Sad day in Minneapolis

I’m going to make this entry brief, because I’m going to stray into politics for a moment. The Jamar Clark ruling came down today and I was able to listen to about 15 minutes of the release, where they announced that no officers would be facing charges in his fatal shooting. As I listened to the attorney explain, in explicit detail, what they have determined happened that evening, it made me sad for Minneapolis.

Both sides say that no one has the facts right, and I have no idea where the truth really lies. What the attorney described as happening in that 60 second encounter was troubling. In particular the fact that the only way the officers felt they could deal with the situation was with a bullet at point blank range to the suspect’s head. I’m not a cop, and have no idea how I would deal with the same pressures they are put under. I don’t fully understand the tactics that they are supposed to use, or if the officers on that night followed procedures properly. From all accounts, Jamar was no angel. He needed to be arrested and dealt with. But I do know that no one deserves to have a police officer put a gun to their head and pull the trigger.

We need to find a better way to deal with these situations, because if we continue on the path that we’re on, things are only going to get worse and worse for our communities.

Stupid addicting phone games

My wife recently got me hooked on a mobile game called Two Dots. It’s been featured as an Editor’s Choice on the app store, and has some decent reviews. It’s a simple game of matching colored dots to make them disappear. As the levels grow, it becomes more and more complex, with special dots and obstacles to work around. It’s a fun little game, and requires some brainpower to play. It also encourages you to spend money to play.

Two Dots is one of those games where you can play all you want for free, but if you want power-ups, or extra lives, or extra moves on a board, you have to pay for them. I don’t mind the pay-to-play model when what you get for it is mostly a small boost. However, in Two Dots, it’s not quite that simple.

The starting dot colors are mostly random on every board. That means that unlike other puzzle games, there are often boards which simply cannot be solved, based on the opening selection of dots to match. However, if you’re willing to spend money, you can power-up your way through even the most random impossible level. Despite how much fun the game is to play, that one aspect bugs the crap out of me. You can be really good at planning out your moves, and visualizing the next step in the board, but the random nature of the game play means you may never get what you spend time planning for.

Granted, I still haven’t given up on playing the game. It’s a fun game, and I like the mental challenge. I just wish that there was a way to out-think the various levels, instead of resorting to frustration as you waste life after life on boards that simply can’t be completed.

Mother Angelica

My wife shared the news with me tonight that Mother Angelica passed away on Easter. When I was a new Catholic I remember watching her occasionally on EWTN and loving just listening to her grandmotherly voice. Granted, EWTN is an organization that is the polar opposite of me on the political spectrum, but I made an exception every now and then for Mother Angelica.

She was a woman who deserved respect. Not only did she start a media empire that focused on Catholicism, but she did it as a woman. That was something that was hard to find even in secular media. Yet, she persevered and showed determination and strength in accomplishing what she felt was God’s work.

She was a wonderful light in the world, and no matter my differences with her, she was a joyful person that was a fun memory of where my journey in Catholicism began.

Quick Review: Daredevil Season 2

Last weekend the wife and I started on season two of the Netflix show Daredevil. We only got a couple of episodes in, and so this weekend we marathoned the rest of them and finished the season off. This was one of the great new series that Marvel has been putting out, and I really enjoyed season one last year.

So how did the second season measure up, especially since we now have Jessica Jones to complement the same universe as well? Unlike last year’s quick review, this one will contain spoilers, so I’m going to ramble through this sentence before putting in a break to keep all the spoilers off the top of this review. You’ve had your warning, so here we go.

Continue reading “Quick Review: Daredevil Season 2”

Saturday adventuring

My Saturday started early with a 5:30am meet-up at the trail head with a couple of running friends. We headed onto the horse trails in the darkness for the first of a few loops around the park. I managed 17 miles which was right in the range for what my training plan called for. I felt really good throughout the run, and as my taper kicks into full swing, I’m getting anxious to get the big race going.

After recovering, and a shower, the wife and I decided to head out for a visit to some taprooms that I had never been to. Our first stop was all the way over in Somerset, WI at Oliphant Brewing. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this out-of-the-way destination, and was excited to sample their wares. I ordered up a flight of six of their beers and started tasting, while a cheesy old Jackie Chan movie played on the big TV in the corner. Most of Oliphant’s beers are named from movie references; either titles or famous lines. This added a fun flair to the whole experience as I sampled my way through beers like Party on Garth and Mothra vs. Mothra.

I enjoyed everything that I tasted, and some of them were quite unique with additives like ginger root and lime. The quality was also spot-on with no flaws and the beers tasting like they were described. Despite liking everything I drank, I would have a hard time driving all the way over to there on a regular basis. It’s a long drive from the NW suburbs, though I can see how this would be a great hang-out for people on the east side of the cities.

After Oliphant we made our way to lunch. My wife has spent some time in Europe and has commented that she hasn’t had schnitzel in a long time. I was going to take her to Glokenspiel a few months ago, only to hear that it closed down. So, for lunch today we hit Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter in Stillwater. There, we got to have some pretty decent German food, in a setting that totally made my wife reminisce about her time in Austria.

We decided on one more stop on our way back through town at Big Wood Brewery in White Bear Lake. I’ve had some of their beers at other restaurants, so I was familiar with some of my flight. I did get to try at least three beers that I had never had before, and out of my flight of 6 beers, five of them were quite good. The amber ale was unfortunately a dud for me, as whatever hop combination they used to give it a ‘fig’ flavor just didn’t work.

The Big Wood taproom was nice and cozy, with a cabin feel, and it seemed like a great neighborhood place to meet up with friends. Again, because of the distance, I doubt I’ll be out there very often, but it’s great to see other areas of the cities (besides NE Minneapolis) get some quality beer, in a great taproom setting.

We then headed home to continue our marathon of the second season of Daredevil. It was a great day to spend with the wife, and have some small adventures with great beer and food. It’s wonderful to see the Twin Cities beer community evolve and really be a great place where you can enjoy tasty brews.