Monday, July 6, 2009

A Slow Christening

"At fifteen minutes after twelve she commenced a movement into the water with such steadiness, majesty and exactness as to fill every heart with sensations of joy and delight."
Recognize those words? Probably not. Don't feel bad - I never heard of them either until I read them just a few moments ago. Those are words that describe the christening of the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides") on October 21, 1797. Apparently, this is the first written description we have of a christening of an American ship.

You know whats going on, I bet. Basically, somebody (usually somebody important) breaks a bottle of booze over the boat, right? Who did the deed? Maybe a relative of the boat's namesake or a politician. Or, in some cases, the soon-to-be captain himself. (Anyway you look at it, it sounds like a horrible end for could be a good bottle of bubbly, but I digress.)

So, at this point, you must be thinking - "What did he christen?" His boat? No. Can't afford one. His car? Nah, what's the point? The condo? Oh come on - who christens a 5 year old condo?

No, it was my netbook (my mini-laptop). With a hat tip to tradition, I did it with alcohol. Totally on accident.

A buddy of mine was turning 40 on July 3rd. For the night out, a pile of us went to Slows BarBQ in Detroit. This bar/restaurant has been on my radar for a while now, but I have never actually been there for a meal or a beer. Friday was a chance to do both and do it with some friends.

So there I was, seated at the bar. For whatever reason, I opted to pass on the ribs and got macaroni and cheese instead. (Don't roll your eyes!It was really good mac-and-cheese! Forget Kraft out of a box. This was the real deal!) A side of bake beans and a corn bread chunk the size of an airplane chock made for a very filling meal. With a glass of water and a beer glass in front of me as well, my space was a little cramped. To make a matters a tad worse, I was seated at the corner of the bar.Keep in mind , too, the bar has a giant "lip" like the kind you would see on a ship so the stuff doesn't slide off in rough seas.

So picture this: if a square-shaped computer is sitting on the very edge of the bar corner, the corners of the computer are hanging over the edge (think of it as a rectangle overlying a triangle), right? And if the near side of the computer is resting on the lip of the bar, then the computer is basically tipping back at a peculiar angle because the "lip" is higher than the bar itself, right? And if one brings a hand up to grab the glass of water, it is possible that said hand will bump the computer right? Knowing the computer is already tipped back, it is possible that the energy of the computer would be enough to bump (and dump) a full glass of beer right?

Lift, bump, tip, bump, and dump. That is how it happened. Lift (the hand), bump (the computer), tip (the computer), bump (the beer glass with the computer monitor) , and dump (the beer). Somehow, the physics of the situation was such that the glass was not knocked forward out of the way, but back towards me....and the netbook.

So perhaps I could re-write the Old Ironsides description a bit:
"At 47 mintues after seven, I commenced a bungling of beer with such clumsiness and stupidity as to fill every heart with sensations of shock and horror."
Now, I'll be honest - it was not a lot of beer. I can't say how much, but it could not have been more than a couple of tablespoons. But, really, does it matter? A few drop in the wrong place and your machine is hosed, right? A second stroke of luck was the simple matter that the beer ran down the monitor. Nothing touched the keyboard. No goo in the speakers, either (a few inches to the left and that would have happened for sure). I think a third saving grace is the fact that all the ports and plugs are on the sides of the machine, not the back. Oh, this could have been so ugly.

After a moment of paralyzing fear, I realized it was not as bad as it could have been. For the record, if you are unfortunate enough to spill beer on a computer, don't grab the nice cloth napkins. They're worthless. They don't absorb squat (after all, they were designed for the task of ridding digits of,I mean, thick and delicious bar-b-que sauce). Use the paper napkins.

So one might be wondering what the beer was that did the deed? The "honor" went to the Corktown Red from the Dragonmead Microbrewery in Warren, Michigan. Life beer #588 was amber in color (as you would expect) and a lesson in the subtleties of beer. Nothing stood out. The aroma was pleasant, but cryptic. The malty tones on the tongue and the slightly hoppy finish were both well hidden, but balanced. It was a very "under the radar" sort of beer. Nothing jumped out at me. Nevertheless, it was still a very good beer. A solid 3 out of 5.

A short time before, I finished #587 - the Brother Jacob Dubble Ale from the New Holland Brewing Company. In the sunlight, the near black color offered up the ruby red tones (I never would have seen them in a dark corner). The 1" tan head lingered for minutes. Nice! A "plumby" sweet taste was apparent while the thick creamy body was quite something. All sensations were well balanced. The finish, I am sad to say, was a bit dry (kinda like the dryness one gets after drinking grape juice, but not as severe). I think the dryness prevented this from being a five. Four out of five for sure.

Anyway you cut it, it was a fun evening. I will be back for sure. Life beer #600 is within reach. Perhaps I should invest in some zip-lock bags for the 'ole netbook on what I hope will be a festive night.

I will keep you posted.

No comments: