not much new to report this week….

The second week of my training period for my new job is done… finally, and it looks like I can start getting into something of a routine starting this next week. Which will be nice considering that since sometime in August Ive been, renovating, packing, moving, unpacking, prepping, schooling, fathering, tackling post-move in projects, and training a new job. Literally we have not had one week that was the same as the last for months now, which makes it difficult to relax really. Not to mention that when we have the opportunity for a repeat week, my kid goes and bounces his noggin off the corner of the couch and has to be rushed to the ER for stitches…..sigh. nobody warned me.

The kid is fine, the ‘normal’ work schedule starts this week, so by the time I get caught up on school work and mid term prep, maybe Ill have a chance to get some writing done. We’ll see…..


Call me a beer snob, but…..

http://www.wineryexchange.com/beer.asp

Maybe this is a sign of an impending market collapse for craft beer? Im not one to begrudge anyone the opportunity to make a dollar or two, but this reeks of empty capitalist opportunism in the worst sense. Dont get me wrong, Im no dirty socialist (whatever THAT means these days), but a big part of the reason that I became enthusiastic about craft beer is the incredible number of stories behind small brewers, brewpubs and craft brewers that can be summed up as such: “We couldn’t find the beer we like to drink, so we decided we would learn how and eventually just go into business making the beer we like, the best way we know how to make it and hopefully enough other people like it to keep us in business…” granted, this isnt the same story for EVERYone, but an aggregate market sketch of sorts.

‘What are these guys possibly doing?’ you might ask. The short version is that they are approaching contract brewers with product concept, asking for something in return that fulfills the idea, re-packaging,selling and marketing these relatively non-descript beers in national and regional chain grocery markets in a way that implies the same or similar handcrafted origin that defines ACTUAL craft brewers, but obviously for a much better price. These people are literally nothing more than profiteers with nothing of their own to say except to try and grasp at whatever dollars they reach from people’s pockets that don’t have any idea how the beer industry operates. It looks enough like craft beer, tastes reasonably close/similar to other craft beers, but costs less than good craft beers. Normally I am the first one to argue that everyone should unapologetically drink what they like to drink, I don’t care of its Corona or Miller light, or as much Pliny the Younger as you can get a hold of, enjoy it all you want. The difference is, going into those transactions the consumer has certain expectations and there is an above board nature to it. Someone drinking Bud Light has no pretense that it might be a specially crafted beer, its widely understood to be an industrial light lager that doesnt cost much at all. But this contract brewing nonsense, it feels………deceitful, as though someone thinks they’re going to be drinking an honestly brewed beer, but instead are being sold a false bill of goods. Whats worse is that the people being taken advantage of are the ones that don’t know anything about the craft industry. Those that do know generally avoid these beers, knowing that they dont come from a legitimate craft brewer, so it is almost as if its twice the sin because its the ignorant being fleeced.

By the end of the 90’s the craft beer bubble was bursting thanks to similar products flooding the market, mostly nondescript amber ales with over processed and thinly conceived marketing notions trying to sell poorly made generic reddish beer. I know that the craft market is only 10% of the total market (less than that actually), but if the big brewers (AB Inbev, et al) are entering the market with their own craft brands, maybe its time for all of us craft beer drinkers to start looking more closely at what were drinking and try to help educate our friends to avoid buying these duplicitous products, maybe we can help to avoid another bubble burst…


Feeling Good, working on outlines…

So week one of training is over and truth be told, I wasn’t expectingto feel as good about as everything as I do know. Its honestly amazing what a little bit of hope and a future with some potentials will do for a guys self-esteem and overall emotional well being…..

 

That being said….

 

Ive actually begun to recall a lot of the fiction, stories and general arcs Ive been wanting to write and expand on, provide detail for and bring to life so as Iget some of it finished, I think Ill be posting some of the smaller pieces here for fun and feedback. the larger pieces I suppose Ill keep to myself until I get things polished enough to possibly pursue publishing…. in the meantime, keep an eye here and at my gaming blog (http://calethorne.wordpress.com) for more work.

 

In the meantime…..WALKING DEAD IS BACK TOMORROW!


Back-ish to writing….

So Im sitting here in Policy Class, listening to lecture on a bunch of theory I spent all last spring and summer reading directly from the academic’s own books that my prof is teaching from, thinking that Ishould probably get back to blogging like I said I would do on G+….

So much new….. the kid is walking around, terrorizing everything and everyone, but not quite talking yet, I FINALLY got a job offer (which i took of course) but only for a PT position with City of Modesto in the Finance Dept. Basically Im over-educated and under-experienced for government work (which is unusual for local govt, a lot of people with little relevant education and some relevant-ish experience find their way into the local framework and climb the ladder once in. Im hoping that I can bust my ass over the next 8-10 months and find my way into a full-time position.

simultaneously I happened to have a sit-downwith my advisor on campus last night, who also doubles as my least favorite professor for a multitude of reasons, not that hes not a sweet man, his administrative capabilities just suck. In discussing my options regarding a research competition and papers Ive already worked on, the new job came up and he unintentionally managed to get me re-focused on a PhD. For a while, but especially since beginning the interview process for the new job, Ive been feeling kind of bummed about the tight economic situation we’ve been in for a while and Ive found myself leaning towards the possibility of applying for the PhD program ANYWAYS but really just trying to find work and make some money. He just asked me “what would you rather do?” After hemming and hawing a bit, (a job means a career path and income to support my family with unquestionably NOW, but probably to a greater degree less satisfaction, while PhD would mean a few more lean/tight years followed by a legitimate career path that could still support my family AND provide significant personal satisfaction…..) I remembered why I wanted my PhD to begin with…

Ill be getting back to work on my previous paper from the SWPSA conference, trying to advance that and trying to rock an AWESOME PhD app….. feels good to be back to center again….

B


SWPSA Conference, Pt 1

Well, it’s the last day of the conference and I’m enjoying the incredible SD weather and thinking about the last couple of days and trying to do a little planning for the near future. I do have to say that in spite of all the bitching I’ve done about the minimal support of scholarly endeavors on campus, that this was an experience that was worthwhile and worth repeating.

I got into SD Thursday afternoon, checked in, registered, and immediately discovered that there were not any panels of interest to me for the rest of the day, which meant…. Walkabout! That was a lot of fun actually. Te hotel is tucked right between Gaslamp and Seaport Village, which makes it next door to Petco Park, home of the SD Padres who had the Nefarious Los Angeles Dodgers in town for the Season Opener. Gaslamp was jumpin with all shades for Blue and White! The biggest surprise that I came across though, really for the whole weekend, was the incredible lack of incredible local SD beers in Gaslamp! What’s up? I know that it’s touristy, and tourists like what’s familiar, but the way the SD beer spearheads the craft beer movement should be embraced and enthusiastically sold to the tourists as a matter of pride and identity, not be shoved to the side. Honestly, it was the reason I had a late lunch/early dinner at Nicky Rottens, they had a reasonable menu and mostly craft beer. I walked out of several places before deciding because they didn’t really sell good beer. On the plus side, I FINALLY got my hands on a Magic Hat #9 ( a really drinkable and interesting pseudo-pale ale) and had one of the best chile burgers I’ve ever had!

What was almost as nice as Nicky Rottens, was the cigar and beer I had at the Cuban Cigar Factory. While they had a pretty admirable selection of bottled Belgian beers, I could get most of them at home, or not far from home so I seized the opportunity to enjoy a Duvel on draft, much softer than the bottle conditioned variety and super enjoyable while watching the Padres!

After touring about the Gaslamp for a while, discovering a few little interesting shops (Chuck Jones has an art gallery! Loved it and could go broke there) I ambled around downtown and discovered The Best Beer Store, a location with such a staggering variety, and well kept, I think I spent 30 minutes just pacing in front of the reach in coolers trying to balance budget, against time and opportunity! I settled on an Ommegang 12oz Three Philosophers, a bottle of DFH Chicory Stout and a bomber of New Belgium Abbey Grand Cru, all to aid in the preparation of notes for my presentation or celebration of its completion the next day!

It was a very relaxing and entertaining first day in SD and seemed to have set the stage for the rest of the weekend. Stay tuned for part 2.

B


Can’t always get what you want…

I recieved a tiny amount of money in the mail this weekend from the university. It was from a travel grant I applied for to help fund a trip I may not or may not even go on in April, but it’s intended to help cover some portion of the costs associated with the trip. When I opened the envelope and I saw the check I got a little excited, I mean money is money right? Looking over the rest of the paperwork, there was a small 2 word phrase in the tax information section that made me take a step back and really give myself a doubletake and think…. In the small space where the name of the income source or purpose is typically given it was printed “research award.”

I understand that a tiny amount of money from a student friendly program at a small state school isn’t exactly a tremendous fellowship or anything, but it gave me a real sense of what’s possible. Confidence so to speak. But that little bit of reassurance makes the world of difference to me these days.

For a long time I’ve struggled with balancing the notion that I am plenty smart enough for academics against the insecurity that convinces me that I’d be in over my head and would slip into mediocrity. It’s a rough balance, especially when i know that the insecurity is bullshit. Something clicked when I opened that envelope though. Something about the words ‘research award’ just confirmed for me, internally, that the academic endeavor really is NOT beyond my reach or my capabilities. If I choose to pursue higher education seriously as a career I know I can do it successfully.

With this bit of reassurance I can rest a easier in the face of the career options I have in front of me. When I apply to a graduate program, I can do so without hesitation, understanding that when I’m accepted I can be completely awesome. If I eschew a doctoral program, or am otherwise turned away, I can engage in the job market and whatever fortunes it bears, comfortably and without regret because I feel that I could succeed in academia and won’t have to live out my life just wondering what could have been. I can move forward.

Of course, I’d rather the program simply accept my application and we go on from there (with financial aid and a fellowship to boot ). But like the man says, ” you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you’ll get what you need”.


Just a follow up to my last post….

20111207-183145.jpg

 

 

….. I REALLY love  Reddit sometimes