September 6 – ABC

A Good Read

With school coming back into session for many little sippers out there (although not here in B.C., where it looks like we might have the makings of a long teacher’s strike), it might be time to snatch some good reading material. While I would never classify myself as an avid reader, there have been some books I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Mrs. Sip would love to see me sit down more often with a book, but TV’s warm loving embrace is just too much to break. Here are my favourite books/series throughout life:

#5: Goosebumps Series by R.L. Stein

One of the only things I enjoyed about elementary school (save for gym, recess, and spelling tests… what can I say, I was born to write) was the monthly Scholastic book catalogue that came out, providing me an opportunity to grow my Goosebumps collection, which sits to this day in a drawer at Ma and Pa Sip’s home. I still fondly remember some of these stories, such as Attack of the Mutants, A Night in Terror Tower, and The Phantom of the Auditorium. The covers on these novels alone were enough to chill your blood and get you pumped for your next classroom quiet time. There were 62 releases in the original series and a TV show followed, but when it came to screen screams, I was more of an Are You Afraid of the Dark fan.

goosebumps report

#4: The Rebel League: World Hockey Association by Ed Willes

The World Hockey Association had a brief life, but it changed the landscape of professional hockey and in some circumstances, the entire sports world. Journalist Ed Willes takes the reader through the league’s tumultuous existence from conception to absorption by the NHL, right through a mess of teams going out of business or being relocated. The dichotomy of the league, with its highly-skilled players meshing with fight-filled contests, is just one aspect of a mesmerizing story. Willes captures all the sordid tales and behind-the-scenes dealings that made the WHA such a fascinating flash in the pan. Largely based on this book, I was able to rank the WHA #1 on my list of top defunct sports leagues. I only wish I had been able to experience some of the action in-person.

#3: Get Fuzzy Treasuries by Darby Conley

I never really got into comic books as a youngster, fancying my superheroes on the screen, as opposed to in my hands (save for some of the sexy female heroines). That said, I do prefer to look at brightly coloured pictures, rather than printed words, and that can come in the form of some lighter entertainment. My hands down favourite daily funny is Get Fuzzy, which focuses on the interactions of human Rob Wilco with his pets/roommates Bucky Katt and Satchel Pooch. Bucky is a little terror, who is constantly trying to run (scratch that, ruin) the household, while Satchel is a sweet and gentle pup, happy to have a chew toy and a quiet place to nap. Rob just gets stuck in the middle, just like your typical real world pet owner.

GF

#2: Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers by Bathroom Readers’ Institute

I really enjoy learning unknown tidbits about subjects I’m interested in and this series is perfect for exactly that. Thanks to these books, I’m an integral member of any trivia team I’m invited to join (aside from my wonderful personality!) and the lesser known facts my brain is able to absorb have garnered me a fair bit of free booze! The best thing about Bathroom Readers is that you can read one piece or a selection of articles… I guess it depends on how long you’ll be in the bathroom. I personally prefer to not have a book in my hands while I’m on the pot, but admittedly, that is what these releases were meant for. My favourites from the Uncle John library include TV, Movies, and Hockey.

#1: Have a Nice Day by Mick Foley

While my favourite books are sports-related, Mick Foley’s wrestling autobiography is a no-brainer to top this list. And I’m not alone in my fondness for this story. Books released by wrestlers exploded after the success of Mick Foley’s first attempt and the string of publications is going strong to this day. In Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, Foley guides us through the earliest days of his life and career with a wit and warmth that makes it extremely hard to put the book down… even for a non-reader such as myself. I have yet to check out Foley’s other two non-fiction releases, but have heard good things about both and should really take the time to pick them up.

Super Saturday Shot Day: ABC

ABC Shot

  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • 0.5 oz Bailey’s Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Cognac
  • Garnish with Orange Wedge

Given my penchant for wrestling reads, I would also recommend autobiographies by Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, and Chris Jericho, as well as the book WrestleCrap: The Very Worst of Pro Wrestling. There are a number of others I would endorse, but it’s time to get back to the library and go silent!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
You layer the ingredients in A-B-C order and that allowed me to finally use the layering tool I received a few months back. It worked out really well and looks great, am I right!? The shot tasted fantastic, especially when the Irish Crème kicked in following the two liquors, which move a little quicker. Too bad I couldn’t think of a D-garnish to continue the ABC theme.

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April 26 – Golden Dragon

Dragon’s Den

While preparing for our Around the World stop in China, I had originally intended to do an article on dragons, which are an integral part of Chinese culture, mythology, and folklore. China is not alone, however, with having dragons as part of their legends, so I switched this post over to a Super Saturday Shot Day article and now we can have some real fun. Here are the top five dragons in media:

#5: Maleficent – Sleeping Beauty

How cool would it be to have the power to turn into a dragon? For the wicked fairy Maleficent, this ability comes out as she tries to keep Prince Phillip from rescuing Princess Aurora. Even the name Maleficent is finely-crafted as it translates into “doing evil or harm”. The soon-to-be-released live action film Maleficent should be an interesting twist on the Sleeping Beauty fable, as we gain some perspective into the antagonist and get her point of view. Sadly, Angelina Jolie plays the titular (literally!?) role, but I’ll have to make peace with that.

Maleficent Dragon

#4: Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat

One of the most athletically-gifted wrestlers of all-time, Ricky Steamboat is a former NWA World Champion (a pretty big deal for you non-grappling fans) and his series of matches with the incomparable Ric Flair are considered legendary. Nicknamed ‘The Dragon’, while he was with the WWE during their cartoon gimmick era of the early 90’s, Steamboat even came to the ring breathing fire high into the air and wearing an outfit with fake scales. Sadly, his career was cut short due to a serious back injury in 1994, depriving fans of many more classic confrontations.

#3: Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegal – Game of Thrones

While these dragons have already played an important role in the Game of Thrones saga, you just know that they will eventually become a focal point of the book and its TV series sibling. The dragons made Daenerys Targaryen a serious contender in the realm and helped her shed the misconceptions that she didn’t belong on the throne. Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegal (I always love how fantasy novels come up with names) will continue to grow and intimidate. I doubt, however that all three make it through the series unscathed and there is likely some tragedy ahead for the ‘Mother of Dragons’.

Mother of Dragons

#2: Mushu – Mulan

Returning to the Disney vault, we get Mushu, an under-sized serpent and protector of Mulan as she joins the fight against the Hun army. While Mushu is a decent sidekick to Mulan, my favourite appearance of the dragon is at the Disney Animation Studio attraction at Disney Parks, where he co-hosts the Drawn to Animation demonstration. I find it ironic that Eddie Murphy played this little firecracker of a dragon, then fell in love with a dragon as Donkey in Shrek. The guy must have a thing for the mythical beasts!

#1: Toothless – How to Train Your Dragon

It’s unbelievable how much Toothless reminds me of one of Ma and Pa Sip’s cats. Yes, an animated dragon reminds me of a living cat… I’m special like that! Anyway, young Viking Hiccup finds Toothless one day and over time, the two become friends and partners as Hiccup trains Toothless to work with him, while also coming to the realization that the stories he’s grown up on about dragons being evil may not be true for every creature of the clan. Together, they bring a stop to the constant war between Vikings and dragons. I’m really looking forward to this year’s sequel to the 2010 hit and there’s even a planned third film due in 2016.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Golden Dragon

Golden Dragon Shot

While I’m not a huge fan of dragons, I have a deep respect for them. I wish I could sleep all day underneath a castle and be feared simply by reputation. I have to toss out a couple honourable mentions to Trogdor the Burninator from Strong Bad E-mails (Homestar Runner) and Eric Cartman’s stuffed animal dragon Rumpertumskin on South Park. Both characters are very minor players, but have given me great pleasure in the past.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I subbed in Torched Cherry Rum for Dragon Berry Rum because it’s what I had on hand and also thought it worked with the theme of dragons and fire. This shot was really good, particularly the mixing of the Goldschlager and Sour Apple Mix. The Torched Cherry Rum was indeed a good choice, adding a different note to an apple pie type flavour.

April 5 – Body Slammer

Showcase of the Immortals

WWE WrestleMania has featured countless wrestlers, as well as a host of celebrities in its 30-year history. While the glitz and glamour make WrestleMania the company’s biggest show of the year, it’s the performances of the grapplers that are remembered the most by fans all around the world. Here are the top five performers in WrestleMania’s illustrious history:

#5: Triple H

Given his WrestleMania debut, it was hard to imagine that Triple H (or Hunter Hearst Helmsley as he was known back in 1996) would ever make a list of this type. Then, he was defeated in mere minutes by a returning Ultimate Warrior. Nearly two decades later, Triple H finds himself married to the boss’ daughter and holding an Executive Vice President role within WWE. Triple H became a top draw for the company in 1999 and rode his success to numerous WrestleMania main events, usually defending the World Championship. To this day, he stills appears on the annual card, in one of the prime spots, despite his semi-retirement.

#4: Bret Hart

If you wanted to throw out a lame analogy, you could say that ‘The Hitman’ was the Hart and soul of WrestleMania, especially in its second decade of existence. The Canadian grappler wrestled at each event from 1986-97 and also returned for a one-time battle against WWE owner Vince McMahon at WrestleMania XXVI. During his prime years, Hart’s performances often stole the show, including wrestling two matches at the 10th event, defending the World Title in a 60-minute Iron Man match at the 12th show, and his epic brawl with Steve Austin at the 13th rendition.

#3: Hulk Hogan

The Hulkster participated or played some role in the WrestleMania main event for the show’s first nine broadcasts. He returned to WWE in 2002 and battled The Rock at WrestleMania XVIII, in a confrontation between two of the sport’s greatest icons. The next year, Hogan gained some long-simmering revenge over boss Vince McMahon – the two men who can be most credited with the success of the WrestleMania concept. At six different WrestleMania events, Hogan either defended the World Title or challenged for it. For WrestleMania XXX, Hogan returned from five years away from WWE to host the spectacle.

#2: Shawn Michaels

Dubbed ‘Mr. WrestleMania’, Shawn Michaels always seems to shine the brightest come the big event. While Michaels first WrestleMania appearance was all the way back in 1989, it wasn’t until 1994 when he became a top-level player with his hightlight reel ladder match versus Razor Ramon. Despite losing the contest, the ‘Showstopper’s’ career was launched and two years later, he captured the World Championship at WrestleMania XII. After a four-year hiatus from the ring, Michaels returned to put on a number of classic, show-stealing performances, working with a new generation of stars, like Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, and John Cena.

#1: The Undertaker

Riding a winning streak of 21-0 at the annual event, the Undertaker continues to thrill audiences nearly a quarter of a decade after he debuted. He has only missed two of the last 23 WrestleMania cards and during that time, has battled every monster possible at WWE’s biggest show of the year, including Giant Gonzales, King Kong Bundy, Sycho Sid, and Kane. He’s also defeated some of the industry’s top names as he’s piled up the wins. Legends like Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kevin Nash, Jake Roberts, Jimmy Snuka, and others have all fallen to ‘The Deadman’. With each passing year, the streak has become a more integral part of the WrestleMania hype.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Body Slammer

Apr 5

The ‘Showcase of the Immortals’, as they call it, used to be a pretty big deal for the Sip Advisor. While I don’t follow wrestling as religiously as I once did, it is still on my bucket list to one day attend a WrestleMania show. Perhaps The Sip Advisor will grow to the point where I’m even offered a spot on the show and can get my greedy paws on a couple of the WWE Divas!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This shot was really good and I certainly didn’t feel like I’d just been body slammed. I used Fireball Whiskey to go along with the Goldschlager and that just heightened the cinnamon flavour. I used my cowboy boot shot glass, as it closely resembled a wrestling boot. Thankfully, I still had some mini wrestling figures lying around at Ma and Pa Sip’s house to go along with my diorama and here we see ol’ Stone Cold Steve Austin delivering his trademark stunner to Kane, while The Undertaker prepares to chokeslam The Rock straight to hell!

July 18 – Rasputin Cocktail

Idol Worship

Throughout my life, I have found myself fascinated by certain individuals. People whose life stories intrigue me and make me want to actually “learn” more about them and their history. I wouldn’t say that these people are idols of mine, but they are extremely interesting folks, with tales that tend to captivate the masses.

Steve Jobs

While I’m not the biggest fan of Apple and its products (seriously, how annoying is the iTunes interface and non-compatibility?), I find Steve Jobs, the company’s founder and later saviour, to be a captivating case study. He lived a short life, but made the most of his time on earth. We can credit Jobs with so many innovations, from home computers, virtually every device with an ‘i’ in front of it, and even Pixar movies, the company he grew between his Apple stints.

Steve Jobs

Walt Disney

As a massive fan of Disneyland, I pay much homage to the man who first imagined the concept and then put his dream into work, jeopardizing everything he had built to that point, from reputation to life savings to his studio to his physical well-being. Every time I’m privileged to be in one of his parks (and particularly one that serves alcohol), I’m sure to say a little thanks to the legend and have a drink in his honour.

Ric Flair

For those who read my blog regularly, by now you should know that no Sip Adivsor list would be complete without a wrestling reference. This man styled and profiled his way to wrestling greatness and in the process lived the extravagant lifestyle of his on-screen character. Flair has been married (and divorced) four times and suffered great financial losses from bad investments, legal issues, and a lifetime of partying. Still, the ‘Nature Boy’ keeps ticking, making occasional appearances in the ring and still delighting fans with his over-the-top charisma and energy.

ric_flair

Rasputin

The amazing story of the assassination of Grigori Rasputin is one that first caught my attention in my high school history class. Now that I’ve actually visited Russia and been inside the room where his murder took place, I’m even more enthralled with the legend. For those who don’t know the details, Rasputin was poisoned, shot, stabbed and beaten, before being thrown into the frozen Neva River. Evidence later showed that water was in his lungs when his body was discovered, meaning he was still alive when thrown into his watery grave and likely succumbed to drowning.

Jimmy Stewart

Did you know that the It’s a Wonderful Life star was also a highly-decorated United States military pilot (the only actor to receive a higher ranking was Ronald Reagan, when he became president of the United States and commander-in-chief)? So, not only is Stewart one of my favourite actors, but you have to respect a guy that went to war throughout an acclaimed acting career.

Drink #199: Rasputin Cocktail

July 18

  • 2 oz Russian Vodka (I used Beluga)
  • 1 oz Frangelico
  • Garnish with Lemon Twist

One more person who fascinates me, is myself. I often ponder my own existence and I’m blown away with what I’ve accomplished and continue to achieve. I’m a wrecking ball of awesomeness, steamrolling the lame, and making this world a better place, one cocktail at a time!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I didn’t think I’d like this cocktail as much as I did. The Frangelico was nice and not overwhelming. I split half of the Vodka portion of the recipe between Plain Vodka and Raspberry Vodka and that accentuated the entire cocktail.

July 9 – Woo Woo

Things That Make You Go Woo

While I’m not one to show my emotions easily, there are many things in my life that bring out an emotional charge in me that few ever knew existed. Here are the things that make me (and I’m sure many others) go woo!

Shots & Shooters

You had to figure that the Sip Advisor gets his motor running with alcohol. And nothing beats slamming back something hard like whiskey or tequila and shouting out a resounding woo as your face goes fuzzy and you ride the burn of the liquid shredding past your throat and down your esophagus. Might as well load up another round… the party is just getting started!

shots and shooters

Beautiful Women

When I see Mrs. Sip dressed up in anything from her sexy business attire to nothing at all, I may have to mutter it under my breath, so as not to cause a public disturbance, but you can bet her sweet ass that I’m going woo-woo-woo, as my mind spins and the salivary glands completely disregard the information my brain has passed on to them.

Ric Flair

The venerable wrestler has long had the catchphrase of simply shouting “Woooooooooo” and having the crowd echo it back to him. Every time he would chop an opponent across the chest, the fans would shout in unison along with the sick sound of slapping skin, all the while watching the victim’s chest turn red with welts. Flair’s catchphrase has even been adopted by a number of sports teams, being played following a goal or other scored point.

Rollercoasters

One of the greatest thrills for me is going over the apex of the first drop on a rollercoaster and falling at blazing speeds, screaming at the top of your lungs and preparing to do it again on the next descent. Everything from my first coaster, Montezuma’s Revenge at Knott’s Berry Farm to my all-time favourite, Space Mountain at the Disney parks is good reason to damage your voice box.

I hope they saved me a seat!

I hope they saved me a seat!

Bungee Jumping

When you step up to the edge of the platform and you feel the chord that’s supposed to support you drop into the open air below, you get a sense of what your body is about to do. There’s no turning back, though. Just jump, spread your wings and fly, all the while screaming as you plummet towards the earth below! That free-fall feeling is almost euphoric… providing you’re not afraid of heights! Whoo hoo!

Sports Triumphs

Being from Vancouver, Canada, we haven’t had many of these (40-plus years of hockey futility, mixed with losing our NBA and NLL franchises), but even if you’re live at the stadium, a big goal can lift you to your feet and have you high-fiving complete strangers in an instant. We did have the 2011 run to the Stanley Cup Finals and although it ended with disappointment (and a riot), the ride was absolutely fantastic!

Drink #190: Woo Woo

Woo Woo Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Peach Schnapps
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

What makes you go “woo”? It’s okay if it’s something weird like bird watching or gardening. To each their own, I always say.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
For some reason, Peach Schnapps and Cranberry Juice go so well together. It’s a nice mix of sweet and tart and the top shelf Vodka certainly helps. It also comes Mrs. Sip approved!