0S X 10.5 & the Spinning Wheel; Koshihikari Echigo and the Green Flash

On Zoe’s MacBook (white 2.2gHz Core 2 duo) running 10.5.4 the spinning wheel still happens intermittently.  It doesn’t bring down the system and I’m not sure if it’s related to only having 1GB of RAM but in Safari and other programs the little wheel pops up and then goes away.  It’s similar to some sort of disk caching lag but what’s frustrating is I’ve never seen 10.4 Tiger exhibit this behavior.   802.11 a/b/g/n Airport was another issue in that it seemed to be constantly refreshing the network list, but since 10.5.3 or n.4 it seems to have improved Airport’s stability.  It just doesn’t make sense to release an OS and still have bugs like these a year later.  Snow Leopard supposedly brings stability back, and anything is better than Microsoft’s latest ad campaign for Vista, but I’m not alone in thinking that 10.5 was put on the back burner compared to Apple’s other products.

We went out with some of Zoe’s friends last night.  I had one beer at each restaurant.  The first was a decent Japanese rice lager called “Koshihikari Echigo Beer”.  Craig (at Beers, Beers, Beers) called it a “craft take on a macro style” i.e. Asahi, Kirin or Sapporo and I agree, except that I would say the finish is much more interesting than the cheaper mass market beers and I’d say overall it has a cleaner taste.  In that first sip you notice the typical rice but in the after taste there is a significant amount more fruit and smoothness.  I think if I were to try and compare this in the US it’d be midlevel corporate, something like a Brooklyn Lager maybe Sierra Nevada would be pushing it, but there are plenty of beers out of Colorado that I imagine in this comparative craft range.  Beer Advocate  gives it a C+ and I’d say B- but really that’s nitpicking, it’s not bad at all.

The beer selection at Jimmy’s No. 43   was excellent.  Zoe went with a lighter French selection, the Jenlain Ambrée by Brasserie Duyck considered a Bière de Garde.  I chose a Belgian Tripple from San Diego’s Green Flash Brewery. Comparatively it was much sweeter and hoppier with a more alcoholic mouth taste (it is a Trippel).  What we found amazing was the Jenlain Ambrée is about 7.5% and the Trippel was 8.0% alcohol and yet the Ambree was so much lighter and smoother.  Both beers came in 13oz goblets.  Beer Advocate rates the Jenlain Ambrée the highest of the 3 beers of the evening (an “A”) but I’d say perhaps the Bière de Garde wasn’t cold enough or the tap wasn’t fresh enough to give it a fair showing as the Green Flash Trippel simply tasted fresher though certainly heavier and bolder.  I think of the three beers the French beer needs another sampling as it showed more subtlety and had great all around drinkability.  Rice Lagers and Trippels have their times, moods and places but the smooth malty amber the Jenlain Ambrée suggests any day.

Green Flash Brewery - San Diego, CA - Belgian TrippelJenlain Ambrée by Brasserie DuyckLand Brauerei Echigo-Bräu

Death, Taxes & Jersey

Two days in Jersey this past weekend.  Saturday was with Papa Epstein and the rest of Zoe’s family via Princeton Junction.  Sunday involved a crazy interchange of Zoe delivering her father a present she had forgotten to bring with her, a train to Trenton, another train to Paterson, and Josh driving the Nissan Versa rental with Ryan and I.  We picked Zoe up in the insanely industrial town of Paterson, drove to Fairfield to yet another bizarre Jersey furniture/marble/glass industrial park off of Hwy. 46, to the New Jersey Rock Gym.  It was alright.  This past Friday I took the train up to Valhalla, NY in Westchester County and found “The Cliffs Gym” cleaner and more enjoyable.  Also, getting to and from Jersey is brutal.  Metro North from Grand Central Station is much more pleasant any day of week.  I think that the Hudson Line is probably the nicest, and obviously parts of Westchester are just as nasty post industrial as Paterson, NJ or West Hartford, CT for that matter.  So yeah, we did more gym climbing.  I got my taxes done.  The weather seems like it may finally be turning.  We’re almost done with the 1st season of “The Wire” via Netflix.  Slowly but surely we are archiving all our music CD’s to .FLAC and high quality 320 kbps .MP3.  My fingers hurt if I climb too much.Paterson, New Jersey