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Everything posted by Juggler

  1. Talking of slacking..... Well the one good thing about heading across to the USA for a couple of weeks was that the two beers that I kegged before going away have had plenty of time to mature. I haven't sampled any of the Weiss Bier yet but I have been indulging in the Belgian style Dark Ale that I brewed. Just so that I can show I've been there I decided to drink from the recently acquired ABC glass. (Not bad when you consider I'm "at work")
  2. Well what can I say about the best USA coaster trip I've ever had? Firstly from a personal point of view it was all the more satisfying because I did a vast majority of the planning so to have it run SO well was just great. There were so many great things that to try and list every little detail would take months but here's a select few. The Flyers at Knoebels (still the best) Meeting Derek and Nicol at Hershey and then onto ABC was a great start. Hitting Cedar Point on a quiet day and riding everything with repeat rides on all the coasters plus night rides on Dragster. Hooking up with Flyer Addicts Anonymous at Holiday World and Beech bend. Finally riding The legend and then The Voyage with Kentucky Rumbler the day after. Dollywood was just an amazing park and is now my top park in the USA plus we bumped into Robb, Elissa Kidtums and their Pack Horse. Thunderhead was fab and Mystery Mine blew us all away. The Flyers at Carowinds were running perfectly (SNAP SNAP) Finally ticking several boxes on my wish list by riding Alpengeist, Apollo's Chariot and Griffon. Adding to the wish list with Volcano: the Blast Coaster. EL TORO. OMFG, WHAT A RIDE. Nitro wasn't bad either. Superman Ride of Steel at New England is STILL the best steel coaster on this planet. Ending the trip on the front seat of the Cyclone at Coney Island. A big thank you to all those we bumped into planned or otherwise for making us feel so welcome and if you're ever over this way I'll be amongst the first to try and say hello and make you feel just as welcome.
  3. Oh we're not hanging about with the updates. Two laptops on tour with us and plenty of long drives for all the work to be done before arriving at the hotels so it's easy to do an update as soon as we get to the hotels. Had a HOT day at Carowinds today but the Flyers were Snapping like crazy so the Buzzards are happy.
  4. What a trip we're having. Too much to condense into one tiny post but we've had the pleasure of meeting Derek and Nicol at Hershey. Then today at Dollywood who should we bump into but Robb, Elissa, Kidtums and their pack horse. (Sorry Joe) It's been fab to meet all of you and we're having a blast. Link for photos and reports is in the banner.
  5. Well from 39 days we're down to FLYING ON FRIDAY OMFG!!!!! So I'm all packed (just about) and in about ten hours time I shall be setting off to pick up the lads on the way down to Southampton ready for our afternoon flight on Friday to JFK. Tour Website is here and if you want to contact us whilst we're away then you can use usa2008 @ bluebuzards . com as the email address. I know Derek and Heath are hoping to meet us at Hershey along with their good ladies and if anyone else is likely to be around drop us a note. See you on the other side. Jason, Pete, Lyndon and Mike The BlueBuzzards!
  6. ^ Looks like a fun place. So as I mentioned today would be a brew day and rather than bore you all with loads of piccies here's a select few and the rest are here http://www.bluebuzzards.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=119 I'd imagine Bubba may find these of interest given his recent reading matter. Just for info I was brewing a version of an Ayinger Brau Weiss using :- 3100 grams of Pale Malt 2500 grams of wheat malt 25 grams of Hallertau Hops. Should come out at about 5.1% abv The end result all nice and cosy in the cupboard under the stairs. Boiling away nicely The inventive sparging system. The Mash
  7. Not posted for a while and I really should have got a shot of the Ayinger Weiss beer that I brewed for a party a couple of weeks ago as that stuff was some of my best brewing yet. So much so that another load of ingredients to make another batch are sitting in the kitchen. I shall post a Brew report at the end of tomorrows brew day. Anyway onto tonight's small but well rounded tipple and that's a drop of my Imperial Stout I brewed a while back. It's had an extra few weeks since it was first tasted and the extra time has really improved the beer. Lovely smooth texture with a good malt in the mouth followed by a wonderful spicy aftertaste. Unfortunately I didn't quite get it right and it's only a 5.3% abv when it should have been nearer 8%. All part of the learning process though. Not bad when you can sit at home, have a drink and all whilst actually working! Yes, I am being paid to do this!
  8. I love this park to bits and when we were there in 2006 we had season passes and turned up on their New Years Eve in the summer night. The park was open till midnight, we got free food and drink as we were season pass holders and with the double ride vouchers we were able to get double rides on Goliath in the dark. YEE HAA! Goliath is just an awesome coaster and for me it's the best steel coaster in Europe. Silverstar is good but lacks those truly great out of the seat moments, Expedition G-Force was a disappointment as I'd heard so many people hyping it up and when I rode it it felt slow, the transitions weren't flowing and the coaster sounded like it was running on train tracks (felt like it too.) I left feeling very underwhelmed by it all. Goliath though never fails to impress. The transitions are smooth, the pacing is excellent, that dive turn is just awesome and those last few bunny hops are packed full of airtime.
  9. The last UK park before I head across the pond in a few weeks time and a final chance to whore some more credits to give me a slim chance of cracking the 400 barrier. I was accompanied by Mr. Pete who also offered to drive seeing as I'm picking him up on the way down to Swansea next weekend for The Hamsters gig. So onto the park. Well the addition of the Eurofighter "Rage" has made a big difference as far as I can tell otherwise it really wouldn't have been worth the trip. We'd pre-purchased our wrist bands online thus saving £3 on the park price of £18 so our first stop was to collect said items. Southend very cleverly market themselves as the UK's largest free entry amusement park. Which I would assume is spot on now that Blackpool are charging an entrance fee. So first stop of the day just had to be "Rage" and it certainly stands out in the park with it's bright colours and the vertical lift hill. Of all the Eurofighters I've ridden this is by far the smallest and most compact but it's still very good for such a small ride. The park was pretty much empty and it was a walk on for all the rides so Pete and I just wandered straight on and we were dispatched immediately. Who needs ERT? The usual relaxing ride up the lift hill followed before tipping over and plunging down and then up into the loop. Nice bit of hang time at the top which just allowed you that brief "OOOH" moment before it pulled out and into the overbanked turn. Round another tight turn before going through the barrel roll and then into another couple of tight turns with smooth transitions and then hitting the brakes. Too be fair it's a ride that would grace any park no matter how big it is as it does a good job of entertaining for very little effort. The rest of the park isn't much to speak of to be fair the other coasters are pretty tame in comparison and two of them had water dummies filling the front rows to ensure they would get round as the place was so empty. So we made sure we got the credits in and then a ride on the disco before heading out for lunch. We had a lovely, freshly cooked fish and chip dinner (Pete went for the Cod and I had Plaice) and after that we headed back in to make sure we got our moneys worth out of the wrist bands. A few more runs on "Rage" later and we decided that we'd got Value For Money out of the bands and headed back to my Mum's as there was beer to be drunk. Well it was the best ride in the park so here's a final look at "Rage." Oh wow man, I mean these signs are just SO clever!!!! The new ghost train wasn't ready just yet. It does look rather small though! It's all rather phallic actually! Hey, wait a second! There's a dummy behind me as well! All he needs is the white scarf to complete the outfit. These guys are making these words up.... Beware "RAGE MAN" he tells it to you straight! It's Mr. Pete and he's found a sign! Hey look. Meet my new friends "The Dummies" they're so cool as they don't scream at all!!! Coming through the barrel roll. One vertical lift hill in bright colours!
  10. Drinking without Derek!!!!!! What is the world coming to? I mean, that's like Fish without chips it's like steak without chips! Anyway, across the little lake that separates our two nations I've been quaffing ale at the 17th Annual East Anglian Beer Festival. Featuring ales only brewed within the region means that the smaller breweries have a large presence at the event. Mr. Pete and myself arrived at my Mum's house on Thursday and immediately got the bar set up as you can see earlier in this thread. 30 pints of mild and 30 pints of stout were soon on tap and we didn't waste any time pulling the first pint or four! However, mindful of the following days little trek down to Southend to get some more credits whored away we took it easy (ish.) After a successful whoring down at Southend we traveled back to Bury to find that two more of Buzzards had arrived and therefore it was time to get stuck into the bar. The final two members of the weekend Beer raiding party soon turned up and by 8pm we were happily supping ale, eating some superb stew and racing around on Mario Kart wii. Finally we gave up on all the fun at about 2am and crashed out ready for the Festival. Saturday dawned bright and sunny and remarkably no hang overs were spotted amongst the group. That's always a good start! After various treatments were administered to both myself and Nodders for our various back problems it was time to take a walk into town. A nice gentle stroll saw us arrive at the venue just before 11am as there were varied reports of different opening times and we didn't want to miss an hours drinking time if it opened at 11am. Alas it didn't open so we decided to trundle down to one of the few remaining free houses in Bury St. Edmunds, The Queens Head. Of course on the way we passed the sausage stall and availed ourselves of some excellent cooked sausages. At The Queens we were met with a sight that brought joy and delight to our beer tasting tongues. The landlord had just put on a barrel of Adnams Tally Ho which had been maturing in the cellar for the best part of 18 months. The only thing he could say for certain is that it was over 9% abv but exactly what percentage was anyones guess. (I knew I should of brought the hydrometer with me. ) Well it would be silly to pass up such an opportunity so the three us enjoyed a quiet half each and most enjoyable it was too. Extremely smooth, no nasty aftertastes as you sometimes get with Barley Wines and overall a damn good way to start the day. Once we'd finished our halves it was time to wander back to the venue in readiness for opening where we met up with the rest of the Buzzards who were then informed of what they'd missed out on. HA HA! 12 o'clock and for once the doors opened on time we all flashed our CAMRA membership cards which gave us free entry and proceeded to claim a table before grabbing our glasses and Beer tokens. As is usual for me I started off at the low end of abv scale with a "Gannet Mild" which was nice if nothing special. Now I am a bit of a citrus fan so half number two was St. Peters "Grapefruit" which I do enjoy and this didn't disappoint. Very fresh and definitely a summer beer. The grapefruit is strong but not over powering and met with approvals all round as the glass did the rounds. Next up was another old fave from the local ale house "The Old Cannon Brewery" which is a pub and brewery all in one. You can actually sit next to the fermenting vessels in the pub itself. At the Festival they had several ales on and for me it had to be "The Gunners Daughter" which is pretty much their flagship ale and very nice too. Buffy's "Hopleaf" was number 4 of the day and closer to a lager than a real ale in taste although that would probably be down to the high amounts of lager malts used in the beer. That said it was certainly better tasting than most lagers! As is usual with these things names tend to attract attention and being a Pratchett fan when I spotted "Light Fantastic" I just had to have a half. OK, so there's no actual connection but tenuous links work for me! Another light summer type ale which at first didn't really hit the spot but the hint of grapefruit in the aftertaste made up for it's bland beginnings. By the end of the half I was quite enjoying it! From light to dark for number 6, Fox's "Nelsons Blood" which was a very deep red ale and quite spicy in taste with a wonderful rich almost rum like flavour also cutting through. Not quite my favourite of the day but definitely up there. Oakham Ales "Bishops Farewell" graced the glass next and it fell into the not a bad quaffing ale category. Nothing truly special but a good beer to have on your books as a brewer as it will sell well. Now we get to my favourite ale of the day "Carvell Ale 9503" from the Wolf Brewery. This was a low percentage ale at just 3.7% but it just had the most gorgeous caramel taste to it and it just went down an absolute treat. I could happily have drank that ale all day long. Finally we get to the last half of the day. By now between us we'd tasted pretty much all the beer that was still available and as we had plenty back at the house it seemed a good idea to call it quits and have a gentle wander home. So I finished with an Adnam's "Explorer" which I've had before from a bottle so figured out of the barrel should be pretty good too. I wasn't disappointed and this blonde beer was a nice way to round out the day. So there we go, nine halves in the festival and one before hand made for a pleasant days drinking. I like my hand pumps and funnily enough so does everyone else. Strange that!!! But for some of us there was Mild on tap. Ah lovely Mild! (Note: Somehow I brewed a strong mild unintentionally and this little baby was coming in at 5.3%) After all that beer and a walk home it proved just too much for poor old Pete! Looking back on the way home. There's some Buzzards somewhere in the distance. The last half. Not much left of the Carvell. It was so nice I nearly forgot to get the TPR Beer shot! It's Pete manybeers! and in close up. Well at least he was happy...... Now forget the muppet in the foreground the reason for this picture is the bloke behind him. Talk about wasted.... and here's the rest of it. Talking of which, here's some of the company. Nothing like quality ales and good company. Mr. Pete deep in thought. St Peter's Grapefruit to the right. The Festival hall. At the festival an the first beer of the day. Gannet Mild. Mind you, it's not often you see a selection of different ales in one either! Don't often see notes like this in a British pub! SCRAMBLE!
  11. Just to note that the beers on the hand pumps are not as advertised by the pump clip. They are in fact brewed by my good self for consumption by the fellow Buzzards who are arriving Friday (whilst Pete and I are playing down at Southend.) It's a tale of the dark side this time with a Stout and a Mild on tap both of which are going down extremely well. More photos will follow once the rest arrive and I might even be tempted to go for a Beer Report from the festival.
  12. I've been scooting round youtube and a few other sites looking for the TV Advert for Tidal Wave at Thorpe Park but with little success. If any of you out there have a link/copy/file of said advert can you get in touch as I was in the Ad and it'd be nice to have a copy of it. Cheers
  13. Well just some old favourites for me today so no photos. Old peculiar, Hobgoblin and a Tanglefoot went down the hatch rather nicely as the day passed by. Off to the East Anglian Beer Festival next weekend and the boot of the car will be loaded with two kegs of my own stuff for consumption at my Mum's house where we are all crashing for the weekend. A rather interesting Stout that for some reason didn't quite hit the numbers that I expected (5.2%) and a Mild that fermented far better than it should have done and came out at 5.3%. Photos will be taken of said bar set up and beer. Of course there also needs to be some training done ready for the USA trip so Muttley and myself are heading down to Southend on Friday to whore a few more credits.
  14. Doesn't time fly? Well we're down to just 39 days to go before lift off and short of a few minor things to sort out most of the trip is in the bag and ready to rock and roll. Just got our Airport parking, GPS hire, travel insurance and tour merchandise to sort out now. So keep an eye out for us as we blast round, blink and you might miss us! It would be great to bump into some fellow enthusiasts whilst we're over there so do let us know if you intend to be at the same park when we're there. There will be a couple of laptops flying around with us and if all goes to plan we should be able to update the tour site and TPR as we go. Too be honest it'll be a relief to get on that plane and set off.
  15. Nick Laister rescued a few of the Southport rides with a view to turning Dreamland into a Heritage amusement park featuring classic rides of the past. King Soloman's Mines along with the running gear for the ghost train and the running gear for the boat ride had also been rescued. Of special interest for myself and the BlueBuzzards was the fact that he had also rescued "The Mistral Flying Machine" from certain doom. I was so pleased to see one of THE greatest sets of flying scooters in the world saved and was so looking forward to seeing them hopefully running again next year. For now though it would seem that most of the effort and money will be poured into restoring the Scenic so The Heritage Park could be a long way off right now.
  16. Well Nick Laister of the Save Dreamland campaign was very upbeat on the joylandbooks forum today and it looks like he has already been laying a lot of groundwork ready for the rebuilding of the ride. However, I am very much in agreement with Sarah (another member of the campaign) where she says "I tell you what, if we'd gone round with a bucket and collected up all the crocodile tears that were being shed outside the main gate I reckon we wouldn't have needed to call in the engines from Herne Bay and Canters. The air was thick with smoke and hypocrisy." This does indeed sum up the local apathy towards the Scenic Railway and Dreamland itself. I and many others have contributed funds to the campaign and most of us have been there once maybe twice in our lifetimes. The locals all of a sudden have come out with bold statements and tears of sadness but had these people put their collective weight behind Dreamland 6 years ago when this whole project started this would never have happened and Margate would have a thriving amusement park.
  17. Just been listening to Radio Kent. 50% of the station has gone along with about a 1/3 of the track, which has collapsed in on itself. The worst damage looks to have been to the workshop which has gone completely and as all the running gear and trains will have been inside those are almost certainly lost and will be almost impossible to replace. About 80 fire fighters were called to the Scenic. Police are already treating the blaze as "suspicious." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/7335519.stm
  18. Yup, looks like the decision has been made. Seeing as they're on a 5pm to 8pm special entry price we've now scheduled the evening session into our plans seeing as the motel we're staying in is only 40 minutes from Lake Compounce. It'd be rude not to! As an aside I've finally updated my photo gallery with my USA photos from 1999 and 2001. Sorry about the quality but back in 1999 I was the only one on the trip with a Digicam and 640 x 480 was considered cutting edge back then. I had the same camera in 2001 but I'd learnt a lot more about using it by then so although still the same size I got better photos! http://www.bluebuzzards.com/gallery/index.php?cat=2 Already got the gallery ready for this year's picture fest and also updated the tour site with the new itinerary. Still 12 weeks away I know but better to be prepared! Keep the advice coming peeps.
  19. EEEK. Now don't twist my arm about Lake Compounce as I loved Boulderdash! Seeing as we're all season passed up for Six Flags there's every chance we'll do OK at New England. Hmmmmmm. Is another park just pushing it a bit TOO much. YOU'RE SWINES! Well it's worth discussing amongst the four of us I guess!
  20. A slight bump. The Tour Website has now been put together and it will be the place to keep up to date with the Buzzard's adventures. Buzzards Across America Tour Website We are hoping to update the site daily where WiFi coverage allows and if possible post a daily video diary.
  21. Fair point and of course space is always at a premium. I just get fed up watching so called industry experts missing the point.
  22. If Thorpe want to do something different and something that will set pulse rates soaring then they should BUILD A DAMN WOODIE! When are these parks going to learn that to be truly great you need a variety of rides for everyone not just the next gimmick. The UK parks are a ride designers joy as they'll pay through the nose just to be the first to have something different (Oblivion, Air etc) but all of this is at the expense of the public. The Eurofighter's an OK ride but it's nothing truly spectacular and certainly won't move me to bust a gut to travel all the way down to Thorpe. If they'd been putting in a world class woodie I'd have made sure I was there opening day! The trouble with the UK industry is that they just don't understand the concept of a park experience the same way that the Europeans do. There's no thought given to the theming of the park in general and it's usually a mishmash of styles poorly linked. There's no pride taken in how the park looks and after just a few days of operating most UK parks have turned into a rubbish tip. I can count on one hand the amount of times I've seen a park operative walking round cleaning the park and removing rubbish in all the years I've been to parks in the UK. I can spend just one day at Parc Asterix for example and I'll see at least a dozen cleaners and maybe 3 or 4 security staff. Sorry this has turned into a rant but the way the UK industry is run is a joke and this ride is just another example of the UK "getting it wrong!"
  23. Decent theming!!!! PAH! Tussauds haven't got a clue about theming when it comes to rides. Air's still got a concrete block tunnel out of the station that's been crying out for some fancy effects since it was put in. The only bits they make an effort on are the immediate areas around the rides and the rest be damned. They ought to start taking lessons from Parc Asterix and Phantasialand. Heaven forbid we get a company running a theme park over here that actually pays attention to the fine details!
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