Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I know that everyone has been waiting impatiently for a new blog from me and understandably so as it's the greatest read on the web so I'm truly sorry that I've been MIA for a few weeks now. Just been busy and a little less motivated but I promise that I'm back and better than ever.

Since I have missed four weeks, I still plan on drinking, listening, watching and eating the same number of items that I would've for Weeks 11, 12, 13 and 14 but mention all four in one blog.

Week 11-14:

Shiner Kosmos (4.90%)
Shiner Light Blonde (4.00%)
2nd Amendment Brew Free or Die IPA (7.00%)
Lakefront Riverwest Stein Lager (5.68%)
Lakefront Eastside Dark (5.52%)
Lakefront Fuel Cafe (5.93%)
Redhook Long Hammer IPA (6.20%)
Saranac Stout (5.40%)
Key West Sunset Ale (4.80%)
Blue Moon Caramel Apple Spiced Ale (5.80%)
Henry Weinhard IPA (6.00%)
New Belgium Red Hoptober (6.00%)

Beers Already Tried From This Brewery: 
Shiner: Too many to name
2nd Amendment: None
Lakefront: If you've read this blog, you know
Redhook: ESB
Saranac: Too many to name
Key West: None
Blue Moon: Blue Moon, Harvest Pumpkin Ale, Spring Blonde Wheat Ale, Summer Ale, etc
Henry Weinhard: None
New Belgium: Blue Paddle Pilsner, Dig, Fat Tire, 1554, Shift Pale Ale, Snow Day, Somersault, Sunshine Wheat

To be honest, some of the beers that I tried, I simply don't remember anything about. Not because I was too drunk or anything, just the fact that there wasn't really anything special about them. However, I will try and write about the ones I do remember standing out.

The 2nd Amendment Brew Free or Die IPA was a very interesting beer to say the least. This was my first IPA in a can and wasn't nearly as hoppy as I expected. Not to mention, the after taste tasted like Froot Loops. Overall, a very solid beer.

The Lakefront Fuel Cafe wasn't terrible, but wasn't good either. Maybe it's because right before I had it, I had drank a Chili Beer but it just wasn't doing it for me.

Key West Sunset Ale was your standard ale. Bland but very drinkable.

Blue Moon Caramel Apple Spiced Ale was unique in that the smell was wonderful but the taste didn't live up to it. Expectations are always tempered when drinking any Blue Moon because you have to assume it's not going to wow you and this was no exception. However, this was one of the best smelling beers I've had in quite some time. You'll definitely get nodes of the spices in this one.

Henry Weinhard IPA was a pleasant surprise, seeing as how I'm not a hop head or anything. This one had great flavor and when I was drinking it, I was smoking a cigar so that actually enhanced the flavor and made it even better. Honestly, up until this past weekend, I had never even heard of the brewery. If you see this one around at the grocery store, I suggest picking up a sixer.

The most recent beer that I've tried was the new Fall beer from New Belgium called Red Hoptober. The color of this beer was a nice dark amber and the taste was okay at best. Honestly, that seems to be the theme with me and New Belgium. I don't know what it is but nothing from them seems to grab me. There always seems to be some sort of funk with their beers.

Album #1: King of the Delta Blues Singers by Robert Johnson (1936 and 1937, released in 1961)
Length: 43 Minutes, 8 Seconds

Known as the greatest blues album of all-time as well as one of the most influential albums of all-time, I knew that I had to check this out. Robert Johnson, who only lived to age 27, recorded these songs in 1936 and 1937, before passing in Mississippi a year later.

After listening to this album, I can see why it's considered to be the greatest blues album ever. I loved that because these were recorded in the 30s, it has that old school feel to it which is perfect for blues.

I'd most certainly recommend giving this album a listen, whether you like blues or not. 

Album #2: Ceremonials by Florence and the Machine (2011)
Length: 55 Minutes, 58 Seconds

After hearing "Shake It Out" on an episode of Degrassi about a month ago, I fell in love with that song. Between that and already enjoying Lungs, I figured I'd do myself the pleasure of finally getting around to listening to Florence and the Machine's most recent album, Ceremonials.

The opening track is If Only For A Night, a song about a night where Florence dreamt her grandmother, who committed suicide, spoke to her. Truly a powerful song from her voice to the lyrics.

Next was the one song I already knew, Shake It Out. Seriously, this song gives me goosebumps. Again, Florence's voice is so powerful and spine tingling.

The third song is What The Water Gave Me, which is lovely. Next is Never Let Me Go. I don't think I can mention it enough just how phenomenal her voice is. This song is beautiful. I could put this song on repeat over and over and not get tired of it.

Fifth on the album is Breaking Down. It's the shortest song on the album and the only one that comes in under 4 minutes at 3:49 and it's certainly more upbeat but enjoyable.

Sixth is Lover To Lover. I swear a heard a little "Heard It Through The Grapevine" in this song. Pretty good song. Next is No Light, No Light. Another very solid song.

Eighth on Ceremonials is Seven Devils. Deeper song than most on the album but damn good.

Next is Heartlines which was a really good song. Lyrically, it hit me. The line "Your heart is the only place that I call home" resonated with me.

With only three songs left, we have Spectrum, All This and Heaven Too, and Leave My Body. Spectrum was a pretty good song. I loved All This and Heaven Too. One of those tracks you just want to belt the lyrics to in your car. And finally, Leave My Body. Another song with powerful lyrics. It's a song about letting everything go and being at peace.

Seriously, this album was fantastic in every way possible. If you don't give this album a listen, you honestly are making a huge mistake. On that note, go listen to Lungs as well. Florence is one of the most talented singers out there.

Album #3: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals (2010)
Length: 51 Minutes, 9 Seconds

A few weeks ago, sitting up at the Fox & Hound, I was sitting alone just checking out the music videos that they play on a few TVs and out of nowhere, I heard this voice that struck me. After seeing the video and it popping up who it was, it was Paris (Ooh La La) by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals.

I knew I had heard of them before because I knew a few people that liked them as well as had seen them at Memphis In May Music Fest a few months ago. I really liked the song so I decided to check out the rest of the album.

What I got with this album was a little bit of everything that all hit me right. Grace Potter's vocals are mind blowingly good.

Paris (Ooh La La) started off the album exactly how it should've. Upbeat, sexy, soulful. Next up is Oasis, a song slower than the one before but still smooth. The end of the song ends with a nice guitar riff. Her voice is eerily similar to Janis Joplin on this track.

The third song is Medicine, a song that picks it back up. I definitely dug this song. Next is Goodbye Kiss. This song has a nice, slow groove with some twang behind it . One of my favorites on the album. Makes me want to drive around and belt it (much like most of the album).

The fifth song on the album is Tiny Light. I think Grace's voice shines brighter on this song that any of the others, which says alot. The last two minutes of this song is has a badass solo along with her intense wails. Another of my favorites without question.

Sixth on the album is Colors, the slowest song on the album. It's a beautiful song. Next is Only Love, an upbeat song with a ton of soul.

Eighth is Money, probably the weakest track on the album, atleast lyrically. However, her voice is still damn good. Ninth is One Short Night, a poppier song that is nice. Low Road is the tenth track and one of my favorites. It sounds similar to Norah Jones to me. Slow, smooth, sexy.

The last three songs on the album are That Phone, Hot Summer Night and Things That I Needed. That Phone is a good song, but nothing special. Hot Summer Night has some sweet guitar riffs and her voice is fantastic, as usual. The last song on the album is Things That I Needed. The song is incredibly slow, twangy and beautiful. The lyrics on this are my favorite on this album like: I don't want to be the one who lets you down/All I did was run myself around/I wish I could have seen through your eyes/Maybe then I would have realized/I'm the only one who's bleeding/For the things I never needed

Overall, this album is simply fantastic and I'd recommend this to anyone. Her voice is powerful and soulful and the guitar goes wonderfully with it. Definitely check it out at some point.

Album #4: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel (1998)
Length: 39 Minutes, 51 Seconds

Going into the fourth album, I knew I wanted it to be considered one of the best in whatever genre it was so I decided to look up what people thought the best indie album of all-time was. Most lists that I had read put In The Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel as the greatest indie album so that's ultimately what made my decision. I actually had heard of them from a friend who had actually done a cover of Oh Comely.

For this review, I won't break it down song by song but I have to say that I really liked this album. It scratched my right where I was itching.

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea oddly enough was highly influenced by The Diary of Anne Frank, which lead singer and guitarist, Jeff Mangum read before writing this album. While not a biography per say, you can definitely grasp that while listening to the lyrics.

In Oh Comely, the line I know they buried her body with others/Her sister and mother and 500 families/And will she remember me 50 years later/I wished I could save her in some sort of time machine/Know all your enemies/We know who our enemies are clearly is about Anne Frank.

One thing I love about this album is the use of horns throughout the album. It reminds me of the band Typhoon.

I honestly don't think this album is for everyone but I'd still suggest everyone listen to it.

Movie #1: Caddyshack (1980)
Length: 1 Hour, 38 Minutes
Main Cast: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, Ted Knight

Once I heard Kenny Loggins' "I'm Alright" play, I knew this movie was going to be a classic one.

From Bill Murray's varmit hunting to Rodney Dangerfield obnoxiously wonderful character to Chevy Chase being awesome, this movie was fantastic.

Of course, having a little eye candy in Cindy Morgan didn't hurt during the movie either.

One of my favorite parts is when Dangerfield hits the ball and yells four and it hits Ted Knight's character straight in his nether region and Rodney yells "I should've yelled two."

I'd assume most people have seen this movie but if you haven't, it's a must see.

Movie #2: Forrest Gump (1994)
Length: 2 Hours, 21 Minutes
Main Cast: Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise

Eighteen years. That's how long it took me from the time this movie came out until the time I saw it. Seems ridiculous, doesn't it? The weirdest part of it all is I really had no idea what it was even about. I had heard all the many quotes that came from this film but never actually thought to question the plot.

After seeing this film, the story was definitely not what I was expecting.

My first thought into the movie was how quickly the line about the box of chocolates was. Normally something that quoted so much is atleast somewhere further into the movie.

Throughout the movie, I absolutely loved the fact they had real life events happening within the confines of the story. Everything from the Presidents, to Bear Bryant of Alabama to war to inventions done. For me, that really added to the movie.

The story between Forrest and Jenny was a beautiful one, although at times a tumultuous one, because of her issues with drugs, etc. Despite all of that, Forrest still loved her and never wavered.

Another part of this movie I loved was the soundtrack. They had some fantastic classic tunes that fit right in with the times throughout the movie. Not only that but the score near the end of the film was wonderful as well.

Overall, I liked this movie. It wouldn't be my favorite movie ever and I'm not sure I'd even go out of my way to watch it again but that doesn't take away from a well written story with fantastic acting by Tom Hanks.

Movie #3: Clerks (1994)
Length: 1 Hour, 43 Minutes
Main Cast: Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Lisa Spoonhauer

Hockey on the roof. Selling cigarettes to a four year old. Knocking over a casket. Having sex with a dead guy. In no other movie could you find those three things, except Clerks.

While I know some people thought I made the huge mistake of seeing Clerks 2 before Clerks, which I did many years ago, it didn't make me appreciate the hilarity of this movie any less.

For me, Jason Mewes character was my favorite. Some of the lines he said throughout the movie was hilarious.

The only downside to this movie compared to Clerks 2 is no Rosario Dawson and dancing on the roof to the Jackson 5.

Obviously, this is a must see movie for anyone that isn't completely offended by filth humor.

Movie #4: This Is Spinal Tap (1998)
Length: 1 Hour, 22 Minutes
Main Cast: Rob Reiner, Michael McKeen, Christopher Guest, Fran Drescher, Fred Willard

Somehow I just wish that I could turn this blog up to eleven.

This was my first mockumentary I've ever watched and I can't imagine it getting better than that. At times, you completely forget that it is one because of how ridiculous metal, hair metal especially, was back in the day. Rob Reiner nailed this perfectly.

Seriously, there are too many classic quotes in this movie to count. If you haven't seen this movie, absolutely see it. You won't regret it!


Food #1: Bratwurst with mustard on a hoagie bun

While tailgating at the University of Memphis first football game of the year, one of my buddies happened to have some brats and so I decided to try them. Seems strange that I'd never had one before but that could be said for many things. After biting into it, I regretted having never tried one before. It was so much freaking better than a hot dog, it wasn't even close.

Hopefully this football season, I'll be able to grill out some cheddar brats, as I've heard those were delicious.

Food #2: Smoked Bacon and Calabrese from Bluefin (Downtown Memphis)

Having been to Bluefin twice before and getting salmon the first time and chicken the second time, I knew I wanted to get something that I wasn't sure about. What I ended up getting probably isn't some crazy dish but certainly new to me.

I got the Smoked Bacon and Calabrese which was plum tomato sauce, spicy Italian salami, Italian sausage and mozerella cheese on a flatbread dough. Basically, it was a fancy way of saying thin crust pizza but alas, still new.

While I'm not a huge fan of anything that's crispy, I still enjoyed this. The toppings and cheese were delicious and would definitely try again. However, the next time I'm there, I'll get something new.

Food #3: Krispy Kreme Doughnut With Papa John's Chickenstrips With Garlic Sauce (Cordova)

Your first thought is mostly WTF, that's gross! Well to be honest, I felt the same way. Seriously, a glazed doughnut with chickenstrips topped off with garlic sauce. Sounds gross as hell.

However, you'd be wrong. This crazy mess of a meal was delicious. The sweetness of the doughnut went perfect with the garlic sauce. They truly complimented each other so well.

If not for my wonderful, deviant friends who came up with this idea, I'd never have tried it. Thank God for Monday nights!

Food #4: Steak Au Poivre with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes from Firebirds (Collierville)

You're probably asking yourself "Was that as delicious as it looked?" and the answer would be a resounding "YES!"

On my way into work, I was driving around looking for a place to eat and most of the restaurants didn't open til 4pm but Firebirds happened to be open from 11am til close so I went in there. There were a few things on the menu that struck me but none more than the Steak Au Poivre.

Basically it's sirloin steak sliced up and topped with a peppercorn brandy sauce. It also came with Parmesan mashed potatoes. Seriously, one of the best things I've eaten in a while. The peppercorn sauce went perfectly with the steak as well as the mashed potatoes.

Combine the deliciousness of this meal with how great the weather felt outside (sat on the patio, as pictured), it couldn't have been better.

If you have a Firebirds near you, I'd suggest you go and try this little slice of heaven.

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