Friday, March 27, 2009

From my childhood

First, the greatest hit of my toddler existence:

Second, Billy D. Williams selling Colt 45:

In praise of hard liquor

As you may know, I don't drink much beer. I mainly drink hard liquor. Liquor has no sugar and no carbohydrates. There are 64 calories in an ounce of whiskey, and 1.5 ounces in a shot. Therefore a shot's worth of whiskey has 96 calories. A bottle of Blue Moon beer has 171 calories and 13 grams of carbohydrates. They have about the same amount of alcohol (1.5 ounces of whiskey times 40% equals .6 ounces of alcohol, and 12 ounces of beer times 5% is also .6 ounces). Therefore drinking whiskey with no mixer, or a sugar free zero calorie mixer, is less likely to make you fat than a six pack of beer. Fewer calories are fewer calories. Liquor can also be far, far cheaper than beer. How much cheaper? Well, I have come up with a resource to help you down the liquor road. Behold: the Liquor Exchange!

Right now, as the microbrew movement reaches maturity we are in the beginning of a liquor renaissance. Led by premium vodkas (which are not worth the price), gin and Irish whiskey have come back in a big way. Hopefully brandy is hot on their heels. Come join the revolution.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

good times

Once I journeyed to Nashville. I saw Johnny Cash's grave. It was a good experience. It followed a night of drinking too much and a freakout. And we did listen to Cash that night. And the next day too.


I've seen the New South


A good place to be buried


This place really changed the tone of the trip. Nashville is ok - I had a better time in Atlanta - but it was a good trip.

I bring this up because I wonder; will the younger generation even care about Johnny Cash? It seems so many of the legends of my time are dead. I don't have to believe that they are really gone, but what about today's vocoder generation? Is there any room for authenticity with them?

Sometimes at night. When I hear the wind. I wish I was crazy again. - Johnny Cash

A slight correction and a question

First, I'd like to say that the Canadian whisky works much better with a splash of water and a few ice cubes. Really opens up well. Maybe it isn't the lemon I thought it was.

Second, where is the Booze Army? No one is heading into Canada to buy Indian whisky? Booo!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Stirrings in the Subcontinent

Many years ago I became fascinated with the work of Bela Bartok and Zoltan Kodaly. They were folklorists who transcribed music in order to preserve it. They even made a few wax recordings when the technology became available. Also, they arranged the folk tunes for a "classical" medium. My favorite example is the Romanian folk dances Bartok arranged for piano (and has been arranged for many other settings).

Well, since then I've been searching for someone to take that approach to other regions of the world besides Eastern Europe. It turns out it has been done in India. Behold; India's Bartok:

Or maybe it is the Indian Kodaly?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Soundtrack to the apocalypse

I have most of the Star Wars soundtracks. I don't *own* Revenge of the Sith, but I have it on mp3. I don't have Return of the Jedi. But I should. The other 4, I own.

I need another birthday, because these days with unemployment, fitting this into the budget will be dicey. But I need it. You see, it will be the soundtrack of my personal springtime apocalypse. I'm thinking that the Nikon 35mm f2 pre-AI will be the official lens of my springtime apocalypse. Maybe not. But yeah, this is the soundtrack. I'll explain more later.

So what is the springtime apocalypse? Well, part of it is the trancelike state I will inhabit whilst I transcend this plane and the next. It will involve sleep and lack of sleep. It will involve le ensemble organum. It will involve Return of the Jedi. It will be a state of supreme focus, and expanded consciousness. God bless America. God bless Michigan.

The sanity project

I watched Donnie Darko last night. I haven't watched it in a long time. It reminded me of a period of time when sleep had quite a hold on me. I read the H.P. Lovecraft classic Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath years ago, and was determined to sleep and enter the dreamland. Many years prior to that I tried to enter the dreamland. I could never transfer my waking consciousness into the dreamland. When I tried to hold on too hard I couldn't get past the wall of sleep. I'd wake up, or find myself not fully immersed into the dream. After reading Lovecraft, I made another go at it. No dice.

Today I almost fell asleep at 4 pm. Caffiene didn't help me stay alert. So maybe instead of being alert, I should go into a trance?

Hypnotic Lake

It is starting to warm up. Mobile tripod time. But I haven't figured out a way to make a strap and lock it on.

Oh Canada

My adventures down whiskey lane have taken me to the Great White North. I bought some Canadian whisky for the first time. Now, I've had Canadian whisky before; R&R and Canadian Mist. Probably some Crown Royal at some point too. Never been too impressed by it. But I read good reviews of Windsor Canadian. I bought some because it was half the price of Irish Manor (someone took all the 7 dollar rebate tags!). But it was easily half the taste as well. So for me it wasn't a value buy. Hard to say why it wasn't good, it just wasn't. Wasn't good on the rocks and wasn't good in cola. Maybe there are better value Canadian whiskies out there, but this one wasn't it. Next time R&R for sure.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Yes Michigan!

road trip

I hate long car trips. Six hours is a grind, for me. But it should be interesting. I'll say ya to da UP eh for you.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pearls before swine

A month ago I bought several CDs. One Dean Martin, one Johnny Cash, and one Testament. Looking back, I regret not getting Lamented Souls. You could say I "lament" not getting it. Lamented Souls is next on my hit list. They are doomy, and spooky, and heavy, and sludgy.

Tonight is a special night. Having finished reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, I am mixing up a jug of punch for the first time. It is a classic. Let me tell you, there is something about enjoying whiskey the way the artificer intended.


-glass jug
-Irish whiskey
-sugar or honey

Oh so good.

The first Revelation

Last night, before bed, I had the first revelation. It was waffles. What does that mean? Perhaps it is a good omen. Perhaps, in our forthcoming adventures we will stop in a Waffle House? That is truly good tidings.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Now recruiting for the booze army

Kiss has an army, so why can't Mr. Booze? That's right; I want you to enlist. As a drunk, you become a citizen of the world. And that means that you will all be assigned a certain task, predicated on your region and resources.

Alright soldier, your first task is at hand: Indian whisky. First thing's first: what the fuck is Indian whisky? Why, whisky made in India, of course! Second, why would I want to drink it? To enjoy your days under the sun. Third, where can I get it? Possibly in Canada?

Dr. Whisky has an intriguing review and tasting notes of Amrut Indian Whisky. According to their corporate website, it is distributed in Ontario (yours to discover). So I am charging any recruits near the Ontario border to infiltrate the region and procure a bottle of Amrut. Now I know that it might seem a tall order. But heed my words; it is no fool's errand. For I myself was able to venture into the depths of the Chicagoland jungle and procure three bottles of the sweetest Brandy de Jerez. My mistake last year was merely in failing to properly prepare for the recurring rendezvous. Hence I ended up with Pantera Negra. Plan well, my friends, for the reward is sweet.


Hard drink is its own reward

So, what do you have to do, exactly? It is quite simple: buy a bottle, take a picture of it, drink it, and then send me your thoughts and opinions about the experience along with the picture. I will publish it under your name/nom de plume. It can be as brief as "aroma was like smelling my hand after pumping gas, tasted like a shitty version of Maker's Mark" or it can be as in depth as a featured story in the National Geographic.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Irish Manor

So what is Irish Manor Irish whiskey like? Well, it reminds me of The Tyrconnell in more ways than one.

The Tyrconnell

Irish Manor

It is a very soft whiskey, just as advertised. It doesn't have the strong hints of lemon and honey that the Tyrconnell has. But it is smooth and soft and has a similar character. I'd describe it as The Tyrconnell's kid brother.

Irish Manor

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The revival continues

So today I found a new Irish whiskey at the store. Irish Manor. It was 20 bucks. However, there was a 7 dollar mail in rebate. 14 bucks for a fifth of Irish whiskey? Score! I haven't tried it yet, so I can't say how it will be. It is described as a "soft" whiskey on the bottle, so I'm assuming that it is a Cooley brand. This is the second new brand that has cropped up at the store in less than a year. Irish whiskey is starting to really come up, which for me is a good thing.

I wish that there were some way for me to cash in on the Irish whiskey revival, but that would mean moving to Ireland, I think.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Reading list

So I think I mentioned that I read a lot. Well, I'd like to take a moment to share with you the joys of the library.

First off, the library stinks. It really stinks, because I go to the downtown branch, which is where hobos congregate to keep warm. The "reading" area and the "computer" area stink. Up on the second floor where they keep fiction and it is like the Fortress of Solitude; quiet and stinky hobo free where a man of ability can focus his talents on learning. But over bye the first floor chairs or the computers and it is like a locker room; smelly and uncomfortable; don't look the other patrons in the eye or they will get surly. Or just surly your nose.

So, what have I been reading? Well, a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Sometime while I wasn't looking they translated the Vampire Hunter D books into English, and the library has all the English translations. I think there are 9 volumes. I am half-way through book 3. I currently have Hobbes and Locke, because I wanted to read something that was a timeless classic. Short readings, not Leviathan. But also not without merit either. I haven't sunk into those yet.

Did I tell you that I read Fight Club? Well, I did. If you liked the movie, you will like the book. Two things to note, however. First, it is a really fast read. For a retired bum like me one afternoon. Second, I feel that a lot of the changes that were made for the movie made the story stronger, not weaker. This is in contrast to a lot of movie adaptations, which are weaker than the book.

Did I tell you that I read the Bhagavad Gita? Well I did. I was told, years ago, that to characterize the Hindu religion as polytheist is a misnomer, because most Hindu follow the Bhagavad Gita, which states that all gods are incarnations of the Supreme Being. Therefore, in a way they are really monotheists. And this philosophy is in the Bagavad Gita. So I read that book to find out for myself. So are Hindus really polytheists? Read for yourelf!

I read the Book of Mormon along with Doctrines and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. They were all in 1 book in the library. I wanted to read it because a friend of mine was skeptical when I described Mormon cosmology to him. Does the Book of Mormon really say that good Mormons will become gods of their own planets? I couldn't say for sure, it was just what I had read on the internets. And I know that the internets lies. So I read the Book of Mormon for myself, along with D of C and P of G P. So what does it really say? What is Mormon theology really like? Read for yourself!

Here is a funny anecdote; one reason I read the Bhagavad Gita is that it was referenced quite a few times in Thoreau's Walden. And I recently read Walden. One reason is that Walden has a lot of history with Dawn's family. Dawn's grandfather had a B.S. in Chemistry. In the 30s, during the Great Depression, he quit his job as a chemist and dragged his new petite bourgeois wife with him to a farm in Illinois to live off the land, much like Walden. It was a book that had inspired him to give up his life of comfort during one of the worst economic periods of in US history. It sounds like a pretty crazy thing to do. How could one book cause a man to do such a thing? So I read the book to find out.

As you can probably tell, I'm into finding out for myself by reading the book. Not a bad way to do things if you ask me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Into the belly of the beast

So I have two pretty solid leads for jobs. They both involve climbing back into the belly of the beast. One of them into Malebolge's maw. Will I be devoured whole? Who knows? Still, I gots bills to pay. So into the belly of the beast I may indeed crawl.

OK, now for something cheerful. Check out this band history from Myspace:

If one states Rossomahaars history is History in full measure, hes wrong. Nevertheless, the bands foundation dates back to the beginning of 1995, when Lazar (guitars) and Vlad (drums, vocals) started off working on few compositions which, this way or another, could be reckoned to the genre of black metal stylistically. Speaking about Rossomahaar as its been in the year 1995, one would easily say there wasnt much place for originality Those songs were issued in the shape of Grotesque demo later on, though. A fact worth mentioning: both musicians simultaneously played in Moscows dark metal act Stonehenge, which was considered top-priority then, and therefore Rossomahaars rehearsals took place quite rarely, to say the least. However; both came up with an idea of putting the songs they composed on tape Summer 1997, although personal and musical disagreements ruined the whole affair. Three tracks were recorded, but never issued anywhere.

They sound ok, nothing to write home about. But I love that band history. Hey, they're Russians writing in English - how good could you write in Russian? Still "could be reckoned to the genre of black metal" is a phrase I never imagined I'd read.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Time out

One of the maddening aspects of being unemployed is having too much time on my hands. Some days I spend too much time dicking around and accomplishing nothing. Those days are a disappointment. Other days, I take care of business. And lately I have been reading. A lot.

Too much time and a lot of reading leads to projects. So one idea I have is to learn how to sew properly. Not just putting a button on, but proper hemming and stitching. That way I can tailor my clothes myself. The value in doing this is buying discounted clothes that are slightly ill fitting and tailoring them to fit well. I could save a lot of money this way. Plus, it would be getting into the family tradition; my grandfather was a tailor.

Another money saving project I am working on is brewing my own booze. Now, making booze isn't hard. Yeast 'n stuff, really. And "we" have brewed before, but that was mostly Dawn. I helped put the yeast in!

Now Dawn is really into making cider. And making cider is fun and all, but it is expensive. Honestly, it is cheaper to buy hard cider because you have to buy cider from a cider mill because it can't have preservatives. Preservatives will kill the yeast. Farm fresh cider is expensive. And then there is the honey for extra sugar, which is also expensive.

Another strike against brewing is that wines take a long time to age, so wine is out of the question. Hard liquor is impossible without a still. Dawn won't let me get a still because it might blow up. Come on, I'll leave it in the storage locker; no worries. But no, no still. That leaves beer, and I don't usually drink beer. I've explained that one before, let me know if you want my anti-beer rundown again.

But now I've come back to brewing. Did you know that 150 years ago it was common for some distillers to make Irish whiskey out of oats instead of barley? It was apparently distinctive and smooth, but the practice was abandoned when oats became too expensive. So now I'm thinking that I'd like to try some, but I doubt anyone will ever make it. So maybe I can just make some really strong beer from oats and see if I like that. I liked that Oatmeal stout, so maybe this will be both tasty and cheap. Oats are cheap.

So there you have it. I have plans, man. I am trying to put my time to good use, and save money in the process. The only problem is motivation. It is too easy to procrastinate when you are unemployed with no prospects.

Hard Cider in Utero

This is Nate's carboy, which we will return the next time we drive down to Kentucky, or drive someplace where Nate is (maybe we will all meet up in Chicago one day?). In the mean time, I might as well put it to good use.

Brewing Must 3

We have a big pot. I just need the raw materials: oats, yeast and maybe some sugars. Maybe hops, but probably not.