Friday, August 30, 2013

#1484 - Solar Bananas?

Sunspots  are basically nothing more than dark spots on the surface of the otherwise bright sun.  Often occurring in pairs, they are the result of what amount to magnetic burps.  Lasting hours to months, they are actually much cooler than the rest of the sun: by over 1500 Celsius (plus or minus a few hundred more degrees).

Don't let their size fool you, either.  The sun, as you probably know, is huge.  865,000 miles across, in fact (according to one source).  Given the scale of the whole affair, it is easy to forget that tiny dots on a giant orb are quite large themselves.  Sunspots can actually be upwards of 100,000 miles across.  Given that the diameter of the Earth is slightly less than 8,000 miles, that makes for a big burp.

Of course, if the sun can belch, we can, too, right? Especially if a beer is a tad over carbonated.  

Sunspot (#1484), is a hefeweizen from the Greenbush Brewing Company.  

A south German style of wheat beer, hefeweizens are brewed with a yeast that produce crazy flavors of banana and cloves.  Dryness, a tad of a tart edge, and some spiciness with bubblegums or apples can be the norm, as well.  A hop bitterness on the finish is light at best.  Visually the beer is yellow or gold and very cloudy.  The Hefeweizen, in the words of the guys at Beer Advocate,  can be one sexy looking beer.  Given the overall lightness of the body and feel, they go down well on hot summer days.

So how was Sunspot? All in all, I think it was  fine representation of the style.  The banana tones on the nose were absolutely astounding.  A third-grader could have detected them. Nothing subtle here.  In addition, I found the hop presence to be a bit more than expected but certainly not enough to distract me from the experience.

The distraction, came in with the carbonation on the tongue.  In my experience, the pour can  be an indicator to the level of carbonation - a quick dump in the glass (or even a careful one) can result in quite a bubbly mess. There was no such hint here. It poured with the inviting white head one would expect.  In my opinion, the bite of carbonation was a bit high. While this is just me talkin' here, I can say that some at the BA site noted the same.

Was it bad beer? No way.  Perfect?  It fell a bit short.  If they find a way to ease back on the carbonation, they have a dynamite beer.  4 out of 5. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Terrible News

A few days ago, a young man died.  

Solider?  No. 

Cop?  No.  

Fireman?  No.

Texting and driving victim?  No.

He was a brewer. 

Matt Courtright was driving a forklift at the Stone Brewing Company in southern California. Something went wrong and the machine rolled.  He suffered massive crush injuries to his chest and later died at the hospital. He was 27 years old.

His loss is apparently being felt in two time zones as he started in Michigan before heading west.  Obviously, all who knew him are shaken.

Accidents like this really make you think about how dangerous things can be in a brewery.  Boiling water, electricity, moving parts (if you bottle), heavy machinery, and kettles (which can apparently explode) are just some of the things that could be hazardous if things go wrong.  

I guess it is all something to think about when you crack open your next beer....

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Something To Ponder

I sometimes link to other blogs (instead of boring you with just my drool).  Today, I thought I would throw this out there.

I figured it was only a matter of time before something like this turned up.  I'm not saying its right.  I'm not saying its wrong. 

What's it gonna be.....


...or this....

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I Am Getting A New Job

Yes, it's true.  A new job is on the horizon for me.  Nat and I will sell the house, pack our bags, and move to Europe.  I'll be replacing an individual who has no idea what he/she is doing.

I'll be working for the Royal Family.  

I'm going to be the official photographer.  

Am I that good?  I doubt it.  But I certainly can't be any worse than the hack who took this picture.

I suspect many of you think this is a nice photo.  I say "nay" - this picture sucks.  I can promise you photographers the world over are wiping their chins of the spttile they coughed up when they saw this image (and then saw how much people liked it).

Allow me to set the record straight.  

Basically, the image is an overexposed mess.  I learned from a good friend of mine that one really needs to pay attention to the background as well as the subject.  Most of the image is too bright.  Horribly bright, in fact. This image was clearly taken during the brightest part of the day.  Early morning or late evening light is so much more pleasing.

The overexposed issues continue onto the subjects.  The Prince has a giant sunbeam on his noggin.  Said burnout blends right into the bright sky.  The result? To my eyes, a battle axe was used to cleave off a giant chunk of his head.   

The same axe clearly continued down his right side and severed his arm. The overexposed portion of the shirt suggests his arm was amputated at the shoulder.   One might argue that "No, he has his hand around her waist...", but you cant see his hand there because the image was.....are you ready?.... overexposed. 

A similar argument can also be said of Kate. The overexposed hair on her right (our left) causes her head to take on a funny shape.  

Continuing, she, too, also suffered a tremendous injury.  Her arm is also missing at the shoulder.

Don't be confused. That is not her arm holding the child.  That arm is a extra limb growing out the baby's skull.  It has to be. After all, Kate is missing hers. 

Her eyes are a bit in shadow. Kate is beautiful and her eyes are a major part of that beauty.  The lighting should have been adjusted to show them off, not hide them.  

I am certain the dog in the lower left corner is dead.  Oh wait, maybe we don't know that , but he certainly looks it.  Put him in the picture (like the black one), or take him out completely.

How could this mess have been fixed?  Here goes...

* Invite the family to come back in the evening when the light is more pleasing.
* Two dogs or no dogs. 
* Use a fill flash or reflectors as needed.  
* Watch the burnouts on the subjects.

My fees are cheap. All expenses paid forever (after all, that is what they get).  Nat and I would also like a special table at all of the breweries in England.  

William and Kate, please let me know when we can cross the pond.  We'll be waiting for your call. 

Friday, August 16, 2013


A guy. His camera.  A tripod.  Two neutral density filters. Photoshop. Downtown Detroit (in broad daylight).

Shot locations include Campus Martius Park, the old Wayne County Building, the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, Comerica Park, and a lot by the Rosa Parks Bus Station. 

(Don't be alarmed by the last photo.  It is (was?) the Chinatown set for "Transformers 4".)