Blogs by John Millington
RSSRaw posts and updates from our writers with info too timely or uncategorizable for print. What, we said something stupid? Chime in, buddy.

Keyboard Horror


Gory Horror Story

With a sickening sadist grin, the clown set to work on his new macabre masterpiece. The office worker's eyes bulged with horror and frantically darted around, seeking any sign of hope or rescue.


Someone’s already been in your food’s pants

The Ultimate Frustration

I heard about something stupid, did a little googling, and found out that the rest of the world already knows about it. Naked burritos. Everybody already knows about naked burritos.

Even the satirical angle has already been covered: Googling "naked stuffed sopapilla" brings up a restaurant in Colorado which serves them. Naked grilled cheese sandwich? It has been done.

The ultimate bitter defeat was to learn that it's not even really stupid! If you're trying to avoid gluten, then these foods make sense.

Don't you hate when that happens? You want to go off on a rant, but getting informed leaves you with nothing left? That’s a pretty good reason to stay ignorant.

Skating Monkey


Farewell, Skating Monkey

Take a good look at this monkey. This may be the last time you will ever see him.

His filename mentions he’s more than just a monkey; he’s a skating monkey, though I see no skates. This makes me think that many years ago he was torn from some larger and older artwork, but to tell the truth, I don’t know his full story.

I only know he was last saved on July 6th 2003 and since then, has occasionally filled in whenever someone needed an arbitrary Alibi-branded image but didn’t want to bother the art department. For the last couple years, he has served as a default OGP image for Alibi stories or blogs which otherwise lack an image.

Today he retires from that job, handing over the reigns to a more professional and well-groomed Alibi representative, which I hope will be less distressing to readers. You see, there’s a problem with monkeys. Though he may appear innocent and happy, I think we can all agree that monkeys symbolize many evils (which the monkeys pretend to neither hear, see nor speak of):

1) Racism. You know that whenever white people mention monkeys, it’s really code for darker skinned people, don’t you?

2) People's callous disregard for the suffering of animal test subjects at the hands of the cosmetics and aerospace industries. Whenever someone uses monkey imagery, that’s practically advocacy for consuming more mascara and weather satellite photos, whatever the cost to our innocent Gaia-mates.

3) Science’s rejection of the special status humanity once enjoyed, prior to 1859 when a godless communist suggested that life could be shaped by processes which could be understood, like everything else in the world.

4) Perhaps this is just my own personal monkey-demon, but some friends once used to “point” a small stuffed gorilla toy (gorillas aren’t monkeys, but let’s not split hairs), such that its sideway stare was directed specifically at me. The monkey was watching me. I hated it. No matter how intimidatingly I stared back, it wouldn’t flinch. If my friends ever left the room, I would grab the monkey and hide it, in order to escape its relentless gaze.

5) Tell us your complaint about monkeys. Hey, we all know they’re bad, but exactly how? Monkeys are just like bananas, in that their imagery always means more though we pretend they’re merely themselves. Let’s just cut through the bullshit right away, and get down to how monkeys bother you.


The Dale Word

On this day many years ago, Smaug was killed by a black arrow. Check out some commemorative art.

Dale Hart was killed in a motorcycle crash with a wolf, but other Dales are having better luck with wheels. Dale Inman, crew chief, is to be inducted into NASCAR hall of fame. Others ask, “What about Dale Earnhardt Jr?”

Dale J Stephens considers professional experience as an alternative to formal education.

Filming for World War Z begins this month, including James Badge Dale as a military man who encounters the zombies.

Gregory Dale Hayes, innocently preparing for the zombie invasion, is sentenced to 15 years on firearms charges.

Dale Price runs a joke into the ground, mercilessly beating a dead horse beyond death into undeath, thereby making the unfunny become funny. Sometimes that’s the only way to salvage the situation. Don’t you agree?

Cyser bottles in refrigerator


Cider and Cyser

Coincidence or Conspiracy?

Hard cider was mentioned in today's Daily Word and the email quoted below appeared in all the Alibi mailboxes this morning, almost simultaneously.

If it’s a conspiracy, I say give into it. This is the day for drinking and discussing the fruits of the fruit.

The cyser mentioned below is very dry; all my ciders and meads are dry except for one gimmicky cyser/braggot hybrid I've got maturing. If you're feeling like something sweet, my favorite is the one we just call “Scrumpy's,” and I just can’t figure out how they do it.

Cyser is a variant of mead, where the water is replaced by apple squeezin's, thereby adding even more sugar to feed the yeasties (and of course some flavor).

I made this one in February 2010, as a cheap and experimental batch to evaluate Wyeast's 4632 "Dry Mead" Yeast strain, to see if I would want to use that yeast later in the fall when it would be time to make the "real" stuff.

I am very pleased with 4632 and will use it again (though perversely, I ended up not using it in my fall 2010 batches which you'll be tasting another 3-9 months from now, but that's another story). It matured rapidly, and I thought this stuff was good enough to drink within 3 months, all the more exciting because of its mundane ingredients. (It just blows me away that more people don't make meads, hard ciders and cysers; it's so damn easy compared to beer, and can be so yummy.)

The base cider was 6 half-gallon jugs of Trader Joe's Gala apple juice mixed with 2 half-gallon jugs of Trader Joe's McIntosh apple juice. The honey was 9 pounds of "Mrs. Crocket's" honey from CostCo. Nothing exotic here at all.

Came out smooooooth and mellow and dangerous; a sip of this and you'd never guess it's somewhere in the mid teens % ABV, unlike my 2008 cyser which still tastes like rocket fuel (which is why I haven't brought it in). A 12 oz bottle is a good two servings, and your old Swirl, Swish and Swallow glass is the perfect thing to drink from. As usual for my stuff, this is unfiltered so may have some sediment at the bottom of the bottle. You might want to handle and pour the bottle carefully and leave it behind, though for this batch I have just been drinking the whole thing.

It would be really nice if you could rinse and return the empty bottles to the sixpack holders at my desk. I sorta expect people to take these home rather than drink 'em here (AHEM, Adam), so if that's too inconvenient, don't sweat it. But if it's not a lot of trouble, please give 'em back.

Oh, and if you're under 21 then please forget everything you just read. These bottles contain something very bad and gross.

As of 8:20am, my vote counted for 6.67%


How’s The Turnout?

14 other people had voted before me (ignoring absentee/early-voting ballots). Today is a good day to call bullshit on people who whine that their vote doesn’t count.

“Ninety percent of life is showing up.” -- Woody Allen. No, wait, he said 80 percent. Or was it just 50 percent? And wasn’t it success, not life? Oh crap, I give up. No, I’m sure the quote was about showing up, not giving up.

Michael De Smet


Tomorrow and Next Saturday: Hop Harvest

This coming and the following Saturdays (August 21 and 28), from 8:00am to noon, you can experience what it's like to be a manual laborer on a farm, except instead of getting paid to do the work, you then have to pay for the produce that you harvested by hand.

Huh? What do you mean by "that doesn't sound appealing?" Oh! I forgot to mention what you'll be picking and how much fun you'll have. This is about hops, grown right here in New Mexico in Bosque Farms. On top of that, they're even good hops and with some characteristics other than the usual fare normally available. I've used these hops before and they're delightfully aromatic. I'm not going to say "Forget the Northwest" but De Smet has definitely put New Mexico on the map. Sure, you might be able to find some beer made with these hops at High Desert (Las Cruces) or Blue Corn (Santa Fe) but there's just nothing like doing it yourself, with ingredients that you took right off the bine.

Michael De Smet (the farmer) says everyone and anyone who is interested in hops is invited. If you arrive after the crowd and there's no one to greet you at the gate, just walk through the farm (in the direction toward the river) and you'll find the hops at the back.

Bring insect repellent, sunscreen, and some cash (don't worry, the price is absurdly low, at least by homebrew supply standards, call it the "but I did some of the work!" discount). Meet a bunch of grinning brewers who are all ecstatically sniffing their hands for some reason, and the farmer who thinks it’s not quite as fun when you smell it day after day after day after day after day after day. Get your George Orwell on. Learn.

2405 McNew Rd, Bosque Farms, NM (From Albuquerque: South on I-25 to exit 215. Take highway 47 south, thru Isleta reservation into Bosque Farms. Turn right onto South Bosque Loop, then follow it feft onto McNew Rd. You will pass Bonita Dr. and then look for a farm on the right, with a De Smet Dairy sign on the gate.) This is a dog friendly outing (duh, it's a farm!).

Ronnie James Dio Dies

Life’s a carousel, you rode it well

Ronnie James Dio was struck down yesterday by the same thing that took out H. P. Lovecraft: stomach cancer. Dio didn’t invent the horns but you should rock out and give the sign today anyway. Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Walter Sickert, 1911
Photo by George Charles Beresford (public domain)

Jack The Ripper's Handiwork on Display in Albuquerque?

(Please excuse the question mark in the headline, but I'm not going to take chances with British libel law, despite my faith in the impressively named Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge.

What was I talking about .. impressive names? No wait: impressionists!)

This Sunday through August 8, the Albuquerque Museum is showing Turner to Cézanne, a collection which includes many impressionist paintings. Among these is a Venetian scene titled “Palazzo Eleanora Duse” by Walter Sickert. Crime novelist-turned-Ripperologist Patricia Cornwell says that Sickert was Jack the Ripper! Was he?

JaSunni at PicasaWeb

Dan O'Bannon, 63, Dies

Dan O'Bannon, screenwriter of Alien and director of both Return of the Living Dead and also the best HPL movie adaptation ever, The Resurrected, has succumbed to Crohn's Disease.