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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeOct 7th 2010
     
    So what's going on everyone? I've probably been posting about beer too often, especially considering that only me and foucault seem to really care much:p But it's probably my current obsession, and I don't think it will be going away anytime soon.

    I'm drinking multiple new beers every week, and I'm greatly enjoying most of them. I probably shouldn't keep up that sort of schedule, as good beer can be a bit expensive (though not anywhere near how expensive good wine or scotch can get). And I think I'm going to head over to the homebrew store this weekend and see if I can brew my own. I'm a little hesitant about that. I'm the type of guy who could easily get in over my head with this stuff, but I'll try and keep it simple to start. That being said, I definitely don't want to start with the light american lager that most starter kits come with (i.e. budweiser style beer, which I find kinda boring at this point). Since I'm starting in October and I'm sure I'll need at least a few weeks to condition the beer, I'll probably want to brew something more suited to the season. A darker beer, like a Belgian double or quadrupel. But that might be a bit too complicated. I need to get my feet wet to start.

    Ok, serious now, that's the last thing about beer in this post.

    Otherwise I'm doing reasonably well. In preparation for Halloween, I'm planning some haunted hayrides, etc... and it should be fun. There's one this weekend, and another next weekend. Then there's an outdoor showing of Halloween which should be fun. And there's some pumkin carving going on around then too. Should be good times.

    Not to mention all the horror movies I'm watching this month. This weekend I'm watching a bunch of zombie movies. Next weekend will probably be silent horror, followed by some 1930s horror. Then some misc stuff. Fun!

    Work is going reasonably well. I had to give a presentation today that I've been a bit nervous about. I gave a similar presentation about two months ago, but today, i was giving it to the President of my company. This was a big deal, but I think I did reasonably well. It helps that what I was presenting was a really positive story. It's really easy to give a presentation on something that's gaining the company millions of dollars. But it's still hard, because I've never been a good public speaker, and I'm not especially quick on my feet. Luckily, I know the material really, really well, which helps me a lot.

    And I think that's about it. What's everyone else up to? I see Spence has been playing with lots o' kittens:) That video you posted on 4k is great! Anywho, I should run. Score.

    ~tallman
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      CommentAuthorSpencer
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2010
     
    I am overrun with everything. Kittens, of course. But I do other volunteering work with Austin Pets Alive in addition to fostering. Like this Saturday they're having a huge yard sale where volunteers bring stuff to sell and the proceeds go to APA. I volunteered to get up way too early on a weekend to help set up. Also on Saturday, I'm taking the kittens at 2pm to get their vaccinations. And I will hopefully meet with Nutmeg's adopter while I'm at the clinic to get the adoption fee and complete the paperwork.

    But Saturday feels like forever from now because tomorrow is jam packed. I am dropping Neville off in the morning (Friday) for his neuter surgery, then going to work because I have a meeting at 12:30. Volunteers are coming in to do stuff for an outreach mailer and the Black and White Ball. The BWB is our biggest fundraiser (for private funds) of the year. It's a formal gala. There are lots of little pieces that must work together to make a successful event. I'm actually a key piece because I am the Volunteer Coordinator, and we will have over 50 volunteers working the event. I also offered to make some jewelry to donate for the silent auction. Why? Because I'm insane.

    I won't go into all of the shit I have to do for BWB. It's a lot. I could handle it, but there's all this other stuff on top of it. I spent two hours working on some jewelry I want to put out for the APA yard sale.

    And I was really, really wanting to do something big for Halloween, but I don't think I'm going to have the time or energy. My dad's also having his commitment ceremony with his latest woman on the 23rd. So I guess I should go to that. *eye roll* At this point I just hope to get some pumpkins carved before the 31st.

    Ugh, I need to go to bed because I have to wake up at 8am and call to cancel my doctor's appointment. I am so stupid and forgot that I had this appointment but then scheduled Neville to be neutered the same day. I can't be in both places at once, and Charles has a poker tournament at work. So I'm opting to cancel the appointment for me since I doubt they could have really helped me. I've been having dizzy spells with increasing frequency since Tuesday. Probably stress and/or dehydration. The doctor would just give me some pill that makes me feel weird. Yeah yeah, I'm totally not taking care of myself.

    Oh yeah, I should shower. I haven't done that since...what's today? ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    • CommentAuthorSovawanea
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2010
     
    We've been apartment searching. Unfortunately, the best compromise place we have found so far, the one I posted about on 4k, probably got snapped up by someone else first. We saw it on Wednesday, but wanted to to look at a few other places. Other people who saw it on Wednesday put their application in on Friday. If they fail their background check, he will call us. But, it's doubtful someone with questionable credit would pay an application fee, so I am not holding out too much hope.

    Beer making is involved, but it's more a matter of taking up some space and several hours every couple of weeks or so, depending on how much or how often you brew. Check and see if you have a local homebrewing club or organization in your area. That way you might be able to go to some group events and share some equipment at first, before you decide if it is something you want to get heavily into. I can give you a list of the books my boyfriend has been using as references if you want. I think he started out with a Porter first. He's had the most success with a Irish type red ale and wheat beer. The stout is coming along and will probably be ready to give away as Christmas presents.

    In other beer related news, my new favorite brewery is Southern Tier. I had a to die for Creme Brulee stout the other day and they have one of the best entries in the seasonal pumpkin beer categories too. I will be trying a mocha stout from them next.

    In terms of Halloween, the plan is to travel to Cleveland and spend some time with my boyfriend's side of the family this year. We've been recording movies of Syfy, most of which are pretty stupid and campy Syfy originals that my boyfriend likes as long as he can fast forward through bad acting and boring parts. However, some good stuff has snuck in too. We watched a movie called the Brotherhood on Friday night. I think it was from Australia or New Zealand based on the accents. But, it had fairly reasonable production values and very interesting aesthetic. It felt very steampunk, complete with dirigibles, fancy hooka-like devices for blood donors to give blood to vampires in bars, opium smoking and rampant influenza plagues. Vampires come about as part of experimentation by the Church 300 years before the story is set. However, they are only men born from human mothers and they end up becoming extremely powerful through the Church. Rather than prey on people, they live openly and people regularly give blood at church in the hopes that one of the Brothers will decide to be a sort of vampire guardian angel and watch over them. Their powers involve seemingly all levels of government and include banning all humans from continuing genetic research, meanwhile secretly conducting their own. Not to give too much away, but bad things come about from said research that have to be hunted down, leading to a human cop and powerful Brother having to work together. It was pretty good in terms of drama and suspense. Not much gore. Some of the more matrixy effects and art filmesque sequences were a bit derivative.

    We also started the series Being Human this weekend. It was recommended by Roy awhile back and only became recently available through Netflix. It's a BBC series that involves a vampire, werewolf and ghost that are roommates. Most of the suspense and tension comes from the vampire and werewolf deciding to not be like the rest of the monsters out there and not prey on humans. It manages a fair bit of humor, rather than being a straight up horror or suspense. We're only one episode in, but it seems pretty good so far. We also have Young Frankenstein through netflix and I'm moving up anything else horror or seasonal tonight.

    I also need to get Chuck Palahuinik's (Sp?) Lullaby from the library. A friend bet me if I read it, that he would be willing to watch one Horror movie of my choosing.

    Work has been going pretty well, even with me being sick last week. We ended our fiscal year and processed over 200,000 claims as an agency. We implemented a new system in June and I am going to be involved in a sort of break out session process to provide information on how it should be utilized next week. My new supervisor is pretty nice and reasonable.
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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeOct 11th 2010
     
    So what constitutes a commitment ceremony? Just curious:p

    Good luck with the apartment search. I'm pretty happy/lucky that I've never had to do much of that!

    I've noticed that a lot of things that I do are virtual. I do some creative stuff, but it's all on the computer. There isn't anything wrong with that, of course, but I've been itching to make something out here in meatspace, and brewing beer might help me scratch that itch. My problem is that I don't exactly have a ton of good space for this sort of thing (I could probably put together the time for this without any major problems).

    What size batches do you make? It seems like the 5 gallon batch is the standard for serious homebrewers, but I was hoping for something smaller, like a 2-3 gallon batch (which I understand makes around 1 case of 12 oz bottles, maybe a little more). I was going to get myself a copy of "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Third Edition" before I really set down to make my first beer (I understand it has some nice tips for starting homebrewers), but if you have some other book recommendations, by all means, let me know:)

    I could go completely low-brow and just get myself a Mr Beer kit, but I have a feeling I'm going to want to do more than that. My preferred styles seem like they'll be a bit more complicated to brew, but who knows?

    One of the things I'm trying to expand on is my knowledge of dark beer styles, like Stouts, Porters, and Bocks. I have a pretty good feel for more Belgian style darks (dubbels, quadrupels, strong dark ales), and I've been gaining more of an appreciation for them lately. My latest beer haul has a couple Stouts, so we'll see how that goes. I'm going to add Southern Tier Creme Brulee to my list though, because that name sounds intriguing! In almost any case, I can't imagine that's what I'd be going after for my homebrewing. At most, I might go for a Belgian dubbel style (might make sense considering that anything I make now will probably be ready for holiday consumption), but I'd probably be most excited about brewing a Saison, Tripel, Wheat, or Pale Ale (at least, to start).

    Syfy originals seem to be getting the trendy treatment these days. I have to be honest, I've never really gone in for them. I think I like the theory of them better than actually watching them. Some of their series are ok though. I've actually caught up with a lot of Eureka, which is an enjoyable show. I can't get a good read on Warehouse 13, but it seems kinda fun (I like their artifact of the week stuff, but I can never tell what's going on with the longer arcs that seem like they're trying to set up).

    Being Human sounds interesting. I may have to add that to my queue, though it's getting crowded this Halloween:)

    So I only spent half this post talking about beer. That's an improvement, right?

    ~tallman
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      CommentAuthorSpencer
    • CommentTimeOct 11th 2010
     
    Commitment ceremony = I dunno. I don't care either. I don't really want to go. At this point, I'm leaning towards not going. *sigh* It's hard when your father tramples on your mother's memory. And his fiancee's family is super excited and will probably want to make a big deal of the "union" of our two families. But that's not what this is to me at all. I am capable of putting on my nicey-nice face and pretending to be happy, but I can't do that with my dad. He sees right through it. Going and faking would be more insulting to him. Maybe. Blah.


    I think I like Warehouse 13 a little more than Eureka. Heh, actually, season 2 of Eureka was worse than season 1. But season 2 of Warehouse 13 is better than season 1. I enjoyed both seasons of Sanctuary, but moreso the second, and I hope the third is even better. I'm also enjoying Stargate Universe, for the most part. I'm really tired of the severe lack of lighting and slightly shaking camera. I can appreciate the intended effect, but my brain just can't handle that type of sensory input. Other that that though, I like it a lot.

    Sov, did you watch The Gates? If not, you should check it out. I caught it on Hulu over the summer and can't remember what network it was from...ABC?

    Oh, and I'm loving Fringe this season. They finally brought a lot of threads together. Yeah, I watch a lot of TV.
    • CommentAuthorSovawanea
    • CommentTimeOct 15th 2010
     
    According to Nick, the Complete Joy of Homebrewing is a good book and not a bad introduction. However, he recommends How To Brew by John Palmer as a better starter book that will last longer as a reference. He says the first edition is available online for free, but has not been updated. He thinks the updated third edition is worth buying.

    The best book for Belgian styles is Brew Like a Monk by Stan Hieronymus.

    Spencer- I watched a couple episodes of the Gates, went on vacation and then forgot about it. It was ok, but didn't seem like it was going to be anything special. I need to catch up on Fringe. I have all the episodes from the new season saved, but have not had time to watch them. Fringe requires full attention, rather than half-attention like crime procedurals and such.

    And thank you for the good luck, Mark. I think it worked. We are putting in application on an amazing apartment tommorrow. The landlord seems to like it. There was someone else interested already, but their roommate fell through and they haven't found anyone else yet. The landlord also mentioned a few times he is picky and likes to rent to professionals and so it might not be the kiss of death if we aren't the first to put in an application since he put it back up for rent.
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      CommentAuthorfoucault
    • CommentTimeOct 15th 2010
     
    Two good friends of mine are highly experienced home brewers, and in fact, one is a commercial brewer; he was working at Custom Brewcrafters in upper state NY, but just got a much better job with Trout River brewing up in Vermont. I've helped both do a little here or there with home brewing, but not as much as I would like. However, I'd be glad to pass on any questions.

    I've read "The Joy of Homebrewing," a good fun read and informative...made me feel like brewing might be something I could manage.

    My impression is that Belgians are complex and difficult, but go for it, they are tasty!
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      CommentAuthorfoucault
    • CommentTimeOct 15th 2010
     
    Two good friends of mine are highly experienced home brewers, and in fact, one is a commercial brewer; he was working at Custom Brewcrafters in upper state NY, but just got a much better job with Trout River brewing up in Vermont. I've helped both do a little here or there with home brewing, but not as much as I would like. However, I'd be glad to pass on any questions.

    I've read "The Joy of Homebrewing," a good fun read and informative...made me feel like brewing might be something I could manage.

    My impression is that Belgians are complex and difficult, but go for it, they are tasty!
    •  
      CommentAuthorfoucault
    • CommentTimeOct 15th 2010
     
    Two good friends of mine are highly experienced home brewers, and in fact, one is a commercial brewer; he was working at Custom Brewcrafters in upper state NY, but just got a much better job with Trout River brewing up in Vermont. I've helped both do a little here or there with home brewing, but not as much as I would like. However, I'd be glad to pass on any questions.

    I've read "The Joy of Homebrewing," a good fun read and informative...made me feel like brewing might be something I could manage.

    My impression is that Belgians are complex and difficult, but go for it, they are tasty!
    •  
      CommentAuthorfoucault
    • CommentTimeOct 15th 2010
     
    What the fuck? The forum must have thought I'm so amazing, you should read what I have to say THREE times!
    •  
      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeOct 15th 2010
     
    "Commitment ceremony = I dunno." Super. Well, good luck figuring out what to do with that. Hope all goes well:)

    The newer episodes of Warehouse 13 do seem to be better than the first season (at least, from the episodes I saw). There's something more relateable about the characters. It's like they loosened up a little, or something. Eureka has its ups and downs. Both series sometimes rely on a mystery of the week formula that can get predictable, but as disposable entertainment, they're both pretty good.

    I guess I should wish you continued good luck with the apartment search:) Hope it goes well.

    I got Complete Joy of Homebrewing and read through the first couple chapters. Now I just need to find some time to get me to a brew store and pick up a kit of some kind. I don't think I'll be starting with a complicated Belgian, but maybe I'll use some Belgian yeast or something to kick up the recipe a notch. I think I've been reading through Stan Hieronymus' blog recently - anyway, thanks for the other recommendations. I'll have to check them out.