Beer and Pavement

Friday Movie

Posted in Uncategorized by SM on January 13, 2012

It’s a Friday afternoon and I don’t have anything for you. So, like teachers all across this great land of ours, I will show you some videos instead of actually teaching you anything. Granted, two of these videos were supposed to inspire blog posts of their own, but I’m being lazy.

The first video is part of that stupid Shit X say meme.

The second is an excellent video made by regular commenter Carrie Wade and Michael Hopkins.

The third video from which you can learn is this talk Coalition favorite Greg Koch of Stone gave to the nerds at Goolgle.

Have a good weekend, all.

Top 5 for September 5, 2011

Posted in Top 5 by SM on September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day, y’all! I wanted to make a labor-themed list this week, but I wasn’t feeling all that creative. Labor Day and unions will get their due in the list, but there are other things to cover…

1. SM on Fallon
I originally wanted to share this show SM & the Jicks put on at San Francisco’s Amoeba Records, but this two-song set on Fallon was too much to resist. The image of all those kids on stage peeing themselves over the awesomeness in front of them can’t escape my mind. All the live videos of material from this album further confirms that Mirror Traffic is the best I’ve heard this year and I doubt that will change any time soon. (I would have embedded the videos here, but NBC’s and Photobucket’s embedding doesn’t seem to cooperate with WordPress.)

2. Founders 2010 Nemesis
Recently, both Draft Magazine and The Hopry suggested that last year’s Nemesis is ready to come out of the cellar. They were right. Gone is the hoppiness and bite. Present is a smooth, luscious black barley wine, aged to near-perfection. I still have two left that will wit for at least another 6-12 months. It should be interesting to see how this beer matures even more.

3. Reckids
I’ve had an influx of records arriving at my house lately (and still more to come). It seems an order of three albums was lost somewhere and finally arrived this past week. I’ve barely had time to listen to Let’s Wrestle, Boat, and Joan of Arc. The Joan of Arc is pretty wicked, though. Also, I ordered a couple records I missed along the way: Eleanor Friedberger’s new solo effort and Wye Oak’s latest. On top of that, I’ve been listening to a streaming Wild Flag all week. So, there’s music about which to write once I find a moment.

4. Beers
There’s always a constant flow of beer in my life. I recently tried and thoroughly enjoyed Dogfish Head’s Squall, which is a bottle-conditioned version of their 90 Minute IPA. This was the same beer without the bite, quite enjoyable. Also, over the weekend, I had the Schlafly raspberry coffee stout. Meh. Fruit in stouts doesn’t often work for me. In this case, the raspberry overpowered everything. Luckily, I have another to age to see if the raspberry mellows.

5. Ohio State is 1-0.
This is all that matters. The Buckeyes had a long, long off-season as wins were vacated, players suspended, coaches resigned, etc. Now, they’ve finally played a game. It was a 42-0 win over outmatched Akron, but it was a win nonetheless. First-time head coach  Luke Fickell starts off undefeated. The defense pitches a shutout (which is a big deal no matter who you’re playing). The quarterbacks looked good. There was a new-found killer instinct lacking in previous teams. They even left at least 10 points on the field, fumbling once inside the 5 and missing a make-able field goal. Now, they welcome a slightly tougher – but still a MAC-rificial lamb – test in Toledo. Hopefully, a week from now, I’m writing that they’re 2-0 and ready for Miami.


Posted in Intersections by SM on April 7, 2010

No matter how many records I buy, I can’t fill this void.

When I was younger, I collected baseball cards. I bought some complete sets and some valuable rookie cards1. I kept my cards in plastic sheets, locked in binders. To an outsider, my collection was an obsession. To someone who obsessed over baseball cards, my collection was a nice, little hobby. I collected those cards to fill time, shoe boxes, and to connect me with a community of collectors. I suppose the hobby filled a void, a void only Eric Davis could fill.

The same can be said about my two current collections. I collect beers and music with the same tempered affection2 with which I collected baseball cards in order to fill some sort of void or need/want. Collections do not rule me or put me into great debt. They are hobbies that provide me some enjoyment and something about which to talk. If that so-called void is filled, that’s OK too.

The music collection has gone on for a while. I gathered cassette tapes and records in my early days throughout the eighties3. This eventually shifted to CD’s as labels switched formats. Aside from the random 7″ or LP, I gathered hundreds of CD’s4. I also collected concert experiences which included ticket stubs, t-shirts, or just memories. As the LP came back into fashion, I’ve come full circle in limiting my collection to just vinyl5.

The beer thing hasn’t been a hobby until the past couple of years. Sure, age and availability was a factor, but I didn’t really get into craft beer until I started trying more kinds of beer, spending a little more for something a lot better6. Now, I even have a beer cellar7 where some beers have sat for nearly two years. Some bottles contain beer that is actively evolving into a drinkable beverage8. And I collect through drinking9, not just holding. There are beer dinners and tastings. I break open something that’s been sitting around all the time. Beer is to be consumed not contained.

The key to collecting is the enjoyment. It’s not the conquest or filling an emptiness. It’s not compensation for something you’re lacking. A collection is only worthwhile if you can enjoy it.

That’s why I’ve taken more to the collecting of experiences rather than things. With music, I love the experience of placing the needle on the record only to get up twenty minutes later to flip the record and do it again. Although I love the ritual of playing an LP, nothing beats a great live show. Similarly, sampling a rare beer at a nice beer-centric bar with a buddy makes it all the more enjoyable. I also don’t believe in holding onto a beer too long just for the sake of the collection. If it’s been in the cellar for a couple of weeks10, it needs to be consumed.

With boys and men, the quantity is often the goal. We one-up each other all the time with the number of beers in our cellar or records on the shelf. Whole rooms are dedicated to collections. This, however, is not usually my goal. Sure, I am running out of room for records, CD’s, t-shirts11, etc. And there are more beers in my cellar than I can realistically consume on my own over the next several months. Any collection is about quantity, but the key is not to let that rule your life.

More importantly, a collection is about quality. I only buy the records I believe are good and that I actually want to hear12. I choose rock shows that I really want to see12. The beers I buy anymore are primarily because I know the style and/or brewery is good. I only want my collections to represent what I feel is the best. Quality also has its limits. I don’t own every record I want or think I should have13. There just isn’t room in my basement nor wallet to buy all those records. Same goes for the beer. Most of the beer I can’t have costs almost as much to ship as it does just to buy. So, I temper my beer mania and join a group order now and again or go without14.

If the size or character of a collection is too much, it ceases to be enjoyable. I’ve gone through periods where this was the case. Most of the credit card debt in my life is directly attributable to spending sprees at record stores, sometimes for a bunch of material I don’t even listen to anymore15. At times, my beer cellar is overflowing with beers of a shelf-life of six months or less. I’ve since learned to limit these sorts of brews as I stock up on beers that can stand to sit on a shelf for a year or two.

I could go on and on about the specifics of my collections. I could inventory my entire vinyl stockpile, but I won’t16. I could do as the guy below did and record my beer cellar7 for all to see, but I won’t do that either.

My collections pale in comparison to those mentioned above, but I’m OK with that. My music and beer collections are what I can handle. It’s all I need for enjoyment outside of my family and friends. There’s still that Flaming Lips t-shirt from 1995 to remind me of one of the two or three best shows I’ve ever seen. All of my Dogfish Head 120-minute IPA’s have been consumed and savored17. There are records still to play and some beers to drink in the near future. The enjoyment is not over.

Consume your collections. Don’t let them consume you. That’s what I’m trying to do anyway.

1Eric Davis was my favorite. Too bad he was so injury-prone.
2I don’t love them any less than the next guy. I have just learned to control my obsessions.
3Of which I have almost none. Between selling them to used record shops and being redistributed to my family, I have very little to show for this period of my life.
4Which, oddly enough, are kept in binders much like those still holding my baseball cards.
5And the digital downloads which accompany the vinyl.
6This is the obstacle for everyone to get over when starting a hobby in craft beer. You will spend more than $4 for a sixer of a good beer. You may even spend $10 for a bomber which is the equivalent of two beers. Think about that for a moment, PBR drinker.
7Really, it’s just a closet under the stairs. Did I mention this before?
8Homebrewing represents something I was never able to do with music: create my own.
9as evidenced by my expanding belly.
10Or up to two years if the beer is cellar-able. This would primarily be anything imperial, stouts, barley wines, certain Belgian brews, Lambics, etc. Beers to drink ASAP, for me, are primarily low ABV and highly hopped. Hops lose their potency as a beer ages.
11I recently retired a pile of rock concert t’s to a bin for my daughter to have when she gets older. How cool will it be when Lucia shows up in art class with an Archers of Loaf t-shirt featuring the hockey player from Vs. the Greatest of All-Time EP? Actually, no one will get it. I better just hang on to that one.
12Although, this does not always work out.
13I really wanted that vinyl copy of Gentlemen I found on eBay last year.
14Or empty the local shelves.
15Shuffle reveals embarrassing material all the time.
16There is nothing wrong with Nardy’s list. I am amazed not at just the breadth of his collection, but the depth as well. He not only has one Marvin Gaye album, but three; Led Zeppelin occupies six spots; and the Beatles – yes, those Beatles – provide 12 LP’s. I’ve seen it in-person. It’s quite impressive.
17I’ll get more.

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