Picture perfect

After reminding myself to do so a million times over the last few years, I finally printed a few of my photos. It was really thanks to one photo in particular, a long-exposure shot of the Badlands at sunrise that just came out pretty phenomenally (if I do say so myself) and the “social media” reaction I received from the shot, that I printed anything at all.

Badlands shot is the top left. Clockwise: Rosh Ha Nikra/Israel-Lebanon Border; Fort Williams, Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

COOL now I have sweet “art” on my walls. Those are each 20×30. Packing tube!! (Also the fact that Shutterfly had a 50% off sale on large format prints didn’t hurt…)

Mystery Maggy

Maggy, Prom?
Speechless.

Why did this never happen to me in high school? Why does Maggy get to have all the fun?

Fun fact: The request was signed ♥N+G. Friends? Two boys? Hmmm…Maggy intrigues me.

What we all want to know: did she say yes?

Spotted and phone-photographed upside down in the West End by yours truly.

Avancé

A friend and I met Allagash brewer Ryan at Novare Res on Friday night, and he let us in on this little secret: Avancé. Avancé seemed to be his project; aged for two years, with two hundred pounds of strawberries, and finally bottled. Sometime in the last week or two, the 500 bottles of Avancé were released at the brewery retail store only.

Avancé is kind of a big deal in the beer geek world. Ryan encouraged us to get our bottles ASAP, as they were sure to run out.

And running out they were. I was in Allagash at 2:30 on Monday, none of the singles were left. I had to buy Avancé gift bags, which include small chalices and a bottle opener. Snazzy! But after me, there were probably about ten bottles left. Total. That’s it.

The saddest part? Brewer Ryan only got one bottle for himself!

Now, I am not a huge beer geek. I don’t really care about all those technical differences in the brewing process that make a beer more x than y or y than z. Whatever. I get it, it matters, but don’t tell me about it.

Beer appreciator, certainly. Strawberries I get. Molasses I get. Allagash I get. So when I do get around to tasting Avancé later tonight – hell – I don’t care about the details of the brewing. I care about how it tastes. And the label, of course, because I might be a marketing geek.





So it definitely tastes like strawberries, and the molasses flavor isn’t heavy but certainly discernible, at least if you know what it is. Not the most amazing beer ever by any stretch, but good. And, you know, bonus points for being all special and exciting.

Darker than expected, the nose was sort of spicy/fruity/almost woody, which of course you’d expect from a dark Belgian with … strawberries and molasses.

About halfway through my small chalice (came with the gift packs), I revisited the nose. And this time – I don’t know if it’s because the beer had more time to breathe, release it’s flavors, whatever – I caught a distinct whiff of childhood. What is that? Pine? Oak? Cedar? And then it hit me; nights on my parents bed, my sister and I taking turns picking songs from the worn, torn, split-down-the-spine Grateful Dead Anthology, and my dad picking out the chords on his guitar. This beer SMELLS LIKE MY DAD’S GUITAR CASE.

I am not kidding. It sort of made me want to stop drinking; the inside of the guitar case doesn’t exactly smell great. But as long as I focused on the fruity sweetness, and the fact that, unlike a guitar, this beer was 10.8% ABV, I kept on truckin’.

Ah, another important characteristic of Avancé, and one that critically makes it a really good beer, is that it DOES NOT taste like a 10.8%-er. Normally with that high of an alcohol content, you’re looking at those imperials that definitely taste boozy, with heavy chocolate or coffee tones to pseudo-mask the bite. This baby’s got no bite. Smooth as Skippy.

All in all, worth it for the experience of being one of a few hundred people with bottles of this stuff. Exclusivity has its price. And it was a good beer, would have expected nothing less of Allagash. Stoked for my next insider’s adventure into beer geekiness.

FMI on Avancé here and here.

MLK Day Protest

Happy We Hate Racism Day, everyone!

Thanks to ILAP‘s email list – to which apparently I have been subscribed for the last two years without ever receiving a single email – I found out about today’s march/rally/protest ostensibly in memory of MLK Jr., but more realistically against our proud new Tea Party Governor Paul LePage’s recent rescinding of an executive order regarding immigration. Not to get into the nitty gritty, but now any person going to a state employee for assistance or aid or in the course of daily life can be asked by said employee about his/her immigration status. Asked for papers!

When I imagine someone asking to see my papers, I imagine the scene in the beginning of Casablanca in which the Nazi/Vichy officers ask the Résistance guy for his papers, he stalls, runs away, and gets shot.

Is this the kind of state Paul LePage is trying to create?

Yes.

So we gathered in front of City Hall, various religious and community leaders spoke, we jumped up and down to stay warm, and demonstrated our solidarity for MLK’s words against racism, hatred, fear, bigotry, and I’ll extend this to include ethnic nationalism of all varieties, xenophobia, supremacy, fear, and ignorance. We stood in solidarity with Maine’s thousands of refugees and immigrants, most legal, but all an integral and valued part of our community.

Buzzwords are dirty words, but as one of the least diverse states in the country, Maine should embrace what little we have rather than trying to scare it away or into submission. LePage and his “fearmongering” and intolerance need to be nipped in the bud. Like, yesterday.

For images, see recent tweets.