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Monday, June 25, 2012

The Brewing Network: A Club You Can Count On!

This is an open letter to all of those homebrewers out there that not only didn't applaud The Brewing Network Club  for winning Club of the Year, but actually booed us as we took the stage.  You know who you are ...

Dear Homebrewer:

I have been a homebrewer for about 15 years, and have been attending the National Homebrewers Conferences for about 10 years now - my first was in LA in 2001, and I've only missed two so far.  Each year, when all of you win awards for your beers, the room claps and cheers in support and solidarity.  You are so proud of your fellow brewers as they take the stage - throwing up high-fives as they pass your table.  It's a heartwarming thing to be a part of.  The club taking home the Club of the Year trophy is usually driven to the stage by a thundering round of applause and sometimes a standing ovation.  And why not?  They've earned it.  Whenever I talk to non-beer people about what it's like to attend one of these award banquets I tell them about the love in the room, about the cheers, about the brotherhood of the homebrewing community.

Enter: The Brewing Network.  Last year when we won COTY, we got no love from you.  No cheers, no high-fives.  Just silence with some boos.  Ok, fine.  It was the first time an internet club had won, and maybe something like that just needed some adjustment time.  When we won this year, we got the same treatment - quiet, boos, frowny-faces.  This is not the way I had been describing our community for the past 15 years.  This is someone elses hobby.  Someone elses gassy family.  Not mine. 

Standing on stage, holding our club award and listening to the silence of 1800 "friends", I realized that our community is not the big ball of love and support we all claim it is.  You people out there that were sitting in the dark, glaring at us with hate-filled and blood-shot eyes are ruining homebrewing.  So here is my request: Get Out.  Just leave.  Take your resentment and ship it back home with you so your wife and kids can hate you some more, and leave this to the rest of us that actually love to see our friends win.  I was embarrassed for the whole lot of you, to be honest.  You are all adults and well, well over 18 years old and yet you still fail to show humility when you lose.  Shameful. 

The BN Club stands as the only homebrewing resource for a great deal of brewers out there.  Just because there is a club near them - if at all - doesn't mean they have to be a part of it.  And standing there on stage with my friends, looking out into the crowd, I can't say I blame them for not wanting to share this hobby with you.   Just be happy that other people are happy and move on. 

After all ... its just beer.  Ain't it?

Stay Classy, Homebrewers.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cars Land: A Special Preview

Disney's California Adventure park has always been a puzzle to me.  If there has ever been a half-baked idea in Disney, it would be DCA all the way.  It was a theme park without a proper theme.  An entire land celebrating the state that it's in just seems too ... incestuous to really work.  Sure, there are bits fo the park that are actual rides having nothing to do with a California theme, but those are very few to make the park a viable option when spending time in DCA.

Recently, they opened a new ride, Ariel's Undersea Adventure or something like that (if you want to see the thing, watch this shitty video of it - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIarm5FEQXI), which is actually a pretty sweet ride, fan of The Little Mermaid or not.  Anyway, they were working on this ride when they started on a new Cars Land, based on the popular animated film.  Having never seen it, I could give two shits about it.  In fact, the only thing I was excited about was that a new section of the park also meant more connectivity throughout DCA.  No longer would I have to walk in a huge fucking circle to get where I wanted to go.  Cars Land was also coming with a newly designed park entrance (which I talke about here) and a new little downtown called Buena Vista Street, set in the 1940's.  Right on!

My girlfriend won passes to an advanced showing of Cars Land, and so we headed down to check it out. Our passes gave us access to BVS as well, and it was a real treat to be able to walk around a section of the park ahead of everyone else, but also while they were still working on it.  Shops were open, food was being sold, and some shop windows were being propped and set - it was pretty rad.  Sorry, no pics of this, as - to be honest - it was rather dull.  The buildings are beautiful, but the colors were boring. Lots and lots of creme and dark browns that just washed the buildings out and blended everything together.  I walked around with my camera, trying to get an interesting shot but soon gave up.  It's cool to see, but it left me wanting more from Disney.

Walking on, it was time for Cars Land.  I was forced to watch the film the night before, so I sort of had an idea of what to expect, but nothing prepared me accurately enough.

Entrance to Cars Land

Downtown, with bonus fatties

The land is set in a canyon, so 3/4ths of it has these high walls, simulating rock.  The bits of rock that are supposed to be off in the distance have a more pastel color tone to them, so they really do seem far away, when in reality they are at the same level as everything else.  The rock work is amazing, and the painting really makes you feel like part of the film.

Leaning Tower of Tires!


Rounding the corner, you hit the main drag of Cars Land, where all the shops from the film have been reproduced.  Flo's V8, Sarg's place - it's all there and it looks super legit - complete with cracks in the sidewalk and aged pavement to further replicate an old little town, save for the part of the road Lighting McQueen had to repave in the film (if you haven't seen it, you really should, if for no other reason than to get all these small things). 

Shitty pic of Stanley
The level of detail to make the rock look old is amazing
The rides are just ok.  We started with Maters Junkyard Jamboree which was total shit.  Basically, it's a ride that whips you in a figure-8 for 30 seconds, while Mater sings really awful songs at full volume.  Lame.   The second one, Luigi's Flying Tires, had a 75 min wait because the main attraction, Radiator Springs Racers, was down (again).  So we decided to watch it rather than blindly queue up.  The premise is that you are on a hovercraft-type thing shaped like a tire, and you ... bump into each other.  It had no point, and I didn't really get it but I will admit that everyone on that ride was having a great time.  Mind-blowing.

The food at Flo's is pretty good, actually. And they have beer!

Racer 5 and Red Rocket!

Eventually we got on to Radiator Springs Racers, which is like a slot-car race that wings you around a track while you race another car next to you.  It's a fun ride, but the lines will be long so I suggest you take advantage of the Single Rider line they have.
Night comes to Cars Land and the neon flickers to life, and THIS is the best time to come here.  Neon makes everything look better.  

I've bored myself already, so yeah ... Cars Land.  Choke on it.