Anybody that knows me personally, or has even met me briefly, knows that I’m a little bit dialed back. I’m always behind in the conversation. I don’t get the jokes. I also don’t understand how things work in the real world. My wife tells our kids, “Your dad is actually really smart” and they laugh!
I think I’ve tried to learn how to spell the word beuitiful well over 50 different times in my lifetime. It’s a word that I’ve never been able to master.
When kids don’t do well in school I often hear their teachers say, “He’s a good student! He understands the work. He just doesn’t test well.” I was the opposite of that. I had no idea what was going on, could never do the work, and my teachers thought I wasn’t trying. However, I’ve always tested as much smarter than I am in real life.
At the same time I was failing out of high school I scored in the top one percentile in reading comprehension and vocabulary when my school had us take the National Achievement test. The obvious explanation at the time was that I must be a genius. For that reason I started college a year ahead of my classmates. As it turns out, today genious (that’s how I just spelled it without spellcheck) is not the go to term people use to describe me.
Recently I’ve done some self-assessment, thought of my strengths and weaknesses. My biggest weakness is that I’m done. I’m a little too content with where I am in life. I am a glass half full type of guy to my detriment.
As classic old timer Larry Miller says at the end of each one of his podcasts: “If you have a job to go to and a home to come home to and somebody there that loves you. Buddy, the games over and you win, and that’s the truest thing I know.”
We hadn’t seen each other in over 12 years but when my still semi-ambitious friend Pete came to visit the Bay Area recently we realized that we still have a lot in common. We both have transitioned from the world of punk rock to the world of craft beer. For instance, Pete used to go on tour with his punk band, and likewise, I used to go watch a lot of punk bands. And today, I like to go to a lot of brewpubs, and Pete is working on opening his own brewpub in North Carolina.
He wanted to visit the growing Livermore beer scene while he was in the Bay Area, “check out floor plans” etc. Later on he admitted it was just an excuse to spend a day drinking.
Pete and his wife have two young twin daughters. They look and act like two kids playing the part of twins in a movie (as in a romantic comedy, not The Shining). Pete’s sister was babysitting them and meeting us later. I suggested 8 Bridges Brewing to meet up at because they make a point of being kid friendly. Times have changed so quickly that it’s hard to believe that just 15 years ago “kid friendly” referred mostly to parental hell holes like Chuck e Cheese’s or a McDonalds with a play-land.
When my kids were toddlers I used to tell the wife, “If I could start a business I would open a brewery and it would have a kid’s play-land!” I brought it up often. She laughed and said it would never be allowed. Not all that long ago the most popular image of a beer-drinking dad was the dumb drunk who yelled at his kids. Homer Simpson being the comic version of the classic stereotype. Wine was classy but beer drinking was done by sad bitter people in dark bars -not out on patios in the sun like it is today.
Earlier this year we had planned to buy from a food truck parked out in front of Gilman and then walk over to Fieldwork Brewery. However my son couldn’t find any food he wanted so the wife suggested we go to Pharm Burger -which her phone told her was nearby. The plan was to just get him a burger to go and head to the brewery. There was a line, I was annoyed, however, as we got to the entrance I noticed an 8 Bridges tap behind the counter, then a whole bunch of taps including two from Fieldwork. Then my wife said, “This looks like your type of place honey!” and pointed at a picture of a cow and a sign stating that their burgers were all from lovingly raised grass fed cows. As explained at length in an earlier post, I don’t buy meat unless the animals are happy and slaughtered gently. Cage free baby! The A’s game was on the TV. I said, “Okay, I guess we can forget the brewery and just stay here.” Then we sat down and there was a toddler play area! WOW, icing on the cake. This kind of place didn’t exist just ten years ago. Our kids are too old for us to take advantage of it now. I just appreciate a kid friendly culture that treats adults like grown-ups.
Back when our kids were in a double stroller, downtown Pleasanton had a Wednesday night “wine garden” in a downtown parking lot. It was nice just to get out and I ran into some people I hadn’t seen in many years and they had their kids with them. It was a really nice scene. Then there was a minor incident involving a drunk 18 year old, even though he hadn’t been drinking in the wine garden the next time they required that everybody keep their drinks in a designated area, basically a group of child-less 20 somethings were roped in a corner. There was a band playing with a giant empty spot in front of them because everybody that had been in front of the band the last time was now roped off in the pen. The families had moved on. We never went back.
A while back we were at a toddler’s b-day bounce house party BBQ (that’s how I do most of my partying these days) and someone said something really funny. Everybody laughed loudly and just as the laughter died I suddenly got the joke and I laughed also. This happens to me often so I announced, “I Live My Life on a Six Second Delay.” Which brought another round of laughter. My in-law said, “you need to put that on a t-shirt and wear it” I didn’t do that but I wrote the intro to this post the next day. I embraced it as my own personal slogan.
I recently realized that I took the line from Miley Cyrus. Last year when she hosted the VMA awards Mtv used a seven second delay for the live broadcast. Then six nights later she hosted Saturday Night Live. There was no delay on the SNL broadcast “but when you smoke as much as I do you’re always on a seven second delay”
I don’t happen to smoke weed, but I started listening to a few stoner rock bands, mostly while cleaning the kitchen and doing dishes. I somehow came across Serpents of Dawn on bandcamp, probably because there is a drawing of a girl on the cover. But the cool thing was I saw that Bart Thurber of House of Faith studios recorded it. It had that same great thumping bass and drum sound that I first liked on the Plutocracy 7 inch back in ’91 or so. I then looked Bart up and we exchanged email. His studio is in Oakland these days. I think Bart may have been responsible for some of the Probe’s early notoriety. I was told by a few band members that when they recorded at House of Faith they sat around reading The Probe in between sessions and many many bands have gone through there. Also, one time Bart’s roommate at House of Faith unprompted donated $500 to the printing cost of Probe. Eugene Robinson of the band Ox Bow said it his way of giving back to the scene.
Around the same time as Serpents two different stoner rock bands from Colorado, first Stone Deaf and then Black Magic Darkness liked the “NakedcultofHickey” hashtags on my Instagram so I downloaded and started listening to them too.
Some nights back I was doing some old man head banging at the kitchen sink and I turned around to see my 12 year-old son standing behind me, “Really dad?” But this stuff rocks!