Monthly Archives: September 2014

Top 10 Books

illustrated_man

Defining your own top 10 is a lifetime exercise.

Are you listing them because you enjoy them, because you learned from them, because you think you should read them again, because you’re nostalgic for them, because you admire the author, because you think they’ll impress others? All but the last are good, valid reasons for putting a list together.

My list is a combination of 85% enjoyment and 15% nostalgia. I read for enjoyment, for escape for stretching my brain on its imagination side. As a result, there are few non-fiction books or biographies because pure enjoyment is rarely there. I enjoy the learning and the discovery but both are included in more entertaining ways in my list. In the order I thought of them.

The entire DragonLance series (particularly the Time of the Twins, War of the Twins and Test of the Twins trilogy) – Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
Othello – William Shakespeare
Butcher’s Moon – Richard Stark
The Last Unicorn – Peter Beagle
The Rainbow Goblins – Ul De Rico
Xanth series – Piers Anthony (particularly the first 6)
Smoke Signals – Sherman Alexie
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (collection of stories) – Arthur Conan Doyle
The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury (this was the cover I had on the one I read when I was a pre-teen, used then)

Now having Bradbury last was just a complete oversight. He’s my favorite author. He’s very minimalistic in creating deep and complex landscapes, scenes and characters. This approach really let’s you, the reader, fill in a lot of gaps.

Butcher’s moon is a book, I believe I still have. I remember it very well, even though it was a throwaway read after I found it somewhere in a bookstore as a teenager.

The Rainbow Goblins saturates your mind (and belly?) with color, visually and I remember it when I was a kid and have now been able to read it to my kids.

The Last Unicorn is also a book from my childhood (I was a VERY early reader and read a lot) that has stayed with me. I believe my mom owned this and I picked it up one day and it was very sad. I believe my mom probably still has it. I was disappointed to know that the film version is not that great.

9: The Peacemaker

Enneagram Test

— your own interpretation goes … here —

Cider Tipples On Twitter

A couple of weeks ago, I tweeted:

I grew up in England. When I was legally able to drink, I turned to cider first. In earlier teen years, I had tippled other weird liquors from my parents cabinet and tried the occasional Heineken from my dad’s alcohol stash. But cider was what I’d drink in the pubs, which I visited more for the snooker than to pull birds or a pint.

Woodpecker and Blackthorn were the ones I drank; I think primarily because my dad had those, as well.

And then I came to America and pretty much forgot about them. And I was stuck for two years not “legally” being able to drink. I did not drink much of anything; then moved mostly toward Jack and coke and cocktails at the club – always willing to try something new or recommendations.

And in the last three years or so beer and particularly craft beers and developing my tastes has come to the forefront.

But obviously the idea of a good cider never dies. I guess I need to call it hard cider, but by this time, you know what I’m talking about. I’ve seen it more in the stores and one day I wanted something lighter than beer but not juice. So I picked up a Strongbow. In a can it’s just not as good. I had a (smaller American) pint of Strongbow at the George and Dragon pub in Phoenix a few years ago but that wasn’t as good as I remembered either.

So the other day I Tweeted out that I had found a cider contender. Redd had less sweet, more dry. Crispin and Angry Orchard just were too sickly sweet (for my tastes, obviously).

Micah Silke tweeted back that he had found a dry cider in Oregon while on honeymoon, called Citizen. Quite fortuitously the company that makes Citizen joined in on the conversation. Carlton Cyderworks first favorited and then RTed our brief conversation and then when I asked about availability in Arizona, joined in, saying, unfortunately no at the moment. but it was available in the Seattle area. I have family there so – score, there’s a chance.

I followed @carltoncyderworks. And then something quite wonderful happened. Twitter started recommending all these other cider companies. Sweet. Or rather, hopefully, not-sweet.

So I can and will put them in a Twitter list. i noticed they were almost exclusively in the Northwest (I later found Santa Sidra cider from New Mexico (so I should be able to find that in AZ, right? No according to the site :| ). Other than the easy availability of apples, I wondered why that was the case?

But these are the ones I followed and if you have any recommendations and experience with these, I’d love to hear them. (Include whether you prefer sweet or dry, if you can):

Tieton Cider Works – @tietoncider (bonus, their Twitter image has bottlecaps, which i collect).
Red Tank cider – @redtankcider
Cider Monger – @cidermonger (not a brand but cider news.)
Cider Riot! – @CiderRiot
2 Towns Ciderhouse – @2townscider
Anthem Cider – @anthemcider
Schilling Cider – @schillingcider
Whitewood Cider – @wwcider
Portland Cider Co. – @portlandcider
Rev Nat’s Hard Cider – @revnatscider
Alpenfire Cider – @alpenfirecider
Bull Run Cider – @bullrunciderllc
Bushwhacker Cider – @bushwhckr
Snowdrift Cider Co. – @snowdriftcider
Fox-Tail Cider – @foxtailcider

I made a Ciders Twitter list – Ciders – to keep track