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

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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.


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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.