Saturday, January 31, 2009

Meet Zoë



I may have foolishly adopted another dog at Winter League.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chicks are Funny


Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.

Adorable Australian Sheppard of the Day

2009: Week 3

The roller-coaster weather continues. Can we please get to the WARMING part of global warming -- at least on Winter League Saturdays.

The week was highlighted by a mini grub/pub crawl of sorts. The three stops being:
  1. Cowboy Chow - really good, need to go back to fully review it.
  2. Angry Dog - good chilidog and above average beer selection. Need to go bac to fully review it.
  3. Londoner on Thomas - what good beer they sell, they didn't have AND it was full of uptown Douche. Probably don't need to go back.

Key Stats:
  • 100 - percentage of Winter League games played despite saying I would only be 50% AND telling my captain I wouldn't come out this week due to sandy mangina.
  • 25 - the number of bottles of Wally's Belgian Tripple bottled.
  • 2 - weeks in a row going to Stan's on a Thursday.
  • 0 - things I could think of to fill out this list.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My New Love

Please don’t tell beer or bacon, but I have a new love in my life and it’s called Greek yogurt.

Back when I was working in the OC I would frequently stop by the Tustin Whole Foods for beer and other essentials. Figuring that I wouldn’t have much time to “enjoy” the breakfast provided by Embassy Suites, I picked up a few quick breakfast items at the Whole Foods. I noticed the Greek yogurt and had recently read an article on-line about it. So I grabbed a couple.

Now my opinion of yogurt at this point in my life was that it was ok. It could provide a nice twang to other foods, but it wasn’t something that I particularly enjoyed by itself unless it was loaded with sugar and other flavorings. So I was exactly excited about trying this yogurt – just curious.

Consequently I opened my first pomegranate Greek Gods yogurt with a little apprehension. But as soon as I plunged my spoon into the yogurt, I knew something special was going on. It was more like thick custard than runny yogurt. And the creaminess – oh the creaminess…

Coming home, my quest has been to find the best Greek yogurt available in Dallas. The current candidate for best all around Greek yogurt is Fage (Fa-yeh) 2%. The greatness of Fage is that it comes in three fat varieties – 5% (too much like cream cheese), 0% (too chalky and sour, but still creamy), 2% (the perfect balance of creaminess and tartness and fat calories).

For my low fat high / protein dessert treat I mix in a mere teaspoon of sugar and a generous drop of vanilla bean paste. mmmmmm mmmmmmm gooooood.

Oh, yeah, this stuff isn’t cheap. It’s about $6 for a little more than 2 cups. But hey, I’m literally a thousandaire, and goddammit I’m worth it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Adorable Marmot Picture of the Day



I'm proud to announce that if you Google "marmot" and "adorable" The Summer of Steve is the first site listed.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2009: Week 2

This was the week the Jester left his 20s behind him. Unfortunately I have nothing more profound to say than it simultaneously gets better and worse from here.

This was also the week I discovered Fage Greek yogurt. But there will be more on that later.

And this was the week that I got a new computer system at work and convinced my bosses to buy some programming tools that I told them we needed when I first started but went with a different set of tools. So I guess I have to stick around a bit longer.

Key Stats
  • 4 -- the number of cores in my new computer at work.
  • 24 -- the number of inches diagonally of my two new monitors at work.
  • 6 -- the number of games of Headsup Poker I won at Stan's on the Jester's Birthday.
  • 5 -- star I gave the mid-season premiere of Battlestar Galactica (out of 5).

Happy New President!



Now get back to work. We have an economy to rebuild.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

R.I.P Number Six



Patrick McGoohan, the creative genius behind one of the greatest TV shows of all time, The Prisoner, has passed. He was also the featured murderer on several episodes of Columbo.

If you've never seen The Prisoner, you can check out all 17 episodes here. And if you can figure out the ending, let me know what it means.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gratuitous Grace Park Photo

clipped from blog.wired.com

Adjust Your DVR for Battlestar Galactica's Bonus Minutes

Park_crop
When Battlestar Galactica's final half-season kicks off Friday, viewers will get an extra 3 1/2 minutes of Cylon-infested sci-fi.


"The Jan. 16 return of Battlestar Galactica at 10 p.m. will run 3 1/2 minutes long, so make sure to plan ahead if you're watching live or set your DVR accordingly if you're not," Sci Fi Wire reports.


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Monday, January 12, 2009

Beware the Canadian Honey Crisps

Ordinarily I'm a huge fan of all things Canadia -- Ice Hockey, SCTV, Cobie Smulders. I even worked at a Canadian combany for 10 years. But recently I've found something from Canada that I'm forced to give a resounding thumbs down. And that is their Honey Crisp apples.

Sadly, the Honey Crisps coming out of Washington are long gone. To replace them, Central Market has started selling the lower quality Canadian imports. Unfortunately, while still a good apple, they are not the quintessential experience of the Washington variety.

You've been warned.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Adorable Marmot Picture of the Day

2009: Week 1

There's not a whole lot to report about this week. I've been largely occupied by recovering from the lingering effects of last week's cold and trying to find a new blog template that fills the requirements of being 1) flexible 2) interesting to me 3) readable by my followers (oooh that sounds like I'm a cult leader) who don't seem to be as blessed with a 17" laptop like myself.

Oh, and I've been trying to construct and long, rambling sentence that can't be diagram by the average middle schooler (see above).
Key Stats:
  • 1 -- Weeks in the last month I've worked 40 hours
  • 1 -- Points scored this week at Winter League
  • 2 -- Burgers eaten this week at Winter League
  • 5 -- Days until the return of Battlestar Galactica

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Under Construction

I was getting bored with the same old blog layout. Plus I felt confined by such a narrow blog entry column. I'm still looking around for something better. Your comments are encouraged and welcomed.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Wally's Belgian Trippel [Update]


I checked in on the beer today and it was fermenting furiously. In fact, it was fermenting as furiously as I've ever seen. Usually, the bubbler at the top of the carboy (it lets CO2 out, but does not let any air in) will bubble once every 1-2 seconds. But this stuff is bubbling 2-3 times a second. It has even bubbled up some of the hops from the bottom of the fermenter up to the top fermenting yeast.


The bubbler.

King Wally's True Life Adventures in Cell Phone Replacement

The other night, the night of Ice Storm 2009, I came home to a cold, dark house. The electricity was out. I feared this would happen. As I drove home, I noticed that the bars on the west side of Greenville (Blue Goose, Hurricanes, Greenville Ave. Bar & Grill) were all lit up like Christmas trees. But the bars on the east side of Greenville (Stan’s, Dubliner, The Grape) were as cold and dark as the inner reaches of my soul.

With little to do in a darkened house with temperatures hovering in the mid 50s, I decided to drive around town and maybe get something to eat. With only my cell phone as my companion, ventured into the frigid icy streets of East Dallas.

Well that was until both screens of my RAZR2 decided to go completely black. No, the battery wasn’t dead , nor was the backlight out. There was still a visible glow from the backlight.

Once I got home – the lights were finally on – I started trying to fix the phone. I took the battery out and left it out for several minutes. That didn’t work. I jiggled with the side buttons (sometimes they get stuck). That didn’t work. I prayed to sweet, clean 8lbs 10oz baby Jebus. Still nothing.

The next day, I did the unthinkable – I surrendered and went to the Verizon store for technical assistance. It was here that I was told 1) The phone had to be replaced 2) It would cost $50 (much less than I thought) and 3) this particular store didn’t have any in stock. But if I went to the store on Preston and SH121 they could hook me up – they had plenty in stock.

With aid of my loyal steed Gina (the Xterra) I ventured up to the Verizon de Frisco. It was here that I was informed that they’ve been having serious problems with their inventory control and the had exactly zero replacement phones in my model. Not wanting to make another pointless trip to another pointless Verizon store, I took the option of having them Fedex me a new phone.
There was only one problem – someone had to be home to sign for it.
DANGIT!

They could, however, send it to my place of work. “Cool!”, I said and gave them my work address and information.

The next day, a gentleman from our mail room came with a package for me (MARK).

“Are you expecting some kind of cell phone battery?”, he asked;
Seeing that he already opened the package, I replied tentatively,” Well, it should be a whole phone.”.

Handing over the box, he then asked, “Is this a business phone or a personal?”

“Personal.”, I meekly replied.
“Well, don’t do this again.” He said as he left my office.

REALLY?

What the fuck and why do you even care?
Yes. That’s right. I’ve really clogged up the internal workings of Beal Bank by receiving dozens of cell phones each and every day. It’s hard to believe anything gets done here since the whole bottom floor of the building is dedicated to my cell phone package inventory. And what the fuck was I supposed to do – take the whole day off so I can sit around waiting for the Fedex guy?? Would that have been better for the overall health of the company?

And how dare you leave my office before I can formulate a cogent and scathing rebuttal. How dare you sir, and good day!

I said GOOD DAY.





Oh, and I am getting an iPhone on September 1 2009 -- the day my Verizon contract runs out.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Adorable Marmot Picture of the Day

Wally's Belgian Trippel

Having made several batches of my signature beer -- Wally's Pale Ale -- it is now time to branch out to other styles of beer. Since many of the tastiest beers are of the Belgian ale varieties and Trippels being the apex of such expression, that's what I chose as my next batch.


For my first time, I'm cheating a little bit by using a kit from Williams Brewing. The contents can be seen above. A large bag of liquid malt extract, two medium sized bags of candy sugar, two small bags of hops (bittering and flavoring) and a bloated bag of yeast. Let's brew!


Hops, bittering on the left, flavoring on the right.


It's been cold at the Wallagio, so I soaked the bag of malt in some hot water to loosen it.


The malt is fully dissolved. Time to hop.


Just about done.


Strained hops -- which is also the name of my Slobberbone cover band.


Mission accomplished.

It should be drinkable in 6 weeks. But for the full effect, it might not be ready until late spring.

For the beer nerds out there, I would have noted the starting specific gravity, but I forgot to measure it. Shit, it's just beer. It'll be done when it's done and the fucker stops bubbling.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hulu Voodoo Review: Babylon 5 -- The Gathering (Pilot)

I was there at the dawn of the third age of mankind.

It began in the Earth year 2257 with the founding of the last of the Babylon stations, located deep in neutral space.

It was a port of call for refugees, smugglers, businessmen, diplomats and travelers from a hundred worlds.

It could be a dangerous place. But we accepted the risck because Babylon 5 was our last, best hope for peace.

Under the leadership of its final commander, Babylon 5 was a dream given form. A dream of a galaxy without war. Where species from different worlds could live side by side in mutual respect. A dream that was in danger as never before by the arrival of one man on a mission of destruction.

Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations.

This is its story.

-- Ambasador Londo Mollari (Centauri Republic)


As much as I love this show, I have to admit, this pilot is a mess. The story made little sense at the time of my first viewing and makes even less sense after seeing how the entire story unfolded.

The main plot is essentially a detective story where the good guys try to figure out the who's and why's of a failed assassination attempt on the newly installed Vorlon ambassador. The pilot, as pilots do, is also supposed to introduce us to our characters and set up the series. Here it fails as well. All but two human characters (Commander Sinclair and Security Chief Garibaldi) fail to make the regular series. And the setup to the series at first seems like a slight character moment that slows down an already painfully slow pilot.

This pilot, as with the rest of the series, was painfully underfunded. The production values are woefully weak, although they do improve a bit by the second season. Fortunately, such silliness as muppet/puppet aliens were quickly abandoned for the series. And the wooden acting of the humans would continue to plague most of the first season. But, as I told my friends 15 years ago when the series first aired, if you can fight through abortion of the pilot and the rough edges of the first season, you will be in for a genuine TVLand (not the cable network) treat.

So, if you do chose to watch, feel free to get to know the aliens:
  • Ambassador Delenn (Mira Furlan aka Danielle Russeau of Lost) of the spiritual Minbari race who 10 years earlier, while at war with Earth, surrendered just hours before reaching Earth.
  • Ambassador Molari of the decadent Centauri Republic. Think Rome under Caligula for these guys.
  • Ambassador G'Kar of the Narn Regime. Think Klingons without honor. Well, maybe more Cardassian than Klingon. Yes, I'm a nerd.
  • Ambassador Kosh of the Vorlons. Hidden inside his protective (supposedly) encounter suit. Virtually nothing is known of him/her or the Vorlons.
It was hard to find a scene I liked, but for me this is the most interesting given what I know that is to come:






  • 0 Breasts
  • Countless Beasts
  • Minbari-fu
  • Shapeshifter-fu
  • Academy award nomination for Jerry Doyle for his Bruce Willis impersonation back when Bruce Willis was semi-relevant.
C-

King Wally says check it out, only if you dare.


Watch the whole thing, if you dare, here:

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2009: Week 0

2009 started off just about as poorly as a year can start off -- in bed, asleep with a cold. Although it was refreshing to wake up on Jan 1 a) not hungover and b) not with a wet pair of pants around my ankles. Ah sweet shot luge, you are a harsh mistress.

But as poorly as the week started, it ended on a considerable high of fine dining with visits to two of my all-time favorite restaurants Piranha (the new one in South Arlington to be properly reviewed soon) and Morton's (not to be reviewed soon, cause you don't need to review awesome).

Key Stats
  • 2 - Garbage bags filled with old clothes to be taken to Goodwill
  • 3 - Times I finished in the money in a single table Sit-And-Go poker tournament.
  • 69 - Miles biked thanks to the unseasonably warm weather
  • Dozens and Dozens - Times I wondered why the hell we didn't have any Winter League games scheduled this weekend especially since it was so unseasonably warm.

The New York Football Giants Secret Weapon for the Playoffs

Lazy Sunday


It appears Alex has a cold as well.

Click to enjoy the enlarged snotty goodness.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Summer of Steve: 2009

The holidays have taken their toll on blogging.

Luckily, the new year is a time of reflection and resolution. So I have come up with a number of new features that will both add blog postings, but, more importantly, add to the blogger's betterment. After all, that's what this blog is really about -- forcing me to do quasi-interesting things and reporting on them.

These new features are:

  1. Steve's Dusty Bookshelf -- anyone who has visited the Wallagio will have noticed the dusty bookshelf next to the Jumbotron. And while I have read most of the books on the shelf, there is a regrettably large number of books that have been housed on this shelf for far too long. So, I have selected 12 books that have been the bane of my literary existence for some time. First up will be will be 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl by Daniel Pinchbeck. Since it's about the coming end days, I need to read it sooner rather than later.
  2. Eating Lower Greenville -- there are still a lot of places down there (La Casita, Daddy Jack's Chowder House) that I've yet to step into. So, I will be starting at the lowest of lowest Greenville and work my way up. First up is Dallas Tortilla and Tamale Company. Yes, Trent, that is Greenville and not Munger.
  3. Wally's Week in Review -- Regrettably, there are things that are not completely blogwworth, but contain blogworthy items. This weekly feature appearing each Sunday should remedy some of my life events that don't make the blog.
  4. Hulu Voodoo Review -- There's a lot of great stuff on Hulu. One item in particular is Babylon 5. Since many of you gentle readers enjoy Lost and/or Battlestar Galactica, well this is the show that started the concept of serialized SciFi. Hey, when Hulu gets The Wire, I'll go over each episode. But until that happens you're stuck with Babylon 5.
  5. More of the Same -- I pledge to increase the number of movie, DVD, restaurant, book and recipe reviews beyond the above items. My goal is to have at least one of each each month. I'm also planning more day-trips and other events that force me to use my new camera. Hopefully work will send me to more exotic places as well.
So there you have it, good clean reader. My Five Step Plan to make 2009 the best year yet for the Summer of Steve.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

YIKES!

clipped from www.9news.com

Texas pilot uses county road for emergency landing

VIEW SLIDESHOW
LOVELAND - John Stewart was nearing the end of his flight from Dallas to Loveland when his engine idled.

"Coming probably about five to eight miles south of the airport and all of the sudden the engine, my T210, just went to idle," Stewart said.
Stewart, who's been flying for 13 years, immediately went into emergency mode after getting no response from his second tank.
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