|Podcasting with Skywalking Through Neverland|
The first of these firsts occurred the day after my son was born - when a piece I had written weeks before was published on Mayim Bialik's website, Grok Nation. While my post was about raising daughters as a father who is really into Star Wars, the irony was that it was published one day after having a son! In addition to having a piece of my writing get to a place with great visibility and a lot of readers (which is really flattering, especially after having considered myself an insufficient writer for most of my life), it was also my first time getting paid to write a blog post!
The next of these was also Star Wars related: appearing on a Star Wars podcast! While I have sought establish my bona fides as a Star Wars fan by blogging, it was great to be able to share my thoughts on Star Wars in a different medium. Moreover, the podcast, Skywalking Through Neverland, apparently has a lot of listeners, so it was wonderful to have such an audience. Having met the couple who host the podcast in the winter, it was great to discover that they, too, reside in Long Beach. When the blu-ray for The Force Awakens came out, they kindly invited me over one evening to watch the deleted scenes and featurettes, while commenting on them. Our comments would then be split up on two separate episodes of their podcast. Since then, I have returned on a couple of occasions to speak about books for their podcast.
The final first was beer judging! Yes, that means drinking various beers and not paying for them. Moreover, we even got paid a little money for our time! If only this occurred more frequently…. The competition for which I judged beer was the LA Beer International Beer Competition. The set up was that judges received sheets of paper with rubrics for scoring, providing comments, and noting off-flavors, while working with a partner in a dyad. We got some interesting beers, definitely not typical-tasting beers, but yummy, nevertheless. What was surprising to me was that I was able to detect some off-flavors, which my tasting partner did not, such as vinegariness in stouts and vegetalness in IPAs (or DIPAs or TIPAs), since I was clearly the younger and lesser-experienced person. In any event, it was really great to be able to take part in the experience, not only for the beers, but also connecting with different people there and for the simple honor of being invited to take part in it. Ass a post-script, people subsequently asked me which beers I enjoyed the most: inasmuch as I wanted to tell people, we were only given numbers for the beers - not the names nor the breweries of the beers, since it was really anonymous. Nevertheless, looking at the top three winners in our category, I will say two things: 1) they were really good and 2) I now know which are the three winners (and I will definitely buy those beers).
I really hope that there continue to be new firsts in my life, as I enjoy these exciting new developments. I will say that there have been some more, especially with beer-writing, about which I hope to share soon :)