Introducing -- Stock The Bar

Last week, David Griner challenged me to pick the drinks I'd mix for stock photo characters. After a few trial names were thrown about, Stock The Bar was born. Without further ado, here's round one! brick man

1. Brickman obviously needs a Blood & Sand. It's sweet without being cloying and contains Scotch -- the perfect combination to loosen him up. But watch out for sales pitches. The drink's color may trigger residual brick salesmanship.


2. Silence in the library! This perturbed teacher probably loves quiet, Doctor Who and suspenders, so a Sidecar would be suitably geeky. It might be a little sweet for her taste, so I'd add a dash or two of bitters to dry it out.


3. Following the Golden Rule is paramount in life, so this yogi will drink as I drink. Does rye whiskey, lemon juice, Luxardo and green Chartreuse sound appealing? Maybe not on paper, but he'll have the Final Word.


4. If Fae Barbie wants a double vodka soda with lime, that's what she'll get. Unless she's an avowed whiskey drinker as well, there's not much I can do to change her preference.


5. This child of the corn will take a Dirt 'n' Diesel. With blackstrap rum, Fernet, demerara, Cynar and lime juice, this earthy recipe needs rebalancing but should be dark, rich and challenging.

Happy birthday, See Clair Write!

Photo c/o Christian Smith on my first day at Octane. It's fitting that my blog's birthday falls on the day where the Blog Like Crazy prompt is to talk about your beliefs. See Clair Write has become an outgrowth of those, and I love working to show them plainly.

For me, trust and belief go hand in hand. These internal markers are an excellent way to flesh out the relationships and conversations I have with others. As I've said before, I'm a compulsive list maker. Things as personal as beliefs are no different. Here are some random ones of mine:

  • Cocktails are cultural artifacts. Whether through their origins, backstories or associations, cocktails are a great way to connect with the bright -- and sordid -- moments in our collective history. In a contemporary setting, asking a bartender about a drink's name can spark hours of discussion about their history (or the bar's).
  • I'm a nerd. A huge, flaming, Doctor Who and Sherlock watching, China Mieville reading, football enjoying, drink mixing, cosplaying, music snobby nerd. I can talk for hours about all of these things. However, I'm also nerdy because I keep friends with a lot of people who are outside these fandoms because they have something to teach me and vice versa. It's part of why I fell in love with Adam.
  • When I stop learning, I will die. Overdramatic statement? Maybe, but it's pretty much the truth. Anytime I stop reading or research or writing for more than a day, I feel much less alive. I hadn't realized how much I missed reading fiction until I read my friend Cecilia Dominic's book The Mountain Shadow in two days.
  • I judge our friendship through hugs. I love hugs. They're a good barometer of how trusting and trustworthy an individual is. Though I understand that there's a boundary of not forcing too much physical contact on someone, a bear hug will almost always go a longer ways than a side-hug-slash-pat-on-the-back.
  • Respect, respect, respect. Chances are that we don't see eye to eye on everything and are unlikely to change each others' minds on topics such as religion, politics, sex, etc. Judgment isn't going to win over my heart and mind. If we can't discuss them civilly or intellectually, we won't discuss them at all.
  • Conversation is hugely important. Since the filter between my brain and mouth resembles a sieve, we're probably going to end up talking about religion, politics, sex, etc. I'm always fascinated by others' backgrounds and opinions...until they degenerate into proselytization or judgment. If it gets to that point, I'm out.

Can you just be whelmed?

Signs, y'all. As I have said several times before, one of my biggest struggles is balancing my schedule and making time to be mindful. Right now, my hamper of clean laundry is overflowing and dust bunnies are breeding like…rabbits in my house while a shameful number of unfinished blog posts languish as drafts. To top it off, I have now gone four days without a workout and have not cooked a full meal since last Wednesday.

In the midst of it all, I went through my first week in a new position at my company. The switch has forced me to closely inspect all aspects of my future goals. Financially, I found I would be living paycheck to paycheck if I did not tutor and freelance. No matter how I crunched the numbers, I cannot currently afford to leave the apartment unless I work past 5.

Over the past week, I have been pitching stories like mad. Though some of these ideas will be unpaid, I will still get to gain experience in the field and possibly cultivating larger future projects. I have also started putting together a master list of potential, likely and unlikely publications I would like to write for.

Since all the my public school tutees returned from spring break, my schedule has been steady. Even then, I have started reserving at least part of one weeknight to visit with friends and family. The small amount of mental health space that this move has created keeps me saner and more centered.

The combination of my schedule and the new social media policy at work has left me with little time for online interactions. That said, I’ve still managed to geek out over Doctor Who all over the Twitterverse, hang out with a new friend and write out some (very modest) resolutions for the new season.

I will be introducing a new editorial feature later this week and another at the beginning of next week. The first will be website and app reviews for services that I have found to be incredibly helpful. The second will spotlight people in Birmingham who are harnessing social networking tools to foster growth, development and general awesomeness in the community. I will also begin sharing some of my favorite entries from Birmingham Box Set as I get them posted.

Hang on, y’all. We’re in for a ride.

Title today comes from 10 Things I Hate About You. "I think you can in Europe."

Whiling away the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey

I don't read enough. Well, that's only half true. If you combine the time I spend reading blogs and my tutoring kids’ homework and text at work and you’ll probably end up with a figure much higher than the average American’s.

The full truth is that I don’t read enough books. Though I’ll occasionally read on a screen, a physical book is just so much...sexier. With a paper book, you have the weight of it in your hands, the smell of new or old binding glue and reminder of what you read to keep on your shelf. Virtual notes in ebooks just don’t evoke the same response that fading notes in the margins do.

That said, I frequent quite a few websites to keep my workdays lively. These are divided up into five main categories: nerdery, current events, music and pop culture and local love. The last one will get its own post.

If I’m having a rough day, I’ll usually visit the Nerdist. Home to a dedicated Neil deGrasse Tyson channel, a recurring celebrity bowling segment and sci fi TV news, it’s one of the easiest sources for fun. It’s also run by comedian Chris Hardwick, one of the geniuses behind this Ben Folds (+ Fraggles!) video and this parody of the meme above. Though I am a relative newcomer to the podcast, I’ve already gotten in trouble at work multiple times for laughing too hard at the Bane impersonations (video not from the Nerdist) and the episode with Bill Nye (language NSFW, proceed with headphones).

Many of my nerdy reads come from Adam via boingboing. The few times I’ve been on there, I’ve spent hours going back through the archives. It’s nerdy, tech-savvy and delicious.

My news sources tend to vary widely, from Al Jazeera to the Huffington Post to Fox News to the BBC to Jon Stewart. I try to source my news from several places to counteract the spin, but have recently tended towards focusing on the BBC and Al Jazeera for domestic political news. Turns out, if you’re not beholden to a fan base that has a personal, emotional interest on certain issues, your coverage tends towards a fact-based approach. More on that tomorrow.

For music and pop culture, I follow @PasteMagazine on Twitter and haunt its music section to discover bands’ touring schedules before they hit the venue websites. When used in tandem with a streaming service, it can also be a great way to discover new music or find artists who are talking about or coming to your town.

For pop culture, I usually go back to the Nerdist or boingboing, but I also regularly check the Muppets Studio YouTube channel. I dare you to try to watch their interpretation of “Stand By Me” and not say “HAI, I’M A BUNNEH” several times during the next day.

Title inspired by the Eleventh Doctor