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1 to 10 of 94 columns

1. why i blog
an instrospective about why i write on the online
writing - discussion
10.17.11 : feature column!

This past week I published a piece on my blog Top Fermented that garnered a fair amount of attention, both positive and negative. The piece was titled, "Why beer rating is crap" and was a short piece detailing why I think that beer rating websites are completely meaningless. As I noted, it got a lot of traffic. To be fair, I knew it would. The major beer ratings sites online, Rate Beer and Beer Advocate, both have fairly passionate and loyal fan bases, and here I was saying that they were ki...
2. a guide to guide books
on writing episodical non-fiction
writing - discussion
9.21.11 : feature column!

Funny story. When I got this contract to write a book about North Carolina Beer and Breweries I foolishly thought that it would be a relatively easy assignment. I mean, you're talking a couple of 6x9 pages per brewery, including photos and a profile. What's that, like... 1,000 words per brewery? 1,500? How hard could that be? I can probably bang through that in a weekend. I mean, how hard can it be to gather a little bit of fact about each place and summarize it? It turns out this is hard...
3. the great american sameness
a plea for difference
pop culture - discussion
8.24.11 : feature column!

A few weeks ago I went on a road trip. My wife and I drove from our home in North Carolina to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a wedding. A smart man may have flown, but that man was probably not transporting kegs of beer to serve at said wedding. During this trip, we went across an amazing array of American countryside. The trip spanned North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and finally, Minnesota and it struck me again - as it did when we drove acr...
4. google+
a post-technologist's early review
tech - criticism
7.11.11 : feature column!

When I heard about Google+ I was excited. Yeah, I am nerd, hear me roar. Without much to go on but a cryptic Flash movie and hear-say, I had that tingling I used to get as a kid whenever I would go out and buy a new video game. I would spend the entire trip home thinking about how I was going to waste an entire weekend playing it to death. It was the tingle of anticipation for new content, new stories, an exploratory experience, and something new to learn and become proficient at. That kind...
5. where have all the bad guys gone?
i miss the days when they just wanted to take over the world
film - criticism
5.31.10 : feature column!

I noticed it first in one of the worst movies I've ever seen: G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra. I'm actually ashamed to admit that I watched it, a little more ashamed to say that I actually took guilty pleasure in it, and I should probably be punished for actually using it as the basis of film critique, but here we are! Let me see if I can sum up the relationships in this movie correctly: The protagonist (Duke) is the ex-fiance of one of the primary antagonists (the Baroness). She works for an or...
6. oktoberfest
a primer
pop culture - improvement
9.23.09 : feature column!

This past Saturday marked the beginning of Oktoberfest 2009. For the next 2-ish weeks, it'll be nothing but polka, sausages, and tasty, tasty Oktoberfest beer, no matter where you turn. What's that I hear you say? It's only September? Why so it is! It so happens that Oktoberfest begins in September and didn't even originally involve binge drinking. A quick dive into history The first Oktoberfest wasn't a beer festival at all. It was a commemoration of the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig...
7. occupational profiling
is this because i'm an irish guy in a police uniform?
pop culture - discussion
7.23.09 : feature column!

When Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested at his Cambridge home this week I was struck by something. Clearly, most of the media attention focused on the possible racial profiling involved in the case. Did this ludicrous situation arise just because Gates is a black man? I found myself poring over the police report thinking to myself: I can't even trust this report. This could totally be a cop who knows he's going to be in trouble trying to cover his tracks. Slimy bastard. Later, upon refle...
8. love a fair
why i love typos
writing - general
6.22.09 : feature column!

Confession time: I love typos and misspellings. Don't get me wrong. They have no place in the real written word. They don't belong in books, newspapers, blogs, news articles, or any place where the author wants to be taken even halfway seriously. But, oh, thank god for the internet. Facebook and Twitter, those two magical huge social networking devices, provide me with an endless supply all on their own. The internet and cell phones with their infuriating number-pad, "Just press 5556665551...
9. how the privileged get more privileges
mo' money, mo'... products?
pop culture - criticism
5.22.09 : feature column!

You're probably familiar with artists working outside their genre. You see it most often when it comes to singers acting (Madonna, Kid'n'Play, Britney, Beyonce, etc.), or actors singing (Scarlett Johanssen, Keanu Reeves, Russell Crowe, William Shatner), or Paris Hilton speaking. Occasionally, however, you'll see celebrities getting into other areas. In many cases, it's a self-promotion and marketing strategy, like you see with the dozens of celebrity endorsed fragrances. Until recently, I...
10. how to be on the internet
your guide to not being a total douchebag
writing - discussion
4.17.09 : feature column!

You are a creator. You spend time organizing the inner workings of your mind into detailed output for the consumption and enjoyment of others. In your dreams of success, your work is out in the world for everybody to see and appreciate. Your name is on everybody's lips and pounded out on everyone's keyboard. Harsh reality: Your work will be criticized; some people will not like it. It's a fact of life. Even the most successful people have detractors. Sometimes, they are people with leg...


re: the great american sameness

Erik, this is by far your best piece you've written! I love the descriptions along your road trip. They remind me of the many road trips I've taken from Phoenix, AZ to Seattle and back. Or last summer when we drove from Phoenix through Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana to Glacier National Park. What I like best about this piece, is that it flows so naturally. You weave your point in about "sameness" subtly with diplomacy. And your point is something EVERY person living in America needs to be more open to. I agree that the very "sameness" you speak of is killing our ability to "think" in this country. I applaud your efforts in opening up the topic for discussion.

re: google+

You are exactly right and you beat me to this point. It's missing the integration. Well done.

re: where have all the bad guys gone?

A very good perspective on why it's never easy nowadays to just pick a side & stick with it at the movies.

re: occupational profiling

It's all very confusing!

re: love a fair

Sorry I'm so late. I'm way behind with my email.

re: how the privileged get more privileges


re: how to be on the internet

This advise applies to many things, not just Internet postings. Well done.

re: how to be on the internet

Such wisdom!

re: understanding the zombie invasion


re: understanding the zombie invasion

Mucho entertaining. Time wasted/well-spend reading this.

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