Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Maritime Reptile Zoo: A Review

I'm just going to go ahead and say that I am completely obsessed with reptiles. Especially snakes. Especially since getting a ball python. I wanted a snake for a while and finally getting one was one of the best decisions of my adult life.

This fascination with snakes has led me to every reptile themed event I can afford to go to in Halifax. Typically, my friends and I are the only grown-ups not accompanying children there, which is a little weird, but you learn to roll with it. In spite of this, I didn't know that there was a permanent reptile zoo in Dartmouth until fairly recently.

I went to go check it out a week or two ago and I'll be honest, it was a little underwhelming. The fact that it's there is really cool. The place does reptile rescue, rehabilitation, and adoptions which is a very good thing to know (I took a look at the application process for adoptions and it seems like they're really careful with the animals). All that is great, however, the place itself is nestled in a strip mall in the Burnside industrial park, so the zoo has a sort of bland, institutional feel to it. The walls are bare, the enclosures are small and functional. I fucked up on my timing and went there in between feedings so there was nothing really going on except one of the keepers chilling on the floor with a baby alligator.

The staff seemed friendly, but the only other people there were an old dude and his very tiny granddaughter, so I kinda kept to myself and felt like a weirdo. I did talk to the girl who was there briefly about ball pythons when she had one out to show the tiny granddaughter and she obviously knew what she was talking about.

All that being said, I think the biggest problem with the zoo is a lack of traffic, which probably has a lot to do with the fact that nobody knows it's there. I would definitely recommend a visit to people with kids so they can learn a bit about reptiles and interact with them in a safe way. They've got all kinds of cool stuff there, tortoises, crocodiles, an anaconda, caimans, a little monkey, whatever you want. The non-dangerous animals they will take out so kids can touch them. It would also be interesting to go up during a feeding.

Anyway, yeah, not super exciting for disillusioned twenty-somethings, but if you have kids, definitely a good idea to check it out at least once.

Their website with hours and location is here (their site is actually pretty cool for reptile owners and enthusiasts coz it has all kinds of handy information and links, including what exact species are and are not permitted to be kept in Nova Scotia).
Their feeding schedule is here.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Girl Drink Drunk: Sir John A's Honey Wheat Ale

I'm having one of those days where I really don't feel like doing anything whatsoever. As I write this, I am still in my underwear and housecoat, drinking beer and smoking darts. Days like this kinda stress me out coz I feel like I should be doing something productive rather than sitting around on my ass waiting until it's time to go back to bed but hey what can ya do.

Anyway, I picked up a few bottles of this beer yesterday and it's really nothing to write home about. It's not unpleasant but it doesn't have a very strong flavour at all. It's smooth, and it's got a very slight sweet aftertaste but that's about it. If you like mild, inoffensive beers and also microbrews, this is acceptable. It'd be suitable to go with dinner if you were having like chicken or something probably. I prefer my beer to be bold and manly and a meal by themselves but that's just me.

This is brewed by Gahan in PEI - I've had some of their beers before. The Blueberry Ale is really nice (I don't typically like blueberry beers but theirs is an exception), Beach Chair is okay. I want to try their Sydney Street Stout, I'm gonna check and see if they have any at the beer store next time I go. Coz stout is the beer for me. I will report back with my findings.

PEI Brewing Company's website is here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Girl Drink Drunk: Lillet Blanc

I bought a bottle of Lillet Blanc the other day, which is, apparently, an aperitif (which is, apparently, Wine Plus). The last time I bought an aperitif was by accident because I thought it was wine but it wasn't and was therefore very disappointing. This time I meant to buy it to make a drink called an Abbey (recipe here).

Aww yeeh cocktail fixins

I altered the recipe somewhat, the main difference being I used my home-flavoured gin as the base which made it super fucking tangy. It's so limey it overpowered the taste of everything in the drink, so I'm really not sure what to use it for. I filtered the bourbon too but I haven't used it in anything yet (I did indeed use the bourbon soaked cherries as filling in a Cherry-Gouda pie which was fantastic but super duper strong on the bourbon flavour). I think if I were to make lime gin again I would use a lot less lime. Anywho, the recipe I used is as follows:

1 oz. lime gin
1 oz. Lillet Blanc
1 oz. orange juice
marschino cherry
Shake the shit out of it on ice and pour it into whatever kind of glass you got. Garnish with the cherry. Or two cherries. Coz cherries are good. They sunk to the bottom and were well soaked with booze by the time I drank them.

So short story long, this dirnk didn't really work out as well as I'd hoped but I did start drinking the Lillet Blanc on its own and it's actually pretty darn tasty.


It's like an extra sweet white wine with fruity flavours. I think, if mixed with soda water (or seven up if you're disgusting) it would make a really nice summer cooler. I popped a cherry in there coz fuckit and that was nice. It doesn't really feel like a wine drunk either, it's a little milder. I would recommend it.

Lillet's website is here - there is a Lillet Rouge and a Lillet Rose, both of which I would be interested in trying. There's also recipes on their site, not just for cocktails but also for food, if you're into stuff like that.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Girl Drink Drunk: Vanilla Cherry Bourbon, Ginger Lime Gin

So I heard that you can make custom liqours through infusion and since I'm basically like a drunken Martha Stewart I figured I would give it a whirl. I used this blog post, which has awesome instructions and suggestions, as my inspiration and then went to town. I went with my two favourite spirits (Jack Daniel's and Bombay Sapphire) and two of my favourite flavours (cherry and lime, respectively).

Also pictured, chicken bones. Those ... those are for something else.
They've been marinating for a little over a week now and stuff is starting to happen. The JD's has a pound of cherries and half a vanilla bean in it and tastes fucking amazing. It's not as sweet as I thought it would be which is nice. I'm probably not going to leave it that much longer, I expect I'll filter it by the end of the week and drink it on the long weekend. Also I was thinking of freezing the cherries when I'm done with them and use them as pie filling at a later date because I'm a fucking genius.

The gin is a little weirder, I think I put too many limes (four) and not enough ginger. It tastes like lime peel, you can't even really tell the ginger is in there at all. I'm gonna leave that for a little while longer just to see what happens. It was really tangy for the first few days but now it's starting to mellow out so I think if I let it age for another week or two it might be okay.

Anywho, that's what I'm up to. I expect these will make pretty bomb ass cocktails. I will be posting more to this effect at a later date.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tell Grandma I'm Alright

A couple of months ago I was talking to my brother and he was asking me whether I was back in school and what exactly I was doing in school if I was indeed back. Apparently people had been drilling him about what I was up to, so I summed it up as best I could over the phone and left it at that. The last month I've been up home pretty nearly every weekend which means that I've had a chance to see pretty much everybody in the village which means I've gotten a nigh constant barrage of "are you still in school?", "what have you been getting up to down there?" and "do you have a boyfriend yet?" The answer to all of which is a resounding "uhh well umm"

So I figured instead of standing there with a stupid look on my face trying to think of some way to answer the questions posed to me by my elders that doesn't make me sound like a total loser, I'd just write up this little dossier on what I'm up to and direct them here whenever they want to know how I'm doing. Clever, yes?

First order of the day: school. Yes I am back in school. No I am not in university. Because I was homeschooled (or rather unschooled if you want to get technical) I don't actually have a highschool diploma so I am taking highschool level prep courses through Dalhousie to meet their pre-requisites. Yes, I know I already got my GED and yes, I know that all of my friends just went straight into university, I just really have a lot of anxiety about failure so I want to make sure I know what I'm doing and I don't totally fuck everything up. I will probably be in first year university by next fall, don't worry. I also probably won't graduate until I'm thirty. I'm enjoying myself, don't rush me.

I am still working at the same place. I know it's not a very illustrious job but again, I enjoy the work and the people I work with, so don't pressure me about it. I'm not going to wash cars for the rest of my life but unless you're going to pay my rent and buy my food I really need to have a job and since I have no skills whatsoever my options are kind of limited in what I can do. That being said, there are a lot worse jobs I could be doing for the money I'm making. I know because I've done them. Don't worry about it, it's a good job and I'm fine.

My roommate and I experienced our very first burglary a few weeks ago, which is, I suppose, a downside of living in the city. I was a little too shocked that such a thing would happen to really process any of it properly but insofar as we can tell it was our former roommate who did it, and he didn't take anything irreplaceable, and it hasn't happened again since. As weird as it sounds I feel like this is some kind of rite of passage, that everybody who lives in a place like Halifax should experience at least one burglary. Don't get me wrong, I'm pissed and if I see the guy I'll set him on fire, I'm just trying to find some small consolation prize to keep me sane.

Other than that I have, by and large, been "keeping out of trouble" (a question pretty nearly everyone asks me and won't accept 'yes' as an answer). I hardly drink, I almost never go leave my house except to go to school and work. Mind you, when I do go out, I go out hard and whatever it is I'm doing looks pretty exciting. The last time I went anywhere it was to my friend's house for jello wrestling (which is exactly what it sounds like). The time before that was with my brother to the Dropkick Murphy's concert in august so as you can tell my excursions are few and far between. That's not a bad thing. I have a lot of stuff to do, and rather enjoy time spent by myself. I socialize just as often as I need to.

My car is still working fine. My brother put subs in it so when you hear somebody go thumping down the road it's not necessarily Tyler, it could also be me.

Keeping on the positive side, I have managed to get to twenty two (almost twenty three actually) without getting pregnant, in spite of all my philandering. So no great-grandbabies for you. I'm sorry. I'm also nowhere near getting shacked up or married so no weddings either. That isn't something I'm remotely interested in so again, don't worry about it.

Finally, I moved house to a great big apartment with a backyard, we've been working on a little garden and have a barbecue. Considering how nice and spacious and conveniently located the place is, our rent is insanely low. The only downside is that there is, apparently, no parking so I've racked up almost a hundred dollars in fines from parking on the street but I hope to get that sorted out at least before the snow starts to fall. Also it looks like my phone might be right on the verge of shitting the bed so don't bother trying to contact me. If I need to get in touch with you I will.

Have a nice day!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Girl Drink Drunk: Big Ginger Float

So one of my favourite websites is The Berry. If you've never heard of the Berry, it's operated by the same people who do the Chive but it's targeted specifically towards girls, so it's got, y'know, DIY ideas, PMS jokes and pictures of hot guys, among other things.

Anywho, I found this recipe on there. I did a few tweaks to it to suit my particular taste and whipped up a couple one lazy afternoon. My edition is as follows. The original recipe can be found here.

One of the changes I made was swapping Gingers Irish Whiskey for Jack Daniel's which, arguably, defeats the whole purpose of the drink. I did that because a) I've never heard of 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey before and didn't know if they carried it at the NSLC nearest me; b) I'm not really a huge fan of Irish Whiskey for the most part; and c) I drink a lot of Jack Daniel's.

I also fired a sprig of ginger mint in there as a garnish just because I happen to have some in my garden and it seemed extra fancy.

I almost wound up switching out the sherbet because I had a helluva time finding it. Sobey's didn't have any at all, instead they carry frozen yoghurt (don't get me fucking started on frozen yoghurt, oh my fucking god) or some weird lime flavoured ice cream which is one of the most disgusting sounding thigns I can imagine. I damn near had a breakdown in the grocery store (this seems to happen more and more often), coz, y'know, I remember getting lime sherbet there as a kid. It was really really green and had those little squishy bits in it. And rainbow sherbet. And orange sherbet. Now you can't even get any sherbet at all as far as I could tell. I found some at the superstore, so I didn't have to choke anybody, but still.

Big Ginger Float Cocktail (with Jack Daniel's)

2 oz. Jack Daniel's
1/2 can ginger ale
1 scoop lime sherbet
Lemon wheel and a sprig of ginger mint for garnish
Put ingredients in a fancy glass in the order given and serve immediately.

This tasted pretty good. The lime, Jack's and mint actually go together better than one would expect. I think if I had given the gingerale and whiskey time to chill it may have made a better drink coz the sherbet doesn't really cool it that much but I was so pissed off when I got back from the grocery store I needed a stiff drink when I got back to calm me down.

Anyway, the only qualm I had with it (apart from it not being really cold which was my fault) was that it seemed a little bit too sweet. Like that sticky kind of sweetness that coats the inside of your stomach and your brain and if you have more than two you'll be proper fucked and completely unable to function in the morning.

Don't get me wrong, it's pretty tasty, and maybe it'd be different if I'd used the right ingredients but still way too sweet for my taste. So far, I would say my drink of choice for the summer (and summer's pretty much over at this point) has to be either a lighter beer or a chilled rose wine.

And with that, it's onward to wintery drinks.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Girl Drink Drunk: Mystery Coffee Drink

It seems to me that every Sunday without fail, for whatever reason, I'm totally hungover and pretty nearly out of booze. I can't imagine why. In addition to being a day of rest, Sunday is also typically the day I get together with a homey or two, bust out the guitars, and have a good old jam sesh. Which is as good an occasion as any to get drunk again.

Another habit of mine is to make one big pot of coffee and then drink it one cup at a time until it's gone. Sicne I am only one person and I only usually have one coffee in the morning, I tend to have cold coffee sitting around the house. So lately, on Sunday morning, I've been concocting godawful coffee based beverages containig any and every type of spirit I have lying around the house.

The two following mystery drinks are the results of my Sunday morning tamperings.

Mystery Coffee Drink the First

Sugar and milk (or cream) to taste
1/2 oz. frangelico
1/2 oz. grand marnier
1/2 oz. white cacao

This was one of my first coffee experiments and I figured it would be a good idea to just throw a little bit of all the liqueurs I had in my cabinet into an iced coffee. It was not at all. This drink was like getting punched in the face with flavour. It had no subtlety, no character and it showed me that grand marnier and frangelico do not in any way compliment one another. I don't particularly care for either on their own or as the main ingredient in a drink, but together they are nightmarishly sweet and made the drink taste a lot like what I ould imagine rubbing alcohol would taste like.

Not a success.

Mystery Coffee Drink the Second

Hot coffee
Sugar and milk (or cream) to taste
1 oz. white cacao
1/2 oz. grand marnier

This, on the other hand, has become my fallback for Sunday morning coffee. I figured white chocolate and oranges have a certain thing going so there would be no reason for cacao and grand marnier not to. The combination lends the coffee and nice, mild flavour, not too boozey, still a little on the sweet side though. It kinda dulls the bite from the grand marnier a little bit.

This drink isn't great, but it isn't terrible either and until I buy more coffee-appropriate liqueurs, it'll be my go to.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Girl Drink Drunk: Blomidon Chardonnay

yes i know my counters are dirty yes i know my relflection is in the toaster yes i know i know
I bought this wine a couple of weeks ago because I wanted something that would pair nicely with chicken (yes, I'm still doing that) and it's vinted in Canning, Nova Scotia which is nice.

I may or may not have mentioned before that I'm not a big fan of white wine because, for the most part, I find they don't reall taste like anything. This is no exception. It's a tangy, wine-flavoured wine, perfectly drinkable but nothing special and it did have a slightly chalky aftertaste.

That being said, though I was too drunk to function when I made my chicken and am incapable of telling you whether it paired well or not, what it did pair surprisingly nicely with was this fucked up thing I made a few days later with quinoa.

I was trying to make this recipe but cocked it up pretty good and wound up with a mass of quinoa, spinach, eggs, and cheese.
Fuck off
It tasted pretty damn good but since I cooked the quinoa with chicken stock and put cheese in it, and also salt, it was really salty and the wine did an excellent job of cutting down the salty assault that was going on in my mouth.

So I think I learned something from this. Chardonnay pairs with really salty foods like cheese and salt. Honestly I'm really excited about that - I mean, yeah, I could have read it in a wine tasting guide but finding out on my own is way more fun. And that's why I'm doing wine and beer and food pairings. Woot.

Blomidon Estates Winery is located right here in Nova Scotia and also on the internet here. I didn't really dig the Chardonnay but I will definitely try their other wines in the future.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Girl Drink Drunk: Apothic Rose

This was on the special shelf at the LC last week. Despite my previous declarations about not liking blended wine very much, I am a pretty big fan of Apothic's red and white (I don't even like white wine but theirs is not too bad) and I figured they should be pretty good mixed together.

I already drank it by the time I took this picture.

It wasn't bad. It wasn't great either. To be truthful, it didn't really taste like a whole helluva lot and it had that tanginess that I generally find unappealing in white wines. 

But, you know, it was light and refreshing. I'd probably buy it again as an alternative to coolers on hot days when I would ordinarily be inclined to drink coolers. Coz coolers are disgusting and I always hate myself the day after drinking them.

Apothic's website is here.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Letter to a Former Lover

I can write this feeling safe in my knowledge that you will never read it. Yes, it is public. No, it will not hold your attention beyond the first few, embittered paragraphs. It might not hold anybody's attention.
I'm not writing it for you.
I'm writing it for me.
Dear [pick one] ---
I am happy for you.
I wish you and your boring girlfriend nothing but the best during your boring life, filled with boring conversations and boring sex which leads to boring children who grow into boring adults and will bore people like me with tales of their boring childhoods.
You and your unexceptional wife will decay into boring old people who cling desperately to the banalities of your long passed youth until you inevitably succumb to some boring illness.
Your friends and relatives, those that outlive you, will tell mind numbing stories about what a swell guy you were and what a pleasant life you lived.
And your children will be sad. Maybe your grandchildren too.
The world will not know that it sloughed off one of its myriad parasites.
You will not know that the gnawing feeling of dissatisfaction, the growing numbness you felt when you looked into your wife's equally vacant eyes, was derived of boredom.
Boredom made you drive your car too fast, and watch too much television, and drink too much on weekends, and buy more furniture, and eat more chicken nuggets, and talk and talk about your glory days, and cheat on your sweet boring wife with girls like me, and grow fat and far too lazy to break out of the monotony you found yourself locked into.
I am happy for you.
You have settled into a state of inertia which is comfortable and easy and safe.
I am happy for her, the one you chose to keep and grant a lifetime of serene stability.
I'm happier for me.
Even if I'm angry, and hurt, and resentful, I can still feel those things in a way that is meaningful, if only to me.
I can, and I will, fuck and cry and love and hate and make and destroy and hurt those around me who are capable of being hurt and regret it later.
I have so much shit to do.
Stay the fuck out of my way.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dumb Shit I want to do Before I Die

(in no particular order)

I've only ever been on a motorcycle once. It was pretty cool. I think it'd be even cooler to be driving it. I don't really want to own one, I just want to go for a rip.

I know everybody wants to. I'm sort of curious as to how often this actually occurs though. It seems like it would be kinda difficult, at least in "economy class" (or "steerage" as I like to call it). I've never flown anything besides steerage.

I have never done any psychedelic drugs. Preferably I'd like to do them in the desert coz that seems like a great idea.

I want a gigantic tattoo of a dead albatross.
Somethin like this

Coz fuck albatrosses, amirite?

And by my "homeland" I mean the places where my male ancestors came from. Soo Macedonia (Gigeroff) and Northern England (Shackleton).

This would be the ultimate spring break excursion.

I love hot dogs. I want to travel around North America more. What would be better than driving around sampling and reviewing the best hot dogs in this beautiful continent? Getting paid to do it, that's what. Anybody want to chip in on this?

There would be absolutely nothing cooler than hunting with a falcon. Zero things. "No, I don't need a shot gun, I have a fucking falcon that kills shit for me." Boom.

Cage goes in the water. You go in the water. Shark's in the water.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Girl Drink Drunk: Hell Bay English Ale

I picked up a couple bottles of this to try the other week coz it's from Liverpool and the label is pretty catchy.

And it turned out to be a pretty damn excellent beer. It's rich and nutty but kinda crisp too so you could enjoy it when the weather's hot. It would go great with a meal, especially any kind of big, traditional English meal like roast beef (which is what I had it with).

The flavour reminded me a bit of Picaroons so probably they do the same thing to their hops or whatever it is. Hell Bay is a little bit lighter tasting and doesn't have that stickiness to it. But yeah, if you like Picaroons you'll like this. If you like good beer you'll like this.

You can find them online at hellbaybrewing.com.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Girl Drink Drunk: Hand Drill (ver. 1)

My cocktail for this week was going to be a Sunstroke (vodka, orange juice and cointreau) but cointreau proved to be way too expensive to be entered into lightly, and I went for the cheapest orange flavoured liqueur at hand, Grand Marnier. Also instead of stirring the drink, I fired it in the cocktail shaker and garnished with nothing. So I figured those differences would probably make it into a new drink so I did a quick search to find out if it already had a name. The closest things I could find were a Greyhound (vodka and grapefruit juice) and a Battery Operated Screwdriver (vodka, grand marnier, triple sec, orange juice, grapefruit juice). So, after picking through the internet for a name that wasn't already taken, I'm calling this the Hand Drill. It's not the best drink I've ever made, to be honest, but I already have some ideas in mind for improvements... so I guess this can go on my list of cocktail prototypes.

On an additional note, I used Stolichnaya vodka which was my father's vodka of choice and, as far as I'm concerned, the best vodka you can get. It's premium.

Hand Drill Recipe

1 oz. Stolichnaya Vodka
4 oz. Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz. Grand Marnier

Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an old fashioned glass.