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Life After Death

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Photo: Drinking it warm, of course...


Back in the day, my buddies and I had a tradition where we would drink a warm Dead Guy each year to prove our manliness.  I remember it being a vile task.  Yesterday, I was at Booze R Us getting beer flavored water for the MIL and I saw a single of the Dead Guy.  I thought that I would get some to see if it still tasted as horrid as it did before.

Before I get to the outcome of my experience, let me give you some history.

The year was 1990 and it was a tumultuous time for our nation. The clear beverage craze gave us all a reason to live. The information superhighway showed the average person what some nerd thinks about Star Trek. And the domestication of the dog continued unabated.  This was also the year that a show called Twin Peaks hit the airwaves.

The two most critical plot lines in Twin Peaks was that a high school student was murdered and there was a place called the Bookhouse.  And for the purposes of this post, the Bookhouse is the only critical point.

On February 23, 1990 it was raining and we were thirsty.  My three friends and I all had our Mickey’s Bigmouth malt liquor and we were ready to hit the road.  The quantity of the rain made us stop and think for a moment about driving all the way out to Prarie City to go drinking, which was longer than we were accustomed to stopping and thinking.  The baby of the group said that there was an older couple who lived by him who had an old woodshed and the suggested we ask if we could go there to drink.  He went up to his neighbors and explained our predicament.  The husband said that he would rather we go down there instead of driving all the way too boonies.  He even offered the use of a hibachi to have a small fire and an old oil burning lantern for light.  So we grabbed our beer and headed down.

First we lit the lantern, then the fire.  Finally it was our turn.  For reasons unknown to me, we agreed that we would not leave that night until the lantern ran out of oil.  I think we ended up being down there for at least three or four hours.  We headed home afterwards and that was that.

The next night rolled around and we found ourselves drawn the woodshed.  Over the course of the next four years, we spent two or three nights a week in what became known as the Bookhouse.  We each had our own chair and visitors were seldom welcome.  Every night included several rituals that still remain whenever we get together today.

The first was that each time we went down there, we had to bring two beers that had never entered the book house.  This was 25 years ago and micro breweries were just coming into their own and new beer was hard to come by.  We frequented Cost Plus and out-of-the-way liquor stores.  Often our rovings for new beer took out of Sacramento county, and more than once into different states.  By the time we had our last book house, we had amassed over 300 different kinds of beer in the book house.

At the end, we had consumed over 2,000 bottles of beer.  And at the end, we had yet to remove a single bottle from the Book House.  For reasons as obscure as those that drove the lantern decision, we keep all the bottles.  There was an old saw table that served as the receptacle for the remnants of libatious habit.  After the table was full, we moved on to the shelving, the floors, the rafters, anything that could hold a bottle.

We even spent a portion of each evening reminding each other of the importance of proper hygiene when using the toilet.

So now you are probably thinking, ‘We are 653 words into this post.  When are you going to get to the Dead Guy!’  Ok, ok, here is the story.

One evening, we were opening some of the new beers.  The drill was this: Each person would open their own beer, take a drink, and pass it down.  We would each take a drink and comment on the beer.  One of the nights beers was Dead Guy and we all proclaimed to be so bad that only true men could drink this stuff.  So we started an annual tradition of drinking one warm Dead Guy each year.  Back then, they printed the date on the barrel of the Dead Guy sits on.

Fast forward a couple of decades.  I cracked the brew above open and drank it, warm of course.  ‘So, how’d you like it?’….

Dr. Theodor S. Geisel was a prolific author in the who lived in the twenty-first century.  He penned any number of books that addressed how to change habits and expand your life.  He wrote one particular book that addressed the profound reluctance of a the main character, to try a new, grassy hued food, accompanied with swine-dish.  Through out the book, this unnamed character is relentlessly pursued by Sam.  Sam proposes that this unnamed character attempt to consume the food in a wide variety of locations and circumstances.  Sam’s wild juxtaposition of suggestions lends no credence to either the quality of his character or credentials as a gourmand.  Despite these flaws, Sam is able to convince his prey that his concoction is not only editable, it is delicious.  At the end of the book, this unnamed character is heard to exclaim:

I like green eggs and ham! 
I do!! I like them, Sam-I-am!’

My reaction to Dead Guy was very similar (sans the drinking with a goat.  A guy has to draw the line somewhere).  I like Dead Guy Ale and ha… never mind.

And so it goes.



Relational Database

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Happy Father’s Day to dads of all kinds.  Speaking of fathers…

These glasses belong to my father-in-law, Pete.  We hit the farmers market this week and I noticed Pete’s glasses.  I haven’t seen a pair of Vuarnets in probably 20 years.  A picture of my brother immediately came to mind.  This picture is of him wearing a blue and gold rugby shirt from the high school rugby team, his long blonde hair, his high school acne, his car, and his Vuarnets.  So to summarize:

  • Rugby
  • Long blonde hair
  • An aqua-blue ’65 Chevy Super Sport Impala
  • Vuarnets

What struck me was the way I remembered this picture.  It was not just a flat picture, but more of a multi-dimensional picture, a welter of imagines cascaded until what I was remembering was only related to original subject by implication.  Here is how that original list panned out:

  • Rugby
  • Blue and gold rugby shirt
  • Rugby shirts have a single piece u-neck so they won’t tear when someone grabs your shirt
  • They also have rubber buttons to protect the players eyes in case one comes off
  • Long blonde hair
  • Biffie refused to cut his hair for a long time
  • My great-grandmother had very long brown hair, much like Biffie’s
  • Acne
  • Biffie took Accutane to help with his acne
  • Accutane can result in deformed bones or cancer
  • Biffie used to give his Accutane to Brett because he also had acne
  • Brett played in a death metal band and I bought their first (only?) album
  • Accutane also causes dry lips
  • Biffie used to carry Carmex with him all the time.  We still find old containers around the house 20 years later
  • An aqua-blue ’65 Chevy Super Sport Impala
  • My mother bought this car brand new in 1965 after graduating from nurses school.
  • Pop (my grandfather) wouldn’t let her get the big motor, just a 283
  • The car had a black interior because Pop wouldn’t let her get white
  • A garbage truck backed into the car and dented the quarter panel
  • That dent let to a complete rebuild of the car
  • Vuarnets
  • Vuarnets have V inscribed on the lens
  • Biffie scratch the bottom of his frames so he could identify the glasses if they were stolen.  And they were.  I don’t know if he ever got them back…

(The format of this just didn’t turn out quite right.  It is supposed be hierarchical, but wordpress doesn’t support that bullet style to well.)

Most of that came to me with 10 seconds of seeing the glasses.  I titled this posted ‘Relational Database’ because I feel like my brain built a giant query and sent me the results.

What would be really interesting is to know how much of what I ‘remember’ never really happened…

And so it goes


The Tenth Eighth Month

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Good morning!

First, happy birthday to my big brother (pictured (sorta) above).   Second, today is my engagement anniversary.  I am probably one of the only guys around who remembers the day he proposed to his wife.  I picked today for a special reason:

It is my brother’s birthday and I don’t usually forget that.

For any given day, there are a nearly infinite number of other occurrences.  Depending on how you view time, there are an infinite number of occurrences.  Things happen today (like miners being rescued) that every one knows about and other things (like a grandfather passing) that will only be noticed by a handful of people.

Today is also special because I got my latest Bag of Crap from Woot!  I am taking it to work tomorrow to allow everyone to share in the opening.

I think that is it.  I have taken so much time off of posting that I don’t want to strain myself by attempting to write a manifesto of October 13.

And so it goes.



“I don’t believe in reincarnation…

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…and I didn’t believe in it when I was a hamster.”

– George Washington, shortly before the Battle of the Bulge, 1984

Hi kids!

It has been an tumultuous few months,  so I decided to concentrate on the tumultuousness rather than blog.  But, again, I am going to attempt to kick it back up.

First things first.  If you recall, the reason I took a break in the first place was to study for my level 1 CFA exam.  Below are the results:

Your results for the June 2010 Level I CFA exam are below. The pass rate for June 2010 Level I was 42%. If you have questions or comments, please contact us. 

Level I: Pass

The table below illustrates your subject matter strengths and weaknesses. The three columns on the right are marked with asterisks to indicate your performance on each question or topic area.

Item Set
Q# Topic Max Pts <=50% 51%-70% >70%
Alternative Investments 8 *
Corporate Finance 20 *
Derivatives 12 *
Economics 24 *
Equity Investments 24 *
Ethical & Professional Standards 36 *
Financial Reporting & Analysis 48 *
Fixed Income Investments 28 *
Portfolio Management 12 *
Quantitative Methods 28 *


A total of 42% of the participants passed the test, so I am fairly satisfied with my results.  Now on to level 2….

Now, for the main news.  We have new member of the family named Francis Saint Oliver.  He is a hamster.  I purchased said hamster so Alpha and Beta could have something to take to school for the blessing of the animals.  We let Alpha pick the first name and Beta pick the middle name.  Note to self: reverse the order next time.

Of course, having a pet at all reminds me of Cassie, the little dog who wouldn’t.  She wouldn’t pee anywhere by the house.  She wouldn’t refrain from biting me if she wanted my food.  She wouldn’t stop eating a pound and a half of dark chocolate.  And most of all, she just wouldn’t die without making a mess.  Oi.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved that dog, but she was a huge pain in the rear.

Our little hamster likes to run around in his ball and Delta loves to kick said ball.  It is surprisingly difficult to explain to a 22 month hold why it is not a soccer ball.  He also like to run in his hamster wheel, which he is doing now.  And will continue to do until the wee hours of the morning when he collapses from exhaustion.

And so it goes.


p.s. My blog celebrated its 3rd birthday last month.  Happy birthday!


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It is really quiet around here.  Alpha and Beta are staying with Ralph and Ox for the week, and it’s almost like we have no kids.  The girls are very low key when there is no spark around…

So I am sitting in bed writing a blog.  You would think that I would be sleeping.  Alas, sleep is not something I am in the habit of doing.  I’m so used to being up to attend to kids and to study, I have forgotten how to fall asleep before midnight.

I’m listening to my iPhone and writing a blog using Google’s Chrome browser.  I like both, but I am becoming increasing disappointed with both companies.

Apple is showing a remarkable stubborn streak by restricting it’s software to it’s own platforms.  Don’t get me wrong, I can totally dig the capitalist angle here.  We developed it, and if you really want to use it, you’ll dance to our drummer.  But still, I am finding it annoying.  At the end of my AT&T contract I am going to look seriously at the Droid.

But there is a problem with that too.  Google, for all its glamor, is still a company that is built around advertising.  I like to watch my ‘something blows up’ videos on you tube, but damn it, if it’s not like watching a giant ad.  I was watching a clip from the Discovery channel, and there was a commercial right in the middle of it!  Again, don’t get me wrong, I can totally dig the capitalist angle here, but I’m accustomed to my internet being somewhat ad free.  I tend to gravitate to sites with the most unobtrusive advertisements.  I know that these sites need some kind of revenue to function, but on youtube, it is totally over the top.  I have some software that will lift a video from youtube without the ads.  It’s a pain to do it, but if I think I will watch a clip again, it’s worth it.

I actually think they are in cahoots.  If you notice the names ‘Apple’ and ‘Google’ follow a similar pattern.  They both start with a single letter, then have the next two letters repeating and end with and ‘le’.  I’m just saying that it’s possible they were involved with the Kennedy assassination.

I just want the free flow of information for free.  Is that really too much to ask?


And so it goes.


Book ’em

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Today my blog celebrates its second birthday.  Yeah!  Now, on to weightier things:

Today I strolled down to Barnes & Noble to pick up a book for my boss.  She can get a little stressed out and I feel for her sometimes.  I decided to get her a book for the next time she has a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  The book I got her was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  This was a book that I had when I was a kid.  For some reason, it always stuck with me.  I am sometimes surprised with the things I cherish from my childhood.  Now that my kids are reaching the same age as I was when these things were important, I try to pay special attention to what they are doing and experiencing.

My sister is a children’s librarian and she has introduced us to several series of books.  The series that know will have an indelible place in my children’s life is a series of book about a Pigeon by Mo Williams.  I am eagerly awaiting his next book, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed.  (Actually, it is already out.  I just found out about it tonight).

So there you have it.

And so it goes.


MS SUNBM – Non-law abiding citizen?

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So I posted a question on Yahoo Answers to find out if I can actually track MS SUNBM down.  Turns out, I can.

If you read the link above, you will see that MS SUNBM is in violation of California Vehicle Code section 27001.

With that said, here is another video of MS SUNBM…

BREAKING THE LAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And so it goes.