Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Every Marathon Should Have a Beer Stop

(Here's Holly's report from the Go! st. Louis Marathon on April 15th)

Yes you read that correctly. I feel every Marathon should have a beer stop, keep reading and you will see why.

I signed up for the GO! St. Louis Marathon just a month ago. I decided to try and get one more state out of the way. It was in driving distance and it was two weeks before the Derby Marathon in Louisville. The course was hilly so it would be good training for Louisville since that is also hilly. We got to St. Louis Friday night and of course continued the microbrewery tour that Dave is trying to accomplish. We enjoyed Schafly Tap Room, and had an awesome Oatmeal Stout and great food as well.

Saturday involved going to pick up my bib at the Expo. While at the Expo I tried on a pair of Newtons and liked them. They had a good show special going on so I bought a pair and proceeded to wear them for the marathon (Just kidding). I plan on trying them out after Louisville. Dave won a pair of Brooks shoes! This was great news for me since I wear Brooks.

After the Expo we went to the Arch, where I had a major panic attack in the stupid little pod that takes you up. Dave videoed the whole thing so I’m sure that will be a You Tube hit soon. Lunch was at Morgan Street Brewing in Laclede's Landing.

We then went to the Budweiser Factory. Nice tour and cool to see all the old buildings. We got two free beers and we drank half of one. Still don’t like the Budweiser products (and they weren't offering Goose Island).

We had a nice dinner in downtown at Gio's and got to bed early.

Storms were predicted for the race and I was watching the weather like a hawk. I am terrified of lightning due to being stuck on a field hockey field back in high school. Luckily the weather didn’t look bad. There was a chance of storms around 10 am. It was extremely windy and warm though. This could be fun! We got to the start super early and waited around in the swirling winds. Pretty soon I was in my corral and we were off again!

I have been going out way too fast the last few marathons and I hoped to start this one off at a better pace. Well the first mile was downhill and I of course was so excited I went faster than I liked. But I slowed it down. However the mile markers were off. Like a quarter mile off. I knew there was no way I was off that much on my Garmin already, so was thinking that I really slowed down, too much so! So I then sped up. By mile 6 the mile markers were back on with my Garmin. Great, so I just did the first 6 miles way too fast. I just didn’t feel great the whole race, not sure if it was mental or what, but I was battling myself the whole way.

The course was way hillier than I thought it would be. And the wind always seemed to be in my face. I was hungry. Saw Dave around Mile 15 and asked for a banana. He would meet me later with it and it was great. Now for the explanation of the title of this report. At mile 18 I saw a “Stag” beer sign. There were the most wonderful people handing out cold cups of Stag beer. Oh my. It was the best. The icy cold beer made me feel great.

I picked up the pace until Mile 22 or so, then I crashed. I needed another beer, lol! Took a look at the clock and really wanted to stay under 5:30. I would have to push it, but it was all up hill, UGH! I could see the finish line, but it was uphill into the wind and I swear it kept moving. I finally crossed 5:29:04. I was exhausted. I never want to sit down after a marathon, I like to keep moving. Not today. I saw Dave and said I need to sit down. We found a bench and I sat down and ate a bag of chips. Dave ran back to the finish area and exchanged my medal, because mine was all scratched.

Overall I’m happy with my time, due to the hills, wind and heat. It was one tough day. I’m hoping for better weatherthis Saturday in Louisville. Fingers Crossed. Oh and I hope there is a beer stop!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Collections: Beer Tap Handles

If you have followed Team Tizzel since Day 1 you may have noticed we collect things: Disney pins, Vinylmation figures, and animation art items were featured in prior posts. In this post we'll look at another collection we have: beer tap handles.

Beer tap handles are used to label the type of beer on draft at a bar or restaurant. Brewers got savvy over the years and used these once generic items to further market their product. They could convey the brands message or image, or perhaps fit into the bar's theme like sports bar or English pub. Going to a bar like Yard House is what Dave calls "window shopping".

Our collection has lacked some attention over the past few years, mainly because we filled the two shelves Holly made to display our tappers. All tap handles fit an industry-standard bolt size. Holly and Dave stained the shelves, then Holly drilled in the bolts since Dave can't use any tools properly. The neglect has gotten worse as evidenced by the fact that our collection also functions as our race medal display rack.

Some highlights

Long before eBay and the Internet explosion taps were hard to come by. Dave was searching for this Key West Lager tap during most of the1990's and early 00's. He joined bulletin boards, kept searching eBay, tried bribing bartenders in bars to "misplace" their handle. Then one day the brewer opened online retailing and offered the taps for sale. Not that interesting of a story, but Dave got his handle.

Microbreweries and brewpubs sometimes sell tap handles in their little shops. These items make great souvenirs. We got the Pump House tap during our trip to Colorado last year.
Holly got Dave this monkey handle for a gift a few years ago. It was from a custom tap maker and fits with some of our tropical themed items (is a motif a collection?).

The current "holy grail" for us is a Captain Tony's Red tap from Captain Tony's Saloon in Key West (check out how old school their website is). The handles are generic wood with stickers on them, but they are only available at one place and that place is one of our favorite bars that holds lots of great memories.

Want to start your own collection? eBay is the place.  To sort through some of the garbage try using search terms like "rare" or "unique"

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chicago Nights: Dining

We haven't spent much time in Chicago over the last few months (we live in the far suburbs). With Holly getting Good Friday off from her company we figured a quick 2 night stay starting Thursday was a good idea. We usually find Chicago prices for hotels on Easter Weekend to be reasonable. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza, just off Michigan Ave and the Mag Mile, for under $100/ night. We had a great 35th floor southern view of Trump Tower and The Willis Tower.

Holly got a surprise on Thursday when she got her company's tickets to the Cub's Opening Day Game. She entertained her manager and 2 customers in the bitter cold of Wrigley's wind tunnel.

Dining Summary:

Sable: Thursday dinner - Small plates and a 16 page cocktail menu full of ingredients we didn't know. Keep Google handy when looking over the drink menu. It would feel insulting to order a Jack & Coke here. The bar/lounge area was nice and modern, but pretty packed. We had several small plate items like ribs, dates, bacon jam, etc. Items were good, and a few were actually large for the price, just not outstanding.

Sunda: Friday lunch - This place is high on the celebrity radar. Modern Asian food that can be shared (not necessarily small plates). Lunch menu is different from the dinner menu, but there are lots of great choices. After we ate lunch we moved to the bar to try a couple signature cocktails. All-around a great experience.

Going clockwise from top-left: Sunda Signature Sushi Kobe Beef tartare; Rock Shrimp Tempura with glazed walnuts and honey aioli; Nasi Goreng Fried Rice; BBQ Pork Belly Buns

Acadia: Friday dinner - This restaurant is in the South Loop, AKA an area we don't go to because it's out of the tourist corridor. They've been getting good press and everything we've seen online looked great. There's no sign outside (a couple of Chicago places do this). We got there before our reservation and went to the small bar area for a pre-dinner drink. This is yet another "art of the cocktail" place. Must be the trend. Hand-cracked ice and ingredients from eye-droppers. The whole restaurant was bright and monochromatic white. Pleasant.

We had read that they offered tasting menus and found that we could customize one with a wine pairing each course. We ordered 3 first course items and 3 second course items. Our amuse bouche was a homemade fruit soda. The menu changed a little from what is posted online so we will stick to generic descriptions:

We forgot to take a picture for course one, so we are borrowing a photo from definingtabitha.com. Peekytoe crab-filled zucchini blossom.

If we don't include a superlative about any menu item, just assume it was awesome.
On the top is potato and apple risotto. No rice in the risotto. Fantastic! Lower-left is pork belly with kraut and caraway pudding, bottom right is halibut (really wish the new menu was posted).

On the left is one of the biscuits served with sweet butter. This came before the halibut. Upper-right is stonington lobster pie. It is plated dry and the server pours lobster bisque around the plate. Lower-right is wagyu tri-tip.
We ordered dessert, but didn't have any room. We didn't even have it brought out. Everything was amazing.

When your bill comes it's accompanied by mini whoopie pies and caramels. Lower-left is a Brandy Coke Smash and lower-right was our parting gift of personal cakes.

David Burke's Primehouse: If that wasn't enough we decided to have a nice breakfast out before returning home. Primehouse was a nice relaxing place to do that. Service was good and efficient. Holly ordered the eggs benedict - which was served with a real spicy ham (kinda salami consistency), while Dave had the best pancakes of his life! Banana pancakes with caramelized bananas, pecans, strawberries, and brown sugar butter.

So those were the dining experiences of the weekend. We'll save the rest for a future post.

This upcoming weekend we go to St. Louis for the Go! St. Louis Marathon. As usual, Holly will be running and Dave will be snacking.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Collections: Thumper Model Sheet

Dave here.....

I like Thumper. Yes, that Thumper. The little grey bunny from Bambi. Can't really tell you why. Maybe it's because the first stuffed animal that was my "Hobbes" was a bunny. Maybe...

Last year I was online shopping for a unique birthday present for Holly and ran across an item I had to get for myself. I was looking for animation art, specifically production cells from Peter Pan or Winnie the Pooh. Production cells are the most popular animation collection because they are the actual pieces of art used to shoot for filming a movie. Lesser-known or thought about animation art items are model sheets. I had found one of Thumper.

Model sheets, as defined on on Wikipedia site:
also known as a character board, character sheet, character study or simply a study, is a document used to help standardize the appearance, poses, and gestures of an animated character. Model sheets are required when large numbers of artists are involved in the production of an animated film to help maintain continuity in characters from scene to scene, as one animator may only do one shot out of the several hundred that are required to complete an animated feature film.
Here's my non-techie description. The lead animator or artist would draw multiple pictures of the character in different poses, cut the pictures out and tape them to another piece of larger paper, then make a photocopy of the combined images to make a final product to hand out to the animators. At Disney, the final sheets were numbered and approved. Bill Justice, an animator that worked on Bambi and passed away last year, was photographed using a Thumper model sheet.

Now for some closer looks:

Each Disney animated film is assigned a production number. Snow White was 2001. Although Bambi was the 5th feature Disney released, it's numbered 2002.  Here's why:

"Disney began work on crafting an animated adaptation immediately, intending it to be the company's second feature-length animated film and their first to be based on a specific, recent work. The original novel was written for an adult audience, however, and was considered too "grim" and "somber" for a regular light-hearted Disney film. The artists also discovered that it would challenging to animate deer realistically, and at the same time keep the characters slightly exaggerated and "cartoony". These difficulties resulted in Disney putting production on hold while the studio worked on several other projects." (from the Bambi Wikipedia cited from: Barrier, J. Michael (2003). "Disney, 1938-1941". Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age. Oxford University Press. pp. 236, 244–245. ISBN 0195167295.

I believe the "M.K." is Milt Kahl, Disney Legend and one of the Nine Old Men, whom was one of the lead animators on the film. This sheet was created in 1940, making it over 70 years old. 

For a while film studios were shutting down fan sites posting model sheets fearing folks would use them to create unlicensed knock-off merchandise.

There are some great model sheets from Bambi posted at these sites:
Michael Sporn Animation


Other model sheets:
animation archives.net - model sheets

Google Images search