Monday, April 30, 2012

Homebrew #2: Part 2: Bottling

I was hoping to bottle this before I left for TAP NY, but I wound up spending practically the entire day on Friday getting the labels off the bombers (no, I didn't film that). Just like with the brewing, I sanitized and bottled this entire batch by myself. Now I just need to start thinking of a name for this homebrew. I'm currently thinking "Chad'z TRULY Unsupervised Hefeweizen". I dunno, what do you think?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Homebrew #2: Part 1: Brewing

It feels like it's been forever since I last homebrewed. I had actually put it off for a while because I was trying to diet and exercise and didn't want a lot of beer sitting around the house just tempting me to drink it. Now that I've lost 25 pounds I think I'm safe to have some temptation again.

I picked up this kit at my homebrew store kind of on a whim. I figured by the time it's ready, the weather will be conducive to hefeweizen drinking. I also did this kit completely by myself. Well, I did call up Dan Harper and Craig Gravina to ask them a few questions, but otherwise it was all me.

And of course not everything went 100% according to plan as you'll see at the end there. I think I'm going to call this "Fingers Crossed Wheat".

Chad'z  Truly Unsupervised Hefeweizen recipe

Made from a preassembled kit from Hammersmith Homebrew Supplies in Latham, NY.

Brewed: 4/15/12
Bottled: 4/30/12

OG: unknown, but the kit indicates it should have been ~1.050
FG: 1.014
ABV: 4.8% ± 0.5%

STEEPING GRAINS: (~40 minutes)
Wheat Malt Grain   (1 pound)
Lager Malt Grain   (1 pound)
Carapils Malt Grain   (8 ounces)

BOILING FERMENTABLES: (~60 minutes)
Weizen Malt Extract   (3.3 pounds)
Dry Malt Extract Weizen (2 pounds)

HOPS:
Hallertau (4.8%):
1oz during mid-boil
1/2oz 15 minutes to flame out

YEAST:
White Labs liquid WLP300 "Hefeweizen Ale Yeast"
Lot number: 1300PPAPORA1

WATER:
Nestle Pure Life Purified Water (5 gallons)
Brewed with 2 gallons on stovetop

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Angry Orchard Crisp Apple | Chad'z Cider Reviews #10

Remember when I used to review cider? Yeah, me neither. But then I saw this at my beer store and was immediately reminded, so I bought it and reviewed it. This is actually made by Samuel Adams (well, the Boston Beer Company to be exact). Would they be able to make a decent cider? Watch and find out.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Interview with Union College Hockey radio announcers Matt Dubrey & Brian Unger (part 2 of 2)

Matt Dubrey and Brian Unger are names you know if you're a fan of Union College Hockey. They've been calling the play-by-play and color commentary on the radio (and more recently, local television) for nearly a decade now. By an amazing coincidence I started working for the same company as them back in August (in fact, Matt's desk is only 20 feet away from mine). Being a huge fan of Union hockey I knew I had to sit them down to ask them some questions a lot of us fans have also been wondering. So at the last edition of "Coaches Corner" at Bombers Burrito Bar in Schenectady they agreed to let me pick their brain for a few minutes. Here's what I asked them....

0:01 What will your reaction be if they win it all?
1:40 What have your interactions with fans been like?
2:32 How would you compare Union's fan base compared to other schools?
3:12 What arenas are the best and worst to broadcast from?
4:13 How long has Union been broadcasting their hockey games on the radio?
4:41 How many people listen to a radio broadcast?
5:00 Matt, how did you get into calling the Union games on Time Warner 3 TV?
5:32 How does Time Warner decide what games to show?
5:49 How many people watch a Union game on TV?
6:18 What's the difference between doing radio and TV?
7:22 What's your favorite thing about your job?

UNION HOCKEY RADIO ON THE WEB:
http://www.facebook.com/UnionHockeyRadio
http://www.twitter.com/UCHockeyRadio

LISTEN TO THE GAMES ONLINE AT:
http://www.teamline.cc/teampage?teamcode=1160

MORE UNION HOCKEY ONLINE:
http://www.unionathletics.com/index.aspx?path=mhockey
https://twitter.com/#!/unionhockey
https://twitter.com/#!/unionhockeyblog
http://www.uscho.com/team/union/mens-hockey/

My (mostly) complete autobiography [wicked short version]

I realize that autobiography post went WAY longer than I thought it would and I doubt anyone other than my mom would be interested enough to read all that. So here's the short version:

September 9, 1976: born in Schenectady, NY.

1982-1987: Howe Elementary School

1987-1990: Oneida Middle School (also, Boy Scouts)

1990-1994: Linton/Schenectady High School

1992: my family leaves the Catholic church, goes Protestant.

1993-2001: cashier at Price Chopper

1994-95: Hudson Valley Community College (art major)

Aug-Dec 1995: Roberts Wesleyan College (art major)

Aug 1996 - Dec 1997: SUNY Morrisville (AA in journalism)

1998-2000: Montgomery County reporter for the Leader-Herald in Gloversville, NY

2000-2001: sports reporter for "The Weekly Rumble". Also, worked a ton of temp office jobs

late 1999; get an apartment on Washington Ave in Albany with two friends

spring 2000: get my own studio apartment on Watervliet Ave in Albany

winter 2001: move back in with my parents

April 2001: joined the Navy

April - July 2001: Navy boot camp - Great Lakes, IL

July 2001 - February 2002: "Tech Core" and FC "A" school in Great Lakes, IL

Feb - Oct 2002: FC "c" school in Virginia Beach

Oct 2002 - Oct 2007: Stationed aboard the USS WASP (LHD-1). Lived in various barracks and civilian apartments in Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, and Norfolk during that time.

Feb-Oct 2004: my first navy deployment overseas

Aug - Nov 2006: my second navy deployment

May 2007: "Fleet Week" in NYC

July 2007: "Fleet Week" in Boston

October 2007: transition from active duty to reserves. Move to Albany

January 2008-August 2009: full time student at UAlbany majoring in English/minoring in education. Received a B.A. in English August 2009.

October 2008: Start "Chad'z Beer Reviews"

August-November 2009: attend CE "A" school at Sheppard Air Force Base in Witchita Falls, Texas

December 2009 - August 2011: Full time student at ITT Tech majoring in Computer Networking Systems

April 2011: Leave the military after 10 years of service

Summer 2011: work various IT temp jobs

August 2011: Begin full time work with my current employer

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Interview with Union College Hockey radio announcers Matt Dubrey & Brian Unger (part 1 of 2)

Matt Dubrey and Brian Unger are names you know if you're a fan of Union College Hockey. They've been calling the play-by-play and color commentary on the radio (and more recently, local television) for nearly a decade now. By an amazing coincidence I started working for the same company as them back in August (in fact, Matt's desk is only 20 feet away from mine). Being a huge fan of Union hockey I knew I had to sit them down to ask them some questions a lot of us fans have also been wondering. So at the last edition of "Coaches Corner" at Bombers Burrito Bar in Schenectady they agreed to let me pick their brain for a few minutes. Here's what I asked them....

0:45 How long have you been calling Union games and how did you get this job?
2:06 What got you into broadcasting?
3:07 How do you call the play-by-play without getting tongue tied?
4:13 What else is involved in being a radio announcer besides just calling the action?
5:58 What is a typical game day schedule like for you?
7:04 What are some things involved with your job that most people wouldn't know about?
7:50 What's been some of your most memorable moments?
9:07 What's been your reaction to their success this season?

UNION HOCKEY RADIO ON THE WEB:
http://www.facebook.com/UnionHockeyRadio
http://www.twitter.com/UCHockeyRadio


LISTEN TO THE GAMES ONLINE AT:
http://www.teamline.cc/teampage?teamcode=1160

MORE UNION HOCKEY ONLINE:
http://www.unionathletics.com/index.aspx?path=mhockey
https://twitter.com/#!/unionhockey
https://twitter.com/#!/unionhockeyblog
http://www.uscho.com/team/union/mens-hockey/

My (mostly) complete autobiography [long, but breezy!]

Sorry for the delay between posts. Then again this blog isn't generating all that much traffic just yet so I'm sure all two of you are annoyed by the lag.

Anyway, since this is supposed to be an autobiographical blog I thought I would tell you about my life. You can always refer back to this and the previous post whenever you want to know about me.

So I was born September 9, 1976 in Schenectady, NY. Now you know where Chad9976 comes from (seriously, I've been using that user name since back in the 90s when everyone's user name was just their first name and their birthday). Both of my parents grew up in Schenectady and still live in the same house I grew up in to this day. So yeah, I grew up in Schenectady, only a stone's throw away from Niskayuna. Although I sometimes wonder how different my life would've been had we lived one more block to the north or to the east.

I went to Howe School for K-5 and I have a lot of great memories about those years. My mom used to babysit kids out of our house for many years before she started working full time. I'm quite sure it was under the table and would be highly illegal by today's standards. All it would've taken was a neighbor ratting us out to CPS and me, my sister and brother probably would've been in the custody of the Flanders. Oh yeah, I have a little sister and brother, too. I'm the oldest. My sister Jena was born in 1978 and John was born in 1981 (or was it 1982? I can never remember, honestly). I've always thought of myself as something of a loner, an introvert, and someone who likes to be left alone. I think that stems from the fact my bedroom was on the first floor and everyone else slept upstairs. So once everyone went to bed (and I'd often notice) I felt like I had the house to myself. Not that I actually DID anything. Hell, I didn't even leave my room except go to the bathroom, but I felt empowered by the buffer zone.

I got sidetracked there. So yeah Howe for elementary school. Then Oneida for middle school. Ugh. Middle school was the worst. None of the innocence of elementary school and none of the shenanigans of high school. Just a lot of schoolwork, a lot of growing pains and having to participate in the WORST pageants/musicals twice a year for three years. I always hated how we absolutely HAD to be involved somehow. Even if you weren't an actor you were relegated to the chorus and you had to come in at night and put on a show for all our parents. I think this is when I started developing my libertarian leanings because I felt there was no freedom of choice and it was oppressive.

Although middle school itself sucked, a lot of the fun things happened outside of school. Namely - Nintendo and Boy Scouts. If you grew up in the 80s you know all about Nintendo. That thing was awesome. I grew playing an Atari 2600 knockoff in elementary school but when I saw a Nintendo at my friends' house in Burnt Hills I realized how crappy it was and begged for a Nintendo for Christmas for a year or two before my parents (or was it my uncle?) finally caved and got me (I mean US) one. If you've seen some of the videos on either of my youtube channels you know I currently hold a collection of several HUNDRED Nintendo games and still play them to this day. Super Nintendo was good too, but I thought it was the beginning of putting style over substance in video games and is why I never got another console after that.

But like I was saying, middle school was also the Boy Scouts years. I was in Cub Scouts and thought it was okay, even if we never left a church basement and I never one a single race in the Pinewood Derby. Boy Scouts was better because we actually got to go out and do stuff - namely camping. Even though you're supposed to learn about all these character-building things and quasi-military things like discipline and first aid and how to tie knots and crap, I was mostly in for the good times. We invented a game in my troop called "killer basketball." It was basically a cross between football and basketball. You played basketball by the normal rules but you didn't have to dribble and you could tackle whoever had the ball... on a hardwood gym floor... without pads or helmets. Kids didn't bruise so easily back then. Going on camping trips was a lot of fun, too. Like I said, I wasn't so much interested in how to build a fire or chopping firewood, but had more fun clowning around with the guys. I actually preferred the winter campouts more because we could go sledding and have snowball fights. One of these days I'll wrote a blog just on Boy Scouts (actually I could write a series of them). I'll wrap this up by saying once I reached high school I though Boy scouts was beneath me and frankly I wasn't interested in doing all the work you had to do to earn merit badges and advance. I think I retired as a "first class scout" which was two ranks below Eagle.

I went to Linton/Schenectady High School 1990-94. I was in a unique class as mine was the only class to have two years at Linton and two years at SHS. Beginning in 1993 the two Schenectady high schools merged into one. That was a pain because all the kids from the bad side of town were now thugging up my school. Again, I could write a series of blogs just on this topic and maybe I will someday. I think only a few things are worth mentioning: Firstly, I got into comics in high school and tried my hand at drawing them myself. I always thought I was good, but in retrospect I wasn't all that talented. I could draw people and that was about it. I wish I had realized this then because when I graduated SHS I went to Hudson valley Community College "majoring" in art. Hmm.... well I guess that's really the only thing worth mentioning about high school. Wasn't a super popuarl person so I wasn't going to a lot of parties or experimenting with drugs and alcohol (few were, really). I did have a girlfriend in the summer between junior and senior year. I can't even remember how that happened, I just kind of got lucky (she didn't go to my school, I met her at a party at my aunt's house). My first kiss came when we went to go see "Super Mario Bros: The Movie". LOL I kid you not! That's about all the action I saw for a long time, ha ha!

So during the high school years I'm taking this drawing thing really seriously for a hobby and I decide to take it to the next level by going to community college for art. That was quite shocking and annoying because I wasn't learning "how" to make art or improve art, but it was taught on the assumption that you already were an artist. I remember the ONE art professor (teacher, really) was a total pretentious hipster who scoffed whenever I said I wanted to be a comic book artist. I had much more fun taking all the gen-ed classes like composition and western civ than I did in any of the art classes. You'd think I would've learned my lesson and quite art then since I was getting C's in art class (I chalked it up to the teacher being a prick and not my lack of talent). After a year and a half at HVCC I transferred to a Christian college in Rochester to see if that would help any more. It didn't. In fact, it just confirmed what I feared - I wasn't an artist. Not a talented enough one to make a living off doing it anyway. One of the main reasons I transferred to that school (Roberts Wesleyan College, by the way) was because my best friend Matt (who I had met in sixth grade through Boy Scouts) was going to college in Rochester too. I figured we'd hang out all the time, but we were 20 miles away and in the one semester I went to school out there we hung out all of twice.

I came home after that one fall semester, took a semester off from school, worked, then went to SUNY Morrisville to finish up my associate's but majored in journalism. I always had a knack for writing - but only when I wrote what I wanted to write. I started dabbling in reviews in high school and college so I thought journalism would be for me since you could, theoretically, write whatever you wanted, just on the subject. I had a fun time at Mo'ville. I wrote for the school paper and the three journalism professors were wicked cool. That's about the time the internet started to take off, but I was still paying AOL like $20 a month for dial-up (broadband was still a ways off in 1996-97). I remember visiting the imbd.com in its infancy and a funny website called "Dan McGripes" - basically a blog about a guy that worked at McDonald's and all his funny and horrible stories about idiot customers. I could relate. I had been working part time as a cashier at a supermarket since 11th grade (I forgot to mention that I was a paperboy in middle school - but I've already got another blog about that already written).

So I graduated Morrisville and was hoping to go straight into the journalism field, but it didn't really work like that. I moved back home and got a full time office job and worked at the supermarket on Sundays. I did this for about a year, maybe a year and a half. In fact, I worked a FEW office jobs because I had a tendency for getting fired because I couldn't feign enthusiasm for clerical work. I'd send out resumes and writing samples to local newspapers every once in a while and finally heard back from a small afternoon paper all the way up in Gloversville. The job I was interviewing for was about to be vacated by one of my childhood friends (who I'm sure recommended me for the position). I was a little surprised to get the interview, let alone the job. I was happy to finally be working in the field that I wnet to school for. But only a week into the job I realized that even though I knew how to write I had no training in being an actual reporter. Trying to track down people for interviews and quotes was hard. Trying to follow committee meetings about whether they should build a 10 foot road or a 12 foot road was boring as hell. What was nice was since I worked for an afternoon paper and my deadline wasn't until noon the next day, I'd pick up the other newspapers and use their articles as Cliff notes. ha ha.

I worked as a reporter for almost two years. It sucked. I was STILL living with my parents and commuting 30 miles in each direction (not counting all the driving I did to go out and cover actual news stories). I was also still working at the supermarket on Sundays. I'd see friends from high school and be like "no really, I have a REAL job now.... it just doesnt pay enough for me to afford to quit this job". I got fired becuase I missed what was the biggest story in years at the time because I was covering something else (I remember telling my boss the day before to send someone else because I couldn't be in two places at once. So it was REALLY unfair when he fired me anyway - what a dick). Anyways, after that I just wanted to get out of my parents house. I didn't care what crappy job I'd have to take to afford to live outside the house. I got an apartment in downtown Albany with my friends Chris and Shawn and I was working full time as a bank teller. I think I only lasted like six months there because they were driving me crazy. Basically it was the absolute cliche of every story of what happens when guys in their early 20s get a place together - it turns into Animal House. I got a studio apartment which was good enough for me and worked a lot of different jobs - bank teller, supermarket cashier and temp agency office schlub. I did this for about a year and a half until I just couldn't afford it anymore (I was putting EVERYTHING on credit cards).

In early 2001 I had no choice but to move back with my parents (facepalm!). While looking through the want ads I saw an ad for "get paid to learn how to become a fire fighter". Sounded cool. So I called it up and it was the local navy recruiting office. I thought the job was to be a civilian fire fighter who happened to work for the navy, but no, it was to become an enlisted sailor. I really didn't want to do it at first but realized the financial pickle I was in and thought "well, the navy is the safest branch of the military. When's the last time you heard about a navy ship sinking?" I took all the tests and background checks and they said "you're too smart to be just a firefighter, we'll make you a "computer guy." I thought this was exciting because I thought it'd be just like the commercials and the movies and I'd be able to get a good job when I got out.

My parents were a little taken aback when I said I was going to go in the military, but they were pretty supportive after a while. Neither I nor the recruited had to sell them on it too hard to get their blessing. So I shipped off to bootcamp in late April, 2001. I had spent the week before watching Full Metal Jacket and every navy or military movie I could find. It wasn't quite like the movies. It wasn't nearly as brutal as Full Metal Jacket (then again that's the Marines boot camp). In fact, it reminded me a lot of my years in Boy Scouts. I could handle it no problem. A lot of guys couldn't. I thought it was funny they were freaking out. It wasn't like it was prison. It wasn't exactly a walk in the park, but it wasn't really that bad. I lost like 30 pounds in boot camp and felt great afterwards.

Once I graduated boot camp and got to my "school" I realized I'd be had. I wasn't going to be an IT guy, I was goign to be an electronics technician. Oh, what the hell!? Learning about electronics was HARD! There's A LOT of math involved! I don't care what the ASVAB said, I'm really NOT that smart of a person. So I had to go to three different navy schools over the course of a year and a half before I even got to my ship. My last school, my "C" school in Virginia beach, was the best and the worst. It was like college in that I had a ton of freedom and was partying a lot, but the actual school part was really hard. I got close to being kicked out because I couldn't follow the material. I dont know how, but they let me skate by.

I got to the USS WASP (LHD-1) in October of 2002. I would remain there for exactly five years. Again, this part of my life is something that I could write series upon series of blogs about. It was a very dynamic five years. It was the hardest job I ever had, yet there was ample time to relax. I experienced some of the funnest times I've ever had with my friends and shipmates, but also experienced the lowest of the low backstabbing and bullying by first classes and chiefs. There were times I went days without sleep and there were times when there were weeks with nothing to do and we'd go home by noon.

The most significant thing that happened in those five years was the entire year of 2004: we spent February through October on deployment. I got to see Europe and the Middle East for the first time. There's tons of pictures and videos of this deployment on my Facebook page and YouTube channel if you want to see them. Even though my ship didn't really see a lot of action per se, there was still a lot of work to be done.

By the time I was a year out from getting out I couldn't wait to leave. But at the same time I was scared to death of having to fend for myself again like in those post-college/pre-navy years. I figured a way around it though: I'd go back to school. Since I had the G.I. Bill and I could collect unemployment I knew I could get by without having to work (except for the drill weekends for the reserves). I moved back to Albany, enrolled in UAlbany and majored in English. I had considered majoring in journalism again but I thought I'd rather be an English teacher than a journalist. I minored in journalism at first, but changed it to education after only one semester.

Getting a bachelor's was actually pretty hard work. Especially for an English major because you're writing papers and essays all the damn time! It was about this time I started to wake up to reality in many aspects (although I had always been very skeptical of reality for the last few years anyway). It's a long story and I'm not going to get into it here. Just a brief glance at what being a teacher involved completely turned me off. I knew it was not something I could handle. Not because I didn't like kids or didn't think I could do it, but because I wanted to be an actual teacher and not a propaganda repeater. I graduated UAlbany in the summer of 2009 and immediately had to go to Texas for three months for a school for my job in the reserves. It sucked.

When I got back I realized I still had two years worth of G.I. Bill left and this time I could use the Post 9/11 version which is where you not only get paid a monthly tax-free stipend like you do with the Montgomery G.I. Bill (which I used at UAlbany), but the government pays for your tuition, books, etc. So I enrolled at ITT Tech and majored in networking. FINALLY, I was going into the IT field that I THOUGHT I was going to be in back in 2001. ITT Tech was a total joke. The curriculum is very easy. While there is a lot of hands-on training, it's still all teamwork based so as is always the case one person does all the work while the others slack off.

In April of 2011 my time in the reserves was up and I knew there was nothing the navy could offer me to re-enlist. I was done with the military lifestyle. I started going on interviews and worked a few temp IT jobs during the spring and summer of 2011. In August, right before I graduated, I got an interview for the company I'm at now, and well you obviously know how that turned out.

While the pay isn't the best, I have to say this is the best job I've ever had. It's a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. I essentially work alone even though I'm in an office with 100 other people. It took me months to learn the basics of what the job involves. I'm still learning every day and I'd say it's going to be quite a while longer until I really get everything down. Will I retire from this place? I don't know. However, it seems that most people who work here have been here for a long time. There doesn't seem to be a lot of turnover. Probably because the work is so easy and it's not a high pressure environment (unless you're upper management). So I'm here for now and I'm going to do all that I can to make it work out.

Oh yeah, in October 2008 I started doing beer reviews on youtube. I'll write about that some other time.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

2012 vlog #3 | A LONG overdue vlog! (lots of good news & announcements!)

Sorry it's been forever since my last vlog. But I actually have a lot of stuff to talk about this time, and it's all good news!

1. I've lost 22 pounds in the last two months
http://myfitnesspal.com

2. There's an article about Jay and I in The Troy Record:
http://troyrecord.com/articles/2012/04/02/news/doc4f7906e0eaaf6281872285.txt?viewmode=fullstory#photo1

http://www.troyrecord.com/video/?va_id=3393228&pl_id=21348&ref=synd

3. Jay and I are going to try to homebrew a black IPA together. Here's the website for the competition we're going to enter: http://ruckextremehomebrewing.blogspot.com/

4. I did a beer trade with Joe from "Proper Hops TV" http://youtube.com/properhopstv

5. I did a review and interview with Craig from "The Beeraholic" http://youtube.com/thebeeraholic

6. I won a game worn Union College hockey jersey!

7. I interviewed Matt Dubrey and Brian Unger

8. TAP NY Beer Fest is only 28 days away!