Archive | September 2016

Happy 6 Months, Jack; Read & Drink

First off, my baby boy celebrated six months yesterday. Not much in way of a celebration. For our daughter, we had these stickers that you placed on a white onesie that said the month. We diligently took series of photographs for her; Not for him, however. Apparently that happens to your second child. Alas ..

Jack looks like me, but acts like his mom. He’s always smiling and he’s never in a bad mood, unless he needs to eat, of course. He’s flying around the house, picking up stray dog hairs and dirt from the various shoes that traverse are hardwood floors. It was easy to clear the way of obstacles for Avery when she was that age because it was just us playing two-on-one. A nice zone defense. Now that it’s evened out, we’re typically outmatched and outwitted.

Six months sure does fly by especially when it coincides with the warmer months. We can’t wait to see who you turn out to be, our little buddy. We’ve got so much growing and so much fun ahead of us. We already miss the days of your immobility, of the days when you’d casually fall asleep in someone’s arms or in a rocker. Now? Your on the go at all time. You nap just once a day. You wake up a dozen times a night some times. Sometimes not at all. You’re a wild card. But you’re always smiling. And we love you.

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The way I’m going to day Fridays is going to be an idea that I simultaneously jacked from Peter King and a beer website I like called Good Beer Hunting. In essence, it’s this: I’m going to recommend something to read and something to drink. I’m not much of a television-watcher, nor are movies really something I’m into, so I have no grasp of what to recommend. Though, I suppose I will occasionally suggest a show. Mostly, though, I’ll share something I’ve read in the past week and something I drank in the past week that I think are worthy of your consideration.

Read: “The First Family in Focus” by Michael Fletcher 

Few long-form series have been better than The Undefeated’s Fletcher’s on the Obama legacy as his second term comes to a close. I think what inspired a generation about our current president is how human he seemed to us, how flawed, and how he seemed to occupy the same world we do. He wasn’t above us the way some presidents seemed, those who grew up rich and attended private schools. I’ve been really pleased a writer of Fletcher’s caliber is putting this man’s challenges, successes, and family in focus.

Drink: Modern Times Fortunate Islands

Fortunate Island is labelled as a hoppy wheat ale, which does it a disservice in a craft beer culture that values high-ABV juicy, fruit-forward IPA’s and double IPA’s. Modern Times is a San Diego brewery that may be my favorite brewery right now. Everything they do — from an amber to a coffee stout — are top-notch. Fortunate Island drinks softly, a delicate and low ABV beer with tropical fruit up front and no lingering bitterness at the end. Find it. Drink it.

Come on. Stop shooting schools (and everywhere else), man.

Yesterday, as I was about to head out to work, casually thumbing through Twitter, a headline came across as breaking news that there was a school shooting that was being investigated at an elementary school in South Carolina.

“Are you fucking kidding me,” I said to my wife, who I then told the news.

I don’t care that this wasn’t some big massacre; I don’t care that it doesn’t seem like anyone at the school will lose their lives. A teen killed his father and then went into an elementary school to shoot people. We gotta be better than this America.

I’m going to say what I’ve said dozens of times already and continues to be true. If we’re not going to do anything about our gun problem after someone walked into an elementary school and slaughtered more than 20 children, we’re never going to do anything. All because of this bullshit document written more than 200 years ago that says we should be allowed to have muskets in case we need to form a militia to revolt against an oppressive and tyrannous government.

Apparently we don’t need to update legal documents to reflect the society in which we live. If there’s going to be an end to American society, it may be because of our blind and never-wavering adherence to every letter of the Constitution.

I didn’t want to start off my lunch time writing with something so somber and angering as gun rights, but I’m just trying to make sense of all of this, too. I was going to write about optimism, actually. Oh well. Now we just sit and wait until someone else with a gun shoot up a mall or a school or a movie theater or any other place that seemed okay to send our children until about a decade ago.

People will continue to defend guns for personal usage and will never understand that no one is actually trying to take their guns; They are actually trying to make it more difficult to buy guns for the people who shouldn’t own them. Oh, “criminals are going to be criminals regardless,” but at least we try to deter them from committing crimes by putting them in jail; Oh, “drunk driving is illegal, people still do that.” Yup, this is true, but, again, there are laws in place to deter this behavior. The point: At least we’re making an effort with those things. With guns, apparently, we should be throwing our hands up and saying, “Fuck that! No one is going to listen, why try?” We put laws in all the time, but try to pass a gun reform act and the world goes batshit.

If there’s a second best part of the South Carolina shooting (the first being the lack of child casualties), it’s that the hero that stopped the shooting was not armed. You hear that, GOA? You hear that NRA? You don’t need to be a maverick gun owner to stop bad things from happening.

Let’s get better people. Let’s have some common sense.

Lunchtime Thoughts

I’ve been listening to a lot of Brian Koppelman’s brilliant podcast called “The Moment” recently and something struck my in a recent episode with Seth Godin. Brian, the host, called Seth, a three-time guest and a good friend of the show, “one of the more disciplined” people he knows.

This hit me hard because while writing has been going well (see: mattosgood.contently.com for the newest stuff on Smithsonian, Slate, Vice Sports, Paste), it’s incredibly easy to get caught in the malaise of quasi-success. It’s also easy — with two kids at home most days and a wife at work — to take the time “off” to do stuff around the house. My wife did me the incredible favor of getting the two kid’s naps synced up. They both go down immediately after lunch for a two-hour (give or take) nap.

That said, it’s easy to kill that time. Yesterday, feeling under the weather, I napped for those two hours. I literally couldn’t help it. I was sick. But there are many days that I get other things accomplished around the house: I clean, I organize the pantry, I help with the dishes. Other times, I dick around on the internet. Peruse Reddit, some beer sites; I read the news. I look at Twitter or listen to a podcast.

But back to The Moment: I know I need to be more disciplined in sitting down and taking that small window in the middle of the afternoon to write whatever is on my mind and, like Godin talked about on the same episode, worry less about audience and worry less about who I’m doing the writing for. The jobs have been coming; The work is getting done. But the discipline needs a little sharpening.

So my goal is this: a few hundred words or more every day at lunch time. That goes regardless of whether or not there’s an article that’s being worked on or a pitch being sold. They will be about anything and everything, I hope.