Beer Allergy

Turns out it’s true – I can no longer drink beer. I drank my last pint of pale ale Monday night. This is a Greek fuckin’ tragedy.

I’m allergic, apparently, to anything that contains gluten. Gluten is the substance that gives wheat it’s elasticity, and it’s also present in rye and barley. Bread is out. Muffins, cake, cereal, tortillas, and so on, all things of the past.

Most beers and ales are brewed using malted barley, so that sucks. Pale ales were my favorite beverage. However, wine is still in, as are most other alcoholic beverages, sodas, and drinks of any sort. I was experiencing a reaction to lactose (milk, dairy) as well, but they say that this will sort itself out after a few weeks of avoiding gluten-based foods. With that in mind, Peet’s Coffee makes the best soy cappuccinos.

I have seen some emerging gluten-free ales out there, bless the Australians and the British, but not much going on here in the USA yet. It is going to be at least a little while before gluten-free ales are going to be widely available here, but with 1 in 133 or so Americans with this condition it won’t take forever before someone figures out there’s a market for gluten-free beer around here.

It is amazing how much better I’m feeling even after just a short period of avoiding gluten foods. Even a trace amount will do intestinal damage and make me feel like crap, so it’s been difficult to get things sorted out. I took one bite of a chocolate chip cookie yesterday without thinking, and it did me in.

The weird thing is, it’s only started bothering me the past few months. I must be getting old or something, because I’ve been eating wheat-based everything every single day of my life.

So I’ll probably blog about gluten-free recipes from time to time. This kind of sucks, but at least it gives me something new to write about…

Linux Test

I figured it was time to test desktop Linux. Suffice to say that some things still need to be worked out with the new MacBook Pros, and I am too stubborn to run Windows. A slightly used HP OmniBook happened upon my way, and I figured what the heck.

My first crack at it was a RedHat distribution. It worked well enough, but the install was 4 CDs, and it didn’t impress me for some reason, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

I realized I wanted something different, and found this: handy little Linux distribution chooser to help me make a decision. And it guided me to Kubuntu. I ultimately chose Kubuntu because of the K desktop and the Konqueror web browser’s association with Mac OS X’s Safari browser. (Using Konqeror as I type…)

So far so good. Well I should preface that by saying that the initial installation did not go so well. After multiple tries to get a DHCP network connection going, I gave up, because there was a glaring bug that was not permitting me to modify my ethernet settings. I reinstalled just once more and things went so much better the second time around.

I’ll probably switch over to this machine from time to time, just for fun. I see one thing now very clearly though, after installing and running Linux for a couple of days now: I really appreciate the ease of use and power of Mac OS X. But this desktop environment isn’t totally horrible. I’d have to say it’s at least more comfortable to use than Windows. I have a lot of things to figure out though.

On the other hand, remind me never to buy an HP laptop. This thing is like having a slab of flagstone with a power cord attached. Sorry…

Censor Stone

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Stones rock full crowd in China

Ahead of the concert on Saturday, the Chinese government asked that the band not play the songs Brown Sugar, Honky Tonk Woman, Beast of Burden and Let’s Spend the Night Together because of their suggestive lyrics.

Authorities reportedly later added another track to the list, Rough Justice from the Bigger Bang album.

Lead singer Sir Mick Jagger said the band were not worried by the censorship and had fully expected it.

“Fortunately, we have 400 more songs that we can play so it’s not really an issue,” said Sir Mick.

Wow, check out Sir Mick! What a change in attitude a trip to China makes. Seems like just yesterday they were complaining about the Super Bowl Incident. Even the BBC’s attitude seems more relaxed. What is happening?

Two things:

  1. The USA’s right-wing-controlled media institutions are not that much different from China when it comes to censorship. Land of the free, indeed.
  2. Censorship is ugly, no matter where it occurs.

Learning Mandarin via Podcasts

This is a great idea, beautifully implemented:

ChinesePod

I like the fact that they’ve broken down the podcasts into newbie, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. I especially like their business model: Distribute the podcasts for free, and charge for the additional learning materials.

They have chosen the blog format to present the material, and have made it available for subscriptions via iTunes and comments are open. Not to mention, a fairly attractive site design. Well done, useful, and innovative.