June 27, 2007
Hey, just a personal tidbit, for my real-world friends & family that I don’t talk to all that often. I’ll have a new phone number as of Friday. E-mail me if you need an update.
…I hate it when that happens!
Japanese eating champion Takeru Kobayashi is being treated for an arthritic jaw that could douse his hopes for taking a seventh straight title at the annual Independence Day hot dog eating competition on Coney Island.
Last year, the 165-pound (75-kilogram) champion won his sixth straight Yellow Mustard Belt at the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest by devouring a then-world record 53 3/4 frankfurters in 12 minutes.
A California man broke the record earlier this month by chomping down more than 59 franks in 12 minutes.
But earlier this week, Kobayashi, 29, said on his Web site blog that his “jaw has abandoned the frontline” during his training for this year’s July 4 event.
“Already I can’t open my jaws more than just a little bit,” he wrote. “There’s no pain only if I open my mouth about enough for one finger. More than that is painful and I can’t open it.”
A specialist diagnosed him with arthritis of the jaw, he wrote.
Kobayashi, you must compete! The world needs you!
I think I saw this on an episode of Heroes at one point…
Eat the hot dogs, save the world.
Below The Beltway linked with Not Sure If This Qualifies As A Sports Related Injury
June 26, 2007
At the end of this month, I’m forced to give up my Motorola Q, because I’m no longer a “field” employee… I’ll have to go back to paying for my own cell phone, and looking around, that really means that I won’t have a shot at getting a smartphone with a data plan, because I just don’t get enough utility out of it to spend $45 each month just for data.
But it looks like AT&T’s got my back. If I can find a way to buy an iPhone (perhaps if I win an competition that I’m currently involved in), they’re offering plans that actually have pretty reasonable unlimited data plans:
AT&T’s service plans for the Apple iPhone will cost $59.99 to $99.99 a month, the companies said Tuesday.
The $59.99 monthly plan includes 450 minutes of voice time; a $79.99 plan includes 900 minutes; and a $99.99 plan includes 1,350 minutes. All three offer 200 text messages, unlimited data services, minutes that roll over month-to-month and mobile-to-mobile calls. There also is a $36 activation fee.
I’m not huge for talking on the phone, and the most I talk is to my wife, which would be free mobile-to-mobile minutes, so I could probably get by with the $59.99 plan. I was worried just getting any smartphone that I’d be in the $100/month range. I’m too cheap to pay that much every month for the cool geek factor. I’d rather buy beer. But at $59.99, I’m in my price point…
I can see it now… I’ll be the hip dad with Wyatt wearing his anarchy shirt as I carry him in a Baby Bjorn, while rocking out to tunes on the iPhone. I’ll definitely be the coolest dad at the beach!
I bottled the Raspberry Wheat last Wednesday, and cracked the first one open today. At bottling time, it seemed to be very heavy on the raspberry aroma. But then, it being warm and flat, I knew that it would mellow a bit with cold and carbonation. Today, that was definitely the case.
This beer hit its mark. I built some body into the recipe (unlike the agave), because the raspberry is more flavor than fermentable. So it’s got a decent body, a good wheat undertone, and a definite raspberry aroma and flavor. The raspberry has given it a good red hue. It’s got some haze similar to a hefeweizen, which isn’t really all that desired in an American wheat style, but it’s not really a bad thing.
This is a nice summer beer, and definitely one I’d call a success.
Also on the bright side, a week of age has helped out the agave wheat. I might not need to make any modifications to that one in the keg.
I think I’m starting to put together the repertoire I’ll need when I start a brewpub… And I already have the head chef (the wife) getting started on ideas for the food menu…
June 23, 2007
Yesterday I was on a mission to get a haircut during my lunch break. I knew I needed to stop to get cash for a go-kart excursion with coworkers after work, so I looked up barbers near the bank, and found one in the same strip-mall. I sure had no clue what I was in for!
I ended up going to the “Leisure World Barber Shop.” For those unfamiliar with Orange County, there’s an area in Laguna Woods/Laguna Niguel known as “Leisure World”. This is a bunch of condo and home communities designated as senior living areas. I was a bit familiar with this area 2 years ago, because every time I found a condo in my price range in Orange County, it was always designated as a “senior community”. With those prices, I was halfway interested in securing a fake ID that said I was 60 just to buy one…
Of course, I was just in a random strip mall, not in a place designated as senior-only, but I walked into a big barber shop and was the youngest person there by at least 30 years. I was a bit worried, because there’s a bit of a difference between the way I style my hair and the way your average septuagenarian does. But I got a haircut anyway.
Of course, that wasn’t even the half of it. The [65+ year old] lady who stood up and ushered me over to cut my hair was about 4′6″. I sat down in the chair, and I was still taller than her. I ended up having to get the entire haircut slouched down in the chair just so she could see the top of my head!
All in all, though, it was a pretty decent haircut. And instead of the $25 fee I get charged at the places my wife wants me to go, I got my hair cut for $8 (plus tip). Maybe I’ll have to go back, and make friends with Bernie, Flo, and Al. We can compare joint pain (my knee hurts when it rains, an effect of my motorcycle crash, and years of martial arts have made my wrists sound like canastas), I can give them advice on their grandkids… We’ll party like it’s 1949!
June 20, 2007
This morning, driving in to work, I was treated to a royal charlie-foxtrot unlike I’ve seen in a while. In Orange County (for those of you familiar with the area), the traffic signal at the corner of Moulton & El Toro malfunctioned. This is a big intersection, 3 lanes of traffic in all 4 directions, but you’d think that rational adults, entrusted with the responsibility of piloting multi-ton vehicles, would be able to navigate a situation like this.
But not really. It was bedlam. Cars determining which when and how to proceed based more on gut instinct than any sense of order. Nobody having any idea when it was even correct for them to proceed, so the tentative drivers crawling across an intersection and slowing everyone down. The whole process was completely unorganized, and ended up taking us far more time than it should.
Now, some of you would suggest that this scene is an indictment of anarchy or small government. After all, without the order imposed by traffic signals, wouldn’t this be occurring every day?
But the answer is no. I’ve seen other parts of the country where traffic signals aren’t as reliable, where there are more stop signs in general, and where things like a protected left-turn-lane don’t all have their own individual signals. Basically, these are places where drivers are not only trusted with the responsibility of piloting a vehicle, but they are given some additional ability to choose when it is and is not safe to proceed at a light.
Order doesn’t have to be imposed by a traffic light. Order can emerge from patterns of behavior, and eventually become so ingrained that if someone proceeds at a 4-way stop at the “wrong” time, people wonder why he’s such an idiot. In fact, most of society works this way, not as a result of top-down government-imposed order. However, when you have hand-held your citizens through every intersection in the metro area, and suddenly that order breaks down, they haven’t built up their own order and their own patterns of behavior, so it becomes every man for himself. You treat drivers like children, and then wonder why they fall over when the training wheels break.
This is a microcosm of what we see in society. When an area without much government interference undergoes a natural disaster, people step up and step in to help each other. People are used to having societal systems in parallel to those provided by the government, so when a disaster comes that is beyond the scope of the government to handle, they don’t fall apart. Yet when you look at a place with heavy-handed government interference (such as New Orleans), the failure of government and the evacuation of people who might otherwise step in to help cause society itself to break down.
Yet people use the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in order to argue for more government and against anarchy. They’re arguing that adult-age children, kept in dependence by the government, should suddenly start acting like responsible adults when government breaks down. It just doesn’t work that way. The problem with government today is that it encourages dependence from cradle to grave. That might be fine, if the government were able to deliver on their promises. But government is unreliable, and when you encourage dependence, you shouldn’t act surprised when your subjects can’t act independently.
June 19, 2007
I went to the dentist today… That wasn’t a fun experience, as it never is… I grew up with a dentist that was an overweight man, with big fat fingers. Ever since, I haven’t liked the dentist.
But I learned something new about myself. The doctor checked out the x-rays, and I’ve got 5 wisdom teeth! Sweet!
That must mean I’m 25% extra-wise, which explains a lot… Or it could mean I’m 25% more wise-ass, which would also explain a lot. I told my wife that it must be the former, which I think is evidence of the latter…
In the Big Ten football family, some coaches have become legends. Coaches like Woody, Bo, and Joe Pa have been fixtures in college football folklore. At the lower tiers of the Big Ten, there aren’t very many legends, but there are some class acts, like Barry Alvarez of Wisconsin, Joe Tiller at Purdue, etc. Unfortunately, last year we lost another class act, Randy Walker, the head coach at Northwestern, to a heart attack. Randy was a coach battling the struggles of a small school in a difficult recruiting area, but was able to field some competitive and well-respected teams even with those difficulties.
Unfortunately, today brings more bad news, as IU coach Terry Hoeppner has finally lost his battle with brain cancer. Coach Hep had only been with the team a few years, but from the beginning he was bringing a buzz to IU football that hasn’t existed for at least a decade or two. Fans and students alike were beginning to even become excited about the team. As a Purdue fan, I never want to see us get beaten by IU, but it seemed like a positive thing for both teams if our rivalry might decide which team gets a 3rd- or 4th-place finish in the Big Ten, instead of the last-place finishes we were battling for 15 years ago. In barely more than two years of coaching, it seemed like Coach Hep was reminding the state of Indiana that there’s something beyond basketball, even for teams not named Notre Dame.
Unlike Walker, this wasn’t unexpected news. Last year, Hep underwent two surgeries due to his cancer. Despite a tough mentality (he missed very little work after each brain surgery) and a positive outlook, the reports have been trickling out all year, revealing a worsening condition. This morning, he died in the hospital with his family around him, a premature end to a story that we all wanted to see continue. I wish his family the best, and– although it pains me to say it– the same wishes extend to the IU community. Today is a sad day for all football fans, regardless of whether they wear Cream and Crimson, or the Old Gold and Black.
June 18, 2007
This is the first pull off the keg, so I’ve noticed just in another two pours tonight, it’s actually starting to get clearer.
Definitely an interesting beer, and actually pretty good. It’s a bit hot, being about 6%+ and barely 2 weeks since brew day, but still quite tasty.
Normally I don’t put lemon in my beer, but this one takes to it. When cold, the agave is not very noticeable, and the beer is quite dry, so the lemon gives it a little more flavor. As it warms up a bit, the agave starts to come through, and you get that hint of a bite at the back of your throat. The acidity of the lemon really opens your taste buds up to get the full effect.
Right now, I’m going to let it sit another week before I really decide how I want to deal with it. Given a little more time to carbonate fully and age (I only chilled and carbonated it yesterday), it’s bound to change a bit. If the body doesn’t fill out a bit by then, I’ll add some malto-dextrin to improve it. But all in all, that’s really the only negative at this point. It could use a little more body and sweetness.
Putting agave in such a mild recipe really gave me an idea of what it does. Being a sugary syrup, it dries out the finish of a beer, so as I said, adding something in the recipe to sweeten it up would be a great idea. But the agave gives it that hint of something more, something different. And since I’ve still got a few pounds of the syrup, I might have to find a new recipe for it!
June 15, 2007
Well, tonight was a new one… If the fact that I’ve felt my son kick isn’t enough, tonight is making it sink in that this is real…
Tonight was the first night of our childbirth classes. Us and about 10 other couples in a room with a lady up front telling us about the “fun” we’re about to experience… And a video so graphic that I think it was more disturbing than midget porn— don’t ask how I know… And we’ve got four more 2-hour classes to learn all about it. Yippee.
June 14, 2007
Last night I was going to attempt to bottle my Raspberry & Agave wheat beers, in order to submit a few bottles for the Orange County fair… Well, it turns out the connection I had to get used bottles only provided about 3 cases (I was expecting 10), and thus I couldn’t bottle either. I did end up kegging the Agave Wheat, though, and will let that sit another week or two to condition before chilling and carbonating it.
I don’t have any pictures, but the stuff came out more light in color than any beer I’ve ever done. If I get decent clarity (not easy with a wheat beer, especially since I did a single infusion mash and not a step mash), this beer is going to come out looking as light in color as something like MGD…
But this does mean that I’ll actually need people to come visit me to drink this one… Better start packing, because it might not last long!
June 12, 2007
I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really believe in karma… But somehow when I do good things, good things tend to happen to me. Well, as many of you saw, I managed to do something very honest that required enormous willpower a few weeks ago.
Well, today my ship came in. For various reasons, I don’t think I can divulge specifically what happened. And no, it’s not something life-changing like winning the lottery. But then, my good karma maneuver wasn’t exactly a Mother Teresa moment either… But it was big enough that I’m absolutely shocked and amazed that I’m going to be a part of it. I’m not sure that I believe in karma, and even if I did, I should be doing good things just because I’m a good guy, but a little reward is always nice too!
More to come…
June 9, 2007
I don’t care for Paris Hilton. In fact, whether or not she goes to jail means nothing to me. I’m not even going to use it as an excuse to argue about the validity of DUI laws or the travesties of our justice system. I wish this whole sordid detail would be relegated to the E! channel and the metro section of the paper, not CNN and the front page.
However, I am an opportunist, and I will gladly and shamelessly self-promote anything which might make me a buck. So head on over to my wife’s cafepress store and buy stuff!
The shirts (front & back, multiple shirt styles):
And in true Paris Hilton fashion, a dog shirt and trucker hat…
If you like it, give me a mention at your blog (linking specifically to here, of course)…
June 7, 2007
I’ve got a Cafepress store, and while it hasn’t exactly been lucrative, I have made $30 over the last year. So I picked up a few things for Wyatt:
Gotta start ‘em young, right? If I haven’t smashed the state by the time he’s my age (or, more likely, if the state has smashed me), someone needs to carry the torch!
June 4, 2007
So much of blogging, particularly political blogging, is to find a way to vent. Venting, of course, implies that pressure builds up that needs to be released. When I lived here a few years ago, and had to deal with freeway traffic and live in Irvine, I always needed ways to vent. When I lived in Georgia, I had a lot less stress, but still didn’t have a release. In addition, at my job I’d listen to political talk radio, giving me plenty of fodder.
That didn’t make for a very happy person, but it led to some excellent blogging. It’s not to say I wasn’t a happy person, but getting a chance to rail against the system was a great way to relieve stress at the end of the day.
Things are changing, though… I live close enough to work that I don’t have to deal with SoCal freeway hell. I’m busy all day, and work in a cubicle, so I can’t listen to much radio. On the way home, since I live near the beach, I open the windows in the truck, crank the tunes, and relax as the air turns from warm Irvine air to cool beach breeze.
Normally, I’d still have some stress to work out. After all, my job involves dealing with customers who only call me when something is going wrong, and it’s my responsibility to make sure it gets fixed. Sometimes that means they’ve got a backlog of shipments and if we don’t fix their problem, they might lose thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars… And if that happens, the engineers I’m talking to might not have a job. They’re understandably worried. So I come home with some stress.
But then I go for a nice 2 mile walk to the beach with Guinness. Up and down hills, past a beautiful golf course, the St. Regis and Ritz Carlton resorts, eventually ending up at the beach, where I get to watch the sun falling out over the Pacific Ocean. I get back, have a wonderful dinner prepared by my wonderful wife, sit down, have a beer, and relax. The stress is gone.
How in the world can I come home and have something to blog about after that?
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