Thursday, October 31, 2002

Arrogant Enjoyment

Aaaaah. Sipping on my Arrogant Bastard Ale right now, and it's good that my palate has grown up so well (considering I want to brew beer and all). Once upon a time I was one of those who thought that the hoppiness (bitterness) of ABA was too much for a civilized person to handle. As 'tis, I'm getting all sorts of great stuff from this beer I didn't the first time around. It's got a light mahogany color to it, and in between the hops (which do jump out from the shadows with Louisville Taste Bud Sluggers and point into the left field bleachers) there's a lot of good, darkish body there.

I quote from the back of the bottle:
"This is an aggressive beer. You probably won't like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory --- maybe something with a multi-million dollar ad campaign aimed at convincing you it's made in a little brewery, or one that implies that their tasteless fizzy yellow beer will give you more sex appeal. Perhaps you think multi-million dollar ad campaigns make a beer taste better. Perhaps you're mouthing your words as you read this."
Heh. Subtle folks over there at Stone Brewing Co.

Oh, yeah, and it's 7.2% alcohol by volume. That doesn't hurt either. Oh, yeah, and it comes in 1 pint, 6-fluid-oz. bottles. That's (counts woozily on fingers) twenty-two ounces of rather beefy beer.

Next is my same-sized bottle of Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale, which is 9.443% abv. I will not be typing any more tonight, as I had a light lunch and dinner, and am already making too many typos.

Good grief. Who ever heard of a 271-pound lightweight?

Heh. Old Guardian is pumpkin colored. That ought not be funny. Really.



Some odds and ends on a Thursday...

I achieved a flat tire as I was leaving my office building yesterday - there's a sharpish curb along one of the turns leaving the parking decks, and I deftly used that to punch a nice rip in my driver's side rear. Riding on the spare now -- tomorrow's payday, which (sort of) clears the way for replacement tires. Yay. Looks like some of the more exotic home-brew equipment is gonna have to wait, or perhaps migrate onto the Christmas wish list.

I've got that funny "life, she is a-changin'" feeling around me lately. Between the highly publicized budgetary problems here at the Commonwealth, my seeming inability to turn the head of a Richmond female, and a shiny new hobby on the horizon, my travelin' shoes are looking mighty inviting.

A big thanks to Acidman for his home-brewing explication. I have beer names bouncing around the inside of my head, and have discovered the closest (and I use that term generously) home-brew shop to Richmond, as well as a local homebrew club. Of course I'm discovering all this cool stuff just as my ability/proclivity to remain in Richmond is coming into question, but we'll take these things as they come.

Evidently I need to clear my fridge in anticipation of my first batch of beer (40-55 bottles[!], depending on the bottle size I choose). This looks to be quite the chore, considering it's currently holding several "draught cans" of Guinness, an Arrogant Bastard Ale, and another Stone brewery concotion (perhaps their IPA).

Oh, yeah, and some filtered water, but that's expendable. ;-)

Yep, you can feel the hardship.


Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Hey, Wow, How 'Bout That?

Hi, sugarmama. Good grief, she's mentioned me twice in the past month, I've watched her and Hunter banter back and forth a fair amount on his blog, and yet barely paid her a visit. I don't know, somehow I missed just how interesting she seems to be. Hell, a Java programmer and IDE connoisseur (connoisseuse?), a hot tummy (ahem), excellent taste in glasses and a dog lover, too. Not to mention the intestinal fortitude to buy her own house.

My first perusals of her site didn't grab me as a returning reader. After a read this evening I'm wondering what I was smoking.

Good thing she lives in Alabama or I might be inclined to embarrass the both of us.

Now if only I hadn't been such a pensive dweeb lately. (Brushes off shoulders, grins wide...) Angst? Who, me? :-D

In any event, hi, sugarmama! Welcome to the relatively-more-wakeful portion of my oft-squoze brain!


Change of Topic - Something Less Tiresome, and Tastier

I've been threatening to do this for a while, and lately between the Food Network and Alton Brown [blog entry] re-airing his "Good Eats" on the subject, and watching a History Channel "Hands on History" episode on the subject in general, I've decided to take on the mantle of home brewer.

Beer. Just sit back and swish that around in your figurative mouth for a bit. From the dark bitter richness of a stout to the sour bite of a pilsner, from the deep red of a medium-roast ale to the misty honey color of a Hefe-Weizen wheat brew. Aaah.

From the days when clean water was difficult to come by and beer was the safest drink, to the boutique microbrew craze of a few years ago, beer has been a staple of civilized life. I love the idea of boiling some plants for an hour or so, tanking the result for a few days, bottling, waiting a few more days, and by so doing making some small mark on the world of beer.

So has anyone out there had any experience with home beer brewing? I've found a number of promising websites through which to acquire all manner of ingredients and equipment, as well as a few recipes and technique articles, but any stories or cautions would be appreciated.

Oh, and does anyone know a source for Grolsch-style swingtop bottles?


Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Clarification; Hesitation

Well, the last post certainly generated a lot of discussion, most of it revolving around the supposition that my standards are too high.

That may be so, but a salient fact that seems to get glossed is that I'm hardly interviewing a dozen women a week and sending them all off disappointed because they fail to make some grade of mine. At this point any female with sufficient interest in me to, say, return a phone call will get a serious look, if only because I can use the ego stroke of not experiencing outright rejection. Just as a change of pace.

A point was also made by my dad that it'd be pretty trivial to do a search for me (or my main e-mail address) online and find this site, and contrary to the Goddess' assertion, it wouldn't take too many posts to give someone a dubious first impression if that person had yet to meet me, pseudonyms or no. I confess I'm unsure what to do about this.


Saturday, October 26, 2002

Framing the Question

Joie and Joan have both asked me to consider the question of "what sort of person do I want to date?" versus "what sort of person do I want to settle down with, reproduce, and live happily ever after?"

OK, let's work the numbers:

To DateTo Have and to Hold
Healthy (mental)Healthy (mental)
Healthy (emotional)Healthy (emotional)
Healthy (physical)Healthy (physical)
Healthy (financial)Healthy (financial)
Minimal Baggage (kids, crazy exes)Minimal Baggage (kids, crazy exes)

Not finding any significant differences so far. Little help?


Moot Point

Well, for all the wondering and debate about preexisting kidlets it looks like I've scored another non-starter. No contact, despite early indications of interest. Didn't even get to meet this one.

Let's see, four women in the space of three weeks decide they've got better things to do with their time than hang out with me, two sight unseen, two after actually meeting me, despite me feeling like I'm at the top of my social game. It might be them. Yep, might not be me. Yep.

At least work is going well. Computers are marginally more cooperative than females. Working with computers has certainly been more profitable and fulfilling than with females. Computers have given me a lot less grief over any given period of time, and are actually very good about returning calls, given a modem and the right authentication software. Hell, as a hobby they're even less expensive.

When a program falls over, and tells you, "I'm out of memory," it doesn't really mean, "I'm feeling fat, ugly and unloved, and I'm going to make you suffer because you have a Y chromosome and haven't made me happy in the past five minutes."

It means it needs more memory.

In any event, life is still pretty good because it's raining outside. Sleeping with rain outside is the best. Well, right after crashing waves. And maybe wind in trees. Oh yeah, and as I recall cuddling with a female before bed made for good sleep too. But I could be wrong... The subject has gotten so hazy...

No cuddling computers yet. Damn.

Good night.


Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Thank you, sir, may I have another?

Yep, still plugging.

Have been contacted from the blue by an interesting woman online who liked my profile; she uses excessively polysyllabic words like I do, seems to have a compatible sense of humor, and per her photos, outrageously spiffy eyes. She may even be, though this is as yet uncertain, the bees' knees.

She also has at least one preexisting rug-rat. I'm unsure what to do about this, but for the nonce coffee and convo are certainly harmless enough.


Monday, October 21, 2002


I had a post written for Friday, but for some reason I never saved it before posting (I usually do) and of course Blogger ate it; I never got the chance to do a rewrite, and now it's Monday again. Ah well.

Wound up going to Walküre alone (female standups for the performance: three), and enjoying the performance anyway, though there was a strong undercurrent of 'boy, it'd certainly be nice to share this with someone' that I couldn't seem to shake. Big deal.

Time Loss (Working)
It was an insane week at work, with long nights and early mornings, because we were preparing for another agency to begin testing on Project, Eater of Worlds. We made it, though, and testing is proceeding as I type, for good or ill. I've got to try and rebuild my blogging habits now, as well as many others like sleeping schedule, swimming schedule and the like.

Weight Loss (Swimming)
Some good news in all this is that my new regimen of swimming a few times a week and abstaining from carbohydrates after about five PM is bearing fruit: I'm in great peril of falling into the 260s, weightwise. :-) Booyah!

Faith Loss (Dating)
In other news, a newfound friend of a friend is recommending that I accompany him to the Philippines and select a wife the way he did. Evidently he made a trip over there, chose from a group of five or so equally qualified women, was a pen-pal with her for a few months, and then returned, tied the knot and brought her back to America. He and his college-educated, English-speaking, same-religion, divorce-is-not-an-option-in-my-culture wife are deliriously happy and have a beautiful, precocious daughter who is going to be a heartbreaker and a half. Someone remind me again why this is a bad idea...


Monday, October 14, 2002

Well, well, well

Got a note from "Florence" this weekend apologizing profusely for dissing me with her absence last Saturday. Evidently she caught a stomach bug, just like "Jordan" did. I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt (if only so I don't have to go to the $#^%* opera alone again), but there's no margin this time.

Am I being too nice?


Friday, October 11, 2002

Kicking off a three-day weekend

Yep, us gummint employees get three days over the Columbus Day weekend. Congrats and condolences to all who do and don't gert the same, respectively. It'd certainly be nice if I had some sweet young thing to walk with, talk with and get to know better over those three days, but failing that there's laundry to do, videogames to play, football to watch and other time-consumers.


And I still have to find someone to go to the opera with. Dammit. They're great seats, and I don't seem to be able to give the one next to me away.


Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Back to the Drawing Board

Well, it appears to be official. All three of the would-be women in my life appear to have decided I'm not worth the courtesy of an e-mail or phone call, even to tell me to buzz off. I know the phone works, because I check my home messages once a day from work as a matter of course. I know e-mail works, because I get plenty of spam.

Post Mortem
"Jordan": Faded into obscurity after sending much encouraging e-mail and then mysteriously failing to return calls.
"Kristin": Lapsed into silence after a single coffee.
"Florence": Ditto "Kristin," but with the added filigree of a stand-up for dinner.

Next! There's certainly the temptation to believe that there's something wrong with my manner, or my looks, or something else that has rendered these women too repulsed, cowardly or unimpressed to call, but I'm gonna give this another round before seeking "what am I doing wrong?" advice.


Monday, October 07, 2002

Cool once again

Aaah, it's nice to be back in the 70s from day to day. Breezy, cool air - a simple pleasure.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in with support after Saturday evening's non-date boondoggle. I'm still waiting for any sort of call proclaiming her excellent reason for skipping out, but one doesn't appear to be forthcoming. Ah well, and then there were two.

Well, sort of. "Jordan" still seems reluctant to communicate. (Checks deodorant.)

Politics is easier than dating
In other news, Acidman posted a link to this out-freaking-standing article, and I thought I'd perpetuate the meme.

Technology is easier than dating
Had a great time teleconferencing with Hunter on Saturday afternoon. Some cheapo webcams, a little cerebral elbow grease, and we're making like the Jetsons. God, I love being a technophile.

Oh! And as Joie and Kate have discovered, Hunter also has a new blog! Go visit!

Cooking is easier than dating
I've been reading and loving Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for the Food recently, too. It's completely changed my approach to grilling, and for those that know me, that's saying something.


Saturday, October 05, 2002

Mmmm. McNuggets.

"Florence" stood me up for Japanese tonight. Not even a phone call.

Nice to know some things are consistent.


Tuesday, October 01, 2002

The Standings So Far

Well, per the urgings of Joie, I'm assigning nicknames to all my dating cotérie. Now all I have to worry about is using their nicknames when I talk to them. Thanks, I think. %-) I can try the "pet name defense" if that occurs, but I doubt that'd be any better than telling #1 to "make it so." And initials are too detached, so I'm just gonna go with stage names and hang the consequences. :-)

"Jordan" (5'7", straight shoulder-length dark hair [according to her photo]) is a swim coach and the "faith and morals" girl from a few posts back. So far she and I have only "spoken" via e-mail and phone messages over two weeks of acquaintance, but her schedule is a hectic one and she's been ill, so she gets a bit more slack before being declared a non-starter. She and I are very compatible on paper--I look forward to actually meeting the woman...someday...

"Kristin" (5'4", curly shoulder-length blond hair and cute-severe horn-rimmed glasses) is a business controller (accountant with teeth), and is the dating-service referral. She plays volleyball and golf and reads a lot of true-crime novels. She and I had coffee this evening. More on that in a moment.

"Florence" (5'8", permed shoulder-length brown hair) is a nurse (heh) and was my "out of the blue" e-mailer based on my profile. She and I had coffee this past Sunday afternoon and are meeting for dinner this coming Saturday for further mutual study.

Tonight's Coffee
"Kristin" and I met at the local Starbucks tonight and chatted for an hour. Initial impressions: well, our inaugural phone conversation over the weekend was more of a mutual job interview than anything social, but things lightened up a bit after I got her to laugh. Still, that job-interview atmosphere bled strongly into tonight's meeting; luckily I interview well, so it only took ten minutes or so to break us out of shop talk and get onto stuff like music, pastimes, etc.

Long story short: We wound up talking about me a lot more than her, simply because "Kristin" didn't have much to say about herself. She might have been nervous, or I might have been in some jazzy manic state, but she seemed reluctant to talk much, and sort of shy; for once I felt like the colorful one. Still, I was warned about this in the précis I received from the dating service (wow, they do add value!), so I'm going to set things up for another meeting; probably over Thai, as she mentioned being fond of it. Still, she's not much of a moviegoer, music-listener or big conversationalist, so I'm sort of short on raw material here unless something huge dawns when next we meet.

This Past Sunday's Coffee
"Florence" and I decided to do a spur-of-the-moment java-meet on Sunday afternoon. If I'm not mistaken she's new to the online-dating scene, and as such was a trifle nervous, but she seems to be softspoken anyway. In any event, I got her laughing a bit, and things loosened up some; convo ranged all over: from career paths, to places we'd lived growing up, to (oddly) how our divorces were similar and different. Still, things stayed pretty light, and from there we decided to meet for dinner this coming Saturday.

So Anyway...
No real sparks with anyone yet, but the experiences have all been good ones so far. Not much more to cover, but watch this space for more details as events unfold.


But... But... It's October!

Today's forecast in Richmond calls for ninety-degree weather.

Tweet. Unseasonlike conduct. Fifteen Yards. I know it's Richmond, but I've been a good boy this summer. I wanna be cold.

Oh, and what Sars said. Only without all the girl stuff. ;-) In terms of clothing, all cold weather means to a guy is that he no longer sweats so much in the stuff he has to wear to work anyway.

But autumn means football, too, and girls' noses getting all pink and the rest of them all snuggly and starved of body heat.

And then there's hot cider, and blowing leaves, and pumpkin pie and it's going to be ninety ^$#@% degrees today.


Oh, coffee with Female Number Three this evening. Assessment to follow.


[Edit: Ack! I meant Female Number Two. See? See?]