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Hey there! It's Ben

What a Month! It’s Ben (March 2024) — Scottsdale, Steamboat, & SXSW

Published 14 days ago • 5 min read

Well this month was a doozy! Let’s jump on in 😊

Homebrew Unveiling

My friend Joey and I unveiled our second homebrew with a party!

But we were quite nervous to do so.

We weren’t able to try the finished product (a tangerine pale ale) until a couple of days in advance. So we sent out invites without knowing if we would be serving a drinkable brew or a complete disaster.

On testing day, Joey and I took a sip and, well, we were a bit underwhelmed. We worried we did something wrong. Our shoulders slumped. Vibes were low.

But then, Joey had the idea of running to the local grocery store to pick up (1) oranges (to cut into slices for squeezing and dropping in) and (2) another pale ale to compare it against.

With our oranges and Sierra Nevadas in tow, we did a blind taste test.

I went first.

Beer 1: 6/10

Beer 2: 7/10

Then Joey and my housemate James went.

They both said the same.

Lo and behold, Beer 2 was ours!

It turned out we all just don’t love pale ales 😅

Vibes were back. We were ready to roll.

On party day, we had 40 bottles of the Mar Sippy Ale (our “brewery” is kangaroo-themed if that helps the pun land) and by the end of the night, we were out 😊

It was a lovely evening and an overall wonderful process. Brewing beer is a great buddy activity (forced hangouts every two weeks for a couple of hours with a tangible goal in sight) and the release is a fun excuse to bring people together. We certainly plan to do it again — hopefully sooner than the 18 months it took for us to go from brew one to two!

SXSW

I scored a badge to SXSW for the past two years but this year I planned to keep things more low-key.

During the first weekend I hit some informal meetups and parties and thought, “Man, I don’t need a badge to enjoy SXSW. This is great!”

Then on day three of SXSW someone offered me a badge for a cheap but not inconsequential price. I said no. But then my friend Brendon talked me into it. He pointed out that, as I’m searching for new opportunities, if one connection comes from someone I meet through a badge-only session or event, it’ll be worth the ticket price several times over.

So I went ahead and bought the badge and the following day found myself at a session listening to the CEO of a fast-growing creator brand tell his story. I chatted with him after and we exchanged numbers. And just like that, Brendon was right; it was worth it — regardless of what comes from the connection from there.

Side note: this is a valuable lesson for me. It’s easy for me to fixate on cost when there’s no guaranteed payoff at the end. Instead, I need to be more okay with saying yes to things that incur a cost yet that have the potential to open me up to serendipity and opportunities.

For the next several days, I popped in and out of SXSW events. I didn’t hit a ton, but I had two highlights:

  • I saw the Daniels speak (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheiner, writers and directors of Everything, Everywhere, All At Once)
  • I attended my friend Imran’s session where he spoke about his experience driving across America to get life advice from 1,000 strangers within the 48 contiguous states. He absolutely crushed and it was super cool to see.

Other than that, I went to one night of SXSW concerts. A friend’s girlfriend is the bassist of the Razor Braids, so a couple of friends and I saw them perform and then stuck around to see the artists that were on after. I absolutely loved Sinkane and Faux Real (comprised of 6’5 twins with choreographed dance moves). It’s always fun to discover new artists by seeing them live 😊

Scottsdale

From there, I shot on over to Scottsdale for a four-day visit with my grandparents. It was a great trip! Highlights included:

⚾ We went to a Spring Training baseball game (Diamondbacks vs Angels). My grandpa works as an usher at the games, so it was fun to see him in his element there. Plus, I got to see Mike Trout play for the first time which was pretty darn cool too!

🎥 We saw Oppenheimer in theaters (I hear I’m a bit late to that one 😅)

💪 I went to the YMCA twice for workouts with Grandpa

Steamboat

The following weekend I rang in my birthday with a ski trip to Steamboat with my friends Andrew and McKenna.

We got in 3 great days on the slopes and spent our evenings out and about in downtown Steamboat Springs* and watching movies** and comedy specials.

Overall it felt like the perfect way to celebrate another trip around the sun 😊

*Highlight: seeing the bluegrass band Fretliner’s perform at Schmiggity’s

**I saw The Mighty Ducks for the first time. Very cute film.

Job Stuff

Last night I got back from Los Angeles after interviewing with a content creator who I’ve admired since I was a teen…at his house. I’m going to hold off on sharing more until I hear back (for the sake of not jinxing things), but regardless of how things go, it was certainly a cool experience!

Over the past month I’ve had tons of friends reach out to share opportunities with me and I feel ever so grateful to everyone who’s done so. The search process is an emotional rollercoaster, but right now I feel like I’m riding a fun wave. That could obviously turn around at any moment if the well runs dry with the couple of opportunities I’m having conversations with, but good vibes are going in the present and I’m excited to see how things shake out!

Misc

🎨 My friend Sam creates wonderful tape art which he exhibited at a gallery that happened to be across the street from my house. The pieces were all fantastic but this one of Willie Nelson was my favorite.

🎵 I saw Charlotte Sands in concert. I first discovered her at SXSW two years ago and have been a fan ever since (she reminds me a bit of P!nk and Kelly Clarkson) 😊

🌐 I accidentally viral-ed on Twitter with a post that hit 17.6M views and later hit the front page of Reddit, so that was certainly an interesting experience 😅

Monthly Favorites

🎵 Songs:

  • I Did Something Bad by Shoshana Bean and Cynthia Erivo — this cello/violin cover of Taylor Swift goes hard.
  • Blame It On My Ex by Charlotte Sands — not one of her biggest or newest songs, but has been on repeat nonetheless.

🎥 Video: Kaitlin Olson Audition — This is Kaitlin Olson’s audition for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia from 20 years ago and it’s an absolute masterful display of comedic writing and delivery.

📦 Product: Advice From America by Imran Nuri — I bought my friend Imran’s beast of a coffee table book (7 pounds and 700 pages) and I’m so glad I did! It’s wonderfully well done and will be a centerpiece for me for years to come.


Thanks for reading! As always, if anything I shared resonated with you, I’d love for you to shoot me a reply 😊

Til next month,

Ben

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