Thirsty Thursday – Three Floyds Brewing Co. – Arctic Panzer Wolf

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Imperial IPA, 9% ABV

Appearance – The body is a nice dark orange with a tan head that left decent lacing.

Aroma – The smeell is pretty potent. It;s very hoppy (to be expected) with notes of citrus and pine. There is also a hint of grapefruit, but less than I’ve encountered in other IPAs.

Flavor – The taste is very similar to the smell. You get the hops right up front with the citrus and pine following. The finish is a bit bitter

Mouthfeel – The carbonation is light, but you can definitely detect the alcohol. It’s not quite as thick as other imperial IPAs

Overall – This was a good beer, but not as good as others that I’ve had by Three Floyds. If given the chance I would take a Gumball Head or Zombie Dust over this any day.

Word Wednesday – The Dark Elf Trilogy – R. A. Salvatore

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The Dark Elf Trilogy is a collection fo the first three books of the Forgotten Realms series The Legend of Drizzt. It chronicles the early adventures of the drow elf Drizzt Do’Urden. From the beginning, we see the harsh and competitive world that the drow live in. Drizzt is born in the city of Menzoberranzan, located in a region known as the Underdark, deep underground, devoid of sunlight. Mezoberranzan is set up in a heirarchy of houses, each ruled by a matriarch. The male drow that are born to a family have only one purpose, to serve and to fight. Drizzt is no different. From a very early age the dark elf is trained in combat by House Do’Urden’s weapon master, Zaknafein. As Drizzt comes of age he begins to realize that he is not like the other drow. In appearance he is the same. In ability he is superior to most. What makes Dritzzt different however, is that he is not evil. He does not have the desire to destroy and kill. When he looks upon the society he lives in he finds it deplorable. The result of this is that Drizzt feels alone, isolated. That is, until he discovers that his mentor may have a similar disposition. This trilogy, the first few books in a very extensive series, covers Drizzt’s struggle to discover his identity and find somewhere that he actually belongs. It is a great epic fantasy story with several weel developed characters and an engrossing plot. Even people who don;t usually go for fantasy can find something to relate to in these books.

Wikipedia –  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dark_Elf_Trilogy

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Elf-Trilogy-Homeland-Forgotten/dp/0786915889

TV Tuesday – Justified

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2012 – Present

FX has been one of the best networks in recent times. It has come out with a long string of top quality programming, and Justified is no exception. I’ll admit, when I first saw the previews for this show I was only half interested, but once I watched the first episode I was hooked. Justified is centered on the US Marshals working in the backwoods of Kentucky. The main character is Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens, played by Timothy Olyphant. The series begins with Raylan being assigned to Kentucky (his former home) after a high profile shooting that he was a part of while working in Miami. Deputy Givens is an extremely interesting character. He is a badass in just about every sense, but at no point do you feel like he’s a cliche. It’s finny because in something like an old western his style, attitude, and mannerisms would be considered just that. In this modern, and in my opinion unexplored, setting however, he is an interesting and likable character. As far as the story goes, the first season pretty much follows a story of the week format, with an overall plot that gives us pieces of Raylan’s past and why he really hates Kentucky. After that, the other seasons have more overarching arcs with a continued sprinkling of exposition. While the story is quite good, I think it’s really the characters that make the show what it is. Throughout the series, Raylan has an ongoing rivalry with his former coal mining buddy turned criminal, Boyd Crowder, played by Walton Goggins. Boyd is another nuanced and highly entertaining character. If you want a show that’s addictive and a change of pace from what you normally see, this is definitely something you should have a look at.

IMDB - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1489428/

Monday Movie Madness – American Mary

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2012, Directed by Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska

It’s October and that means it’s time to indulge in some nice horror movies. My first pick in what will hopefully be a long string of horror films, American Mary was a very pleasant surprise. The plot centers around Mary, a young med school student who’s having some trouble paying her bills. In an attempt to make some extra scratch Mary begins taking on some interesting side jobs. It turns out that since she’s training to be a surgeon, Mary has the skill set to perform underground body modification surgeries that are less than legal. Throughout the film we see her motivations (including one particularly horrific instance) for putting her career and her freedom at risk, and how what she does is changing her as a person. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, but in my opinion it’s more of a thriller than an outright horror movie. Don’t get me wrong, there is a decent amount of blood and gore, but most of the action is implied. This is not torture porn, which is something that I liked about it. I also found myself rooting for Mary the whole time. To be clear, she does some very dark things by the end, yet what I feared most was her Mary getting caught. No doubt, a lot of my feeling for the character came from how well she was played by actress Katharine Isabelle. Fans of Supernatural will recognize her as Ava from season two. Overall I found this to be a unique and interesting story backed up by good acting and an attractive style. If it’s something that your interested in, it’s on Netflix right now.

IMDB – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1959332/

Netflix – http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/American_Mary/70261774?sod=search-autocomplete

Funny Pages Friday – Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8

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2007 – 2011, Dark Horse Comics

Okay, I might have a bit of a problem\, but I like Buffy a lot, so naturally I wanted to cover the comic continuation of the story. Season 8 gives us what happened to Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies after the show ended. There are mixed opinions about its quality, but I feel that its good points outweigh its bad. One criticism that I’ve heard is that the plot for the comics is very different from that of the show. I don’t want to spoil anything, so let’s just say that the Buffyverse is a very different place at the end of the series than it was at the beginning. I think that that has a lot to do with the change of pace of the narrative. More than that though, I feel that the advantage that the comics have over the show is that they are not constrained in what they can do by a budget. Big battle sequences and ridiculous adventures that wouldn’t have been possible on TV can be easily done in the comic format. That being said, the comic is not better than the show. It;s more of an extra fix for anyone who wants more Buffy. It’s not the same as watching the series, but I thoroughly enjoy it, and I think that any Whedon fan will as well. Most of the dialogue was written by or in consultation with Joss Whedon, so you still get that sharp witty entertainment. Basically I’d say that if you were or are a fan of the show this is something to definitely check out.

Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer_Season_Eight

Amazon –   http://www.amazon.com/Long-Buffy-Vampire-Slayer-Season/dp/1593078226

Thirsty Thursday – Pipeworks Brewing Co. – Ninja vs Unicorn

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American Double/Imperial IPA, 8.5% ABV

Appearance – Kind of dark for an IPA. It’s a deep golden orange with a slight off white head with sticky lacing.

Aroma – Right away you can smell the hops. There’s a very heavy grapefruit note, but there”s also a nice citrus smell with just a hint of pine.

Taste – Just like with the aroma the grapefruit is very prominent. It’s bitter, but not as bitter as the smell would suggest. As it finishes you get that little bit of pine.

Mouthfeel – It’s very smooth. Not too much carbonation, very drinkable.

Overall – This is a pretty good beer, although not the best I’ve had from Pipeworks. Usually strong grapefruit presence in an IPA puts me off, but in this it’s surprisingly good. The bitterness did increase as it warmed, muting some of the flavors that were more noticeable when I first started drinking.Beyond that, it’s a good IPA.

Word Wednesday – The Crying of Lot 49 – Thomas Pynchon

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First off, let me just say, this is one weird book. But it’s the type of weird that keeps you interested. The Crying of Lot 49 is Thomas Pynchon’s postmodern take on conspiracy theories. The main character, Oedipa Maas is named executor of her newly deceased former lover’s estate. In the course of carrying out her duties she comes across an odd collection of stamps. This sets Oedipa on the trail of an underground mail service, Trystero, which has apparently been operating for centuries. The trouble is that Trystero may not actually exist and Oedipa may just be losing her mind. The whole book plays out like a conspiracy based mystery, but what it really is is a conspiracy theory about conspiracy theories. The setting, 1960′s Southern California, creates the perfect atmosphere. Nothing about the story is really straight forward. There is a lot of randomness and we don’t know what meaning anything has, if any. If you need a completely coherent plot, or want everything wrapped up with a bow by the end, then this is not for you. If you’re looking for a fun brain twisting mystery then you should give it a shot. It’s pretty short, more of a novella than a full fledged novel, so there;s no harm in checking it out.

Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crying_of_Lot_49

Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Crying-Lot-Perennial-Fiction-Library/dp/006091307X

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