Getting paid to travel around drinking delicious beers and telling the world about it?! Well, I sure as hell wouldn’t mind that gig. In fact, that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing with my life lately — in between testing new entrepreneurial ideas, that is.
In the past 6 months, I’ve drank in Ireland, Germany, and a whole shitload of Asian countries: Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore (Thank You God for the beer in Singapore), Indonesia and Russia. All the beer I tried in Asia (aside from Singapore) really made me miss American craft brews and old-style Euro-brews. I would crack open a can of something, take a sip, and then look back at the cold metal with bitter sadness. “Oh grains, you could have been so much more. What did they do to you?” At least I enjoy novelty to the point I could find delight in trying the new things even when they tasted like disappointment. Plus, all the bad beers enhanced my appreciation of the good stuff in the West. Beer and internet speeds: I never truly knew how good I had it.
Then there is the food. A delicious craft beer is lonely without some truffle fries with aioli or a perfectly grilled meat which was lovingly massaged by off-grid hippies every day of its living life. When I finally got to Singapore after months of travel, I was craving a well-made burger and craft beer so hard that I blew my food budget for the week on those items. It was one of the most sensible decisions I ever made. Upwards of $50 to once again taste a hoppy, in-your-face Bridge Road Bling IPA from Australia, and a thick, juicy, flame-licked burger smothered in cheese, onions and mushrooms. Magic.
Of course, just as with drinks, I enjoy the novelty of new foods even when it tastes strange in bad ways. I brought you along in all those food discoveries as I tried lamb shanks in Ireland to pair with my Irish red, and chocolate banana roti in Indonesia to compliment a refreshing can of Bintang Radler. These were the things that tasted fantastic. You were also there for raw horse meat, fried octopus tentacle balls, and chicken heart. These were in the more-totally-fucking-strange-than-savory category, but I think you enjoyed the novelty, too.
Onto the part where you can get paid to do all of the above:
World of Beer is selecting 3 “Drink It Interns” to travel for 3 months this spring/summer, learning about beer, drinking beer, and telling the world all about it. They’re looking for beer lovers who can learn, travel, drink and social media proficiently. Yes, social media can be a verb; it just makes sense. It probably helps if you’re comfortable roaming the planet alone and striking up conversations with strangers in places where beer lives. I so got this.
If you want to apply, too, hurry! Application deadline is March 26th, 2016. That’s my birthday, by the way. So, you could just not apply as your present to me to help my chances. That would be great!
Here’s my application:
And here’s where you can apply on the WOB site if you plan on getting me something else for my birthday:
I only have one full day left in this country and threw this rambling, boring explanation together as to why. Ain’t got time to explain it to everyone who asks!
The final thing I was told by the Immigration officer who kicked me out was that it had to do with me not having a ticket to leave within the first 90-day visitor stamp I was issued in September… but as you’ll see, there’s a whole lot of other disturbing and confusing stuff going on, too.
A lot of my new Irish friends have expressed vitriolic anger and indignation on my behalf. I find this amazingly kind and sweet! But let’s not repeat the same actions the officers took and take things out of context… I am not an Irish citizen. I’m just some asshole American who wants to spend my money here. The officers are there to protect Irish citizens, not their economy. And then there is Paris, remember. If I were them, I might lean toward “better safe than sorry”, too, if my ass were on the line.
Side note: So glad I spent a grand and waited 2 months for Panasonic to fix and send me my brand new fucking camera which required me to buy a 2nd video editing software and resulted in the worst quality video I’ve ever made. Fuck you, Panasonic. So hard.
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Kettering University’s 2015 homecoming festivities along with the celebration of the Physics Department’s 20th anniversary. As a physics alumna, I felt especially compelled to visit this year. I didn’t see all of ya’ll there, however, so here is a rundown of what you missed.
FLINT HAS CRAFT BEER AND COCKTAILS
I attended the pub crawl and bus tour that was one of the many activities available over the 3 days and it was surprisingly awesome! While some (all) of us were a little disappointed not to pick up a dollar-pitcher of moldy PBR from Churchill’s, or survive a trip to the bathroom at Rubes, our more sophisticated, adulty palates appreciated the change. We went to 3 different places where we had highly decent bar food, interesting craft cocktails and excellent beers, including 501 Bar and Grill at Saginaw and E. 1st Street pictured here:
This club did not exist when I attended the university, but I THOROUGHLY APPROVE. Our tour guide explained there are grills. There is meat. Students show up and eat the meat. All these key features combine to make it one of the most active clubs on campus. Yes. Yes to all of this. Can I still join?
BJ’s LOUNGE SERVES BEER
Ok, this one is a little misleading. Yes, BJ’s serves beer now, but it’s only granted 4 single-day licenses or so per year which are only used for alumni events. Still, my buddy and I were compelled to drink a Labatt when we had lunch at BJ’s JUST BECAUSE WE COULD. And it was everything we dreamed it would be. The food wasn’t bad either especially when compared with that slop Ernie would feed us that had us camping out in the restrooms. Remember that?
By the way, BJ’s has been completely revamped and it’s awesome. They regularly serve food and there are games and great study areas with screens that connect to your laptop. It’s great. I’m so damn jealous.
As Kettering University was once General Motors Institute, a place where people with man parts went to study, it’s always been a bit difficult to locate the nearest ladies’ room. That was especially so near the library and by the physics labs. It was actually noticed finally and something was done about it! If you’re a former female Kettering student, I know you can share my excitement:
NO ONE GOT SHOT
My fellow alum and I stayed in downtown Flint, near where the bar crawl began and ended up walking, like without a car and everything…through Flint…at night…and no one died! We actually didn’t feel afraid. Really! At one point a crack addict did approach us and pestered us for… well, not really sure what she wanted. There was no attacking or other crimes committed, however. This was probably the most seriously amazing and weird feeling part of the weekend.
THE STUDENTS ARE STILL SMART AND AMAZIBALLS
Below is one of the fantastic posters from a session held during the weekend. I’ll probably write more detail about this specific poster later… We got to meet several students and they are still sharp and driven and that signature Kettering weird that’s the endearing kind of weird. It’s good to see not everything changed.
THE PRESIDENT IS NOT A DB
The new president, Dr. McMahan has gotten a reputation as a savior of sorts, and I can see why. Around when I graduated around 2006/2007, it was looking like Kettering was getting ready to close its doors forever. Lots and lots of changes have happened since then which are very difficult to grasp, even still. The vibe is different. The staff and faculty have hope. Building is happening, funding is pouring in, and more building yet is planned. The concrete desert where GM used to have it’s plant will be a beautiful park, thank you very much Mary Barra. More housing. More places for students to want to be on campus. More restaurants.
Most surprising, however, may have been my own reaction to hearing Dr. McMahan speak. In prior years, I remember a talk by the president to be always accompanied by groaning and eye rolls from the student body. This guy is different. This president very actively communicates with all the people on campus and it is apparent that he genuinely has a passion for turning things around and growing the university into a vision of all it could be. I think he is one of the most inspiring examples of leadership I’ve ever witnessed and the results of that leadership are already beginning to bear fruit. In short, the president is not a DB.
NO, GLEN AND I ARE NOT DATING
Just in case I missed someone who meant to ask us how we met but didn’t have a chance, no, fellow alum who joined me, Glen and I are not dating or married or otherwise coupled up. Some of the people we met for the first time were actually assuming I never attended the university and was tagging along, but that’s understandable… I guess. Anyways, just thought I should put that out there. He’s lovely though, everybody. And single…like me!
….plus so many more changes that need to be experienced to be understood. If you have the urge, give in to it and pay the university a visit. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised, too.
Although Augsburg, DE was never my home, it is a familiar place to the point it evokes a strange feeling of comfort. That is — when I’m not getting trampled by large beast men. Of course, it certainly helps that a very dear friend, his lovely wife and his adorable new spawnling also reside there.
Nevertheless, my buddies wanted to give me a real touristy tour type tour of the place, and I think we all got to see parts of Augsburg we’d never seen.
First up, we broke into this gaudy piece of architectural magnificence — the Goldener Saal in Augsburg’s town hall. We stared up and around in awe of the detail and beauty created by ancient artists reaching us through oceans of time.
I especially liked these weird little carved dudes decorating the walls:
Looking out from the “golden room”, I spotted a rainbow spread across the town! But…but, I’m pretty sure we’re inside the pot of gold. What could possibly be over there?!
The next day, we went on an official, guided tour of Augsburg, and got to see the Goldener Saal again! Yea! This time we learned that the building was pretty much obliterated in WWII and this was a complete reconstruction. Talk about a buzzkill…at least there was the Fuggerei on the tour to look forward to!
I half believe my friends took me on the Fuggerei tour because in German, G’s sound a lot harder than English G’s — it’s almost like a “K”…and…well, think about it. My friends expected me to break into giggles everytime I heard the word “Fuggerei” or heard mention of the “Fuggers” – the family that runs the Fuggerei.
Ok, so maybe they were right.
The Fuggerie is a social housing project that dates back to the 1500’s and is probably the only successful one in existence…unless you count Cabrini-Green. Oh, I just made myself chuckle. Ha! I was pretty impressed that such a thing existed. Old man Fugger was a very rich dude and built some very nice, though plain residences for needy Catholics who vowed to pray daily and pay (something like) a buck a year. Here’s a pic of inside the complex (and other tour-takers, not Fuggerei-ers):
When we went inside one, I recall noting that it was much bigger than the last apartment I rented in Chicago. My friends thought it was tiny. PFFT.
There are a few factors I believe led to the success of this housing project:
1. There is limited space in these things, and if you are lucky and blessed enough to get in, you really, really don’t want to screw that up. People tend to live there until they die.
2. It’s gated and if you come stumbling home after 10 p.m., you need to pay a guard to let you in, or you’re out in the cold that night. That would serve as a pretty good deterrent for debauchery, too.
3. Back to point #1, there is limited space and so there are strictly abided selection criteria. You have to earn/win a space to get in.
I don’t think any U.S. housing projects had such stipulations attached to them…
We continued strolling through the city center and right before we were about to take in the lovely sun-shiney moment below, I was bowled-over by a gigantic German dude on a steep hill who would have literally knocked me over if not for my friend breaking my fall. And then gigantic beast man kept on walking without a word or hesitation… There’s nothing more interesting to that story — just wanted to mention that that kind of shit sometimes happens in Germany, because… comparative social weirdness. Oh look, the sun is out!
Our final stop on the tour brought us to this breathtaking statue which, when created hundreds of years earlier, mysteriously foretold the final game of the 2014 World Cup between Brazil and Germany.
Either that, or my brain was tired of listening to German and just made shit up. Really couldn’t say.
Later that day, I scored my own VICTORY. Much of this was brought home with me… NOM NOM NOM. I don’t know why I got so much milk, but it tastes Totally Different in Germany, omagerhd. So good.
And then another remnant of the World Cup victory, which I’m told is an absolute oddity in this anti-nationalistic country when it’s not a Cup year:
Later, we went out to dinner, and I embarrassed my gracious hosts with the Sauberer Saubär when I was confused about the word “Saubär“. It’s kind of like when you call someone a “dirty pig” or a “lazy dog”, but in a really cute way that you might admonish a child. It means “pig bear”. Trouble is, it sounds a lot like, “sauber” which is an adjective meaning clean. WTF? So I made the “clean dirty pig bear” because it’s just as ridiculous to my silly American ears.
The next day, my gracious hosts, presumably pissed about the “pig bear” thing at the nice restaurant, tried to finish me off. They thought they would take my fat American ass for a hike around the world and up and down mountains. OK, not quite. I survived, afterall! It was an absolutely picturesque trip to the Ammersee:
I could have sat and stared at this beautiful lake all day:
Unfortunately, my friends wanted to get to that killing-the-American part of their weekend. So, they took me half-way up this mountain thing — the castle circled shows the tippy top:
I couldn’t be agitated though, ’cause I was too busy trying to keep from giggling as they tried to push the all-terrain baby stroller up an Alpine mountain. 😀
It was sad to leave the next day, especially the part where I had to say goodbye to my new surrogate niece. She was Not Happy and “couldn’t even”. 🙁 So heartbreaking! At least I had one last beer garden at the airport to console myself with:
And also, the flight to Ireland was pretty entertaining, or at least the part where I tried to imagine the badass they needed to make this caution sign for:
There’s a sign. You know it happened at least once.
Hoping to see you all again soon, my Germany-residing darlings. I’m missing you already so very much!