Long time no blog, sorry. This little gap in literature is because I got lazy and prioritized my time, as much fun as I have blogging it wasn't responsible for me to dedicate time to it, nor would it have been a good post. Forcing a blog post is just silly.
Let's get to it - Responsibility. I am a subscriber to the belief that we as people in a functioning society have a responsibility to act in a certain way. I think some responsibilities are governed by law - traffic laws for example. It's our responsibility to drive cars in a way that don't endanger other people. There are laws that govern us how to do that, but if you removed all the signage and laws, it would still be responsible to stop at intersections, let people cross the road without running them down, etc. There are also less-defined responsibilities, lets say voting in Tuesday's election. It's not illegal NOT to cast a vote, but it is absolutely our responsibility to take part in a decision designed to effect us as a group of citizens. I'll never say the government is flawless, and I won't ask you or tell you who I'm voting for. I won't even use common taglines "well if you don't vote you can't complain" or put the bumper sticker "he's not MY president, I didn't vote for him" on my car. I'm just saying, if you have the ability to vote, you have the responsibility to vote because it forces you to make a decision. You might make the argument "I don't know who to vote for," or "I don't like either person, so I won't vote." Ridiculous. There's more than 2 parties, by the way (Independents galore http://www.politics1.com/p2012.htm) so "either" doesn't work. Independent vote won't matter because they won't win? Then choose one of the big 2. If you can and don't vote, shame on you.
Enough politics on the blog, I'm flirting with disaster. How about the social responsibilities of humans as it applies at Cisco Brewers. Let's go to the customer code of conduct, and it's amendments to include responsibilities. This fictional binder includes things like, "Please be nice to other people, we're all here to relax and have a good time," and "Please think very carefully before you say something really stupid like 'May I have a b*@ light please' ".
This grandstanding isn't just for other people either, and I think my reader(s) might agree that we've all noticed when we've been socially irresponsible. The self-administered dope slap moments, you know when they happen.
So now that we've shot out of the tunnel that is August into the daylight (albeit abbreviated daylight) of November, I'd like to list off a few of the most popular questions we got across the bar. No particular order.
Q - How does this work?
A1 - Please read the chalkboard titled "how this works"
Q - How come you don't have any bathrooms here?
A - We do, but they are hard to find.
Q - Can I have a growler of Whales Tale and 4 cups?
A - No, growlers must be consumed off property.
Q - Well, I did it last year, so when did you change the rules?
A - 5 years ago.
Q - Can I get a growler of Whales Tale and 4 cups?
A - No, you can't drink it here.
Q - I won't, I'll go outside and drink it.
A - "Outside" is still here, you have to leave the property to drink a growler
Q - So how many beers are in a growler?
A - 4 pints
Q - So can you sell me 4 pints and charge me for a growler?
A - Growlers are like buying a 6 pack at the packy. You can't crack it at the register and start sucking down beers. Just like beer at a bar is a little more expensive than beer to-go at a convenience store, our pints are a little more expensive. You're paying for atmosphere, and I know you're going to tip me for this wonderful customer service. TIPS = To Insure Proper Service. I can sell you 2 pints of Whales Tale.
Q - Can I just get 1?
Q - Why do you close at 7 on a Saturday?
A - Because it's way better than closing at 6.
Q - Is the beer good?
A - You've just lost your turn, next please.
There are ways to fine-tune your social responsibility. Let's say thats like picking up 1 piece of litter per day instead of stepping on it. I'm not citing any benefits to nature or the small animals that might ingest litter, I don't like looking at trash. I think an insurance company has a tv ad that outlines this via a "pay it forward" style series of events. Do that. If you want to keep it biblical - do unto others as you would have done unto you.
Politics AND Religion? This blog is off the chain. I'm quitting before I really ruffle feathers. Road trip 2012-2013 is in progress. Quick shout out to all the fine folks at Next Generation Distributing in North Carolina peddling our wares all over the state. Look closely and you can find Lady of the Woods (GABF Gold Medal Winner) and a bunch of our Island Reserve series joining our core brands. Cheers to Matty H. of Ventuno now at Zambra in Asheville, slinging killer cocktails.
Much to the dismay of our bottling line, the phrase “that’s what she said” exists. I don’t know if it was brought into popular culture by Steve C from the hit tv show The Office, or some other method, but it’s a great little tag line. The beverage production world is ripe for the insertion of this line (that’s what she said) because of all the fun words and equipment we have. Bung, bung hole, hydrometer, you name it we have it to be misinterpreted. I know another fun side track comment to be “great name for a band.” Comedic writer Dave Barry was always partial to that particular game, and it is pretty fun. Gazpacho Infused Vodka would be a band I would listen to on the radio, but not see in concert. I would probably buy tickets to Inoculate with Brettanomycese, even if I didn’t like their music, which I would hope to be very smooth jazz played by an aging grunge band that changed their genre but not their name.
Switching gears, I’d also like to address a condition I fear is on the rise and spreading amongst we humans – stupidity. Perhaps it’s more lack of common sense that’s sweeping around, but I know I’ve certainly felt the effects both as an innocent bystander and as an afflicted party practicing stupidity. I’m starting a personal campaign to fight back against stupidity, namely taking a little extra time to think twice about what I do and say. A tangible example – A middle aged customer recently arrived in the bar and asked me if I had seen her friends. No lead in, no description. My suggestion – “Have you tried looking for them?” The customer had not yet looked for them, and I think I was able to provide the right remedy for that case of stupidity. Let’s try another example. “You know what I think you should do – sell food.” Let’s break that down. Had the questioner thought it out first, they would know that smart, successful business people such as the ones that started the brewery have entertained that idea, and for various and plentiful reasons that I don’t have space for, have decided against it. I would much rather encounter the “Is there a reason you guys don’t sell food?” question. People should ask questions, but let’s be smart here folks.
In pryoblogs I may have mentioned my love affair with food. So it's as good a time as any to rant about one of my favorite food mediums - the backyard barbecue. Save the angry e-mails defending your favorite pit bbq on the back road in that small town that only the locals know about - I love them too. This post is meant to praise the casual, amateur operation (amateur in the sense it's not for profit, not in the sense like grill chefs don't know what they are doing). Also, I know there are technical differences between barbecuing and grilling, but I reserve the right to use the terms interchangeably. I'm talking about the entire social experience of this mainstay summer spectacular.
I've a long history with outdoor cooking. Between having a summer birthday and camping with the scouts, I was fortunate to learn proper fire safety. Fire safety is immensely helpful when you want to be fire unsafe - like burning the grass out a brick walkway by spraying lighter fluid on the vegetation and applying a lit match. Fire safety was important because we never had a propane grill, my dad was a charcoal man. (This post isn't meant to tout charcoal over gas or vice-versa either, but I will speak from personal experience). Charcoal requires a more hands-on setup, and either the addition of an accelerant or newspaper chimney, whereas propane is a bit more user friendly and kid/dog safe because hot coals cant spill out of an inadvertently bumped propane grill.
Some highlight grilling days coincide with holidays, as more family and friends tend to have those days off, adding fun into the mix. 4th of July is rather close to my birthday, so those always stand out. Memorial Day is a launching pad into the busy summer months here, so that's always fun too. Due to an oven failure one Christmas Eve, I was forced to fire up the grill in a non-typical winter month. It was awesome to be outside by a fire only standing in a 3x3 shoveled haven, in crisp cold air, with my eyes watering not tears of joy but tears of smokey deflection. This of course spawned a Christmas Eve tradition, and now the winter bbq is a planned event.
Holidays are not necessary, however, to justify outdoor cooking. I fired up the grill for the first time last week, and oh how glorious it was. Two different kinds of sausages, some basting in beer for a bit before cooking. A little bit of steak, on the rare side of course. Round 2 a few days later included some chicken and salmon. I can't wait for corn to come into season, husk-on grilled corn is just a thing of beauty. On occasion the housemates and I will make up a bundle of veggies in tin foil and toss them onto the coals under the grill, let them rock and roll there for a while, then pull them off when everything else has finished cooking.
I encourage everybody to fire up their grills asap, invite friends and family and me over, and send me all of your homemade marinade recipes.
For some reason, I look at the business card as a surviving veteran of the technology revolution. For starters, it's printed on paper. I remember a teacher explaining the origin of the business card, and how it (if my memory serves me) has roots stemming from the calling card of yore. No, not the jester-printed playing card from comic villain "Joker" or the plugged and flooded sinks of the "Wet Bandits" in Home Alone. A calling card would be presented to either a butler or secretary type person when you "called" on another individual. The card was then brought back to you and depending on the reply - in the form of a folded corner, I think- you knew the response. I'm sure there are variations in history, go wikipedia that and see what you get.
Either way, I dish out and receive enough business cards on these road trips to build a small fortress. I actually reference them more often than I thought I would. I always mean to enter all the data as contacts into my phone, but honestly most of the information I can find quicker by just looking up a company website. I had an app that would snap a photo of the card and import it to my contacts, but it didn't really work too well. The real tricky ones are the secret contacts people put on business cards. If you have it, it means you met in person or got the information from somebody that knows something about something. Usually it's the cell phone number. Everybody posts the office phone number online, and prints the cell number on a card.
Now, there are various structures of business cards, and it amazes me how innovative some people get. Using the classic, standard issue square edged rectangular card stock style as "normal" the branches outs go far and wide. There is some theory to making a slightly bigger card, so it literally "stands out" in a stack. Then there are the abnormally small ones, that resemble half-sized cards. I have found these to be popular among the environmentally conscious card holder, claiming it uses less paper. True enough, but it also allows for less information, and I can barely read the cards as it is. Texture plays a big role as well. The really glossy type are nice for wet conditions, such as a bars and marinas. (They also stand up best in the laundry). The uber-thick and unbendable cards are sturdy yet bulky, but allow for fancy embossing and layering. I have seen shiny gold medallions on cards of certain government employees, either in crest or shield icons.
Picking a title for a business card can be tough too. In the craft beer industry, I come across many varieties of titles. As another way to distance from the big domestics, business cards have become canvas' for creativity. Instead of sales rep I have seen "beer ninja" and "beer nerd" as well as more traditional "purveyor of fine libations" at the bars. Our Florida distributor's squad has a lot of great alternatives, "director of hoperations" included. For awhile mine displayed "Global Beverage Dominator" because my first sales trip was conducted driving the '78 VW red minibus featuring "Global Beverage Domination" on the back window. Now I have "New Market Development" which doesn't really touch on the creative possibilities, but gets the point across. I have also seen business cards for people without a business, nearly all in jest.
If you see any funny business cards let me know, I'm always up for a chuckle.
Kyle B, I apologize for the month's delay. Hopefully you wrote this update off, and now it's a great surprise. SUPPLIES!
The brightest light I had ever seen, blinding me to the point where I thought for sure, this was the end. Disoriented from the topsy-turvy ride I had just gone through- hell's roller coaster-wasn't helping my situation. After 10 minutes I lost my head.
I'll start from the beginning. I don't know the exact moment of realization, but at some point everybody seemed aware that we were in a nice, comfortable environment, enjoying the stability and cool temperatures on a relatively hot summer day. There was a slight din in the background, like being inside while your neighbor has a backyard party. As it were, there was a party going on, and I had intentions of attending. What else would I do on a Saturday afternoon? The apartment complex had a nice mix, there were all sorts on our block. Between the guy's next door, (porters, at the local hotel if I recall) and the hipster-indie kids across the way, we had a regular ole' melting pot. I had ambitions to pick up the blonde 2 floors down on the way to the party, but the best laid plans can change in a heartbeat. I've never experienced an earthquake, but I imagine it would feel like this. The whole apartment seemed to fall off the top floor and smash on the street. The strangest, smoothest rumbles seemed to follow, just for a short minute before the aftershocks. Another violent wave of shakes followed, all capped off by the chimney blowing up.
It was cold. Cold, dark and crowded. Everyone was bumping into each other, and it was so loud you couldn't hear yourself think. Everybody was soaked through and through, but that seemed to be the last thing on everybody's mind. If you've ever seen Star Wars, and that scene where the heros end up in a trash compactor, you can understand the phrase out of the frying pan into the fire. If the earthquake wasn't bad enough, it was pretty clear the floor was dropping out from under us. As imminent doom approached, it was clear the bottom wasn't dropping out, it was dropping IN.
The brightest light I had ever seen, blinding me to the point where I thought for sure, this was the end. Disorientation from the topsy-turvy ride I had just gone through- hell's roller coaster-wasn't helping my situation. After 10 minutes I lost my head.
Excerpt - "Life of a Whales Tale pint"
Working at the brewery- with an outstanding crew of employers, co-workers, and customers - keeps me feeling young. It's not about how old you are (aside from being 21 to consume, see pryoblogs), it's about getting work done. I'm not really that old in the grand scheme of things, but hanging with young nephews over the holiday caused me to pause and look back. I am the youngest kid of my generation on both sides of the fam. I recall it being tough to find common conversation threads with the older cousins; they were concerned with cars, jobs, clothes, and the cootie-infested other gender. They had lost all touch with the newest Lego releases, animated cinematic features, candy, etc. You know, the good stuff. I chalked it up as a loss and looked forward to the days when I wouldn't notice the age gap so readily. Just a few weeks ago, I experienced a relapse.
I was wearing my sales hat that particular fall day. One of our New England states was looking to expand their Cisco portfolio, but needed a fairly large account in the state to agree to purchase our goods to make sense of it all. So there I was, waiting in que to meet with a buyer. Obviously I wasn't alone, and the waiting room was filled with other supplier reps. There was a militaristic hierarchy here that I couldn't place at first. I couldn't use age, because I knew as the apparent youngest person in the room, I wasn't ready to concede low man on the totem pole. I couldn't use dress, the variety of suits and ties were hard to compare against each other, plus, yet again I would have conceded immediate low man. I was comfortable not wearing a full suit, I feel that misrepresents our brands and image. But there was certainly a ladder system, and someone was on the top rung. Then it hit me, like a bolt of lightning. A hairy bolt of lightning. I was in the middle of a mustache marine corp.
A secondary scan, evaluating number of mustaches per person. It was under 1, but there was a female present, skewing the numbers. Recalculating based on number of potential mustaches. Adjusting parameters to exclude goatees and full beards. 6 of 9 had mustaches, using the definition of groomed hair between the nose and top lip, detached independently from any hair occurring below sides of the mouth or sideburns. Counting myself and another, 8 of 9 had facial hair of some type.
Re-scan, categorizing types, shapes, colors, etc. You'll notice my definition uses "detached independently." This allows for hair originating in the "butter zone" to travel down the sides of the mouth, and potentially off the chin. These of course would be the Handlebar or Horseshoe varieties, with the dangling hair switching those varieties into the FuManchu. There weren't any of those, disappointingly, but there were plenty of Chevrons and Walrus style.
See style guide of the American Mustache Institute here http://www.americanmustacheinstitute.org/mustache-information/styles/
These soup strainers weren't grown yesterday either. They had seen action, battles, and had weathered storms. A proper mustache, and I'll include beards in this, can be a sword AND a shield. It can be consulted for opinion or scratched for appearance of pause and reflection. It can keep cold weather off the face. When teamed with another mustache, the power grows exponentially. I say proper mustache, because some mustaches are not always perfect for every situation. For instance, the hairy caterpillar (under the "pencil" styles of the AMI) can be distracting, because others may be confused - is that facial hair or some sort of stain leftover from your last meal? Some mustaches have been associated with negative events- Adolf H. ruined the shortened Lampshade style for everybody.
Usually when I sport the mustache, it's for a charity event or other occasion. I choose to keep a short beard, as it saves on razor costs, and I look like I'm 12 without one. I do have to monitor some "wisdom whiskers" (grey hairs) that grow in my mustache right below my nostril, because it can be as equally distracting as the pencil mustache, other people think there's foreign matter hitching a ride.
I accepted my rank near the lower end of this particular lip-toupee lineup What I lack in bristle I can back up with good beer. This winter might be a good time for an ole' fashioned mustache growing contest. We can figure out a grand prize - maybe a facial hair grooming kit. The possibilities are endless!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year as well, stay safe
Let's talk games. Games are an integral part of my daily routine. Games help me get through long arduous tasks, break the ice in new conversations, or provide endless entertainment with friends. While I do appreciate the intricacies of complex board games with fun moving parts, some of my favorites require simpler or none-at-all hardware.
At work, I enjoy the open ended and long lasting question games, like the movie game. In a group of people, like a bottling line, one person rattles off any movie. The next person says an actor or actress in that movie, the next person another movie that actor/actress was in, and so on. There are challenges, rejects, and all sorts of minor side rules, but you get the idea. Another all day play is the name game within a certain group of people, say pro football players. I give an athlete's name, you have to say another whose first name starts with the first letter of the last name of my entry. Those games never really end, it's always on the back burner. You can't beat the classics either, 20 questions, I spy, or the favorite with rambunctious nieces and nephews - the quiet game. Who can stay the quietest the longest? Prizes will be given out after everybody has a nap.
I've always been a fan of active games, what most of us call sports I suppose. In college I played nearly every intramural I had time for - racquetball, broom ball, flag football, indoor soccer, softball, floor hockey, dodgeball, whatever. Exercising isn't really my thing, because I have trouble making a game out of it, but I'll play a sport until I drop.
For board games, I grew up with a big game closet. Battleship, Checkers, Stratego, Monopoly, Life, Balderdash. The one motorized game that I had - Loopin Louie. Yea it's a great game with a CRAZY rogue pilot that dive bombs your farm, and your only defense against losing chickens is to deflect the kamikaze airplane with a see-saw type paddle. It's pretty wild.
Card games are just the best as well. A deck of cards is always in my carry on luggage. Cards are a great way to dodge out of some yapping co-aisler conversation, or to pass time and re-focus nervous travel companions. I have yet to perform the bait and switch on a fellow unknown traveler, but this is what I have in mind. If I should find myself in uninspiring dribble communication with a fellow traveler, I would kindly invite them to a challenge of speed solitair. One person plays at a time. You shuffling the deck, and flip one card over at a time, on top of each other. As you flip, you sound off "Ace-Two-Three....." and so forth. If you flip over a card that you are naming, you lose. It's not suit specific, yet it's still harder than you think. So I'd explain the rules and give an example round. Then I would pass the deck and give my nemesis a shot at it. After a few rounds I'd suggest a long round of 3 tries each. After my 3, I'm certain I could "doze off" and voila! I'd be free! I also enjoy Rummy, clock-solitare for solo events, and a few others. I'll play poker, but I'm not really a gambling guy, and poker doesn't mean a lot if you don't gamble.
Just last weekend I was strolling about Ram Pasture with the best of company and competed in a frisbee golf esk game involving a tennis ball and the info sign posts scattered along the trails. Par was set, the tennis ball was thrown, and however many tosses it took for you to hit the post was your score. A tremendous way to move through those fields.
There isn't enough space on this blog to get into all the games, and you'll notice I conveniently left out all drinking games. That might be material for another blog, but I do encourage you to invent new games, and if they are good share them with us. Thanks to Sean O, David M, Anne C, Randy H, and a few others for their contributions to my gaming and schweet gaming blog.
I don't claim to know a lot about art. I've taken art classes at various levels of education. Stretching from the creation of (finger paints in Kindergarten -and every Sunday morning since-) to the analysis of (writing position papers about how a crystal candlestick "affected" me in a college class) all types. This blog post is less concerned with museum level professional art, and more focused on the socially popular art mediums - music, fashion, food, and of course beer.
I will touch briefly on music. I like good music. I have no problems with songs I like being lumped into the "mainstream" category, because if I like songs, I want to hear them. With all this motoring around, I always have the radio on. Surely there is a pack of hipsters in tight jeans and ripped flannel shirts searching for me on their fixed-gear bicycles with a prepared speech on how big corporations control the radio and the media and the only "real" music left on planet earth comes from a band that doesn't exist yet. Save your breath, I'm on your side, but I will still crank up and enjoy listening to good tunes on the radio. Oldies, newbies, even if it is the new Beyonce song, albeit only in the car with Kellyn W. and David M. I took a dig there at fashion with the hipsters. Basically I'm a little out of touch and bit oversized for skinny jeans and deep V t's (Jeff H and Pat W, I'm looking at you here). I hate spending money on clothes, I go on benders every few years and get some nicer shirts, a jacket, and of course skivvies and socks. I dress up for fancy events and my belt will usually match my shoes. I'm still waiting to hear back from all the magazines I've contacted, offering my services as fashion consultant. No word yet I'll keep you posted.
I do come across some creative art along the road, usually in the "defaced" genre. Spraypainted billboards, graffiti, or "paint happy bastards"-name that movie- that fill in the missing part of the '6' in '65' so everybody thinks it says '85'. Gets me every time. Switching mediums, I also feel the creativity of bathroom stall defacers has really declined. Perhaps the materials are harder to carve or solvents are stronger and can erase even the most permanent of inks, but I'm not sold. I think there might be some guerilla marketing opportunities to exploit here too. I can see the headlines - "Presidential candidate launches campaign. Stops along interstate to include Warfordsburg, Hershey, and New Stanton." Those are all PA interstate rest stop, BTW. Obviously we would have to invent a new political party. Better headline -"Mud Skipper Party candidate stalls in Ohio" HA! I also have wondered if the person next to me is really fighting the good fight or providing audio cover as they etch to the world who sucks and who doesn't. Intriguing.
I'm going to roll food and beer together with a Cheeseburgers comparison, because I like doing CRAZY things like that. Let's go ahead and shorten Cheeseburgers to CB's for starters. There are so many varieties of CB's and Beers, and they can be lumped into similar categories. For the sake of time we will make 3 Tiers. Lets say, for example, tier 1 has BudMillerCoors lineup with BurgerkingMcDonaldsWendys. By all associated definitions, they fit into their respective categories, you can get them all over the world, and they aren't very exciting. Everybody's had them, and they know what to expect. Taking a giant step, there is a second tier. (I encourage you to fill in tiers 1.1-1.9 at home, family game night!) Let's say this tier has higher quality ingredients, might only be available regionally, and is much more exciting. For CB's maybe this is Five Guys, BRG, in California In-and-Out Burger, and even the non-chain but not gourmet shops in the small towns- you get the idea. For Beers, maybe we say this is where great craft beers live. Just as with the CB's, there are good and bad beers at this tier. The third tier is elite. This is where CB's of epic status rule the Griddles and Grills, where quality is at it's peak and creativity unparalleled. Here, there are no "bad" CB's or Beers, just differences of what people like and don't like. For island reference I'll highlight the King Burger- LoLa Burger realm and our Woods/ Island reserve beers. By no means am I trying to slight any other CB's found on island or Beers on tap - I drink far more Bailey's Indie and Grey Lady than I do Woods beers, it's just one nerd's reference guide.
Mobile bartending updates - DC, VA, Philly, currently in Pitt. Headed to FL next week. Also, I got a super rare treat- encore presentation of the Dusty 45's! They played a rockin good show (obviously) at the Old Brogue in Great Falls VA. Played it mighty fine.
Eat good burgers and drink better beer.
It's about that time of year. Come mid-October I'll be heading out on the road on another educational adventure. Our distribution is growing everyday, and it's only fair to expect better results when we put resources into those markets. Some people call it sales, I say it's mobile bartending. There are variations, but they are balanced if not surpassed by similarities. Let's break it down, and say at the end of a sales, err, mobile bartending call, there are two outcomes. People buy the products, or people don't buy the products. Everything from attire to attitude, time of day to the result of the local sports contest can influence the outcome. Get a haircut, don some new duds. Surely I can help my own case, but at the end of the day I have a wildcard. Our beer is phenomenal. Some brewers stand behind a breadwinner and limp along with other brands. Whales Tale (note the spelling ya dumb dumbs. Tale aint tail.) may be the brand leader, but that doesn't stop Indie and Bailey's from being the best IPA or Blonde Ale, respectively, that I've tasted. Our beers can compete with any other styles in their markets.
On a local note, we've got some awesome beers on tap. Jeff and Ian have been busy, introducing the Island Reserve series to our lineup. Jeff's blog explains more, but on the surface we have limited release beers available on tap and in bottle. Unlike the "Woods" series, the island reserves don't require aging. Saison, Very (Kyle, Gerry) Brown IPA, "En Fuego" Pumpkin, you name it we got it.
Prolonging the inevitable, I always have mixed feelings about traveling. The best winter I've ever had was 08-09, when shift bartending was a weekly occurrence and potluck fridays sounded like it might be a fun idea to try out. I made more meaningful connections than any other truncated timetable, and instead of meeting people I got to know people. Using that as a benchmark holds all other winters to a high standard, but what do you expect when a man eats turkey 4 different ways (in 1 day), strolls proper for the first time, and partakes in a Santa pub crawl all in a 3 month span? On the flip side, I've been handed the great opportunity to travel and see awesome parts of our country, all for work! Leaving Nantucket only makes me appreciate it more.
For visual introduction and to lighten the dim spirit cloud that seems to be hovering above this blog post, I'll introduce 3 photos from my steam / light series. Ian S, Randy H, and Grey L. all make appearances, you'll have to decipher what's what. I borrowed the "fire pint" photo idea from Ian S and there is a different photo we took during that first fall with our pint license. If I find it I'm not sharing it with you nerds.
And I'll take one more quick sentence to brag about my family. Congrats to my sister and her husband and their new son (my second nephew) Conor! Now I can put my finely-tuned Uncle skills to work - feed them candy and get them all fired up, then drop them back home. Time tested fomula.