[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Friday, 2017-03-17

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Filed under: Family,Food,Friends,Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 09:01

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Much like Columbus Day, this day has very little to do with the actual historical St. Patrick. What we are actually celebrating are the good things that we Americans have gained thanks to Irish immigrants and (if we’re lucky) our Irish ancestors: an appreciation of good food, good friends, and good beer. These are things worth celebrating. If you want to go deeper with it, and celebrate more complex aspects of Irish culture and what we’ve gained from it, that’s great, too.

If you use this as an excuse to complain about St. Patrick, the Catholic Church, or cultural stereotypes, you are missing the point.

Monday, 2015-05-11

Rum tasting results

Filed under: Conventions,Food — bblackmoor @ 14:30

Exactly one year ago, I held a rum-tasting at the Midnight Frights​ party at RavenCon​. The best one we tried was the 12-year rum from Trinidad, followed closely by the 5-year rum from Barbados. The 8-year rum from Haiti was a distant third. The New Orleans rum and the Cruzan 5-to-12-year rum were not very good, but perfectly serviceable when mixed with orange/pineapple/banana juice and ginger ale.

Rum tasting winners: 12-year Trinidad, 5-year Barbados, 8-year Haiti

(I am posting this here so that I can easily find it when I am at the liquor store. If you find it useful, that’s a bonus.)

Tuesday, 2013-08-06

The Mugs of August – NSA mug

Filed under: Art,Food — bblackmoor @ 21:54
NSA

This is an official National Security Agency (NSA) coffee mug. Nowadays, this isn’t anything special. Everyone knows who the NSA is and what they do.

Back in the 1980s, it was a different story. NSA agents were my favorite government “spooks” to use in modern-day role-playing games, because not many people knew they existed, and many people who did know weren’t quite sure what they did. So if I needed a couple of “top men” to show up under the flag of government authority without revealing exactly who they were or what they were authorized to do, the NSA was my go-to organization.

Those were the good old days.

Saturday, 2013-08-03

The Mugs of August – Mashery mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Work — bblackmoor @ 12:38

MasheryMasheryMashery

One of the great things about my company is that they send me to conferences every so often. This mug came from php|tek 2012, which was a great convention held at a terrible hotel located an hour away from Chicago. It was a horrible location for a conference, honestly. However, the conference itself was really good.

This mug came from Mashery, which was one of the sponsors of the conferences. They provide API management for third parties. But what I think is neat is that the mug changes when you put something hot in it.

Thursday, 2013-08-01

The Mugs of August – DriveThru mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Work — bblackmoor @ 10:14

DriveThruDriveThru

This mug was made for me by a colleague. The logo on the front is DriveThru, which is the parent brand of most of sites operated by the company I work for. The most well-known of these, and the one I like best, is DriveThruRPG. I loved DriveThruRPG before I worked here, and I’ll love it after I’ve moved on.

The back of the mug has my name in a “hobbit” style font.

The details are kind of hard to see in photographs, but it looks great in person. This is one of my favorite mugs.

Sunday, 2011-09-04

Happy birthday to me

Filed under: Family,Food,Friends — bblackmoor @ 10:26

I turned 45 this week. I had a great week. We got a new kitten, Vixen. A friend and his son came over and we grilled hot dogs and watched a Batman movie (Mystery Of The Batwoman). We had dinner with a different friend at Famous Dave’s (a rib place). Life is good.

Wednesday, 2011-08-31

The Mugs of August – Treasure Island mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel — bblackmoor @ 23:58
Treasure Island mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

I spent about six hours in the car yesterday, driving all over central Virginia looking for the perfect kitten. So this, the final installment of the Mugs of August, is a little late.

When we went to Las Vegas in 2002, we were amazed at how much fun you can have for free, or nearly free. For example, every morning, we made the rounds of the “free spin” slot machines, and came home at the end of the week with a dozen decks of cards, a few packs of dice, a number of “collectible” dolls, tote bags, and other assorted crap. We also got a pair of theatre tickets for Splash! just for taking a bus tour of the Las Vegas suburbs and listening to a half-hour pitch for a time share. The bus tour was part of the pitch, but I thought it was a pretty cool thing to do on its own. We got another set of tickets for Showgirls of Magic for listening to an hour pitch from a hotel-timeshare.

I’ve already mentioned how much I liked Showgirls of Magic. Splash! was a pretty popular show at the time, but we hadn’t planned to see it, and probably wouldn’t if we hadn’t had the free tickets. It was a variety show, much like what you would see on “America’s Got Talent”, but with intermittent topless showgirls, and a big closing musical number celebrating the sinking of the Titanic. (Yes, we thought that was odd, too.)

A number of casinos had free entertainment, either outside or inside. One of the hotels we stayed at, the Flamingo, had Russian trapeze artists and acrobats performing every few hours. The Bellagio has its fountains, Circus Circus has its midway circus show, and Treasure Island has a pirate ship fighting an English man o’ war. (Or had — apparently they have changed the show up a bit since then.) It was a great show: every bit as good as something you’d see at Universal Studios, in my opinion. And free for anyone who happened to be walking by.

It’s a great mug, too. Heavy, but comfortable to hold and drink from. I am drinking coffee from it right now, in fact. You might not be able to tell from the photo, but the skull and crossbones is raised a bit in bas-relief, which is neat.

And thus we come to the end of the Mugs of August. I hope you found it entertaining.

Tuesday, 2011-08-30

The Mugs of August – Cobalt toothbrush mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Friends — bblackmoor @ 22:41
Cobalt toothbrush mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

This mug has never held coffee, tea, or any other beverage. Back in the early 2000s, I did a lot of remodeling of our house in Portsmouth. When I remodeled the hall bathroom, I decorated it in a Victorian sun and moon theme: lots of dark blue, with bronze suns and moons here and there. I bought this Anchor Hocking mug to use as a toothbrush holder. Susan and I both used conventional, move-it-with-your-hand toothbrushes back then.

Nowadays, this mug sits in our guest bathroom, filled with new (sealed) toothbrushes for guests, as well as floss, a razor, and a tube of toothpaste. We have guests stay the night from time to time, such as when we have parties and friends come in from out of town, and we try to make sure they have all they need in case they forgot to bring something. It’s kind of funny: when a guest does need a toothbrush, and opens one up, they almost always leave it behind. Why? We aren’t going to re-use it.

We don’t use manual toothbrushes ourselves, anymore, so we stay well-supplied with the free toothbrushes the dentist gives us every time we visit. In fact, we have way too many. Susan recently boxed up 20 of them and sent them off to some soldiers for a program where she works called “America’s Adopt a Soldier”. She got a letter back thanking her. According to her letter, in some of the countries and cultures into which our military is sent, people do not brush their teeth, and it’s impossible to just buy a new toothbrush — receiving a new toothbrush after 7 months is awesome.

Monday, 2011-08-29

The Mugs of August – Forsvarets Fjernundervisning mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel,Work — bblackmoor @ 21:25
Forsvarets Fjernundervisning mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

In April and May 2003, I went on a long business trip to Europe for SAIC and Joint Forces Command, on behalf of the Partnership For Peace. Susan went with me. We visited the Czech Republic, Germany, and Norway. Norway was the last leg of our trip. We stayed in Oslo for nearly a week.

Oslo is a very interesting city. It seemed to me that everything was made of stone, and that the streets were deserted. Part of that perception was caused by the fact that Susan and I would wander around late at “night”, when normal Norwegians had gone to bed. But it was broad daylight. Oslo was very clean, and even the prostitutes seemed well dressed.

It was very expensive, though. I seem to recall a Big Mac cost almost $10. We didn’t eat at McDonald’s — I was just curious about the prices. I did have whale steak while we were there. I didn’t care for it, actually, but I am glad I was able to try it. If you’ve ever had a really horrific bloody nose, with golfball sized clots in your throat… it tasted like that.

I spent my days at Akershus Castle, a 13th century fortress which now houses museums, and at the time also housed the Forsvarets Fjernundervisning (which translates roughly as “Norwegian national defense distance education”). Like all of our hosts for that trip, our Norwegian military hosts were friendly, and proud of their city and their history. They gave Susan and me a private tour of the castle, and gave each of us one of these mugs as a parting gift.

Fun fact: in Norway, they don’t dub movies. American movies have American soundtracks. They also learn other languages in school at a very young age. Our hosts generally spoke English while we were around. I only overheard them speaking Norwegian with each other a few times. It actually did sound a lot like the Swedish Chef, believe it or not. But their English was superb, and the younger they were, the better it was. There was a contractor for IBM who I’d assumed was from California, based on his accent. Imagine my surprise when we took Susan and me out clubbing, and we found out that he was a local. His English was just that good. Not that I am criticizing anyone who speaks English with an accent. I have tremendous respect for anyone that learns English. I think that’s amazing. But his English was flawless.

Sunday, 2011-08-28

The Mugs of August – Simple glass beer mug

Filed under: Art,Family,Food,Friends — bblackmoor @ 22:06
Simple glass beer mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

Spent an hour or so with Erik, one of my oldest friends, this afternoon. That’s the best thing that’s happened to me in a few weeks.

Sometimes the simple things are best. That’s what I like about this plain glass beer mug. It’s solid, sturdy, comfortable… it’s just a good, practical mug. Like the Pepsi mug, it was a gift from my mother.

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