December 9 – Angel’s Delight

One for the Ages

For most, it would be hard to pick a favourite Christmas. What pushed that particular Dec. 25th over the edge? Was it a gift? How you celebrated? Who you celebrated with? All of them seem so good, but for the ol’ Sip Advisor, it’s a pretty easy choice. Not to take anything away from any other Christmas I’ve enjoyed over my 30 years on this planet, but bar none, my 2010 Christmas was the best… that’s when I popped the big question to Mrs. Sip! Here’s our story:

best-christmas

Mrs. Sip and I had been together for over eight years when the fall of 2010 rolled around and had been through a lot together. Having dated since we were both 18, we’d practically grown up together. While the road was generally quite smooth, there was the odd bump, as one would expect when you’re coming into your own as a person and going through all the steps of adulthood, such as school, work, friendships, etc.

We had also spent quite a bit of time doing the dreaded long distance relationship thing. Mrs. Sip took off for England just six months into our courtship (does that even happen anymore?) and she was there for much of the first year of our dating. A couple years later, I was off to England for my own exchange program, followed by Miss Sip going to Australia for a term and shortly thereafter, me taking off again, this time for a full year living in Toronto.

We’d done things the right way (I believe) and not rushed into our relationship, allowing each other to grow and expand our horizons at our own pace. Our relationship matured magically as a result.

One day at work, a radio ad came on and it dawned on me that it was time to go ring shopping. I hadn’t been thinking too much of taking our relationship to the next level, but at that moment, everything just seemed right about the idea.

engagement-ring

I bought Miss Sip’s engagement ring (a spectacular piece of jewelry, if I don’t say so myself) in September of 2010, sans any help from friends or family. I wanted to do this all on my own and keep it a secret from as much of the world as possible. This caused some crazy thoughts to run through my head, such as “What if something happens to me before I ask Miss Sip to marry me and no one ever knows I have this ring purchased?”

It was a long wait from late September to late December, as I planned to propose to Miss Sip on Christmas Day and then be able to share it will all of our family and friends throughout Christmas dinners and get-togethers. Periodically, I’d take a quick peek at the beaming diamond ring buried in my dresser drawer, awed by the step I was about to take and the journey that would surely ignite.

The only person in the world I told of my intentions was Miss Sip’s dad. I had always intended to ask permission for her hand, but I did worry my secret would get around. True to his word, my future father-in-law kept my secret… and later paid for doing do!

Christmas Eve finally came and I was beyond excited. The one downside was that both Miss Sip and I were currently suffering through pretty serious colds. We had a meal out together before heading back to our apartment to enjoy our first Christmas just the two of us. Sadly, instead of enjoying drinks, while making gingerbread houses and watching a movie, we were sucking back Neo-Citron, hacking and wheezing, and giving up on gingerbread houses, settling for a gingerbread shanty town. We also put on the god awful Babes in Toyland film before both passing out from our medication.

christmas eve

The next morning, I was feeling a little better, but Miss Sip was still having issues. I briefly considered postponing my marriage proposal, but decided that I just couldn’t wait any longer and with both our families hosting Christmas dinners, there may not be a better opportunity to have everyone gathered.

Under the guise that I wanted to capture our first Christmas morning for prosperity, I had borrowed Pa Sip’s video camera and had it set to perfectly capture our engagement. It was hard to conceal my excitement, as we started opening our stockings.

After our stockings were emptied, I made sure Mrs. Sip went first for exchanging gifts. She got me a Nintendo Wii, which would normally have stolen the show as far as Christmas gifts go, but I knew what we’d really be talking about all day. Finally, after three months of planning and waiting, it was my turn to blow her mind.

Things started off slowly. I gave her a set of different hot chocolate toppings and a digital photo frame – I had to have something under the tree for her to throw off the scent of what I was planning. Ironically, Mrs. Sip had done the same thing for me using random DVDs (the Wii was hidden underneath a pillow).  After the photo frame and hot chocolate toppings came my “set-up piece” – a simple silver bracelet that came with the engagement ring. As Miss Sip examined the bracelet, probably thinking that she should return the amazing Wii she had given me, I dropped to one knee and trying to keep my voice from cracking said, “I know that’s not the jewellery you deserve, so I also got you this!”…

Christmas-gift-diamonds

Miss Sip was shocked. I don’t think she had any idea this was coming down the pipeline. We’d talked about a future together, but I don’t think she expected this at all. She quickly responded with a resounding “YES!” and what a relief that was. I kept thinking of TV shows and movies where a marriage proposal is met with rejection. Thankfully this didn’t go in that direction.

The rest of the morning was a blur. We celebrated, planned how we would tell everyone and cursed our colds. The ring was three sizes too big and shortly after I proposed Miss Sip completely lost her voice, but nothing could take that day away from us… we were now engaged to be married!

Our first stop was Miss Sip’s parents to open gifts. We brought over cinnamon buns, but I couldn’t eat with all the anticipation. Mrs. Sip was able to talk long enough to let her parents and sister know we had gotten engaged that morning and we had another little celebration.

I left after a couple hours to go to my parents. After opening gifts there, we were all relaxing when Ma Sip inquired about what I’d got Miss Sip for Christmas. I told her about all the items, leaving out the engagement ring for later. I could feel Ma Sip glaring at me as I continued to aloofly watch TV. She was not happy with my choice of gifts, which was all the more hysterical given what had actually transpired. I couldn’t help but let a wicked smile cross my face as I left the room.

Lying Parents

That evening, I left my family dinner to return to Miss Sip’s parent’s place where I announced to the rest of her family that we had taken the next step in our relationship. Miss Sip couldn’t do it thanks to her voice giving out on her. Another celebration ensued before we were able to slip away and return together to Ma and Pa Sip’s home, where my family had gathered.

After settling in, I once again made the big announcement and (I bet you know where this is going) more celebrating was to be had. Ma Sip got her wish in that Miss Sip’s Christmas gift was more than a bracelet.

The rest of the next month was spent telling our friends about the engagement before revealing to the world via Facebook that we were set to be married in 2012!

Drink #343: Angel’s Delight

Angel's Delight Drink Recipe

  • 0.75 oz Gin
  • 0.75 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Milk
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Candy Cane

Do you have a particular Christmas that you could call your favourite? Please share your story with Sip Nation!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This martini was a bit of a surprise.  I wasn’t sure how it would all come together and it ended up being a perfectly sweet and smooth drink. The colour and garnish were nice and it was simply an all-around good cocktail.

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November 8 – Sweet Tweet

Technologically Traditional

Yesterday, we looked at my favourite apps and while I’ve embraced the games and information tools available to tablet and smart phone users, there is a lot of technology I refuse to adapt to. Kicking and screaming, I’m trying to hold onto my familiar way of life. Here are some items I refuse to give up or learn.

Laptop Mouse

It may surprise some that the Sip Advisor, this internet guru you’ve come to love, still uses a mouse with his laptop. I hate that little square built into the actual computer that you’re intended to use. I find that it completely slows my progress down. I occasionally use Mrs. Sip ‘s laptop for some site work and I wish she’d regress back to a mouse so that I’m more comfortable operating her computer.

Mouse Hunt

Touchscreen Keyboard

Recently, my old phone died on me and I was forced to upgrade. I had dreaded this day for some time, as I knew it meant losing my pullout keyboard. I think too many errors occur with the touch screen typing system and don’t even get me started on Mrs. Sip’s swiping texts that are littered with spelling errors and unrecognizable words. I often respond to her with a simple “?” because I have no clue what she’s writing me about. And sometimes I do it just to be a dick!

Websites (Instagram, Linked In, Foursquare)

While I’ve joined sites like Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest, there are numerous other social media hubs that I just can’t get into. I don’t get the rage over Instagram and the weird filters people use on their low-resolution pics, I don’t care to meet business contacts through Linked In (I mean, my contacts would just be winos and alcoholics anyway), and I don’t need to let everyone know I’m still sitting on my couch through Foursquare!

Cell Phone Photos

Speaking of low-res photos, I really don’t understand why people are relying on their cell phones to capture the greatest moments of their life. I get it that you’ve shelled out a fair amount of money for these devices and that bringing along an actual camera is another hassle to deal with, but you just can’t replace the quality of image a real camera provides. No matter how good cell phone pixel quality gets, it will never supersede the ol’ digital camera.

Camera Phone

Ear Buds

Am I the only person in the world who absolutely despises these sound delivery devices? Everywhere I look, people have ear buds jammed into their head. That’s not to say I don’t like listening to music, but I prefer to have an actually set of headphones and not something that constantly feels like it’s going to fall out of the snugness of my earlobe. Perhaps my ears are made to the specifications desired for bud usage, but I hate those little things.

Tablets

I have nothing against tablets and I think they are actually pretty neat with the big screen and all the functions they can provide. That said, between my laptop and phone, I have no intention of ever purchasing one. Donations will be accepted (they always are!) at the Sip Advisor headquarters, however. If anyone is tired of their iPad, Tab, Surface, or Nexus, you know who to ship it to.

ihad-ipad

E-Reader

I barely read enough print books to justify having eyes and a brain, let alone an e-reader. Mrs. Sip spends countless hours on her digital book, which infuriates me to near madness. No, I don’t see the Sip Advisor picking up a Nook, Kindle, or Kobo anytime soon; unless it becomes the only way for little sippers to read my awesome work… then I’ll practically become the face of the industry!

Video Game Systems

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably have to say it again: I will not buy another video game console. After the Nintendo 64, I held out for years without buying a system until finally caving an buying a Playstation 2 near the dying days of the console. Then I said it again before becoming enamored with the Nintendo Wii, again in its later years of existence. Clearly, I’m not an early adopted and I may own all of these products right before they become useless!

Drink #312: Sweet Tweet

Sweet Tweet Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Rum
  • 0.5 oz Galliano
  • 0.5 oz Peach Liqueur
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Cherry Syrup
  • Garnish with Lime Wheel

Which items do you refuse to purchase and accept as the way things are done today? Am I the only one who refuses to give up the Discman, Sega Genesis, and MySpace!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I “borrowed” this recipe from a photographed menu from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York, which also offers guests the Garden of Google, Brbon Tumblr, and… the SipAdvisor. Hey, wait, hold on a second. Should I be asking for royalties? Perhaps a cease and desist order? I’ll have to contemplate my legal options! As for the cocktail, it wasn’t bad, but it was a little too sweet. I guess that was implied in the drink’s name.

August 14 – Death by Chocolate

Culinary Scene Investigation

I think most people out there are lovers of food and a lot of pleasure can be gained through culinary delights. That said, that which sustains us can also kill (and I’m not even talking about the world of foodborne illness outbreaks, such as E. coli, salmonella or food poisoning). Here are some of the more interesting deaths by eats:

Chocolate Chaos

This has has to be one of the better ways to go, but it’s tragic nonetheless. Vincent Smith, Jr., an employee at the Lyons and Sons Chocolate Factory in Pennsylvania fell into a vat of boiling chocolate and then met his end courtesy of one of the mixing propellers. Augustus Gloop would be so proud! Perhaps most ironic is that this incident led to the discovery that the chocolate company did not have proper licensing in place and was distributing its products illegally.

death-by-chocolate

Fugu Follies

I like to consider myself immune to poison (don’t we all), but this guy took it a little too far, challenging the limitations of the human body. Acclaimed Kabuki (that’s Kabuki, not bukkake) actor Bandō Mitsugorō VIII perished in 1975 after demanding four fugu liver orders. He insisted that he was impervious to the pufferfish’s poison, but turns out, not so much. He died after seven hours of paralysis and convulsions. Fugu was featured in The Simpsons episode One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish.

Molasses Mania

The saying “slow as molasses” took a different turn during Boston’s 1919 Molasses Disaster (I’m surprised it hasn’t been made into a summer blockbuster movie yet). The usually slow-moving syrup killed 21 and injured 150 when a tank holding 2 million gallons of the substance exploded. The great ball of molasses death was estimated to have been travelling upwards of 35 miles per hour.

Hot Dogs for Haiti

Poor Noah Akers… the 12-year-old died after choking on a wiener during a hot dog eating competition that was supposed to benefit victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. This is precisely why I advise people not to do any charitable work. What’s even more bizarre is that the organizers, The Boys and Girls Club, chose to hold an eating competition to raise money for people that desperately needed food supplies.

hot dogs

Banquet Blunder

King Adolf Frederick of Sweden ate himself to death, following a feast that included caviar, smoked herring, lobster, kippers, sauerkraut, champagne, and 14 servings of dessert (and here I feel like a glutton after two small cookies!). I guess if you’re going to leave this world, you might as well have one hell of a last meal. His has a lasting legacy, which can’t be said for other monarchs.

Carrot Juice Conundrum

Basil Brown, one of those crazy health nuts, died in 1974, at the age of 48, after ingesting 10 gallons of carrot juice over a 10-day span. That doesn’t sound too bad (actually it sounds horrible) until you realize that’s 10,000 times the recommended daily dose of vitamin A. I’m not sure what point ol’ Basil was trying to make by downing so much carrot juice. Perhaps he was trying to find a decent carrot juice cocktail, with no luck.

Cola Killer

Natasha Harris, a 30-year-old mother of eight died of a heart attack in New Zealand in 2010. After dying at such a young age, an inquiry took place and it was discovered that Harris drank upwards of two gallons of soda each day (hopefully some was used for rum and cokes!), ingesting two pounds of sugar and 970 milligrams of caffeine. Without pop, Harris suffered withdrawal-like symptoms. She also ate poorly and smoked heavily, all of which contributed to her early demise.

coca-cola

Buggy Blues

Edward Archbold entered a bug eating contest in West Palm Beach, Florida, hoping to win the free python grand prize. Archbold won the competition after consuming a quantity of meal worms, horn worms, and roaches, before he began vomiting and collapsed. The 32-year-old died of “asphyxia due to choking and aspiration of gastric contents”. All the man wanted was a python… wait, why would anyone want a python!?

Water Boarding

In yet another contest gone wrong, Jennifer Strange died of water intoxication after drinking a hefty amount of the liquid, trying to win a Nintendo Wii video game console. The competition, held by a Sacramento, California radio station had volunteers drink the H20 and then try to not pee (Hold Your Wee for a Wii) for the longest amount of time. Strange’s family sued for wrongful death and were rewarded over $16 million in damages. Oddly, Strange was found to have not contributed to her own death, but then who drank all that water trying to win a Wii?

Drink #226: Death by Chocolate

Death by Chocolate

  • 1 oz Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Crème de Cacao
  • 0.5 oz Vodka (I used Absolut Raspberri)
  • 1 Scoop of Chocolate Ice Cream (I used Wunderbar)
  • Blend with Ice
  • Garnish with Chocolate Syrup, Peanut Butter Cup Chunks, and Graham Cracker Crumbs

I personally would prefer to die in a potato chip-related asphyxiation incident. At least that way, I’d be going out with some style and while enjoying one of my favourite treats. How would you preferably spend your end of days?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I took the Death by Chocolate recipe and adapted it to suit the ingredients I had and wanted to use. I wanted to call it orgasm by chocolate, an homage to chocolate-obsessed women everywhere, but we went with this moniker instead.