Feb 212006

As my friends (or those who have casually wandered across this blog) know, I’m a pretty big fan of craft beer. Enough of a fan, in fact, that I began brewing my own beer just over a year ago. As hobbies go, it’s great, it’s fun, I’ve had reasonably good results thus far, and unlike most of my other hobbies, it’s very easy to discuss in casual conversation. After taking all that into consideration, it’s more than a bit surprising that I haven’t actually done any brewing in nearly five months. Although the immediate reason as to why is fairly simple (I’ve yet to finish my remaining bottles of weizenbock); I think the other thing holding me back is that I’m hitting the limits of what can be done with extract brewing. The obvious answer would be to venture into all-grain brewing, where I have much more control over all aspects of the process. Unfortunately, the general uncertainty of life for me over the next 3-6 months (where I’ll be working/living/etc.) means that I won’t be able to take that particular plunge quite yet. Until then, I guess I’ll remain at this particular crossroads. :-\

 Posted by at 4:10 pm
Feb 142006

A Valentine’s Day present from me to you: a post that’s neither snarky about the inherent lameness of the holiday nor emo with respect to my (surprise, surprise) single status.

One of the (many difficult) balancing acts necessary for attracting that special someone is the correct level of effort being perceived towards reaching that goal. Too much, and you’ll look pathetically desperate; too little, and it’s nigh-impossible to get your foot in the door. However, the “not even trying” gambit has two different permutations: 1) I’m not even trying (but that’s because I’m “foo”); and 2) I’m not even trying (but that’s because I’m dating “bar”).

Now, I can’t tell the difference between the two versions of not trying. Females can, however; and I don’t have the slightest idea how they do so. Presumably, it’s a collection of various subtle, unconscious cues we give off our availability; but I truly cannot remember ever acting differently around people during the time when I did have a girlfriend (even though I *do* remember that the frequency of being hit on went up from “practically never” to “once in a great while”). It’s things like this that keep life interesting, in any case.

 Posted by at 9:26 pm
Feb 082006

A letter to the editor in today’s Journal Star laments (among other things) the use of “you guys” in everyday speech (particularly when the “guys” referred to by the speaker are not male). This letter points out a very obvious, but often overlooked, fact about the English language:

The necessity of having two distinct pronouns becomes clear when you see how English speakers have inforamlly created a number of new words for a distinct second-person plural pronoun: y’all, yinz, youse, you guys, etc. Of course, none of this would have become a problem if we had continued to use our original pronoun distinction; however, unless we all decide to revive “thou” for everyday use, I guess we’ll have to put up with the occasional cranky letter.

 Posted by at 10:26 am
Feb 072006

…which, if you pay attention to the outside world at all, you’re probably well aware of this already. However, our increasing knowledge of life beyond our horizons crops up in many interesting ways.

Exhibit A: Japan. I started this blog post yesterday about how Japan, a country feared by the U.S. for its economic might in the 1980s, is now generally looked upon by Americans with mild bemusement. How did this happen? Beyond the obvious answer (a 15-year recession), I do think that our collective realization that Japan is one messed-up country also played a part in this. This trend is most obvious in gaming. Twenty years ago, Japanese companies took great pains to Americanize their games. Now, there are several game franchises that are successful because they are so thoroughly Japanese. Of course, this acclimation goes both ways: Newsweek has an excellent article about how Japan is becoming less Japanese. (Listing other aspects of Japanese culture that the U.S. has become more aware of is left as an exercise for the reader.)

Exhibit B: Naming conventions. Historically, the word for a placename in other languages was not the same as the word for that placename used in its native language. Now, however, the usage of native names in other languages is becoming more prevalent; for example, NBC is branding its upcoming Winter Olympics coverage as “Torino 2006″, not “Turin 2006″. It isn’t unusual anymore to see München, Praha, etc. in print; most people know which cities those names refer to.

 Posted by at 4:16 pm
Feb 032006

I’ve never heard as many radio ads for engagement/wedding rings as I do in Lincoln. Even though I’ve lived here for nearly six years, this never ceases to amaze me.

 Posted by at 11:25 am