2008-12-31

The LAST Final Tiki Update of 2008?

Stop the presses! The mail came today.



My friend Dan (of Ultimate Solitaire fame) sent me a birthday present! It's a wahine mug from Harvey's Lake Tahoe. There was a tiki bar called Top Of The Wheel there in the 60's-70's. Someone blew it all up in 1980.



It's a bit hard to read as the paint is almost washed off (definitely a well used mug) but it says "Sail With Harvery's" on the sail of the outrigger. This style seems to be more rare than some of the later ones with more ornate logos out in the whitespace of the mug.



It's stamped JAPAN on the bottom and is probably from the Otagiri Merchantile Company. Definitely an early one.

I have a couple of Tiki Farm reproductions of similar mugs but this is my first and only REAL wahine mug. Thanks Dan!!!

2008-12-30

Final Tiki Update of 2008?

I'm way behind on tiki postings. I doubt I'll cover them all but will post a few highlights just to finish up for the year:



In November I finally ordered my Intergalactic Island Hopper decanter from Tiki Farm. I'd been trying to get this one for years it seems. When it was first announced it wasn't available. Then its release was delayed... and delayed again. I quit looking for it. Then it finally came out and sold out before I managed to snag one. They came across one last box of them somehow and I finally got mine. What tiki wouldn't want its own spaceship?



Along with this shipment I picked up Sam's Seafood Maori and Marquesan. Sam's is gone now but its spirit lives on as Kona. I particularly like the squareness of Sam's Maori. It might make it hard to drink out of but it looks pretty neat.

Then in early December I finally placed my order for the Queequeg Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Moai's MS Society Tiki Mugs. This was a very limited run of 200 mugs made to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I squeaked in at #186 of 200. The swirly bits (hair?) on this one are great.





Then for Christmas, Heather got me a Trader Vic's Los Angeles Limited Edition Tiki Mug. Check out those cheeks!

Then to top it off she also gave me a game called Tiki Topple. It's very nicely designed and has very cool tiki pieces.







It's quite fun and requires a little more strategy (and luck) than you might first think.

I also got some more Tiki Fountains from folks (Thank you everyone!!! Really!!!)

2008-12-15

Otter On Ice



We went to the Georgia Aquarium today.

Otters love ice.

2008-12-11

Tiki Wars

I made a tiki map for Weewar:



Yay.

weewar.com

Beary Good!!!

Dave and Danielle have a Christmas party ever year where everyone brings a bear to donate to the local fire department.

This year the turnout was awesome:



Maybe I need to do something like this one year with stuffed tikis... but I'd have a hard time giving them away :(

2008-12-06

Brrrrr.... It's Stupid Cold

But I'm out here anyway. I'm going in there where its warmer.

2008-12-04

2008-11-22

2008-11-18

Safety First

I'm the Assistant Tenant Safety Warden for our office.

Margo (not her real name) got me a cool fire helmet with this thing on it that has lights, a siren, and and an amplifier to talk through while giving evacuation orders.



I had to surgically remove the electronics from the mask as it crushed my face with the mask down. It is now safely separated as a hand-held unit that I have attached to a lanyard.

Thanks Margo (not her real name). We all feel safer now.

2008-11-13

Facebook Poll

People are bugging me to join facebook. Should I? Shouldn't I?

I put a poll on the left hand side of the blog. Let me know what you think.

Update: 12/7/08
The poll closed on 12/1/08 with No beating out Yes 17 to 15. This is what I would have chosen anyway. So in any case.. no facebook for now. Plus I think the name is really dumb.

2008-11-06

Microwaving Soap

I've watched Ted Allen and the PopSci guy microwave some soap a few times on Ted's Food Detectives show. It looked really cool. I wondered how it would work with some glycerin soap we got at Disney World last year. I cut off a piece and gave it a try. It eventually bubbled and started to foam but was not as spectacular as the one on TV (maybe I should try Ivory or something).

Anyway... what it did do is fill the microwave, kitchen and now the house with the intense smell of the soap. I can barely breathe. Ugh.

Heather will probably think it smells nice when she gets home.

2008-10-31

Happy Jack

Happy Halloween

Don sent me a link to this cool Rezillos video from '78. MoAM? did a cover of this and it's always been one of my favorites.



That got me watching YouTube. Now you can watch The Genuine Miracle of Pyrex. It's pretty spooky.



Happy Halloween from Agent317x.

2008-10-27

Pumpkin Craving Party

Richard sent me a better picture from the Pumpkin Craving [sic] Party:



Thanks Richard & Becky!

2008-10-19

Cool enough for Cat Magnets



It's finally cool enough to put the SnuggleSafes under the cushions in the cat beds. Yay.

Coffee Snob in the Making? (probably not but...)

I guess since SquirrelBoy got one I'll be a lemur and chime in.

Several years ago my friend Sam told me about Keurig. I had a Senseo and was content. I made my own pods for the most part. I kept watching the Keurig, Senso, and other single serve brewer news over at SingleServeCoffee.com. Even though I really liked the coffee the Senseo makes and the crema-like layer it would put on top, I was constantly lured to the variety of K-cups available.

A few weeks ago I got one of the Keurig brewers from Costco. I'm pretty pleased with it. (It's still all Sam's fault.)

Most coffee pods are in bags of 18 or so. Once you open the bag, you've opened them all. Then I feel committed to use that bag before opening others. Each K-cup is sealed until you put it in the machine and brew it. So I can buy a few boxes of a bunch of different coffees and brew whichever one I happen to feel like drinking at the time. It's like being as the Baskin-Robbins of coffeedom.


Here we are with some Gloria Jeans Cappuccino flavored cofeee.

I think I had underestimated the ease of use of the Keurig. The Senseo was not hard to use by any means but it did require a little more rinsing and wiping etc. With the Keurig you just drop the K-cup in, close the lid and push a button. When the coffee is done about a minute later, just open the top and remove the K-cup. Done. Good decent coffee with little fuss.

I've been able to find K-cups for $0.25-$0.44 each. That's a bit pricey compared to just brewing a pot from ground beans but it's a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a crappy cup of coffee somewhere. I also think I wasted more coffee by brewing a pot of 6 cups etc. when all I really wanted was one big mug.

It also comes with a "My K-cup" thingy that basically contains a reusable filter basket you can fill with your own coffee. So when I just want a cup of Chock Full O' Nuts (so much for being a coffee snob now) I can brew one up. There are also things out there like the K-cap that will let you reuse K-cups.

Now that SquirrelBoy has a Keurig too, it should be easier to hit the minimum order needed to qualify for free shipping and help keep prices down. Yay :)

2008-10-16

Not Cool

We've been having a lot of trouble with the AC freezing up any time the outside temperature isn't insanely hot. We've fixed coolant leaks, charged the system and it's still not happy.



This is all the crap Walt scraped off my evaporator coil this afternoon. I'm guessing that's probably 15 years worth... or possibly 30 if they didn't clean it when they replaced the furnace.



Above is how the coil looked after scraping the dry crap off. It then got a nice coat of cleaner/foam and was closed back up. The condensate ran brown afterward. I'd have to say this must help.

It's running now. We'll wait for the sun to go down and see how it does.

2008-10-09

The Ultimate Solitaire

I was talking to one of my coworkers about archive.org and the wayback machine and it go me searching for myself in the past. Well... I stuck "Elrod Montana" (uh huh... a way-old BBS name... stop laughing...) in google and it actually turned up something: ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/images/games/board/solitaire.dsk.gz

I had completely forgotten about Dan's version of Solitaire for the Apple //e that I had wrapped some happy graphics around and out on The BBS to share with the Apple ][ world.

I still have my //e and can see it from here. I probably still have the original disk too. However it was easier to go find an emulator and boot it up here on the Mac.

Whoa... all the wild scrolling begins.



Yep. That's it. 7C2... we were really geeks back in high school.



It was pretty good solitaire for the Apple ][ too... I wonder how many people ever had their monitors on their sides to play it?

(The emulator software I found called Virtual ][ is really nice. I'm not sure if I want to pay $30 or just take my Apple //e down off the shelf though.)

Thanks W.J.T.!!!

2008-10-01

Zorak!!!



Zorak came to visit me today. He's hanging out at the trash can.

2008-09-26

Coffee in the doublewide

I'm having my coffee at Kim's this morning.

2008-09-18

In Search of Falernum & The Bitter Truth

A week or so ago I was out and about in search of a new bottle of falernum as my trusty bottle of Sazerac Co. falernum was just about out. I had a hard time locating much of anything and a few searched of the internet indicates the the Sazaerac Co. quit producing it a few years ago. UGH!



I finally located some Fee Brothers falernum down near Decatur at Toco Giant. The Fee Brothers stuff is pretty good. It doesn't quite have the same level of "tang" and crispness that the Sazerac falernum has but it's very close. The basic spiciness of the falernum is all there. One notable difference is that the Sazerac falernum contained 5% alcohol and the Fee Brothers falernum is non-alcoholic. Perhaps the alcohol in the Sazerac version helped free more alcohol soluable compounds from the spices it was made from. The world may never know.

In any case, pick up some Fee's falernum if you see it somewhere. Not only is it good for tiki-drinks it's great on fresh fruit salad (plus the acidity will help prevent browing) and is actually nice on some vanilla ice cream. Or do what you're supposed to:

Daiquri Cocktail (as found on the Sazerac Falernum bottle)

Juice 1/2 Lime (or lemon)
1 1/2 oz Rum
cracked ice
1 tablespoon falernum

Shake until frothy. Strain into cocktail glass.
(I suggest Appleton Gold or a Mount Gay Barbados Rum... something with some color and flavor.)

Next to the falernum I also found a bunch of different Fee Brothers bitters. I'd bought a bottle of their orange bitters a while back and it was good so this time I picked up a bottle of their old fashioned bitters and peach bitters as well. The old fashioned bitters is a bit like Angostura bitters but with maybe a bit more sweetness and perhaps a touch of cinnamon. The peach bitters is also a bit sweeter, pretty peachy, lighter on the spices and very light in color. I'm actually enjoying bitters a lot with just a few drops (5-6) in a tall glass of 7-UP (or diet Publix lemon lime) soda. Bitters are kind of like Mrs. Dash for the beverage world. Pick up a bottle when you find some and give them a try. If you hate it, give it to me and I'll find it a home. If you like it, tell me about it. :)

BTW... if someone locates Angostura Orange Bitters somewhere near Atlanta please let me know where you found it. I've read good things but can't find it around here.

2008-09-11

Name this drink!

I just made a really yummy cocktail to finish off the day. I don't have a name for it (but I like it a lot). Now is your chance to suggest something. Here's how you make one:

Unknown Cocktail
  • Juice of one lime
  • 3 oz orange juice
  • 1/2 oz grenadine
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1/4 oz Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters
  • 1 1/2 oz Cruzan Estate Dark Rum (really more of a gold rum)
  • 1/2 oz Cruzan Black Strap Rum

Mix well and serve over ice.
Good times.

What would you call it? Better, yet, make one and then make a suggestion. I'll wait about a week to see what people come up with. Please post your suggestions as a comment.

2008-09-08

New Lappy

I've been wanting one of the tiny little netbooks for a while now. I enjoy my Nokia n800 but without a regular keyboard and pointing device it just doesn't replace a full hands-on computer.

I gave in this weekend:



Meet the Acer Aspire One. I'd been looking at the the Acer and the ASUS eee, while waiting for Dell to get their new machine out. Dell's new Inspirion Mini 9 was very tempting (and probably more upgradeable) but for the price right now, the Aspire One seems like a good entry point into the world of tiny netbooks.



It has 1G of RAM, 120G HD, Windows XP and built-in WiFi. It runs Firefox just fine and handles streaming video with SlingPlayer without and issues (Yes, I can now watch NASCAR in the kitchen while preparing a compound butter.) It's also fully WeeWar compatible.

It's small, light and easy to throw in my bag with my work laptop or throw in another bag to drag around without the poundage of the work laptop. The battery life is pretty limited but I usually don't stray too far from power sources. I wish the power adapter was a bit smaller though.

2008-09-06

2008-08-30

This Week in Tikiland

Today I didn't go out looking for tiki mugs, I let them come to me. Here's the latest batch from TikiFarm:



On the left is Tangata. One the right is Hano'aki. Both are designed by Marcus Pizzuti and have really cool multi-color glazes. In the center is the Oceanic Arts 50th Anniversary Mug. It's big, green, and really pretty. Oceanic Arts is the place that brought us all the tiki decor for tiki bars, hotels etc. during the heyday of tikidom. They even did a lot of the tiki stuff in most of Disney's Adventurelands. (Here are a few pics of Oceanic Arts from SpageAgeCity.com.)

Speaking of Disney...



Here's my first Disney pin. I got him off eBay last weekend for $0.99 + some shipping. Margo (not her real name) will be pleased.

2008-08-28

Progress

I guess... We need more billboards.

2008-08-24

Tiki Count

Scrappy has been wondering how many tiki mugs and stuff I have now. I did a really quick count this afternoon. It's a bit low as there is stuff stashed in drawers here and there and there is also some junk at work. Here are the approximate results:

  • Drinking Vessels (mugs, cups, shots, bowls): 125
  • Salt & Pepper Sets: 5
  • Misc. (statues, plates, picture frames, giant wooden spoons etc.): 62
  • Books, Magazines & Publications: 40+

I've also got a couple of new ones from Tiki Farm on the way. Maybe I have a problem.

I've been planning on making an online catalog at some point. I'll be taking a picture of each item and recording as much as I can remember about it before I forget where/how I got it. After this quick count, the thought of such a process scares me.

2008-08-23

Saturday Tiki Find

Today I stopped by another antique/flea market in Lilburn after a trip to Stone Mountain for a haircut. Nothing new there. So I stopped by my local Goodwill on the way home just to make sure my bases were covered. I found a Cheeky Tiki souvenir shot from St. Simons Island, GA.



Yep, a misunderstood and unwanted gift from someone returning from St. Simons. It's not rare. It's not old. It's relatively local. It's a new one for me though so I've added it to the lineup of similar touristy items from afar (I'll have to stage a group photo later.)

2008-08-18

Pneumatic People Tubes

They need to edit this to make the change to "dried plums" and re-air it:



I bet pneumatic people tubes could work through the interweb too.

2008-08-17

Weekend Tiki Finds

After fighting with my air conditioner for the better part of Saturday morning I eventually made it out of the house. I was hoping to hit some garage sales early but it was already a bit after noon so I figured I was best off hitting the local Goodwill stores and the "antique" stores that surround them.

I found this nice ceramic Ku salt & pepper set at the Flea-Antique Market next to my local Goodwill:



I haven't figured out who made them yet. They're from Japan so it's definitely not some recent casting.



Then within a few feet I found this hand-carved tiki napkin holder. This will hold my bar napkins quite nicely some day. It was really dirty but cleaned up well looks good with a nice coat of Formby's Almond Lustre.



Other than that I didn't find much. The Larryville Goodwill had 4 plastic tiki cups that I passed on (I already have a few of them and they were not a nice as a different model that Bear found me some more of last weekend.) The same store also had a coconut monkey. It wasn't in great shape but even if it was I would have passed. I already have a coconut monkey. While no collection of tiki junk should be considered complete without one, I believe one coconut monkey is enough for anyone.

As long as the camera was out I figured I'd grab a few shots of a toothpick holder I found at Walgreens a few weeks ago. I think I paid 67 cents or something for it... with toothpicks even.



I have him tucked in the kitchen cabinet next to some of the standard bar tender's guides. Next time I need to put a cherry in a Manhattan I'm ready.

2008-08-14

Hot Sauce!

I'm still recovering from a battle with my sinuses. My new Hot Sauce Delivery System is working quite well though:



Finally a use for those little rice cakes that are supposed to be healthy. I think the Frank's Red Hot does the best job but the Rooster Sauce does offer more control of artistic expression.

2008-08-07

Rum Ramsey

Today got dark 'n' stormy at work and then it cleared up and the sun came out.

I went home.

It was a fairly long day so why not try a new drink. I got out my 1946 copy of Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink to look for new adventure.



I picked the Rum Ramsey.

Why?

I had everything... and it used some Peychaud's bitters so why not?



Not bad. I really like the touch of bourbon and the spice from the bitters. It has just enough sweetness to round it out without being "sweet." I think mine had just a bit too much lime. I guess "juice of 1/4 lime" can vary a bit depending on the lime (not the best way to measure I guess). I found this version that calls for 1/4 ounce of lime juice. Maybe I'll try that next time.

Evidently the drink was made by Albert Martin at the Bon Ton bar in New Orleans. It still exists today and they tout the drink as a family secret but don't mention Albert. What a shame. :( (See comment below.)

2008-08-06

Fabulous Four (Minus One)

Bear comes through again with this nifty find at his local Goodwill:



These three are from a boxed set that Tiki Farm used to sell consisting of: Yellow Moai, Green Rarotongan, Blue Marquesan & Purple Lono (click for picture). If someone happens to run across Purple Lono please let me know or go ahead and rescue him for me. It may bring you good luck.

Thanks Bear!

Restaurant Inspection Scores

Since I bothered looking up DeKalb and Gwinnett's the other day and found Fulton's today at lunch I figured I'd share (Cobb's is not available online right now so you're on your own over there).

2008-08-04

AC Fun

Every few years my condensation drain line gets clogged up with algae and other junk. I've tried to pour a little bleach in it every now and then to keep it happy but every once in a while it gets its way, plugs up, and gallons of water start covering our basement floor. The way it drains is annoyingly stupid but I won't go in to that.



This time I just hacked the drain line and have it dripping into a funnel, through a tube into a 6 gallon carboy. I can get 4-5 gallons or so of condensate in about half a day. Makes me wish I had some plants worth watering outside. They sure are heavy though.

2008-07-31

Dark 'N' Stormy

Well it's dark out and I did just see some lightning but it's not terribly stormy.

A few weeks ago I was reading something online where someone was asking what do do with some leftover Myer's Dark Rum. Someone suggested mixing it with ginger beer. That sounded pretty good. I stopped at Tower this week to see what I could find in the way of ginger beer. I've had both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions before but had not seen any lately. I started off in the beer section and completely struck out. Nothing. I think the guy in the beer section thought I might be a little nuts (he might be right) but he did really try to find it for me.

I went over to the rum section just to see what was there and ran across an official pairing:



Evidently the official name for this pairing of dark rum and ginger beer is a Dark'N'Stormy. It's from Bermuda and has to be made with Gosling's Black Seal Rum and Barritt's Ginger Beer. This promotional package came with 2 cans of Barritt's. I figured that enough to give it a try.

When I got home I sampled about a 1/4 ounce of both the Goslings and the Myers's by themselves. The colors are about the same. The Myer's has more going on with the aroma. You can really smell the molasses. The Gosling's hits you a a brighter smell of a gold rum. In tasting them I find the Myer's has many more layers of flavor going on. You really taste the molasses and it has a rocky then lingering finish. The Gosling's it's a much smoother experience: A little burn, a bit of molasses, but then it turns caramel, almost buttery, and has a smooth finish.

I can't really say if I prefer one over the other. They're just different. They're both fairly common dark rums but they each have a distinctive profile. Substituting one for the other in a cocktail recipe would result in a different creation. Probably not bad... just different.

Tonight I actually tried the Dark'N'Stormy (while baking quiches) using the supplied Gosling's and Barritt's. It wasn't bad but I did find it a bit sweet. That's a really odd thing for me to say as I like sweet drinks. Perhaps I felt the sweetness, the heavy spice, and the sweetness of the rum was just an overly powerful combination. It's definitely something I'll try again... perhaps with different ginger brews I manage to locate. I've seen some other Ginger Beers at Cost Plus before so I'll find something else there later. In the meantime a tiny glass of Gosling's or Myer's is quite nice for sipping.

Update 8/23/08
I made this with some Reed's Premium Ginger Brew that I found a my local Krogers. I liked it a little better. I think the lemon-lime taste of it adds something for me. I'd like to try it with Reed's "Extra" Ginger Bew but I'll have to find someone who carries it.

Lost & Not Found

Uh oh...

2008-07-24

Cocktail Babble

Last week I made a Manhattan. It was good. This past weekend I picked up some Fee Brother's Orange Bitters and made another one with that instead of Angostura bitters. It was good too. Yesterday I made a Southern Manhattan. It was a bit (ok... a TON) on the sweet side... not bad, but a bit over the top.

This week I also found some some Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters. The Stirrings is a bit different than other bitters. It's quite diluted and is in a simple syrup base instead of alcohol. You have to use a bit more than most traditional bitters but it still has a nice spice to it. If you don't want to add more sweetness it's not the bitters to use.

All in all I think I'm liking bitters and will probably pick up different ones when I find them. Each has its own distinctive flavor profile that adds a bit of itself to whatever you put it in. Just a small amount adds something to a drink without taking away from the base flavor profiles. I've even started putting a dash or two of various bitters in 7-Up to give it an twist as well as evaluate the different tastes of the bitters.

Tonight I'm just sipping on an ounce of Meyer's Dark. No bitters. It has a beautiful smell as well as a great taste. It makes me want it to be cold so I could make hot buttered rum.

2008-07-22

I made ABC News tonight!

Well... sorta.

I was cooking dinner tonight when I got an urgent call from JerrBear and Dr. T. Evidently Dr. T was watching a story on ABC Nightly News about Twitter and how people use it to complain about their ISP, phone company, etc. and all of a sudden a little tiki picture with "grantbob" next to it was shown on screen.

I was able to find the newscast on the web.



Yep that's me.

You can go watch the whole thing HERE.

Evidently back when they shot this story (looks like a while ago) they did a search for "Comcast" shortly after one of my problems with them.

Ever since I watched the guy in the Comcast truck cut my cable, drive away, and then had the fine folks on the phone tell me they didn't do that, I really haven't had much faith in the company (it took about a week to get the cable back on.) I think this particular tweet was from a time where I called them to report an outage but did not schedule a service call. Service was restored in a few hours but they spend the next few days calling me and leaving me messages about my upcoming service call. I had to call back on two different days and spend about 20 minutes trying to cancel a service call I never requested.

They probably showed up anyway when no one was home.

BTW: Comcast did reply to at least one of my tweets but I never saw it at the time as my twitter settings were not set to show replies from people not on my list. This is not always going to be an effective method for them to reach out. I think they should spend more time with the people who actually do call and request help.

Update: Here's the original: TWEET