Monday, February 29, 2016

Two Inches Below the Heart

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Wednesday night, we finally watched a movie that we’ve anticipated since we first heard about it on “Electric Boogaloo” the documentary about Cannon Films. The working title of this movie may have been “Space Vampires in London” and based off a similarly named novel… but this 1985 sci-fi feature from director Tobe Hooper (“Poltergeist”) & the writer of the sci-fi classic “Alien”… also premiered the flawless nude body of 19-year old French ballet dancer Mathilda May (still f**king stunning at over 50 BTW). I’m talking of course… about the movie “Lifeforce”!!! Now… I had never heard of this movie before the documentary… and I have no idea how that’s possible. It must have REALLY tanked. It also wasn’t on Netflix either streaming or via mail… so I actually bit the bullet… and purchased the Blu Ray sight unseen (thanks Amazon). So the story picks up in deep space… where an American-British collaboration space team is exploring Haley’s Comet, when they notice a large (phallic) spacecraft in the comet’s tail… and discover a weird sort of holding cell with these flawless humanoids in suspended animation (and some charred remains of giant bat creatures). Well, they decide to take three of the humanoids & one of the bat creature corpses on board… and set the course back to Earth. Spoiler alert: Something goes wrong. So then the shuttle is free-floating in Earth’s orbit (auto pilot) and they send another team of astronauts to go get them… but find that everything & everyone on board has basically been charred… except for the three humanoids. They bring them down to Earth… and soon find out… the horror that they’ve unleashed on the planet!!! Okay, that’s all I’m going to say… because I want you all to watch this movie by any means necessary. Hit me up if you want to watch it again! I’m not going to lie… based on the documentary (and other Cannon Films), I went into this movie with low expectations & just wanted to see some 80’s effects and some Mathilda May boobage… but this movie was f**king legit in a lot of ways. Here, I’ll break it down:
What I Liked About the Movie:
·         The Special Effects – Look, I recognize that some of the green screen portions of the movie are a little hokey & jaunted… and some of the puppetry effects are slow & dated by the 80’s… but compared to what I was expecting & have seen from other 80’s movies, this sh*t is on point! The green screen portions may be a little dated… and the comet is ridiculous… but the backgrounds & sheer visuals of it are on point with 2001 & some of the H.R. Giger type stuff. The puppetry effects aren’t bad… and there are a LOT of explosions. Knowing that the movie was done on a budget… I was seriously impressed.
·         The Symphonic Score – The London Symphonic Orchestra scores this movie… and it’s f**king amazing! They build great tension throughout… but it doesn’t seem old & repetitive. I think the end credits song is even one of the classics that they use on NFL Films presentation. Great job with the score!
·         The Randomness of Things – There are guilty pleasures of mine in movies… and it’s often from just not knowing what to expect. This notion of unpredictability was alive & well in Cannon Films movies. This movie is no exception. Because you really have no idea what to expect from the storytelling, the acting, the effects, and how they keep trying to connect these random threads for little or no reason… it keeps you glued to the screen… because you don’t want to miss the craziness (or random boobs). The “she’s a masochist” scene… whoa!
·         Sir Patrick Stewart – YES!!! Captain Picard is in this movie… and the scene where he’s on the table & the aura of Mathilda May is speaking through him to our protagonist… fantastic!
·         Mathilda May – Let’s not f**king joke about it… gorgeous. She may only be on screen for like… ten minutes maybe? She may not actually say any words in the movie (dubbing?). Make no mistake that she’s the focal point of the movie though in every conceivable way. I feel like teenage Angelina Jolie took some notes after catching her dad watching this movie & turned it into her empire.
What I Didn’t Like About the Movie:
·         The Vampire Thing – Look, I know that this is based on a story about space vampires… but this movie didn’t really have vampires. I also know there’s the whole thing at the end of the 2nd act where Professor Exposition starts saying that perhaps the legends of vampires of the old world were based on these humanoids and blah blah blah… but you know what’s NOT explained? The giant bats!!! Is that part of their maturation? Once they hit a certain galactic age, do they just sprout wings and become fanged gargoyles? (I smell a sequel?) These humanoids suck the “lifeforce” out of humans every two hours to keep from… basically exploding into dust… and from what I can tell, their powers are being stunningly sexy, strength, being impervious to bullets (grenades?), some telepathic powers, the ability to transfer their lifeforce into other people & shattering glass with their comatose expressions… but they don’t transform into bats, rats or any of that other vampire stuff… garlic is fine… there are no fangs… there’s no cloaks and/or poofy shirts… hell, there’s not even clothes unless I assume the set was about 40 degrees and they just wanted to drape a sheet over the actor to keep them from freezing to death! What’s the one traditional vampire thing about the whole movie? How they can be killed… IRON STAKES THROUGH THE HEART… or as the movie puts it, something like “The Old Way! Leaden iron… through the energy center… two inches below the heart!” You know… the Old Way. None of these newfangled ways like… grenades.
Overall, I’d say that you have to check this movie out at least once! Hell, I’m going to watch it a few more times… probably because it’ll be an episode on the Podcast… but I may be getting ahead of myself on that one. The movie is a little difficult to find… but well worth it.
Wednesday night, I met up with some of the future in-laws for dinner at Elevation 66 Brewing to celebrate my future mother-in-law’s birthday. It was a lot of fun… the food was great… the people were even better… here are some pictures…

Saturday, Cesar, Heather & KJ were in the Bay Area… so while Heather was at a seminar in Oakland, the boys Cesar & KJ came to have fun with us… and we had a great breakfast at a place called Grindz in Pac Heights… and then went to check out Japantown… and then relax (long night before for them) by watching “Animal Fight Night” on Netflix… seriously, that show is DOPE!!! We ended the evening with dinner at Elevation 66 (yes, twice in about 48 hours… boom!). Here are some pictures…

Sunday, we had a birthday party for Izzy’s mom & sister Tess at the Aunties’ house… and we get to see the wee nephew Everett… here are pictures of that too…


Lastly for this update, Izzy & I had some brewing stuff to take care of. First up, we had our Barrel-Aged Barleywine to bottle (and test before various birthday celebrations in the coming months) so here are some pictures of that…
…and then we had an empty barrel with a little souring going on… so we barreled our intentionally Sour Chocolate Stout from the double batch a few weeks ago to age in the barrel and get a good sour going that we can visit in a few months…
...kegging our regular Chocolate Stout...
…and lastly, we transferred our Homegrown Galena Hopped Pale Ale to secondary.
Whew… a pretty busy week if I say so myself with both of us working full-time… but a LOT of fun & a LOT more fun to come. So until next time, have a great day everybody!!!

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Hunger for Dew

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Saw a few good movies this past week… first up was “Sicario” starring Benecio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin. This movie is about an FBI agent (Blunt) who joins an elite task force that is cracking down on the Mexican drug trade… by any means necessary. Her ideology is called into question as their methods are not “by the book” but… can it be by the book when those that they are fighting against don’t play by the book? The movie is… intense. I loved it. There are twists and turns throughout… Benecio Del Toro gives a great performance… really everybody does a great job… there are great cameo performances… the subject matter is dark & disturbing… definitely one of the best movies from last year that I’ve seen. Even the parts of the movie that some might see as slow… still pretty damn intense. Even the occasion establishing aerial shots of the Juarez / El Paso area are great at showing that… basically the land is pretty barren… yet people live there… and they’re struggling every day to survive in this fruitless land… and then they drop you in the movie up close. Man, it’s just a great movie. Lots of violence & language… definitely rated hard R but… holy sh*t, go see this movie if you’re not squeamish.
Also, this weekend, Izzy & I continued the series of movies by continuing with “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part One” with Part Two coming out later this year. For those who don’t know, the original movie set up the world of basically an alternate reality United States where after a major civil war, there are 12 Districts essentially ran by a Capital City (that may or may not be located in Salt Lake City looking at a few maps online?) and... basically once a year, they get one teenage girl & one teenage boy from each district… and have them fight to the death in a completely controlled environment for sport… and maybe the winning district gets food. Why is this how it works? You know what… don’t think about it too hard… but apparently this gives Hope to those who are being oppressed. Well, the first movie is about this girl named Katness (Jennifer Lawrence) who volunteers for these Hunger Games to save her little sister during the lottery selection process… and spoiler alert: She wins! After 2.5 hours and a LOT of shaky cam, that’s the end result of the first movie… but that’s only the beginning of the story. Now she’s a symbol of Hope for the common people of all the districts… and President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is not a fan of this… but he can’t make a martyr of her… and basically, I’m just going to say… you kind of have to soldier through & watch the first movie to get the basis of the movie (or at least try to)… but it’s really the following movies where the cool action & intrigue actually pops up. There’s a lot of political maneuvering, some decent action scenes, a sprinkling of teen angst, but far more stuff like PTSD and morality issues rather than “Oh man, which boy do I love?” and all that other Twilight BS… it’s mostly a movie about REVOLUTION!!! And sprinklings of Revenge!!! Go check them out!!!
So for the next month… I’m doing the No Mountain Dew Challenge that I’ve thrown on myself. I’ve been drinking Mountain Dew for a loooooong time. Basically since high school that has been my drink of choice… and when I was playing basketball 8 hours a day then I was at least burning off the calories (and I was definitely drinking more before). However, I’m going to try to cut it… and replace it with tea or water. Why? Well… I’m getting a few pounds of me… and let’s face it… soda probably isn’t the best for my organs. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.  Yes, I know it’s been on the $tevies for like 8 years in a row to give up… but I’m confident that it can be done. Come on cheer me on. Well, besides not having Mountain Dew around… how else can I kick it? Well…
This weekend, Izzy & I tried a little brewing experiment called “Mountain Brew” which… is exactly what it sounds like. Basically it’s beer… made with Mountain Dew, some other malt sugars, and yeast. I know what you’re thinking. “Why the f**k would you do something like this?” Well… because I’m curious how it will fare. I have no idea who it will turn out. Will it taste like alcoholic Mountain Dew? Very doubtful. Will it be a delicious experience? Probably not. Will it probably be some sort of horrible concoction that induces vomiting? Hopefully not. So then what will it taste like? I’ll let you know… but I’m hoping for some sort of citrusy pale ale… but I’m sure if it were incredible then every microbrewery would have a version of this. What if it’s great? We’ll be surprised… and even if it’s half-decent… then we’ve already got another idea ready to go: Dr. Pepper Stout. Anyway, here are some pictures of Mountain Brew…

Lastly, we’re in the final stages of getting our Podcast up & running… so I’ll have the link information out to you as soon as possible when it’s up & running and maybe we have a few episodes up too… you know, so you get an idea of what Izzy & I are throwing out there. It’s going to be amazing! Until then, have a great day everybody!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Autocorrect Finance

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Did you like my last entry where I talked about Cannibal movies? Me too… well, both movies were actually pretty tedious… but now I get into the REAL Valentine’s / President’s Day weekend stuff. Essentially, the weekend started Thursday night, when Izzy suggested that we meet up at Elevation 66 Brewing for fancy dinner (including Moroccan chicken) and drink some of their wonderful beverages (including barrel aged Old 66, which is their Scottish Wee Heavy). Now, Izzy raised a point that I wanted to share (if I haven’t already repeatedly). We honestly couldn’t think of a place in the Bay Area that A) had better food and B) had better beer consistently. I mean… the food is pretty amazing. We don’t frequent five-star or Michelin rated restaurants often… but they’re often too expensive to try much… and their beer selection is always lacking (and dated). Beer places… usually don’t have great food, especially high-quality fancy food in grand proportions. I can’t say it enough… eat & drink at this place!!! It’s fantastic!!! You won’t regret it!!!
Well, I guess this weekend’s story really starts… about four years ago… when Izzy introduced me to this new brewery that opened up by her house on our first… not even date, really just a meetup where she tricked me into coming to help her move the TV that I gave her (as opposed to throw away) from out of the back of her car… only it was out & set up in her house… but she still wanted to treat me to a Nation’s burger and a beer at this new brewery called Elevation 66 across the street. Good move. That was my introduction to this place… and this wonderful lady in my life… and four years later, things are still going pretty damn good.
So now, back to the story… or rather a few weeks ago, when I purchased a ring after finding out what Izzy would like down the road when/if I were to propose. Yeah, I was pretty quick about it once I had any clue what she wanted other than a purple plastic spider ring (my original plan as you well know… but she don’t do spiders). The ring’s titanium… and has a redwood loop inlet… because my lady is a California girl. There’s also an inscription on the inside that says “Reminder: I Love You!” because… you know, if she’s ever forgetting that for some reason… she has the shiny equivalent of a string wrapped around her finger. Also, big ups to The Wingman for finally getting the ring information out of her! You rock!
So… after a few weeks of waiting for this “handmade” ring to be delivered from “Hawaii” or wherever it really came from… it finally showed up on Monday. Okay $teve, go time! Get a plan going. How are you going to do this? Fancy dinner? Event? Road trip getaway? Heart-shaped pizza? That last one was really the default… but we’ve known one thing about each other for a long time… don’t hide anything in food except other more delicious food. OH SH*T!!! I haven’t even asked for permission from her fath… never mind, Todd’s a bit of a douche. I’ll ask permission from her mom… and the aunties. So I did that… via Facebook Messenger… and they basically lost their sh*t in approval… and wanted to know details about how I was going to do propose? No idea… but I listed off my ideas… and they knew the heart-shaped pizza was a good fallback rug. So yeah, I’ve got the ring & the approval. Now for the plan…
Wednesday night, Izzy was at her house… and I was at mine… and she suggested that I come to see her Thursday night after work and we have dinner at E66. PERFECT!!! By the way, I know it’s mostly because it’s February… but the last month or so… EVERYTHING was about marriage. Commercials, topics coming up at parties, family messages, all this stuff… and it really didn’t help that we went to Vegas on a whim last month… but yeah, it was going around. While I was at work, she was hanging with her mom… and her aunts… and not going to lie, I was more than a little concerned that they’d spill the beans about proposing. Long story short, they didn’t… so then we had dinner at Elevation 66… and it was spectacular as mentioned before.
So then… the time came. I had ordered dessert (stout brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream & pecans), the ring had been in my hand for a few minutes now while we were talking, and I was going to do the whole tapping on the glass to get everybody’s attention and do the whole stupid speech in front of everybody while my girlfriend cries her eyes out… but it didn’t quite work out that way… because my girlfriend had to pee. She excused herself… and before she went off, she was standing next to me while I was sitting down… gave me a hug & a kiss… and told me “I love you sooo much… you know that, right?” Of course I did… and so I told her so… and figured “What the hell? Now is as good a time as any”. Again, the ring was already in my hand… and sitting down, I was pretty much already on a knee… so then I said something along the lines of “It’s funny you should mention that… because I have a question for you?” I opened my hand… and she didn’t even look at first. See, when I asked her about it later… apparently she thought that I was just bullsh*tting her and there was going to be a pickle slice or some sort of snack in my hand… not a titanium-redwood symbol of my devotion to her. She was just looking into my eyes… so I kind moved my hand a bit to get her attention… and did the eye motion thing towards my hand so that she would check it out… and then it started to click… “Will you marry me?” So… after a quick swelling of emotions, she said yes… we kissed a few dozen times… and apparently the waitress was right behind me with the dessert when this was going down, so she set it down… and basically came back with a half-bottle of champagne (out of beer?)… and yeah, I don’t think really anybody else in the restaurant knew what was going down… but you know what… we did… and that’s pretty much what’s important.
I’m so lucky to have a wonderful, thoughtful & just amazing woman like Izzy in my life… and I think her family likes me too. I’m really excited to spend the rest of my life with her… and going on all new adventures. It should be pretty sweet. I honestly had no idea when we started dating four years ago where it was going to go (as you can probably read & tell if you wanted to go back) but we’ve had some pretty great times since then… and we’ll certainly have plenty more. We’ll definitely keep you posted on how all that goes… starting with the rest of the weekend.
So after Facebook blew up & we basically started trending on social media because of how happy everybody was for us when she posted pictures… there was still a whole three-day weekend of adventures to be had… and I know you ladies want to see the ring but... here's that bomb ass dessert that we got!
Saturday, Izzy had to work… but I went to a special presentation lunch to congratulate the Strand Brewing as Homebrew Club of the Year at Anchor Brewing. You may recall that the announcement was back in November during the California State Homebrewing Competition, but now this is where they were presented with the official award, etc. I met up with about 30 like-minded homebrewers… and we had some barbecue… and good times were had. Here are some pictures…

Sunday was Valentine’s Day… and I know how to treats my lady. Our first stop… was the World’s Greatest Taco Bell in Pacifica
Then we stopped by Half Moon Bay Brewing for a drink… and that alone because it was Valentine’s Sunday Brunch time… and the mimosas & bloody marys were out… still a nice spot to grab a bear…

Next stop was a new brewery, Hop Dogma Brewing in nearby El Grenada. They have a wide variety of great beers & styles to choose from including The Incompetent Devil (foreign extra stout) and various sours and chili beers… and that was even when they were all out of Doppelbock & we had to buy a bottle of Imperial Stout to take home and drink later… but yeah, great little spot… and we’ll definitely have to swing by there when we’re in the area again…


On the way back to San Francisco, we stopped by Pacifica again… because my lady deserves Heart Baker Pizza from Papa Murphy’s for dinner… and cookie dough...
So that night… we continued our tradition of watching non-traditional romantic movies… by basically me watching “True Romance” and she was looking up wedding stuff on her phone… but yeah, a wonderful day with a wonderful lady.
Monday, we ran some errands, met up with Izzy’s mom (and I guess my future mother-in-law) for lunch… and then we FINALLY used our homegrown Galena hops in a batch of our Pale Ale extract recipe… enjoy the beauty that is whole cone hops…

So yeah… a wonderful weekend with my new fiancĂ©e… who I am so incredibly lucky to have in my life. She’s amazing & I want nothing but the best for her. So yeah, it was pretty fantastic even getting a lot of things done. More things getting done for next entry… but more on that later. Until then, have a great day everybody!!!

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