21 April 2006

live and direct
check out some good musique! i've been diggin on radio ABF lately. it's a french internet radio station that drops some GOOOOOOOD electro, house and techno beats. now if only my car stereo had winamp.


20 April 2006

in da brewery
jay just updated our homebrewing website, da brewery. Check out our pictures of each batch we've brewed, plus some videos and pictures of our brewing hijinks.

this is a picture of our second beer ever: a raspberry wheat beer.


19 April 2006

suck it, world!
fifa released its national team rankings today and the u.s. is, ahem, cough, um, errr, fourth best in the entire world. we're now only behind brazil, the czech republic (who we will play in the world cup) and the netherlands. we're actualy ahead of a veritable murderer's row: spain, france, portugal, argentina, england, italy and germany. now i love our team and wish them well, but there's no way in hell we're that good.


18 April 2006

da next batch
jay and i are gonna be brewing again this weekend it looks like. i can't friggin wait. last week jay built a wort chiller to cool down our wort (the boiled malt) to a low enough temperature that won't kill our yeast cells. should be a fun new toy.
we're leaning toward doing a simple ipa this weekend. here's the recipe i came up with:

10 lbs. german pilsner malt
mash at 155
1 oz. chinook at 60 min.
1 oz. cascade at 30 min.
1 oz. whole leaf fuggles at 3 min.
pitch onto yeast cake of
white labs 001 california ale yeast


17 April 2006

green sands
here's a commercial from the 1980s for a french beer called green sands. makes me thirsty... i think.


12 April 2006

di and i recently got around to watching "24 hour party people," a film about the 80s music scene in manchester. definitely a great music flick. it centers around tony wilson, a record company boss, club owner and local tv reporter. basically, he's the man responsible for bands like joy division/new order and the happy mondays. definitely a good movie if you like new wave.

the timothy leary of mdma
i stumbled upon a good interview with dr. alexander shulgin, one of the first pyschiatrists to conduct research on mdma, better known as ecstasy. he has some interesting points to make about our popular misconceptions of the nature of addiction and of the social uses of drugs.

Q. There is an assumption by a lot of people that MDMA has tremendous abuse potential and is addictive. Is it?

A. The abuse potential of MDMA is as real as the abuse potential of anything that gives pleasure and satisfaction. This applies to MDMA as much as it does to sky diving, mountain climbing and skiing.

I should also point out that to the authorities, abuse is the use of any illegal drug. It's not how you use the drug. It's the fact that the regulator says you can't use it.

On your second point, addiction, there is a tendency to use the word addiction in an almost pejorative or a socially condemning way. I personally tend to avoid the word addiction because of the baggage it carries with it - social unacceptability, legal involvement, pharmacological dependency. I like the word dependency because for one thing it avoids the addiction word; and secondly, it allows me to define two types of dependency - physical dependency and psychological dependency.

In the case of the former, your body will rebel if it does not get what it has become used to. In the case of the latter, you have the psyche, the spirit, the self image, the good feeling about yourself rebelling if you don't have more of the thing that feeds it. Neither are really addiction.

True addiction has traditionally meant being physically dependent on something, so that if it's withdrawn, you go through a crisis that may be life-threatening. Very few drugs satisfy that criterion, although barbiturates come close.

I remember a demonstration medical school about a cat that was given a barbiturate in a regular IP injection. The cat came to expect its injection and turned up every day at noon time to receive it. This went on for about eight months. One day, the cat got saline instead of barbiturate. Within two or three hours, the cat was dead. That is true physical dependency. That is addiction according to its archetypic definition. You do not have that kind of thing with MDMA. In fact, you do not have that kind of thing with psychedelics at all. For one thing they build up tolerance quite rapidly, or refractoriness. In other words, if you take it on the second day, it doesn't have that much effect, while on the third day, it has no effect at all. Nor is increasing the dosage the answer because of the side effects this causes. So you are almost blocked from becoming locked into a pattern of re-use. Physical dependency? Not at all.

You might have psychological dependency with some drugs in this area, such as Ketamine and marijuana. I know a number of people who use these drugs as a matter of habit and are very uncomfortable if that habit is broken. So there is a psychological component with some of these drugs. MDMA does not have that habit.

However MDMA does have a negative aspect. If you do use it with some degree of regularity, for example every week over a period of many weeks, that remarkable empathic magic is lost. Most people only have remarkable experiences with MDMA the first couple of times they use it. After that, the magic is somehow gone.

homebrewing heaven
jay and i got around to brewing last weekend while di was out in san antonio for her writers convention. we did our first all-grain beer, which means we mashed our own grains instead of merely using malt extract to provide fermentable sugars. we chose a very difficult beer to "clone". basically we took a recipe for brooklyn black chocolate stout, a high-alcohol dark-colored beast of a beer. despite some worries, it seemed to have come out very well. it's fermenting down right now, so it will probably be a few months of aging before we know the results. our next batch will probably be another all-grain beer... an IPA made with chinook hops.


07 April 2006

behind the supreme court curtains
it's a well-known fact that the supreme court is highly secretive. media people are kept at arms length. thankfully the great book " America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction" features the disturbing firsthand account of what goes on there written down by an attorney named Brian Hicks: "All I know is, everybody is fucking. Everybody. It was nine heads and 36 tangled limbs intertwined in a writhing, whirling dervish of group sex. Some guy, a clerk I can only assume, was twanging a sitar off to teh side. Once in a while Scalia would break off from the orgy to cut hunks off a giant brick of hash with a Bowie knife. Then he remounted Ginsburg."


05 April 2006

this will blow your mind
the muzak corporate headquarters in Fort Hill, S.C. has its music piped into every part of the complex.... except the elevators.


03 April 2006

the rear-view mirror
the first week or so at the new job has been good so far. my new boss is very friendly and actually, uh, supportive.
but i do have to give a big middle finger to my old boss, bianca. ahhhh. that feels good. this is the boss who made a joke of our newsroom on a daily basis. when she wasn't out "sick" with the made up illness du jour, she was doing her utmost to lower morale, flush the quality of the paper down the shitter, shift workload and pin the blame on others around her. the thing i've realized is that it wasn't about me: this was a person who has probably dozens of former co-workers and employees scattered around new england who, to this day, can't stand her. in the 3 1/2 years at the paper, how many times did she EVER tell me I was doing a good job? Uhhhhh...NEVER!!!!
how many times was i forced to work 12 hour shifts to cover for her sorry ass? she's a pathetic human being who's own miserable attitude has resulted in an entire city that hates herr guts. congratulations, you're probably the most hated person in "the bucket." you succeeded in driving me out, so congratulations, but you didn't win. I was the one who parlayed that job into an opportunity and made something happen. You're just a pathetic washup whom no one respects and everyone knows should have been fired long, long, long ago.
I actually think you should find a new line of work: you should excel at any job that requires the complete hatred of co-workers and employees.


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