21 January 2014

Planning on Re-Watching "Star Wars: The Clone Wars"

With last year's announcement that Star Wars: The Clone Wars would be coming to an end, the first thing that entered my mind was disbelief, then I was upset!  I really enjoyed the show!  At first, I kept trying to compare it to the original Star Wars: Clone Wars series and, just like the 2008 Clone Wars movie, I realized I would have to adjust my expectations.  It didn't take long for me to recalibrate my expectations and I enjoyed it.  

Not only did I enjoy it, I came to see it as being a really great show in its own right. I realized in my defending the prequel trilogy that it's a great set-up to watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars and that it's tremendously enjoyable on its own. Someone has already written on 8 reasons that Star Wars: The Clone Wars is better than the prequel trilogy, of which Development of a Wider Universe, Development of the Jedi ("Many episodes focus on Jedi who weren’t even named in the movies. These Jedi have personalities and relationships of their own, and they interact differently with the Jedi culture"), and Better Stories really resonated with me. On this last point, she makes a really excellent point:
This is the single most important reason “Clone Wars” is infinitely better than the prequels. ... They’re just better stories. They have beginnings, middles, and ends. They have sympathetic character drama and exciting plot twists. ...Clone Wars makes you care. That’s the basic thing every halfway decent story has to get out of an audience. And it’s the thing the prequels most ludicrously ignored.
So now that it's going to be ending, I've been quite sad. One of my coping mechanisms over the summer was to search for the best Clone Wars episodes and, fortunately, people have made their own suggestions for best episodes (here are two such examples: one and two).

For the first two-three seasons, I tried keeping up with them as they were shown, but with my increasing watching of football (both college and NFL) in the last couple of years, I waited until the springtime to bunch them up and watch them, roughly 3-4 at a time.  This method actually worked really well, since many of the story arcs lasted just that long, and it was great evening entertainment.  In the fourth and fifth season, I began to accompany my watching of them with pizza and beer, which made them quite enjoyable!
I may be drinking beer when I re-watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars
However, now that it is over (with some bonus "sixth season" material coming out sometime this spring), I realized there was a lot of material there - over 100 episodes(!), yielding over 43 hours - and that I didn't recall everything that went on.  I also am curious to see what they do with character development.  I remember being upset that Anakin somehow gets a padawan learner when I first saw the movie.  However, the character development they have done with Ahsoka Tano is really impressive and will be an important feature of the series!
So, I've come to the decision that I am going to re-watch all of the Clone Wars (after the football season is over, of course).  To help me do this, I decided that I would write about each of my own favorite episodes out of each season, perhaps I would then try to cobble together a final best episodes list.... 

So, look for them to be a part of my "Star Wars Wednesdays" series at my Drew's Views blog  :)

19 January 2014

Brewing for the First Time

Stirring the wort
Last night, I brewed beer for the first time in my life!  I had been initially thinking about getting a beginner's set in August/September in time for my birthday, but then decided that, with a new kid on the way, I might not have time.  Then, when Hanukah came around, I thought about doing it, but then backed off for the same reason.  Well, I finally decided that I would really enjoy brewing beer on my own that I could mold to my own desires, which would be great.  And, with three kids, I'm going to be busy anyways.

So, last night, with the help of my brother-in-law, I brewed my first batch of beer - which I'm hoping will turn out to be a nice double IPA, and here is what I put in it:
Adding in hops
- boiled 14lbs of extra pale malt extract (from Stein Fillers), then added in hops:
    - at 90 minutes until the end of the boil, 2oz of Columbus hops (16.3% AA)
    - at 75 minutes until the end of the boil, 2oz of Simcoe hops (12.1% AA)
    - at 60 minutes until the end of the boil, 2oz of Chinook hops (11.4% AA)
    - at 45 minutes until the end of the boil, 1oz of Crystal hops (4.1% AA)
    - at 30 minutes until the end of the boil, 1oz of Simcocoe hops (12.1% AA)
    - at 15 minutes until the end of the boil, .5oz of Crystal hops (4.1% AA)
    - at the end of the boil, .5oz of Crystal hops (4.1% AA)

Unfortunately, I had used up all of my hops, so I wasn't able to add in any further hops to dry-hop it at this point when I put in the yeast (California Ale Yeast from White Labs) in the fermenting bucket, but, perhaps in a week or so, I will add some hops to dry-hop it then.  Hopefully, with my first time brewing beer, it will not be unsuccessful....

09 January 2014

My Pushing Out More Content on the Web for 2014?

My new blog I began 2 weeks ago
In thinking about my blogging and online endeavors, I realized that I have been generating a lot more content than previously.  Yes, I still occasionally blog here, in my original "Drew Kaplan's Blog", which has been here for nearly 8.5 years, although I haven't spent so much time putting up content here (considering that I've posted 34-48 times a year for the last four years).  However, my DK Quotes blog, which had been around for a couple of years, I then began to start pushing out so much content on that platform, that I was publishing 11 posts a week (2x/day Sunday-Thursday and once on Fridays), which is great (although I haven't published anything there in a week, I resumed generating content today).
Of course, one thing that is very new is my Drew's Views blog, which I began two weeks ago and I am generating several posts a week, at least 4-5 (featuring "Talmud Tuesdays", "Star Wars Wednesdays", "Thematic Thursdays" (this year with the Tanya), and "Foregoing Fridays" (and the occasional "Miscellaneous Mondays" and "Sometimes Sundays")).
However, I realized that is not the full extent of my online content generation.  In my professional capacity, I still have the Southern California Jewish Student Services website, which I occasionally update, as well as the Southern California Jewish Young Adult Enrichment website, which I created a year ago and occasionally update.  However, in the last half year, I have begun to put up content on my professional website/blog, RabbiDrew.info, and which is now something I find is an important platform to get out the word of my professional activities, etc.
I have two other websites that I have, which I hope to discuss in a future post (really, once I get some content up on them), that I created this summer and to which I have recently begun adding content.
Well, we will see how much more I will be doing of these activities, but one thing is certainly a catalyst - becoming a father of a third child.  Yes, this is entirely ironic, since one expects a parent of yet another child to be less involved with such endeavors, yet I have realized that I need to set aside some space in my life for me.  I think this is what happened after my second child: 1) I scheduled in time to go to the gym (if it's not scheduled in, it doesn't happen (oh, the days of not being a parent (or being single) and going to the gym when one wants)) and 2) less than a half year later, I began to get into mixing cocktails.  I think I have realized that I am interested in sharing a lot of my thoughts, ideas, and words and that it's not going to come out on its own, I have to make it happen.  Thus, I am blogging....

02 January 2014

"Foregoing Fridays" Now Beginning {DrewsViews}

Prior to the launching of my new blog, I had been posting up a number of posts on my new blog that listed relevant posts on this blog (listed below), however, I have many more to still yet post of groups of posts that ought to go up.  So, in order to still post them, I have decided to post them on a weekly basis, posting them on Fridays.  And, in an effort for alliteration, I have decided to go for the name of "Foregoing Fridays" (since foregoing, as Dictionary.com states means "previously stated, written, or occurring; preceding", which seems to fit perfectly, since the lists will be of posts that I have previously written).  So, starting tomorrow, look out for those....

Previous listing posts on DrewsViews:
Kashrut Posts from My Original Blog
Random Posts from My Original Blog
Assorted Talmudic Posts from My Original Blog
Rabbis (and Others) in Rabbinic Literature Posts from My Original Blog
Understanding Talmudic/Rabbinic Phrases Posts from My Original Blog
Marriage and More Posts from My Original Blog
Some Cocktails Posts from My Original Blog
Sleep in Judaism Posts from My Original Blog
Relevant Social Media Posts from My Original Blog
BBYO Posts on My Original Blog
Talmud Study Posts on My Original Blog
Washington Heights Posts from My Original Blog
Relevant Social Media & the Jewish Community Posts on Other Blogs of Mine
Press Releases from My Original Blog
Some Synagogue Posts on Other Blogs of Mine
Some Philanthropy Posts on My Drew Kaplan Blog
Some Star Wars Posts on My Drew Kaplan Blog