Print Story When in doubt, trust Toyota
By georgeha (Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 05:13:58 AM EST) Christmas Ale, Top Five, Wii, boardgaming, Toyota (all tags)
Plus, Christmas wrapup, Christmas Ale, first pint, Chemex, Thurn & Taxis, TTR: Europe, Twilight Zone, Wii, An Army at Dawn, Control, David and Lisa, top five of 2008 and less.

Poll: When will I shovel our six inches of fresh powder (and more coming down)?

I had a surprisingly productive day Monday. It was warm for December, so I tackled my car first, my electrically heated seat cover didn't. The radio and cigarette lighter were on the same fuse, and the multimeter confirmed the socket
was working. I took out the plug, and the center lead had detached, time to resolder it.

Later I raked and depooped the yard, and took the girls to the bookstore, toy store and pet store.

I managed to get back to Rochester on the 20th, with a side trip to downtown Buffalo to drop off my sister's birthday present (her street wasn't plowed, so I parked on Elmwood and hoofed it). I was lucky to miss the storms. I also missed lunch at McDonalds by a minute, right after I ordered my McMuffins they scrolled to their lunch menus. I was able to visit Warzone Matrix in Cleveland, I should have taken pictures to threaten Mrs. Ha with (it was untidy).

The day before Christmas Eve I went to the close gaming store to buy a game for a present, and twelve year old complained that she wanted new games. I told her she had never, ever opened up Thurn & Taxis that she got last year for Christmas, why does she need a new game? So, that night we opened it up. It's far better than a game of creating postal routes in and around 16th century Bavaria would seem, and the mechanics are very similar to Ticket to Ride.

Speaking of  Ticket to Ride, I bought TTR: Europe for twelve year old for Christmas, someone told me it's a better  two player game than TTR: We broke it out on Christmas Day at my parents, she won. Seven year old got Zooloretto, which we still have to play.

Even the pets got presents, the dog got a kong, the cats a laser pointer, and the goldfish a proper tank, 2.5 gallons with a filter and light, and pink neon decor. Pictures to follow.

In other Christmas loot news, the girls got a Wii from Santa. Thanks to gift cards and the generosity of my parents, they now have two Wiimotes, two dance pads, DDR 2, Mario Party 8 and Animal Crossing City Folk. Seven year old also got some new DS cartridges, two LPS ones and a Tinkerbell one.

DDR Hottest Party 2 is difficult for an old man like me, but I'll keep playing it until I can make the animated teenage girl wearing practically nothing shake it like a Polaroid.

Mario Party 8 is lots of little games, and it's fun because you can have 4 people on our normal aspect TV play at one time, if you have four Wiimotes.

Animal Crossing City Folk is too close to real life for me, you start in a town run by a crimelord raccoon that owns the town, makes you buy a small overpriced house, holds the mortgage and makes you work in a sweat shop or collecting shells and flowers to pay him back. Plus they all sound like the teacher in Charlie Brown breathing helium.

Christmas night I tapped the keg, my honey lager is good, if different than previous batches, it's got a citrusy note to it, and is more copper colored this time, than the pale yellow I'm used to. Maybe I used light DME instead of extra light, or maybe it was the change in hops. Regardless, it's tasty, with a hop finish that lingers. I need to start my Northwest Pilsen this week to ensure a plentiful supply of homebrew.

In other beer news, my last night in Cleveland I tried some of the fabled Great Lakes Christmas Ale. It was a good spicy holiday ale, and it didn't cause trouble, but I only had one. Plus, it was expensed.

In other brewing news, twelve year old broke our Freedom Press when making a microwave cake before Christmas. The backup Chemex makes a good cup, but is labor intensive, we need a new Freedom Press before school and work start up again.

Before we get to wrapping up the year in books and movies, I'll touch on new stuff. We got spoiled by the Twilight Zone marathons the SF channel runs on New Years, and were disappointed they didn't do it for Thanksgiving, they should do it for every holiday. The local branch of the library has Twilight Zone DVDs, which helped scratch the itch.

The second to last last movie was saw was David and Lisa, about how two emotionally disturbed teenagers in a group home reach out to each other. Keir Dullea expressed even more emotion than he ded in 2001. It reminded me of the time we spent in group homes, and captured the boredom pretty well.  Then again, it was from 1962, the remake would be snappier.

The last movie was Control, a dramatization of the life of Ian Curtis of Joy Division. It made me want to get some Joy Division, I never paid them much attention in the 80's.

In book news, I just finished An Army at Dawn, Rick Atkinson's tale of the US Army in North Africa in 1942-1943. The US Army had a lot to learn in 1942, and tuition was bloody. It's a long, good book that may have been worth including in my top five if I had more time to ponder it. His second volume is on my list, right after I finish Tooze.

I had the time to look over 2008's diaries, and list my top five books and movies of the year (like many other posters). For movies, my top five list is:

  • Five: Capturing the Friedmans, how can you not love a documentary about child molesters that portrays them in a somewhat sympathetic manner?

  • Four: Being John Malkovich, a classic we should have watched years ago.

  • Three: A Simple Plan, Billy Bob always makes a movie better.

  • Two: Black Snake Moan, intense and uncomfortable, not a date movie, but it had about as happy an ending as you could expect.

  • One: Brick, it was a refreshing update on the noir concept, how can you not love a movie where a major characters expounds on Tolkien?

On to the books, my top five new to me books for 2008 are:

  • Five: The Guns of August, a classic in understanding the first war to end all wars.

  • Four: 1421, the science may not be rigorous, but it sure inspires the imagination.

  • Three: Hell in a Very Small Place, reading it helps you understand why the US lost in Vietnam, a decade before they appeared in Vietnam.

  • Two: Death Traps, tanks and engineering in World War II, fighting Nazis, what else does it need?

  • One: Night Watch, some Pratchett is light weight enjoyable fun, this isn't.

We're going to the Porsche's for NYE, my brother-in-law's on Saturday for Mrs. Ha's family party, and I'm hoping to get some gaming in. Add some loafing around, and my week is full. For now, I have to get some coffee going and contemplate shoveling, we got at least six inches of powder last night, and more is coming down.
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When in doubt, trust Toyota | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden)
Brewing activities by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #1 Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 05:42:06 AM EST
Brewing activities have been at a minimum of late.  I do have a Celebrator Doppelbock clone that has just finished diacetyl rest and needs to lager for sixty days.  It took forever to ferment, with only about 70% attenuation achieved.  We still have Octoberfest and Saison on tap, as there have been a lot less get-togethers recently.  I expect that to change and beer consumption to rise.

There is also a Kasteel triple clone that is aging out in keg down stairs.  Oh and a beer we are calling "Prestidigitation" which uses home-grown hops and a variety of ingredients we simply had laying around.  It's the beer equivalent of refridgerator velcro pie.  It is aging out a bit in the basement, it turns out that our home grown whole hops are quite a bit stronger  than we had anticipated and the beer is less of the easy bitter we were looking for and more of an APA.

I'm not sure what we are going to brew next.


"I love my brain. It's the only organ I can afford to lose." --frijolito
I don't have the patience to lager that long by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 06:13:05 AM EST
I should, but I'm usually so eager to drink that I keg it early.

If I get my Pilsner done, I can let it lager longer.

[ Parent ]
Lagering by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 06:28:41 AM EST
I don't either, but with two beers on tap and other beers in front of it I can handle it.  That and I have eight Corny kegs, one of which is dedicated to lagering.  I shortened the pickup tube and use it just for that.  I have a little chest freezer that does nothing but lager beers one at a time. 


"I love my brain. It's the only organ I can afford to lose." --frijolito
[ Parent ]
Tolkien by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #3 Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 06:17:50 AM EST

how can you not love a movie where a major characters expounds on Tolkien?

Not exactly a 2008 movie, but I can't read that without thinking of Randall Graves' reenactment of all three Lord of the Rings movies in approximately two minutes. Clerks II - breaking down barriers to lowerhigher intelligence.

I count movies the year I see them in by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 06:20:19 AM EST
so Clerks II could be a 2009 movie, if we watch it. I'd rather see Mallrats, filling in that vital slice between Clerks and Chasing Amy.

[ Parent ]
Watch in order. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 06:38:47 AM EST
Just get the entire run of ViewAskewniverse movies and watch them in a period of time not greater than what you can remember the things that happened, loosely, in the first before seeing the last.

The little nods and links between movies are sometimes tenuous, and sometimes hilarious. But Clerks II ending with Kevin Smith's mom pulling Milk Maid duty, wearing what looks like the same outfit she wore in Clerks, that's poetry.

TRIVIA: Kevin said he asked his mom to look for that old outfit and she claimed she couldn't find it. Then she showed up in an outfit that looked almost exactly the same for the shoot. Life->Art->Life->Dick and Fart Jokes

[ Parent ]
I'll have to see if Mallrats is on our library by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 06:45:12 AM EST
system, if Human Highway is, Mallrats should be.

[ Parent ]
I'd sure think so. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 06:47:54 AM EST
God, that kid! That kid is BACK on the escalator.

Ah, the classics.

[ Parent ]
I've lost control again by MohammedNiyalSayeed (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:27:35 AM EST

Actually, I know exactly where it is, and I've been meaning to watch it for a while. Maybe that's a festive holiday film for me to watch tonight. That zany Ian Curtis sure knew how to light up a party with his witty repertoire. I'm actually looking forward to seeing it, but have issues assigning the time to sit down that long.

Save up some of that snow. You'll be able to break it out and show the grandkids, post-warming, how it used to fall every year, all winter long. You'll need the physical evidence to prove it, since I'd guess kids would assume every image was Photoshopped by that point.

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
You can't hook up a DVD player to your donutphone? by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:33:11 AM EST
Lame I tell you.

It is a feel good film.

[ Parent ]
I used to make off-site backups by MohammedNiyalSayeed (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:07:13 PM EST

but then I realized I won't watch movies on the phone screen, either, for the same basic reason.

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
I must admit that while watching it by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:15:10 AM EST
I was thinking Curtis would be an influence you'd admit too.

[ Parent ]
The Joy Division to New Order transition by MohammedNiyalSayeed (2.00 / 0) #15 Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:09:29 PM EST

was one of the finest aesthetic public relations success stories of the late 80s. What's not to like? And unlike so many of his predecessors whining about how miserable life was, Curtis was a man of action.

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
Right, take Robert Smith, he's been whinging by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #16 Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 01:40:32 PM EST
for over 30 years, and he's still around.

[ Parent ]
That's just the thing. by MohammedNiyalSayeed (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 03:26:00 PM EST

Had he, or someone in his band, hung themselves on the eve of their success, the remaining members could have formed a disco revival act and cranked out 4/4, 3-chord ditties from now until the cows came home, cashing checks, taking it easy, and engaging themselves in serious fetish research.

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
Gettin' a Wii... by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #12 Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:47:41 AM EST
It's amazing how much the add ons boost the total price, isn't? Lamb wanted to get Guitar Hero World Tour, I nearly fell over when I saw how much it would cost. Took all of her Christmas money, plus some shekels of my own.

SWHTL poked me for coughing up the cash but, I pointed out, truthfully, that Troll Jr and I have a long standing practice of splitting the cost of games (since I play them too) so it only seemed fair.

But then she had the nerve to accuse me of cheating because she caught me playing on "beginner" mode....

Dear User: Please replace this text with a witty or insightful saying before using this software.
The base set really doesn't play to it's strength by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #13 Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:54:43 AM EST
you need at least two remotes for fun playing with a sibling. and DDR is more fun in competitive mode, before you know it's double what the base set cost.

[ Parent ]
When in doubt, trust Toyota | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden)