The Alaska Experiment

Is anyone watching this show on the Discovery Channel? Kind of amusing that there’s a couple from NJ on it, not very far from Casa de Fast One. Basically, it’s a reality show set in, um, Alaska.

Four groups of people have to find their lodging, then figure out how to survive the harsh winter. All of the groups have to find wood, water, and food, the last of which seems to be the most difficult part. No vegetarians here, folks. The coastal group (aside: this couple from NJ was dating five months when they started their expedition. Five. Months. I can’t imagine this is going to end well, or in matrimony…) tried to trap salmon, without much luck. The others have to shoot moose and climb a mountain to shoot goats.

Over the course of the hour, I said to S at least twice that this is not something we are ever, ever going to try.

How to feel old

  1. Book your marching band for the opening of a two-day rock concert.
  2. Peruse list of over 100 bands; find you are familiar with maybe 10.
  3. Meet with organizers night before said concert. Meet a band manager who may be barely old enough to legally purchase alcohol.
  4. Have said band (Say Anything) march with your band, with no clue who these kids are.
  5. Wear Chuck Taylors to concert solely on asphalt. Enjoy pain in feet for two days afterward.
  6. Have one of your alumni assistants ask if you are going to dye your goatee to get rid of the grey.
  7. Notice many kids who are way too young to be that drunk.
  8. Refuse to stand on line and pay $7.75 for a plastic bottle of Bud/Coors/Miller Lite, even if you are parched and at a concert.
  9. Notice that the people your age at the concert are hanging back from the crowd; they’re waiting for their kids.
  10. Realize that although it’s grey and low-50s temps, while you are layered with clothing, most people are wearing t-shirts and no jackets.
  11. See girls crowd surfing and being pulled over the fence by security guards; double-check that they’re not one of your band members.
  12. Notice that even though there are food, drink, and beer vendors, there is litter everywhere and very few garbage cans.
  13. Plan to see several bands in succession that you actually know. Stay for two (Less than Jake and MXPX).


So there’s this huge, two-day concert at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ called The Bamboozle. You can tell you’re getting old when there’s a list of 100 bands for a show and you know maybe seven of them.

The concert is literally in Secaucus’ backyard. Secaucus, of course, is where I direct the marching band.

A former student, who is also an alumni assistant, emailed me a month or so ago, indicating that his cousin is one of the organizers and wants a marching band to help open the show.


After lots of emails, a conference call, numerous emails to the Board of Education office, and a bit of stress, we are approved to perform tomorrow morning! The band is supposed to be part of the “Photo Finish Pep Rally” and “Parade of Nothing” and be there when the opening band performs.

Everyone gets free tickets to both days of the show, and to tonight’s “secret show”, in addition to a donation to the Band Parents  Association. Not bad for an hour’s worth of performing, and a couple hours of rehearsal. They want to make this an annual thing, so it’ll be nice to use that as a recruiting incentive.

Green Day

Not long ago, a cow-orker asked me what “green” things I do. I told him that I hiked, and he said that didn’t count. Since then, i’ve been thinking about all the things that we do, and have done. In the wake of yet another Earth Day that no one pays attention to, here’s as complete a list I can think of on a Thursday morning:

  • Pay for a share to an organic, Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm.
  • Reuse paper, especially the backs of documentation drafts I print out
  • Take mass transit to work
  • Recycle everything – bottles, papers, cardboard, plastics with 1 or 2 in the recycling triangle
  • Give away stuff we don’t need to our local freecycle.
  • Reuse beer bottles for my homebrew 🙂
  • Wash and reuse plastic flatware at work
  • Use only natural cleaning products at home – vinegar, borax, washing soda.
  • Make our own laundry detergent
  • Pay into NJ’s Clean Energy program; part of our bill goes to wind power.

Ah, homebrewing

It’s nice to have a Friday off where I’m not sick to the point of incapacitated.

I’m brewing a Belgian Wit today. Getting a late start, but that’s OK.

I’ve not brewed in a few months, so it’s a good feeling to be boiling, cleaning, and sanitizing again. I formulated my own recipe, with a few aspects slightly out of style, but I think it’s going to be a good brew.

Formulating recipes is probably the most enjoyable and most frustrating part of brewing for me. I don’t know a lot about it yet, and often, I feel like I shouldn’t ask for input, because I’ve not contributed enough to a forum. I don’t know the individual ingredients (hop and malt characteristics) well enough to know what goes well with other things, but I’m learning. It’s definitely fun, though, to start a recipe in BeerTools Pro and add and subtract different ingredients, the time during the boil to add them, and how much of each to add.

This recipe is a completely original creation with no input from anyone, other than reading other recipes and combining the best of each; which is usually how I cook, anyway. It should be a good summertime beer, though the alcohol level (a hair over 6% ABV) is a bit higher than it probably should.


Wazzup Wit

16-A Witbier
BeerTools Pro Color Graphic

Size: 4.36 gal
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 203.9 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.061 (1.044 – 1.052)

Terminal Gravity: 1.015 (1.008 – 1.012)

Color: 2.57 (2.0 – 4.0)

Alcohol: 6.02% (4.5% – 5.5%)

Bitterness: 17.0 (10.0 – 20.0)


6.6 lb Liquid Wheat Extract
16 oz Cara-Pils® Malt
.5 oz Styrian Goldings (4.2%) – added during boil, boiled 60.0 min
0.5 oz Saaz (4.40%) – added during boil, boiled 20.0 min
0.5 oz Saaz (4.4%) – added during boil, boiled 7.0 min
1 oz Bitter Curacao/Bitter Orange (Peel) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
.5 oz Corriander seeds – added during boil, boiled 5.0 min
1.0 ea White Labs WLP400 Belgian Wit Ale


Partial Mash – 30 mins @148 degrees

Results generated by BeerTools Pro 1.5.0b

Technical Writer, Content Strategist, Podcaster, and lover of beer.