Tuesday, March 31, 2015

He Meets His Match, The Grisly Ghoul | Batman '66 | vlog #16

Season 1, Episode 16. Originally aired March 3, 1966.
Written by Lorenzo Semple, Jr. Directed by Murray Golden.
A massive power failure allows Batman  and Robin the chance to foil the Joker and his Bad Pennies, but it's a close call with more rigged devices and poisoned perfume in the mix.
RATING: 4/5

See all of my Batman '66 vlogs here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7qf9G_Nd9U5kxaj-xa6vO96
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Monday, March 30, 2015

Me and Mark (from Upstate Brewing) review Garrett's Orange Honey Blossom IPA

This is the second part of a special homebrew review with Mark Neumann of Upstate Brewing Company. In this episode, we review Garrett's Orange Honey Blossom IPA - which was the same base recipe as the Juniper IPA - but with 2 pounds of honey added to the fermenter. There's quite a difference between the two beers.

Here's the recipe and Garrett's notes:
10 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 50.0 %
6 lbs Rye Malt (4.7 SRM) Grain 2 30.0 %
1 lbs Munich Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM) Grain 3 5.0 %
1 lbs Rye, Flaked (2.0 SRM) Grain 4 5.0 %
2 lbs Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM) Sugar 5 10.0 %
0.75 oz Warrior [15.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 22.0 IBUs
0.60 oz Chinook [13.00 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 7 11.7 IBUs
1.50 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop 8 8.0 IBUs
1.50 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Steep/Whirlpool 10.0 min Hop 9 2.9 IBUs
1.50 oz Chinook [13.00 %] - Steep/Whirlpool 10.0 min Hop 10 6.9 IBUs
1.0 pkg California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [35.49 ml] Yeast 11 -
1.00 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 13 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Saphir [3.50 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 14 0.0 IBUs

Post boil, wort was split between two fermenters. Both were fermented with a slurry of WLP001. One fermenter was left as is and dry hopped with 2oz cascade. The second received an addition of 2 pounds of Orange Blossom honey from Russel Farms when krausen started to fall and was dry hopped with Saphir and Mosaic hops. The honey was tested to be 44 PPG and was added to 4 gallons of beer adding ~22 gravity points to raise the OG of the Honey beer to 1.090. The 10 gravity points that the sugar adds in the boil brings the beer to 30/84 gravity points being "funky" for ~38% of the alcohol coming from "funky fermentables."

Final gravity of both beers was 1.006 resulting in ABVs of 8.1% and 11%.

The efficiency I got on this brew was higher than normal and it fermented drier than I anticipated. I was expecting the OG pre-honey to be ~1.061 and the FG of both to be 1.009. I updated this file to reflect the actual numbers. Had it stayed in the range I was expecting, the ABVs would fall more in line with single and double IPAs rather than double and triple.

The Joker Goes to School | Batman '66 | vlog #15

Season 1, Episode 15. Originally aired March 2, 1966.
Written by Lorenzo Semple, Jr. Directed by Murray Golden.
Joker returns with a pernicious plot aimed at luring high schoolers into easy living. Rigged vending and slot machines ensnare the pursuing Batman and Robin, who are no wired to receive 50,000 volts!
RATING: 4/5

See all of my Batman '66 vlogs here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7qf9G_Nd9U5kxaj-xa6vO96
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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Me and Mark (from Upstate Brewing) review Garrett's Juniper IPA

Me and Mark Neumann - the owner of Upstate Brewing Company - review ABC member Garrett's "Juniper IPA." This was a homebrew Garrett entered in The Ruck's last homebrew competition.

Here's the breakdown:

10 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 50.0 %
6 lbs Rye Malt (4.7 SRM) Grain 2 30.0 %
1 lbs Munich Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM) Grain 3 5.0 %
1 lbs Rye, Flaked (2.0 SRM) Grain 4 5.0 %
2 lbs Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM) Sugar 5 10.0 %
0.75 oz Warrior [15.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 22.0 IBUs
0.60 oz Chinook [13.00 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 7 11.7 IBUs
1.50 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop 8 8.0 IBUs
1.50 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Steep/Whirlpool 10.0 min Hop 9 2.9 IBUs
1.50 oz Chinook [13.00 %] - Steep/Whirlpool 10.0 min Hop 10 6.9 IBUs
1.0 pkg California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [35.49 ml] Yeast 11 -
2.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 12 0.0 IBUs

Measured Original Gravity: 1.068 SG
Measured Final Gravity: 1.006 SG
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 8.2 %

Garrett's notes:
Added 2oz of crushed juniper berries to boil with 15 minute addition. Reason for Juniper was impetus of beer. "Gin and Squirt" mixed drink (gin, 'squirt' brand soda, grapefruit, lemon, lime) in beer form was the idea. Juniper was later added at bottling to really drive home the gin aspect. In the base beer, the juniper is there for additional bittering and a light complimentary flavor to rye.

check out my interview with Mark here: https://youtu.be/8YPFihc3TW0

Batman Stands Pat | Batman '66 | vlog #14


Season 1, Episode 14. Originally aired February 24, 1966.
Written by Charles Hoffman. Directed by Norman Foster.
It's Batman vs. Hatter's maniacal machines, once he's freed from the plaster, to crack this case. But at the hat factory showdown, Batman is cleverly captured and it's Robin who must prevail.
RATING: 3/5 

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Thirteenth Hat | Batman '66 | vlog #13


Season 1, Episode 13. Originally aired February 23, 1966.
Written by Charles Hoffman. Directed by Norman Foster.
In this double plot to un-cowl Batman and kidnap the jury that convicted him, Mad Hatter (David Wayne) doffs his Super Instant Mesmerizer. Just as Batman smells a hat-rat, a statue-shattering skirmish ensues, leaving Batman plastered up.
RATING: 3/5

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Detective Comics #27: A page-by-page analysis

I think it’s important for pop culture to remember and respect its roots. So much of what was produced in the time of our grandparents, great grandparents, etc., deserves to be re-read every once in a while. I recently watched the two Batman serials from the 1940s and I’m currently watching the complete 1960s-era Batman TV show and I’m noticing that a lot of what worked back then – at its basic core – still works today. It’s fascinating to read and watch old movies, TV shows and comics because of their timeliness and because they’re dated. They’re called “classics” for a reason (well, some of them are anyway).  Anyway, I thought it would be fun to start a new feature here on the blog where I go back and “analyze” some of these famous artifacts and what better place to start than with Detective Comics #27?

The Cover



This is certainly a dynamic cover and it’s really not any different from what you might see today, as far as basic composition goes. There’s a true sense of motion here as it’s clear that Batman is swinging in from somewhere and about to land somewhere. The image of a mysterious masked man carrying another man by the head in one arm while holding a rope with the other arm is pretty powerful. If you had no idea what the situation was, you’d probably assume this “Batman” guy has super strength to be able to do that.

You also add the element of the two goons along the bottom (one of whom is holding a gun) and there’s an sense of justice here. They don’t look too happy that Batman has one of their brethren in a headlock. Notice that the goon with the gun isn’t actually taking aim at Batman, but rather holding it upwards as if startled or in a surrendering position of some sort. The guy on the left is just stoic (out of shock of what he’s seeing, I assume).

The setting on a rooftop also gives implies danger, action and an impressive feat. They seem to be really high up and Batman is just swinging like Tarzan. That’s not something you see every day.
I’ve found the background color of yellow to be a strong choice. They could have went with sky blue, but then it would be obvious that this scene takes place during the day and superheroes (especially Batman) lose their edge in unfettered sunlight. The bright colors certainly don’t imply that this is happening around midnight, but the yellow is a “hot” color and contrasts well with the blue/black of Batman’s costume and the red Detective Comics banner.

I have always found it both curious and funny that Batman is carrying the man by his head. Why not with his arm under his armpit or throwing the man over his shoulder? I’d imagine being held in a headlock while swinging through the air would be extremely painful on your neck and throat. Perhaps Bob Kane has explained this, but I’d assume he drew it this way probably because he had no frame of reference at the time. Today, action and adventure comics, movies and TV shows are all around us. We’ve seen this type of situation more times than we can count, but back in 1939 it was a new sight to behold.

I also like the subtle detail of the man dropping his hat. It was probably intended to enhance the severity of the situation since back then everyone wore hats everywhere at all times. To lose your hat back then would be like losing your cell phone today.

Page 1

DC27p1
Top panel: Notice that the splash banner refers to Batman as “The Bat-Man,” even though his name was hyphen-free on the cover. In fact, he’s referred to as such throughout this issue and the next few comics. The hyphen wouldn’t be dropped altogether for a while.

Panel 1: It always cracks me up whenever I read Golden Age comics or watch movies from this era: everyone is constantly smoking! I’d be curious to see when smoking was phased out of comics. Anyway, it’s fitting that our first panel contains Bruce Wayne and Commissioner Gordon. Both have retained more or less the same look since then, though the pencil mustache looks pretty silly by today’s standards.

Panel 3: Why does Commissioner Gordon invite a civilian to tag along with him to a murder scene?! Bruce’s nonchalant response is hysterical, though! Such an indifferent attitude to such a traumatic event. Though it goes to show the timelessness of human nature as Bruce sounds like a teenager today. He’s essentially saying “Yeah, I guess. Whatever.”

Panel 5: Notice Bruce is still puffing on his pipe and will continue to do so until the end of Page 2.

Panel 6: For a grisly murder scene, there isn’t any blood or carnage.

Page 2

DC27p2

Something I notice when reading Golden and Silver Age comics is that they tended to use a lot of captions and word balloons for exposition. Look at Page 2 as a whole and you’ll see that nearly half its composition is made up of balloons. Not that this is a bad thing. In fact, it works quite well here since the name of the magazine is Detective Comics which implies there’s going to be mystery. Mysteries work best with the right amount of exposition used properly and I’d say that’s the case here.

After only two pages we’ve seen: a wrongly-accused man, an unknown assailant, implication of a conspiracy or industrial espionage, and another heinous crime that creates for even more suspense and terror. This is a good way to establish a crime story.

Panel 7: Bruce’s continued indifference to the situation is still pretty funny. Since we know he’s really Batman we know he’s bluffing, but wouldn’t Commissioner Gordon consider him to be a sociopath? After all, what kind of person comes to a murder scene only to leave a few minutes later apparently out of boredom? LOL

Page 3

DC27p3

I only took three pages for Batman to appear – and what a way to debut! He immediately beats the goons into submission and retrieves the stolen contract. Of course, it begs a few questions:
  • How did Batman know the exact address the criminals would be at?
  • How did Batman get there so quickly?
  • Didn’t he ride with Commissioner Gordon to the murder scene? Did he just leave him behind?
  • What happened to the criminals? Batman didn’t tie them up, he just knocked them down. Did the police arrest them?
Panel 2: Notice the redundancy of the caption describing the scene and ending with “It is the ‘Bat-Man!’” with the two goons exclaiming “The Bat-Man!” directly underneath the caption. Also notice that the narration captions continue to refer to him as The “Bat-Man” in quotes repeatedly throughout this issue. Maybe quotes meant something different back then, but reading it today it sounds like the comic itself is either mocking the Bat-Man’s name or that it’s not entirely sure that Batman is Batman.

Panel 9: Neither Bruce Wayne nor Batman is known for having a sense of humor and certainly not smiling, so it’s rather odd to see so much as a smirk from him. In fact, it seems to come across a bit creepy considering the context since the reader at the time would have no idea who this character was. It seems to be an implication that Batman is sadistic or perhaps a criminal himself who’s just going after the competition. Fortunately, this will be explained by the end of the story.

Panel 10: A lot of people consider this the first appearance of the Batmobile, but since it’s just an ordinary car I don’t know how that can be the case. The name “Batmobile” was not used until nearly two years later in Detective Comics #48 (February 1941).

Page 4

DC27p4

The plot continues to thicken! This page has a little bit of everything: the story advances, there’s a death trap, and Batman comes to the rescue. Though I can’t help but wonder why he went into the gas chamber with Rogers – putting himself in danger – when he could have just shattered it from the outside to begin with (perhaps so the glass wouldn’t hit Rogers?). The 1940s Batman serials both featured elaborate mad scientist-like death traps like this and the 1960s TV show was lousy with them. Unrealistic to be sure, but they make for great action scenes.

Notice that Pages 3 and 4 have much less exposition and much more action. Page 4 is almost entirely action, though every panel still includes the obligatory omniscient narration caption to explain everything.

Page 5

DC27p5

More or less a repeat of Page 4, though it’s much more fun to see Batman beat up the bad guy than save someone from an overly-elaborate death trap. Also, what was the point of Jennings leaving on Page 4 only to return on Page 5? Villains absolutely cannot be in the same room when one of their death contraptions is about to kill the hero (perhaps they exit for legal reasons, so as to have an alibi?).

For some reason the artwork on this page looks a little more amateurish and cartoony than on the previous pages. Everything looks very stiff and disproportional.

The explanation as to why Stryker had the other men killed seems to make sense. It’s actually a fairly plausible white collar murder conspiracy. As is the case with most conspiracies of this nature, it’s all about money and power. Sure, I’ll buy it.

Page 6

DC27p6

Our story ends with Batman “accidentally” killing the main villain by punching him and knocking him into a tank of acid. This would be a trope used throughout Batman’s early days (we all know that’s how The Joker came to be). I like that it’s depicted so that the reader can’t be sure if Batman purposely intended for Stryker to fall to his death in the acid tank or if it was just an unfortunate accident due to the circumstances.

Panel 5: Batman shows no remorse for what just happened, which would seem to imply that was his plan all along. Then again, he’s not celebrating or taking pride in Stryker’s death, either.

Panel 8: Commissioner Gordon finally states the obvious: that Bruce is disinterested in everything. That shows his ruse is working.

Panels 9 & 10: I wonder how many readers, when reading this for the first time in 1939, were surprised to find out that Bruce Wayne was Batman all along. If you read it carefully, it’s pretty well implied that the two are the same person since Bruce Wayne is at the scene of the original murder and then Batman appears at the next murder scene immediately.

Conclusion

For a Golden Age comic, this was a fun read. The artwork isn’t half bad and the script is a little convoluted, but otherwise it works as a Batman story. It’s only six pages long, but there’s quite a lot happening in such a small amount of space. There’s no reason this crime caper couldn’t be re-hashed and expanded. In fact, DC did exactly that in 1991’s Detective Comics #627 in which this story was retold and updated for the present day.

Overall, I have to say this is a fitting debut for Batman.

When the Rat's Away the Mice Will Play | Batman '66 | vlog #12

Season 1, Episode 12. Originally aired February 17, 1966.
Written by Fred De Gorter. Directed by Tom Gries.
Not so fast, Riddler, you haven't beaten our heroes yet! After escaping the drive shaft debacle, Batman and Robin try out-riddling rivals and using some BIFF, POW and ZLOPP to exact justice.
RATING: 4/5 

See all of my Batman '66 vlogs here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7qf9G_Nd9U5kxaj-xa6vO96
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Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Riddle a Day Keeps the Riddler Away | Batman '66 | vlog #11

Season 1, Episode 11. Originally aired February 16, 1966.
Written by Fred De Gorter. Directed by Tom Gries.
Riddler returns with a vengeance and puzzles on top of puzzles as a visiting King Boris disappears. The Dynamic Duo smash into a bone-rending bind as they give chase.
RATING: 4/5

See all of my Batman '66 vlogs here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7qf9G_Nd9U5kxaj-xa6vO96
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Death Worse Than Fate | Batman '66 | vlog #10

Season 1, Episode 10. Originally aired February 10, 1966.
Written by Lorenzo Semple, Jr. Directed by Norman Foster.
The Doom Trap is set even as Aunt Harriet is safely returned for the ransom, and Zelda has a change of heart. It's the truth about bats that lure Batman and Robin into an inescapable fate.
RATING: 3/5

See all of my Batman '66 vlogs here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7qf9G_Nd9U5kxaj-xa6vO96
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Zelda The Great | Batman '66 | vlog #9


Season 1, Episode 9. Originally aired February 9, 1966.
Written by Lorenzo Semple, Jr. Directed by Norman Foster.
The art of escape is perfected in Zelda The Great (Anne Baxter) as an April Fools' heist leads to Aunt Harriet's kidnapping. Holy backfires! Batman and Robin have one hour to rescue her from boiling oil.
RATING: 3/5

See all of my Batman '66 vlogs here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7qf9G_Nd9U5kxaj-xa6vO96
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Monday, March 23, 2015

Rats Like Cheese | Batman '66 | vlog #8

Season 1, Episode 8. Originally aired February 3, 1966.
Written by Max Hodge. Directed by Robert Butler.
Thankfully, Gotham's hospital de-ices our Dynamic Duo, but things get frostier with Mr. Freeze when he kidnaps a star pitcher. Cooler heads prevail, along with thermal underwear, to melt Mr. Freeze into submission.
RATING: 4/5

See all of my Batman '66 vlogs here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7qf9G_Nd9U5kxaj-xa6vO96
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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Instant Freeze | Batman '66 | vlog #7

Season 1, Episode 7. Originally aired February 2, 1966
Written by Max Hodge, Directed by Robert Butler.
There's the chill of chicanery in the air as Mr. Freeze (George Sanders) eyes the ice - diamonds that is! With his flame-freezing gun, he turns Batman and Robin into living popsicles to escape capture.
RATING: 4/5

See all of my Batman '66 vlogs here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7qf9G_Nd9U5kxaj-xa6vO96
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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Batman is Riled | Batman '66 | vlog #6

Season 1, Episode 6. Originally aired January 27, 1966
Written by Robert Dozier, directed by Don Weis.
The Joker isn't clowning around as he plots more mayhem around the christening of the S.S. Gotham, and our Dynamic Duo plays a little possum to bring him to justice.
RATING: 4/5

See all of my Batman '66 vlogs here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7qf9G_Nd9U5kxaj-xa6vO96
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Friday, March 20, 2015

The Joker is Wild | Batman '66 | vlog #5

Season 1, Episode 5. Originally aired January 26, 1966
Written by Robert Dozier. Directed by Don Weis.
Just when you though Gotham was safe again, along comes The Joker - the Clown Prince of Crime (Cesar Romero) - who fashions a devilish utility belt of his own to help Batman and Boy Wonder take a powder.
RATING: 4/5

See all of my Batman '66 vlogs here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7qf9G_Nd9U5kxaj-xa6vO96
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Penguin's a Jinx | Batman '66 | vlog #4

Season 1, Episode 4. Originally aired January 20, 1966
Written by Lorenzo Semple, Jr. Directed by Robert Butler.
We last left Batman facing an inflammatory end over Penguin's flapping, but can a clever escape and ransom decoy put Penguin and his birdbrains back on ice?
RATING: 4/5 

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fine Feathered Finks | Batman '66 | vlog #3

Season 1, Episode 3. Originally aired January 19, 1966.
Written by Lorenzo Semple, Jr. Directed by Robert Butler.
Veteran actor Burgess Meredith makes his debut as one of Batman's most treacherous foes, and fresh-out-prison Penguin and his foul finks waste no time wreaking havoc and tricking our Caped Crusaders into helping them commit their crime.
RATING: 4/5 

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Smack in the Middle | Batman '66 | vlog #2

Season 1, Episode 2. Originally aired January 13, 1966
Written by Lorenzo Semple, Jr. Directed by Robert Butler.
With Batman incapacitated by Molly, and Robin kidnapped by Riddler, it's no laughing matter when the heist of priceless postage stamps is Riddler's real play for his getaway.
RATING: 4/5

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Hi Diddle Riddle | Batman '66 | vlog #1

Season 1, Episode 1. Originally aired January 12, 1966
Written by Lorenzo Semple, Jr. Directed by Robert Butler.
In the series debut, the Prince of Puzzlers (Frank Gorshin as The Riddler) diabolically tricks the Dynamic Duo in order to sue them for false arrest, have them unmasked in court and thus reveal their true identities.
RATING: 4/5

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

My observations after only 24 hours on Tinder

So I've been using Tinder for 24 hours (after a 10-month lull) and I've already noticed A LOT of recurring themes, such as:

Tinder most definitely IS NOT "Grinder for straight people." If it were, 90% of the women wouldn't make a point of saying "not looking for a hookup" in their profile. In fact, of all the profiles I encountered (and it was quite a lot) absolutely NO ONE - zip, zero, zilch, nada - mentioned or even alluded to their sexual preferences.

Women LOVE Instragram! Though I can see why, any picture that's Instagramed looks good no matter the subject.

There are A LOT of single and divorced moms on here. In fact, pretty much any woman over 35 has at least one kid. Though I am surprised that many of them include pictures of them with their kids (or by themselves) among their profile pictures. I find that kind of creepy.

If they're religious they'll make a point of telling you that up front. And by "religious" I mean some kind of Protestant Christian. I've yet to see a woman mention that she's Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, etc.

It confounds me how many women will include pictures of their friends IN NEARLY EVERY PICTURE! I think this is their way of saying "Look how attractive my friends are," and/or "I'm sociable." That's fine, but sometimes I can't tell who I'm supposed to be looking at, especially if it's their default profile photo!

NOTE: The majority of people, as far as I can tell, sign up through their Facebook account. So Tinder lets you use any of your FB pictures among your profile pictures. It'll also show you if you have any FB friends and interests in common. I'm sure this has already been debated ad nauseum, but is that a privacy violation? Your friends are using you - most likely without your consent - to help them get a date. I'm sure if you read the FB user agreement this is something you agreed to in the fine print. I noticed many women had a few friends of mine as a mutual friend. I told my friends this and some said they had never even heard of Tinder.

I am genuinely surprised how many women will include a picture of themselves holding a can of beer, drinking a giant margarita, etc. I thought it was a rule of thumb that if you (as a woman) show yourself with alcohol it implies you're either a crazy party animal and/or easy? I will say I have seen many pictures of women with a wine glass in a classy setting and some will make a point of saying they love wine in their profile description. Personally, I'm okay with a picture of a woman with alcohol just as long as it's fairly classy (i.e. no keg stands, shotgunning a tallboy, 40oz, etc.) and it's not your main profile picture. If you know me, you know I love craft beer and I'm a homebrewer, so it's nice to know a potential date is okay with alcohol. However, tee-totaling is a major turn-off, but then again so is substance abuse.

Very few women will include a picture of them holding a cigarette. I guess it's better to be perceived as an alcoholic than a smoker.

Quite a few women make a point of saying they like to wear heels and they prefer a tall man. 


Man, women really love dogs! I think this is indicative of a nurturing, motherly personality. Dogs require a lot of care (like children) whereas cats are more independent. I don't think I've seen a single cat picture but I've seen probably 100 dogs by now.

If a woman is even remotely - shall we say - "rednecky" they'll let you know. I was baffled by the number of pictures I saw of a woman holding a shotgun or rifle; sitting on a Harley (or a picture of  their truck); or most of their pictures are of them in the woods.

Women love to take selfies in the car. I'd say at least 75% of the profiles contained one or more selfies in the driver's seat.

I'm not surprised that there are a lot of Yankee fans in this area, though I was surprised there was nearly an equal amount of Red Sox and Patriots fans, too. In fact, a lot of them will actually make a point of saying fans of the other team need not apply!!! Really? Sports is a deal breaker for you? Frankly, I think it's kind of hot when a date is a fan of a rival team. Additionally, I was surprised how many women had pictures of them at a sporting event (though most of them are with their friends and they're holding a plastic cup of beer).

They're weren't many, but a few women said they could not figure out how to upload a picture. LOL!

If they're into pseudoscience, astrology, gluten-free, a crunchy vegan lifestyle, anti-GMO, anti-vaccine, or anything under that general dopey umbrella they make a point of saying so. Thanks! (swipes left)

I cannot believe that "duck lips" are still a thing.

Lastly, I was surprised how many women made a point of saying that they're not impressed by guys that include pictures of them with their shirts off in their profiles. I obviously haven't browsed the dudes on Tinder, but I'd imagine that probably is common. I get it though; if you're one of the rare guys that actually has ripped abs you want to show it off (do you know how much work goes into achieving that look?). Conversely, plenty of women will post pictures of them either in a bathing suit, bikini, or any kind of clothing where their cleavage is pushed up to their chin. You will NEVER in a million years hear a straight guy complain about that!

CONCLUSION

I don't know how Tinder got the reputation of being strictly a hookup dating app. Perhaps I haven't been using it long enough to gauge whether or not that's true, but as you can see by the observations above, it appears women are looking for more than just getting down.

If I had to boil it down to a single sentence, I'd probably describe Tinder as "an easy and fun to use, free, and much less B.S. version of Match.com." If you're looking to just meet new people, casual dating or a long-term relationship you can get that through Tinder. Yes, even a LTR; how do I know this? because I used Tinder about a year ago and it lead me a to 10-month-long relationship (we split up earlier this year).

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Chris and I review my "Saint Psycho" homebrew (2013 vintage)

This is a brew I did with Scott Veltman at Ommegang. It's a Belgian dubbel fermented with yeast we harvested from a bottle of Westvletern 12. My friend Chris makes his first appearance on the show.

The recipe:
Brewed: 12/1/2013
Primary: 6 days (75 degrees)
Secondary: 32 days (33 degrees)
Bottled: 1/4/2014
OG: 17.5° Plato
FG: 2.8° Plato
ABV: 8%
Apparent Attenuation: 86%
Calories: 235.0 per 12oz bottle

MASH: (60 minutes @ 66.5°C; 5 minutes @ 74°C)
8.5kg Briess Pils
2kg Briess Munich 20L
2kg Briess Extra Special
2kg Dingemans Aromatic
2kg Briess Cara 20
1kg Briess Pale

BOIL (75 minutes):
75 MINUTES: 200g Styrian Goldings
15 MINUTES: 30g Hallertau Spalter Select

BOTTLE CONDITIONING (6.0 g/l):
5kg D-180 Belgian Candi Syrup

WATER:
Cooperstown well water treated with lactic acid and gypsum

YEAST:
Trappist Westvletren 12 harvested from two bottles (2L starter)
Yeast treatment: ZnS04 (zinc sulfate)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Legends of the Dark Knight: issues 31-40

Batman_Legends_of_the_Dark_Knight_Vol_1_31Family (issue 31)

Written by James D. Hudnall. Drawn by Brent Anderson

This was the first standalone issue of the LOTDK series, not counting the Destroyer episode in #27 (which was part of a story arc that spanned three different Batman titles). They say limitation inspires creativity, but in the case of Family, it’s a bland, straightforward story. Bruce sends Alfred on vacation to a generic South American country and of course Alfred goes missing (how Bruce discovers this is not mentioned). He travels down there in disguise and rescues him as Batman. Yup, it’s just that basic of a story and it’s pretty hackneyed and clichéd in the process. The art is at least pretty decent; Anderson’s style reminds me of Neal Adams (but not quite as good). Overall, it’s not bad, but it’s far from compelling.

Score: 2/5


Legends of the Dark Knight 34Blades (issues 32-34)

Written by James Robinson. Drawn by Tim Sale

This may sound like a generic premise on paper, but it’s remarkably original while reading: a new vigilante known as “The Cavalier” shows up in Gotham. He’s clearly a Zorro wannabe and he stops mostly petty street crime. Meanwhile, Batman is obsessed with finding a serial killer known as “Mr. Lime,” who preys on the elderly. Additionally, there’s a string of jewel thefts happening at the same time (and no, it’s not Catwoman).

Legends of the Dark Knight 34iWhat’s interesting is that Batman’s pursuit of the killer is actually not the main focus of the story. I’d dare say The Cavalier receives more attention. In fact, when Batman does confront the killer, it’s rather anticlimactic because it’s not explained very well who he is or how Batman determined his identity. No matter, the story is consistently entertaining and not of the usual hokey comic book variety so it’s still a satisfying read.

Tim Sale’s art still looks great, even in his earlier days. It’s his panel and double-page layouts that are so original and eye-pleasing. His cartoony, heavily shadowed style is always a great contrast to a serious story and it works well here. It’s been a while since there was a high quality, multi-issue story arc in this series, so Blades was a nice relief. It’s weird seeing Tim Sale’s art in a story by someone other than Jeph Loeb, though James Robinson’s script reminds me of Matt Wagner’s style in which supporting characters receive just as much focus as Batman.

Score: 4/5


Batman_Legends_of_the_Dark_Knight_Vol_1_35Destiny (issues 35-36)

Written by Bo Hampton and Mark Kneece; drawn by Bo Hampton

My entire take on this two-parter could be boiled down to a single word: boring. But, I feel I must elaborate a little. Basically, Hampton and Kneece have no idea what they’re doing. They want to tell a Viking story; perhaps this was originally some kind of rejected Thor story? Who knows?

The “plot” if you can really call it that, involves a modern day Viking from Norway traveling to Gotham City and running into Batman. It turns out they have ancestors in common and the story takes a massive tangent to tell a silly, trite and – again – boring story about a “Bat Man” and a Viking teaming up to defeat a giant… or something. It’s actually difficult to follow because it’s so poorly written. There’s no characterization, no mystery, no suspense, no detective work, little action, and the ending makes no sense.

You’ll notice that oftentimes the worst Batman stories involve him leaving Gotham City and completely straying from character; Destiny does both.

Score: 2/5

Batman_Legends_of_the_Dark_Knight_Vol_1_37iMercy (issue 37)

Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning; drawn by Colin MacNeil

It’s always fun seeing Batman beat up the bad guys, but in order for that to be fun there’s a lot of groundwork that has to be laid in the form of story, character, exposition, etc. Since this is a standalone story, Mercy doesn’t really have the ability to squeeze all those critical elements in, so it’s a pretty direct story. Basically, a female cop named Mercy is trying to single-handedly take down an underground fighting ring but gets in over her head when she’s almost killed at the hands of “The Cossack” (who kills her partner). Batman helps her recuperate and she enters the circuit “under cover” to find the villain. Not surprisingly, she can’t defeat him by herself so Batman “tags in” and fights the dude. The end.

That would normally be a fun story, but it’s also rather primitive and basic. Fights are only fun to watch when there’s real rivalry between the hero and villain. The Cossack is just some generic scary-looking overly-muscular dude (who, in one panel holds a hammer and sickle exactly like the USSR flag – is that not obvious symbolism or what?).

The art is pretty bad here, but the story is at least readable. This probably would’ve worked better as a multi-chapter series rather than a single issue.

Score: 3/5

32543-4720-36298-1-batman-legends-of-tLegend of the Dark Mite (issue 38)

Written by Alan Grant, drawn by Kevin O’Neill

What’s the point of doing a Bat Mite story in this series? Perhaps to show that they don’t take themselves too seriously? To show that even a silly Silver Age character can be used in a “serious” story? To see if they could get away with it?

There isn’t much point in recapping or critiquing this issue. It’s just a silly “drugs are bad” story about a junkie who runs into Bat Mite while high. Hilarity and chaos ensues.

Fun to read, but it just seems to out of place in this run, despite the “This is not an imaginary story!” disclaimer.

Score: 2/5


32649-4720-36418-1-batman-legends-of-tMask (issues 39-40)

Written and drawn by Bryan Talbot

I have to admit that I was beginning to give up on LOTDK after the majority of the story arcs throughout the last 10 issues were of pretty lousy quality. Then along comes Bryan Talbot’s gorgeous two-parter Mask. It has exactly everything going for it that most of the previous books missed: a coherent story, in-depth characterization, mystery, suspense, and surrealism that isn’t arbitrary.

32649-4720-36418-1-batman-legends-of-tiThe premise of this story reminds me of something from the Bronze or early Modern Age series or even an episode of B:TAS. Most of it involves Bruce Wayne in a hospital bed with a therapist telling him he’s an alcoholic and has some kind of split personality. It’s quite clear that it’s a dream or some kind of hallucination, but Talbot plays it fairly straight for the most part. There is, not surprisingly, plenty of surreal moments; which would technically make them hallucinations within hallucinations. No matter, there’s a sense of genuine drama here even though you know it can’t possibly be real. It’s certainly does have an element of mystery as you don’t know what’s really going on or how this situation came to be, or how Bruce really will win the day.
32649-4720-36418-1-batman-legends-of-ti2
Mask does have some cheesy exposition via the classic fallacy of the villain revealing his entire master plan just when he thinks he’s victorious. Otherwise, it’s well-written and extremely well-drawn. One of the most over-looked runs in LOTDK.

Score: 4/5

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Alex and I review my "Even Odder Duck" homebrew

This is a very long overdue review of my homebrew. Based on a homebrew recipe that was in turn based on a 1901 Amsdell Brewing pre-prohibition porter recipe (made right here in Albany). Craig's recipe called for blending it with older beer, but I skipped that. I also used saison yeast instead of any kind of traditional porter yeast.

Check it out on Untappd here: https://untappd.com/b/chad-z-even-odder-duck/945526 

Here's the recipe:

Type: Extract
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Boil Size: 3.67 gal
Boil Time: 60 min
End of Boil Vol: 3.38 gal
Final Bottling Vol: 4.60 gal
Fermentation: Ale, Single Stage
Brew Date: 14 Dec 2014
1 lbs 8.0 oz Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 1 13.9 %
1 lbs 4.8 oz Corn, Flaked (1.3 SRM) Grain 2 12.0 %
6 lbs 9.6 oz Pale Malt, Maris Otter [Boil for 60 min](3.0 SRM) Extract 3 61.1 %
4.00 oz Cluster [7.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 4 68.9 IBUs
6.00 g Seeds of Paradise (Boil 60.0 mins) Spice 5 -
3.50 tsp Licrorice Root (Boil 60.0 mins) Spice 6 -
1.00 tsp Salt (Boil 60.0 mins) Spice 7 -
11.2 oz Corn Syrup [Boil for 60 min](1.0 SRM) Sugar 8 6.5 %
11.2 oz Invert Sugar [Boil for 60 min](0.0 SRM) Sugar 9 6.5 %
0.50 oz Cluster [7.00 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 10 6.6 IBUs
0.50 oz Cluster [7.00 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop 11 4.3 IBUs
1.0 pkg Lallemand Belle Saison (Danstar #) Yeast 12 -
1.00 Items Trinidad Scorpion Pepper (Primary 1.0 days) Spice 13 -
1.00 oz Cluster [7.00 %] - Dry Hop 28.0 Days Hop 14 0.0 IBUs

Measured Original Gravity: 1.058 SG
Measured Final Gravity: 1.012 SG
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.0 %
Calories: 193.7 kcal/12oz

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Alex and I review my "Cafe Latte Stout" homebrew

It's been entirely too long since I posted a review of my own homebrew on this channel (though there are plenty of them on my homebrew club's channel http://youtube.com/AlbanyBrewCrafters )
Anyway, this is my most recent brew and one of my favorites of my own.

Check it out on Untappd here: https://untappd.com/b/chad-z-cafe-latte-stout/991797

Here's the recipe:

1 lbs 4.0 oz Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 1 8.9 %
1 lbs English Dark Crystal (3.0 SRM) Grain 2 7.1 %
1 lbs Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 3 7.1 %
6.4 oz Franco-Belges Kiln Coffee Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 4 2.9 %
5.6 oz Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM) Grain 5 2.5 %
2 lbs Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM) Dry Extract 6 14.3 %
6 lbs Amber Liquid Extract (12.5 SRM) Extract 7 42.9 %
1 lbs Candi Sugar, Dark (275.0 SRM) Extract 8 7.1 %
1 lbs Milk Sugar (Lactose) (0.0 SRM) Sugar 9 7.1 %
2.00 oz Nugget [13.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 10 52.7 IBUs
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 30.0 mins) Other 11 -
1.00 oz Grapefruit Peel (Boil 30.0 mins) Spice 12 -
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 13 -
4.00 oz Coffee (Boil 0.0 mins) Flavor 14 -
1.0 pkg SafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04) [23.66 ml] Yeast 15 -
2.00 Items Vanilla Bean (Primary 7.0 days) Flavor 16 -

Measured Original Gravity: 1.070 SG
Measured Final Gravity: 1.031 SG
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 5.1 %
Calories: 245.1 kcal/12oz

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Batman Movie Month recap

Watching all ten live-action Batman movies in one month was quite a challenge, but it was also a lot of fun. My original intention was to review all the animated Batman movies as well, but I realized there just wasn’t enough time to include them (I wish I had realized that before I had posted the two reviews that I did). I will review them all sometime later this year (September, I’m thinking).
Below are my own personal, hedonistic preferences and rankings. I just wanted to throw this out there. NOTE: These are based only on theatrical-released, live-action Batman movies.

Ranking the Batmen (from best to worst)

Christian Bale: Though Bale’s characters of Bruce Wayne and Batman aren’t given a lot to work with in terms of emotional depth, he does look the best in the Batman costume (he’s also unrecognizable – unlike all the previous Batmen). I know a lot of people hate his growling Batman voice, but that’s always how I assumed Batman would sound. He definitely has the intimidating presence that Batman should have.

George Clooney: Yeah, I know Batman & Robin is a pretty bad movie, and isn’t the most realistic approach (or closest representation of the comics); however, he’s George effin’ Clooney! Dude has the acting chops to pull off this character and he definitely has the look of Bruce Wayne down pat. I truly believe his talent could be put to good use in the Batsuit in a better movie.

Adam West: Because he knows he’s in a comedy and he plays it straight; which, in turn, makes him hilarious. Had they taken an earnest approach back in 1966 he would’ve been just as worthy for the role.
Movie Roles Recast

Michael Keaton: Aside from the “You wanna get nuts!?” line, Keaton is pretty flat and monotone throughout his two turns as Batman. Though he can be a dramatic actor, he was known for his comedic roles at the time and it’s always been difficult to take his Batman seriously.

Lewis Wilson: He plays Batman and Bruce Wayne exactly as the characters were depicted in the Golden Age comics of the time, so he’s somewhat authentic. If only the production quality of his serial hadn’t be so low.

Robert Lowery: Though he’s stiff and stoic throughout all 15 chapters of the 1949 serial, Lowery at least has the sternness and seriousness of Batman.

Val Kilmer: Yes, Val Kilmer was actually a worse Batman than the two unknowns from the 1940s serials. Kilmer looks completely disinterested in this role; to say he’s phoning it in is being rather generous. It’s a shame because Kilmer actually is a good actor with decent range; he just didn’t have it here.

The Joker
jokers

Jack Nicholson: I’m aware that Heath Ledger won an Oscar for his performance, but to me Jack Nicholson’s Joker is as close to a verbatim adaptation of the comics as we’ll ever see in live action (though I think Mark Hamill makes an even better Joker in the animated incarnations). Nicholson is both hilarious and insane – exactly what The Joker should be.

Heath Ledger: Twisted, disturbing, violent and intimidating. His Joker absolutely is a fantastic villain, but not a fantastic Joker per se.

Cesar Romero: He’s great since he takes the light-hearted, comedic approach and is genuinely funny. He could’ve easily handled Batman: The Movie as the sole villain.

Robin

Robins

Pretty much every actor to play this role in the live action films sucked. I know a lot of people love Burt Ward’s campy take on the character, though he strikes me as a naïve 8-year-old in a 20-year-old’s body. But at least he’s better than Chris O’Donnell, Douglas Croft, and John Duncan.

Catwoman

catwoman1

Much like Robin, none of the actresses that played this part really impressed me that much. They didn’t have much to work with, though, as they were each fairly shallow characters. Ann Hathaway was the closest to the comic book character, but her take was pretty boring. Contrast that with Michelle Pfeiffer who just hams it up. Of the three, Lee Meriwether had the most work to do as she also played a Russian journalist (a role within a role) who seduces Bruce Wayne (she’s also the best-looking of the three, IMHO).

The Penguin

penguins

I thought Danny DeVito was just a ham in the role and the character was too far removed from the comics. Burgess Meredith’s performance was more impressive, frankly.

The Riddler

riddlers

Though Jim Carrey and Frank Gorshin are both pretty funny, they’re just playing a living breathing cartoon characters. Carrey was the only good thing about Batman Forever, though.

Two-Face

twofaces

Aaron Eckhart, obviously (he should’ve been the sole villain in a separate film). Tommy Lee Jones has no idea what he’s doing.

Best Fight Scene

Dark-Knight-Rises-Batman-vs.-Bane


None. I was tempted to go with Batman vs. Bane at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, but it was kind of corny since they were essentially just two of the hundreds or thousands of fighters at the time. It’s also a pretty short fight scene. I was hoping for an epic Rocky-style battle where you don’t know if Batman will win, but that just didn’t happen. As corny as the perfectly-choreographed fights in The Matrix movies were, they would’ve worked perfectly in any of the Christopher Nolan films. Batman never really fights anyone that’s truly his equal (not in hand-to-hand combat, that is).

Best Chase Scene

the-dark-knight-rises-batman-christian-bale

Tie: The Gotham Police against Batman in both The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. Thrilling, suspenseful and yet pretty funny, too.

Funniest Moments

There’s too many to limit this to the single best moment, so here’s several in no particular order (NOTE: some of these are so funny because they’re so ridiculously corny):
  • “Some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb” from Batman: The Movie
  • “So that’s what that feels like” from The Dark Knight Rises
  • “I’ll get drive thru” from Batman Forever
  • “Bob? Gun.” BLAM! from Batman (1989)

Bobgun

  • “Bruce Wayne? Ha! That simpering idiot could never be Batman” from Batman (1943)
  • “Excuse me. You ever dance with the devil by the pale moon light?” PUNCH! from Batman (1989)
  • Every fight scene in Batman (1943) and Batman and Robin (1949)
  • Pretty much everything Jim Carrey says and does in Batman Forever
  • Pretty much everything Jack Nicholson says and does in Batman (1989)
  • Pretty much everything in Batman & Robin (1997) (but especially the Bat Credit Card)

bcc

Ranking the movies (from best to worst)

batmanbeginsposterBatman Begins: The most faithful a live-action movie was to the comics and was the first superhero movie to take a fairly earnest and serious approach to its character.

The Dark Knight: A brilliantly-told story that combines action, suspense and real-world symbolism. Overlong, convoluted and didactic, though.

Batman: The Movie: A two-hour big screen version of the campy TV show wouldn’t seem like it would work, but it does (and how!). Still funny and wonderful to look at today.

Batman (1989): Pretty campy in retrospect (which was not its intention), but works well for its dark look and tone. Plus Jack Nicholson is great.

The Dark Knight Rises: Full of plotholes, but they’re easy to overlook since it takes the same overall approach as the first two Christopher Nolan films. Lots of fun if you don’t think too hard about it.

Batman and Robin (1949): Lousy production qualities, but impressive story-telling techniques for its time.

Batman & Robin (1997): If you view it as a comedy it’s actually pretty hilarious and consistently entertaining.

Batman (1943): Though the quality is pretty abysmal by today’s standards, it’s worth a look as a pop culture and historical artifact.

Batman Forever: Too campy to take seriously, yet too serious to view as a comedy.

Batman Returns: Three letters say it all – WTF!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Everyone Has a Cobblepot | Gotham | vlog #18

At the hospital, James Gordon and Bruce Wayne check in on Alfred Pennyworth who covers up Reginald Payne's attack on him since he didn't want to set the police on him. As Gordon leaves, Alfred struggles to get out of his bed as Bruce tells him to stay in bed. At the prison facility, Fish Mooney meets Dollmaker (Colm Feore) who has heard about Mooney's actions. Mooney tells Dollmaker about her history with Falcone and wants Dollmaker to let her become her partner. Gordon and Harvey Dent learn from Sarah Essen that Commissioner Gillian Loeb was able to find a witness to get Arnold Flass exonerated. When Gordon visits Loeb, he showed Gordon footage where Bullock had stated about presenting false evidence against Flass. Upon confronting Harvey Bullock, Gordon learns from him that a police sergeant working for Loeb had a way to get Bullock to cooperate with him. Gordon and Dent interrogate an ex-partner Charlie Griggs (Michael J. Burg) of Loeb in order to find out the hold that Loeb has on some police officers which leads them to bookmaker Xi Lu (Perry Young). Bruce reads Alfred a story as Selina Kyle visits them upon Ivy Pepper spotting him. While apologizing for the attack on Alfred, Selina advises Bruce not to go after Payne. With Bullock's help, they learn that Loeb has connections to Carmine Falcone. To prove herself to Dollmaker, Mooney is sent back to the prison to retrieve Thomas Schmidt as the prisoners question her loyalty. As a prisoner is taken for surgery following Schmidt being released, Mooney reminds the prisoners that not everyone would survive. At the mountain home, Gordon and Bullock find Loeb's daughter Miriam (Nicholle Tom) in the attic where she admits to killing her mother with her father covering up. Edward Nygma discovers that a man named Tom Daugherty is dating Kristen Kringle. After getting leverage on Loeb, Gordon gives Bullock his file. Cobblepot pairs Miriam's caretakers against each other to determine who leaves for Arizona only to kill them both. Upon being welcomed by Dollmaker into the upper management, Mooney discovers that Dollmaker's facility is on an island.
Originally aired 3/2/2015
Written by Megan Mostyn-Brown. Directed by Bill Eagles