Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No, there

Today is a rainy Tuesday on the shallow end of a slow week.

The weekend was nice though, saw a lot of random friends at the Perrotin opening on Saturday, as well as afterwards at Mike's. Went home at two rather than pursuing the debauchery until god knows when at white room/vagabond/wherever. The next day I helped out on the kayaks at Community Bay Day at Shake a Leg. I must be making some progress at getting in shape as I wasn't sore the next day despite kayaking to and from the island 3 times.

But most importantly, someone directed me to this over the weekend:

I'm glad we shared this moment together, dear internet person.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat

leinenkugel's sunset wheat

Today we'll be discussing wheat beer, so pull out a number 2 pencil, your composition books, and a pint glass and we'll get started.

Wikipedia has an incredibly lengthy discussion of wheat beer that, in the end, boils down to "using a significant proportion of wheat in the brewing process". Thanks, I guess?

Anyway, wheat beers are usually light in flavor, and in turn lend themselves easily to including additional flavors. Thus you can have all sorts of flavored beers, including raspberry, apricot, blueberry, and so on.

I've often felt that Blue Moon was a good introductory beer for the above reason, namely that it has a host of other flavors that don't taste too beer-y (if that makes any sense). However I recently had a friend express her disgust for Blue Moon based exactly on that: it doesn't taste like beer, it tastes like the floor of grandma's spice cabinet.

Said friend however said she loved Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat. This was the third person who had said this to me and thus figure it was time I gave it a try.

I couldn't tell at first if the beer was named Leinenkugels or Leinenhugels. The top hit for Googling Leinenhugels is a one-sentence negative review on Livejournal (of all places). Googling Leinenkugels (with or without a possessive apostrophe) set me straight. Leinenkugel's Brewery is now owned by Miller Brewing, and that they only began brewing Sunset Wheat about two years ago and more recently introduced a wheat beer/lemonade mix, the latter of which was the subject of the aforementioned (and probably well deserved) negative review.

The above should have been obvious to me: you do NOT see a beer on every shelf of every grocery without there being a big brewery behind it, and I have been seeing this stuff everywhere. They even had a booth set up at the last Wynwood Art Walk I made it out to, where they doled out warm 1/3 bottle portions in tiny plastic cups. No impression was made on me that evening, not sure why.

The presence of Blue Moon at your local Winn Dixie is attributable to its ownership as well, as Blue Moon is brewed by Coors. If Coors attempted to market Blue Moon under its own name, disaster would no doubt ensue. But this brings up an interesting question though: Does it matter who owns the brewery? While Miller bought the Leinenkugel brewery in 1988, the family still manages and runs it. Contrarily, Blue Moon has always been owned and brewed by Coors.

Aside from both being owned by major breweries, the beers share a lot in common: both are wheats brewed with coriander and share many similar characteristics. Blue Moon however is unfiltered and is additionally spiced with orange peel.

How do the taste? Well, to be honest, I don't like Blue Moon for the exact same reason my non-beer drinking friend doesn't. She didn't like it because it was too weird tasting, and I think it tastes too much like you're sucking on a flower. This is possibly due to it being unfiltered, but this would only add to the taste not remove anything from it, and another problem is that Blue Moon feels like it's lacking something. However Sunset Wheat was surprisingly good and full flavored. I say "full flavored" because a lot of beers people call "refreshing" are so light on the palate that I wonder why I wasted my time and belly space. Sunset Wheat somehow manages to be refreshing yet flavorful and complex without resorting to adding anything beyond coriander.

So in short, maybe it does matter who made your beer. It's obvious these two are big breweries' attempts at competing for the same market segment, right down to Leinenkugel/Miller using the sun in lieu of the moon in the name. Blue Moon obviously has the leg up at present, but I'm willing to bet that if Miller pushes it hard enough, Sunset Wheat could put a serious dent in the light-beer-but-not-quite market.

Class dismissed.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

pool parties, kickball, and growing up

Last weekend I was invited by a friend of mine to attend a pool party on Key Biscayne. Then, Monday night I finally made it to a kickball game that a friend organized but is played by people I hardly know.

I was hesitant about going to both. Miami has driven it into my head that people can't have fun without being sketchy in some way or another, specifically that even the most pedestrian activity needs to have the introduction of drugs or be filled to the gills with people you wouldn't trust to leave alone in any room your house.

This is kind of a double edged sword: it's not JUST that people have a tendency to be sketchy down here, but also that I myself have a tendency to be neurotic in unfamiliar situations. I'm the one that wanders around parties cleaning up or making sure people aren't smoking in the house, even and especially if it isn't my party. I'm not always like this, but the sketchier the party is and the less familiar I am with my surroundings, the more likely I will just fade into the background and wander around emptying ashtrays.

None of that occurred at either of these events. I found myself hanging out with two mature and interesting groups of people that were very friendly, welcoming, and frankly nicer than I've come to expect.

At first I thought that the people I associate with had grown up. Then I quickly realized we both had: I was acting more relaxed when out of my element, and these people were better at keeping things chill and non-sketchy than the people I knew when I was 22.

Part of this can also be chalked up to something the thrower of the pool party/birthday girl said to me on Saturday. I had never met her before and she only knew me tangentially through a friend, but she instantly pegged me as a pessimist. Actually, specifically she said "you're always assuming the worst about yourself". It didn't shock me that she said that because it was true, but it did shock me that someone I met nearly 20 seconds ago had my number so quickly.

So I'm trying to turn over a new leaf of sorts. Lets see how that goes. Tomorrow I'm leaving to visit Washington, D.C. and more likely more introspection to come.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Advice on Moving From Miami to San Francisco Courtesy of a Person Who's Never Been Further West Than Colorado

If the sun appears to be setting in the wrong place relative to the ocean, do not be alarmed. This is just evidence that a hole has opened in the fabric of reality and that you may need to make peace with your higher power in anticipation of apocalypse. If the sun appears to be rising in the wrong place, it is just an optical illusion.

A feeling of strangeness may overcome you on the streets of San Francisco. This attributable to the continual fear of vehicular homicide slowly leaving your person. It will pass and soon be replaced by a fear of hobos and trolley-related homicide, or trollicide as it is more commonly known.

San Francisco, unlike many other locales, has a fair amount of humidity year round. Thus you can live your life without fear of your skin flaking and falling off, dandruff becoming omnipresent, and otherwise sleeping in a tub of vaseline every evening, unless you are so inclined for reasons not covered in this guide.

While San Francisco, colloquially known as San Fran, Frisco, or Siffran™ (ask your doctor), is temperately colder than its location in California would have the layman believe, it is known to occasionally rise above 60 degrees, especially and frequently as a direct result of the presence of trashcan fires littering the city's many vagabond encampments.

In the event that the high price of living leads to destitution, the following food substitutes are reportedly quite popular in San Fran:
- sterno
- rice-a-roni (ding ding!)
- locally produced organic wood
- seagulls

Please heed these friendly reminders and by all means enjoy your stay! Er ... relocation! Whatever!
Someone Who Has Never Been To San Francisco

Monday, September 8, 2008

two, insert cliche about counting, two

Two, count 'em, two people commenting that I never post in two, count 'em also whydontcha, two days!
I will counter these comments with two, tired of this yet, two lists!

First, last week, I:
- Worked my last day at my job
- Assumed (wrongly) that this week would be shot to hell by Ike one way or another
- Got a parking ticket for not having paid for parking at the metrorail garage, despite having a receipt in my pocket that conclusively proves I paid
- Had a fun little bureaucratic runaround as a result of the aforementioned ticket
- Ran to the courthouse no fewer than three times in one day, one time literally running
- Shook off the last vestiges of a summer cold only to have it make a brief reappearance after going out too much on the weekend
- Rode a long long way on my bike three times, on one trip proceeding to crash into the sidewalk while avoiding a jogger
- Learning that in real life, like in cartoons, shoes really do fly off when you run into something
- Went out too much on the weekend to shake off the odd feeling that comes when you leave a job knowing there are things left unfinished

And second, a compilation of twitter posts from my last day at work. They get interesting eventually, I promise.
• tea cup to tea goblet to tea and coffee to decaf coffee to coffee coffee back to goblets of tea again: my mornings have come full circle. 08:08 AM September 05, 2008 from web
• appropriate as today is my last day at this job 08:08 AM September 05, 2008 from web
• The passengers on this meyrorail platform get more depressing as you walk away from the escalator (fun typo kept intentionally) 08:35 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• On the one hand there's no rain, on the other Miami looks like Seattle. I guess Hanna did bring us something. 08:36 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• I also guess I'm liveblogging my last day at this job? We'll see how long THAT lasts 08:37 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• There is a well dressed middle age Hispanic woman playing games on a nintendo DS in a case I'd easily mistake for a fancy wallet. 08:39 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• The streets are wet; lacking sun they lack reflections. Rain used to make Tally seem sad but alive, but Miami is largely indifferent 08:41 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• The gray feels like a blanket of static across the city, powering the palm fronds to gently move the wind like a cheap deskfan 08:47 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• There's a hum. I'm waiting for it to escalate to a buzz, one that only the birds can hear as they fly away in advance of Ike 08:49 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• Downtown Miami always reminds me of a clean version of the future version of Detroit in Robocop. Maybe it's just the fonts. 09:03 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• Just protested a parking ticket. Just another part of this ridiculous week. 09:11 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• Just is right. Just is a word I'm using too much. Just like "listen lady I just need four fives for the courthouse copy machine" 09:13 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• The bouganvilleas outside the courthouse don't help to distract from the chain link on the steps. 09:31 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• A white homeless man on the street had two irregular dreds that were squashed flat into wierd beaver tails. I think he sensed me staring 09:32 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• Printing your firm's name and phone number on the bottom of each page of a court filing = crass 10:09 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
http://twitpic.com/aaw8 Heading to the office finally. 7 hours. 10:14 AM September 05, 2008 from TwitPic
• i don't know who Chayanne is, I don't know why he's Gabriel, I don't know why he's on every bus, I do know he needs a shower 10:21 AM September 05, 2008 from web
• Feels odd having casual Friday be your last day 11:24 AM September 05, 2008 from web
• The development next to my office looks like 40% parking garage. Downtown will never be walkable 01:44 PM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• T minus 15 til unemployment. Expecting streamers, cabaret girls, and Ed Mcmahon. 04:44 PM September 05, 2008 from web
• Poof. 05:03 PM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• Between stress and chicken kitchen today I've had a stomach ache. The "what now" feeling is not helping. 05:14 PM September 05, 2008 from web
• Too busy staring at the phone to look the window and see how nice the day turned out to be 05:24 PM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator

The sun was beautiful that evening, and it served as an introduction to an awesome if exhausting weekend that involved such things as a) drinking in pools b) drinking in bars and c) sleep. I'll be making a long put off trip to D.C. this coming weekend to see some old friends and will be spending the intervening days trying to figure things out. I'm more excited about both than I'm probably letting on.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

desk drawers

things you don't bother cleaning from an office drawer when you leave your job

- condiment packets of all shapes, colors, and questionable histories

- menus for places you told yourself you'd stop ordering from
 and will probably never order from again
- helpful instructions on things it took you a month to figure out but will be completely ignored by your replacement who will then spend another month figuring whatever it was out.  

- bag of starlight mints that was in the drawer when you started working

- ugly coffee mug that you were tired of staring at in your cupboard so now you stare at on your desk
- office supplies you absolutely needed for some project but never got reimbursed for so technically they're yours but you have no need for them

Monday, September 1, 2008

labor day biking

Observations on a 13 mile bikeride from my home in South Miami to Rickenbacker Causeway via Coconut Grove and the University of Miami campus:

It was surprisingly hot and sunny giving the crazy stuff coming across the Atlantic.

I almost ran into two UM students riding those hideous green beach cruisers they've been selling to students. The sudden influx of 18 year olds into my neighborhood, the metrorail stations I use, and my local Target has me feeling old.

My old neighborhood (namely, South Grove) was unremarkable and Downtown Coconut Grove was sedate for a holiday. Lots of motorcycles though. I went to San Loco last night with a few friends and need to mention that there's nothing like a holiday weekend at the absolute lowest point of tourist season in Miami to bring the local weirdoes out. I was surprised the same wasn't true of the Grove.

A woman on was sitting alone on a bench in a random little vestibule they built into the wall of one of the fancier developments directly on Main Highway. Specifically, here:
She was wearing a sun dress and sunglasses and eating pieces of a honeydew with a fork. I caught only the briefest glimpse of her as I rode by, just long enough for her to glance at me while a piece finished the journey from container to mouth. I have no idea why she picked this particular spot considering Kennedy Park is less than a block away.

Unlike downtown Grove, Kennedy Park was hopping. There was a somewhat sad looking girl carrying an expensive camera setup around the park. I can't see how she could have been taking good pictures if she was so unhappy to be there, but there was a good chance I was misreading "fear of conflict with overzealous parents" as "woe is me".

I've never ridden underneath Rickenbacker before; there were 4 people fishing who seemed a little spooked by my presence. A bait fish sat on gutted on the wall, baking in the late afternoon sun and making me glad I elected to briefly be a mouth breather.

I had the choice between riding home, riding across Rickenbacker to Key Biscayne, or heading North and then across the Venetian Causeway to Miami Beach. After checking the slow leak in my back tire I chickened out and took the short route home.

I haven't ridden in at least two weeks and I haven't ridden regularly since March. I really want to change this.


From 1 PM until 1 AM, the brunch that would not end.


I have some awesome friends.

happy melon head