The CrapMonkey Podcast Episode #129

It’s hot in Seattle!  I’m not complaining, but it’s a short show cause it’s just too hot in the Crapmonkey “Studio” to stay for any length of time.  Looking for something to do this weekend?  The Rails to Ales Brewfest is coming up in Cle Elum on Saturday, July 12th.  If you’re not down with heading that far East, you might just go as far as Redmond and visit the Sub Pop 20th Anniversary Concert (July 12 & 13).  Personally, I’m looking most forward to the Oregon Brewfest coming up at the end of the month (Click here to view a video I produced at last year’s brewfest).  In Tech news, Bill Gates retired this week.  A great retrospective collection of videos is located on

The Song of the Day is Rooftop by Sunday Morning Music.  They are not together anymore, but you might want to keep track of former members, Jeff Fielder and Zach Harjo.  The Website of the day is and we close the show with a song called 4th of July by Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers.

Top Five Twitter Faux Pas

Keyboard GuyIn face-to-face conversations, sometimes our thoughts get ahead of us and things come out wrong.  In the Twitterverse, there are even more ways to trip over yourself and convey the wrong message.  However, Twitter has the added feature of archiving that stumble for generations to come.  Following are the top five ways to flub with Twitter:

  • The Gatling Tweet:  This is when Twitter is flaking out and your updates fail to update, so you continue to re-type your check in, only to have it continually fail to update.  Eventually, the site comes back to health and all of your Twitter updates rattle off one after another like a Gatling Gun -spamming Twitter with a comment that was barely worth reading the first time. 
  • The Forgotten Follower:  Once you are being followed by a decent number of people, it can be hard to keep track of the folks from your virtual posse that transcend into your real world (at least until you make a Tweet you regret): 
    • CrapMonkey is Twittering: Skipped out of work to have a beer and a shot of Jameson at the Pub.  Expensing as a “business meeting” of course.
    • (Sudden relization that the boss is a Follower)
    • CrapMonkey is Twittering: @BossMan – I was just kidding, (LOL), I’m actually filling out that TPS report I promised you.
  • The Roaming Cursor:  Let’s face it, cursors tend to roam around the browser sometimes.  Nothing worse than typing in the address of your next destination only to find that your cursor was in the Twitter Update field.
    •  CrapMonkey is Twittering: 
  • The Drunken Tweet: This one needs little explanation, but after a few too many – one should probably steer clear of Twitter.  Twitter is taking the drunken booty call public in a big way:
    •  CrapMonkey is Twittering: @hotmamma – I’m gonna come over and get my lovin’ on – yeah… I don’t care who knows it!
  • The Truncated Tweet:  We’ve all had to train ourselves in the ways of brevity, but let’s face it, sometimes we stumble and Twitter is unforgiving.  When the 140 character limit is exceeded, you can do little more than hope the part that made it conveyed your message appropriately.
    • CrapMonkey is Twittering:  I have got to say, I’ve known jenny for a long time and work out with her at the Gym all the time. I can’t wait to be invited into her Association of Fitness Instructors.

These are my top 5 Twitter faux pas, do you have any others?  Leave them in the comments.

"_____" the F@#K Out of It!

So, this isn’t the most politically correct idea I’ve ever had, but it seems handy nonetheless.  I’ve launched the first in my series of “the f@#K Out of it” properties designed to provide more value around the sites you leverage everyday.  The first is dedicated to Twitter.  Try it out and let me know what you think.  Other sites are coming online soon (and I’m looking for a volunteer developer to help if you are in the mood to do some simple pro-bono work).

Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us

From time to time I speak to classrooms and groups about Podcasting and RSS.  When doing so, I’ve always struggled to communicate the impact of XML over the traditional HTML that defined the web for so long.  Today at Podcamp SeattleEric Weaver played this video in his presentation and I was extremely impressed at how well it delivers the message.    

Everybody Loves Spam!

SpamThanks to rising oil prices and increased costs of food, many folks are feeling the squeeze in their grocery budgets.  As such, Spam had over a 14% increase in sales this quarter as people look for cheaper ways to feed their families.  Spam, of course, is also the product credited for the slang term used to reference junk email.  The name resonated with people after a Monte Python sketch referenced the product over a hundred times. 

Older Gas Pumps Can't Surpass $3.99

It’s a bit like the Millennium bug that threatened applications that were not prepared for the year 2000.  Some older dial gas pumps were not designed to exceed $3.99 per gallon and did not have “4” as a possible dollar amount.  Now that gas prices have shot past the $4 mark in many places; smaller, older service stations are in trouble.  Many mom and pop shops cannot afford the tens of thousands it can cost to replace the pumps.  Furthermore, it is illegal to sell gas from a pump that cannot register the price correctly.  That said, regulators understand the bind that small service stations are in and have allowed them to stay open so long as they can demonstrate they are working to retrofit or replace the pumps.  In the mean time, service stations must calculate the price of gas manually.  I suggest we keep gas below $4 a gallon to help these guys out, what do you say?  More detail can be found in this Article from the Seattle Times.

The CrapMonkey Podcast Episode #128

Iron Maiden

Lots of things going on lately.  I spent the weekend bobbing in the water off Alki getting my PADI scuba open water certification.  In this episode, we talk a bit about the Iron Maiden Concert on June 2nd and listen to a couple of clips from that show – Including some thoughts Bruce Dickinson had regarding Grunge and the media coverage of it.  In this episode we cover some beer news some upcoming events including the next week’s Seattle Podcast Meetup, The Father’s Day Washington Brewers Festival, and the Phinney Neighborhood Association Beer Taste in July.

The song of the day is Movie, by Katie Davis and the website of the day is  We close the show on clips from the Iron Maiden concert.

The Xobni Outlook Plug-in has Released

XobniToday it was announced that Xobni has released for the general public to download.  Xobni is the best Outlook plug-in that I’ve seen in a long time.  This sidebar allows for fast and easy email search, attachment aggregation, and thread compression.  Another handy feature of the tool includes extracting contact information from email signatures – this is extremely handy for quickly finding contact info for folks that don’t yet exist in your contacts list.  There is also a host of bells an whistles thrown in around inbox analytics (who you send mail to, who you receive it from, etc) and fun ways to drill through your network of email contacts.

Magic Hat Brewing to Buy Pyramid Breweries

Magic HatFor the last several months I’ve been saying that Pyramid was ripe to be bought.  However, I anticipated a very large player (like Miller) to swoop in and make the purchase.  On that point, I was quite mistaken.  Magic Hat Brewing Company and Pyramid Breweries announced that they will merge, pursuant to a letter of intent.  The plan is for Magic Hat to aquire Pyramid for $2.75 per share – the stock closed at $1.76 a day before the announcement.  Once the assumption of Pyramid’s ten million dollars in dept is taken into account, the deal will be valued at nearly 35 million dollars. 

According to Pyramid CEO Scott Barnum, “the combination of these two well established, high profile craft breweries will be very complementary given our respective brand portfolios and the geographies in which we predominantly operate. Additionally, there will be a number of important benefits for Pyramid to be part of a private company versus continuing to operate as a stand alone public entity.”

The CEO of Magic Hat, Martin Kelly stated that “we have a great deal of respect for Pyramid’s brand heritage, award-winning beers and its dedicated employees…”  Martin Kelly should know a little something about Pyramid given that he is an ex-employee.  He joined Pyramid in 1999 as President and Chief Operating Officer, and then became the CEO in December of that year.  In the years that followed, Pyramid expanded its operations significantly, bringing on two new Alehouses (Walnut Creek and Sacramento) and acquiring the Portland Brewing Company.  At the time of acquiring the Portland brewing company in January of 2004, Kelly delivered a message that seems consistent with this current move, “The craft brewing business is very competitive and changes daily. To stay ahead, breweries must keep moving forward. Some breweries have chosen to go the route of aligning themselves with large, multinational, industrial brewers. We believe that approach can stifle creativity and lead to less choice for consumers. Our approach aligns two independent Northwest breweries and retains the creativity and integrity craft brewers are known for.” 

It seems that as CEO of Vermont’s Magic Hat Brewing, Kelly’s style has not changed.  Prior to making this move to grow through the acquisition of Pyramid, Magic Hat was in the midst of an expansion project that will double the capacity of its South Burlington Brewery. 

In my opinion, aggressive growth can be a good thing.  However, it can also be a risk in the beer industry because slight changes in the landscape (ingredient availability, cost of sales, cost of metal for kegs, consumer preferences, etc) can have a severe impact on the bottom line.  Could Pyramid have weathered the current industry climate had it not been so aggressive in the Martin Kelly years?  That’s hard to say.  Even Redhook brewery, (who has strong distribution ties with Anheuser-Busch and were once stock market investor favorites) have had to resort to merging with Widmer in order to stay in the game.

This move could also give Pyramid a chance to start over.  With the Magic Hat buy out, Pyramid can escape the scrutiny of being a public company and return their focus to the core: brewing great beer.  That said, it will be interesting to see how or if the two breweries merge their cultures and brands.  Magic Hat is known for being fun and somewhat unpredictable.  To the contrary, Pyramid is a well thought out and dependable brand.  Magic Hat’s Website looks like the worst elements of pop culture slammed into into it at full speed, while the Pyramid website feels conservative and stuffy.  Most likely, the two will consolidate some of their business operations and perhaps some of their beer line (aka, some folks will be laid off), but both will continue to maintain their current brands and marketing philosophies.  On the upside, both breweries may also get a foot in the door to distributors on the opposite coast.  As a result, Seattle folks may start to see more Magic Hat beer in the stores and the East Coast might start to see more Pyramid on the store shelves. 

Whatever happens next, I hope it only strengthens Pyramid’s footing in the market and makes it an even more valuable asset to the Pacific Northwest.  Still, I’m always skeptical about out of town ownership and I’m curious to see if Pyramid continues to feel like a resident of the Pacific Northwest given the new arrangement.  At any rate, I guess there’s little more to do now than sit back, drink down a Thunderhead IPA, and watch as the acquisition proceeds.

Social Load Balancing

StressLet’s Face it, there are far too many ways to keep in touch these days.  Blogging hit the scene, but it appealed more to publisher types, not folks that just wanted to have a simple online presence.  Then came LinkedIn, which is a cool portal for managing your contacts network (though I think if Plaxo had built out their feature set a little faster, they could have owned the LinkedIn crowd).  That said, LinkedIn is a glorified address book with a little 6 degrees of separation cool factor and it didn’t pack the social aspect that Facebook and Myspace brought.  Myspace went after a younger crowd that prefer websites to be completely annoying, auto-play music, and look like the 1996 Internet threw up all over it.  Facebook brings a bit more sophistication…  Folks who want to create a professional network but still want to let their hair down and slay some vampires every now and then.  Eventually, someone realized that the world really needed a way to IM people in mass, and presto, Twitter was born.  I’m not sure what will be next, but I suspect it will be shorter and easier than Twitter.  Seven character Twitter perhaps (we can call it LicensePlater – CoolHuh? IthnkSo).  But wait, all that is just the Web 2.0 stuff.  Don’t forget you also need to stay sociable in the Zune Social and keep the points coming in on Xbox live.

On the surface, this evolution seems like a great thing.  However, in this era of hyper innovation (and hyper distraction), the predecessors are not going away as new sites, services and technologies emerge.  This means that folks like me are left trying to keep up the blog, build on the LinkedIn network, keep Myspace and Facebook reasonably up to date (and not let my vampire army get too beat down), and Twitter with whatever time there is left in the day.  Whew – factor in eating, sleeping, working, and commuting and this starts to get pretty tough.

This is where one must decide to give up all together and go outside for a walk (yeah right) or become a master of Social Load Balancing

Social Load Balancing (SLB) is a technique to spread content between two or more social networks or technologies in order to get optimal resource utilization, throughput, or response time. Managing multiple social networks and services with social load balancing, instead of managing a single social network or tool,  will increase reliability and coverage in your social representation. Social Load Balancing is handled manually by many, others are beginning to adopt Social Load Balancing tools to simplify or assist in the SLB process.

Tools are emerging to make SLB easier to manage.  For Twitter and Facebook users, you don’t want to be without the Twitter Facebook Application.  This allows your twitters to automatically update your facebook status.  Boom – just like that we are killing two birds with one tweet.  There are also applications that will send your Facebook status updates to Twitter, but that doesn’t seem like the direction most users would want to go.  For you bloggers – maximize your blogging by using a tool like Windows Live Writer.  With Live Writer, you can write your blog posts (offline even) and then sync them to several blog posts at once.  Other software that does this includes Qumana, ScribeFire for Firefox, and Ecto for the Mac.  Still spending too much time bouncing between social sites?  Minggl is a browser toolbar that concentrates Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Myspace into your browser toolbar.  If you want even deeper integration, you might want to try Flock.  Flock uses the Mozilla browser base and adds a ton of social networking capability on top of it (including Flickr and YouTube).   Regardless of how much SLB you do, Twitter is hard to keep up with (especially if you are compelled, like many of us are, to follow as many people as humanly possible).  In this case, you may want to use Twitt(url)y to keep up on what links are being shared in Twitter. 

Above are just a few ways to start to load balance your social life.  Of course, hopefully you also foster an offline social life and you will have to be the judge of how that fits into your SLB strategy.  That said, be careful taking your online social life with you into your offline social life because your romantic evening will tank quickly when your date gazes across the table only to see you Twittering on your iPhone (if only she knew what you were Twittering: “dude, I’m on a date right now”  –  “She just ordered a double Vodka” – “She’s looking really pissed right now” – “Think she’ll go home with me if I ask the waiter to split the bill?”).  Finally, I want to plug one more technology that has the potential to greatly simplify today and tomorrow’s SLB process: OpenID.  It’s bad enough trying to keep up with your online social life, let alone trying to remember your login IDs and passwords on all of these networks.   OpenID aims to drive all of these logins into a single ID system that all of the sites and applications can leverage.  Will they succeed?  Maybe not any time soon, but the goal is admirable.

And with that, I’ve got to wrap this up.  I’ve spent far too long on writing this post and my status on Facebook has become terribly out of date. 

The CrapMonkey Podcast Episode #127

Teach StreetThanks for tuning in to another Crapmonkey Podcast.  There has been a lot going on lately… but enough about me.  Let’s look at what’s coming up in the near future.  In the beer department, there are a few different festivals to look forward to attending.  Right around the corner on May 2nd and 3rd is the Hop Scotch Spring Beer and Scotch Festival.  July 4 through July 6th is the Seattle International Beerfest and from July 18th through July 20th is the Portland International Beerfest.  If you can do only one brewfest in Oregon this year, you’ll want to check out the Oregon Brewfest July 24th through July 27th (warning: hotels book up fast!).  Check out last year’s Oregon Brewfest Video!  Looking for something to do on Memorial Day Weekend?  How about attending the Crypticon Horror Convention in Seattle or the Vancouver International Digital Festival in Canada?  In the Tech arena, Microsoft has launched Live Mesh as a tech preview.  If you need help getting your digital life in sync, Live Mesh might be just the right thing for you.

The song of the day is Souls Come Rising by Lords of the North and the website of the day is  The show closed on What’s Eatin’ You by Airbourne, recorded live (from the crowd) at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard.  Special thanks to the AndyCast Podcast for the intro, go subscribe to Andycast – you’ll laugh till you stop!

Bow Down Before the Lords of the North

Lords of the NorthSome call it stoner rock – perhaps due to how the songs give way to occasional low tuned, psychedelic jams; or maybe because the lyrics depict dark winter landscapes filled with rising souls and flying falcons.  Whatever the case, the label doesn’t do justice to the heavy, blues driven rock that defines the Lords of the North.
Rising from the dark cold regions of the Pacific Northwest, Lords are bound to make their presence known in Seattle.  The Lords of the North bring a heavy and dark sound that is a refreshing throwback to the early Black Sabbath days.  Likewise, though only a three piece band, Pat Kearney, James Roche and Tony Tharp manage to deliver a powerful performance with the raw authenticity of a Bleach era Nirvana. 
I caught their debut show at the Rendezvous last week, which incidentally, was also their CD release party.  Though I could sense they are just beginning to pull together their game face when it comes to playing live together, they still played a great set and the crowd was amped.  Lords of the North are definite up-and-comers, so check them out while you can still see them in a small venue.  They play Wednesday night (April 2nd) at the Comet and will be live on KEXP from the High Dive in May.  Check out their Myspace site or buy their album online from Amazon (DRM free).
While at their show, I captured a recording with a ZOOM micro-recorder I had stashed in my pocket.  If this was their first official show, the clips below must be the first official bootlegs (disclaimer: since these tracks were recorded from my pocket, I highly suggest that you only use these recordings to supplement the Studio album).  Enjoy.

Lords of the North

POC#18: Tesla gets Rude and Rocks Seattle

Dave Rude

On Sunday night, Tesla put on a rock show to remember at the Showbox Sodo in Seattle.  The show rocked the venue with all of the enthusiasm and energy that Tesla is known to exhibit.  Prior to the show, I sat down with Tesla’s newest member, Dave Rude, to talk about playing with Tesla, fronting the Dave Rude Band, the future of record labels and even beer.  Following the interview, we hear a track called Eighteen Eyes from Dave Rude Band’s newest EP.  Check out the interview and then go visit Dave on myspace!

Kawasaki and Ballmer at Mix08


Mix08 is in full swing and it’s all about Silverlight!  I just got into town today, so I missed the first day of sessions, but today was already worth the trip.  For today’s general sessions, Steve Ballmer and Guy Kawasaki had a great conversation that spanned topics ranging from the Yahoo acquisition bid to Vista.  they take turns jabbing each other, but ultimately – both were great sports and the conversation was very intersting.

The CrapMonkey Podcast Episode #126

Beer ArtIn this episode we go over a litte beer news, including a cool initiative by Boston Brewing to help get smaller breweries through the hops shortage.  Additionally, CJ from the Love Long and Prosper Podcast gave me a heads up that the Pheonix Zoo is hosting Zoo Brew 2008 in April.  In other news, HDDVD is dead and the Mix08 conference is about to kick off online and in Vegas in early March.  A few weeks ago we featured an interview with owner of the Ballard bar, Ocho – Zach Harjo.  In this podcast you’ll find a review of the Ocho restroom and a song from Zach’s upcoming album (Zach will be playing at the Tractor Tavern on Tuesday Feb 26th at 9pm).

The song of the day is Dead Leaves by Zach Harjo and the website of the day is

Talking Metal Enters the Living Room

Talking Metal PodcastIf you’ve listened to the CrapMonkey Podcast for any length of time you’ve probably heard me mention the Talking Metal Podcast.  In the podcast, Mark Strigl and John Ostronomy cover rock and metal from many different angles.  Not only do they have impressive back stage access to metal legends; they are also well suited for spotting and exposing new talent on the horizon. 

On February 22nd, the Fuse network will premiere the first Talking Metal television episode that “will feature exclusive interviews and field packages in the podcast’s signature style.”  The show will air at midnight Eastern (9pm Pacific) and I already have my DVR locked and loaded and hope you’ll do the same. 

As a podcaster, a metal head and a media consumer, I’m proud of these guys for a few reasons.  From a Podcaster perspective, they took their passion for metal and ran with it.  It was and is a labor of love.  The fact that others have taken notice validates everything Podcasting stands for: broadcasting your passion and finding your audience.  As a metal head, I’m impressed that they marched ahead, even as pop-culture was turning their nose up at metal.  As such, the Internet proved to be a great medium for pulling together the metal audience from disperse geographies.  Likewise, over the couple of years in which they’ve been podcasting, the tides have shifted some, and the new television show is evidence that Metal is making its way back toward the mainstream.  Perhaps Talking Metal played some role in that shift, but regardless, Mark and John held fast and did their thing until the world took notice ( first iTunes and now the airwaves).  Finally, as a media consumer who pays over $100 a month for cable, I’m excited that their will be a new show in town that was not slapped together by some douche bag producers following a formula for capturing an advertising demographic.  The Podcast is testament to the fact that this is a real show with a real soul that is simply being ported to television. 

So again, be sure to catch the premiere on February 22nd.  Congratulations Mark and John, and if you ever find yourself in Seattle, allow me to give you a tour of some of the incredible breweries we have out here 🙂 – Rock on!

If I Had A Buttrock Brewery

Buttrock BeersWendy and I have always thought it would be cool to open a buttrock brewery.  While we may never actually achieve the goal, we do find it fun to dream up the kind of beers we would have on tap. 

Perhaps one day we will achieve our dream, but until then, here are a few of our ideas:

Hef Leppard
Iron Marzen
Motley Brue
Van Weizen, StrIPA
Great Witte
Sabastian Bock

Do you have any others?  Leave your buttrock beer styles in the comments!QueensRye