Tag Archives: second pint project

Respite 29/ Second Pint: The Bowlers

En route home from the PNWHC, stretch of 99 on my way home-

(My visit to the conference was wonderful. I arrived late on purpose, too late as it turned out. I only made it in because someone who knew me was at the door.

‘Registration ended at 8!’ She said.

Sorry about that.

‘You’re lucky I know you,’ she cheerfully scolded me, ‘otherwise you might not get in.’

Thank you, I said, I’m sorry I was so late.

And there were good beers and bad beers and everyone was excited to talk to one another about how they did what they did. I kept my pours short, my drinks to a minimum and thanked everyone before I got on I-5 to go home. All was well, the OMSI exit to the bridge, the loop were I can see the businesses beneath the bridge, a brief dose of vertigo when I recognize that I am not on the ground, I have two more turns to get to 99 where I am no longer on the floating skyways and after the lights and into my final path home)

-I see the figure on my right. Hooded in black, stooped over, either from the weight of time or life or both, headlights hitting the sneakers which bounce back a white glow and

“Oh my goodness!”

I seem to swear less when I am sadly aghast.

“Oh my goodness!”

This person is walking on the shoulder under the Ross Island bridge, next to traffic moving at 50 miles per hour (minimum!) and they are alone.

And I don’t know what to do. I want to help. I don’t know if I can help.

I can’t help. Pulling over here would put me and whomever is behind me at risk. Everything is going so fast, the possibility of creating a fuckup from which I cannot recover is so great that stopping to help here is too dangerous.

So I keep going. And I worry. I feel burdened; here it is, a situation where I could’ve done more and I didn’t. I don’t know how to make that choice-something I’m still pretty sure was right-feel good.

A lego clicks in me: This is why I wanted to be a superhero. Because I could have the chance to save people without risking other lives.

33396683122_b6911e40d4_cSo we come to get a Pono IPA. There’s not much nose on it but I don’t blame the beer for that. The pour didn’t allow for any head on the beer; how can you get any aroma if it isn’t given a chance to exist?

The beer itself hits the pineapple notes hard, sweetly so at first, then with the tartness near the end. The finishing bitterness is pretty sharp, reminiscent of pineapple cut too close to the rind. That acrid-ish bite that tells you you shouldn’t go any further.

I suppose this is coming from that NE style of IPAs-in the dim light it looks awfully durn purdy, like diffused shower glass you can drink. But I also feel like I am drinking alcoholic fruit and if I really wanted to do that, I could and I think I could find something a little better.

As I finish my trip home, I pass by a hooded couple: one in gray, one in blue. The blue one has orange Uggs on, they hold hands as they migrate to the East and I am glad that they, at least, have each other.

Today’s Second Pint(s) go to two pals, raising money for women’s healthcare services in their respective states: NY and NC.

Respite 27/Second Pint IRAP

32445501534_8a193df92e_cI end my evening with Pono’s El Garotte IPA. It’s a NE style IPA, which means it’s visually obscured and influenced by Florida’s fruit.

Eh. The finish has an interesting dry quality to it, which I wasn’t expecting. I’m also hard pressed to suggest that the beer is bitter at all, with the fruity flavors making such a strong appearance. On the other hand, I do not see a reason to recommend it. It’s OK, but I don’t want to have another. And I think this comes from the finish, where it ends dry but there’s also something coating the roof of my mouth that I’m trying to scrape off.

It’s a mouthfeel thing; chalky, grainy, and I do not like it.

I’ve come to blog following my volunteer service at SheBrew and it’s difficult to summon the kind of coherency that provides me with a proper throughline for the evening. I can still pay attention, though; people watching never fails to provide entertainment.

The old man in the far corner, alone, staring into a phone, its light reflected off his glasses.

The trio in the process of leaving, the man clearly doing this ‘fuck you, I’m done but I want to have the last word’ thing, while one woman giggled at the whole scenario and the second woman had a combination of disbelief and upset on her face. The man held the door, ‘I’m waiting for you, damnit’ was his body language, the women in no hurry because, if I had to guess, this guy was being an asshole….

The subtly creepy, greasy haired fella in the corner, who gave me the dude headnod as I sat down, which I returned. Because that’s just how you do absent other evidence. Being rude to strangers never served anyone well.

The woman in the neon pink tracksuit, with neon yellow highlights.

Man, it takes all kinds. Which is great.

There’s a party going on in another corner, with a group of close to ten people taking over a space. My eye catches on the tall woman in red, but appreciating that she is there is enough. I am too tired to meet strangers. Give me friends to flirt with, if anyone at all. The small thrill of a friend who likes you, even if it doesn’t go anywhere, is more comforting when the yoke of the day weighs heavy then the adoration of strangers can ever be.

The second pint goes to the International Refugee Assistance Project.

Respite 26/Second Pint Earthjustice

33152364625_8a148bd71f_cThere is a new Bailey’s Hausbier! All Gold Everything, made in collaboration with Baerlic brewing. And…yeah, it’s a golden ale! There’s a definite grainy quality to the beer, especially on the finish. Not much of a hop characteristic at all: the nose is quite malty and there is just the barest nudge of bitterness on that finish. I wouldn’t be surprised if they just pixie dust’d the beer with hops.

They did a pretty good job of bringing out the malt quality, considering this is a 4.8% beer. I would’ve expected a stronger ale but as is, it’s good news on what has been a less awesome day.

I went 1-3 today at a card tournament. I know; it was just a game but every time I do an event like this and it goes poorly, there’s always the letdown phase.

This letdown phase has been made worse by current events. Just the nature of things, but when someone in power says “We’re here to deconstruct the state” and you can point to posting after posting of people unfit to do their job, in a position that requires them to do their job properly…well, those loses add up.

It’s hard. Because we can point to a time in America where the EPA didn’t exist and needed to. There was a time when childhood hunger was all but eliminated, back in the 60-70’s. Hell, the FCC had to ensure net neutrality laws just three years ago, in order for you to read this blog freely. They don’t seem interested in that anymore.

Every single institution that is there to support the people is being gouged away.

Defeat is a dickpunch. It hurts on multiple levels and it doesn’t get shaken off very easily. Ask the Atlanta Falcons. Or really, ask any American, any visitor to America who relies on civil human beings to get through their day, and doesn’t get one.

That’s why we need each other: just as we did not succeed alone, we are not defeated alone-although defeat is exemplary at making us feel isolated.

But isolated isn’t normal for people. That tracks, since America isn’t normal, right now.

Sometimes it is hard to sit here and do the work. I have no editors, no researchers, no advisors. I am fortunate enough to have friends who will tell me when I’ve misspelled a word and for that I am grateful. For readers, I am grateful. On days, or even weeks, of defeat though, it is hard to do the work.

But there are others doing more difficult work. I hope that those people do not work alone-because we are here for each other. That’s the only reason we are here. To toil alone against the forces of greed is not normal-and I hope it is not common, either.

Today’s second pint goes towards Earthjustice.

Respite 25/Second Pint NKH

Arch Rock LagerI’ve been reading comic books since I was 15 and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see those characters become the subjects of movies, or to see the industry expand the kinds of people who take those heroic roles-women, people of color, the whole spectrum of humans-so that other people can enjoy those stories about what makes us great.

Superheroes generally tend to have one thing in common, though, in terms of their motives: they are trying to right a wrong they failed to prevent.

Except for two I especially like: Superman and Captain America.

Superman has godlike powers and he chooses, every day, to do what is right. No matter how difficult it is, he refuses to quit. His opposite, Batman, is perpetually haunted by the ghosts of his parents. Superman is, instead, someone who is inspired by his parents, by people at large, to do the right thing.

Then there’s Cap. It’s difficult to nail Cap down, because he’s got a streak of mortality but like Superman, he sees a wrong and isn’t willing to let it go. Not because he has to prove something to someone else. Because he has something to prove to himself, perhaps, but what is more noble than being a better person today than you were yesterday?

They do what is right because they choose to. All superheroes do on some level-I am not here to discredit the stories of Daredevil or the Flash or any character. Good stories come from people and can be about anyone.

For me, however, the distinction that Captain America and Superman hold is that they are all about the Dream, rooted very much in American ideals. And if you don’t understand the Dream, then you cannot understand those characters.

That doesn’t mean that those characters are not for you, if you are not American, just that what they represent comes out of the best hopes of America and are reflected as such.

Because the Dream is for everyone. Which is why the justification for actions like the Muslim ban is such a lie. The Dream of America isn’t just for Americans. It is for anyone who needs the Dream.

And yeah, that Dream is something that the people fall short of. A lot. But it is still worth struggling for, to resist those who would take it from us-and make no mistake, when they try to take it from one, they are taking it from all. Even when they try to tell us it isn’t personal, it should feel personal.

It should feel personal because it is personal. Captain America and Superman don’t defend white men. They defend the Dream. And the Dream is for women, LGBTQ people, people of color; immigrants, children…the Dream is for everyone.

More importantly, the Dream has benefited everyone. Every time we have decided to build the longer table in America-from allowing women to vote, to extending civil rights to black people, or homosexuals, or decided to create public funds for the elderly or disabled, or work to mitigate the effects of poverty, there has been an uptick in what America is and who Americans are. The trajectory of Americans didn’t slowly bend upwards because we repressed people and kept it that way. It was made by people who were willing to extend what America is to others and fight for their right to take part.

And yeah, that’s idealistic and in no way the complete story. It’s still an important part of it, though.

So when someone wants to cut people out of the Dream, by denying children education, by keeping people who work 40 hours a week at wages that barely allow them to scrape by (if that), by allowing the police to intimidate or outright murder people of color, by ravaging the environment so that the air is unfit to breathe, by impoverishing people who just don’t want to be sick…the representatives of the Dream have to resist them.

So I say; Go be whomever inspires you. Take your bravery from the best stories offered to you, if you have trouble finding it in yourself.

Because the Dream is in need of some defense. And we have some Red Skull level evil coming at us.

Remarkably, I thought of all of this during one Arch Rock Gold Beach Lager: There is a faint sweetness to the finish of this lager, which is nicely offset by an almost metallic effervescent quality. It’s extremely drinkable and I want another, along with hot dogs to pair with it, if that helps give you a sense of what to expect when you order this beer. If hot dogs and beer aren’t a good pairing then I don’t even know what to say.

Today’s Second Pint goes to No Kid Hungry.

Respite 24/Second Pint NDRC

Just going to throw you in the deep end today: Founders Brewing Lizard of Koz, an Imperial stout with blueberry, cocoa, vanilla, aged in bourbon barrels. The nose is soft, faint: blueberry blossoms, instead of outright blueberry. The flavors equally subtle, vanilla being dominant  but the cocoa jockeys for position from time to time, with blueberry coming in to finish it all off. I don’t notice the bourbon at first. So much tasty goodness going on, I have to close my eyes and really focus to pick it up.

As the stout warms, a little more of the bourbon laces itself into the blueberry nose, along with a smidge of chocolate. I’m OK with this. Find this, drink it. Share with friends.

So, the #Resistance is in full swing. We’ve got an engine of people who are standing up, saying no, willing to go outside or write letters or shop elsewhere-action. From the citizens in the street to people like Sally Yates, who as far as I’m concerned is a hero, to take a stand against what is happening. Not just posturing. Action. But we need the next step.

We need the Dream.

And with the Dream, we need the Figurehead. We need someone to articulate the Dream. To stand behind it, even at great cost.

President Kennedy spoke of going to the moon, “Because it is hard.” President Johnson spoke of the Great Society, to eliminate poverty and social injustice. Another task that is not easy. Hell, look at bravery from people like Margaret Sanger (“No woman is free until she can control her own body”) or Martin Luther King (who needs no supporting evidence), on and on, people who stood up and said “The Dream of America is more, is BETTER, than your rhetoric that would keep it in the swamp”.

They did so at cost to themselves and they were complicated people. Only our fictional heroes lack the human complication. But they inspired us and the country became better. That isn’t in question.

More importantly, they gave us something concrete. Where’s the goal in being a shining city on a hill? No, that light comes when we can point to our accomplishments: eliminating childhood poverty, improving mental healthcare for all, protecting vulnerable populations, be they poor or different, curing cancer, creating a city on the Moon: these things light us up.

We need our inspiration. Resistance becomes gray skies in the soul without something to work for. We cannot be just “not them”. That allows someone else to define our identity, which is why statements from Democratic leadership like this are utter bullshit.

Being liberal-hell, being an American- stands for something and when you quit articulating what you stand for, you stand for nothing. There are people out there willing to fight for what they believe America should stand for. Give them a voice to rally behind, damnit. Give us something to be for because we’re going to get tired just being ‘not them’.

As a result, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Dream and what I think that needs to include. Once we know what it should include, I don’t doubt that we can get smart people to figure out how it’s done. But we need a goal.

Today’s Second Pint goes to the National Resources Defense Council.

Respite 23/Second Pint UCS

31940690133_89b9e67933_cMy impression of Nectar Ales’ Black Xantus imperial stout: Chocolate liquor. It’s straightforward and there’s nothing wrong with that. A nice combination of coffee, dark chocolate and a dry finish. This is definitely a beer that my Dad would like.

The nose has a hit of that alcohol pungent and I think that’s what’s keeping me from really raving about the beer. It’s just medicinal enough that I shy away from it. Plus, there is a last gasp of alcohol burn on the very last swallow.

It’s good. It’s not perfect. But it’s definitely good.

I read this essay on tolerance last week and it got me thinking. For those of you who don’t want to read it, the long and short is: Tolerance functions like a peace treaty. Disregarding that treaty opens you up to a whole mess of problems-often violent ones.

So when you have a President who decides he can ignore the law and disrespect his fellow citizens, people get angry and start doing things to make him look bad. Because as it turns out, you need a whole lot of people to run America. That’s why we have bureaucracy. Pissing those people off by doing shitty, illegal, ill advised things breaks the treaty.

This is why we have rogue NASA, NPS and POTUS twitter accounts. There’s a rogue DoD account for the love of Pete!

And while part of me approves of this in a Fight Club sense, I have a greater concern.

How do we rebuild the treaty? I think this is what is holding many Democratic representatives in Congress back. Maybe holding a lot of people back. Once the treaty is broken, you’re at each others’ throats, either metaphorically or physically, until one of you admits defeat.

That worries me. It worries me quite a bit. Resistance in the face of evil is necessary and that resistance will stretch the limits of those treaties. I hope we do not have to rend the treaties of America to win it.

The second pint today goes to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

 

Respite 22/Second Pint Dr W/O Borders

This might get a little weird, so if it seems like I’m asking for the reader’s indulgence, I am, and I apologize in advance.

Because it’s been a fucked up week in America. I don’t use the term lightly, despite being a devotee of swearing (seriously, my parents are probably a little disappointed with how much I swear) but I want to make it very clear to readers near, far, familiar or strangers: this has been a fucked up week in America.

And while I have been very, very angry about what has been happening (and also partaking in schaudenfreaude at moments) I don’t exactly have…

I do have something to say but it isn’t quite the same. Please do not mistake the next statement as one that dismisses or makes light of what is going on.

I want you to take a break.

See this beer? An India Session Ale called Enabler by Tripplehorn Brewing.

It’s a little skunky in the nose but not too strong. There isn’t much body there, though, which for an india session ale isn’t too surprising. The finish is pretty dry though, which is a little surprising. It isn’t a bad thing however; that dry quality encourages another sip. You should have one-one with people who matter to you.

I want you to remember, as good acquaintance said recently, that you matter. You don’t need to justify your struggle to make the world a better place for the planet, or the children, or the elderly, or the disenfranchised, or persecuted-all excellent reasons, though.

You can work to make it a better place for you to make a better self.

That work is hard. It wears on the spirit. It wears on the body. It hurts. A friend who recovered from breast cancer said about her treatment, ‘I felt fine until they started to cure me’. Most of this work is like that-you believe you are fine until you start to fix yourself.

So, come down. Sit. Have a beer with me. We can talk politics if you like but if you want to talk about your husband/wife/job/children/random shit: man, I’m in. Rainbows. The last joke you heard. I’ll tell you when I had to play “where’s the tarantula” which was my least favorite game ever.

Because the work has come upon us. And if there is anything Americans are up for, it’s work, motherfucker. You give us a job and we will work it so hard there won’t even be a job left to do, except by some machine that we’ve dubbed ‘Mickey II: Boogaloo’, in order to allow us to enjoy  more time NOT working.

However, to do work you need rest. There are not many calls for people to take care of themselves and each other, right now. Especially when a lot of people are truly, desperately afraid and we know we have to fight.

So I am making that call. Not because I want to devalue the work, but because I want to see you here on the day that the work bears fruit. Joyful, even if you are worn.

Because I know that we are being assaulted and will need time to recover, so we can go back and fight the good fight again. The good fight will always need to be fought.

Still, at least for today, remember what matters. We’ll get back on it at sunrise, promise.

Today’s second pint goes to Doctors Without Borders.