shows, and books, and negronis… oh my! [five things – 2.22.15]

I think today is a good day for a quick five things post, because my brain might not be up for a single sustained assertion. Instead, a few shorter ones might be just right. Normally I do five things I’ve already enjoyed, today I’ll sprinkle in some things I’m about to try. I’ll even make it double what the challenge calls for to make up for Friday.


1. Shows

I say shows because it’s less and less accurate to call it television as time passes. We stream, we rent, we torrent… fewer and fewer watch “TV” on monitors that include a tuner inside, or even through an external tuner in a box.

I’m not one of the folks abandoning ship on films in favor of shows, which I realize now is an entire post I should write. However, the talk of the new golden age of television isn’t overstated. Technically inaccurate for how most critically acclaimed shows reach their audience, but not overstated.

Shows like Justified and Parks and Rec are calling it quits, with Mad Men to follow in a few short months, which is sad, but there is still an overwhelming amount of content out there to enjoy. Shows like Archer, Bob’s Burgers and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia are in the midst of great seasons; Last Week Tonight is back; even a weak season of American Horror Story (as seen in the most recent season) is still pretty solid; The Walking Dead is still the most successful show on actual television sets; Game of Thrones returns soon… even as I write this paragraph I realize that trying to list even a fair sampling of the worthy shows is futile. There are just too damned many that I love, and even more that I haven’t had time to devour as part of my media diet.

Great storytelling is possible within any medium or framework, and the time for this particular type of serialized storytelling is most certainly on the rise.


2. House of Cards – Season Three

Speaking of great shows… Friday!!!


3. Ulysses by James Joyce

6a00e398b8ecae000300f48ce22fa20002And from one form of serial storytelling to another. Yesterday I wrote about the past, when many novels were published in installments, one of those was Ulysses. Considered by many notables to be the greatest novel of the 20th Century, considered by a majority to be the most important modernist novel in existence. It’s called difficult, genius and mad, often in the same sentence. I’ve never read it, and it’s time to remedy that fact.

My friend Josué and I plan to read it bit by bit throughout the year, but we got off to a late start so I’m only about 50 pages in. Fortunately I only need to read around 17 pages a week to get through the whole thing between now and the end of the year.

Here’s to a wild, challenging ride!


4. Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

And in a book that is far less challenging but most certainly enjoyable, Red Seas Under Red Skies. I mentioned this a bit ago when I started the book, while talking up the first book in the series The Lies of Locke Lamora. This was another fun read for anyone who likes heists and/or fantasy. This book also makes it abundantly clear that when you are trying to figure out what to add to the second installment in a series to up the ante after a great debut, the answer is pirates… always pirates. I’m looking at you True Detective. 


5. Stave-aged Negroni


It’s pretty amazing that we live in a time where it’s so easy to get the bits you need to make delicious, well-crafted drinks and meals at home. For around 30 bucks you can get everything you need for the aging part: namely, a bottle and a stave of charred American Oak. Then all you need to do is prebatch the appropriate amount of whatever cocktail you want to age, pour it into the bottle with the stave, pop the top back on, and wait a couple weeks.

I started with some delicious negronis, because the barrel-aged negroni is one of my favorite cocktails, and it is also made with ingredients I usually have at my house. Next up I’ll do another negroni, as well as a vieux carre.

Then you have premade cocktails sitting around just waiting for ice and some lemon peel.

Basic science is magic!