Minding my time

I’m not very good about my mindfulness meditation practice. I should be better given some of the stressors affecting me, but I’ll admit that I’ve gotten into a bad habit of not doing it recently.

Instead I’ve picked up an afternoon coffee habit, literally the opposite of what might be helpful at calming me, but the ritual of coffee drinking is comforting.

The Starbucks on our campus has a cool nitro-infused cold brew system that makes a drink which looks and behaves like a Guinness right down to the “fall” and the creamy head. I even had a coworker ask if I was drinking a Guinness in a meeting.

So while the coffee drinking might be (arguably) actively bad, watching the fall is pretty cool.

To that end here’s almost 20 minutes(!) – it’s a slow motion video – of a cup of cold brew from last week. I’m trying to take the time to be mesmerized by the motion and maybe get back on the mindfulness train sometime soon.


Day Drinking (Deserves a beautiful day)

With apologies to REM, I thought I’d get that title out of my system. Partly because I think it’s funny; partly because I think it’s an accurate representation of the amazing experience I had this Saturday at the new Monday Night Brewing Garage, which also served as MNB’s 6th anniversary party.

Long-time readers (and everyone I’ve ever met at a cocktail party) know I’ve been a fan of Monday Night Brewing for a long time. Their Garage location gets its name from the garage where they originally brewed and shared their beers. I think the space and the beer did an amazing job of capturing the energy and camaraderie
of those Monday nights over a decade ago.

My main goal on Saturday afternoon/evening was enjoying myself (a nice couples date with our awesome cul-de-sac neighbors), drinking some beer & playing a little bit of ping pong. For this reason I don’t have many good pictures – save for me holding chalices of beer – but my wife has some awesome photos if you’re lucky enough to be her friend too.

Here’s the beers I tried, in the order I tried them, not a ranking:

  1. Front Porch
  2. Han Brolo
  3. Situational Ethics (Rum Barrel & Coconut)
  4. Applied Knowledge
  5. Tears of My Enemies
  6. Ante Meridiem
  7. Situational Ethics (Maple Bourbon Barrels & Cinnamon)

I also stole sips of Dr. Robot (fruity), Excolatur (like an Oud Bruin), and Impulse Control (sour!) from my wife. All in all a fantastic slate of beers, though I didn’t get any Above the Clouds before they ran out. :-(

You can see the full list of beers here.

The two versions of the stout I had were both great. I’d love to have either of those beers in a bomber this Christmas (hint, hint!) but I prefer the rum version just a little bit more.

Han Brolo is going to be a great addition to the canned lineup MNB has, though I’m sad to see Eye Patch Ale retired. Something about the drinkability and smoothness of a Pale Ale w/ Lactose is just really hot right now.

For my money, the best beer I had all night was Ante Meridiem. It was just a fabulously balanced beer. I would’ve had an entire pint (and maybe the Excolatur too).

If you’re in Georgia you owe it to yourself to buy some Monday Night beer and come out to either of their locations in town. Now that the beer laws have changed, you’re sure to have a good time & drink some great beer.

It’s also nice to have a brewer that is expanding and succeeding with a fun brand who isn’t experiencing growing pains that are self-inflicted.

Come to the garage and sign their wall (if there’s space) or come to their midtown location and donate a tie. You won’t regret it.

Beers of Walmart

Sooner or later everyone ends up at a Walmart, whether they’d like to be there or not.

Unfortunately for me I had to purchase some items for Jenn this weekend that are just better/easier to get at Walmart, but fortunately I found some new beer I haven’t had, so it wasn’t a total loss.

Now I’ve come to find out that, much like the big macro brewers globally, Walmart is trying to get in to the growing category of craft beer.

I was able to get a six-pack of Cat’s Away IPA (by Trouble Brewing) for under $6 which is pretty amazing. The quality was a lot like an early aught’s knock-off of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but there are worse things to drink especially at that price point!

I also bought a tallboy of Rockdale Classic.

There are differing sources online, but it seems like it’s contract brewed by the same company as the Trouble Brewing line, exclusively for Walmart.

This beer looked more like a house brand and was similar to a Coors in it’s can & taste. I had to do a double-take to make sure it wasn’t actually the banquet beer. ;-)

Both beers were better than similar beers contract brewed by Winery Exchange for Kroger, notably Caguama & Dieselpunk, but maybe that’s damning with faint praise.

Whether or not the Walmart beers were objectively good, they were both decent for what they were. The Trouble Brewing beer was actually quite pleasant and I could see buying it again if I were at Walmart.

I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it, but it might make a good beach beer or last minute decision in a crunch. Maybe if I was late to a tailgate or even if I wanted to spice things up for a price-conscious craft newbie.

Whatever the case I think this will be a hit for Walmart. The price is right, the branding is right (no sillier than actual craft brands) and the flavor is what you’d get from some craft beers of those styles.


On Steve Whitmire

Yesterday a regular reader of this blog (whatever that means anymore, given my posting schedule) brought up the topic of Steve Whitmire’s firing as the performer of Kermit the Frog by Disney.

He asked me, earnestly, what I thought of the whole kerfuffle and whether I’d seen Steve’s new blog.

I’ll answer reverse-chronologically:

No, I had not seen Steve Whitmire’s blog, until yesterday and now I have. Start reading it at the beginning. It’s … something.

Reading a blog – especially one of someone creative and new to blogging – can be a raw, harrowing experience. It’s clear that Steve Whitmire is a passionate person but it’s also clear that he’s too close to the situation to be a reliable narrator.

I think the real issue stems from where the line between the performer and the character is drawn. In the case of the Muppets, the performer is even more important than an actor or a voice performer. They literally inhabit the character by putting their arm inside of the felt.

For all intents and purposes Steve Whitire was Kermit.

But the problem here is that there are writers and producers and directors involved in the ongoing life of the Muppet franchise.

There were two theatrical films in the past 10 years and a (flawed) TV show. They all succeeded in some ways and fell short in others.

The first film was excellent and the second was pretty good, if uneven. The TV show never really found it’s own voice, partly due to the fact that it didn’t take advantage of any of the characterizations or storylines from the films.

But mostly the issue is that The Muppets need to evolve in order to be a sustainable, vital part of Disney’s portfolio. Steve Whitmire, by his own admissions, seems tied to a very narrow vision of the characters that was not shared by Disney, the Henson family, and potentially even some of his fellow performers.

Whatever the true issues may have been, Disney seems to have moved on and Steve Whitmire hasn’t. He’s still wrestling with how and why he was fired and my heart goes out to him.

But the fact remains that Disney & the Henson family clearly have one set of feelings about his performance and behavior and he has another. The preponderance of the evidence leads me to side with Disney, but I still sympathize with Steve over the loss of his job and empathize with him that he wants to understand exactly why things happened the way they did.

From my perspective The Muppets still need to evolve.

In a world when Kermit’s likeness has been co-opted sipping tea to indicate a sarcastic comment the Muppets have to be more contemporary than they are.

Listen, I loved The Muppet Show of my youth. There’s a reason the blog has the title it does & why I have the username “mostlymuppet” on every service imaginable.


And even I know that the movies and the tv show are part of making them more relevant to people today. You can’t survive on pure nostalgia and zero character growth, just ask The Simpsons.

I just hope Steve Whitmire finds some peace. It sounds (reads) like he’s getting closer to that but it must be traumatic to lose something that you’ve done for 27 years and separate from a group you’ve been associated with since the late 70’s.

I wish Steve and the Muppets nothing but the best in the future.

I’ll be here, watching.

Echoes of Familiarity

Did you ever get a tune stuck in your head and you just can’t stop whistling or humming it to yourself? Happens to me all the time.

In college I used to actively try to get songs stuck in Jennifer’s head by singing them when she was around. Turns out she’s incredibly susceptible to suggestion (and I imagine most other folks are too).

A funny thing happened recently when I heard the new (to me) Urge Overkill album, I swore I’d heard one of the themes before. Listen to the guitar chord changes of “Thought Balloon” and tell me you don’t immediately think of the theme song to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

“Thought Balloon” by Urge Overkill

“Go” by Valley Lodge

Maybe it’s just more proof that there aren’t any new ideas, only new combinations and both artists simply got to similar sounds around the same time. Urge Overkill’s album is from 2011; Valley Lodge’s is from 2013.

Or maybe I’m just hearing them for the first time and imagining a correlation.

What do you hear?