Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dinner at Taste of Tango and Cerveza Quilmes Review

So last night, Stacy and I took advantage of the Devour Downtown, Winterfest event, by enjoying an excellent dinner at Taste of Tango. For those of you who are not familiar with Taste of Tango, it is a restaurant which serves authentic Argentine cuisine. It specializes in Argentine cut steaks and great wines.

The meal was excellent and worth every penny. I'm not much of a food critic, so I'll leave that to the food bloggers, but what I really found interesting was the Argentine Beer, Quilmes.

It's a light lager. Drinkable, but not incredibly hoppy. Quilmes is definately a warm weather beer. My first thoughts were how similar Quilmes is to other light lagers such as Corona or El Sol. After a little research, I found out that originally brewed by the Cervecería y Maltería Quilmes in the Quilmes district of Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1890 and is now part of InBev. It quickly became the pride of the South American nation, and sponsors national soccer team, even using the country's colors on its label. The brewery itself was opened in 1888 by German Otto Bemberg. The brewery produces other Quilmes brands, including Quilmes Bock and Quilmes Stout.

Unfortunatley, Taste of Tango doesn't carry the Bock or Stout, yet.

Friday, January 30, 2009

So I had some crazy dreams last night..

Blame it on the TV show Lost. Blame it on the book, Superpowers, but whatever thoughts in my head last night spun themselves into some very interesting dreams.

Unfortunately, I don't remember a lot of the details, but they all came around the idea of going back into time and changing things. Consciously, I like to tell myself that I have no regrets, and honestly, I feel that I don't. Subconsciously, my mind was throwing out some twisters last night.

Most were set during my high-school years. I'd go back. Make some change, but it never worked out in the end. The changes always screwed things up when I flashed back to the present.

What would you change? Anything. Any opportunities missed? Any people you wanted, one more shot to impress or say goodbye?

Friday Photo Fiesta - Jan 30, 2009

I wanted to do something a little different today. Here's a great story I just received as an email and I wanted to share. Enjoy.


In a supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy, was busily working when a new voice came over the loud speaker asking for a carry out at register 4. Kurtis was almost finished, and wanted to get some fresh air, and decided to answer the call. As he approached the check-out stand a distant smile caught his eye, the new check-out girl was beautiful. She was an older woman (maybe 26, and he was only 22) and he fell in love.

Later that day, after his shift was over, he waited by the punch clock to find out her name. She came into the break room, smiled softly at him, took her card and punched out, then left. He looked at her card, BRENDA. He walked out only to see her start walking up the road. Next day, he waited outside as she left the super market, and offered her a ride home. He looked harmless enough, and she accepted. When he dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of work. She simply said it wasn't possible.

He pressed and she explained she had two children and she couldn't afford a baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter.. Reluctantly she accepted his offer for a date for the following Saturday. That Saturday night he arrived at her door only to have her tell him that she was unable to go with him. The baby-sitter had called and canceled. To which Kurtis simply said, "Well, let's take the kids with us."

She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but again not taking no for an answer, he pressed. Finally Brenda, brought him inside to meet her children. She had an older daughter who was just as cute as a bug, Kurtis thought, then Brenda brought out her son, in a wheelchair. He was born a paraplegic with Down Syndrome. Kurtis asked Brenda, "I still don't understand why the kids can't come with us?"

Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman with two kids, especially if one had disabilities - just like her first husband and father of her children had done. Kurtis was not ordinary - - - he had a different mindset.

That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and the movies. When her son needed anything Kurtis would take care of him. When he needed to use the restroom, he picked him up out of his wheelchair, took him and brought him back. The kids loved Kurtis. At the end of the evening,

Brenda knew this was the man she was going to marry and spend the rest of her life with. A year later, they were married and Kurtis adopted both of her children. Since then they have added two more kids. So what happened to Kurtis the stock boy at a grocery store in Cedar Falls Waterloo , IA and Brenda the check-out girl? Well, Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner now live in Arizona , where he is currently employed as the quarterback of the National Football League Arizona Cardinals and has his Cardinals in the Super Bowl. Is this a surprise ending or could you have guessed that he was not an ordinary person.

It should be noted that he also quarterbacked the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. He has also been the NFL's Most Valuable Player twice and the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player.

Don't forget to take a gander at Squirrel Chatter.
For more photo fun, check out Candid Carrie.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Leinenkugel's Beer - The 1888 Bock

Okay, after one hellacious week of winter, which included 9 to 12 inches of snow, slips, slides, spins, flat tires, shoveling, sneezing, mud and snowballs, I've decided to enjoy my two days off at home with a six pack of Leinenkugel's most recent brew.

But first, let me give you a little background into this new brew. The 1888 Bock is a brew that came out of one of the worst winters the United States has ever scene. Known in many regions as the "The Great White Hurricane", there were as many as 400 deaths reported during the blizzard on the East coast. During this time, the Leinenkugel family, which had been brewing beer for 21 years, released their first seasonal brew.

Based off the original recipe, Leinenkugel has released the 1888 bock. It does have a very hearty bock taste. This beer pours a clear copper with a tan head that disappears with big bubbles and no lacing. It smells of sweet malt, a bit of caramel, and a hint of nuttiness. It tastes like roasted malts and a bit of light bitters. The body is thin and heavily carbonated. It is simple and easy drinking with only the yeast flavor lingering in the finish.

Most of all, as I look out into the snow prairie that I call my backyard, this beer will warm you up on a cold, cold day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Matt's take on the 1st annual Indiana Microbrewers' Winterfest

Okay, after thinking about things, I've came to the conclusion that Winterfest wasn't that bad of an event. (If you would have ask me this Saturday night, I would likely have slugged you in the face.) It did have its flaws. It sold out, although, there was no mention of limited tickets. When we pulled into the fairgrounds and were told this, I thought I was out of luck and out 15 bucks. But after some pleading with at the ticket booth, I was able to get tickets for my friends. (I had purchased mine the evening before, but they had waited to buy them at the box office.)

Also, we were shocked to find the crowd at the event. The place was packed and most of more popular beers were out. (It was only 4 oclock when we arrived) Finally, my complaint was that the event was more of a Drunkfest and less of a tasting event.

Seven years ago, I would have thought this event was awesome. The event of ages. Magnificent. But like most things in my life at that time, it was more about QUANTITY and less about Quality. Beers such as Natural Ice, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Milwaukee Best, and Miller Highlife were deals. It was better to live in a cold concrete walled dorm room over a cush bedroom with blinds and curtains (not hung blankets). Pizza Hut lunch buffets ruled. The better bars had penny beer nights...and the best had Quarter pitchers.

But now, its more about taste. Take my DVD buying habits. In the last 2 years I've purchased about 5 new dvds. The 5 years prior to that saw my collection grow to a staggering 250 dvds, many of which were purchased out of 'Bin of Joy' at walmart. The same goes for beer.

And this leads me to my point...I didn't want to go to an all u can drink in 4 hour BeerFest, I wanted to go to a "Try some new craft beers while I tell you about them" tasting. As you can, imagine it was a little disappointing, but the little 'Qball' {my college nickname} in me was jumping for joy with a big smile on his face.

Finally, since the bitching is all out of the way, let me tell you about what I tried. Keep in mind, that there were a lot of better, more popular beers originally, but by the time I got to the event most were sold out.

From the Broad Ripple Brewpub, I had the Lawnmower Pale Ale. It was my favorite. Pale golden, thick head. Mildly malty aroma. Medium body, lots of sweet malt flavor with a sweet malty finish.

From the Half Moon Restaurant and Brewery, I tried the Winter Warmer. I originally wanted the Hazelnut Brown, but it was gone.

From the Lafayette Brewing Company, I tried the Marley's VSOP. (Very special Porter aged on Jack Daniels barrel wood.) This was my first taste, and it was probably the most intriguing taste. It was quite the porter, with a full thick taste, and an aroma with hints of vanilla. My buddy Nick, who's not much of the craft beer drinker, tried the Noel Belgian Dubbel. He didn't like it, buy hey, at least he tried it.

From New Albanian Brewing, I tasted the Beak's Best. I thought it had a great bronze color with a thin white head and little lace. The aroma that of carmel and biscuit malt with a hint of coffee. The initial taste was a complex mix of sweet malt, coffee, carmel and hops, all bursting through at the same time. A nice alcohol taste and hop bitterness came through in the middle, and finished with a tart alcohol taste at the end. A little heavy to have more than two in a sitting, but a great beer overall.

And that's it. I did have a couple tastes of a brew from the RAM. Initially, I thought it was the Big Red IPA, but after my second glass, they referred to it as the ALT beer and I'm not sure what that meant. It wasn't bad.

Well, I'll still probably do it next year, but with more of an idea as what to expect.!

What I Hate about Winter by Douglas Florian

Frozen toes,
Runny nose.
Sloppy slush,
Holiday crush,
15 below,
Shoveling snow,
Leafless trees,
Cough and sneeze,
Shorter day,
Less time to play,
Salt-spreading tractors,
Windchill factors,
No place to go -
Winter is slow.

I just came across this poem by Mr. Florian, and it made me think of how much I hate this stuff. I know a lot of people talk about the fluff, and the gleam...but its the damn heat and humidity (or lack thereof) that kill me. Today, all day, it has been snowing and/or icing. It's a great day to be a restauranteur. I bet I shoveled the walkways, salted, and mopped at least 100 times. On top of that, I had to consistently monitor my labor, adjust my sales forecasts, and figure out how I could get by when 1 of 7 call offs occured. On top of that, I almost slid through an interesection into oncoming traffic. (Thank god for guardian angels with quick reactions). And to my utmost satisfaction, is telling me I get to do it all again tomorrow. Thank you doppler radar. Thank you, Mr. Chuck Lofton. My your toes freeze and you car heaters fail...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

And so it begins...Matt-a-pa-looza


So I had the opportunity to get today off (my first Saturday in about a month and a half), and when you include Sunday and Monday, I have a cute little holiday that I'm calling Matt-a-pa-looza. I was already granted permission from the missus, so let it begin.

Up first....crazy insane workout time. Yeah, I'm planning on blasting my body. How am I ever gonna get Arnold-esque if I don't. Oh yeah, and I'm dragging Stacy with me. She out to get a kick out of me trying to lift with all the Muscle Stumps at the gym.

And then, the main event for today, the Indiana Microbrewers Winterfest. In layman's terms, it is a beer festival, but in my terms, It's magnificence in a glass. It's a collection of brewers throughout Indiana providing sampling for the public. I've got my ticket.

Tonight, I'll probably help the missus pick up the house and maybe beat her at Scrabble again. I have a championship to uphold.

More later.....

Sunday, January 18, 2009 I'm "That Guy" at the supermarket...

Stacy and I typically do are shopping during the week or in the evenings to avoid the Weekend Shopper Rush, but yesterday, with nothing much to do, we decided to venture out to the local Meijer for some good grocery shopping experience. Well, it was pretty much the trip from HELL.

First, it seemed like everything on our list was sold out, not stocked, or being strategically blocked by a cart full of food with apparently no shopper to push it out of the way. Finally, after seemingly hours, we completed the list and heading for the checkout.

This is where things really get good. Becuase I feel bad for the Polar Bears and the Dodo Birds, I like to bring my own bags and bag my food. Well today, with 30 people in line behind us, I'm bagging as fast as I can. Apparently, we had Danica Patrick as our cashier becuase she was flinging food at me faster than a I could bag. I usually try to be all neat and tidy and organize, but at this point, I was just grabbing and stuffing.

Of course, with only like two items to go. I miss the bag. And it was with the jar of Garlic Alfreado Sauce. Yep, basically, I picked up and dropped it straight on to the tile floor. No clink. No bounce. Just SPLAT! Glass, alfredo, and garlic goodness everywhere. And since, it had already been rang up. I sent Stacy to get another one. So we waited. And Danica called for assistance. And called again. Finally, 13 people show up with signs, and mops. And I think one was even driving a zamboni cart of somesort.

So yes, I am that guy at the grocery store. If you were behind me, glaring and snarling, I hate you and I hope you got charged twice.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Playing Stacy In Scrabble

This is what it feels like when you play Stacy in Scrabble. (Shaq would represent her in the video)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Scientists are close to perfecting cloak of invisibility. Huh?

According to an AP article, scientists are getting close to perfecting a method to create 3d objects invisible. To these brilliant scientists, you should come to my house when my wife is mad (especially if its becuase of something dumb that I did.) I can disappear like no-other. You can look around, and traces of me are still present. Underwear on the floor. Incorrectly opened box of oreos. Cereal box left wide open on the counter. But to the untrained eye, I've disappeared into the background. 


I'm in the garage.


I'm upstairs reading.

If she can't catch me...I can't get in trouble, right?

Matthew's Super Evil Summer Vacation Plan (to take over the world, Muahahaha)

Step 1: Find innocent couple with summer plans to stay at a complimentary condominium in Ft. Myers. 

Step 2: Train wife in ways of the Jedi, and use Jedi mind powers to befriend unsuspecting couple. 

Step 3: Convince friends that I am a necessity on any  summer vacation. Accept invitation to stay at Condo.

Step 4: Find an unsuspecting Travel Agent (preferably a Family Member) who is willing to search through thousands of flights to find the lowest priced, best flight. 

Step 5: Offer travel agent payment in knitted scarves and sewn hand warmers left over from Christmas. (If travel agent refuses payment, kidnap travel agents pugs and hold for ransom.)

Step 6: Enjoy beach.

It's fool proof. Muahahahaha! 

Couple Jailed over Bank error

So I heard on the news, that a Pennsylvania couple has been put in jail after they failed to inform the bank that $175,000 had appeared in their account. Instead of letting the bank know about the error, Randy and Melissa Pratt, withdrew the money, quit their jobs, and moved to Florida. They were in the process of buying a house in Orlando when authorities caught up with them. 

So, here's the scenarios. Your sipping you latte, reading Yahoo News headlines, when you decide to check your account. Typpity..typpity.. you enter your password and there it is. In all its wonder. A miraculous, gift of $175,000 from your bank. 

What do you do? Do you spend it? That didn't seem to work out to well for the Pratt's. Do you call the bank? "Uh, yeah, ummm, I think there's been a typo." That'd be an awkward conversation. 

Maybe you just let it set in there so you can bank all those bonus points on your account. Woohoo!!!! Free airline tickets (subject to blackout dates) to Bismark. 

I heard its nice there this time of year. ;) 

The Unhealthiest Value Menu Items

Okay, it's been awhile since I've done a TB post. But today I came across Jessica Ashley's article on Yahoo, Lifestyles. In 'The worst of the cheap.", Ashley points out 5 fast food items that are considered very unhealthy, and TB makes the list with their surprisingly cheap (and delicious), Cheesy Double Beef Burrito. In the article, Ashley states, "The Cancer Project, a nonprofit cancer prevention organization that is linked with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, is concerned that these economic times are not just driving people to eat more fast food, but to regularly consume meals full of unhealthy ingredients. Dollar meals, they say, might not be such a good value once the health implications are factored in. Their biggest issues for low-cost fast food? All the processed meat, salt, cholesterol and fat wrapped into each meal."

***my opinion starts here***
The big issue is that people don't necessarily consider healthier items when eating cheap. TB offers several fresco options, which are a lot of healthier and taste great. In my opinion, as consumers we need to be more aware of what we put into our body, which is why TB is taking a strong initiative and listing calories along side the items on the menu board. Soon we can make a more informed (and healthy decision) when we our order from 10 taco salads and 37 cheesy double beef burritos (which seems to occur every saturday night around 2 am), to maybe a couple fresco tacos and a water.

Oh yeah, and don't forget the Cinnamon Twists!

Anyways, here's a link to the article by Ashley and some additional information on TB initiatives.

Workout Day 1

Finally, its time to start. My new workout program is just deemed 'The Creation'. It's gonna transform me from David Banner into the Hulk....okay that's pushing it. But the goal is to at least stop the back pain, I feel like I'm fifty.

Here's a little funny to sharpen everyone's instincts.

Stats: Weight: 155 
            BMI: 24.3

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Quasebarth Family Scrabble Champion Crowned

Tonight was a night of Scrabble history. It was the traditional David v Goliath matchup. The heavily favored Scrabble professional saw her 2009 undefeated dreams dashed when the young up-and coming word pro, inked out an upset for the ages. Coming into the match-up, Matt Q. had not had a championship caliber performance in weeks. In fact, his last match-up, resulted in a 337-271 drubbing to the hands of the former champ.

But, as all good stories go, Matt's luck was about to change. Leading off the game, he struck first with a 66 pt bingo, by playing the word 'Actions'. This knocked the champ of her rocker. Stacy struggled back with several multi point plays, including a season high 76 point bingo play with the double word play of Steamers and Jogs, but even this effort was unable to gain any ground. Matt steadily gained on each play, building an incredible 40 point lead. 

In the end, even after the former-champs herculean effort, Matt prevailed 340 to 297. The new champion averaged nearly 20 points per play with an average wordsize of nearly 4 tiles per play. Weeks ago, Matt Q was known only as a restaurant manager from Middle of Nowwhere, Indiana, but today, he holds the crowning achievement of a lifetime. 

Monday, January 5, 2009

Yah...I cry...but it's man tears and they're tougher than regular tears

Yeah, so I cried like a little girl who lost her doll this weekend. Movies, books, sporting events can do this to me. Especially, when I turn to my wife, and she's bawling, it's tough to hold back. But like any man, my manly tears are different. They're not dainty little salt drops...these are tidal waves of force. I like to compare my tears to small little ninjas jumping out of my eyes ready to kick some ass. Think Steven Segal in Out for Justice (Video is a little graphic) but times 100.

Usually, the moment goes like this. Extremely dramatic moment, such as the ending of the Notebook or Marley & Me, occurs. I fidget a little. Sometimes I put my hat on. Take my had off. I can feel the ninjas forming in my body.

Deep breath.

By this time, (which is happen within seconds) the full cavalry of ninjas has formed. I usually try to hold back, talk some sense into the hoard of Samurai's. I'll say, "Okay, men, listen up. Guys don't cry. Even if this movie makes me think of how wonderful my life is and how blessed I am...Guys don't cry."

The talk doesn't work. I feel the charge. My mind rushes to panic mode...usually trying all tactics with a hope of holding back the fierce gang of sword wielding ninjas. A cough.

Doesn't work.

The movie gets sadder.

By now, I peek at the wife. Tears streaming down her eyes..."You can't let this happen, you ninny!" says my man aura.

A quick laugh...usually very inappropriate for the scene, but I can't hold back.

That means the gates are opening...



Stacy shares her Kleenex and I do a quick look around the room to make sure nobody is pointing an laughing at the silly crying man.

Additional Information:
What made me cry? It was the new movie "Marley & Me" check it out: Marley and Me website
Painting - Crying Man by Kazuya Akimoto. Check out additional work here: Additional Works

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Crazy Cousins

So last year, I was introduced to a distant relative. At first, he was entertaining. He bought my book, asked a lot of questions about my grandpa, and was generally a good guy. Then came facebook, and before I knew it, my facebook page was getting blown up with crazy political anti-war articles, extreme leftist literature, and everything else that I just don't care to read.

I mean, its cool to be involved. Thumbs up to those who oppose repression and too much government, but come on, leave us alone that don't wanna play that game. So anyways, I befriended my relative, we'll call him Big E for the story, and it weighed on my mind. Last night, I was snared in quite a few dreams that left me sweating. First, the CIA had abducted me and was interrogating me about Big E. The had me shackled down and were doing the whole 'good cop'/'bad cop' bit. I woke up just as they started to set me up for some good ol' fashioned waterboarding.

Eventually, I was able to drift back to sleep, and again, Big E, snuck into my unconsciousness. This time, I was a super-hero. I had some sort of spider-man/batman powers. That's the funny thing about dreams, you never get all the details you want (ie what super powers u have), instead, you get the details that freak you out a little. In the dream, Big E (who was also a semi-superhero) had decided to use his abilities to take over the government. The President was in danger, and I was the only one with a chance at saving him. The kicker was two-fold, first, Big E's power of manipulation were stronger than mine, and second, he's family and it's tough to fight family in the world of science fiction. Either way, I woke up before I saved the world, but nothing was on the news today about a crazy semi-superhero taking the president captive, so I'm guessing that I'm good for now.

This all came back to me during my morning shower, so I'm gonna make some assumptions, but it probably played out like this: I arrive in my superhero outfit (tight flame resistant spy suit with bullet proof vest, black as night) at Big E's super lab somewhere on the West Coast. As I 'Austin Powers' my way through Big E's cronies using some judo chops, and cool technology like a sonic blast gun, I finally arrive in time. The president, who at this time is a hot blond that looks surprising like my wife, is strapped to a missile aimed for Oceana County, Michigan, the Asparagus capital of the world. As Big E sees me, he uses his mental manipulation trap, to freeze my senses and render me useless. What he doesn't know, is that I drank a six-pack of Dundee Honey Brown before I entered the lab, and (Like all men who drink a few) have rendered my senses virtually useless anyways. As a flabbergasted Big E, stares on, I use a quick roundhouse kick to bring down the bad guy. With Big E no longer a threat, I turn my attention to the president, who has miraculously changed out of a formal suit coat and pants and into a lacy french maid outfit complete with feather duster and shop vac (hehe, we won't say what that's used for). With quick use of my supercharged Black and Decker powerdrill, I spring her from instant death and de-program the missile using my mental HTML powers with only 1 second remaining.

As I return back to my midwestern home with the very sexy, sexy president in tow, the Governor of Michigan, who looks surprisingly like my best friend Q, greets me with the key to the state for saving all of the worlds asparagus. Just as I think the world is saved, little do I know another distant relative is planning to conquer the world. O, otherwise known as Swedish Polyester, is developing his squad of goons with a plan to imprison all of hollywood.

Until next time....

Utah National Champions....I'm not so sure but Bill is!

A rant from my friend Bill...

"I consider Utah the National Champions. They are the only undefeated team in college football in 2008. But it is not just that fact. I know, I know, I know, since the crappy BCS started there have been other teams that have finished undefeated and didn't win the title. Utah did it just 4 years ago or so themselves. But this time Utah beat one of the elite teams in a bowl game, and it wasn't a squeaker. The only reason that Alabama isn't/wasn't considered one of the 3, 4 or 5 teams that should have the right to play in the BSC title game is that their "one loss" came at the end of the season instead or earlier like the other "one loss" teams. I will never understand why an undefeated team whose only loss comes at the end of the season should automatically drop below a bunch of other "one loss" teams that are directly behind them in the standings.

But, regardless, they are ALL "one loss" teams now...Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, USC, Alabama, etc. (Texas Tech lost their bowl game). I realize that USC tromped Penn Sate and showed their worth, but they still have that one loss. And regardless of which two teams ended up in the title game, the winner would still have that one loss. Add to that the fact that Boise State lost their bowl game to end their hopes of going undefeated, we have a clear cut National Champion.

This is just my opinion. Please understand that I don't always think that the fact of simply being the ONLY undefeated team is automatically good enough to be declared as National Champons. But this time I think it is based upon the above."

Floundering for posts....

So I've been stuck in a box to start 2009, not literally, but creatively. I'm just floundering a little on ideas for this blog. I've thought about following the improvement plan for TB, but I just don't think that would be that interesting. We've started teaching the pups manners, and that's been kind of fun, but does anybody want to read about a stubborn chihuahua learning to be polite? Then I could do something more professional, maybe a top ten business post for the blog (something like Lifehack does).

I just don't know. So I'll just stall a little longer, this is what happens when you use all of your creative juices in the month of December.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Friday Foto Fiesta 1-2-09

Here's a picture from our recent adventures at Conseco Fieldhouse with our friends Tim & Jessie. We were in the nose-bleed seats, but it sure made for some fun photos.

Don't forget to take a gander at Squirrel Chatter.
For more photo fun, check out Candid Carrie.