Chicago Trip

So, you may have noticed the pictures appearing here this weekend. Or you may not have. I was playing with the blogging-from-the-phone thing that you can do with Flickr. I’m not entirely pleased with the results, so I deleted those, and now I’m playing with WordPress’s gallery feature instead.

Click on any of the images for more details on it.

Chicago Air and Water Show

Chicago Air and Water Show 2006
Chicago Air and Water Show 2006

I’m taking the weekend off to go up to Chicago for the Chicago Air and Water Show, and to hang out on my friend Chuck’s boat. Should be a good time.

Expect more than a few Twitter posts while I’m there. For this reason, I might disable the auto-blog-posting of those during this weekend. If so, you can still see the latest ones on my Twitter feed, to see what I’m up to.

The plan is to drive up there late Thursday, stop at a notel somewhere for sleep, and continue on in early Friday morning. I’m not a huge fan of that idea, but I’ve got people coming with me, and they’re not really the drive-for-8-hours-and-then-continue-to-party-for-24-more types… So a good nights sleep at some point is likely the best course of action.

I also hope to get some good Chicago pizza and have a few drinks at the top of the Hancock building (that’s where everybody says to check out). But mostly, I plan on sitting on the boat, having a few brews, and enjoying the lakefront.

I’ll post a gallery of pictures upon my return. 🙂

BBQ Festival

So I haven’t gotten around to writing in a while, but I have an excuse. I’ve been extremely busy.

Last week was the Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Festival. This year, I joined the Ques Brothers team instead of just going to their tent and mooching off them. What this meant was a fair amount of work building the booth/tent/location, eating a lot of BBQ, drinking a lot of frosty beverage, and even bartending for a night.

While I didn’t manage to get the quality of pictures that Paul did, I did manage to snap a few shots on my cell phone here and there. You can find them on my Facebook page. For Paul’s large, large number of pictures, check his PicasaWeb page. You’ll find several of me drinking, dancing, and debauching the nights away.

The important news is that the team won third place in the shoulder competition. I tasted a bit of this prize winning shoulder, and it was easily the best pork I’ve ever had. Amazing stuff. Our head cook, Willie, got 12th last year in his first year in the festival, and then moved it on up to 3rd in only his second year. This is basically unheard of. Many teams go for 10 or more years without breaking into the top ten. So, major props to the cook. And if you’re in Chicago, go try his restaurant and tell him the Ques Brothers sent you, and congratulate him on his victory.

Beer festivals are a wonderful invention…

How can you go wrong with a beer festival?

I mean, it’s truly a brilliant idea to start with. You take about 5000-7000 people, pack them into a park area roughly the size of a city block, then give them unlimited free beer for a few hours. Taster glasses, of course, because we’re not here to get drunk but to try new and different brews.

So I went to the Raleigh Beer festival this weekend, and tried, oh, about 70-ish of the beers that were available. Lots of local brews, which I was happy with. I did not know North Carolina had so many microbreweries, but there were freakin’ dozens of them represented there.

The entire crew at the Raleigh Beer Festival

Met some new people, had dozens of people compliment me on my choice of t-shirt (good choice dad!), and had a lot of quality brews.

Notably good was the beer from Top of the Hill in Chapel Hill, NC. Their Blueberry Wheat was excellent, and I quite liked the Old Well White too. The Leaderboard Lager was quite good as well, albeit a very plain and simple beer. Something you could drink a lot of, a quality lager. I sampled most of their beers, and those really stood out to me.

The Foothills brewery from Winston-Salem was excellent as well. I worked my way through their entire lineup that was there, and it was very good all around. The Pilot Mountain Pale Ale was extremely good for a simple brew, and their IPAs were awesome as well. The Hoppyum was quite hoppy in particular, but the double IPA that they had was extreme in this respect. I like IPA’s, but after a few of them I feel like I’ve been chewing on grass for a while, so I appreciated their Pale Ale a bit more. Also, I’d been to the Dogfish Head booth a number of times already, and their 90 minute IPA had already done a number on me there.

Mimosas The next day we got mimosas.

The girls (and Rob) got theirs with pomegranate juice. I needed my OJ fix a bit too much for that sort of thing.

Also, note to self, cherries have hard pits in them that are not tasty to crunch.

Anyway, good time all around. Would have been perfect if Northwest had not screwed me over on the flight home to the tune of 3.5 hours worth of delay, but still I had a good time. Rob and Mandy’s place is awesome, and I hope to go back sometime soon. If only to visit Top of the Hill and try all the rest of the excellent beers that I missed out on this trip. Plus, gotta try that pool out. 🙂

Nukes are good for you!

Well, okay, not really. But apparently, despite a big nuclear explosion destroying most of it, the Bikini Atoll is doing okay.

Bye Bye Bikini Islands

According to the NewScientist, the Bikini Atoll is making a comeback that was somewhat unexpected. After 50 years, the coral reefs have grown back and there’s a thriving ecosystem underwater where the islands used to be.

Now, I expect this is mostly because nobody has been diving there since the place got vaporized. I mean, who wants to see nice glowing fish and then come out only to find that you’re now glowing as well?

Still, it’s probably safe for general usage. They say that the radiation levels are the same as any Australian city. Which isn’t saying much, quite frankly. Any radiation the aussies pick up in their seafood is probably quickly flushed from their systems due to sheer levels of beer consumption.

I’d dive the Bikini islands though. I think it’d be great. Although you have to stay away from the coconuts though, they’re saying that those are radioactive as all hell.

On the other hand, you could make nuclear Pina Coladas. Gotta be worth a try.

Just my luck…

Right when I decide to leave town for a few days, the state decides to screw me.

Tennessee is having a sales tax holiday from April 25th through April 27th. I guess they do this for school supplies and clothing and such, but that would not stop me from taking advantage… except that I’m going to be in Raleigh, NC for the World Beer Festival that weekend.

Oh well, I guess a weekend of quality beer drinking is way better than getting a new wardrobe on the cheap.

Anybody else reading this going to the festival? Or any other beer festivals? Leave a comment, let me know.