Sunday, October 15, 2006

Captain Hops has Moved

You can find all new posts from Captain Hops at!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Buying a New Car...

I am buying a new car. It's a 2006 Honda Civic LX Sedan. I am using the technique outlined here: How to buy a new car for the lowest price. It seems like I got good quotes. I am just waiting for delivery now. It's been really smooth so far.

Anyone else have car-buying advice?

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Beer Haiku Daily Store Now Open!

The Beer Haiku Daily Store is now open! Check out the clothing, clocks, mugs and stuff you can buy.

Most of the items have the image below printed on them. Some of them have the catchphrase, "Celebrate one of life's simple pleasures." on the back.

I hope you enjoy them. I may be adding some more designs (and beer flavors) in the future. Let me know if you have a preference or any other feedback.

And don't forget to visit the website: Beer Haiku Daily.


Friday, March 03, 2006

Check out the New Beer Haiku Daily site!

My other site, Beer Haiku Daily, has moved to!

We are still serving up a new beer haiku every day of the year so make sure you stop by and join the fun.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

4 Problems with Childrens Toys Today.

My son's birthday party was yesterday. He's two. Because of this, I thought I would make a quick list of things that are wrong with childrens toys today. I have been stewing over this since Christmas, but the birthday presents finally put me over the edge.
  1. Packaging - Is it really necessary to use so much, tape, plastic, wire ties, twist ties, and screws to keep a toy in the package? I mean, seriously, the toy won't even hold my son's attention for the amount of time it takes me to open the packaging. You shouldn't need tools to open a cardboard box.
  2. Batteries - Are there any toy companies left that make toys that don't need batteries? I swore I would never say this next phrase, but... When I was a kid, we made our own noises for cars, trucks and trains.
  3. Volume Control - For the love of God, would it kill toy companies to design volume control into a toy. These days, toys have only one volume level - excruciatingly loud.
  4. On/Off Switch - You'd think this would be a no-brainer, but you would be shocked about how many toys do not have on/off switches. I need a break, dammit.
I guess the toy companies spent all their budgets on packaging material and didn't have enough money left over for bonus features like power buttons and volume control.

I am not sure what the solution is to this, a boycott might get the toy companies attention, but what do you get the kid instead? Socks? That's just mean. Books? Don't get me started on what's wrong with childrens books today. I am thinking about teaching my kid to bite, so he won't be as popular and will therefore get less gifts next year.

What do you think?

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Governor's Cup for Brewing

Governor Ehrlich awards Governor's Cup certificates to Maryland brewers. Best in show went to Clipper City's Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Ale.

The awards were sponsored by the Brewer's Association of Maryland in an attempt to increase the awareness of the many fine Maryland beers. While the brewers were down in Annapolis they were also hoping to do a little lobbying for a law that would make it easier for microbreweries to distribute their goods.

I hope their legislation efforts bear fruit, because Maryland has some mighty tasty beers and it is a shame that they can't get a wider audience because of Marylands archaic and counter productive distribution laws.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Events: Anita Hagan's Art Opening

What: Anita Hagan's new Art Exhibition
Where: 49 West Coffeehouse/Winebar/Gallery, Annapolis Maryland
Address: 49 West Street, Annapolis, MD 21401
When: Show runs January 8, 2006 - January 31, 2006

Opening Reception: Sunday, January 8, 2006, 5-8 pm (Refreshments will be served)

Summary: Anita uses her unique style to create rich, emotional block prints that are inspired by the natural world and the incredible human spirit. It's going to be a great show with over 30 pieces including linoleum block with watercolor, and acrylic paintings.

Tell your friends!

References: Anita Hagan
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Monday, December 19, 2005

Google Earth

I may be late to the game here, but I just discovered Google Earth this week. Boy is it cool. I daresay it's the coolest thing that ever came out of the internet.


It's cooler than email and instant messaging.

It's cooler than shopping in your underwear.

It is a travelers dream.

Anyway, go out to and download the free version. It only works on Windows now, but they say they are working on a version for Mac. You need high speed internet access to use it properly, so don't try it on dial up.

Boy is it cool.

References: Google Earth
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Two interesting stories on Yahoo! news...

Researchers: Hops in Beer May Be Healthy - Yahoo! News
Nursing Home keeps spirits up with own pub

The first story says that hops contains compounds that may slow or prevent cancer. It doesn't say that drinking beer prevents cancer. However, I think most of us understand intuitively that drinking a good hoppy beer can only make us healthier.

The second story says that a nursing home with a bar has happier residents and more visitors. I don't find that shocking at all. It's definately a feature I will be looking for in a nursing home when I grow old.


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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Reminder: Time to Order Your Holiday Photo Cards

I know that Halloween has just passed and most of you haven't even started planning your Thanksgiving menu. However, I thought I would post a reminder that you should consider ordering your custom photo cards now so that you get them in time to send them out.

Photo cards are great, because they are festive and personal. I use them every year.

I use Shutterfly to turn my digitial pictures into prints and cards. I've tried a lot of services and found theirs to be the best quality and very speedy.

New Prospect Offer

References: I prefer Shutterfly, but you may prefer Kodak
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Friday, November 04, 2005

Events: Barry Beach's Gallery Show

What: Barry Beach's installation: Transitions - Transporting Water
Where: Buckley Center Gallery, University of Portland
When: October 24, 2005 - November 17, 2005
Hours: M-F 8:30am - 8:00pm; Sat. 8:30am - 4:00pm
Address: 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland, OR 97203

Sorry I didn't get this out sooner, but I just found out about it. Barry Beach has a new installation at the Buckley Center Gallery. It's called Transitions: An Installation Transporting Water. It's a very unique work with pumps, valves adn tubing moving water troughout the gallery. Check it out!

References: Buckley Center Gallery at University fo Portland
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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Article on Sculptor Matt Proctor

NW Drizzle, the art, music and culture e-zine, has done an article on sculptor Matt Proctor. We recently wrote a post about Melt Modern, a collaboration between Matt and his wife Aixé. In case you wanted a second opinion you should check out the article.

References: NW Drizzle
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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Haiku Slugfest at b1-66er's archipelago

A battle between the titans of haiku is underway at Haiku Slugfest at b1-66er's archipelago.

VA Vegan of Fuh-Ku
faces off against
B1-66er of B1-66er's archipelago

Each day from November 1-7, 2005, these verbal gladiators will present their opponent with 2 haiku challenges. Each day, they must come up with 2 haiku that meet the challenge. The referree's are JDiego of Haikus from Hell fame and Sarah from Office Girl Haiku.

I will make appearances in the comments section, offering commentary in haiku form.

Ready to rumble
wordsmiths gird loins for battle
only one will win

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Events: Anita Hagan's Gallery Show

What: Gallery show featuring the artwork of Anita Hagan
Where: Gallery Ornato in Washington DC
When: Opening Reception November 12, 2005, show runs through November.
Address: 6925 Willow Street NW, 2nd floor, Suite 203, Washington, DC 20012
Phone: 202-545-1555

Summary: Gallery Ornato's November show features the artwork of Anita Hagan. Anita uses her unique style to create rich, emotional block prints that are inspired by the natural world and the incredible human spirit.

References: Anita Hagan
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Monday, October 31, 2005

Frommer's Guide: "Where to Stop and Where to Go"

Frommer (the travel guide king) has released a new guidebook called, "Where to Stop & Where to Go: A Guide to Traveling with Overactive Bladder in the United States". It was written for people with a specific medical condition (OAB), but I think it will be extraordinarily useful for anyone that travels with kids.

Back when I was young single and stupid, I had certain rules on my road trips. One of them was, "Only one bathroom break every 300 miles." That rule doesn't work so well now that I have a family. In fact, I have had to shorten the mileage rule quite a bit. It's now down to about 50 miles. (Which also happens to be close to the total limit on road trips by car as well.)

You can get this 76 page boolet for free at:

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Photo: Fall Leaves

It's been a while since I have posted any nice pictures. Here are some fall leaves from my backyard.

Picture taken with a Canon Digital Rebel.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

My Blingo Friend Won and so did I!

Just a couple weeks ago I mentioned that I had my first win with Blingo. It took 3 months but I won a $10 iTunes gift certificate for doing nothing but searching the internet using their site. Well this morning I logged in and discovered that that laugh riot Tickles Tapeworm out in Seattle won a $25 Visa Cash Card. Since I am the one that referred him, I won one too!

So who wants to play along now? Here's how:
1. Sign up with Blingo.
2. Search using their website or tool bar.
3. Invite your friends to join in.
4. Win on your own or when your friends win!

Unfortunately this is only available to US residents. Sorry world.

References: Blingo, and Tickles Tapeworm
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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Events: Maryland Brewer's Oktoberfest

What: Maryland Brewer's Oktoberfest
Where: Timonium Farigrounds - 2200 York Road, Timonium, MD 21093
When: Saturday, October 15, 2005 - Noon - 8:00pm and Sunday, October 16, 2005 - Noon - 6:00pm
Cost: $20 at the door which includes entertainment, exhibits, 6 beer tokens, and a souvenir mug.

Alright all you Maryland beer enthusiasts. It's time for the Maryland Oktoberfest at the Timonium Fairgrounds. Featuring music, crafts, activities and 60 types of beer.

Show your spirit. You will get three free beer tokens if you come in German attire. There are also contests for Miss Oktoberfest and Best Baltimore Beer Belly.

See you there!

References: Maryland Brewers Oktoberfest
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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Melt Modern: Functional Art for your Home

This is not for everybody
But that is a good thing, because not everyone can have this beautiful, unique, and functional art in their homes. Every piece is one-of-a-kind, hand crafted and in limited supply.

Matt Proctor the sculptor and Aixé Djelal of yummypurse as individuals are two of the most creative and talented artists around. In their own ways they are working to spread the vision that art should be a part of everyday life. As individual artists, they create work that ranges from the absurd and fanciful to the most immensly practical.

Matt's work has been featured at numerous galleries. Aixé has been highlighted on HGTV's Crafters Coast to Coast. Their house made the cover of Oregon Home magazine. Matt, Aixé and their house have all been showcased at various times in stories in the Oregonian.

Now they are combining their numerous talents to create one-of-a-kind functional and decorative art for the home, garden and commercial spaces. Melt Modern is the name of their new collaboration. Check out some of their creations.

Like the look but don't see what you want? Contact them and see what they can do for you. They love working with people to create the perfect pieces that match the personality of the customer and the space.

References: Melt Modern
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Monday, September 26, 2005

I won with Blingo!

I was a skeptic but now I believe. Today, about 3 months after signing up, I won my first prize with Blingo. I won a free movie ticket, but was given the option of taking a $10 iTunes gift certificate instead. I chose the iTunes, because a free movie ticket will still cost me $30 in baby sitting. Either way I am impressed that it finally happened.

How did I do it?
1. I registered with Blingo.
2. I used Blingo search instead of Google search. (Blingo uses Google's search engine so I got the same results.)
3. I lived my life and did my searches normally.
4. I won!

Sign up now! Then get your friends to sign up. When they win, you win the same prize.

Blingo gives away iPods, Netflix subscriptions, Sony Playstations, movie tickets and Visa gift cards. Perhaps, I will win one of the bigger prizes soon, but even if I don't $10 isn't bad for doing nothing.

Pretty cool!

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Update: I just found out: You must be 18 years old and a legal resident of the United States to win a prize.

Friday, September 23, 2005

5 Boring Bits of Financial Advice

Normally, I write about fun stuff that is cheap or free and occasionally about the simple luxury that can be enjoyed as a treat. However, recently I learned that some of my friends and coworkers don't live within their means and have no concept of savings.

This shouldn’t have been shocking to me because I know that the American savings rate is now 0% and the average American owes their first born in credit card debt. But I always thought that those statistics were skewed by stupid people. These people, my friends, seem smart. What are they thinking?

Anyway, it really started to bother me, so I made a list of 5 boring things you can do to keep your financial house in order. There’s nothing sexy or new about any of this stuff. Most of it is common sense and all of it is available at financial websites like the Motley Fool. I just figured I should post this stuff here, because obviously some people don’t go to financial sites and haven’t really thought about managing their finances.

Disclaimer: I am not a financial adviser and I don’t play one on TV. These are some things that I do. They work for me, but they require discipline. They probably won't make you rich. I am not rich, but I am happy.
  1. Live below your means

    • Make a budget and stick to it

    • Track where you spend your money (it may surprise you).

    • Find ways to cut back and save. ($20 a week is $1040 a year. If you can find a way to save $20 a week you’ve given yourself a $1000 a year raise.)

  2. Save money for known and unknown expenses.

    • Pay yourself first (use paycheck deductions and auto savings plans)

    • Build a liquid emergency fund (cash not beer)

    • Build a long term tax deferred retirement fund.

  3. Don’t borrow money (for stupid stuff)

  4. Try to avoid borrowing money at all. If you must borrow money, consider why. It is acceptable to borrow to buy an asset like a house or a car (if necessary, you can sell the asset to pay off the loan). You can borrow for education or a business because these are likely to increase your income or create cash flow (hopefully at a higher rate than the interest). Don’t borrow more than you need and don’t buy more than you need. (Think “used Civic” instead of “new Hummer”.) Don’t borrow money to pay for a vacation or luxuries. That’s living beyond your means.

  5. Always take guaranteed free money.

    • If your company matches your 401(k) contributions, it’s free money. You must take advantage of it. Contribute enough to get the maximum company match. Only contribute more if the investment choices in the 401(k) are diverse and reasonably priced. Otherwise invest the rest of your retirement savings in a tax deferred IRA of your choice.

    • If you have the discipline, use a credit card that pays cash back. You must pay off the full balance each month or you should lose the credit card all together in favor of a debit card.

  6. Boring (but simple) investment options

    • Invest in an S&P 500 index fund (always check the expense ratio and compare it to Vanguard)

    • I-Bonds at Treasury Direct. No commissions. As safe as the US Government. Inflation adjusted interest rates. Automatic savings programs. Nice tax rules. The government is borrowing money. Shouldn't they be borrowing from you?

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

How to Pour a Perfect Beer (in 3 seconds or less)

How to Pour a Perfect Beer - Popular Science

Someone has invented the solution to one of life's most vexing problems: How to pour a perfect pint in only three seconds so that the beer line moves faster. TurboTab is a nifty little device that installs on existing draft beer dispensing systems. It is designed to prevent excess foam by decreasing the turbulence of pouring beer. The main benefits are faster pours and less waste. I think we can all agree that these are worthwhile goals. In addition, they claim that the beer tastes better than other competing "fast pour" technologies that use super cooling techniques.

Currently, they are selling this product to commercial enterprises like bars and pubs and concession stands at arenas, stadiums and festivals. They are working on a product for the home bar enthusiast which should be available in the next few months. Be assured that I will let you know about their availability as soon as I hear something.


Picture from Popular Science

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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Places: Hershey Park

Roller Coaster at Hershey Park. Picture taken with a Canon Digital Rebel.

References: Hershey Park, My review of the Hotel Hershey,
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Places: Hotel Hershey and Spa - Hershey, PA

The Hotel Hershey. Picture taken with a Canon Digital Rebel.

I just returned from the Hotel Hershey in Hershey Pennsylvania and... Surprise! It was a lot of fun! I was a little skeptical about this trip. I had pictured a weekend of wandering around in a big chocolate commercial. I had visions of Oompa Loompa's rummaging through my bags. All of these turned out to be true, but in a good way. ;-)

First of all, it was close:
1.5 hours from Baltimore
2 hours from DC and Philly
3 hours from New York and New Jersey

Second, the Hotel Hershey is spectacular. It is old, classy, elegant and real. It was built during the depression with an unbelievable attention to detail. They recently expanded the Spa and you can simply relax in the lap of luxury after a long day at the park.

Third, the park was like being locked in a huge chocolate commerial, but that didn't make it any less fun. They have a lot of roller coasters all intertwined together. There are a lot of water rides to beat the heat. And on the day we went the crowds were not bad at all.

Finally, the story of Milton Hershey is actually interesting.

Anyway, I give it a thumbs up. Bring the kids... Or don't. Either way you will find lots to do and have fun.

References: The Hotel Hershey and Spa, Milton Hershey (a biography)
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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Picture of Hops

Last week someone got to my page searching for "picture of hops". I felt bad that I didn't have anything useful for them. I vowed to change that so here is a photo of our beloved hops. This is the thing that makes beer great.

Picture taken with a Canon Digital Rebel.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Yikes! Scorpion Mezcal.

Now we've all had our share of Tequila. And most of us have had our share of Mezcal, too. Some of us have even dared to eat the worm at the bottom of the bottle. (A few of us more than once.)

But I have never seen anything like this before. You've gotta be pretty bad-ass to step up to the plate on this one.

Take a look:

Now in case you missed it, here is a close up of what is actually at the bottom of the bottle. That's not an agave worm, that's a scorpion! I guess we will see if I am as crazy as I used to be...

Comments anyone?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Events: Maryland Renaissance Festival!

Maryland Renaissance Festival

Okay everyone, we're a couple weeks into the Maryland Renaissance Festival. If you've never been, this is some fun stuff. There's lots of stuff to see, do, eat and drink. It's fun for all ages. This is a great place to people-watch, but it is more fun to participate. Dress up and get into the spirit of things.

One of my favorite weekends is the Pirate Invasion Weekend. This year that happens on September 24 and 25. No matter when you go, don't miss Shakespeare's Skum.

See you there!

August:27, 28
September:3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25
October:1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23
Open from 10:00am - 7:00pm.
Open rain or shine.
For more information call: 1-800-296-7304.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

New Brew: Deschutes Brewery - Hop Trip Pale Ale

Deschutes Brewery

This looks great! Why did I move so far away? If anyone is in the Bend Oregon area for the release of this limited edition fresh hop ale, please have a pint for me! Don't forget to tell me what you think in the comments section.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Google Maps - New Orleans

Google Maps - New Orleans

Check out the Google Maps of New Orleans. Then head over to the Red Cross web page and make a donation.

Thank you.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Please Help Hurricane Relief Efforts!

Please donate what you can to the American Red Cross or any of the other charitable organizations involved in the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The destruction is unimaginable and the suffering is unbelievable. Please contribute what you can in the way of money, supplies, or volunteer time. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Events: Maryland State Fair

View from the top of the Ferris Wheel at the Maryland State Fair. Picture taken with a Canon Digital Rebel.

The Maryland State Fair is running at the Timonium Fair Grounds from August 26, 2005 - September 5, 2005. Bring the kids, it's a whole lot of fun.

Don't be Chicken. Go to the Fair.

A chicken at the Maryland State Fair. Picture taken with a Canon Digital Rebel.

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