Tag Archives: blogs

State of the ‘Brew’nion

To the regular readers: Many apologies for lackadaisical posting here. I’m working on a writing project outside of work that is killing my time and I know Rustin is always busy working what amounts to two jobs at the Star. That said, let’s take this as a step toward much more regular posts.

I sounded like Christine O’Donnell, and those preceding words are the hardest I’ve typed in a long time, maybe ever. But it’s true. Click here and look back at the introductory blog for the Brew House, written almost a year ago today.

Or just read. This was my attempt to define a blog, a meaning I considered philosophical back then and can now regard only as stupidity or perhaps something that ranks higher on the not-so-smart list, like ignorance.

“Some were people’s opinions about politics or sports. Some were just pictures. Some were random thoughts. Some seemed to be nothing more than a person’s daily schedule.

“Then it became clear. There really is no definition for a blog. Blogs are anything. Blogs are you.”*

A year later, I only want to say that whatever blogs are, they aren’t Christine O’Donnell. And I want to ramble on about the last year of my life, the first year of the Brew House, in this first State of the ‘Brew’nion. In much the same way my thoughts about the definition of blogs have changed, so has much else in my life. Of course, unlike my opinion of the meaning of a blog, this change was more natural, more a gradual step of a never-ending evolution, something Christine O’Donnell would claim doesn’t exist.

*If you don’t get the O’Donnell reference. Watch this commercial and then you will.

I’m sure all of us feel like this. It would be strange for us not to evolve. Years blend and blur into the next, the only concrete difference being the four digits we type next to the day and month at the top of Word documents, but then you realize the smaller changes that take place each day when you slow down and look in the past, past what’s in front of you. I think these changes particularly relate to people my age.

Last fall was the first time since I was six years old that I didn’t begin a new school year in late August. College had ended. I had stopped living with two of my best friends at 12th and Louisiana, just five minutes from the Union and five more past Fraser toward the heart of campus. I would no longer drink at Dollar Night on Wednesdays or write my Morning Brew for the Kansan on Sundays. I wouldn’t study. I wouldn’t sit in lectures. I wouldn’t purposely stomp really loud on our hardwood floors at the apartment just to be freaking hilarious and annoy the people who lived below us.

I would put on a polo and slacks – thank God not a tie – and go to work. I would be thrust into a city I hadn’t seen or visited since third grade, a city where I knew only one person and he would be moving to Korea in two months. I wouldn’t be around young people all the time. That was the biggest thing. Life wouldn’t continually intersect with the lives of others that are the same age, and I think all of us probably took that comfort for granted. People with similar goals, opinions and lifestyles surrounded us from grade school through college. We could always talk with someone and likely find common ground.

And now I would have to work with adults, spend a significant chunk of my day with them. Not one person under the age of 35 was employed at my office when I took my job. They would be people who are married. People who have kids. I wouldn’t even have a dog. Or a cat. What had life become? What would it become?

A year has passed. I’m still living in Dallas – and enjoying every day. The two strangers I rented an apartment with off Craigslist weren’t serial rapists, per the usual Craigslist zeitgeist, and have become two of my good friends. Younger people have been hired at work, and the adults aren’t so bad either. Uptown bars aren’t a whole lot different than those on Mass. Street. I bought a new car, performed standup comedy twice, saw some sick bands at Austin City Limits, played ball at the Rucker, choked in several matches of a tennis league, ran a half-marathon. I’m comfortable, probably every bit as comfortable as college. Life has become life.

And nothing feels different from a year ago, although plenty is. Every day or perhaps every week marked a small yet significant alteration in life’s delicate fabric, and every day probably will bring the same from here on forward. Sometimes this evolution might not be easy. Sometimes the nicks and cuts might linger. But it always feels right to take time and look back on all those changes and realize that they make you better.

That’s the point of this State of the ‘Brew’nion, to take inventory of an always-evolving life. Who knows where I’ll be or what I’ll be next year? Who knows what it will be like for any of us?

I only know one thing won’t change. I can say with certainty that I’ll never be a witch.

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Introduction and Halloween music

So I decided to start a blog. The first post is about something entirely stupid – Halloween songs. Skip past this lame intro if you wish. But before the official first post, I thought I would explain why I’m starting this blog.

Why does anyone start a blog? Now that’s a great question. And when did they start?

I’m sure a quick Wikipedia search could answer at least the second question and possibly the first. But I would rather ramble.

For me, blogs started my senior of high school. A fellow staff member on the high school newspaper staff named Allie featured an opinion article* about Xanga**. I believe there was a headline or something that read “Blog rings of fire” or something like that. I didn’t know what a blog was, so I was puzzled when I read the headline.

*Opinion stories in those days for the HS paper were not so, um, good? Once I wrote an opinion column about daylight savings time. Someone else wrote one about condemning blue Christmas lights, not aware that blue is a Hanukah color. Fortunately the zero percent Jewish population at St. Thomas Aquinas High School seemed not to care.

**I remember Xanga seemed kind of lame. Yet it was quite similar to Facebook. Funny how no one even remembers Xanga now.

Seriously. I had never heard of a blog before. I think they had just gotten popular around this time, but they could have been around for several years and I would’ve had no idea. So I wanted to find the definition of a blog.

I couldn’t. I Googled* it. I asked around. I tried reading blogs. They all looked different. Some were people’s opinions about politics or sports. Some were just pictures. Some were random thoughts. Some seemed to be nothing more than a person’s daily schedule.

*By 2005, had we started using Google as a verb?

Then it became clear. There really is no definition for a blog. Blogs are anything. Blogs are you.

YOU make a blog what it is. And maybe that’s why people start blogs. I suspect plenty of cultural scientists and people above the age of 50 would say our generation keeps blogs because we’re narcissists, we like attention, we like to talk about ourselves, and so on.

But those people are missing something. Blogs provide a beautiful way to express something. There’s a great possibility few or no people will read that “something.” That’s not the point. It feels good to express ourselves.

If you it correctly, you can talk about yourself, talk about the world, talk about sports.

You can make the mundane interesting. That’s what I hope to do. 

Nothing really exciting happens in my life. Let’s see, today I woke up around 8:30, went to a coffee shop for several hours and did some work, along with this blog. I’ll probably run later, eat dinner, watch 30 Rock and The Office and possibly a bootlegged copy of Paranormal Activity with one of my roommates.

But in the routine, I believe we all find our own niche. We all have cool stories and cool thoughts.

I’m not sure if anyone will want to read my thoughts. In fact, I’m not so sure why anybody WOULD want to. But I like to write about them, even if no one reads them.

So here it goes. I might post something once a week. Maybe more, maybe less. I might not post something ever again (hopefully that doesn’t happen). I would like to think that I will post something when I just feel like writing, when there is something that I would like to share.

Now… on to Halloween songs before it’s too late.

In Kansas City alone, two radio stations play entirely Christmas music from mid-November until Dec. 26. As Christmas comes close, two more start playing Christmas music most of the time.

Christmas music is huge. Jessica Simpson, Mariah Carey, Michael Buble and Taylor Swift are just a few of today’s pop stars who have Christmas CDs. Elvis has done a Christmas song. Run DMC has done a Christmas song. So has John Lennon. Yes, Christmas music is a big deal.

And it makes me wonder. Why is Christmas the only holiday that has its own distinct music?

Part of the reason must be that Christmas is clearly the biggest holiday in this country. It also has a clear definition. At its best, Christmas is about love, good cheer and giving. Those are good themes to write positive songs about.

Other holidays don’t necessarily have such clear-cut themes that would work well for music. But I think Halloween is an exception.

Artists can make songs with scary sounding beats, supernatural themes or just, well, dark subject matter. Songs like that could be enjoyed all year but especially around Halloween, and in my opinion, there are already a few songs like this.

Here are seven songs that fit that mold and could be considered Halloween music, although I am sure there quite a few more.   

  1. “Thriller” by Michael Jackson – Obviously.
  2. “Monster Mash” by Bobby Pickett – Obviously.
  3. “Disturbia” by Rihanna – This video is strange, too.  
  4. “She Wolf” by Shakira – Has a creepy beat and howling in the background.
  5. “Nightmare on my Street” by Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince – Can’t remember what this song is about, but the name sure sounds Halloween-esque.
  6. “Mouth” by Bush – This is a great song. It was written for the movie, “An American Werewolf in Paris.”
  7. “The Beginning is the End is the Beginning” by Smashing Pumpkins – Maybe this is pushing it a little bit, but this is close enough.   
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