A breakfast of champions

Not to be mistaken for Breakfast of Champions, which I haven’t read in years and now suddenly find myself wanting to find and reread. Not even sort of the point of this post. And now a pause for the appropriate number of gasps incited by today’s post happening before 10pm or later. Only the appropriate number, however; I’ll have no excessive or exaggerated signs of shock on my posts, thank you very much.

This is a food post, entirely and apologetically. I’ve been trying to cook more lately instead of opting to go out for dinner, which is just as well since it’s less expensive to throw together ingredients in the hopes it will transform into something mostly edible (I’m working at about a 75% success rate here, so I’m going to say I’ve been doing something right). I really enjoy cooking, if only because it gives me a chance to revert to the days I spent dreaming of being a mad scientist. There are, quite sadly, far fewer robots involved in cooking meals, but I’ll think of a way to change that up sooner or later. Continue reading

Exploring the bourbon part of @SnarkAndBourbon

It all started one Easter weekend at a family gathering. The poison in question? An ancient, perhaps somewhat dodgy bottle of Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 that has been residing in the garage. After some coercing from my cousin, I did a shot of the stuff (on the basis that my sister’s boyfriend also did the same). I had no idea what to expect, but I still remember the vaguely smoke-flavored inferno that followed. My stomach didn’t seem particularly keen at first, but it accepted the odd intruder as it settled with the odd blend of various dishes I’d enjoyed for dinner. It was that Easter I swore I would never drink Jack Daniel’s again. Just wasn’t for me, I thought.

Anyone who knows my drinking habits, which have shifted and changed from my choosing to not really drink until after I’d turned twenty-two to my occasional drink (and my social drinking among friends, as witnessed during my last hoorah in Chicago recently), probably can vouch that a number of Jack Daniel’s products have become staples in my collection. I’m still not particularly fond of Old No. 7, but when I’m in the mood to celebrate I have no problem shelling out the necessary moolah for a bottle of Single Barrel Select.

Or social drinking before vacation, complete with best friend screwing around on his phone.

Or social drinking before vacation, complete with best friend screwing around on his phone.

Before I go on, I should point out how I really wanted to try Jack Daniel’s thanks to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. For those of you who haven’t read it, correct that immediately. However, it was the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday’s drink of choice. When I pictured Mr. Wednesday drinking it, however, it was a full pint glass of the stuff. I can’t quite imagine anyone consuming the stuff that way now; to each their own, though.

My non-drinking gradually shifted after I had arrived in Edinboro. People wanted to hang out with me, and bars were a pretty ideal location. I, however, had very limited knowledge of mixed drinks at the time. I spent more time than I probably should have wondering about what the hell people ordered at bars. The good news: I had enough sense to keep it simple. This wasn’t going out clubbing; it was a college town bar (I mean no offense to The Empty Keg, of course, as it became my local haunt before I graduated), and that meant keeping things relatively simple. Not the sort of place that ordering a Manhattan would go over well. After a bit of thinking back to drinks I’d heard of, I blurted out an order for a whiskey sour. Since then I’ve been told how that’s an old-person’s drink, but I have no problem with that. Terrific stuff.

Eventually, and gradually, I started to try new whiskies and bourbons. At first they were purely used as mixers. It was usually whiskey and Coke or Pepsi. At one point I ended up trying Seagram’s 7 Dark Honey mixed with sweet tea. I can’t remember exactly when (insert joke about booze and memory here), but I started trying whiskeys and boubons on the rocks or straight up. I lack a sophisticated sense of taste in that I don’t necessarily pick up on all of the hints and notes of different tastes (sorry, Tullamore DEW, but your product is about the same as most others and I enjoy it all the same). My sister eventually bought me whiskey stones so I could enjoy chilled, undiluted whiskey and bourbon. The rest is just sort of history from there.

I like to make sure I branch out and try more than the few that I know I like, even if it can be a bit risky. Now…I could do a whole post on the Snark part of @SnarkAndBourbon, but lucky for everyone I’m…distracted by World of Warcraft. Ahem.

A day of recovery

I’m going to focus largely on the good here, as today was actually an excrement sandwich sprinkled with shards of broken glass and used hypodermic needles of questionable origin. There may be a touch of hyperbole there, but to be fair I also just realized my next post-vacation day off is fourteen days away from when my vacation occurred (with some of those days involving multiple shifts). It makes me tired to even think about it, so I’m going to shift my focus elsewhere.

The stuff – After work, I headed over to Walmart to pick up some ingredients for dinner. I had no actual game-plan in mind, but I figured I could probably mange to make something relatively edible without too much effort. Keeping in mind I didn’t want to do more of the usual, I picked up some chicken (off to a poor start on avoiding the usual) and I wandered around a bit. The end result was I bought some yellow and orange bell peppers, some sugar snap peas, and some baby carrots (which didn’t end up in the dish anyway). I wasn’t quite sure how I’d prepare the chicken until I walked by a display of dressings and spotted a bottle of raspberry balsamic vinaigrette. The dressing, which I’m not ashamed to say I’m actually too lazy to type out repeatedly, ended up being a marinade for the chicken. Tossed it in a bag and let it hang out in the fridge for a bit while I took a nap. Brianne had a very busy day with a doctor’s appointment followed by work followed by one of her grad courses, so I had some time between thinking up dinner and making the actual meal.

Bragging that isn’t really bragging – I managed to get into a Looking For Raid iteration of The Dread Approach after minimal waiting. I was probably one of the lowest DPS players in there, but I also managed to not die. Something about half of the people in our raid couldn’t say about themselves, unfortunately, as people seemed pretty intent on standing in the fire whenever possible. This was my first time really doing any raiding in Mists of Pandaria (ignoring that I did get into an LFR group right at Sha of Fear last week; that was fun). I nabbed a good few pieces of gear and generally enjoyed myself. The best part, however, was that my queue for Terrace of Endless Spring popped right after I completed The Dread Approach. As I’ve not gotten anywhere in my Legendary cloak questing, I was pretty happy to get to 4 of each…er, Mark I guess. Marks of Wisdom and Power? I’m not looking it up. The point is I got to kill things I’ve never killed before, and if that’s not what raiding is all about then I must be doing it wrong. Note to self: I still need to try my hand at getting the other Thunderfury binding before next Tuesday (damn it).

Dinner turned out really well. It’s Brianne-approved, so that’s a plus. It was absolutely awful to look at, but it was a nice and healthy sweet meal I’ll have to try my hand at making again soon.

The best part of tonight is that I feel pretty rejuvenated. It’s a bit surprising, actually, as I ended work and shopping feeling very stressed out. A lot of it is a matter of accepting things that aren’t presently within my control and moving along with the things I can handle in the present (shocking, I know). The nap certainly didn’t hurt.

In closing – Here’s wishing everyone a relatively insanity-free next fourteen days, and in doing so sending the same wishes to myself. Victory is just ahead, right?

Pumpkin spice season has (almost) arrived

At some point or another, September apparently showed up. Or every single calendar I’ve encountered since Sunday has been telling me horrible, cruel lies. I’m slightly more inclined to believe the former is true, however, because I’m not all that big into outrageous conspiracies on most days. This summer provided many opportunities for hilarious misadventures, but it also somehow managed to be entirely draining. From the work-related madness to the life-related madness (with a friendly reminder there was a goddamn bat in my house not too long ago), this summer has felt less like a season of vacation, rejuvenation, and fun in the sun, and more like a time of frustration, bad news so bad it bordered onto comedy, and both minor and major setbacks. That’s not to say all of the summer was bad, of course. I won a book contract, which I then over-thought to the point of making it a good and a bad thing (if you missed that you should count your blessings and move along). Brianne and I have found a new place to live, which I’m quite excited about (save for now having to cut the grass, which is far from ideal). I could probably go on for a dozen more posts about my trip to Chicago, but it’s probably for the best I don’t. You were all right, Summer of 2014, but you certainly tested me. For that I should probably be thankful. Continue reading

This Week in Misadventures

It’s been a mostly-exciting, somewhat headache-inducing week. Let’s just leap into the actual post. I’m entirely too tired for this early, which is embarrassing, but I want to finish this post before I fall asleep on my Surface 2.

Writing

Do tweets count here? They still don’t, do they? Damn. Ignoring that, there’s “The Maskmaker’s Apprentice”, “Another Starstruck Misfit”, the cannibal story I still haven’t officially named…something else. My brain’s gone a bit soft. I need to get back into setting goals for myself in terms of weekly writing, which sounds mildly suicidal since I’m working on my One Hundred Days of Blogging posts as well. “The Maskmaker’s Apprentice” doesn’t count towards the goal of twenty stories posted, by the way, because I’m apparently challenging myself to write and rewarding myself by making it as punishing as possible. On the plus side, I’ve received so many new commenting readers. Mostly spammers writing comments in Russian, but I’m not too picky when it comes to comments.

I’ve got no particular plans for writing in this coming week, but I might just be lying there. We’ll see.

Reading

So many books, so little time. I’m rereading Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir), and I picked up The Long Mars. You may be saying “Phil, you buy a lot of books and you should probably read them instead of buying even more books,” to which I say I will never stop buying books. I should, however, get working on reading them. I think a great starting point would be to start over on The Long Earth, move on to The Long War, and then get to The Long Mars. I’m impatiently waiting for Bryan Lee O’Malley’s new graphic novel, Seconds, which sounds like it’ll be a terrific fun read.

Important Miscellany

Car inspection happens this week, which is important for my planned Chicago adventure at the end of August. I’m anxious that something will go horribly wrong, but when am I not? Don’t answer that, anyone. It’ll be the longest road-trip I’ve ever taken, and I’m going solo so it’ll be something else. We’ll see, once all is said and done, what something else turns out to be (good or bad). I’m considering a travel journal to post on here, as there’s still enough time for me to actually plan it out. Or put off planning it and just haphazardly meandering through it like I do with many other things.

The plans for this week include writing, reading, and a little recovering from last week. I’m more excited, I’ll admit, for the week after this one, as I work three days (thanks to a couple leftover paid holidays). Making a trip home to see my family, and I’ll have plenty of time to work on getting some additional writing done. None of which will be spoiled here, of course.

Here’s to a pleasant, hopefully peaceful week for everyone, and remember to keep the Kaiju population under control by getting your Kaiju spayed or neutered.

PS: I’m sorry, but I refuse to see this post linger just beneath five hundred words. Nope. Had to fix that.