Well now. It has been a while.
I’ve said that kind of thing more than a few times in the course of this ongoing Beer Diary project, and here I am again. I was probably due a bit of a break, but I’ve been meaning to get back to hacking away at my keyboard again for a few weeks now. I just haven’t found the time — by which I mean not just the amount, but also the right kind of time with the right mood and everything else that goes with it. It seems just to be a brute genetic oddity that my most-productive writing hours are those between midnight and four a.m.. Perfect when you’re bartending; not quite so convenient when you have beer to sell, to keg, and to move around during daylight hours.1 So there’s that. Plus, it’s belatedly occurred to me that writing — anywhere on the spectrum from Effusive Praise to Heapful Scorn — became a way to pfftrp a little pressure out of the Work Stress Valve. A change of scene, a bunch of new things to learn, fresh ponderings to ponder, and a whole swag of interesting new tasks with which to fill my working hours has pushed me more toward being one of those contended souls who comes home to mooch and relax and settle into some state halfway-between vegging out and geeking out.2
But never entirely. I do love to write, and I’m delighted that a not-at-all insignificant number of people ask me why I’m not, when I’m not. And there’s been a bunch to talk about, since I was last here — in roughly equal doses of things that inspire Praise and Scorn, as is always the case. I’ve had some utterly marvellous beer-related experiences in the past few weeks, and it’s with continual regret and wishes for more writing time that I condemn them to the perpetual pile of things to be written about later. Though with the way my memory works — i.e., alarmingly poorly — I always, at least, get to look forward to discovering these things almost-anew through my own notes and photographs before sharing them with the rest of you. Then, oh yes, the Scorn. I was dead keen to rant about the multiply-confused clusterfuck that is the approximately-annual “Am I getting a proper pint?” Misguided Consumer Whingefest & Misinformed ‘Did You Know’ Piece In The Paper, which re-appeared recently and in a few different ways. Then there were the multiple contemptible elements wrapped into John Key’s appearance at the official launch of the new Tuatara Brewery H.Q. — him, of the pseudo-craft necked from the bottle, taking the chance to continue the Usual Denigration of beer (as opposed to classy and not ever problematic at all wine, of course) and to swing a needless swipe at his opposite ideology and promote the myth of the entirely self-starting business (in a country where our gorgeously distinctive hops, used to fantastic effect by the brewery at which he stood, were developed by publicly-funded science). I’ll come back to those, I’m sure.
On introspection,3 an element of my ‘holiday’ has also been a hesitation about opening up the rant valve while I’m also settling into my new job. It was never an issue in my former gig, so I suppose I’m being overly change-wary, but I can get over that, and it’s time to. I’m a fanatical stickler for disclosures of merely-potential conflicts of interest — and I thought things were improving in this little writing-about-beer niche of ours, but I’ve seen things slipping again in too-many quarters; I’ll have to make another fuss (he says, putting another rant on the To Rant Pile) — so I’ll always be sure to do so early and often. This is me; my name’s in the freakin’ URL. If anyone was endorsing this or — heaven forbid — funding it, they’d tell you (and so would I). Inevitably, though, it’s a rant that’ll get me back into the swing of things. A little high-amplitude warm-up for the vocal chords (or, I suppose, whatever the relevant keyboard-striking muscles of the fingers are called) to blow out the cobwebs. Moa, arch-peddler of brandwank and perpetually-disappointing habitual engine of bland and obnoxious stereotypes that they are, are at it again. So we have them to thank for knocking me out of my slumber, I suppose. I just wanted to say Hello again before I took a run-up and threw myself bodily at their multiply-depressing IPO document.
1: Not that I have any grounds to complain; I’m not brewing — they seem to all (including Garage Project’s Pete) start at Truly Absurd O’clock in the morning. My hours are still mercifully gentle, given my Genetic Nocturnality. There are very-occasional pre-10-a.m. meetings, but mostly I can still time-shift by a few hours.
2: I’m a Big Nerd, after all; I don’t often properly veg, in Stephenson’s sense. Re-watching the West Wing in its entirety while poring over minutiae of the upcoming U.S. Presidential Election has accounted for a chunk of my leisure time, lately. And if you needed three words and a number to sum up a bunch of the rest of it, you could do a lot worse than “Skyrim” and “Mass Effect 3”.
3: I did a Philosophy degree, after all. Introspection is one of the few things we’re actually qualified for.