Monday, November 01, 2010

While doing a little light research on performances of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker ballet, I found that a television station that I don't get and have never heard of (Ovation TV) does a "Battle of the Nutcrackers: Dance Off!" every December where they show five different performances of the ballet and their viewers vote on which one will be re-aired on Christmas Eve.  

Nifty idea, but not nifty enough to keep me from getting distracted by a clip from their E! meets HGTV show "Anatomy of a Closet," which apparently counts down ten "style icons" found in many closets.  The selected preview clip was probably one of maybe two that I could possibly identify with, the White Tee Shirt; assuming the other would be blue jeans, of course.  
I especially like their comparison of 1930's gay erotica to modern Abercrombie and Fitch.

That being said, the white tee shirt is definitely one fashion icon that I can embrace.  And do, on a regular basis.

...Oh, more on the Nutcracker thing later.  Maybe.  

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fort Collins Brewfest Preview 1

I know lots of people are dissapointed with the new format the 21st Annual Fort Collins Brewfest (officially the Colorado Brewers' Festival 2010) has taken. Even more are discouraged by the new price structure. I've got a little bit of inside knowledge on the subject, and I'd like to share my thoughts.

Regarding the new structure:

  • I am going to really enjoy being on the grass at Civic Center Park and not on the scorching asphalt of downtown.
  • I'm also going to enjoy getting to talk to the brewers about the beer being served.
  • I'm going to like not having to choke down something crappy that I dropped a $2 token on.
  • And I'm really going to like not running out of $2 tokens and having to wait in line again!
  • Did I mention the grass? Just checking.

Here's my take on the pricing:

  • I thought $35 presale and $45 at the gate was too much. $25 presale is much more reasonable.
  • It's really easy to spend $25 at the liquor store and not even get to try three decent beers. Even at a well stocked bar like Old Chicago you'll drop $3 to $5 per beer and get to try five to seven beers. But if you buy and drink seven pints of beer, you're going to be totally tanked and not have any clue what the last four beers tasted like. And if you buy a $9 six-pack and it sucks, you're stuck with five beers you don't want to drink.
  • At Brewfest, you get unlimited samples of over fifty of the best beer that Colorado has to offer. If you like one, get another! If it sucks, pitch it! And unlike the Great American Beer Fest, which costs over twice as much, you get a 4 oz sample, not some puny 1 oz joke.
  • Also important to consider with regards to pricing is the fact that Brewfest is not a charity event. Brewfest is where the DBA makes most of the money it takes to put on all the other great events for the rest of the year. I know it's a straw man, but if you don't go to Brewfest, you're taking away Christmas from some kid. ;)
  • Finally, in previous years I usually spend over $20 on entry and beer, and when I was done, I rode my tipsy ass home. This year there's going to be great live music to sober up to. I'd say that's worth $5.

Just my take. You may disagree, and that's fine, but Brewfest is still Brewfest, and it's still going to be tons of fun for all of us who go.


Now, onto the beer!

I decided to pour some Dale's Pale Ale from Osark Blues into the 4 oz taster and give it a go. First off, four ounces is suprisingly satisfying. Secondly, and more importantly, it's easy to see how America's first hand-crafted canned beer has won so many awards. It has a really nice, deep amber color and very good head retention.  It's 6.5% ABV and 65 IVB, so it let you know who's the boss when you take your first sip. I'm not sure which variety of hops are used, but it's not quite as citrusy as, say, Odell's IPA, but it's nice and bitter with a good body that keeps the pucker-factor in check. I give it an "A".
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Spectators Guide To Competition Barbecue

Katie's dad is highly entertaining.

He doesn't do anything half way, so when he got into competition barbecue a few years back, nothing was going to stop him from winning everything he could.  He even wrote a book called "The Spectator's Guide to Competition Barbecue" which is now in its third printing (I think) which really illuminates this strange world to the non-Southerner newcomer who is not accustomed to this kind of pastime.  He even sent me down to Texas last June to pick up a shiny new "rig" (which is composed of the "pit" where the meat is cooked and the trailer which it is mounted on) built by the best in the business, Jamie Greer of Jambo Pits.
He'll be cooking on our side of the hill at the Loveland Loves Barbecue competition in July.

Not really sure where I was heading with this post, but I just saw the video on the KCBS website and had to share it.

Oh, he's also a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and a magician.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mustang!

I know I'm a day late on the draw here on the blog, but I was on time on Twitter, so I shouldn't be accused of just being unaware.  Anyways...
Today (4/17) is the 46th anniversary of the @FordMustang! on Twitpic
Happy Birthday to the Ford Mustang!

First released on April 17, 1964, and still going strong 46 years later, the Mustang was a true game changer for Ford Motor Company and for the American auto industry as a whole.  Ford single handedly proved that you could offer one car that appealed to both housewives and teenagers, and do it affordable and successfully. 

The Mustang was a wild success from the very beginning, selling 22,000 units on the first day alone.  Now over eight million Mustangs have been sold, and in 2005, it was even named the Canadian Car Of The Year.

I've driven several Mustangs over the years, from the first generation models up to my 2008 GT, and I can definitely see why they draw people like moths to a flame.  The classic proportions, accessibility, comfort, performance, and aura of cool that just oozes from every body panel make these a true American classic.  And for 2011, it looks like Ford is prepared to hit another home run with the return of the "5.0" badge to the front fender. The competition had better watch out!  Autoblog calls it A Game Changer, and for $20,000 less money, Jalopnik speculates that it might be better than a BMW M3.  The entire 2010 line has even been recently recalled for being too cool

So anyway, happy birthday, Mustang, and good work, Ford.  Here's to another 46 years.  I wonder what a 2056 Mustang would look like?  I suppose it depends on who is in charge of the EPA.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Songs about rain

After threatening all day yesterday, the weather finally got its act together and actually rained for a little while today here in FoCo!  I love the rain (when I don't have to work in it, that is), and this was just a nice, steady, gentle shower that is really going to help get the grass and plants going!  Not to mention rinse some of the infernal dust and pollen out of the air for at least a little while!!!  Sheesh, my allergies are killing me this year!

Driving home through the nice little rain shower got me thinking, there's a lot of good songs about rain, and I should make a playlist / compilation of them!  I started to make a list, so let me know what you think, if you want to email me any mp3s, and if I missed anything!
  • I Love A Rainy Night - Eddie Rabbitt
  • Rockin' With The Rhythm Of The Rain - The Judds
  • Raindrops keep fallin' on my head - B.J. Thoma
  • I'm Only Happy When It Rains - Garbage
  • Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again - The Fortunes
  • Kentucky Rain - Elvis Presley
  • Here Comes The Rain Again - The Eurythmics
  • (It Must Be) Raindrops - David Cassidy
  • Have You Ever Seen The Rain/Who'll Stop The Rain - Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Fire And Rain - James Taylor
  • It Never Rains In Southern California - Albert Hammond
  • Rainy Days And Mondays - The Carpenters
  • Laughter In The Rain - Neil Sedaka
  • Never Liked the Rain - Clint Black
  • Rain In My Heart - Frank Sinatra
  • (Somewhere) Over The Rainbow - Judy Garland
  • Rainbow Connection - Kermit The Frog
  • Singin' In The Rain - Gene Kelly
  • Box of Rain - Grateful Dead
  • Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain - Willie Nelson
Once I get the list finalized, whittled down to a reasonable number, and find all the songs, I'll try to figure out a way to share my new list with a few people.  Like I need another project...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Just needing to bitch a little

So, it's five 'til seven, and I really should be getting out of this coffee shop, getting something to eat (even though I'm not really hungry) and heading to swing dance practice. But I don't want to. I just want to sit here, with the sun streaming in through the old window panes, listen to the murmur of the random conversations surrounding me, and just be. Be lazy, I suppose would be more specific, but I'm not gonna get picky here.

I did my taxes last night and realized that my taxable income was below the poverty level. I also had to pay self employment taxes on the little bit of money I made from teaching and gigging swing dances. Lame. Yet somehow I still have my condo, even though it literally takes all of my money to do so. Interest rates are still good, but you can't refinance without a decent job. (Which is kinda ironic - you'd think they would like to give poor folks who are still making their payments the chance to lower that payment and increase their chances of *not* going into foreclosure or walking away, but that's not the way it works.)

I can't seem to better my situation lately, and it's really discouraging, but I guess I'd better keep trying. I've got a cover letter to write for a project engineer position at another nameless company that I found on Craigslist, but based on the last x number of cover letters I've written, this one will be another waste of time.

Oh well, I guess I'll get back to that cover letter and head to practice now. Just needed to bitch a little.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Creating Some Content

I was thinking earlier today about content creation versus content consumption and the hardware needed best able to do each - specifically that the horribly named iPad is really just a large, awkward device to consume the content that Apple wants you to - and I came to the conclusion that I need to be a better content creator. I know I say this pretty much every time I let my poor old blog languish for a few months without a post, but this time I'm thinking in a more general sense.

But, as it's been nearly four months since I've last created any content over 14o characters long and doesn't say "Jumpin' JiveCats" on it, I figured a quick update was in order.

Thanksgiving was good. Christmas was good. I crocheted this cool and extremely warm Santa hat that somehow sheds white fuzz like a cat.
I also learned how to make this amazingly good and super simple artisan bread.
The only problem is that whenever I make a loaf, I eat half of it within a couple of hours and then there isn't enough left to share. I suppose I should just make two loaves at once.

I also took this fun picture of myself drinking a homemade latte out of this sweet mug that I won playing bingo at Everyday Joe's a couple of years ago.
Since I am still out of work and don't really have much better to do with my Fridays, I have been volunteering as a barista at there since October. Needless to say, this has not tempered my coffee habit one bit. In fact, it has increased my level of coffee geekdom to the point that I worked - er, volunteered - at the Mountain Regional Barista Competition over Valentine's weekend as a machine maintainer and a technical judge.
And I suppose that it goes without saying, but I am still totally over-committed to my swing dance troupe, the Jumpin' JiveCats and spend way too much time being co-director, PR person, social media guru, email answerer, teacher, and performer with them.

Well, that's about it. I've officially created some content. Hopefully this content won't be to contentious. ;)

Now I'm off to pick up some Girl Scout cookies I forgot I ordered and find somewhere to make a gigantic print of this picture that I took this morning.