Punctuate this, parents

My parents are too busy to do my typing.


Asked what they’re doing that’s so damn important, they are…vague. But my mum says it has to do with punctuation. She is playing grammar police on some mammoth document or set of documents, and apparently this leaves us no time for blogging.

I want to argue with her but, let’s face it, punctuation matters.


The octopodes wish to brawl with you

My Fellow Inebriates,

For the longest time, Miss P was afraid to enter the public washroom at Save-On Foods because there was an octopus in it.

drunk ocotopus 2


Mum was a bit slow on the uptake. Save-On Foods’ octopus was graffiti-free, so she saw nothing but a door hook.


drunk octopus


Meanwhile, P was seeing octopuses* everywhere, and V was starting to see them too. Did their mother clue in?


drunk octopus 3


She did not.




Like plenty of adults, she apparently lacked the neural plasticity to perceive these rampant octopodes.**


drunk ocotopus 4


And Dad wasn’t seeing them either.

Not that P and V wished to see octopi*** while urinating. But that’s when they tend to show up.



* “Octopuses” is considered the most acceptable plural form of “octopus” because “octopus” is not a Latin word but a Latinized Greek word coined after Latin had become a dead language. Even if it were a Latin word, it would need to be a second declension masculine Latin noun to warrant an “i” ending, and don’t ask me what the hell that means.
** “Octopodes” is a reasonable (although not uncontroversial) choice for those torn between the instinct to pluralize “octopus” as “octopi” and the knowledge that doing so is, in fact, incorrect. Using “octopodes” does, however, make you sound like a pedantic douchebag.
*** “Octopi” is listed in most dictionaries after “octopuses” and sometimes even after “octopodes.” Some dictionaries do not even list it as an option. So the next time some smug grammar nut corrects your “octopuses” to “octopi,” make like a drunken octopus and start a fight.


STEAMWORKS PALE ALE—the beer you need in your mouth

My dad is pretty good at not saying the wrong thing. If anything, he errs on the quiet side, and people often wonder what he’s really thinking. Not only is he diplomatic; he’s a good listener (except when you happen to be a bear requesting alcohol). So I sure didn’t expect him to describe the taste of STEAMWORKS PALE ALE (new in bottles!) thusly:

“It’s nice. Kind of a grapefruit note going on with the hops, and it finishes really cleanly. Kind of like a houseguest that cleans up after themself…in my mouth.”

I really like this summation. What it says about my dad I’m not sure, but my mum refused to transcribe it.

Prudishness, you ask?

Well, no. Well, yes. Yes, but in a different way. My mum insists there’s no such word as “themself,” and therefore my dad referred to a houseguest cleaning up after himself…in his [my dad’s] mouth. Which she said she’d happily type.

You have to be careful of these grammar-obsessed people. They are so detail-oriented that they can’t see the forest for the trees. As I warned my mother, they often become alcoholics after years of tearing their hair out over the exact meaning of “threshold,” whether the Oxford comma adds clarity or is just pedantic, and of course the demise, literarily, of the elegantly genderless “one.” As in:

“…like a houseguest who cleans up after oneself…in one’s mouth.”

This would have rescued my dad from some specific lifestyle-related questions that arose after we sampled STEAMWORKS PALE ALE. It would have obviated my mother’s arbitrary correction to “himself,” and it would have saved me from inadvertently summoning some raunchy imagery I hadn’t previously connected with my dad.

But let’s focus on the beer. For years Steamworks pub has been wowing Vancouverites with its line-up of tap beers. Problem is, you could get it only at Steamworks. But after 17 years, the pub is making a bold play for craft-beer market share, bottling its splendid products (at Dead Frog Brewery until the new Steamworks production brewery is built) and shipping them to liquor stores across BC. Ahhhh!

The whole production says money. The bottles are silkscreened with a sweet steampunk design celebrating Vancouver landmarks. Pale ale and Pilsner have already shipped, while Steamworks winds up to launch a series of limited-edition bombers including raspberry, oatmeal stout, pumpkin ale, and wheat ale.

If, like my dad, you’re not sure what you’re tasting, STEAMWORKS PALE ALE provides a tasting key on the bottle:

Malts—Pale, Carapils, Crystal, Caramalt

Hops—Zythos, Cascade


This puts STEAMWORKS PALE ALE into the bitter category, with a grippy, hoppy, grapefruity edge. With medium mouthfeel and refreshingly punchy carbonation, this delightful elixir packs 5.2% alcohol and lingers satisfyingly on the palate, finishing…er, cleanly.

Beautiful bottle, beautiful copper hue, beautiful taste. Don’t listen to my mum, who’ll just tell you there’s an unnecessary apostrophe on the bottle. And if you listen to my dad…well, don’t. He liked STEAMWORKS PALE ALE. A lot. End of story.