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Tuesday, 24 March
The Enscotchening!

Where was I? Sorry for the teaser last night, but I quickly realized that I was literally too tired to type. So I quit and went to bed. Because THAT'S WHAT HEROES DO. They get tired and quit.

Anyway! So there Eric and I were, feeling like complete frauds, wandering amongst the Monopoly-looking dudes, many of whom, we noted, had actually brought their own tasting glasses. Some of these snifters were--I'm not kidding--the size of fishbowls. Eric sneered at them and I just felt embarrassed. These snifters would literally hold a liter of liquid, and we were at a tasting event where pretty much every bottle had a pour regulator on them so that they would dispense only a few milliliters of liquid; some of the scotches there to be tasted go for upwards of $200 a bottle. So these dumbfucks were carrying around these ridiculous tanks only to have them occasionally splashed with a tiny amount of liquid whose aromas would struggle vainly to reach their noses.

We got to brass tacks quickly, immediately picking up our non-aquarium sized tasting glasses and dashed giddily into the first of three tasting rooms. Eric spotted a table for Famous Grouse. "Have you ever had that?" he asked me, and I said that I hadn't. "That shit is all over England. Order a fuckin' scotch in London, you're getting Famous Grouse." I've been to London a couple times, and that's never been my experience, but I didn't care. "You want some?" I asked. "Fuck no," he replied. "That shit has killed me a thousand times." He stood there for a moment, staring silently at their sign. "All right, let's go over there," he said eventually.

He's right; it's not too good. But of course there was much more.

I won't give you the whole laundry list of scotches, but maybe just a few. We did spend much of the night searching for the Glenmorangie table with increasing anxiety; it's one of our favorite distilleries. We finally located them--they lacked signage for some reason--and sampled their ridiculously heavenly Nectar D'Or, which gets finished in Sauternes barrels. Glenrothes' 1985 vintage was like getting thirty-six handjobs from a mermaid all at once. Japanese distillery Suntory brought an 18-year Yamazaki that we kept furtively coming back to sample, like teenaged boyfriends returning to visit dextrous, indefatigable, willing mermaids. I may be stretching this simile too far.

Oh, and there was swag to be had. When we registered, we got a little poker chip that was exchangable for a Ziploc bag that contained three cigars, a cigar guillotine and a box of matches. Now, I don't know shit about cigars; they've never really been my bag, and so apart from bachelor parties and various Vegas trips, I hardly ever have them. I have no idea about them, but we received one Romeo Y Julieta, one Saint Luis Rey, and one Playboy branded cigar. This I found amusing. I don't really have any opinion or comment on all the familiar psychosexual jokes that arise from sticking a large cylinder in your mouth and then sucking on it for a long time, but it's hard not to think about when you're lighting up a Playboy penis. In fact, I lit it up on Sunday night, just to, you know, experiment, man. I sucked and sucked, and then I left it on our patio and it got rained in. So I don't know what that all means, but I'm COMFORTABLE WITH MYSELF.

Throughout the rest of the night, we simply wandered like the happy children that we were, sampling our way through 80+ scotches. At various points, Eric recognized other bartenders in attendance, greeting them warmly--Seattle bartenders are all apparently well acquainted. And not that they were tough to spot: many of them took the loosest possible interpretation of the phrase "jacket required." One guy was wearing a windbreaker; another was wearing a hideous vintage houndstooth horror that I'm pretty sure he peeled off a cadaver; the overall effect was like Holden Caulfield after spending a night out rolling in filth.

Oh, there was also the buffet dinner. It was like every buffet dinner ever given out in the history of man, despite the relative opulence of the Rainier Club, which features a fireplace of a size suitable for a Viking funeral. Long tables piled with warmer trays filled with dispiriting things like dour penne in cream sauce, vegetable medleys and grey surrendered pork loin. Eric had rounded out our table with the variously disheveled other bartenders he had found, and, unsurprisingly, they ate like starving Huns.

Eventually, after a couple hours, things had to come to an end. We finished up at the Dewar's table--whose rep had supplied Eric with the comp tickets in the first place--and sampled a surprisingly good blend that apparently you can only get by performing twelve heroic tasks, such as altering a river's course, or eating eggplant. The guy kept it under the table so the plebes wouldn't grab at it. As things were wrapping up, we made plans to meet the fellow at Vessel, a downtown Seattle bar a few blocks away.

Here's the thing about downtown Seattle. After about seven o'clock, it rolls up and dies like a mayfly. Downtown Seattle is simply not your kind of destination neighborhood, even on a Friday night at nine o'clock. So we had the upstairs sitting room all to ourselves. A bunch of the guys from Vessel had been at the event anyway, and so came up to talk to Eric about the various scotches and to discuss cocktail minutiae. I clinically noted that one of Vessel's gimmicks is that they have a machine that will carbonate virtually any drink--I resisted the bleak, twisted urge to ask them to carbonate a Bailey's or something, and instead ordered a Toronto and listened idly to the bartenders prattle on about arcane drinks like Grimacing Apes and Take A Dump In Purples or whatnot.

We weren't drunk, despite all the booze talk. The scotch samples were way too small for that . . . or so you'd think. After about fifteen minutes, the bar began to fill up. Funny; lots of assholes in suits! Yeah, it was all guys from the scotch tasting. They were wasted; they must have utterly blitzed those tables for two hour straight. That or they were the most pathetic lightweights ever to be beheld. One of them fumbled with the drink menu while the server stood by patiently; he stared at it owlishly for a time.

"What's yer scotches here?" he asked. "You gonna carbonate that shit, or what?" he joked.

Eric passed me a look and then flagged another server. "We'll tab out now."

Monday, 23 March
Scotch Hop

Last week, here's what happened. I was hanging out at my favorite bar when their Bacardi rep showed up. He offered my bartender--a fine fellow named Eric--a ticket to a single-malt scotch event hosted by the "Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America, Lt." Eric immediately asked him for another ticket, casually and laconically, and received one from the rep. He then called out over the bar: "Skot, do you wanna go to a scotch tasting held by industry?"

I tried not to have a stroke. "Yes," I replied neutrally.

"You available next Friday?" he asked. "Yes," I said again. I continued to sit quietly.

"Okay."

This last Friday, I went to the Single Malt Scotch Whisky Society of America, Ltd.'s Seattle get-together held at the fancy-schmancy Rainier Club. Co-sponsored by the "Robb Report," whatever that is. "Regular" tickets are supposed to go for $130.

It was, wonderfully, a "jacket required" affair, which, on the West Coast, is a complete joke. Over here, you wear shorts to funerals. But there we were, me and Eric, who met up at a McCormick & Schmick's for a beer, attired in suits; we might as well have been wearing zebra costumes. Eric is six and a half feet tall, so he was looking like a superhero; I am nearly a foot shorter than him, meaning that I looked like an unemployed shoe model.

Once at the event, things proceeded alarmingly apace. When Eric presented our credentials--mine completely falsified--we were directed to the "center lane." There was nobody else in the center lane. We breezed by sixty or so people in one quick dash, and bathed in their appalled gazes. Eric jerked his shoulders proudly, and then we were in the maw of the beast, surrounded by strange besuited beasts and their appalling trophy chicks.

I heard things like this (okay, not really)::

"My cravat is unstoppable.
"I really think that monocles are coming back.
"Smile! Your tits really bounce when you smile."

More later.

Monday, 16 March
All Apologies

You know what? I'm done apologizing to you assholes. Yes, you: my readers. Assholes. Every one of you. I won't give you the satisfaction of saying "I'm sorry."

I started this thing back in 2002, and I posted my balls off. Seriously, this blog was my orchiectomy. FIVE DAYS A WEEK I POSTED. Man, I posted poetry satires that were thuddingly inexpert; I posted fantasias about what it would be like if elements were high school students; I posted ranting nonsense about computer crashes that I understood nothing about. I had so much energy, so much to share! Then I stopped posting every damn day. Probably because I didn't have balls any more. I gave you my balls.

So I stopped posting every day. I cut back to three days a week, mostly writing cheap shots at movies I hadn't seen and probably will never see, God willing. Still I remained ball-less. They weren't growing back. You didn't care.

Eventually, I got down to posting once a week. That's enough for those unslavering creeps, I thought. Now my balls will gloriously return. You remained silent. Oh, sure, every now and then you'd leave a comment. "LOL" you would listlessly type into my famously obstinant comment box. "I liek it!"

Then--then!--I got sick for a while and my posts dropped to nothing. And so what happens? You bitch me out. "Hey, fucko, what's with the nothing? Give us our something! GARRRRR, OUTRAGE!"

Yeah, well, fuck all y'all. Here, let me check on something. Oh, yeah! Still no balls! You fucking sack-thieves.

What do you want from me? You want more takedowns of horrible movies that I can't be bothered to actually watch? (Exception: any Nic Cage movie.) Another greasy rip on CSI: Miami? (Okay, tonight's episode was even more deliriously insane than usual. An air marshal colludes with a stewardess to smuggle French sleeping aids into the country resulting in the death of another stewardess who winds up in a baggage carousel! MWAH!) You want more tortured fake poetry? Fine! Try this on!

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.

Okay, so that's actually Philip Larkin, but you see my (and, to a lesser extent, Larkin's) point. That point being, I'm still smooth like a Ken doll down there. I mean, I've still got wang, and plenty of it, but what good is wang without the wheels? It's like having a car jack without a tire iron, or a different, much better analogy; perhaps involving my parents.

You see? I'm spinning my wheels here, and all you want is blood and profane critiques of Axe body spray ads. Or tirades against rotoscoping, or just me mashing my keyboard with my choad. I give and very occasionally give, and two or three of you just demand more! It's unbearable.

I've just about mined every tedious childhood memory I can stand to recall. Oh, sure, there was that one time my mom made tuna casserole and forgot to put in the tuna. Jesus fucking Christ, that was awesome. (Full story: one time, my mom forgot to put the tuna into a tuna casserole. It was hilarious because without tuna, it's not really a tuna casserole, and also because I fucking hate tuna. Oh, and also, my mother had early-onset Alzheimer's, and I stole all her pills and sold them to the guys who smoked in the parking lot. They beat me savagely anyway. Don't worry; I killed them all long ago, and as far as I know, my mother is drooling comfortably into a government-bought pillow, so that's all good.)

I don't mean to sound bitter. I just want to make you happy; but more importantly, I want to make me happy, and that means making you cretinous bastards . . . happy. It's confusing to me. I can barely get out of bed in the afternoon, or sometimes late evening. Sometimes I use a cane.

This is all coming out wrong. A little bit of writer's block is to be expected every now and then. I guess I just really miss my--if I may say--pretty awesome balls. It's not your fault to want things. I want things. I'd actually say that I want all things. But mostly my balls.

This isn't your fault. It's my fault. It's nobody's fault. It's Nic Cage's fault.

I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm sorry.










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