Saturday, October 31, 2015

Seven Stills & Two Docs

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Tuesday night, Izzy & I watched a documentary that I was personally really excited about called “Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films” which documents the legendary rise & fall of this film production company and the two Israeli men who ran it (Menahem Golan & Yoram Globus). Basically, they started out making Israeli films in the 60’s & early 70’s… then they made enough money to go to Hollywood and start films there… but they were essentially fantastic, charismatic & passionate salespeople who would basically sell a movie poster of an idea… and then make the movie around it after getting financial backing. Sounds like a great way to make movies, right? Hell, I do it all the time on this blog. Well… they start out with pretty schlocky films full of gore & LOTS of nudity… and of course most of them are panned, but they make money due to their meager budgets… and they put the money onto the next film… and they’d usually make DOZENS of movies a year. There are plenty of interviews from past actors, directors, producers & other business people like Robert Forster, Avi Lerner, Boaz Davidson, John Avildsen, Tobe Hooper, Gary Goddard, Molly Ringwald, Richard Chamberlain, Dolph Lundgren, Bo Derek, Elliot Gould, Michael Dudikoff, Alex Winter, Franco Nero, and even the many ladies who appeared nude on screen and Boogaloo Shrimp himself!!! They’ll talk about the history of legendary movies like “The Happy Hooker”, “Superman IV”, “Over the Top”, “Masters of the Universe”, “Breakin’ & Electric Boogaloo”, “Bloodsport”, “Delta Force”, “Death Wish 2-5”, “American Ninja” and a whole bunch of others that you didn’t know existed but now want to see if you’re into horrible movies like we are… like Lou Ferrigno in “Hercules”, Bo Derek in “Bolero”, Chuck Norris in “Invasion U.S.A.”, random sexy chick in something called “Lifeforce” and this musical called “The Apple” that looks like it’s “Xanadu” on a f**king acid trip! I highly recommend checking out this movie… because yeah, though a lot of people talk sh*t on the Golan-Globus method… it’s basically what the movie industry has been reduced down to now. How you ask?
·         Maximizing Profits – Ever wonder why Halloween is the time of year when all these ridiculously bad & modestly budgeted horror flicks come out? It’s because they can make a $2-5 million movie starring young, cute people… and they’re pretty much guaranteed a $10-15 million opening weekend. Or how about the kiddie flick that comes out on holiday weekends? And most of them being CGI now? Because CGI characters with voiceover is a LOT cheaper than trying to deal with prima donnas & coordinating hundreds of people to film.
·         Bigger = Better? – Bigger budgets, bigger names, bigger explosions, bigger titties, bigger everything… that’s how you get the better movie, right? Don’t agree with me? Explain the “Fast & Furious” franchise to me… or any of these cinematic universes that are coming out (Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Universal monsters, etc). How about “Pirates of the Caribbean”? Add more big names… add nine-digit budgets… only make 3-4 tentpole movies that’ll make or break your year, because there’s only so much money in the world.
·         Your Big Movie Pays off for the Other Movies – Can’t get funding for your Academy Award begging movie starring Robert Pattinson and a new unproven talent? How about a movie starring JGL from a pretentious French director? New Meryl Streep vehicle? A movie about playing drums starring some kid& the guy from the insurance commercials? Well… you’d better hope that Transformers 6 makes some money this summer!
Anyway, it’s a very interesting movie… check it out! And please, don’t worry… reviews will be coming soon for some of Cannon Films’ greatest hits... and we’ll probably talk about them on our podcast “Everything I Learned From Movies” coming out next week. Yes, I know… I said that before… but yeah, we’re actually finishing up musical intros (I don’t know music, but I know what I like) and our first episode “Tremors 5: Bloodlines” should be coming out VERY soon. I’ll keep you posted.
Wednesday night, Izzy & I watched another documentary about the movie industry called “Back in Time” which is about the making of & fanatic following of… what’s essentially a perfect film called “Back to the Future.” As you may know from past entries/rants including my Time Travel Movie List (gold medal winner) that I hold a special place in my heart for this movie. The original was one of a handful of VHS tapes that I had growing up as a kid, so I’ve probably seen it literally a thousand times or more in my life, and as critical as I am about movies… it’s airtight. Unimpeachable. Go ahead & try… I’ve probably got it covered. What’s Doc Brown’s backstory? Why is he hanging out with a 17-year old boy like Marty? Is he a vampire? What about Lorraine Baines-McFly? She had some slutty tendencies, right? Can even Confident George fulfill her desires? Do you think she contacted the real Calvin Klein once he kinda blew up in the early 80’s? “Hey, remember me? Lorraine? We went to the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance a few years back? We were gonna… park? I think about you every time I’m with my husband and our three kids… one of which I named Marty on your suggestion” which led to a restraining order. Probably not since it felt like she kissed her brother (spoiler alert) but… you never really know. Look… I could go on for days… but I’ll probably save it for a podcast.
Anyway, that’s just the original… and I hold the entire trilogy in incredibly high esteem… or at least I thought I did until I saw the kind of incredible fans of this movie that are interviewed in this film. Have you ever wanted a DeLorean? Of course you have! Everybody has & does! These are the people that not only have a DeLorean… but tricked it out to be an exact replica of the movie’s time machine version… and go to BTTF conventions… and run website forums around the movie… and recreate the town square of 1955 Hill Valley… and travel as a cover band… and have full-on musical productions inspired by the movie… and make 9-hole miniature golf courses based on the movie in their backyards. They’re in a WHOLE different stratosphere of fandom… and it’s pretty damn awesome. This movie goes over not just the production of the film (including the story of how it got greenlit & the famous casting change of Eric Stoltz as Marty) but then into all the fandom and how so many people were affected by this movie. There are some great interviews with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Claudia Wells, Lea Thompson, James Tolkan and many, many more. It’s extremely interesting… and I assume since you like good movie, you all love Back to the Future… so check it out. It’s currently streaming on Netflix as well and is a good way to spend 90 minutes.
Wednesday, Izzy swung by Seven Stills Distillery to pick up our new “fresh” barrels for aging our homebrew… but she also had a wonderful opportunity to help bottle some of their DELICIOUS spirits and learn the process a little bit. She’ll probably elaborate more on her blog (Untidy Venus) but in payment for helping them out for  few hours… they were kind enough to share some of their delicious products which we’d admittedly had a very hard time finding in stores… so we got to try some of the defect bottles…

First up was Chocasmoke, which is whiskey distilled from chocolate oatmeal stout & peat smoked malted barley. The result is a fairly smooth whiskey (though 47% ABV burns a bit when you’re not primed for it) with great smoky & chocolaty notes… as a fan of whiskey AND stouts, I highly recommend it.
Then we tried their Whipnose Whiskey, which is made from a Double IPA in collaboration with Pacific Brewing Laboratory along with some maple sugar. This one had more notes of citrus & kind of a rye bitterness… but it was MUCH mellower than what I was expecting with the threat of so many pounds of hops used in the original brew and then being distilled. There’s little trace of that. Also a good whiskey… like there’s rarely bad whiskeys, am I right? They also gave us a few samples of their Bitters but we’ve yet to try those… we’re not much for cocktails usually. We’re far too casual with our drinking… like marathon runners instead of dashers.
Friday night, well… it’s been a while since I mentioned this… but Izzy & I got a few more barrels for aging beer from Seven Stills Distillery this past week… one of which will be aging our Scotch Ale that we started a few weeks ago… and another that we’ll be aging our latest Cider in until Big Ben & Lone Cicerone are ready with their latest brew that they want to barrel age. All of which will be fantastic I’m sure… but here are some pictures of the process of preparing the brew & the barrels for aging…
We’ll also be bottling our Barrel Aged Chocolate Porter soon from our first barrel… which is starting to turn sour a bit… so we’ll soon be preparing a Flemish Red or something like that to age in it for quite some time. That’s right ladies & gentleman… our first (intentional) sour beer is coming VERY soon… as well as our first Belgian beer… but more on that in the coming weeks. Until then, Happy Halloween everybody!!! Have a wonderful & safe weekend!!!

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Weejy Experiment

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Thursday night, Izzy & I continued our streaming search for scares… and we stumbled across the EXTREMELY low budget movie (apparently made for about $1,200) called “The Ouija Experiment” from writer/director Israel Luna and starring… I’m assuming friends of his in the Dallas area? Yeah, no real actors here. Essentially it’s a found footage film where a film student named Brandon films his four friends playing with a Ouija board… and they start getting some messages from beyond… but then during a lover’s quarrel, they accidentally leave the Ouija board open (because it’s a portal, you know?) and something may have come across. Something… sinister! Okay, so… decent premise, right? If you’re down with Ouija boards, then you’re down with the plot. I don’t f**k with that noise. Not because I really think this cardboard typewriter will open a gateway to another world… but best case, it’s just a stupid f**king parlor game with your friends… worst case it IS and you’re f**king around with dead people for no reason. No appeal. However, the movie starts as… honestly, a pretty damn decent low budget found footage flick. I mean… the actors aren’t amazing by any stretch, but they’re just supposed to be regular people anyway. The budget is everyday Vine worthy… but it’s actually pretty well done with the limitations & keep within the “rules” of found footage… it’s fairly believable aside from a few “Why are you recording this again?” moments. The first hour is pretty good… especially for having the effects budget of a one-man show on public access. Well done…
Unfortunately though… in the final twenty minutes of the movie… they completely lose it by breaking probably THE cardinal rule of a found footage movie. There’s an absolutely HORRIBLY ACTED & EXECUTED sequence… in which a FLASHBACK is shown!!! DON’T DO A FLASHBACK ON A FOUND FOOTAGE MOVIE!!! The whole point really of the format (aside from absolutely minimal costs) is a minimalist approach to film making… and it leaves the viewer to fill in the blank with their own imagination. Period. Whether it’s the Blair Witch, the Cloverfield monster, all those Paranormal Activity movies, all that mess… you’re leaving the mysterious evil/dangerous being up to the imaginations of the viewers because… basically whatever you put in there, isn’t going to be as good. Seriously, how the hell did Blair Witch make money? You’ve seen it, right? Boring & pointless… and it’s what’s to blame for just about this entire genre. It’s because everybody was filling in their own holes with their worst fears… not a flashback scene about what happened to the ghosts. Nobody cares. We know they’re dead. Anyway, I would’ve wholeheartedly recommended this movie if not for the last 20 minutes… but you know what, I’ll give a half-hearted endorsement. Check it out if you’re looking to waste 92 minutes & have a friend with a fear of Ouija boards. Well done for a budget of less than the camera used.
This weekend, Izzy & I drove down to Redlands to help move her mother back to the Bay Area… which involved an early rise, long drive down to SoCal (though we made great time), then loading a 16-foot truck, a 4x4 truck & my Jeep with her possessions… and then repeating the process on Sunday with unloading at the home that she grew up in. As dreadful a weekend as that sounds… it actually wasn’t that bad. The weather was cooperative, she was packed up well, there wasn’t a whole lot of heavy furniture (only one giant piece that may or may not have been wood paneling on lead), and because of our early rises traffic wasn’t an issue. Needless to say we slept like babies Sunday night… but yeah, good times… and now Izzy’s mom is back in town so they can bond and all that girly stuff.
During the trip, we again stopped by Rose City Pizza for some Pizza tots and a beer flight… and Izzy’s mom took us to a great pizza place in downtown Redlands called Jersey Pizza where one of the owners had dinner with us & we enjoyed a pitcher of Evans Brewing, a local SoCal brewery. The pizza was great, company was great, and I highly recommend the location if you’re in the area. You won’t regret it.
Anyway, not much else to report on now… but things are matriculating & fermenting… so more to come. In the meantime, have a great week everybody!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Six Screaming Streaming Scaries

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
It’s that time of year! The time of ghouls & ghastly images and horrible sequels and remakes all brought out to strike fear into movie goers and cause their bowels to shiver!!! Pumpkin pops up everywhere! Everybody pulls out their amber lagers and calls them Oktoberfest! Not to mention their fresh harvest wet hop IPAs! In honor of this most incredible time of year, Izzy & I have decided that we were going to watch some more horror movies in honor of the Halloween season. We already did the first two “Pumpkinhead” movies a while back… but there are plenty more streaming on your Netflix… so here are a few that we tried out… and it’s quite the diverse groups:
First up, we continued our stroll down Stephen King heyday lane… with a movie that I vaguely remember going to see in a drive-in when I was like… maybe 3-4 years old… but I don’t remember much except evil looking children so I probably just went to play in the park when it was one… and that’s 1984’s “Children of the Corn” starring Linda Hamilton and Peter Horton (who looks like Dirk Nowitzki, no f**king joke). The movie is about a young couple (Hamilton & Horton) who are traveling across the country… and end up in rural Nebraska in a small town called Gatlin… where things are… obviously a little crazy. It’s not a spoiler alert because it’s literally the first two minutes of the movie… but the kids a few years ago just up & decided to kill all of the adults except for an old man who works the gas station. Why? Well… that you’ll have to watch the movie for. Regardless, the young couple is in for quite an adventure… and the kids in the movie are genuinely creepy looking. If you haven’t seen the movie, I’d say check it out.
That being said… I was not too afraid of this movie. Why? Well… it’s the same reason that I’m not too scared of Chucky from the “Child’s Play” movies… because I feel like… I could easily destroy a small group is children, especially if they just have a few small weapons & calls of “Fornicators!” at their disposal. A six year old comes at me with a tire iron… he’d better be a LOT quicker than I am because he may wound me… but there’s no way that he’s stopping my follow-through with an overhand right and throwing him a curb party. If I had a baseball bat… or a board with a nail in it… I’m pretty sure I can take all of his friends too. Anyway, that was my one real problem with the movie… and there’s a few scenes where I was just like “B**ch slap that kid! There’s not even a lot of them!” but overall, it’s pretty intriguing at best… and almost laughable at other parts. I say check it out & judge for yourself. “OUTLANDER!!! WE HAVE YOUR WOMAN, OUTLANDER!!!”
Next up was one that had been on the queue for a while… and that’s “The Taking of Deborah Logan” starring Jill Larson & Anne Ramsey. This is a 2014 found footage movie that centers around a couple college students filming for a doctoral thesis about Alzheimer’s Disease (just go with it). It’s the usual combination of camera guy, tech guy & mildly attractive chick who’s in front of the camera most of the time (even when she’s not supposed to be) and they’ve been invited (for a moderate cost) to live in a home in Virginia to document a quite proper elderly woman with Alzheimer’s named Deborah Logan (Larson) and her caregiving daughter Sarah (Ramsey). During the first few days, they see the effects of the disease firsthand through the many strategically placed cameras of how this horrible disease affects not only the elderly mother, but her alcoholic daughter… and you really get a sense of sorrow for their situation… but then sh*t gets REALLY messed up. Things get really creepy… Deb seems to pop up everywhere… like she can teleport… and gets weird voices… and almost superhuman strength… and just fits of craziness… and there’s even a crazy neighbor… but what could possibly be causing all of these fits? Is it the disease… or something else? Non-spoiler alert (because it’s in the title): It’s demonic possession.
Okay, I’ll admit… my description of this movie… sucks. However, the movie… is f**king awesome & creepy and I can’t recommend it enough. This is genuinely one of the best horror movies that I’ve seen in a while. Yes, there are flaws with the whole “found footage” format… but yeah, it’s still REALLY impressive… and honestly I think Jill Larson should get an Academy Award nod… she ROCKED that sh*t… and I was genuinely moved by this movie in many different ways. GO CHECK THIS MOVIE OUT NOW!!! Watch it with a loved one… in the dark… it’s what you want for Halloween… and it’s free with your Netflix subscription. You’re welcome!
Next up was the classic movie “The Fly” but not the one you’ve probably seen. This is the 1958 original starring Vincent Price… but the leads are David Hedison& Patricia Owens. Dr. Andre Delambre (Hedison) has finally done it! He’s made a machine that can teleport objects across the room… and there are limitless applications for such a machine. There seem to be some kinks though. Some solid objects come across backwards… a rabbit basically disappears… obviously there are a few kinks to work out before this can be shown to the scientific community. Then… something goes terribly wrong… and as you can probably guess by the title… it involves a fly! Okay, I kind of love the 50’s horror flicks. I have a soft spot for them… and especially the Vincent Price ones… I just dig that guy’s voice like no other & he always seems to be in the best ones (“House of Wax”, “House on Haunted Hill”, “Last Man on Earth”, etc) and even though he’s kind of a side character as Andre’s brother Francois… he still plays an integral part towards the end. The movie is actually pretty awesome… and builds up suspense pretty well (even though you probably already know how it goes) so I’d recommend checking it out… especially if you are squeamish when it comes to gore & stuff. There’s nothing like that in this movie.


Next on the queue was 2001’s “The Others” starring Nicole Kidman. Now… a little backstory on this one. I watched it a while back when it first came out… but I fell asleep about halfway through… because it was a little slow paced & I was also living on 4 hours’ sleep max with school & work… but yeah, I woke up for the last… about 66 seconds of the movie, had no idea what I was seeing… but assumed it wasn’t work another two hours of my life if it didn’t even wake me up with my surround sound system. The end. So this was… kind of like the first time really seeing it… but knowing the basic story. It’s a mother in a palatial estate with her two young children… and her husband has been away at war, but she hasn’t heard back… and her estate needs some care… so some caretakers answer a call into town & help her out. Her children have an allergy to light… so for their sake the estate is very dark & generally creepy… but then some other unexplained things start happening. Ghostly things…
Now, the movie was pretty good. Aside from the sound being memorably bad with the voices being REALLY quiet and the other sound effects being REALLY loud to basically give ever meaningless thing jump scares… there is some great suspense built… and it’s an intriguing kind of character study. Are there ghosts? Is the mother just insane? It’s a lot like “The Babadook” if it were set in a different time. That being said… if you’re going to watch one of the two… “The Babadook” is still streaming too. “The Others” was a lot better than I remember (though I love a good nap) but it’s another good movie if you’re not into gore but enjoy a good haunted house flick. Check it out!
Right after that, we watched a 1990 movie called “Nightbreed” from director Clive Barker (“Hellraiser” & “Lord of Illusions”) and starring Craig Sheffer & David Cronenberg (yes, the director of “Dead Zone”, “The Fly” remake, “History of Violence”, etc). This movie is about a young man named Aaron Boone (Sheffer) who is having terrible dreams… so he’s been going to a therapist (Cronenberg) to get his dreams & violent urges under control. Then one day, the police come to the therapist’s office… and there’s been a serial killer on the loose with killings matching Aaron’s dream descriptions almost to the word… so to find answers, Aaron starts asking around about a place in his dreams called Midian… and he finds out some pretty startling things in his journey. Okay, I’m just going to come out and say it… there are monsters involved… and it’s not a spoiler alert because they’re teased as the credits are rolling & in his dreams the first few minutes. This movie was pretty dang interesting… and I really enjoyed it. Now, I’ll warn you up front that it’ll probably seem REALLY weird to today’s audience because the makeup is pretty fantastic & not CGI… some of the backdrops are almost obviously paintings… there are a few cumbersome oddities like that… but it really just adds to the atmosphere of the whole movie being in a borderline dreamscape & keeps you on edge with regards to what’s going to happen. The monsters are also greatly designed& REALLY inventive… and yeah, there’s even a few titty shots. Enjoy!!!
About the only beef that I have with this movie… isn’t even with the movie… it’s with the Academy Awards committee. As I mentioned before, the makeup & special effects in this movie are pretty damn impressive, especially by 1990 standards. However, any guesses to what movie won the Academy Award for Best Makeup that year (1990)? Well… let’s start with the nominees that didn’t win… and this movie wasn’t even nominated though it really should have been. First up was legendary makeup & effects specialist Stan Winston for “Edward Scissorhands” which… yeah, the love of Vincent Price comes into play again, I can see that. Then there was “Cyrano de Bergerac” (basically the French adaptation of the novel that inspired Steve Martin’s “Roxanne”) where they essentially put everybody in feudal French garb and gave Gerard Depardieu an even bigger nose. Okay? What possible masterpiece of a movie could beat them both AND this movie? Why it’s “Dick Tracy” in which everybody wore essentially the same outfit in vibrant Crayola colors so that you could tell them apart… and they have Al Pacino a big nose… made Paul Sorvino look like he had a stroke… squared off the top of William Forsythe’s head… made Dustin Hoffman look like mumbling Javier Bardem in “Skyfall” and even made R.G. Armstrong’s face (star of last entry’s “Children of the Corn” oddly enough) look like a nut sack as a guy named Pruneface. AWARD WINNING MAKEUP!!! Anyway… it just irked me that “Dick Tracy” won an Academy Award for makeup… and yes, the award also takes into account wardrobe & hair styling for some reason… but let’s be real… it’s not impressive in any aspect of the award. So yeah, check out “Nightbreed”! I think you’ll like it.
Last movie of the day… “Creep” starring Mark Duplass (“The League”) and writer/director/actor/caterer Patrick Brice. This story is about a videographer named Aaron (Brice) who answers a Craigslist ad for a one-day job in a remote California mountain town. He meets his employer Joseph (Duplass) who tells them that he has an expectant wife… and an inoperable brain tumor with only a few months to live… so he just wants Aaron to follow him around for a few hours and document this video so that his unborn child has something to remember his father by. You know… like that Michael Keaton movie “My Life” from the 90’s. However, Aaron starts to suspect things are a little odd… and things aren’t quite what they seem. No, this is another found-footage movie… and of course the movies have their limitations & some disbelief is involved. “Why the hell is he videotaping this scene?” However, this movie is pretty good about that… and there’s no additional score… it’s a very minimalistic approach… and for a scant 77 minute runtime, I would highly recommend it. Don’t want to give anything else away. It’s streaming now! Great flick!
What I wouldn’t really recommend… is watching six seasons of “The League” in the past few weeks to catch your girlfriend up… and then watch this movie… because you’ll totally see this as like a long special episode of “The League” and one of the greatest & creepiest pranks of all time. I honestly would not be surprised if this movie was condensed a little bit and shot almost frame for frame with either a creepy version of Pete… or just replace him with Rafi taking things a little overboard as he’s prone to do. Oh, you haven’t seen “The League”? Then this probably doesn’t affect you… but it certainly did for us. Watch both “Creep” and “The League”!
So yeah… that was a LOT of movies… but yeah, a bunch of spooky movies that you can still enjoy on Netflix this Halloween season. Go forth & check them out!!! I’ll be helping to move family members across the state… yay!!! Have a great weekend everybody!!!

Monday, October 19, 2015

BAM Brewery Tour 2015

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Saturday, Izzy & I took part in the Bay Area Mashers’ Sacramento Brewery Tour, where essentially this homebrewing club arranged for a Google bus to take 40-50 likeminded homebrew enthusiasts up to Sacramento where we toured FOUR breweries in the Rosemont area. This is very similar to the SF Homebrewers Guild annual brewery bus tour (coming again this December) but we had never gone quite as far as Sacramento… and this trip was fantastic!!!
First stop was New Glory Brewing which opened in 2012… and the taproom / brewery that we went to was located in essentially a “warehouse” area of town with lots of concrete structures, storage units, basically industrial space. That being said, the taproom had a very rustic feel to it… similar to a sort of high-class, dive bar or a Man-cave kind of vibe. Lots of wood accents, but the furniture was still comfortable, and of course, most importantly… the beer was on point. I particularly liked their Robust Porter and Hoppy Amber Ale… but that’s pretty obvious for me. They also had several variations of Saison on tap (French, hibiscus, etc) and a pretty sweet 15 barrel brew system… here are some pictures…

Two blocks away was Device Brewing which opened recently as well, and flaunts “Beer with Purpose.” The brewery & taproom had more a minimalistic modern aesthetic (similar to Elevation 66) with more bare-bones walls… but some great local art on the walls for sale as well as very kid & dog friendly for a great sense of community. The beer is also very good which a little bit of everything from lagers to imperial stouts and everything in between including a variety of Belgian ales. All that I tried were fantastic as well. I would definitely check both out if I’m in the area. Here are some pictures…

Next up was a few miles away at Track 7 Brewing which dons a wide variety of beers but is actually the only one on this trip that I’ve seen in a few taprooms here in the Bay Area. They seem to be more of a production brewery than the first two… and they also happen to have a taproom with long communal tables and usually have food trucks available to offer greasy delicacies to help you sop up their delicious beers. I personally loved their Nite Bite (Cascadian Dark Ale) & their Left Eye Right Eye Double IPA wasn’t too overpowering. Again, though, they’re all pretty good from what I’ve tried. Here are some pictures… and yes, it's located next to Cock Grease Hair Pomade...

Our last stop was Oak Park Brewing Company which seems to be a little more focused on the restaurant aspect of the brewery with a very diverse menu with chefs and what have you… but the beer isn’t lacking either. It was very similar to the restaurant at Sierra Nevada last month but with a 7 barrel system as opposed to the massive complex in Chico. Their draft list was really diverse with things like a Pumpkin Saison, Imperial Oatmeal Porter, Coffee Porter, Flanders Brown and frankly… they were all pretty darn good. We also order some bacon & bleu mac & cheese… and it was scrumptious. Here are some pictures…

Sunday, I was due to help out with the bottle sort for the California State Homebrew Competition… but unfortunately… I apparently got a pretty bad case of food poisoning. “Come on $teve, you were just f**king drunk and/or hungover! Let’s be real…” Oh no, I was VERY respectable… the entire time that I was in Sacramento with no more than two pints at a location… over the course of MANY hours… and I was perfectly fine until I dozed off on the drive back… and it just HIT me. I have no idea what it was… but I have a few suspicions… but I don’t want to go into details. The important thing was that my lovely ladyfriend Izzy was an absolutely champ, took care of me (SEE! She wasn’t drunk either! She’s a lightweight!) as well as helped the bottle sort by picking up one-third of the entries and dropping them off. I feel really bad that I wasn’t able to help out… but hey, there’s still time before the big show in a few weeks! Regardless, the rest of the San Francisco Homebrewers Guild and other volunteers got everything set for the preliminary round next week (when we’ll be moving Izzy’s mom, so I’m sure I’ll be helping after that).
Anyway, so it was a great weekend other than a few REALLY suck-ass hours Sunday… but it was still okay… we watched some football & some movies… but more on those later. Until then, go check out some of those great breweries in Sacramento… and have a great day everybody!!!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Furious $teven

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Wednesday night, Izzy & I finally watched “Furious 7” which is the 7th installment of the Fast & Furious “film” franchise… and at this point in time, the 4th highest grossing movie OF ALL TIME!!! The soundtrack was #1 in 59 countries… and yes, they mentioned it on the DVD… and yes, I wanted to slit my wrist listening to choice clips from it throughout the movie. I’m assuming that because it IS the 4th highest grossing movie of all time, that you’ve probably all seen this movie at least once in theatres… or maybe even in the last month since it’s been out on DVD… so there’ll be some spoilers. I’ll tell you what’s not a spoiler though… Paul Walker does die… in the movie anyway. Too soon? No, it’s not. It’s an ironic tragedy. Moving on. Fun game to play though… pretend that you don’t know that Paul Walker’s going to make it in the end because you’ve been awake the past six months or on any form of social media… and watch the movie with every scene as a “Is this where his character gets killed?” mentality… it’s actually pretty intriguing. Is it the scene where he’s getting dropped out of a f**king airplane in a car? Is it when his buddy Dom (Vin Diesel) is holding up a sports car by himself like a man-jack stand for a few minutes while he tries to delicately remove a microchip that has been inexplicably placed under it? Is it during one of the many shoot-out scenes with apparent armies of international criminals and/or cyborgs? All I’m saying is… that if ANYBODY died in these movies, there was ample opportunity for that to happen… unless it’s all the odd homoerotic dreams of various fanboys… which it absolutely is. This movie is people (directors, producers, actors, etc) playing with action figures. Pure & simple. That being said… it can totally be fun. Is it the 4th highest grossing movie of all time fun? Of course not… but yeah, adjust for inflation or something and it’s still worthy of making some cash on the side. I ain’t gonna hate… it’s not like “Pitch Perfect 2” grossing more than “Mad Max: Fury Road” or something like that. No, I still haven’t forgiven you for that yet, America!
Anyway, this 7th installment picks up where the last one left off… at the end of “Fast 6” the “good guys” brought down Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and beat his ass good into a coma… well, apparently all that did was piss off his older brother Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) who’s even MORE dangerous (because he’s basically a Terminator apparently) and wants nothing more than to just kill the “good guys” and already killed the Japanese one from the 3rd installment that nobody watched. Well, to protect his family, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) basically joins forces with a secret ops guy named Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) who may or may not be government sanctioned… and they have to find a McGuffin known as “The God’s Eye” which basically uses all technology in the world to locate somebody anywhere in the world. It’s just that easy. Even easier than… say… standing around and waiting for Deckard Shaw to find them? Not quite… but otherwise there wouldn’t be a movie. Basically from there, it’s just one global jetsetting trip to another to do things like drop vehicles out of airplanes over Azerbaijan, drive from tower to tower in Abu Dhabi, introduce cameos from Ronda Rousey, Tony Jaa, Djimon Hounsou, Iggy Azalea, T-Pain… and let’s face it, Jordana Brewster’s character is basically a cameo in those movie too… and I think Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was on set for MAYBE a week & over half of that was the fight with Deckard Shaw. Anyway… it basically takes all the craziest scenes from every other ridiculous action movie ever made… and puts them all into one… with a lot of gun butter, Vin Diesel mumbles, waify girl asses, ridiculous situations, one liners that don't really say anything… all the stuff that you want in one of these movies. Do I think that anybody associated with this movie will be nominated for an Academy Award? FOH, of course not. Was it fun to watch? Absolutely… and absolutely infuriating when you try to use the laws of physics or rationality… but hey, you get what you want from it. I’d say check it out… and there’ll be plenty more of these movies… don’t you worry about that either.
Tuesday night, Izzy & I went to Local Brewing near AT&T Park for the SF Homebrewers Guild’s monthly meeting. Local Brewing opened up about four months ago & is already getting a great reputation around the Bay Area as a fantastic brewery. They have a 10bbl system and are very savvy with social media & technology to essentially “give the people what they want”. They started with four beers on tap… and are now up to 16 beers and essentially the beers that make the cut at a particular time are those that patrons want, like & let them know. I mean… it’s a pretty simple idea of giving the people what sells & what they want… but they use the technology to their benefit since things like size & storage of their location are limited. Brewmaster Regan & head brewer Patrick talked about their process & answered questions from the guild… and it was a great experience. Here are some pictures…

A HUGE thank you to Regan for letting us host our meeting at her location & for the samples of their wonderful beer. Check them out if you’re in the SOMA area!
While this was going on, the softball team was wrapping up our undefeated championship season! I had a migraine starting up, so I didn’t make the games but they pulled out two victories in this doubleheader playoff situation… and we just crushed them! I’m incredibly proud of our team!
This past week, Izzy & I also had the opportunity to help out with a brew at Elevation 66 Brewing… and as usual, it was a lot of fun & very interesting… and not a bad way to spend about 8 hours starting at 5 AM. I have to keep thanking Super Dave, Big Ben & Li’l Jon for allowing us to help out and learn the intricacies of big league brewing… and apparently, Li’l Jon may have his own brewery that he’s in charge of soon enough in his hometown… but I’ll obviously share those details as we get a little closer to opening. Hopefully next year.

As for our own brewery (Terrible Lizard Brewing located entirely within my home at this time), we also are making an Apple Cider that we may let sit for a while and become an Apfelwein… but that was basically just putting apple juice & some brewing yeast in a carboy…
Also, we’re getting a 2nd five gallon whiskey barrel from Seven Stills Distillery… so we’ve started another Scotch Ale to barrel age for a competition that they’re doing with the San Francisco Homebrewers Guild. Details will be coming soon regarding the release party during SF Beer Week… but in the meantime, we’ve started the base beer Scotch Ale… so that it’s ready for a moment’s notice when we get the barrel. It should be fantastic…

That should do it for this entry… as this weekend will be pretty full with the Bay Area Mashers’ Sacramento Brewery Tour & then the SF Homebrewers Guild taking over the bottle sort for the California State Homebrewing Competition… but more on that later. Until then, have a great weekend everybody!!!