinical trial”. Well, they’re trying to disavowal her too, even though she has no real idea that she was a part of this “super soldier” program… so they’re on the run… like all over the world. It’s a Bourne movie, so you’re going to get a lot of fast action in exotic locations, a lot of guys in suits half the world away giving orders while sipping cognac & talking about how they’re going to cover their own ass… but yeah, if you liked the first three movies then you’re probably going to like this one too.
My personal favorite little thing about this movie though was Edward Norton’s character, a guy who’s basically in charge or tracking down the super soldiers& director of the super-secret agency. It’s a subtle thing… but basically any time that somebody was giving a bunch of exposition that everybody should already know from the first three movies (but has to be repeated because… apparently people started with this one?), I feel like it’s his character’s responsibility to always immediately respond with “I already know that...” or “Everybody already knows this, it’s all over the news, what we need is blah blah blah…” just an immediate response to try to keep the pace back up & focused on what HE’S trying to do instead of trying to catch the audience up. I laughed out loud a few times because I feel like there should be a lot more little things like that in movies. “Well you know, ever since that Michael Myers was in that asylum as a boy he’s been…” “We all know the origin story sir, which way did you say he went?” It’s basically the exact opposite of most James Bond movies… sigh… except the newer ones. “I have to find (blank) to avenge my former lover of one night.” “James… you do realize that… you’re basically a slut, right? Do you even remember how many women with ridiculous names that you’ve banged over your career of 50 years? Is this REALLY why you want to find (blank) or do you just want to pop a few caps in a bad guy’s ass? Because that’s basically your job… so it’s okay to just say that. Put down that sifter of cognac, for Christ’s sake, it’s 8 AM!” “It’s Happy Hour in Macau! (glug)” Yeah… just a little thing I liked. Try not to notice it now when/if you watch it. I feel like the Fast & Furious series could use some of this… but then too much flashback would make it seem even stupider, right?
Sunday night, Dizzy & I watched “Insidious: Chapter 2” starring Patrick Wilson, Lin Shaye & Rose Byrne. This is the sequel to “Insidious” from two years ago that I LOVED & actually made Dizzy watch about a week earlier… so it worked out well. The first was fresh in our mind. A quick rundown of the first movie… is that a family with two young boys moves into a new house… and after a rash of weird activity, one of the boys goes into a mysterious coma for a few months. The weirdness continues & intensifies, so the mother (Byrne) & the father’s (Wilson) mother recruit the help of a medium (Shaye) to get to the bottom of the craziness… and maybe help save their son. Well, they find that perhaps a demon has possessed the boy… because the boy had a special gift that allowed him to travel into “The Further” when he was in a dream state… which is basically like crossing into the land of the dead, where you see ghosts & bad things. Well, the demon wants to take over the boy’s body in the real world so that he can kill & hurt others… so they must act quickly or risk losing their son forever. Spoiler alert: His ability to travel to “The Further” is genetic… so it’s his father that must go in after him. Further spoiler alert: He finds them… but there’s a twist at the end of the first movie… and I really don’t want to spoil it. I just recommend that you check it out. Sigh… okay, I kinda hafta spoil it to continue with the plot for the second… but still check them both out. Okay, so the father comes back & the boy is safe… but the medium dies mysteriously right after. Even after the family moves again, there are still crazy things happening… and now the father is acting really weird too. Is it the Father? Or somebody else in his body? And now… without the medium, how do they find out? Okay, so I really like these movies for a few reasons… first, they’re PG-13. They’re intense… but not overly gory or anything. Also, the camera angles and use of perspective are nice & creepy… the stories are out there, but not TOO out there like a lot of slasher flicks. It’s just a great scary movie experience. Go check them out!
Monday was my job’s Work Outing and this year… it was a little different. The whole team went out to Cavallo Point Resort in Sausalito (just across the GG Bridge from where I live) but I had never really been to Sausalito before… and the location of this resort was just amazing. It’s right on the water so that you can see the entire city of San Francisco across the bay (about 3 miles away?), the Golden Gate Bridge is about half a mile away on the right, it’s in a national park and a nice mix of older, traditional buildings from a former fort (Fort Baker) and some newer accommodations up on the hillside with beautiful views as well. Here are a few pictures that I took…

 Artwork inside...


 Newer buildings...
 The city from the other side... this was from the freeway above...
You can see the resort on this side of the bay at the bottom...
During the day, we had our business meetings… but then in the afternoon, we went out to Muir Beach for a Team Building exercise… to make sand castles. Now, there was a “roaring Lion” theme… so enjoy these little shots of our works. See if you can guess which one is mine…

After about 40 minutes... at sunset... we judged...


 This was the winner... it was not mine though...
still was a LOT of fun!!!
After the activity, we went to dinner at Barrel House, exchanged white elephant gifts & had a great time with our coworkers, some who work remotely all across the nation so it’s good to see them & catch up too. It was a fantastic day!!! Even better, we also got to spend the night at the resort too, so we got to enjoy the atmosphere (though it was a LOT like my place in the Presidio with regards to fresh air, beautiful views, etc). Great way to start the year with the job!!!
My "white elephant" gift... I like him...
 The best night shots that I could get on my phone...
Well, that’ll do it for this entry… join us over at the Terrible Lizard Brewery for some other fun updates from the past week. On the note… starting this weekend… is SF BEER WEEK!!! And boy do we have some plans!!! Have a great day everybody!!!

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