Seattle Spring BrewMuster

On Saturday, the CrapMonkey Podcast hosted Seattle BrewMuster at Gallagher’s in Edmonds and the turn-out was great. There were four batches brewed by a total of sixteen brewers who encompassed all skill levels.  Some had tried their hand at brewing before, and others didn’t even drink beer but wanted to try out the brewing experience.  In addition to brewing, the attendees also engaged in fun conversation and enjoyed the tasty beers that Gallagher’s keeps on tap.  There were also occasional raffle drawings for prizes ranging from beers to glassware. 

Brewers will meet in a few weeks to enjoy and bottle their beers and the brews will be judged and awarded later this summer via a BrewMuster webcast (check back at CrapMonkey or BrewMuster for details).   Photos from the event are available on Flickr.  Thanks to all who attended and to the folks at Gallagher’s for helping us out.  I hope to see you at the next Seattle BrewMuster.

Social Redirects

Last night, the race was on for anyone and everyone to get a direct Facebook URL. As a consequence, I had to decide if I wanted to tie my Facebook account to my real name, or to my CrapMonkey brand. In the end, I decided that Facebook makes more sense being tied to my real name as opposed to the CrapMonkey moniker. This also got me thinking about my presence on other social sites like Twitter, Flickr, and Myspace and how my user names and URLs vary accross each service. Then it struck me that I could put a simple logic behind all of these services just by creating sub-domain redirects from Duh… where have I been? So, here’s the logic of how to find me online: just add the name of the service as a subdomain of If’ I’m on the service, you’ll find me. Here are some examples:

Crypticon Seattle 2009

Crypticon Seattle 2009 was this weekend so Wendy and I stopped by to experience the horror. It was a great event and the horror community in Seattle are a great group of folks. Some highlights from the event are as follows: First of all, there is Night Zero. Night Zero is a photographic novel based in Seattle that is created with high dynamic range photography. Next, there were plenty of horror film greats ranging from Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead and my favorite From Beyond) to Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes, Weird Science). Panels focused on films like Phantasm and The Fog, but the crew from Field of Screams, Washington’s premiere haunted attraction, were also on hand to expose their world of haunting. Finally, evening events such as a completely improvised horror movie and the Crypticon Costume Contest made nightfall more fun than creepy. Want to see more? Click in the space below to play the highlights video (requires Microsoft Silverlight).

Thanks to The Kits (Horror Movie) and If Else Then (Emeryville Horror) for the songs used in this video (sourced from the Podsafe Music Network).

The CrapMonkey Podcast Episode #134

It’s 70 degrees on a Friday night, so I’m sitting in my office boiling. That said, there’s some fun stuff to mention, so I thought I’d do make a quick podcast. First of all, a new brewery will be opening soon in Fremont aptly called Fremont Brewing. I’m always glad to see a new brewery open up in the neighborhood and their blog is a great way to keep up on their progress. Additionally, the Washington Brewer’s Festival is taking place at Saint Edward’s Park in Juanita on June 20th, so you better get that on your calendar. The Fremont Fair is the same weekend. On June 13th, Seattle BrewMuster is taking place at Gallagher’s in Edmonds, there are still a couple more days to get tickets if you’re interested. Pyramid Brewery rebranded their top beers – seems kind of strange to me, but what do you think?

Want to get addicted to a simple little video game? Try out Shift.

The song of the day is One Day Soon by Mark Colety and the website of the day is We end the show on a CrapMonkey Spool Sample featuring Tesla’s Forever More.

The CrapMonkey Podcast Episode #133

This edition of the CrapMonkey Podcast is a bit of a mixed bag.  In technology news, Internet Explorer 8 has released and is available for free download (you might also want to check out this funny ie8 promo video that includes web celebs like the Ask a Ninja Ninja).  Also, scientists have developed a macromolecule that should lead to a self-healing clear coat that may make your car’s paint or your devices screens repair their own scratches.  Addicted to Twitter?  Find more people to follow with  Speaking of following, you should also follow the Love Long and Prosper Podcast – so I included a fun promo for it in today’s show.

Discover Magazine has a cool series called “20 Things You Didn’t Know About…” that is worth checking out.  The topics of “Television” and “Time” are certainly worth a read.  Are you in to retro 3D?  If so, get your glasses on and check out  However, if this episode is getting you into too good of a mood, maybe you should take a look at

Finally, there is just a smidge of beer news in this eposide (since I missed the Washington Cask Festival).  Seattle Beer Week is coming up in May.  Check out the Seattle Beer Week website to learn more about what that entails.

The song of the day is Hangman by Zach Harjo and we close the show on Broken Halos.  Both songs are from Zach’s upcoming album called Dark Poems.  It’s not out yet, but you can catch Zach this Wednesday (April 1st) on KEXP or on Saturday April 4th at the Sunset Tavern in Ballard.  The website of the day is Playboy’s cover-to-cover site, a free archive of high quality, scanned playboy issues spanning the publication’s history.  Also included in this episode is a restroom review of Sully’s Lounge in Queen Anne.

What’s wrong with the picture below?  This is a rare glimpse of the Seattle Space Needle at night without its normal illumination.  The lights were shut off for one hour on Saturday night in observance of Earth Hour.  As you can see, very little of the rest of the city played along.

By the way – on Thursday, April 2nd, there will be a Tweetup at Pyramid Alehouse in Seattle. I hope to see you there! (Click the link to RSVP).

Greenwood: A Destination for Beer Lovers?

It’s nice to see Greenwood, a northern suburb of Seattle, starting to come alive with interesting places to imbibe.  The most recent addition is Pillager’s Pub, located at 8551 Greenwood Avenue.  The pub is actually a showcase for Seattle’s Three Skulls Ales brewery (which is an offshoot of Baron Brewing), though there is no onsite brewing at Pillagers.  As the name implies, the pub is pirate themed.  This theme is consistent with the beers brewed by Three Skulls Ales which include Black Bonney Porter, Pillager’s Pale, and Cutthroat Red.   It certainly makes sense to keep the brand in sync, but I am not a big fan of pirate themes and we already have the Maritime Jolly Roger just a stones throw away in Ballard.  Still, owner Jeff Smiley is a huge fan of pirates – so at least it’s derived out of personal passion and not a random marketing ploy.

Upon entering the pub, it feels a bit like entering the Tully’s that previously occupied the space.  One obvious difference is the large pirate ship battle mural that takes up the entire West wall.  It’s beautifully done and I found myself looking it over for much of my visit.  Additionally, large wood tables and matching benches line the windows and seem to encourage decent sized groups (many of the tables could seat at least six).  Still, some additional work needs to be done to really make the place feel like its own.  They were only on their second day in operation when I visited, and I sense that work is still being done.   I had a Black Bonney Porter and was quite pleased.  I also tried the Pirate Wings (traditional buffalo wings with blue cheese ) and they were a fine accompaniment.

Just south and across the Street from Pillagers Pub is Naked City Taphouse.  After my porter and wings, I shuffled over to see how Naked City was doing now that they’ve been open for a couple months.  I was  impressed with the atmosphere, the people and the beer selection.  I had originally gone to Naked City on their opening night, and it was clear they still had a few kinks to work out.  I’m happy to say they seem to have worked them out.  The menu is a bit more interesting and the atmosphere is comfortable and inviting (dimming the lights a bit made a big difference).   I had their olive tray and a beer and both were tasty.  I’m also interested to try their Pickled Hops Shoots when those are in season later in the year.  One final note: they will fill growlers with most of the beers they have on tap (though they don’t sell growlers, so you’ll have to bring your own from home).

In summary, promising establishments are opening up in Greenwood that make it a great destination for getting quality beers with neighbors and friends.   This is nice to see and I look forward to spending more time at both Pillager’s Pub and the Naked City Taphouse.  I’d also like to make it into Gainsbourg soon.  Gainsbourg is a recently opened French style lounge on the same block providing, in their own words: “unique cocktails, wonderful wines, a broad beer list and obscenely affordable French-inspired small plates.” Old standby’s like Baranof, Crosswalk, and Pig ‘n Whistle are also close by for those who want to “crawl” the neighborhood.

The CrapMonkey Podcast Episode #132

In this very short episode I share a few of the latest editions to the crapmonkey family of products.  First off, has been updated to enable voting, so get out there and vote for your favorite photos and submit your own (be sure to come back often as photos will be added regularly).  Additionally, the CrapMonkey Cube Audio Clip Player is now available for general use.  Click on the “Share Audio” page from this blog to try it out.

Mix 2009 is coming up next week (March 18-20) in Las Vegas – be sure to check it out in person or online if you’re interested in  the future of the web.  Also, It’s never too early to start planning for the Oregon Brewers Festival (July 23-26th).  Get your hotel now and I’ll see you at the brewfest!

The song of the day is flickr, by Jonathan Coulton (view a great video version of it here – and a live version here).  The website of the day is  The show closes on a song called Amway, by Fanny Alger.

Relaxing In Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo


Hola amigos!  The CrapMonkey went pretty dark during the holidays and now I am taking a time-out in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.  So far, Wendy and I are having a great time relaxing and enjoying the area.  Ixtapa is a Marina / Resort town – not a lot of culture but lots of nice places to have a drink and watch the sunset.  Zihuatanejo is a larger fishing town (roughly 80,000 people) with lots of great restaurants, shops, and bars overlooking a bay marina (you may remember Zihuatanejo as the place Andy and Red go at the end of Shawshank Redemption… so far I haven’t run into them).  We left the fog of Seattle and had a brief stop in LA, then we continued the rest of the way to Mexico.  Overall, the flights were uneventful and on-time.  We are now at the Las Brisas Hotel and, since being here, we’ve watched a few sunsets, swam in the Ocean and the pool, and treated ourselves to massages in the hotel’s Salon.  I think I’m just about relaxed now.  Tomorrow morning we are going horse back riding on the beach – so I need to head into town to find a hat to cover my pale head.   For the beer lovers that follow my blog, I have little value for you today other than to say Modelo Especial and Corona taste far better on the beaches of Mexico then they could ever hope to taste at home.  as usual, I’ll be updating photos as I can to Flickr and there is also an audio recording of a Mariachi band we had play a song for us as we had dinner on the Beach.  Audios for now!


Click Here To Listen To the Mariachi Band!

A Weekend for Big Wood and Winter Ale.

The Bigwood Festival is happening now at Brouwers Cafe in Fremont.  Over 40 beers that have been conditionedBrouwers in wood make this festival a must attend event.  The beers were rolled out Thursday night and will continue until supplies run out – so get there sooner than later.

Also, don’t forget, the Washington Winter Beer Festival starts tonight at Hales Brewery.  Given that Hale’s is only a stone’s throw from Brouwers, this could be the night to stumble through Fremont and check them both out.  By the way, if you are a member of WABL (Washington Beer Lovers), you get a special head start on Winterfest – exclusive WABL hour starts at 4pm.  Tis the season to enjoy quality beer.

The Ultimate Beer Lovers Gift Guide

After a long day of Black Friday shopping, it’s easy to get discouraged over those who remain on your shopping list.  Fortunately, Crapmonkey is here to help you get the perfect gift for beer lovers on your list.  These gift selections span price points ranging from stocking stuffers to deal closers.  Cheers!

Books, Magazines, Newspapers (Under $20): Beer publications are always fun for beer lovers and Crapmonkey has a few favorites to suggest:

Magazines and Newspapers:

American Beer – The Movie (Under $20): In June of 2002, five friends left New York City by minivan and set out across the United States to visit 38 breweries in 40 days.  This low budget film is a fun, light hearted look at the American brewing industry.

Bottle Openers:

The Beer Pager ($30): Do you have problems with loosing your beer at parties?  This drink cozy keeps your beer cool and can also be paged via a remote control after you’ve forgotten where you set it down.

USB Beverage Cooler ($27): This handy USB powered coaster keeps your beer cool while you blog.

The SwirlyGig Gift Set ($22): The SwirlyGig is a must-have product for any beer loving musician, performer, or podcaster.  The swirlygig attaches to mic stands, drum kits, and many other things to provide an instant place to set your drink.  This gift set comes with a SwirlyGig, a pint glass, a temporary tattoo and a guitar pick.  Very cool and original.

A Black & Tan Turtle ($10): A Black and Tan is a tasty layered drink that is fun to serve at parties.  Make sure your black and Tans come out right by enlisting the help of the Turtle.  Pour the stout over the turtles back to ensure a perfect top layer of stout.

Beer Tap Handle Display Stand ($16): If your beer lover has a kegarator, chances are they also have a drawer full of tap handles.  This stand allows your beer lover to proudly display their favorites (or, include a tap handle from their local brewery to get the collection started).

The Beer Belt ($17): Don’t be caught without a beer nearby.  This belt holds a six pack of bottles at your waist.  If you want to feel more like a beer sporting rambo, you might try the beerdolier – which straps beer cans across your chest.

Beer Games (Under $25): Brew-opoly, a beer lovers spin on Monopoly, and BrewMaster, the Craft Beer Game, are good choices in the board game department.

Beer Tasting and Hops Appreciation Kit ($40): Learn to be a beer snob!

Memberships to Beer Organizations: Many states have local organizations that are dedicated to the pursuit of good beer.  WABL is one that you can find in Washington State that boasts some great membership events and sign-up swag.  Especially useful is their monthly Newsletter.  Don’t have a local organization that you know about?  Henry, a real beer lover, has done a great job compiling a list on his blog.

Beer: This is a bit of an obvious choice, but beer is a great gift for beer lovers.  That said, despite what you’ve seen on television, you’ll want to do better than picking up a six pack of Bud.   Here are some suggestions:

  • Not very sentimental, but this site makes it easy to send someone a beer.
  • Growlers: Go to a local brewery and pick up a growler or two of your recipient’s favorite styles.  Not sure where to find a brewery? has an excellent brewery locator tool.
  • Party Pig (Under $80): This is two gifts in one – purchase a “Party Pig” and have it filled up by a local brewery.  The Party Pig is like a large growler designed to sit in the fridge and be used again and again.
  • Beer Gift Basket: Go to a local beer store and create a gift basket out of whatever beers strike your fancy.  If you aren’t confident in your choices, beer store clerks usually love to jump in and help.  If you’re in the Seattle area – here are some great stores to check out from Federal Way to Northgate: 99 Bottles, Full Throttle Bottles, Bottleworks, Big Star Beer Market, Malt & Vine. If you’re not feeling that inspired, you can turn-key the beer gift giving with a pre-made beer gift basket from
  • Beer of the Month Club ($21 to $65 per month): These clubs ship unique beers to your door on a monthly bases and can usually be purchased for terms of 3, 6, 9 and 12 months.

The Keg-A-Que ($80 to $400): Perfect for the tailgating beer enthusiast on your list – these unique BBQ’s look like they were crafted from real kegs.

Home Brewing Kit: Nothing gives you an appreciation for beer like brewing your own.  Home brewing is fun and can be done in the kitchen.  Most brew stores create starter kits that are quite affordable.  Note: you usually need a stainless steel pot (at least 5 gallons) in addition to what comes in the kit.

Beer Experiences ($20 to $200): There are lots of ways to have fun in the beer culture.  Certainly, picking up tickets to an upcoming local brewfest is both entertaining and unique.   Check out the festival calendar at BeerAdvocate to see if there are any coming up in your area.  Additionally, some cities are lucky enough to have breweries that put you in the brewers seat.  In the Seattle area, Gallaghers Where-U-Brew provides an awesome experience of brewing your own beer with skilled brewmasters and professional equipment.  This type of experience makes for a very fun outing and works well as a gift certificate.

Breathalyzer ($80 to $200): Given all of these gift options, it’s likely your gift recipient may find they’ve had one too many.  Make sure they know when to call a cab with these portable breathalyzers.  (Warning: Know your recipient well – some may take offense to this gift depending on how your intentions are interpreted).

CrapMonkey Logo Merchandise: Let your beer lover know where you got these excellent gift ideas with some CrapMonkey swag.

Hopefully this list serves you well.  Is there something I forgot?  Feel free to add your additions or opinions into the comments!

The CrapMonkey Podcast Episode #131

It’s amazing how fast the time goes.  In this episode, we listen to a brief audio clip from the last sunny day of the season when Wendy and I attended the Oyster Run in Anacortes (photos available here).  Winter’s not all bad though, the 4th Annual Winter Brewfest is at Hales Ales on December 5th and 6th.  Starting to compile your Christmas list?  Perhaps the beer lovers on your list might like this remote control beer cooler.  Or, perhaps you’d rather get creative and make your own portable kegerator.

I’m extremely pleased to note that Redhook has released their Double Black Stout for a limited time (production of the beer was halted in 2000).  This was my favorite beer back in the late 90s when it was brewed with Starbucks coffee, and it’s still quite delicious today – though I don’t know what coffee they use now.

Lately I’ve been using a new service call ChaCha.  This service is a great way to get information on the fly – just text 242242 with any question, and they will text you back an answer.

The website of the day is Truemers and the Song of the day is Evelee, by Darren Lucas.  Today’s episode closes on Something New by John Francis.  Click the Arrow below to listen to the episode.

Feel the Fielder tonight at Station

Okay, maybe not literally, but tonight you will want to be at Station in Ballard for the Feel the Fielder benefit concert.  As discussed in my last post, Jeff Fielder had his instruments stolen when he was on the road with Sera Cahoone and tonight is the benefit concert to help him get back on his musical feet.  It’s going to be a great time with a lot of great musicians (click for the flyer).  Additionally, there will be a silent auction featuring cool local art and a raffle including great prizes by such sponsors as Pyramid Alehouse, Ocho, Tilth, Sonic Boom, Highway99, SwirlyGig, and more!  Come on out, have a great time, and show your support.

The CrapMonkey Podcast Episode #130

Fielder Toon

It’s the first day of Fall and what better way to celebrate than with a CrapMonkey Podcast.  First off, I want to invite you to a benefit for Jeff Fielder who recently had some of his favorite instruments stolen while he was on the road with Sera Cahoone.  It will be at Station in Ballard on October 3rd (download flyer) and you may also make a donation to the Fielder cause via PayPal (note: I accidently said Oct 4th in the podcast – please note my slip of the tongue!).  In this episode, we chat about technology topics including the Democratic National Convention Online Media Gallery, Chrome, Internet Explorer 8 beta 2, and Zune 3.0.  We also chat about some low tech but useful gadgets including the SwirlyGig and the Ring Thing.  In beer news, Budweiser released their newest beer American Ale (strangely released shortly after being bought by InBev).  Finally, I want to encourage you to check out the History Hackers pilot which airs Friday on the History Channel.

The song of the day is (fittingly) Rob You Blind by Jeff Fielder and the show closes on Last Disguise, also by Jeff Fielder.  The website of the day is

Tin Hat All Girl Arm Wrestle 2008

This year’s all girl arm wrestling tournament to benefit Home Alive took place on Monday evening, September 15th at the Tin Hat in Ballard.  This event is fun filled and loaded with… well, whatever is the female version of testosterone.  Sponsored by Tin Hat and PBR, the event is a Ballard favorite that just wrapped up its fourth year running.  Watch this year’s festivities below or check out last year’s event here.

DNC Streams HD with Silverlight & Move

Travis at DNCFor the last week, I’ve had the pleasure of working in Denver at the Democratic National Convention to support HD live and on-demand streaming of the convention through the DNC website:  The content is being delivered to the Internet over Level3’s content delivery network using Move Network’s delivery technology integrated with a Microsoft Silverlight player developed by Vertigo.  The result is an unprecedented rich media experience that provides end users with gavel to gavel live and on-demand coverage of the convention, exclusive interviews, and behind the scenes coverage of DNC happenings.  Though conference coverage is available on many different sites, the DNC coverage is the highest quality content available and is uninterrupted by advertising or commentary.  Additionally, the site offered an alternate camera angle of the convention from the Pepsi Center and, for the first time in convention history, the site offers a Spanish feed (sponsored by Comcast).  Check out the live and on-demand media on the DNC site and let me know what you think of the experience.  
On another note, I had to include a picture of the Daily Show Bus.  The fact that it presents itself as a rebranded RATT tour bus is brilliant.  Check out other photos of the convention on flickr

Daily Show

Oregon Brewers Festival 2008

Oregon Brewers Festival 

Day one of the Oregon Brewers Festival has come and gone.  We didn’t get into Oregon until late on Thursday afternoon so I was unable to attend the Brewers Dinner on Wednesday night or the Widmer Brunch on Thursday morning (that is followed by a “parade” of beer brewers and lovers that kicks off the festival).  We did make it into the brewfest as the sun was beginning to set and I started in the IPA section.  Ninkasi Brewing Company, Laurelwood Brewing, Terminal Gravity, Amnesia Brewing, and Hazel Dell all had IPAs pouring (listed in the order of my preference from favorite to least favorite).  Surly Brewing Company is presenting Coffee Bender – a coffee flavor American Brown.  It’s very good and appeals to my love of coffee – but it is a very special release and they steep only 20 gallons at a time, so don’t expect to find this on the super market shelves.  

PogsBeerfest: As I’ve mentioned before, Oregon does brewfests right.  There is no cover charge, just purchase a mug and some pogs and you’re good to go.  Mugs are $5 and pogs are $1.  A pog is worth a taste, 4 pogs will fill your mug.  The show special includes 2 mugs, a program, a festival pen (for taking notes) and 37 pogs for $50.  In the early days of the festival, it’s easy to taste and taste again, in the later part of the festival, I anticipate the lines will grow long and brew-festers will choose to fill their mugs to avoid waiting in line more often than necessary.  You might also want to load up on pogs before the festival gets crowded as last year the lines got extremely long for purchasing pogs (in fact, I had a friend who bought $100 worth of pogs and sold them at the back of the line for $150.  

Beer Buzz: Each year at the festival, a “Buzz Beer” is born.  This is the beer that everyone is talking about, and inevitably, runs out before the festival comes to an end.  I wasn’t able to determine just which beer had the buzz this year,  but one prediction pointed to Quilter’s Irish Death by Iron Horse Brewery.

Beer Gear: I wasn’t overly impressed with the brewfest merchandise this year, but you’re bound to find something that fits your style if you look hard enough.  That said, Beer Northwest Magazine has a booth at the festival and is offering a year’s subscription for only $10 (4 issues).  This is a great deal for a good Northwest brew magazine. 

The brewfest runs through the weekend (July 24 through July 27) and the weather is as perfect as Rogue beer is balanced.  If you are in the Portland area or are able to get here; the Oregon Brewfest is the place to be this weekend.  Otherwise, the CrapMonkey video from last year’s festival is located here and I will continue to update my Flickr Brewfest Set through the weekend.

Extensions for Windows Beta 2

Extensions for WindowsI installed beta2 of Extensions for Windows and I am pretty impressed.  The exstensions suite is customizable in the sense that users may install only the utilities that are desired, but I find that I have uses for all that are included.  Extensions offered out of the gate include a Screen Capture Utility, a Virtual Drive creator and manager, a Shortcut Manager, a File Compare Utility, a Find and Replace Utility, a Disc Analyzer, an Explorer Extension, a Task Manager Extension, and FTP client, and a File Converter.  The Shortcut manager is a very convenient way to create, modify or remove Windows keyboard shortcuts.  My favorite extensions so far are the Explorer extension – which is like the Windows file explorer on steroids.  It enables tabbed explorer windows, side by side explorer views and a host of other helpful options.  Most of the extensions are available by clicking on the Extensions Icon in the system tray.  However, a couple of my favorite extensions are accessible by right clicking on files. Right clicking on image files gives you an “extension” option that allows you to quickly convert or resize images (See image below).  Doing the same on office documents lets you quickly “print” the document to a PDF.  This is cool, and so far the bugs I’ve encountered have been minor and the installation did not appear to slow my machine down.  So far, I give Extensions for Windows two opposable thumbs up!

Extensions for Windows

Is Your Computer Equipt?

EquiptIn mid-July, Microsoft will begin selling office programs to consumers on a subscription basis.   This is a bold new business model for Office that is rumored to start at about $70 per year.  The price seems reasonable for what you get (especially when I consider that I spend over $100/month on my cable bill), but you be the judge.

Equipt will include:

  • Word 2007
  • Excel 2007
  • PowerPoint 2007
  • OneNote 2007
  • Microsoft Office Live Workspace
  • Windows Live tools (Mail, Messenger, Photo, etc)
  • Windows Live OneCare
  • Upgrades and Updates

What do you think?  Good deal or bad deal?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.