Monday, November 19, 2012

A Little Piece of Heaven. A House, A Home, A Log Cabin

I have always wanted to build my own home.  In fact, I have written about it before.

Check this out:

Anyway, I was watching hunting programs on the Sportsman's Channel, and a commercial came on that interested me.  It was a company that sold you the wood and parts to make your own log cabin/ log home.

I looked at their website, and they have what looks to be 80 different models of log cabins/ log homes.  I really liked their Clearwater Model.

What's neat is that you can buy either, 1. Just the wood.  2. The Shell Package.  3. Or the Complete Package.  That way, you can get just the wood or pre-prepared parts for the house.  The pieces of wood come numbered so you know what goes where.  It's like of like Lincoln Logs.

In fact, they have some great construction videos of how the cabins/homes go together.  It's not as hard as I thought it would be.

I think it's neat how woodworkers can build furniture, guitars, and other things.  But to be a woodworker on a huge scale, to be building houses, would be awesome.  Especially on your own house.  You would get to choose not only the building plans and outside, but the inside of the house.  Flooring, cabinets, decoration, walls, tile, would all be at your control. 

One of the good things about log homes is that, they are well insulated.  Since the wood is so thick, they don't lose a lot of heat or cold.  That would make then great to have in Florida, so long as you had central heat and air.  They also have that nice, natural look on the inside.  And if you want to drill anything to the wall it's okay!  It's wood. 

The bad news about log homes is that they are expensive.  Not only that, but all that wood has to shipped from somewhere.  And shipping a house's worth of wood is not cheap.  You have to calculate all the wood, roofing supplies, inside parts like cabinets/tile/carpet, windows, and someone to wire the house up for electricity, cable, and wi-fi.  Not to mention the most important throne of all.  A sewage line needs to be created and hooked up to either city water or a septic tank.  I almost forgot the 2nd most expensive part of the house.  That would be the land.  Depending upon where you want to build the house, the land can be somewhat expensive or crazy expensive. 

So while it may be expensive to build a house, a man can always dream.  I have to admit, a lot of dreams go unfulfilled, and even I think that this one is out of reach for me.  But I can't complain.  As long as I have a roof over my head, I can't worry about whether or not I will be able to build myself a log house.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Absinthe, Part 2

Years ago I wrote a blog about Absinthe.  Here it is:

Basically what happened was I drank one mixed drink of absinthe (one shot, 1 1/2 ounces), a few hairy things went down.  One drink.  I can't exactly say what happened back then because a lot of it was private.  But there are a few things about absinthe that I would like to expand on.

First of all, this is the best European site for real absinthe:

In the U.S. we are limited as to what kinds we can buy.  They just made some kinds of it legal a few years ago.  Simply put, the absinthe in the U.S. is thujone free.  Thujone is the ingredient that supposed to cause hallucinations, but even in vintage absinthes, there isn't enough in it to really cause any.  But that doesn't mean it isn't potent.  The alcohol percentage varies by maker, but it is usually as strong as something like Everclear.  That's why most absinthe mixes tell you to mix cut it with cold water by a 5 to 1 margin. 

Here's "Lucid" the U.S. brand I tried:

Here's a great article talking about the different types of absinthe, and what the new ones are like:

But I actually wanted to write about something else.  Mainly, the way absinthe's tastes are described.  First and foremost remember this, absinthes have a strong black liquorice taste.  No matter what they say, it tastes like overly strong black liquorice.  So why do the descriptions of it say this?

Herbs are maybe the most important factor when it comes to high quality Absinthe. Therefore we have selected the best possible quality herbs and wine alcohol to make Absinthe Duplais an adorable, excellent drink.

We created a composition of herbs, where all aromas coexist and none of them is predominant. Although this balance sets free a specific pleasant taste, which is light, complex and subtle.

First off, absinthe is never, ever subtle.  It's subtle in the way that moonshine is subtle.  The next quote is a review of one of the better, more expensive absinthes.

I disagree with the quote above, as being that I've worked with A. pontica quite a lot, I don't taste the peculiar flavor of that herb in this all. In fact, I can't think of *any* modern product which employs that particular herb, this one notwithstanding. Therefore, my revelation comes as no surprise.

Nevertheless, this product tastes like some effort went into it, and the flavor comes off as a peculiar balance of both anise and a couple of atypical aromatic essences, the combination of them giving almost a pleasant 'cough-syrup' like aroma and flavor. The texture of the flavor tells me something about how the herbs were prepared, and unlike the other Spanish products, it doesn't taste like any 'oily' adulterants were added to the distillate. Tasting the liqueur neat, I don't taste the pointed flavor of absinthium right off, but rather I get the heady scent of other aromas which present an alternate, unobtrusive bitterness. Don't mistake this for absinthium, it isn't. What I notice here is that the bitterness from the other essences seems to hit the bitter receptors rather quickly, so that's what you'll taste most prevalently.

Honestly, all he had to say was "pleasant cough syrup."  That would have been perfect. 

To reinforce what I'm saying, all you have to do is look up absinthe recipes.  Because it's not meant to be drunk straight.  Even the most bare bones recipe calls for you to caramelize sugar cubes, and then cut the drink with cold water and ice.  Here's a great list of absinthe mixes.

Even the suggestions on the bottle of lucid had some pretty simple mixes.  Basically every single one of them did their best to cover up the real taste of absinthe.  That kind of sends a confusing message.  You want to drink the drink, but not taste the drink.  But let's be honest, the stuff is pretty awful.

So, I don't think I will be buying a bottle any time soon.  Namely, because a bottle of it is $60 a bottle plus state and county alcohol/sales taxes.  And I don't actually drink alcohol anymore, so that's another reason not to buy any.  And of course, it just tastes like "blah."

It reminds me of the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episode where she kept drinking alcohol, and kept hating it. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

That's Not A Cauldron

Years ago I was a little more active in my Pagan community.  I was reading my books and assembling all my working tools.  However, a few things can be hard to come by.  That's why they have Pagan/ Wiccan/ New Age shops.  They will carry all those hard to find books and tools.  However, they will cost you a pretty penny.

The hardest thing I was having trouble getting was a cauldron.  They had these very tiny ones made of real cast iron that I would have liked having.  Unfortunately, they were $40 a piece.  I didn't exactly have much money, much less $40 to burn.  So I did the next best thing.  I went to the flea market.

Ah yes, the flea market.  You never know what you will find.  At the Big Top Flea Market on Fowler Ave. there's this longtime dealer who deals in furniture and household items.  He has a nice mix of vintage and modern items.  Dad liked to browse though he vintage glassware for a while, so I was wandering around looking at all the household items.  (Sidenote:  This dealer has the biggest unit on the property.  It's about 10 times at big as any other spot.  The cabinets and stuff do take up a lot of room, so that's why he needs so much space.) 

Anyway, I was wandering around when I saw it.  My cauldron.  It was only $7.  So I took it up to the dealer, and he said he could sell it to me for $6.  That worked for me.  Then he asked me a strange question.  He asked, "Did I chew?" 

I was like, "Chew what?"

He said, "Tobacco."

I asked, "Why would you ask me that?"

To which he replied, "Because you're buy a spittoon."

This was my cauldron:

I told him, "It looked like a cauldron to me, and no, I didn't chew tobacco.  Only bubble gum."

But there you have it.  My cauldron for all these years is a vintage spittoon made for tobacco chewing.  I don't know if that makes me a bad Pagan, or just an idiot.  Maybe it just makes me cheap.  I mean, it was $6.

Worst Brother Ever

I'm sure every sister thinks their brother is the worst ever.  But I've been pretty bad to my sister.  Sometimes on accident, and sometimes on purpose.  Here's a vintage post that I wrote about pulling tricks on her.

However, the one time I hurt her feelings the most was the one time it was completely accidental.  You see, it took me a while to get through college, but the funny thing is I actually did graduate.  So my sister was all set to get me the greatest graduation present that could ever be.  She was actually really proud of me graduating.

She was saying that she had a great present for me on my graduation day.  (At that point it was about two weeks away.)  So I told her, "Your present doesn't have to be the greatest.  I'm going to love it no matter what it is, as long as it's not something useless like cuff links."

She then got a graven look over her face and said, "You're going to hate it."  Which I replied, "No, I'm sure I'm going to love it.  However she was a bit sullen all day.

So when it came time to get my present, this is what I received from her.

In case you can't tell, those are high quality silver cuff links from Tiffany's.  They are shaped like little globes since I was a History graduate.  I gotta admit, I felt like a heel. 

But then I had to explain to her that I already had a set of cuff links.

And here's why I said they were useless.  I have never worn them.  They are still in the original box.  I have only worn one set of cuff links, and that was with my tux at homecoming in high school.  Modern men's shirts are made so that you don't need cuff links.  In fact, I think I only have two shirts at this moment that are made for cuff links.  One shirt I have never worn, and the other I just roll the sleeves up like I normally do.  But back then I didn't have one shirt that I could use cuff links with.

So to conclude this blog, I gotta say that yes, I have done some terrible things to my sister.  But I have never felt so bad about hurting her feelings as I did then. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Too Cute To Shoot?

In preparation for hunting season I have been watching a lot of the Sportsman channel.  It's mostly hunting and fishing shows.  However, I will give credit to them in that, they show a wide variety of animals and different situations out hunting. 

I was watching one show that I had not seen before.  It was called American Huntress.

From their website:

The American Huntress was born out of the idea to get women more involved in the outdoors, whether in hunting, wildlife conservation, or passing on our American hunting tradition. As women, we can and often do experience the outdoors differently from men. And we wanted to be able to share those differences.
As they state on the website, they hunt in a lot of places, including Africa.  The episode I ended up seeing was one that they happened to be hunting in Africa.  In the episode they were hunting Kipspringer (Cliff Springer) Antelope.

Now I had never heard of the Kilpspringer.  I had no idea what one even looked like, or anything about them.  And then they showed them in the wild, and I saw one for the first time.

Oh my God.  They look like Bambi.  Seriously, look at those big, black eyes.  They are overly cute.  Also, they are only about 2 foot tall.  Even the adults look like babies.  The above picture doesn't do them justice.  They look like something an 8 year old girl dreamed up.

For a better view, this video on Youtube, taken at a zoo, will give you an idea on how they look, move, and interact.

I may be a hunter, but even I have to admit that is cute.  I think it finally passed my cute threshold where I couldn't shoot that.  I prefer my game animals to be rather ugly, such as hogs.

But as the Kilpspringer is only native to South Africa, I don't have to worry about one crossing my path.