Friday, January 30, 2009

The Wrestler

I saw The Wrestler last night. I probably would have passed it up, but it's getting 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, and of course Mickey Rourke is up for an Academy Award.

My review - I'd like my $8 and 2 hours back.

Mickey Rourke, for sure, does a great job portraying a has-been wrestler who's struggling through many issues. Too bad it's a good role in a poor movie with a lot of predictable relationships and dialog. Perhaps the most redeeming (and surprising) element of this movie is a topless Marisa Tomei.

On some level, the movie is interesting. It's just boring. It feels like a documentary, but if I want a documentary, I'll just watch a documentary.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New Belgium Dark Kriek

New Belgium Dark Kriek New Belgium Dark Kriek

Let's take a moment to examine these photos:
  • This is the new "Lips of Faith" brew from New Belgium called Dark Kriek. I don't know if they've ever bottled any of their Lips of Faith brews before.

  • Check out the screen printed bomber bottle. This is the first time that I know of that New Belgium screen printed a bottle (besides the growlers).

  • They used the old school design on the caps. I don't know if they made new ones or if they found a bunch of old ones.

I haven't tried it yet, but I have a couple waiting in the fridge.



Friday, January 23, 2009

I can see clearly now...

I had LASIK yesterday. I don't know how good my vision is yet (I'm going in soon for my 1 day follow up), but it's good so far. Among my senses, I would probably hate to lose vision the most so I was a little nervous about letting someone cut open my eye. But they do so many of these things now that it's not really a big deal.

I hadn't told a lot of people I was getting LASIK because everyone loves to share horror stories. I don't actually know somebody who had trouble with the surgery, but that doesn't stop people from telling stories they've heard. And of course everyone's an expert (whether they've never had the surgery, or only had it once). So if you're upset that you didn't know someone was going to cut a flap on my eye, flip it open, and fire a laser inside, I'm sorry.

The whole event wasn't without hassles. I was scheduled for surgery at 12:30 and we arrived at the surgical center a little before 12. The receptionist looked confused. I told her I was there for surgery and she said they didn't do surgery at the Loveland office on Fridays. She fumbled around the computer a bit and figured out that they scheduled me in Denver. I still wanted surgery, she she was able to make me an appointment in Denver for 2PM. I then asked about the 1-day follow up, and she said it was scheduled in Loveland.

We made it down to the Denver office early and they actually got me started on all the testing early. When it came time to talk about the follow-up, I asked to make sure it was in Loveland. She said no, there are no doctors at the Loveland office on Saturday. Awesome. I'm feeling really confident about their organizational skills at this point. I told her we specifically asked about that and she disappeared for a bit to make things happen. They're having a doctor drive up to Loveland for me.

The surgery was super easy. Maybe it was the Valium they gave me, but I was pretty relaxed. They give you lots of numbing drops so you don't feel anything. They put your eyeball under vacuum while they cut the flap and that was kind of weird. Your vision slowly goes away. When they peel the flap back, the vision gets blurry. Then they fire away with the laser, put the flap back and get it into place. That's it. About 5 minutes per eye. I don't know who figured out that you could do this with an eye, but it's pretty amazing.

Off to my check-up now...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Clif bar recall

Clif Bar is voluntarily recalling several of their products due to the recent salmonella outbreak from peanuts. Check to see if the ones in your cupboard are on this list:

We had a few in our stash at home, and this one that's now in my belly. Whoops.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Off camber

An off camber corner is one that is banked outwards. Think of it as the opposite of a nicely banked NASCAR corner, where the banking helps improves your cornering ability.

Off camber corners in the snow are a great way to meet a curb. If you try to take an off camber corner in the snow at the same speed you'd take a normal corner, there's a good chance that you're going to slide out. There are people in my neighborhood who have trouble with this concept.

A lot (maybe even most) roundabouts are off-camber for drainage reasons (so water doesn't pool up in the middle). If there's as little as an inch of new snow in my neighborhood, I can be almost guaranteed that there will be tire tracks up and over the curbs on the outside of our roundabout. I figured that eventually trial and error would educate all of the drivers in my neighborhood, but after several years people are still nailing the curb. I suppose it doesn't much matter if you're in a truck, but you're likely to damage a rim (or worse) in a car. Regardless, it makes me chuckle every time. The tracks I find the most amusing are the ones that go all the way to the curb and then abruptly stop.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Beer Pouring Ritual

What? You're not sick of hearing about Belgium yet?

In Belgium, there’s a little more to receiving a beer than pulling a pint glass of questionable cleanliness off a shelf and dumping some beer into it (which I would argue is what usually happens in the US). It feels a little more ritualistic, and the ritual starts after you select your beer.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Belgium - Part 5

World Cup Cyclocross
What luck (for me), there was a world cup cyclocross race in Zolder the day after Christmas. Cyclocross is a completely different animal in Europe. It draws big crowds, and even more so for a World Cup event. Even at €14 per person, there were easily a few thousand people there.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Belgium - part 4

Ghent from our hotel room
Christmas eve day was light for us. Our main target was to get to Ghent where we’d be staying for the next 2 nights at a posh hotel near the city center. Along the way, we decided to stop in the tasting room of Ellezelloise (pronounced el-zel-woz) since we enjoyed their Hercule stout so much. It was a rather large tasting room and I bet they pull in a nice crowd in the summer. Today, however, we were the only two there. We sampled their other beers and bought some to take with us. They were recently bought by another brewery, so we also picked up some beers from the new owners for tasting later. You know, just in case we couldn’t find any beer on Christmas day. Oh the horror that would be.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Belgium - part 3

Rodenbach, Westvleteren, Silly
December 23rd was an exciting day and one of the few pre-planned things on the trip: a tour of Rodenbach. Rodenbach makes a delicious beer they call Grand Cru and I don’t know if it’s available in the US right now. Therefore, we needed to make a trip to the mothership and bring some home.

Clavicle update

It's been 6.5 weeks since I broke my collarbone, and I went back to the doctor today for one more x-ray. I forgot to get a copy of the x-ray this time, but it looks pretty similar to the last one.

I told the doctor I was hoping it would have looked better than that, but he said everything looked great. He pointed out to me how the ends of bones are smoother which indicates that new bone is growing. He also explained to me that calcification is one of the final things to occur in new bone, and that's why it still looks like the bone is broken in the x-ray. There is in fact new bone and he proved it by pushing on the bone and seeing both ends of it move together.

So I guess that's good news. He said I can do some skiing, but stay off the bumps for a bit. It would take a pretty good fall for the bone to re-brake at this point. He also said I can ride my bike outside but that I should wait a bit before I try the new indoor track in Boulder.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Belgium - part 2

Winter Markets
The best thing about traveling around during the holiday season was that there were winter markets or festivals seemingly everywhere we stopped. After leaving Brussels (and stopping at a great café), we stopped in a small town for lunch and they were having a festival complete with drumming marching Santas. We had our first (of several) bratwursts here while we walked around.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The beers we tried

Here is the list of beers we tried in Belgium:

Sunday, January 4, 2009

In de Verzekering Tegen de Grote Dorst

In de Verzekering Tegen de Grote Dorst translates to “Insurance Against Great Thirst” and it’s the name of our favorite café from our Belgium trip. The place was slated to close down in 1999 when the original owner retired after 51 years, but the Paneel family (the brothers Kurt and Yves, and their parents Lydia and Maurice) stepped up to run the place and I’m glad they did.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Belgium - part 1

(My trip report for Belgium has quickly grown out of control, so I'm going to split it up into several posts. Stay tuned for more. There's a selection of photos up on Flickr. You can also click on any of the photos here to see a larger version.)

I’m not sure where the idea for a trip to Belgium came from. Christine was going to be working in London and we decided it would be cool to have me meet her somewhere in Europe and spend Christmas there. We must have drinking beer, because a beer tour through Belgium came up and a trip was born.