December 5 – Santa’s Coming

The Gift of Giving

All this month, for Super Saturday Shot Day, we’ll be looking at the best Christmas gifts exchanged in movies and on TV. To get everyone into the Christmas spirit, let’s start with the greatest gifts in movies:

#5: Red Ryder BB Gun – A Christmas Story

While I’m far from a gun guy and little Ralphie did end up injuring himself shooting the Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle (just as everyone told him he would), this gift makes the best list because every one of us, growing up, had that one dream item that we wanted more than anything else in the world. And when it showed up under the tree on Christmas morning, you truly believed in the spirit of the season.

A-Christmas-Story-bb gun

#4: Pool – Christmas Vacation

Having grown up with a pool, I can totally appreciate how awesome it would be to be told your dad was installing one. Of course, with Clark Griswold’s Christmas bonus waiting in the wings, he’s not even sure he’ll be able to deliver on his promise of scorching hot days spent poolside, refreshed and relaxed. Just as Clark makes his big announcement, he discover his bonus isn’t what he thought it would be, but I’ll  have more on that next week.

#3: Gizmo – Gremlins

Mogwai’s seem pretty cool. That is, until they get fed after midnight, come into contact with water, or are exposed to sunlight. At least Gizmo stays cute and cuddly throughout, despite the fact it is the reason for all the mayhem that ensues. When a mogwai goes bad, it turns into a gremlin and then you really have to be careful, as these deranged creatures have been known to kill. In the end, the town is saved and Gizmo can return to normal… until its next late night feeding.

gremlins nicki minaj

#2: Lady – Lady and the Tramp

Is there a better gift to have lying under your tree than a cute little puppy. I’d say a kitten, but I’ll give them a pass here! Lady comes into her family’s life as an energetic pup; a Christmas gift given from Jim Dear to his wife Darling. After growing up, getting into mishaps and adventures, and finding love, the story sticks with the Christmas theme to show that Tramp has joined the family fray as has a litter of pups, the next generation of the household.

#1: Invisibility Cloak – Harry Potter

Everyone out there has fantasized at some point or another about being invisible. Well, Harry Potter is the one who actually gets the chance and really, the poor guy deserves it after all the years he’s spent as a slave to his extended family and guardians. If the Sip Advisor had an invisibility cloak, I would get up to all kinds of mischief… some of which I probably shouldn’t even share. To give you a hint, there would be a lot of pranking on Mrs. Sip!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Santa’s Coming

  • 0.5 oz Coconut Rum
  • 0.5 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 0.5 oz Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with a Cranberry

I also have to include the bell from The Polar Express here, as the tiny trinket (gifted by Santa, himself) provided years of joy for a young boy and his little sister, allowing them to enjoy the spirit of Christmas throughout the years, so long as they truly believed.

May 3 – The Terminator

Robot Rage

I’m curious as to when in my lifetime the world will first enjoy a wave of robots completing much of our daily routines for us before they rebel against their human overlords and annihilate us from the planet. It is within these hopes and fears that we look at the Top 5 robots in history:

#5: AutoBots – Transformers

Take your pick, but my favourites include Bumble Bee, Optimus Prime, and the DinoBots. This wicked cartoon, which launched a line of even cooler toys, introduced the world to a fight over energon cubes that still exists today. And they always said knowledge was power… quite clearly, it is in fact energy. I even respected some of the baddies (Decepticons) in this franchise, although Star Scream’s voice still pisses me off to this day.

Transformers Work

#4: Rosie – The Jetsons

The sassy robotic maid that many youngsters grew up on, dreaming of the day when they’d have their own animatronic hired help. That future is still ways away and you could probably blame The Jetsons for giving false hope to an entire generation. I feel Rosie screwed up too much to keep her job, so she must have had something incriminating on George, the man of the house. Either that, or they were boinking behind Jane’s back!

#3: WALL-E – WALL-E

While WALL-E (an acronym for Waste Allocation Load Lifter – Earth-Class) is only capable of saying his own name, it’s very easy to fall in love with the little android, as he searches for fellow automaton EVE, who he has fallen in love with. Due to the popularity of the character and movie, real WALL-E robots have been designed and manufactured, including one which can be seen roving the Disneyland theme park. There’s an autograph I’d love to have!

Wall-E

#2: Johnny 5 – Short Circuit

This loveable piece of machinery went from a section of the manufacturing assembly line to becoming a sentient being, who loves to learn and needs to consume constant stimuli. While I agree with his stance on TV, movies, and even music, his enjoyment of books is something I don’t share. Still, I hold no ill-will towards the robot. Johnny 5 even out-acted Steve Guttenberg, which is no small feat.

#1: Bender Bending Rodriguez – Futurama

This chain-smoking, drink-guzzling hunk of metal uses his gruff exterior to hide… well, an even gruffer inside, really. Bender is always looking for a get-rich-quick scheme and will stop at nothing to achieve his debaucherous desires. Throughout the Planet Express adventures, we also met androids like Santa Claus (an evil gift-giver, of course), the robot devil, Calculon, Kwanzaa-Bot, Flexo, and the Epsilon Rho Rho fraternity.

Super Saturday Shot Day: The Terminator

The Terminator Shot

  • 0.5 oz Yukon Jack Perma Frost
  • 0.5 oz Sambuca
  • 0.5 oz Jagermeister Spice
  • Garnish with Gummy Eye Candy

Some honourable mentions should be handed out to the likes of Kevin, Screech’s robot servant on Saved by the Bell, as well as the Fembots from Austin Powers… I’d let those ladies do whatever they wanted with me!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
While neither the T-800, T-1000, or Terminatrix (she could tie me down anyday!) managed to make this list’s cut, I did find a way to include the robot as today’s shot of choice. For garnish, I even found a Gummy Eye Candy from Halloween that worked with the theme of robots. I added a little Jagermeister Spice to the recipe to liven things up and the whole concoction was so good, I made it twice!

Denmark – Cloudberry Dream

Playtime Pleasures

Mrs. Sip and I recently viewed The LEGO Movie, which the Sip Advisor believes is a must-see attraction for young and old alike. It was the final piece, if you will, that cemented LEGO being a topic discussed while we visit Denmark as part of the Around the World liquor showcase. This fascinating product has a rich history and one that should be shared with all you little sippers:

Humble Beginnings

Ole Kirk Christiansen started LEGO when his carpentry business was faltering in 1932. Christiansen chose the name by combining the Danish words LEG and GODT, which means “play well” together. In Latin, LEGO means “I put together”. He used the excess lumber he had to make wooden toys, which he sold locally. The LEGO blocks we know and love today were the result of Christiansen buying the rights to Kiddicraft blocks after the inventor committed suicide. A patent for LEGO’s ‘toy building brick’ came in 1961, which improved on the Kiddicraft design and the rest is history.

Backwards Compatible

Statistically Speaking

560 billion LEGO pieces have been manufactured as of 2013 and only 18 of every million bricks come out defective. Seven LEGO sets are sold every second around the world. LEGO produces more tires than companies like Goodyear and Bridgestone. In fact, they make 381 million each year… sure they’re miniature, but that’s a lot of rubber! If this ever helps a reader with a pub trivia night, you owe me a Coke.

Across the Universe

While you can build just about anything using your imagination (porn theatre, strip club, grow-op, meth lab, etc.), LEGO collections allow kids to travel anywhere from floating through space, to sailing the seas with pirates, to battling dragons and defending castles. 13 LEGO sets have actually been brought to the International Space Station to see how the pieces react in gravity.

Good Company

While today, LEGO has licensing deals with a number of commodities (Batman, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, etc.), it all began in 1999 when the toy company partnered with Star Wars. Along with the previously mentioned sets, the likes of Santa Claus, Spider-Man, and even Steven Spielberg have been immortalized as LEGO mini figures.

lego-piece-missing

Home Sweet Home

A life-size LEGO house was built in 2009 by James May, for his Toy Stories TV series. With the help of 1,200 volunteers, the two-floor, four bedroom abode was constructed using 3.3 million bricks and also had a wooden support structure. May spent one night in the home, and ironically said he slept like a brick. The house was demolished after an agreement to have it sent to LEGOLAND fell through because of costs. The pieces were donated to charity, however.

Theme Party

Sticking with LEGOLAND, there are six LEGO theme parks around the globe, including resorts in Billund, Denmark (home of the first factory); Windsor, United Kingdom; Günzburg, Germany; San Diego, USA; Winter Haven, USA; and Nusajaya, Malaysia. There is also a chain of LEGOLAND Discovery Centres with five in the U.S., two in Germany, and one each in the U.K., Japan, and Canada (stupid Ontario gets all the cool attractions!).

Work of Art

Nathan Sawaya has gained a cult following as a block artist – wouldn’t it be considered an offshoot of cubism!? – using LEGO bricks to make renowned pieces of art. Sawaya quit his job as a lawyer (perhaps this is also in Mrs. Sip’s future!) in 2001 to dedicate his life to LEGO art and it’s worked out pretty well for him. His show ‘The Art of the Brick’ is touring museums across the United States. He’s even made a life-sized Stephen Colbert.

Stepping on Lego

Creation Theory

Speaking of using LEGO for art, starting in 2001 (that seems to be the year men around the world went nuts for the toy), Brendan Powell Smith began creating illustrations from the Bible, using LEGO. His website, The Brick Testament contains nearly 4,000 images telling more than 300 stories. Perhaps this will inspire the Sip Advisor to take up religion… no, I think I’ll pass.

Honourable Mention

LEGO was named Toy of the Century in 2000, narrowly beating out the Teddy Bear, Barbie Doll, and Action Man. The three runners up went on to form an alliance, looking to overthrow LEGO from its lofty perch through propaganda, a smear campaign, and other dirty tactics. Then, Barbie Doll and Action Man had an affair that upset Teddy Bear and caused a irreparable rift within the coalition!

Denmark: Cloudberry Dream

Cloudberry Dream Drink Recipe

  • 2 oz Cloudberry Liqueur
  • 1 oz Akvavit
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Cranberries

I was huge into LEGO as a youngster and one of the few things I’m looking forward to as a future father is bringing home my kid’s first LEGO set… then ignoring my duties as a dad and husband, playing with children’s toys for hours on end!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
An invention as great as LEGO deserves to be partnered with a drink this delicious! It has me looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Akvavit. The Cloudberry Liqueur was as wonderful as it has been in the past and throw in all the citrus elements and everything’s coming together perfectly!

December 24 – White Christmas Dream

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

When it comes to Christmas Eve traditions, I’m sticking to the sweet things in life. None of this going to church crap or fasting and depriving yourself of all the wonderful things this world has to offer. I’m talking stuffing your face with food, watching great entertainment, and drinking yourself into a delightful Christmas coma. Here’s what we should all be up to that night:

Eating Right

By eating right, I of course mean eating wrong. If you haven’t polished off something deep-fried and greasy or chocolate covered before the evening is through, then there is something seriously and inherently wrong with you. Mrs. Sip and I have enjoyed meals out the last few years, gorging ourselves on lobster, beef, beer, and wine. Others might order out and let others do their cooking. It’s a fantastic idea and will keep you sane through the crazy holidays!

Not Even a Mouse

Hey, we all have to eat, right!?

Viewing Party

The perfect combo, as you enjoy your gloriously fattening meal is to thrown on some of the movie, special, and TV show favourites I’ve pointed out throughout this month. Make sure snacks are thoroughly stocked throughout the house, including the bathroom. You never know when you’ll be stuck in there for a prolonged period of time and it’s always recommended that you keep feeding the beast, rather than starve it.

Deck the Halls

If you’ve chosen to take this time and do a little last minute decorating, first, shame on you, and second, put all that crap down and relax. It’s too late anyway and all you’ll end up doing is un-decorating on Boxing Day. Take my advice and simply wait for next year. You’ll be happier, but perhaps not healthier.

The Good Book

This may be the only time I ever advocate for the act of reading, but some should probably be done Christmas Eve, especially if you have young ones roaming your halls. Of course, The Night Before Christmas is the perfect tome to share aloud. There has to even be recorded copies of the classic, so I don’t have to actually doing any reading myself!

Last Minute Wrapping

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

I prefer to not open gifts on Christmas Eve (not even one) in favour of saving them all for a grand Christmas morning melee. If you’re one of those poor suckers still tracking down gifts on the day before Christmas, let me enjoy a thorough laugh at your expense. Make sure to get a treat for your pets, as well, as it’s amazing to watch kitties get lit up on catnip and chase little toys among the discarded wrapping paper!

Getting Blitzened

Not surprisingly, the Sip Advisor doesn’t view Christmas Eve as any less of an evening to get your drink on. There’s nothing like burning out your own bulb and passing out in front of the TV before a long winter’s nap. If you have to do any driving Christmas Eve, this of course isn’t achievable. The second you arrive at your final stop, however, you better do everything you can to get into the Christmas spirit, whether that’s shot-gunning a few brews or challenging your loved ones to a shooter challenge.

Leaving Something Out

Before heading to bed tonight, make sure to leave out a little sumpin’ sumpin’ for Santa Claus and his team. For the reindeer, a helping of carrots will keep their vision strong throughout the night, while jolly ol’ St. Nick can keep his energy level up with cookies and milk. Let’s just hope the guy isn’t lactose intolerant. Finally, make sure to leave a little cheese for Santa Mouse, the littlest helper of the bunch!

Drink #358: White Christmas Dream

White Christmas Dream Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Vodka (I used Smores)
  • 1 oz Amaretto
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with Chocolate Sprinkles and a Wafer Stick

I wish all you little sippers a very merry Christmas. May you each get everything you wanted and more. As for myself, providing Mrs. Sip ends up wearing only tinsel, I’ll be the merriest of us all!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I suppose I went against the whole “White Christmas” theme by adding Chocolate Sprinkles and the Wafer Stick, but all white snowfalls eventually turn a little dirty. The drink tasted really good and wasn’t overly sweet or anything like that.

December 2 – Poinsettia

The Most Wonderful Time

Well, my little sippers, with December finally here, we have to decide how we’re going to spend the month. There’s more to do than you would think. Here are a couple of ideas:

Advent Calendar

This is the third year that I’ll be doing an advent calendar for Mrs. Sip, providing her with a treat each day until Christmas finally arrives… then the treats stop and we spend the big day in separate rooms, Mrs. Sip reading one of her nauseating books, the Sip Advisor seeing how drunk he can get before noon. It really is a wonderful time of year. In all seriousness, this is a fun idea and it scores you some serious brownie points!

redneck-advent-calendar

Santa Claus Parade

I only offer this as a suggestion because frankly, I don’t like being out in the cold for hours watching marching bands, as much as the next heat seeker. It’s a great event for kids, I guess. They at least hold out hope until Santa finally shows up atop the main event float. As for myself, I’ll be inside my warm little apartment, snuggled under a mess of blankies, sipping on (not gin and juice) spiked hot cocoa, and pestering Mrs. Sip to lose her clothes and entertain me!

Christmas Train

This option might be available to all you little sippers, but whether you live near a Christmas Train or some other Christmas Wonderland, you should definitely make a point of visiting once. It’s an annual tradition among the Family Sip. We meet at Stanley Park, ride the train, check out the lights and then head off to our favourite restaurant White Spot for a healthy dose of burgers, beer, and other merriment!

Snowball Fight/Build a Snowman

If you live where snow actually falls, then this is a great idea. If you don’t get the white stuff, you should probably avoid this idea, as you’ll just be playing with dirt. I can only remember a couple White Christmases (damn Vancouver’s mild temperatures) and you can bet when those happened, we were messing about in the snow and not all sheltered inside, afraid to go out into the open air as today’s little ones seem to be.

not-coming-to-work

Ice Skating

I look majestic when on the ice… except for that one time in the U.K. when all you could rent was figure skates and having spent my entire life in a hockey boot, I wasn’t used to the toe picks and wound up introducing my face to a sheet of ice! Luckily, I wasn’t much to look at before my accident… some say the accident actually resulted in a slight improvement. To be fair, my knees took the entire brunt of the fall, keeping my mind intact to be ruined by alcohol!

Christmas Parties

While I normally shun social gatherings with vehement disgust, I do find a way to fake it through the Christmas season. Mrs. Sip had to attend like nine parties last year. I matched her in nights I just sat on the couch and got blasted, but with her being so busy, we didn’t even have a chance to watch the Family Matters Christmas episodes I tracked down. I have a need for Urkel and that has yet to be satisfied.

Secret Santa/Gift Exchange

This is the only reason to have friends, am I right!? Hell, they don’t even have to be friends; they just have to be rich! I’ve written before about how we pull out our Roulette Shot Wheel and dole out shooters during our gift exchange. Usually we make the person who’s stealing a gift have to take a shot, but we usually end up ramping it up and also punishing the person who has just been stolen from… that’s the reality of life, my little sippers!

Drink #336: Poinsettia

Poinsettia Drink Recipe

  • 0.5 oz Cointreau
  • Top with Champagne
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Mandarin Orange Piece

What suggestions do you have for the Sip Advisor on how to spend the Christmas holiday? Clearly, you can see I’m going to be busy, but I’ll try to fit your advice in!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is a really simple recipe and a definite crowd pleaser. Before starting this project, I bartended one of Ma and Pa Sip’s Christmas parties and this drink was the hit of the evening. A Mandarin Orange Piece is the perfect garnish this time of the year and works well with a champagne flute.