31 May 2008

Beer Review, Wiesen Edel-Weisse

Georg Schneider's Wiesen Edel-Weisse">

Appearance: Pours dark yellow, clear body, very thick white foamy head. The clarity makes it look more like a helles lager or a pilsener than a hefeweizen -- points knocked off for style, although it is overall an attractive beer. 4.0/5

(Correction as I got towards the bottom of the 16oz bottle -- all the yeast was at the bottom of the beer, and the appearance is very different. Very dark, almost brownish, extremely hazy. Much closer to what I was expecting for a hefe -- points given back.)

Smell: Sweet, dry, vaguely citrus. Not very pronounced, even when I let the beer warm. Not unpleasant, but not impressive. 3.0/5

Taste: Slightly sweet, bready. Finishes dry but not unpleasant. Again, dead average for a hefe -- doesn't give me anything to dislike, but somehow lacks the oomph I'd like to see from the beer. 3.0/5

Mouthfeel: Carbonation relatively high for a hefe, but overall the mouthfeel is somewhat thin. 3.0/5

Drinkability: Overall this beer is pretty much dead-average for the style. It's not great, but it's okay. Not really worth it for the price. Go drink a Franziskaner or a Paulaner Hefeweizen instead. 3.0/5

Overall: 3.2/5

28 May 2008

Too Bored and/or Busy For a Real Post

I'm up here in Chattanooga with my girlfriend today, so I'm not going to bother with a real post. Instead I'm just going to give you a quick comedy video that I find hilarious.

It's Dana Gould doing the Comedians of Comedy tour. Watch through to the end, it's definitely NSFW but nonetheless awesome.

Yeah, the audio and the video get slightly off-sync towards the end. Sorry.

27 May 2008

Possible Good News

Quentin Tarantino says that his long-in-waiting WWII flick Inglorious Bastards may be only a year away. I'm a huge Tarantino fan, and this has been one of those projects that's been talked about for about a decade, so I'm very excited.

26 May 2008


I'm on the RSS feed for the Onion Radio News Network, but I find that most of them are one-note gags that aren't really worth listening to. This one, though, actually has a last-second gag that makes it worth hearing.

Movielog, Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, 2001
Written by Ian Driscoll
Directed by Lee Demarbre
85 minutes

Okay, so I got a little burned out on reviewing movies and books for awhile. Partly just due to the sheer pace of the reviewing, but partly due to the overall quality of each film and/or book -- for the most part, I was watching a masterpiece every night. Which is somewhat insane. So I've pulled back and decided to spent less energy on watching movies and reading books for review, and catching up on old TV that I haven't had the chance to watch.

And see some really brainless cinema. In case you couldn't tell from the title, Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter fits into that category perfectly. Basically, a punk-rock kung-fu Jesus has to take on a group of vampires who are killing hot lesbians so they can use their skin as grafts to protect their own skin from the sunlight. Or something like that.

The premise sounds delightfully absurd and deliriously profane, but unfortunately the filmmakers decided to go the PG-13 route and pull back from most of the scandalous fun that should have been in a film like this. There's no nudity to be found (and, oh, how I wished for some nudity when Maria Moulton showed up as Mary Magnum!), the gore is incredibly tame, and overall the writing lacks a certain punch. This is mostly because of the incredibly amateur level of this production -- Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter was made over the course of about two years on weekends on a nothing budget, and most of the actors and extras are clearly the friends and family of the filmmakers. Interestingly, the great length of production seems to have done something for the quality of the film, as (assuming it was shot basically in-sequence) the later parts of the movie are much more competently shot and much more ambitious in their scope than the earliest sequences. There are even a couple of stunts involving a motorbike that would have been fairly impressive even in a much larger-budget film -- I don't know if there was a stunt double used or if the actress can actually ride a bike, but either way it was unexpected and nice to see.

Is this film worth your time? I'm not sorry I spent the ninety minutes on it, and there are sequences that are pretty clever and pretty funny, but the lack of a budget really shows here, and the writing isn't good enough to make up for it. When you make this kind of movie, you pretty much do it for the love rather than the money, and I'm sure that the filmmakers have made exactly the film they wanted to make, but to me it seems stilted and unnatural. It's entertaining as far as it goes, but really, I wanted a little more bite.

25 May 2008

The Thin Envelope

I forgot to check my snail mail yesterday when I got home from work, but noticed it when I was walking out the door (late, alas!) for work this morning. I opened the mailbox and saw a batch of my own handwriting in the address slot, along with a stamped message from one of the science fiction magazine publishers on the return slot.

It was thin. You guessed it, it was a rejection letter.

But hey, it's my very first rejection letter! I should frame it or something.

It's tempting to look over the language used in the letter and try to parse everything, or to let myself get depressed and convince myself that I'll never be able to place anything... but, it's just a letter. It was my very first short story submission, and it wasn't right for that magazine at that time. It just means that I've learned a bit about writing and should try for the next one.

I'm also going to submit the first story to one of the other SF magazines. There are about a half-dozen markets that I think it might be suitable for, and if and when it gets rejected by all of them, I suppose I'll just post it here.

Back to the word processor for me after work. To sooth my pain, I watched this video in which Patton Oswalt talks about the creative process.

My next short story: "Embezzle Couch: The Couch That Looks Vaguely Cross at People and Embezzles From Their Employer"

Beer Review, Vapeur Cochonne Artisanal Belgian Amber Ale

Vapeur Cochonne Artisanal Belgian Amber Ale

Appearance: Light brown body, sort of like a brown ale, thin bubbly head that persists. 4.0/5

Smell: Strong Belgian funk, sort of a "farmy" aroma. Very sweet, highly astringent. Some citrus notes, hints of coriander and lemon. Complex, a bit intimidating due to the funkiness, but inviting. Reminds me a bit of a lambic, strangely. 4.0/5

Taste: Wow, incredibly yeasty and with a strong alcohol taste. Very sour finish. Makes me think more of a Gose than a Strong Belgian Dark. I can get hints of citrus, but overall the complexities of the flavor are completely destroyed by the sour aftertaste. The alcoholic astringency also catches up with you quickly. 2.0/5

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation gives it a smoothness, no hops to speak of, moderate thickness, a bit low for such a highly alcoholic beer. 3.0/5

Drinkability: If you can get past the cloying sourness, it's actually not bad. I know the Strong Dark Belgian Style is wide, but this doesn't match up with many of the characteristics of that style. Decent, but not one I'll buy again. 2.5/5

Overall: 2.95/5

22 May 2008

I Wish Netflix Had This...

This is so so so NSFW. But check it out anyway when you get home -- it's got sixties-vintage boobies, awful SFnal space effects, lesbian whipping, and male softcore porn performers with back hair. I mean, what else could you want?

18 May 2008

Beer Review, Ommegang Three Philosophers

(That's right, I finished my short story and have even submitted it.)

Ommegang Three Philosophers

Appearance: Pours into my snifter with a dark reddish-brown body and a thick one-finger off-white head. Head is foamy and viscous, sticks around leaving significant lacing. 5.0/5

Smell: Strongly fruity notes, nice cherries, dark, nutty, slightly yeasty. Complex, but slightly astringent. 4.0/5

Taste: Strongly yeasty, bready. Strong flavors of cherries, hints of chocolate. Belgian funkiness far in the background. Finishes clean and leaves me ready for more. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Thick, chewy due to yeast, with a moderate amount of carbonation. Slightly astringent on the finish due to alcohol. 4.0/5

Drinkability: You'd think that a beer this sweet and this alcoholic would get cloying after awhile, but in general this is a very quaffable brew, finishing nicely and giving a nice warm feeling inside. Not the greatest quad ever, but then again it's a blend, so what can you do? 4.0/5