28 September 2005

here's a cool site cataloguing japanese vending machines. it's amazing what you can buy from vending machines over there. and yes, there is even a photo of one of the legendary schoolgirl panty vending machines. no, i'm not kidding.

you need gas. so stop whining. you'll head right back to the pump when the needle hits "E" again. so stop complaining about the price of gas. anyone else getting annoyed by all the moaning about this? yes, i do live in rhode island and have a daily commute of only 3 miles. too bad, suckers. but seriously, can't we americans just admit that our recent gas price shitstorm is just the latest bill arriving from a 50 year party that has gone on too long? for decades now our government has done EVERYTHING it could to encourage us to be slaves to automobiles. they've depleted cities out of economic viability. they've zoned walkable suburbs out of existence. they've artificially kept the price of petroleum down through massive government subsidies and low gas taxes, i could go on and on.
but the joy ride is about to end, folks. most mainstream oil experts are now predicting oil production to peak sometime in the next five years. once that happens, the oil we DO get will be more and more expensive to extract. so don't buy the hype when dubya the dumbass gets on tv and asks americans to conserve gasoline. the capitalist elites in this country have made sure long ago that you have no real alternative.
it's time for a new vision. it's time to stop foolishly cutting amtrak subsidies. it's time to require automakers sell only electric cars within the next 10 years. it's time to build nuclear power plants and invest FAR more money toward developing fusion power (which produces no nuclear waste). most importantly, it's time for us to admit that TIME IS UP.

saturday was dionne's birthday and we had a nice day together (which is rare nowadays, thanks to our totally incompatible work schedules). we went roller skating, then went and saw the movie "Roll Bounce" at the theater.

the movie is a coming-of-age story set in late 70s chicago and is stepped in the world of roller disco skating competitions. the film isn't winning a palm d'or anytime soon, but it was just an enjoyable movie. the storyline and acting were actually watchable, but the roller skating sequences were just BAD (in a funkalicious kind of way! the music is just great, too. i thought the movie came out as sort of a cross between "saturday night fever" and "crooklyn" by spike lee.


27 September 2005

di and i love film, so i'm going to try to blog more about them...
i finally got around to watching the dvd of antonioni's "blow-up" last week. the movie came out in 1966 and is both in color and in english. set in swinging london, it was shocking at the time it came out for its partial nudity and pot smoking scenes. by today's standards, though, it's pretty tame. it's still a great movie, though. antonioni's camerawork is just so groundbreaking. the camera never flinches and it practically doesn't even movie. you find yourself staring at things WAAAAY in the background or cocked way off to the side of the frame. the dvd also came with a commentary by a film studies professor and author (from the univ. of virginia, i think), which i really liked.


24 September 2005

well, i finally got around to tasting batch #2. jay and i brewed it about three weeks ago. this time we brewed a weizenbier... a wheat ale. it didn't exactly come out as german versions like this....

but it did come out really well, probably even better than batch #1, which everyone who tried it seemed to like. The beer had a nice reddish, orange color and HUGE head. the flavor had slight tanginess from the wheat malt that we used. the hops this time around are hallertauer and tettnang, two german varieties that are nice and subdued. i think we probably should have used a liquid yeast strain specifically designed for the style, but that will come later. this time around we used safale s-33, a basic french-produced ale strain. it did it's job... actualy a little too well. we had krausen shoot up through the airlock on the first day of fermentation.
batch #3 is where we really step it up. jay and i are leaning toward doing a nice american-style IPA or maybe even barleywine. we're talking big malt backbone, assertive hops and high alcohol! more isn't ALWAYS better, but in this beer, it will be. we also went out and bought a second carboy, the glass jugs we ferment in. this will allow us to rack to secondary fermentation and improve the clarity of the beer.

it's been an upside down world lately. everything in life just seems to be hot and cold, black and white. we're both anxious and apprehensive about the wedding. work has been downright horrible lately. i've been left by myself at nights to basically put the paper out alone. it's a lot of weight on my shoulders. at the same time, we got a new place to live today. as of november, we'll be moving into a house we're renting in east providence. it'll be much better than the place we're living in now.
not that the last three years have been bad. in fact, they've been mostly good. but we're ready for a change of scenery. di and i are getting married and we thought it would be nice to just get a completely new start. new roof over our heads. new cat. new dishes and a new neighborhood. and...we're no longer in little italy. now we're in little portugal.

here's corrine's daughter, tiana. di and i stopped by her second birthday party a few weekends ago. di and i got her one of those speak-and-say toys, ya know.... "the cow goes...mooooooo"


22 September 2005

it's on, bitch! our little cat gatsby is fighting the good fight over at kittenwar.com. i wanna win, dammit!


21 September 2005

If you're reading this and you received an invitation, please RSVP right away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So far only a few of my friends and family members have done so. Di's mom is wondering what the hell is wrong with this boy marrying her daughter. C'mon peeps... don't make me look bad.


18 September 2005

so we hit up nyc this weekend for my bachelor party. here's a little photo montage that i think really sums up what the weekend was all about....


16 September 2005

my co-worker, don the copy editor, is leaving us today. damn. don and i could paginate THE SHIT out of some pages on deadline. we kinda had our own little system that pretty much always worked. i can't do my job NEARLY as efficiently without him around, so i hope they find someone good... and quickly. here's don't own blog.

slate has a story on where to hide from mother nature. it's a semi-scientific look at where in the u.s. you're least likely to be a victim of a natural disaster. rhode island is possibly the safest place in the entire country. yeah, we have much coastline, but the colder water is rarely hurricane prone. we dont' have earthquakes, tornadoes or volacanoes. the winters aren't bad enough for blizzards and we don't have any mountains... so no avalanches.
whew. what a relief. i can now go back to worrying about terrorism, gang violence, west nile virus, avian flu, shark attacks, ebola, gay marriage, road rage, workplace shooters, school shooters, "africanized" bees, dutch elm disease and being kidnapped by a pedophile.


15 September 2005

i found another great soccer site for u.s. national team fans... check out Yanks Abroad. it's a mixture of coverage of the national team and individual american players who are playing in foreign leagues. the u.s. team qualified for the world cup 2006 last week by beating mexico (!!) at home. i have really high expectations for the WC and here's why....

damarcus beasley was just a skinny kid at the 2002 cup. dont' sleep on this guy. he's been tearing it up in the very good dutch league lately and has been playing very high quality competition. wooo!

wedding update...
di and i met with the church organist after mass on sunday. he's definitely a musician's musician. i predict our guests are going to be blown away by barry's organ playing. we were standing up near the organ's keyboard while he played 4 or 5 pieces for us. wow. this organ just sends shivers up your spine. we're going to have our processional be "rigadoun" by andre campras. none of that tacky "here comes the bride" crap (even though that WAS composed by wagner).

work has just been horrible lately. they brought in a new news editor... so he's using my desk. while i use my boss's. it sucks not having a desk. i feel homeless. not only that, but technical problems kept me at work til 1 a.m. yesterday -- after 9 straight hours of paginating. sigh.

anybody out there have work for an editor/page designer/jack of all newspaper trades?


14 September 2005

on planet joel, this is what we men would be able to put on the wedding registry...


12 September 2005

some guy in gulfport, miss. told "major league asshole" dick cheneyto "go fuck yourself, mr. cheney while he was touring damaged areas sunday.


09 September 2005

the more i read about it, the more i begin to think that maybe New Orleans SHOULDN'T be rebuilt as if nothing ever happened. every great city is a work of engineering marvel and every city involves man overcoming some aspect of nature and geography, but the big easy has been an ecological and geographic disaster for the past 100 years. it's a city built on swamp and landfill. it's completely unsustainable.

kaleefa sanneh has another good story in the ny times about damian "junior gong" marley and his album "jamrock." the song "jamrock" is just dope as hell. i can't get enough of it. his first album was great, too, so i expect even better things this time around.

bill hemmer on fox news (he used to be at cnn, making THAT channel instantly more watchable teh day he left) just talked about the plight of the poor, poor insurance industry. i thought he was about to cry. it's so sad how corporations that profit by the billions each year when nothing happens have to pay out when a disaster strikes. THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO DO! ugh.


08 September 2005

by the way, everybody needs to check out dionne's blog, Blank People. it rocks. plus the chick who writes it is hot. or so i heard.

i'm having my bachelor party on sept. 17. my brother, keagan, who is my best man for the wedding, is in charge of party planning. ironic, huh? we have a devout muslim who eschews alcohol, pork and sex (the three best things about being a human!) in charge of debauch-fest 2005. great.
i called him a couple days ago and asked him the planning was going. he thought the party was on the 24th!!!!!!!!! what kinda damn party planner is he? eventually he got it straightened out, though, and is getting a lot done.

maybe i'm getting paranoid, but sometimes at work i actually feel like i'm the subject of some sick experiment. like my boss and my boss's boss and my boss's boss's boss are all watching me on a big screen. there's joel losing his mind again. let's see what else we can do to get his hopes up, then knock them back over again like bowling pins. maybe i'm paranoid, but i almost feel like someone at work is trying to run me off. one of my co-workers told me "don't attribute malevolence when sheer incompetence can explain it," but damn. i can't help it. the ONE co-worker who could really relate to the sheer hell i've been through is now leaving for greener pastures. i don't blame him at all. now i just have to find a way to save my sanity.

batch #2 update...
jay and I brewed our second batch on saturday. goddamn it was fun. there's just somethign about making our own beer that's just such a thrill. i'm hooked on brewing like tyrone biggums at the 3 o'clock free crack giveaway.
anyway... this batch is a wheat beer. we're going to make one half of the batch a plain wheat and the other half a raspberry wheat. the ingredient kit we bought came with raspberry extract, but we figured out that we can just add it to half of the batch at bottling time.
here are the specs:
4 gallon wort: half light dried malt extract, half liquid wheat extract. we steeped about a pound or so of crystal malt. we did about a 1hour 15 min. boil this time, a little longer than the first batch. i've read that a longer boil helps carmelize the sugars in the wort and utilize the hops. we pitched 1 oz. of hallertau hops and 1 oz. of u.s. grown saaz hops. those are two nice varieties. both are more spicy and earthy than some of the more well-known u.s. hops like cascade (which is the main hop in sierra nevada pale ale). we're not shooting for a bitter beer, though, but a nice wheaty mouthfeel and easydrinking beer. the color came out nice and golden, too.
we then pitched our yeast, a packet of Safbrew s-33, which apparently an english ale strain called "edme." apparently the yeasties REALLY liked our wort, because the next day, jay visited his basement and found this...

the yeast fermented so aggressivley that they produced a mountain of foam that just shot up out of our airlock and made a big-ass mess. THAT is why dionne won't let me brew in our little ol apartment.
as for the first batch (the pale ale) that we made a few weeks back. well, we were amazed with it, frankly. it came out really well and seems to keep getting better the longer it conditions in the bottle. the head retention is really getting much better. we're gonna be damn good brewers some day.


02 September 2005

wow. i just heard fox news call the federal government's response to Katrinia "lackluster." yeah, that's the understatement of a lifetime, but coming from fox, it's about as close to honesty as you can ever hope.


01 September 2005

read this article by david corn on the incompetent and racists bush administration's non-response to the catastrophe.

i heard today that our worthless president called for "zero tolerance" of looting and law breaking. now, i'm not in favor of roving gangs of armed men pillaging and raping, but it's a little different when you need food and water to survive. from the washington post: "Benigno E. Aguirre of the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware has been watching and reading about looters in Louisiana. 'It may look from the outside as if they are stealing or breaking the law,' says Aguirre, 'when in fact some of them are trying to survive.'"

after watching some news footage from downtown new orleans and reading a good number of articles about the situation, i really think articles of impeachment shoudl be brought against president bush the minute the situation down there is under control. this administration has COMPLETELY bungled the relief operation. there's clearly no coordination at all among federal agencies and little willpower to help people trapped at the new orleans convention center and in other places.
babies and old people are just dropping dead from dehydration and nobody is doing ANYTHING. no helicopters are airlifting food and water to them. buses ARE NOT going in to get evacuees, despite what the white house propagandists are telling the nation. this complete lack of leadership is an utter crime against humanity.


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