The Annual Public Service Announcement!!
"Look!! He's published this year's rules!""Didn't he just do that last year?"
"Well, yes, I suppose he did. Have you gotten 57 Down yet?
You know it's been years since you started that puzzle..."
"You can shut it any time."
Even though I was out and about in shorts yesterday, we should be honest about what's coming up. It is a month from Christmas Eve even with all this climate change. Which means it is beer blog contest time and, if I have my toes correctly counted, the tenth annual one. How odd. Hadn't planned to make a habit of this. And, as announced last August, we have a twist. In addition to the Hogmanay, Yuletide, Christmas, Kwanza and Hanukkah beery photo contest we have come to know and trust, a new prize will be offered for writing. Let's go over that first.
1. One award for a written submission.
I am going to dub this the Maureen Ogle Prize For The Advancement Of Good Beer Writing. Why? Because she sent me a cheque for
$50 $75 USD* to add to my $100 USD which means there is a decent reward for the best entry. Other funds to add to the prize are most welcome. I will send a few emails to see if I can get some additional coin for the best entry but don't be shy. Perhaps even more fantastically, Martyn Cornell, Stan Hieronymus and Evan Rail have agreed to act as the panel of judges. The rules are fairly straight forward:
1. The topic should relate fairly directly to the experience of beer: brewing, drinking or local pub life. It should display humour and wit, context and a depth of research. It should not be derivative. A dissertation on style or pairing or any other of the unoriginal thought we are plagued with should not be expected to be praised. Unless it's good. Who knows? Monkeys might fly...
2. Prize(s) to go to only unpublished finished new writing displaying a interesting point of view.
3. Quality footnoted research showing primary records will be rewarded. If not by way of footnotes, other proof of research will be considered and itself judged according to a professional standard. Have a look at last month's worth of posts on the topic of brewing in New York in the later 1700s like this one on Harison's brewery on the Hudson. Use that as your model or at least your standard. Write something different from what I am writing, go off in another direction.
4. A work of fiction or non-fiction in English between 2500 to 4000 words is the goal but no penalty for going to, say, 6000 as long as its necessary for the story or essay or poem - and not a sign of poor editing control.
Note: as mentioned over at Boak and Bailey, they are running a new #BeeryLongRead contest with prizes over the same stretch of the calendar. This is good. You may certainly send in one entry to both as long as both sets of rules are honoured. The more the merrier and, after all, this is all about the merry. Other than that, it's up to you. Get your submissions in by Friday 18 December. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Many prizes for great beer and brewing photos
Before getting into the rules for this year's photo contest, have a look at the champions to date. Just the fact that I have been able to put this table together is worth a viewing:
OK, enough about the past. What are the rules. Oh. The same as last year. And the year before that pretty much. It is to be expected. Why would I create new rules? So much easier to take last year's rules, cut and paste them, then change them about a bit to suit my year's worth of new gripes and joys. Like I did just now... again...
⇒ Rule the First: Once upon a time, dear readers, we had unlimited photos per entrant. In 2008, when the joyously returned but increasingly cranky Stonch shared in with the contest, we had over 500 entries. That was nuts. Children cried again from the lack of a parent's attention. In 2009, with the five photo max rule, we got it down to down to a sensible 185. Then, we raised it to eight and things stayed sane. Then we went to nine. So... I am once again letting you enter five this year. Why? While I am not writing three beer books at one time, I am writing and need to make sure I find out who ran the one barrel brewery in Nowhereville in 1677. So, I still need to make this easy for the guy I call Mr. Number One... Anyway, more rules:
⇒ Secondish rule: Never, no way nada - no photos of dishes of food with a beer next to it. Your food is still no better looking than your dog. Sorry to break the news. And beer and food pairing has failed. It's so past it that it's still done in Toronto...still! Can you believe they are still publishing beer and food books? I was a judge on a book contest once and the best comment from another judge boiled down to the fact that a book about beer and food is just not a beer book. So, no photos. Unless the photo is really good. One good one per entrant. If they all suck? No prizes. My rules do remain brutal - but comfortingly final - in these matters.
⇒ Nextly rule: I like photos of beer and snow as well as beer and babies. Photos of beer and snow look great. Beer in nature generally looks good. But beer and snow is a winner. Snow in Italy? Even better. Snow in former Soviet republics? Fabulous. Beer and babies can either look good or look weird. Creepy weird. Stay away from creepy weird. Stay away from "maybe baby's drinking!" photos, too. Pictures of beer and your pals all liquored up are completely out. You are, in fact, dull looking when you are like that.
⇒ Critical newish almost middlemost rule: Performance art images of good beer being abused. I don't think anyone sent one in last year. Was it confusing? However we define this? Dipping chocolate chip cookies in a vintage barley wine? Washing the cat with gueuze? A cocktail of imperial stout and cream soda? The degree of self-evident proof in the image is critical. And the photo must be good art. Too much to ask? No. Third year offered, my love for this rule grows even richer.
⇒ Crappiest of final rules ever: As in every year, there is a prize for the crappiest photo. It is a crappy prize. There have been some amazingly crap photos submitted. Some have been so crappy that I have been certain that you either injured your eye or broke the camera just before taking the shot. Don't dwell on the crap photo. But the odd one - if it be truly wonderfully horrible - it may well earn a prize. I have added the 2009 loser ugly photo as a guide. Who in their right mind submits that? Bill in Portland, Oregon that's who. The oddest thing is there was not yet a 2009 ugly prize. He was serious.
Rules. So regulatory. Do they even make sense? Do you care enough to tell me if they didn't? I don't think so. Again, get your submissions in by Friday 18 December. Email them to email@example.com. Sound good? Seems rather elaborate, no? Well, it's the tenth anniversary, innit? Time to go big, have a bit of a celebration. Photos and writing. Maybe someone will send an essay illustrated by astounding photos. Looking forward to this year's crop, actually. I am never not amazed by what you lot come up with.