Pitchforks and Pints: An Uprising

Posted by Jim on Jun 24th, 2008
Jun 24

Last night I started a beer related quest that is on par with the great 16 County Trips of the past three summers.  Novare Res now offers their own version of a mug club—The Uprising, and I’m the newest member.  What the Uprising involves is drinking one bottle each from a list of 200 beers that they offer within one calendar year.  If successful, your $20 deposit is returned to you.  Even if it takes longer than 12 months, once complete, you will receive a personalized chalice to be stored on-site.  This 16oz glass will be used for all your purchases from then on, which will be priced at a discount.

Not only is this a fun game for beer lovers (every member gets a list of the 200 bottles to keep track of what you’ve tried), but it exposes you to all sorts of new beers.  As it says in the official Uprising rules, this is about exposing the drinker to new beers: beers you’ve never tried and beers you never thought you’d try.  I’m not so scared of trying something I think I may not enjoy, I’m more concerned with the prices of some of the bottles available.  I don’t know if any of the $50+ bottles are on the list or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a few rarer (read: more expensive) beers are.  I guess that’s what they mean when you’ll be drinking beers you never though you would.  [For me, it’s more like I’ll be buying beers for prices I never thought I’d pay.  For example, Brooklyn Local 1 is about $18 at RSVP.  At Novare Res, it’s $25; and yes, it’s on the list.  Too bad I can’t check off the beers I’ve already had.]

One fun aspect of the Uprising is that any 750ml bottle can be split between two members and it still counts towards you total.  I think I’m going to have to plan some gatherings with other members so we can share some of the more expensive beers.

Lastly, in a move that would make Robert Paulson proud, the first rule of the Uprising is to talk about the Uprising.  So if you are at all interested in beer, get yourself over to Novare Res and sign up.  And get in touch with me.  We’ll split some vintage JW Lees and toast to the Uprising and the noble pursuit of new beers.

In other news, this is the 100th post made at this site.  Thanks for reading!

LOL Analytics

Posted by Jim on Apr 16th, 2008
Apr 16

I was checking out my web stats to see what kinds of search terms bring people to my site.  Surprisingly, one was jim flanagan cats.  Even more surprising is that my site is the second result for this search term.  I’m also glad that someone stumbled upon my site by looking for an autograph of the Singing Nun.

In other news, Nissa and I are still looking for a house to buy.  We found one we liked that we put a low-ball offer on.  The people selling the house also received another offer the same which must have been higher than ours, for they decided to negotiate with the other prospective buyers.  We’ll be looking a three houses in South Portland later today, one of which looks very promising.  I hope we can find something soon.  I’d really like to get out of our apartment when the lease ends on May 31.

Future Planning, the Home and Kids edition

Posted by Jim on Mar 12th, 2008
Mar 12

Nissa and I are still in the midst of purchasing our first home, dealing with mortgage brokers.  While looking at some financial information today, I found myself researching college savings plans.  We don’t even have plans for having children yet, but it already looks like we’re off to a great start for our future children’s college savings.  Maine is one of the best states to live in when it comes to saving for college.  State tax laws allow for a state tax deduction of up to $250 per beneficiary, no matter which state’s program we decide to use.  Plus, we aren’t limited to using just one state’s plan.   So, we could begin investing in Maryland’s College Investment Plan and take advantage of their low fees, low minimum contributions, and great funds managed by T. Rowe Price and count $250 per year towards our Maine state taxes.  At the same time, we can take advantage of Maine’s NextGen College Fund and reap the benefits of being an in-state resident by getting grants and matching contributions.  That’s like free money!  Take that Matthew Lesko!

There is a lot more great information out there about college savings.  Check out How Stuff Works’ guide to 529 Plans for a good overview.  Then use the wisdom of the folks at Kiplinger to find the best 529 Plan for your needs.

In other news, we met with a loan officer from Nissa’s credit union (Navy Federal) on Monday.  They offered us a great deal based on our current financial situation situation.  We don’t have enough money on hand to make a 20% down payment on they kind of house we want, but Navy Federal has some great 100% financing programs.  The money we had saved for a smaller down payment can now be used to pay some origination fees and points on the loan to get us a great interest rate (lower than my parents’ rate, I’ve discovered).  Plus, since Navy Federal is so large, they don’t require mortgage insurance!  That’s a savings of $135 a month right there.  If we were to get a loan for $180,000, we’d have a monthly mortgage payment (including taxes and home insurance) that is slightly higher than our current rent yet still within our budget.  That would get us a nice house that we’d actually own!  No more lying in bed grumbling that the heat isn’t on, we’d control it.  It would be ours.  We’re hoping to meet with a realtor Nissa knows sometime next week to begin searching for our home.


Posted by Jim on Jan 2nd, 2008
Jan 2

I’ve had an Amazon gift certificate sitting on my computer desk for well over a month now.  I was waiting until after Christmas to use it, as I didn’t want to buy something that someone was planning on giving me as a gift (and before you say I should have spent it on a gift for someone, I did all of my shopping at independent retailers this year—all local retailers, except for one gift, actually).  I was about to spend it on the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion expansion The Shivering Isles, which costs slightly more than the certificate I have, when I thought to check in with my credit card company to see how close I am to redeeming my award points for another gift certificate.  I was happy to discover I’m less than 50 points away.  With the money I spent on gas over the holidays, I’ve already passed the mark!  All I need to do now is wait until the end of the billing cycle, and another certificate will be sent to me.  That will be $50 I can spend at Amazon.  That almost pays for an entire new video game (the Oblivion disc, since it’s an expansion, is under $30)!  Now the question is, which game should I get?  I’m thinking I will pick-up Mass Effect, a huge sci-fi RPG (I’ve been itching to get into another RPG), but suggestions are welcome.  Check out my video games wish list at Kaboodle, and offer up any advice you have.

In other news, as of this posting, here are my stats for the year: Movies – 2, Beers – .5.  But both of those numbers are about to be increased by 1 each.

Taking Secrets to the Grave

Posted by Jim on Dec 21st, 2007
Dec 21

One of my favorite Apple news sites, Think Secret, has shut down as part of a lawsuit settlement with Apple Inc.  Sadly, I’ve removed the link from the sidebar.  I’ll keep it in my Google Reader, just in case anything ever pops up on the feed again.

In other news, I’m sick and stayed home form work today, in hopes of feeling better before Nissa and I head out to visit all of our parents in the next few days.

First Oink, now Onik

Posted by Jim on Oct 29th, 2007
Oct 29

As you may have heard, the file-trading site Oink was shut down last week; a great disappointment to music lovers/snobs everywhere. But what you may not have heard is the news that hits a little closer to home: prolific local tagger ‘Onik’ has been sentenced to two years in prison for his widespread vandalism. I understand graffiti as art (the other day I was stopped at the train tracks at the Congress and St. John streets intersection, and some of the graffiti painted on the train was quite beautiful; I wished that the train was stopped somewhere so I could photograph it), but just writing your name all over town on people’s windows and doors is silly. What does that accomplish? Were his myspace friends that impressed?

In other news: how ’bout them Sox?

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