• The Slap

    I recently watched a video that asked some boys to slap a girl on camera; all of them refused. It was cute, and maybe a little heartwarming, but also troubling because they all complied with the instruction to “caress” the girl (perhaps wrongly assuming that the girl’s presence and lack of objection implied consent).

    Either way, that’s not the point. One of the commenters on that linked to a video which inexplicably filled me with joy. For your viewing pleasure:

    via Gizmodo



  • Ted’s Beer of the Month: Nov/Dec 2014

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    I think this will be my last BOTM post, at least for now. I find myself much less willing to write in-depth beer reviews than I used to, and putting this out every month has become a chore rather than an enjoyable pastime. I’ll probably end up writing one-off beer reviews as I find new and noteworthy brews, which will be more thoughtfully written since I won’t feel under the gun to churn them out. Thanks to anyone who’s followed my ramblings this far, I hope to produce higher quality content in the future!

    Alright, on to the good stuff. I’ve had some fantastic beers in the last two months, so at least we’re going out with a bang.

    stoplight_grnTröegs Perpetual Imperial Pale Ale – 7.5% – bottle

    This is a tricky one, since even though there’s a big “IPA” on the bottle, the small print on the bottle indicates that this stands for Imperial Pale Ale. It’s confusing, but at least I know I’m not the only one, because when I checked into this beer on Untappd, I got TWO badges, one for Pale Ales and another for IPAs. It’s a mystery, but at least it’s delicious. It showcases its hops without smacking you in the face with them. Its pine and floral notes dominate, but they don’t overpower the malts, which often happens with American IPAs.

    stoplight_ylwStone Coffee Milk Stout – 4.2% – bottle

    While browsing my local Crafty Beer Shop, where every 6-pack is build-your-own, I decided to forego variety for once and get a full sixer of this one. Call it a fit of madness, but I’m partial to both coffee and milk stouts, and it was nearly winter, so I figured why not? Well, it wasn’t a total disappointment, since it’s really smooth, but I get more bitter, smoky malts than coffee, and there are simply other milk stouts that are far better.

    stoplight_grnStone Enjoy By 12.26.14 IPA – 9.4% – bottle

    To give Stone a chance to redeem itself after the Milk Stout, I got this Enjoy By because it put me in the Wintermas spirit, and it was a good decision. Powerful bitterness runs throughout this one, because it’s from Stone, but it’s well-balanced by the sweet caramel flavors from the malts and the grapefruit peel and pine flavors of the hops. Now I kinda want to get another bottle and wait until December 27th to drink it, because I live on the edge.

    stoplight_grnArjay Hinek’s Applewood Smoked Porter – 5.8% – draft

    I have the good fortune to be part of a mature Agile team at my job, and to have a phenomenal Scrum Master in Arjay. But beyond his Scrum cred, he’s also a woodworker and homebrewer. (It’s a little scary sometimes how much our interests overlap) This week he brought in his latest creation, a (nearly) sessionable porter flavored with home-smoked applewood. If you’re a regular follower of this series, you know that I really don’t go for smoky beers, but this one was really good. The malts have the reins, and the smokiness is very mellow, rather than the bitterness I’m used to. I think that’s due to most smoky beers getting their smoke flavor from over-roasted (read: burned) malts. The more you drink this beer, the more you feel like you’ve been sitting next to a campfire, and how can that be bad? Sadly, none of you can have any, but hopefully I’ll get to drink more someday.

    Arjay blogs about Agile at So Agile It Hurts Sometimes.

    Fullsteam Fellowship of the Barrel

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    Fullsteam Brewing in Durham is well-known as being one of my favorite local breweries. Even though I had a funky bottle of their IGOR last year, all other experiences with them have been fantastic, especially IGOR on draft. This year they threw a weekend-long tap takeover full of nothing but barrel-aged beers. Glorious, I know. If I could have stayed there for the entire time and tasted every beer, I totally would have. However, things like “feeding the animals (like Finnegan, up top)” and “fiscal responsibility” and “picking up my wife from the airport” got in the way. Sheesh.

    stoplight_grnFullsteam RABA Cack-A-Lacky – 5.5%

    Cack-a-Lacky is one of my favorite pale ales. It has such a nice bright ginger punch, it’s very effervescent, and the ABV is definitely low enough for this to be a lunch beer. Also it comes in cans, which is awesome. For this version, they aged it in Rhum Agricole (a.k.a. cane juice rum) barrels. Apart from a barely higher ABV (up from 5%) and a touch of woody depth, this basically tasted like standard Cack-a-Lacky. That is to say it was delicious, if not all that nuanced. If they do this again next year I’ll probably try something else in its place.

    stoplight_grnFullsteam 2013 IGOR – 9.0%

    IGOR, on the other hand, I will drink any time I can get my hands on it. Aged in a bourbon barrel, this smooth, chocolatey stout with great bourbon barrel notes was an instant favorite the moment I had it on draft.

    stoplight_ylwHaw River + Mystery Memorial Day 2012 – 5.4%

    This wild saison aged in brandy and red wine barrels was okay. I’m glad it was part of the festival, because they can’t all be pushing 10% ABV, but the red wine flavors were strange and a little over the top, given the already complex interplay between the mellow woodiness of the brandy and the sharp tang of the wild yeasts.

    stoplight_grnHighland McRooney Scotch Ale – 8.3%

    It doesn’t surpass Old Chub in my heart, but it’s still a delicious Scotch Ale, particularly with the addition of the whisky-barrel oak notes and the heightened ABV. It has that dense peatiness that you can feel in your teeth, which is something I love.

    stoplight_grnHaw River Major Arcana Sour Black Ale – 7.2%

    I definitely wasn’t expecting to see a sour at this event, but I’m glad I did, because this was an excellent beer. This is the first beer I’ve had where barrel-aging imparted a kind of lightness. Being a sour black ale, Major Arcana is a small-portion, small-sip kind of beer. The brandy barrel flavors, while not prominent, cut the sourness nicely and allowed me to experience the full range of flavors in the sour, rather than dwelling solely on the bite.


    perpetualOof, picking a winner this month is tough. I’m tempted to pick IGOR again, since it’s so fantastic, but I think that the Tröegs Perpetual IPA edges it out for me this time. There’s something special about that one, and it kind of renewed my interest in thoughtfully tasting beer. Maybe Pale Ales will be my next personal tasting focus, since historically they’ve taken a back seat to IPAs.

    Thanks for reading! As always, any recommendations are welcome in the comments.

    Happy Holidays!



  • Interview with Shuvadeep Sarkar, co-inventor of the ReTiSense Stridalyzer

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    I bought an elliptical machine about five years ago and use it a couple times a week. One of the big reasons I decided to go for the elliptical machine was the almost negligible risk of injury. But recently, I started toying with the idea of adding some running to my routine for the increased activity and high-impact bone strengthening. I did some research on how to get started with running, including the “right” running form. There’s a lot of confusing, even conflicting, information out there. I even found myself with a pair of running shoes in my online shopping cart, but backed out, too scared to pull the trigger. I know running isn’t rocket science, but I started to feel discouraged with the learning curve before even starting. Inertia was pushing me towards giving up and just sticking with my elliptical.

    About a week later I was talking with Shuvadeep Sarkar, a former colleague. As luck would have it, the startup he had co-founded, ReTiSense, was developing a wearable running product called Stridalyzer. I was pretty excited after hearing about it, and asked Shuvadeep if he would mind doing an interview for WickedGlitch. The transcript is below. Continue reading “Interview with Shuvadeep Sarkar, co-inventor of the ReTiSense Stridalyzer” »



  • Amazon Fire TV Stick Review

    When Amazon announced their Fire TV Stick, I immediately snagged one. Unboxing and first thoughts below.

    Unboxing

    Facts

    On first boot, my wireless was easily detected and a software update was downloaded.

    wireless

    On reboot, I was treated to a cute 5-minute video explaining the Fire TV Stick‘s operation.

    cartoon

    The Amazon Fire TV Stick does a good job playing Netflix, Hulu, and of course Amazon Prime videos. The UI while navigating through Amazon’s content is silky smooth.

    fire_home

    But swiping through Netflix and and Hulu’s titles is a little sluggish; better than my Samsung Smart TV but nowhere near as nice as my Roku. Nonetheless, all the streaming video plays in HD without hiccups.

    netflix

     

    There is a fairly wide selection of games, but most of them require Amazon’s Fire Game Controller (sold separately). Those that work with the included Bluetooth remote (no line-of-sight required) work well.

    flappy

    The Verdict

    In short, the Fire TV Stick is…. pretty much exactly what you’d expect: a solid, cheap entry into Amazon’s content library. If you caught the special $20 pricing for Prime members, it’s a steal. At the normal $40 price, I’d probably pay a little more for a Roku.