Sleep is, perhaps, my favorite thing in the whole wide world. If it’s not my favorite, then it’s pretty damn close.
I also like beer. And long walks on the beach.
But sleep is…..special.
I can never get enough of it. I could do it any time of day. It often happens while driving a car or operating heavy machinery. To sleep is to dream. To dream is to live. And so on.
Basically, sleep is awesome. But why make something so good, such a monumental waste of time? At least if I’m watching a movie, I can also pick up trash or fold some laundry. If I’m eating ice cream, I could simultaneously solve a crossword puzzle or learn some math. And while playing with the dog, I get some exercise or learn more about the tendencies, thought processes, and various emotional states of dogs.
But while sleeping?
I can drool. My arm can go numb. I can get a foot cramp. I can stop breathing.
Some other activities available to me while sleeping: snoring, converting sugars into fat, bladder-filling, nose-running, hair-growing, etc., etc.
So why the hell did God make it so goddamn good? Why, just writing about sleep makes my eyelids heavy….dsgat laft fga jag; fghlr y,6.
Sorry, I just dozed off for an hour or two. That last sentence was my face hitting the keyboard. Anyway, where was I? Uh oh. Here comes the Sandman again.
C6x5ki6i rt rrtaim
Okay, that one was just a little catnap. I’m feeling refreshed, and ready to begin the process of preparing myself for bed. And with that, another 7 or 8 hours of blissful slumber.
Hypomanics and workaholics shun fatigue, and say, “You can sleep when you’re dead.”
I say, “You bet your ass I’ll sleep when I’m dead. But I’ll also sleep tonight into tomorrow morning. I’ll sleep after lunch. I’ll sleep in the bathroom around 3pm, and again around 6pm before I head out to the parking lot for a nap in my car. Then after I return home, I’ll sleep again as my body succumbs to its natural Circadian rhythm around 7pm, before waking at 8am and starting the whole, beautiful cycle anew.”
But really, I don’t sleep nearly that much. I just sometimes dream that I do. Unfortunately, I have to hold down a full-time job, and some semblance of a social and family life. And I just can’t get much of that done while asleep.
If you know of any jobs that involve mostly sleep, please let me know.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Sleep is, perhaps, my favorite thing in the whole wide world. If it’s not my favorite, then it’s pretty damn close.
Monday, March 30, 2009
So the beer is bottled. It wasn't a pretty operation, and I'm now anxiously awaiting the first exploding bottle.
My bottle-explosion paranoia is probably unfounded, as I checked to see if the beer was finished fermenting several times before bottling. The only problem is, I don't really know what I'm doing. Let's just cross our fingers and hope for no explosions, or only minor explosions.
As the beer ages for about 2 more weeks - turning ever more delicious minute by minute - the task becomes figuring out a name for my inaugural brew. My matriculation into homebrewing. My preliminary entry into the cold, frothy fold of beer making.
It's worthwhile to keep in mind that this first attempt may very well not taste very good. Personally, in the deepest, darkest recesses of my beer-soaked heart, I believe that people will be pleaseantly surprised when they taste it. Reactions will be, "Oh my. This isn't awful," and, "Aw hell, Mill, this actually tastes like beer. I could drink ten of these for breakfast," and perhaps, "I expected much, much worse. This is marginally drinkable, and doesn't seem to be poisoning me."
Any of those responses would be perfectly fine, as far as I'm concerned. But the real test, and the real challenge, is coming up with the perfect name for my brew. A cool-sounding name, that elicits strong emotions in the drinker could potentially make the beer taste much, much better. Or at the very least, make the drinker feel better about themselves - depending upon the individual, this is a monumental task.
So for the moment, I'm moving on from brewing, and into psychology. Here are a few ideas, ranging from standard and unimaginative, to elaborate and trademark infringement-y:
Mill Genuine Draft
Mill High Life
The Mill's Master of Your Own Domain Brew
The Mill's Jewish Red Ale
The Mill's Quit Complaining, Keep Drinking Ale
The Mill's Zero Trans Fat Ale
The Mill's Barack Obama Presidential Beer
Kim Jong-il's Ballistic Missile Brew
Please let me know if you have any ideas, comments, or questions. If you come up with a good name, you'll get a free bottle of beer - pending federal, state, and local regulations. Must be 21 years old to legally drink beer. Beer cannot be shipped to PO boxes, or in regular envelopes - I've tried it before and it doesn't work.
Friday, March 27, 2009
If you see me on the street, or in a bar.
In a café, or on top of a car.
I don’t want to know the ending of Battlestar.
That the final Cylon is Gaius Baltar.
I won’t handle it well if you ruin the finale,
I’ll ask you to meet me in a really dark alley.
I might bring a blowtorch and some pliers.
Or go to your house and start some fires.
The end of the show is just like my dreams.
Anything could happen, it still really seems.
Maybe the humans find Earth after all.
Or maybe you ruin it as you pass by in the hall.
As you whisper the ending and stroll right on past,
I’ll grab your collar, and kick you right in the ass.
I might choke you a bit to show you my rage.
The show may only be fiction, but the world is my stage.
So I’ll teach you a lesson of what not to do.
If you’re bigger than me, I might just throw a shoe.
Like that Iraqi reporter and President Bush.
And if you’re a toddler, you’ll be smacked on the tush.
So please play it safe, and avoid the whole topic.
The Cylons’ ultimate goals may be myopic.
But it’s something I need to find out on my own.
In the comfort and privacy of my very own home.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Jaimi and I continue to research Honeymoon options. Maybe Hawaii. Perhaps somewhere in the Caribbean. We head Belize is nice. But then again, Delaware has beaches too.
We want relaxation, beautiful scenery, a broad range of available activities, warm weather – all at a reasonable price. And so we’ve been spending a decent amount of time on websites like Trip Advisor and Fodor’s, looking for recommendations.
But even the most highly rated resorts and vacation destinations receive a smattering of bad reviews now and again. If you take all of these seriously, then you might think twice about staying just about anywhere. For example, the Sheraton in Maui has something like 650 reviews – almost all of them overwhelmingly positive. Apparently, though, all is not perfect. One lady complained about the weather being cold, and locking herself out of her room – obviously, both the fault of the hotel.
The Four Seasons, on the other hand, has a weather machine (set to 82 degrees and sunny), and biometric locks – fingerprint scan, retinal scan, voice recognition etc. Or upgrade to a suite, and you get a local mute boy to carry your keys around for you. So even if you lose your eyes, voice, and fingers, you’ll still be able to get into your room.
Another traveler complained of a bug in the room, and even snapped a photo of the tiny intruder. By God! A bug found in a room that’s not hermetically sealed, and in the middle of a tropical rainforest?!?! How dare they!! That resort sounds DISGUSTING.
Yes, of course I’m being facetious. And even though the negative reviews may have some merit, I’d bet that these reviewers find something to complain about anywhere and everywhere they go.
They often sound something like this – riddled with grammatical and spelling errors:
“Thier are kids run everywhere. It like Disney World. Can’t have a drink naked by pool, and not smoke marijana in room!! What place is this that won’t let it? I never recommend to friend who want go here.”
“One day it cold outside. I go swim with my kids, and kids get cold!! How will hotel let this?!?!?! My kids shiver when out of water, and it like no one at resort even care to get them blanket!!!!! I end up have to care for my kids for myself!!!!!! Terrible resort. Awful people must be owners!!!!”
“Food great. Room super clean and super nice. Location wonderful. Staff very helpful and well-dressed. But airplane land 30 minute late!!!!! Hotel woldn’t even give us refund for one night!!! How they call themself “hotel” then?!?!?! Not my fault plane land late. It hotel fault for not being on closer island to my home!!! Never stay here again. Too far from my home. Stupid hotel.”
So as you can see, we have to sift through all the crap reviews and try to figure out which ones are valid. It’s a real nightmare. Maybe we’ll just go to Delaware.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
It truly is madness.
This weekend, I joined my brother and six other fine gentlemen for our annual fantasy baseball draft excursion. We've been out here in
For example, people walk around outside with open beers and cocktails!!!!! Passing through the massive crowds that flow along The Strip, it seems as though everyone is holding a drink. Except for me. And a majority of the toddlers dragged along by their gambling addicted parents. It's probably most shocking of all that I didn't see more spillage. One untimely bump on the elbow, and your 64 oz. Mai Tai in the collectible souvenir guitar glass could come crashing to the cement.So besides the rampant displays of public intoxication - which is by no means unique to March Madness time - we also got to watch some fantastic basketball games. I can't even begin to pick which game was the best. Wait a minute - of course I can. I won a hundred bucks when Villanova beat UCLA by twenty points. That was the best game of the weekend, and I'm now a diehard Villanova Wildcat fan.
I'll root for your favorite team as well for as little as 25 bucks. Email me for a free rate quote.
Other than the Villanova victory, other weekend highlights included when we overheard a guy on his cellphone as he walked through the Wynn casino. I believe the precise quote was, "I've fucking lost everything I own today."
Thankfully, I cannot say the same for myself. I still own several pairs of jeans and an iPhone.
Helping to offset any gambling losses was the spectacular deal we got for the hotel rooms. My colleague Dennis - member of every Player's Club on The Strip - tipped me off about the special room rates. And we were able to snag ourselves some $45/night rooms for Friday and Saturday. That's practically unheard of. Dennis, we all owe you a big hug and a $5.49 steak and eggs buffet at the Imperial Palace casino (12 am to 6 am only, Tuesdays and Wednesdays).
Let us know when you want to collect.
Monday, March 16, 2009
AIG stood for something, but what is it now?
Used to have lots of cash - now it’s a cow.
What does it stand for, what does it say?
Asinine Idiots Grab my 401k.
Assholes in Indigo Gawking at girls.
Amateur Immature Globular pearls.
Acrimonious Imps Grinding on one another.
Asexual Imbeciles Going out with your mother.
Abomination Inside, and Gold on the walls.
Ambidextrous Investors with Great swinging balls.
Apparently Ill but Giving out bucks.
Acrobatics Intended to Gouge us like fucks.
Who’s in charge over there? Is it Skilling or Lay?
Unbelievable gall to do what they say.
Obama will save us, as he promised in speeches.
While AIG clings to our bodies like leeches.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
My homebrew kit arrived this past week – in a giant ass box filled with 20 cubic meters of Styrofoam peanuts. This was a birthday gift from Jaimi. I love it, but I’m not sure she realizes what she’s gotten herself into. Instead of 4 or 5 little beers in the fridge, there’s going to be gallons of beer taking up space in the kitchen. Or the closet. Or the even the bathtub. It all depends on how well things go.
From here on out, our apartment is officially a craft brewery – registered, licensed, and fully bonded in the state of New York. Actually, I’m not selling the stuff – and it remains to be seen whether or not the first few batches will be drinkable. Or technically, even qualify as “beer.” So let’s leave the state of New York out of it for now.
After unpacking the aforementioned giant-ass box, I surveyed the inventory. Jaimi had ordered the complete beginner’s brewing package from Midwest Supplies. Supposedly, it comes with EVERYTHING I’ll need to brew and enjoy 5 gallons of delicious beer, right out of the box. Of course, not everything is actually included. You provide the tap water that actually comprises 99% of the beer, and the mouth and stomach to consume the beer once it’s ready. None of this is included in the box. False advertising? We’re talking to some lawyers about it.
Anyway, everything else you need is actually included. The beer bottles and caps, the fermentation chamber (big plastic bucket), the bottling bucket (another big plastic bucket), the ingredients kit, instructional DVD, hydrometer, sanitizer, etc., etc. I chose to make the Irish Red Ale for my trial run. I hope that it’s a forgiving style of beer for the novice homebrewer.
So yesterday, I studied up on the included “Beginner’s Guide to Homebrewing” and watched the instructional DVD. Production quality was fairly low, but the presentation of techniques, and the fine gentleman providing instruction were both top notch. In no time, I had a kettle on the stove, and a nylon bag of crushed barley steeping in the hot water. It was like making tea – if you were to make it 2 gallons at a time. With barley.
So far so good.
Next, it was time to boil the malt extract and hops in the “barley tea.” This takes about an hour, and requires careful monitoring to avoid boil-overs. Or so I was warned. I don’t think it was ever close to a boil-over. But I was so frightened by the instructional DVD’s warnings, that I essentially stared at the bubbling brown liquid the entire time. Better safe than sorry.
After that, it’s time to cool the mixture, or “wort” as it’s known in the beer biz. You see, I can use words like “wort” now because I’m a member of a very exclusive club – those who want to save money and avoid taxes on alcoholic beverages by making their own at home, and who often pretend like what they’ve made is good enough to drink when in reality it should be fed to livestock or burned for fuel.
So I’m cooling the hot wort in a sink full of ice water. And I’m stirring with a sanitized spoon every 15 minutes. And we’re going to be late for our dinner reservations and a show. But if I skip a step, or carelessly add the yeast before the temperature is below 100 degrees, then all of this terrible trouble would be for naught. So I insist upon waiting a few more minutes – the yeast has to rehydrate in order to activate, goddamnit!!
In the end, the wort is cool, the yeast is happy, and the bucket of near-beer is shoved into the corner where it will remain for the next 2 weeks.
20 hours later, I can see bubbles in the airlock. And so I’m happy to report that the little yeasties appear to be eating up the sugary solution and converting it into magical alcohol – in a process known as fermentation, for those of you who didn’t make it through grade school.
Bottling the stuff will probably be a huge pain in the ass. But the first stage wasn’t too bad. If this stuff is even remotely drinkable – no stomach cramps, vomiting, and only mild hallucinations - then I’ll be pretty happy with the experience.
Of course, there will be more updates to follow.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Nadya Suleman and Travis Henry: Octo-Mom and Nona-Dad.
17 total children. Two biological fathers. Ten biological mothers. Mountains and mountains of child support.
Taken together, they are the most fruitful loins on earth – more fertile than the Nile basin. And just as Alaskan rivers and tributaries teem with wild salmon during the great spawn each year, so too do Ms. Suleman’s and Mr. Henry’s offspring populate the planet.
And to think, they’ve got plenty of fertile years yet ahead of them.
What is the best way to spread your DNA around the world? Do you go for the most bang for your buck - in vitro fertilization? Or do you take the old-fashioned route - have unprotected sex with as many women as possible?
With IVF, at least, the children will have automatic playmates for years to come. The siblings may be able to field an entire little league baseball team, or hold every major office in high school student government.
Using Mr. Henry's tried and true method, the siblings probably won't ever meet one another. Plus, I'd imagine it takes a tremendous amount of time, money, and energy to meet the women at the club, buy them 5-10 drinks, stumble into the back of your truck and make a baby. Way too much trouble.
So my vote for having the most kids possible with the least amount of effort - which is really all anyone tries to do on a day to day basis - is definitely IVF.
Save yourself some time. Save the women around you a bunch of pregnancies. Choose to have a whole mess of kids all at once.
Go in vitro! Then run Travis, run!!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
You’re a nice little cyst. Not really dangerous in any way – although racist idiots sometimes confuse you with a tumor. But you’re not like them. You mean your host no harm.
Maybe you grow a little too large, a little too quickly, causing some minor discomfort in a joint. Then, when the doctor finds you, he wants to drain you and tear you away from your host.
That is, of course, unless your host is Alex Rodriguez.
After all, A-Rod loves himself, and believes that any imperfection on or in his own body, is a thing of beauty. He believes he was carved from a solid block of nature’s marble - and so what if God let his chisel slip a bit. A dimple here. A scar there. A few cysts thrown in for good measure.
So, as a cyst in A-Rod’s hip - and upon A-Rod’s explicit instructions - you’ll be left alone for the most part. Perhaps a bit of draining every so often to limit the swelling.
But when the surgeon goes in to fix the hip, to stitch up that torn labrum, and clean up some loose cartilage, you’ll be left alone. Because A-Rod loves his cysts as much as he loves himself.
And that’s a whole hell of a lot.
Monday, March 09, 2009
As I mentioned before, Jaimi planned to get me a homebrew kit for my birthday. What a brilliant gift. I’ll soon have so much beer around the apartment, that I’ll be forced to pour it over my breakfast cereal, and bathe in it from time to time just to make sure the golden nectar doesn’t go to waste
Maybe you thought my fiancée would have second thoughts about this gift. How could it REALLY be a good idea to establish a nano-brewery in our kitchen? I don’t know. But that question is moot, because the beer-making equipment is already on its way. No turning back now. I’ll attempt my first homebrew this upcoming weekend – or at least that’ the plan.
Partly in preparation for my budding homebrew hobby, my good buddy Greg and I went the Philly Craft Beer Festival at the Philadelphia Navy Yards this past Saturday. We knew there would be a lot of breweries we’d never heard of, and we hoped to find some hidden gems.
There were some old familiars there, such as Blue Point, Stone Brewing, and Magic Hat. But out of the 50 breweries at the festival, I’d say at least half of them were previously unknown to us. Suffice it to say, I didn’t bring a notepad.
I remember Cricket Hill Brewery because I thought it was bad name for a beermaker – someone might mistakenly assume that they make pale ale infused with crushed cricket corpses. And there was Gritty’s Brewery, whose banner read, “Show us Your Gritty’s!” And Straub Beer, whose product was kinda bad, but they gave out free bottle openers – pretty much the only free swag we got all evening.
So, I’m not here to offer a full review of the festival. There were indeed a number of obscure craft breweries in attendance. And some of them offered some very good – if not terribly memorable – beers of various flavors and styles. There were even a few homebrewers there, who decided to show off their skills alongside the professional brewers.
I thought this was pretty cool. They weren’t there for the money – they couldn’t have been, because they weren’t selling anything. They were simply there to share their love of beer with thousands of other beer lovers.
It got me to thinking, what kind of unique and amazing beers will I soon be brewing? How will I make the world a better place through better beer? I haven’t learned all of the basics yet – I need the homebrew kit’s instructional DVD in order to get my learn on. But after I’ve made a few basic brews, I plan to graduate to the next level.
Here are a few uniquely flavorful ideas for The Mill’s Craft Nano-brewery. I don’t know if you can even add some of this stuff to beer without killing the yeast and/or creating a potentially poisonous mixture. But that’s what the experimentation process is all about.
Wasabi Mike and Ike Ale:
Classic pale ale infused with Japanese wasabi and shredded Mike and Ike candies.
Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Stout:
Truly, a breakfast in a glass.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory.
Smoky Bacon Brown Ale:
I don't know. Bacon-flavored beer? It could be amazing, or it could be undrinkable. I think this definitely warrants further research.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
My birthday. It always sneaks up on me – like a puma in the jungle. And just like that stealthy puma, my birthday engenders fear and regret, reaching the farthest and deepest edges of my aging soul.
Ouch. That makes my birthday sound pretty bad, I know. But it’s not all bad. After all, Jaimi baked me a cake!! So that definitely takes the edge off of the aforementioned negative feelings.
What I really mean to say is that my birthday is just another day, except it usually makes me feel a little bit bad about myself – even more so than the average day in the life of The Mill. This day forces me to think about the past year. What have I done since my last birthday? Did I read any good books? Am I in better physical shape? Do I own more stuff? How many hot dogs have I eaten?
All of these important reflections are easy to answer. But the underlying question/theme of it all – How have I IMPROVED myself this year? – is not such a cinch to elucidate.
Lucky for me, my birthday is pretty close to New Year’s, so I’ve struggled through this exercise pretty recently.
Here’s how I’m a better man, as compared to the man I was on my last birthday:
1) Caught up on Battlestar Galactica episodes.
2) Got a library card.
3) Found a cool real-time traffic website.
4) Wrote a bunch of wicked awesome posts on my blog.
5) Took home one fantasy baseball and one fantasy football title.
6) Cooked a delicious piece of steak at home.
Admittedly, these are all great accomplishments, and ones of which I should be massively proud. The only problem is that it should have taken me about 36 hours to complete the above list. Instead, it took me an entire year – or over 8,700 hours.
And this realization seems to strike me year after year. Sure I have all of these great accomplishments – sometimes the list stretches 8 or 9 items in length – but what did I do for the rest of the year? Besides sleep and eat?
I don’t know, and the past year is mostly a foggy blur to me now. I remember sitting in traffic quite a bit, but probably not more than 1,000 hours worth. I also exercised from time to time. And then there was our trip to Spain, and a few weekends in Philadelphia. So I’ve accounted for maybe 50 days out of 365 – 40 of which I spent in my car.
I’m intent on better bookkeeping this year, so that I can track my ups and downs. Did I really spend a total of 34 days brushing my teeth last year? And 42 days doing the dishes? Lord knows I spent at least that much time tying my shoes and folding my socks.
So maybe it does all add up, and there isn’t much time left over to accomplish great things.
That’s why life can seem so short. Take better notes.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Economic crisis. Credit crunch. Housing bust. Subprime nightmare. Worst recession this solar system has ever seen.
Whatever you like ot call it, it still pretty much sucks. Constantly worrying about your next paycheck, and if/when that pink slip is going to arrive on your desk. If only you could save enough money – while you still have a job – to weather the storm if you did happen to get the axe.
One thing is for sure: this downturn will end at some point, and the economy will rebound. It’s a law of nature, an example of absolute metaphysical certitude, just like life and death. And as with the circle of life - applied to stocks and bonds, housing prices and jobless rates – all this too shall pass.
So don’t sweat it. Just try to sock away a bunch of dough now, in case you get fired from your investment banking job, your career as a mortgage broker, or Chrysler/GM/Ford executive. Because for many of you, you’re pretty goddamn likely to be unemployed at some point during the next 6 months. If you do still have a job, consider yourself lucky to be reading this post – while there’s still hope.
Without further ado, here are a few fun and easy ways to save a ton of cash. And with any of these tips, the cash saved should be stashed in the same place – wrapped in a Ziploc bag, crammed into a cigar box along with a chunk of cinder block, and plunged into the toilet tank. Trust me - it’s safer than any bank.
1) Only eat packages of instant ramen, and cans of baked beans. You can get 5 packs of ramen for one dollar, and 3 cans of beans for a buck. At those prices, you can eat and be full for about 12 dollars a month. Savings: $1,200/month.
2) Dress old/make yourself look like a senior citizen. You’d be surprised how seldom they ask an old-looking person for ID when you purchase a senior rate movie ticket, or request the AARP nightly rate at a hotel. So pull your pants up to your armpits, put on a gray wig and WWII-themed baseball cap, and draw some wrinkles on your face with an eyeliner pencil. It works better than you’d ever imagine. Savings: $350/month.
3) Forget the doctor or the dentist. If you’re sick right now, hold out until the economy recovers before you get some medical attention. Your recovery can probably wait. You’ll save money on co-pays and prescription fees. If you’re a hypochondriac like me, that can really add up. Savings: $180/month.
4) Sleep in your car. Forgo an apartment or other standard forms of housing. This is especially valuable advice if you need a car to get to work. It’s got a roof, climate control, and with split fold-down rear seats you can really stretch your legs out into the trunk. If you can park for free down by the old abandoned benzene refinery, then you can really save some serious bucks. Savings: $800 - $2,500/month.
5) Train your dog to perform magic tricks, or train your child as an acrobat. With these circus sideshow performance skills, you can pull in extra cash wherever you are - the subway, the bus stop, or the Big Top. The actual income can vary wildly, but once the animal/child is fully trained, there are very few incremental expenses. Pretty much all of their earnings will go straight into your pocket – and then into the toilet tank, as discussed earlier.
Hopefully, of course, it never comes to this. You keep your job, and the economy turns around within a few months. But it’s never a bad idea to be prepared. And it’s never a bad idea to sleep in your car or to keep your life savings in the toilet.