A.H. Wants You To Drink Some Scotch

Talisker-AW1

Not just any ol’ kind of scotch but some really good stuff. It’s called Talisker and I approve of its quality and I recommend it for you and everyone you know. Just promise to drink responsibly and if we ever meet, I hope you offer me a glass of it over rocks.

Together with Lagavulin, Talisker represented a heavier side of the single  malt spectrum. Their barley (which is malted at Glen Ord) isn’t as peaty as Lagavulin’s (the Talisker ‘recipe’ requires a peating level of +/- 22 PPM) but
the whisky still makes a strong impression on most novices in the world of  single malt Scotch. This was especially true in the 1990’s when Islay malts like Ardbeg and Caol Ila were not available as proper single malt ‘brands’.

Got to this site and read a little about it’s brewing and craft and see if it is something you’d like to try.

Deep and stormy like the ocean crashing over the rocky shores of its island distillery, Talisker is the only Single Malt Scotch Whisky rugged enough to call the Isle of Skye its home.

Yeah!

Drinking Beer Out of Boredom

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I started drinking beer about fifteen minutes ago. Not to get drunk or anything. I still have Macallan left over for that. I mean I may get drunk. Too early to decide right now.

I’m drinking because I’m bored and I get pretty sick of myself sometimes. Which is kind of ironic now that I think of it. I spend a lot of time with myself. I stayed home from work today. In fact, all weekend it was just me and I. No women. No bars. We wrote and played the guitar. We read and watched some boxing too. Shared a bottle of Scotch Saturday night. Got up Sunday morning and cooked some eggs and sausage. We read and wrote some more the rest of the day. I blame me for the hangover.

I guess sometimes I get uppity, preachy, and judgmental. A real pain in the ass for me to be around in other words. Worrying about this or that, replaying this thing or that thing in my head that I did or didn’t do. Generally finding more ways to feel guiltier and shittier. I’m good at that. Maybe it’s just that this one bedroom apartment is too small for me and I. Maybe we were used to the nice home out in the suburbs with the kids. That’s gone now; sold it for the divorce.

I have this game I like to play. I reach rock bottom and then I kick myself over the cliff. Rock bottom isn’t good enough for me.

They say I’ll be happy one day. I give a damn about being happy. I’ll take whole any day of the week.

Sometimes when I get on a bender the few friends I do have say the same thing, “Think about your kids.” Hell, I do think about my kids. I think about them all the damn time. I dream about them too, which is lovely trying to go back to sleep afterwards.

Anyway, I finished my beer.

The Reports of My Death are Greatly Exaggerated

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It’s been a while. I’d like to say proudly that I’m still alive. How long has it been since I’ve poked my head up here; I can’t exactly say. I’d guess more than two years. Lot’s has changed in that time. I’m going through a divorce, now. Yep, after 9 years it’s over. She filed last week, I think.

She moved back to Texas, back during the summer. That means my kids live several states away. I fly home to see them every six weeks or so. That won’t change. I love them too much. Miss them, too. I’ll do and spend what I have to see them.

I guess my wife and I faced the music, as they say. Wasn’t much love there. Commitment, habit, obligation, sure; love, not so much. That’s the way it goes sometimes. Except they forget to tell you how bad it hurts when she takes your kids. My little girl asked the other night if I was coming home for Valentine’s Day.

I’m not.

I can’t.

Regardless, how does a fiver-year-old girl know what the meaning of Valentine’s Day is? Moreover, how on earth did she associate her far-away father with that date? It was enough to make me cry. It did, actually. I cry a lot these days. Not boohooing here and there like an emotional wreck or anything. I mean, just now and then my emotions catch up to me. So I cry. Which is fine, I guess. Should have cried before over several things. I just never did. So now, I guess like water, tears too follow the path of least resistance.

[I want to say here: I miss my people who used to come to this site and I to theirs]. 

Needless to say, I’ve had some long nights. Missed some work too because of them. Insomnia nearly ruined me last year. Taking up the guitar was the best thing I could have done for myself. I’ve explored every brand of Scotch sold in the US. I can give a very informed opinion on what is good and what isn’t (in case anybody cares to know).

I bought a new car, too. I’d say I spent more than I should have. None of it did me a bit good. Oh wait. There is some good, I suppose. I bought 2.5 acres of land down in Louisiana. I bought it sight unseen. Well that’s a little white lie. I flew in to look at it after I’d already agreed to buy it. So call it what you want. It’s mine now. I reckon I’ll sell it in lots or put a couple of houses on it and sell it for a profit.

One more thing, I finished grad school back in June.

But back to my marriage. I guess in the end it was all my fault. Isn’t it always the man’s fault? I could have been better. A better man and a better husband. I had a lovely wife. A sweet wife and a very caring mother. I’ll never speak ill of her. She’s the mother of my two beautiful children (contrary to some, I really do have beautiful children) and I respect her immensely. Why shouldn’t I?

Listen to this: She allowed me to stay at her parents during Christmas so my babies could have their daddy there for Christmas morning. After all the crap and the things worth keeping on the surface, she’s better than that. I’d die for this woman–even if I can’t stay married to her. I tell you hindsight is more than twenty-twenty; it’s an everyday kick in the ass. At any rate, I guess what I’ve listed has covered the past year. They say time has a way of scabbing over all the things that hurt. Why pick at it ?

Got some literature for you, something I drummed up while I was playing my hand at Southern Gothic. I’ll share more later. I’ve gotten quite a lot written down.

You know his first wife spent every penny he made. When he couldn’t make it fast enough she left him. Well that’s not all. She left him in debt, too. He says won’t let no other women do that to him again. I can believe it. I been asking for a car just so I can run errands during the day. I can’t even get him to talk about it long enough for me to convince him. I guess he thinks I’ll up and run off too. Men are strange. Spend their whole life looking for a woman like their mamma then spend the rest of it treating her like his little sister. I tell you real life ain’t nothing like soap operas. Men can be mean.

I Played Hooky Today! And It was Everything I Thought It Could Be.

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Boy oh boy, have I had an exciting day. It snowed a little last night and stayed below freezing all through the morning, which meant there was ice on the road, which means that is when the worst drivers decide this is the day when they will make it to work free of incident, which means that guarantees an incident, actually three of them, which backed up every lane of the highway, which consists of three.

Do you know what I did? I hit the first exit and circled back around to my house. I ain’t messing with that crap. The heck with it. I came home, drank some coffee, went downstairs to my gym, and got in an early morning workout. After I covered myself in sweat, I quit and took a shower.

Here’s where the actual fun begins.

First, I went down to the boxing gym where I got knocked out last week. I told everyone in there, even the coaches, that they didn’t run me off just because I got a little bump on the head. I told them that I wasn’t that easy to run off. That I had been working and correcting my mistakes. I’d be back.

A man has to save face even if he doesn’t mean it!

After my declaration and threats to all who were in there, I trekked down to Barnes & Noble and picked up a couple of beauties. “The Alchemist” and the “Count of Monte Cristo.” In addition, I bought a couple of “How To” books on writing and creative writing.

I don’t know. I’m actually enjoying this writing thing. I like to tell stories. I come from a great story telling culture — that being the rural South. Everyone there has a story. It may not be told exactly the same each time, it may even be borrowed from someone else, but that practice is accepted so long as one can make it entertaining and memorable. Maybe I can get focused enough to put a few stories down.

I used to be so dull — when I say “used to be” I’m speaking all of about a month ago — in that I never considered there was any value to literature or fiction. If you saw my library you would wonder if I had an imagination or personality at all. But you sure as hell wouldn’t want to tangle with me in a game of trivia!

At any rate, about literature, I thought, if it is not true, “Why bother?” I’m learning fiction is very true despite what it says about itself. I can see clearly now that writers bleed when they write. I respect them. 

So anyway, I stepped out of Barnes & Noble and made my way over to Total Wine. Here’s what I did.

I demanded a 5-minute course on how to choose wine. I told the lady there that I was tired of being the dumb kid in class.

I started by, “Look, I like wine. The red kind. Made from grapes, not tobacco, spice, roots, yams, or whatever else is crammed in the bottle and corked just because it happens to grow. So let me explain to you my taste.”

Which I did.

She looked confused. Her response was, “Okay. So you like wine. The Red kind. Made from grapes.”

“Exactly!”

She took my angry discharge well. I believe she even had sympathy for me. She wrote me down a few rules to follow and wrote down a few grapes I would probably like. The cheat-sheet is in my wallet. She had wonderful handwriting.

We both decided I like cabernet and pinot wines. There, I’m satisfied with that. Corner me; color me even. Label me all you like. But I can now make a beeline to my section, grab my bottles, be at home and uncorked faster than you can figure out how long a wine should be *aeratored.

*Okay, in all honesty I just learned about that today. It was part of the 5-minute course. I just really wanted to work that part in there.

America Takes Claim to a Prestigious Honor

It’s not quite like the moon landing, but America has made its way onto another map of importance.

Some hard working and industrious folks in Waco, Texas have produced the best single-malt whiskey outdoing the prestigious Scotch brands.

“…A single-malt whiskey from the Balcones Distillery in Waco bested nine others, including storied Scottish names like the Balvenie and the Macallan, in a blind panel of British spirits experts. It was the first time an American whiskey won the Best in Glass, a five-year-old competition to find the best whiskey released in a given year.

Balcones, said Neil Ridley, one of the organizers, is everything you’d expect from a young American: brash, robust and full of flavor. “It was like putting a New World wine against an Old World chateau,” he said.”

The bourbon varieties produced in places like Kentucky and Tennessee have always been fond of corn and rye as their main ingredients. The Scotch variety has dealt in malted barley, which has given it’s single-malt deliciousness.

In a way, the surprising thing about American malt whiskey is not that it exists, but that it took so long to come around.

Here is a review from another source. You can pick yourself up a bottle for about $65.

It’s only at the end of the finish that we are reminded that Balcones Single Malt Texas Whiskey is high proof. The precision here of flavor delivery and alcohol is simply perfect. Amazing, fantastic, revolutionary – yes, this whiskey is all that. But it’s also slightly maddening as it takes the conventional whiskey experience and turns it on its head. This is truly a whiskey connoisseur’s whiskey and a spirit for those of us who enjoy a wild journey that only a select few spirits can really take you on.

Does Wine Taste Better On Friday Evenings?

It’s early evening but the sun has already burned out for the day. I got the fireplace on. It’s giving out nice warmth and a relaxing glow. Makes me even sleepier writing about it. My kids are chattering and teasing one another playfully, while my wife is uploading pictures she intends to send out to family and friends.

I’m over here on the couch sipping a glass of red wine. And it taste awesome. I like my red wine chilled. Some like it room temperature. Not me. There’s something about drinking wine on a Friday evening I find pleasing and relaxing. Maybe its because I know I can have two or three glasses and not worry about having to get up earlier than a rooster. Or maybe after a long week, I feel entitled having made it through another one of work and traffic. At any rate, a couple of glasses of red whine goes down pretty easy after being cooped up all week in places I don’t want to be. Doing things for people I don’t want to do. Spending all my time at some place just so I can make money to pay for all the crap I have.

I’ll tell you another reason why I prefer wine now days. If I drink beer, I’ll drink too much of it. If I drink bourbon or scotch, I’ll drink too much of them too. Wine on the other hand, it has a way of regulating itself. It’ll be good and refreshing and then all at once, you’ve had your fill. It’s not like that for me with anything else. While I’m not old by anyone’s standard, I’m old enough to pay dearly for a late night with a bottle.

I have a neighbor, poor guy; he drinks all day every day. He starts mixing his vodka a little after noon and doesn’t stop until he goes to bed around midnight. He’s a smart guy too, with a family. The problem is that he works from home. He has too much time on his hands and open access to his liquor cabinet without any consequences. Well there are consequences but not the kind you or I would have. Immediate, I guess I mean. I’ve talked to him about his problem. He agrees and admits that it is indeed a problem. However, he usually can’t remember that we talked about it when the subject comes up again.

Interesting … now that I think about it, it’s almost like the first time every time we hang out. Maybe that’s why I actually like his company.

Here is a list of some decent and affordable red wines. (After you scan over my amateurish selection, please visit Flora’s Table. They..uh are slightly more knowledgable than I am).

Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon, $15
337 Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon, $14
Woodbridge Cabernet, $13 (currently sipping now and my personal favorite so that means you should try it).
Hawk Crest Cabernet, $12
Beringer Founder’s Estate Cabernet, $9

And if you feel like splurging:  Signorello Estate (2006) Cabernet Sauvignon, $35 to 50.

It looks like I like Cabernet a lot. Never really knew that about myself until now.