Saturday, March 31, 2007

Keg on the Run... or Suds-a-Go-Go

Forgive me for not talking about one of my passions - beer - lately, so let me rectify that lil error right now. I was just browsing through my favorite new beer magazine, Draft (thanks Nay!), and stumbled across a few interesting items that I wanted to pass along.

Did you know that there is a Beertini? Here's the recipe:
  • 2 brandied cherries (1 pound of bing cherries macerated in 1 Liter cognac for two weeks)
  • 1/4 ounce brandied cherry juice (the cognac left over from the maceration)
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce Peter Heering (Danish cherry cordial)
  • 1/2 ounce Trimbach Kirsch (Alsacien cherry brandy Eau-de-Vie)
  • 1 ounce Kriek Lambic to top (Belgian lambic beer flavored with tart cherries, add after straining)
Combine the first four ingredients into a mixing glass, add ice and shake (like a James Bond drink). Pour that sucker into a "rocks" glass full of ice, then top off with the lambic and garnish with brandied cherries.

Now, there are far too many fancy shmancy type alcohols in that concoction for my liking, but it might work for folks who don't particularly like beer. Give me a shout if you end up trying it.

Speaking of beers that please... we were at one of our (many) local watering holes Monday night, Phantom Canyon (or as our friend Harry likes to call it - "Ghost Valley"), and we stumbled upon a lovely 11% brew (actually a mead not a beer) called Miss Haddy's Honey Lovin' Ale (which won a silver medal in the 2006 International Mead Festival). Needless to say, at 11% ABV... we were feeling mighty fine. Fran even enjoyed it! Thing is... they aren't allowed to sell it off premises, thus - NO growler purchase! ARGH!

Did you know there actually can be a difference in the taste of beer based on the color of the bottle it comes in? Apparently green and clear bottles allow UV light to reach the beer, which changes the chemical structure of the iso-alpha acids (no, I most certainly do not know what the hell that means Chemistry Ken!) in the hops of the beer. In stupid people terms (ya buddy!) the light can pass through the bottle and actually change the flavor of the beer, producing what is considered an "off flavor," or in lame man (er, layman's) terms... "light-struck" or skunky. Kinda like any beer with the word "Keystone" in it. Know where the term "skunky" beer came from? The chemical compound created from light hitting the beer is - get this - the exact same compound found in a skunk's pungent spray!


One last tidbit before I go grab a non-skunky beer. Do you like the name "Keg on the Run" or "Suds-a-Go-Go" better? Do you like either one? Believe it or not, I am going somewhere with that question... but I can't say where or why at the moment. Let me know what you think.

Until next time... "Thank God It's Friday!" Have a great weekend every one!

P.S. - Save the Earth. It's the only one with Beer!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Spring Cleaning

Since Spring has sprung - don't mind the snow storm we had yesterday (a typical Spring thing in Colorado Springs) - I want to address a few things that have been collecting dust under my desk here at the Asylum.

First, comments can be left to any one of my rambling diatribes by clicking on the comments link located under each and every blog entry.

Whether you agree with me or not, think I'm full of hot air (like AndyW) or just downright crazy (a mad man perhaps?)... let me hear about it. Discussion is good for the soul.

Secondly, some of you have asked how I got my "Ramblings of a Mad Man" logo. Interesting story. As most of you know, I'm a geek wrapped in a linebacker's body. I play (and write about) video games, love science fiction (shows and books), and dig all things super heroes. For a great deal of my youth (I can say that now that I'm almost 40) I collected comic books, went to comic conventions and worked in comic book stores. While I haven't actively collected since the mid-to-late 90's I still snag the occasional graphic novel or comic now and again. But to this day I still have a ginormous collection.

A handful of years ago, before I became the "Mad Man," I was looking for a good comic book database program to log and keep track of everything I had. At some point I stumbled across a great program created by Francis Moon called Realms of Wonder. Lo and behold the product "mascot" was a comic character created by a friend of his (both names escape me now, sorry!). It was perfect. So, I got permission from both Francis and the artist, added the "Ramblings of..." in the chaotic font and BAM! History was born... so to speak.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Commodore is Back!

Once, twice, three times a PC... oh wait, wrong Commodores. No, Lionel Richie didn't rejoin the band that made him a household name. Although I wish he would! That old school funk R&B like "Brick House," "To Hot Ta Trot," "Sail On" and "Wonderland"... smokin'!

But after 25 long years the company that introduced me to computing, and thus computer gaming, is back... with a vengeance. Commodore, the makers of the VIC-20, the Commodore 64, 128 and eventually the Amiga line of computers is back in business.

As I've prattled on about in past blogs, it was this particular company, and their particular line of computers that sent me down the long and winding road that I still travel to this very day. To some degree they made me who I am.

Scary thought, eh Commodore?

Seriously though, when they unveiled their new line of goodies at the CeBIT electronics show in Germany (hmmm, beeeeer) a few weeks ago a wave of nostalgia surely must have swept over other middle-aged "Gamer Geezers" who cut their teeth on what at the time was cutting edge technology. The new line of incredibly gorgeous Commodore gaming PCs are a far cry from the clunky aesthetically unappealing boulders from yesteryear. Take a gander at the sleek, black standard case...

Now look at it adorned with what Commodore is calling their C-Kin technology...

Uh, can you say sweeter then a bowl of Maggy Moo's ice cream on a hot summer day? There are currently a plethora of skins that can be applied, with more on the way. For the full run down check out the Commodore Gaming website.

Even though America is obsessed with how things look from the outside ("Only Skin Deep" should replace "In God We Trust" as our motto), these babies pack more horsepower than a Brokeback Mountain ranch. Seriously, these rigs might very well make Dellienware sob in their alien goo and make Voodoo PC cast a hex on Commodore! Take a gander at what's included with their top-o-the line rig, the Cxx:
  • Intel® Core™2 Extreme Quad-Core processor QX6700: 2.66GHz 8MB Cache
  • ASUS® P5N32-E nForce 680i SLI motherboard
  • 2x 150GB 10000 RPM SATA Raid 0 and 1x 500GB 7200 RPM SATA hard drives
  • 4GB Corsair® Dominator 2xTwin2x2048-8500C5D memory: 1066MHz
  • Philips® DVDRW optical drive
  • 1000W ICE Cube power supply
  • Creative® SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer
  • 2x NVIDIA® 8800 GTX 768MB graphics cards
Are you frakkin' kiddin me?! The cache for one of the hard drives has more memory then the entire Amiga did back in the day! From 64K to 64 Bit indeed! The Mad Man wants one o' these bad boys for his birthday (now only a mere 11 days away)! Oh yes... my preeeeeecious.

Until next time... keep the beer frosty, the carpel tunnel under control and since spring has sprung, time to crack out the Hawaiian shirts baby! I'm out.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

40 Bottles of Mad Man's Ale on the Wall...

Now THIS is a birthday present!

Or rather, 12 individually labeled beer-presents just waiting to be savored.

Thanks Steve! It rocks amigo!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Prince's Purple Rain of Terror

Each week Sports Illustrated offers up a "Sign of the Apocalypse" tidbit. Most are funny, but this asinine piece of humanity just speaks to the depths to which a great many people in this society frankly shouldn't be taking up air that other descent people are breathing.

"In formal complaints to the FCC, a man said Prince's Super Bowl halftime performance left him with erectile dysfunction, while a woman complained it might turn her son gay."

Beware the (supposed) phallic symbol's power to deflower!

I really don't need to expand on this, but at some point (soon) this world will have to implement laws that restrict people's ability to procreate, because the gene pool is getting mighty diluted.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Creepy Cool Mime

Tell me if this ain't one of the coolest things you've seen. Make sure you have your sound turned on for this one.

Ya, ya I know... mime's and French, two things that are better left untouched. But, this is tres cool. French folks may not be able to fight worth a damn (which is odd considering they used to be a world power full of ass kicking knights back in the day), but they know how to do a mean mime. Or something like that. (wink)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

300 Reasons To See "300"

Saw Frank Miller's 300 over the weekend. If your local Cineplex has an IMAX theater I can not recommend strongly enough experiencing this glorious epic (yes, "epic") on a five story by seven story screen.

See this movie... or else.

I've been eagerly anticipating this film for a few months now, so I went in with high expectations. It was even better then I'd hoped! There are at least three hundred reasons why you should see this film... from Gerard Butler's outstanding portrayal of the Spartan King Leonidas, to the pulse pounding action, to the insanely gorgeous virtually created backdrops, to the message of honor, respect, loyalty and duty - traits that people in this country have either forgotten about, never possessed, or ever cared about in the first place.

One has to wonder what some of the folks kiboshing this film were smoking when they viewed it... because it sure as hell wasn't the same movie that I watched. There is a bizarre menagerie of film critics and other politically motivated morons listing an assortment of even more bizarre reasons to hate this film. It's obvious that many of them have some sort of political agenda which they are attempting to use (pathetically and in vain), while others must lack any semblance of spine or testosterone in their lily white, withered bodies as they parade the banner of "too violent" around like some false badge of societal policing.

Guess what? It was violent back in those days people! Swords, spears, and shields required men to fight up close and personal. Heads were lost, limbs severed, gallons of blood and internal organs littered the battlefield... death was gruesome. That is a stone cold fact. Frankly, these critics - all whining girly-men if you ask me - should have been left on a hillside at birth like "inadequate" Spartan babies... but that's a diatribe for another day.

One thing is obvious: those bashing this movie have absolutely no concept of honor, loyalty, duty, or respect. Anyone stupid enough to actually think that this movie is about Bush and the Iraq War or portrays Iraqis in a bad light have only three or four functioning brain cells, and zero knowledge about the past. Why? Because this movie is adapted from Miller's graphic novel, which came out in 1998 - a full 5 years before the war even started. Furthermore, it's based on an actual historical event that took place in Greece along a narrow pass referred to as the "Hot Gates" along the Gulf of Malis. This very pivotal moment - one that quite literally changed the entire course of human history - is called the Battle of Thermopylae. It took place in 480 B.C., nearly 2,500 years ago.

It was at this spot that three hundred of of Sparta's warrior elite stood fast against the largest army in the history of the world at that time. A Persian army, which is now modern day Iran and Iraq. So fighting Iraqis is nothing new for anyone (don't forget The Holy Crusades that took place between 1095-1291 A.D.), let alone the United States. The bravery of these few loyal men, filled with honor and respect for duty to country and to each other, literally united Greece (which at the time was comprised of many city-states) into a nation that eventually repelled the warmongering Xerxes and his Persian horde.

Had this singular moment in time not occurred, Democracy as we know it... the very thing we fight for around the globe to this very day (using battle strategies the Spartans invented no less), would have been extinguished then and there. We absolutely would not (not maybe or perhaps) be living in the same cushy, spoiled, crime laden, disrespecting world we live in today. Which, when you really think about it, may not be so bad considering how pathetic our society has become.

George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Well, I have a tweak on that: "Those who do not know the past should be condemned."

And they should keep their damn fool mouths shut to boot.

Sometimes I wish I were born in a simpler age

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Countdown Begins....

Thirty one days from now I turn "The Big Four Oh." That's right, 40 years and I'm still breathing. Don't worry, this isn't going to be a sugary retrospective, a heart warming soliloquy, or even one of my acerbic diatribes on making it over the hill.

No. This is a call to arms. Actually... a call to party. Since 40 is the new 20, we're gonna kick it old school and do like we used to back in the day by having a big ole bash. My birthday (April 7th) just so happens to fall on a Saturday this year. Perfect timing, right?

Well... mostly.

See, it also falls on the day before Easter. Now, here's how I look at this possible - some would say sacraligious - predicament. For the last 2,000 years folks have been celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I'm a Christian, and believe in the Faith that is Christianity (even though I'm starting to have reservations as to the veracity of the "holiness" of the Bible and how it was compiled). Never mind the fact that James Cameron, creator of one of the greatest Sci-Fi franchises in film history (The Terminator), and some Discovery Channel folks claim they found a tomb that COULD belong to Jesus and his family.

The Book of John (2:1-11) describes a wedding - which we all know to be guises for big parties - at Cana wherein Jesus turns water into wine. Wine. Not tea. Not fruit juice. Not Gatorade, but wine. Remember, Jesus was already at this party... er, wedding, and apparently decided it was missing a lil somethin' somethin'. So, theoretically one could streeeeeeeetch that parable into saying that Jesus actually condones parties where people are drinking wine.

To be sure my 40th party will have wine. But it will also have beer, because it's my beverage of choice. And it is my birthday. Plus, ancient Egyptians (centerpieces for a great many Biblical stories) invented and imbibed in this "elixir of the gods" quite frequently. In fact, it has been proven that beer (mixed with goat's milk - for more on "Bilk," go here) was the very reason the pyramids were ever built. Well, sort of. But being equal opportunity drinkers this par-taaaaay will undoubtedly include harder stuff invented by folks from Russia (Vodka), Mexico (Tequila), some dude down in Tennessee (Jack Daniels), and who knows what other far off lands.

To bring this whole ramble full circle: Easter celebrates Jesus' resurrection every year. I celebrate my 40th birthday ONCE in my lifetime. It is OK to have a birthday bash on Saturday April 7th which then flows into celebrating the resurrection of Jesus (because we might very well feel like that's what's happening to us) on Sunday morning.

The moral to this little parable? Easter is not an excuse not to attend. Period. Dot. Exclamation point. ESPECIALLY those people out of state (who've never bothered to come out for a visit in all the years we've lived out here) who said they would attend. So be there. Otherwise... you'll make me angry.

And like Bruce Banner (The Hulk's human alter-ego) once said, "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Taking Care of Business

My dad Emailed this to me a few minutes ago, who got it from a friend of his. It's so true that I just had to pass it along.

Warning, some of the pictures in the following sequence may be disturbing. These are actual photos of a kidnapping/negotiation that took place in Japan.

"I have 3 demands or I'll kill the boy!"

Negotiators assess the situation from next door.

Head Negotiator dispatched.

Negotiations begin.

Negotiations end.

Everyone goes home in time for dinner. (Well, almost everyone...)

In the U.S. we would assume this guy is innocent and we would attempt to discuss the situation for hours, maybe even a day or longer. Give him a fair trial, find him guilty, send him to prison for a few years where he'll get out and most likely do something stupid again. While in prison he will have a roof over his head, watch TV, eat like a king and maybe learn the law. Before we know it he'll turn around and sue the police negotiator and local and national governments - all this and more is paid for with our taxes !!!

In Japan - They keep their expenses and time to a minimum! No wonder their cars cost less.

On a much lighter note, I want one of these...

It puts "personal" back into the personal computer... dontcha think?