October 30, 2007
Well, after a little over a week, it’s finally starting to sink in that I didn’t win the Sam Adams thing. That being said, there are still some fun little things trickling in.
For example, I was interviewed by CraftBeerRadio.com for the competition, and they put all their interviews (not just the two winners) into their podcast. Check it out if you get a chance, I start about 6 minutes into the podcast.
There’s another cool thing that Sam Adams had prepared for myself and my co-brewer, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Once I get that, I’ll be sure to post some pictures
October 23, 2007
About 5 1/2 years ago, on a bench atop a cliff above the Pacific Ocean, outside the absolutely beautiful Ritz Carlton resort in Half Moon Bay, CA, I proposed to Joanna.
We went back there this past weekend, and the bench was still there. Of course, we’ve added someone since those days!
Good times… My apologies for the horrible camera, the old one broke and the camera on our videocamera is not as good as we had hoped… The picture doesn’t quite do the scene justice. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend it.
A few more:
And, of course, the star of the show:
October 17, 2007
As I pointed out, my phone died about two weeks ago. I now have a new phone, but because it’s on a different carrier, I can’t access any of my stored phone numbers. So for those of you who know me in real life, e-mail me your phone number so I can program it in, and I’ll send you my new number.
For those who are interested, it’s a BlackBerry 7520. The new job standardizes on that phone, so it made my choice of phones rather anticlimactic. It’s still far too early to really give my impression of the phone. It seems slightly harder to use than my old Motorola Q, but that may be simply the fact that I’m not used to it. Given the amount of time that the BlackBerry has been available, I’m expecting that once I get used to it, it will become much more powerful than the Q was. Battery life (so far) is pretty good, as I’ve gone two full days on one charge. But at the same time, I’m not really spending much time talking on it yet, and don’t get many emails yet at the new job, so I really won’t get a real test until my first business trip.
October 16, 2007
Seen on a bumper sticker:
REALITY Has A Liberal Bias
Now, humanity has a liberal bias. Most of humanity is caring, generous, kind, forgiving, and willing to accept and look past the failure of others.
Reality? Not so much. Reality is cruel, reality is harsh, reality punishes mistakes without remorse. Reality doesn’t give many second chances. Reality is the exact opposite of what could be called “liberal”.
Now, I’ll admit that it makes for a catchy little slogan. But it’s a profound misunderstanding of the world we live in. In fact, it was the “illiberal” system of capitalism that is precisely what has allowed us to blunt the harsh “conservative” nature of reality.
October 15, 2007
Well, I am back from the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, and unfortunately I have to report that I did not win the Samuel Adams Longshot Competition. In all honesty, I did get to taste the winners’ beer, and I really can’t be too upset, as Rodney’s Weizenbock and Mike’s Double IPA are both extremely good.
The folks from Sam Adams took care of us this weekend, and there were some really cool events that we had access to. The festival was definitely something I’ve wanted to attend since I learned of its existence, so getting that chance was great. I got to meet Jim Koch, which was cool. So a big thanks to Rob & Kelly in particular, and all the Sam Adams folks I met in general, are in order. As I’ve said before, it was one of my 15 minutes of fame, and it was certainly an enjoyable minute. If all goes well, I’ll try to be headed back within the next few years as well!
October 10, 2007
Well, today is my last day at my current job. Starting Monday Oct 15th, I’m moving on to new things and new challenges. I’m not going to get too deep into the specifics, as I do have coworkers who read this blog, and I like to keep my work and online life separate, but it should be a very good thing in the next few months. With the new job, I do expect to get some traveling, so some of you (particularly those from “real” life) might hear from me if I’m going to be in town…
In other news, the reason I’m taking a few days off between jobs is the Sam Adams competition. Tomorrow morning I leave for Denver for the Great American Beer Festival, and I think it should be a very fun time. Unfortunately, if I’m reading the tea leaves* properly, I’m pretty sure my neighbor and I did not finish in the top two… But either way, I’m quite pleased that I’m getting a chance to visit the GABF and see Denver for the first time. Regardless of winning or not winning, it’s still quite an honor to finish in the top four finalists out of over 2000 entries, and I’m going to do whatever I can to ensure that I can someday use that accolade when I open the South Swell Brewing Company.
* PS – By tea leaves, I’m talking about the Tax & Trade Board’s Public COLA Search… Sam Adams’ desire to keep the results secret were foiled by a government agency actually responding to something quickly and doing their jobs. It’s just my luck, even when government actually works, I get the short end!
October 9, 2007
As many of you probably noticed, I don’t exactly have much time for blogging any more. Babies appear to take a lot of time and effort, and somehow I’ve noticed that taking the time to think about, compose, proofread, and post blog entries falls by the wayside. Especially if I’m trying to write something intelligent or insightful, which is hard enough for me as it is!
So instead, I give you baby pictures! As of yesterday (2 months), Wyatt is 9 lb 9 oz, 22 inches long, and healthy. He’s spending more and more time alert, smiling, and making non-crying noises, which is nice. He quite often has that furrowed brow, “I’m trying to understand what I’m seeing” look on his face, which either means he’s naturally inquisitive, or he’s constipated…
Anyway, away we go!
Wyatt, Chilling in his pack & play:
He may have big feet (for a baby), but they still seem pretty darn tiny!
Wyatt may be sleeping at the beach, but Mom & Dad certainly enjoy it!
Grandpa thinks he’s sleeping right now… Wyatt sure is devious!
October 5, 2007
For those of you who know me in the real world, my cellphone finally kicked the bucket last night. Which is good, because the phone absolutely sucked anyway, with horrendous reception, constant dropped calls, and generally being a cheesy, poor-quality product.
So I’ll be unreachable by phone for the near future. You all know my email address, so that’s the best way to get a hold of me.
Like many other common pieces of glassware, Erlenmeyer flasks could potentially be used in the production of illegal narcotics. In an effort to restrict such production, some U.S. states (including Texas) have begun requiring permits to purchase such glassware, including Erlenmeyer flasks, as well as chemicals identified as common starting materials.
When I make beer, often neighbors will come by and inquire about what’s going on… As a jest, I often will reply “meth lab”, just to see how they react, before explaining far more about the processes of brewing beer than they ever wanted to know. It really is like a chemistry set, with flasks, burners, glass fermentation vessels, yeast which comes in containers resembling test tubes, etc. I personally have a very nice 2L Erlenmeyer flask, and often find myself having to drive from my house to my brother-in-law’s place for brew day with the flask full of a yeast starter. Thankfully, I’ve never been stopped by the cops; I have to think that would be tough to explain!
Not long ago, I was at a tradeshow with a coworker visiting from Taiwan. We got on the subject of beer, and he asked me “do you need a permit to brew beer?” Of course not, I told him, as long as you’re not trying to sell it you don’t need any permit at all. I guess in Texas, you don’t need a permit to brew beer, just to buy some of the equipment used in brewing beer. I guess we’ve officially kissed the whole presumption of innocence thing goodbye.
Of course, some of you will say that this is just a silly law, and that in the long run won’t hurt anyone. But as he often does, Radley Balko will prove you wrong:
Ariel Alonso and Jonathan Conrad were two lonely men who developed an interest in alchemy. After meeting on the Internet, the two men shared a home in Henry, Virginia, where they practiced amateur chemistry, producing various elixirs that they then sold on their website. Cooky? Sure. But not criminal. Conrad, in his 50s, was into alternative medicine, and generated most of the income from the venture. Alonso, in his 70s, was bit more eccentric — he dabbled in metallurgy. The two had invested thousands of dollars in the lab, but were able to make a decent living from their web business.
On October 13, 2003, local authorities paid a visit to the home, where they saw the men’s chemistry equipment, and (naturally) immediately suspected a methamphetamine lab. For reasons still unclear, a “field test” tested positve (there seem to be lots of false positives with these narcotics field tests). The DEA would later admit that test was only “equivocally” positive.
So later the same day, DEA agents raided the men’s home. The raiding officers devastated the lab, shattering thousands of dollars in equipment, and arrested the men on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine. The two spent 18 days in jail.
Unfortunately for the drug cops, more extensive lab tests later revealed no sign of methamphetamine, nor of any of the chemicals used to make it. In fact, there were no signs of any illicit substances at all. The two men were released.
As Radley goes on to point out, the two men were never compensated for the equipment that was destroyed, and both were financially ruined by the encounter. And all they’ve done was use some equipment specialized to their profession, but a bit too uncommon for a normal household.
So a note to all the authorities. I make beer, not meth. If you come to my house and see strange equipment that you don’t understand, I’ll spend all day (and night) talking your ear off about beer until you’re quite convinced that I’m telling the truth. And my wife will probably thank you, because that will mean I’m not talking to her about beer.