Category Archives: Life

Fishing Trip

John Life

I am a big fishing fanatic and was more than happy to accept an invitation to practice our skills on a childhood friend’s boat. It is a bit of an old geezer but is just fine for our purposes. As long as the motor works, who cares about a bit of peeling paint. I looked forward to it for days and checked out my old gear, replacing things as needed. I would of course bring the beer—only the best for the two of us. It is always made in my brewpub. I love to share on special occasions. We would spend the day deep water fishing to get the best catch. No more small fries when dropping a line off the pier like when we were kids. We were big boys now.

We have the best memories and are always happy to make more. We have a photo album showing us fishing through the years. He selected some music to inspire us which he blasted from the best marine speakers I’ve ever heard. It was nice not to have absolute silence, although it is better for the fish. He swears that his selection of tunes will attract them in droves. I don’t believe it for a minute. Well, whatever works is fine with me. I will withhold judgement until the end of our cruise.

I love being out to sea on a nice day when I don’t have to fend off the wind. I wore sunscreen and a hat to make sure I didn’t suffer from sun exposure either. I didn’t want to go home as red as a beet. We like to help each other reel in the big one although it doesn’t happen that often. We also like to tell fish stories to our relatives friends. They know us by now and seldom listen. Today, however was a bit different. We had something impressive to show. We both caught larger than average fish, the kind you want to mount over your fireplace. Instead, however, we planned a post-trip fish fry when back on land.

We gutted the fish on board and wrapped our dinner in ice. After tossing the innards, we proceeded to a site nearby where you were allowed to cook over an open pit. There is nothing like fresh fish, my friend. We had enough to eat now and take some home. It was in the cooler in the van. As the fish cooked, I opened a few beers left over from the day. They were still cold and invigorating. Homemade brew and fresh fish is a winning combination. We didn’t need anything else. A real gourmet would have brought wedges of lemon, but my friend and I wanted to rough it. Ha! We simply forgot. It would have been easy enough to store in the cooler wrapped in foil. It was a delicious way to end a fabulous day of fishing and camaraderie, not to mention our favorite music. If there is such a thing as “fishing music,” then my friend has found it. We’ll send our playlist.

Brewing Your Individuality

John Life

People say I think outside the box. Who else would create a complete home brewery on their residential premises? I take it as a compliment. I pride myself on my free thinking and doing what is different and unique. I might be the only brewpub in the neighborhood, but there is more. I have a workbench in the garage where I fashion old barn wood into repurposed objects. You can see that these interests keep me preoccupied and at home.

The rest of the time I go to work like anyone else. However, it is not in the traditional way in keeping with my “image.” One sign of my independence is the backpack I tote, filled with my daily needs. No stuffy briefcase for me. The backpack can hold more items and is easy to stow under a desk. I always used to kick my briefcase accidentally until it showed significant wear and tear. The backpack is soft and resilient while it protects my laptop perfectly. It is a necessity of life. I know there is a style out there for just about anybody and there’s a guide on Business Bag Review that will help you find the right one for you. You can show your own originality by selecting something that screams “you.”

Women with children use them instead of baby bags because they can keep them after the child grows beyond diapers. They come in print designs and pretty colors. They do double duty as totes and handbags. Teens love their backpacks as much as I do. They can display patches of their favorite sports teams or cartoon characters. They like denim the best. When it is time for college, the patch gets replaced by the school logo. The bag gets stuffed when it is time to go home for the weekend. Even two or three textbooks can fit inside. And then there are “businessmen” like me. I don’t see many backpacks in corporate America, but they are de rigueur in the high-tech world.

What style backpack best suits you? It sounds like a question you would get on Facebook like the ones that ask “what color are you” or “what TV character is your alter ego.” Maybe you are trendy and chic and your backpack is leather with silver trim and rivets. You could be Mr. Conservative and have a heavy brown fabric with no frills. Fancy Dan loves leather inside and out. A practical Joe will choose a waterproof plastic “faux” look that can handle rain, sleet, or snow—and a ride on the bus every day. A weekend warrior loves an oversized model with extra compartments for a change of clothes and shoes.

When it comes time to select your backpack, take your special needs into consideration and the “look” you want to achieve. People will make assumptions about you based on your choice. They will dislike it and sneer, envy you, or just find it boring and run of the mill. Let your selection express your personality as an accessory for your busy life.

The Things We Argue About

John Life

Okay, I admit it. I have spent more money on my home brewpub than I have spent on refurbishing the house. It indeed shows signs of wear as a result. My wife deserves better than this I tell myself, but I do love my hobby. It is one I can share with her, my family, and friends. It gets most of my attention. She doesn’t complain, but I see her reaction to worn out furniture and peeling paint. Finally, I decide that it is time to make some improvements and upgrades. We deliberate this and argue for and against what we each want. Her list is short and includes a new bedroom set, better linens, an area rug for the living room, and a new toilet. She wouldn’t mind a new coat of paint.

My list is even shorter. I am obsessed with the state of-the-art tankless water heater. It is small and so cool in appearance, occupying just a little space. All of a sudden, the old threatening bulky monster is gone. You can move it to a new location and use the old space for storage. I have some ideas about that and it all revolves around beer, beer, and more beer. Naturally, I think about my brewpub expansion. My wife isn’t so enthusiastic as our old water heater works just fine. She has seen the prices of the tankless units on line and mentally watches her bedroom set disappear from her list. What else will she have to scratch off?

I assured her that we would likely save oodles on our utility bills and this alone would get her the new stuff she wants in time. She wanted evidence, and I didn’t have any. I just know for a fact it was true from reading about tankless water heaters at https://www.waterheaterwatch.com/everything-ever-wanted-know-water-heaters/. I took her to the nearest hardware store so she could speak with a salesman. It still didn’t do the job. She hesitated to give her final okay. I went on and on about the space issue to justify the expense. When you are facing an objection, you must forget trying to make it go away (because you can’t) and focus on another more compelling benefit. She did like the idea of more space, even for beer, as it would relieve other areas of the house that were overloaded.

She also liked the idea of avoiding a flood in the house from a broken water heater. Ours works, but it is old and no one can predict what will happen. Broken units are common, according to the hardware store salesman. Why wouldn’t you want state of the art, he said, when it comes to your most basic appliances. He told us about customers who related horror stories about no hot water when they were about to take a bath. He went on and on and on. My wife was showing a glimmer of acceptance. The arguing stopped.

Tutoring the Tutor (About Beer)!

John Life

My kids are getting into my favorite hobby as they grow older; in fact, it is my only hobby. I game up everything else, including sports, movies, music, and reading (except how to start a brew pub) for beer. When I discovered that you could have your own setup, I was ecstatic and rushed out to buy all the required gear. I am still adding equipment. It takes up room in the house. So what if we don’t have any more closets. Forget the former work area in the garage. The wood bench has moved out back. Beer is everything and my children get it. They talk about it as much as I do.

For example, one of them was being tutored by a local college student as he was getting a little overwhelmed by the new math. He was a great guy who rocked up and pulled all sorts of items out of his modern college backpack as he tried to get my son to focus on the subject at hand so they could work problems. It was a new Backpack Style that I hadn’t seen before, and when I quizzed him on it, he said he’d found about the brand on Facebook. It took a while and I was tempted to move things along by offering a beer to get everyone relaxed. That would wait until later. I offer anyone in my home of sufficient age a homemade specialty.

Whatever kind you like, dark or light, I have it. Ale or lager your penchant? I have it. Meanwhile my son was droning on about fermenting and malt beverages. He explained clearly and correctly what they meant to the beer-making process. I was super proud of his acquired knowledge. He also talked about organic beer, barrel-aged and wood-aged varieties, not to forget gluten free and kosher types. I loved listening in to hear about the history of ales and lagers going back hundreds of years (ales back to antiquity). He must have looked it all up online, or maybe he was reading my books. He has redeemed himself for his failure in math – perhaps even enough for me to start to look into getting him a new .

The tutor started to ask specific questions about home brewing and what I fancied the most. Then I got into the conversation. I went into detail about pale and brown ales, pilsners and dark lagers. I spewed everything I knew. He lapped it up. I talked about techniques and the use of yeast—the difference between top and bottom fermenting. He picked it up fast being a smart guy. Then it came time for sampling my wares as I taught about hybrids (beers fermented at low temperatures using ale yeast or the converse) and specialty varieties (which are practically limitless).

I gave him several types in small steins not wanting to get him drunk. I assumed that he was driving. After some snacks to sober everyone up, I got up to bid him farewell. I grabbed a good book on brewing and handed it to him with a big smile. “It was great sharing,” I said as he slipped the tome into his backpack. “Next time I see you, I expect to encounter an expert,” I blurted to which he answered, “Of course.”

Together Again!

John Life

I want to have the guys over for some home brew and this time I will ask some of my old rugby teammates from college. We will have a casual match before socializing and catching up. For some of us it has been a long time and beer is a great way to bond after years of absence. I went to pull out my gear and was floored that I only had soccer shin guards. I had gotten rid of my old ones ages ago when cleaning out the garage storage area to make room for new stuff. We all have way too much “stuff.” I am going to have to buy new shin guards which will be adding more junk to the overloaded garage.

Soccer shin guards can be molded plastic or a man-made fabric. Like the rugby version, they protect shin and ankle from bruises and abrasions. If you have ever played without them, you know how valuable they are. No one likes injuries, aches, or pains after having so much fun. My new shin guards have built-in elastic that keeps the pad contoured comfortably to my leg. I found them here: https://www.topcornermag.com/best-shin-guards-soccer/ It is double stitched to prolong the life of the item.

Rugby shin guards are similar but not exactly the same. They are protective gear nonetheless that have been around as long as the game itself. You need them if you are exposed to the studs of an opposing hooker when he strikes the ball. You might even get injured by your own hooker when he sweeps his foot around to gather the ball in the scrum. In the really early days, shin guards were primitive in construction. Players would just put a resin-based product around the top of their boots. Eventually, this evolved into a kind of padding that was put into the socks. We have come a long way, baby in our modern molded plastic versions with special shock-absorbing qualities.

Okay, so much for the difference between soccer and rugby shin guards. You get the idea. When playing a given sport, you simply must have the right equipment. You can’t always interchange them. To end the blog and tell the tale, the game went off without a hitch. It was fun to play rugby for a change. These days it is all about soccer, even on Facebook. It has replaced the old favorite and is super popular with kids. I have made the switch myself; hence the shin guards in the garage. But I get nostalgic about rugby as do the other guys. Last, but not least, they enjoyed the homemade beer and drank for several hours into the night. I ran out to get food and left everyone to their own devices while I was gone. They were certainly happy to see me return with fortifications. Playing a game like rugby can develop a big appetite along with thirst. It was a great time for all and we planned to meet again in a few months to resume our reunion match.