Sunday, November 30, 2003
posted by dave at 11:44 AM in category daily, drink

After last week's fiasco I'm still feeling a little less than adventurous.

Last night I had some Newcastle at Hooter's, then went to Rich O's and had a couple pints of Upland's Bad Elmer's Porter.

This beer was a very refreshing surprise after the flavor overkill I've seen with stouts and porters lately. There was no chocolate, coffee, or dog shit taste. Just roasted malt, and not too much of that. I'd definitely drink it again.

Saturday, November 29, 2003
posted by dave at 10:33 AM in category technology

I've tracked down the cause of my incredible Internet slowdown. It was the ad-blocker program WebWasher.

I've switched back to AdSubtract and I'm running at broadband speeds once again.

posted by dave at 10:30 AM in category entertainment

I really like that show "queer eye for the straight guy."

Last night, in fact, I had a choice between catching up on the four hours of "24" that I've had tivoed but never watched, or watching the queer eye marathon that got tivoed last week.

I watched the gay guys, and really enjoyed it. They are hilarious.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003
posted by dave at 3:49 PM in category daily

I've noticed that the turkey I bought doesn't have one of those popup doohickeys to tell me when it's done.

I have zero confidence in my ability to place a meat thermometer correctly, so I'll probably either burn the house down or give myself food poisoning.

Happy Thanksgiving, one day early, just in case.

Saturday, November 22, 2003
posted by dave at 9:54 AM in category family

Birthday greetings to my sister Dina!

Perhaps it's time to start lying about your age.

posted by dave at 9:50 AM in category daily, drink

I hardly ever get a hangover. This is mostly because I'm such a lightweight when it comes to alcohol that I don't drink that much. It is possible, however, for a new beer to sneak up on me and whack me in the head repeatedly before I know what's coming.

My first beer at Rich O's last night was, as usual, a Cone Smoker. I'm tempted to call last night's glass a sample of yet another version of this Sybil of beers, but it was actually very close to version #5, with a slightly less bland background behind the smoke.

Next I was on to the experimentation phase of the night. The NABC has released a new Belgian-style pale ale called Merckx, and I had a small pint of that. The only word I can think of to describe it is "cloying." There didn't seem to be much of a distinct flavor, but what there was lingered for quite a while.

I next tried to order an Alaskan Smoked Porter, but they were out. The bartender then tried to kill me. She selected a bottle of Schlenkerla Urbock Smokebeer, reasoning that since I like smoky beer I should try what is perhaps the strongest entry in that field.

Well, the smoke was indeed very powerful. It was also quite a different type of smoky flavor than the Cone Smoker, Rogue Smoke Ale, or any other Rauchbier I've tried. I got a definite grapey taste from the smoke. I don't know if I would call it a good taste, but it certainly did the job of concealing the alcohol behind it.

After just two or three drinks I began to suspect that this would have to be my last beer of the night. After a couple more I started wondering if I would even finish the bottle.

I did manage to finish it and raced home before the alcohol still in my stomach could join its brethren in my bloodstream.

Now this morning I feel like shit and probably look worse.

posted by dave at 12:15 AM in category ramblings probably think this entry is about you.

They say that familiarity breeds contempt, but in your case it breeds the opposite.

You seem to have no idea how incredibly sexy you are, and that only make you more desirable.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003
posted by dave at 3:10 PM in category daily

Last week I sprained my wrist in bed.

Now, if you're smart, you'll stop reading right there. The facts of what happened will pale before whatever filthy scenario your mind is imagining now.

A glutton for punishment, huh? Okay, you asked for it.

I'm going to the effort of writing this account because I've told this story to about 351 people since this morning. In the future, when someone asks me about my wrist brace, I plan to just refer them to this site and go on with my life.

What happened is this - and really, this is very boring, so stop reading now - is that I was sleeping. I was alone. There were no handcuffs involved. Heck, even my cats had long since tired of my constant tossing and turning and escaped to more comfortable bedding, like the floor, or in Happy's case, the bathroom sink.

Anyway, I was sleeping. Sleeping on my left side, to be exact. My left hand was hanging over the edge of the mattress.

Here comes the exciting part.

I turned over.

Because of my sleeping condition I didn't remove my hand from the edge of the mattress before I turned over. I gave my wrist a pretty good jerk, and woke up saying a pretty bad word.

Two days later it still hurt so I went to the doctor. He told me to stop turning over and to wear this wrist brace.

Now, don't you wish you'd stopped reading back when your filthy mind thought I'd hurt my wrist during some orgy of depravity?

posted by dave at 12:28 PM in category daily, work

I can't believe that Cutie Pie* would do this to me.

She door dinged me. I had just arrived at work, and was still in my car getting my things together, when she pulled in next to me and opened her driver's door right into my passenger door! It was really a pretty good thumping, and when I turned to look, Cutie Pie just smiled at me, closed her door, and took off across the parking lot.

This is certainly not the first door ding on my Intrepid, but it's the first one I've witnessed while it happened.

Because that door already had several dings It's not like I'd want her to pay for the damages or anything. One thing I would have liked, however, would have been an "I'm sorry" or even an "Oops." I guess she figures that, because she is so cute, she can get away with this rude behaviour.

And the fact is that she can, at least with me and my Intrepid. Had it been my Monte Carlo I'd have asked for some type of immediate payment. Perhaps I'd have let her "work it off" if you know what I mean.

* - not her real name

Sunday, November 16, 2003
posted by dave at 2:05 AM in category daily, drink

Tonight I reacquainted myself with one of my favorite beers, Newcastle Brown Ale.

I had three glasses at Hooters with my cousin Jeff while waiting for MysteryLady to call. Hooters is one of the few places in the area with Newcastle on tap, and the half-naked women aren't bad either.

Newcastle Brown Ale

Newcastle is one of those beers that tastes good from the first sip of the first glass to the last drop of the third glass. It's as steady as a rock. Not as flavorful as some of the beers I've been drinking recently, but it's extremely well-balanced, and with only 5% or so ABV, it makes a very good session beer.

Later in the night MysteryLady and I went to Rich O's. This was a risk but our fears proved to be unfounded as nobody there knows her.

I had my obligatory Cone Smoker (Still style #1) and she had some Lindemann's Peche.

After my Cone Smoker I decided to try a little experiment.

I ordered a 10oz Guiness and a 10oz Rogue Shakespeare Stout and did a side-by-side comparison.

The Guiness, which I've had several hundred times before, is the standard by which I judge all other stouts. That said, the Rogue was pretty good.

Rogue Shakespeare Stout

Less bitter than the Guiness, and with more of a chocolate/coffee aftertaste. Definitely drinkable, but given a choice between Rogue and Guiness I'll always pick Guiness.

I also had a sip of Lindemann's Peche and, as I expected, it tasted like beer with peach juice in it. While I can understand its appeal to some, it's just not something I can see myself ever buying again.

Saturday, November 15, 2003
posted by dave at 9:02 PM in category daily, drink

Last night was certainly an interesting one.

The Good: My sister has gotten engaged, and we all met her and her boyfriend (fiance!) to congratulate them and share in the joy and all that mushy stuff.

The Bad: The bar where all the festivites took place carries no beer worthy of human consumption, so I settled for a couple of Diet Cokes and waited for an appropriate time to sneak out.

Seeing so many of my family members together at once got me thinking about my dad, and I decided to have a Falls City in his honor.

It wasn't the battery acid that I remember from the occasional sips I took as a kid. As lagers go, it's probably better than most American ones. That's not saying much though. Hoppy, with a little bit of a citrus tang that didn't make me want to vomit. Not after just one at least. I didn't risk another.

The Ugly: Apparently that's me. I was at Rich O's, drinking some Cone Smoker (Style #1 again) to remind myself why I drink, and having a very lively discussion with LaptopGirl about things ranging from England to beer to her ex-boyfriend.

LaptopGirl is quite cute, in a dorky way. Since I'm quite dorky in a cute way, we were clicking right along. Or so I thought. Right in the middle of a sentence LaptopGirl stopped and loudly told her girlfriend how cute she thought the guy standing next to me was. The guy overheard that and promptly moved to the head of the line for LaptopGirl's attention. They ended up leaving together shortly afterwards.

Thursday, November 13, 2003
posted by dave at 6:30 PM in category daily

Today I finally bit the bullet and went to the doctor about my wrist.

Tuesday, for about the zillionth time, I strained it during sleep and was awakened by the pain.

The doctor didn't really fix anything, he just told me to be more careful while I was sleeping. I still haven't figured out how to do that.

I also get to wear this incredibly sexy wrist brace for a while.

Interestingly, my regular doctor has mysteriously disappeared, and his office will only say that he's not going to be returning to the practice. So this doctor today was a new one for me. On the plus side, his receptionist is quite hot.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003
posted by dave at 12:16 AM in category family, notable

Today is the five-year anniversary of the day my dad dropped dead.

Well that's not what actually happened. He really died at a hospital after collapsing at work. He died in an emergency room before anyone in his family even knew he was in trouble. So for us, who had no chance to say goodbye, he was there one instant and gone the next. For us, he simply dropped dead. A month before his 57th birthday.

I'd last seen Dad a couple of weeks earlier. He'd dropped me off at the airport as I was flying to Chicago for work. For us, things were still a little strange. I'd only moved home, after living all over for 15 years, just a few weeks before. We'd not really had a chance to get to know each other since I'd become an adult. Oh, our relationship was good, not strained at all, we just didn't know each other as well as we could have. All that was going to change, though. I'd moved back to Indiana and we were going to hang out a lot. I think were both a little excited, and maybe a little nervous, about the change that was about to take place in our relationship.

The last words I said to my dad were when I told him that my sister would pick me up at the airport when I returned from Chicago. The last time I saw him alive was when he drove away from the airport curb in his Monte Carlo.

A couple of weeks went by and I was again traveling on business, this time to Baltimore. I left on a Monday and when I returned that Thursday night my sister Dina was waiting at my house with her family. I knew something was wrong, and she told me the news. The words that should have been burned into my brain forever were lost almost immediately.

Dad fainted blah blah broken nose blah blah ambulance blah heart stopped blah emergency room blah tried to revive blah blah died.

Dad was dead. My uncle had gone to the hospital, expecting to give Dad a hard time about breaking his nose in a fall at work, only to arrive and be told that his older brother had died. Uncle Wayne had then driven to my grandmother's house and had somehow managed to tell his mother that she'd lost a son. He then called my sister Dina and broke the news to her. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard that must have been for him. Dina let my other sister Neisha know then drove to my house to await my return from Baltimore.

My sisters and I became orphans five years ago today. We'd lost our mother ten years earlier, after a long hospital stay. Back then, we'd had time to prepare for the worst, even though I don't think any of us really believed it would happen.

When Mom died, it was as if a dull ache inside us had suddenly solidified, become a tangible thing that we could at least get a grip on and even push aside somewhat. When Dad died it was like a stake through the heart. The shock, at least for me, completely overwhelmed the grief. In a way, it still does, and I'm oddly grateful for that. After my mom's funeral I went back to my home in Omaha and went on with my life. A sadder life, of course, but less sad because my physical separation from my family aided in my mental separation from what had happened.

After my dad's death there was, and could be, no separation. My sisters I and went to the apartment the next day to clean out Dad's things. We met with the funeral director to discuss arrangements. We went to Dad's house in the country, the house that my sisters had never had a chance to see, to collect what we could. To keep busy. To keep from having to stop and think.

For the last five years our lives have gone on. I bought a house, partially with the money from my dad's life insurance. My sister had another baby. She got divorced. My other sister has developed this obsession with Renaissance Faires. We've all gone on because we've had to. We've had to play the hand that we were dealt. Folding is not an option.

The rest of the world has gone on as well. The Internet bubble has burst, but not before creating an awful lot of new millionaires. The passing into the year 2000 ended up being more of a media event than the disaster many were predicting. We elected (sort of) a new President. And the United States, perhaps even the world, became a much scarier place when that second plane struck the World Trade Center.

Every now and then, not as often as before but still more often than I'd like, I'm struck by the absurdity and unfairness of it all. Dad worked jobs he hated for his whole life so his family would be taken care of. He lost his wife when he was forty-six. He bought a little house in the country, made it livable, and eagerly awaited an early retirement. He never got that retirement. That time to simply relax and enjoy the fruits of his lifetime of labor. What he got was a new suit and a place in the ground next to my mother.

On my bad days I cannot stop wondering (boy do I wish I could) what Dad's last minutes were like. Did he know what was happening? Was he in pain? Was he scared? I'll never know the answer to those questions, and it bothers me more than words can say. Was he there for us our whole lives and then, when he needed us the most, we couldn't be there because it all happened too fast?

We may not have been able to be there for Dad, but we did our very best to be there for each other. As hard as the loss was, it may well have been impossible for any of us had we been unable to call on our family and friends to share the burden of the shock and grief.

My father was David Martin Siltz. He was born on December 17th, 1941 (Ten days after Pearl Harbor) and died on November 12th, 1998. He was 56 years old.

He grew up in Southern Indiana with his parents, Stanley and Dorothy Siltz, and his brothers Wayne and Stanley.

He married Launa Harmon when he was 21. He and his wife had three children; David, Dina, and Neisha. They in turn gave him between four and seven grandchildren, depending on how you count them.

For several years he built fences for a living. After that he delivered propane gas. Then he turned to factory work, making, among other things, little rubber things shaped like french fries that were used by other factories to make things like tires. He worked hard both at home and away. There was never much money but there was always enough.

He pulled his son and daughter out of bed to watch the first man walk on the Moon, though he knew they were probably too young to remember it.

When his oldest children were little they'd often ask him to draw for them. His favorite things to draw were Chevrolet Impalas. He always drew a checkered flag and a trophy off to the side, and money floating around, and it made his son laugh.

He lost his beloved wife on January 16th, 1988. Just 13 days before their 25th wedding anniversary. He remarried once, a couple of years afterwards, but was soon divorced and single again.

He spent his last years in a little apartment in New Albany. "Just a place to sleep," he'd always say. His real home was the little camper, and later the little house, in the country that he'd escape to whenever his work schedule allowed it.

He loved cars, and could identify all the old cars after the slightest glance. He bought a Corvette and a Monte Carlo SS and withstood the accusations of "mid-life crisis" from his family. He even joined a car club and helped judge entries at their shows.

He could spot a four leaf clover "while driving down the road" as his brother Stan joked.

He was very good at pitching horseshoes. He'd learned from his father.

He liked to play pool with his friends, and put a pool table in his country house - the first time he'd had enough room for one in nearly thirty years.

He liked Benny Hill and James Bond and the old spaghetti westerns.

He was a big fan of Anne Murray.

All of his radios were tuned to the oldies station.

He would read voraciously, usually science fiction novels, and in his locker at work on his last day he had a half-finished book that his son had loaned to him. That book was buried with him.

He would work a crossword puzzle every morning after a night shift, and carry a book of them to work and fill them in throughout the long shifts.

He could walk into a bar that he hadn't visited in years and always be greeted by name by someone there who knew him and was glad to see him. He had friends everywhere.

His favorite beer was Falls City, and it bothered him so much when that beer's recipe changed that he switched brands until it was changed back.

He had all the state capitals memorized.

He was a fan of all types of auto racing, and would often tape races to watch on his days off work.

On his last day he took some cash from the bank. He was scheduled to be off the next several days and was planning to go to his house in the country. That money instead went to pay for the clothes he wore to his funeral.

Throughout his entire life people would constantly misspell his last name. When he died, some newspapers misspelled his name in his obituary.

At his funeral, a friend from work put a book of crossword puzzles and a pencil in his casket. They were buried with him.

His favorite song was the theme from the movie "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." It was played at his funeral.

Everyone has a father, and most people lose theirs at some point. I'm not going to say that my dad was any better than anyone else's. He was better than many, certainly. He yelled but was never cruel. He punished but was never abusive. He played a very big part in making me the person I am today. I have the same sense of humor, the same love of science fiction, the same fascination with the future and outer space. My love of pool started with the table we had in our basement when I was a child.

So much of what makes me who I am came from him.

My father was David Martin Siltz. He died five years ago today.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003
posted by dave at 6:10 PM in category daily, drink

During lunch in Cincinnatti today I looked over the sparse beer selection and chose to try Abita Amber since I'd never had it before.

I chose poorly.

Water with beer-flavoring added. The tap water taste overpowered the beer taste. Very unsatisfactory.

posted by dave at 12:34 AM in category entertainment

I just love Kelly Clarkson. Despite my mocking of her largest fan base in the subject of this entry, I think she's just an unbelievable talent.

I'm 38 years old, and whenever I listen to her sing I find my eyes welling up with tears. That's just not right. One singer, no matter how talented, should not be able to do this to me.

But she does. My appreciation of her grew with each episode of American Idol, and reached its peak when she sang "I Surrender" with a voice that even as strained as it was still just blew me away. Then she followed it up with a performance of "Without You" that, as far as I'm concerned, was the best that song had ever been sung.

My love for Kelly has not lessened one bit since then. Even the horribly vapid movie she did with Sideshow Bob was a blessing because it got Kelly on my TV.

Kelly Clarkson

Sunday, November 9, 2003
posted by dave at 2:24 PM in category hotd

My Hottie of the Day for November 9, and actually my Hottie of the Millenium, is the unfreakenbelievably beautiful Patricia Velasquez. She's probably best known for her portrayals of Anck-Su-Namun in The Mummy and The Mummy Returns.

Patricia Velasquez

posted by dave at 1:55 AM in category daily, drink

Last night's Friday Beer Report was preempted by a five hour nap, so I didn't go out last night at all.

Tonight, after the play, I went to Rich O's and sampled three beers.

First, the ever-changing Cone Smoker. I say ever-changing, although it's actually been pretty stable for the past few weeks. Not tonight.

Tonight it was a watered down Brady Bunch version of itself. Very little smoke, very little anything in fact. It kind of seemed like they'd mixed Cone Smoker with their Community Dark and ended up with a beer that would appeal to no one except old women and twelve year old boys.

For those keeping score at home:

Version #1: Good, well balanced, with a good smoky taste.
Version #2: Very strong smoke flavor, a little too strong at first but by the end of the glass the smoke seems just right. Very good batch. My favorite of all.
Version #3: No smoke at all. Hoppy taste predominates. If I wanted high gravity and hoppy taste I'd just order an Arrogant Bastard.
Version #4: See version #1.
Version #5: Smoky, but otherwise more bland than any other version so far.

And now, version #6: Combines the smokeless taste of version #3 with the blandness of version #5.

Next on the menu tonight was Kostritzer Black Beer. I was expecting a stout, and it did look like one, but the taste was more like a lager. There was, however, a bit of chocolate and roasted malt taste that seemed pretty well balanced. Overall a bit bland.

Speaking of bland, the next beer I tried was Rogue's American Amber. This beer reminded me a lot of Community Dark except it was a little less sweet. And what, you may ask, is Community Dark without the sweetness? Iced tea, that's what.

I finished off the night with a draft root beer, and that was the best drink I had tonight.

Saturday, November 8, 2003
posted by dave at 2:03 AM in category gallery

Over the past few days I've been playing with Terragen a lot, and have managed to crank out three more images that I think are worthy of posting.

The one of the right is probably the best one I've ever done.

overhang ancient looming

Monday, November 3, 2003
posted by dave at 11:05 AM in category website

Fixed the 'blog search function to accept multiple words and do an OR search against them.

Also changed the search results to highlight matching words like this.

Sunday, November 2, 2003
posted by dave at 9:33 PM in category hotd

Perhaps best known for her potrayals of Cindy Campbell in the Scary Movie series, Anna Faris is my November 2nd Hottie of the Day.

Anna Faris

posted by dave at 6:37 PM in category website

Uploaded small icons of the cats' faces for inclusion in their 'blog posts.

An icon for my own posts is being contemplated.

For the record, the Nugget face on the main cats' page, with the animated mouseover, is probably the most adorable thing I've ever done.

posted by dave at 1:16 AM in category family

Prediction: Within five years of this posting, the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants will stop being held.

Reasoning: Pageant organizers will see my niece and realize that any beauty competition that doesn't include her is a complete sham and waste of time.

posted by dave at 1:08 AM in category gallery

After a long hiatus I've made another Terragen image. It's certainly nothing special except that I think the sky looks pretty cool.


Saturday, November 1, 2003
posted by dave at 10:12 AM in category daily, drink

Not much to report in the way of new beers for last night. I had two Cone Smokers, still style "A" so I think they've got the recipe down pat now.

After those I tried to drink a pint of Anchor Liberty Ale. I say tried because I just couldn't stomach the shit. I don't know if it was just clashing with the Cone Smoker or if it would suck just fine on its own. I'm pretty sure it didn't need any help to suck.

Anchor Liberty Ale

(draft) The citrusy smell and taste reminded me of the Pilsner Urquel from a couple of weeks ago, except that Libery Ale was even worse. It tasted like beer and orange juice mixed. Blech.
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