December 19, 2006

Gonzo Imperial Porter

Brewed by Flying Dog Brewery from Denver, it's a fitting tribute to Hunter S. Thompson. Bitter, but with acerbic wit, dark as anyone on the Christian Right probably assumes Thompson soul is, and with enough flavor and bite to make you take your time with this beer.

The 9.5% abv creates a sensation much like Thompson's work does in me; it's fun to visit every once in a long while, but it's not something that I'll want around to casually pop open. I'll have to try it in beer bread to see of some of the flavor comes through better without all the alcohol taste. Hopefully it does, as there's probably no way I finish even the four pack anytime soon.

A brief update on eMusic downloads

Oh weblog, how I've forgotten you. To make up for that, here's a list of what I've downloaded from eMusic, solely in terms of full albums.

16 Horsepower - Folklore
Aimee Mann - One More Drifter in the Snow
Asobi Seksu - Citrus
Bert Jansch - The Black Swan
Bobby Bare Jr. - The Longest Meow
Devotchka - How it Ends
Devotchka - Una Volta
Dirty on Purpose - Hallelujah Sirens
Dirty on Purpose - Sleep Late for a Better Tomorrow
Dirty Three - Horse Stories
Finest Dearest - Pacemaker
Girl Friday - Swimmer
Heavenly - Le Jardin de Heavenly
Heavenly - The Delcine and Fall of Heavenly
Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights
Joseph Arthur - Nuclear Daydreams
Les Issambres - Sand Theatre Poetry
Low - Secret Name
Low + Dirty Three - In the Fisthank 7
Of Montreal - Satanic Panic in the Attic
Of Montreal - The Sunlandic Twins
Old 97's - Drag it Up
Old 97's - Wreck Your Life
Richard Thompson - The Old Kit Bag
Shearwater - Everybody Makes Mistakes
The Black Keys - Thickfreakness
The Chalets - Check In
The Green Pajamas - Seven Fathoms Down and Falling
The High Violets - 44 Down
The High Violets - To Where You Are
The Innocence Mission - Befriended
The Methadones - Not Economically Viable
The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
The Organ - Sinking Hearts
The Pipettes - We Are the Pipettes
The Rogers Sisters - The Invisible Deck
The Russian Futurists - Our Thickness
The Submarines - Declare a New State
The Weepies - Say I am You
The Wrens - The Meadowlands
Venice is Sinking - Sorry About the Flowers
Vivian Linden - Watch the Light Fade
Vox Vermillion - Standing Still You Move Forward
Yo La Tengo - I am not Afraid of You and Will Beat Your Ass

Some quick thoughts: The Submarines are delightful, potentially more on this later. I love Vox Vermillion, many others will not. The Pipettes have, indeed, dropped me in their nets. I don't remember a darn thing about Vivian Linden, The Organ, or Joseph Arthur. The Rogers Sisters were dissapointing. The Weepies are nearly perfect background music. Devotchka remain my favorite band that features a french horn. There aren't nearly enough downloads available. I have over 50 albums in the Saved For Later list. I don't have enough time to really know most of this music.

August 18, 2006

Work: The Next Generation

I hurt in ways that are not unusual by themeselves, but the combination of aches, near muscle pulls, bruises and other abrasions have me seeking an odd combination of comfort food bedfellows: beer and tapioca pudding. I'm sure it'll be just like bubble tea. Honest.

Hooray Beer! Hooray Weekend!

August 16, 2006


Today was my third day of training at a national shipping company so that I may become a package handler. My legs look like I owe someone money. Not enough debt to break bones, just enough to slap a rubber hose across them repeatedly. My right forearm looks roughly the same. In short, ow.

The job kind of sucks. The pay definately sucks. The hours don't suck, but only because I don't have any sort of social life, and as I'm not getting paid enough to have one, this works out rather well. The bright side of this: I get to work in a field (manual labor) that I've not yet worked, and I get to drop my gym membership and not baloon up like a Sally Struthers.

August 02, 2006


I have an intense dislike for DRM. It's a pointlessly restrictive method of copy protection that's as functional as a 20 year old Yugo. It's also why I'll never purchase any music from iTunes. To me, limiting myself to a single type of portable music player (or doing so on this side of the DMCA, anyway), and to a small amount of transfers is more cumbersome than buying a CD and then ripping the tracks.

I'd pretty much resigned myself to only buying physical copies of music, so I was pleasantly surprised by a post on BoingBoing about eMusic, a site that has legal downloads (and not quasi-legal Russian based servers) with no DRM, no restricions on transfers between storage devices, and a high bitrate.

Their selection, for me, is really quite good. Last night I downloaded the Old 97's album Wreck Your Life and a couple of songs from The Weakerthans. Today I used up the rest of my free trial (25 songs) on a few songs from Spain, Vox Vermillion, Petra Haden (from that dog. and The Rentals), Eletric Frankenstein, Future Bible Heroes (an alternate outlet for Stephin Merritt), and The Decemberists.

In the light of day, I'll probably activate the billed portion of my subscription. $10/month for 40 downloads means about $3 a cd, and still room in the budget to, you know, eat. I'm in favor of eating, especially to good, new music.

A man who should wear tweed

From the Village Voice, via Boing Boing
He is kind, awkward, and modest, and tends to explain things with charts.

July 31, 2006

Oh, my poor procopius!

Last night I felt adventurous, so I planned out my activities for today: wake up, shower, ride a bike to COD to return Death Comes for the Archbishop and A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, neither of which I read, ride back into Wheaton, get on a train, end up in the city, wander around, take a few pictures, maybe tie up a loose end from my last apartment, go back to Wheaton, get back on the bike and come home.

I actually managed to do most of these things. I also checked out two more books from COD, one on Pompeii that I doubt I'll finish and a copy of Procopius' Secret History which I enjoyed what little I read of it on the train ride back in. I didn't get the loose end tied up, and while I realize that I probably ought to actually call the old landlord instead of my old roommate to do this, she's a lot more fun to talk to than he is.

My camera's battery crapped out on me before I was really done taking pictures. So, in retaliation, I walked into the library and read Nick Sagan's Idlewild. I'd already read Edenborn and Everfree, so there really wasn't anything in the story itself that was surprising. The placement of story events and the singular perspective in which it was told did surprise me. Not to give away any spoilers, but I was definately used to the multiple perspectives that Sagan used in both the other novels in the series, so to have only Hal's narration was a bit of a shock. I had been looking foward to having some new voices. It was a good read though, and when I get some more disposable income again, I'll have to pick up a copy of it and do a decent review of the entire story.

July 30, 2006

Sunday Photo Blogging

Yesterday I spent some time wandering around a small portion of Blackwell Forest Preserve. Being a responsible blogger, I took pictures and put them up on flickr. They're here: Blackwell 7/29/06

July 26, 2006

Gofl Joke Analysis

Courtesy of Lore Sjöberg's Table of Malcontents: What's so funny? Not golf.

The best analysis is this one. A breif excerpt:
C. Daddy just realized the awful futility of his suburban life and loveless marriage, plans on buying a hotrod, smoking pot, and perving on teenage girls.

2 pounds

Watch me turn the blue of Athens' Olympic tennis court as I eat 2 delicous, delicous pounds of blueberries that I bought at Trader Joe's yesterday. Mmm, blueberry pancakes. Mmm blueberry oatmeal. Mmm blueberries.

July 25, 2006

Yarr, shoot 'em across the earpiece

Michael Russel, a QA Manager for Ritual Entertainment, has a different take on the effect of warez.

From the post:
For the last five weeks, support requests for the pirated version of the game outnumbered support requests from legitimate purchasers. Last week, the pirates outnumbered the true customers by almost five to one.

There's a longer form post about the Entitlement Generation, of which by definition I'm a part, but from me at the moment.

July 21, 2006

Golf 7-21

Score: 109

I'm not going to go through a description of each hole this week because I'm a) lazy enough that going out to the car to get the scorecard seems like rather a lot of bother, and b) I'm more interested in developing a writing style that isn't quite so rigid in its execution.

I went into today's round with a plan. A plan that I knew resembeled Bush's strategery and planning-ness for leaving Iraq in a timely manner. Thankfully I'm only in charge of where I send little white balls, not people. The plan was to try to hit a fade as often as possible, potentially on every shot. This was born from a desire to start elevating my game by requiring more thought on the range, more thought on the course, and, hopefully, a more repeatable swing.

I started developing this plan last night at the driving range. It worked better than I really ought to have expected, given that I was trying to do this with no coaching, no one watching my swing, and just a vague idea of how I could try to mold my approach into something that didn't flit and dart around like a 13 year old boy trying to look at as many boobies as possible. In retrospect, I probably should have stopped sooner than I did last night; the last 10 to 15 balls that I hit were more slices than fades, and I didn't feel all that secure in the rhythym of the shot, a (lack of) feeling that caused me some uncertainty today, along with the end result of slicing all but two of my drives on the back nine.

The current crowning glory of the change came on the third hole today. The drive was a tad bit further right than I'd really want, ending up just off the fairway in the first cut of rough. The second shot, also a fade, was hit from ~250 with my 5-wood and stopped about 20 yards short of the green. The other times, pre-plan, that I've hit good drives, I usually take a 4-iron into my hand and proceed to repeatedly slam the clubface into my foot. At least that's what it feels like. Anyway. I hit the chip to within about 15 feet (not good) and two putted for par.

On the fifth hole, I managed to place a bit of a gemstone in that crowning glory, where I made a par on the hole rated as the second hardest on the course. The tee shot went right and nestled itself just to the left of and behind a little sapling. The green on this hole is guarded by a tree short and right, so I figured I was pretty well up-creek-sans-paddle. Instead of wallowing around in self pity like I'd normally do, I grabbed my 9-iron and implemented the Plan. I managed to work the ball around the tree in front of me and didn't get caught up in the tree in front of the green. A very nice chip stopped a couple feet from the hole and I knocked in the par putt. Take that hole!

July 16, 2006

Tennis 7-16

On Friday I called up my good friend Union Jon Myers and suggested some tennis for this weekend. He agreed, and we were on for Sunday morning at 9:30. Why so early, you might ask? I answer merely by pointing to the thermostat, which was reported to indicate 91 degrees that early in the morning. So there.

I think this is the second time Jon and I've played this summer, and I don't think he's played more than one or two times beyond that, so I have a bit of an advantage in the early going. Jon, however, has the advantage overall, being significantly quicker than I. He also has the far better strategy, wherein he just works on returning the ball and making me run all over the court, forcing me to hit winners. I often fail to do this.

The first two games went quickly to Jon, and I'd like to take a moment to blame my playing Mitch so much this summer. The short, backspin shots that Mitch can't get to are like eating good strawberries to Jon. I need a new drug plan. I decide to play more to Jon's style and let rust do to him what it ought. I also figure that I'll start moving in after shots that I think will get him a little off balance. I win three of the next four, and I'm feeling pretty darn good about myself.

Then I lose two straight, making the set 5-3 in Jon's favor. I win two more and tie the set up 5-5. At some point in those four games, I decide to switch up my serve and stop pounding the ball long every single freaking time. The spin serve starts working well for me and I'm getting more of them in than I thought possible. Even Jon remarks on this. Then, I beat him again on his serve and take a 6-5 lead. I figure this'll go well for me. It doesn't.

The two rules that I know of that we ignore are as follows: we don't switch sides as appropriate (we only do so after a set), and we don't play tiebreaks. The potential for moderate medical disaster in the heat exists, but is rather small as we're both 25, not stupid, and totally aware of the water fountain nearby. Happily, there's only two games left in the match, and I win both of them.

As we're sitting around in the park very much enjoying the shade, Jon notes that he's gotten slower and I've gotten faster. I like this. Then when I get home, I proceed to eat two ice cream sandwhiches and the rest of the pizza I had last night. Mmm, good.

July 14, 2006

Golf 7-14

Score: 100
Location: Fox Valley Golf Club

Hole 1: A 5-wood off the tee was pushed right. I had no real hope of reaching the green for all the trees in my path, so I punched out low back into the fairway. A decent chip and two putts later, a bogey was carded and the day began. The tee shot started a recurring theme.

Hole 2: 6 iron off the tee that lacked in the power department left me down in a little depression a little short and to the right of the green. Another chip and two putt gives another bogey.

Hole 3: Driver, crappily struck. Hybrid 3-wood hit decently, but left, in the rough. A 6-iron pitch to an unobstructed view of the green ended in the rough the right. Then there was waiting. And waiting. The foursome ahead of us was slow. I've seen women walk after me faster than these guys were playing. I pulled the 8 iron and left it short, leaving me about 20 yards from the green. A crappy chip, a better chip and two putts gives an 8. Not good.

Hole 4: After some more waiting, a really nice 5-wood off the tee. 150 yards, downhill and I pull a pitching wedge, land about 6 feet from the green, hit a chip less than 5 feet from the cup, one put. Par!

Hole 5: I hate this hole. There's a most annoying tree on the right in the perfect line for someone to hit a draw. The hole's a dogleg right, so I can understand trying to force a fade. The green's also guarded by a hulking brute of a tree on the front right. And the green has three tiers. Anyway, I hit a great drive, leaving myself 110 away. The pin's on the middle tier and I figure another PW will get me there. Except that I hit it thin and send the ball 20 yards past the green. Faced with a 10-ish foot hill and a green that's running away from me, I'm in pretty deep waters. The flop runs of the green, another chip and 2 putts and I walk away with a double bogey, after being 110 yards away and in great position. This hole's in my head.

Hole 6: Driver off the tee to right before the Valley of Sin. Pulled hybrid 3-wood leaves me in the rough, about 100 away. I'm currently happy with this situation. It's too bad I have to wait about 5 minutes for the group to clear off the green so that I can hit on. Or, instead, hit the ball to the right and short. Flubbed chip + okay chip + putt + putt = double bogey 7.

Hole 7: The Molasses Group lets us play through and I promptly smack a drive off to the right, in the middle of a copse of thin, young trees that are all hearing stories from Grandpappy Tree. I try to play a 5 iron runner shot, and end up in the bunker. A far from ordinary shot leaves me less than a foot, tap in for par.

Hole 8: Driver goes, wait for it, off to the right. I again have no shot at the green, and punch out, rather too strongly, across the fairway into the first cut of rough. Luckily I have the whole green to work with. Unluckily, there's a rather massive downhill component at the beginning of the green. A good chip, two mediocre, putts and a bogey is had.

Hole 9: A six-iron off the tee is pull left, a very handy bounce (almost straight up) off the cart path gets me back in the rough of the correct hole, about hole high. I flub the chip, hit the next one short, but on the green, and make two putts for a double bogey. Score going out: 48

Hole 10: I've now been watching my dad top a goodly percentage of his shots and top my 5 wood. I take an easy swing 50 yards from the tee and end up in really good position, about 60 yards from the hole and with plenty of room on either side to avoid the creek bed. I hit a lob wedge right into the creek bed. Then I skull my chip over the green. A chip and two putts gives me 2par. Not good.

Hole 11: I pull out the 5 wood, choke down on it and try to give it less than a 3/4 swing. This all works too well, as my hips and hands are faster than my arms and I hit a short draw that's left of the green. A chip and two puts nets bogey.

Hole 12: A pull hook off the drive and I'm all wet. A hook with the hybrid 3 wood gets me around the tee box of hole 13. A short pitch, unremarkable chip and 2 putts and I have another double bogey.

Hole 13: Topped driver. Hybrid 3 wood across the fairway into the right rough. Then three shots that I can't remember at all and one put. Double bogey.

Hole 14: Driver off right, which results in a lost ball. Curse you weeds. I won't hit the drive in another direction for the rest of the day, and will play three of the next four holes out of the wrong fairway. There's another three shots that I can't remember, and the scorecard says that I hit only one putt, so the last chip must've been good. I know that I was starting to get more than a bit peeved at this point, too. Double bogey.

Hole 15: 8-iron that is somehow hit to the right side of the fairway to my right. I have no idea how this happens. Seriously, I'm 144 yards from the front of the green and I manage to be about 50 yards off line to the right. Anway, I hit a good looking lob shot directly into the branches of the tree that I thought I'd be able to clear. The chip I hit a little bit thin and it runs 10 feet by the hole. Not good when I was less than 20 feet from the hole to start with. My dad had just putt from where I ended up, so I had a line on the putt, which I sank in one of those "I have to send this 4 feet above the hole and let gravity take it straight down the hill" type of 45 degree angle putts. An interesting bogey.

Hole 16: Driver pushed right, to the right edge of the 5th fairway. Side note, I haven't had to yell "Fore!" all day. There's be no-one in any of the fairways I've hit to. My 8-iron comes up just short and makes a couple inch deep ball mark in the rough just before the green. This is overall rather neat. Chip and two putts makes double bogey.

Hole 17: Drive is, again, pushed right, but this time there's oodles of rough between fairways and I'm in an area populated by trees. I try a fading, low 6-iron, scrape by a few branches and end up in the fairway about 75 yards from where I was. Sigh. There's a seven on the scorecard, and I have two putts recorded so I must have lost the three shots in between. Probably not a pity.

Hole 18: Another drive, another wrong fairway. Another 8-iron short of the green, this time in the bunker. A good bunker shot and 2 putts gives me 5 and mercifully ends the round. Score in: 52


From T.O. claims he was misquoted in autobiography.

Tennis 7-13

Another instance of the weekly tennis match with Mitch, a formor co-worker. He's a bit more than 20 years older than I am, and rather more out of shape than I, so it's not suprising that he's yet to take a set from me.

The sets last night went 6-1, 6-1, in a reversal of our recent trend which features me losing the first three out of four games. I've generally turned it around after that point because a)my serve is starting to be in, b)I'm paying more attention, and, eventually c)Mitch slows down.

The night is easily broken down into 3 distinct parts.

Games 1-5: I went 5-0. I was getting a decent amount of first serves in, but without much pace or spin, I was pretty well focused and didn't try to hit shots that were beyond my ability level. Mitch seemed a bit tired, and didn't seem to be paying attention all that well. I hit one lucky-as-hell drop shot that almost sat on the tape before dropping off right into the corner on the other side of the net.

Games 6-9: 2-2. At the beginning of game 6, Mitch notes that he has nothing to lose and starts playing with more vigor. His shots have a lot more pace than I'd been used to seeing that night. I quickly think that we might have a good match after all. I don't remember the seventh game all that well, but I think he pushed it to duece before I served out the first set. I broke his serve on the next game, after a whole bunch of break chances; the pace he was putting on the ball, and now the placement he was getting had me trying shots that I really oughtn't. He breaks me back the next game by really putting pressure on my second serve, and making good shots when I don't make them myself. Halfway through the fourth game of this section , I ask why he hasn't been playing like this before. He says that he just can't keep it up, and can't count on the shots falling. I think he's wrong about this, but keep my mouth shut. Hey, I like winning. I end up breaking him back; he's tiring a bit or is believing his comment.

Games 10-14: 5-0. It's mostly back the the start, with the added bonus of me hitting cross court shots a lot better, both on the return and during rallys. Mitch isn't the fleetest of foot, so there's no real chance for him to pull anything out at this point.

July 13, 2006

In the beginning.

First, there was a LiveJournal

Then, there was silence.

After that was broken, more LiveJournal

Then, more silence.

Now, we're here. Tonight, there'll be tennis. Tomorrow, golf. Then? I care not to speculate.