My Grandmother

This is one of the most personal blogs I've written. It has to do with my Grandmother, her health, and how the situation affects my younger sister and myself who are the primary caregivers and only direct next of kin. Grandma is 84 years old. With the exception of heart issues and hearing loss, she has always been in good health.

Things started to change about this time last year. She started having nightmares. Vivid ones where she thought animals were attacking her in the night. She'd wake up with bloody arms from "fighting them off". The doctor couldn't figure out what was the cause. Then she started doing out of character things like locking the door and shutting the shades during the day. After a few weeks she decided to go to a nursing care facility until the situation got straightened out. After a month and some medication alterations, the nightmares went away. Still the doctor had no clue and assumed it was high anxiety. So back home she went for the rest of winter.

Things were fairly normal until March of this year. Just some memory loss, which I assumed was normal. Then she started complaining of hip pain. She scheduled an appointment with a specialist. On the morning of the appointment she fell while getting ready. My cousin came to pick her up and found her on the bedroom floor. Her ankle was dangling from her foot, hanging by only skin. The ambulance took her to the hospital where she had successful surgery. After a week in the hospital it was off to nursing home for rehabilitation.

The process ended up being about three and half months. She recovered but would now have to use a walker because the doctor felt she could no longer support her weight in a safe manner. We did a few home modifications to help the situation and my sister decided to move in with her for a few weeks to see how she managed.

All of three days later she fell again. This time is was a hairline fracture in her pelvis. Back to the nursing home for rehab. After about two weeks the nurses started noticing personality changes, as did I. She started becoming mean and hostile towards the staff refusing to do exercises or get out of bed. When I would visit and try to confront her about the behavior she'd get emotional, cry, and complain. The nurses stated it looked like early signs of dementia but could just be the trauma catching up with her mentality. It took about about a month and half, about twice as long as it should have, but she was released and back home.

Afterwards, Grandma continued to show behavior unlike her normal self. We made an appointment to get her tested for dementia. The doctor confirmed what we suspected. She had early stages of dementia. Certain tasks she could no longer perform such as drive, handle her finances, and use the stove. But she was still capable of making normal decisions on how to carry out her day. At this point she doesn't need twenty-four hour care. My sister decided to move in to assist her with daily activities she cant do herself. My part is visiting when I can and handling her finances.

That was four months ago. The whole situation has been a struggle for all three of us. We've watched a fiercely independent woman turn into a person who refuses to make any decision. Not to mention the constant repetitiveness, contradictions to her statements, and asking questions to which she already knows the answers. Part of this the disease. Part is her way of lashing out at us since we're now the authority figures. My sister and I believe this because acts fairly normal around her friends and other family members.

Tension is now running at an all time high in the household. My sister is at the end of her patience and I can sympathize with her. I also feel badly for Grandma. I cannot image the struggle she must go through knowing her mind is slipping. I do know that something needs to change soon. The current living situation is not working any more.

Personally my stress level is over the top. My Grandma lives an hour away and I'm making multiple trips to her house during the week which plays havoc on my work schedule and leaves me little free time. Plus I'm fielding several phone calls a day while trying to play mediator and explain the same things over and over to her. It is emotionally draining me. As the Power of Attorney my fear is I need to put her into a nursing care facility or assisted living much sooner than I thought. I had hoped for another year or more, but my Grandma's seemingly selective behavior combined with my sister's inability to be a live in caregiver may force my hand. It tears me up inside.

I honestly do not know what to do.

I hope none of you ever have to deal with a loved one with any form of dementia.

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Travels To Louisville

Once again my job had me traveling to a place I've never been before. This one a little closer to home, Louisville. The city I've drove through numerous times but have never stopped over night.

The job was at the Kentucky Convention Center, in the heart of downtown. I stayed across the street in a Hyatt. Luckily there a good amount of places to spend some time at in the area.

A cool little area downtown is called 4th Street Live. It's a couple of blocks sectioned off with a cover to protect you from the weather that is stacked with bars and restaurants. I ate at a couple of places there over my few days that really weren't all that memorable.

4th Street Live

I did some research and found the a local brewery had a bar just down the street. It's a beer maker I was familiar with and really like one of their brews, the Bourbon Barrel Stout. So one night it was off to Bluegrass Brewing Company. I slammed down a few new to me brews along with a couple of old favorites. Add in a tasty BBQ Pizza and it was a nice evening.

Bluegrass Brewing Company

My last day was fairly uneventful. Didn't really have time to do anything afterwards. I was tired and felt like crashing for the night. The next day it was back to the Fort.

A short trip to town pronounced six different ways. Unfortunately I didn't get away from the downtown area. In fact, I was hardly able to get away from the block where I stayed and worked. But it sure seems like an enjoyable little city.

Damn! I forgot to have mint julep!

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Nothing New

As the days get darker and colder, once again I fail to keep this blog updated as often as I would like. Mainly because nothing has been happening except work, painting the interior of my house when time and cash flow permits, and dealing with my grandmother's illness (which I am figuring out how to deal with and will discuss in more detail when I am more comfortable). My life is rather boring right now.

In the meantime, I've been cranking out posts nearly everyday on my other blog, Fringes of Horror, where I give short reviews on what I watch, read, and listen to in the world of horror entertainment.

And if you read my post about The Colts, well I was wrong. Completely wrong. This is about as painful of season as I can recall. And I've been watching this team since about 1985. They are terrible without Peyton Manning. And the off season should be very, very interesting. I will write up a recap at the end of the season.

Have you ever had a dream that you couldn't shake the next day? One of those is rolling through my mind today. Get the hell out!

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Vacation: Last Stop, Portland

It was only suppose to be a five hour drive.

We heading towards Portland, Maine. The quickest way and most scenic way was to drive through the Green Mountains. Again, lots of rural area. Not a big deal. All of us enjoy the scenery. On a different type of vacation would have done some hiking and took some pictures.

The traffic was thick, but steady as we traveled through the mountains. Lots of tourists seeing the sites on this Saturday. As we come out of the mountains and to a town on the edge of the New Hampshire state line we came to stand still traffic. It took 2.5 hours to travel the next 15 miles. I dont know what was going on in the New Hampshire town but the town as we crossed the Maine border had a fair which caused the traffic halt. I never would have guessed it.

Green Mountains

A scenic drive through the heart of the state becomes much less interesting at night. We finally arrived at the hotel, about ten miles north of Portland. It was 9:30pm. We passed a restaurant called The Muddy Rudder, which we decided would be a good place to eat. The place looked fancy but had a laid back feel once inside. They were about an hour to close and very few customers. This was our lobster meal. Because when traveling in Maine one must eat lobster.

In my belly

We were all wiped out. Briefly discussed going into Portland but decided for the hotel instead. I was up and ready to travel around 9am, but my friends slept a couple more hours. We had a decision to make. Watch football or travel the coast. Football won out. We watched the early games at a crappy sports bar, luckily all four of our favorite teams played early.

The one thing I wanted to do in Portland was go to The Great Lost Bear. The Bear is regarded as one of the best beer bars in the United States. It's easy to see why. Many local drafts on tap and a fine selection of Euro beers. If I lived in the area this place would be my go to bar of choice. A nice atmosphere, a person could spend a decent amount of time just looking at the decorations, and very friendly staff. They also had good food as we all ate and drank beers for a few hours.

Great Lost Bear

I would have content staying there all night and drinking, which is what the day turned in to, but some a couple of the other guys wanted to go other places. I gave up my driving responsibilities for the evening as Tom volunteered to be the designated driver. This might have been the first time ever for him to do so. Disappointed, we left the bar as I did not want to make the trip all about what I wanted to do.

We found a place called Brian Boru. It reminded me of a bar I would have hung out in college. They had a musical act playing and the place was fairly packed. Lots of young maidens for the eyes.

Brian Boru

We drank for a few hours and tried to find another place to quench our thirst. Everything was closing as it was around 1am on Sunday. So we traveled back to the hotel for sleep.

The original plan was to travel to Salem, Mass for awhile, then back home. After drinking all night, we knew no one would want to get up early to do this. So another audible was called: Sleep in and start the travel back to Fort Wayne (then to Indianapolis for the other three, then on to Nashville for Paul).

We took off about 11am and though another scenic ocean side drive through Maine would be cool. Wrong. We did not see hardly any ocean, except in the distance and the traffic was terrible. This stretch of highway was just one little town after another. I would have never guessed so much traffic. Do a good amount people on the East Coast get Columbus Day off work?

We spent a lot of time in the car and finally stopped at Eerie, PA. Slept and hit the road at a good time. Got back to my house around 3pm. This would have got everyone back at a good time, especially Paul since he had the farthest to go and had to work the next morning.

All in all, a good trip and a much needed one for myself. I needed a few days of escape from my personal life. We didn't get to do everything we all wanted. Too much ground to cover in too short of time. Would have loved to see more of Maine, particularly upstate coastal. Maybe another time with a little more planning.

Great friends, awesome beer, cool scenery, and tasty food outweighed the other tiny mishaps. Next summer we should do a trip to the Northwest... or maybe down to Texas.

Who knows if any trip will happen. But I'll go on another one.

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Vacation: Next Stop, Burlington

The morning surrounded us with lack of sleep and too much fine wine. But Vermont awaited. So we endured and traveled on.

The scenic route through upstate New York is the way we chose. Through the heart of Adirondack country. Winding roads, small town after small town, trees abound, and lakes a plenty was the view. The beauty the cool.

The constantly changing speeds combined with curves and hills was not as pleasant. It made me a tad nauseous. It made Tom extremely sick, leading to multiple pull over on narrow roads. He blamed the ills on delicious country cheese we picked up. No one bought it.

The day took much longer than anticipated but the scenery was worth the extra time. As dusk neared, we finally hit the state line and the ferry ride into Vermont.

My first ferry ride

Destination for the day achieved we decided to find a hotel in Burlington. We drove around for quite awhile searching for a place (not my favorite thing to do as I like to get hotels in advance). Finally got a room, cleaned up quickly, and headed to the Church Street Marketplace. If you've never been there, it's a section of downtown with nothing but shops, eateries, and bars. Plus part of it is sealed off so car traffic cant pass through. Personally, I love cities with this type of central area for things.

It was happening on this Friday night. The people were out in full force, especially the local college kids. I wanted to try The Farmhouse, as its known for good food and brews but when we discovered a 1.5 hour wait, we jettisoned. We ended up at a place called Ken's Pizza and a grabbed an decent pie.

After walking around a we decided to check out Vermont Brewery. Glad we did. Superb quality of beers crossed my lips with many inexpensive samplers. My favorite being the Vermont Smoked Porter.

Vermont Brewery

We were all getting tired so it was time to go back to the hotel. A wise decision to sleep in was made and I awoke feeling refreshed for the first time in days. We decided to end up Portland at the end of the day (wanted to try Bar Harbor but didn't think time would permit) and thought it'd be a good idea to check for hotels. Good idea because they were few and far between. Reservation booked, it was time for a couple of other stops in Burlington.

The first stop was a kick ass liquor store. I needed to purchase some brews that I cannot get back in Indiana. Then it was off to Magic Hat Brewery for some more sampling. We were too early for the tour, but managed to sample just about every thing on tap. Cant believe how much different #9 tastes fresh out the tap. There's much more of an apricot taste not usually present in the bottles.

Magic Hat

Having put the other guys through enough of my microbrew fixation, it was time to get some grub. We ended up back downtown, were it was even more crowded than the evening before, and ate at some sports bar. We then walked around a bit and ventured down to shores of Lake Champlain. I failed to see Champ. Disappointment ensued.

Lake Champlain

It was the middle of the afternoon and we decided to tackle the shorter five hour driving distance to Portland, Maine. If only it was that simple....

(To Be Continued)

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Vacation: First Stop Niagara Falls

A group of friends were heading out to the Northeast on a vacation. They asked me to come along. I wanted to but didn't think I'd have the time. October is in the middle of the Fall busy season at my job. Well, luckily there was a gap and I was able to make the trip.

So the four of us (Tom, Burke, Paul, and myself) hopped in brand new 2011 Jeep Patriot and headed East. Now when I say brand new Jeep, I mean it was purchased two days before the trip.

My first new vehicle

The plan was to head from to Niagara Falls to Burlington, Vermont to Bar Harbor, Maine to Portland, Maine to Salem, Mass and back to Indiana in 6 days. Hefty goals and a lot of miles and four people wanting to see and do different activities.

On Wednesday evening Paul traveled from Nashville to Indianapolis where he picked up Burke and Tom. Then the trio came up to Fort Wayne and slept at my house for a couple of hours. At 8am we headed out for the 7+ hour drive to Niagara Falls, NY.

We made it through the boring ass drive called the Ohio Turnpike arriving at the Park late afternoon.

The Falls are a thing of beauty. We walked up the trail to view the roar of the rapids as they strolled over the cliff barreling below. We went to the observation tower to witness the mist rise from below. It was the kind of spectacle I could have watched for hours.

We then hiked around the trails over to Goat Mountain. There we witnessed the Falls at a different angle. Burke noticed little observation decks at the base of the Falls. We knew that we had to go down there. The decks were called the Cave of the Winds.

The Cave was pretty damn awesome. You get to the bottom and the rushing winds of the Falls blows hard. The mist covers your body. At times, gallons of water splashes over your entire body.

Dusk had sneaked upon us. The three hours at Niagara Falls flew by in what seemed liked minutes. We decided to get a hotel, grab some food, and drinks. I found a tapas & wine bar a few blocks from the hotel called Wine On Third. I highly recommend this place. A friendly staff, great selection of wine, and nice food.

We drank many bottles

The four us sat around, ate, drank, relived pass memories and age old arguments. Exhausted, I bailed around 12:30am and headed back to the hotel. The other three stayed and kept indulging, a couple perhaps too much. It happens.

After another short night of sleep we woke and got around to head out. Next stop was Burlington, Vermont. Another good 7hrs of driving, maybe more as we decided to take the scenic route through the Adirondacks awaited.

(To Be Continued)

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Goodbye My Friend

Saturday afternoon I received a text from a friend, Scott. It stated to call him immediately. I sensed something was off and quickly called him. When he said "You may want to sit down for this", my fears were realized. What I imagined was correct, but never would have guessed to whom. Our friend Paul Kurtzman had unexpectedly passed.

I was shocked. Paul was only in his early 40's and healthy. He worked out and ran regularly. He was in good physical condition. And that morning he passed away while at the gym from a heart attack.

I spent the rest of the day with tears in my eyes and anger in my soul.

I got to know Paul through going and traveling to wrestling shows about six years ago. It may sound a bit odd to most, so I'll clarify. A bunch of people from all over the world became friends by following a wresting promotion called Ring of Honor. The one man, named Greg helped to bring many of us together through his generosity of hosting fan gathering. So now I have a group of what I consider close friends that stretch around the globe. It's strange and rather cool how we have all come together become true friends and not just a group of people with a common interest. Trips become more about hanging out with pals than the wrestling. We aid support to each other in times of need. And many of communicate via the internet all the time.

Paul was one of those guys. He lived in Quincy, Mass. He was husband, a father, and a grandfather. He was a strong religious man but never shoved those beliefs upon any person. And quite simply one of the best human beings I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. He was a genuine person; always willing to listen, to talk, and/or give advice. I really cant say enough good things about the man.

I always looked forward to the two-four times a year when I got to see Paul in person. Like I said, he was just a great person to hang around whether it was was at a wrestling show, drinking a fine ale, site seeing, or munching on some food at local eatery. He and his gracious family have opened their home to me before on road trips. I traveled the roads with him on a couple of occasions. Now all I left are stories of the past with no new ones to be written with him as a character.

Over the last few days many of us in "the little wrestling circle" have been talking about Paul on our forum and Facebook. We've tried to turn our grief into positive remembrance, as Paul surely would've wanted it that way.

Paul. Spring 2011. Atlanta

Honestly, my words here doesn't do justice to the man. But right now, it all I can muster.

I miss you buddy.
But I will never forget you.

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Indianapolis Colts 2011 Outlook

I wanted to get this posted before the season began, but I failed. Too bad.

By now every fan knows about the injury to Peyton Manning's neck. While there is much speculation surrounding the injury, nothing is concrete. He could be out a few weeks or he could be out the season or he could even retire. All are possibilities. But the real question is does this team's success live and die with #18?

This comes down to the Bill Polian and to a lesser extent his son Chris Polian. Bill has always been known as a great architect of teams. He is the mastermind behind the success of this franchise. Remember, the Colts could have picked Ryan Leaf and Ricky Williams instead of Peyton Manning and Edgerrian James just like the experts wanted them too. Personally I am glad they didn't.

Throughout most of his tenure Mr. Bill has put together strong pieces to make this team better. This has usually been accomplished via the draft. The early round picks have been meaningful contributors and star players. He has always been strong at finding talented players in the lower rounds and in free agency to fit the system.

Lately, Bill's top selections haven't panned out as well. While I do think it's foolish to cut a 1st round player until after three years, unless there are solid reasons, but some of the choices have left me in doubt. It's a fine line to decide when it's time to give up on a player, regardless of salary. It cant be argued that his judging of top talent has been off recent years. I hope the draft class of this season pans out, this time ran by Chris Polian.

The Colts have always been strapped for cash. They rarely delve into free agency unless for undrafted rookies. So I was happy to see them sign a few veterans this season. The moves should help this team but I still think they could have done more to help.

Honestly, I have little confidence in Jim Caldwell. He seems lost in many game situations. I had hoped he'd get better with some time under his belt. No such luck as of yet. After Tony Dungy retired, I would have rather seen a number of different coaches come in but due to continuity the franchise promoter Caldwell. While I have respect for a team that shows loyalty to a coaches and players, the GM must know when to cut ties.

The rest of the coaching staff must step up as well. Tom Moore and Howard Mudd are gone. Offensive Coordinator Clyde Christensen will be forced this year to call plays. I'm not very optimistic.

If the neck injury to Peyton is going to take longer to heal, I wish they would just shut him down for the season and put him on IR. If he stays healthy the man should have 3-5 good seasons left him. Dont be in a rush to come back. Even if he comes back at the midway point, it will take the rest of the season to get back in the swing of things to be effect. If you remember the year he missed all of preseason, it took him about 4 games to get timing down. So I ask what's the point trying make a speedy recovery?

So that leaves us with Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter. While Curtis has more experience with the offense playbook and the surrounding players, he has shown me zero in his limited starts in the preseason or "meaningless" regular season games. Enter Kerry Collins. He can still throw the ball but has zero experience in this offense or with the players. Timing will be an issue for a few weeks. The offense will resemble nothing of what it looks like under Manning. Still, he gives this team a better chance of winning each week.

Jospeh Addai is a rare thing. A veteran RB which the franchise resigned. He's solid and does every thing well, not great, and he must stay healthy. He was resigned because Donald Brown has done next to nothing to show he's ready to be the man. In all fairness I've always read it takes players 2-4 years to really grasp the concept of this offense. Donald, you are notice. Then there's rookie Delone Carter and there is a lot to like about this kid. He fights for yardage. Maybe this team will finally be able to convert some short yard third downs.

I am not worried about this position at all. It is deep. Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Pierre Garcon (if he make the easy catch), and Austin Collie (if he stays healthy) will get their share of catches. So will Anthony Gonzalez and Blair White if they can keep off the injury report.

If I had one of the best QB's in NFL history, I would want to invest in a solid offensive line. While the great Howard Mudd was able to turn to street free agents into all pro caliber players, OL Coach Pete Metzelars hasn't quite been as lucky.

The drafting Anthony Castanzo and Benjamin Iijalana (should he take over the starting RT job) helps in the now and long term, but both are rookies and will experience rookie pains. Jeff Saturday is the mainstay but isn't getting any younger and see no current replacement on the roster which is a problem. Currently Jeff Linkenbach at RT and Joe Rietz at RG frightens me. Both are fine at backups but not starters. It would have been nice to see them sign a veteran. I dont understand why the team did not resign Charlie Johnson. I had him as the second highest priority resigning after Manning. He would look anywhere good starting line. Ryan Diem and Jamey Richardson should have been cut. Kevan Devan should have been retained as he was a solid backup.

This should be somewhat of a strong point for the team this year. Antonion Johnson was a good resigning as he one of the only large DT on the roster. Third round pick Drake Nieves should be a good fit and looked great in preseason.

There's no issue with the pass rushing skills of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. The additions of Jamaal Anderson and Tyler Drayton gives the team some larger, run stopping DE's. Too bad they cut John Chick because he played his ass off in the preseason, but as stated before it too early to cut Jerry Hughes (even though he's done nothing to this point).

The Colts have always favored small, fast LB's and this year is more than the same. The starters of Gary Brackett, Kavell Conner, and Pat Angerer should be alright. The signing of veteran Ernie Sims helps and he could see significant playing time as well. Behind those guys there isn't much proven depth. For this defense to truly be good, this group must play above their adequate level, especially against the run.

Again, the starters should be decent. Melvin Bullitt has seen plenty of action playing for the oft injured Bob Sanders and Antoine Bethea is one of the best safeties fans have never heard of. I like Jerrod Powers at CB as he can play the run and pass. The other two other main CB's are Jacob Lacey and Justin Tryon both have positives but need to play very well this season. Not much proven depth here either.

Adam Vinatieri just keeps on kicking. While not able to get the distance he used to, the man is still a solid kicker. At punter is Pat McAfee and he's got a good leg that will get plenty of workout this year.

The return men are unproven, as always. This team seems to constantly over look the benefit of having a good return man.

So Peyton Manning is missing significant time this season, but it's not the end of the season. This team is not one of the worst without Manning and they are not in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. There division is not all that tough. The Colts should be a middle of the row team this season. It just may take a couple of weeks for this team to hit its stride.

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Brew Haven 2011 Craft Beer Festival (one attendee's wrap up)

About a year ago I was pleasantly surprised to discover a local bar called The Trion Tavern which served up a variety craft beers on tap. Actually close to fifty taps and a small bottle selection too. There are other bars in the Fort Wayne area which sell craft and world beers, but not this amount. I stepped into the place last September and ever since it's been my "go to bar". The Trion is only place I frequent on a regular basis. In just a few short weeks the always friendly and knowledgeable staff knew my name and treated me as if I've been a coming into the establishment for years.

The Trion may not be perfect but it's certainly a fine establishment if a person is looking for a great beer selection at a fairly reasonable price, some good food, and normally laid back atmosphere. In fact, I travel all over the country for work quite often and always try to search out a good craft beer pub while on the road. Trion's selection ranks right up there with the best. That is no joke. When I talk to friends across the US, they cant believe the amount of different brews on tap and are quite impressed.

So if you're a fan a good beer and in the Fort Wayne area, do yourself a favor and stop in at The Trion Tavern. Now enough of me gushing over my favorite bar, though Greg probably doesn't mind the free advertising, but this post is about Brew Haven 2011 Craft Beer Festival.

Excitement poured over me when I was told The Trion would be hosting a beer festival. At first I wondered how successful a festival in this area could be. I had hopes as the 2011 BrewFest, which was mainly a small craft brewery and homebrew festival held this Spring was met with a decent turn out. Knowing The Trion didn't have a website nor did they use social media outlets, I hoped they wouldn't just rely on word of mouth to tell people. Luckily soon after the Brew Haven announcement the bar opened a website, Facebook page, and Twitter account and used them to promote and update the event. Every week the list grew with choices as did my excitement. For a mere $25 a person got a meal, unlimited beer samples, and a souvenir tasting glass. What a deal!

The day of the event had arrived. With five hundred presale tickets gone the before the event I decided to get there early. Attendees were let in the tent early but because of the permit serving could not begin until 2pm. I surveyed the land and worked out a game plan. There were a lot of choices of beers. Many I have had not drank before and several which had crossed my lips. What would I try first? Which samples would go the quickest?

There were plenty of local distributors at tables including World Class, Aalco, and Five Star. They served up a plentiful variety of bottled beer from several different breweries in the US including Brooklyn Brewery, Dark Horse Brewery, Bell's Brewery, Coney Island Brewing, Schlafy Beer, Boulevard Brewing Company, Goose Island Beer Company, and many more. Trion had a table with a couple of pours. The beer truck had taps of rare Samuel Adams beer and some of the usual from stuff New Belgium.

The brewery representation was a bit underwhelming. After reading the list of breweries I had hoped for there to be more on site. Those who had tables were Mad Anthony Brewery, Granite City, Sun King Brewing, Upland Brewing Company, Flat12 Beirwerks, and Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company. Again there were plenty of different choices to be had.

The local home brewers club Mad Anthony Serious Homebrewers had a table with several samples from these mad scientists. I had to alter my game plan as I thought these would be passed over for the breweries and distrubitors. I was dead wrong. The lines were some of the longest of the day. I ended up only making it through three times and should have tried to get more. I sampled a Chai Latte Stout, a Jack Daniels Rye IPA, and Double Stout. All were good. Forgive me for forgetting the brewers name who brewed these beer, but in my opinion all of you get credit for a job well done.

Also at a table was Brewers Art Supply Store giving out information on how to brew your own flavors.

And not to be forgotten were local coffee brewers Old Crown Coffee Roasters. They provided a couple of good and much needed cups at the end.

People poured in the tent. Soon it got jammed packed quick. And when the sun came out it got warm and uncomfortable. You was better off outside. Despite this, the longest I waited in a line was fifteen minutes and that was the food line. I had more than my fill of beers in three hours as I sampled twenty new to me brews and about ten old favorites. Then I chose to stop and drink coffee to finish the day. After all, I needed to drive home safely. Always important. So is drinking plenty of water before and during the event, which I did, especially on a hot and sunny day.

Overall I had a great time. It was a kick ass atmosphere as is usually the case with big groups of similar interests. I saw a few people, met a few people, drank a lot a tasty samples, and had an excellent pork sandwich.

A bigger tent with the tables spread out more to help the congestion would have been helpful. Live and learn. Would have also liked to seen more actual breweries have tables such as Three Floyd's, Bells, Dark Horse, Founders, and some others within a few hours drive. I know that can be hard to coordinate and even difficult to reps to show up.

For a first time event of this caliber I think it was excellent. My thanks go out to The Trion owner Greg and his staff, all the breweries who showed up, the distributors, the MASH club, and all the other involved with organizing and pulling off this event. Have a brew as you all deserve it.

This was a big step for the craft beer loving community of Northeast Indiana. The number of attendees, both men and women, was impressive. This proves there's a demand for great beer in the area. I look forward to next year's event. Hopefully it's bigger and better and will constantly continue to improve. Mark your calendars as the date is August 4, 2012.

Until then, you can go to the Trion Tavern website for more information on the pub, follow Trion Tavern on Twitter at @brewhaven and check out the Trion Tavern Facebook page at Brew Haven Craft Beer Festival

Personally I hope The Trion starts using these social media outlets more to inform the Fort Wayne craft beer drinking community of what's on tap, what's coming down the pipeline, future events, and just general information. By doing so it will help more people discover great beer and bring more people to this nifty bar in New Haven.

See you at the bar.

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a new blog

So in the world of my ever changing website, I have decided to update once again. It's a constant work in progress. Part of this process is deciding to refocus the themes and make my main page/posts more about personal thoughts.
I occasionally contribute on my wrestling thoughts at my friends blog Two Spot Monkeys.
Now the majority of my horror ramblings will be found at the new blog Fringes of Horror, which is also a page on my main site.
I'll see how this goes. Hoping it will keep me writing more as I will do individual reviews with slightly more depth.

By the way, if anyone is interested in making a logo Fringes of Horror that would be super. I cant pay anything but will gladly give you credit, a post with you information, and link any of your sites. Email me if interested.

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Horror Movies Watched & Books Read (July 2011)

July 2011


Eyes of the Mothman
Eyes of the Mothman (2011) ****
A very in depth documentary on the legend of the mothman and the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia who had its share of sitings in 1966-1968.
This covers what the monster could be, the strange events in the town during these years, and the general creepy history of Point Pleasant.

The Prowler (1981) *1/2
A crazy man comes back to a college years later to pick up where he left off.
I only watched this bad 80's slasher because Tom Savani did the special effects. I wished that I would have skipped it though.

Unholy Women (2006) **1/2
A Japanese anthology film with a theme of haunted women. As in most movies like this, certain segments stand out more than others.
"Rattle, Rattle" - A woman gets chased down by the ghost. The ending & beginning were rather cool. The middle part was simply running around and screaming.
"Steel" - A girl is wrapped in a burlap sap from the waist up. Her father lures boys in to date her. One falls for her and gets to see underneath the sack, which leads to his demise. The girl remains lonely. This was my favorite segment as it simply bizarre and unique.
"The Inheritance" - A grandmother is hiding a secret from her young grandson. This was one the creepiest and more in the traditional J-Horror.

The Frankenstein Syndrome (2010) ***
A group of scientist illegally work on a serum to revive the dead. They have a breakthrough but with dire consequences.
This movie exceeds its B movie budget with an good cast and interesting script. Plus the lovely Tiffany Shepis stars.

The Screen At Kanchamod (2007) ***
A doctor tries to recreate an incident which occurred in 1987 as a group screened a movie in the jungle to a seemingly empty audience. When the film ran out, the group sees spirits.
Like many Thai movies the good guys aren't necessary good and the break up in linearity storytelling makes for a good mystery as you are trying to figure out how all the pieces come together. A nice ending too.

Halloween: 25 Years of Terror
Halloween: 25 Years of Terror (2006) ****
A documentary covering the success and failures of the Halloween movie franchise.
I cant believe that I never watched this before as it's a few years old. A tad on the short side, as most horror fans cant get enough of this stuff, but excellent none the less.

Chawz aka Chaw (2009) ***
A giant boar roams a muck and terrorize a small Korean village. The police call in hunters to help kill the beast.
This Korean movie has some strange this happening in it and plays many scenes for comedic value. A nice blend which works. I have no idea why America distributors but a 'z' on the end of the title.

Prowl (2010) **1/2
A group of kids have a breakdown. They get a rid from a trucker. He dumps them off in an abandoned warehouse where they get hunted. If that part sounds cliche, well, it is. The hunters are actually a subspecies of human. And it turns out that one of kids is actually part of the pack, but she didn't know it.
I loved the concept of this movie with the hunters/pack. But I have to think if story was centered on the pack instead of teens in peril it would have been far better.

Spasmo (1974) **1/2
An Italian giallo where a man rescues a woman on the beach. They spend some time together and weird stuff starts happening. Like people getting killed and missing corpses. Is it all in his mind?
A good mystery but it felt like nothing more than standard giallo of its time.

Cherry Tree Lane (2010) ***
Some local hoodlums bust into the house of a couple. They are looking for their son, who they have an issue with. They hold the couple hostage while they wait for his return. Tension fills the air as night goes on and ends up in a violent outcome.
In new subgenre of urban terror this movie does provide a good premise and acting. But I really didn't like any of the characters, including the victims, who are basically bound and gagged after the first ten minutes while the hoods sit around talking and acting tough. Take a shot at it, maybe you'll like it better than me.

Demon Seed (1977) **
This movie, based on a Dean Koontz novel, is about super computer locks a woman inside house and wants to mate with her.
Not even Julie Christie could save this thing. Like many films where new technological advances are the center piece, they quickly become outdated.

Diagnosis Death (2010) **
During a cancer clinical drug trial two test subjects start think the medical facility is haunted.
The movie tries to be a dark comedy and doesn't really succed. Some parts are amusing and some parts are slightly creepy but they dont play well in this New Zealand flick. It does have cameos from the Flight of the Conchords members though.

Cannibals (1980) *
A man loses his daughter to some jungle natives. Years later he tries to retrieve her.
This is the worst Jess Franco movie I've ever seen. Nothing was enjoyable about the movie and not sure why I stuck it out until the end.

Torchwood, Season 1 (2006) ***
It's another one of those sci-fi, adventure, horror hybrid shows like you'd find on SyFy except this series comes from the UK. This Doctor Who spin off is about a team of people who battle alien and supernatural things.
Not being a Doc Who fan, I didn't know what to expect. Overall I found the series to be fun. It's a well mixed concoction of the things I tend to like. I'll probably continue on to season 2 before long.

Feng Sui (2004) **1/2
A movie from the Phillipeans about a mother who finds an charm that brings her family good luck. Of course for all the amount of good luck it also brings equally bad luck later on. The mother must solve the mystery behind the curse before its too late for her family.
Kind of a typical Asian haunted item movie. It's not bad but not anything special either.

The Last Wave: The Criterion Collection
The Last Wave (1977) ****
A lawyer must defend a group of Abrigonies who commited a ritual killing of one of their members in this Aussie classic.
Combine a court room drama with mystery and creepy supernatural elements and its makes for an unique flick. Highly recommend.

Scarce (2008) **
Some kids get lost in lower Pennsylvania during a blizzard. They wreck their car. They search for help and stumble into a man's cabin, who gladly gives them shelter. What they dont know is he's a cannibal.
An ultra low budget movie with a couple slick twists and turns ultimately falls short due to no one to cheer for. I hoped for the hillbilly to feast on Jersey college kids.

Horror Express (1972) **1/2
An anthropologist find a frozen creature. He transports it via the Trans-Siberian railroad where the creature thaws out and starts brain melting people.
A cast of greats pack this wildly bizarre flick. It is campy deliciousness.

Beneath Still Waters (2005) **
On the 40th anniversary of a dam being built strange things start happening around to towns people. Perhaps its the abandoned village which got flooded because of the dam many years ago.
Nothing riveting about this Spanish flick. In fact some parts just dont make any sense.

Shadow (2009) ***
A ex-soldier is biking through the woods of Germany where he meets a girl biker and a couple of brutish hunters. After an altercation the hunters want payback and chase the other two into part of the woods supposed haunted by crazies. Well, the rumor is true and the crazies capture the others. Then the fun begins.
Even though the movie has flaws I ended up enjoying it. It's nothing new, especially the ended. And the wood scenes are beautiful.

Ban the Sadist Video (2005) ***1/2
This documentary deals with the UK's ban on the "video nasties" in the 1980's. Movies deemed too violent, gory, and sexual for view. It's fascinating as both sides are laid out fairly equal and shows the kind of power a few can hold over the many.

Don't Look Back
Dont Look Back (2009) ****
A woman starts to see changes in her apartment, her family, and eventually herself. Is she going mad? Is there another reason behind all of this?
I loves me a good mental breakdown film. When you add the lovely Sophie Marceau and Monica Belucci (playing basically the same person) then I am surely on board. The movie is full of cool special effects, powerful performances and pure emotions.

Amusement (2008) **1/2
Three woman are captured by a man they dismissed as weird when they were children.
This familiar plot goes slightly above the norm slasher flick with some good kills and set ups.

Burned at the Stake aka The Coming (1981) **
A small girl is possessed by the spirit of a witch in modern day Salem.
I've never seen a child actor have such a command over a character yet be so damn annoying. Probably that is where the film lost me.

The Final Destination (2010) *1/2
A group of people once again escape death only to have it catchup with them.
The usual from the franchise. Some decent sequences but once again watching a movie made for 3D in 2D makes the movie look terrible.


Dead Man's Song
Dead Man's Song by Jonathan Maberry ****1/2
Book number two in the Pine Deep Trilogy picks up where number one ends.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins ***1/2
In the near future North America is divided up into a capital and 12 districts. Each district's main reason for survival is to supply the capital with resources. Each year, the capital holds The Hunger Games as a reminder to the districts never to revolt against the capital again. One boy and one girl between the ages of 12-18 from each territory are selected to fight for survival against the others where there is only one winner. Katness Everdean volunteers for the games after her younger sister is chosen. And the games begins.
I admit to getting sucked into this story as the familiar tale had enough twists and turns to keep it interesting.

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Expat notions

My job in the AV world takes me many places. I've been able to stay in upscale resorts & hotels in nearly every portion of the US. Most of these are I would've never gone otherwise. If Im lucky on these work excursions I get a couple of nights to check out the city.

However I'm embarrassed to admit to never sitting foot outside US borders. Well except that one time as a child my grandparents drove across Mackinaw Bridge & turned around in Canada. Does that adventure really count?

It's not that I've never wanted to travel abroad, I do rather badly and to many places. But a variety of other reasons/excuses are the cause of why it hasn't happened yet. This needs to change. Soon.

In fact as I get closer to forty the notion of becoming an expat of US sounds more pleasing by the day. Quite often I ponder the notion of selling everything I own off to travel the world. Working when I need money or in exchange for a place to stay.

It seems very appealing.

(stay tuned)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Horror Movies Watched and Books Read (June 2011)


Venus In Furs (1969) **1/2
A stylish Jean Rollin movie about a woman, who may just be a ghost, and holds a trance over a man. Like most of the director's movies, much wont make sense, but it certainly captivates the viewer.

Dracula (1979) ***
This version is beautifully crafted and pits Frank Langella as Dracula against Donald Pleasence as Van Helsing. A must see for Drac fans.

I Saw the Devil
I Saw the Devil (2010) ****1/2
A grizzly cat and mouse Korean flick about a serial killer who kills the wife of a detective, who then sets out for revenge.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead (2009) ***
An out of work playwright lands a job in a small theater directing Hamlet. The theater is ran by an eccentric. It turns out he's the original Horatio and several cast members are vampires. The movie rides a line of comedy and horror but falls closer to comedy. Still a worthy watch.

Philosophy of the Knife (2008) incomplete
At nearly 4 hours long, I couldn't make it through and turned off at the two hour mark. It's part documentary and part film about the human experiments Japan did during WWII.

Troll Hunter
Troll Hunter (2010) ****
Two students start out filming a bear hunt but they get sidetracked when they find out one of the hunters actually kills trolls. The students quickly learn this is no joke and follow the hunter on his expeditions.

The Rite (2011) **1/2
A young priest goes to exorcism school and shadows a veteran priest on a case of possession. Weird things happen. Nothing you haven't seen before. However Anthony Hopkins makes it worth a watch.

Red White & Blue
Red, White, and Blue (2010) ****
A story about a woman who uses sex to hurt men, a guy who stays at the same boarding house as her which she wont have sex with, and one her conquests. A twisted, deep tale that I dont want to give away. A slow burn movie with a nasty ending.

NOROI THE CURSE - Korean Thriller Horror movie DVD (English subtitled)
Noroi: The Curse (2005) ****
This documentary style movie from Japan follows a man who investigates the paranormal. He stumbles upon several strange cases that seem to be linked by a demonic possession and tries to solve the mystery. This is a very creepy flick. Find it, watch it, and be impressed.

High Lane (2009) **
A group of friends go mountain climbing and run into a crazy man who wants to kill them all. Very cliche, though the mountainous scenery is amazing.

Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter (2001) *
Some flicks you know will be bad going into it. But at 1am with a buzz you dont really want to watch anything too heavy. The title has all you need to know combined with lots of martial arts. A stinker for sure.

Sella Turcica (2010) **
A soldier comes home from Iraq in terrible shape. Mentally is distant and physically he's falling apart. Top notch gore and good story cant save this from just being too boring. Nearly just 90 minutes of talking and thin characters before it finally explodes at the end.

Living Hell (2004) ***
Now this is one which keeps you guessing till the end. It's over the top, but in a good way. An old woman and her granddaughter come to stay

Husk (2010)**
A car full of college students encounter a breakdown in the middle of nowhere. They find a house surrounded by corn with scarecrows posted all around. Too bad they dont realize the the real secret the farmhouse holds.

Durham County, Season 1 (2007) ***1/2
A high strung homicide detective moves back to home town after his partner gets murdered and his wife recovers from cancer. He's thrown right in the middle of a serial killing case, where he believes the lead suspect is his next door neighbor. A nice twist on some usual themes and the line between the good guys and bad guys aren't so different.

Sanctuary, Season (20110) ***
The series still combines elements of horror in its steampunk style setting. This season saw the cast escape from Middle Earth and end up on the verge of an uprising of Middle Earth dwellers. The saw still manages to peak my interest.

Seconds Apart (2011) **1/2
Twins with telepathy and mind control abilities start making movies of classmates killing themselves. Soon a girl comes between them and brothers battle it out. All while a detective tries to piece the puzzle together.

The Living and the Dead (2006) ***
A man must leave his grand estate to find work. He leaves behind his severely ill wide and mentally challenged son. While away the son thinks he should be the man of the house and barricades them in the mansion. Then the fun really begins. Slow, stylish, and strange makes for an interesting flick.


Hellboy vol. 4, The Chained Coffin and More ****
A nice series of unlinked tales surround Hellboy.

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