Saturday, April 30, 2011

More Bond

Back in March, I posted about a bunch basically random topics. One of the topics was about visiting the Reader's Corner, a local used book store, and picking up some books. As an aside, the Reader's Corner also sells books via an site and a site at Included in my purchases back in March were the first two books in the James Bond series. Today, I paid another visit to the shop and purchased the next five books in the series. The third book is Moonraker which became the eleventh of the Bond films in 1979. The movie starred Roger Moore instead of Sean Connery who starred in six of the first seven Bond films. Moore's first Bond movie was Live and Let Die which was released in 1973. It was the eighth film but was adapted from the second book. The fourth book in the Bond series is Diamonds Are Forever which became the seventh Bond film in 1971. That film was Connery's last time in the role of James Bond for the official series of films, although in 1983, he starred in Never Say Never Again which is not considered part of the official series.

Moving right along, I mentioned the fifth (From Russia with Love) and sixth (Doctor No) books in my previous post along with the fact that they became the second and first films. Those films were released in 1963 and 1962 respectively. The seventh book in the series is Goldfinger. The film version of that book was released in 1964 and was the third in the series. The movie version of Goldfinger is my personal favorite of the film series. There is the best of the Bond girls, although Entertainment Weekly disagrees. (Their number one isn't bad either.) The title character, Auric Goldfinger, is one of the best of the Bond villains. Of course, the word "auric" means relating to gold. There are also all the great quotes, and the first appearance of the most famous of Bond's cars, an Aston Martin DB5 which had been tweaked a bit by Q.

During my visit to the bookstore, I also bought three other books. Smart-Aleck Kill is a small collection of stories by Raymond Chandler. All four of the stories are also included in The Simple Art of Murder which I have previously read, but this will be a good excuse to read them again. The Turk is about a famous chess-playing machine from the 18th century, all of which can be deduced by the book's full long title. Finally, Zeno's Paradox is about a series of paradoxes postulated by the ancient Greek philosopher Zeno, the most famous of which concerns a race between the Greek hero Achilles and a tortoise.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: The Fourth K

FOURTH K, THEThe Fourth K by Mario Puzo

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Mario Puzo is of course best known as the author of The Godfather which was turned into two very successful movies. Unfortunately, the Fourth K is nowhere near the quality of the Godfather and other books by Puzo. Basically, this book is like the screenplay for a really bad miniseries.

View all my reviews

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Close Encounters

I am lucky if I get around to publishing a post once a week, so it is no surprise that this will be first time that I post twice in the same day. Right after publishing the my previous post, I ran over to Blinco's for a bite of dinner and a couple of tasty beverages. I grabbed a seat at the bar and did not pay any attention to the group of guys around the corner of the bar. That is until one of them started talking, and then it was hard not to notice them. The voice is one of the most recognizable in this area if not the whole state of North Carolina. The voice belonged to Chuck Kaiton who is the radio announcer for the Carolina Hurricanes. Below is a YouTube clip of Kaiton's call during the final moments of game seven of the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals.

It turns out that Kaiton is a friend of Jim Blinco who is one of the owners of the bar. One of Kaiton's pals called Blinco. He lives in Holly Springs which was one of the local towns that were the hardest hit by the tornadoes and thunderstorms that ripped through Raleigh and the surrounding area yesterday. In the voicemail that he left, Kaiton's friend said something about the tornadoes being over and Blinco should not be a Toto and to come on over to the bar. One of the bartenders thought it was a bit soon for Wizard of Oz references and told the guy so. I piped up and told the guy I thought his comment was funny. I also do not think preaching to your customers is the best way for a bartender to get a good tip.

Last Night I Had a Dream

OK, so it was not exactly last night that I had this dream because there is no way that I would be that on top of a post. The dream actually occurred a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, this dream has me thinking that perhaps I read the Uni Watch blog a bit too much. While I do follow sports, I would not consider myself an über-fanatic. However, there might be some people who would not agree with that personal assessment. I also do not consider myself to be particularly creative. Nor do I think that I am overly concerned with appearances. I live in a modest townhouse which is in desperate need of new siding. My car has huge spots of oxidation including most of the roof. I am sure my personal appearance could also use an upgrade. Combining all of those facts, it is interesting that one of my favorite Internet sites is Uni Watch where the primary focus is the physical appearance of sports including uniforms, logos, and team colors.

Getting back to my crazy dream, my favorite NHL team, the Carolina Hurricanes, were playing a basketball game against the Tampa Bay Lightening. I assume it would have been for charity or some such. The Canes were wearing white jerseys with red and black trim. In the NHL, white jerseys are worn on the road, but NBA teams were white at home. The Bolts were in gray uniforms with blue and black trim that were similar to Georgetown basketball. I know Tampa Bay does not have gray uniforms, but I did mention this was a dream. Also, Georgetown wears their gray uniforms at home, so this game would have featured two "home" uniforms. The uniforms were simple affairs with "Carolina" and "Tampa Bay" above basic numbers fonts on the front. Their team logos were on the right shoulder. Alas, the Canes were using their infamous toilet-flush logo which some considered to be the worst team logo in sports. The back of the jerseys were also simple with the player's name above standard numbers.

Uniforms that cross between sports are not completely unheard of. Some people in the Uni Watch community enjoy designing their own crossover uniforms. Actual physical crossover jerseys are also available. Baseball jerseys seem to be the most popular. I found baseball jerseys for the NFL, the NBA, and the NHL. I also found a NFL basketball jersey for sale on ebay. I did not, however, find any NHL basketball jerseys.

This is completely unrelated to anything, but I have decided that I will be renaming one of my fantasy teams the Montoya Rapiers.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Colorado Brews

I recently returned from a week trip to Colorado to visit my sister and her family. My sister has been a stay-at-home mom for a couple of years now. This was my first chance to meet my new 11-week-old niece. She is a beautiful baby. Of course, what else would a loving uncle say? I have previously had a couple of opportunities to visit my nephew who turned two years old back in December, but it was good to see him again. As expected, he is growing like a weed.

My sister's family live in a small town outside of Boulder. I flew into Denver International Airport. I spent most of my time just hanging out with my sister and the kids. We went to Denver Zoo and a local children's museum. I played trucks and trains with my nephew. I flew him around like an airplane, and my back is still hurting. We went for walks around the neighborhood and spent lots of time at the two playgrounds in the area. We also just spent one morning out shopping for groceries.

Colorado is one of the great states for beer. In addition to being home to Coors, one of beer's Goliaths, Colorado just might be the best craft brew state. According to this page, breweries from the state have won the most medals awarded by the Brewers Association per capita. Not surprising, Oregon was a strong second. The post is from 2009, so the rankings could have changed.

While grocery shopping, my sister picked up a 12-bottle sample pack from Breckenridge Brewery which contained three bottles each of four different brews. I tried each of the styles. The first one that I drank was the Vanilla Porter. I thought it was a solid porter, but I did not taste any vanilla flavor. Perhaps, the vanilla flavor was very subtle and just helped with the overall taste. The second bottle that I tried was the Agave Wheat. Including agave nectar in a beer is an interesting touch. The beer was a very good wheat beer, but like the vanilla in the porter, the wheat did not taste like agave. Of course, I really do not know the true taste of agave. I am just familiar with the taste of various tequilas and that does not seem to be the taste of the Agave Wheat brew.

Next, I tried the Avalanche Ale which is an amber ale. I generally like amber ales, and the Avalanche was no different. Conversely, I am generally not a fan of IPAs, and the final beer that I tried in the pack was an IPA. I know that as I continue to try IPAs and double IPAs, I have learned to enjoy those styles. I found Breckenridge Brewery's Lucky U IPA to be very drinkable.

During my stay in Colorado, I did get one opportunity to visit Boulder. I met up with one of my former managers and his fiancée for dinner and a few beers. We started out with burgers at Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery which is right on Pearl Street in downtown Boulder. I tried the Lil' Willy which is a Scottish-style ale and the Blackberry Wheat. I thought the Lil' Willy was very good and the Blackberry Wheat was...well, interesting. The burger was good as well. We finished with a drink at BJ's Pizza, Grill & Brewery which is also on Pearl Street. I tried the Harvest Hefeweizen which was a good example of the style. I was tempted by their Nutty Brewnette or at least the logo. I think they should expand the pin-up girl theme for their Brewhouse Blonde (which is a Kölsch-style ale), Jeremiah Red (an Irish-style ale), Oasis Amber, and either the porter or stout (think Bettie Page).

Saturday, April 2, 2011

3-2-1 Contacts

As I mentioned in my previous post, I finally got around to getting a new cellphone on Monday. My new LG Rumor Touch was delivered on Wednesday. I was easily able to activate it online. The LG is only my third cellphone with the aged Sanyo RL-4920 being the second. The first was the truly ancient Sanyo SCP-4700 from way back in 2002. That phone was still in my possession until I disposed of it today.

Getting back to a bit more modern technology, I was able activate my new phone on my own online, but I also wanted to transfer my contact list over to the new phone. I needed some outside assistance with that process. This morning, I took both my phones over to the local Sprint shop on Creedmoor Road. After a short wait, I was called up to the counter. While the clerk was intrigued by my vintage phone, that particular location unfortunately did not have the necessary connector to make the data transfer. The guy suggested that I try the location at the corner of Millbrook Road and Atlantic Avenue. I drove over that shop, and after an even shorter wait, the lady at the counter called my name. Again, the clerks were amused by the prehistoric technology. Fortunately though, they had the right connector. However, the first few tries at exporting my contact list were not successful. The lady took my phone in the back and gave the connector on the bottom a few shots of compressed air to clean it out. That must have done the trick because the next try was successful. Importing the list to my new phone was uneventful. Now I am a happy camper with my new phone.

Moving on to another topic, I have just cracked open the bottle of home brew marked with the number 14, and I am pouring the contents into a frosted mug. I have high hopes for this bottle with the highest number, but I am afraid this one will be another disappointment. There is very little discernible head which dissipates quickly. There are a few white specks floating on the top, but that is not unexpected for the bottles which contain more of the carbonation tablets. The taste is about the same slight sourness as the previous bottles. I do not think it is particularly successful. I still have three bottles remaining. Those bottles are numbered 10, 11.5 (which contains a piece of a broken tablet), and 12. The bottles marked 10 and 11.5 have been in the fridge for a while now. The bottle marked 12 was still in the closet until I just moved it to the fridge. Perhaps 12 will be the magic number.