Rise and be Humbled!

“You can’t bullshit a bullshitter Aaron!” I remember that line because it was bizarre to me. Honesty was my hallmark, Sarah knew me. I wasn’t used to friends not believing me. She was angry too, “She’s young, she doesn’t know what she’s doing!” Then she accused me of “manipulating a young girl” which was funny. She gave me too much credit. I had no idea how to even go about manipulating a young girl, much less pull it off.

We were both 27 years old and at that time everybody else living in the house was under 22, half were teenagers. She said she felt responsible and even guilty for reassuring the girl’s parents she would look after her. Then she told me THIS ENDS NOW!! Despite her anger I felt pretty relaxed about the whole thing. There was nothing to end. She said she was going downstairs to have a talk with the girl. I figured that would clear things up and the whole confrontation just left my mind. However, a week later I remember suddenly being struck with the thought “Wait a minute, did I do something wrong?” The reason being because nothing happened afterwards.There was never an apology or even a follow up conversation from Sarah and I hadn’t even seen the girl. Was she avoiding me? It was like what would have happened if I were guilty of something. I didn’t dwell on it, but I remember having an uneasy feeling that maybe I was a bad person.

Early that next morning there was light tapping on my bedroom door. I could hear someone open the door and peek in. I kept my eyes shut and didn’t move. I didn’t want to hang out or deal with any problems. I had been to a show the night before followed by some post show drinking. A bottle of cheap vodka had been passed around. I felt broken. I thought “What did I do to myself? Why?” and “ I won’t do it again!” I was hoping to drift off a little, a while later I heard some far off laughter and the sound of footsteps charging up the stairs. I was thinking, “that sounds like too much action right now.” Someone burst into my bedroom. “Not cool!” I refused to acknowledge the intrusion, but then I felt someone jumping on the foot of my mattress and about 3 seconds too late opened my eyes. SHE WAS COMPLETELY NAKED… MID AIR, I bolted upright, the sway of her right butt cheek as she hit her apex imprinted on my mind, unfortunately it was her last ascent and in one move she landed in a run grabbing up her towel as she flew out of my room, loudly cackling her way back down the stairs. It all happened so quickly the normally riveting glimpse of side boob had only been a blur.

A few hours later, after a productive morning, I realized my hangover had vanished in that very instant. More importantly, I wasn’t a bad person.
Funny thing at the time I was mad at myself for having my eyes closed. Like what were the odds? However, 28 years later, thinking back on it to write this story I’m guessing her plan was to fling open the door, flash me and run out. It was only because I didn’t move that she jumped on my bed.

I’ll finish the story about how to manipulate young girls later on in the column. Originally that was the only idea I had for this post. I was going to call it “best ever hangover cure” or something. However, I’ve decided I need to update this website because 2022 was a new chapter in my drinking lifestyle. 3 years ago my old methods of living life as a heavy drinker stopped working for me, I blamed age. My plan when we last left off was to just eat and drink intuitively, to relinquish control and accept the slow downward spiral of age. I began to grow my hair long with plans to add a beard to hide the softening.

Sept. 2022

The good news today is I’m drinking heavily and I feel great! At 55 no less. The craziest part is this year I went from 206 lbs to 185 lbs while drinking every single day an average of roughly 7 double IPAs with no restriction on the amount of food I ate. No planned “diet” or intermittent fasting, just avoiding processed food and seed oils. I was surprised because like most people I believed the nonsense about “calories.” My old doctor used to point at my gut and say “just cut back on those beers!” I think she believed it too. Establishment medicine, indoctrination.

“Just because you lost weight doesn’t mean you are healthy” is the most common response I got. Another good one was “You must have lost a lot of muscle mass!” I get the skepticism. Drinking beer is unhealthy, there must be a catch. I think the same way. Unlike in past Brewznewz it would also be ridiculous for me to pass on this information as if it were advice. If I’m ever brought up in any context at all it’s likely to be a cautionary tale. On the other hand I do feel a need to push back a little. Drinking has become a more fraught issue than it deserves. Not only are many older people quitting alcohol but young people aren’t even getting started. Cookies and froyo have become the new Miller Time. Amazon Prime took over Thursday night football this year and has a policy of not allowing any alcohol to be advertised. Is that because Amazon is primarily a humanitarian corporation with a big heart who doesn’t want to profit off pedaling bad health choices to their customers? Possibly, but if too many people find out that beer makes them happy, it could be bad for business. The big money bosses are not betting on beer. This year Amazon invested 3.9 billion to own their own pharma company.

I’m the biggest pro alcohol advocate I know and even I fell into the trap of thinking alcohol consumption was my biggest health concern. “This Big Little Farm” was my favorite documentary. As a family we were already buying organic, especially meat, but I ignored correcting a few things about my diet, partly because I thought drinking was the main issue. Anyway, here is the main gist of what happened.

When 2022 began I was 206 pounds. I had got in the habit of sleeping on the couch because if I went to the bed I would wake up the wife with my snoring. I’m both a night owl and a morning person so taking car naps at work during my break is essential to getting through my day. Instead of the intense REM sleep I used to get I was gasping awake. Despite this I couldn’t see myself strapping a sleep apnea apparatus on my head everytime I needed a nap. I’m not that organized and I don’t have a bedtime. I pass out whenever. My original plan was a quick week of Ketosis to get me down around the Mendoza line so I could sleep and then be drinking by the next weekend. This time though, even after I ended Keto I decided to mostly avoid bread. However, I had my crock-pot made beans and rice every single day for lunch so it wasn’t a Keto friendly or even a low carb diet. I also kept doing family taco night with the fried corn shells, and turkey chili night using canned tomatoes, but other than that nothing pre-packaged. That next weekend I had around 20 IPAs so I was a little surprised to see I had dropped another couple of pounds. My theory at that moment was that the drinking had dehydrated me and the weight would pop back up the next day. This is the point I started weighing myself every morning. That’s how I learned that drinking several IPAs every single day had no effect on my weight whatsoever. During the first 3 months I only stayed sober for one night and I lost 16 pounds. I eventually dropped to 185. For all these years I thought I had a beer gut from beer, but it was the processed food.

That’s the main story. That’s really all I need to say. If you made it this far, thanks for reading. It’s not going to get any more interesting. However, I’m going to spend several more paragraphs writing about beer, food and life because the true story would be incomplete if I didn’t.

Failed Vegetarian

In 2014 I stopped buying sausage or eating pork because of the nature of pig farming. In general I wanted to eat less meat but pig farms seemed to be especially dystopian.
However, at the Farmer’s Market in Pleasanton there is a stand that sells nothing but pork products from a farm up in Amador county. They have a breed of pig from Spain that walks the oak tree covered hills eating acorns. So I’m back on the sausage, actually a lot of different cuts of meat. I’ve refrained from posting photos of them on Instagram, even when they’re perfectly cooked and picturesque next to a pile of green beans and a bottle of wine.

My old intention not to eat meat was not health inspired, I wanted to be a somewhat less evil vampire. I was more of a drinker than a foodie. I had a diet strategy based on how not to get hangovers. I almost never stepped on a scale. That is why I fucked up so badly when I made a weak attempt to go vegetarian. In 2018 there were a lot of new non-meat options in restaurants and in stores. The wife felt similarly so we converted some regular meals to fake meat. When it didn’t ruin taco night I figured I would be fine. I had a plan to make sure I could follow through on it for at least three months before declaring my new lifestyle choice. I lasted three weeks. The end came abruptly after my snoring almost ruined a family weekend in L.A. It was louder than ever and simply rolling on my side didn’t stop it. There is a healthy way to be a vegetarian but whatever I did was the opposite. I was a little startled when we got home and I stepped on a scale, 208.

Throwing Beer Under the Bus!
I was not honest about going on keto at the time. I made an announcement on Instagram. I declared that I would stop drinking until I got down to 194 lbs, which was true, and I did, but I didn’t publicly announce the reason I wouldn’t be drinking was because I was going on the keto diet. So I threw beer under the bus! I insinuated that beer was the reason for my weight gain. Wow, talk about shame! At the time keto seemed like a slimy shortcut. No montage of me exercising necessary. I just deprived my body of carbs so it had to burn fat. At 194 pounds I told the wife “take a picture of me because I’m never going to be this lite again!” I said that because even though it only took two weeks, not drinking sucked. That’s the worst thing about Keto, if you do it correctly it works very fast, but you can’t drink any beer at all so for me it was a temporary solution.

Exercise was not a factor. The last time I lost enough weight to wear a L t-shirt instead of an XL was during my three year stint doing lagoon maintenance 16 years ago. I used to wake up at 4 in the morning and quickly microwave a Jimmy Dean sausage sandwich from Costco, then I’d buy my lunch at 7/11, whatever was sitting under the lights. Horrible diet but I did strenuous labor for many hours each day so it didn’t matter. We also had two toddlers at home so there wasn’t any down time ever. When you’re not too old to be always on the move you can eat whatever. Now I have a desk job so I have a quick routine I do to keep myself upright and also some PT, but nothing strenuous enough to affect my weight.

As always, fuck establishment thinking but also don’t believe your own bullshit!

One weekend in June I bragged to several people that I could drink as much as I wanted without any consequences (how many times have I learned this lesson???). There had only been a few days that I didn’t get legally drunk in the first half of 2022. I was really feeling good too. Actually looking forward to waking up with the sun and enjoying my morning everyday. I felt like I had cracked the code. That weekend, we had a party for my son’s graduation on Saturday. The night before the only thing my wife said she needed me to do was to turn on the crock-pot at 4 am so it would be ready for the party at noon. My daughter, also a night owl, chimed in that she would take care of it because she was usually still up anyway. So I was like, hey cool, then I’m going to go see this band in Oakland. I’ll just have two beers while I’m there and come straight back, implying I was going to take it easy, which I did. It was a great show (Maggus!) but I was a little hyped from the show, with only two beers in me, driving home thinking of the double IPAs I had in the fridge. Next thing I know I’m in the kitchen with another beer when my daughter comes out of her room to turn on the crockpot. So almost no sleep, still up with the sun. Great party, friends and family, and drinking. I didn’t pull another all nighter the next night but was drinking pretty late as I remember. Then on Sunday. Devon Morf was in town. Actually he was hanging out at a park in San Francisco, close enough. It was a very nice mellow occasion, old friends and strangers, people sitting in the grass talking, the kind of thing I bring an ice chest to. It was great and I would have been fine if I had stopped drinking there but when we got home I wanted a bottle of merlot with dinner, then a nightcap of several more double IPAs. The next morning was sad. In denial of my state, hoping it would pass, I did my full slate of old man exercises and went to work, but I could feel I wasn’t well. Every cell in my body had exhausted itself to keep me functioning. I had hit a wall. It was my first real crash of the year. I paused for four days to recover for our big weekend in Carmel, then proceeded again with more caution. Truthfully, even though I’ve continued to drink heavily since then, I haven’t been the same. Reminds me of my trucking days, specifically that time I put 9 wheels in the air, dumping 4,000 pounds of tomatoes on the side of the onramp. I didn’t have a roll over so I kept my job and my Class A license. I kept on driving 19 hours every day, but mentally I was never able to whip those wheels around a turn the same way again. I will always be humbled.

I specifically remember when I opened that bottle of Merlot. I asked my wife if she wanted a glass. She made a comment about shouldn’t I slow down and I remember answering her that I didn’t have to worry about that anymore. The new me was impervious. I truly believed that at the moment. I was disappointed in myself in the days after. I had been blessed with a high functioning liver and I abused it totally. Possibly took out a third of it in one weekend just by not giving it any chance to recover.

How my wife sees me.

Everything was still great up until when the sun stopped coming up.
I noticed a downturn in how well I felt when mornings became dark and cold. By the end of the year, I went from cracking the code to dealing with crash days again. Not horrible, but it happened several times.
Thanksgiving and Christmas, friend party, work party, kids home = pizza. Then there was a giant rainstorm, only about 10 vendors set up in the rain at the farmer’s market so instead of my big Saturday fish lunch I bought fruit. Thankfully the wife put it to use and made a fantastic blueberry cobbler while we watched Miley’s New Year’s Eve. It was all good, good with wine. Life is good. Starting the new year I was back up to 192, but not concerned.

I have to write about my Mom

She died after my last post. I had a nice relationship with my mom but we weren’t close. My dad and mom divorced when I was 10. He eventually moved a half mile away and before 8th grade I moved in with him. My dad had an austere manner. He had a quiet, cold place and made weird vegetarian meals so both my mom and my little brother were miffed as to why I preferred to live with him. He didn’t neglect me, but he left me alone. My mom was a little too aware of me, that was all it was. When I quit high school after flunking for 3 years my dad said he’d have to charge me rent unless I went to community college. Next thing I knew I was transferring to Cal Poly a year ahead of my high school classmates, that’s where I started drinking a lot. My mom began writing me long typed letters about how horrible alcohol was. I still have them! Some of them are pretty extreme. She referred to it as poison. She also talked a lot about what a wonderful person her little brother was. He had started drinking and it ruined his life. She was really affected by her younger brother, “He drank himself to death!” she would say. The thing was he was the head of a motorcycle gang. He made many lifestyle choices beyond drinking. At age 44, he died suddenly of cardiac arrest while riding his motorcycle.

That’s also how my mom passed, though she wasn’t on a motorcycle. It wasn’t expected. She hadn’t been bed ridden or sick. She still had her faculties. She didn’t like her medication, “what’s the point of living a long time if I don’t feel good?” She may have been cutting back on her heart medication again. We asked if she wanted us to shop for her when Covid was in full swing “but I like going to Raleys!” was her answer. She wanted to be independent. She stayed single after my dad. She was self-employed for the last 50 years. When I was a kid I remember her teaching classes in our living room, whatever was trending in the 70’s she’d teach a class on it, psychic readings, reiki massage, a lot of very mystical stuff, but then she also had a scientific side and got certified for medical and physical therapy type stuff too. She got a Masters in psychology because she wanted to keep seeing clients at home but knew she would get too old to do body work. She died living in her own house, still making her own decisions.

In contrast, my dad lost his mind a full 5 years before he died. One day he stopped his car in the middle of an intersection, walked over to a gas station attendant and said “I don’t know who I am.” That’s how he lost his driver license, but after that he would walk 3 miles into town everyday, in his 80s. Ultimately being healthy only earned him extended time in a nursing home. Most people die within months of being admitted but he went on for 3 years. If he knew who he was or not he no longer had the ability to communicate it to us.

My mom used to worry I would die young, she even took out life insurance on me when I owed her money. Then I got married and quickly settled down to a new lifestyle. Shortly after she had grandkids and she was able to enjoy them without having to be responsible for them. She still hoped I would quit drinking but it stopped being as much of an issue between us. She knew I did “BrewzNewz” because of Keri’s facebook posts but she wouldn’t read them. Same with the Probe, she kept a copy of each issue but didn’t read them because she hated the stories about drinking.

The night after she died I woke up in the middle of the night with a fleeting impression of a dark figure leaning over me. I chalked it up to either my imagination or maybe my mom was just not well practiced at visitations from the dead. Then three days later I had an especially vivid dream of walking down our side yard on a very sunny day. I opened the side door to the garage, light flooded in and there was my mom sitting in a patio chair. She had a big performative smile on her face and then I woke up. I thought, “Oh, I wonder if she knew the first attempt was too dark so she went out of her way to make sure she left on a brighter note.” Then I thought, “Hey, she was sitting right in front of my beer fridge. Maybe that was the parting message?”

Did I clown myself with Vitamin B?

In previous columns I told everybody not to worry you can’t overdose on vitamin B, take a bunch of them while you’re drinking! Well, it’s true. Excess B is not unhealthy and it’s fantastic for aiding in recovering from excess alcohol. However, if you have Rosacea like I do, be careful. I woke up with a bunch of gnarly red spots on my forehead in November and just as they were starting to fade they came back even stronger in December. WTF! Not only that but I can feel them, especially the one next to my eye, they sting a little. So I dove into the internet and found some reports from dermatologists that taking a strong vitamin B complex supplement seemed to be the trigger for many patients. Rosacea is permanent and gets worse with age so I don’t think these new spots on my forehead are going away, hopefully they fade. I will not take the medication for it because it’s bad for the liver and I want it to focus on alcohol. The theory is that Niacin (B3) is what causes the outbreaks. The truth is, who really knows, everything that causes people to flush is listed as a possible trigger. I just remember reacting harshly to Niacin when I was younger so it made it sense. Because I’m getting old I’ll probably get covered with red spots and blotches no matter what I do but I went online to find B supplements without niacin and bought a couple of more expensive ones that were not synthetic. I took them last night wondering if I would notice a difference. After midnight I wasn’t sleepy yet so I put in a Netflix DVD, then another DVD after that. I had 7 double IPAs but wasn’t tired yet so I started watching “Check Please!” on YoutubeTV when I saw our bedroom light turn on. For a minute I thought I had accidentally pulled an all nighter, but the wife was just checking on the dog. Anyway, B vitamins can be powerful!! Who even needs amphetamines when we have vitamin B?

I used to wonder why some of my most epic drinking bouts were on steak night. It was because I thought all meat, not just processed meat, was hard on the liver, but I was eating organic chuck steak which turns out is restorative and not even inflammatory. I didn’t know that so I would take practically handfuls of B vitamins with my big steak, broccoli, potato and always two bottles of wine on steak night. One night, after the wine I was drinking Ballast Point Stouts 10 percenters, blasting one of my old video tapes of Reina Aveja in my garage, HIGH as fuck on vitamin B and when drunk out my mind everything sounds amazing so, and normally this is a bad idea, I pointed my camera at the TV to make an instagram post, trying to share the high with the world. This was back when you only had 15 seconds. I wanted to get Jen’s natural voice and crowd interaction before the screaming began but the video was too long with no edit option so I googled a camera app with a pause feature and successfully downloaded it. I somehow posted the video flawlessly. Anyway, I think of that sometimes because a big difference between me then and me now is I’m less functional when drunk. I’ve gotten better at trying to be a more conscious drinker recently, but many times in the past few years, my wife says I’m “gone,” she doesn’t like it. It’s something I’ve tried to work on, being in the moment and aware of the pace of my drinking, not chasing the high. She doesn’t want me to quit drinking, but she’s been unhappy when I get too far gone, which wasn’t the case a few years ago when the amount of $ for my IPA habit was her best argument that I should cut back.

Are hot peppers the key to health or will they ultimately kill me?

I am a daily drinker who gets very little sleep, but I almost never get sick. The last time I got sick was October 2017. It took five years before I even had a sore throat again after that. I had a slightly stuffy nose in December this year, for a day and a half. I used to get a fever and cold once or twice a year, sometimes lasting a week. Corresponding to this lack of sickness I’ve become increasingly obsessed with peppers and hot sauce. I buy a wide variety of peppers from the farmers market. I don’t put on gloves when I chop up these peppers so to make it easy I buy a lot of medium heat and sweet peppers then add hot sauce. Every single morning I like to get a good burn going to start my day. It’s hard to gauge because I always have a number of bottles open but I must go through an entire bottle of hot sauce every 3 or 4 days. When I have wings I use the extreme stuff that makes me cry, it also clears all of the fluid from my skull and gives me a hacking fit 5 minutes later. However, the health benefit is not because hot pepper “clears out” the mucus. On the contrary it helps stimulate it, The average person creates almost 2 quarts of mucus every single day, it is used to catch matter out of the air as we breathe. Our face is like a super sophisticated filtration system, developed and perfected through millions of years of evolution, winding airwaves catching every little microscopic particle in the air before it enters our lungs. The rare times something does manage to get through our body explodes the fuck out of it! Meanwhile the mucus we create is constantly pushed towards the back of our throat by tiny silica, twice every minute we swallow, even in our sleep, everything harmful we breathe in is destroyed by enzymes in our stomach. This same mucus then forms a protective layer that lines our stomach and intestines, keeping the harmful bacteria that we breathe or ingest from entering our bloodstream as we pass the toxic sludge out of our body. It’s easy to imagine how activating the mucus system may keep us from getting sick. When a former secretary of state was asked how she never got sick while only sleeping four hours a night, constant travel, and shaking hundreds of hands everyday, her answer was jalapenos. So I’m not the first person that came up with this nut ball explanation.

On the other hand nightshade vegetables contain Lectins. Not only do I eat peppers everyday but my crockpot beans are a constant part of my diet. Most lectins in beans you can get rid of by soaking and rinsing, and then cooking at high heat. However, even then you don’t get rid of all of them. There are a lot of reputable nutritionists who warn “take it easy” on the beans! Don’t overdo it on the nightshades because the lectins hit your intestines like boulders. Overtime they could thin the walls of your intestine, allowing bacteria into your bloodstream. It would be ironic if instead of drinking myself to death this super healthy diet I’m on breaks down my intestinal wall and kills me.

Okay, enough food talk!

It’s kind of hard to imagine this now but in the ‘80s and early ‘90 women’s asses were not even a thing. In fact, this seems crazy, but girls with nice butts were looked down on! When I was in college in the late 80s Cal Poly guys referred to girls’ “Poly Butt Syndrome” saying they arrived at school cute but the dorm food made their butts too big. “Yeah, she’s really cute, but she’s got a big butt” was something guys actually said. It was a disqualifier. And girls went with it, the ones who had nice butts would wear baggy mom jean shorts or dresses that did not hug their ass whatsoever. Yoga pants were unheard of. Big eyes, big hair, big breasts and small butts. The world was a completely backwards place. I’m not making this up or exaggerating, look at the movies at the time. It’s so bizarre to think of this now but I used to watch In Living Color, sit next to the TV and press record only when the fly girls came on. This seems ridiculous today, you can Youtube them. They had a lot of clothes on, the lighting was bad, the dances were simple and by the standards of today their butts weren’t even that big. However, it was the 80s and there was nothing else like them on TV.

Argghhh. I just want to finish up this story, keep things light and funny. However, just like last time I wrote one of these I’m having trouble putting a bow on this monster. The problem is I love the intro. It will pull people in. It’s funny, but I can’t just leave it there. Why was I worried I was a bad person? What was going on with “Sarah” and I’d come up with a fake name for the young girl too but 28 years later I can’t even remember what her real name was. I spent yesterday early noonish trying to finish this story. Then the wife and I went into downtown Pleasanton and enjoyed many drinks together. That’s really what I want to do with my life. I don’t want to spend a Saturday hunched over a keyboard like I’m trying to be Kurt Vonnegut or something. He witnessed the atrocities of war. I saw naked girls.

I’ll rush through it the best I can, life is complicated. “Sarah” was not some fuddy-duddy. Testimony she gave as a teenager put a man in prison. However, the most shocking thing was how little time the man did. She remained a trustworthy and caring person despite having reason to be angry with the world. Anyway, she was only concerned for the girl and she was right to be.

I was immature for 27 and it was the girl’s first time living away from home. Bright eyed, she briefly met a friend of mine who she later referred to as “the coolest person I’ve ever seen.” By extension she was under the misguided impression that I was cool. I had the master bedroom with a balcony and my own bathroom and shower. As a sub teacher I was getting home earlier than the other roommates. For a two hour window each day I was often the only other person in the house and she spent a lot of time talking to me so it wasn’t that weird that she came up to my room if she was having a rough night. She stayed until morning a couple of times. That’s what put Sarah on edge. We explained we had slept on separate sides of the bed, but she kept shaking her head like something was going wrong.

The day she yelled, “this ends now!” Sarah had just come home. The girl’s hair was wet, the downstairs shower was dry. The shower in my room had just been used. To make it worse, the girl and I had just shared an awkward moment. I was still processing it when Sara had accosted me which caused me to come across as defensive and guilty.

The girl had a serious boyfriend, he would drive across the Bay to visit her most every evening. Everybody in the house liked the guy, really nice and going places. I asked the girl, “Do you think he’s gay??” Seriously, in a very honest way I had wondered that because she told me whenever she did or wore anything sexual he would say “you don’t have to do that for me.” She was sure he wasn’t gay but it made him uncomfortable.
There was another time, I wasn’t there, but she was told a nightgown she liked to wear was too short and she needed to put some clothes on. I had assumed a girl told her that but then I learned it was a 19 year old dude. I was more upset than she was about it. For me it triggered memories of similar incidents in the dorms at college. I made it clear to her that I was truly flummoxed that a fucking dude would tell her she needed to put clothes on. In college I had been annoyed by guys like that, but under my own roof it made me angry. Later on I confronted him, “What in the fuck is wrong with you?!!” I wanted an explanation from him. At first he was confused. He sputtered something like “Dude, bro, I’m not scoping on my friend’s chick!!” which didn’t make sense, he barely knew her boyfriend. He seemed mostly confused as to why I was so angry. It took a full minute for him to even realize what I was talking about. Apparently he had thrown up his hands in front of his eyes and joked about what would happen if she bent over.

One time I got home and was sitting in the chair by the downstairs phone where I checked the messages on the answering machine. She walked in front of me in her underwear and then stopped and looked over her shoulder. I think she expected to see me with an approving smirk on my face, but when she saw that my jaw had dropped she collapsed in laughter.
That was the attitude, it was unserious. I was a good audience. At least I was until the day I blew my entire laid back facade. She had complained about 3 times that she needed to go down and take a shower but kept on talking, then suddenly in my bathroom, “This is nice! I’m going to use this one!” I perked up. She didn’t shut the door all the way, it swung back open a little on its own. When I stood up I could see her in the mirror and I forgot to be casual. She still had her shirt on but was bending over to pull off her pants. Straining to get as high as possible, I could almost see the top of her hip, (so close!) when suddenly we locked eyes in the mirror. I must have had a jarring look of intense desperation on my face, she stopped talking mid sentence. I dropped down, sitting on the bed again. I don’t think I said anything. After several moments of silence she said something like. “It’s okay.. I don’t care,” but she sounded rattled. Kicking myself for not being cool, I stayed sitting on the bed like it was a penalty box. Not a roll over crash, but humbling.

Okay, writing out that last part was painful. I’m glad it’s over.

A guy from India bought that house overlooking the entire Bay Area. 3,000 square feet. I wrote a rent check to him every month for five years but can’t remember his name either. He lived across the bay from us in San Bruno but never once did he check up on us, greatest landlord ever! We had amazing parties! $1500 a month for 3,000 square feet. I went through 28 roommates during that time.

Just heard tonight that an old friend, Joel Stites, died. Haven’t seen him in many years but very recently I told a brief story to my daughter and referred to him as an old roommate. After exchanging texts with OG roommate JD I don’t think he actually ever lived in the house. He was in two different bands that practiced in our living room during the same time period of the story above. I never liked the bands he was in which was an ongoing joke between us at the time. I would go to 3 or 4 shows a week but never to see his band. I still occasionally think about a couple of good stories he told 30 years ago. He died a musician.

Speaking of going to shows… no. This ends now. I have to end this monster, I had a whole segment to write about my hearing and how it affected what music I listened to later in life. The bigger news is, after consulting with an audiologist, I started going to shows again in 2022. Here’s a link of those shows that I’m really happy about.


My life is very good now, the best, I’m incredibly lucky and grateful.

I end these things with a YouTube video. Nobody gives me a hard time for being a Miley Cyrus fan anymore. Truthfully, I did wonder a bit myself what was going on with me. For about a 4 or 5 year period I hardly listened to any music at all except for Miley Cyrus, especially Dead Pets. I tried but I couldn’t get into anything else. I don’t like most music, or at least not the new stuff. The opposite of when I was young and used to blow all my money on records. My Miley Cyrus fixation finally ended when I discovered that every single Mountain Goats album was on Amazon Music, over 20 of them and for a year or two I listened to almost nothing but The Mountain Goats. Then the family canceled Amazon Music and I went to YouTube. There was a new Mountain Goats song there. At first I was just surprised I had never heard it before. It wasn’t on any of their albums, then suddenly I started crying. It was weird. I’m not an emotional person but this song broke me down and I’m not even sure why.


The Cup is Still Full

My downfall came quicker than I expected, but it was going to happen. I don’t know if I lost confidence in myself because I lost my ability to drink or if I lost my ability to drink because I lost confidence in myself. Either way it was inevitible. Thankfully my run did not end with one big drunken disaster, but slowly stumbled to an end over the course of an entire year, it was a long bout of mild confusion and hard embarrassments, but I’m still here, still drinking beer.

When it comes to drinking you often have to make the same mistake about eleven or twelve or twenty or in my case about thirty times before you start to make changes. It’s not a steady downward trend, some good weeks can make you feel like you got over on it, only to fall further back the next week.

After a wedding in 2004 I drank a lot and I puked. I remember it because I had leaned my head far out of the passenger window but 70 MPH HWY winds caused blow-back that created a light speckled pattern across the interior fabric that covered the roof of our mini-van. I had hoped it was unnoticeable but the next morning my three year old daughter had questions. I didn’t puke again until 2019. Then I puked again two more times in 2019, violent, loud, explosive puking. 52 years old, puking from drinking too much, not sweet.

I’m not a doctor or even much of a reader so I don’t know the medical term to describe what happened to me, but I’m not the same. Anybody who knows me has heard me say “I can’t sit down when I start drinking.” It’s something I’ve said hundreds of times throughout my life. My back straightens, muscles I didn’t know were tense start to loosen, even muscles in my face. It’s a sensation that starts a full 15 minutes before the warm glow of alcohol even reaches my brain, but that part doesn’t happen anymore. I don’t get the building physical high – and when I really binge, I don’t rise to the occasion.

I don’t take back any of my prior enthusiasms. I ran into problems with drinking in my ‘30s. Hangovers would last two days, but I didn’t quit. Instead I came up with a drinking plan. Eventually I could skip dinner, take a few handfuls of vitamin B, drink double IPAs all night long, stay sharp, and in the morning I felt great, light, hungry, alert, eager for coffee and breakfast. That was true. I stand by all my previous beer drinking advice. I can say with confidence that I was living my best life. However, there may be an age limit.

5 years ago I wrote in Brewz-Newz that I was looking forward to looking old. I thought it would be nice to graduate from creepy old dude to kindly old man. I thought I would get grey and soften up a little, but that’s not what’s happening. The hair is still dark but the decay inside of me has bubbled to the surface. I can harsh a buzz just by walking into a room.

A few years back I stopped being impressed with myself. Last year I went through a long period of not liking myself. That was a new thing. I had minor issues. Normal stuff that many people have had to deal with their entire lives, like feeling ugly, getting drunk, but not kick ass drunk, involuntary naps, and how freaking frustrated I get when I can’t see things that are right in front of my face. However, as the wise Billy Ray Cyrus once told his daughter Miley, “life is a series of adjustments.”

“When all else fails lower your standards” was a t-shirt I wore all the time when I was in high school. It was a shirt my Dad bought for himself from a street vender in Berkeley. I thought it was hilarious and wore it all the time. Now I live it.

10pm used to be about the time I had energy. Now in 2020 when 10 pm rolls around I I’m not ramping up, I’m winding down. I sit-down in front of the TV. My consumption of Netflix DVDs has increased three fold this year. I get tired earlier. On the positive side I very rarely have those days where I go into work on two or three hours sleep, that used to happen at least twice a week. I think I’m sleeping more now than I have in my entire life. I also can spend a little extra for nice beers like New Glory or Modern Times because I don’t drink them all in one night.

I do nearly an hour of stretching and physical therapy every morning or my right side goes bad. It’s a physical breakdown and it won’t get better. My right shoulder isn’t hooked up right, back muscles have to compensate. If I don’t get blood coursing through those muscles they tighten up, it feels like a piece of solid wood is stuck behind my shoulder, they pull on my neck which locks up, the lower back gets unstable, the hip gets sore and I have a grinding sensation down in my heal. It’s a whole set of dominos that I’m always trying to keep from falling. I have to take it easy, sudden movements have consequences. On a positive note, thanks to the morning regimen my left side still feels like I’m 30 years old.

I gave this post a positive title because I had a lot of bitching to do, but in the end I know my life is wonderful. That’s the really fantastic and positive thing about drinking, it helps you feel how lucky you are and the feeling doesn’t end when the drunk ends, it resonates.


The art on our wall for this post is Murray: A lot of people remember Murray as a photographer among other talents, but the Murray I knew was first and foremost a great beer drinker. He was always drinking really good strong beer, but he never seemed to be drunk. At the end of his life Murray moved from San Jose to Sacramento. I think he was there for less than a year but when he died the local tap house dedicated a barstool plaque to him . BrewzNewz president of operations Dave Ninja was there for the ceremony, he told me tears were shed.

In one weekend Murray Bowles had three different celebration of life events in his honor, in San Jose, Berkely, and Oakland. Afterwards I was little Murrayed out, but the nice thing about it was that I felt a connection to a scene that I thought had little to do with me anymore. However, at the Oakland show I loosened my right ear plug to talk to people so many times that later when I woke up in the middle of the night, it sounded like a steam engine was barreling into my ear. Thankfully by morning a closer to normal level of ringing had returned.

I wrote this during the Corona Virus shutdown. We are lucky, so far both the wife and I are still working, she at home, me in an office space where even during normal times I only speak a few sentences to people each day. The shutdown has been easier on me than anyone I know. Except for our three day family trip to L.A. last year I spent every one of my vacation days at home. Walking the dogs is more getting out than I need these days. Sometimes I feel cooped up in the house, but when I go out to pee in our side-yard I stare at the moon and the clouds for a few minutes and I come back in feeling fresh and renewed. Not that this shutdown situation hasn’t caused stress. My only concern when it started was my son’s musical. So many kids put in so much work, not just learning the songs and the dance routines, but the musicians, the lighting, the stage work. It all comes together in this amazing communal event. After getting the go ahead the day before, all six shows were cancelled on opening night. My son is positive and resilient so he handled it well but I stress ate and gave myself my first ever case of heartburn. Then the full shutdown hit. My wife and daughter were going to to take their very first trip to Europe. It was going to be a high school graduation present for my daughter. I would have felt fantastic for both of them while simultaneously not having to go anywhere myself. Hopefully it is only postponed.

The only change I’ve had to make is bringing a leash for my dogs. Now that everybody in our town has been forced to adopt my lifestyle the formally seldom used parks and trails are teaming with people.

Our sideyard

My wife is dealing with more and is tougher than I am in many ways, my kids are calm and good natured. There have been no tears or breakdowns. I have concerns about the future but right now we are fine.

(Last minute addition – I wasn’t going to say anything but when I say my wife “is dealing with more”…
The other night I woke up on our couch about three in the morning and went out to the side-yard to pee, I noticed the bathroom light was on, meaning my wife was up. After I came back in the house I heard a loud “THUNK” and I immediatley thought “that sounds like my wife just fainted” and she had, she’s never done anything like that before. Coincidentally the last thing I watched before falling asleep was a short video from Sean Evans, he’s the guy who interviews celebrities while they eat hot wings on youtube, it’s my favorite show. For Christmas my wife got me a “Hot Ones” hot sauce package. Anyway, in his video he did a short Covid update for the show. He also explained that he had a cut on his face because he had woke up at 3am to pee and fainted. Then he came to and while walking back to bed he fainted a second time and cut his face on a table. But he had gone to a doctor and he’s %100 okay, no problem at all. I was thinking about it. So I’m helping my wife get back to bed and she fainted a second time! It should have really freaked me out, but I was thinking “This is the exact same thing that just happened to Sean Evans, and he’s a %100 fine.” So I get her into bed and once she was lying down she did seem to be okay. In the morning she was even better than her usual self, she had been in a lot of pain for a while, she finally went to a doctor and has started injecting blood thinners because of a blood clot in her leg. Before that she had other ailments, in December she had a long running chest cold that was so bad she thought she must have had pnmonia. The first time we heard about Covid I said “People at work are going to think you have it, you cough all the time.” The other morning the news mentioned that a common side effect after a Covid recovery is blood clots, but I don’t want to speculate too wildly.)


Important and timely for this post are two bands, 50 Million and Shellshag.

I always thought 50 Millions “Sleepover” was one of the best songs I put out on Probe Records. However, as great as that song is the record was so strong that most people seemed to prefer “Whiskey Eyes” on the other side. Whiskey Eyes was “side burly” a hard nosed noisey rocker. “Sleepover” was “side gurly” a very sweet and fun love song – it was sweet and nice but hard around the edges.

A year or two after that record, not knowing my label was about to go belly up I asked 50 Million if I could put out another record. They gave me cassette tape. There were some really awesome pop songs on there. They also had a lot of good noise and rock stuff. I asked, Hey can I just take the pop songs and make a fantastic pop record? They said “But then it wouldn’t be 50 Million record.” Most of the stuff on that cassette was later on the “Bust the Action” LP on Broken Records which I insist you should check out if you are inclined at all because here is the thing. 50 Million and Shellshag have already removed themselves from all streaming services, they barely even exist on youtube, the 50 Million records are sold out and now they are removing themselves from band-camp also. However, up until May 20th 2020 you can buy their entire digital discography for $30. Over 300 songs. There will be another 50 Million record upcoming. Wade has had a stroke so I guess he can’t play drums, but he’ll be playing guitar.
I tried to find a youtube link for “Sleepover” but there isn’t one so here is “Amy Jahn” from “Bust the Action” listen to it if you haven’t heard it yet! I have a very short clip of 50 Million playing Sleepover from a October 2017. I’ll put it on my youtube channel right now so I can post it here.

I saw on Instagram that 50 Million would be playing at NOON in Clarion Alley in SF. My wife and daughter dropped me off at the Pleasanton BART station around 7am. I wanted to get there early so I could pregame the show by drinking at the the Double Play sports bar which opened at 8:30am. I was worried they wouldn’t allow drinking in the alley. When I got there I saw Jason Bean and he told me drinking in the alley wouldn’t be a problem. There was a table to donate money and they had cups, so it turned out my pre-game plan was a little over the top. When 50 Million started playing “Sleepover” I took out my phone and recorded that clip, more than 20 years after they first recorded the song.

CODA, This is over. Good post. End It

That was the post. If I wanted this to be art I would end these sooner. Unfortunately I’m inflicted with that sometimes annoying human need to share my life. I’m not autistic or on any spectrum but unlike many people, socializing does not activate my dopamine receptors. Since I have no motivation to talk to people I go on too long when I write. I also can’t see the social cues telling me to wrap it up.

Sean Evans interviews Paul Rudd/ Cauliflower wings.

Food is one of the cornerstones to living a good BEER CENTERED LIFESTYLE. I deleted that entire section because it was just too much to get into, too particular about me and I already did an entire post about the moral perils associated with the munching on of animals http://www.brewznewz.com/2015/10/ One thing that changed since that post is that Buffalo Cauliflower has become a thing. It’s a nice midday food if you are going to be drinking all day and plan to be up all night, and if you aren’t into amphetamines it’s the way to go.

I already know what my next step down is going to be. Beer drinking has motivated me for years to be careful with food. I was always anticipating my next beer high and didn’t want to cut it short by eating food that was dumb. I’ve weighed roughly 195 lbs for over 15 years. Early last year It went up. I brought it back down but I think in the future I’ll be moving up a weight class on a more permanent basis. I can feel it. I’ve already ended my strict no sugar rule to mostly no sugar. I also started drinking red wine more often. It’s a lazy alcohol. Hopefully I’ll just put on one layer of weight, if I start to blow up I’ll have to do something about it. It won’t really become a problem until I have trouble putting on shoes. That’s when the slippery slope begins.


I had a Guns n’ Roses phase. I don’t regret it but that only lasted a year, I was young, my Miley Cyrus phase is going on 7 years now. That’s how much better Miley Cyrus is than Guns n Roses. 7 times better! Tell my 20 year old self that Miley (who was still four years from being born then) kicks ass on them! She effortlessly breaks out in powerful vocals, people still try to turn her into a punchline but she is too strong, too legitimate, just a full time all around bad ass, never backs down, and continues to see the best in people. She’s past the age now that Axl and a lot of singers had to start working hard to keep their voices strong. She was amazing as usual, but her first two appearances after vocal surgery she’s changed her approach so I’m nervous and possibly even a little sad. Her EP “She is Coming!” was the best music that came out in 2019.

Jeff Goldblum was the least inspirational guest to ever appear on the hot wings show, but he asked Miley to sing on his record so he probably isn’t always a disappointment.

I’m just going to embed these videos straight in. This one isn’t even a video. I was only going to hightlight links except for 50 Million clip but when I do that the link completely opens to a new page instead of popping up within the text. Easier just to do this.

Will this post never end? One more thing.
Just to be clear, this isn’t an old man thing. Daytime shows are just better than nighttime shows. They always have been. They are raw and personal. Don’t be fooled by the lights stoner.

High school kids, 2018 Cleveland School of Rock. A++

And this fucking outdoor classic all-time fucking greatest. 1970 Detroit

The year I turned fifty-one I drank more than I have in any other year of my life.

Not a taste test. After a long night of drinking I found three different unfinished beers that I had misplaced around the house, yes I drank them.

For many years now I’ve continuously strived to drink as much as possible. When I first started on this quest I figured that being able to drink heavily without getting a hangover (along with the invention of the self-driving car) would be the pinnacle of drunken happiness. I was right. Hangovers are not an issue and my health is not an issue either. Still, I’ve decided to start drinking less. Money is the main concern, but my mental health is also in question.

When compared to wine high quality beer is inexpensive, but the price has gone up. For one, those hazy beers with the funny names often require double and triple the amount of hops and the fancy cans they come in can be expensive. Not only that, but similar to an issue I have with wine, I drink them too quickly. Brewing techniques (building up from a light malt instead of starting strong and using hops for balance) have progressed to the point that super hoppy beers are almost too drinkable. A bomber of good old-fashioned style double IPA lasts me longer than the big fancy four-packs.

Last May I drank a bottle of wine and three double IPAs before starting a 12 hour fast for a blood test. I wanted to get fair results by not cleaning up for a physical. I got a clean bill of health, my blood pressure is low, my liver is fine and despite everything I’ve heard about alcohol weakening the immune system, I haven’t been sick since 2017.

Anything that is considered food I eat. There is no cuisine that is off the table for me. However, I stopped eating sugar, no desert, no donuts, ice-cream etc. This seems to have improved my liver health and has shot my booze recovery time through the roof. I used to say the best reason not to drink too much was because you still want to look forward to drinking the next day. But when I stopped eating sugar I didn’t have to pay as much attention to how much I was drinking. Late night benders that used to put me out of commission for a day would only last a morning. At work I’d start daydreaming about my next beer right after my afternoon car nap. This meant more nights drinking as soon as I got home.

Which is always nice, but when you then keep drinking until 2am it cost money. Near the end of the year, even after I stopped buying the fancy cans and thought I was being thrifty with my beer purchases, the wife noticed the increase in spending. She had a talk with me about bills that needed to be paid down now so we could have room for some even bigger bills coming up in our future. It was the only talk I ever received about why I needed to drink less that survived scrutiny.

Not long ago we were raising two little kids, going back to school, getting new jobs, fixing up a home, money was tight, free time didn’t exist. From 2004 to 2014 planning ahead for any opportunity to drink beer was important, and difficult. Not anymore.

I’ve always been an aggressive driver. I don’t race other cars. We are all on the same team. My issue is I can’t stand the sight of unused road. It’s a waste, so if cars in front of me have unused road in front of them I’m compelled to get to that unused road. Despite the misgivings of some passengers, I always felt, strongly, that my driving has been safe and under control. Until this year, this year I crossed the line, repeatedly, and I did it almost absent-mindedly. I kept saying. “Holy Christ, don’t do that again!, then the next day I would do it again. Driving has been second nature to me all my life, but this year getting my driving under control is the reason I started praying to God again. It’s something I never had to worry about before. Now, before I get in the car I put myself in a mental state where I don’t drive like a boulder tumbling down a hill.
It’s a similar story with the drinking. Too much untethered momentum.

The art on our walls for this post.
A friend Brandi got this for my wife on her birthday several years ago. I wasn’t happy about it then. I thought it was dark art. I thought blood was coming out of her eye. Now I look at it and it looks like she just has a little bit of rosacea. What was I thinking? Of course, in this photo I took of the painting from the reflection off the glass you can see Melvin sitting in the lower left corner, that doesn’t help.


The last several Brewznewz Youtubes have been punk rock, so I’m unapologetically going back to Miley Cyrus.  I don’t think most people appreciate just how hardcore Miley is. As a fan I’m always a little nervous. Chances are she’s not going to bat 1,000 forever and she constantly does new things on the fly.
This was a morning TV show in Australia, Miley was freaking amazing as always.

Recently my 1997 Subaru needed $600 in repairs so we traded it in and got a 2004 Camry. Ha, I’m moving up in the world. But it’s true! The Camry is truly a LUXURY sedan. I called the Subaru the dog car because the interior was so thrashed I didn’t worry about carrying the dogs around in it. It also had a broken stereo so I could only listen to my cell phone by putting it in my shirt pocket and pointing the speaker up towards my left ear. The interior of the Camry is really nice, I keep a blanket in the trunk to cover the back seat when I let the dogs in. It also has a tape-deck which is awesome because I have a cassette adaptor so I can listen to all the music and podcasts on my phone in full stereo. The windows roll up into the door so there is less road noise and the windshield-wipers work too. It does have an egg-beater for an engine but that’s okay as I’m trying to be a more subdued driver. While I will miss the go-cart like simplicity of the old Subaru I won’t miss traffic jams with a manual transmission.

Similar to beer I probably need to spend less time on Twitter. On one hand it can be great. Unlike Instagram, Twitter can be very impersonal but I’ve found some reporters and other folks I may not have discovered otherwise. I’ve also taken some deep dives into some dumb shit. Okay, thanks for checking out BrewzNewz Go A’s!


Crap, I “published” this but it doesn’t feel done. I edited out the mental health stuff to make this shorter and less complicated. However after doing that it just ends with a thud and some of the things I wrote no longer connect. However, I want to be done with this so instead re-editing the entire thing I’ll just add this brief addendum.


I had a problem this year losing focus and acting absentmindedly. I don’t know if my brain has been pickled or if I just reached an age where the governing portion of the brain becomes weaker. I just pushed my limits every night. I’ve tried to change a few things this year with some success, and also some failures. I know a lot of people my age are forced to make life changes. We had a little play-off football party at our house this year and half the people there had recently quit drinking. At the party I made plans with my friend Ernie, we were going to make watching the playoffs fun by starting the next day at 10am on South Main Street, heading North and having a drink at every place downtown with taps. However, that night I continued to drink until 3am and like a complete failure of drinker I had to text Ernie at 8am and let him know I was too tanked to continue on another day.  I’m an asshole I used to lecture at people and lose respect for them as drinkers for that kind of foolishness. Day drinking is the best drinking. I need to be better! I will be better!

The Goldfish incident, not much to see here, I deleted this post and could have got away with it if not for my obsession with not wasting food. That and over sharing, the next day the Ninja’s came to town and I told everybody. I don’t drink milk or eat Goldfish so I have no idea what I thought I was doing here.

Okay, that’s it. I’m just going. It’s spring, enough with this! I’m posting this and then the only reason I need to be on this computer is for fantasy baseball!