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Revisiting a familiar topic - BEER

Jan 9, 03:33 PM · from the mouth of Tyler

The New York Times did a story on “Extreme Beers” this morning, and of course I had to read it. There was also an interactive slide show with commentary by a very qualified panel of tasters.

Here’s a link to the article.

At one point, the article states that extreme beers are a genre that enthusiasts both love and hate. This is definitely true for me. The insanely hoppy beers can be insanely good if done right, but can often just WAY over-do it, making a concoction that is so blindingly bitter and high in alcohol that they’re almost painful to drink.

Just the other night I had a beer which fit this description. It was an Imperial IPA from Green Flash Brewing of California. A big 22 oz. bottle with a BIG hop flavor and high gravity. You’d think I’d love it, right? It was good, but the intensity of it overwhelmed me, making it hard to drink. I drank it anyway (of course) but don’t think I’ll buy it again.

One of the beers the NYT tasting panel liked was “Unearthly Imperial IPA,” by Southern Tier brewing, the same guys who make the Pumking that Andy introduced us to. I still haven’t found anything by Southern Tier in Richmond, but I checked out their website and was really impressed. Not only by their selection of tasty looking beers, but also by the design of it. The artwork is really beautiful, and the site design is surprisingly simple. Check it out: Andy, you’ll have to keep an eye out for the Unearthly and let us know if you try it.

Their favorite beer was Dogfishhead 90 Minute IPA, which I think we can all agree, is an excellent choice.

One other that they liked was Lagunitas MAXIMUS IPA Unlimited Release, which I picked up on my lunch break today. I’ll try it and report back tomorrow!

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My ridiculously cute baby boy.

Dec 19, 06:04 PM · from the mouth of Tyler

So, for Christmas this year, I bought my camera a present. After seeing David Pogue mention it in his New York Times video, I got a lightscoop. The lightscoop is basically just a mirror that plugs into the hotshoe on your digital SLR and bounces the flash off the ceiling, creating nice lighting (rather than ugly straight-on flash lighting).

So I was playing with it this morning and captured this absolutely awesome pic of my absolutely awesome son. Enjoy!

(Click for a bigger version.)

Sidenote: How did an ugly beast like myself manage to spawn such a cute boy? I blame Jess.

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Shall we do something?

Dec 16, 10:23 PM · from the mouth of Tyler

Hello fellow Mac users!

This Friday, Jess, Kieran, Jordan, Hajee, and I will be coming home for Christmas vacation. Yeay!! We will be in CT for approximately 5 days. Wanna get together? Here are the exact days we’ll be there:

Saturday, Dec. 22nd
Monday, Dec. 24th
Tuesday, Dec. 25th
Wednesday, Dec. 26th
Thursday, Dec. 27th

Obviously Christmas Day is out, and I’m pretty sure Christmas Eve is too. The 27th is my Dad’s birthday and we might be celebrating that, but that doesn’t mean you all can’t come help celebrate! So, the 22nd and 26th are ideal, and the 27th might work too.

Whadya think?

Love, Ty.

BTW, the Earl Grey Pale Ale and Kieran’s Stout will be making an appearance as well!

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Life, death, and the most incredible photograph ever taken.

Nov 12, 01:36 PM · from the mouth of Tyler

Last week was hard. My father-in-law died last Friday of a heart attack. It was completely unexpected. Jess and the baby and I drove up to Boston immediately to be with her mom. The next week followed with uncountable visits with family and friends, eating food, and offering toasts in his honor. The wake was on Wednesday, and it’s by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Situated next to the casket with Jess and her mother and brother, we stood in one spot for 5 hours as hundreds of Jim’s friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances filed past, offering their condolences, many on the verge of crying. And I was just the son-in-law… It must have been immeasurably more difficult for Jess’s mom.

My baby boy was what got me through it. I held him through the whole thing, and his innocence and sweetness had an incredible mood-lifting effect. His very presence brought smiles to so many faces. At one point during the wake, he fell asleep in my arms. I could have easily laid him down and given my back a rest for a while, but holding him brought comfort.

This juxtaposition of death and new life fills me with thoughts and feelings that I’m not eloquent enough to articulate. Instead I’ll share this article I found this morning. It’s not directly related to anything I’ve mentioned, but on a more deeper and more profound level, I find significance.

You’ll recall previous discussion of the movie, “What the Bleep Do We Know?!”... Well I receive a monthly newsletter from the movie makers called “The Bleeping Herald”. This article was in today’s issue. It’ll take a few minutes to read, but I encourage you to do so. Click the photo for a link to the original article.

. . . . .

Window of Possibility: Why the Hubble Ultra Deep Field is the most incredible photograph ever taken

by Anthony Doerr. Reprinted by permission from Orion magazine. (Permission has NOT however, been granted to post it here on GoofyGuys.)

We live on Earth. Earth is a clump of iron and magnesium and nickel, smeared with a thin layer of organic matter, and sleeved in vapor. It whirls along in a nearly circular orbit around a minor star we call the sun.

I know, the sun doesn’t seem minor. The sun puts the energy in our salads, milkshakes, hamburgers, gas tanks, and oceans. It literally makes the world go round. And it’s huge: The Earth is a chickpea and the sun is a beach ball. The sun comprises 99.9 percent of all the mass in the solar system. Which means Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, etc., all fit into that little 0.1 percent.

But, truly, our sun is exceedingly minor. Almost incomprehensibly minor.

We call our galaxy the Milky Way. There are at least 100 billion stars in it and our sun is one of those. A hundred billion is a big number, and humans are not evolved to appreciate numbers like that, but here’s a try: If you had a bucket with a thousand marbles in it, you would need to procure 999,999 more of those buckets to get a billion marbles. Then you’d have to repeat the process a hundred times to get as many marbles as there are stars in our galaxy.

That’s a lot of marbles.

So. The Earth is massive enough to hold all of our cities and oceans and creatures in the sway of its gravity. And the sun is massive enough to hold the Earth in the sway of its gravity. But the sun itself is merely a mote in the sway of the gravity of the Milky Way, at the center of which is a vast, concentrated bar of stars, around which the sun swings (carrying along Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, etc.) every 230 million years or so. Our sun isn’t anywhere near the center; it’s way out on one of the galaxy’s minor arms. We live beyond the suburbs of the Milky Way. We live in Nowheresville.

But still, we are in the Milky Way. And that’s a big deal, right? The Milky Way is at least a major galaxy, right?

Not really. Spiral-shaped, toothpick-shaped, sombrero-shaped – in the visible universe, at any given moment, there are hundreds of thousands of millions of galaxies. Maybe as many as 125 billion. There very well may be more galaxies in the universe than there are stars in the Milky Way.

So. Let’s say there are 100 billion stars in our galaxy. And let’s say there are 100 billion galaxies in our universe. At any given moment, then, assuming ultra-massive and dwarf galaxies average each other out, there might be 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the universe. That’s 1.0 X 10 to the twenty-second power. That’s 10 sextillion.

Here’s a way of looking at it: there are enough stars in the universe that if everybody on Earth were charged with naming his or her share, we’d each get to name a trillion and a half of them. Even that number is still impossibly hard to comprehend – if you named a star every time your heart beat for your whole life, you’d have to live about 375 lifetimes to name your share.

Last year, a handful of astronomers met in London to vote on the top ten images taken by the Hubble Telescope in its sixteen years in operation. They chose some beauties: the Cat’s Eye Nebula, the Sombrero Galaxy, the Hourglass Nebula. But conspicuously missing from their list was the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image. It is, I believe, the most incredible photograph ever taken.

In 2003, Hubble astronomers chose a random wedge of sky just below the constellation Orion and, during four hundred orbits of the Earth, over the course of several months, took a photograph with a million-second-long exposure. It was something like peering through an eight-foot soda straw with one big, superhuman eye at the same wedge of space for eleven straight nights.

What they found there was breathtaking: a shard of the early universe that contains a bewildering array of galaxies and pre-galactic lumps. Scrolling through it is eerily similar to peering at a drop of pond water through a microscope: one expects the galaxies to start squirming like paramecia. It bewilders and disorients; the dark patches swarm with questions. If you peered into just one of its black corners, took an Ultra Deep Field of the Ultra Deep Field, would you see as much all over again?

What the Ultra Deep Field image ultimately offers is a singular glimpse at ourselves. Like Copernicus’s On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres, it resets our understanding of who and what we are.

As of early April 2007, astronomers had found 204 planets outside our solar system. They seem to be everywhere we look. Chances are, many, many stars have planets or systems of planets swinging around them. What if most suns have solar systems? If our sun is one in 10 sextillion, could our Earth be one in 10 sextillion as well? Or the Earth might be one – just one, the only one, the one. Either way, the circumstances are mind-boggling.

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field is an infinitesimally slender core-sample drilled out of the universe. And yet inside it is enough vastness to do violence to a person’s common sense. How can the window of possibility be so unfathomably large?

TAKE YOURSELF OUT TO A FIELD some evening after everyone else is asleep. Listen to the migrant birds whisking past in the dark; listen to the creaking and settling of the world. Think about the teeming, microscopic worlds beneath your shoes – the continents of soil, the galaxies of bacteria. Then lift your face up.

The night sky is the coolest Advent calendar imaginable: it is composed of an infinite number of doors. Open one and find ten thousand galaxies hiding behind it, streaming away at hundreds of miles per second. Open another, and another. You gaze up into history; you stare into the limits of your own understanding. The past flies toward you at the speed of light. Why are you here? Why are the stars there? Is it even remotely possible that our one, tiny, eggshell world is the only one encrusted with life?

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field image should be in every classroom in the world. It should be on the president’s desk. It should probably be in every church, too. “To sense that behind anything that can be experienced,” Einstein once said, “there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness.”

Whatever we believe in – God, children, nationhood – nothing can be more important than to take a moment every now and then and accept the invitation of the sky: to leave the confines of ourselves and fly off into the hugeness of the universe, to disappear into the inexplicable, the implacable, the reflection of that something our minds cannot grasp.

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Happy Halloween!

Oct 31, 04:44 PM · from the mouth of Tyler

Yay Halloween! This is the first time I’ve dressed up in years! (And I barely dressed up… I just threw my costume together out of clothes I already own) But I had to do it to match my little bugger! We got his costume as a shower gift before he was even born. At the time, it looked huge to me, and frankly, UGLY! But now that he fits into it, he’s the cutest little horsey baby I’ve ever seen!

Insert joke about me shoveling horse dung HERE ______________.

May you all get your fill of Halloween candy and pumpkin beer. Hooray!!

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Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog!

Oct 23, 05:43 PM · from the mouth of Tyler

Wow, palindromes are fun.

And Weird Al came up with a crap load of them! Andy and Jake may have already seen this (you boys follow Weird Al more closely than I) but even if so, it’s worth another watch. I just discovered it, and think it’s brilliant. (Apparently it’s from his 2003 CD, which included “Hardware Store”)

Everyone deserves a little Weird Al in their lives.

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Earl Grey Pale Ale

Oct 12, 07:07 PM · from the mouth of Tyler

As you no doubt have read by now, Andy and Lisa came to visit us in VA over Labor Day weekend, and Andy did me the honor of co-brewing a beer with me. Thank you, Brewmeister Pease!

Well on Wednesday night, after a nice month-long slumber in a 5-gallon carboy, I added the last addition of Earl Grey tea and bottled it. It’ll take another month or so to reach maturity, which means it’ll be ready for us to imbibe when I return for Thanksgiving!

I tasted it while bottling, and must say that I was nearly knocked off my feet by the in-your-face character of the tea. If you’re a fan of Earl Grey, you know that it has a bright citrus flavor, derived from a Mediterranean fruit called the bergamot orange. I used a LOT of tea in this brew and added it at two different times: once with Andy at the end of the brewing process, and once JUST before bottling. The flavor is strong and wonderful. The first sip, you’re like “Holy Earl Grey tea, Batman!” But as you continue to drink it, it becomes less of a novelty, and more of just a really drinkable, medium bodied ale with a pleasant citrusy twist.

So we must plan our tasting party. (By the way, our Pumpkin Ale tasting party was a blast!) Jess, Kieran, and I will be venturing back up to CT on November 16th. We’ll be spending a couple of days in CT, then on to Boston to spend the holiday there. Then that weekend we’ll stop back in CT, before returning home on the 25th. I’ll get our exact schedule planned out soon.

But until then, CHEERS!

Love Ty.

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Sep 24, 12:34 PM · from the mouth of Tyler

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this to any of you, but Jess is starting a cake business. It’s called Sweet. It’s going to be very small-scale to start. She’ll be baking specialty cakes from home for parties and stuff. I made her a webpage, but since I’m not a programmer, it’s just images with image maps… about as low-tech as you can get! But it works, for now. Hopefully sometime soon I’ll learn how to work with real live webpages with tables and CSS and all that mumbo jumbo.

But for now, enjoy Sweet!

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Our new .Mac web gallery

Aug 31, 11:45 AM · from the mouth of Tyler

I recently got Mac’s newest suite of digital lifestyle software, iLife ‘08, and it totally rocks. The new iPhoto is seriously sweet with its “events” and the new iMovie is completely redesigned to be easier for the average idiot to use (like myself). There’s been a lot of complaints in the online community that iMovie ‘08 is far inferior to the previous version, but I’ve actually got both versions, so no harm done.

One of the coolest additions to iLife is the .Mac Web Gallery. This lets you add photos and movies to an online gallery that can be viewed in gorgeous detail in a slew of different options. It even allows friends and family to submit their own pictures, even if they don’t have a Mac! I just got ours started, so it’s still small, but you can get a feel for how powerful the photo gallery features are. Play around with it! Also, the movie “Welcome, Kieran” is one I just made with the new iMovie. It’s set to a song I wrote for him when he was in the womb.

Here it is:

By the way, the movie may take a few minutes to load, depending on your connection. And if you don’t have the Quicktime plugin (and don’t feel like installing it) you can also watch it on YouTube. But the quality is FAR better on the .Mac page.

By the way Andy… Jim, Sarah, Jake, and Bryan have all switched to the dark side. Perhaps this new version of iLife (with a sexy new version of Garage Band, I might add) is enough reason to make the switch! Learn more about Macs and iLife here.


YouTube Show and Tell

Aug 10, 12:13 PM · from the mouth of Tyler

I’ve got a fun idea. Find a YouTube video that you think it cool and post it here. To embed a movie, just copy the “embed” code on the YouTube page you’re on and paste it here. It’s that easy.

Here’s something I just found. It’ll knock your socks off. It’s an acoustic guitar rendition of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by this guy named Eric Roche. I’ve never heard of him before now, but apparently he was an Irish finger-style guitarist who died in 2005 of throat cancer. :( He also had a great rendition of Van Halen’s “Jump”. Click around and you’ll find it.

Okay, your turn! :)

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