2017 Whisky Wind-down, 346: Not My Whisky

[Editorial note: You probably remember 2016 Whisky Wind-down. Hell, it basically just ended. Am I saying 2017 is already so bad that it’s time to start a similar countdown already? No. I am not. However, some days beg to be noted in time. Also, some days call for a stiff drink.] 


Today’s dram: Ruskova Vodka Real American Whisky

Today’s tasting notes: Blarg. Gak. <string of expletives>

Today’s thoughts: Appropriately enough, I woke up sick today. Psychosomatic? Could be.

At any rate, I hadn’t been awake long when my phone rang. T-Mobile customer service. Without getting into the specifics, I’ll just say the company and I have an ongoing billing dispute. They’re wrong, of course. The service reps — I talked to three, over the course of 90 minutes — acknowledge the problem, but say they “can’t change that in the system.”

All in all, it was a frustrating experience, being in the right but still unable to make a positive change. Powerless before the needs of the corporation. Pay up or lose.

Which is, again, appropriate enough for the day at hand.

All the facts in the world don’t matter if one side has power and the willingness to use it.

All the reason in the world doesn’t matter if the other side is unreasonable.

Try as you might, the inertia of the system will carry you away, regardless.

Today’s notes on the immediate future: And so … I drank my selected “whisky.”

I poured a second.

After a bit, it got easier.

I mean, if you have low expectations.

No, lower than that. 

Afterward, I went to my happy place. 

Not the bar. 

My other happy place: the kitchen.  

There, I baked Christmas cookies.

What with travel, various sicknesses, and other conflicts, this weekend is the earliest I have been able to coordinate gathering with my family to observe the holiday.

It’s harder than it used to be, and I don’t just mean the scheduling. 

See, try as I might, I can’t convince some of them we’re better off, by far, than we were eight years ago, and the next four years bode poorly for all of us.

(In fairness, try as they might, they can’t convince me of the opposite, either.)

We resolve these differences mostly by ignoring them. 

At least we agree on cookies. 

Today’s toast: Nostrovia, comrades! “May the wings of liberty never lose a feather.” –Jack Burton

Barkeep, Another

A hand lifts a chalice of beer in toast. The glass bears the name of the Trappist monastery that brews the ale inside: Spencer. The ale is the color of copper and topped with a stiff, high foam.
Here’s to you, Nanny.

 

In the very near future my writing will have a tendency to focus on drinking and reminiscing.

Before that starts, I’d like to revisit a piece wherein I did both of those things, albeit for rather different reasons. I’ve mentioned before — and it would likely be obvious to you, anyway — that I sometimes have trouble making the words flow. There are a number of times when I want to be here, saying something, and I can’t make it happen.

Then, sometimes, all it takes is a beer in a bar on my grandmother’s birthday.

I think about that evening a lot, actually. Whenever the words won’t come, which is all too often. My maternal grandmother never really knew me as a writer, but I still think of disappointing her when I’m not living up to my own expectations.

Anyway, here’s one occasion when I did, if only briefly:

A Trappist Toast

Notes: The font is funny on that page. That’s because I composed and posted the entire entry at the bar, using my phone. It bugs me, but not enough to change it, because seeing it reminds me that much more of the act of writing itself, which, well, not to belabor the point entirely, was much more important to me that evening than the actual words themselves.

(Also, I forgot the photo.)

I’ll Drink to This

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and I’m an American with a bit of Irish blood, married to an American with more than a bit of Irish blood … so, drinking and revelry shall commence.

Or, more accurately, commenced two days ago.

The city of Atlanta believes in only holding parades on Saturdays — and with our traffic, who can blame them? — and pubs are always eager to get an early start on any holiday, so we’ve been honoring our heritage more or less continually since that morning.

On average, the volume of Guinness has probably exceeded the volume of Irish in my blood.

Where was I?

Right. Drinking.

An Englishman, an American, and an Irishman are out drinking.

Three flies come along.

One lands in each man’s glass.

The Englishman sniffs, pushes his drink away.

The American shrugs, removes the fly, and continues drinking.

The Irishman removes the fly and screams, “Spit it out, ya bastard!”

I regret never having told that joke to my grandmother, daughter of Irish immigrants, source of my Irish blood. I imagine she would have liked it. Anyway, I’ll raise a glass to her tonight, and I’ll try my best to identify with the Irishman.

Here We Snow Again

Why, yes, I am pleased that our local officials seem to have learned from their mistakes during our last severe winter weather ordeal and are actively preparing in advance for this one.

After so dramatically falling on his face with so many people watching, Gov. Deal (or at least his re-election staff) must be delighted to have a chance at redemption so soon.

The “we learn from our mistakes” campaign materials will nearly write themselves.

And me? Well, I skipped my usual shopping trip today because of the expected hordes at the stores. It’s okay, though; my pantry is stocked, and so is the bar. Bring on the winter wonderland.

Resolved

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions.

Which is a good thing.
If I did, one of them would probably be something along the lines of “blog more diligently,” and, as you can see, I kinda suck at that.
And I’m sure “stop procrastinating” would make the list annually.
Said list would be two weeks late, just like this blog post.

While I may not make New Year’s Resolutions, I do sometimes make decisions that might be considered resolutions, and I do so as the whim strikes me.

In the spirit of the New(ish) Year 2012, I’m going to look back on three of those from 2011.
SODAS

I had a couple of sodas over the holidays, and they were the first ones I’d consumed in months. If ditching soda had been a resolution, I’d have totally nailed it. It wasn’t. I just made a decision, back in May, that the stuff wasn’t good for me, and I haven’t changed my mind.

Yay, me.
BOOZE

On a related note, as I observed a short while after I made my choice to ditch fizzy sugar water — more accurately, in my case, “fizzy possibly-carcinogenic-sweetener water” — this decision meant leaving behind a once-beloved drink (rum+Coke) and put me in search of a new go-to cocktail.

I’m happy to report that I have settled on the Warren Ellis Cocktail. (Google it.)
Yay, me.
MONEY
I also made a minor financial decision early last year that I never wrote about.
A few years back, when I started my current job, I was invited to join The Lottery Club. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it involves pitching in a couple bucks a week toward the purchase of big-game lottery drawings, with the (explicit) goal of pooling resources to “improve your chances” of striking it rich and the (implicit) goal of insuring that you won’t be the one poor bastard left to work for a living should your coworkers strike it rich.
I’ve always known lottery odds are terrible — if you need an example, look no further than Rob Cockerham’s Incredibly Depressing Mega Millions Lottery Simulator — but I finally decided to stop throwing away money in adherence to “everyone in the office might get rich EXCEPT ME!” fear and do something more productive.

So I opened a new IRA for the sole purpose of depositing the $2 I’d been spending in the lottery club each week.

I rounded it off to $10 a month, to make automatic deposits easier, and I started in April.
Results? After nine months, I’m pleased to report that my $90 is now $90.67.

At this rate, I may be able to move up my retirement plans by an hour or so.

On the other hand, my coworkers who are still in the lottery club “invested” the same $90 and do not have even $0.67 to show for it.

Yay, me.

So, that’s three good things I accomplished last year, none of which I pledged to do in January.
As 2012 begins, I have no resolutions.
But I may very well let you know of any that cross my mind as the year goes on.