December 8th, 2003

Pandas can't talk


It seems my pneumonia has subsided into your everyday, garden-variety flu (no seriously, I picked it out from the plot next to the nasturtiums.) This, of course, will make digging my car out today a fairly trying experience. I just have to keep reminding myself that there is a VW Golf hiding somewhere in that drift in front of my house.

Somebody's got to do it.

I'm in the office today, more out of a need to get out of the house than for feeling well enough to be here. After nine days straight, I was ready to kill the roommate for any number of ills. I almost snapped yesterday when he mentioned "hopping Frenchman's disease" after complaining about how the dust in the apartment was making him ill and jacking up the heat to unbearable for the nth time that day. I keep wanting to ask him what the fuck is wrong with him, but I know it won't do any good. He's become an old man.
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The gentleman is always properly dressed

First Snow Old Ale

The beer I brewed this weekend for being snowed in and bored to tears in honor of the winter’s first snow seems not to have been touched by the bryggeman. Considering that I kept making stupid mistakes along the way*, I can’t say as I’m too surprised. I’m guessing that I pitched the yeast into a wort that was still too hot, and my yeast don’t truck with no molten wort. The result is that my beer is dormant.

In hopes of saving it, I’ll be getting another package of Ringwood Ale culture to pitch again. Wish me luck. Old ale isn’t that cheap to brew.

*Just how many gallons do you think are in a 2.5 gallon container? If you guessed 2.5, you would be correct. I was less so. What I can say is that when you place 3.5 gallons of water in a 4 gallon pot, there is very little room for grain and malt, much less for bubbly boiling.
Pandas can't talk

So we can 'membah, we does the tell...

I got to thinking about culture again as I crossed Downtown Crossing and the third holiday shopper nearly plowed into me. Like the others, she had had plenty of time and plenty of room, but she was so distracted, so absent of the moment she was in, that she had no awareness of anything around her. This is my culture. I don't have a grandfather who chides me for not properly honoring my ancestors. I don't have deeply honored traditions that have carried the meaning of who I am through the generations. I have ill-tempered holiday shoppers who are in such a hurry to spend money they don't have on things they don't need that they walk blindly into each other. My initiation is into a world without sight. My shamans talk of holiday sales as economic projectors.

It's strange to come again to these thoughts, though I suppose there's reason enough. Feeling the urge to brew at the first snow was probably enough to trigger this again. Here, there is something that could well have been a tradition. I'm left to create something new rather than carry on something that was wrought. I cannot tell stories in my language of the first who called the spirits to celebrate the coming of the snows. There's just me, and perhaps those who choose to partake with me. Maybe there will be stories, but not of the sort to tell our grandchildren.

Second Circle's annual Mighty Baking of Many Pies seems to call up this same sense of meaningful ritual. There, a community gathers around something of pure simplicity and spends the day working and playing together. And think of the signicance of The Device. We extoll its virtues, marvel over what it does, and even go so far as to use it for great feats of speed and precision.

It is brilliant.
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