Disneyland Beer Life, Instagram – and Hitler

IMG_2944“Hey Buddy, my eyes are up here.” When I wore this shirt every body stared at my chest. I like images of women and beer so I like beer shirts with women on them, but this one is too much for me. I don’t have enough personality to overcome this shirt. IMG_1982I prefer the classics, such as the turn of the century Olympia Beer ads that Olympia brought back in the 1970s. I remember my Grandma Lydia painted portraits of women in fancy hats that she had hanging in every room of her house. That feeling of nostalgia is probably why Olympia was my favorite beer back in the days of the cheap 12-pack.

(When Suicide Girls first became popular I read a magazine interview that asked the founder if she had pioneered a new style of sexuality for the next generation of young women, she answered that it was already there (paraphrasing) “ before we were around Taste of Latex and The Probe were featuring sexy images of punk and alternative looking girls…”  Even back then, it was just nice that the Probe was remembered.
Like Nirvana to hair metal I thought Suicide Girls were a nice response to the Bud Girl posters and all of that horribly slick sexuality that we were fed in the ‘80s, but now here I am wearing a t-shirt of a big boobed beach girl making an “O” face and feeling nostalgia for women in fancy hats.
I’m confused sexually. I can’t decide which type of hetero normative male I want to be.)

Classic, I really like this one, and it's their best beer, this is on the back

Classic, I really like this one, and it’s their best beer, this is on the back

Nostalgia is also the reason so many adults love Disneyland. (Yes, that was an attempt at a segue. Don’t judge me, I’m a drinker, not a writer!) I went to Disneyland for one day when I was 12 and I only remember standing in line. I’m not one of those adults who likes to spend vacations at Disneyland.
However, when our kids were young the wife thought they should have the full Disneyland experience. She was right. Not only did they love it while we were there but they seemed happier when we got home too. They were on a Disney high. Then three years ago, we went back and did a full on Disney boot camp. 3 days, fast pass strategies and 15 hours each day in the park. It was an incredibly well executed family vacation. It was tough for me to find time for breweries, but I managed.

Don’t bother, but this is the old Disney post http://www.brewznewz.com/2013/04/

This time I never set foot in Disneyland. The wife and kids left early every morning and I stayed behind in the hotel room. I brought about six books to read while I was waiting for the breweries to open. However, it’s now 2016 and I recently jumped from an I-phone four to one of those big I-phone sixes, quite a life change. I did very little book reading. No TV either. I spent time on instagram.

I almost want to join Facebook now because that’s where all of my fellow old people are. I don’t come across a lot of people my age on instagram. Then, just because I follow and “like” Miley Cyrus I get Selena Gomez and Justin Timberlake in my “explore” feed. That’s like getting Iron Butterfly when you’re looking for Led Zeppelin or Screw 32 instead of Hickey. For that reason and others my favorite exploring options on instagram are comments and location. It’s pretty amazing. Those are the paths you follow when you want to get off the beaten path and find the real stuff from all around the world. I complain about people who don’t add location or they make comments, but have private feeds. I was bitching about this one day to the wife, saying people that have private feeds are fearful of the world and don’t have a sense of community. She said, “What are saying? My account is private!” I didn’t know. To her Instagram is a way to keep up with friends and family. I’m a little more intense about it.

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Is Hitler trending or what?
Last month I noticed photos of Hitler come up in feeds. It was always in a foreign language so I wasn’t sure of the context, but it was still weird because it seemed completely random. There were four or five different times where I came across photos of Hitler. It was odd.
One time I thought I might have stumbled on some strange Nazi cult, but I clicked all the people that “liked” the Hitler photos (no hash tags on them) and I didn’t find any other Nazi stuff. Just random “likes” for Hitler from people otherwise unassociated.

This guy got six likes for his selfie, Hitler got 3 likes, Che got one like and the others got none.

This guy got six likes for his selfie, Hitler got 3 likes, Che got one like and the others got none.

Nazis, Don’t Call it Comeback!
While the family was at Disneyland a friend posted a flyer on instagram. It was a counter-protest for a Nazi rally in Sacramento. It sounded like an event straight out of a bad movie so I made a couple of sarcastic comments under the photo. “I hope they have pamphlets.” Are Nazi’s a thing in California? Were they ever in this country? References to Nazis in America are usually used solely as punch lines or insults.Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 8.27.58 PM However, I quickly discovered on instagram that in other parts of the world Hitler seems almost beloved. It’s not just in one location, many different parts of the world. It’s all walks of life too, young kids in punk bands, moms, soldiers, doctors, and classical musicians. I looked up the reasons for this and there are many different factors that vary by location, including the influence of WWII alliances and Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 7.51.25 PMexpiration of the Bavarian copyright for Mein Kamph that has lead to a surge in the sales of his book.
I’ll post a few screen captures. I think I’ll make them thumb post size (at the end) so I don’t have an entire Brewz Newz filled with Hitler love, but if you are curious you can click on them What strikes Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 1.30.32 AMme most are the nature of the few comments that are in English. There isn’t a negative social stigma for Hitler in most nonwestern countries. The attitude towards him is completely different than we’re used to. Kids often aren’t taught about the Holocaust in Iran. (see post at right)
It’s not everywhere; I’ve looked at several thousands of photos in Pakistan and Afghanistan and didn’t find any Hitler at all. I’m also not educated enough to know why it was possible to find real women with Instagram accounts in Afghanistan but not in Pakistan. Pakistan was a lot of dudes following other dudes and they all have short beards and longish hair. I kept trying to use the location key to escape into different social strata, but got caught in a giant vortex of semi- hairy dudes selfies. Very few women and most were completely covered. 3am, sleepless, and the worst hour I have ever spent on instagram. Pakistan, get you’re shit together!

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I thought maybe it was just bad luck within a small sample size but I just now tried again, 183 million people and this times a thousand is pretty much all I can come up with on instagram in Pakistan.


 

(The day after I wrote this a popular Pakistani woman was strangled by her brother for making somewhat risqué posts on Facebook, an honor killing. This one made the news because of her large following. Over 500 women are killed every year in Pakistan by family members, many of them for photos that they posted on social media and most honor killings are never prosecuted, that explains why you can’t find Pakistani women on instagram.)

(The day after I wrote this a popular Pakistani woman was strangled by her brother for making somewhat risqué posts on Facebook, an honor killing. This one made the news because of her large following. Over 500 women are killed every year in Pakistan by family members, some of them are killed for photos on social media and most honor killings are never prosecuted – so that explains why Instagram in Pakistan is nothing but miles and miles of little hairy dudes.)

 

Other Arabic countries have instagram feeds that are completely lawless, car stunts on public highways, bizarre dancing men in the desert, and the most disturbing video I’ve ever seen in my life. Normally I look away before I see horrible things, but I didn’t see this one coming. I wrote a paragraph about it but decided to delete it. I can’t even mention what it was and keep this light hearted. If you want to be disturbed you can ask me in person but I won’t write about it.

And now back to Disneyland!
So before I got side tracked by Hitler, this was to be a Disneyland beer post. Unfortunately I did something really dumb in preparation for this trip and I stopped drinking for four days. My intention was to clear out my liver in preparation for a brewery blitzkrieg, but instead of going to the beer fridge all I did was satiate my cravings by raiding my kids’ cereal cabinet and then later scooping myself ice cream at one in the morning while binge watching YouTube. Not drinking is so unhealthy! I felt horrible and was looking forward to clearing out my system with a good dose of pure hops n’ barley.
Mistake #2 was meeting up with old friends the very first night of our trip. I over drank before I even got to any breweries, that’s what you do with old friends! Luckily, the hotel we were in the first night had a weight room. The next morning, after dropping the family off at Universal Studios (an addition to this trip because of Harry Potter land) I went to the weight room and spent an hour kicking myself in the butt. It worked! I was ready to start drinking again by noon!

Of course I wanted this calendar but they were sold out!

Of course I wanted this calendar but they were sold out!

WAZE
My first attempt at using the waze app went well except waze doesn’t mention the address. It just says, “you’ve arrived” so instead of walking into the Eagle Rock Brewery I walked to the Eagle Rock Church. A lady there lightheartedly condescended to me drinking instead of church going but she pointed me in the right direction. A friend Josh joined me by way of Uber and we went on to the Highland Park Brewery next, both great. After that we headed to Hollywood where things are weird. I took several photos for instagram and deleted them within an hour. That’s my idea of living in the moment. One was a photo of a little house behind another house where Josh told me David Yow lives. In honor of that moment, here is a YouTube clip of the great Jesus Lizard!

After David Yow’s place Josh and I picked up his special lady friend Donna. (Previously known as Good Donna) A nice thing about  LA is that you don’t have to get on Instagram to leave the country. We went to a Korea Town shopping plaza, none of the signs were in English, but in the corner of the place was a great beer bar. They didn’t have the Adam Carolla “Endless Rant” IPA but they had a different beer from King Harbor Brewing so I got that one in honor of them honoring Adam Corolla.IMG_3094

This year Father’s Day happened during this vacation. We went a couple of miles down the road from Disneyland to Oggi’s Pizza and Brewery. I actually saw the family each day. It was in the middle of *100 plus heat wave so  they’d come back to the hotel around 2pm and I’d go to the hotel pool with Henry while the women took an air conditioning break. Then they went back to the park and I hit the breweries that opened at 4pm. Backstreet Brewing had a $3 pint Monday that worked out for me. That was my first time using the Uber app too. I had walked there because it was only two miles from the hotel room, but I had to go around a highway

Featured Beer; King Harbor’s Endless Rant. I’ve been following Nicole Ernie on twitter for a couple of years now. She’s not a fan of the Ace Man, but she is a Master Cicerone (beer expert); I think I heard on the Brewing Network that she’s the youngest person ever to earn that title. I could be wrong about that, but if I’m wrong I’m still close to the truth. Anyway, I brought a bottle of “Endless Rant” to Fern and Greg’s wedding.  I chased down Nicole and asked her what she thought about this very special beer honoring the great Adam Carolla.  I didn’t have a note pad, but she said something like, “I didn’t want to like this but it’s good.” A few hours later she completely killed it with Judas Priest on the Karaoke!

Featured Beer; King Harbor’s Endless Rant. I’ve been following Nicole Ernie on twitter for a couple of years now. She’s not a fan of the Ace Man, but she is a Master Cicerone (beer expert); I think I heard on the Brewing Network that she’s the youngest person ever to earn that title. I could be wrong about that, but if I’m wrong I’m still close to the truth. Anyway, I brought a bottle of “Endless Rant” to Fern and Greg’s wedding. I chased down Nicole and asked her what she thought about this very special beer honoring the great Adam Carolla. I didn’t have a note pad, but she said something like, “I didn’t want to like this but it’s good.” A few hours later she completely killed it with Judas Priest on the Karaoke!

and stuff (I hash tagged #dalebozzio at the brewery but I don’t know if anyone got it. The wife didn’t even click on it. = Missing Persons = “Walking in LA”) so instead of walking back to the hotel I clicked on the Uber app and it said, “your ride will be here in 4 minutes.” Amazingly easy, I’ve never called a cab in my life, but now I use Uber.
I want to thank Bootlegger’s Brewery for opening at noon on a Monday and I’d say I had the most fun at Legends Brewery, but otherwise I’m not going to review each brewery like I did last time. I will say that brewery culture is still strong! Each place had it’s own personality and I didn’t have any bad experiences. Except for some reason the new Instagram app couldn’t “add location” at half the breweries I visited. Google Earth and Uber always knew exactly where I was, but Instagram couldn’t figure it out. That annoyed me because I was trying to be ninja quick with my posts and get back to drinking and it’s the difference between posting a photo that says, “Hey, check this place out!” to “Hey, look I’m having a beer!” And that’s great, but it’s a little different. When the location works it’s like sending extra photos to anyone who might be interested. It’s just good shorthand. There are still hash-tags, but those are overused and abused.

The “Art on our Walls” segment for this post was the Olympia Beer Plate up at the top of the column.

Getting back to America, it looks like I will be watching The Voice this year. Previously the only reality TV show I’ve watched were the four episodes of Celebrity Apprentice that Adam Carolla was on. Adam’s natural deference was interpreted by Trump as bad tactics.  However, the behind the scenes stories on Adam’s podcast were more interesting than the show itself. After he was fired I stopped watching. Miley Cyrus became a coach for a short stint on The Voice last season. It was impressive to watch her so quickly breakdown songs and coach up the performances. As Pharrell said on set, “she’s like a little super human!” This year she’s coming back for a full season as a judge. I’m not sure what that entails, but Miley never disappoints.

Getting back to America, it looks like I will be watching The Voice this year. Previously the only reality TV show I’ve watched were the four episodes of Celebrity Apprentice that Adam Carolla was on. Adam’s natural deference was interpreted by Trump as bad tactics. The behind the scenes stories on Adam’s podcast were more interesting than the show itself. After he was fired I stopped watching. Miley Cyrus became a coach for a short stint on The Voice last season. It was impressive to watch her so quickly breakdown songs and coach up the performances. As Pharrell said on set, “she’s like a little super human!” This year she’s coming back for a full season as a judge. I’m not sure what that entails, but Miley never disappoints. https://youtu.be/DYIp5JAJrSo

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Main Street Brewery isn't afraid to have fun, take that hipsters!

Main Street Brewery isn’t afraid to have fun, take that hipsters!

Good one Murray!

Good one Murray!

While I was writing this. This one was back to back with the Murray photo in my regular feed!

While I was writing this. This one was back to back with the Murray photo in my regular feed!

It's not all about Hitler and honor killings. Turkey seemed to be fairly joyful.

It’s not all about Hitler and honor killings. Turkey seemed to be fairly joyful.

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Adventures of the Mullet Boy Part II

IMG_1263When I was teenager I once put my records outside because I was afraid they were evil. I didn’t want to sleep in the same room with them. I had attended a nighttime church event. The listing I saw in the paper had said, “learn the truth about rock n’ roll!” or something. I went to it because it had listed Led Zeppelin and ACDC. However, when I got there I was surprised to see that I was the only mullet headed rocker in attendance. All of the other young people were there with their parents. The presentation scared the hell out of me! The minister that prayed with me afterwards seemed to feel bad about it. Instead of putting the fear of God into me he tried to talk me down.
The following week I spent a lot of time playing my records backwards (turntable in neutral, turn by hand) and asking around about the occult. The following Sunday I put on my white pants and my most colorful button up shirt and went to the same church above HWY 680 in San Ramon. It was a mistake, not my tribe. I was trying to fit in, but they tried to pretend I wasn’t there.

“An American Pale Ale designed by Michael Wilton, the lead guitarist of the band Queensryche” Even with my mullet I was never much of a metal guy. I’m giving my other one these to Todd McNeill.

“An American Pale Ale designed by Michael Wilton, the lead guitarist of the band Queensryche” Even with my mullet I was never a full blown metal guy. I’m giving my other one of these to Todd McNeill.

I didn’t feel dumb about it. I slowly came to peace with Led Zeppelin. I was never fully convinced they were satanic, but the music definitely had a lot of power over me. It seemed supernatural and I was concerned.
A few weeks later I went to my first ACDC concert. I went alone. I was sober and sat quietly in the nosebleed seats. Afterwards my ears kept ringing for days. They never stopped ringing. After about a year I got used to it.

The Gilman Zinefest 

Fieldwork Brewing is just two blocks away from 924 Gilman, if it wasn’t for that I probably wouldn’t have gone to this event. Even when I published a zine I never felt comfortable at zine fests. It always feels awkward to thumb through somebody’s life work right in front of them especially if you don’t feel like the target audience. I just went straight to the few things I knew I wanted and bought those. It was a zine fest fail on my part. The wife and I both heard about The Spitboy Rule book written by their drummer, Michelle Cruz Gonzalez. As someone who read every issue of MRR from 1989 to 1999 I remember Spitboy. I didn’t have their records, but I had traded zines through the mail with their singer Adrianne Droogas and I mentioned to the wife that I was sort of hoping she might be there. The reason being I always had this weird satisfaction that the singer of such a quintessentially city oriented hardcore band was from my suburban hometown of Pleasanton.

Probe #1

Probe #1

Commuting to the Punk Rock.
In 1989 I appreciated the aesthetic of punk rock, but I knew it wasn’t me and if I had tried to fit in it would have been much more lame than the mullet on my head. I was the suburbs walking. Once at an intimate show at Brave New World in SF, everybody was dressed to the nines in their finest anti-establishment garb. I stuck out in my polo shirt and white tennis shoes so I nodded to people and said matter of factly, “I’m really cool.” It got a few laughs so that became my shtick for a while.
IMG_2668Ironically, the only time I was ever harassed at Gilman was soon after I chopped off the mullet. My zine partner and I went to see The Muffs. The girl taking money at the door scowled angrily at me the entire time. I noticed, but didn’t think it was about me. Later on I saw that she had written “GO HOME!!” on my Gilman card. Maybe she didn’t like my shoes.
East Bay punks seemed too serious about punk rock. They could have been easy to make fun of with all of their rules, and the uniform, combat boots, colored hair etc. but it was genuine. It was identification with a scene. SF was different, more varied, fun garage punk at Purple Onion, Epicenter was hardcore but clean and friendly, and then a large dirtier, more drug oriented, more fucked up, but also more intellectual Mission scene that I eventually gravitated towards.IMG_2662

My old zine partner Ricardo has been producing a burlesque show in Vegas for the past three years!

My old zine partner Rich has been producing a burlesque show in Vegas for the past three years!

In the process of writing this I googled his name and this time actually I found him! He had been missing for years so it was good to see he is alive and well and looks the same! However, finding Rich completely sidetracked this post as I broke out my old issues of Probe. Before that I was concentrating on the city/suburbs relationship and I had a race theme going thanks to reading the Spitboy Rule book. 3831604890266dea12773cca7c1a6eb8
When I met Rich 26 years ago we were both wearing the same L7 “Smell the Magic” t-shirt. L7 weren’t really a “girl band” as the term is usually applied. Their sex was a heavy influence, but their main intention was to ROCK. I really loved L7. As a matter of fact, I loved L7 so much that I was afraid of them. I was supposed to do the interview with Rich the night we saw them at the Berkeley Square, but I knew that if I were to get personally snubbed it would have made me heartsick. A simple eye roll from Donita or Jennifer would have frozen me speechless. I chickened out and Rich did that interview solo.
With the Melvins and Mr. Bungle I wasn’t nervous because they were dudes.IMG_2674

Riot Girls were Late to the party
As far as girls in bands go, dumb grunge rock was much more progressive than the hardcore punks or riot girl which came later on. From 1989-1991, there was an all girl band or a girl fronted band playing at most shows. However, my memory of this may be skewed because I was friends with Rich. He seemed to prefer the girl bands. I remember giving him a hard time “You just buy every record that has girls in it don’t you?”IMG_2667
Truth is Rich was the real deal. When I met him he was already a show veteran, and like me, a loner. We would just go to whatever show looked interesting whether we were with friends or not – actually Rich never had friends. Rich always had his camera. That was his thing. One night I did see The Fastbacks from Seattle walk over to the table where Rich was sitting just to say Hi. I asked him how they knew him. He said he had been to all of their Bay Area shows so they remembered him. I think they used one of his photos on a record of theirs.IMG_2670
IMG_2675However, the sad part of the story is that Rich was 23 and he had never been with a girl. He didn’t drink or do drugs. He was confident, but quietly so. His personality didn’t match his size. He was overweight and had a little problem with acne. Those were his IMG_2663IMG_2669issues. I can’t remember his race ever coming up.
Then again, maybe I was wrong about that. Maybe the narrative that ran in Rich’s head was that he didn’t have a girlfriend because he was a Mexican who moved into a white town. Maybe Mexican stuff happened to him all the time and I didn’t know it.
So after making contact and finding out what he was up to I sent him a few fact checking emails for this post.
He didn’t respond to my race questions. He said the stuff I brought up was “so remote” from where he is now he didn’t have any thing to say about it except that he looked forward to reading this.
My personal impression at the time was that he left the punk scene because women in bands had taken his heart out of it.
After his L7 interview in Probe #1 IMG_2672Rich sent the band a copy. Donita actually called to thank him for doing it, which was amazingly cool of her. However, after that L7 signed to a major label with Nirvana’s producer so the next Bay Area show was not so intimate. It was a much bigger venue and the place was packed. Rich was up front taking photos as usual when Donita said, “Can we get the fucking photographers out of the front row so people can see!” Rich was dejected. I said, “She didn’t mean you.” He said, “She was looking right at me when she said that!” (I’m guessing she was upset that smaller girls were getting crowded out, in the same way Kathleen Hanna asked guys to go to the back.)
IMG_2677The next thing that happened was that Rich tried to interview the Lunachicks and theyIMG_2676 were just unnecessarily nasty to him. We made a joke out of it in Probe #2 but Rich took that hard. Rich was a comic book, schlock movie type of guy so the whole Lunachicks scene was right up his ally. He had every single one of their crappy records. Soon after that he moved to Concord to be closer to his $9 hour job drilling holes in bowling balls (He never liked it when I described his job that way, he did customer services at a bowling shop.) When I went to visit him I was surprised at how adult his new apartment looked. The whole record collecting geek vibe was gone. I also stopped seeing him at shows.
In his recent email response to me Rich said, “I have been living in Vegas since ’99, after a short time in Seattle. I’ve been doing IT work for the local health dept. for about 16 years, and loving it.” And he said “Burlesque is a blast. I put on the best shows that you can find outside of a casino.”

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The Turbonegro related “art on our wall” segment for this post is not nearly as interesting as this awesome instagram post from Good Donna. Three of my favorite things on one patch! Rich Hosey mentioned that Turbonegro is one of the few bands he will still travel to see. Then I found on the Jennifer Finch Wikipedia page that she is “an active member of Turbojugend, a fan club of the Norwegian rock band Turbonegro.” Since this is the race blog… am I the only person that remembers Turbonegro in blackface? It was short lived. I received a promo photo that was in blackface around ’93 or ’94. I think all references to it have been wiped off the Internet because I couldn’t find anything. It might have also been part of the reason they went through a name change during the time they were on a Probe Records comp. Shortly after that they switched to the denim/sailor theme and used their original name. They’re another band I’ve lost track of. They are bigger than ever today but I haven’t been aware of them in a while. Part of the reason might be that shortly after we were married the wife played so much Turbonegro that I eventually got tired of hearing them! As she put on “Apocalypse Dudes” for the 300th time I thought. “Well, at least I married a woman who loves Turbonegro!”

Spitboy Rule
I liked the book because it includes stories about a scene that I was a part of but from a different vantage point. Each story was somewhat anticlimactic which I appreciate in the same way that I like French movies because they just end when the story is over. I liked the attention to the dividing line between the suburbs and the city, because that’s how I viewed the scene at the time. Her views of being a woman in the hardcore scene were positive as well as her thoughts on the men in the scene. The only chapters where she seemed to have some bitterness or lingering issues had to do with her “brown skin.” Not so much experiences of racism but of not having her ethnicity acknowledged. She blamed herself for not emphasizing her ethnic identity and went as far as to say that only dating white guys may have been a form of self-hatred.

In the French version the wife walks away from her husband as the credits role. The American version of the same movie was actually better, but then it couldn’t end until someone got stabbed and went flying out of a window. Dumb!

In the French version the wife walks away from her husband as the credits role. The American version of the same movie was actually better, but then it couldn’t end until someone got stabbed and went flying out of a window. Dumb!

The story about inviting her band into her Grandma’s house and the racial explanation of what happened there didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I wanted to hear the other side of that story. I think the author may have externalized what was going on in her own head. I can’t imagine, living in California, that Latino culture and class differences could have been that foreign to her band-mates, even if they came from the suburbs.
I suppose it’s possible to stay isolated, but not very likely. Ultimately your job matters more than where you come from. You interact with co-workers everyday. Sometimes you don’t even talk to your neighbors.

At the age of 21 my brother vowed to never be with another white girl again. 25 years later he’s been true to his word.

At the age of 21 my brother vowed to never be with another white girl again. 25 years later he’s been true to his word.

That does remind me. Racism does exist, but most of the stuff that gets called out as being racist is pretty ridiculous or overblown.
However, I did have my own “Holy fuck that’s racist!” moment. I was watching the movie “Boyhood” and I literally stood up, pointed at the TV, “Did she really just say that? That’s not a joke?” Then it only got worse the next scene. At this point Boyhood was nominated for movie of the year and I never heard anything about the blatant racism. I heard fawning interviews and reviews on NPR, Slate, and even the Dailey Show so I was little stunned. (Those are the same shows that will have 20-minute discussions on Miley Cyrus and her appropriation of black culture.) I think the reason I may have noticed it is because, before my current job, I spent about 7 years with mostly Mexican co-workers and the last year before my present job most of my accounts were bought by a Mexican family business. The guy portrayed in the movie I related to as “the boss” not a poor migrant laborer. Yeah, his parents worked 12 hours a day their entire lives to build the family business and make a better life for him, but thankfully some lady at the job site told him he was smart and turned his life around! The scene was so condescending the cringe factor was off the charts. There is a giant difference between first and second-generation immigrants. The wage and education gap with whites is completely wiped out within a generation. The man running a four-man crew and doing your estimate won’t be inspired by platitudes. Dumb!

Instagram post, Miley’s mom attaches dreads to her daughter’s hair

Instagram post, Miley’s mom attaches dreads to her daughter’s hair

I started writing stories about race but it is too rich and lengthy a topic. I have a story about going to an Easy E show in Oakland back in the late ‘80s (nothing like the movie), some dumb skinhead stories, a race update for Pleasanton, and while living in San Leandro I placed a classified ad in the paper hoping to meet local black women that led to the most uncomfortable cup of coffee in my life – but I’ll save those stories for another time. For now I’ll just include a couple of anticlimactic stories about my ambiguously brown friends.
Like the time we were at the Drake’s warehouse and I convinced my completely non-punk friend Ernie that we should head over to a show at Gilman. He actually said as we rolled up, “there’s not going to be any skinheads here or anything?” I laughed it off and told him it was nothing like that and then on queue someone in a passing car shouted “WHITE POWER!!” at us. I said, “I swear that never happens!” Then I realized I wouldn’t know that first hand.
On the other hand, when I drove an old Buick there was a 3 month stretch where I was pulled over four different times without cause, and each time could be a story. Once I pulled up in front of my own house and I did the thing where I was waiting for the song to end before I turned off the radio. Suddenly the cop spotlight went on behind me and as I started to explain I was at home my car door was slammed. She didn’t pull her gun, but put her hand on it and yelled at me to keep my hands up. She called for back-up. As with the previous stop they wanted to search the vehicle and I politely declined, repeatedly. It was a full 20 minutes before they let me out of my car. She thought my behavior was suspicious. If I were black I would have thought that was some racist shit.

Featured Brewery: Brewz Newz Filipino correspondent Kortnee just posted this photo of Ted, the Vice President of the Sacramento wing of the Brewz Newz Brewery Clan on instagram.  Fieldwork Brewing was started by the brewer at Ballast Point who created the Sculpin Grapefruit IPA. However, he’s more of a beer purist and not actually happy about the trend towards flavored beers that he helped spawn.  Another thing about Fieldwork Brewing is that they have a large brewing facility and a reputation that makes them one of the most common beers to find in any Bay Area taproom. It seems to me their business plan is to pump out a wide variety of beer and by not bottling they never have to wait for the government to approve each new style that they brew. They just put the required information on the keg ring and move onto the next creation.  McKay’s Taphouse near my home is always tweeting that they have something brand new of theirs. At the same time, Murray Bowles in San Jose will post Fieldwork beers on his instagram that are completely different. You’d have to move fast to try them all.

Featured Brewery: Brewz Newz Filipino correspondent Kortnee just posted this photo of Ted, the Vice President of the Sacramento wing of the Brewz Newz Brewery Clan.
Fieldwork Brewing was started by the brewer at Ballast Point who created the Sculpin Grapefruit IPA. However, he’s more of a beer purist and not actually happy about the trend towards flavored beers that he helped spawn.
Another thing about Fieldwork Brewing is that they have a large brewing facility and a reputation that makes them one of the most common beers to find in any Bay Area taproom. It seems to me their business plan is to pump out a wide variety of beer and by not bottling they never have to wait for the government to approve each new style that they brew. They just put the required information on the keg ring and move onto the next creation.
McKay’s Taphouse near my home is always tweeting that they have something brand new of theirs. At the same time, Murray Bowles in San Jose will post Fieldwork beers on his instagram that are completely different. You’d have to move fast to try them all.

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 10.49.57 PML7’s major label debut was a  disappointment, it was bland, nothing like the fun live show, and after that the band slowly left my consciousness. In researching for this post I found out that L7 reformed for a world tour in 2015. Something I was completely unaware of. Then I found Jennifer Finch’s blog. I haven’t had time to read through all of it, but she had a debilitating disease starting in 2008 and then was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. Her instagram page is awesome, a cancer surviving 49 year olds topless selfies are the kind of rock star POWER MOVE that I greatly appreciate!

It’s on a bigger stage than when I saw them but this is the video that reminded me the most of what L7 shows were like.

Monkey Strong! (But too dumb to hang with the jocks) Life in the Burbs

IMG_2629When my generation was young everything was a constant rush and we could barely contain ourselves, beer was any 12 pack and food and sleep were never even a consideration in the constant chase of the next rush. Music was an ever present high, throwing giant house parties, going to shows, meeting new people everyday and going to strange places was stimulating and exciting, sex was a constant rush, music and the people we knew seemed so much more important. However, it was the need for chaos that we were attracted to.
Today’s teens seem to be a little different. The entire world is already laid out in front of them. They don’t need to travel to the city, action is everywhere and it bothers them. They seem so much more mature than we were. I was talking to another dad about how well behaved the high school kids in our neighborhood are. On a Friday in the park, instead of listening to metal or getting drunk in the bushes like we used to do, they are running around the park, doing cartwheels through the sprinklers, and they are all so super nice to us old folks that it’s almost disconcerting. The other dad said to me, “That’s because they are all high on pills!”

The executive vice president at Apple who changed my life forever

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 11.46.21 AM

When I was in college a guy named Hiroki Asai brought some records over to my dorm room. Come to think of it I think he also gave me my first Charles Bukowski book so this guy really changed my life. The record I remember the most was Sewer Trout “Songs About Drinking” it came with a comic zine that I thought was fantastic. It introduced me to a new type of attitude and humor that I had never seen before. There was also the Yeastie Girlz “ovary action” 7” that I loved, some Black Flag records, and my new theme song “Alcohol” by Gang Green. Drinking beer back then was the epitome of fun but at age 21 the idea that someone would rather drink than fuck was so absurd to me that it made this song hilarious!

In 1989, when I started going to shows, I had a big fluffy mullet! I was a happy suburban douchebag when I crossed over into the punk rock world.

The “art on my wall” segment for this post is the blank spot on the wall in my garage where the show poster that Kurt Cobain gave me used to hang. It’s been missing for about 12 years now. I got it after a show at Bogart’s in Long Beach I saw a small pile of screen prints sitting next to the drums. At that point Mr. Cobain was done selling t-shirts and was sitting on the edge of the stage. I said, “Hey, are you selling those posters?” He got up and walked over to investigate, picked one up and brought it back to me.  When I asked how much he smiled lazily and waved me off. It should have a been a nice moment that ended there but I said, “Oh, can I get one for my roommate too?” He rolled his eyes at me and shuffled back over to get another. I could tell he was a little annoyed so I said,  “How much for this one?” He shrugged and said “a buck?” and I gave him dollar. Hopefully Todd still has his poster. When we first moved into this house my roommate Craig converted our garage into a recording studio and quite a number of bands came through. After Craig cleared out his studio I cleaned out the garage top to bottom and painted all of the walls. I probably just misplaced it at some point. Hopefully I didn’t throw it out by accident.

The “art on my wall” segment for this post is the blank spot on the wall in my garage where the show poster that Kurt Cobain gave me used to hang. It’s been missing for about 12 years now. I got it after a show at Bogart’s in Long Beach I saw a small pile of screen prints sitting next to the drums. At that point Mr. Cobain was done playing and was kneeling at the edge of the stage. I said, “Hey, are you selling those posters?” He got up and walked over to investigate, picked one up and brought it back to me. When I asked how much he smiled lazily and waved me off. It should have a been a nice moment that ended there but I said, “Oh, can I get one for my roommate too?” He rolled his eyes at me and shuffled back over to get another. I could tell he was a little annoyed so I said, “How much for this one?” He shrugged and said “a buck?” and I gave him dollar. Hopefully Todd still has his poster. When we first moved into this house my roommate Craig converted our garage into a recording studio and quite a number of bands came through. After Craig cleared out his studio I cleaned out the garage top to bottom and painted all of the walls. I probably just misplaced it at some point. Hopefully I didn’t throw it out by accident.

The mullet photo at the top was taken in 1990 when I was 23. I’m glad the photo exists because my shirt is off and you can see I was ripped. If that photo didn’t exist I wouldn’t even bother telling this story. Several years ago the wife didn’t believe me when I told her that as a sophomore in high school I could grab a basketball rim. She tried to explain that it must have been a low hoop or something. I got indignant, “No! I could do it on any court, all the time!! I could stand directly under the basket, jump up and grab the rim!” She had met me in my 30s after I had five summers of truck driving over my belt so I forgive her for doubting me. I’m only 5’ 10” but at one time I had monkey strength!
I never played sports in high school because my grades were too low. The football coach tried to get me on the team, talked with my math teacher so I could start going to practice, but then I failed other classes too. What I really loved was baseball though, I would watch practice everyday after school even though I couldn’t play. After a few weeks the baseball coach, who was also the school custodian, made me “team manager” so I could travel with the team. The last game of the season he gave me an injured players uniform and sent me up to pinch hit. I was walked on four pitches.

My introduction to punk was backwards. Normally it’s the story of the smart and quirky cool kid that was picked on by the dumb jocks. I was never picked on by anybody, nobody thought I was cool, and I wasn’t smart enough to hang out with the jocks.
Earlier this post I referred to myself as “douchebag” which initially I thought might be a little harsh. However, last night I looked at an old 1988 VHS videotape of Hiroki and I at a big party – and I was a douchebag. I wasn’t a jerk or anything but I was annoying and Hiroki was witty and likable. No surprises as to which one of us went on to run the world.pipsqueak

Beer marches on. 9 years ago the wife and I took a trip to the 21st Amendment Brewery in SF. We were on our way to a Bar Feeders show, but we stopped there specifically because they had collaborated with another brewery to brew an Imperial Red, my favorite, and at the time Imperial Reds were actually hard to find. Of course, when we got there they were out of it but we went to the upstairs bar. We had a bartender to ourselves who started handing us tasters as we came in. The wife prefers the dark beer so he suggested a new beer called Back in Black, which I appreciated for the ACDC reference. I had some fancy beers in a tulip glass. It was a really swell time. Then we went to the show and I had to elbow my way to the bar. The band was great but then we stood in a circle and talked to friends we hadn’t seen in a while and I couldn’t hear a thing anybody said. So that may have been when I started preferring breweries to shows though we’ve gone to a few shows lately too. I still like the small ones, especially if they start early, just not the big reunion gigs. Anyway, now 21st Amendment has a giant brewing and canning facility in the suburbs of San Leandro.

Beer marches on. 9 years ago the wife and I took a trip to the 21st Amendment Brewery in SF. We were on our way to a Bar Feeders show, but we stopped there specifically because they had collaborated with another brewery to brew an Imperial Red, my favorite, and at the time Imperial Reds were actually hard to find. Of course, when we got there they were out of it but we went to the upstairs bar. We had a bartender to ourselves who started handing us tasters as we came in. The wife prefers the dark beer so he suggested a new beer called Back in Black, which I appreciated for the ACDC reference. I had some fancy beers in a tulip glass. It was a really swell time. Then we went to the show and I had to elbow my way to the bar. The band was great but then we stood in a circle and talked to friends we hadn’t seen in a while and I couldn’t hear a thing anybody said. So that may have been when I started preferring breweries to shows though we’ve gone to a few shows lately too. I still like the small ones, especially if they start early, just not the big reunion gigs. Anyway, now 21st Amendment has a giant brewing and canning facility in the suburbs of San Leandro.

Get OFF MY LAWN!
The other day I was clicking around YouTube and under “suggested channels” I got really excited because I saw “Fueled By Ramen” I thought Devon Morf of All You Can Eat had his own channel! Turns out it’s a band called 21 Pilots, I already knew of them because I have a 14 year old daughter that I share an I-tunes account with. They are not Devon Morf, but it’s good stuff.

I was in Good Karma Artisan Ales before a Total Badass, Party Force show in San Jose. The guy behind the bar was playing some sort of African blues retro bla punk bla or something. I wondered if Miley’s veganry got her any fucking respect in the vegan community. I asked him if they ever played any Miley Cyrus. He looked at me like I had just stabbed a cat. Then out of thin air he doubted that she was really a vegan.

Most of the time that people post show photos or band mentions on instagram I try to look them up on YouTube or bandcamp. Even if I came across the next Nirvana or Hickey I wouldn’t know it. I’ve been going though a weird thing with music. I had a Laughing Hyenas “Life Of Crime” and a Charles Bronson CD in my car. I thought, “Why did I used to love this stuff?” I couldn’t relate at all. I thought maybe with my hearing loss it just sounded different. The only music I really listen to anymore is Pipsqueak “Fowl Hymns” and Miley Cyrus. Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 11.40.20 AMThen a few weeks ago the feeling for the old stuff came back to me again. Those CDs in my car sound great. However, for the most part I want to stick with my new daytime oriented lifestyle, especially in San Jose where everything gets turned up to 11.

I’m posting this first, but it’s actually part 2 of a longer post. I’m in the middle of a second book about punk rock in the early ‘90s and the nostalgia in my head became too unwieldy to contain in just one post.

Drunken Transcendence

My kids get facetime calls almost every day, but I answered my first facetime call late last night and I took it in true old man fashion. I put the phone to my ear and said “Hello… Hello! … Then I looked at my phone and I saw someone smirking at me. The face in the phone told me that I should write something because it’s been a long time. I said. “I wrote something today, but it was bad.” Then the face said, “sometimes bad writing is better because it’s more honest.” It was more of a drunken’ mumble than a profound statement, but I decided to take inspiration from it.

tower_theater_probeMuch like you wouldn’t value past sexual experiences based solely on the attractiveness of your partners. There are many more important factors than just quality brewing that can lead to a great beer experience, and most of it has to do with what is going on in your own brain.

I had an amazing beer high at New Helvetia Brewing. I had a couple of heavy beers before I got there. I ordered their best beer, the Rough and Ready Red, and then followed it up with really good strong ale, at a table, staring out the window, it catapulted me straight into a state of pure drunken transcendence. I thought a long time of my dad dying, realized my own spiritual being, the afterlife, and my space in the universe. I was practically floating in perspective. Then I glanced down to write a few notes and it started to slip away. So I looked back out the window into the horizon to hold onto the feeling as long as I could. Then I stepped out of the brewery onto Broadway and my friend’s mini-van pulled up with their kids and my whole family inside and I jumped in with my growler and we went to a little party. It was a nice day.


probe_wedding

The art on our wall segment for this post features two photos by Michelle Barnhardt. One is a poster-sized print of the Tower Theater on Broadway in Sacramento. I couldn’t see the tower out the window of the New Helvetia Brewery, but it is only a couple of blocks away. Then the other is a framed wedding reception photo of my young self, a scant 15 years ago.


 

I joke about getting old a lot because it happened to me quickly, both physically and mentally, and it took a few years to figure out. When I entered my early 40’s I still felt strong and resilient. I was about the same as I had been at 30 years old, but within just a few years I felt much more like a 58 year old man than someone in their 40’s. The downfall began with a simple but unremittant shoulder injury, then the domino effect of afflictions buoyed by a lifetime of poor health practices forced me to adjust my approach to life. I eventually realized I would never “get better”, but I was able to put the breaks on my decline. I do 45 minutes to an hour of physical therapy every morning (elastic bands, 10 lbs. weights etc.) I can still feel pretty good. I don’t feel young again, but I’m good enough. The key is that when I start to feel better I still need to keep up the process. Lazy Saturday mornings only lead to unpleasant Sundays. It’s ongoing. Now, I just need to figure out a process to deal with my brain.

The featured beer is St. Florian’s Flashover IPA. It’s unfiltered and malty for IPA, but not sweet. Unfortunately, this current bottle I have is a little different than the one I had last time. I think it may have sat on a warm shelf for too long. It’s still really good. I like beers that are hefty enough that I can skip a meal. The previous bottle was more citrus, less bitter, and I thought it had a brighter Sante Adairius like quality, not this time.  I made a trip to the beer store today just to pick this up for featured beer but I expected to give it a stronger recommendation.

The featured beer is St. Florian’s Flashover IPA. It’s unfiltered and malty for IPA, but not sweet. Unfortunately, this current bottle I have is a little different than the one I had last time. I think it may have sat on a warm shelf for too long. It’s still really good. I like beers that are hefty enough that I can skip a meal. The previous bottle was more citrus, less bitter, and I thought it had a brighter Sante Adairius like quality, not this time. I made a trip to the beer store today just to pick this up for featured beer but I expected to give it a stronger recommendation.

The YouTube post this time is from Miley Cyrus and her Dead Petz because that’s mostly what I’ve been listening to these past months. It’s a free download album from her website, but I paid $7 for the double CD version, not because I’m old school and don’t understand I can play music from my phone, but so I can play it in the car on long solo trips. I usually start my trip on Disc 1 with “Space Boots” and then just play through both discs until I reach my destination.

You can stop eating animals if you want to…

pig_beerMy daughter was barely three years old when she first asked me, “What is a vegetarian?” I told her that vegetarians don’t eat animals. I explained to her that when she ate “chicken nuggets”. She was eating food made out of real chickens. I told her that “steak” is made out of cows and that “pork” is pigs and that “ham” is made out of pigs too, but that when we eat “hamburgers” that is actually ground up cows. She got a very serious look on her face as she took it all in. For a minute I thought she was going to be angry, and then she asked me excitedly, “What is it called when we eat monkeys!?”
PigThe truth is I have great respect for vegans and vegetarians. In fact, if my life was based on a young adult dystopian novel where the reigning administrative authority forced society to divide into warring factions based on our diet. I would face the end times fighting alongside the beer drinking vegans rather than the wine quaffing meat eaters. I could still have a good life without wine and meat, but not having beer would suck. Also, people who don’t eat animals are often unfairly maligned as self-righteous weaklings. I’ve known a lot of vegans and vegetarians and none of them have ever been sniveling whiners. Most of them also seem to be exceedingly healthy. They are proffering no laws. They simply have the discipline to live by a standard that they set for themselves.

Beat salad from the Barrel House brewery in SF

Beet salad from the Barrel Head Brewhouse in SF

That is not a standard I have set for myself, partly because I don’t have a strong emotional attachment to animals or even my own health. On the other hand I do have an aversion to things that are abhorrent. Over the years we have become so systematically efficient at growing meat that just the process itself reads like something from the mind of Stephen King. Gestation crates ruined sausage for me. It used to be a staple of my diet. However when I was complaining about this to the family my now teenage daughter joked, “Dad, do you really want the animals to be happy? At least if they are miserable you can feel merciful when you KILL THEM.”

Pictured here with a home brewed imperial red, my sausage grilling used to be pretty good

Pictured here with a home brewed imperial red, my sausage grilling used to be pretty good

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As exemplified by the great Ted Nugent, the further someone travels down any ideological spectrum the more likely they are to cross a line between superior human intellect and bat-shit crazy. However none of us possess the acuity to distinguish exactly where that line is because it’s different for everybody. I’m not a hunter but for the past ten years I’ve aligned my diet with some of the more sapient ramblings of the Motor City Madman. Specifically, I believe that eating animals is okay as long as I get them from the guy wearing a loin cloth and crossbow down at the local farmer’s market -or more realistically, scanning the expensive grass-fed meat counter at Raleys waiting for a $5off expiration day sticker so we can have a steak night.

There were two different times this year when I did a vegetarian diet for about five days. Both times my little ventures into caring ended because I wanted Buffalo Hot Wings. I have low standards. Chicken wings are inferior meat that is coupled with an inferior vegetable (celery), blue cheese dressing, and pale ale. These four things on their own are just okay but the combination of the four would be

nakedPig

22-year old vegan Miley Cyrus, one our country’s most entertaining, effective and colorful culture warriors, pictured here with her pet pig

22-year old vegan Miley Cyrus, one our country’s most kind hearted and colorful culture warriors, pictured here with her pet pig

the toughest thing for me to give up in the end times. I was also surprised at how emasculating it felt to order a veggie burger at the Main Street Brewery. I didn’t see that coming. I don’t mind being the dude that orders a quinoa salad, but it felt odd to order an actual meat substitute. It also lead me to google why the fuck veggie patties cost just as much as real hamburgers and I was grateful to stumble across a series of personal, but science based articles that explained why. I was also relieved that they aligned with many of the long held teachings of Ted Nugent. However, they were not published in an issue of God Loves Hunters Quarterly, but in Mother Jones. A lifetime vegetarian who lives in Berkeley wrote the one that addressed my question about burgers.

Mother Jones: Is Vegetarian Diet Green?

Prince Fielder, first baseman of the Texas Rangers, a vegetarian since 2008, photo from 2014

Prince Fielder, first baseman of the Texas Rangers a vegetarian since 2008, photo from 2014

For me it wasn’t health or morals, I had been concerned that meat consumption was destructive by nature. For the most part though I think what happened is that God (or Mother Nature, whomever) gifted us these perfectly designed protein cultivators we call cows and chickens, but then the meat industry went pyscho trying to speed up and cheapen the growing process and that fucked everything up-to an obscene level.

pretty obvious choice for the art on our walls feature

pretty obvious choice for the art on our walls feature

Despite the fact many states still have ridiculous and overbearing regulations over local breweries, last year 615 new craft breweries opened in United States bringing the total to 3,418. That sounds like a lot but in 1873 there were 4,131 breweries in the United States.
Hopefully, much the same way that the craft beer movement has returned the beer industry to its roots, the pendulum can swing the other way with meat also. “More regulation” and “safety” always sounds good, but government regulations are written by whoever has the more powerful lobbyists. Armed federal agents don’t raid organic farms and dump thousands of gallons of raw milk because they are worried about the public health. It’s business.IMG_1991

Last week I had to go to the Freemont Superior Court to pay a fee and I was happy to find Jack’s Brewery and Sports Grille opened at 11am. Two baseball games on the TVs with the Hardwood Pale Ale and hot wings, it was the perfect brewpub experience. The older school brewpubs like Jack’s usually get it right.
The new hipper or the fancier brewpubs always have some new take on the classic hot wing recipe and it always fails. Pizza places are often even worse for wings. They do the dry breaded kind so it

Hoppy Brewing Company in Sacramento does it right.

Hoppy Brewing Company in Sacramento does it right.

won’t get messy and they give you a tub of blue cheese with no celery. The blue cheese is for the celery so giving one without the other is confounding to me.

the rabble rousers sitting behind me at Mission Creak Brewing

the rabble rousers sitting behind me at Mission Creak Brewing

I don’t often shop at Whole Foods, but it seems an appropriate place to go for the featured brewery this post. Mission Creak Brewing is located above the Whole Foods Market in San Jose. When I realized I was going to be in the area I checked their web site. There are hot wings on the menu. My plan, made days ahead of time, was to order one each of two single hop pale ales so I could compare them as I also enjoyed the hot wings. I skipped lunch to make sure that I would properly appreciate this EVENT in my otherwise uneventful life.

Guy Cameron, head brewer at Mission Creek used to work at Russian River, brewing the Blind Pig

Guy Cameron, head brewer at Mission Creek used to work at Russian River, brewing the Blind Pig

When I arrived there was a seat at the bar and baseball with subtitles on the TV, a good start. Unfortunately, they were out of the wings. That was okay, I’ve worked in restaurants, I understand stuff happens. However, the 22-year-old girl behind the bar also informed me that I was only allowed to have one beer at a time. Thankfully she was apologetic about it so it felt like less of a slight on my hard thought life choices and more just some dumb shit she had to deal with. The brewery didn’t answer my fact checking email. I’m guessing this policy is some sort of insurance inspired due diligence concession to having underage kids in the bar area. Completely unnecessary as the entire place is just one small patio of upstanding citizens, not to mention they have a San Jose cop stationed at the bottom of the stairs. All of these rules that treat adults like kids and kids like delicate bombs are created out the fear of litigation or regulatory fees more than by simple common sense.
“We act as if there are some alien overlords that laid down a bunch of retarded shitty fucking laws to make our lives miserable and if we upset them they will blow up our planet, right? Except that WE are the retarded alien overlords!”Adam Carolla shouting on his podcast after a father son trip was ruined when he couldn’t get his 7-year-old boy into a car and aerospace event due to strict alcohol regulations.

When the end times come and our nation goes up in flames it’s going to be from under our own weight, from the mass accumulation of well meaning but destructive laws that cater to our lowest common denominator. Now play the song.

“You can stop eating animals if you desire, but you can’t stop the animals from eating each other…. /…. You can stop eating animals if you want to, but who’s going to stop the animals from eating you?”Hickey “The Naked Cult of Hickey”

“I found out the greatest gladiators, the greatest ones in Roman times, they were all vegan. That’s fighting to the death! The best gladiators, I didn’t say all of them, when they looked at their bone marrow and did the research, they found that they were vegans. No meat particles in them.” Mike Tyson – vegan diet for the past five years, but refuses to give up leather

Ronda Rousey, undefeated mixed martial arts champion, formerly a vegan, now on the “dolce diet” which is whole food based, a large variety of mixed greens and grilled meats

Ronda Rousey, undefeated mixed martial arts champion, formerly a vegan, now on the “dolce diet” which is whole food based, a large variety of mixed greens and grilled meats

“Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville

Product of Pleasanton

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 10.21.34 PMLets start this column off with some men’s fashion tips. On the way to a brewery the other day Dave asked me “So did you wear those shoes on purpose to match your shorts?” He wasn’t making fun of me, but there was a hint of concern in his voice. I was wearing red shorts and red running shoes with a yellow XL shirt that had a red logo on it. Defensively I told him, “Yeah, I like bright colors.” However, the truth is that I knew I dressed like a child and it bothered me. Dave just said, “I only have this one pair of shoes and I don’t pay attention to what color things are.” Dave wears green shoes and goofball t-shirts, but somehow he looks like a grown-up. Noted, I need to stop matching.
I developed my fashion sense back in early 1970’s when colored t-shirts and iron on decals first became popular. Before that time stripes or plaid had been the only choice so having actual pictures on your clothes was stepping things up to a whole new level. There was an iron on decal shop on Main Street in Pleasanton and business was booming. Most of the boys liked the cool Ratfink type car decals. For whatever reason I liked the beer Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 10.42.32 PMdecals better -the cool looking waterfall and nature stuff was my thing. There were a few different ones that I liked. One week I saved up the $3.50 and I tried to buy either a Coors or an Olympia decal. I don’t remember which anymore because I never owned it. Unfortunately, and I don’t know if he was an employee or just some stupid adult that happened to be there, but when I picked the one I wanted he said “Eh, that ‘s not a good one for a kid. Don’t you want to pick something else?” I was so young and stupid and this was back in the ‘70’s when kids listened to adults so in a deer in the headlights moment I just said “UH, okay.” And I picked the one right next to it. “Bud Man” a drawing of a goofy guy in a red Bud suit with a mask on. I figured the guy meant that a cartoon was more appropriate for a kid than a shirt with a waterfall on it. I didn’t even factor in that it was a beer shirt. It’s not as if the kid’s who bought the car shirts drove cars either.
I was in 3rd grade and had just been transferred across town to a different school. I don’t think they really cared about my shirt but the next day a couple of kids cornered me at the Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 10.34.32 PMdrinking fountain. “Bud Man? Are you a Bud Man!??” As I thought about their question they slapped me a few times in the head. “You’re not a Bud Man! Do you think you’re a Bud Man?!?” I didn’t have an answer. If it had been something I cared about there would have been a fight, but I didn’t have a reason for wearing the stupid shirt. I was angry and humiliated but I wasn’t mad at the kids who were hitting me. I was mad at the guy from the t-shirt place! “Yeah, why did I buy this stupid shirt?! I didn’t even want this one!” The kids were right. I deserved to be slapped in the head. Lesson learned, I never wore that shirt again and that was the last time I ever listened to an adult.

Featured Beer: Everything at Cleophus Quealy! The tap list is constantly rolling over because they never make the same beer twice, but everything we had here was fantastic. The only problem I have is, much like one of my other favorite breweries, Sante Adarius in Santa Cruz, it’s going to take a while before I get the name right in my head. It’s in San Leandro, right around the corner from Drakes.

Featured Beer: Everything at Cleophus Quealy! The tap list is constantly rolling over because they never make the same beer twice, but everything we had here was fantastic. The only problem I have is, much like one of my other favorite breweries, Sante Adarius in Santa Cruz, it’s going to take a while before I get the name right in my head. It’s in San Leandro, right around the corner from Drakes.

IMG_1934Pleasanton Brewz history.
For 30 years Pleasanton was home to the largest hop farm in the world. The 1900-acre Pleasanton Hop Company was in operation until 1913. That’s why the main road through the center of town is Hopyard Blvd. However, a much more shocking fact to learn is that in the early 1970s the city of Pleasanton consumed more alcohol per capita than any city in the United States! At the time it was a ranching town that was quickly transforming into Suburbia. The town had only three traffic lights, but there were 7 thriving dive bars on Main Street. The very last surviving bar from this era

The art on our walls segment for this post is moving to the patio. We’ve been without a kitchen now for over three months. I spent one sleepless night this week worrying about home insurance and contractors, but other than the long wait things have been smooth. I’ve been doing most of the cooking on that electric skillet. To stick with the Olympia motif I threw that hat into the picture. I was wearing that hat the first time I ever talked to the wife. That night I swung hard and stuck out, but you can see why she thought I was a catch.

The art on our walls segment for this post is moving to the patio. We’ve been without a kitchen now for over three months. I’ve been doing most of the cooking on that electric skillet. To stick with the Olympia motif I threw that hat into the picture. I was wearing that hat the first time I ever talked to the wife. That night I swung hard and struck out, but you can see why she thought I was a catch.

was torn down this year. It was replaced with one of those new Starbucks that serve alcohol. I have never been a dive bar drinker and, I have nothing against Starbucks, but that just seems like the new school bully kicking dirt on the grave of old school.Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 10.44.47 AM

The youtube post for this segment is appropriately Pleasanton based. Unfortunately the entire CD is not available on youtube, but if you listen to this one song over 40 times in a row you’ll get the idea. I met Your Mother when they were still in high school. I was certain once the world heard this CD they would take the world by storm. Lightning fast smart goofy funny punk rock that pummeled for 90 straight minutes. Then they told me the record label that was putting out the CD ran out of money. I said, “How much money would it cost?” They said $3500. I said, “I have a $6000 limit on my credit card!” And that is how Probe Records was born, 1995. www.yourmother.com 

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The problem with leaving the house…

Independent Brewing Company

Independent Brewing Company

To me, the brewery scene is supposed to be about a more relaxed approach to life, a way to take time and enjoy the finer things. Having a few good pints instead of a 12 pack and shots. Going out with family and friends to a brewpub or an afternoon in a tasting room instead of partying late with 5 bands playing. Long nights are a thing of the past – and then there was this week.
After last week’s big night in the city I’ve gone to three more shows in the past 7 days, about two more shows than I normally go to in a year. Each of them proceeded with a visit to a brewery nearby.

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Sorry Brewz Newz readers! I had to replace the photo that used to be in this spot, although preapproved ahead of time by all those involved, the powers that be deemed the level of attire not up to the standards expected of hardcore metal musicians. Here is another photo of Deathgrave, (minus The Wizard) and, appropriately it features a Lagunitas Censored Ale!

Last Saturday our friend Fern posted that her band Deathgrave would be playing a hardcore Metal Fest in Oakland. 20 bands from all over the world playing 15 minute sets in rotating rooms. I was the one who suggested to the wife that we should go. Usually it’s the other way around. I figured a night of hardcore metal wouldn’t be so bad in 15-minute chunks.
Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 11.46.01 PMBoth the kids were with friends so we left pretty early in the afternoon. The first stop was the new Oakland location for Ale Industries. This brewery had been the previous weeks guest on my longtime favorite brewing show “The Session” That particular show was about “sustainable methods they employ for the resource-intensive process that is brewing.” The show is much more fun to listen to than it sounds. When they interview breweries I like to hear how they operate business wise more than their brewing methods. The stories about running a brewery are much more entertaining and much more impressive to me than the art of brewing itself.

now closed

now closed

In the years after the economy crashed in 2007 several brew pubs never recovered and closed down. Part of the reason that I originally wanted to visit all of the breweries in Northern California was because I was afraid some of them wouldn’t be around for long. Ironically, the crash ended up helping the brewing business. Previously dysfunctional cities such as Oakland changed their attitude towards beer. Before that time every story I heard about people trying to open a brewery involved thousands of dollars and thousands of hours invested only to sit idle for months at a time dealing with zoning laws and waiting for permits to come through. Since then it seems the process has become, I don’t want to say streamlined, but it seems to be less of a nightmare than it used to be to get a craft beer business operational.

Today a brewery can be found close to just about any destination in California. One exception is the Hwy 120 Hwy 108 corridor. If you leave the Bay Area to go camping up in the Sierra’s there are no longer any cool brewpub stops or growler fills on the way. The most disappointing loss was Kelley Brother’s in Manteca. That was a really cool old style brewery. It sucks that it’s gone. Lumberyard Brewing was also a big loss, but at least the location reopened as Standard Pour. It should be your last stop for a sit down meal if you go camping in the area -great tap list and menu, friendly, good for kids etc.

When I started to write this I didn’t intend to start writing about dead breweries. I’ll have to

Continuing the Brewz Newz art that is on my wall theme. This one is by Judd, husband to Becky, former drummer of Rein Aveva and with Judd in Brainbloodvolume.

Continuing the Brewz Newz art that is on our wall theme. This one is by Judd, husband to Becky, former drummer of Rein Aveva and with Judd in Brainbloodvolume.

save the Brewz Newz from my other two nights out for later posts. That’s the problem with leaving the house. It gives me too much to write about and I get easily sidetracked. Anyway, back to Ale Industries, from my memory, I think Ale Industries was one of the first new breweries to open that only brewed non-standard beers. They didn’t do the regular line-up of pale ale, stout etc. Their first bottled beer didn’t even use hops. They bottled a Rye before it became popular and I think they were one of the first breweries to have a session IPA and everybody does that now. They also had more interesting stuff on tap at the “Jingletown Jazz Room” I made a mistake and ordered a pint of “This Is the Shit That Killed Elvis” If I would have realized earlier that they sold it there in bottles I wouldn’t have done that. It was the only high alcohol beer on the menu and I should have realized I was in for a long drinking day.

Thankfully the brewer Steve tipped us to the fact that the Oakland Brewing Company did not actually close down as the Internet had told me. It just changed names to the IMG_1911Independent Brewing Company so that was our next stop. Great place, a very laid back warehouse setting. In fact, Keri recognized it right away as a warehouse space where she saw a show a few years ago. It’s located a short walking distance from the entrance to Jack London Square where the now famous Beer Revolution is located.

Oakland Metro Operahouse, I don't know what band this was. I think I was just trying to take a photo of Fern on there right.

Oakland Metro Operahouse, I don’t know what band this was. I think I was just trying to take a photo of Fern there on the right.

Just another two blocks from Beer Rev is where the show was at the Oakland Metro Operahouse. Unlike the venue from a week earlier, this place had a better selection of beer and the prices were good. We kept drinking. At the very moment we were at that show, BJ, the Hamm’s drinkin’ head of the San Jose Drunks,IMG_1916 as well as crust punk vinyl collector, 6drinking6celebrity6 on instagram posted a photo of the Reina Aveja 7” and likewise, that will be the YouTube selection for this Brewz Newz post.
Speaking of failed businesses, my greatest failure ever is that I quit doing Probe Records before I finished putting out the Reina Aveja full length. The band flew out to California to play some shows and record with Billy Anderson. The tracks were all recorded and the covers were done. Around that same time I realized that my time was done too. The Internet had replaced my usefulness as a publisher. My attempt to reboot the distribution for the record label was a complete failure. I covered the money to get the tracks mastered at Fantasy Studios and then another label was to to take over from there. Then…. I don’t know who to blame other than myself so I’ll avoid the details but basically, not only did the full length never get released, but it disappeared. It’s just gone! The recordings don’t even exist to put on bandcamp. I would say it was infuriating, but that would undermine how the band must have felt.
So this YouTube recording is not actually that recording but from the aforementioned low budget 7” recorded in 1998. It was Jessica bass, Becky drums, Margaret guitar (in the YouTube photo below Margaret and Becky had switched instruments.) It’s Jen’s amazing vocals that make this recording remarkable. I’ve seen over a thousand bands play in my life and I’ve never witnessed anybody as powerful as Jen.

A current day photo of Jen with her son Henry.

A current day photo of Jen with her son Henry.

Brewz Newz is Very Old School

This is now the beer column of punk rock’s past. I have to expel a few ghosts. If you came here strictly for beer news, prepare for bemusement.

My son Henry is 11 and he is old school. Last Christmas he could have asked for an Xbox, but he didn’t want one. He wanted a Game Cube. It doesn’t work right on the flat-screen TV so he has to play it out in the garage on the tube TV.IMG_1857
Two years ago his gymnastics coach said that he was able to bond with Henry because “He’s into the old school Pokémon from when I was a kid!” He said that Henry had memorized the first 150 characters along with knowing all of their powers. That surprised me. Later on I asked him if he had really memorized the first 150 Pokémon characters. He said, “No, I didn’t memorize them. I just know all of them from playing the game.”
That made sense to me. 20 years ago I could name over 150 record labels and tell you which bands were on each one. That was just part of my world at the time.
These days I can easily name over 150 breweries and tell you what beers they brew, where they are located, if they have a taproom and whether or not they are kid friendly. It’s just something I’ve been into.
Thankfully the wife also enjoys breweries however she does not share my mission in seeking them out. I had to harangue her into taking a half-day off work so we could have time to check out some new breweries before we went to the expensive old guy punk rock show in the big city.

IMG_1811New School Brewz
First we went to Cellarmaker (already featured in an earlier post) just because I wanted to make sure that we started things off right, then we stocked up on beer around the corner at the City Beer Store. Close by is another new brewery next to the Giants baseball stadium simply called the Local Brewing Company. I liked this place right away, partly because it was nearly empty, but also because Neutral Milk Hotel was playing as we walked in. It was a nice mellow scene at 3pm. The place looks like a hole in the wall from outside but there is a

Approximately 15 seconds of my 15 minutes of fame, the drunken guy on the cover of a Queers record is wearing a Probe t-shirt. Sticking with the ongoing Brewz Newz theme of featuring the art hanging on my walls, I am presenting a photo of the promo poster of the album that has been tacked up above my closet dresser for many years now.

Representing approximately 15 seconds of my 15 minutes of fame, the drunken guy on the cover of a Queers record is wearing a Probe t-shirt. Sticking with the ongoing Brewz Newz theme of featuring the art hanging on my walls, I am presenting a photo of the promo poster of the album that has been tacked up above my closet dresser for many years now.

lot of space inside with 14 of their beers on tap.

The show was at the Regency Ballroom and, of course, there is a new brewery less than a mile walk away called Bartlett Hall. This place seemed to have no business being a fully functioning brewery. It’s a darkened restaurant that sells $17 hamburgers because they are in the middle of the city. However, fuck it, it’s a real brewery, I must go. We were already tanked by the time we got there but I’m sure the beer was spectacular.

Screeching Weasel, The Mr. T. Experience and The Queers
The Regency Hall was selling beer in a plastic cup for $12. For that very reason many people missed the best band IMG_1876because they were next door at the 101 getting a cheap infusion of alcohol before they came in. The Queers opening set was a quick slap in the face. If you came late, you missed it.
I remember reading that the people who attend sporting events where they get charged high prices for alcohol actually consume more alcohol because they binge drink before coming in. I’m sure the same thing is true for punk rock. Part of the reason that I planned to spend half the day drinking before this show is because I anticipated the aggressive drinking prices at the show. Not to mention the aggressive pat down everyone got before going in. They weren’t checking for weapons, they were checking for vodka.

Rouge clearly wins the contest for best looking bottle, but if you really want a true spicy beer I would get the Six Rivers Brewery on the left. It cost half the price for twice the hot pepper gratification. Good for clearing the head.

Featured beer: Rouge clearly wins the contest for best looking bottle, but if you really want a true spicy beer I would get the Six Rivers Brewery selection on the left. It cost half the price for twice the hot pepper gratification. Good for clearing the head.

My memory of The Queers is bittersweet as they were one of the first well-known touring bands to play the old Haps Bar ($1 pints by the way) and it was fantastic. Then they played my first all ages show and that didn’t go as well for reasons I won’t get into. However, I never had a chance to make it up to them because the week that they were coming back for the 4th time the building was sold and Donna lost the bar. The new owner cancelled my shows and turned the place into an upscale steak house.
In 20-year-old craft beer news, I was the one responsible for getting Donna to add a Sierra Nevada tap to Hap’s bar, before that they only sold Bud. She explained to me that it cost her 35cents to fill a red solo cup with Bud, but it cost 65cents to fill it with Sierra Nevada so she charged $2 instead of $1. On one busy night she ran out of Bud. She announced over the PA that since they were out of Bud she would be selling the Sierra Nevada for $1. The roar from the crowd was deafening, and hilarious.

Unless you count Jaz and the Helper Monkeys I don’t have any history at all with MTX but Ted the guitar player is a key member of the current day Brewz Newz brewery clan. Plus Keri has read Dr. Frank’s books so we were down for the Mr. T Experience.

Ted

Ted

When Screeching Weasel came out on stage … but I’ll leave the show here for now. I’ve done enough show reviews in my life. Instead I will save my Ben Weasel /Probe Records swan song bit for my next old guy school of punk rock beer – whatever this is I need to keep these posts short or you fine people will stop clicking on the link.

The search for acoustic music is still ongoing. Which brings me to the youtube music clip for this post. Because I had stopped paying attention to new music for several years, when I joined instagram last year I just thought Pipsqueak was Jerome’s instagram name.

Then I saw a photo of the Pipsqueak LP, put two and two together, and ended up buying it on bandcamp. Not only is it acoustic but there are violins, a really great fucking record. A big switch from the 3-minute punk rock he was doing with Snuggle. I found one of the songs on youtube…

The wife was clearly excited to meet the author.

The wife was clearly excited to meet the author.

Jerome

Jerome

Matty Luv and a Mouthful of Beer

matty1.jpg.resizedBringing together a number of recent non-beer related themes in Brewz Newz… the other day, after I brought up my shift towards acoustic music, my friend Dover mentioned how much he liked the Matty Luv/Max split record from many years ago. My first thought was, “Maybe it’s on youtube?” It’s not. However, the songs can be found on the Matty Luv memorial website mattyluv.com

The featured beer this post is Mirror Pond Pale Ale. Generally I don’t get too worked up about pale ales. However, just out of curiosity I’ve done a great deal of comparison tasting. Most of the good ones taste similar to the classic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with various hop characteristics to distinguish them. What I like about Mirror Pond is that it has a light but detectable malt backbone that is absent from most other pale ales. At the same time the initial hop taste is just as strong and pleasant.

The featured beer this post is Mirror Pond Pale Ale. Generally I don’t get too worked up about pale ales. However, just out of curiosity I’ve done a great deal of comparison tasting. Most of the good ones taste similar to the classic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with various hop characteristics to distinguish them. What I like about Mirror Pond is that it has a light but detectable malt backbone that is absent from most other pale ales. At the same time the initial hop taste is just as strong and pleasant.

Matty wrote those songs to play a few solo shows while he was between bands (Fuckboyz and Hickey). At first he didn’t want to do an acoustic record, but he said I could use a live recording that my roommate Todd had made at one of our house parties. When I was searching for that record on youtube I found another song from that same night. It was one that we didn’t have room for on the record.
The Spit Muffins were also playing and as soon as she walked in Matty dragged their singer Kimball to a corner to work on a song he had written to sing with her. I think that was the only time this song was ever performed and that’s kind of a big deal when you realize that Matty was the best songwriter of his generation. It sounds like someone really cleaned up the recording too. Thanks to the person who did this!

I’ve watched and listened to more youtube in the last month than I have in my life previously. My son Henry made me my own channel just so I could use it to post a little video clip of the Bananas on this site. Then on my next brewznewz post I was adding a link to the end of the post when I found that the entire Ringwurm CD was on youtube. I decided I would use my u-tube channel to post all of the old Probe Records releases, but then I realized that I don’t know how.

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Last month I also decided that I’d like to start going out to shows again, but just the small ones. I almost never go to bed before 1 or 2 AM but I only want to go out during the day. It just feels wrong for me to be out late at night. Plus, I have to wear the double ear protection… on second thought – I’ll just stick to going to breweries.

A few years ago Main Street Brewery was having a beer pairing dinner, but when we got there they had a Mayan flute player cranking at Black Sabbath level volume. A fucking flute! I had to leave, left the wife alone once again. Luckily some really cool parents I knew from daycare spotted me from their car as I was walking out, I jumped in, and they quickly drove me to a drugstore to buy some earplugs. These days I always have some earplugs with me. Noise happens everywhere!

Hop Dogma Brewery

Hop Dogma Brewery

The wife is different. She’s not giving into old age as readily as I am. She still enjoys a good crowd and loud places.
Late last year I planned a half-day off work to drive out to the coast and visit Hop Dogma brewery, a beautiful brewery that overlooks the ocean, AND IT’S FUCKING QUIET THERE and also to see Joe’s new acoustic band play up the road at a place called Winter’s Tavern. It was on a weekday. The wife wasn’t thrilled at the idea and correctly guessed that I was just using the show as an excuse to go to another brewery. She mentioned that they often have shows at 1234 Go! Records in Oakland, the city where she works. “Why don’t we go to a show there? “ She then warned me, “You do know that Joe’s band is also playing this weekend in San Jose. Nobody is going to be at the show out in the middle of nowhere on a weekday.” I said, “Exactly!”

Brewer Dan

Brewer Dan

The Hop Dogma Brewery was wonderful. The brewer had just returned from the Great American Beer Festival and I didn’t have to ask many questions before he started telling stories.
The show was nice and small as I expected, with good beer on tap. I hung out with Joe and played pool with his new band -who had never even heard of his old band Ringwurm. It was a good night. However, I have to admit that my wife was right.
When we finally did go to a show at 1234 Go! Records it was… nice. Despite being in the city I didn’t stress at all. There was great beer on tap at two different places on the same street as the record store. Nice places with big windows! I barely looked through the records because these days I don’t know what records to look for. I bought a book about ACDC instead. Only two bands played and it was over by 10pm!

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The Hickey LP/CD originally came out on Probe Records but Steve of 1234 Go! took over the repressing of the Hickey CD many years ago. At the time he didn’t have a record store. I learned about that when I read about it in the newspaper. I met him (10-12 years ago?) at some place in Oakland to give him the remaining Hickey CDs and I remember he downed three pints of heavy beers in the first 10 minutes that we were talking. I was a little surprised and told him that I couldn’t remember the last time I had met someone I didn’t keep up with. I felt the Hickey CD was in good hands.

Anyway, of course you should track down the real thing but here is a u-tube version of the greatest LP, punk rock or otherwise, to come out in the decade before the Internet. Any other opinion on the matter is due to ignorance or poor taste.

Hickey in Probe #6

Hickey in Probe #6

I keep posting photos of the art on my walls. That is a theme on Brewz Newz that will continue. The two Matty Luv screen prints in this post were done by Bradley Roberts and have been hanging on our wall for almost 13 years. Judging from his instagram Bradley is a brewery patron, and an attendee of the vegan beer fest each year. He was the drummer for Your Mother and now Love Songs.

Matty at Hap's with The Fuckboyz

Matty at Hap’s with The Fuckboyz

To keep with another theme of Brewz Newz, getting old, I bought my first pair of reading glasses. I have been telling everybody. “Check out Brewz Newz, but don’t do it on your phone! It looks crappy on a phone.” However, now that I have glasses the idea of checking out stuff on a phone makes more sense now that I can see it. I have been trying to type text messages  at arms distance for too long. However, I won’t be wearing glasses full time quite yet so I still prefer the home computer and good old email if you want to send a message, complaint, or pass on a link or something theprobeguy@comcast.net Actually, only one of my eyes is bad so I think I’m going to get a monocle to carry around with me on a little chain.

Matty Luv didn’t have plans for getting old. He delighted in his plan to be the 1,000th person to jump off of the Golden Gate Bridge. However, that was foiled when Bridge officials stopped keeping count at 975. I should have felt worse when Matty died. Despite the fact that I considered him the most important element of what made Hickey who they were and the entire cult that they created around them. I would have felt more heartsick if it had been someone else. Matty cared deeply, but he was also fearless. When I heard that he was gone I just nodded my head as if it made sense.  He was an amazingly sweet and conscientious badass and he never wasted anybody’s time while he was on this planet.

 

Aesop and Matty =, Fuckboyz/Hickey/Yogurt and the classic impossible to find Dr Dre Del “Mic of Defiance!” cassette tape can now be found on youtube https://youtu.be/PJ0LLAT-7v8

Aesop and Matty =, Fuckboyz/Hickey/Yogurt and the glorious long gone Dr Dre Del “Mic of Defiance!” cassette tape can now be found on youtube https://youtu.be/PJ0LLAT-7v8

King of the Awkward Silence

IMG_1745A few weeks ago I was momentarily befuddled when I saw Laura Jane Grace singing with Miley Cyrus on youtube. I knew that I KNEW the voice but had to google the name to place it. Somehow I lost track of the punk rock scene for about 10 years so I was more thrown off that she was playing with Miley Cyrus than I was over the fact that the guy from Against Me! is a woman now. Yesterday on the Marc Maron podcast I heard the story of her transformation from champion of DIY punk rock to a big label recording artist. It was the story I expected to hear and altogether understandable. However, I was thrown for a loop when she said, “people in the punk scene are kind of homophobic in general.” Really?? I guess I wouldn’t know first hand but from my memory the punk scene was almost militantly pro gay. Improper use of the F-word could get you a lifetime ban from the scene! Then again, according to Laura, there were some people who made fun of Green Day for wearing eyeliner so maybe I’m wrong about that.Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 12.52.55 AM

The wife told me today that instead of writing about beer I should start a blog called “This interview is over!” Where I interview people until they don’t want to talk to me anymore. I thought it was a bizarre suggestion to make. (???) She explained that whenever I talk to people I ask very awkward and inappropriate questions and that I tend to make most people uncomfortable. Then she mentioned a few times where I did this in front of her recently.
Although troubling, I liked her explanation because my previous interpretation was that people had stopped talking to me because I was boring. I know that my ability to socialize is stilted. Most of the time when I talk to people I get the feeling that in the back of their mind they are thinking, “please stop talking!” Conversations come to a halt quickly. I just don’t have the gift of amiability. I could never be a salesman.
As a hetero white male I know the problem is my own fault. If things were different I could believe that people just didn’t respect my opinion as a women or my transgenderness was disconcerting to them. Lucky for me, I don’t have any guilt over the issue because I have been a hardcore libertarian from birth. I never had to evolve towards my belief in the personal freedom of others, sexually or otherwise.
It is compelling to know that there are many individuals who are willing to endure public humiliation, hormone therapy, and sometimes even have their bodies surgically altered simply because they have a need to express their true selves sexually. What I do find maddening is that often the same group of understanding people that are now embracing transgenders, men and women, are still able to roll their eyes and be completely dismissive of talented and accomplished women simply because they have the the courage to distinguish themselves sexually.
With all due respect to Laura Jane Grace and the homophobia or transphobia that she experienced in the punk scene, no person in present day America, has been the subject of more cruel vitriol for expressing his or her sexuality than Miley Cyrus.

Thankfully, the dimwitted herd will eventually fall in line, as they did with Lady Gaga and the exceptional women who came before her.

11262566_901859176501478_1356241421_nI read in Zymurgy Magazine this week that 17 new breweries open up everyday in the United States. Last weekend I was able to visit two that have been at the top of my list for a long while. Mraz in El Dorado and Berryessa in Winters. It turns out that Mraz is just up the road from where my family celebrates Christmas every year at our Uncle Dan and Aunt Bev’s House. Berryessa is much further off the beaten path 62 miles to the East of Mraz, but I really like the picnic table set up and wide space surrounding the brewery. If you’re not a Hop Head you’ll like these breweries as they combine many European and West Coast styles. My best move was that I bought many bottles of the Mraz beers. I’m not a cicerone but it’s obvious that their bottle conditioned ales are about as good as you’ll ever find.

Brewznewz tracked down Mraz brewer Mike and Justin from Mraz at Berryessa Brewing 24 hours after our visit to their brewery.

Brewznewz spotted Mraz brewer Mike and Justin from Mraz at Berryessa Brewing just 24 hours after our visit to their brewery.