I did something with this blog that I haven’t done before. I went back and edited a post. I’ve gone back before and fixed grammar errors or made clarifications of what I said. But I’ve not gone back and made big changes to a post.
The post that I changed was my Serendipitous Stout post from a last month (http://www.timkwrites.com/blog/serendipitous-stout). I wrote the post and focused mostly on what I had done wrong in the brewing process. Which unfortunately is typical of everybody. We focus on our errors and not on what we’ve done right. It’s like having a popcorn kernel stuck in a tooth as soon as you notice it, you’re working on it with your tongue trying to work it loose and it becomes your focus.
We all spend too much time worried about our weaknesses instead of our strengths. It’s almost as if a concert pianist decided to not practice and work on cooking instead because she wasn’t a good cook.
So, I went back to my earlier post and added what I had done right. When I won the competition with the beer, I felt a bit as if I were a major league baseball pitcher who had just hit a home run. I know there are homebrewers out there who are more knowledgeable than me, that have better equipment, better processes and more experience. And some of them might be miffed that I won. But, as it turns out, when a pitcher hits a home run the runs scored count in the final score.
An update on my Serendipitous Stout. I entered it into another competition, The Minnesota Mashout. This is a bigger competition with more entries. My stout won first place in its category.
The American Homebrewing Association sponsors a national homebrewing competition. I signed up for that. It’s a process just to get into the contest, so we’ll see what happens. In the meantime, I’m nearly out of bottles and will need to brew another batch in case I get into the contest.
What the heck, when you’re on a roll it’s ok to swing for the fences.
I made my first million as a currency smuggler.
In 1990 I was travelling in Europe. Northwest Airlines advertised round trip tickets to Frankfort in the paper for $375. Wow, great deal I thought. I’m going to go.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t talk anyone into going with me. So, I decided I go on my own. I planned to land in Frankfort, do a big circle through Europe and then return.
Part of the circle brought me through Yugoslavia. I took an overnight train to Belgrade, rented a car, drove through the countryside and then went dropped the car off in Zagreb. A whirlwind tour of the country.
The country I was in before that was Italy. This was in the time before the Euro became the currency for the countries in the European Union. Italy’s currency was the Lira. When you exchanged money, you got about 1,000 lira for every dollar. When I was done with my sightseeing in Venice, I went to the train station for my train to Belgrade. I wanted to convert my left-over lira in Yugoslavian money, which I learned was called dinar. For every lira I got about 1,000 dinar.
Yugoslavia had been through hyper-inflation, so their currency was not worth much. It worked out to be that close to 1,000,000 dinar would equal one dollar. By exchanging my money, I became a multi-millionaire.
Like many people who become multi-millionaires overnight I proceeded to blow most of my money. On things like ten million dinar to fill up the car’s gas tank.
Driving through Yugoslavia was interesting. It included a section of road where photography was forbidden, getting stopped at a military checkpoint and picking up some hitchhikers. One hitchhiker rode with me for quite a distance. I knew a little French, he knew a little English and he was disappointed that I didn’t speak Esperanto. But we managed to communicate. There was one point where we crossed the border of what would be their equivalent of a state. He pulled out his pass to show me that he was authorized to be able to cross the boundary.
After I dropped off the car in Zagreb, I took a cab to the train station. When the cabbie dropped me off, he told me the fare. I gave him all the dinar I had left but that wasn’t enough. But everyone took foreign currency as it would hold its value better than dinar. I gave him the dollars I had in my wallet. Still short. I had some German Marks left from the first part of the trip, so I paid the rest of the bill with some of those.
I did still have some dinar left that I could have used for part of the cab fare, but it wasn’t accessible. I had read that the government of Yugoslavia had limits on how many dinar you could take out of the country. I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was less than one million. I hid a one million dinar note and took it out with me.
I am no longer a multi-millionaire. However, even if it is in a country that no longer exists,
I am still a millionaire.
A new year. Just like every year at the beginning of baseball season when we read Sid Hartman in the newspaper telling us the Twins have a chance to win it all, this year we all start off with a chance to do great things. And unlike baseball where only one team can win the championship, we can all be great.
I know for many of my friends 2018 was not a good year. I’m sending you an electronic hug. (If you want a real one, go ahead and hug me when you see me. I’ll return it.) Hopefully 2019 will bring glimmers of hope.
Or you might have had a good year in 2018. Hopefully, you can continue that in the new year. (You can still get a hug, if needed.)
In any case 2019 is a countdown year. This is the first year since 1918 when the digits start a countdown, by that I mean 20, 19, etc. We’re all counting down this year. Something exciting is coming for each of us at the end of our countdowns. Anticipate greatness for yourself this year.
Tim Kane's memories, musings and updates.