Venting My Spleen, Or How Bad Beer Ruined My Day

IMG_0384Harrumph!

Look…I live in Colorado.  Yes, I live at 5,000* feet.  Yes, we get snow.  Yes, we have some cold, windy days.  But — and this is the big but — if it is 5 degrees and snowy on Monday, it is pretty damned likely to be 60 degrees and blazing sun by Wednesday.  That’s just life in Colorado.

*Actually, I live at more like 8,000, but I spend a lot of my time “down the mountain” at 5,000

That’s also, err, kinda why I like living here.

So why, in a place where cold weather lasts hours rather than weeks — let alone months — why in the hell would a brewery completely close its patio?!?!

For the last four days I have been stuck in crazy wind and blowing snow, not to mention temperatures that have had to really try just to reach double digits.  But now…

But now, when I’ve come down the mountain to meet friends for lunch, the weather is sunny and 60…yet still I’m stuck sitting inside!

GODDAMMIT!!

HARRUMPH!!!!

Okay, so I’ll (kinda) save you from (yet) another bad-taproom rant…but it’s hard.  Honestly, it’s really freaking hard.  Do you have any idea just how much I hate restraining myself like this?

My spleen may explode, by the way, for lack of proper venting…

*sigh*

694A53EF-73B8-4A6E-BABD-2162622AB479I really need to get back to work on that brewery guidebook I’ve had simmering on the back burner for that last couple of years…

SSSHHHIIIIIIITTT!!!!!!

Okay, so while I was waiting, and wasting time, I had my first sip of a terrible freaking beer…

I hate my life right now.

…No…must…restrain…self…

…Cannot…vent…now…

…Ummm…

48F2F907-46AF-4A20-A700-9A245B197775My one poor little brain cell can’t…err…do two things at once, so it’s either vent or write, but not both…

I repeat: I hate my life right now.

Put It Down – Put It ALL Down

980xPut down your phone…close your laptop…turn off your iPad…

Good lord, folks, when did we surrender control of our own lives to the tools and toys we built to make them “better”?  More importantly, WHY did we do so?

Now, look, I hate social media.  That’s no secret, and no surprise, to anyone who reads this blog…or who knows me in the slightest.  I’m an anti-social misanthrope who has no real desire to be “connected,” so crap like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are nothing to me.  But still I spend far too much time on the web, and on email, and on texts, and on all the other “conveniences” that have become so unavoidable.

Why?

When I was young, answering machines were the thing.  If you needed or wanted to talk to someone, you called.  If there was no answer, you left a message that might or might not be returned in the next day or two.

Now?

Nowadays, we get pissed if someone doesn’t text back in fifteen minutes.  And God forbid we fail to respond instantly with a Like or a Retweet or a Thumbs Up…

If something is that important, if something is that pressing, you should probably be talking, anyway.  If it’s not important enough to talk, by the way, why the hell should anyone else care?

We spend hours a day…no, that’s not right.  We spend by far the majority of our days enslaved to our screens, and to the dictates and commands of the electronic impulses they show.  We Tweet and post and text, and call that “good.”20120310_wbd000_0

It all started with work.  Because…of course it did.

For many years now, work has not ended at the end of the day.  Not even close.  Emails and texts and phones that are never Off, and our willing enslavement to the concept of instant response, and of “connectedness.”  Our hours away from work became nothing more than “out of office work,” and our lives suffered accordingly — we suffered accordingly.  But it was “work,” and work was “important,” so we “had” to do it…

Even as that culture built, we complained.  We complained about overwork and demanding bosses and ”work-life balance.”  We complained and cursed and whined, yet still we expanded on it.  Still we built it into our personal lives, too.  We let it enslave our free time, let it take over our relationships, until “connectedness” has become the only thing that matters.

2_slaves-to-our-smartphonesAnd I’m just as guilty.  I send a text, and expect an instant reply.  I spend huge gobs of time on the web reading — researching, I call it, to make it sound more “writer-ly.”  My many email in-boxes are always full….but still I check ‘em when I see that little notification.  The world is one big Pavlovian response nowadays, subject to the compulsion of the many, many dings that control us.  One ding for a new text, a different ding for a new tweet, yet a third for an email…  The dings never stop.

I’d say we have becomes rats in a maze, but at least the rats get some freaking cheese out of the deal…

Put it down.  Put it all down.  Unfortunately, it’s a lot like giving up smoking — going cold turkey is a recipe for failure.  Take it in steps, instead.  At the end of the day — at 5:00pm or 8:00am or whenever you’re done with your day, turn off the dings.  99906-the_matrix-morpheus-black-monks-pills-laurence_fishburne-748x468Stop checking, stop responding, stop being somewhere else, and focus on where you are.  Turn off, disconnect, if only for a few hours a day.  Once you get over the withdrawal and the DTs of that, try it for a day at a time…try to free yourself, a little at a time.

They say the first step is admitting you have a problem — well, that electronic collar we all so-willingly wear is a pretty big problem, if you ask me.

 

The Dog Ate My Post

img_0011I joke about being a slacker…err, make that: I “joke” about being a slacker…

Ahem.

Like all humor, even stupid jokes have to have an element of truth to them.  In this case, it ain’t an “element” so much as, well, the totality of the damned thing.

I thought I had a blog post scheduled for yesterday.  I mean, c’mon…I remember writing one, so what the hell happened to it?

No, really, what the hell happened to it?!

How do you lose a freaking electronic blog post?  That’s taking my slackerdom to All Star status…

Anyway, I promised to be regular on this blog again, so I have to get something up.

*sigh*

Ain’t nothin’ for it, I’ll have to post a random rant piece I have sitting in my Drafts section, one I tossed off just to kill some time while I was waiting for friends.

Crap, 2019 ain’t exactly starting off gangbusters, is it?  Anyway, here’s the rant:

Are you kidding me?

No, really — are freaking kidding me?!

Look, folks, we’ve talked before about my, err, penchant for taprooms and breweries.  We’ve also talked about my impatience and intolerance for shitty taprooms.  Crap, you spent a (bare) minimum of $300,000 to open a brewery — and very,  very likely a great deal more than that — so how the hell do you screw up the face of that business?!

C’mon…a bad taproom is the brewery-equivalent of McDonalds hanging a dead rat on their front door, for fuck’s sake…

So why — why?  Why?  WHY? — do so many places screw up even the most basic stuff?

*sigh*

Okay, so I’m a perfectionist.  Sue me.  Part of the price of living & working chest deep in the craft brewing world is the burden of expectations and standards.

Crap, I admit it, this rant is one of those half-drunk posts I’ve warned y’all about before.  I’m sitting in the taproom of a brewery, waiting for some friends, and…well…  My headache is steadily growing, my patience slowly shrinking, and my beer-nerd-gland slowly putting a gun to its head as the only escape.

Music was meant to be heard and enjoyed, it was not meant to drive straight through my skull, leaving a trail of burned and gutted brain cells in its wake.  I can kill my own brain cells quite well, thank you very much.

bb53af64-d9f4-44e0-9c23-89519108165fAnd the chairs…

Shit, breweries are my crack, it doesn’t take a hell of a lot to make me all warm and happy.  I’ve spent time drinking in places from Tijuana to Tallinn, and every place in between, so I’m not the most demanding guy in the world.  But, and this is — pun intended — a big but, my ass shouldn’t feel like the entire freaking cast and crew of Deliverance had their way with it after just fifteen minutes of sitting on these cheap, metal stools…

Now get off my lawn, I have beer to drink!

Beware the Plague

Bring out yer dead…HolyGrail003-1

Bring out yer dead…

Err…

You might have guessed by now, but I’m not very good at being sick.  I am, in fact, a big freaking baby when it comes to being sick.  And right now, at this very instant, I am as full of big-baby-ness as it’s possible to be.

220px-Biohazard_symbol_(black_and_yellow)Watch out — I bear the plague!

Okay, so, unlike the Black Death, this particular plague probably won’t kill over a third of the world’s population — hell, it probably won’t even kill me (in spite of my over-dramatizing) — but, well…  Whining can be fun when you feel like crap.  Just ask any four-year-old.

I did try to write this morning, however.  I figured I could get at least one decent hour of production, in spite of my patheticness.

You know what one line I managed to produce?  I don’t wanna go to school today, Mom!

Ahem.

Okay…I have to be tougher than this!  I think my brain and I need to have a talk about putting on our big-boy-pants and making stuff up for a few hours…  I mean, how the hell am I supposed to finish my story if all I want to do is watch RiffTrax movies and feel sorry for myself?

Update: Random music note — I’m listening to a new song from a favorite artist of mine (a cover of a Brandi Carlile tune), and it’s really good: