Saturday, February 28, 2009

Even Lego Men Drink Beer

I'm bottling my latest batch of beer today (a Nut Brown Ale) which will be primed and ready to drink in a few weeks...

And since my afternoon is dedicated to the great art of beer, I figured I would leave you with an entertaining video involving beer and one of the best toys in the world: Legos...


Friday, February 27, 2009

Beer Wars Movie

As I sip on the deliciousness of my Rogue Dead Guy Ale, and beam with excitement over the Southern Tier Cuvee Series 1 AND 2 that I picked up tonight (Many thanks go to Mario, the manager of the local "New England Beverage Company" who offered the LAST Series 1 in the store from behind the counter), I can only blog about something near to my heart: beer and movies. In today's case, a perfect combination: a movie about beer.

For those who are not really into drinking beer, you still might notice that, although it's been around for a long time, a movement is happening as we speak with craft beer. Beer/Liquor stores are putting more microbrews on the shelf...the bars near you are offering more than Guinness...there are tastings in your festivals...or if you're lucky enough to live in or near Philly next week, an entire WEEK devoted to beer.

(Excuse me...need a fresh beer)

Ahhh...where were we? Oh yes...the beer movie: Beer Wars. A filmmaker named Anat Boron is delivering this movie, released one night only (April 16th) in one of your local theaters: you can check where it's playing here. I just bought my tickets and am definitely excited to see craft beer represented on the big screen. I wish that it had a bigger budget so that, assuming it is an informative and convincing film (which I'm sure it is considering the interview list), it would attract those that continue to buy Budweiser because it's the "patriotic" beer. Folks...if you want to be patriotic, you'll support the MANY American microbreweries that are releasing quality, tasty me, they taste much better than Bud Heavy.

Here is the trailer:

So buy tickets...spread the word...and most importantly, buy and enjoy the delicious art in a bottle that is being offered all over the country.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Move Aside Guitar Hero

Are you a Guitar Hero addict but struggle to admit it because of its evil sacrilegious association? Well fear not...take action against your addition this Lent with the Guitar Praise!

Ok...I fear for the direction that I'm going in by poking fun at something associated with religion. The horrible jokes that can be made are just too easy. But I just can't help but laugh at this apparently real product that I stumbled upon:

Guitar Praise's real. They even have a "Dance Praise" in the style of Dance Dance Revolution. Guitar Praise is a version of Guitar Hero, but instead of the demonic music of Black Sabbath and Michael Jackson, it features ALL Christian music. You know...that music that they have infomercials about to try to get you to buy like a 30 CD Set of songs with lyrics such as, "Our an awesome God"

My worry is that conservative parents out there restrict their children to listening to Christian Rock, if anything. If that's the case, chances are they'll restrict them to playing Guitar Praise. If you have the freedom to be exposed to all types of music, and you're moved by Christian Rock on your own volition, good for you. People are moved by all kinds of music, so there's no reason to judge anyone for listening to Christian Rock...some of it's pretty catchy. I just hope that young children have the option to listen to what they want. Music is a big part of many people's lives; I listen to music every day and I can't imagine what life would be like without it.

That said, this thing costs 150 freakin' bucks for a 2 guitar package that runs off of a computer! What's up with that??

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

50 Jobs in 50 States

Going through the headlines, this one caught my eye: "50 jobs, 50 states in a year? 1 man gives it a try." Ballsy experiment considering people are struggling to find a single job in their home states, but it seems he's pulling it off, and it doesn't have anything to do with testing the state of the economy or anything like that. His goal is to learn about different trades and all of the states of this great country, trying to take on a job that is common to each particular state. I definitely admire the idea. I would love to have that kind of learning experience.

You can see on his website that he's on week 23 in Wisconsin, working as a Cheesemaker. Some past jobs include being a logger in Oregon, a Park Ranger in Wyoming, a Corn Farmer in Nebraska and a Rodeo Announcer in South Dakota. I wish you luck Daniel and hope you accomplish your rather creative goal.

If I can find a job that I would want to continue to work at for the rest of my life, awesome. I'm definitely still in the realm of confusion when it comes to lifelong career goals though. I like variety in my life...I like a variety of music, a variety of film genres, a variety of food and if you've read my blog in the past, of course, a variety of beer. My degree is in Marketing, a fairly broad subject, which gives me a variety of career paths to take.

I've often posed this question to myself and I ask you to pose the same question to yourself if you never have before: If you had the option of being really, really good (possibly the best) at ONE thing...or if you could be pretty decent at many different things, which would you want?

Also, today is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. One of my Lenten goals is to post on this blog every day of Lent...40 days, 40 posts. People often debate what they should give up for Lent, but you should realize that rather than giving up something, you can start doing something. Have you given up or taken up something for Lent?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My Oscar Predictions

The 81st Annual Academy Awards show is on tonight...the ultimate awards show. Get an Oscar and get respect for life. As a big fan of film, I always enjoy watching the Oscars but often times, I've only seen one or two of the films. This year, I've seen many of the nominations and intend to watch the ones that I've missed. It's been another great year in film and the nominees reflect that.

I wanted to claim my predictions for tonight and I should note that I'm making these predictions before reading those of anyone else (including that psychic)...

Actor in a Leading Role: Sean Penn. I've seen all of these roles and they were all excellent but I think Sean Penn and Frank Langella had the most difficult roles. I really loved The Wrestler and Mickey Rourke definitely made the movie, but I don't really see him winning tonight. Richard Jenkins was also great in The Visitor but I don't think his role was as demanding as Penn or Langella. Penn deserves this one.

Actor in a Supporting Role: I haven't seen Revolutionary Road but I think most people expect Heath Ledger to win this one. It's hard to imagine what the circumstances would be with the release of The Dark Knight and the subsequent nomination had Ledger not unfortunately died. Personally, I think it would not have been as hyped, but noone can deny that Heath Ledger was amazing as The Joker. If he had not passed away, I think Philip Seymour Hoffman might take it, but Ledger should get this one.

Actress in a Leading Role: I have not seen Changeling or Frozen River yet, so I can not judge Angelina Jolie or Melissa Leo. From the limited hype that I have taken in, however, it seems that Kate Winslet is favored for this win. From seeing her versus Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep, I definitely do not think Winslet is a hands down win. I think Streep and Hathaway had more complex roles. Streep may already have a couple wins under her belt but this is probably her most warranted nomination in years. Winslet might take it due to politics but I'm going to go out on a limb and pick Streep.

Actress in a Supporting Role: I think this will come down to either Amy Adams or Penelope Cruz. My expectations were definitely not met in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Viola Davis in Doubt had a powerful performance, but she only appeared in about 10 minutes of the film. And Marisa Tomei has her third nomination but I really don't think she's going to take this one for being a stripper. I think Penelope Cruz will take this one.

Animated Feature Film: All 3 were very entertaining, but this one is going to Wall-E without a doubt.

Best Director: I think Gus Van Sant should probably take this one for Milk. He was nominated before for Good Will Hunting against freakin' James Cameron for Titanic. I wouldn't mind seeing Danny Boyle take this for Slumdog Millionaire, but I think it will go to Gus Van Sant.

Makeup: The one thing that you have to hand to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is the hype surrounding how the hell they made Brad Pitt into a short old man, which is why it should win for both Makeup and Visual Effects.

Best Picture: If this doesn't go to Slumdog Millionaire, I'll be disappointed. I saw all of these nominees and Slumdog Millionaire was by far the most entertaining film from start to finish, gripping you in from the start and not letting you go until you find out what happens at the very end.

I'll leave out the other categories but am very interested in seeing all of the awards tonight. For those who have not seen any of the nominees, I strongly suggest seeing as many of them as you can.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Late Reflection on St. Stephen's Day

So I'm a bit late to discover the video coverage, but I was happy to find today a video from the 1st Annual St. Stephen's Stumble, a pub crawl that celebrated the relatively unknown holiday of St. Stephen's Day, which happens to fall on the day after Christmas, December 26th.

This holiday is observed and celebrated more in Ireland and other parts of Europe. It's the feast day of St. Stephen, who is known as the first Christian martyr. The celebratory tradition has died down but consisted of groups of people carrying a caged wren (a type of bird) from house to house, singing and dancing as a performance. These people are called Wrenboys or Mummers (and here I thought Mummers started in Philadelphia).

Anyway, an Irish pub in New Haven called Anna Liffey's took this holiday, and like any other American person does with an Irish tradition, turned it into an all-day drinking event.

The pub crawl was led between pubs by a bagpiper, which was largely my attraction to going in the first place. When else do you get a chance to walk around a city with a large group of people in daylight with a buzz, led by a bagpiper? The turned heads were rather abundant that day.

Here is the video coverage. The strapping young lad in the tan coat that you may notice walking (NOT stumbling) is yours can also see me in the "Ole, Ole, Ole" chant on the right, which was one of about 300 Ole chants we did that day...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Proposition 3-17

Tomorrow is February 17th, marking a month before the holiday that Irish and non-Irish alike celebrate, arguably moreso in the US than in its home country, known as St. Patrick's Day. Even though people across this country celebrate the holiday, or atleast take it as an excuse to drink, the day is not recognized as a holiday in the U.S.

Last year, Guinness set out to change this and got over 350,000 signatures last year in an attempt to get serious notice. Unfortunately, those signatures did not make a difference to the Bush administration. Well change is the key word with Obama now in office, and Guinness is trying to get 1 million signatures this year. With a month left, they are already over a 1/3rd of the way there, with over 368,000 signatures. So spread the word and sign the petition! You can sign here:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chris Brown-Rihanna Situation

There's something in the air in the world of celebrities and athletes lately...first Phelps, then A-rod, then this past Sunday...Chris Brown. Chris Brown may not be as well-known as the other two, but in the music world, he's become a pretty big name, known for his pop songs and MJ-inspired dancing. He fulfilled the Paparazzi dream and formed a celebrity relationship with fellow hip-hop/R&B/pop artist Rihanna.

Chris Brown has seemed like a clean-cut, Momma's boy type of guy for the past 3 years, since he came into the music world at the age of 16. He advertised for Doublemint Gum for God's sake. Well the shit hit the fan for Brown this past Sunday on the way to the Grammy's with his girlfriend Rihanna. Like I said before, I sympathize with Phelps and think his situation was blown out of proportion.'re a cheater just like the rest. Chris Brown, you've lost everyone's respect.

Apparently when driving from a pre-Grammy party to the awards in a Lambo, Chris Brown and Rihanna got in an altercation. The story goes that he pulled over because they were fighting and Rihanna took the keys out of the ignition and threw them out of the window. When Chris Brown got out of the car and couldn't find them, he apparently made death threats to Rihanna, choking her to the point of unconsciousness and there were apparently some bruises on Rihanna's face.

WTF??? Chris Brown has apparently grown up in an abusive household, as he has talked about on talk shows, which of course he has followed up by mentioning his respect for women and his feeling that women should not have to go through what he saw his mother go through. I'm sorry that he had to grow up with that, and can't imagine having to live with it, but're 19. You're a man. You broke the ultimate rule...NEVER abuse women.

Doublemint dropped Brown's endorsement...and his Got Milk? stations are pulling his songs off the air...a NY radio station is even having a "Shred Chris Brown CDs and Posters" Day appropriately on Friday the 13th. And oh yea...his SESAME STREET episode? That's out the window. Your career is f-ed man...and for good reason. You're the new Bobby Brown.

I stated a protest of Kellogg's on Monday...and I was serious...but a ban on everything that is Chris Brown...this is very serious.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Michael Phelps Situation

You probably live under a rock if you haven't heard about the Michael Phelps situation by now. I don't think I'm alone when I say...Leave the poor guy alone! I admit that the situation has probably made things tough for a lot of parents of child-swimmers, but let's look around the sports world ain't exactly rated G. I think the lesson to learn for parents is don't let your children become so obsessed with any celebrity or athlete to the point that they'll mock every single little thing that they do.

Now Michael Phelps might be more of an all-American role model for younger athletes than other celebrity-athletes, but it's not like he shot himself in the leg...and it's not like he's going to trial for his recent 8 GOLD MEDALS because he was taking performance-enhancing drugs...and he's not pulling a Ricky Williams either and taking a year off swimming to smoke weed full-time. Personally, I think he's deserved to let loose after DOMINATING the Olympics.

Now comes the issue of his endorsements. Don't be fooled by Kellogg's stating that the reason they dropped him was because he does not fit their image...they probably wished this happened sooner in his contract. They just got some great publicity, "regaining the trust" of the parents who buy sugar-loaded cereal for their Speedo-wearing children. And it looked like Subway was going to as well, but they may have changed their mind...not sure how I feel about that.

Anyway, I'm backing Phelps on this one and holding a grudge. No Frosted Flakes for me...not that I'm an enormous contributor to Kellogg's in the first place, but call it a protest.

Enough of me ranting though...Seth Meyers on SNL pretty much summed it all up:

Friday, February 6, 2009

Beer Bottle Dominoes

While you were sitting in your cubicle, putting cover sheets on your TPS reports, these guys were "working" at the brewery:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ad Jingles

We all know businesses advertise so that we'll remember, be reminded and be persuaded. One great way to do this is to create an original theme song or jingle of some type, in hopes that it will stick in our head all day long like a bad 80's song (wait a minute...bad 80's? that's an oxymoron...80's music rocks).

I find myself whistling the Old Spice jingle in the shower as I pick up the Old Spice shower gel. Or whistling along to the Taco Bell commercials. In fact, one day I was going crazy because I couldn't figure out how one of those songs went (eventually I saw the commercial again, figured it out, and heard it in my head for the following week)...F to the R to the E to the E to the C to the R to the E-D-I-T, RE to the PORT to the DOT to the COM, come on everybody grab your bike and sing along...(you're welcome!) And don't even tell me the $5 foot long song hasn't been stuck in your head for hours.

The commercials bring up an interesting point though...the whole commercial is a song, but they change that song from commercial to commercial as I'm sure you've seen. In older times, brands would create long jingles and use them again and again. That was when people didn't have the luxury of DVR or DVDs. Most "jingles" you hear nowadays are a few seconds long like the whistles I mentioned.

I bring this topic up because I heard a radio commercial earlier today for Mohegan Sun Casino. Rather than coming up with a short wordless jingle or an original jingle, Mohegan Sun takes somewhat of a disastrous hybrid route: using an existing song and changing the words. They've butchered "Walk Like an Egyptian" and I dread the day when I have to hear the other one, which apparently uses "Sweet Home Alabama." They have television commercials that do the same thing with other songs except you get the honor of seeing people dancing around like choreographed jackasses.

Feel free to witness the ruination of Rick James for yourself:

No thanks MoHo...I'll stick with the CT Lottery to blow my money.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sorry For the Hiatus...Top Chef Update

So...when I blogged about a month ago about Top Chef and mentioned that I would make an update once 6 contestants are left, I did NOT mean I would NOT post about anything else UNTIL then. I topics have been running through my mind left and right and yet I still managed to pull a 3 week stint without a single post...the longest stretch since this blog started.

That said, I'll have to fulfill the promise I made in my last post, and hopefully this post will get me back on track. If it doesn't, I'll post a video of me singing "Beat It" on Guitar Hero: World Tour...seriously...if that doesn't give me motivation, I don't know what will.

So on to Top Chef...which is on again tonight with 6 contestants left. It turns out I was 5 for 6: the final 6 are Fabio, Stefan, Leah, Hosea, Jamie and...Carla? Noone in their right mind is cheering for Carla and that includes her husband. Her bug-eyes bruise us and her comments about putting "love" into her food should have her automatically eliminated. And yet I have a feeling that she'll last another night. So who will bite it tonight? I'm going with Leah.

She flirted with Hosea, something abnormal in the Top Chef series, and it took her and Hosea off their game. I think Hosea will recover...I don't think Leah did last week and I think it'll screw her up tonight.

I'm still liking Fabio, but it's really hard to predict at this point who will win. Once it gets down and gritty, the judges throw some serious toss-ups to the chefs and it seems like they try to top it every season. What happens from here on out will happen, and I'm very excited to see it.