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  • Archive for September, 2011

    Primo Vino Art: Passion Has Red Lips


    2011 - 09.08


    This weekend while I was perusing the wine selection at Hubbel & Hudson, the snootiest of snooty grocery stores that I patronize, I happened upon a sensual-looking red called Passion Has Red Lips. This bottle was produced by “Some Young Punks”, the same people who produce the previously-featured Monsters, Monsters Attack! Since that wine was a delicious white (I’m not really even much of a white-wine-guy), I figured I had to try their red.

    Both of these wines had a screw-top, which is a bit unfortunate for a well-made vino. I do understand that, counterintuitively, beer in cans is somehow actually superior to beer in bottles, but I’m not so sure that principle also applies to the screw-top wine bottle. Some Young Punks should move on up to corks in the future.

    As anticipated, the wine is a very tasty cabernet/shiraz blend (51/49 respectively), with an excellent smoothness. So smooth it was almost more like a Pinot Noir, but with the bigger flavor of a cab. I tend to find Pinots to be smooth-drinkin but yawn-inducing in terms of flavor. This blend sits nicely on the divide between smooth-but-boring versus flavorful-but-harshly-alcoholic. I guess that should be no surprise since Australian shiraz is something akin to Swiss chocolate or German cars or Japanese electronics… they just… know how.

    Anyway, a very pleasing wine, no question. It was $22 at the grocery store, so on the high-end of my wine budget really, but if I happened upon it for say $18 or less, I would not hesitate to grab one again. Superb drinking. Seal of approval.

    Really Lame Videos: Unboxing and Vintage Fan Objectification


    2011 - 09.07

    First, a disclaimer: none of these videos are, at face value, funny or really all that entertaining. You could file these under “because we have nothing better to do”… which is exactly where it starts to get funny and/or entertaining. In any case, I’m setting the bar low here.

    I thought I’d try my hand at two video genres that I’ve never attempted before this weekend. The first is known as an unboxing, a raging trend that occupies some position in the zeitgeist between planking and twittering. The concept is pretty simple: you get something exciting in the mail, and then you film yourself spending as much time as possible opening it up and glorifying the contents, with the goal of arousing intolerable jealousy for whomever is watching. It helps if you have a very new or sought-after commodity to do this with. In my case I’m using the Vinyl soundtrack album for the previously reviewed iPad game “Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP”. You might say I’m delving into a sub-genre of unboxing because the item in question is something relatively obscure and nerdy. There will be a very specific subset of people who will think this is ultra-badass, and the vast majority of people will just not care, possibly at all. While this limits the potential audience, it also increases the chances of success for your ultimate goal in an unboxing video; illiciting an unbridled, disgraceful “That should SO be ME!” from the viewer. Without further adeiu:

    The second video descends even deeper into the obscure sub-genres of youtube loser-ism, which is partly what makes it so fascinating. I’m not sure what you’d call it, but let’s go with “vintage fan collection show-off videos”. Believe it or not, there are some established protocols for videos like this. Observe the example video:

    The formal rules are as follows:

    1. Have a rare, old fan that you scored from either eBay or a junk heap somewhere. Show nothing in the video except this fan, with the exception of other fans.
    2. Since this video is intended for fan collectors, and no other members of society, you must specify the fan maker, your estimate of when it was built (I failed!), and show the sticker on the bottom with the serial number, as if anyone, anywhere could possibly decipher some meaning from that.
    3. About halfway through the video you need to do something clumsy like accidentally drop your prized fan, and then drop some choice expletives so that the video is not suitable for work, children, or the sensitive of constitution.
    4. You should sound like you turned on the video camera with zero remote idea of what you were about to say, and also make some reference to living at your parents house. Try to sound bored, like you’ve been doing nothing of interest for the previous 6 hours before you started this recording.
    5. When it comes time to end the video, you need to say that it’s because you’re about to run out of videotape.

    Vacation Photos, Wisco TwentyEleven


    2011 - 09.04

    Check it out, here’s my favorite snaps with my new T3i from my vacation to Wisconsin a few weeks back. Hit the button at lower right for fullscreen. Also, Pro Tips™: use the left/right arrows to navigate and space to pause/play.

    Some awesome stuff in there, although I know I missed out on a lot of potential still shots because I was having too much fun with the video recording ability! Anyway, a bunch of boating, hiking, a car show, a seaplane ride, and some sweet live music. Got a little of it all in here.

    Primo Vino Art: Max Ferd. Richter Riesling


    2011 - 09.03

    Wine with a friggin ZEPPLIN on the bottle.  I think we just maxed out style on this here one people.

    Riding In An Ultralight Seaplane — WOW!


    2011 - 09.01

    So there we were, chillin on the SS Advanced Manoeuvres, drinking High Lifes and getting down with some funky jams, when off on the horizon this weird plane appears. I say to my buddies, Q: “is that a seaplane?” A: “why yes, it appears that it is.” The mystery plane comes in for a closer approach and yep, it’s a bright red seaplane with yella pontoons. Awesome! Then he comes in for yet another pass, this time REALLY close. After buzzing the boat, we watch this guy circle around the lake and ask “is he about to land that thing?” Spoiler alert: yes.

    We’re anchored in a shallow part of the lake where most pleasurecraft tend to congregate due to the nice sandy lakebottom, along with maybe 5 or 6 other boats. The red seaplane touches down not too far away and pulls up alongside another vessel not far from ours. After debating it for a little while, we decide to go over and talk to the guy.

    His name is Donny and we chat it up for maybe a good 10-20 minutes or so. He says the plane runs off of normal gasoline just like you’d get in any gas station, and tells a story about how he flew it all the way home from Florida once. That’s sort of extreme, considering that it probably qualifies as an ultralight aircraft, and I doubt the top speed is really all that fast. After a while, I can’t resist asking any longer; “so uhh… what would it take to get you to take me for a little spin on this baby? I can toss some gas money your way and I’ve got a sweet camera that can capture a video for youtube.”

    Answer: yeah sure, go grab your camera. I could always use some extra gas money.

    My buddy Cody rolls his eyes in some combination of astonishment and admonishment; “John… I can’t believe you.” All I can say is “aww man!”

    So I hustle back to home base and retrieve the gear, hop on this seaplane and shoot this video (be sure to hit the 1080p HD!:)

    Aww man is RIGHT.

    Earlier this year I flew in a single engine Cessna and it was definitely way cooler than a commercial jet. Being able to see forward really changes the experience. Single engine planes are really a whole different world compared to airline travel. Flying in this ultralight seaplane was like the next level of coolness beyond that–you can easily look down on either side of you. For someone afraid of heights, this thing would probably be terrifying. Me, I do have somewhat of a fear of heights, but when I’m strapped in tight, as on an amusement ride, it doesn’t bother me. The whole thing was over before I knew it, finishing with an exceedingly smooth landing. I thought that touching down on the lake would feel rough, but no, it was actually softer than a large jet landing.

    So yeah. That was really something else. I wasn’t paying too much attention to where the camera was pointed; pretty much just gawking at the world below and trying to take it all in. Donny and I both had headsets on, so we could chat while we were up there. Right after we took off, he’s like, “hey, do you mind if I put on some reggae while we fly?” And I was all, “oh man, this is the life.”

    A day to remember.

    I’ve Become A Twit


    2011 - 09.01

    So I broke down and joined the party; there is now an official microcosmologist twitter feed.  Chiefly I plan to use to to see if it can promote the bloggin on this site.  We’ll see if it’s fruitful or not.  There’s a whole ton of people on twitter; maybe I can lure some unsuspecting blue birds over here.