Across the Pond

Hello,

I’ll be leaving the country soon and it will be the first time that I’ve done so since I’ve gotten here.

I’m excited about it, but I don’t think I’ve really processed it yet.

And to be clear, we’re going to London, so this is not as out there as we could possibly go. I think I’ll be able to pick up the language pretty quickly. I don’t think I’ll be able to repress my strong and constant desire to mimic accents, which is a problem here, at home. And if you don’t understand why that’s a problem, you haven’t heard me do my Boston accent.

Sorry, that was a digression.

Or maybe it wasn’t.

I’m starting to become anxious about the fifteen thousand ways I might act as an obnoxious American tourist, without even meaning to do so.

I’m also concerned about the likelihood that I’m going to miss out on something. I have no idea if I’m ever likely to go back to London, so I need to pack everything I can into this one trip.

Driving is a concern.

Also, Brexit.

So, as always, I’m turning something fun into an anxiety riddled blur of emotions and I just need to take it easy.

But if you have any recommendations for things to do in London, lemme know.

Because I’m worried about missing anything.

-D-

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By the Light of A Collapsing Star

Hello,

I want to talk about this article and everything that this article entails.

I’m not going to summarize it.

It’s required reading for this blog entry.

I genuinely and truly believe that humanity is advancing toward the light. We are progressing, as a whole, toward being better.

I am not looking for perfection or utopia or some platonic ideal of humanity, but I believe we will race ahead into the light.

But I do have my moments where I just look at what we’re doing and I wonder if we really are going to make that far. I look at the fact that some people saw this bright young woman who did an amazing thing, a great thing, and decided to try and tear her down because…..jealousy? Sexism? Simple pettiness?

This isn’t a new. It’s not shocking. It’s not even the worst thing to happen today.

But it’s just another example of the blind hate that exists within certain men. They are violently, perpetually enraged at women for whatever reason used to excuse the fact that they’re just spiteful, awful people.

There’s nothing to debate there. There’s nothing to discuss there.

They’re just unpleasant, wormy little trolls who spend their every moment in a fantasy that women owe them something. They live in a fantasy where they are automatically owed everything on a silver platter and how dare a woman take the spotlight.

They’re vapid, shallow, pointless men, grasping for power any way they. They can only exist in environments that pamper them, that coddle them, that tend to their constant demands for attention.

On the one hand, I hate that they’re getting this attention. On the other hand, I feel they need to be dragged out into the light, they need to be exposed. They need to be seen for what they are and who they are. They need to be pilloried and shown that the majority looks at them like a grotesque relic from the 50’s, some creepy cultural artifact that should have been left back in time.

They will never go away, not entirely, but they should be made aware that they are not welcome. Constantly. Repeatedly.

They are not welcome.

We cannot continue to move forward and not address the festering hatred in these small men. And we cannot let just women, just people of color, just trans people, just the oppressed and ignored fight for themselves. They cannot just stand by themselves, trying to be heard over a cacophony of stupid, mindless white men crying out “not all men!”

If you’re a white man, do something  that’s not just excusing yourself from blame. At the very least, the very least, step aside and preach the good works of the people around you. Raise up the people around you. Do not speak for them. Do not talk over them. Make room for them and let them speak and then shut down anyone else who tries to speak over them. Make space for people who cannot make their own space.

I feel I’ve gone far afield of where I started here.

But, Jesus, can we not just let this one woman have this one thing without it turning into some men’s rights nonsense?

Just this one time?

-D-

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An Update

Hello,

It’s been seventeen days since I start to write continuously, both in this blog and off the blog and I don’t know how this is impacting me at this point.

On the one hand, I’ve written more in this short two weeks than I did in the last six months prior to starting this experiment.

And I feel that it has been generally of better quality.

Well, I don’t know about the blog.

The blog has been the hardest part of this, constantly trying to come up with something even new to talk about without this just being an entire month of beer reviews and writing about writing.

I think, at the very least, I’ll level up my discipline a smidge.

And that might be worth this whole process.

-D-

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Neon Night Terrors

Hello,

I love 80’s horror.

Love it.

It is my favorite era of my favorite genre of movie.

I love the excess of 80’s horror. It’s big an it’s gory and it splatters and explodes across the screen.

It’s an enormous, backwoods madman in a hockey mask swinging a machete.

It’s a demon invading nightmares with knives for fingers.

It’s an antarctic expedition with dogs that erupt into tentacles.

It’s John Carpenter.

This is the time when horror lost its 1970’s addiction to grim and gritty and despair and satanic cults. It’s when horror realized it could be fun and gaudy and gross and extravagant and it’s amazing.

It’s something I think I could talk about endlessly.

Maybe record it.

I dunno.

Something to think about.

-D-

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Beer Review: Bay State Brewing Co’s Becky Likes the Smell

Hello,

I can’t stay away from IPAs. There was a time when I did not like IPAs at all, but, because I’m stubborn, I kept drinking them, over and over again. Now I kind of like them.

I really don’t know how I feel about the name of this one: Becky Likes the Smell.

I dig what they’re referring to, as the can promo woman is holding a hop (one hop?) in her hand, but man, I dunno.

The IPA does smell good. Smells like a fruitier IPA. Sweeter, maybe.

Love the can art.

No credit for the can art though. Not sure how I feel about, Bay State Brewing Co..

Anyway, it’s late and I need to write this blog entry and drink this beer.

And not sure how I feel about this one. I feel like the can over-promised on this one. Supposedly I can taste notes of: tropical fruit, pear, spice, melon, pine and citrus.

I feel like you’d be hard pressed NOT to taste pine and citrus in an IPA. That’s just what hops taste like.

It’s just a little empty, especially considering that this is a double IPA. I expect a little more oomph from a double IPA, and I don’t just mean with the alcohol. Other double IPAs really pack in the flavor, sometimes to an overwhelming degree.

I’d say that if you want a lighter, more refreshing double IPA, than this one is a good bet. Not too much backbite with the bitterness, but when they say subtle notes on the can, they mean subtle. It’s definitely not as sticky as some IPAs can get.

Feeling let down.

Great can art. Ok beer. Upsetting name.

Six robots that transform into cassette tapes out of eight.

-D-

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One Shot

Hello,

I really don’t want to turn this blog into an anti-vaxxer bashing blog, but, you know what, I kinda do.

Buzzfeed just posted this story and I’m, again, angry.

New York has recently put into effect an order stating that if you don’t vaccinate your kids against measles you get fined $1000. You have to show proof that you are already immune (because you had measles at some point) or that you have been vaccinated.

They are doing this because there are now, currently, 300 cases of measles in New York City. Twenty of those cases are in the hospital. Five of those cases are in intensive care.

Now, that’s not a lot of people, although I would argue that any number of people being hospitalized for an easily preventable illness is ridiculously high. But then there’s this fun quote:

“The problem is, there’s nothing more difficult to contain than a measles epidemic,” Peter Hotez, professor of pediatrics and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Texas’s Baylor College of Medicine, told BuzzFeed News. “The measles virus is the most highly transmissible virus we know about.”

So it’s a highly transmissible virus with each person that is currently carrying the virus becomes a liability, especially in a society where people have decided they’d rather not take one shot.

On top of that, there are parents who have decided to have measles parties instead of just vaccinating their children and, in that way, avoid the fine. Here’s what those children have to look forward to:

“The first sign of measles is usually a high fever, which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus, and lasts 4 to 7 days. A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage. After several days, a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck. Over about 3 days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for 5 to 6 days, and then fades. On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus (within a range of 7 to 18 days).” – Borrowed from WHO

Let’s be clear here: Measles can kill. Measles can maim. Let’s look at those symptoms:

“Most measles-related deaths are caused by complications associated with the disease. Serious complications are more common in children under the age of 5, or adults over the age of 30. The most serious complications include blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), severe diarrhoea and related dehydration, ear infections, or severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia. Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.” – Also Borrowed from WHO

So….the parents can give their kid one shot or they can get them sick and risk all those symptoms and consequences listed above. Here are the common symptoms of the measles vaccine:

  • Sore arm from the shot
  • Fever
  • Mild rash
  • Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints, mostly in teenage or adult women who did not already have immunity to the rubella component of the vaccine
    Borrowed from the CDC

Huh….looks like getting the vaccine is much less risky than actually getting the measles.

Weird.

Wait! There’s a risk of fever induced seizures in older infants! Except that it’s extremely rare and the seizures have no long term effects on the child. Not like measles which can, once again, result in blindness or death.

So, to recap, parents in NYC would rather make their child incredibly sick for two weeks (and risk their child’s death!) rather than get a shot that would prevent that from happening.

This is asinine. This is irresponsible. This is dangerous.

Vaccinate your children, for their own sake.

-D-

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Public Writer

Hello,

I’ve never been someone who likes to write in public. The thought of setting up my laptop in the local coffee shop, which will most likely be a Starbucks, and proceeding to tap away makes me cringe inwardly.

But that’s what I’m doing this morning.

I have time to spare this morning, time to kill, and I’ll be damned if I let a spare minute slip away.

That’s been an interesting side effect of writing every day and really pushing myself toward writing more each day instead of just a hundred words here and there. I look forward to it and I’m starting to have things to say again.

Always write, always keep writing, if you want to do this for a living, you should always be writing.

I still don’t like writing in public though.

Feel exposed.

Signing off from a Starbucks in Waltham.

-D-

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Black Dog

Hello,

There are tricks I have when the black dog is visiting.

He doesn’t do much.

Just sits in the corner.

Which is unnatural in and of itself, in my experience. Dogs are sprawlers when they’re relaxed, just like cats. They don’t sit unless they want something or have been told to do it or both. Left to their own devices, they’re on their backs or on their bellies, not a care in the world.

This one sits and waits and takes up the whole corner of my office.

Just sitting and waiting.

For all I know, he does want something. You don’t visit someone for no reason. At least, I don’t. Dogs are the same way, I figure.

So he wants something and he’s sitting and he’s just…there.

Waiting.

So I turn my back to him and get on with it. That’s all I can do, really. All I’m willing to do, really. Turn my back on him and hope he doesn’t tear out my throat one day.

I feel like that bear guy, sometimes. The one that thought he was their friend and he went out into the woods and filmed them, recorded them, and I know he thought they were on the same page.

Of course, they weren’t.

But the black dog never moves and then he leaves and my office feels a little more open, a little more spacious and I can breathe again and that’s good and right.

I think, in the end, the trick is not to ignore the black dog. He comes and he goes and he makes his rounds, but he is a dog. And dogs are best dealt with scratches behind the ear and walks and trips to the vet.

Gotta take care of my dog, even if I didn’t exactly go down to the shelter and pick him up.

Yeah.

-D-

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Beer Review: Collective Arts’ Life in the Clouds

Hello,

I decided to take another crack at a Collective Arts Brewing IPA tonight because I enjoyed last night’s so much. The initial smell is definitely not as intense as it was last night, but this is not a Double IPA.

I will say that IPAs are a devil of a thing to review because unless a company is actually trying to make a distinctive flavor, mostly all you get is the in-your-face flavor of hops. This one smells a little citrus.

The one last night reminded me a great deal of a Ballast Point IPA and I’m getting the same vibe here.

Oh and the art on the can is by Annabelle Popa. She does some pretty cool comics that you can read through her site as well.

Sorry, forgot about the beer for a moment.

It’s another solid IPA, but there’s nothing that particularly stands out to me about this one, unlike last night’s offering.

Again, it doesn’t aggressively overwhelm me with bitterness and again it’s very pleasant. There’s no point where I feel let down, where it’s too airy, or too light. It’s ticking the boxes for everything I want in an IPA.

I just realized I’m coming across as disappointed and there’s nothing to be disappointed about. I think this is a good IPA starter, if you’re not a huge fan of IPAs or you’ve never had one, you won’t go wrong trying this one. It’s still bitter, but it doesn’t linger like in some craft IPAs. It’s complex enough to not be boring, but not overly heavy and it has a decent kick, in terms of alcohol content.

I give it five IPAs out of four t-rex pepper shakers.

-D-

 

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Beer Review: Collective Arts’ IPA No. 8

Hello,

The first thing I have to say about this beer is that the moment I popped it open, all I smelled were hops. Keep in mind, I didn’t have my face right in the beer. My nose was a good two or three feet away from the can when I opened it.

Bam.

Hops.

And I mean, the actual physical hops. Like when you go on the Sam Adams brewery tour and they make you rub hops between your hands so your hands smell like hops for the rest of the day. Like that. Not hoppy or essence of hops.

Just. Hops.

I still haven’t even tried it. It’s..astonishing. I don’t even know if I want to try it.

I love their can art though. Is that a term? A real term? Can art? I prefer the art on Stranger than Fiction, their porter, but this just pops. According to Collective Arts’s website, they use their beer to promote artists and muscians, so that’s pretty cool.

Still haven’t tried it.

I waved the beer at my wife and she said it smells like a brewery floor.

It smells like its calmed down a bit, much more muted, more tame. Before it was a hops djinn that had been released from some thousand year slumber. Now it’s…an IPA.

Whoa, that’s pretty pleasant actually. Not aggressively bitter, it’s not one of those craft beers going for the IBUs. It’s…a really good, really solid IPA. It’s a little sweet, barely any back-of-the-throat bitterness biting at you.

Wow.

I don’t think I’ve had such a positive turnaround on a beer from beginning to end.

If you like IPAs, but you’re sick of some bearded, flannel wearer cramming bitterness down your throat like a craft beers are a contest to see who can get the highest IBUs, definitely try this out. Little sweet, very solid and a strong IPA.

I give it six happy, floaty clouds.

CORRECTION: It’s a double IPA, so at 8%, it might put you down, if you’re not used to that.

-D-

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