Tag Archives: winter

Fireside Chat (beer)

Fireside Chat is a winter spiced ale from 21st Amendment Brewery. 21st Amendment Brewery (also called 21A) is one of San Francisco’s best microbreweries and Fireside Chat is one of my favorite seasonals. The beer is named after Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous radio addresses. They even put a cheerful cartoon image of FDR sitting in front of a comfy fire. It’s an English-style brown ale brewed with spices. The aroma is of spice, cinnamon, raisin, coffee, cloves, and maybe a little vanilla. It tastes of sweet malt with allspice, cloves, cinnamon, figs, nutmeg, cocoa, vanilla, and coffee. It’s categorized as a Winter Warmer and that’s a great way to describe it. It’s perfect for those long, dark, cold winter nights that are soon to be in abundance. It also has a 7.9% alcohol content so you can stretch out a six pack with a friend. Get it, sip it, enjoy it.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Space Heaters

If you’re cold and too cheap to turn on the furnace, space heaters are a great alternative. These are portable heaters that you can take from room to room. You just plug it into the wall, turn it on, and it starts to warm up instantly. They are more practical than lighting a fire and are much safer if you don’t have a fireplace. It’s nice to be warm in the winter, just like it’s nice to be cold in the summer. The grass is always greener on the other side, right?

Critically Rated at 10/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Seeing Your Breath

On really cold days you can see your breath when you exhale. It’s nature’s way of telling you to put on a jacket. When you were a kid you would pretend like you were smoking a cigarette when you saw your breath. Now you want to get coffee or hot chocolate when you see it. That’s how you know you’re growing up and maturing. There’s something poetic about being bundled up, completely warm and snug, and seeing your breath without feeling the cold. You have to appreciate the little things in life.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Superman for All Seasons

If you’ve never read a Superman comic before, start with this one. Superman for All Seasons is a character study of who Superman is and what he represents. This isn’t an origin story. It doesn’t go into Superman’s alien past and how he came from a dying planet and all that hoopla. Jeph Loeb’s story is about Clark Kent leaving home and facing his destiny as Superman. Tim Sale’s incredible artwork brings a sense of grandeur and makes the icon more iconic.

There is no central narrator. Each season has it’s own narrator with their own view on Superman and/or Clark Kent. It’s kind of like Citizen Kane; you get a sense of the man through other people’s opinions of him. The first season explored is Spring. Jonathan Kent narrates as Clark Kent is on the verge of graduating from high school, and Clark is trying to cling on to memories but knows that he can’t stay in Smallville forever. Jonathan is worried about Clark’s powers and what he will do with them, but one day Clark saves a guy’s life and decides that saving people will be his calling. The boy becomes a man and goes to Metropolis to start his new life as Superman.

Lois Lane narrates the Summer story. Her perfect reporter world was turned upside down by the arrival of the Man of Steel. She’s still trying to grasp the fact that things have changed, that a man can fly, that the old rules don’t apply anymore. Superman saves Metropolis and Lois from a nuclear missile and submarine attack, because he’s Superman and that’s what he does. He feels lonely and homesick so he goes back to visit Smallville and is dismayed at how it doesn’t feel the same. Martha Kent reminds him that’s what happens when you grow up and to shut up and go back to Metropolis. He gets back just in time to save a lady from a fire and he scolds Lex Luthor’s flying soldiers for almost killing her.

Lex Luthor is the narrator for the Fall season. He is in love with Metropolis and doesn’t like the new guy who also calls it home. He hatches a plot to make Superman leave. It involves poisoning the citizens of Metropolis and making Superman come to him for help. Lex finds the lady that Superman saved from the fire in Summer, and brainwashes her into becoming Toxin. Superman goes to confront Lex, but time is of the essence, so he takes Toxin and they fly around spreading the antidote. And then Toxin suddenly dies and Lex manipulate Superman into thinking it was his fault that Toxin dies. Superman gets all sad and goes back home to Smallville.

It is now Winter, and Lana Lang takes over the narrating duties. Lana reveals that she wanted to marry Clark, but had to let him go be Superman. Clark and Lana spend some time together catching up and reliving old memories. They walk around Smallville, feeling nostalgic about being home again. There’s a huge flood that threatens the town and Clark comes to grips that he is Superman and that he has to do something because that’s what Superman does. The flood is a wakeup call and Clark goes back to the city and accepts his life as Superman.

This is not an exciting comic. There’s not much action scenes. It’s a reflection on who Clark Kent is and why he does what he does. It’s about the impact of Superman, about how he affects other people and what he means to them. The story is great and the art is amazing. There are several pictures that take up two whole pages, showing Clark and Jonathan gazing at a sunset or Superman flying heroically across the sky.

Superman for All Seasons is required reading for a Superman fan. It’s worth reading even if you don’t like Superman. It’s a coming-of-age story, it’s about finding your place in the world. Everyone can relate to that.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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