Friday, October 26, 2007

Beer Advocate goodness

I've been a fan of Michael Jackson, the Beer Hunter, for a number of years. His encyclopedic knowledge of beers and whiskeys has helped to more fully enjoy those beverages and explore new choices.

So when I saw the October issue of Beer Advocate I had to order it (you can order individual issues through the web site). The portrait on the cover is very much an iconic image of Jackson, so I thought it'd be cool to have. I had never read the magazine before, and turns out it's very well written with a lot of interesting stories about beer, brewing, beer history and beer reviews.

An unexpected bonus accompanied my issue -- a thin neoprene beer sock with rubber non-slip bottom! Very cool.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fair Trade Day at the Sac Food Co-op

This past Saturday was Fair Trade Day, so I thought I'd stop by, do my part, and pick up a few things. Buying local and "fair trade" items feels pretty good and the Sac Food Co-op on Alhambra & S is the best place to do that here in Sac-town:
Check out my bounty:The squash, eggplant and fruit were all locally grown in the Sacramento valley. The beer is Drake's IPA, brewed in San Leandro, CA, a gold medal winner at the 2002 Great American Beer festival. Extra hops make for a nice bitterness and beautiful golden-red color. A couple of fair trade coffees also, a Dark Costa Rican Monteverde from Caffe Ibis in Utah and a French roast from Alter Eco in San Francisco.

I also picked up a delicious chocolate bar from Alter Eco that is a blend of Swiss milk chocolate and South American coffee beans. There's also some brown rice and Annie's worcestershire sauce in the picture, but those aren't too exciting even though worcestershire sauce might be my favorite flavoring for any meat dish.

The co-op also had a few tasting booths set up and I tried some other chocolates and a natural energy drink. The usual demonstration area was also open with a freshly made salad and dressing. Quite a different experience from the typical grocery store.

I also picked up a new canvas shopping bag in the spirit of the day, and even it is made with organic cotton and classified as "fair trade:"Love the co-op.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I could get used to this...

Today I participated in BMW's annual Ultimate Drive for Susan G. Komen for the Cure event. What they do is take a caravan of current model year BMWs across the country to various BMW dealerships and then donate $1 for each mile that people drive these cars at each stop. The money goes toward breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment programs.

Participants can also put their signatures on one of the cars that travels with the group so that by the end of the trip the entire vehicle is covered:At the BMW dealership in Roseville, there was a 15-mile loop that had some nice uncrowded roads as well as a leg of freeway driving to open things up a bit. I drove three cars, the Z4 Roadster 3.0i, 650Ci Coupe and 650Ci Convertible. The Coupe was my favorite:
Unsurprisingly, these cars were amazing and truly fun to drive. BMW's craftsmanship is impeccable and the cars are so responsive you really feel connected to the road. This is about as far-removed from a "Cadillac boat" as you can get.

The Z4 is a bit small for me, but was still a blast to drive, especially with the F1-style shifter paddles on the steering wheel. The 650s are just pure fantasy -- the Coupe starts at $75,600 and the convertible is over $80,000 so I'm under no illusion that I'll have one of these anytime soon, but wow, verrrry nice. The convertible has a great heads-up display that projects your speed onto the windshield so you don't have to take your eyes off of the road.

BMW also offers Sirius satellite radio in its new cars and both of the 650 models I drove had it. No "Howard 100" unfortunately, but most of the music channels were available.

I ran into my buddy Chad there, too:The tour is heading to the Bay Area next, so if any readers out there can make it, I highly recommend this event. The only cost is your time and the event raises money for a worthwhile cause. You can either register ahead of time on the web site or sign up once you arrive at the dealership.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Blogger's word verification for comments appears to be down

[UPDATE 10/6 -- word verification appears to be working again. Comment moderation is now off.]

The word verification aspect ("captchas" which require human intervention to recognize and then type distorted words from an image) of posting comments appears to be down at the moment, which makes it impossible for visitors to post comments. For this reason I turned that feature off but enabled comment moderation, which means I'll need to approve any comments before they are posted.

Hopefully this will be short-term and if anyone has wanted to comment lately but couldn't, please try again.