Old People Friendly
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I saw that Holmes Run had been stocked on 10/14, so I woke up early Monday and headed over after scraping the frost off my truck.
Above the first stream crossing, I didn’t see any fish but cast a little anyway. Below the first crossing I saw my first fish: a dead trout. At least I knew Holmes Run had actually been stocked. I cast twice to a hole that’s been productive in the past, only to catch a little bluegill on a beadless nymph. I was using a drab nymph based on some reading I did about October fishing at HR before heading out.
Further down the stream I finally saw some trout. I managed to get snagged, step in a hole trying to get free, and flood my hip waders. It was a comedy of errors, which I didn’t find funny as it was in the 30s this morning… I was wearing wool socks and longjohns, so I wrung them out and got back to fishing. Fortunately, it warmed up some as I fished.
I cast the nymph (until I lost it to a tree), then an egg, and a tandem with a woolybugger trailing the egg. I brought the fly inches from the nose of those fish, but best I could do was scare them away. Maybe they aren’t acclimated yet, but more likely I just don’t know what I’m doing. I had to be at the office for a 1pm meeting, so I headed back. I saw a few trout this time at the first crossing and cast a handful of times. I got some light bites (or just dragged bottom) but failed to set the hook. I felt like I just needed a few more casts, but I was already running late. I wanted to try an ant or a dry, bit didn’t have time. I didn’t catch any trout and I came home cold and wet, but I did learn a few things. Not least of which was to be careful out there during deer season. Maybe I’ll bring a blaze hat next time I’m out early.
I’ll confer with some real/experienced fly fishermen and get back out there as soon as I can.
UPDATE: I’m finally warming up by the fire. Got some great advice from twitter. Check it out at @bonvivantva. When I picked my daughter up tonight, FJ had some Marvin on and a fire roaring.
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The other day at about noon the snow really started coming down. I was working from home and had to do a little house sitting anyway, so I decided to take a lunch break. My truck was the more obvious choice, but I decided to take the M3 out for a snowy spin.
After bringing in the mail, I decided to make sure the hot tub was working properly.
I was reminded of the proverb: without pain, there is no pleasure. Having a newborn can be a tad stressful at times. I think this was just about the most relaxed I’ve ever been. My favorite cigar, my favorite Scotch, a steaming hot tub, some jazz, and the gentle fall of the snow. I even had a cardinal come keep me company, but to be honest, it was some much appreciated alone time.
I enjoyed a little tree overhang that sheltered me from the snow, and a magical and ethereal view that the above picture doesn’t do justice. I decided the sauna needed a quick check as well.
HB took EF for a walk in the winter wonderland. EF was full of wonderment for about 20 minutes, and then enjoyed a nice brisk nap.
After the walk, HB made some homemade hot coco while EF enjoyed some leche de madre.
That weekend, I thought HB might enjoy some hot tub time as well. I picked myself out another cigar.
Then while HB was soaking, I popped some bubbly and made up some canapés as a quelle surprise.
I’ve got to say, this was a pretty damn good time. The salty fattiness of the caviar, crème fraîche, and blinis was cut perfectly by the dry acidity of the bubbly. The cigar put my olfactories into overdrive and took me back to Havanna. The jazz didn’t hurt either.
Let me wax a little poetic about the champs. This bottle was an impulse buy for new years. Fortunately, we only managed a bottle a person on NYE, and this one was spared the saber. I was aware that Bollinger is a favorite of Bond, and totalwine said it had a high wine spectator score, but that was about it. I was very impressed by this bottle. It was rich and complex with velvety bubbles, and paired perfectly with our accompaniments. Its a very handsome bottle as well. Dark forest green glass, gold accents, and a beautiful pearlescent label that screams that one pair it with caviar.
EF took a pretty long nap, and HB and I got a lot more hot tub time than anticipated (Thanks EF).
After a long afternoon of hot tubbing, we decided to unwind in front of the fire with a little brown (Thanks again to Susie, a true aficionado, for the bourbon – HB loves it). Then we put on some Strikeback and enjoyed some sex for no reason…
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First off, I’ve got a NYE mix. It starts off with some songs to ring in the new year. You always need some Auld Lang Syne for a midnight kiss and singalong. Then I’ve also got a couple for us Virginians. Then the middle gets a little party-ish. Finally we come back to a more traditional Hogmanay tune.
Then I’ve got a Caviar mix. When I’m feeling bougie around the holidays, I like to pop a bottle of champs, pull some vodka out of the freezer, and have a little caviar. When indulging in the finest roe the caspian/black sea has to offer (or more often than not for me, farmed in Florida or somewhere) I like a little music. I’ll start out with some traditional Russian folk, and then as the vodka starts kicking in, speed things up to get the feel of bottle service at the Moscow discotheque.by rsiv with
Garden and Gun put a lesser known Johnny Cash playlist together that I’ve been enjoying, so I thought I’d share it here:by rsiv with
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On Saturday, Marteen came over for some fancy beers. We started with some bourbon barrel aged ale from Brooklyn Brewery (a gracious gift from my sister’s boyfriend). Then we headed over to Spacebar. They had some great local Oktoberfest on tap, but the stouts were the standouts to me.
I’m not sure this is possible, but Marteen, you should post that pic you took to the comments and put my photos to shame (Marteen is literally a pro).
The grilled cheeses at Spacebar used to be too greasy for my taste (which is saying a lot, because I love greasy food), but they finally got it together. The bbq sandwich is on point. The totchos have always been delicious. “This dog’ll hunt.”
I like to think Tommy Sietsema is really going around tagging the restaurants he reviews, but I doubt it. Thanks again Marteen for generously picking up the tab. After a couple strong beers, Marteen and I thought it was a great idea to taste almost the entire Buffalo Trace Mashbill #2 line. We started at Ancient Age and worked our way up to Blanton’s. Then I threw on some hipstery tunes, and we bro’d out.by rsiv with
So the other day, I had the tv on, and this commercial was playing:
I can’t speak to the product (though it doesn’t look good), but the video is a fine piece of marketing. What really peaked my interest was a lyric of which I was unfamiliar, “Karamu.” Since I didn’t know its spelling, I googled the lyrics, found it, and then headed to wikipedia. As it turns out, Karamu is most likely the feast of feasts that is part of Kwanzaa. That mystery solved, and then turned my attention to another lyric I was unfamiliar with: liming. As it turns out, liming is another word for what my people call loafing (can you detect a pejorative aspect to this term used by no nonsense mountain people?), and what in college, Diddle and I fondly called foononing. Liming is not just relaxing or socializing though, there are some parameters:
The concept of liming encompasses any leisure activity entailing the sharing of food and drink, the exchange of tall stories, jokes and anecdotes etc., provided the activity has no explicit purpose beyond itself.
A Deeper Cut:
The etymology of the word liming is obscure. It is a Trinidadian word, probably of recent origin since English has been a popular language in Trinidad for less than a century. It means, roughly, “hanging around” – but as we shall see, there is no exact linguistic or cultural equivalent to liming in the cultural contexts with which most of us are familiar.
The concept of liming encompasses any leisure activity entailing the sharing of food and drink, the exchange of tall stories, jokes and anecdotes etc., provided the activity has no explicit purpose beyond itself. As such, it may seem as though liming occurs in most societies. But whereas idling and inactivity are frequently seen unequivocally as shameful and slightly immoral kinds of social situations, liming is in Trinidad acknowledged as a form of performing art; it is a kind of activity one wouldn’t hesitate to indulge in proudly. In liming contexts, verbal improvisation, ingenuity and straightforward aimlessness are highly regarded, provided one follows the rules, which, however, are nearly all implicit. For my own part, it took me a great deal of time and effort to learn how to lime; many of my Trinidadian acquaintances would doubtless be of the opinion that I never really mastered it, despite a large number of determined attempts.
Liming is, in other words, an activity not subjected to a formal set of rules. Its value to the participants is entirely contingent on the shared meaning that can be established spontaneously. A typical lime begins when two or several acquaintances (neighbours, colleagues, relatives or simply friends) meet more or less by chance; in the street, at the grocer’s, outside somebody’s home, or in the rumshop. For it is impossible to lime alone: liming is inherently a social activity; it is constituted by the (minimally) dyadic relationship and cannot be reduced to the individual agent. A second necessary condition for a lime is the presence of an ambience of relaxation and leisure. Both (or all) limers should relax physically (recline in chairs, lean against walls etc.) in a manner enabling them to converse at their ease. Thirdly, the situation should assume an air of openness: a lime is in principle open to others who might want to join. Liming is, in other words, a social and public activity.
The term liming is nowadays used locally for almost any kind of unspecified leisure activity; in this analysis, I opt to restrict it conceptually to the kind of contexts outlined. Groups of people meeting in each others’ living-rooms are therefore not true limers unless the context allows for the intrusion of gatecrashers.
Its my opinion, and as far as Americans go, I am an expert limer. I certainly take my liming very seriously. However, and unfortunately for Americans, it seems that an essential part of liming is providing the opportunity for passers-by, whom you probably know (at least have seen around) in a small community, to join the festivities. In college, I lived in the party house (unofficial frat house), and we were the liming headquarters 24 hours a day. But now, in modern American suburbia, nobody just stops by. Not even when invited. Busy are busy and keep to themselves. Might as well be New York City (though hopefully this will change as the neighborhood gets younger, I get older, and I make friends with my kids’ parents). Its definitely not like Mayberry (though I do think of Falls Church City as the Mayberry to Mount Pilot’s DC). I do still get to enjoy some real liming on occasion. For instance, we always have a pig roast in the fall in the Northern Neck, and neighbors from all over hear the music, smell the hog, and just come down. I’m going to think on how I can increase my opportunities to lime, as its definitely something in which I believe.
Now that I’ve inspired you to lime, how about an end of summer playlist that may get the neighbors in a festive mood, and want to join you for a drink this weekend:
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On rare occasion, when my dad was been over-served, we’ll head down to the home theater and watch Stop Making Sense. Its hard to describe the concert video, except perhaps as a combination of pop music and performance art. Having been born at about the time the Talking Heads’ popularity was at its peak, I didn’t really get the music until much later in life. Since I grew up hearing them, I was a fan, but it wasn’t until I read American Psycho that I really started listening to them a lot. Patrick Bateman, the main character in American Psycho, is in his late twenties during the 1980s, and he has quite a predilection for pop music. His favorite band (in the book, not the movie) is the Talking Heads. The New Yorker describes the content of the Talking Heads’ work to consist of themes of longing, regret, and dread. More from the same article on This Must be the Place:
And, indeed, “This Must Be The Place” can be taken as an ode to the palliative effects of companionship. “Home is where I want to be / Pick me up and turn me ’round,” Byrne begins. “I feel numb, born with a weak heart / Guess I must be having fun.” All of a moment, this narrator, who has been worrying over the boredoms of affection for a decade, is welcoming it. He may not want to examine it (“The less we say about it the better”), but he’s ready to dive in (“Make it up as we go along”). All of a moment, he is infatuated. “Hiii yo, I got plenty of time,” Byrne croons.
“This must be the place”—it’s not a statement of certainty, is it? It’s not “This is the place.” It’s more “This is what someone said the place was.” It’s even a little desperate. “I don’t know what I’ll do if this isn’t the place.” The music, too, starts in a kind of question mark. Very unconventionally for a pop song, the lyrics don’t come in for a full minute, during which time the floating bass line doesn’t play on the roots of the guitar chords but on the fifths, lending the melody what the keyboardist Jerry Harrison calls “an uneasiness.” The whole time, we’re wondering if that propulsive sound that carried the record up to this point will return.
It doesn’t, and Byrne arrives instead, but he hasn’t gotten through the first verse before he’s trying to reassure himself he came to the right address. “It’s okay, I know nothing’s wrong,” he sings. “I love the passing of time.” The third verse begins as hopefully as the first does, with the words “Home is where I want to be,” but then a note of disappointment enters his voice, reminiscent of the newscaster-father switch in “Life During Wartime,” as he decides “But I guess I’m already there.” (Note the same non-aligned rhyme on “where” and “there.”) Already, he is bored with the idea of home. Meanwhile, the imagery—“Eyes that light up / Eyes look through you”, “You’ve got a face with a view”—is as spectral as it is numinous. All this as the E-minor chords turn the wistfulness into nostalgia, and nostalgia into a sense of loss, not for things lost, but, the listener intuits from the counterpoint horn-synth stabs in the chorus, for things never found. By the end, the comfort of love is making him think of death: “And you’ll love me til my heart stops / Love me til I’m dead.”
The dreadful longing and anticipatory regret are still there. Byrne is more at ease with them, he can even appreciate them, but he knows they’ll never go away. “This Must Be The Place has a lot of sentiment,” Lethem says, “but the thing that energizes the song is that it’s difficult to get to that sentiment.”
Like American Psycho, its disconcerting to be able to relate to the song, even a little bit. Also similar to the book, its about as complex and psychological as it gets. So your homework for next week is to analyze Once in a Lifetime. And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here. Same as it ever was.
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On the morning of day 8, we took a guided walk through the Colon Cemetery. We got to see the graves of some famous and important people, and we saw some Santería rituals. At one grave, people come to pray, some daily, leave an offering, and the back away from the gravesite, not turning their back on the dead.
Then we had a quick stop for pictures at the Plaza de la Revolución. There were some really cool cars parked nearby.
Then we visited the Callejon de Hamel, an alley that has become an art installation, created by Salvador Gonzalez. We learned a lot about Afro-Cuban religions, and toured Gonzalez’s residence.
Next we went to Almacenes de San José, a market where we did some shopping. I’m not usually a big shopper on vacation, but this was not your typical Chinese-made tchotkes emporium. It was mostly art and handicrafts, but with some junk mixed in. Our guide led us to a stand where they sell handmade humidors. These were super high quality cedar humidors with hydrometers and pinned joints, perfect alignment and fit. I bought myself one, and we got one for my uncle. I also bought a painting for my parents, and one for my office. I really wish we’d had more time here, as the value of these items was incredible, and the quality was outstanding. Notice in the second picture below, there was a red bull high dive competition going on nearby.
While we shopped and negotiated fair prices, I enjoyed an H Upmann Mag 50. It was a great cigar, but as for the particulars, I couldn’t really say. Having such a great cigar, in such a cool place was an overwhelming experience. I was also on a high after getting such a great humidor at such a reasonable price. Its something I’ll cherish forever. After shopping, we ate at Sloppy Joe’s. Earlier in the week when I was talking to my Canadian friends at LCDH, they recommended Sloppy Joe’s. Then they proceeded to describe what a sloppy joe actuallly is. When I told them that I had them as part of my school lunch program growing up, they made some cute quip about thats whats wrong with America. I diplomatically held my tongue.
After lunch, I asked for directions to the Bacardi building, and we walked over. Afterwards, we had some time to wander around Havana on our own. It was nice to get a little lost and take our time for once.
The Conde Villanueva is a hotel with a LCDH that was featured in the Cuban documentary by James Suckling that I watched before the trip. I got a few sticks there. We mostly just strolled around and took in the city. After a quick break at the hotel, we went back out for the night. We knew that something special was planned since it was our last full day in Cuba.
The yank tank ride from our hotel to the hotel Nacional was one of the best parts of the trip. I took a lot of video, and while posing for multiple pictures, ended up drinking a lot more of that Havana Club (the bottle was from the Tropicana show) than I sat out to consume. Our car had a keypad that played different notes on the horn. What an experience. After the ride, we got a tour of the historic Hotel Nacional.
The hotel was beautiful. One of the most interesting part of the tour was the response to a question about why we didn’t stay at the Hotel Nacional. Our guide told us that the Hotel Nacional has issues with power outtages, hot water, and the rooms are very small. Its very telling about our current culture that rooms used to be small, and public spaces grand, but now its the opposite. People are more private, and less social. While thats pretty much true of me, its sad, and I hope to change that about myself after thinking on it. Its also one of the cool parts about the A&K trip. Generally, one travels with family, and doesn’t meet many others. With A&K, you meet a lot of different people, but they’re all well traveled and interesting. You end up spending a lot of time with your fellow travelers. I really like that about our trip. Its something I usually don’t get to experience when I travel. After the tour, we were treated to a private concert.
The appetizers, mojitos, cigar, and music was incredible. I’m generally not a superlative person, but on this trip you really just couldn’t imagine how the next musicians could be better, but they were. My dad got up and danced with the performer who was visibly impressed by his dancing. I have a lot of video from this part of the trip I hope to put up soon. After a great time at the Hotel Nacional, we went to our farewell dinner.
We had another amazing dinner. After dinner, they brought out a box of cigars that looked to be someone’s personal collection. There was a huge variety. I went with a limited edition Punch. After dinner we went back to La Zorra Y el Cuervo, since we did not want the evening, or the trip to end. After we enjoyed both drinks included in our two drink minimum and I had smoked my cigar, we found a cab. After a quick negotiation, and about 10 minutes of mechanical tinkering, we were on the road headed back to the hotel.
Behike, Cuba Libre, Jazz. What a combo. There was a really good trumpeter at the club that night (which is why we didn’t check out the other popular jazz club). We were exhausted, but I’m so glad we went out. If you could only have one experience in Cuba to get the gist of what Cuba is all about, this would be it. An amazing cigar, a good rum drink, and some of the best musicians in the world jamming out. Another giant of a day, and one I’ll never forget. We headed home late, and I wondered how I’d ever have an experience like this again, and how I was going to drink all the rum and smoke all the cigars I still had with just a morning in Cuba left.by rsiv with