Tag Archive for bourbon

Booze and a Book: Bourbon and Bikers

The Booze: Michter’s US*1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon

I’d heard a lot of good things about Michter’s, so I snagged a bottle while I was at a local shop picking up a cigar for a friend. I cracked it open shortly before writing this, and I quite enjoyed the sweet smell. First little taste, neat, carried a similar creamy vanilla sweetness.

On ice it changed a bit, as if the cold dulled much of the sweetness. It’s still pretty great, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not getting the same unique flavor. I’m going to come back to this one neat sometime before passing judgement.

The Book: Freedom: Credos from the Road by Sonny Barger

This is another one I read a few chapters at a time between other books. I bought it partly out of curiosity, partly for inspiration while noodling on some characters in Lucifer’s Swords from The Pack and possible spin-offs.

On the plus side, it’s an enjoyable book. Barger shares a lot of insight and life lessons, and the biographical side is interesting reading. His perspective of The System and The Man may be skewed, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t problems that need to be addressed. He even shares a bit of advice and philosophy, usually conveyed through riding metaphors.

On the down side, Barger—like way too many people today—has a very selfish idea of freedom. There’s a lot of my freedom is more important than your freedom, and if yours doesn’t jive, then to hell with you. He demonstrates patriotism for an American ideal, but also some entitlement. Essentially, “I served my country, I should be able to do what I want”. It tends to fall somewhere between Libertarianism and anarchy, with a healthy dash of might makes right. Brotherhood over law, freedom over justice.

It all sounds good until one realizes the mightiest won’t remain so forever. When the top dog ignores others’ freedoms for his own, and someone within a brotherhood divides its loyalties, it’s only a matter of time before that top dog hits rock bottom.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Smoke Blog: Rocky Patel Strada

It’s National Bourbon Day. Cheers! #bourbon #whiskey #straightedge #cigar #rockypatel #strada #nationalbourbonday

A post shared by Mike Oliveri (@mikeoliveri) on

It’s National Bourbon Day, so I’m sitting here enjoying a tasty glass of Straight Edge bourbon, enjoying a mild thunderstorm and a break in the heat, and hoping this cigar will match its quality.

I usually like the Rocky Patel labels, but never have I had a more uneven box of cigars than the Strada. I’ll come back to flavor in a moment, as the quality is where they suffer the most. One cigar will burn fine, but the next will have burn issues and either fizzle out or burn unevenly. Two of them spat and sputtered, as if burning into pockets of moisture, and one popped a few times and sprayed small bits of burning ash onto my table. I thought it might be a problem with my humidor, but none of my other cigars have had these problems.

The Strada is billed as a medium-body smoke, but I would rate it closer to full. The draw gives up pleasant hints of pepper, but the finish is leathery. Those that burned well, I mostly enjoyed. Those that did not left a very dry, ashy finish on the palate that required a strong drink for balance. Avoid sweet cocktails; that’ll just be a mess.

Construction varied as well. None unraveled during smoking, nor did any break or crack during cutting. The ash was often brittle, however, making them a messy cigar and a bit of a gamble to smoke while getting some work done at a laptop. Even a short ash might break off while puffing, which has happened to me twice while typing this post.

Like most of my sticks, they were on sale. Where I lucked out with the Gurkha Legend, the Rocky Patel Strada is a good reminder that in most cases I get what I pay for and I should probably stash away some extra pennies and stick to my favorites.

But hey, at least the Straight Edge is still killer, as I’ve previously written.

On to the next batch.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Why Whiskey?

Short answer: Why not?

Thirst in Amber

The long answer: It turns out, in addition to my other food allergies, I’m allergic to barley. All those times I had heartburn after drinking a few beers with friends? That was the allergy kicking me in the guts. I can do ciders, wheat beer, or even sorghum beer, but no more standard barley beers for me.

The good news is, though, if you distill the stuff, it’s harmless. For years I’d only dabbled with some of the well whiskeys and bourbons if people bought me a shot, but then a friend turned me on to Jameson Irish Whiskey, and another friend turned me on to Woodford Reserve, and pretty soon I realized there was a whole new world out there to explore. Add cocktails to the mix and that world becomes even bigger.

I’ve enjoyed reading up on regional blends and flavors, and learning the differences in their histories and what makes a bourbon a bourbon and a Scotch a Scotch. I’m sure I’ll flirt with a few other liquors as well (I’ve had some really good tequilas), but for the moment I’ve barely put a dent in the bourbon selection.

Favorites right now include Four Roses Small Batch, Woodford Reserve, and, from right here in East Peoria, Illinois, J.K.’s Straight Bourbon. The bar where I enjoy my cigars has Knob Creek, which I like okay, but they’ve jacked up the price on it, which sucks.

It’s also given me a good excuse to do the Booze and a Book thing. Look for another entry next week.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Booze and a Book: Cocktail and Comics

The Booze: An Old Fashioned cocktail

I mixed this one up with Redemption bourbon, simple syrup, and spiced orange bitters from Beehive Bitters. The Old Fashioned has quickly become my go-to cocktail because it softens even the harshest of bourbons without completely killing the flavor. It’s also a great way to enhance a a low-grade bourbon and make it more enjoyable.

I rather like the Redemption bourbon straight or in a cocktail. It has a 21% rye mash, so it has just a bit of a spicy kick to make it stand out from some other bourbons.

A traditional Old Fashioned calls for Angostura bitters, but I won a small bottle of the Beehive Bitters through an online offer and it’s a much better flavor. I’ve been nursing the bottle along, and I’m sure I’ll buy one or two of their other flavors when this bottle is done.

The Book: Mage: The Hero Discovered by Matt Wagner

I first read Mage back in high school when two clerks at my local comic shop told me how much they loved it. It was already done and collected in three volumes by then, so I purchased the first one. Before the end of the week, I’d returned for the second two.

I’ve loved this book since. It’s a modern retelling of the Arthurian legend, and it’s just a very clever, beautiful book. It’s been ages since I’ve read it myself, so I’m long overdue for a reread. My sons have both read it, and if you look carefully you can see some of the pages have fallen out because they even re-read it a time or two. I may have to order a new volume.

The second series, Mage: The Hero Defined, is boxed up in single issues somewhere in my longbox collection. I kind of expected the boys to go looking for it, but they never did. I may have to pick up a collected edition of that, too.

The main reason I chose this book this week, though, is because it’s finally been announced that the final series, Mage: The Hero Denied, will be published at last. It’s hard to believe it’s been 18 years since Defined was published. I can’t wait!

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Booze and a Book: Zombies and Bourbon

The Booze: Straight Edge Bourbon Whiskey

This bourbon is finished in sherry casks, lending it a sweet flavor that is almost reminiscent of an old fashioned. It’s a smooth, easy drinker, and one I’ve put in my flask a time or two because it’s easy to share with friends. I put most bourbons on ice and sip them slow, letting the ice water them down a bit, but with Straight Edge my glass is often dry well before the ice can melt.

Side note: I picked up a spherical, silicon ice mold after the holidays. It makes a fat ball of ice to chill a drink fast, though the spheres are a bit smaller than I expected. They also tend to fracture along their equator, and the resulting hemispheres melt even faster. They last longer than standard cubes, but if you’re the type of drinker who doesn’t want your whiskey watered down, stick to whiskey stones or even these badass whiskey bullets.

The Book: The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

In which I reveal I’m a Kindle reader. Shock! Horror!

Actually, I dig the Kindle Paperwhite quite a bit. It’s small and the backlight is easy on the eyes, which is important because I do a lot of my reading right before I fall asleep. I’ve also passed out and dropped it a few times without damaging the screen.

As for the book, I didn’t pay this one a lot of mind on release because it’s a zombie novel, and I had my fill for a bit. However, several of my friends raved about it, and then it got picked up for movie production (starring Glenn Close):

The earlier teaser trailer sold me. I’m not quite halfway through the book as I write this, but I’m hooked. Carey calls his zombies “hungries,” and the story is set some time after the initial zombie apocalypse rather than during. These are fast zombies for those who care, and Carey draws on nature for the cause of his zombies.

The other difference is the titular character, Melanie, is a smart zombie. Something is different about several child zombies, and as the novel begins the rest of the characters are there to study these kids. We get some background of the world and other characters through Melanie’s eyes, then the shit hits the fan and things start moving along at a good clip.

Carey’s prose is lean and engaging, and he shows good balance between Melanie’s innocence/ignorance and telling the reader exactly what’s happening. Zombie fans will find the usual hunger and chow-down horror here, though Carey doesn’t go overboard with it. Casual readers and horror fans should enjoy it alike.

I’m also pleased to see some of the scenes in the trailer are ripped straight out of the novel. That gives me hope the movie will be pretty great, too.

Now I just need to finish the novel before the movie lands.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Dig: Local Bourbon

Ever since I tried their Young Buck Bourbon, I’ve been wanting to visit the JK Williams distillery, a craft distiller out of nearby East Peoria, Illinois. Schedule conflicts and inclement weather made it tough, and the JK Williams line continued to grow. Finally, the Rugrats were out of town this past Sunday, and the Wife and I were looking for something to do.

Perfect time for a visit. We called another couple and the four of us made the trip.

The distillery is a small place, easy to miss on a frontage road in a row of small businesses and offices. They offer hourly tours on weekends, and though it was 3pm on a Sunday afternoon, their lobby (and bar counter) was fairly crowded with a group who just finished a tour and another group waiting to take one.

Kassi Williams started our tour with a history lesson of both the company and the whiskey business in Peoria. I knew Peoria was once the whiskey capital of the world prior to Prohibition, but the JK Williams crew, particularly the ladies, put together a nice timeline of historic photos and filled in some details I wasn’t aware of.

Then it was on to the still. I knew they were a small operation, but I didn’t realize they only had the one still. We got to see where they cooked up their mash, we smelled the results of the distillation process every step of the way, and Kassi explained the different mixes and mashes that make up their various products.

Something I really respect about them as a craft distiller is they source as much as they can locally. Their corn is local, and the fruit they use in their fruited liquors are picked by adults with special needs who work with the Tazewell County Resource Center. Way cool.

Then we got to see the aging room.

This room and the barrels were a lot smaller than I expected, too, but their output is still quite high for a four-person operation with only one full-time employee.

JK Williams called their first bourbon Young Buck because it was too young to be legally called a bourbon (bourbon must be aged at least two years). One of the owners, Jon, told me at a tasting that they used special barrels to “age the bourbon faster,” and we got to see one of those barrels: they simply drill several holes on the inside of the barrel staves to increase the surface area the whiskey is exposed to. I liked the Young Buck, but I remember finding it a bit strong to drink neat.

After seeing the aging room, we returned to the lobby bar and were invited to try a quarter ounce of up to four different products, free of charge. (Score! Cocktails were available for purchase, too.) I was eager to finally try their fully-matured bourbon and rye. Unfortunately their High Rye wasn’t available just yet; it’s due this Fall.

The ladies went straight for the fruit drinks: the Peach Whiskey, the Blackberry Whiskey, Smitty’s Apple Pie, and the new Pineapple Whiskey. A bottle of the Pineapple Whiskey came home with my wife.

I went for two of their unaged products, JK’s Corn Whiskey and JK’s Naked Rye, the Straight bourbon, and one I wasn’t aware of, JK’s Select Bourbon.

The Corn Whiskey was sweet as promised, and the Naked Rye had a spicy burn. Jesse and Kassi served up the drinks and advised mixers for both, but I’m kinda dumb and wanted to see what the whiskeys were like solo. It doesn’t make a lot of business sense to have barrels and barrels of product sitting in a warehouse doing nothing, so these products, as well as the Young Buck, give them something to market while the rest of the line matures.

The Bourbon Select, if I understood correctly, comes from a barrel chosen by the distiller, Jesse, and this one was aged 17 months. The Straight had a full two years in the barrel. I rather liked both, though it was hard to get a full sense of the flavors with just a quarter ounce sip. Just the same, I found them both pleasant, with a bit more of a burn on the Select’s finish.

In the end I opted for a bottle of JK’s Straight Bourbon and a shiny new JK Williams whiskey glass (about time I added one of those to my collection). When I got home later that night, I didn’t waste time getting it onto some ice and then mixing up an Old Fashioned.

Let me tell you, this is good stuff. I found it smooth and sweet on ice, with those wonderful, subtle hints of caramel and vanilla. Maybe I finally nailed my Old Fashioned recipe, but I was very pleased with that, too. I’m hoping to set up a tasting for myself soon to compare it to the Woodford Reserve and Four Roses Small Batch that I have on hand.

JK’s stock is appearing in several local stores, and the Young Buck is in Costco. It’s probably worth talking to your liquor store to see if they can get their hands on it. Myself, I’ll just stop on back to the distillery for another tour when the High Rye is released.

Looking for something to do in Peoria? Passing through on I-74, or willing to take a small side trip from I-39? Drop on in and check it out. The tours are open on the weekend and they’re free. If you’re at all interested in whiskey, it’s well worth the trip.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

How to Screw Up a Bourbon Tasting

A liquor tasting should be a no-brainer, right? Have bourbon available, pour some for a customer, hope they buy it. Done.

Someone needs to tell that to our local Friar Tuck liquor store.

I stopped in yesterday with my sons to get some craft root beers, and I saw they had a tasting today including two bourbons: Broken Bell Small Batch and Lexington Bourbon Whiskey.

I show up today, wait behind some people tasting the wines, only to be told, “I don’t know why that’s up here, that was last month’s tasting.”

Three and a half hours into the tasting and nobody fixes it? She still had an open bottle of Broken Bell, but I was told they wouldn’t be opening another bottle of Lexington so I couldn’t try that one. Fail.

I accepted my little sip of Broken Bell. Barely enough to cover the bottom of the plastic shot glass. Look, I don’t expect full shots because they’re not going to send people away hammered, but at least JK Williams gave us enough to really taste when they had an event at a friend’s club.

The Broken Bell wasn’t half bad. It’s price point put it around Knob Creek or Maker’s Mark, but not quite as high as some of the other small batches like Four Roses Small Batch or the premium brands like Woodford Reserve.

Taste-wise, I’d say that works out about right. It’s definitely smoother than Maker’s and Knob, but it didn’t have much character. It’s no well bourbon, just a decent, general bourbon which could be used in a cocktail or taken neat or on the rocks as the mood strikes. It wasn’t special enough to warrant picking up a bottle to explore further, but I’d try it again if a local bar stocked it.

Too bad the Lexington wasn’t available, as it seems to have better tasting notes and reviews on the web.

Ah, well. That’s the general experience at this place: they have a lot of good stuff in stock, both liquor and cigars, but few seem to know or care much about what they have. Their humidor isn’t huge, but it has a wide range from cheap, flavored crap to high-end sticks. Only one guy seems to know much about them. Ask about a liquor they don’t carry, though, and they all just shrug. I’ve struck out at least twice asking for Writer’s Tears Irish Whiskey.

I might have been more disappointed if I’d made the trip just for the bourbon, but I also picked up a couple of cigars and hit a Starbucks for some quiet writing time.

I tried a new bourbon and I made some writing progress, so I’ll just call it a win.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Another Year Done

School year, that is.

The students at the day gig finished yesterday, and the teachers will wrap up tomorrow. I work all summer, but I’m looking for this year to be much quieter and more productive than last year.

One teacher has been very helpful in helping me push technology into our district, but he’s retired as of tomorrow. As a parting gift, he handed me a bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel.

Now THIS is a gift!

Score. Thanks again, Steve! I owe you a good lunch this Summer, both for this and for all the assists.

Now I’m kicking back on a Whiskey Wednesday with a bourbon and a smoke, reflecting on good times, and getting ready to pound on a short crime piece.

Gotta kick Summer off right.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Smoke Blog: A Cigar Ramble

“Dad, why do you do things that are bad for you?”

The middle son asked me that as I walked out of a local liquor store with a fistful of cigars. It’s a fair question, and a reasonable one for a nine year old to throw at his old man. It prompted a conversation on vice and moderation. This brought on several follow-up questions from the eleven year old, an active participant in his school’s D.A.R.E. program.

Kids aren’t stupid. I answered them straight: “Yep, they’re bad for me, but I like ’em.”

Cigar aficionados can debate the finer points of the chemical content and additives in cigarettes versus cigars, or the differences between puffing and inhaling, but when it comes down to it, there will always be a risk involved in lighting something on fire and taking in the smoke.

Thus, moderation.

Of course, binging on them kind of kills the idea of moderation. I’d been a good boy most of the summer, but after vacation I set out on a mission to burn through the contents of my humidor. I’m pretty sure my doctor would punch me in the face if he knew how many I’d gone through.

But, hey. Stress. And a powerful need to get some writing done.

I did a piss-poor job of keeping track of them or keeping the cigar bands, so I don’t recall what I had. I know two were Tatuaje Little Monsters, both of which were quite good, but the details escape me. The writing needed to be focused on some short work and a comic script, so I didn’t set aside the time for Smoke Blog entries.

I can tell you, however, the Partagas 1845 I smoked tonight blew me away, right from the light. Hints of cocoa on the wrapper, a smooth draw, thick smoke with leathery note, and solid construction all combined for a blissful, relaxing experience. The cigar dude at Friar Tuck assured me I’d enjoy it, and he was dead on.

I needed it. This is the busiest time of year at the day gig, and I’ve been non-stop for a week and a half now. Some weekend work and a lot of time doing extra tasks from home, combined with vendor phone system issues and construction setting me back even more, has had me on edge. I haven’t been able to get to karate class or do my home workouts, much less write.

The Partagas, a glass of Four Roses bourbon & soda, and some mindless browsing through paper notebooks and notebook reviews proved a great way to unwind.

And that, kids, is why some bad things are also good for me.

In moderation.

Now my humidor sits empty on my desk. I’m going to need a box of something to refill it, but I may need to sell some books first. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: National Bourbon Day

I did’t know there was such a thing as National Bourbon Day, but it makes me happy.

NBD: Four Roses Color

Four Roses Yellow. Best part of this photo? Having to do the shot after.

It also may explain the day’s oddities.

I jumped on the motorcycle and rode down to the gas station this morning, where I saw our local Santa Claus. At least, he looks like Santa Claus. Old guy, big belly, long white beard. Drives a rusted-out, dinged-up old van and I once saw him—complete with Santa hat—sucking down a nasty gas station burger in said van. This time, sans hat, he was making a purchase at the counter: a bottle of wine, a six pack of beer, and a Dove bar. Quite an odd mix at 9:15am. He almost dropped the beer twice while moving over to check his Lottery ticket numbers. When I left, I saw his keys sitting on top of his van.

Jump back on the bike, drive down the street, slow to make a left. Another car coming opposite direction slows, slows, slows, then stops right in front of my turn. Hard on the brake and clutch, stare her down for several seconds before she realizes I’m parked right next to her. She jumps, waves a half-assed apology, then drives on.

Still on the bike, riding through town, spot a woman working in her yard. She’s wearing shorts and a sleeveless turtle neck, with the turtle neck unrolled and pulled up over her nose. I swore she was headless for a second.

Can’t wait to find out what kind of weirdness I run into when I get out of town and into Peoria proper.

Meanwhile, today is also Flag Day, the only holiday Hallmark doesn’t ram down our throats and guilt us into buying cards for.

Flags

Old Glory flanked by Illinois and Chicago flags

Show your patriotism, America! Salute the flag and down a shot. Repeat as needed.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Smoke Blog: A Couple of Big Ones

The humidor’s environment is finally under control. Hells yes. Last check, 77 degrees and 74% humidity. It took a couple of reseasonings, but the results were worth the minimal effort. \m/

(Is “reseasoning” a word? It is now.)

I burned through two sticks this week while getting some work done, and both times I opted for some of the larger smokes in the humidor. The main motivation was to stay busy longer, but I also felt they were less likely to be affected by the period of time the humidor was out of whack.

First up was the Macanudo Cru Royale. When I first lit it up, I was not impressed. It was very harsh and hot. However, this is possibly due to the dry environment in the humidor before I got it fixed, as it quickly mellowed into a fine smoke. Loaded with hints of leather, it smoked clean and easy. Not a remarkable smoke for my palate, but it paired well with the Boulevard Smokestack Series IPA (Double-Wide IPA, in fact) I was drinking. If you’re a Macanudo fan and prefer a medium- or full-bodied cigar, pick one up.

Last night I opted for a CAO Gold series maduro. This Churchill (I believe) stayed with me a good two hours. Very impressive. Not my go-to flavor preference, but I enjoyed it. Sturdy, easy to hold, lots of smoke to play with. A hint of cocoa in the beginning, then that hefty maduro profile took over. Near the end it picked up in heat and needed to be touched up with the lighter a few times, but not enough to kill the cigar. Alongside some Four Roses Yellow bourbon, it made for a very pleasant experience as I punched the keyboard.

For those wondering how I’ve managed to get so much variety in these Smoke Blog entries, I have two explanations: 1) my wallet; 2) my cousin Mark.

I like to experiment, and because I don’t always have the cash to drop on a full box, I pick up a stick or two at a time. The rotating stock in the limited cigar selections in Peoria then makes it easy to try different things. Sometimes this bites me in the ass, but more often than not I’m able to pick out reputable brands and some pleasant surprises.

Most of my stock right now, though, is courtesy of my cousin. Twice now he’s sent me a variety of cigars to try, typically to celebrate finishing a project. He also once rounded up a bunch of guys on a forum to restock my my humidor when it ran dry. It’s been great for the blog, for the productivity, and for the general enjoyment of the smoke. Thanks again, Mark! I hope to return the favor sometime soon.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Things I Learned Today

The dude in Fargo got hosed

You all remember the wood chipper scene in Fargo, right?

Poor Carl. Anyway, turns out Gaear got hosed by a bad wood chipper. Today, contractors took down trees at my day job to make room for new construction. They fed entire trees to this thing. Mulched them in seconds.

Mulched Grove

You get surprisingly little mulch from a tree

With one of these bad boys, Gaear would have been long gone by the time Marge showed up.

Plumbing can screw up your whole day

Slip nuts on a sink drain can, apparently, spontaneously break. I drained a sink full of dishwater and heard it splash all over inside the cabinet. It doesn’t look like a lot of water in the sink, but when it’s spread all over your cabinet, it’s quite a mess. Cleaning up, getting parts, and repairing the sink derailed the rest of the day’s plans.

Plumbing repairs are actually fairly cheap

If you do it yourself, that is. I’ve learned more about plumbing in the last two homes I’ve owned than I ever thought I would. I can now replace drains, reseat toilets, sweat pipes, replace water heaters, and replace thermocouples and heat elements on water heaters.

The sink repair above? $1.87 for the part I needed. If I’d paid a plumber, I’m sure it would have been at least $80 for labor.

Four Roses Yellow is good stuff

Really. You should try it. Not as good as their Small Batch, but still good. Goes down smooth.

The Montecristo Chicago cigar is good stuff

Really. You should try it. Separate Smoke Blog post will follow.

Chromebooks can spontaneously reboot

No computer or operating system is immune to occasional glitches, and ChromeOS is no exception. On the plus side, WordPress saved what I was working on, as did Google Docs. And the boot time? Just a few seconds. I was back to productivity in less time than it took for me to cuss the thing out.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.