Category Archives: Booze

New Beer! Lots and lots of it!

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Oh wow! Hubby got me a ton of holiday beer this year, and we’ve been having great fun drinking it! The labels are creative and beautiful, the beer is gorgeous, and the craic is mighty! I’ve been drinking these over the last few weeks, so I can’t quite recall how most of them tasted now. Please accept the brewery’s description (in quotes).

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. Our first one – our tree doesn’t even have lights on it yet!
“First brewed in 1981, Celebration Ale is one of the earliest examples of an American-style IPA and one of the few hop-forward holiday beers. Famous for its intense citrus and pine aromas, Celebration is bold and intense, featuring Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops—honoring everything we have at Sierra Nevada.” 6.8%

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Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale. This was our favourite, at least up until today’s tasting…
“Our Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale is a hand-crafted “winter warmer” with a deep amber hue and a rich, malty mouthfeel. Hints of toffee, spice, and caramel tickle the senses while the smooth, creamy finish will lift your spirits; a perfect beer to share with friends and family during the cold days and long nights of winter.” 6.9%

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Barbar Bok. It kinda kicked our asses!
“The Barbar Bok is adorned with dark colours and a ruby reflection. It undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle and merges the softness of honey with the strength of alcohol. The honey originates from Yucatan in Mexico and is hardly noticeable. In the brewery they maintain that the Barbar does not taste of honey but when accompanied by a dish with added honey, the dish tastes of Barbar. In the beginning, it was only brewed in the winter and was called Barbar Winter Bok. However, since 2008 the consumer decided otherwise. You can now also enjoy it in the summer to the great delight of lovers of brown beer.” 8%

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Anchor Steam Christmas Ale. I’ve had this in previous years, back when I was still an American.
“Every year since 1975 the brewers of Anchor Steam® Beer have brewed a distinctive and unique Christmas Ale, which is available from early November to mid-January. The Ale’s recipe is different every year—as is the tree on the label—but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew. Our tree for 2013 is the California White Fir. It was hand drawn by local artist James Stitt, who has been creating Christmas Ale labels for us since 1975.” 5.5%

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Smithwick’s Winter Spirit. I can’t get a brewery quote, just a press release quote – a shame as this is the first Irish beer on my list. Not enough spice – it tasted like a really good pint of Smithwick’s.
“…in making a winter ale, they sought a beer that would have body and colour and he believes that they’ve got it right with Winter Spirit. Winter Spirit provides a warmer, deeper flavour as a result of the roasted barley used in the brewing process.” 4.5%

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O’Hara’s Winter Star Spiced Amber Ale. Another Irish brew, it had a very spiced scent and smelled lovely – but not strong enough for us. The necessary warming note of a winter ale was lost here.
“In our 2013 edition, subtle use of spices and orange zest bring out a refreshing and different touch to this winter beer and also make for a dry finish. The orange zest and mild coconut flavours are the first to hit the palette, closely followed by the warmth of cinnamon spices mellowed in the orange essence. Dual purpose hops finish the aroma combination adding just a touch of evergreen, perfect for this winter amber ale.” 4.3%

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On to tonight’s smorgasbord! First was Italy’s Birrificio del Ducato Winterlude. ‘The champagne of beer’. Well, yes; it bubbled all over the damn countertop! We drank it a bit too cold – once it warmed up I got the wonderful fruity taste. I thought it was orangey, but it seems I was wrong.
“Top fermented beer which undergoes a secondary fermentation in bottle. It is intense gold, almost orange in color, with aromas of fruit in syrup (pineapple, peach and apricot), candy sugar, bread crust and a note of chives from the Belgian hops of Poperinge. Warm and sweet on the palate with a firm fizzy finish. Strong and structured, sweet and inviting. A tribute to a friend who went missing, who we may meet again one day, just like the sun that is hiding behind the hill. Winterlude is also named after a Bob Dylan song, a perfect fit since it is a winter warmer. The idea of winter as an interlude representing both the pause before awakening and the oblivion before new life.
This beer is inspired by some varieties of the Belgian Tripels. The hops come from the Poperinge region, a variety I have always been fascinated by. I connected with one of the region’s local farmer and had him set a preferred variety aside from his most recent harvest.” 8.8% (we like to start off at a gallop)

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From Denmark: Mikkeller’s Hoppy Lovin’ Christmas. Once again we had it a bit too cold at first, but once it warmed up? Pine needles. Not kidding. It worked! A lovely beer, I could have had several, no bother.
“Pours orange golden with a off white head. Aromas of fresh pine and tropical fruit with hints of floral notes. The pine aromas comes through on the palate along with citrus fruit. This is full of flavour with a touch of dry bitter hops on the finish.” 7.8%

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Alaskan Brewing Company’s Smoked Porter. The best. Best. Best! Technically, this is not anything remotely Christmas, Holiday, Seasonal… I don’t care. I got it for Christmas and had it tonight. I don’t think we said anything but ‘Wow!’ for five minutes. The smoke… wow! It was a strong, strong taste. It was amazing and wonderful and damn, if it didn’t cost as much as a bottle of fine wine, I’d have more. Wow.
“Smoked Beer. Known as “rauchbier” in Germany, smoke-flavored beers were virtually unknown in the U.S. until Alaskan Smoked Porter was developed in 1988. The dark, robust body and pronounced smoky flavor of this limited edition beer make it an adventuresome taste experience. Alaskan Smoked Porter is produced in limited “vintages” each year on November 1 and unlike most beers, may be aged in the bottle much like fine wine… Prior to brewing, selected malts are smoked in small batches under carefully controlled conditions in a commercial food smoker using local alder wood.” 6.9%

I can’t say enough how wonderful the porter was. If you try anything on my list today, try this! And pay what they ask: it is worth it when it comes all the way from Alaska (where two good friends and now my sister, brother in law and only niece are enjoying the long nights and snowy cold days).

Happy Beermas!

Deth Nog 2013

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It’s that time again! I’ve finally given in to my husband’s incessant begging and made a batch of eggnog. Or, as it is fondly know around here: Deth Nog.

My artwork was seriously lacking this year. I still have a cold, that’s my excuse. It sure isn’t that I’d been hitting the Nog yet!

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Meant to be Spot and Lokii. I sure didn’t do them justice. Art from 2012 here, and 2011 here.

And of course, the recipe!

US version:
(need an empty 1 gallon milk jug)
1 cup (1/2 pint) each of:
Brandy
Blended whiskey
Rum (not light or dark* – not spiced!)
4-6 whole eggs – depends on how big they are, of course
2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (I think I hit about the middle between the two)
1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg (may need a bit more, I didn’t have the measure written down! Dad said start with 1/4 and add more if you think it needs it. I’ve used as much as whole teaspoon of each and it was fine.)

Beat eggs until smooth.
Add cream and a bit of the milk, doesn’t matter how much but not TOO much just yet!
Add all the alcohol. Add the sugar.
Stir until the sugar melts.
Add nutmeg and cinnamon.
Pour into empty 1 gallon jug, top up with milk until jug is full.
Shake well!

Okay, same thing but converted into metric! Doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfect, it’ll be tasty.

(need two empty 2-litre milk jugs)
237ml each of:
Brandy
Blended whiskey
Rum (not light or dark* – not spiced!)
4-6 whole eggs – depends on how big they are, of course
473ml heavy cream
4 to 8 tablespoons sugar (I think I hit about the middle between the two)
1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg (may need a bit more, I didn’t have the measure written down! Dad said start with 1/4 and add more if you think it needs it. I’ve used as much as whole teaspoon of each and it was fine.)

Beat eggs until smooth.
Add cream and a bit of the milk, doesn’t matter how much but not TOO much just yet!
Add all the alcohol. Add the sugar.
Stir until the sugar melts.
Add nutmeg and cinnamon.
Pour into empty jugs, try to put the same amount in each, oh how fun, top up with milk until jugs are full.
Shake well!

* I can’t find ‘not light and not dark’ rum here; I just use the white or clear rum. I make it in a big mixing bowl and use a funnel. Yes, it’s a bit messy, but after two glasses you won’t care.

Anyone try it from last year?

New beer! Er, new Cider

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Tired and roasting hot from a looooong day at work, I had my teeth and tongue set and ready for cold, cold beer. I even sent iDJ a text saying ‘throw one in the freezer, I’m on my way!’

He didn’t get my text, and thought that beer that was room temp at 1pm would be cold by 7:30. Nope.

But he had bought me this:

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Kopparberg Strawberry Lime Cider, 4%, and while super sweet to someone who prefers a bitter beer, it tastes just lovely on a hot, humid evening. I’m particularly impressed that I can very, very, clearly differentiate the strawberry and lime flavours. It’s not horribly fizzy, so it doesn’t taste like a flavoured soda.

Try it if you can, but make sure you’re in the mood. I would give this caution: if you drank a few of these on a hot day, your body would reek of fruit the next day!

DethNog 2012

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Hey! I’m not exactly reposting from last year, just mostly. Pretty much all the text below the pics is from last year. But! I have new DethNog artwork to share:
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Sort of a comedy/tragedy theme this year – because for most of us, it had been that sort of year.

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Lokii, helping me draw on the jugs. I knelt on the kitchen floor because somehow that seemed easier than bringing the jugs into the living room so I could sit down. Eh, the light is better. Like the socks?

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Can you tell yet that I wasn’t the one with the camera?

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Whisky never looked so pretty.

I asked my dad and he said he didn’t have a patent on the eggnog recipe, so here it is!

I have some translations to do. The original recipe is in US measures. I’ll do that first:

(need an empty 1 gallon milk jug)
1 cup (1/2 pint) each of:
Brandy
Blended whiskey
Rum (not light or dark* – not spiced!)
4-6 whole eggs – depends on how big they are, of course
2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (I think I hit about the middle between the two)
1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg (may need a bit more, I didn’t have the measure written down! Dad said start with 1/4 and add more if you think it needs it. I’ve used as much as whole teaspoon of each and it was fine.)

Beat eggs until smooth.
Add cream and a bit of the milk, doesn’t matter how much but not TOO much just yet!
Add all the alcohol. Add the sugar.
Stir until the sugar melts.
Add nutmeg and cinnamon.
Pour into empty 1 gallon jug, top up with milk until jug is full.
Shake well!

Okay, same thing but converted into metric! Doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfect, it’ll be tasty.

(need two empty 2-litre milk jugs)
237ml each of:
Brandy
Blended whiskey
Rum (not light or dark* – not spiced!)
4-6 whole eggs – depends on how big they are, of course
473ml heavy cream
4 to 8 tablespoons sugar (I think I hit about the middle between the two)
1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg (may need a bit more, I didn’t have the measure written down! Dad said start with 1/4 and add more if you think it needs it. I’ve used as much as whole teaspoon of each and it was fine.)

Beat eggs until smooth.
Add cream and a bit of the milk, doesn’t matter how much but not TOO much just yet!
Add all the alcohol. Add the sugar.
Stir until the sugar melts.
Add nutmeg and cinnamon.
Pour into empty jugs, try to put the same amount in each, oh how fun, top up with milk until jugs are full.
Shake well!

* I can’t find ‘not light and not dark’ rum here; I just use the white or clear rum. I make it in a big mixing bowl and use a funnel. Yes, it’s a bit messy, but after two glasses you won’t care.

Unintentional hiatus…

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I had a very busy weekend last. Staying up until 3:30 am Saturday night helping iDJ with, well, being a DJ – for a double 21st in a pub, no less – was tiring, especially with all the raw fresh testosterone that was liberally flung about when the ‘never a bother, nice boys’ got into fight after fight.

Sunday was the All-Ireland GAA final, and my county was one of the runners. The underdog. I’ve linked to Peternal to show a bit of the support we had here, but it was MAD, MAD I TELL YOU. They painted the white stripes and words on the roads red and green for Mayo. Every business and home on the main street had something red and green or outright supporting our lads.

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The Sam Maguire Cup at my workplace – but sadly won’t be back for a while…next year?

Not going to the pub to watch the match was not a choice… even with work on Monday looming large. We met up with Peternal and settled in, and – I know, this is hard to believe – I was the only one of age in the pub, and the only of our group of three, who held off on having a drink until after 5 pm. When the game was over. And Mayo had lost to Donegal. Well played, Donegal – at least it wasn’t Dublin or Kerry!

But after that? It was like Paddy’s Day. Imagine if Mayo had won!!! We drank in…1,2,3,4, FIVE pubs before heading to the takeout for dinner after midnight. And no, that’s never one drink per pub. Not even for our slow-drinking Canadian.

Monday = ouch.

Monday night = watching a movie and eating early and going to bed on time.

Tuesday = I don’t want to even look at the 60+ emails with blog updates, comments, etc that have piled up since Saturday eve.

Because I’m also reading Game of Thrones. Sorry, folks… I needed a break! Sorry if I’m only today getting around to reading your posts, and usually only hitting ‘like.’ I also am making an experimental dinner and we had an electrician call around to fix the hot water heater – which has been dead since my last shower – which was on the 16th.

Aren’t you glad blogs don’t have Smell-o-Vision?

Ooo.

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I have no idea where I’m going with this post so bear with me! Just again feel the need to write, to reach out, and see what happens.

First off I use the WP app to write new posts – rarely for comments – so it was a surprise to realise the update I downloaded over the weekend made a lot of changes. Hence the ‘ooo.’ There’s all kinds of swiping and whatnot instead of the Microsoft-training we all have of closing or ‘x-ing’ out of something. And man, just then: attempting to get the iPad to accept x-ing was a trial… Second time, it’s a winner! I love this stupid thing.

Stupid thing is now a year old! My iPad is a year old. I never wanted it, never even considered it as something I would need. And now? Like a Texan’s firearm, you’ll have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands. Yes, I’m teasing my Texas friends here – I seem to have quite a few and none of you fit that stereotype; I know it well but had to poke fun. Feel free to tease me for being a southerner myself, or an Irish drunk with a bad temper! Apparently I am both. Well, part Irish. I do say I’ve taken to the drinking aspect of the culture quite nicely. And I was born in NewJersey – go have a look on a map where the Mason-Dixon line was! Sigh. I can still speak ‘southrin’ any time I want, which entertains Irish people to a great extent. I think hubby only married me because I can do that. I need a south-Jersey refresher course, though – I end up sounding like Tony Soprano when I try. The bad temper is never going away.

What was I talking about? Meh, who cares. I have sunshine again, on a Monday.

And beer.

Woot!

Wait I need a fresh one. At least I’m not abandoning my empties in the grass like I did on Friday. Man, it was so hot that day my sweat smelled of beer. It might tomorrow at work. Whoops. I better switch back to rum and Pepsi Max after this one. It’s just…beer and sunshine are made for each other. I remember the day I discovered Sam Adams Cherry Wheat beer. I’m not usually a big fan of wheat beer but it was a hot day and I had plenty of them in the fridge, and sun and heat and no where to be. I reeked of cherries. It came out of my pores everywhere, liked I’d bathed in cherry skin-cream. Sort of gross, but by then I really, really, didn’t care.

And that wasn’t even the day I broke my pinky toe by sitting in the sun, drinking, and holding my pee so long that when I finally had to get up – about four or five beers later – I smashed my foot into some stairs and aw, first broken bone ever. I was close to 30 if not past it by then. Probably past it. Wonder if beer makes your bones weak? Or if having a massive-capacity bladder does? Ah well. I broke the same toe about 10 years later, just doing my usual tripping over nothing. Sober (ish) that time. Fun times… sad thing is, I used to be able to wiggle my pinkie toes independent of the rest of my toes, as a party trick, and that one doesn’t bend much any more.

Damn you, cloud, go away!

Better go back and reread and see if I have any point here today…

Ooo. Just hit preview and I have no paragraphs. That is bad…this stream of consciousness style of writing depends on visual breaks or I sound like I’m insane. Which is quite likely but I’m usually good at hiding it better. With paragraphs.

Man that cloud is annoying. Just wide enough to block my sunshine and make me cold. Go away, go away faster! Yes I see you moving, but move faster! And you! you, trailing behind! Move upward. Spiders need solar power.

Right, well, it appears I have nothing to say of any real import. I’m trying, I’m reaching out, because I’m in a good mood today and lately I haven’t been anywhere near a good mood. I’m doing my best to keep up a dialogue and even if it is me talking shite via writing, I imagine you listening and I don’t feel so alone.

Now if that second big-ass cloud would just move it along a bit, I’ll be happy…OMG still no paragraph breaks. Time to go find the help on this new app… Sorry… Will edit afterward so I make a modicum of sense.

New Beer!

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Here’s a really new beer! Not just new to me, but new new new – not sure if you have it in the States yet!

Guinness Black Lager? Why, what, how?

To me, it tastes like a home-brewed stout. Not as heavy as a bottled, carbonated, stout made by a big company, say, like Diageo. Not much head, and not much bitter after taste like a true stout, either. It was very smooth, and one definitely tasted like having another. If we’d had more than four on hand, it might have been a hard morning the next day!

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Pretty. Even the packaging looks frosty cold and ready to drink.

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See, not a stout’s creamy head at all. I’d have it again, when I’m off my low-carb diet again. It’s still pretty decent for you compared to most lager with 11 carbs and 135 calories a bottle, even if a bit mild in strength if you’re a good alky like me: 4.5 percent. A little stronger than Guinness stout, which the net tells me is 125 calories and 10 carbs but only 4%.

Try it if you can!

What I’m doing right now.

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It’s warmish, and only a bit rainy, so I’m outside. Hubby brought home New Beer – new to him, and Ireland, anyway. I’ll eventually cover all the new beer I’ve tried lately, but as a warm up to writing a Socks post, I wanted to share the environment I’m writing in:

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The birds are going mental all around me, and for a rarity there isn’t a car or building alarm going off. I hear cars going past, but no mowers, no tractors. Even the local cows and donkeys are settled tonight.

Wish I knew how to sample my background noise to share it with you all.

Mostly I’m glad to be out here and away from my loving hubby and his constant music – how bad am I – but the birdsong is so much more relaxing.

Invasion of the Flour Mites

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I had plans to post a few times tonight. But something icky happened and iDJ and I are dealing with it the best way we know how: by getting drunk.

The icky thing is that we (I) found out we have been invaded, infested, by tiny-ass flour mites. Getting rid of them is so very labour intensive that we cleared the counter under the infested cabinet, took out the food sources, and just… started drinking.

We intended to drink anyway. Well, of course – its us. But… it was meant to be special drinking. American craft beers rarely found here, bought with excitement and chilled with impatience. Then, choosing a glass… oh, they recommend a tulip glass? We only have one, my precious Corsendonk glass. So, big wine glasses will do. But, despite being in the cabinet they looked dirty, cloudy. I said I’d wash them first.

One washed, no problem. Next one, had a closer look to see just why it looked so filthy. “Oh no. No. No. No! Nonono. NO! The fucking bugs are back!”

See, we’ve been through this before. And it was hellish. And now, the little cunts are back. Sigh.

Drinking seems an easier solution, when faced with what I’ll be doing over the next few weeks…

A night in Donegal

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Right so, I never finished telling what went on two weekends ago up in Donegal! We went up to see iDJ’s friend, also a DJ, play a set in a nightclub there. This other DJ retired a year ago, but like anyone who has vinyl in his blood, he comes out and plays sometimes just because he has to. This was one of those nights.

We normally wouldn’t dream of going – its a 3 hour trip to get there, we’ve a dog who needs to go out and leave landmines in the garden ever so often, and we’re too broke for a hotel. However! A friend offered, instantly, to put us up for the night in her house – this friend being Bird, who I drew way back in October in one of my first Brushes drawings. We’d never met in person despite chatting away on FB and on our respective blogs for well over a year. How exciting! What a temptation…

…but there’s still the dog. iDJ rang his mum to see if she could come up and let Herself out? No go, she had plans. I suggested we ask our Canadian friend – because if she ever needs someone to let her dog out when she’s away, of course I’d be happy to do so. She agreed, and so we decided we had enough money for petrol and a few pints, and off we went.

It was lovely to finally meet Bird, and we spent a good couple of hours at her place getting pre-sozzled before the off, and discovering how to find iDJ’s podcasts on AppleTV! I was excited to see him on telly.

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Once we were out on the town, I found this bit of oddity down an alley between buildings.

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Bird calls it the Michael Jackson Walk, which seems perfect: and now so shall it ever be.

We had a good few in one pub, and the craic was 90, and I made friends with a strange boy named Stephen who looked harmless and lonely. He said he was also going to the gig, so I made an effort to remember him – normally I suck at names and faces.

Eventually we were at the proper club, and On The Guest List! Woot! I felt like royalty in my jeans and no-heel boots (proper dancing shoes, I dance a bit like a male New Guinea bird of paradise trying to find a mate – I’d fall on my hole if I tried it in heels).

We danced – me less than Bird and iDJ because, apparently, they are more Mod and I am definitely a Rocker. I hope I get to stay in their gang, though!

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Early on, before it got crowded. And man, did it.

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iDJ, in lights again for the second time in one night.

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As usual, my favourite and best pic is in black and white!

I met Stephen again out on the smoking balcony, and talked to him long enough (about dog breeds, oddly) that a couple of gals his age got interested and came over, so I felt he was no longer lonely and I’d done my good deed for the night.

After the show and congrats to the star, we had a major discussion of food choices, ran from a fight, got nasty chipper food (I ate every bite, yum), snagged a taxi and went home. I’m afraid I fell asleep on the couch, and Bird was not to be roused the next morning when we knew we had to get back to prevent dog-explosion.

Sorry we didn’t get to have eggs n saussies, Bird, but thanks for having us and hope we can return the favour here sometime! Promise, no busloads of fighting drunken teenagers, and our chipper is amazing!