Thunder Volcano

Boundless enthusiasm for something stupid

Archive for October 2010

All Kinds of Beer

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As an inveterate beer geek, the first thing I say to pretty much any waiter/bartender (after “hello”, of course) is “what kind of beer do you have?”  There have been a number of occasions when the response is along the lines of “we’ve got all types” or “we have everything you can think of”.  These are not beer bars, mind you.  More like… about as far from a beer bar as you can get.  I never know what to do.  The waiter is usually somebody who’s well meaning (though possibly also too lazy to memorize all six beers on the list), so I don’t want to be a spaz or an asshole about it.  I’m obviously not going to take it as a challenge and order something weird just to show off (“I’ll have the Drie Fonteinen Faro, please”), and there’s no way I can think of to say “trust me, I know about all kinds of beer you’ve never heard of” without sounding like a condescending prick.  Worse yet, my mind usually freezes and the only “common” beer I can think of is Chimay, which is still probably way further out there than I can hope to get (the first time this happened to me I was at a restaurant on the outskirts of Nowheresville, Florida).  After some nervous stuttering, I usually go with Guinness.  It seems like the only reasonable thing to do.


Written by Baron Volcano

10/26/2010 at 9:30 pm

Posted in Beer

Is Beer the New Wine? (No.)

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Jesus Christ people, you really need to stop writing articles whose sole premise is “is beer the new wine?”.  It’s understandable if it’s some dopey feature in a local newspaper (“new restaurant features beer menu and suggested food pairings – just like wine!”), though now that I think about it that seems pretty condescending (“Crappy Beverage tries to imitate the Grown Ups”).  But when I see an article like this in a publication that actually takes beer seriously it falls somewhere between annoying and sad.  There are generally two variations:

a) beer (specifically American craft beer, usually) is gaining respect and (more importantly) people should take it Much More Seriously
2) snobs are turning off potential newbies and really need to Cool Out because It’s Just Beer

I’ve read these two articles a hundred times.  Neither was especially interesting the first time.  I tend to take them as a tacit admission of “my deadline is approaching and I don’t have anything new to say” which I can sort of empathize with because there isn’t always that much to say about beer.  Even so, you gotta find a better use for your 500 words per month.  Constantly harping on this question just makes it seem even moreso like a little kid trying to compare himself to his older brother.

On a related note, those Sam Adams commercials where Jim Koch talks about how “hops are to beer what grapes are to wine” make me want to kill myself.  As a direct result of that ad campaign, somebody once suggested to me that maybe I didn’t like Boston Lager because it’s “too hoppy”.  I managed to navigate that conversation without punching him, but it was a close one.

Written by Baron Volcano

10/26/2010 at 9:19 pm

Posted in Beer, I got opinions, right?


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Every time I grow a beard I get a speech from my mom about how I’m not going to get girls on account of my beardiness.  I’ve tried to explain to her that she’s starting with a faulty premise – the idea that women are attracted to me in the first place – but she never buys it.  You know how moms are.  Nor is she amenable to the idea that some women like beards*.  On the whole she’s probably right, but this time around I’ve taken it far enough that I can’t help but agree (I mentioned this to a female acquaintance who suggested that I seek out unattractive women).  I started getting comments about how big my beard is from people at work whom I seldom/never talk to.  That’s right.  My beard is ridiculous enough that people in a brewery are starting to take notice.  People have started asking if they can pet my beard (some just do it without asking).  Outside of work, I’ve been told by at least four people that I look like a skinny Zach Galifianakis and by two that I look like Joaquin Phoenix.  Several of these people have been strangers.

Prior to my current beardy glory, I had a few people tell me that I didn’t look much/enough like a brewer.  I guess brewers aren’t allowed to be clean shaven?  One of these times was when I was the speaker at a beer dinner.  Enough people commented that the bar manager made a point of asking me if I was even 21 yet (I was 26 at the time).  Conversely, I don’t think I’ve been carded at a bar since I’ve grown this beard.

There are some notable downsides to having this much beard.  The most obvious is all the stuff that gets trapped in it.  I can’t brush my teeth after I take a shower because my beard gets filled with toothpaste.  I tend to carry crumbs around in it a lot.  One day I ate a bacon egg and cheese sandwich that was made with runny eggs and I didn’t realize until a few hours later that I’d taken about half of an egg yolk along for the ride.  Plus now whenever I drink beer I inadvertently dip my mustache into it.  It’s become commonplace enough that I don’t even bother cleaning the beer out since I know it’s about to happen again.  I’ve gotten used to it, but it’s not all that ideal if I’m trying a sip of somebody else’s beer and I accidentally add Mustache Flavor to it.  Every time I try to eat sandwiches I end up biting more of my own facial hair than food.  This is facial hair that’s still attached to my face, mind you.

On a related note, there have been two occasions in my life when I’ve been mistaken for a homeless person.  The first time was when I was in college, and the mistake was made by Duke’s college roommate – somebody I’d known for three or four years at the time.  In his defense, it was early in the morning and I was really hungover so I was probably shuffling/stumbling a bit, plus I hadn’t shaved in at least two months, I was wearing a beat-up, stained flannel jacket, dragging a suitcase with only one wheel, and carrying a six pack with four beers in it.  He said he glanced out the window and thought “that homeless guy looks a lot like Baron” then continued looking for me.  He got pretty weirded out when I started trying to get in his car.

The second time, it was a homeless guy.  I was in DC and I was leaving the bar to go to the metro when a guy came up to me and said “hey do you have any ch- oh wait, are you homeless too?”.  I really had no idea how to react to that – I figured I might piss him off if I acted offended and it hadn’t quite sunk in yet that it was hilarious (to me, anyway).

*There have been a number of times when she’s given me the following advice on women, verbatim: All women are the same.

Written by Baron Volcano

10/26/2010 at 9:16 pm

Posted in Hootenanny

Pickle Supreme

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I’ve been seeing an increasing number of companies making pickle-flavored potato chips.  Is there any difference between these and Salt ‘n’ Vinegar?  If so, what the hell would it be?  Dill?  Garlic? …Cucumber essence?

Written by Baron Volcano

10/26/2010 at 8:48 pm


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Ever notice that Pete from Goof Troop and Mr. Krabs from Spongebob are pretty much the same character?  They’re both one-dimensionally greedy and out to profit from the main character(s).  They even kind of sound the same.  Really the main difference is that Mr. Krabs doesn’t have a hot wife.  Oh, and Pete’s much more of a dick.

Written by Baron Volcano

10/21/2010 at 7:28 pm

Posted in Hootenanny

This Post Dedicated to My Dad

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You ever fart in the shower and it smells so bad that you feel like you need to take another shower?  I don’t even know how that would work – take a second shower simultaneously?  That doesn’t make sense.  Soap up again?  I doubt that would help.  Throw on a towel and try to use the shower at your neighbor’s house?  If you have understanding neighbors, maybe they’ll wait for you to finish explaining yourself before they call the cops.  I guess you could ventilate the room and start over, but that’s just ridiculous.

I’m not even really sure why this happens, though.  Am I subconsciously afraid that I’ve rendered the soap ineffective?  Do I think that the fart particles will bond with the water vapor in the air and then the water will dry on me?  I have no idea.

There have been a number of times when I’ve mentioned this (or something similar) to somebody and the response was “maybe you should see a doctor”.  I don’t really see that doctor’s visit being a particularly worthwhile use of my time or money.  I’m picturing the doctor coming back into the room and on my chart there’s a section that says “Diagnosis:  That’s gross.  I have no idea.”

Written by Baron Volcano

10/21/2010 at 7:14 pm

If you’re gonna spew, spew into this

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I was thinking about Wayne’s World the other day (this takes up, on average, about six hours out of my week.  Closer to seven or eight if you count Wayne’s World 2) and something occurred to me.  You know that scene in the beginning when they’ve just finished recording the show and they’re walking through the parking lot and some girl shouts “Hey, Wayne’s World! Party!”?  It didn’t occur to me until recently that she was probably being sarcastic.  People have suggested that maybe I didn’t really have a good grasp on sarcasm on account of the fact that the movie came out when I was in second grade, but I picked up on that one at a pretty early age.  More than anything, I just couldn’t conceive that Wayne and Garth might be losers (I just assumed the girl was a bad actress).  I still can’t really entertain this as a possibility.  They were definitely cool.  That girl was just a bitch.  Or a bad actress.

Written by Baron Volcano

10/15/2010 at 2:15 am

Posted in Uncategorized