Monday, December 31, 2012

Not Worthy!

The nice guys down at Stone Brewery in Escondido put a diatribe (their label, not mine) on the back of their "Double Bastard" ale (link here).   I thoroughly enjoyed my son's reading it the night we got home from the brewery last week.  I laughed heartily as I read it to Dr Desert Flower last night.   There's more 25 cent words in here than Dr Paul R of I.U. could ever accuse me of having a penchant for using.  DDF pondered if maybe I'd written it in my sleep, or had a second job working in the San Diego North Country on the sly.   I postulated that this sort of diatribe is what you get when :
a) you make delicious craft beer, And are not a soul-less, heartless, corporate profit driven machine, beholden only to share holders
b) you have too much time on your hands
c) have former English majors and poets working in a brewery.

Double Bastard Ale
Warning: Double Bastard Ale is not to be wasted on the tentative or weak. Only the Worthy are invited, and then only at your own risk. If you have even a modicum of hesitation, DO NOT buy this bottle. Instead, leave it for a Worthy soul who has already matriculated to the sublime ecstasy of what those in the know refer to as "Liquid Arrogance."

This is one lacerative muther of an ale. It is unequivocally certain that your feeble palate is grossly inadequate and thus undeserving of this liquid glory...and those around you would have little desire to listen to your resultant whimpering. Instead, you slackjawed gaping gobemouche, slink away to that pedestrian product that lures agog the great unwashed with the shiny happy imagery of its silly broadcast propaganda. You know, the one that offers no challenge, yet works very, very hard to imbue the foolhardy with the absurd notion that they are exercising ‘independent’ thought, or attempts to convey the perception it is in some way ‘authentic’ or ‘original.’ It’s that one that makes you feel safe and delectates you into basking in the warm, fuzzy, and befuddled glow of your own nescience. Why so many allow themselves to be led by the nose lacks plausible explanation. Perhaps you have been so lulled by the siren song of ignorance that you don’t even notice your white-knuckle grip on it. You feel bold and unique, but alas are nothing but sheep, willingly being herded to and fro. If you think you are being piqued in this text, it is nothing when compared to the insults we are all asked to swallow streaming forth from our televisions and computers. Truth be told, you are being coddled into believing you are special or unique by ethically challenged “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” marketers who layer (upon layer) imagined attributes specifically engineered to lead you by the nose. Should you decide to abdicate your ability to make decisions for yourself, then you are perhaps deserving of the pabulum they serve. Double Bastard Ale calls out the garrulous caitiffs who perpetrate the aforementioned atrocities and demands retribution for their outrageously conniving, intentionally misleading, blatantly masturbatory and fallacious ad campaigns. We demand the unmitigated, transparent truth. We demand forthright honesty. We want justice! Call ‘em out and line ‘em up against the wall... NOW.
I admit, I had to look up "gobemouche" as I had not used it in a sentence previously...  but "I got" the rest of the diatribe.  And I agree with it, completely.  
When DDF and I picked up our friends Ame & Zim from the airport Saturday evening, and I inquired to the front desk for a list of restaurants and drink establishments, my eyes (and heart) instantly went to the listing on the "surf city" pamphlet for "Hunnington Beach Brewery", just two blocks away.  DDF, Ame & Zim concurred with my selection, and we enjoyed delicious Ales, Stouts (Russian Imperial), and Porters (Noel Gulden Porter) with our dinner. I'd sampled the HB Imperial Stout AT Stone Brewery just 2 days prior - "a rising tide raises all boats" - Stone encourages all of it's visitors to embrace Craft beer and throw off the oppressive yoke of corporate InBev evil.
I thank Stone Brewery's Phillip Macnitt (Lead Indoctrination Specialist), Mike Martinez, and tour guide Nickie Pena (Indoctrination Specialist) for opening my eyes to the reality that is high quality Craft beer. My purchasing habits and perspective will never be the same again.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Falling Behind

I've fallen behind in blog postings, as our son, Nathan Junior has been visiting for the last two weeks.  As I type this, I have 14 empty wine & beer bottles sitting beside my computer screen, watigin to be photographed and blogged about.   The old Windows XP desktop is gone, replaced with a 13 inch Mac Airbook running (I think) Mountain Lion OS, that I bought the week before Christmas when my LG 15 inch monitor died one morning - the Apple Store guys in Mission Viejo were really really nice, and incredibly patient with this curmudgeon.  I went in to buy a Mac Desktop, and walked out with an Airbook and a service agreement.

Nathan Jr and I visited the Stone Brewery in Escondido CA, about 45 minutes to the south.  Toured the brewery, drank the fine ales, and now I am a converted craft beer disciple.  Shun all beers brewed by InBev.   Craft brewed beer, by definition, as to pass the low bar of
- less than 6 MILLION barrels brewed (serious, 6,000,000)
- must contain barley, hops, and yeast (not HFCS, corn, rice, or other filer & cheaper ingredients)
- must not be owned by a major commercial corporate brewer (InBev, SAB, etc) by more than 25%
It's a pretty low bar...  but 95% of the beer sold inthe US doesn't make that bar.   Even beloved Goose Island (not Creek, thank you Ron and Traci) from Chicago recently sold out to InBev, and the former CEO is advising InBev of how to "look more Craft-beer-ish" grrrrrrr.
We picked up some Arrogant Bastard Ale, some 12-12-12 Vertical Epic Ale, and some Porter (DDF loves porters).  I'm finishing a "Sublimely Self Righteous Ale" this evening as I type this.

My drumset is set up in my new California office - and it IS more spacius than the cramped Phoenix home office.  DDF and I are proud owners of new Diamond Back mountain bikes (mine a 29 inch wheel, Shimano hardware, grippy off road tires, and her's a 27 inch tire, 16 inch frame, also Shimano hardware) that our son recommended as excellent bargains (for entry level mountain bikes).  Nathan Jr and I rode them down to the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and then onto Laguna Beach for a grand 26 mile round trip inaugural trip the day after we bought them last week.  Happy Hour at Laguna Beach C'est La Vie restaurant was wonderful, before we biked 400 feet vertical climb and 13 miles back home.  This week, we did Aliso Canyon & Woods, from North to South, East to West, putting on another 20 miles, but this time in the mud.  We saw the sun setting over Catalina Island from one of the several 800 foot hills we climbed. 

I need to cancel my Norton AntiVirus subscription for the XP desktop.  95% of the boxes are unpacked from the move.  California is not as bad as I thought it might be, and I actually kind of like it here.  I'll be sad to see our son leave tomorrow, but he wants to get back with his friends in South Carolina, and our friends Zim and Ame are coming to visit with us for a friend's wedding this weekend, so that should be fun  =)

Sorry to be so neglectful of my followers.  I hope all your RSS feeds still work.   Be well - JustJoeP

Thursday, December 6, 2012

An Improved Perspective

Wednesday was the first day that I got done working before it got dark outside (sucks when you wake up at 4am, and work past dusk... but somebody has to make sure the electrons are flowing).  So I decided to go outside and do yoga in the back yard, since it had finally stopped raining, the sun was out, and still shining on part of the bricked patio to warm it.  Ambient was about 65F, with nearly no breeze at all at ground level - upper level clouds and contrails were cooking along, west to east (from the Pacific, of course), at a good 50 or 60 mph.  Admittedly, it was the first time I'd done yoga since getting to California, and my back was very unhappy about this fact.

Well, this is one of three palms on the East side of my house.   It dwarfs the old Mexican Fence Post Cactus that stands in the front yard back in Phoenix.  And looking up at it from the yoga mat, had a very relaxing result.  As you can see, there's quite a bit "more green" in the California landscape in contrast to it's libertarian and arid neighbor to the east.

These are the other views that I have to 'endure' while doing yoga in the back yard.  I think I'll manage. 

AND - there's NO yappin dogs here, unlike their ubiquitous presence in western Phoenix! Coyotes, hawks,  and bobcats keep the population in check.  There's many small and large dogs - I see neighbors walking them all the time, but they're on leashes, and they are never left outside at night to bark incessantly.  So That's a Very Nice improvement as well.

Now I have to figure out how to string Christmas lights on palm trees, rosemary hedges, concrete pillars, and fan palms.  We'll see how well that turns out this weekend.

Romantisme Escargot

Maybe it's not snail romance, and it might just be casual sex with a wet, slimy, sure footed stranger, but they were sure going at it, for hours (even lions take a break between each coupling).  These gastropods found the globe surface, and remnant Arizona bacteria irresistible, slowly shimmying from hemisphere to hemisphere, rubbing up against one another in my back yard on Tuesday.  When I figured out that they were not going to stop (hours later), I flicked them both off the glove using a stick, in mid mutually adjacent slime mode, and into the mulch bed about a meter away, where they continued to writhe around together.
I've figured out that just about everything in my neighborhood has snails in it, or on it, if it is outside.  Saturday night, while walking to a neighbor's home for a friendly and raucous block party Christmas gathering, DDF (or is she Dr Orange County Flower now?  hmmm) and I saw a golf ball sized snail crawling up one of those 6 foot tall inflatable snow men.  There's Real Bird of Paradise flowers on the corner of our yard, and this morning I saw a snail inside one of the brilliant orange blossoms (but camera was not handy). They're on the driveway, garbage cans, and sidewalks too, leaving their shiny little trails and they seek out bird poop

It did rain, solidly, the first 6 days I was here.  And, it's been foggy every morning - which burns off by 11am or so.  So there's no shortage of facilitating moisture for these gastropods.  The neighbors tell us this is unusual, and it is typically NOT this damp... but time will tell.  The moss and algae on walls and side walks reminds me of South Carolina's perpetual "mouillure", combined with the gray, cloudy skies of the midwest.

Il faut voir.   Ya veramos.  We'll see...

(DDF just telephoned me coincidentally, and said she's still DDF... or possibly one of the "The Real Scientists of Orange County")