Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"Happy Birthday To Me."

That is how I started my day, by singing Happy Birthday to myself (and I didn't pay royalties to Apple Recording Studios. Take that Beatles.)

[What follows is a fairly detailed account of my day, so if you are the browsing type: ACHTUNG!]

For breakfast, I had a big bowl of oatmeal with flaxseed meal and dried blueberries that plumped overnight in the fridge. My mother called and talked for a while. The day I was born she had rocky road ice cream and pizza after not having eaten much the previous two days. It was also a beautiful day weatherwise; however, the following day it snowed four inches (St. Paul, MN). My drive to work wasn't noteworthy except for a great song by Ben Taylor, son of James, that was on KRNU that I waited in the car to finish before going into work. This was the first of four songs I emotionally highlighted because it was my birthday.

Work was good today, we had a big money day while avoiding that crunch time stress that can creep up on a busy day. During the all request lunch hour on the classic rock station, someone requested The Pretender by Jackson Browne (#2 of my fab four today). I went for lunch to Famous Dave's and had their delish bread pudding for dessert. I haven't had a better bread pudding from another restaurant, which is a neat find in a rib joint. Driving back to work a fun version of Waters of March by Gilberto was on the Brasilian radio show on Lincoln's community station KZUM (#3). Instead of getting a cake for my birthday celebration at work, I requested a fruit tray. This went over surprisingly well, with a much smaller percentage remaining than the run of the mill cakes we've had. On way home from work, I was listening to Iowa Western Community College's station, The River, and they were playing Buffy's favorite new song "Hey There Delilah" by the Plain White Ts (#4).

After work Marcy did a great job being the "birthday slave" by cleaning the apartment and making our small gathering go smoothly. We had a Coldstone Creamery ice cream cake, red velvet layered with chocolate ice cream covered in a ganache accented in raspberry sauces. The exclusive guest list included: Wanda and Nate, Kyle and Cassie, Angela, Karen, and Wendy.

Now is the time for a recap of the bean bag action. The first game pitted Wanda and me against Kyle and Nate. After jumping out to an early lead, Wanda and I fell behind, but we pulled it out in the end. The second game, after a break for cake, matched Marcy and me against Karen and Angela. Marcy and I controlled much of the match with a lead of 19 to 8 at one point. Then Angela started paying attention and Karen the Closer got closer and closer til they won. The final match of the evening was between Angela and me. She kept her form from her previous comeback effort and led much of the way, 20-15 going into the last round. Then with a flurry of ringers, I scored seven points to win the match 22-20.

After bean bags, Wendy and I went to Yia Yia's, and she got me an Olfabrikken porter. According to the bartender, it is on the top of many "best porter" lists. I liked it. Still not as complex as Free State's Black Jack porter, but well worth the price.

Then I got home and talked to my mother again. This time she did the listening :). And now I'm blogging about my day.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007


My last blog was mainly a report of events. I'll do some reviewing of said events. I didn't mention that the Black Jack Porter from Free State Brewing (Black Jack Porter: Baltic Porter is a somewhat blended style, popular in the countries bordering the Baltic Sea. It's based on the English Porter style and strongly influenced by Russian Imperial Stouts. The resulting dark ale is stronger and more full bodied than a traditional Porter but doesn't have the intensity of an Imperial Stout. What we have is a rich, malty beer with notes of chocolate and roast malt overtones. The flavor has been mellowed further by conditioning on a blend of French and American oak. Served unfiltered.) was magnificent. It had so much going on, yet it was all taking place in unity. I wish I'd had more than 5 ounces to explore it. One of the favorite porters I've tasted. The other three brews I had weren't that noteworthy.

As for the concert, Travis of the Gym Class Heroes was the desire of 70% of the room, and he knew it. I felt there was too much mugging for the crowd, but their cheers disagreed with me.
In other news, yesterday I got out the bean bag boards for the first time this year. The first bag I threw went in the hole. I've still got it.

As the anniversary of my birth hastens upon me, I feel I'm running out of time. For what, I don't know.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Rock Chalk Shamrock

That was the slogan on many green t-shirts today on the streets of Lawrence, Kansas. You see Lawrence has a St. Patrick's Day Parade, which was a pleasant surprise for my sister and me.

We drove down the three and a half hours for a concert, and I thought it would be good to get there early and eat at Free State Brewing Company. Our visit there was most enjoyable. I got to sample four of their beers: Ad Astra Ale, George O'Malley's Irish Ale, Black Jack Porter, and Oatmeal Stout and eat tasty Irish fare with Colcannon cakes and Irish lamb stew with Free State's Black and Tan bread. Another pleasing change was a male server. He was quite the Chatty Cathy, but I didn't mind because he was interesting enough and shared fun info about the proprietor of Free State's two year struggle to get state laws changed so that he could open a microbrewery. According to our server, Kansas had Prohibition from the 1880s until the mid-1940s, so it was a difficult legal climate for zymurgists, to say the least. Our server on this day of St. Pat was named Shannon, like the river only in man form. A pipe and drum corps stopped in to regale us with a few tunes as well.

The concert occupied our time from 4pm to 10:40pm, with four hours and forty minutes of that six hours and forty minutes spent waiting. The doors didn't open til 5:30, but the line started forming around 4, then the music didn't start til K-OS came on at 6:20. I really enjoyed him. After twenty minutes of setup and soundcheck came a rappist named P.O.S. I didn't care for him as much; it wasn't his music as much as his poor choices with crowd relations. He lacked philosophical consistency. He started by reprimanding the audience for cheering for senseless things, but ended reprimanding those in the audience that weren't singing along to one of his songs because "(He) noticed that those that weren't singing had really stylish haircuts, so they (were) too cool to sing along." Ironically enough, he wanted us all to sing "There will never be anyone else like me." I felt rapped after he was done.

Then another 20-25 minutes of setup and soundcheck yielded RX Bandits, a talented and entertaining ska type group, I guess if you have a trombone, you get to be ska. They probably had the third largest following behind the headliners, Gym Class Heroes, and first place GCH's lead singer Travis. GCH took the longest setup time, but it was worth it. I particularly enjoyed the four "remixed" Hall and Oates songs played on the sound system during setup.

While my sister and I were waiting in line I went to Sylva and Maddy's ice cream shop just up the block to get a couple waffle cones for us (Rock Chocolate Jayhawk and Peanut Butter Freak). Sylva and Maddy's had more options than Ivanna Cone and cost less too. But their options were not too creative or "gourmet." Across the street was a store called Supersonic Music. My sister made the observation that you can't hear supersonic things. I said that maybe you have to play a cd you get from there three times before you can hear it.

Our journey back was pleasantly uneventful, and the fine day finished with a shamrock shake from McDonald's at 2:25 AM.

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At March 19, 2007 8:28 PM, Blogger bryant said...

Did you go to the Bottleneck for your concerts? I always thought that would be a great place to see a concert. I was really impressed by the pictures they had on their walls: Soundgarden, Soul Asylum... Actually, I don't remember exactly who the pictures were of. But I remember being impressed by such a small venue attracting big names.

At March 20, 2007 10:46 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Nope, we went to The Granada. I've been impressed with the groups that tour in Lawrence too. The Granada was a pretty neat venue though.


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Monday, March 12, 2007

Ginja, I Must Have Ginja!

That was the climax of an anecdote Scott tells about a time when he was at the market in Kolobrej (I'm probably spelling that wrong--it was pronounced ko-Wob-jeg). He was there with the one Chinese gentleman in town, who was getting the Polish translation of various produce he was trying to purchase from the person on the other end of his cellular phone (I know there is a dangling phrase, purchase produce from the market, receive translation from phone-mate). When he came to ginger, he was told by the produce man that they didn't have ginger. Then the hilarity ensues when he turns livid at his need for and their absence of that precious root spice.

It took me 65 minutes to walk from my apartment to Bennett Martin Public Library, where I returned three overdue books and checked out Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, then to Ivanna Cone, which is always busy and understaffed on Monday nights, and home again.This jaunt was great for three reasons: I left at 8:44 and arrived before the 9 pm library closing time, I arrived home in time for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, and It was a very pleasant evening due to warmer temperatures.

At Ivanna Cone I had a dish of Ginger Lemongrass ice cream. It was delicious, so delicious in fact, that I spurned all other flavors from its presence. This was notable, as they had the always good Dutch chocolate, cinnamon, and pistachio. This is also notable because, normally, I try very hard to sample as much as I can at each point of consumption.

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At March 16, 2007 1:18 PM, Blogger Cerise said...

That ice cream sounds wonderful! Perfume, on the other hand, looked terrible; I'll be interested in your review.

At March 22, 2007 3:57 PM, Blogger Scott said...

I actually related that tale of Kolobrzeg to Tanya earlier this week. I've found myself recently very much in the "I cannot cook without ginger!" camp. I've been using a lot of ginger powder though, since it's cheap and lasts forever. Tanya, on the other hand, uses fresh exclusively. Always the higher standard with that one.


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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Islands in the Stream

Ceri has met Leah's challenge, and I join her. And really this comes at a good time for me because I've been thinking about web logging on how some of my friends are very closely associated with different music artists for me. Katie and The Beatles, Amy and James Taylor, Ellen and Of Montreal, Michael and John Denver (among others).

Top five albums I would want if stranded on a desert isle (in no particular order):

Sufjan Stevens: Come On and Feel the Illinoise
The Beatles: The White Album
John Denver: An Evening with John Denver
Led Zeppelin: III
Beck: Odelay

Alternate: The Essential Chopin

Honorable Mention:
Ben Folds: Rockin' the Suburbs
Willie Nelson: Stardust
Simon and Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water



At March 08, 2007 12:55 PM, Blogger Karen said...

oo, oo, what band do you associate with me?

At March 08, 2007 12:59 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Good news, the Herman Honeytown link is fixed on the condimentkitchen web site! I don't know how long it was broke.

At March 08, 2007 6:09 PM, Blogger Cerise said...

Karen, I don't know with which band Daniel associates you, but for me it's U2 (which is good since they're my favorite!). I associate some other excellent music with my brother, since he, more than anyone else, buys me albums he thinks I'll like, and is correct (although Stephen Malkmus is still in the growing-on-me stage).

Way to rise to the challenge, Daniel!

I'm still waiting for lists from the rest of you...

At March 12, 2007 1:07 PM, Blogger Dragonfly said...

Thanks for your list, Daniel. I like the Led Zeppelin inclusion here...I wanted more classic rock in my list, but other things edged it out.

At March 13, 2007 1:33 AM, Anonymous Michael said...

What an honour to be associated with John Denver.

I will promise to always associate the Squirrel Nut Zippers with you.


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Sunday, March 04, 2007

I'm an Ernie's Kid

So we came back today from Columbia, kinda like Clark and Lewis (there is a great Far Side with Clark's mother nagging him about how Lewis will always be first). We started our day on recommendation of the Red Roof Inn desk attendant at Ernie's Cafe and Steakhouse. They were great. Apparently, all of downtown Columbia (pop. 140,000ish) has wireless Internet. The food was better than Waffle House, and the atmosphere was great. A particularly nice touch was a Black transvestite as a server. The two tells for me were the man hands and the fact that she was done up in makeup at 10 on a Sunday morning.

We made fine time on the Interstate with nothing of note occurring, thankfully. One thing that has bothered me since first driving with Wendy in Missouri four years ago for a Central States camp meeting is Missouri's road naming system. They have plenty of state highways that use numbers, but then there is also a naming system that uses single letters and double letters. Where my issue arises is with the seeming disorder of the lettering process. I see exits off the Interstate that have both H and Z as options, or E and U (Wendy was a trusty surveillance co-pilot and took pictures of a bunch of these for me) which is farther apart than U and I alphabet-wise (also Wendy's joke).

The third phase of our day was dinner at Upstream Brewing Company in Omaha. I had a really good hamburger made of choice ground chuck and samples of six of their beers (seven if you include Wendy's). I first asked for the Sampler before I found out it was eleven four ounce samples. 44 oz. daunted me, so I cut back. I had the O! Gold Light, Gold Coast Blonde, American Wheat, Capitol Premium Pale Ale, Dundee 90 Shilling Scotch Ale, and the Blackstone Stout. I also quaffed some of Wendy's Honey Raspberry Ale. I had their Caramel Bread Pudding for dessert, not as good as my bread pudding (or Famous Dave's)--plus I got an edge piece with a tough sticky outer part, no good.

The Light was fine; the Blonde solid; Wheat wasn't as good as others I've had; Pale Ale could make me a believer in hops (maybe even instill hop in me). I was pleasantly surprised by the existence of such a complex brew as the Dundee at a local brewery like this. It wasn't McEwan's, but they don't have anything to be ashamed of--easily in my top two from Upstream. Their stout wasn't as good as either of Flat Branch's but was a strong representative of its variety nonetheless. I've had the Honey Raspberry before at the tasting fests, and it was even better at the source. So it is my queen to King Dundee. Upstream's seasonal beer was a Red Wheat Ale made with red wheat and spiced with some cardamom, but unfortunately for my cardamom leanings, they were out of it.

The Brown Ale I had at Flat Branch was lacking in lots of areas for me. It had a poor aftertaste, unexceptional mouthfeel--not smooth like a stout or Scotch ale, and there is always this talk of a nut brown color, so that puts the expectation of a nutty flavor in my head. I've always liked Sam Adams' Brown Ale. Now when you talk about black ales New Belgium's 1554 is super duper.

As for the amount of beer actually consumed in the previous pictures, today's tasting was four oz. glasses, so comparatively I'd say there was about five to six oz. in each glass [Editor's Note: further investigation on Flat Branch's site advertises a 5 oz. sampler; I'm guessing this is what I got.] , and I maybe had only two oz. of the green chili beer, plus I shared to educate Wendy, so I probably had about 26 oz., just over the 20 oz. a full imperial pint would give you. Plus I had a bunch of bread and pizza and a homemade ginger ale, so I helped distribute the burden on my liver a bit.

That's all folks.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

I'm a Waffle House Kid

So we got to Columbia right before 11pm on Friday night and checked into our reserved Red Roof Inn room. Saturday morning we went to breakfast at Waffle House. Pretty fun "Americana" experience but not as good as some places I've eaten food. Then was the first session of the Big XII Wrestling Championships. The Huskers did pretty well with four wrestlers winning their matches to get into the championships and three getting into the third place matches.

For the break between sessions, we went to Flat Branch Pub and Brewing. I got the Sampler of brews with my spiced lamb pesto pizza. The six varieties starting with the straw and going clockwise were Oil Change Stout, Milk Stout, Green Chili, Honey Wheat, Brown Ale, and Irish Red Ale. I didn't care for the Green Chili, which--surprise, surprise--tasted like a green chili pepper or the Brown Ale, which wasn't the strongest example of the variety. The Irish Red was pretty weak. The Honey Wheat was very drinkable. The two stouts are what took the cake. They have the same recipe but for 50 pounds of oatmeal flakes in the Oil Change, and lactose sugars in the Milk. This is an excellent pairing for a tasting because it allows you to isolate ingredients. So if you're in the area and want really good food with some pretty good beers, go to Flat Branch Pub and Brewery in Columbia, Missouri.

The second session of wrestling for the Huskers wasn't very successful. Only one wrestler won his match. So they finished with four second places, two third places, and one fourth place. But the rest of the wrestling was top notch and we enjoyed most all of it. Well worth the trip. Now we just return on Sunday and stop in KC for lunch. Thank you for your well wishes that got us through some harrowing driving on Highway 2 before we got to the Interstate.

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At March 04, 2007 6:09 PM, Anonymous Michael said...

It looks as if both you and the camera have adopted a telltale cant in the photo of the empty glasses.

A milk (or cream) stout was what got me first interested in eschewing anything I could see through. Mackeson was a nice easy slightly sweet stout that I had on June 30 1994. Of course I will now accept some translucent offerings.

I'm most interested in the Brown Ale. What was it like?

At March 04, 2007 7:38 PM, Blogger Buffy Turner said...

The angle of that picture with the empty glasses does kill me. But seriously, aren't those big glasses, considering there were six of them? Did you seriously feel okay after?


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Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Lion is Winter

I really liked The Lion in Winter with Peter O'Toole, Katherine Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins (first film), and Timothy Dalton. It is said that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Well, the lion roared.

I went to bed last night with nothing on the ground and woke up with at least 5 inches of sodden snow. Naturally the schools all closed down, including Union. More intriguing was the state of the various shipping organizations. Our UPS driver, Al, called Hans, my boss, who is in Texas for an NAD prayer conference, to let him know that UPS would be picking up early. That early was 2:00 instead of the normal 5:30. They also didn't have their normal air pickup at 6. FedEx, however didn't even bother delivering or picking anything up. And the tried and true, wind, rain, sleet, snow, hail, USPS was all systems go.

What this all meant for me was that I got off work an hour earlier than normal. In my hour of found time, I essentially spent it shoveling. The weather giveth and the weather taketh away. It also released the pressure of getting orders processed, since they weren't going to go anywhere.

Tomorrow I finish this hectic week with a trip to Missouri. Wish me well.



At March 03, 2007 3:50 PM, Anonymous Michael said...

Five inches? A measly five inches of snow and Union closes down?

What happened to that hardy Nebraskan spirit?

At March 06, 2007 10:13 PM, Blogger Cerise said...

Those were my sentiments EXACTLY! The U closed at 2:30 last Thursday (I'm told it's the first time in at least 10 years it has cancelled classes for snow), in the midst of receiving our second 12" dump in a week. Then we had classes Friday.

At March 06, 2007 10:30 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

I provided a conservative estimate. I asked others and reports range from 6-8 inches. Is that more impressive? Part of the consideration should be that the city of Lincoln doesn't really bother clearing side roads in residential areas, so if none of the teachers can make it to class, no class. And I didn't suffer one bit, I'm still hearty.


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