The struggles of 2020 are not going anywhere, the life we live can often feel like it's spinning out of our grasp with every little thing adding up each time. This virus and the very unsettled political landscape south of the border are not just seen to be not only worrisome, but perhaps transformative. We seek more equality, more justice, more change because our "normal" has been exposed as a charade where the poor, the disenfranchised, people of colour, Indigenous people, LGBTQ2+ and so many more were left behind as the rich got richer and the world seemed tipped in favour of those who already had so much. We see it here in the tiny fraction of the world on line, but is it that our social media feeds reinforce our own views and we feel like change is happening when in reality we are screaming into the void and nothing is changing at all. I'd like to think we can seek dialogue but we see too many entrenching into a them versus us, right versus left and we try to prevent the cult of Me that has permeated our American cousins from changing this country for the worst. Once was a time that you did the right thing because it was just that. Even if it gave you no direct benefit, you did things because it helped society as a whole. "What's in it for me?" is a philosophy too many live by and without seeing how damaging that can be, they blindly support those who look, act and think like them. But the world isn't homogeneous, it isn't white suburbia and it isn't working for the vast majority of humanity. So as we round the corner on this, hopefully, once in a lifetime pandemic, let us not seek to return to "normal", because normal was not good enough, fair enough or right enough for everyone. Until we are all free, none of us is free.
5 September 2020
It's funny how music stays with you in the moments it helps capture. The Hip were for so long the soundtrack of my life, from year to year, happy to sad and back again, disaster to triumph and beyond, there was always a Hip song to bring that memory back. So catching Long Time Running tonight will no doubt lead to a YouTube Tragically Hip video marathon, including that amazing Woodstock performance, and I'll be deep into my Pints before this one ends tonight. Grief, loss, life and love in decades of music so Canadian I feel it in my damn bones. Lots of great Ontario beer in my fridge but I do love a little Belgian in my life and in a night spent contemplating what it all mean, this 8.5% @duvel_belgium Golden Strong Ale will lay a baseline for where we go tonight. I often wonder if I would be so into West Coast IPAs if I lived in Belgium or would I have gravitated to this style with its bright citrus notes, grapefruit and orange peel, banana, light fruitiness and strong finish of pepper hop spice. Well carbonated with a bit of a boozy end, its small size belies the punch it gives, much like the songs Gord Downie and the Hip gave me to live with as my years head hurtling towards 5 decades. Who knows where it all is heading, we come here the same way, do the best we can and hope to leave a little of ourselves at the end to be remembered by. Make those thoughts that will carry you on good ones, be kind and remember to tell the people you love that you love them every chance you get.
30 August 2020
I scraped every part of my life that I hated and fed it into my anxiety and depression for no other reason than the oddly satisfying feeling of hating myself. It happens from time to time and while I try to keep the darkness at bay, it still comes hard into my day from time to time and must be acknowledged and recognized for what it is.
None of us here shows our entire self when we talk about beer. We look to showcase the best of what is in our glass and our life because we dont want to seem weak or different from anyone else. While I'm sure most people do this social media thing for a lark and to feel like they are part of something special and different, I stay because it is a real and true chance to try and keep a little part of me alive. So you bear witness to me at my best, my worst and more often, my middle of the road, drink a beer because we love it, personality. Be good to each other, check in on your friends and try to make time to listen and be listened to....we only get one chance at this and I don't want to miss a moment.
Yesterday I was low. I felt lost and alone.
19 August 2020
12 July 2020
We walk through so many days in a sort of lackadaisical shrug toward the routines that bind us. Work, home, school, family, friends and a myriad of variations on those themes propel us forward as the clock ticks, winding down days left even as we seek to speed up the boring, mundane ones to get to the special days off and other celebrations we use to spice up a life often left searching for more meaning. But in seeking a sped up life, we leave behind days that contained small moments of joy and love that we should seek to hold onto because all too soon, they are gone and we wonder where the time went.
Truth be told, we are all guilty of wanting to get through a day, a week or some longer time frame all through our lives. To get past a particularly troubling time like right now during this pandemic times, we seek the end and a release from what we deem a "new normal" that is anything but. We want to get through the work week to the weekend, through the winter to the spring, from the pain to some relief. But how many days do we leave behind that we would love to have one more just like it when the final bill comes due? How many silly and seemingly innocuous times spent quietly enjoying a day that we then felt we had wasted because we weren't productive would we like to have back at the end of our days? Every day isn't special, but every single day we get is one less we have left to be here and since we have no knowledge of when that tally runs out, maybe it is time to slow down, even a little, and make it last.
Embrace your everyday and leave a legacy of love for those who will mourn you. Give them a smile through the tears and a spark of laughter when they speak of you with wistful remembrance. The only thing that lasts is how you treat people, how you made them feel and that is the thing we hold most dear when we miss the ones we love who have left us all too soon for our liking.
1 July 2020
Our relationships with the Indigenous population has particularly become something I want to spend more time with, it vexes me that to this day, so many know nothing of the Residential school system, the genocide that occurred around the founding of this country and the sheer lack of attention to the continuing problems of their communities, including more than 60 that do not have access to clean water. Imagine that in 2020, during a global.pandemic and you have to boil your water before you can use it to wash your hands. Imagine the government taking your children away and sending them to the predatory catholic run schools far from home to try and assimilate them, wiping out your culture in the process. There are countless reports of the continuing mistreatment of Indigenous people by the RCMP, local and provincial police forces, not to mention the shady dealings of those in power who have yet to finish promises made long ago and today. So I rant, so I learn and so I shall continue to try and help educate and enlighten, myself and anyone who cares to do more than double click another beer pic.
The beer in question, @bellwoodsbeer 5.4% Can Conditioned Saison Maison is another delightful pint of beauty from the minds of those residing at Bellwoods. It has all the hallmarks of the style, lots of orange with lemon, bubblegum and clove, banana and a dry peppery back with more lingering spice and citrus.
Beer gave me a chance to talk to the world, my love of this country and the hope we can right the wrongs committed in its name drives me.
20 June 2020
While I loved all of the artwork, this part of @hellomynameiswednesday's design has stuck with me in the days since I first talked about this initiative. I grew up in a hetero normative family, blue collar, old school. I saw my parents love for each other as an extension of the world around me and felt the most normal thing in the world was to be just like them. Meet a girl, fall in love, get married and beyond. It never dawned on me that LGBTQ2+ people did not have this experience, in fact felt the polar opposite and encountered anger, fear and resistance to who they loved and who they were. It takes me back to think that it might be so many years of a person's life before they see someone who is just like them, who can confirm what they feel and experience and who can show them they are not alone. I cannot imagine the feeling because I do not have the experience, but it doesn't mean I won't try to learn and support anyone who needs it. There were times in my own life when I didn't know who I was, but I never felt the fear of coming out and facing rejection from those I love. My parents taught me that love is love is love and who you are a person mattered more than the colouring your skin or who you loved.
Are you good?
Are you kind?
Do you make those around you feel better?
These things mattered far more than anything else, we were taught to always see the world as bigger than ourselves but it took me more years and scars of my own to find that truth for myself.
This can is going on the wall of fame, it will continue to make me reflect and consider my words and world beyond myself....
13 June 2020
Just a little bit of my mind as I hold this new Merit Brewing release, Here I Am, in my hand and marvel at just how fucking lucky I really am. I get to drink some of the finest beers in the country and they come minutes from my home. I'm privileged to be able to afford them and this place and I know that and feel it every day. Merit does good stuff around Hamilton, Tej and Spinney bring heart and soul to everything they do and I am proud to call them my friends. The beer? A 6.3% Hazy IPA with orange and grapefruit pith and dank pine on the back, it's damn good.
Sometimes the beer inspires me, I hope I can keep that going. Cheers! 4.5/5
2 June 2020
Why? Well, it has everything to do with love and taking a stand on what can no longer be allowed. The systematic racism that pervades black lives all over the world is now being witnessed large and live on TV as the United States reels from the murder of George Floyd and the protests and marches that now enter their 8th day with little sign of stopping. Today on Instagram was about taking a pause, engaging with the community of black creators and amplifying their voices.
So that's what I did and while I'll drop my review here because I need it for my admittedly privileged reasons, it is but a little mental exercise for this old guy.
Inswrt weird beer review for my mental health...Forked River Interstalar IPA rolls into the Grotto at 6.5%, 55 IBUs and with a sunshine laden afternoon ahead, delight inside. A biscuity toasted malt body with light touches of caramel give way to pithy grapefruit and orange with a hint of dank and a resinous pine back. Bitter and harkening back to the classic west coast IPAs I love so much, I'm sold on this one. Cheers! 4/5
There you have it, I keep my decidedly silly daily bee review streak going, even though it means nothing at all in the grand scheme of the world today.
Stay safe, be kind and take stock of what you believe, time is now to stand up and be heard.