Posted by: scottemslie1 | November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

This will be a very short post. I would like to wish everybody a a Happy Thanksgiving. As we pause on this day, let us give thanks for everything that we have and wish glad tidings on those who are going through rough times. Remember those less fortunate and and the meaning of this day.

The tirade on commercialization starts this weekend.

Posted by: scottemslie1 | November 18, 2012

Foodstock 5

So yesterday late afternoon/evening found me at The Chance in Poughkeepsie to take photographs for Foodstock 5, a concert to benefit the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley. Basically, it is eight bands who have all volunteered their time and talents to help raise money for the food bank. This is the fifth year year that it has been going on and the third that I have volunteered to take pictures of the event. It is put on by Turning Point Entertainment who have done a great job of getting the bands together and coordinating everything. Everybody involved is a volunteer, so the vast majority of the money raised goes to the food bank.

Kinney & Storms

Kinney & Storms

So who are the bands that played? The first band to play was Down to the Bricks, a blues rock band who formed in 2011 right here in Poughkeepsie. The second band was called The Dedication. They are a a pop/rock, acoustic band with 6 members who also formed in 2011. This band is based out of New Windsor. While the first two bands where new to the lineup, the third band has played Foodstock before. Kinney & Storms (see photo above) is based here in the  Hudson Valley and consists of the two founders on acoustical guitars and a classically trained cellist. They play a combination of folk, blues, pop, and rock.

Folkadelics

The next band was a local punk/rock band called Snaphammer. They are a three piece group who formed in 2006. Snaphammer has played Foodstock numerous times over the past years. Band number 5 was also a new band to Foodstock. The Folkadelics are based in NYC and play a blend of rock, reggae, hip-hop and funk. What I found interesting about this band was the use of an electric mandolin with the use of wawa pedals to give it a number of very interesting sounds. Sorry, I enjoy old bluegrass music that used mandolins, so I found this very unique.

Sirsy

Back again for the third year was the band Sirsy. Based in Albany, NY, Sirsy has only two members, guitarist Rich Libutti and Melanie Krahmer, who plays drums, flute, and anything else that she can think of. They have played all over NY and also in a number of other states, plus they have been featured in regular rotation in the HBO Zone.

Rustic Overtones

Rustic Overtones is another new band to Foodstock. Based out of Portland, Maine, this seven piece band was formed 15 years ago and at one point back in the early 2000′s where signed by Arista Records until the shakeup that the company had. After a hiatus that lasted four years, the band came back stronger and better than ever before. Their new album, called Let’s Start a Cult, features entirely new music and is their first new album since 2009. The final band is another local Poughkeepsie band called Lamb & Potatoes. They formed in 2010/2011 and play a mix of punk and rock. This was there second appearance at Foodstock, but the members have been big supporters every year that it has been held. In between band sets, DJ Swanky Jones spun tunes that ranged through every genre to keep the music going.

While this might sound like a pat review based on written copy (and yes I will admit that some of it is), because of the type of event that these musicians were playing in I did not feel that harsh reviews were proper. While some of the bands do not play music that I care for, and I have a tendancy to listen to just about everything, there were quite a few people there who did like that music. I think that it is a great thing that all of these musicians donate their time to do this and they come from all over the Northeast. Kudos to Ryan and Lorenzo of Turning Point Entertainment for putting everything together a fund raiser that is now five years old and going strong. All proceeds go for a good cause. It is always held the Saturday before Thanksgiving. If you like to listen to good music and help the hungry, then consider attending next year’s event. Info on Foodstock can be found on Facebook (search Foodstock 5) or at turningpointhv.com/foodstock.

Posted by: scottemslie1 | November 17, 2012

This Past Week

So as I sit here having lunch at a place called Crew while I am getting my Jeep serviced, I figured that this was a good time for an update. While the past week has been relatively quiet, last weekend found me and my brother traveling to Kitchener, Ontario for the 50th Wedding Anniversary of my aunt and uncle ( mum’s sister). It was a good time seeing them as it has been around 10 years since I had been up there and an even longer time for my brother.

We left at 7 am on Friday morning and arrived at our hotel in Kitchener around 3:30. We stayed at the Knights Inn, as did my parents. It was not a bad place to stay, the rooms were clean although very dated in decor (think 1980′s). The problem that we had was with the transients that lived there. This place had, what we in New York would call, Section 8 housing. Nothing wrong with that, but when you want to sleep at night it posed a problem. Most of the long-term residents seemed to like partying from mid-night until 5 am. It made sleeping a bit hard.

Other than that, the party was a great success. My cousin did a great job keeping it a secret from his parents. I also had a chance to meet his wife who is a wonderful person. We went over to my aunt and uncle’s for breakfast on Sunday morning and then headed back home. Did a bit over 900 miles over a 3 day period. We did stop and get some beer to bring home, after trying several microbrew brands while we were up there. Beer prices have gone through the roof. It cost us about $100 for 2 cases (mixed). The beer s good, but even 6 packs of Bud were running about $10. Ouch.

So that is a brief synopsis of my whirlwind trip to Canada. Now onto a brief review. I am currently sitting at a restaurant called Crew, located on Route 9 across from Dutchess Dodge. I have eaten here before and the food is very good. I am currently having the Chinese Chicken wrap, which has greens, chinese noodles and a nice peanut sauce that is not overly spicy. This is served with fresh cut fries and a pickle. I am enjoying this with a Newburgh Brewing Company Harvest Ale. Crew is a good place to try different beers and wines and walk next door to either Half- Time on one side or the wine & liquor store on the other to buy what you like to take home. I highly recommend you try it out, but get there early, it can get very busy in the evenings.

Thats it for now. This evening I am photographing a charity event called FoodStock at the Chance in Poughkeepsie. The cost is $15 at the door to hear around 7 bands play. All proceeds benefit the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley and the doors open at 5 pm. Come on down for a fun evening.

Posted by: scottemslie1 | November 6, 2012

Hudson Valley Brew Fest

As I write this in the midst of Election Day 2012 (not to mention the coverage of the threat of a noreaster), I figured that I should not write about politics and wrote about something else. So it is time to cover the 2012 Hudson Valley Brew Fest that was held this past Saturday at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center.

I went with my my brother Todd and my cousin Tim. We got there around 12:50 with the doors opening at 1pm. There was a pretty good line to get in, but the line moved pretty quick once the doors opened. After they took our tickets, we had to show id for proof of age in order to receive a wristband in order to partake of the libations. What I thought was interesting was that all they wanted to see was whether-or-not you had some form of id. The two people who were supposed to be checking the id’s for date of birth never even looked at my driver’s license except to see if I had one. Ah well.

After we got in and received our little plastic sampling glass, courtesy of 101.5 WPDH, it was time to start trying some beers. The first beer that we tried was called Liberator Dopplebock from Thomas Hooker Brewery. It was not too bad and not as heavy as most porters are. As we worked our way down the row, we tried beers from TommyKnocker Brewery, Peak Organic Brewing, Ithaca Beer Compnay, who had a beer named Cascazilla which was quite good, SouthHampton Brewing, try the Double White, outstanding, and Innis & Gunn, whose Original beer is aged in oak casks and had a very nice fruit flavor that was not cloying sweet and their Rum Cask beer is aged in rum casks (duh) and has a light flavor of rum. Now remember, this is just the first row.

The next row (which was actually the center of the Fest) had a number of your more massed produced beers on one side, such as Blue Moon Brewing Co., Anchor Brewing, Shock Top (the Lemon Shandy was not that bad), Crown Brewing, who produce (or import) Modello and Pacifico, and Palm (an outstanding beer when you can find it out).

The other side of the started out with two nano breweries, Sloop Brewing and Newburgh Brewing Co. I have had the beers from Sloop Brewing before, have been told about them about a month before. They make several IPAs including one that is quite dark. They also make a bottle conditioned beer called Sauer Peach. A wheat beer, it has some hints of peach, hence the name, and is unfiltered, as a good wheat beer should be. At Newburgh Brewing, I tried their Von Steuben’s Gose, very good, and Harvest Ale, also good. The difference between these two companies is that Sloop bottles their beers and Newburgh does not. I need to find some place that carries Newburgh’s brews so that I can have a better chance to try them. Sloop’s beers can be got at farmers markets during the season, or at several local beer distributors, such as Half-Time on Route 9 in Poughkeepsie. The end of this side had Brooklyn Brewery, Rushing Duck Brewing, Ellicotville Brewing, Brewery Ommegang, and Founders Brewing.

The final row had Hyde Park Brewery, who was also serving food, Leffe, Samual Adams, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Staropramen Beer, Olde Saratoga Brewing Co., and several others. Part of the problem was that by the time we got to this row, we started to get that full feeling that you can get with beer. We did eat, Billy Bob’s was there selling food, but after a while, it just gets to be a bit heavy on the stomach. I had the same problem when I attended the Great British Beer Festival in London, but the beer is different over there and it took me longer and many more beers to hit that feeling. We finally left around 4pm or so after sampling many different beers.

All in all it was not too bad. There were a number of things that they could have done better. It would have been nice for more of the breweries to have information on their beers and possibly even some things for sale (only Brooklyn had anything substantial for sale). The group who ran the event did not do bad, but they should have had more shirts for sale and get more in 2Xl sizes and larger. They only had a handful in those sizes and they sold out within the first half hour according to the girl selling them. I think that they miscalculated the number of people who would attend. I would also like to see more small brewers in future instead of the offshoot breweries of the major brewers. With some changes, this could become a world class event and a stepping stone for some smaller brewries to things like TAP NY and the Great American Beer Festival.

Posted by: scottemslie1 | November 2, 2012

Gas Gouging After the Hurricane

So I was not going to post tonight, but felt that I had to. Up here where I live, we had very little problems with power outages, etc. compared to other parts of NYS and NJ. Yes, there were a number of places without power here in my county, but the vast majority have gotten their power back. So why is everybody panicing about gasoline. The tanker trucks from the Newburgh terminals started to run yesterday. I can understand downstate and in NJ having problems with gasoline because of the devastation there and the lack power to many places, but that is no excuse for up here. This evening I watched a gas station that was next door to the place I went to dinner go from $3.99 per gallon to $4.19 per gallon within 15 minutes and as they were receiving a gas delivery. I have also watched a gas station go from $3.91 on Wednesday morning to $3.93 Thursday morning to $4.29 this morning. What the hell!

This readers is a blatent example of price gouging. Other stations around where I live have kept their prices normal and several have risen their prices over $4.00 per gallon seemingly overnight. And this is only up here. There are reports of gas prices being just under $6.00 per gallon in NYC and Long Island. I am not sure about NJ. I do hope that people will report these stations to the proper authorities and that those authoritoes will do something about it. Personally, any station who is doing this should be fined at least $25,000. That would be a deterant to anybody gouging as it is probably greater than any profit that they would make. In addition, there license to sell gasoline should be revoked for at least 6 months. Again, while this may seem harsh, especially to a small business, they have to realize that they cannot take advantage of people during a crisis.

Ok, I will get off of my soap box now. Next blog post should deal with the Mid-Hudson Beer Fest this Saturday. Although I will not be certain of that if more idiotic things happen.

Posted by: scottemslie1 | November 1, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

We survived Hurricane Sandy with nary a problem. Just lost a few of the final leaves that were still hanging onto the trees. I suppose in this case, it is one of the advantages of living upstate. Of course, the storm heading more to the west helped us. Now, that is not to say that people here in the Hudson Valley did not receive damage. Most was due to the wind and I still have friends here that do not have power, although it is coming back slowly. And while those who live along the Hudson River and it’s tributaries did have some severe flooding due to extraordinary high tides caused by the storm surge, it is not as bad as those in NYC, Long Island, and New Jersey (amongst other places). It was good that we did not receive the amount of rain that we could have. After Irene last year, there are still places that are picking up the pieces and more rain could have caused severe problems.

Of course, now there are other problems that affect everybody. With the power being out in so many areas, basic supplies, like gasoline, milk, and bread, are becoming hard to come by. While I have not seen it up here in Poughkeepsie yet, there have been long lines for gasoline in the few places that have power to be able to pump and sell it. After everybody banded together to help each, it is interesting to see society breakdown over something like being able to get a few gallons of gas. It is a sad state of affairs when the police have to be stationed at gas stations to keep the piece. Hopefully the power will come back on quickly to allow more stations to start selling gas again.

It will be interesting to see what the impact of the lack of power will have on the election next Tuesday. Depending on which talking head that you listen too, it could be anything from having no impact to having a large impact here in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantice states. Personally, I am not sure what will happen.While I have had no problems with the new electronic voting machines, it might behoove some places in NY that will still not have power to see if they can, if they still have them, breakout the old lever machines rather than go to paper ballots. At least they can impound and lock these machines if there are disputes in the election, as I am sure there will be regardless of who wins.

Posted by: scottemslie1 | October 24, 2012

I’m Back!

After taking a break from working on the blog in order to catch up with everything after the trip to London, I am finally back to working on the blog. My only problem right now is what to write about. After catching up with everything here at home and with the events that I have had going on, things that I could have been blogging about, I am at a bit of a loss. I will have a few things to write about in coming days and weeks as life progresses and I start to do some travelling again, but right now, nada.

I suppose that I could write a bit about what is going on in the political scene. First, let me say that I do not like either candidate for president. I get the feeling that both of them are in it only for themselves and the people that donate large sums of money to their campaigns. I really hate the silly season, as I call it, and cannot wait until it is over. That said, both men have their good points and bad points, regardless of what the media tries to spin to the public. I am old enough to remember the presidential campaigns from the late 70s, early 80s and beyond and it has been very interesting to see how the campaigns have changed as the news cycle gradually went from ending at 10 or 11 at night (after beginning at around 6 in the morning) to becoming 24 hours a day. It has really changed the dynamics of campaigning and, in my opinion, is one of the things that has caused the partisianship that is now seen in all forms of government, federal, state, county, and local. It seems that moderates and those who are willing to work with the other party to actually get things done are few and far between.

I have to admit that sometimes I miss the days of Reagan, with people willing to work together. Even Bill Clinton realized that he needed to work with all parties involved to get things done. Now I am seeing a number of people who are running for government, in all parties, saying that it is their way or the highway and that there will be no compromise on any of the issues. It is this attitude that is the cause for the gridlock that we are currently seeing in government, especially on the federal level. And I do not blame one party for it, but both parties as they are both responsible for the problems.

But there is, unfortunately, no easy way to fix this. We, the general population, are as much at fault as those in government. The reason for this is that we keep voting in the same people year in and year out. We rail about the state of the nation, but do not do anything to fix it. Now, for disclosure purposes, I am guilty of this also. I really like my state senator and think that he has done a great job, especially in the past two years. Will I vote for him again? Yes I will. So I am one of the problems. As for the other races that I will vote in on election, I have a number of new people due to redistricting so I have a clean slate to work with. While I am a registered member of a political party, and no, I will not say which one, I do not vote the party line just because the party bosses tell me to. I look at the issues at hand and vote for the person who I think will do the best for the public at large, regardless of what their party affiliation is. Maybe if everybody did this instead of just following a party blindly, we would be better off.

So, it would seem that I was able to find something to write about after all. As the weeks progress, I will probably write a bit more about the political scene, or at least my take on it, along with some traveling that I have coming up and a review of a new nano brewery that is in the area. Their beers are quite good and the concept of a nano brewery is new to me (think extremely small batch). Until then, anon.

Posted by: scottemslie1 | August 13, 2012

Since we got home

So the flight home from London was uneventful. We got up at 5am to get ready and finish packing. Arriving at the airport around 8:15, we found out that we were too early and could not check in until after 9:30. Ah well, that was ok. We took off at arounf 12:10 and arrived in Dublin an hour later. After a couple of hours of waiting, we were winging our way to JFK. We arrived there at around 7:30pm and after clearing customs and collecting our luggage, we decided to rent a car and drive home rather then take the NYC subways and then Metro-North Railroad. It was a wise decision. We arrived home earlier than we would have and, at midnight our time, 5am London time, and 24 hrs after we awoke, we finally went to bed.

Friday morning found us awake at by 5am with jet lag telling our bodies that it was 10am and time to get up. Jackie went into work for a half day and I unpacked all of our treasures and started some laundry before doing some running. Jackie got out of work at noon and after a brief stop home, went out to our gun club, Dutchess County Pistol Association (DCPA), to start setting up for an event that evening to benefit the Sports Museum of Dutchess County. It was a .22 rifle shooting event called Shoot the Diamonds and included dinner. Jackie gave the Safety briefing and ran the range along with a bevy of helpers and I went and took pictures. Getting home by 10:30 we both collapsed in bed, exhausted.

Saturday was Jackie’s day to de-compress and she stayed at home while I went to the NY Renaissance Faire. I am the president of a group called Friends of Faire, sort of a volunteer organization that supports the cast and crew amongst other things. The Faire opened last weekend while we were in London and as president, needed to be there. The day went quite well and I left early, around 5:30 or so and headed home. After getting home, I went back out to see my friend who house sat for us. I got home around 9 and was in bed by 10.

Sunday we both awoke early again and this time we both wen to Faire. It was a nicer day than Saturday was as the humidity and temperature were down. After a full, day, we arrived home to watch the closing ceremonies of the Olympics (do not get me going on what I thought of them) and then going to bed when NBC switched to the news promptly at 11 before they ended.

Today was back to that old grind, work. The day went ok, just very busy. I was able to complete around 40% of what I needed to, so tomorrow will be more of the same. At least the day went quickly.

So that has been our life since we got home. Pretty boring at this point. We are both almost over the jet lag, so that helps. Time will tell what I will be writing about next. Probably more about the Ren Faire and then who knows. Only time will tell.

Posted by: scottemslie1 | August 12, 2012

Quick update

I will be doing a full blog tomorrow evening as to the trip home and what has transpired since we got here.

I can say that it involved a function at our gun club and a ren faire.

Posted by: scottemslie1 | August 8, 2012

Great British Beer Festival

So I went to the Great British Beer Festival today, sponsored by the Campaign for Real Beer. I started at 5pm yesterday and continues until Saturday evening. This was a real treat as I have never been to a beer fest before.

I got to the venue early and killed some time having breakfast at the Hand & Flower pub (this is a normal occurence in England). After getting into the venue and about 12:15, I was confronted with a vast array of beers, about 800, sold by around 20 different bars and actual brewers. The dealing of alcohol and beer are vastly different in the UK, with the pints being imperial pints (larger than our 16oz ones) and all glasses made being certified.I bought a pint glass, a 1/2 pint glass, and a 1/3 pint glass. I stayed with the half pint glass for the day.

The first beer that I sampled was an ipa from the Netherlands That was not too bad, although a bit hoppy for me even by ipa standards (and I like ipas). After that I stuck to the british brewers, liking especially the beers brewed by Greene King. I tried all of their beers except one, and that was only because the one was not being served until after 5pm,and I had already left by then. This beer was called 5X and was 12% alcohol by volume (abv). As much as I wanted to try it, even with sticking to 1/2 pints it catches up to you after a while. I was there for a bit over 4 hours and had the equivalent to 11 pints. They just went down too smooth. Before anyone asks, yes, I also ate while I was there. The food was quite good, with everything from traditional English faire to Thai, Italian, and Indian.

When I left, I had a number of beer mats (coasters) that were being given out for free, a number of beer glasses, and a membership to the Campaign for Real Beer, who sponsored the event. I think as an American that the biggest disappointment with American beers is that most US citizens would not know good beer if it bit them on the arse. Most of us think that Budweiser, and not the true European equivalent Budvar, is good beer. Cask ales, which the majority of the beers were, are much better in flavor and are not overly chilled, being kept to cellar temperature. I believe that this is where those who traveled to England years ago got the idea that the beer in england is warm. It is not warm, but it is not chilled to 34 degrees also. The temps that it is served at brings out the true flavor of the beer, although I will admit that it is an acquired taste.

So enough on my soap box about beer. Tonight we are packing all of the goods that we have purchased in preparation to our leaving for home tomorrow. I hope to post something during our layover in Dublin. If not, it will be sometime on Friday. Iwill also update everybody on Jackie’s adventures at Kensington Palace.

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