Friday, July 29, 2005

my interns

Well, they are Monarch Beverage's interns actually, but for an hour or two they were my interns and it was pretty sweet.

I was in Indy at the Rathskeller for their annual wine and beer 'tasting' and it was pretty fun. I poured beer for World Class Beverages and these two beautiful young ladies were 'assigned' to me to learn a bit about beer. That was pretty cool.

The tasting was pretty good. I was exhausted and kind of hung over but I drank a goodly portion of brews including some Great Divide Hercules Double IPA, some Kwak and some Schenkerla Marzen. The Founders guy also told me that they will be pouring Breakfast stout on draft tomorrow at the big beer fest which is pretty sweet. Oh, and I also tried Champagne Velvet's Bock which was not nearly as bad as some people have made it out to be.

the friday ramble: the bender continues

Last night we celebrated the day after Grant's birthday and it was a really good time. I got absolutely hammered on $2 Arrogant Bastard and pitchers of SNPA. Other people were hammered too and I think Grant had a good time. I seem to remember talking a lot about Pennsylvania. In fact, I seem to remember talking a lot in general and I think this is evidenced today by the fact that the little dangle in the back of my throat, the uvula I think it's called (did you know how big tongues are? I learned that they are really huge during my search for the name of that little dangly thing), is laying flat against my tongue this morning. When I first woke up I thought it was a big chunk of flem wedged in there but it turned out it wasn't. It turns out it's my uvula. This has happened a couple times before to me I seem to want to say but I can't really swear it's true. Anyway, I can't believe I got up so early. R and I were talking about his impending new Audi S4 purchase until about 4:35am. He was way hammered too though so I wonder how serious he is about that purchase. I had my alarm set for noon, but luckily I woke up when I did because I have to do the drunk bike ride with my bike rack digging into my back up to Encore Cafe to retrieve my car before 11am because they fucking rule and let me park it there but they want me to get it out of there before the lunch rush which is completely understandable but the lunch rush is just a tad early for me to be riding my bike around town but unlike the last drunk retrieval ride this one is going to happen on a very beautiful day. Nice and sunny and only the high 70s.

Wish me luck.

Until next time, keep your Friday morning hangovers in control and don't let the man get you down. Dammit.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

good beer's up yo

You can find it here. Go forward and check it out. It turned out really pretty great. The first little jam is with the lovely Lydia. She has a great voice and I had a great time playing with her.

The music recording is definately a little over driven, but oh well. What can you do? And I think I can play and sing better than that, but whatever. I'll just have to get over myself. BUT if you want to hear what I think is a better version of this song, and see me sing without a shirt on, at least my shoulders, you should check this video out.

And check out the aftershow. Hopefully it will be posted soon. The aftershow section is on the right side of the page.

And here is another cool picture of JeffreyT with is Nova.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

the Good Beer Show

The show isn't posted yet, but when it is I'll put a link here.

My trip to Muncie was a fucking blast in general. The Heorot is a GREAT beer bar and the Good Beer Show was more fun than I had even expected. JeffT and all the folks up there are really super people. Was really an excellent time hanging out with them. We drank a lot of good beer and I hope the show came out ok. I was pretty drunk to be honest.

I'm also a little worried about how my music came out. I think the mic was really overdriven, but we'll see.

I'm not going to get into too much of the details here, because I'm going to post a story over at in a couple days, but here's some stuff that won't make it there.

Well, this picture is just so cool I think it will make it both places.

This is a picture of JeffreyT Myer standing in front of his '72 Nova across the street from the Heorot. You can see it reflected in the strange, all black glass Bank One building.

I really like this shirt.

This is James and Mandy, the incredibly nice people who offerred me their couch to sleep on and drove me back to my car this morning. James even offerred to make breakfast twice. James is the drummer for a band called 'Brazil'. They are kind of a progressive rock sort of heavy metal band. They are really tight and really pretty good. They've played all over the states and Canada and they even have a music video that James showed me. But, I don't really like that kind of music to be honest. There is some interesting stuff, but it's just too clunky and aggressive. But It's definately a popular genre of music right now with folks like System of the (a?) down, Linkin park etc. But he might be famous some day. That'd be cool.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

remote blogging: Muncie

Ahhhh...blogging in Muncie. I'm hear in beautiful (read depressed) Muncie Indiana to write a story on maybe the best beer cellar in Indiana. This cellar is under the Heorot, a wild and crazy viking beer hall type thing. 1995 Boon Oude Geuze Mariage Parfait? Yeah, they have that. 1988 JW Lees Harvest Ale? Yeah. Got that. Several vintage wooden casks, Port, Sherry and Calvados, of JW Lees Harvest Ale? That too. And these are just the true gems. Lots of other stuff to mention and lots of cool pictures. I'm going to write it all up for this week or next.

I'm also here to be on 'The Good Beer Show'. A cool podcast about beer and local music made every week at the Heorot by JefferyT. I get to play my music too! Nice.

Also, I had to get a fucking library card to get on the computers here at the public library. Isn't that funny? I signed up and everything and now have my very own 'Muncie Public Library' library card. Nice.

Monday, July 25, 2005

the coolest multimedia feature at the NY Times...ever

...except the beer features. But this new one is really cool. It's all about the impending shuttle mission tomorrow. After watching the rather dour photos and narration, explore the 'mission' tab. Then go to the 'Debris damage?' tab.

Flying the shuttle must be pretty fucking wild.

videos yo, the stink and my first music video

So I've been checking out a lot of video blogs lately and it inspired me to take some videos myself. I want to be a 'vlogger', I want to have a vblog. Not really, but I think videos are fun and easy so I shall do more of them.

This video is of 'my' dog the Stink. He is actually my roomate Brian's dog, but this summer, he is mine.

This video is of me playing one of my songs, 'From the North Country', as I like to call it. I know I'm looking a little wild what without a shirt and my crazy unkempt hair and all, but it's all about the music man, it's all about the music. I love the head bobbing at the end. I never even knew I did that. But I really never knew I made such weird faces. What a dork.

And Brian, sorry about playing your guitar with no shirt on and playing it so forcefully, or 'into submission' as you put it. But that guitar is so fucking nice! It sounds so good when you wail on it.

I'm in love with Lance Armstrong

Not in a gay sort of way though. Rather, he might be one of the most impressive human beings ever. He's an amazing combination of genetic physiological ability and gifted competitive psychology, how much of the later is genetic I'm not entirely sure.

Anyway, the NY Times has a great little piece about his abilities here. There's lots of cool stuff about his physiology and other elite atheletes physiologies. I just love that stuff. It's so cool to be 'gifted' in that sort of way, to be orders of magnitude more physiologically able than the rest of the population.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

good piece of advice #791

Don't tend the french fries without a shirt on. It's much easier to get burned than you think.

good morning good music

Well, it's almost not morning anymore, but I discovered a really great vocal talent over at 'Morning Becomes Eclectic' just a half hour ago.

His name is Nicolai Dunger and I think he listened to a lot of Van Morrison.

Check out his solo performance on 'Morning Becomes Eclectic' here.

It's really good.

And it turns out that he's Swedish, believe it and or not. And that people have compared him to Van Morrison, but he doesn't cite him as an influence.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

ivory-bill woodpecker sighting challenged

So reports the NY Times here.

That's a real shame. Hopefully they'll be some more sightings soon and better photographic evidence.

This video is really great, it details the rediscovery of the bird. There's lots of footage of the swamp where the bird was caught. I've been meaning to explore a swamp.

I think Indiana has some cool swamps somewhere in the SE portion of the state. I wish I didn't sell my kayak.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Ah yes, finally we arrive at the most important member of the Guelph triumvirate: beer. When I travel, beer is pretty much always lurking in the background. Guelph is a pretty good beer town, all things considered, and really had a lot to offer a young beer enthusiast from the US.

First off, Ontario, and Guelph in particular, are really quite British. There was a Woolwich St., a Suffolk St. and a Norfolk St., among others. But the beer and pubs also betrayed this Anglo-ancestry. There were lots of pubs that were 'The Something Arms'. I only went to one pub however, the Woolwich Arms and Arrow. Check out their website here.

It was really British.

The building was probably at least 80 or 90 years old, probably older (?), and had three smallish rooms: the bar, which was only 12' x 12', and two dining rooms, the biggest of which wasn't more than 18' x 14'. A narrow hallway seemed to take a more-circuitous-than-necessary meander to the 'washrooms'. Dark walls, at least one fireplace. There was a very nice front porch in the front and a very nice patio area out back. There wasn't any air conditioning though, which really sucked, I'll be honest.

But they more than made up for the hear with the brew. I really didn't even look at their fairly large draft menu, maybe 14 beers. I flew to the real ale. They had three handpulled real ales on. All of which were really tasty and very British. The bar also kept them in great condition. I wonder if they have a cellarman? Two were from a local Guelph brewery, the Wellington (more Britishness), and I can't seem to remember the brewer of the third beer, unfortunately. But it was great. Actually my least favorite of the bunch, but I still liked it a good deal.

A pale ale (maybe they called it a bitter?) of perhaps 4-5%, it had the most carbonation of the three cask ales, but it was still quite flat. Showed a real nice fruity aroma and flavor. Seems like a really expressive British strain, like white lab's Burton strain, was used. I got mostly strawberry actually. Also just more than a hint of caramel malts. Was really enjoyable. Definately a detectable hop bitterness in the finish. Pretty dry, but I would have preferred it even more attenuated.

I want to talk about the Wellington beers as a whole group because I also got to sample some of their beers in bottles as well. Their Arkell bitter I had from the hand pump at the Woolwich Arms was by far my favorite of those three real ales. Incredibly light, crisp and endlessly quaffable, this beer also had a substantial perceived hop flavor and bitterness. Also some really nice English yeast notes in the aroma, just a touch fruity and a nice mellow bready quality that was also there on the palate. The least carbonated of the three, with a single jet of carbonation escaping the liquid phase every couple seconds as the beer warmed. But this is really the ideal beer for cask conditioning. The body was so light, any significant carbonation would have made it seem thin. Altough at 4%abv, it's on the high side for a traditional cask bitter.

The other Wellington that was on cask at the Woolwich Arms was their County Ale. A 5%abv brown ale that was in good condition in the cask. More carbonation than the Arkell bitter, but definately still pretty flat. But I think the combination of slightly higher condition and final gravity lead to the formation of a really nice and persistant head that left some decent lacing on the glass.

Definately the sweetest of the three cask ales, it was by no means 'sweet' and twice as far from cloying. A fairly dark brown ale, it showed some nice caramel flavors and, if I'm remembering correctly, a decent hop bitterness. Definately also some nice English yeast notes in the aroma and on the palate.

I also had Wellington's Special Pale Ale in bottles. It is a fairly light brew where the hops are the focus. It weighed in at 4.5%.

My second favorite Wellington's behind their Arkell bitter was the Iron Duke Strong Ale. Had this in bottles, only 10$ Canadian for a 6 pack. If the dollar was in better shape, that'd be a pretty good deal. This beer is a very traditional English strong ale. It was a fairly dark brew with a substantial body but still finishing on the crisp and dry side, good attenuation. Rich caramel and fruit flavors dominated on the palate. Definately a beer in the tradition of beers like Adnam's Broadside and the Olde Suffolk Strong Ale, two beers that are widely available in indiana.

I also had a really nice 2003 bottle of Niagara Falls Brewing Company's Eisbock. An 8% brew that was not quite as heavy and sweet as I would like in an Eisbock, but on the other side of the coin, it was a remarkably rich beer for how clean and dry(ish) it was. I certainly don't mean to say it was a dry beer. Big Munich malt notes on the nose and on the palate. Very nice carbonation level, medium to high. Maybe that's why it seemed not quite as thick and sweet? This bottle, a 25oz, was a really good deal at 6$ Canadian!

Here's a pic of some of my Canadian haul. Did I take pictures of other stuff? No. That would have involved clear common sense thinking, something I definately was lacking on the trip.

The banquet for our conference, the one where I got to sit with Michael Ruse and David Hull, was sponsored by Sleeman Brewing Company, which is also based in Guelph. Now Sleeman is a huge brewery. They've gotta be one of the biggest in Canada behind Labatt, Moosehead etc. And they've been on the craft brewer's radar since they purchased Unibroue, one of the most successful and popular Belgian-style breweries in the United States (if not in the world).

What's cool about Sleeman is that they don't brew mainly macro style lagers. Yes they brew a low crab beer and a pils, but their other flagships are a 'honeybrown ale', a 'cream ale', a steam beer and an amber. Incidently, that was all they had at the banquet, no Unibroue, but it was definately better than BMC. I had two cream ales. They were ok.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

ISHPSSB: living and traveling

Oh yeah, here is a picture of the program for the conference. Guelph is really into their Trillium.

Well, before we get to the good stuff, namely the beer, I feel I should recount some of the ups and downs that comprised our trip to and our stay in Guelph ON. Melinda, Jason and myself rented a Ford Crown Victoria, paid for by ISH, to make the trip. It was a comfortable car for sure. It took us about 9.5 hours to get there from Bloomington with only 2 stops. We heard some very funny local Canadian radio news bit about some stolen trees. They even had an interview. It was very strange. There were other strange things too, so strange that they wouldn't even be funny if I recounted them here.
So our first night in Guelph was absolute hell. Melinda, being the smart woman she is (she also had more money than we did) booked a room in a townhouse with air conditioning. Jason and myself opted to stay in the NON airconditioned dorms at the rather ridiculous price of around 40$ canadian. That is fucking ridiculous if you ask me. But we figured it's cheaper than the townhouse at about 100$ canadian per night and cheaper than motels which were about 65$ canadian.

But that night was miserable. Apparently John Wilkins had the same problem, as did many others I'm sure.

Easily the second worst night sleep I've ever had. The worst was Alicante Spain in late July. I was in the back room with no windows and it was hotter than in Guelph. We both took freezing cold showers but it was no use. I got about 2 hours of sleep. But around 2am Jason and I decided to take matters into our own hands and we called around to motels and resovled to check out of the dorms in the morning. It was just unbearable. Needless to say, this was not a good way to start a conference. I drank a TON of coffee while I was there and still haven't caught up on my sleep.

So we checked into a Super 8 motel about 10 minutes from the conference which kind of sucked, but it had COLD air conditioning and we slept much much better.

Then there was the party that was thrown by Patrick Forber and his flatmates. Holy crap it was a rager. People were sauced and many bottles were broken. They also had a kiddy pool and there would be like 8 people just squished into it standing there smoking cigarettes. It was hilarious.

The return trip didn't go so well. We had picked up a fourth member, Jutta, a professor in our department who had flown into Toronto but was catching a ride back with us. She is a German citizen and had to get some form when she entered the country or else she wouldn't have been able to get out ever again or some such thing. Well, there was a very large line to get into the country. We waited for 20 minutes on the bridge before we could even see the check points. Anyway, I was driving and there was a lane with no cars in it at all that said 'Customs and Immigration, NEXUS' on it. That's fucking it I swear to god. So my car mates suggested I take that route because Jutta's situation may be related to immigration. I said I didn't think that was a good idea but I listened to them and went.

Well, it turns out it was a good idea because it acutally didn't take any longer even though we had to go inside (where we got to use the bathroom), but it was bad idea because I was verbally abused by the security dude for about 3 minutes. What an asshole. He was pretty much yelling at me about why I didn't read the signs? Maybe I should read the signs next time? What was I trying to do? He was a dick. I tried to reason with him to no avail. I was getting very pissed and he was getting very pissed so I just said: "yes sir. you are correct. I'm sorry." I really wanted to grab his gun and shove up his ass and pull the trigger until it goes click, but I had incredible control.

links update

I've updated my links over there on the right. Check out 'The Good Beer Show', a podcast from the Heorot in Muncie. Pretty cool. Also found the Australian Brewer's Guild podcast. And check out Greg Koch's (Stone Brewing's president) video blog. Very entertaining.

Monday, July 18, 2005

ISHPSSB: academic things

I just returned from the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology Bi-Annual meeting in Guelph Ontario and holy crap do I have a lot of things to say about it. I'm going to do it in three posts. The first will be about academic things, namely what talks I heard, how mine went, famous smart people I talked to etc. The second will be about other things like travel, my general thoughts on Guelph etc. The last, and arguably most important, will be about beer. It was a pretty good trip for beer. Which is always a huge bonus.

So firstly, my talk went pretty well I think. I mean, nobody came up to me afterwards and said anything about it to me, for the whole meeting, but I did get a bunch of good questions for the entire 10 minutes of question time. It was a little intimidating because Garland Allen, a very well respected historian of biology, was there and asked me a simple question, he just didn't remember something Darwin said about how variation in higher mental faculties arises, and I couldn't remember it either. I'm really not sure Darwin acutally ever said much about it. Anyway, Garlan Allen wrote the only serious biography of Thomas Hunt Morgan which I really need to read. That's the one bad thing about meetings: you come back with a must-read list that like doubles the one you aleady have. I need to read a bunch of stuff on the metaphysics of selection, Jim Woodward's book on causality, last fall's JHB Darwin issue, a whole bunch of shit really. Althought I'm looking forward to it.

The last talk in my session was really good. I think her name was Susan Rensing and she is at Minnesota finishing her dissertation. She has a really cool story to tell about the origin of the Eugenics in the US that is really different the current account. She's pushing it back 30 years in to the Womens Christian Temperance Union. Cool stuff.

I went to two great sessions on the Darwinian Revolution. The first had pretty much all the top Darwin folks in attendance and there was lots of stuff said that I didn't really know. It was really more an interesting sociological event in that lots of people just made funny polemical speeches. Michael Ruse took a few swipes at Bob Richards. It was good for me to learn all these general things like who disagrees with who. It definately makes Ruse's program in the Darwinian Revolution much clearer to me. I've never read Richards so that might make it clear as well. Yeah. Probably.

Anyway, I also went to a great session on cause in biology. Jim Woodward was there to comment on all the papers that were about, yes, Jim Woodward's account of causation. I think my favorite session was on the last day though, at 9am. One of the speakers dubbed it the 'hangover session'. Everybody was talking about a loosely connected bunch of issues under the guise of 'the morphological/molecular divide'. My favorite talk was Anya Plutynski's on drift. She had a lot of interesting ideas about the metaphysics of drift. The metaphysics of selection have pretty much been worn out and there doesn't seem to be a satisfying conclusion, and by satisfying I mean that nobody has made a good argument for being a realist about selection.

Anyway, at least looking at the metaphysics of drift will be a fresh task that might provide at least a different perspective on the philosophical issues, because lord knows that at this point nobody's really concerned with the biology.

The highlight of the conference might have been the banquet. Eventhough I loathe 'banquets' in general, what with the shitty beer (eventhough it was sponsored by Sleeman's but more on that in the beer section), mediocre food and not really knowing anybody to talk to, Michael Ruse and his wife and son and David Hull sat with us at our table. That was great. They are both really quite the characters, but in completely different ways. And let's just put it this way, David Hull is deep human being, not only in his academic work, but apparently in his general human life. That's a very oblique and safe way to say that David Hull was (is?) a bit of a wild man. I think it's cool to see that somebody who just exists as a name and a bunch of really important papers is actually a really cool person.

Stay tuned for stories of the second hottest night of sleep in my life and really good real ale in Guelph ON.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

before I go...part III of my Michigan beer piece is posted at

Check it out here yo.

once again, I'm heading out of town

I just can't seem to stay in Bloomington for more than 10 days or so.

I'm heading to Guelph, Ontario (that's in Canada, eh) for the ISHPSSB conferance. That's International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology for all of you not in the know. I'm presenting a paper on Darwin's account of human race evolution.

I know how much you all want to read it, so here is a link to my presentation.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

sunday 'my favorite smell' bloggin'

Onions cooking in butter.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

summer doldrums?

I don't even know what that means, but it sounds about right. I'm experiencing a severe bout of lethargy and laziness. I want to call it a malaise, but it's really not that bad. The weather here in Bloomington has really taken a turn for the better. Not the sweltering mid-90s and 197% humidity. I have the air off tonight. Windows open. It's really quite pleasant.

And I've been really enjoying Beck's new album, Guero. That song 'Earthquake Weather' might be the one of the best 5 songs ever written. I tend to exaggerate things, but it's one of those songs that I get completely obessed with for a short period of time, about a week or two. I can listen to it 15 times in a row. Another one is Gillian Welch's 'Look at Miss Ohio'. Another is Alison Krauss and Union Stations 'Boy who couldn't hoe corn'. Bright Eye's 'First Day of my Life'. Etc. There have been many and there will be many more. Music is a wonderful thing.

I've also developed a bit of a serious addiction to Erykah Badu. She is one of the most beautiful women on the planet, no doubt. And a remarkably original and incredible vocal talent.

ANYWAY, here is a photo extravaganza documenting my trip to PA over the fourth of July.

This is a picture of Ian Fitzpatrick playing a heated game of badminton (badmiton?).

A wolf-dog named Hemlock. Really. Half wolf.

This is Chris' dad Walt and his 55 gallons of very artisanal cider. He pressed the apples, filled the keg, put a blowoff tube on, and let it sit for 2 years. It's really just coming around now. I'd give it another year. It's still a little on the sweet side and there is still visible fermentation happening. But it's really tasty stuff. Little on the harsh side, but really complex too. Walt is the fucking man.

Here's Walt, Michelle looking quite a cute country girl, and Mike 'I'm the fucking man' Deam (dean?). He's really good at guitar. Needless to say there was lots of vike-rock played.

Half of my shucking work. That damn mug of Troeg's pils just kept getting in the way. Tasty stuff.

Ian doing some serious country livin'.

Brooke getting special instructions on which peas to pick from 'gramma gina'.

The wolf dog leading the pack in stripping the fresh kill of its meat. Oh wait, that's a blanket. Thank god.

OK, so I had to leave the festivities north of Reading a day early to head back for a family reunion. Oh well. The reunion was great fun too.

Here's a pic of my parents in their really indulgent new kitchen.

The pin ball machine was easily the coolest thing about the reunion.

We went shooting one day. Here is my father, my cousin Tara's new husband Rob, and my cousin Jesse throwing.

The family is from Central/Northwestern PA so a cooler full of Straub is required. One of the few preprohibition independent breweries left in the US. Their beer isn't so good. I got it mixed up with Rolling Rock in a blind tasting we had at the reunion.

We had a sweet tank race at the reunion too. Here they are, ready for battle.

Here we are lined up for the start of the crucial fourth heat. From left to right, uncle Joe, uncle Kurt, my brother Adam, and my cousin Chris.

This is Adam dominating in the paddleball event.

This is my uncle Kurt not dominating so much.

Adam with a little small mouth he got on Valley Creek.

And last but definately not least, Ryan Mills-Knapp, sommelier to the stars, fresh in from NYC doing some serious country living.

Until next time, drink good beer.

Matthew Dunn, Esq.

Friday, July 08, 2005

friday kid bloggin'

I'm back bitches. And I have a bunch of pictures of the little ones.

Here's a picture of Bailey (I think that's how they spell it) and her father, the proud owner of a new tenure track professorship.

And here's the best pic I have of 9 month old Dylan. I know, he's huge for 9 months. We are here shucking peas.

Here's a pic of Michelle and her daughter Bailey in Ian's tent. Bailey loved the tents.

This is almost 6 year old Brooke picking sweetpeas. Six years! I remember when she wasn't even a thought. Wow.

Here is a picture of my cousin Jesse and his wife Glenna's child Alayna. She's almost 2 and really doesn't like me very much. But she's warming up.