Archive | January 2014

To 2014 and beyond

I’m one of a kind. I buck the trend. I’m, uh … I don’t know … a Pepper.

But isn’t that why you come here? To catch every pearl of unconventional wisdom that rolls through my fingertips into the WordPress text editor? Okay, maybe not. But what would the Internet be without hyperbole?

Today I’m exercising my individuality by starting my New Year’s resolution at the end of January. How, you ask? You’re reading it, babe.

Studies have shown that 88% of all New Year’s resolutions end in failure. Those same studies offer reasons why, but my belief is that it has to do with expecting ourselves to be perfect from Day One, i.e. New Year’s Day. If we lapse early on – say a week in – it’s easy to give up.

Well I don’t know about you, but on January 1 I’m not exactly at the top of my game for self-improvement. I’m usually juggling the task of coordinating my wife’s birthday festivities (did I say “task”? I meant “delightful activity I look forward to all year” …) with sleep deprivation and a soul-draining hangover. I can’t even begin working off the post-Christmas beer belly until the birthday cake is gone on the 3rd or 4th, let alone chart a path to any successful new habits. If I gave up at the first sign of trouble, I’d never get off the ground. So I always set my goal for “some time this year”. I try to start in January to get momentum going, but if it doesn’t stick, I keep trying. Hopefully by mid-year it’s second nature. If by December 31 I find my goal has become a habit, I consider myself successful.

And it seems I may be right to look at it that way. A popular myth making the rounds online and in corporate America suggests that it takes only 21 days to form a habit. But according to actual, y’know, science, it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days depending on the individual and the goal, with an average of 66. I’ve only recently learned this, but it helps explain why my approach tends to work.

My resolution this year is to get back to updating this site regularly. 2013 was an eventful year, good and bad: the birth of my child, my story in the October issue of Brew Your Own, new developments at my day job leading to longer hours and a bit more stress. It was sort of a vacation – new excitement, new stress and all – from my routine, and part of that routine I left behind was writing. Now it’s time to come back. And as I mentioned, I don’t think January 31 (which also happens to be the start of the Lunar New Year in 2014) is too late to start down the road of a successful New Year’s resolution.

The good news is that during my hiatus, Bousiris Bouery – the brewing operation of Last of the Zyme Lords – has been operational. Christmas brought some much-needed equipment upgrades in the form of a new Blichmann Floor Burner and a 10-gallon kettle, a small but important upgrade from my boilover-prone 9-gallon pot which is now a hot liquor tank.

I even managed to brew a few batches of beer. For Thanksgiving I made a SMaSH that turned out to be a crowd-pleasing English “dirty blonde” ale whose keg my visiting relations from the UK obligingly floated around the first of the year. I brewed a second batch of Anna Livia Irish Stout; the jury may be out on whether stout is good for nursing moms, but the one in my house sure loves it. I even fulfilled a 3-year-old promise to a friend by getting a wee heavy on tap for Hogmanay.

As usual, every one of these batches had a story behind it and I’ll share all of them in the coming weeks, along with updates on brews in the pipeline. For now, know that I am alive and brewing. Next week, I’ll truly get LotZL going for 2014 with the story of how I resurrected a couple of lost small-batch apple ciders for a tart holiday treat.

Until then, Happy (Lunar) New Year.