Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #025 – “The Fionavar Tapestry” (Guy Gavriel Kay)

Date:  February, 2011

Host – Lance

Whisky:  Bruichladdich Manzanilla 12 Willow Park Exclusive

Rum:  Bruichladdich Renegade Grenada 11 Year Old, Angostura Dark 5 yr old, Favell’s London Dock Navy rum

 

The fantasy flag is waved in the Liquorature camp with more fervent fanboy-ism than even I (Surujbally’s appointed ‘Hippie’) can muster for all things Ardbeg.  And that is saying something.  Mention Lord of the Rings, Goodkind, Jordan or Fionavar and you’re nearly guaranteed to have someone spurting in their pants and someone else ready to launch into ‘the Great Debate’ (whether or not LotR can be considered for Liquorature selection…BTW, I weigh in with a resounding NO!).

While five out of eight of us are big fans of the genre, the remaining three are lukewarm (at best) in terms of reception.  Interestingly, all three of us that seem to have an allergy to fantasy have either a predisposition towards Ayn Rand, or an outright rejection of illogical leaps of faith (ahem… ‘Mr. A-is-A).  To us non-converts, the prevalence of dues ex machina and resolution through means beyond physics is simply…too foreign.

To be fair, however, we have tackled a couple of fantasy works now, and I take away positives from both.

Let’s chat about the edible and quaffable now.

Lance’s curry (‘fess up, boy!  ‘Twas the wife who dunnit, wudnit?!) dishes were spectacular.  A certain someone visited the spread three times, finally moving on to filling a mug with this spicy goodness, as we’d dirtied all of the dishes.  Must confess, though it wounds me and burns like an untreated STD (uh…or so I hear), rum actually works just right with curry.  The sweet and spice harmonize well.

Methinks Lance should share his recipes, as did Pat with his man-chili.  I’d love to have these dishes more frequently.  Perhaps I simply need to sit in for dinner more often, huh?  The only downside is the cavity-inducing grog he serves up to guests.  Coruba, anyone?

After we finished stuffing ourselves on this Indian bounty, I quickly shifted back to a man’s drink and popped the cork on Lance’s whisky sacrifice for the event, Willow Park’s exclusive Bruichladdich Manzanilla.  Bauer would have liked this one.  Thankfully a few of us have bottles we can share with him when next he makes it out (Miss ya, buddy).

This was a night full of bloody great conversation.  The laughs were non-stop.  Sweet medicine after a hard week at work.  At one point with tears flowing down our cheeks, Lance mentioned how needed this was and referred to it like a refreshing rain (or some such poetic gibberish).  All kidding aside, the point was taken.  Think we all let our shoulders sag a bit this night.  You could almost hear the knots in people’s backs releasing.

Confession.  Lance picked me up a copy of ‘The Fionavar Tapestry’ about a year and a half ago now.  On two separate occasions I picked it up, but quickly set it down again.  Just not in the right frame of mind for it.  His selecting it for our February pick was actually somewhat of a relief for me (though a few others groaned under the weight of such a massive undertaking), as I finally had forced motivation to read it, and could no longer insult Lance by not reading the gift he’d given me.

So, let’s see…A few freakin’ loved it.  At least one said, ‘no, nae, never’.  The rest sat in a camp that weighed flaw against appreciation for scope, visuals, story-telling and originality (which was also a sticking point for some others).  Overall…quite a positive reception really.  I concede to appreciating it much more than when I started, and can say I am glad for having read it.  All true analysis stays within the group.  Read it yourself if you care to speculate as to what we may or may not have liked.  Anyone who has read it…drop a line here on Liquorature.  Love to engage on this one.

In the end, I think everyone was simply in the right mental space to have a great night.  It turned out to be just that.

 

The randoms:  Obama, the mage…Newman, the wizard…Rum and the special olympics… “Dammit, I got a svart in my bowl” …score many baskets…like a liger…the Hoff…Mandingo’s baseball bat… “Mandingo…whatta guy” …”The was f*ckin’ rad, let’s eat pizza”.

 

– Curt

Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #015 – “Wizard’s First Rule” (Terry Goodkind)

Date:  April, 2010

Host:  Scott

Whisky:  Cragganmore 12 y.o., Scapa 16 y.o., Dalwhinnie 15 y.o.

Rum:  El Dorado Demerara Distillers Single Barrel 10 y.o., Santa Teresa 1796 (encore presentation)

 

So…our first foray into fantasy was a rousing success.  Both in terms of reception to the title in question, and for hatching a lively discussion.  Well picked, Scotty.  The evening was a blast.  Festivities were underway sometime around 8:00.  With a couple of stragglers a little later than our 7:30 curtain call, a few of us were chomping at the bit to crack open a bottle.  Scott’s selection of malts took us from Speyside, through the Highlands to the Islands.  A fine range, and much to Robert’s delight, I’m sure…no peat monsters lurking.  It was a gorgeous eve in which a few of us strolled the distance to/from Scott’s place, so some lighter bevvies were an ideal decision.  The rum?  Hey…what can I say…never made it that far.  Lance will sate your curiosity with a review in the near future, I imagine.

This month’s gathering saw our first guest.  An old friend of mine, Chris, joined us for the eve.  I ran into Chris a couple months back, after not having seen him in a while, and while catching up told him of our little collective.  He said he had been trying to form or find something like this, but that most of friends were…Neanderthals (I believe was his term).  I told him I would see what we could do about having him sit in for a session.

I am always impressed when someone can walk into a room filled mostly with strangers and fit in comfortably with no noticeable lags in conversation or awkwardness.  Such was the case this evening.  While he interjected thoughts and insight throughout the discussion, I also noticed Chris having many side-conversations with the Liquorature folk.  There’s a sort of pressure involved with being the guy to bring a guest, but the pressure was eased early, as Chris fit in well.  Thanks to the crew for making him welcome.  You are truly all gentlemen and scholars.  I should also note…a fear I’ve had (and shared with Robert at least) regarding having more than our seven-man crew appears unfounded.  My concern lay mainly in whether we’d all be able to speak with so many in the room.  Tonight proved otherwise, and I believe is a testament to the level of respect we all show one another.

Scott’s book was quite well received.  Though I am a newb to the world of fantasy, most of the others definitely are not.  It was enlightening to see their take.  High marks from most, and at the very least there was a healthy level of appreciation, if not outright favoring opinion.  The criticisms raised were poignant, and comparisons against some of the benchmarks in fantasy lit were informative.  The aspects of the book which garnered the most appreciation from us actually seemed to be the parts that most deviated furthest from tradition.  A few of us have since picked up, or continued reading on in the series.  Sigh…only eleven more books or something.

The night was rounded off with some chatter about other books, other beverages, travel, history of video games and…what Liquorature night would be complete without those torturous forays into discussions of Star Trek and old school Wrestling?  The boys love to rag on me for my absolute revulsion of all things related to either.

As always, a ridiculous dose of humor, mockery and sarcasm were prevalent.  Clint’s reaction to Bauer’s ‘Hot For Teacher’ comment will go down in the annals.

Highlights…

Chris’s inclusion and subsequent natural fit…Clint’s whisky shower…someone finally mentioning Salman Rushdie without Lance bursting into flames…Bauer’s new ridiculous hat…discussions of how sexy Mr. Goodkind is…listening to the frogs in the pond (I used to live in Scott’s place…and miss those sounds at night)…and a great conversation.

Thanks, Scotty.

One last thing…

I see the dynamic of the group changing slightly.  For the better.  Those that were a little reserved initially, now speak up much more.  We’re also building up a decent ‘back-library’ of reference points for our discussions.  I like how this is developing.

Until next time…slainte!

The classic "Bland Serial KIller" lookcomp 201_9505comp 201_9526comp 201_9535
 
Stop teasing me...What's with the body language, guys?wtf...?comp 201_9542
 
 
Ginger BuddhaThe Group minus Ruminsky, who was too busy taking the shot to pose :-(
 

– Curt

Mar 022010
 

Okay, gents…Here’s your lineup:

April

Scott’s Choice:  “Wizard’s First Rule” (Terry Goodkind)

$9.49

Our first foray into fantasy.  I’m quite excited about this.

May

Bauer’s Choice:  “Looking Backward 2000 – 1887” (Edward Bellamy)

$6.18

Dystopian novel written in 1888!!

June

Curt’s Choice:  “On The Road” (Jack Kerouac)

$12.54 Original Classic

$12.64 Scroll Version

Classic novel of the beat generation.  I have read this about 10 times.

Regarding “On The Road”:  This is considered a fiction novel, though based on real people.  Kerouac was forced to edit the early manuscript to change all names from those of real people to fictional identities.  He was also forced to clean it up and remove some of the more…objectionable content (keep in mind, this was the 40s).  A couple of years back the “Scroll Edition” was released.  It is uncut and has all names restored.

Two points of view here:

1)  Read the classic.  It is considered a classic for a reason.  Many feel that the “Scroll Edition” is mostly a novelty item for Kerouac fans.  By ordering this one, you are getting the novel as it has been reviewed and revered for 50+ years.

2)  Read the scroll version to see how Kerouac originally wrote it.  Will be a bit more racy, I imagine.  A little longer and a bit more raw.

It will be neat if we have a mix of people having read different versions.  Kinda cool to compare experiences.  I have the original and will order the “Scroll Edition”…and will have read both by June.

If you want me to order your books…let me know version one you want.

Looking forward to these!!