Tag: reflections & sketches

One More Round

Last Call for January

January is about to make its last call. How about one more round before they close up the first month of 2020? I hope that you got off to a solid start this year. I mentioned setting realistic goals earlier this month. I’m moving toward mine, how about you?

Pair of Abitas (Optio-edit)
“Pair of Abitas”

I discussed the importance of place and having a point to your drinking this month. I stopped off at one of my favorite diners tonight, and I picked up a six pack of Abita at the corner package store. A good meal and a few Louisiana beers always go well with a Walker Percy novel. I hope you have a “clean, well-lighted place” of your own to frequent this year. If you decide to have one more round or two this month I hope you do it with point and purpose in mind. Place, point, and purpose can all help you achieve your goals.

Well, it’s last call for me (I just popped the top of my last Abita). If you are out there with a glass or bottle of your own, cheers. Keep moving toward your goals and don’t be too critical of yourself if you stumble from time to time.

-K-

Hip Flasks and Other Accessories

A Drinking Man’s EDC

The one hundredth anniversary of the start of Prohibition is in a couple days (January 17th, 1920). Some consider it the starting pistol for our nation sprinting head first and hell bent into the Roaring 20s. In honor of speak easies, bootleg whiskey, hip flasks, and flappers I thought I would share my Drinking Man’s EDC (that’s ‘Every Day Carry” for those of you not in the tactical know).

Drinking Man's EDC #4 (D5300-editj22.82)
“A Drinking Man’s EDC”

As I’ve said before, if you are going to do any serious drinking then you should be serious about drinking. My EDC isn’t anything extraordinary, but it currently addresses my drinking lifestyle. What’s in your Drinking Man’s EDC?

-K-

Another Year, Another Round

Reviewing a Year of Beer

New Year’s Eve is often a time of reflections and resolutions. I am a proponent of self-reflection and self-improvement, but too critical a view of one’s self and unrealistic goals are unhealthy. It’s important to take a long view of the year passes without being too critical of yourself and to set realistic goals for the New Year. I like to spend a moment on New Year’s Eve reviewing my year of beer. Digging through the stratum of bottle caps provides me with a picture of what the previous year was like (it’s a mini archeological dig into my own life).

Stratum #1 (D5300-editj22.78)
“A Year of Beer”

There were days of cheap beer when the check lacked overtime. There were many days of quality craft beers when OT was flush, or maybe I just wanted to reward myself for a Wednesday well done. Some of the caps are from gifts and others are from beers brought back from microbrewery trips. Some of the caps are reminders of special events that called for good beer, like watching Episode One of The Mandalorian with my bruva, -J-. The caps reflect the seasons. There are the golden ales of spring and summer and the stouts of fall and winter. Prufrock may have measured his life in teaspoons, my days are measured with beer caps (and assorted empty whiskey bottles but that’s a different post),

So here’s to the 2019’s year of beer and to another round for 2020. I hope you weren’t too critical of yourself in 2019 and that you have reasonable goals for 2020. There was no better way for me to start 2020 than with “The Champagne of Beers.” Yes, I could have bought a more expensive beer to crack open at midnight (I’ve been banking the OT) but there is no beer that better reflects where I come from, who I am, and what I want for 2020 more than “The High Life.”

-K-

Snow Forts and King of the Hill

and How The Empire Strikes Back Brought the Two Together

Reviews, criticisms, predictions, and all sort of monologues, dialogues, and ramblings crowd the interweb these days regarding Star Wars. I’m not here to add to the chaff. Nope, I just want to scribble a few lines about the Battle of Hoth and how it inspired a bunch of grade school kids.

I’d ask you to go watch The Empire Strikes Back if you haven’t seen it, but I figure you already have if you’ve read this far. Your view of Star Wars may have changed over the course of last couple/few movies (I know mine has), but you have to acknowledge that the Battle of Hoth scene was, and still is, pretty freakin’ amazing (especially if you saw it for the first time in 1980 like me). I could go into detail about how well the scene was shot, the cinematography, the use of miniatures, and so forth but let’s just agree that pretty freakin’ amazing is a fair and just critical analysis. That Battle of Hoth and Han getting the carbonite nap are the two scenes that I distinctly remember near forty years later. I also remember spending an entire winter playing king of the hill many days after school on a series of snow forts we built on piles of snow the plows pushed to one corner of the school’s playground.

I have been entertained, informed, and inspired by many movies, but only one has given me reason to chuck somebody off a snow fort while making sounds like a tauntaun. Sometimes I think back to that winter of snow forts and king of the hill, and I feel sorry for the Star Wars fans that didn’t have the opportunity to relive the Battle of Hoth.

-K-

From Jackson to Chicago in 10 Hours

and 45 Degrees

Have you ever punched yourself in the face? I’m not talking about getting punched in the face, that’s a different kind of pain. I’m asking if you ever flat out punched yourself in the face? It may be an odd question but it sets the stage for the self-inflicted punishment of a 10 hour drive from Jackson, Mississippi to Chicago, Illinois, in January.

I’m a focused driver when it comes to road trips. I put the pedal down until there is a low fuel light and stop just long enough to tank up, down a red bull, and maybe water the daisies. I figured if I left Jackson after breakfast (where it was 50 degrees) I could get home to Chicago in time for a late dinner (where the forecast was for 5 degrees and snow).

Road Sign (P7000-edit)“Road Sign”–Took this the day before I left (it was in the mid-fifties).

Snow and cold are part of living in the Midwest, but that feeling of rolling out of Jackson on I55 wearing a t-shirt and a pair of jeans and ten hours later exiting I57 near Chicago with windshield wipers working fast to keep the snow off the windshield lets you know what winter (and sometimes fall or spring) is really like in the Midwest.

Lake Renwick (#9-edit)“Lake Renwick”–Taken the day after I got home (it was a sweltering in the low twenties).

-K-

Out In It

The Midwest, Snow, and Man v. Nature

Do you brag or do you bitch about the snow? Midwesterners tend to have a hate and love to hate relationship with the snow. We hate it when it snows, but we also love to brag about how we were out in it and were bad asses.

When the forecasts roll in there is the usual bitching about how bad the snow will be, how the roads probably won’t be cleared in time for work, and how people forget to drive in the snow. There is the usual grumbling about cleaning snow off cars, shoveling driveways, and salting sidewalks. And there is always the complaining about how it will be worse than last year or the year before that.

Snowed-In-235-edit[1]
Snowed In

Then the snow arrives and we brag about how we managed to get to work even though the streets weren’t plowed and how we dodged the idiots who forgot how to drive in the snow. We boast about how much we shoveled (we don’t mention the snow blower) and how we got it done in record time. Finally, we complement our own bad assery for surviving a snow that was worse than last year or the year before that (even if it wasn’t).

not-driving-235-edit[1]
Not Driving

The snow and the cold in the Midwest may not be as bad as Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” but we do like to bitch when it comes and brag about how we got out in it and survived.

-K-

Warm Boots, Quiet Nights, and Medium Format

or The Satisfaction of Shooting in the Snow

Snow is part of life in the Midwest. We expect snow. We get snow. But the snow often comes when it isn’t expected, and it’s seldom that we get the amount that was in the forecast. It’s this unpredictable element that makes shooting in the snow a satisfying experience.

There is a wonderful quiet that comes with a snowy night. Streets empty and the general background noise of the city fades away. The snow changes the landscape. Prospective subjects present new perspectives when covered with snow. The forecast may not call for snow but it’s important to be ready for it. When the snow starts to fall it’s time to get the camera ready (my go to winter camera is a Mamiya 645), lace up a pair of warm boots, and wait for it to get so quiet you can almost hear the cold.

Snowy Street with Lights (#111-edit-scan)‘Snowy Street with Lights’

Snow in the Midwest is a given (it just not always predictable). This means there are always going to be opportunities to get out and shoot in the snow if you are prepared. Snowy nights can make for some great photographs if you are ready and willing to get a little cold.

-K-