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Life After Death

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Photo: Drinking it warm, of course...


Back in the day, my buddies and I had a tradition where we would drink a warm Dead Guy each year to prove our manliness.  I remember it being a vile task.  Yesterday, I was at Booze R Us getting beer flavored water for the MIL and I saw a single of the Dead Guy.  I thought that I would get some to see if it still tasted as horrid as it did before.

Before I get to the outcome of my experience, let me give you some history.

The year was 1990 and it was a tumultuous time for our nation. The clear beverage craze gave us all a reason to live. The information superhighway showed the average person what some nerd thinks about Star Trek. And the domestication of the dog continued unabated.  This was also the year that a show called Twin Peaks hit the airwaves.

The two most critical plot lines in Twin Peaks was that a high school student was murdered and there was a place called the Bookhouse.  And for the purposes of this post, the Bookhouse is the only critical point.

On February 23, 1990 it was raining and we were thirsty.  My three friends and I all had our Mickey’s Bigmouth malt liquor and we were ready to hit the road.  The quantity of the rain made us stop and think for a moment about driving all the way out to Prarie City to go drinking, which was longer than we were accustomed to stopping and thinking.  The baby of the group said that there was an older couple who lived by him who had an old woodshed and the suggested we ask if we could go there to drink.  He went up to his neighbors and explained our predicament.  The husband said that he would rather we go down there instead of driving all the way too boonies.  He even offered the use of a hibachi to have a small fire and an old oil burning lantern for light.  So we grabbed our beer and headed down.

First we lit the lantern, then the fire.  Finally it was our turn.  For reasons unknown to me, we agreed that we would not leave that night until the lantern ran out of oil.  I think we ended up being down there for at least three or four hours.  We headed home afterwards and that was that.

The next night rolled around and we found ourselves drawn the woodshed.  Over the course of the next four years, we spent two or three nights a week in what became known as the Bookhouse.  We each had our own chair and visitors were seldom welcome.  Every night included several rituals that still remain whenever we get together today.

The first was that each time we went down there, we had to bring two beers that had never entered the book house.  This was 25 years ago and micro breweries were just coming into their own and new beer was hard to come by.  We frequented Cost Plus and out-of-the-way liquor stores.  Often our rovings for new beer took out of Sacramento county, and more than once into different states.  By the time we had our last book house, we had amassed over 300 different kinds of beer in the book house.

At the end, we had consumed over 2,000 bottles of beer.  And at the end, we had yet to remove a single bottle from the Book House.  For reasons as obscure as those that drove the lantern decision, we keep all the bottles.  There was an old saw table that served as the receptacle for the remnants of libatious habit.  After the table was full, we moved on to the shelving, the floors, the rafters, anything that could hold a bottle.

We even spent a portion of each evening reminding each other of the importance of proper hygiene when using the toilet.

So now you are probably thinking, ‘We are 653 words into this post.  When are you going to get to the Dead Guy!’  Ok, ok, here is the story.

One evening, we were opening some of the new beers.  The drill was this: Each person would open their own beer, take a drink, and pass it down.  We would each take a drink and comment on the beer.  One of the nights beers was Dead Guy and we all proclaimed to be so bad that only true men could drink this stuff.  So we started an annual tradition of drinking one warm Dead Guy each year.  Back then, they printed the date on the barrel of the Dead Guy sits on.

Fast forward a couple of decades.  I cracked the brew above open and drank it, warm of course.  ‘So, how’d you like it?’….

Dr. Theodor S. Geisel was a prolific author in the who lived in the twenty-first century.  He penned any number of books that addressed how to change habits and expand your life.  He wrote one particular book that addressed the profound reluctance of a the main character, to try a new, grassy hued food, accompanied with swine-dish.  Through out the book, this unnamed character is relentlessly pursued by Sam.  Sam proposes that this unnamed character attempt to consume the food in a wide variety of locations and circumstances.  Sam’s wild juxtaposition of suggestions lends no credence to either the quality of his character or credentials as a gourmand.  Despite these flaws, Sam is able to convince his prey that his concoction is not only editable, it is delicious.  At the end of the book, this unnamed character is heard to exclaim:

I like green eggs and ham! 
I do!! I like them, Sam-I-am!’

My reaction to Dead Guy was very similar (sans the drinking with a goat.  A guy has to draw the line somewhere).  I like Dead Guy Ale and ha… never mind.

And so it goes.



Father of Daughters

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I have the pleasure of being a father to four girls and a boy.

Our oldest, known here as the Alpha Child, is joyful, eccentric and can be, um, difficult.  She is a natural performer.  This past year she sang, ‘A Few of My Favorite Things’, from The Sound of Music at her schools talent show.  Did a great job for a nine year-old.  My Facebook friends can poke around on my wall and find the clip.  When she was researching saints at school this year, she had to say what cause she would be the saint of.  I suggested that she could be the patron saint of dramatic little girls.  Note to self:  Dramatic little girls don’t like to be called dramatic little girls.

Our second daughter, Julia Grace, died when she was very young.  She still looms very large in my perception of the world.  She would be turning five about this time of year.  The kids have a cousin that is her age and I often watch cousin Izzy and wonder what Julia would be doing now.  And so it goes.

Next down the line is The Cuteosaurus.  The running joke with her was to pick an adjective or action and add ‘osaurus’ to it. Burposaurus, screamosaurus, eatosaurus, etc.  The CS has steel in her.  She is four and half now.  When she was 1-2, she would scream this piercing scream to get what she wanted.  It drove my wife to go back to work.  Seriously.  It took a lot of work to get her to stop screaming and start asking, but we got there.  Now she is the easiest of the kids to manage.  She just wants to make you happy and has a mostly sunny disposition.  The screaming will return on occasion, but nothing beyond the scope of what one would expect from a kid her age.  The CS is the most driven of our children and I expect that she will be the one to go into the business world.

Finally, we come to LJ.  (That not a nickname or anything.  Her nickname has her actual name in it and I’m one of those paranoid types who tries not to list his kids names on his blog.)  LJ is two and half and knows the exact moment when my wife and I are too busy with the others to pay attention to her.  She can switch between ornery and sweet very quickly and I never know quite what to expect.  I got her out of the bath the other day and she put her head on my shoulder and said, ‘I’m so happy to see you daddy.’  It really get’s you.  Five minutes later she was screaming at me because she didn’t want me to put lotion on feet.  That really gets me, too.

So there you go.  With summer around the corner,  I expect things to get a little hectic.  We put in an offer on a house last month, so if all goes well, our summer will include a move.  Four kids and a move?  No sweat.  (end delusional statement)

I’ll cover Biffie (the boy) later.

And so it goes.


About Face(book)

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So I finally decided to give the networking site, Facebook, as shot. My wife had signed up and found about 10 friends from college. I thought it would be interesting to sign up and see how many people I could find. Besides, one of my buddies from college has a page and he wanted me to check it out. Plus, I really want a place to publicize my blog.

I have to admit, that I has highly skeptical. From what I had understood, Facebook and MySpace were sites where hip young college kids and pre-teen and teenagers hung out to lie about drinking and have sex and whatnot. Being a 30+ married guy, the last two things were the only things that would qualify me (except I wouldn’t be lying about them). So, with a level of skepticism reserved for the groups identified above, I started my account.

The first thing that happened was that I added Casey as my spouse. Then I decided to look and see if I could find someone from high school. I entered the name of someone I remembered doing a double date with, and sure enough, he showed up. I sent him a little note about how I knew him. He responded. My first non-spousal friend.

Then, based on the fact that I knew Mark (the guy mentioned above), FB suggested someone else from my old high school. Then it suggested someone from college. Sure enough, I knew someone from college. Then that person knew like 50 other people. All of the sudden, there were more. And more. And more. Now I am swimming in friends, most of whom are from the band in Reno. Then the work connections came. I started entering in the names of people I remember from the lunch line in high school and the guy who had the nose bleed that day in gym. What was his name, Walter? All of the sudden, I couldn’t stop finding people. I looked for the people I swore I would never speak to again. It’s like going to a buffet. You know you don’t want to eat it. You know you shouldn’t eat it, but you just can’t stop because it’s all you can eat! Eat it all I tell you!!!!

So I have decided that I am OK with Facebook now. Hey, if it lets me keep tabs on people I haven’t seen in decades, great. I can post pictures and share information when I want. People can ping and poke me and send me short messages when they feel like it and I can do the same. After I get over my honeymoon, I don’t think it will change much in my day, but the connection is nice.

What’s that? You want my Facebook name so you can be my friend. Well, you already know my first name. And if you read my blog (not just this post. The whole thing) from beginning to end, you’ll know what city I live in. I think my picture is somewhere here with all of the family stuff. I don’t think my last name is anywhere. I have sorta made a point not to use it. So if you are not already my friend, and you want to be, go nuts. If you can track me down on Facebook, send me a request and let me know you found me in my blog. I’ll even send you a Facebook gift.

And so it goes.