Massive hardware failure

Other than being a generally good weekend, certain events made it absolutely terrible. The hard drive on my personal computer failed, yielding no effort at booting. Shortly after, the hard drive on my work computer failed, giving an effort at booting, but being pretty darn corrupted. Then I got a flat tire. ugh. Other than that is was pretty nice, we threw a good party, I scored a goal, went for a nice hike, and got stuff done around the house.

blah blah blah busy blah blah

Been a crazy busy time recently, been moving, hiking, camping, skiing, snowshoeing, drinking beer, and squeezing in a bit of work. I actually have a few posts written, but my hard drive is full and I haven’t had a chance (motivation?) to clear out some space to get the photos onto it. blah. cheers.

Not not caring about Iowa anymore

Personally I don’t really give a crap about who Iowans think should be president. I know one or two people from there, but that’s as far as it goes. But man, did they just hammer some hork into the republican gameplan. Romney just got hosed by Huckabee, and Giuliananinaniani didn’t even show. A couple other dudes got some votes. I missed Ron Paul, who despite my serious issues with libertarians (in brief I believe it’s a great philosophy for an ideal world) is better than all the others. Except maybe McCain, and that’s because he didn’t suck so much a few years ago.

As far as the Democrats, I dig Kucinich. Too bad he didn’t really show. I’ll sign the petition and support and vote. He’s the most real dude out there and he has my vote any day.

But. Seriously, I have faith in all three of the front-runners. Obama is charismatic and idealistic, full of energy, and new. Of the likely’s he’s my pick. I get chills when he’s on. Really, he could be a great man. And I’d love to see Kucinich at his side, or the other way around.

Hillary has pissed me off a lot. She stands when she should sit and sits when she should stand. She’s been playing the game, and I was angry with her for a long time, for underperforming. But it’s true. She is a politician. She is doing that political crap, playing the game blah blah. And I think her endgame is to kick ass for our country, and for the people who live here. She may be power-hungry, I don’t care and I don’t know, but if she is, her power is the power of the people. I’m down.

Edwards. A bit curious. He hasn’t played it up too well. He hasn’t generated excitement. I don’t know. I can’t say anything I feel strongly, because I just don’t know that much…but I think his heart’s in the right place, he’s a sharp dude, and he’ll work hard. Funny thing is, if that’s what’s important, I can think of a president who is entirely lacking in all three of those.

So, Iowa happened. I really didn’t care. But then I browsed the results, and all I could see was some elephants trying to backpedal. Because the running as a social conservative alone isn’t enough to win.

28 hours in Juneau. (part three: the Alaskan Brewing Co.)

After leaving the Mendenhall Glacier, we drove immediately to a beerdrinker’s mecca, the Alaskan Brewing Company, home of the delicious Alaskan Amber and a number of other tasty beers. I was surprised that the Alaskan brewery had no brewpub. From the sound of conversations (though nothing explicit or even really implied), they’ve chosen to respect local pubs who supported them as they grew. It’s a sensible division of labor.

A simple storefront, if it weren’t for the huge vats in back, you’d never guess that this was the home of a producer of excellent beers. Inside, they have a number of taps for sampling the wares, a gift shop, and a windowed room to observe some parts of the brewing process.

Tony (Willie) Hand was good enough to give us a tour of the facility. Well, a limited tour. Upon entering, we were warmly welcomed and prompted to choose one of the ales on tap. I chose the smoked porter, which was a bonus for me, because they had the 2006 and 2007 on tap, so I of course needed both to compare and witness the aging.

Tony “Willie” Hand

The tour was more of a presentation on beermaking and a brief history of the brewery at hand, mostly in the form of entertaining anecdotes related by Tony (Willie). Occasionally, he would stop midsentence announcing in an alarmed voice, “Your beers are empty! Follow me!” and we’d do just that, winding back to the taps to pick another beer to drink.

Possibly the only look at Alaskan’s Baltic Porter you’ll ever get.

I tried three porters (2006 and 2007 smoked porters, and the baltic), the barley wine, the winter, and the ESB. They were all excellent. I was particularly fond of the 9.9% Baltic Porter, as easy-drinking as a mirror pond, so very dangerous on those cold Alaskan nights. Sadly, it is a “secret” locals-only brew for now. I suppose that’s as good a reason as any to go back up to Alaska.

So here are some takeaways. The people who founded the Alaskan Brewing Company couldn’t get financed (because brewing beer in Alaska is kind of crazy…pretty much the only ingredient you don’t have to import is water) so went door-to-door selling interests in the idea, got enough to start, and have kicked some ass. Yay! Their winter ale is brewed with spruce tips collected by area children, a cycle which helps to inject a small amount of capital into some depressed communities. And the Alaskan winter ale is really really tasty, totally lacking that sticky sweetness of so many overstrong winters.

My only regret is that I didn’t pickup the belt buckle while we were there. Thanks Tony and Nancy!