$Texas, It's in the vault, Me Myself and Ty

Just go out.

Beer just tastes better out of a glass to me.

I’m not pretending to have just discovered this, as I’m sure many of you are aware of the aromatic properties of certain glasses (see the Sam Adam’s glass for such an example) but it has been impressed upon me to use glasses as much as possible.

This has grown increasingly common now that I have a dishwasher that seems capable of ONLY correctly cleaning glasses (and somehow never getting that one pot lid clean) and I have taken to drinking even canned light beers out of a glass.

Yes, in those cases it is a 32-ounce mug that’s heavy enough to count as a weapon in certain cases, but it’s still an example of me always preferring a glass, even when the beer contained therein isn’t the greatest.

Of course this all has its roots in my preference for draft beer over bottled beer, which is truly what this post is about.

I live within walking distance of a handful of bars dotted along one of the main roads here that is marked by urban sprawl. Continue reading

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Eh?, It's in the vault, Me Myself and Ty

The best barbecue pork in North America, eh?

A lot of people would take their word for it. Not me.

It wasn’t like it was totally an impulse that led us to eat Chinese food while we were in Toronto.

We were tired. We were hungry. And Chinese food sounded great, especially since we were in Toronto’s Chinatown. We had been planning it for a while, actually, so when I saw the sign, it became obvious that our quest for food was over.

The daylight was fading, but the challenge beckoned. “Best B.B.Q Pork in North America,” it said.

Well that’s interesting, I thought. Here I am from a county in Eastern North Carolina where people can’t decide which of our legendary barbecue joints is the best, across the county line from the barbecue my family and friends have always thought was the best and less than three hours away from a city that (falsely) calls itself the Barbecue Capital of North Carolina — but these nice Chinese restaurateurs have canvassed not only Wayne County, not just North Carolina, but the entire effing continent and have decided they have the best in North America.

Great, I thought, this saves me from having to continue trying barbecue everywhere I go in the United States.

So I dragged Jessica in the cramped store and we ordered and left to eat on a park bench. I rushed inside a gas station for a Coke because what’s barbecue without Coke, but it seems that it didn’t matter.

Yes, it was pork, but — well, actually I guess that’s the thing I’m least sure about — anyway, at least it tasted OK. And there was plenty of rice beneath it and no Chinese restaurant can screw up rice.

By the time we labored through our meal, it was dark and we both decided that the 14-hour drive followed by only four hours of sleep had caught up with us, especially since we stayed up drinking and had been walking seemingly the entire day. And drinking more, but that’s just understood.

If we were going to make a go of it that night, we were going to need to take a nap, we decided, so we returned to the hostel.

Our room in the hostel was essentially a dorm room with two double bunk beds. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to visit Toronto and will definitely be staying there again if I ever find my way back there. A good traveler spends most of the stay exploring the city, so all that’s really needed is a bed and then strangers sharing the room doesn’t seem like a big deal.

Except for this guy who moved in mid-morning.

He replaced a nice European girl who was finishing up her Trans-Canadian trip on a separate bunk. He was nice enough, but he didn’t care for using the lounge downstairs — he had spread his stuff across the tiny room and was surfing the internet when we showed up.

It was a bit annoying because the light was on, but the real issue with our roommate was the smell. This was BBO. The towel I used to shower that day had acclimated to his smell to the point that I felt like my shower had served only to turn me into one of his body odor-carrying disciples.

I took one look (and whiff) of the room and decided I couldn’t handle it. Jessica climbed into her top bunk and I went downstairs to have another beer.

The Chinese “barbecue” was not settling well. Jessica’s food wasn’t either, so I didn’t anticipate seeing her for a few hours. While it wasn’t the best choice I could have made for dinner, however, you can’t argue with results… Continue reading

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It's in the vault, Journalism, Me Myself and Ty, Politics

(Re)affirmation (re)visited

I recently followed up on a candidate for City Council who put down two separate addresses on his voter registration form.

One was the address at his recently purchased home in the district he was aiming to represent. The other was his work address.

I did due diligence, especially since I knew he was living out of district very recently, but N.C. laws concerning residency are very ambiguous. A formal challenge to his residency filed by a resident fell flat, as well, mostly because the challenger didn’t appear to read my stories, but to make a long story short, the young man is still on the July 17 ballot.

I know the guy well since he’s one of the young professionals in the area and we’ve shared quite a few beers before and since his candidacy. He’s a nice enough guy, but the story isn’t about him or his candidacy. Like nearly everything on this blog, this story is about me.

I had just arrived in Canada and it was 12:01 a.m. when I received a text message from the candidate whose campaign I had nearly stamped out. Continue reading

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It's in the vault, Me Myself and Ty

Feets of Strength

I hadn’t seen Farrell or Jessica since I returned from Canada more than a month before, I was halfway through a pint of beer and talking with Farressica, Farrell’s dad and Zachary Tubb at Lilly’s Pizza on Glenwood Avenue.

And where was I? I was on the sidewalk, near some dumpsters, struggling to hear what was being said on the other line.

The beer was calling to me. And the pizza. But someone else had called, too and she was telling me all about her assignment.

The story was riveting, but I caught myself thinking about how badly I wanted to get back to the table. I fought it for several minutes, but I was ready to return to my beer.

And then there it was: a white convertible Mazda Miata.

It pulled up to the curb, but for whatever reason didn’t pull up into the definitive parking space behind a white Suburban.

The boy in the driver’s seat attempted to crank the car again, but it stalled.

“Hell,” I thought, “It’s a Miata. I could throw that thing over my shoulder and carry it the 10 feet forward into its proper parking space.” Continue reading

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It's in the vault, Journalism, Me Myself and Ty

The War Between the States of Being

The sensation first came about late Friday night: Was I still walking the line of first-person journalism or was I now reenacting alongside my sources?

I was dressed in full Confederate garb, with the only evidence I wasn’t in the 19th century in my hand: a sweating can of PBR.

Hell, thinking back, the 1862 siege my comrades were reenacting was 30 years ahead of the very blue ribbon that won Pabst the right to its three-letter acronym. Continue reading

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Eh?, It's in the vault, Journalism, Me Myself and Ty

Trouble at the border, Eh?

It was a 14-hour drive to the border.

The beer I drank in another country. It was an Amsterdam. There were many more.

We had planned to go to Canada for months, although you wouldn’t believe it if you asked us why we were going.

“I want to drink a beer in another country,” I told everyone. And truthfully, that was the extent of the longing to head north.

That’s also what made it so difficult when the border agent asked what we were planning to do in Canada. Continue reading

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