I had about two full paragraphs here about getting people motived before I cut them all. About the challenges I’ve faced as we roll out “the agency.” I’m not sure I have any good advice but to try everything you can and then go back through your list and try those things again. In short, my job relies on people that don’t answer to me, nor do I entirely work “for them;” their success in what I do heavily depends on their involvement. It’s a constant struggle to find new ways to say “help me, help you.”

Current thoughts: Expose clients to ‘the new world.’ Don’t put them in timeout, hold their hand – it’s easy to make people feel simple, it’s harder (and better in the long run) to educate.

I’ve also got a couple ‘big picture’ ideas crashing around in my head for work and having a busy mental day has left me excited and pretty scattered.

More soon.

7.22.16 – Work Reflections

Posted on

July 22nd, 2016


@ Work, reflections

I’ve been doing my share of thinking lately. There has been a weight resting firmly on my thought bubble. I stop short of saying “birthdays at my age” but something about my last handful have left me heavily self-reflexive. To be honest, I’m not sure where I want to start here. Am I worried about life? Death? My family? Career? Who I am? What is my “role” in life?

No? Yes? I don’t know.

I wrote this trite passage on Facebook they day after about how we’re all floating in a sea and how as we move through it, it defines us. Some people got, maybe, but did I?

I’ve been wrestling with emotions like a tired willow in a strong blow the last few days. Thinking a lot about my father. Who I am as a dad, a husband. My family in general, where they fit in my life. Should I call my brother “just to talk?” I feel as though I’ve had ‘youngest child syndrome’ for far too long. The part of me where I’m right no matter what my feelings are and even if you soft-step them, damned you are. I’m not right just because I grit my teeth harder.

I do a lot of moaning about how others don’t seem to do enough self-reflection. That finger can and should be pointed at me; maybe something about how if I point one finger, three point right back. A lot of learning is done in trying to teach my kid about morality, feelings, and the world. Who am I to teach someone if I don’t have it all together?

Maybe growing up is being able to admit many of your stalwart stances aren’t on a foundation as solid as you thought. That maybe for all this time you’ve been wrong. Maybe they aren’t the foolish or simple one, but the asshole, the jerk. I’m not so great, or the best – but now it’s time to admit it, say sorry and try to do better. Less criticizing and more understanding, just be kinder.

I have to take my first real piece of advice from my son:”people gotta do what they gotta do.”


Post-Birthday Reflection

Posted on

July 12th, 2016

I get asked a lot if “I do social media work on the side.” My short answer is “not really, but buy me lunch and we can talk about strategy.” I’ve met with many small businesses that want the moon. Most of them were posting 2-3 times a month on various outlets or might as well as not exist online. They complain it’s hard. I usually end up telling them it’s easy and give them a few pointers and they walk away with confidence; although that “ease” meets usually meets little action.

Someone recently said social is about a “Return on Experience.” That is the bumbling grumble of some marketing person smelling their own farts, we’re marketing – not going on a tour through the amazon. I admit, there is a lot out there. It’s hard to sift through the noise of people telling you what is best for your business because they are so-called “experts.” In my history, it’s those who claim expertise are rarely so; don’t trust anyone with “guru” in their title. With all of that blithering, I thought it time to put some honest info out into the universe.

Here is what I’d say in those meetings, to use as a reference in simple, plain-English my tips to social media good times:

  1. Listen
    1. Start by emulating a brand you wish your page could be like, then do better
    2. Follow the same accounts, like brands, and influencers – ie: google “top/best [platform] brands/influencers”, feel free to add [location] if your business is brick & mortar.
    3. Share, engage, and reply
  2. Post
    1. Failing is an option. Try something & if it doesn’t work, you’ll know. Move on + learn.
    2. Consistency is key. There isn’t a “magic bullet” of the right amount of posts, set a number in your head or track on a google doc and try to hit your numbers.
    3. Don’t let time rule you. Take an hour and plan/schedule your posts for the week. Bam, you’re done with the creation side, but DON’T FORGET TO LISTEN!
  3. Pictures
    1. Take so many you need to empty your phone every month or so.
    2. Put time into editing; You don’t “need’ Lightroom or Photoshop, Snapseed or VSCO will do just fine.
    3. Filter to look natural or softly enhanced, do not overdo it.
  4. Share
    1. You are passionate about something, tell it to the world. Only you know awesome your [widget] is. Spread the word.
    2. Other people will like what you do – say thanks, use a listening tool (like Hootsuite) to say “thanks.”
  5. Time/Money
    1. Facts of life: Facebook is a paid space, Instagram is a (now) a paid space, Twitter takes time. What is worth more to you?
    2. $5 can get you far – targeted boosts, tailored ads, local, awareness ads can take you places.
    3. Learn the ad space you are working in. Create ads that you’d click on or the people you are targeting would click.
  6. Platforms
    1. Ask your customers what they open on their phone first while sitting on the toilet, start there.
    2. Don’t jump into a platform because you think you have to ‘do it all.’ Focus on what matters.
    3. You didn’t “miss the boat” – you skipped the old guard. If your audience is on Snapchat, why worry about building an audience on MySpace?
  7. ROI?
    1. Track your success with Pixel, Google Analytics and the like, but don’t get hung up.
    2. Be awesome and people will be awesome to you. You’re putting out ‘good vibes’ not pushing a sale. This is marketing, not sales.

There is, of course, more complicated strategies to flush out and give guidance on. But this is simply an introduction. The long and short of social media can be boiled down to: “Just try it!” and “Do what feels right for your brand.” As with most things in life, if it seems too good to be true it very much is, no one has a perfect plan, it’s up to you to craft one.

As with all of my social posts, I’m not going to hang my hat on getting x number of followers or getting a video to go viral. I think creating and fostering a long term strategy is important to sustained success. You can do this.

Social Media Help?

Posted on

July 6th, 2016


Social Media

Reader alert – I started this post 5 months ago.

The Stand

Let’s start from the top: I’ve been on the hunt for a brew stand. I’d thought about making one, getting one made, buying one right out , sat around looming at craigslist and walked the lanes big-box home improvement stores looking for possible structures and so forth. Nothing was ‘just right.’ I’m quite particular about most everything – research to find the ‘right thing’ can be exhaustive, to the point of missing out on ‘good enough’ items due to waiting. It can drive other people crazy – namely my wife, my father-in-law, anyone directly affected. It can be maddening, but to me persistence and patience pay off.
A few months ago a Craigslist ad popped up, a sale for some shlub’s entire brewhouse somewhere in the depths of South Bend, Indiana – easily a 4-hour drive. I posted the link to the local homebrew facebook group with a serious offer to buy up the stand but not the entire deal; I had no need/want for the rest. Long story short that is what happened. Some helpful guy snatched up the whole lot and contacted me to have me come take the stand. In the crunchy earth mid-winter that is January in the Midwest, I rolled into St. Charles with a three hundred pound plus behemoth. My brew stand is a three tier gravity stand with two natural gas burners (3rd eventually coming). It’s a heavy iron stand centered around a thick-walled 3″ pipe. It’s an exciting step toward being content with the hot-side of my brewing. A big plus: Not having to lift the mash and HLT. While it won’t necessarily make better beer, it’ll make brew days more manageable.

I’ve also procured a keggle (kettle meets keg) as well; excellent for never worrying about ten-gallon boil overs again. It’s been great thus far.

The Single

Bouncing around in the back of my head for a while was this beer I’ve wanted to do for some time. It’s a less-common style outside of breweries/monasteries: a small(er) beer that takes on a lot of interpretation – some have caramel malts or long boils or are this or that. For me, I believe the focus should be on something simple, drinkable, and not really ‘for the public.’ A Belgian single, patersbier, etcetera.

My version comes from a couple of recipes for a single I found that built around their entire malt bill being pilsner malt. My choices were German or Bohemian at the LHBS I chose the latter. I also added some Carafoam b/c I “feel” like I’m getting better head retention using it thus far, even if it is placebo.

The brewing part of the day was relatively uneventful – fired the MLT after finishing the stand, ground grain, mashed in at 152f, got the sparge water headed, sparged, boiled and tossed in hops, cooled, and pitched. I also bottled four batches and we were on our way.

I bottled half in 750ml Belgian crown-capped – plainly put: pry off champagne bottles – at four vols of co2 and the other half in standard bottles at 2.8 volumes. Side-by-side tasting notes very soon. As a preview, they are both lovely with nice mellow hop and malt profiles with the primary focus on the yeast.

The Stand & The Single

Posted on

June 30th, 2016



IMG_20160615_181721 (1)

Turns out I’m horrible at keeping at this. I’m going to make it a goal to either edit or write in the evenings going forward. I need to get my brain moving. I have a graphic novel kicking around inside of my head that I need to put to “paper,” three unedited or unfinished blog posts on here, and I’d like to talk more about Social Media Marketing. So I’ll be rolling the latter into the mix as well.

My hotel portfolio has expanded to five, so there we are. After a solid three weeks of what can only be described as “fuckery” – getting behind, “working” in Kansas City for a week, then coming back to a new month (expense reports & analytics) – I’m caught back up and feeling much less stressed. Looking to crush July. I’ve also implemented a nice ‘trick’ to power through getting posts up and pushing through my ADHD: I set a fifteen-minute timer and just schedule posts for ONE hotel on ONE social platform. Previously I was spinning my wheels bumping around attempting to get one or two posts out only to get distracted by something and forgetting to go back to what I was working on. My fix has worked well thus far.

Finn is riding his bike without training wheels. His energy level is still at 11, but now he’s a +40# brute.

31 soon. Another post to directly follow.

Changes & Updates – Late June

Posted on

June 30th, 2016

In the seashore of life, the tide can change quickly. And how has it exactly? Well, the vast expanse of the internet – I got a new job. And you know what? It’s pretty excellent. I was hired with four other people doing – basically – the same thing I am. The position is brand new, and we share our wins and losses as a team. My job is managing four (then three, and now four again) hotel’s social media marketing. It’s a nice step up to what I was doing previously – a lot less hectic, although a much larger time sink. I have four very different brands, very different in-hotel contacts, and expectations run the gamut. I want to air out here and put “pen to paper” to ‘rotate the puzzle’ and rethink some ideas and issues – one example: how do you get someone you work with to read your emails?

My son, Finn, turned four. I’m not sure if I’m getting used to him, he’s getting older and more receptive, or I’m getting through finally. There was a long stretch where I was near the end of my rope. I understand children are as they are, but nothing was getting in; that is until very recently. Let me restate: he still can be a colossal pain in the ass if’n he wishes it – the same can be said of me, without doubt. In those lessons, the kneel-down to talk, “tell me what is happening” chats – there are small, fleeting moments where he gets it now. Or at least acknowledges my point. Progress.

Beer? It’s off my radar. Reading, talking, posting, and even making beer for the last few months have been a nonstarter. Focus has been elsewhere, priorities on Factorio, YouTube, and sleep. I’d like to write more, cinch up the graphic novel, focus on making better, more transcendent brews, do productive things. I’m stuck with what is easier, faster, and finds me relaxed faster. Games and woodworking videos. It is amazing the production value gulf that exists between homebrew and woodworking videos, let alone the sponsorships. But I digress.

Life is good. I’d say more soon, but I may break the promise.

Where in the hell have you been?

Posted on

April 12th, 2016

Time cures all may – nay, is a misnomer.

My last post – which was in October – was about this very subject. I was hot to trot. Four of the containers were spot-on for making a killer blended sour beer. When I finally carved time to peel the lids open again just last week… utterly inane drivel. Let me start with where my head was. I set up an action packed brew day where we’d knock out a handful of critical projects – bottle 8 gallons, fruit/spice 8 gallons, brew off 8 gallons of IPA with a focus on bottling the first pull of soleras I had fallen for in October.

Turns out, it was their swan song.

Let’s start with the look. Spread across the lids was mouse poop and spots of hardened pee/yeast/wort. I can’t blame my father-in-law Gary, the guy’s got mice and went through at least 15 of them before the traps stopped springing. My beer just had to sleep there, Gary had to live in it. A bag of peanuts was broken into less than 12 hours after he bought them, and they were inside his cupboard. With that said I inserted the wine thief/turkey baster like a surgeon. I didn’t even want to graze the edge of the lids. My brew buddy, Travis had a sinking horrified look on his face after I pulled them. He would never not think about the little pills of faeces when drinking this beer. I’d have an uphill battle myself. Some were super clear and some were murky, but they were all a lovely gold. I had that going for me.

The smell and taste? Flat. Like a radio hit you’re tired of hearing. No depth, on the verge of wallpaper, it was as if we were lapping at the feet of ghosts. Uninspired husks of what could have been. I hesitated and tried them again. Travis was nervous and without words. I tried my damnedest to get my brew-partner to speak up about his love of one of the samples or that somehow they could be rescued, but lost as I was – likely drowned in the fear of getting E. coli or some rat-butt thing that makes the evening news.

Then came the guilt. After the decision, then he wanted to save it, age it, resuscitate, anything. Nope, I was set, and we spent the better part of the day dumping and cleaning six buckets – thirty gallons of this stuff. The basement smelled like the death of a bar floor. A couple of the soleras were so oxidized they were simply vinegar and brought a sharp note of over-ripeness to it all.

Am I sad that it didn’t work out? Of course. There was always that risk, but I wanted to give it a go. Would I do it again? Very unlikely. I’d be willing to age 10 gallons maybe in a more robust fermentor than buckets, as well as age them in my basement where I could taste it much more often and bottle it without hesitation. Ever onward, learn from what I did wrong – age in plastic, rodent control, didn’t bottle at peak, left unattended, arrogance – and keep moving.

Time is a vice anymore – squeezing me thin. When I worked from home only three days a week, time wasn’t a weight but a free-flowing currency. My time wasn’t worth as much. Not so anymore.


Posted on

January 6th, 2016




I pulled a small sample from each of the six containers recently and was shocked.

First the bad news: Two buckets not swell. Sour beyond saving and flat in flavor – likely the puckering acidity pushed everything resembling taste out. Simply put, it made the beer next to undrinkable, and likely not able to saved from blending. It maybe could go into some dry saison that needs a punch up, but that is for later. My best guess is this these were the two which has issues keeping the airlock filled. For some reason beyond my comprehension, two airlocks were chronically dry.

The other four? Ideal. A pinch of tart, but mostly an ebbing tidewater of taste. They are on point in a way that I had always wanted my wild beers to be. Not overwrought with lactic acid in a flat one note accordion drain. A couple are a smidge malty and have a pinch of rye spice flickering across the tongue. I think I’ve got something here.

I’ll update with more details after a second tasting with my brew partner.

Solera Update – Sept/Oct ’15

Posted on

October 2nd, 2015



I wish I could say I’ve been cast to the sea of sleep, or among the stacks – pulling apart old stuck together books, or attempting to better myself in someway or another. Truth be told, I have just been playing video games. Self improvement can wait, yeah? Well, I’m attempting to get my swing back. A list then, in small snippets:

  • More beer posts inbound – even though most of what I’ve got caught a lovely pedio infection. Which also means most of what I have has a nice thick pour and a slow souring. Fine, sure. It’s just beer.
  • I’ve got stories to start with a friend that is expecting them in some form or another and we’ll start working on a graphic novel (or series).
  • I’m looking for the right place to grow out from Southport. I love it, but I need to move up.
  • Finn is growing more, saying/doing more every single day. My gaze stops at times – resting on him while he watches TV, examines a car, or other – and I see him not as a child, but as a person. A wave of fear pushes through and I’m left feeling I should always do more for him. Relax, he’s just a dude.

See you Space Cowboy…

Been Away – June ’15

Posted on

June 15th, 2015



2015-03-09 18.17.17
Finn has caught wind of what parents dread. It starts with “I wanna” and quickly escalates to “listen to me” (something I say) to shouting, whining, and recently just crying. I can deal with the whining: “no” “no” and “no” seem to get my point across pretty well, as well as diversion tactics or hunting for the real root of the problem (ie: he’s hungry). The crying though?

I shut down.

My empathy and attempts at making him happy, or more accurately forget about his issue, drops. There must be something about it, the fake tears, the howling, making a scene, is all part of something I don’t want a part of. This then employes my favorite defense against whining: walking away. Won’t come in the gate to our building? Fine, I’ll walk in and close the door behind me. Crying about having to eat pancakes instead of waffles? Heat into the kitchen. Can’t get a truck out of timeout? Start reading in the living room. You get the idea. Public places are harder, more so now because god forbid you leave your child crying the chip aisle while you wait patiently around the endcap. Tears are kryptonite to my wife during the day time (night time is a different story) and she [sometimes] finds herself getting dragged in. I must be differently wired – a gate shuts, I’m closed, come again. Real tears, sure, I’ll get in line to kiss a booboo or two. The over-characterized “waaaaaaahhhhhhh?” I just can’t deal.

He may have picked up some of this in school, but with their hands full there, I know for a fact they don’t put up with it either. It’s all a test, he’s a shark looking for weakness. I’ll admit, sometimes he finds flesh.

Dad Post: Whining

Posted on

April 22nd, 2015