C-Note came over this afternoon, and HB and EF went out to get us some Taco Bamba. The tacos were amazing as always, but best of all, the good Chicharrónes are back! Then RP headed out to prepare for our hunt next weekend.
It was pretty cold, and pretty slick out, but we needed to get back in the swing of things.
After the clays, we broke the guns down for a much needed deep cleaning. Rob and Jodi came by, and then we all went out for some El Tio.
Notice the FAR we used as a support for punching out some pins.
Can’t wait for the hunt.
by rsiv with
Right now I’m taking one day a week to watch EF. This past Wednesday was my first day. HB gave me a bunch of instructions, and then rolled out to work.
EF was exceedingly well behaved. After a bottle, she went down for nap. I ordered myself a burger, and it came right after she woke up.
She let me eat the whole thing uninterrupted (either you already know how big a deal this is, or will).
There were lots of bottles and diaper changes, but we made some time for some books and fun.
EF also enjoyed sitting up like a people.
I was a little nervous, but it was a great day. I feel very fortunate to be able to spent so much time watching baby girl grow up. Since I didn’t break her, I rewarded myself with a hot toddy when HB got home.by rsiv with
I recently read Rome Reborn on Western Shores: Historical Imagination and the Creation of the American Republic (Jeffersonian America). I bought this book in February of 2012. I can’t remember exactly why, but I think maybe I was watching something on the history channel about Rome, the founding fathers, and the classics, and decided that I didn’t know enough about any of the aforementioned topics. I was further intrigued by how these influences played out in Virginia in particular. In history classes, we may have briefly discussed Rome, Greece, and the classics, and then again, when I was in a Greek Letter Fraternity, the topic was touched on again, but I never studied the topics in depth. I bought Rome Reborn in hardcopy as it was not available for kindle at the time. Since it took me three years to get to it, it turns out its finally been digitalized, and with Amazon Kindle Matchbook, I was able to get the digital version for just a couple bucks. Let me start by saying this book examines a very specific topic. Its very dense and more repetitive than I would have liked. A point is made and remade, only to be backed up by one example, as opposed to a more traditional approach of making a point once, and then backing it up with several examples. Even so, I definitely learned a lot. In hindsight, I would have preferred to start with a history of rome, or the founding fathers, and read Rome Reborn after, but live and learn. I graduated college quite a ways back now, waited about three years, and then went back for an MBA. Its been about two or three years since grad school now, and I’ve got a bit of an itch for knowledge. To continue my study of Greece, Rome, and the classics, I’ve collected the following.
I did some research, and it looks like Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is as well regarded a work as one can find on Rome. Hopefully this will give me a better foundation for my further studies.
If I get through Rome, I want to look at Rome as it related to the US, with Ancient Rome and Modern America.
Then I’d like a closer look at the thought processes behind the framing of the constitution, so I’ll read The Federalist Papers (free if you have Amazon prime!). And finally, I’ll look at two more books about how the classics shaped the founders (click on the picture of the book for the amazon link).
And if I’m still interested, I’d eventually like to look at the works/histories/biographies of Cincinnatus, Cato, and Cicero, names, which before reading Rome Reborn, I was unfamiliar.by rsiv with
Last night, FJ and I braved the cold to go see Steph Curry and the Warriors take on the Wizards. Before the game, we went to Poste. It was very cold in DC, so I ordered a Hot Toddy to warm up.
After an amuse-bouche, I ordered the crispy duck ravioli, truffle frites, and the slow cooked salmon. FJ ordered us a pinot noir, had mushroom soup, and the Lamb burger.
The good was good, but not mind-blowingly so. The standout was definitely the crispy duck ravioli. The toddy really hit the spot as well. Honestly, the restaurant didn’t matter so much as I was quite happy to have a guys night out with my dad, and get a short respite from my responsibilities at home.
We lost, but the seats were great, and watching Curry was definitely a treat. Even more so for FJ as they share an alma mater.by rsiv with
I’m a big fan of Ian Fleming’s James Bond series of books. A prima facie consideration of the books is not unlike the general impression one gets from the movies. Thrilling action, quips, gadgets, and women. However, in the books, you get all those things, plus travel guides, hotel and restaurant recommendations, what clothes to wear, what to eat, detailed info on guns, watches, etc. Although the information is quite dated, it really is like merging a men’s magazine (like esquire) with an action movie. Admittedly, the movies have become commercialized with a lot of product placement, but you’ll never heard Daniel Craig wax poetic about sea island cotton. The movies just aren’t the same. With only 14 novels, and some collections of short stories, I’m quickly running out of Fleming to read. In fact, I’m purposefully saving certain books to read in certain locations/circumstances. So what does one read when running out of Bond?
The most obvious choice is more Bond. Ian Fleming Publications has authorized many different authors to continue the series. I just finished The Man with the Red Tattoo recently. It has the exotic locals and sophisticated tastes of Flemings books. In my opinion, Benson is the author most true to the original works. However, I also like the more recent takes on Bond, from Faulks, Deaver, and Boyd.
I’m not a huge fan of fiction, and really see it more as a vacation genre. I’ve been changing my mind of this point gradually, and decided to try out some other popular authors in the spy and thriller genres.
le Carré is perhaps the most celebrated current spy author, but I did not enjoy the book. While I imagine it is authentic and realistic, it just isn’t sexy or action-packed. It is highly regarded on Amazon and Goodreads, but I just couldn’t get into it.
Clear and Present Danger was closer to the mark, but it was too political for me. I was much more interested in the special ops on the ground than the politicians fighting in Washington. Again, no one was drinking Bollinger or shopping on Savile Row (though I believe the Cuban guy might have enjoyed a cigar and some kind of aperitif). Tom Clancy is all business and no pleasure.
Jack Reacher is an interesting character. An American protagonist created by an English thriller writer. To me, it seems that Child tried to created an American James Bond. Unsophisticated, no-nonsense, and simplistic. Its kind of an Imperialist take on Americans that Americans will likely find slightly offensive. While Reacher is self-reliant and effective, he comes off as a caricature of an American, not unlike Ricky Bobby. Reacher is on a cathartic journey of right wrongs. He accomplishes this task via personal/intimate physical violence. He is a far blunter instrument than Bond. Killing Floor has plenty of action, a love interest, and is coffee fueled (not unlike Fleming’s Bond), but it doesn’t have the class and sophistication of Bond that I love. Reacher drifts around the US unemployed and in dirty clothes, randomly getting into interesting situations. While reading The Man with the Red Tattoo, I thought I’d like to visit Japan. I thought I might want to get some sushi and try some different sakes. I ordered some Japanese whiskey I couldn’t get locally. Jack Reacher does not introduce you to new things. At least not if you live in the American south where the first book takes place. I thought Killing Floor was a good read, and I might even try another Jack Reacher book, but its no Bond.
So in conclusion, if you like bleak suspenseful and dark spy novels, you might want to give le Carré a try. If you’re more into political technothrillers, some Clancy might float your boat. If you like action and seeing bad guys get whats coming to them, Child’s Jack Reacher is your man. If you require action, style, exotic locals, black tie affairs, gambling, cars, and la dolce vita as enjoyed by a true bon vivant, you’ll have to stick to Fleming, his successors, and perhaps like me, anxiously await the next installment of Bond by Anthony Horowitz (featuring unpublished content by the man himself, Ian Fleming).
(Click the BOOKS category on the left to see more suggestions and reviews).
UPDATE: This post has been getting a lot of traffic, so I thought I’d add one more book and few more author suggestions. The book is from an up and coming author, and you’re not likely to hear about it elsewhere.
Red Stick One is an adventure/thriller about love, loss, and revenge. The plot of Red Stick One, has the protagonist on the trail of the man that killed his father figure. During the action, we get a few flashbacks to ‘Nam and a love story. The main character is an avid outdoorsman, wildlife officer, veteran, and east-coaster. The book has an Elmore Leonard vibe to it (which is another author you should look into if you’re not familiar).
More Authors: I wouldn’t call the books by the following authors Bond substitutes, but the Bond series is a manly series, so perhaps you’ll share my taste anyway: Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises, The Green Hills of Africa, etc.), Tom Wolfe (The Right Stuff, A Man in Full [two of my favorite books]), Elmore Leonard (The Complete Western Stories of, Pronto, etc.). Click here to see more great book suggestions!by rsiv with
Last night CK hosted an OBX planning meeting. It was EF’s first trip to Aunt Cici’s. I wish I’d gotten a picture of EF’s expression after waking up in a new place. It would seem that she is used to her house, and her grandparents’ house, but something about CK’s house was very confusing to her. EF met Teddy and Otto.
Tedford was very affectionate.
We poured some wine, and discussed some family reunion deets.
After our meeting, we headed over to Virtue Feed and Grain, which is on the water in Old Town. Our waitress told us that the building used to be a grainery/feed house owned by George Washington. Now it functions as a different type of feed house.
We ordered just about every cocktail on the menu. My blood and sand made with laphroaig was excellent, but CK’s drink, made with fireball and cider, was surprisingly good.
We started with the spiced nuts, mac and cheese, tuna tartar, and crab dip. Its hard to pick a favorite, but the mac and cheese was pretty amazing. I got the waygu burger for my entree with the fries well done (Lemmy-style). If you like crispy fries, but don’t order your fries well done, you’re missing out.
HB got the chorizo mussels, which were delicious, but not quite chorizo-y enough for me.
We had a great meal. Since CK lives less than a mile away, we’ll definitely be back. Hopefully next time it won’t be so cold, or so slick out.by rsiv with
We had yet another snowday up here in Virginia. We’d just had a chimney sweeped, so it was the perfect time for a fire.
EF got in a little tummy time by the fire, but mostly just put her feet up and relaxed.
I grabbed an ice bucket (courtesy of Pam-l-a and WinnDixie), filled it with some snow, and then popped in a bottle of bubbly (courtesy of Ryry and Jojo).
I took a look at our netflix options, and found out we only had one disc (for those reading in 2016, see wikipedia), which was The Hundred-Foot Journey. You can’t watch a food movie on an empty stomach, so we braved the cold and headed out for some grub.
EF is getting nice and fat off that mommie milk, but we made it to Saffron Indian Cuisine. We had been to the previous restaurant in the same location, and found Saffron to be at least as good, if not better than its predecessor. The decor is unchanged, there seems to have been little staff turnover, and while the menu is different, the food is very good. We had the lunch buffet, but I hear that dinner is also great. My friends over at the NOVA Restaurant Blog had similarly superlative things to say about Saffron.
I’d definitely check out The Hundred-Foot Journey after a nice meal at your favorite Indian or French restaurant (bonus points for Indian-French fusion). It was a great movie, and a great way to end a fun day. As much as EF enjoys walks in the snow and watching the snow fall, I’m about ready for spring.by rsiv with
For Marti Gras this year, my mom decided to fix up some gumbo. She’d never done it before, but it turned out amazing.
After dinner we had some king cake (FJ found the baby). We enjoyed the fire, and EF had a very apropos book to read.
It was a great night, but unfortunately, someone had one too many hurricanes.
The next morning was a snow day, so we woke up and had some king cake for breakfast with some chicory coffee.
Even though it was now officially Marteen Gras, it was a snow day, so we went to our go-to snow day place for our go-to snow day meal…
For Marteen Gras, we we went to Chasin’ Tails.
Last year, things got a little cray-cray. This year, perhaps because of the snow day, things were a lot more tame. The restaurant wasn’t nearly as crowded. I have an important meeting tomorrow morning, so I wasn’t too upset that things didn’t get out of control. I’m writing this blog the night of, with a nice cup of ginger tea and some fancy french sea salt chocolates (from my Marteen Gras goodie bag) However, if things aren’t crazy next year, we might have to make Marteen Gras a weekend celebration and bring the party ourselves.
Since we could hear conversation as the restaurant wasn’t packed, we did have a lot of laughs. It was also nice to see my friends so happy and in love (vgtic I know). And as always, the crawfish, gator, and drinks were excellent.
All in all, it was a great Marteen Gras. It was also a great way to cap off HB’s maternity leave. Its a little bittersweet, but I think she’ll enjoy going back to work. EF is a little apprehensive about FJ watching her, but she’ll adjust…by rsiv with
Y’all are probably getting tired of how much I post about Gypsy Soul. So you’ll just have to go and drink the kool-aid, or deal. We started off V-Day by making some canapes for my parents to thank them for watching EF while we were out (first time we’ve been out just the two of us since EF was born), and FJ popped some delicious bubbly.
EF was very interested in the tiny bubbles, but LeBeef wouldn’t let her have a sip.
While show the exterior of the restaurant you might ask? Lets call it the before shot.
We started with some cocktails. Mine had a bourbon base, and HB went with one with Bajan rum.
I had a hankering for some fried chicken skins, but we were tempted by the special Vday menu.
I’ll have to try to make my own sage biscuits. They were delicious.
Fois gras is always a good decision.
The ravioli was a rich and decadent as one can imagine.
With the dry aged ribeye, we had a carmenere which was the most delicious fruit-forward iteration of the varietal that I’ve ever had (and I’ve been to Chile).
The steak was tender, rare, and amazing. It was a very generous portion; the picture below is all leftovers we took home.
Despite being full, I enjoyed way too much bananas foster bread pudding. You could really taste the rum and bourbon.
At the end of the meal, we walked out into a blizzard. As soon as we opened the first of the double doors, the snow blew in and the chill cut through us.
I have a great video of HB on a mechanical horse that she’d kill me if I posted. But I’m definitely not above showing you in person, so ask next time y’all see me.
The parking senors got snowed over, which reminded me of my 14 hour drive from Montreal to VA in a blizzard last year.
Gypsy Soul really delivered again, and the wife and I had a great Valentine’s Day.by rsiv with
Getting old isn’t easy. Back in my day, I threw a pretty epic theme party. Kids that were born in the 90s still know about the pastel party I threw for the fraternity. Even after I graduated, I’d have us touring the monuments in a limo dressed in all pink for a Quinceañera y diez, or I’d hire a belly dancer and have things get weird with sacrifices and body paint like at CW’s Nile River party. Nowadays things are a lot more tame. That said, I still need an outlet…by rsiv with