Beer and Pavement

Nostalgia

Posted in Life, Meta by SM on October 1, 2014

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I have a certain sentimentality for this blogging thing. People don’t blog like they used to. I certainly don’t, but for some reason I’ve kept this URL alive.

And there’s finally time for it again. Well, sort of…

I dropped my PhD program because there wasn’t enough time in the day and I’m honestly not sure I need it. As far as the time goes, it’s mainly due to the birth of my son in March. Two kids is a lot more work than we anticipated. Plus, work is going well as I fill a position I assumed a PhD would help me secure. What this basically means is that I think I have time to write now and again on this site once again.

About what should I write?

If you have ever read this blog or another, you know I write a lot about beer and music, but normally from a mid-nineties, Gen X, nostalgic perspective. The blog to me is a record of what’s happened more than anything else. “I drank this beer at this bar.” ” I saw this band perform these songs.” Blogs are my record of what I did, thought, or predict. And the reason I keep it around is nostalgia. Nostalgia for the ideals I developed 15-20 years ago that stick with me today. Nostalgia for the experiences that helped shape me. Nostalgia for the first time I heard Pavement or sipped a sour beer.

Nostalgia.

Hopefully, some of you are nostalgic for my writing, because it’s back. Maybe I won’t post as often or write as many opuses as before, but I think I have enough to write fairly regularly – like once or twice a week, maybe three times if I do short posts.

So, let’s get nostalgic for a bit.

It has come to my attention that I either listen to the same music I listened to in the 90’s, those same bands sounding basically the same today (especially in reunion form), or modern music that sounds like it was made 15-20 years ago. And as time has passed, I become more and more okay with this limited musical perspective. I now look for terms like “indie” or “lo-fi” or whatever when searching out tunes to buy or stream. Hell, as the picture above attests, I saw The Afghan Whigs a few weeks ago and loved it.

Is this really nostalgia or just force of habit? I’m going with the former as nostalgia suggests my choices are purposeful, thoughtful and not some mindless going through the motions. This music (and beer in general) was there when I went through my formative years just before, during, and just after college. I am a 90’s indie rock kid. That probably won’t change.

So, get ready for a whole lot of nostalgia at this URL. I’m not saying that this will be yet another theme I drive into the ground, but it will be ever prevalent in my posts about music, beer, and life. It’s good to be back.

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On Cans and Vinyl

Posted in Beer, Intersections, Rock vs. Beer by SM on May 31, 2012

Last weekend was Memorial Day weekend, the first of the three summer holidays most noted for BBQ and beer. (Well, and remembering those who died in war, our country’s “independence”, and labor’s many accomplishments.) Much of the beer I consumed came from a can; a little bit of beer nostalgia delivered the good stuff to my gullet.

In recent years, BPA-coated, aluminum cans have become the container-du jour for craft beer fans and brewers. Cans keep out more sun than bottles and arguably more oxygen. While some only see cans as a hipster novelty, most of us realize the importance of these vessels to the portability and preservation of our favorite brews.

I, like most beer geeks, prefer not to drink my beer from cans (nor bottles). I often say that one would never attempt to smell a flower through a straw. So, pour that beer into a glass, let it open up. However, for the holiday, I succumbed to drinking my beer straight from the can without shame.

There are certain contexts for which such pretensions over drinking beer not from the prescribed glass are called. Poolside, floating lazily down a river, camping, and bicycling are a few of these moments. Considering the conditions of the holiday, I enjoyed my Tallgrass beers from the cans, coozy included.

Context dictates how we should consume beer and even the kinds of beer we drink. I don’t feel guilty for drinking from the can. I was in the midst of a 60-mile bike trip with a night of camping in between. Cans were were a practical drinking option. Even bottles were unwieldy and potentially dangerous. The can is much like its close relative which is used to house such camping delicacies as beans or corned beef hash. Enjoyment of the moment was wrapped in an aluminum cylinder. I was not about to soil the moment with a glass and make the beer more important than the enjoyment of the event and those around me.

Vinyl records, like cans, have their own ideal contexts when their less-than-ideal delivery trump advancements in technology and actually add to enjoyment. The context in which a vinyl record is preferable to more digital formats are times when devouring an entire album in the confines of your home is paramount. When I am relaxing in my finished basement with a record, very purposefully spending time with the music, a record that requires me to drop the needle and flip sides now and again is better than simply pushing a button. Vinyl engages the listener physically while delivering a soft, familiar sound.

Unlike cans, vinyl is less portable and arguably auditorily inferior to its digital counterparts. It’s not easy to take a record with you. Digital music is so much more portable, like canned beer. The sound debate is a good one, but I won’t get into that here. Simply, for sharper, more precise sound, go with digital. However, vinyl feels different. It’s softer, warmer, and preferable for those of us who just prefer a more analogical existence.

Both cans and vinyl had good runs that ended too quickly. Newer and better technology arrived. These creature comforts of our fathers became obsolete. Then, retromania hit. People found ways to improve upon old technologies while recapturing lost nostalgia. The can never really left, but craft beer’s adoption has bumped its cred. New can lining technology hasn’t hurt either. Vinyl is better produced than ever and many new records come with digital downloads, giving you both the high quality sounds and artifact in one, neat package.

The comfort and sentimentality of beer cans and vinyl records just feel right in the right context. It’s hard to put a finger on it (as you can probably tell from the rambling above), but they just feel right in the right situations. I don’t always go can or vinyl. However, it’s nice to know that they’re there and are ready for the perfect situation.

Speaking of vinyl, if you’re anywhere near Middle Missouri, come out to Uprise on Monday to see/hear me play some records. The set list will be posted here, but you should come and have a beer with me while I play the “hits.” Also, both images were totally lifted from the great Tumblr better known as Dads Are The Original Hipsters. Go read it now.

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