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About Us

Welcome to the Brookston family blog. We'll post updates here on what's going on in our part of the world, and especially with our son, Porter, who has been diagnosed with some form of autism. Our hope is that this blog will help us deal with all the issues we'll be facing and keep our friends and family informed as well.

Jay B.

Sarah J.

Porter Brookston
born September 10, 2001

Alice Brookston
born July 7, 2004

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July 14, 2005

J’s Profile

Categories: General — J @ 6:31 pm

J’s Profile

Age: 48
Gender: male
Astrological Sign: Pisces
Chinese Zodiac Year: Boar
Occupation: Part-Time Writer / Full-Time Parent
Location: Novato, California

About Me

I was born in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1959, the only son of childhood sweethearts. My mother was a nurse and Dad was a navigator in the Penna. Air National Guard. We lived in the nearby suburb of Shillington, a cozy, close-knit community of 6,000. My folks divorced when I was young and Mom remarried a mechanic when I was five. He eventually became an alcoholic and made my life somewhat miserable until he left when my mom became fatally ill with cancer. Mom passed away when I was 22, a victim of breast cancer at 42. I then spent three years in an Army Band, stationed in NYC. After my honorable discharge, I spent a few years managing records stores while attending college simultaneously. I later moved to Durham, NC to be a record buyer and then worked for a chain of video stores. After divorcing my first wife, I moved to San Jose, CA with a good friend who was moving there for law school. That was 1985. The next decade was spent managing a video store, a comic book store and working as a law clerk with my free time spent with a large, close-knit group of friends. During that time was also when I first became interested in craft beer, writing a book on beer in 1992. Then I met Sarah and it was love at first sight. We were married in 1996 and moved to Oakland so she could attend law school at Boalt Hall, Berkeley’s law school. I took a job as the beer buyer for the California chain Beverages & more, a job I held for almost five years. Our son Porter, was born in 2001 and I became the General Manager at the beer magazine Celebrator Beer News. After Sarah went back to work after her maternity leave, Porter spent his days at the Celebrator offices until we moved to Marin County in 2003, when he started preschool. Our daughter Alice was born in the summer of 2004. When Porter was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in the fall of 2004, I made the decision to quit working full-time and stay home to raise Porter and Alice. I’m still doing some freelance writing to keep myself busy and talking to adults. This blog was originally started at the same time.

You’re going to the moon! What did you forget to pack?

Potato Chips. Because you can never have enough potato chips.


* Reading
* Stereo Photography
* View-Master Reels
* Music
* Documentary Films
* Debunking Historical Mythology
* Green Bay Packers
* Beer

Favorite Movies

* Adventures of Baron Muchausen
* All That Jazz
* Amelie
* Being There
* Blazing Saddles
* Caddyshack
* Cutting Edge
* Danny Deckchair
* Death to Smoochy
* Fifth Element
* Four Wedding and a Funeral
* Gregory’s Girl
* Grosse Point Blank
* Groundhog Day
* Guru, The
* Harvey
* Holy Grail
* Hudsucker Proxy
* Indian Summer
* Inherit the Wind
* James Bond movies
* Libelled Lady
* Local Hero
* Lord of the Rings
* Manufacturing Consent
* Mumford
* My Chauffer
* O Brother, Where Art Thou
* Office Space
* One, Two, Three
* Raiders of the Lost Ark
* Razor’s Edge
* Ref, The
* Repo Man
* Say Anything
* Shawshank Redemption
* She’s the One
* Spirited Away
* Sure Thing
* Tapeheads
* 32 Short Films about Glenn Gould
* Valley Girl

Favorite Music

* Bad Livers
* Beatles
* Andrew Bird
* Cake
* Johnny Cash
* Elvis Costello
* Crowded House
* Duckhills
* Maynard Ferguson
* Garbage
* John Wesley Harding
* Woody Herman
* Jools Holland
* Joe Jackson
* Klaatu
* Mills Brothers
* Liz Phair
* Leon Redbone
* Django Reinhardt
* R.E.M.
* Squeeze
* Squirrel Nut Zippers
* Violent Femmes

Favorite Fiction Books

* Dune by Frank Herbert
* Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco
* Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchert
* Rabbit Run by John Updike
* Skipped Parts by Tim Sandlin
* Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaardner
* Swiss Family Robinson by J.D. Wyss
* There Should Have Been Castles by Herman Raucher
* Watership Down by Richard Adams

Favorite Non-Fiction Books

* Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman
* Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast
* Beyond Civilization by Daniel Quinn
* Bible Fraud by Tony Bushby
* Culture of Fear by Barry Glassner
* Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
* Gag Rule by Lewis Lapham
* God’s Defenders by S.T. Joshi
* Great Unraveling by Paul Krugman
* Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig
* Lies and Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
* Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen
* Natural History of the Rich by Richard Conniff
* People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
* Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
* Superpatriotism by Michael Parenti
* Turning Point by Fritjof Capra
* Understanding Power: The Indipensible Chomsky by Noam Chomsky
* Upside Down by Eduardo Galeano

The People I Most Admire

* Noam Chomsky
* Bill Hicks
* Bullwinkle J. Moose

The Ten (Favorite Celebrities)

* Phoebe Cates
* Charlize Theron
* Deborah Foreman
* Josie Maran
* Estella Warren
* Eva Herzigova
* Bridget Fonda
* Kate Beckinsale
* Julia Stiles
* Kate Bosworth

E-mail Me:


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  1. very entertaining. how the heck do you have the time to do all this? I’m envious.

    Comment by Ainz — February 14, 2006 @ 8:08 pm
  2. Hey Jay!!! I saw Greg M. this morning and we were talking about you, and talking
    about us all working together back in the early 90s. I guess it was actually like
    1989 or 1990, at his office in Cupertino. I decided to ‘google’ your name, and’
    there you are!!! Your wife Sarah is absolutely beautiful!! I just wanted
    to say HI. I have 3 kids and just love it. My oldest is 23, my youngest will be
    11. Anyway, write back and let me know how you are. I’m curious as to how
    you and/or the doctors diagnosed autism. Amanda, my 11 year old, has something
    going on, but we’re not sure what. We’re in the process of having her tested.
    She’s not doing well in school at all. Long story.

    Have you written any more books? I’d love to read them if you did. I remember the
    beer one you wrote that you autographed for me!! I still have it!

    I look forward to hearing from you…you can either write me at my personal
    email at dillymom15@yahoo.com, or at work at jwilkinson@orrick.com. I got married
    and my name is now Wilkinson…..

    Take care, and talk soon!! Jill

    Comment by Jill Willoughby — June 10, 2006 @ 5:13 pm

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