Hungary – My Cherry Baby

Cube Compulsion

The Sip Advisor gets easily frustrated by toys like the Rubik’s Cube. I suppose there are some things my massive intellect just can’t solve… and I’m at peace with that fact. Let’s take a closer look at this popular toy, invented by Hungarian Erno Rubik:

The Rubik’s Cube (originally called the Magic Cube, before it was released worldwide in 1980) was created in 1974, as a way for Rubik to help explain three-dimensional geometry. At the time, Rubik was only 29 years old, but was already a sculptor and architecture professor. When Rubik’s had created his cube, it took him a month to solve for the first time. Later, Rubik could solve his own puzzle in under a minute, which he showed off at trade shows.

Rubiks Cube Solved

More than 350 million Rubik’s Cubes have been sold around the world and thanks to these sales, it is the best-selling toy of all-time. After its international release, it won Toy of the Year honours in 1980 and again in 1981. The popularity of the toy bred the first annual International Rubik’s Championships in 1982, which was won by Minh Thai of the U.S. with a time of 22.95 seconds. A World Cube Association was created in 2004 to govern international competitions and chart world records.

The Rubik’s Cube can be solved in 20 moves or less, regardless of how it’s mixed up. This has created an entire sub-genre of speed cubers. These folks can solve the Rubik’s puzzle in under six seconds. All this, despite the fact that the toy has 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 (into the quintillions) possible patterns. A guide to solving the Rubik’s Cube was created by a 12-year-old, Patrick Bossert of England, in 1981 and went on to become a best-seller, with 1.5 million copies sold.

The world record for fastest completion to the Rubik’s Cube is held by Mats Valk of the Netherlands. He solved the puzzle in 5.55 seconds, beating the previous best time of 5.66 seconds. A smartphone-powered Lego robot, known by the name CubeStormer 3, solved a Rubik’s Cube in 3.253 seconds, blowing away all the competition. These are the robots who will one day take over the world, pissed that they were made to endlessly solve puzzles.

Rubiks Cube Hard

Within the world of speed cubing, there are those not happy to simply solve the puzzle quickly. Some competitors take things to whole new levels of insanity, like one guy who did one-handed push-ups, while only taking 25 seconds to complete the challenge. Another fella solved the Rubik’s Cube in 23.80 seconds… while blindfolded! Perhaps most intimidating is the three-year-old Chinese toddler who was done with the toy in under two minutes.

You just knew a toy like this would have entries in the smallest, largest, and most expensive categories. The smallest is 1omm wide and was designed by Evgeniy Grigoriev of Russia. The largest can be found in Knoxville, Tennessee and measures three metres tall, weighing in at over 500kg. As for most expensive, it was created by Diamond Cutters International in 1995. Dubbed the ‘Masterpiece Cube,’ it features amethyst, rubies, and emeralds, all set in gold and valued at $1.5 million.

If you simply can’t put the device down, you may be a Cubaholic (and that doesn’t mean you like taking frequent trips to Cuba or chain-smoking fine cigars). A documentary, titled Cubers, was released in 2008 and followed the lives of some of those afflicted with the compulsion as well as those competing for the title of World Rubik’s Cube Champion.

Rubiks Cube Bra

The Rubik’s Cube has been featured in numerous areas of popular culture, including: movies, TV shows, comics, music videos, songs, art, and museum exhibits. Seeking to take advantage of the toy’s popularity, a Saturday morning cartoon debuted in 1983, called ‘Rubik, The Amazing Cube’ and featured a sentient Rubik’s Cube, who could come to the aid of a Hispanic family. It only lasted one season and 18 episodes and starred Ron Palillo (aka Arnold Horshack) as the titular toy.

On the 40th anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube, earlier this year, the toy was featured as part of the daily Google Doodle, as a playable interactive puzzle. It’s only fitting to end this piece with some words from the inventor himself: “If you are curious, you’ll find the puzzles around you. If you are determined, you will solve them.”

Hungary: My Cherry Baby

My Cherry Baby Cocktail

  • Muddle Cherries
  • 0.75 oz Palinka (Cherry)
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • 0.5 oz Galliano
  • Top with Champagne
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Thanks to working on this article, I’m adding “Solve a Rubik’s Cube” to my lifetime bucket list and it may eventually be what does me in (despite the current odds favourite in Vegas being alcohol-induced bungee accident), but I will achieve this feat!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink was just too sweet… and not in the New World Order wrestling way. The flavours were nice, but some changes need to be made to the recipe to make it a little more likable and evened out.

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June 28 – Surfer on Acid

Summer Fun

With summer just kicking off, people out there might be making lists of the things they want to accomplish throughout the season. Here are some of the items that routinely appear at the top of Mrs. Sip’s and my summer bucket list… we hope we can be of assistance to all you little sippers out there:

#5: Picnic in the Park

The Sip Advisor makes a damn good sandwich and there’s nothing better than finding a nice quiet spot in the park to enjoy your own creation. If you’re lazy, you can always get someone else to make the sandwich for you (I’ve heard a place called Subway has decent hoagies) and then you know it will be done properly. Make sure to grab some good sides and snacks to round out the meal and be ready for dessert, too. If you can sneak some wine into your setting, then definitely go for it. All that’s left is to bring a comfy blanket along because you’ll probably be in the mood for a nap!

Picnic Basket Inspection

#4: Getting Active

After spending many months cooped up in a small, crowded gym, it’s nice to get out into the great outdoors for some exercise. Whether rollerblading or biking, Mrs. Sip and I love the downtown Vancouver seawall route, which takes you through picturesque Stanley Park. As one would expect, given its name, the seawall offers some stunning scenery, as you roll through beach after beach. It’s not my cup of tea, but I’ve heard hiking is also popular during the summer. You could even be one of those kooks that does their yoga or tai chi outdoors. Just get off the couch and get outside!

#3: Drive-In Theatre

While these amazing places seem to be a dying breed, if you have one even remotely nearby I whole-heartedly suggest you check out a couple flicks there. It’s always fun to go snack shopping prior to the night out and given most of the theatre’s revenue comes in the form of food sales, we’re always sure to make a couple purchases there, too. For the price of one movie in a normal theatre, you can get two or three at the drive-in and best of all, you can actually talk to your vehicle-mates throughout, without being a bother to over viewers. Trying to stay up until the wee hours of the morning (if you’re going for three films) can be daunting for some.

Theatre Food

#2: Drinking on Patios

You know that summer has officially arrived in this part of the world when the patios open up and folks can be seen enjoying their libations in the fresh air. Once the first glimmer of sun peaks its way through the rain clouds, it can be tough to get a spot on any of the city’s spectacular decks, but it’s worth the wait to be able to enjoy a beverage while people watching or getting reacquainted with friends that have hibernated through the winter. This wonderful experience also applies to the decks of your mate’s homes, where you don’t have to worry about exorbitant prices for cocktails.

#1: Drinking Poolside

Of course, to achieve this, you either need to have your own cement pond, or have a generous friend who doesn’t mind sharing theirs. I, of course, am the latter in that statement and I love throwing parties for my crew, where all that is required is a pair of swim trunks and some flippy-floppies (plus a case of beer) for good times to ensue. As day turns to night and all inhibitions are drowned by booze, it might be time to lose those coverings and go for an incredibly liberating skinny dip. Luckily, there’s always someone too conservative to join in, so make sure to make them the beer wench for the late night shenanigans!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Surfer on Acid

Surfer on Acid Shot

  • 0.5 oz Coconut Rum
  • 0.5 oz Jagermeister
  • Splash of Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with Pineapple Wedges

Honourable mentions go to watching fireworks, barbecuing, camping, and going to the fair. You’ll notice that “Going to the Beach” is absent from my ‘To Do’ list. Need I remind all you little sippers that the Sip Advisor doesn’t like sand. When I have access to swimmable water in a private setting, why would I ever go to the poor man’s pool? Your hate mail is always welcome!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shooter was pretty good and I like that the Pineapple Juice component was minimal. A funny story: To get the Pineapple Wedges, I bought a couple slices of Hawaiian pizza and plucked the garnishes off for later use. When I finally used the pieces, I could still taste the pizza flavours, such as ham and tomato sauce. Ah, memories!

October 16 – Old Fashioned

Bucket List

The day before my 30th birthday, I shared with all you little sippers my 30-for-30 accomplishments. Today, I’m going to look deep into my own soul and reveal some of the things I still want to accomplish. I can’t share everything, though, as there’s only so much the FCC will let my divulge!

Homer's Bucket List

Fly First Class – After all my jet-setting around the world, I have never enjoyed the pleasures of first class… that will have to change!

Touch a Snake – I’m not shy in admitting that I’m afraid of snakes. I fully intend to work up the courage (or intoxication level) to finally touch one, even if only briefly.

Go Skydiving – This is one thrill that has eluded me and I’ve found a number of people who want to join in this accomplishment. Let’s get it done folks!

Learn to Play the Drums – Like all my idols before me (John Bonham, Danny Bonaduce, Animal from the Muppets), drumming is in my soul and I’d love to learn it more than my mastering of the Rock Band game controller version.

kitten-has-drum-set

Visit Antarctica – Mrs. Sip and I will virtually travel anywhere, but hitting Antarctica would give us our seventh and final continent!

Compete in Endurance Event – Whether it is Tough Mudder or some other course, I’m game for a little self-punishment.

Get a Doctorate – Not the real thing, of course, but one of those celebrity dealies!

Attend a Stanley Cup Parade – Preferably in my hometown (sans riot), as the Vancouver Canucks hoist the NHL championship.

Canucks Fans Stanley Cup

Perform Stand-up Comedy – I’m not saying I’ll be a success, but I’d love to work up the courage just once to hit the stage and tell a few jokes before I’m barred from performing ever again!

Rent a House Boat – The Sip Advisor loves to party… and he loves being on the water. Put the two together and get the gang together for a wild time off the grid!

Create a Man-Cave – I think it’s every man’s dream to create their own mancave, dedicated to the worship of hot women, sports, alcohol, games, and everything manly.

Publish a Book – If there are any publishing people out there, you know how wickedly awesome this site is. Let’s make it into a book and share the cocktail goodness.

sell-ebook

Travel into Space – This is another objective that both Mrs. Sip and I share. We’re hoping mass space tourism eventually happens in our lifetime (not the pay $20-$40 million type) and we’ll be quick to snatch up tickets.

Create my own Alcohol – And I’m not talking about one of those home brew kits… I want to invent, manufacture, and market my own spirit. All I need is a rich benefactor and we’ll be off to the races!

Get a Tattoo – I have this image in my head of my little buddy Furious B (he’s a cat) eating a potato chip that I must make real! Just kidding, I do have a design in mind, just waiting for the right time to get inked.

tattoo-funny

Do a Cliff Dive – Always one to take a shot at various danger sports, this is a goal I hope to accomplish in some exotic locale… an exotic locale that recognizes my health insurance, that is.

Catch a Fish – Despite fishing a few times when I was younger, I have still yet to snag a catch. Although we did find a starfish in a self-made crab trap I helped with recently. Does that count?

Be in a Food Fight – I would harness my best inner-Bluto Blutarsky and go wild with the ranch dressing. It may sting the eyes, making it the perfect food fight projectile!

Drink #289: Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned Drink Recipe

  • 2 oz Bourbon/Whiskey (I used Apple Pie Moonshine)
  • 1 Sugar Cube
  • 2 Orange Slices
  • Dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with Maraschino Cherry & Orange Slice

What else do you think should be on the Sip Advisor’s bucket list? I eagerly await your advice!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
I picked this classic recipe from a couple cocktail bucket lists, as it’s one I’ve intended to do with this project all along. My choice of using Apple Pie Moonshine may break some of the rules for this drink, but it tasted absolutely delicious. This may be my favourite classic beverage so far, as the Apple Pie flavour mixed well with the Orange Slices and Maraschino Cherry. Just plain ol’ good drinking!

September 21 – What’s My Name Again?

30 for 30

While the title of today’s post is shared by the popular ESPN sports documentary series, I’m using it to describe 30 great achievements of my 30 years on this planet. This is kind of my bucket list of crossed off items… mission accomplished!

Family and Friends

1: Got Engaged – I’m still surprised she said yes!

2: Got Married – Again, I’m still surprised she said yes… I gave her a year and a half to change her mind!

funny-marriage

3: Was a Best Man – Broski Sip got married in 2010 with me by his side.

4: Planned a Stag Party – Nothing says “I love you, man” than planning the perfect sendoff as your buddy enters married life.

Rites of Passage

5: Earned a Driver’s License – Been on the roads for 14 years now… Mrs. Sip still doesn’t have a full license!

6: Graduated High School – Some people didn’t see that coming!

High School Graduate

7: Earned 4 Diplomas/Degrees/Certificates – I have quite the resume… anyone looking to hire!?

8: No More Picky Eater – Chicken strips and fries are pretty awesome, but lobster and escargot are better.

9: Moved Out – It was hard to leave the amazing home of Ma and Pa Sip, but living with Mrs. Sip has its own benefits!

Travel

10: Travelled to 34 Countries – Mrs. Sip will hit 50 countries before she turns 30, but I think I still made a pretty damn good dent.

11: Stepped foot on 6 Continents – I’m only missing Antarctica, which we hope to get to one day.

12: Lived Abroad – Spent six months living in England and travelling Europe.

studying-abroad

13: Visited the Greatest Cities in the World – From London to St. Petersburg, Sydney to Los Angeles, the resume isn’t full yet, but I’ve been to so many cool places.

Academics

14: Made the Honour Roll – Got my shit together one year and made the honour roll twice… it never happened again.

15: Graduated with Honours – Always knew journalism and I were a match made in heaven!

Professional

16: Became Published – My first article ever (aside from online and school writing) was for B.C. Hockey Now.

17: Covered the Vancouver Canucks (NHL) and B.C. Lions (CFL) – The two biggest sports franchises in Vancouver and I got to watch both for free!

Journalism

18: Worked the 2010 Winter Olympics – NBC Universal Sports hired me for the Games, a goal of mine when I first entered journalism school.

19: Made Money Doing What I Love – Watching sports for a job just doesn’t get much better… perhaps getting paid to have sex!?

20: Started The Sip Advisor – I was thirsty (literally!) for a new project when Mrs. Sip suggested The Sip Advisor. Here we are and I’m pretty sure everyone is having a good time!

Adventure/Crazy

21: Tried a Number of Extreme Sports – Bungy jumping, ziplining, zorbing, luging, surfing, scuba diving… I’ve tried them all!

22: Saw my Favourite Comedians Perform – From Christopher Titus to Daniel Tosh, I’ve seen all of the living comedians I ever wanted to.

23: Won Money in Las Vegas – I’m too cautious to lose or win a lot of money, but I did come home up on one trip and that’s more than a lot of people can say.

Stays in Vegas

24: Won Money at the Races – My last trip to Fraser Downs resulted in six winning bets on nine races, including picking three winners straight up!

25: Hosted an Annual Event – My annual Beer Pong tournament is a highlight of the summer social calendar.

26: Invented a Word – Walk Blocking – like cock blocking, but everyone can do it!

27: Became an Internet Sensation – And the journey has only just begun!

28: Swam Across a Body of Water – I joined Mrs. Sip for a crossing of the water outside our lodge in Indian Arm, B.C. It took us 45 minutes round trip to make the journey.

29: Shot a Gun – Cousin Sip and I hit one of the many ranges in Las Vegas to help cross this off the list.

30: Sang Karaoke – Not well, but Mrs. Sip and I do perform a rocking version of ‘I Hate Everything About You’!

Drink #264: What’s My Name Again?

Sept 21

  • 0.3 oz Spiced Rum (I used Kraken)
  • 0.3 oz Southern Comfort
  • 0.3 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 0.3 oz Goldschlager
  • 0.3 oz Vodka
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice

There are still so many things left to do (get a tattoo, touch a snake, go skydiving, drink motor oil!) that the next 30 years should be just as adventurous as the first 30. Any suggestions!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shot finishes Rum Week and the story goes that if you have enough of these, you’ll forget your own name! While it is a rather potent shooter, it’s also very tasty, helped along by the Peach Schnapps, Southern Comfort, and Goldschlager. I’ll have to try their little dare sometime and see how long it takes for the ol’ mind to go blank! Let’s drink to my successes and excesses!

June 17 – Mojave Green Rattlesnake

Fear Factor

I am an ophidiophobe. There, I said it. The first step on the road to recovery is admitting what I am. In layman’s terms: much like Indiana Jones, Conan the Barbarian, Johnny Cash, Andre the Giant, Pee Wee Herman, and Bam Margera (among other legendary characters of my ilk!), The Sip Advisor has a deathly fear of snakes.

It could stem from a cousin chasing me around when we were younger with a Tung Lashor (He-man and the Masters of the Universe) action figure. This toy had a long darting tongue that could be launched by rolling a wheel on the villain’s back. I can still vividly see my pose-able nightmare.

Tung Lashor

Heh, you’re not so tough anymore, are ya… with your fruit roll-up tongue!

I was also a wrestling fan as a wee lad and watching Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts bring his menagerie of serpents with him to the ring (and often use them on a fallen foe). This surely had some psychologically damaging effects on me… well, I guess no more so than the average wrestling maniac.

Over the years, I’ve tried to make peace with the slithering ones and it is on my bucket list to work up the courage to touch a live snake. That may be harder to do than I ever thought, as just going near the snake aquariums at any zoo give me the no-no feeling.

I wrote a psychology paper once, detailing my efforts to get over my fear. It included looking at pictures of snakes and watching snake movie and TV programs, working all the way up to going into a pet store and walking right up to the snake tanks without hurriedly and nervously speeding by. I got a decent grade on that paper, but I never actually went into the store. A good drinker knows that recovery can be faked!

Apparently actress Salma Hayek spent two months with therapists getting over her fear of snakes so she could take the part of Satanico Pandemonium in From Dusk Till Dawn. Director Robert Rodriguez tricked her into thinking that Madonna was about to sign on for the role, prompting Hayek to face her fears.

Satanico Pandemonium

I’m a little surprised the snake is so limp!

All that said, I do have a fascination with the creatures, often watching movies and TV programs involving serpents. Although, I have to admit, when I am watching any of the Anaconda movies or the Austin Stevens: Snakemaster biography series, I’m careful to keep my feet off the ground, for fear that a snake is waiting under the couch, poised to attack me with its toxic venom.

After all, my boy Launchpad McQuack thought he was okay with snakes until one tried to eat him. All we need is for everyone to have an experience like this and we’ll all be on the same page, fighting a common enemy. Talk about world unity y’all.

Drink #168: Mojave Green Rattlesnake

Mojave Green Rattlesnake Drink

  • 1.5 oz 1800 Añejo Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Melon Liqueur
  • Top with Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Garnish with Gummy Snakes

I much prefer my snakes shaken and stirred in a beverage, rather than slithering toward this sexy beast we know as The Sip Advisor. I’ve even mustered the courage to have eaten fried rattlesnake before. I know I’ve likely disappointed some of you, to let it be known that I, the ‘Slicker of Liquor’ do indeed fear something. A drink of this and living with yourself will be much easier.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
This drink was originally on the schedule all the way back in April. I had this vision of garnishing the cocktail with a gummy snake, which seemed easy enough to achieve. And then it took two months for me to track one down. Ironically, on the same day I finally found one in a candy store in London, Ma Sip located one in Hawaii. As for the martini itself, the best part is the smoky aftertaste that comes from the Añejo Tequila, rounding out the flavours of the Melon Liqueur and Sweet & Sour Mix.