My Douglas Adams year

A few weeks ago I turned 42, which prompted my friend Paul to declare I was entering my “Douglas Adams year.” (Though somewhat worryingly, one of his other analogy-years was 33, because that’s how old John Belushi and Chris Farley were when they died… Douglas Adams died at age 49. Hmmmmm.)

Bend Beer: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon2014 was an eventful year, primarily because I wrote a book! The contract was signed around December of 2013, and I began researching and interviews in earnest in January, with a deadline of mid-July. Meaning, I had about seven months in which to complete it—pretty quick, by publishing (and writing!) standards. Following the submission of the manuscript were rounds of edits and proofing, with a publish date of October 21—at which point the rest of the year was a whirlwind of signings and publicity, including the Big Time—a talk and signing at Powell’s Books in Portland!

So now I am the authority on Bend beer and its history, for better or for worse. But that’s okay, because now I have a published first book under my belt, from a real publisher, which opens doors to a second, and third, and more books. For which I already have ideas.

But 2015 is (mostly, since the majority of the year I am 42) my Douglas Adams year, which means I need to be well on my way to figuring out the question to the question of life, the universe, and everything. Or at least inventing a computer to do so. Hopefully that means 2015 will be eventful too!

(So far, so good—mostly with events stemming out from the beer writing, which is a good thing!)

The big four-oh

So today—which as I write this, is nearly over—is my birthday, and most people know it was a momentous one: 40.

That’s right, one of the Big Ones. (From 30 onward they all get counted in tens, of course.) What’s funny is I’ve been mentally rounding my age up the past few months anyway, so there’s really not much adjustment now that it’s official. And no, I don’t “feel old.”

But it was a very good birthday, with friends and family and beer and good times. Oh and a cigar and a whiskey or two.

And the Mayans didn’t mess it up, either. But now, technically, we’re in the new cycle of their Long Count Calendar (day 2, actually, since it ended on the 21st), which combined with my 40th birthday seems awfully momentous somehow. That could be a good theme for my next 40 years…

Next up: Christmas!

The gift tally

Really good holiday this year (by which I count my birthday and the Christmas days together), with good gifts but especially with family and good friends. My birthday was fairly low-key, with just the family and a boozy theme: a gift card to the Brew Shop, a giant bottle of Jack Daniels, a magnum bottle of Anchor’s 2010 Christmas Ale, a bottle of German mulled wine.

(Update—forgot to mention a new computer chair for the office as well.)

Christmas Eve was the first of the big parties: we hosted at our house (which we do every year), with homemade pulled pork sandwiches, lots of potluck food, lots of candies and cookies, and of course lots of good drinks. I warmed the mulled wine in a saucepan, and we had plenty of beer (both homebrewed and specialty bottles our friends Paul and Sandi brought over), wine, and some mixed drinks going on (our friend Karen brought over some homemade vanilla schnapps she had received).

Food was great, the company was greater. Besides Paul and Sandi and Karen, Shannon and Brian and their son joined us (and of course my family was here as well). Everything went off without a hitch and everyone had a great time (I hope!).

Then of course, Christmas day. Which began really, really early (does it start any other way when you have kids though?)—the kids were up at 6:45 checking their stockings (that’s an arbitrary time we’d set up long ago), but I had mostly been awake since around 6. (Plus, the dog had woken us up at 2am, barking briefly at something we couldn’t figure out. Maybe Santa?)

After opening presents, we had homemade crème brûlée French toast and bacon for breakfast. Yes, it was pretty much as good as it sounds.

For Christmas, I got:

  • Candies and chocolates, a flask funnel, mini bottles of coconut rum and cinnamon whiskey, Guinness-flavored BBQ sauce, and lottery Scratch-Its in my stocking. (“What’s in Santa’s Beard” is the weirdest Scratch-It game ever.)
  • Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree
  • A gift set of Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage bourbon, with a combination cigar holder/flask
  • Four specialty beers
  • A belt
  • A bottle drying rack (for cleaning beer bottles for homebrewing)
  • A homemade calendar day planner (my daughter made it)
  • Money

The gifts are awesome, but it was spending Christmas out at Mom and Dad’s with everyone (Paul and Sandi and Karen joined us again, as well as some other old friends we seen once a year) that really made the holiday for me. My parents put together a fantastic dinner and party and it was perfect. There was so much good food and drink that food coma had set in by the time we got home. But we couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas.

I hope everyone else had a great holiday this year too!

38 revolutions

The title of this post is a reference to the number of times I’ve ridden this planet around the Sun, as of today.

(I wonder how many pseudo-clever ways you can say it’s your birthday without outright saying it.)

(And then I’m thinking “” sounds like a good domain name for… something.)

Anyway. I’m being a bit self-indulgent today: I took the day off from work and am enjoying the start of a four-day holiday weekend, which sounds just about perfect. Three of those days we get to spend with family and good friends, eating lots of good food and drinking lots of good drink—as it should be.

And if you see me around town today, you should buy me a beer. 🙂

Throwing a party

I haven’t posted anything lately because I’m still recovering from this past weekend. You see, we threw a big party.

This is the year both of my parents are turning 60, so myself and my two brothers decided earlier in the year that we were going to invite all their oldest friends and throw a surprise party for them. Somehow, we pulled it off; even with the unexpected weather, we had a lot of the guests show up (some were coming over the mountain passes and couldn’t make it), and everything went off without a hitch.

We rented the Parish House at the Old St. Francis School, and that turned out to be the perfect place for a party—not only were we able to accomodate everyone that showed up, but my parents, my brother and his wife, and two old friends were able to stay the night. McMenamins was really accomodating, too, even though we didn’t have them cater the party; we used Costco for all the food and drink.

So, my brother and sister-in-law got to town Thursday afternoon (from San Diego), keeping a low profile so as not to ruin the surprise (we don’t see them very often, obviously). Friday I left work at noon and we ran around getting ready for the party, and then Saturday was the big day. Getting the food, decorating the cottage, setting everything up, and then getting my parents down there without telling them what was up. (They knew something was up—we’d cryptically told them to clear the calendar for the weekend and to meet us at our house Saturday late afternoon.)

They never saw it coming.

It was awesome. Tell the truth, I’m a little surprised we were able to pull something like this off. We’d been planning for months, plenty of opportunity for it to get out, but it didn’t. I’d never tried to organize a big party like that before, but all went well.

And renting the cottage at McMenamins turned out to be a great move; it was cheaper that many of the other spaces we looked at (conference/banquet rooms in hotels, for example), and it was perfect for anyone needing to spend the night—we weren’t on a time schedule to get out of there. There’s enough of a kitchen to be useful (no stove or microwave though), and if you wanted to get out for a smoke, or a drink, or fresh air, you can just step out the back and step into O’Kane’s or stay by the outdoor fire they had going. I’d recommend it for anyone looking to do something similar.

Sunday we cleaned up and went out to my parents’ house with all the leftover food and alcohol and got together with the family again before my brother and his wife had to leave Monday. By that night, winding down, I could feel it creeping up on me: this weekend kicked my ass. Yesterday I was feeling really run down and dragging at work, today is the same but not so bad.

But don’t get me wrong—it was totally worth it and I’d do it again, in a heartbeat. One of the best weekends, ever.

What’s your birthday mean?

This is astrologically interesting, if you’re into that sort of thing: What Does Your Birth Date Mean? Here’s what came up when I plugged in mine:

Your Birthdate: December 23
With a birthday on the 23rd of the month (5 energy) you are inclined to work well with people and enjoy them.You are talented and versatile, very good at presenting ideas.

You may have a tendency to get itchy feet at times and need change and travel.

You tend to be very progressive, imaginative and adaptable.

Your mind is quick, clever and analytical.

A restlessness in your nature may make you a bit impatient and easily bored with routine.

You may have a tendency to shirk responsibility.

Very sociable, you make friends easily and you are an excellent traveling companion.

Seems mostly accurate, except for the “very sociable” part—I can make friends easily enough but out of the gate I’m much more introverted and shy.

Found via Doc Searls.