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Tuesday, February 20, 2018


So last summer I got diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. The doc I see at the apheresis clinic had drawn some labs and just casually asked, 'Who do you see for your diabetes?'

And I was like what diabetes?

He also said my liver enzymes could look better. "How much alcohol do you drink?" he asked.

As a friend of mine put it, you didn't just rain on my parade, you also shot the Grand Marshall.

I tried to bargain with the diabetes. I love beer. Good beer, not Miller Lite or Michelob Ultra (which don't send my blood sugar to bad neighborhoods). But no, the blood glucose levels don't even like a Bohemian Pilsner like Pilsner Urquell.

So I make allowances for competitions. They feed us like Hobbits at these things: first breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, etc.

Which, before I even tried to clean up my diet over the diabetes thing, was why I quit buying banquet tickets for the KCBM competition. I'm typically full from breakfast when lunch arrives, lunch is typically pretty heavy, and I'm not that big a supper eater anyway. If I'm going to pop for a $35 dinner, I want to go to the table hungry.

I feel like I'm in a rut with the pictures I've been taking at these things. Someone from the club commented to me during the auction that he liked my pictures, and I was like, they're the same pictures every year.

Same people, same setting, same activity anyway. I did take some of my meads from the past year, I got religion and read Steve Piatz's book on the subject, decided to be the old dog that learned new tricks, in no small part because of things Al Boyce said at a presentation at the Bier Meister's competition a couple years ago.

Al's initial response was they seemed like hydromels. He has a bit of a sweet tooth in this area, what he calls a semisweet I'd call a sweet; what he cals a sweet I call cloying pancake syrup. What I call dry he calls 'bone dry' with an obvious negative connotation.

Me, I favored dry meads before diabetes pushed me further into those woods. I wouldn't fancy my chances in competition with these things given how much Al's scale of sweetness seems to be the rule.

I did have Al and two or three others suggest my raspberry melomel would benefit from more acid. Which surprised me, the five gallon batch had almost 20 pounds of the fruit, and it's a pretty acidic fruit. But given the people who were asking for more acid, I'm game to try next time. Maybe take a small sample of the batch, add acid blend in varying quantities to the finished mead and then scale up that addition accordingly when I find nirvana.

Oh, and we had KCBM royalty show up. The closing panel before the banquet included Boulevard founder John McDonald, along with brewers from Red Crow, Crane and KC Bier Co.

I didn't stay for the banquet like I said, but at least I got a shot of Myles in his fez during the raffle. Which I bought a buttload of tickets for and yet won nothing. I guess as karma goes, I'm still paying off my score from a few years ago, my Snoop Dog oil painting.

It's a hiphop version of a velvet Elvis, and it hangs over the recliner I'm blogging from. I've looked in some pretty ghetto liquor stores and never found Colt 45 Blast in grape. But then, maybe my liver enzymes and diabetes don't want me finding that.

Mo's 21st

My youngest daughter just turned 21. I thought getting to be an old man would take longer, but alas.

So a party was held. But this kid isn't a Power Hour kind of 21 year old. Low key, at her Mom's house, with pretty much immediate family present. Ice cream cake, soda, pizza.

The artist formerly known as Frau Lobster gave her a sip of wine to try since, after all, what is the point of turning 21 if you can't get boozed up. She made a face that reminded me of the time she had oral surgery and was given something to ease her into anesthesia and reacted to the flavor with, "Hello, boring! Boring! Boring! Boring!"

So I thought, well, beer. Okay, there wasn't actually any beer on hand, but there was some Coors Light in the fridge. Mo loves club soda, and that's about what the Silver Bullet amounts to, so I tried her on a sip of that one. I guess that was hello boring, too, based on the face she made and the force with which she pushed the Solo cup away.

I'm cool with this. I have something like a romantic relationship with alcohol. I'm a BJCP National rank beer judge, a homebrewer since 1995, with some ambitions of eventually opening a meadery. But I've also had to scale back my consumption in the face of bad lab results, I can't say the stuff improves my social skills or judgment, and Mo takes some pretty high test drugs to control seizures so booze is probably pretty strongly contraindicated.

She had fun opening her presents. We tried to get her to blow out candles on her ice cream cake but she, predictably, ran to her bedroom and hid under stuffed animals. Not sure what gives with that, until a few years ago I could count on getting a photo of her blowing out her candles but at some point that went into the column of I'm not doing that no matter what.

My eldest daughter, by the way, had to show me her and her husband's digs in the basement of my ex's house. Which features a flag for a Panic at the Disco tour. I don't get the appeal of that band, but I am super stoked that I got us all (my wife, my kids, my kid's husband and me) great seats to a local high school's production of Spamelot. Should be epic. We all loves the Monty Python.