Beer Focus Group

Tonight I took part in a Beer Focus Group that Alan referred me to. I was somewhat surprised that I made it through the selection process to begin with, but soon after signing up I received a package in the mail with a disposable camera. My mission: Go out like you normally do and take pictures of the things you notice or that influence your choices.

Being poor, it was a bit of a challenge, but knowing $100 was available afterwards encouraged me to push myself. The group was surprisingly fun, and the consensus was that sport bars were the best. I differed in that realm, and didn’t have much to offer to that part of the discussion. Nor did I help much with the discussion on national chain restaurants and their beer selection.

From the direction of questioning, it seemed that the focus group was for one of the big three (AB, Coors, MillerSAB). I enjoyed that I could share my opinion despite it being completely opposite those just given. It was fun.

Internet Explorer – I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.

I’ve been working on a site redesign for some time now. Most of that time has included not doing any work. However, over the Forth of July weekend, I showed Michelle a mockup I wasn’t to happy with. She also said that she wasn’t the biggest fan. So I started over. The next mockup I created we both liked, so I spent most of the weekend in the hammock messing with it. Its the first time I’ve done the coding primarily from hand, and combining that with drinking a beer in a hammock, I felt pretty special.

Some of my enthusiasm was dashed when I looked at the page in IE for windows – you know – that browser that 90% of the world uses. It had some significant quirks, one which my friend Ben quickly pointed out an alternative for. After making the change, I collected 4 screenshots. One from Mozilla 1.7 for windows, one from IE 6.x from Windows, one from Firefox 0.9.1 for OS X, and one from Safari 1.2 for OS X. The results, in that order, are below. The image links to a larger version of itself. Notice anything?

4 browsers, 1 page

Small differences that drive me crazy. The site is still not done yet – you’ll notice when it is. I’m still grappling with how to piece it all together so its easier to update in the future. I hate to suggest you change your browser just for a better viewing experience – so I’ll suggest that you do it to avoid security holes, spyware, viruses, and all sorts of crap that targets IE – stuff that make me laugh with glee until I have to help uninstall it.

Your District

I answered the phone to a person asking for a public opinion poll. I’m always wondering where they find all these people when I see the results of these polls, so I thought I’d participate.

It was somewhat embarrassing that the call was about a state congress-people for my district, and I had no idea who they were. So I answered truthfully. It was fun. What made it fun was the hearing the way the questions were worded about issues important in Multnomah County.

The questions often omitted how one of the candidates would have voted on hot issues like gay marriage, taxes, and logging. Not only that, the questions seemed way to simple and loaded to be of much use, but I’m sure it was intentional.

So now you know when you see a local public opinion poll about “the issues,” I’m one of the idiots that took part. Maybe its only me that takes comfort in that.

Fourth – Hammock time

Yesterday we enjoyed a somewhat relaxed Fourth. We dropped my cousin off for OMSI Wilderness Survival camp in the morning, then took the dog to the park to play. Its been a while since Barley has been to Gabriel, and he did quite well. Most of his time was spent racing around until he found another dog to bat at and roll around with. His joints seemed to be holding up quite well, and it was good to see that there are lots of other dogs that have idiosyncrasies to their step.

Then for much of the early afternoon we hung out in the backyard and studied. I lounged in the hammock and worked on updating my site using vim, safari, and firefox. Too bad I have to wait until Tuesday to see how it looks on IE.

We ended up saving Martha’s Macaroni & Cheese until today, which we had with potato salad and tofurky brats. They really seem to suffer once you put them in a stadium bun – too much dryness. Michelle also made Chocolate Decadence, when we had while watching the Kaiju Big Battel DVD that Chris brought down. Here’s a taste:

Dr. Cube - Kaiju Big Battel

Fireworks? We saw some on TV and just what was going on in the neighborhood. The view from the roof was quite disappointing. Too many trees. I didn’t set any off this year – and I’m not much for watching real shows. I mostly like the blowing stuff up part. Lars, who is in the UK now, lamented at missing the explosions too.

After 6 hours of being

After 6 hours of being trained on software I already knew, it was my turn to do the training. I met with a group of seniors to introduce them to PowerPoint. I wasn’t sure how the training session would go – PowerPoint is one of my least favorite programs – ever. But some of my early training jobs, like back in middle and high school, included training seniors how to use their macs. My friend Clem and I made pretty good money doing it.

This group was a bit of a surprise. They were Cocoon-like in their interest to learn and the capacity for which they absorbed what I was saying. I was able to make jokes that don’t normally go over with the faculty crowd I usually train, plus, they seemed more adept. I suppose there is probably true because they wanted to be there. They had purchased a laptop together as a group to do slideshows. And I think they’ll do just fine. Even using Windows.

Livin’ Large

Michelle, Sarah and I took a break from the po’ life and had dinner at Veritable Quandary. We dined on the terrace and fully enjoyed ourselves. For starters, the cheese plate with mixed fruits & nuts was terrific (the oysters were not). And the entrées were also tremendous – wild mushroom ravioli and wild rice and prosciutto risotto.

Afterwards, we stopped at a couple places on Hawthorne before grabbing a second desert at Pix Patisserie. We had a “the Royal” and two other pastries that are missing from the menu. One was a chocolate tart with custard on top, and the other was a brilliant lemon tart. Michelle marveled at how much like her grandmother’s lemon pies it was – crisp crust with a lively lemon zest. Sarah marvelled at how odd it feels to be doing “trendy” things – i.e. things that other people are doing.

It was a fun break, but now back to real life. Well, after today’s serving of Martha’s Macaroni & Cheese.

McSweeney’s List

My friend Chris introduced me to McSweeney’s periodicals back in college. He still buys the print versions, but I just occasionally visit their site. Today I found their Daily List of Reasons to Dispatch Bush. They’re all pretty damning, but this is my favorite quote so far from my new hero, Ronald Reagan Jr.:

“The former president’s son has voiced his criticism of the Bush administration in the past. In 2000, at a Republican convention in Philadelphia, he asked of Bush: “What’s his accomplishment? That he’s no longer an obnoxious drunk?”


In addition, during an interview with, he said, “The Bush people have no right to speak for my father, particularly because of the position he’s in now. Yes, some of the current policies are an extension of the 80’s. But the overall thrust of this administration in not my father’s — these people are overly reaching, overly aggressive, overly secretive and just plain corrupt. I don’t trust these people.”

Old Sylvania Aerial View

Today while looking through a box of old archived photos and publications for the school, I found this aerial photo of the campus I work at from what I estimate to be the early 1970’s. I was so impressed with the photo, it’s inclusion of Mt. Hood, and the lack of surrounding neighborhoods that I had to scan it.

Sylvania Campus, 1970s

New Salsa Champion

We used to get Pace Picante salsa because it came in convenient 64oz containers. Over the last several years it has deteriorated in quality – well, it basically added water as the second (as well as the first) ingredient. I sent them a letter saying as much, but didn’t hear anything. I told them I was going to change salsas, and I did.

Today we opened a bottle of La Victoria Hot. Holy Crap its hot. Jalapenõs are the 3rd ingredient. And now, 20 minutes later, I’m still crying. Milk helped briefly. We’ve found the replacement.

Consequences? You can deal with them..

Its no secret that I dislike George & Dick. I feel that most of what they have done in the last 4 years has been without regard to the consequences of those actions. I’m not saying they don’t consider the consequences, I’m saying they make a concerted effort to ignore them, because by the time its a problem, they won’t be around for questioning.

The most recent activity includes asking churches to effectively campaign for Bush/Cheney ’04. You can read the article for the details, but there is no doubt in my mind that there will be congregations that are so riddled with fear of a catholic, gay-loving president that they will break their tax-exempt status to campaign outright. The campaign themselves aren’t worried because it won’t affect them – they never told anyone to campaign for them. But they didn’t draw any lines for what kind of behavior would remove tax exempt status. If there ever were law-suits, they would move just as quickly as the suit for the Cheney Energy Task Force attendees has gone. That was over 3 years ago. I hope the congregations that get these invitations to promote Bush will see him for what he is.