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Halloween Should Always Be Saturday

With Hurricane Sandy forcing many towns in the northeast to postpone Halloween, it seems worth pondering a permanent change. Halloween’s connection to All Saints’ Day or a particular religious event is really only academic. Functionally, the holiday would make a lot more sense for everyone if it occurred on Saturday.


I’d suggest the last Saturday in October would be the best time to celebrate, although timing it with the first Saturday in November and the changing of the clocks could work too. Many parties and celebrations take place on the weekend anyway so why not do the same with the whole holiday? Parents that work either have to take off or take their children trick or treating after they get home from work when it’s already dark out in most of the country. More people would be home to give out candy as well, and if families prefer a different celebration, organizing or attending a party is much easier on a Saturday afternoon.

October 31st, 2012 by Ceetar in life
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Of Course, A Horse

The human mind fascinates me.  It has the ability to string together trains of thought in order to connect things that are seemingly completely unrelated and in no way similar.  Due to external stimuli an innocent phrase can stimulate memories and senses that haven’t been thought about or experienced in decades.


Try walking back into your high school or another spot you spent a lot of time when you were younger. The memories that flood back are things you probably haven’t even though about since you were there.  A billboard may remind you of a paper you wrote for English class that got hung up in praise, reminding you of the work and effort you put into it. A bank of lockers may remind you of a girl or guy you had a crush on and even though you can’t remember their last name you remember the color of their eyes and the way they wore their hair 20 years ago.


Those are ordinary, visual, connections. Today I sloshed some coffee out of my cup as I was retrieving it from the cup holder as I got out of the car.  The scalding liquid splashed a little on my hand, burning me, and I muttered “of course” to myself in a woe-is-me belief that misfortune was coming for me and of course I burned myself on my coffee.  My next thought was immediately, “no one can talk to a horse of course. That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed.” This song was complete with the lyrics and melody and a faint memory of the black and white TV show intro that I used to watch when I was little on Nick at Nite but probably haven’t seen in 10 years.


I probably say ‘of course’, or hear it said, multiple times every day and it doesn’t trigger this memory.  So what was so special about this one time that my mind formed this instant connection from a phrase muttered off-hand to myself to a TV show that was seemingly the furthest thing from my mind? I’ve got a couple of ideas.  Earlier in the day I had cause to come up with a random word, and the word I chose was zebra.  The horse on Mr. Ed was actually a zebra due to training issues with the original horse cast to play the role.  This seems like a tenuous connection at best, but was the random phrase enough to bump Mr. Ed higher up in my consciousness in order to latch onto the “of course” I uttered later? Perhaps. Another possibility could be that horses were on my mind due to a mention of cavalry in battle in the audio book I was listening to that morning.  They were actually faerie horses, but horses are horses after all.  Perhaps that’s what bridged the connection.


I’m always fascinated by these “Where’d that come from?!” moments our brains toss our way.  This one in particular had me smirking in amusement, and now I have the urge to watch an episode of a 1960s television show.


October 25th, 2012 by Ceetar in life, Television and Movies
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EuroTrip: Amsterdam Day Two

Our second day in Amsterdam started with a hop-on, hop-off Museum line canal cruise.  We rode the canal boat to the Van Gogh museum, enjoying the view and the automated audio guide along the way.  Between the hotel and the boat pick-up location we picked up coffee and liege waffles to eat.  This was our first encounter with the reluctance Europe has with the eat on the run mentality that’s so prevalent in New York.  We saw a shop with a display case of baked goods and figured that’d work, but the waiter seemed like he kept expecting us to sit and relax and kick our feet up.  Awkwardly, we departed with our goods.

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October 17th, 2012 by Ceetar in Beer, travel, Uncategorized
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Beer in Amsterdam: Arendsnest

There are many terrific places to drink beer in Amsterdam, and I was barely there long enough to sample very many of them, but one of the ones that really stood out was Arendsnest.  This is a beer ‘bar’  (they’re called cafes in Amsterdam) on a quiet street specializing in Dutch beers.  As of this posting Google maps is suggesting it’s closed, but I promise that’s not the case.


Arendsnest has quite a selection of beers written on chalkboards on the walls.  It seemed they had a decent bottle selection as well, and some of them looked liked they might be extremely local, sporting simple white paper labels that looked like the product of a small outfit, but alas there was no bottle list.


Now, it would’ve been helpful to have some styles listed next to the beers.  I’ve taken for granted how much I know about US beer sometimes, and being able to recognize beers and styles.  In Amsterdam I was barely able to pronounce most of the beers on this beer list.  I had three.


First I had an Ongelovige Thomas by Jopen.  It looks like that means Pagan, or unbeliever.  It’s listed as an American Strong Ale and at 10% ABV.  It struck me by the way it was listed as a limited release type beer, so I selected it.  It was good but not great, a little too strong on that intense alcohol taste for me.


For my second beer I selected an Xtreem Centennial by Bierbrouwerij De Eeem.  Much like I did at Brouwerij ‘t IJ I was drawn in by the hops name that I recognized.  This one was clearly an IPA.  This was probably the best beer I had in Amsterdam, although I’m clearly partial to India Pale Ales.  It had just the right amount of spicy bitterness and was a very well executed beer.


Shortly after I ordered that one, the guy next to me asked the bartender for advice and he happened to mention a rye ale.  I tend to really like rye beers, so I resolved to get a third beer, and for it to be the Den Dorstige Tijger by Ramses Bier.  It’s a cool name for a beer anyway, which translates to the thirsty tiger.  Of course, both untappd and ratebeer list it as an IPA, with no mention of rye so I must’ve have misunderstood.  I was particularly disappointed by this one anyway, which tasted pretty watery and weak to me with a sort of blah bitterness to it.


So that was Arendsnest, a very cool cafe in Amsterdam specializing in local beers.  In retrospect I could’ve chosen a better subset of beers, but I’m still glad to have checked the place out and recommend it for any beer fans heading to The Netherlands.


October 9th, 2012 by Ceetar in Beer, travel, Uncategorized
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EuroTrip: Amsterdam Day One

That's quite a few bikes!

We arrived in Amsterdam on Friday afternoon, after taking a Red Eye from New York.   First impression: Yowzah that’s a lot of bikes!


Amsterdam is a pretty cool city.  We started the afternoon after checking in by walking around the place and checking out the canals.  It was a little quiet at first, once we walked away from the transit hub at Centraal Station near where we were staying.  Friday afternoon is not a place you expect to be bustling with people necessarily, but when you’re used to New York City quiet streets in the middle of the day are odd.

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October 4th, 2012 by Ceetar in Beer, Breweries, life, travel, Uncategorized
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