33 Bottles of Beer in My Notebook (Completed)

Tonight I completed my 33 Bottles of Beer book.

I shared how the book and a trip to Portland sparked my love of craft beer in a previous post. I committed to completing the book before Dec. 31 (I seemed to do that a lot near the end of this very long year).

And now I’m done.

Except I’m not.

I love craft beer. I plan to keep drinking and documenting my distastes and beloved beers.

The people I’ve met and experiences I’d had drinking craft beer are priceless. One year, me and the boys headed to Ottawa for a debaucherous night that included a trip to Beau’s. I demanded that we visit a brewpub during my bachelor party in Atlanta. Our friend Vaughn fell asleep at the table (I’ve been there before). I’ve made inefficient route changes to sample craft beers at some of the more far-flung breweries in the city.

I’ve organized cycling brewery tours — one on the east end and one on the northeast — for my friends. I’ve toured Collective Arts, Bench and many of the great breweries in Ontario and beyond. I love learning about someone’s favourite beer. I love meeting brewers and hearing what inspired them. And I love sharing craft beers with my buddies.

So this book is complete. But the story ain’t over.

Mission Accomplished

I won’t be happy unless I’m writing.

That’s how I got here. I stopped writing. Inside me, something started to rot. Soon the space that writing filled was hollow. I had to write again but could never find the time. I was busy. I ran through two seasons of Wanted, a Netflix show about two Aussie women on the run. That’s how much writing terrified me. But I knew I had to go back.

At first I did all the easy things. I spent $150 on domain hosting and a website. A year went by. I never published a post. But I kept reading. And the place I returned to again and again was Seth Godin’s blog.

On Oct. 31, he posted “The first 1,000 are the most difficult.” His point was one I’d read many times before. Putting your thoughts into sentences is rewarding. As William Zinser, a teacher of non-fiction wrote, it won’t make you a better writer right away. You have to put in the work over and over until you find clarity, ditch clutter and write well. That will make you a better communicator, marketer and writer.

Still, writing a daily post seemed daunting. Instead, I chose to write and publish 25 posts by Dec. 31, which is today. This post fulfills my promise. I’m proud.

Not every post is a winner. That’s not the point. This exercise helped me mute my perfectionist ways and strangle my fear. I don’t scrutinize every line (at my worst, every word) and give up because I fear I’m not saying anything worthwhile. That transformation, which is ongoing, is priceless to me.

Tomorrow marks the start of a new year. I’ve got high hopes and some things I want to achieve. I’m filling that hollow space with writing and it feels good. I want to thank Seth Godin for inspiring me to restart this habit.

Now it’s time to start posting daily.

Recreating Jamaican tradition thru my tastebuds

This weekend I made a recipe from my mom. Braised oxtail with rice and peas. It’s a staple in Jamaican cuisine, right up there with curry goat and beef patties. It’s comfort food that’s rich and sticks to your ribs. But this time I made it with a twist.

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The upsides and downsides of being successful … and black

It ain’t easy being successful and black.

That’s the topic Christopher J. Lebron tackled in the November issue of The Atlantic. “The Personal Cost of Black Success” is a review of two books. One is Heavy: An American Memoir. The other is There Will Be No Miracles Here.

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Robert Van Winkle (Vanilla Ice) v. DJ Lil’ Avalanche

Dear Vanilla Ice,

Call your lawyer.

A DJ named Lil’ Avalanche is spinning “Ice Ice Baby” during his set and I’m convinced it’s unauthorized. In fact, it’s his only record so it gets played often during his sets.

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It’ll take a lot of scrolling but it’s worth it: 10 Recommended Long Reads from 2018 (Miguel Edition)

Do you like articles that make you scroll endlessly for the payoff?

My friend Miguel does. He put together a list of his top-10 long reads and I’m sharing it here.

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