Close Encounter of the Hipster Kind

No offense to other hipsters, but sometimes you can be real jerks.

Last week at my retail job, I was helping a customer purchase an accessory. Being the ever observant hipster, I noticed that he was wearing a Dogfish Head Brewery hat. I love Dogfish Head Brewery. I’ve been there a few times, I drink their beer all the time, I’ve read the books written by the founder Sam Calagione, and last year I was even able to have Sam give a taste to one of my home brewed beers. All this to say that I was happy to see someone wearing a Dogfish Head hat.

Sam from Dogfish Head tries my home brewed Honey Hop Amber Ale.

Sam from Dogfish Head tries my home brewed Honey Hop Amber Ale.

As part of the ringing out process, we like to email receipts to the our customers. This hipster’s email had the phrase “hop head” in it, which is beer jargon that refers to a person’s love of extra hoppy beers (hops are the ingredient in beer that gives it a bitter finish, and as such it is somewhat of an acquired taste). In noticing his email, I asked him if he was a fan of Dogfish’s 90-Minute IPA (an extra hoppy beer).

His response was smug and indifferent: “Yeah I guess.”

I did not let this discourage my enthusiasm for beer. I continued with a simple question: “Do you brew?”

His response smacked with arrogance: “Well I brew professionally.”

My previous dealings with hipsters have allowed me to build a tolerance for such unnecessary arrogance. In fact, in the moment I thought it was pretty cool to perhaps have the chance to meet one of the masterminds behind a great local brew. So I asked: “Where at?”

“Three places…” and he listed off three local breweries, each of which indeed makes a good beer.

But that’s not the point anymore. If you “brew professionally” at three different places, it means you aren’t good enough for any of those places to hire you full time. It means you don’t do as much brewing as you do mopping. It means you do exactly as your told and nothing more and nothing less. It means you have nothing about which to be arrogant, rude, or condescending.

Sure, all hipsters are arrogant or rude or condescending about something. But most of them have at least some right to be so. If you shave with a straight razor: be proud of that. If you built your own fixed-gear bicycle: be proud of that. If you can taste the subtle notes of goji berry in your single origin french-pressed coffee: be proud of that. I brew my own beer, it tastes really good, and I’m proud of that.

I also notice (as I reread this post) that I am proud of my ability to spot jerks in the wild, and I do so with such arrogance and condescension that I have removed my ability to speak about the above-mentioned multi-tasking hop-loving brewer extraordinaire. So I’ll stop right here and give a half-hearted apology, knowing that somewhere someone will be writing a blog about a rude and arrogant hipster they met, and it might just be me.

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Seed-Starting Terrarium, Part 2

Spring is certainly taking its time out here in Lancaster, PA. The temperatures at night still dip below freezing, and even the robins are shy to come out from hiding. But I’m not going to let a silly thing like the weather hold me back from starting my fun in the sun.

Last month I whipped up a little seed-starting terrarium to get a head-start on spring. The best place for growing things indoors is typically any south-facing window, but all of ours have a tree right in front of them. The next best thing for us was a window in our dining room, which unfortunately wasn’t good enough. Only one tomato seed managed to germinate in the few weeks that it sat by the window, and the way this little seedling stretched his neck up to the glass I could only surmise that it wasn’t getting enough sunlight.

I could have put a little lamp overhead, but by this time the weather was cooperating enough for me to place the terrarium outside in the real sun. Before I did so, I wanted to build out the glass into a dome. I found a couple of old windows and ripped two two-pane sections off with the table saw for the sides. This worked great except that they weren’t quite long enough. In order to complete the dome I had to carefully remove a few pains and use a glass cutter to resize them. Then I built a simple frame for each new pane. A little bit of fun with the nail gun and all done.

Terrarium

Now that my terrarium is getting lots of sun, my seedling is growing strong. In the day I keep the top pane open slightly to allow for ventilation, but even so I’ve got a warm and cozy little environment for my seedlings to do their germination thing.

Waiting for things to germinate

I added a few more seeds now that I have a little more room. I’ve been craving fresh basil for a while now, so I planted the basil seeds that I had saved. I also planted some more patio tomatoes and bell peppers that will go up on the roof in their self-watering containers when the weather allows it.

Spring may be a little shy this year, but not totally forgotten. Even last year’s thyme is starting to perk up, and the lungwort has already flowered. It won’t be long now until the roof garden is in full force. To think that soon I’ll be battling the heat of summer instead of the chill of winter only encourages my industrious side. Come on, little seedlings, time to grow up before summer is here!

Exercise your OCD

My wife is super athletic, and with this gift she teaches ballet and fitness in a number of locations around the county. My wife is also incredibly empathetic: she doesn’t just relate to your feelings, but she joins in feeling them with you. This means three things (among others):

  1. She is an amazing teacher. No matter what she’s teaching, she is really able to understand each student’s level and give corrections that drastically and specifically benefit the individual student. 
  2. She is great at watching TV. Every emotion that the writers want the audience to feel, she feels. Fear, excitement, anxiety, anticipation, joy. It’s all there in every episode. She is the best at watching TV.
  3. She is serious at…let’s call it persistent encouragement. If you aren’t doing something that she knows needs to be done for your benefit, she will persistently encourage you to do that thing because she feels how beneficial it is for you.

For me, I am persistently encouraged by my wife to exercise. Her persistent encouragement towards this end only comes from a place of her own desire to exercise and be healthy. As she loves me, she has this same desire for me to be healthy, and thus comes the persistent encouragement for me to exercise.

So this weekend I did some exercise. I exercised my OCD.

Have you ever tried putting Q-Tips in a clear storage container? Both sides are so fluffy and heavy relative to the thin lightweight center beam. And they just scream to be evenly stacked like they appear in their packaging. I have tried various methods of placing Q-Tips in our Q-Tip container, but my OCD has not allowed me to quickly and easily throw a couple of handfuls of Q-Tips in the jar. Instead, the only method that will give me visual satisfaction is to place each Q-Tip in the jar one at a time. This way I can be sure that they are all evenly placed.

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At this point I’ve become quick enough at this particular exercise that it only takes me about thirty minutes, but I continue to write this post more as a confession than anything else. I don’t have an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder most of the time, but when it does come out it seems to go against every part of my Hipster House Husband motto: it keeps me from being frugal, industrious, and resourceful. All the same, every time I reach into that Q-Tip jar, I only feel appreciation for the time I spent meticulously stacking each individual Q-Tip.

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