Monday, April 25, 2011

Beer of the Month - April

The beer of the month for April is Wachusett Brewery's Blueberry Ale {4.5% abv}. Wachusett brews aren't very well known to those outside of the North Eastern region of the U.S., but word of mouth and a few magazine shout-outs have helped notoriety spread quite a bit over the past decade. Wachusett Brewing Company was founded in 1993, by three young entrepreneurs, after they decided to take on beer making themselves. Wachusett's founding trio attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute and after graduating and finding themselves in solid careers in Engineering and Biology, they decided to chase the American dream.

I always heard of Wachusett Blueberry Ale through my auto-enthusiast friends from NY and the greater New England area, and after many years sipping off others' bottles I asked my buddy Pete to get me a sixer for H2o International last fall. Pete unfortunately forgot to bring Blueberry Ale to H2oi, but much like an elephant, he remembered this past Winter when we all gathered in PA for a Waffle House GTG (get together). Thus the beer of the month for April was selected!

After popping the top, sweet blueberry fragrance hits your nostrils. This ale really smells good. The first sip is ripe with blueberry fruit flavor, delivering as advertised ('natural blueberry flavor added'), but finishing like a solid ale should. While this may not come across as a compliment for serious Wachusett fans, the flavor profile of Blueberry Ale finishes like very much like Yuengling; I really enjoy Yuengling and think it's a great all-round beer. As such, I feel this is a good year-round drinking beer that isn't limited to occasion. Wachusett Blueberry Ale is very affordable, but due to the limited states where it's sold (Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island) you may need to stock up when a buying opportunity presents itself. 3 stars.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring forward.

It hit 80* for the first time in 2011 last Monday which got me thinking...what are the best times of year? I'd have to say when it's warm, but there are few bugs. Hot enough for shorts but cool enough not to be drenched in sweat. Light on pollen is good too. Daylight past 8pm is nice. Long story short, I'd have to say we're in that lovely one month window before pollen and bugs are everywhere, right now. This fact helped me get material for this seasonal post before making my way to work.

I wandered around randomly as usual, remembering where I've seen the tell-tale signs of Spring during my local daily errands. I never have my good camera on me all the time, but I make mental notes when I see things I want to shoot later on, usually while travelling by car. Even though I never get to everything I want to shoot, I got some enjoyable pictures from what I did get to while on foot.

Spring is a good time of year for plenty of reasons; it's symbolic of starting fresh, growth and surviving darkness and cold, as well as the return of a cycle of warmth and strong sunshine. Regardless of how productive you are during the Winter months you can just about always double that productivity, without even noticing it, once it's 70*+ outside. Now that warm weather is here, make up any excuse you need to get out of the house and enjoy it...before the humidity, mosquito's, gnats and wasps dull the shine of it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Up up and away.

As a kid I loved all things mechanical; typical DNA-ingrained "boy" stuff I suppose. I enjoyed cars, trucks, airplanes and helicopters. Not too much later I was infatuated with GI-JOE, Air Wolf, Blue Thunder, Transformers and other Japanese anime involving mechs (Voltron, Robotech, Gundam, etc.). When I was in 8th grade, I had the great opportunity to visit the Kennedy Space Museum in Florida. I didn't have the pleasure of witnessing a shuttle launch in person, which is on my bucket list, but I still had a great time learning more about what mankind did to achieve the goal of getting to the moon as well as the science and experimentation behind it. I recently had a excursion that reminded me of being a child, hungry for information on flying machines, and got to share in the experience with a few good friends of mine. It was a trip to the Patuxent (Pax) River Naval Air Museum in Lexington Park, MD.

A southern Maryland visit to a good friend that moved for work, a couple weeks ago, led to an impromptu tour of the Pax River NAS. Before heading home we visited a place where I could take some pictures, the Pax River Naval Air Museum. The weather was cloudy and ended up raining pretty heavily, which unfortunately kept me from getting a good outside shot of the building, but before that happened I was able to get a few images of some of the airplanes I grew up seeing in videogames, movies and anime, which was quite a treat.

After wrapping up our walk-through of the retired aircraft parking lot, outside, we moved indoors to see the rest of the museum. There were flight simulators, model planes & aircraft carriers and more importantly some display cases showing the equipment used during the initial exploration of how much g-force the human body could handle, back in the 1950s. The equipment test pilots and scientists were using at that time (open cockpit rocket propelled sleds on train tracks) to test g-force resistance was nothing short eyebrow raising. The human spirit needed to sacrifice ones life for the sake of progress for future generations is a very powerful thing. Aircraft equipment from 60 years ago was brilliant yet crude in ways, which is typical of all early technology efforts in hindsight, but looking up at what rules the sky today helps you realize how important these baby steps were.

If you find yourself in southern Maryland and would like to check out the Pax Naval Air Museum, get all the information you need here to arrange a visit.

Capturing Life's Fabric with Technology.