Monthly Archive for May, 2010

Ride Denied

The long Memorial Day weekend demanded a ride. We were all set for a Saturday outing, but then I remembered that I had something to do on Saturday, so after a flurry of emails, the ride was moved to Sunday. The weather was iffy on Friday with heavy downpours, but Saturday was clear and breezy. The good weather lasted through to Sunday, so we were set for a full Luana loop.

Almost like clockwork, Chris called before the ride and said something had gone horribly wrong at his folks’ place. Last week it was a plumbing main leak. This week it was all electricity. The main service line had gone dead sometime during the week, so the ‘fridge had gone into meltdown and released its contents as a foul liquid. Yet again he was denied a ride. Jeff’s back was tired, so he opted out of the ride, and JT was off gallivanting in Texas, so it was just Ckucke, Root, and me. Continue reading ‘Ride Denied’

Beer is Good – Echigo Red Ale

P1010996Stumbled across a new entry at Marukai, this Red Ale from Echigo. Pours a dark amber, with a moderate head. I can’t quite place the aroma, as I sit here sipping it, I can’t help thinking it reminds me of Japan. There’s just something in the smell, and its not a bad thing here. There’s a pretty strong bitter, but not too much floweryness. The bitter does linger for a bit, lending to the mouthfeel of crisp, dry and almost astringent, but not sour. There’s a little bit of roastyness, but not a pronounced smokyness. I keep coming back to the aroma, it intrigues me and ultimately makes this beer for me. I think this is the winner of the Echigo varieties I’ve had. 6% ABV.

I give this a solid 3 out of 4 bouquet sniffing monkeys.

CMC Rescue Survivor 8

CMC_CMICMC_rescue_8Here’s another goodie I picked up when Fabio ordered from Rescue Direct – CMC Rescue’s Survivor 8 descender. Far smaller and lighter than my CMI Rescue Figure-8, this micro version is designed for personal emergency escape. Forged from aluminum, it is machined to shape and given a mil-spec hard-anodized finish. In conjunction with a lightweight carabiner and a rigger’s belt, a very unobtrusive escape rig can be put together without a massive weight penalty. The figure-8 and a lightweight carabiner can be easily pocketed or stashed in something like a double handcuff case or exam glove pouch on your rigger’s belt. I haven’t had the opportunity to test it out yet on a descent, but put it on some rope to see how it would function. It is designed for smaller 9mm ropes. I tried running some ½” Army green line through it, and it sort-of fits, but the rope will probably rub in the middle, even under tension when this twisted rope thins down. It’s not a good idea to run line this big – better keeping it below 11mm. The 7.5mm rope I ran thorough it looked a lot better. It appears that here would be enough room to run that size doubled, or to even pass it knotted. Continue reading ‘CMC Rescue Survivor 8’

Through the Pinhole

We got a pretty good crew together for a Ditch ride on May 22nd. Although the ride was at Chris’ instigation, he called the morning before the ride to say that he had gone up to his folks’ place, and discovered a big wet spot on the side of the house where a little pinhole leak in the water main had been spraying. He would be spending the rest of the day waiting for the plumber to come and splice in a new section of copper pipe. The rest of the crew met out at the Ditch, and we did the normal climb, side loop, rode out along the Ditch, doubled back on the inner loop, then repeated the outbound leg to the end. Jeff, Sara, JT, and Danny took the trail out to the street, but Root and I took advantage of the good weather and blasted back along the trail for some additional dirt time. The weather was warm and sunny, but a fairly constant breeze kept it cool, even under the tree cover. Continue reading ‘Through the Pinhole’

Allergy Stank

Driving home the other day, I detected the faint sickly-sweet smell of something blooming along the highway. It was dark, so I couldn’t quite see if the albizia trees were starting to go off. Yesterday, I headed home while there was still daylight out, and lo, it was not the albizia but instead the Formosa koa to blame. Mango is over, avocado is finishing, and now it is the Formosa koa. Happy allergies!


Surprise SAE

Weird. I was killing time before an appointment today, so spun by City Mill for some miscellaneous stuff I needed, amongst them, a replacement setscrew pedal pin for one of my sets of Atomlab pedals. Being an American BMX/FR company, I automatically assumed the pedal screws and pins would be SAE (I remember back to the days of being pissed to discover that Crupi stuff was not metric), but after digging through the various inch-measure setscrews and finding they didn’t match up to my sample setscrew, I checked the metric ones and discovered they were indeed M4! Hooray! Go metric!

Beer Is… Better than Malk? Yanjing Beer

P1010989Ok, yes, this is beer from the land that gave you Malk and melamine in the puppy food, instead of puppy food in the melamine. It’s been on the cooler shelves at Don Quixote for more than a month, so I figure if there was a problem with it might have been found by now. All kidding aside, I figure I have to see what it’s like. China isn’t really known for a deep history of beer brewing, but who knows, maybe a pocket of German worked its way into this. OK, I crack open the seal and immediately smell the skunky/muskyness. It’s that strong, I haven’t even poured it. It pours with a moderately weak head that quickly dissappears. If you pour aggresively you’ll get it agitated and it bubbles, but it doesn’t form much of a head. Leave it for a while and all signs of a head is gone. Color is moderate yellow/gold.  Continue reading ‘Beer Is… Better than Malk? Yanjing Beer’

Beer is Good – Samuel Adams Imperial White

P1010975Pours a cloudy light amber. Thick. No, I’m not describing the mouthfeel, it literally pours thick, although the mouthfeel is likewise almost syrupy. This is one of SA’s Imperial series where they are pushing the envelope of the types of beer. This is the version of a spiced white wheat ale. The syrupyness is reflected in its sweetness, and the 10% buzz packin alcohol content. This sweetness also puts me off. I think I’ve stated in a number of my reviews that I don’t care for when a brew gets sweet and tasting like a drunk juice “malt liquor”. SA does recommend serving at a warmer range, and indeed it did seem to become more drinkable later as it warmed up. Of course that could also be because of that 10% ABV and empty stomach. And horrors, I squeezed a lemon wedge into mine. Honestly, for a spiced white, I’ll go with a Hoegartan.

Barely 2 out of 4 juiced up monkeys.

Beer is Good – Michelob Original Lager

P1010977Catching up on a backlog of B.I.G. reviews here, I grabbed me a sixer of this domestic. Pours a clear light yellow with light head. I found the first sip to be quite pleasant. A nice grainy/nutty flavor. On subsequent tastes though, the flavor seems to get lost and was left with a clean pleasant drinking beer. If you rest the palate for a while and then come back for a sip you do get that flavor I found so nice again. Surprisingly, from a big name domestic, this gets a favorable nod from me, BUT it is priced at “craft” beer pricing. A couple bucks more I could get me a twelver of Speights which is just as nice drinking.

3 out of 4 “craft” monkeys.

Beer is Good – SA Variety Pack, Cream Stout

P1010988Pours dark opaque parctically black with moderately heavy head but quickly subsides. Smoky aroma that also evokes shoyu for me. Fairly sharp bitterness, but then there is a sour middle note, and then a bitter finish. There is a bit heavier mouth feel than your average fair, but this lacks the creamyness of something like Guinness. Not bad, but there are many other darks that I like much more, I don’t care for the sourness.

2.5 out of 4 stout swigging monkeys.