05 October 2009

Cat Crackers, Pot-stills and Test To Failure: In Which I Meditate On One Year In The Blogosphere

Sniff, sniff.

Smell that? That oily, singed hair mixed with whisky and caramel kinda smell?

One year. One year ago today, I fell into the blogosphere.

Whew. What a trip. I had no idea then that I would be here now, with the stuff that I wrote being what it is. I certainly did not foresee that I would connect with such a wonderful, weird, invigorating community, many of whom have given my work a warm reception. There are quite a few whom I would be honored to consider as friends, and definitely kindred spirits, even though we haven’t yet met in the physical world. I am grateful that I could take the noise in my head and spin it into signals that people want to receive. I am even more fortunate to have discovered such a deep well of talented, fascinating people who can write and take pictures and narrate the things that catch their eyes, weave the fabric of their lives.

With all the upheavals and changes in my life over the past six years, I daresay the tapping of this well, the plugging in to this outlet has been anchor and sail for me. I was out of the gate fast and ran high before the wind before time and tide reined me in. But sail I do, upon an ocean I care not to quit.

In the petrochemical industry, there is a beast known as a ‘catalytic cracking chamber’. Also known as a ‘cat cracker’, it is usually a tall cylinder which is fed with heavy oil or other hard-to-refine nasties. In the cracker, a wide range of temperatures, pressures and catalysts makes it possible to “crack” the heavy stuff into lighter, more useable stuff.

In the whisky biz*, there is the ‘pot-still’. This charming creature makes it possible to take fermented barley malt and distill it into tasty libations, like single-malt Scotch (to use a particularly fine example). The process has been around for centuries and the shape and size of the still can have a marked effect on the flavor. In both processes, liquids are fractionated to produce something that people want or need or find useful. Some you can burn, some you can drink; the desired result dictates the choice.

Whether I am a cat cracker or a pot-still, or have brought you heat and light, or taste and pleasure, I am humbled and honored to know you all. Thank you all for being here with me. Thank you for a year of sharing art and life, comedy and tragedy, prose and poetry.

For your edification and delight, I leave you with this:

Bending test for the impatient from Alexander Schreyer on Vimeo.

*And it has many applications for other types of tipple, and in the chemical biz, too.


  1. I'm going to call you Cat Cracker from now on.

    Wood is strong.

  2. You mean, October 4? Dude...we're twins. Mine's Oct 4th as well :))

    Happy Blogday :)

  3. Congrats on your year in the blogosphere!

  4. Mine was September 29th -- an auspicious week in the blogosphere!

  5. Happy Blogiversary, Irish. The Captain can call you Cat Crackers if he wants; you'll always be Macallen Man to me.

  6. Congratulations. You've done well.

  7. Seems like so many of us started in October, a year ago...fate takes us on voyages we must travel...if we did not move with its flow; then we miss out on so many wonderful things as our own voice, and I find yours endearing...

  8. I cannot believe you approve of cracking cats.

  9. Happy Blogiversary, Irish!!! You're one of my faves! Btw, is that Sparrows Point? I know that catalytic converter well!

  10. Happy 1 year anniversary. Glad you have stuck it out!

  11. Congrats,on being here in the land of blog for a year!

  12. And here's to several more years of fine writing on your part. (take with a sip of the single malt)

  13. Happy Blogiversary, Irish! I always enjoy reading your blog, even if I do have to sometimes read it a time or two before I "get it".

    My blogiversary is Halloween!

  14. Wow Irish, I could have sworn you had been writing for years longer than I. Now I come to find that you started after me. Congratulations on your blogiversary… what are you doing to celebrate.

  15. I loved SchoolHouseRock when I was a kid.
    You are welcome!

  16. Glad that you have continued what you started. There are days that I am at a loss over what to write but something comes eventually. It isn't always profound but it is profoundly me.

  17. Happy Anniversary! I am very glad you stuck it out until I stumbled into your arena. And I agree, think I'll call you Cat Cracker from now on.

  18. I know I'm several days late..but Happy One Year Anniversary!!!

    And I giggled at the vid you left.

    "and that's that" **giggles**


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Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

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