Thursday, December 16, 2010

beer me

after thinking about it, and deciding i didn't want to fall out of the habit of writing in this thing, but i also didn't feel like writing every day, i'm going to cut back to 4 days a week.

i'm going to stick with my previous category ideas for monday-wednesday. thursday, which will remain a day for the random word search/study update will keep that dubious honor, but also roll into it the friday "judging a movie by its cover" and saturday "excuse to write about beer" days, so that whatever i've got on any given thursday will be what i write about.

today, a short piece about beer. two beers, particularly, from the great divide brewing company.

we'll talk about hoss first, since this was the first i tried. the description from great divide reads "rich, layered malt notes, with hints of cherry and dark fruits, dominate, while the unique addition of rye imparts a slightly earthy, spicy character. Hoss finishes crisp and dry, and its brilliant red-orange color is a toast to the sunsets that make the perfect backdrop for this beer." it's actually won a few medals, and it's easy to see why. it's very woody and earthy and, as per the description, the dark cherry flavor really does come through.
the nose is dry, tart, and somewhat sour and wheat-y, like a sourdough bread, and it finishes, crisp, light, and buttery. add the gorgeous color that's like a slightly darker amber, and you've got yourself one of the best new beers i've tasted in a while.

up next is the hibernation ale, gdbc's "winter tradition." they describe it as "robust, dry-hopped ale has a malty richness balanced with a complex hop profile and hearty, warming character," and it's impossible to find fault with that description. the richness of the malt lends a savory scent and a lighter savory flavor, that finishes with a just a bit of hops, just enough to let you know they're there.

wrap both beers up in fantastically designed bottles, and i'm totally sold. i just wish i could find more of their beers around here. otherwise, it may necessitate a road trip to denver. who's coming with me?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


so much science today that it warrants three exclamation points!!!

first, the arguably least science-y of the three, they've apparently found the embalmed head of king henri the iv, assassinated in 1610. it's been passed down through the generations by collectors, and was identified using radiocarbon dating, computer facial reconstruction, and through several distinguishing marks, including an ear-piercing and a facial lesion.


in other science news, they've discovered a particular type of snail that glows under the right conditions, the Hinea brasiliana, which uses its creepy radioactive-like glow to scare off predators. part of the "clusterwink snail" family, its the snail itself that emits the glow, and uses its shell to disperse the light across a larger surface.


and apparently? there are volcanoes on saturn's moon titan that, rather than lava, emit ice (and hydrocarbons).

i smell sci-fi channel original movie!!! (note: i refuse to call it "syfy" other than in this quick note explaining that i will not do so.) corin nemec, clear your schedule.

(in other news, it only took 16 pages of images in google image search to hit one that was very mildly nsfw...)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

new music tuesday

given this week's incredibly brief list of new releases, i listened to most of them, and decided to do a quick review for each i got through. the one that i didn't end up listening to that i wanted to was the new volbeat album, beyond hell/above heaven but i'll get to it at some point. in the meantime:

Ryan Adams - III/IV (2010, PAX AM Records) 4 of 5
This is definitely one of Adams's more rock and roll albums, well, since lloR N kcoR, released back in 2003. It features a lot of the same musical touchstones, being the "college rock" staples Adams grew up on, like the Replacements, the Smiths, R.E.M. & Joy Division, with even a little Neil Young and Tom Petty thrown in for good measure. It does suffer a bit from the occasional bout of "damaged junkie self-pitying," and an overly long running time (it spans two 10+ track discs), and it's arguable that it could have been split into two releases. Unfortunately, the criticism there would likely be that it's "too much of the same" spread across two different discs, and the fact of the matter is, Adams is a talented songwriter a majority of the time. The rest of the time, he's just keeping himself busy.

The Damned Things - Ironiclast (2010, Mercury Records) 3 of 5
This record is nothing if not necessarily necessary. It's full of decent, late '80s crossover metal, in the vein of Testament, Megadeth, Corrosion of Conformity, and Anthrax, but definitely the softest of their tunes. And, go figure, the band features not one but TWO Anthrax members in Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano. The band is also comprised of Fall Out Boy members Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley (i.e., two of the dudes who aren't pete wentz), and lead singer Keith Buckley from Every Time I Die. I think what's most disappointing about this album is that it doesn't feel nearly as dangerous as ETID does, and lacks the swagger, angularity, dirt, and biting, literate humor and wordplay that make Every Time I Die so great and interesting. I know it's unfair to compare the two bands, but it's hard not to, when all in all, this isn't too far a stretch from what ETID would sound like were they a little more mainstream -- if they, say, went all Eighteen Visions on us.

R. Kelly - Love Letter (2010, Jive Records) 2 of 5
As suggested by the cover art, this is apparently R. Kelly's love letter to the '50s and '60s sounds of R&B. As blatantly laid out by his speak-sung mission statement kick-off track, this is more a love letter to his fans. Well, that and Michael Jackson. Because really, amongst the direct reference to "Thriller," the secret bonus cover of "You Are Not Alone," and several MJ-styled "YEAH" outbursts, this could easily be mistaken for a lot of the late-period, synthesized-Motown Jackson ballads. The sound doesn't really stray far beyond the smooth jazz and lite R&B that's pretty inoffensive to everyone. But it's entirely possible that's what he's going for -- after all, much like Jackson, Kelly's had his share of controversial (and incredibly illegal) sexual escapades that probably make him pretty hesitant to step on anyone's toes. But speaking of...

Michael Jackson - Michael (2010, Epic Records) 2 of 5
The first of what I'm sure will be many, many more posthumous releases from the late "King of Pop," Michael suffers from being overly sappy, and in a lot of cases, nearly indistinguishable from the aforementioned R. Kelly album -- especially on the opening track "Hold My Hand." Well, that is, save for the near complete lack of libidinous come-ons. Instead, this record is full of "meaningful" songs, along the lines of "Man in the Mirror," but, you know, not good. "Hollywood Tonight" and his track with 50 Cent, "Monster" (about paparazzi, because, you know, they're monsters...) have a lot of the rough-edged funk reminiscent of Dangerous, but especially in light of 2008's Thriller reissue, this is pretty sub-par. On a couple of tracks, you can even (cover your eyes if you're squeamish) hear Jackson's missing nose. And something about "Best of Joy"'s refrain of "I am forever" is profoundly shrill & creepy. This is just evidence that while some songs may be forever, the artist is definitely not.

Monday, December 13, 2010

i fail at daily updates

well, not even a week into this thing and i skip 3 days of posting. don't worry, i have things in mind for the couple of weekly themed posts that i missed, and will likely use them this coming week in an effort to not spend 60-120 minutes of my day working on this thing.

because that's the issue. it's all about time. and my time is precious.

just like morrissey:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

creepy jackalope eye

while i still haven't decided what thursday's theme will be, i'm thinking about centering it around a random word. that is to say, pick a word, write a little something about it, do a google image search and pull something entertaining, see if there are any youtube videos about it. that sort of thing. and this week? that word is "jackalope."

see, i'm in the middle of playing the game red dead redemption at the moment, and apparently there's a download-able jackalope to hunt.

and, i'm in the middle of reading the mental floss history of the united states, which regularly features jackalopes as bullet points in the text to stress a new section.

and and, whilst flipping through the newest issue of decibel magazine (with oderus urungus from gwar on the cover), smack in the middle there's an illustration of a jackalope done by bruno guerreiro.

one might even go so far as to say that the jackalope is, well, breeding like rabbits in my world at the moment.

i've even recently seen a mounted jackalope head for sale in the christmas cabela's catalog.

so, what exactly is a jackalope? well, it's a north american legend, particular to the southwest, and, as i'm sure you've been able to figure out at this point, a rabbit with antlers. before we get into the more "down-to-earth" aspects of the beast, let's talk about some of the more outlandish.

it's said that jackalope milk is extremely beneficial "medicinally" (it'll "melt your butter" so to speak), and that it's somewhat easy to obtain as the jackalope sleeps on its back. best yet, it comes right out of the animal already homogenized, as the power from a jackalope's jump just breaks that fat right down.

just don't attempt to milk it while it's breeding -- beyond being rude, jackalopes apparently only breed in ferocious lightning storms, or possibly even only when lightning strikes the ground (you'd better milk fast, then -- lightning can travel at speeds up to 140,000mph).

if you really want to catch one, though -- leave out some whiskey. the jackalope is partial to the "mountain dew," and will drink it all, slowing it considerably and making it easier to catch. it's a tricky little sucker, though, as it's apparently adept at mimicking human voices, a trait that it uses to throw people off of its trail.

the word's origins, somewhat obviously, lie in the combination of "jackrabbit" and "antelope," and there's even a species of southwestern rabbit, Lepus alleni, that's called the antelope jackrabbit).

and while it may have evolved into the portrait of a cute and cuddly animal, it's thought that the actual origins of the myth may link back to sightings of rabbits with the Shope papilloma virus, which causes growths on the head and body that quite resemble antlers.

but that's kind of depressing.

instead, let us celebrate this weird and wily animal for what it is: a snipe-hunt-styled excuse to fool the gullible.

an iconic symbol to tattoo on yourself:

and to use to promote beer.

a magic card to use to do...something:

and a texan minor league sports team to root for:

and an excuse to have a party.

so to you, my friend the jackalope, i say "cheers."

suggestions for future "random word thursdays," and donations of stuffed jackalope heads are graciously accepted.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

mosca melenuda terrible

i was having a hard time finding a science news story that i found interesting and entertaining enough to write about tonight.

sure, scientists at the university of colorado discovered (and published in the journal Science Translational Medicine) that stem cell injections in mice can not only boost leg muscle, but prevent age deterioration (bringing me one step closer to finally having "ups"), and that's amazing...

but it just wasn't what i was looking for.

until i found this:

"Africa's 'terrible hairy fly' found in Kenya"

yes, that's right.

a terribly hairy fly.

apparently, scientists haven't seen this fly in the wild in 62 years, but even more amazing? it can't actually fly. Mormotomyia hirsuta is approximately one centimeter long (the common house fly grows to be 0.8-1.2cm), covered in tiny yellow hairs, and has non-functioning wings.

it's also very likely that it only lives in a single rock-cleft in uzaki hill, east of nairobi. why, you ask? well, the hairy fly has a predilection for breeding in bat guano, something that this rock cleft is in no shortage of.

not much else is known due to the extreme rarity of the fly, but this much is known, and this much is disappointing:

there is currently no known luchador wrestling under the name: "mosca melenuda terrible."

(though a google image search for "terrible hairy fly" DID eventually net this:)

to make up for that, here's a picture of a piglet squid:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

my cousin is a liar

i was told last night that "[i hadn't] updated, in, like, a year." it's been 6 months. that's a LOT different. either way, i guess i'm back on this horse. in fact, i've been challenged -- "holidailies," i'm told. well, i don't know about actually posting to reddit, and i missed the official start yesterday but a challenge is a challenge, and i figure why not do some writing along the way.

oh, and cousin? i FULLY expect you to compete in the cinnamon challenge with me now. you owe me.

anyway, i've decided in the interest of keeping this interesting, i'm going to figure out some sort of mission statement/goal/theme, not for the blog in general, but for, say, each day.

sunday -

monday - morrissey monday: to entertain myself, i'm going to, on mondays, find a ridiculous picture of morrissey and write 50 words to go along with it (as apparently, 50 words is the minimum i'm allowed to write).

tuesday - new music day: starting next week, i'll post something about new(ish) releases for the week. i'm keeping it vague here, partly because we're heading into that time of year where the new stuff dries up until after the holidays.

wednesday - SCIENCE! in honor of mythbusters airing on wednesdays, i'm going to write about science here. well, write about it as best i can, which will likely involve a lot of links and "oh, hey, this is awesome!"

thursday -

friday - judging a movie by its cover: once a week, i'm going to pick a movie to watch streaming on netflix based solely on the cover art. i will then post about said movie.

saturday - beer me: i am obsessed with trying new beers. writing about them will be my justification for that.

sunday and thursday are open season, that is, unless someone suggests an excellent topic/theme for me to run with. i'm just putting that out there to anyone who might be reading this.