Nate’s Memorial Bar and Grill

In celebration of lost friends, I’m going to copy some of Nate’s drink recipes (with words of wisdom direct from the master). I have this in my cookbook on Wattpad, but I thought I would share it here too.

(Actually, I may have posted this here before.)

The Bellbird (created for one of our Kiwi members):

– 1oz light Rum
– 1oz gold Rum
– 1/2 oz Razzmatazz (Raspberry Schnapps) or Creme de Cassis or Chambord

Three quarters fill with Cranberry Juice
One quarter fill with Pineapple Juice
Garnish with a squeeze of lime

Build drink in a tall, iced glass, roll into a shaker for a few shakes.
Roll back into glass and serve.


Nate’s Vodka Gimlet:

“If you look up a Vodka Gimlet in a bar book it will probably say something like 1.5 ounces of vodka plus 1/2 oz. of Rose’s Lime Juice – that’s just gross, I don’t like RLJ at all, way too sweet and artificial tasting. As much as possible I use fresh juices – one of these days I’ll make my own batch of sweet and sour but I haven’t been making that many drinks at the house lately.

I haven’t made it in a while, so I’d encourage you to try it out and adjust if you make this at home, but I “researched” this at home until I got it just right and I think it was this:

1.5 ounces of vodka (Skyy, Absolut, or Stoli would be decent choices)
1.5 ounces of fresh lime juice
2 Tb. of sugar (use granulated – superfine if you can get it)

Pour ingredients into a mixing glass with a scoop of ice, shake well and strain into a chilled glass. (You will have to shake it a bit to get the sugar to dissolve).”

Nate’s replacement for the detested Rose’s Lime Juice:

“On that subject, I combined my interest in cocktails, cooking background and scientific training tonight in order to develop a homemade recipe for sweet and sour mixer that is used in cocktails. I try to use fresh juices in drinks whenever possible, I don’t care much for the standard sour mix that is used in most bars and I cannot abide the syrupy, artifical crap called Rose’s Lime Juice (which neither tastes nor smells like lime juice). Obviously when making drinks on the fly it isn’t practical to cut or squeeze citrus fruit to order so I figured that I could come up with a sour mix that could be made in any quantity. Here is what I came up with:

½ Cup lemon juice
½ Cup lime juice
1 ½ Cup water
½ Cup sugar

For those of the metric persuasion:

120 mls lemon juice
120 mls lime juice
360 mls water
120 mls or 100 g sugar*

Combine ingredients and stir until sugar dissolves. The sugar will go into solution more easily if you heat it but it should dissolve at room temperature. I would consider bringing it to a boil initially just to help sterilize it and extend the shelf life. While the low Ph and concentration of citric acid should be inhospitable to microorganisms this comes out as something like a concentrated lemonade so I don’t expect a long shelf life. Two weeks, perhaps, though I’ll keep tabs on the batch I made tonight and share my findings in the next issue of JBM, Journal of Biochemical Mixology.”

The Washington Apple

1 oz. Crown Royal (or other Canadian Whisky)
1 oz. Apple Puckers
1 oz. Cranberry juice
splash of sweet and sour

shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass frosted with

“That rim is my own touch on it and so far it’s a hit – it’s just the thing
to set it off and get you licking your lips.”

Blue drinks:

“Actually blue drinks are something of a specialty of mine. I’ll make Wajz my Sea Foam martini:

Vanilla Rum, Blue Curacao, Orange juice and a splash of pineapple juice, strained into a chilled cocktail glass.”

Blue Hawiian – Light Rum, Blue Curacao, pineapple juice and sweet and sour.

Actually I think a similar but better drink (not quite as sweet, more refreshing) is Rum, Blue Curacao, pineapple juice and ginger ale or 7up. I made that one up so far as I know but in this game it’s pretty tough to do anything for the first time. And if you do…would I want to drink it?”

The San Diego Siezure

“I invented another drink tonight on the spot. A guy who had been in the bar for the last two nights drinking beer asked for a Seizure. I told him I didn’t know what that was but I’d look it up – he stopped me and told me I wouldn’t find it because it didn’t exist (yes he was getting tanked and was being a smartass). He told me to make something up that would taste like banana so I grabbed the Creme de Banana…and then the Malibu Rum. Poured them both into a collins glass and let the force flow through me…than reached out and filled it the rest of the way with OJ and pineapple juice, and finished it with a float of Bacardi 151. I garnished it with an orange wheel and cherry, this yellow-orange drink, and served it up. He loved it. He had three of them and couldn’t shut up about it, just kept saying, “Wow, you’ve got a real winner here. This is a hell of a good drink.” I wrote the recipe down for him to take with him. He called it a San Diego Seizure but I think I’ll have to name it something else, don’t really like the “Seizure” part. Another story from the Bartending Chronicles…”

The Carmel Apple Martini

“So here’s the recipe. Note that while I won’t make anything obscenely sweet, this is for the folks who don’t like to taste their alcohol and is probably best as an after dinner drink when you’re craving dessert. My guess is that Athene and CTS wouldn’t touch this thing but Loretta, Dirt, and Wajz might be up for it. I can go either way, I generally like strong drinks but I can enjoy this one as well.

1.5 oz vodka
1.5 oz apple puckers
splash of sweet and sour
0.5 oz butterscotch schnapps
1 Tb. thin caramel sauce

combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice; shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Optional: drizzle caramel into the glass and gently pour the cocktail in so as not to disturb it.

Note – minus the caramel and butterscotch is my recipe for an apple martini. I actually put just a splash more puckers than vodka but for the caramel one I would keep the ratios even. Keep in mind that this is a pretty tame cocktail – a true apple martini would have be 3:1 vodka to apple puckers but it’s rare that anyone ordering this drink wants a cocktail this strong. In my version that you don’t taste the alcohol, it has a strong apple flavor and the sour gives it a little tanginess and takes the bite out of it. Some bartenders add 1/4 to 1/2 ounce of Midori but I can’t say that I’ve tried it. It sounds good but I would make a different cocktail with that, not an Apple Martini.”

Back off man, I’m a scientist.


Now They’re Just Somebody I Didn’t Used to Know – And More Decisions

Back when the first LOTR trilogy came out, I joined a free-form group of fans on a message board. The majority of these were Tolkien fans, following the development of the films. Like any community, contributors began to stand out. One of these was Nate. Nate was a geneticist turned bartender (wiling career choice) with an exhaustive knowledge of Tolkien and an open hand with questions. He was a gentlemen and a scholar and very generous with his time and knowledge on whatever subject. And over the years online, the group “virtually” supported him through his career change, through the forest fires that came practically up to his front door,  through his engagement.

Now, if you think I’m full of piss and vinegar now, this is nothing compared to what I was like 14 years ago. (I was designated “board dragon,” that’s how difficult I was.) But Nate was one of those that could somehow get through the flames and get to the real, or at least reasonable, me. We got to be friends. We even spoke on the phone. (He was engaged and I was crazy so it was completely platonic.)  I lived in L.A. at the time, he was in San Diego. We kept saying, “One of these days I’ll drive up/down and we’ll have dinner.”

And then I came online one day and found out that Nate had died of a fatal arrhythmia. No warning. He was only 30 and he dropped dead in the walk-in refrigerator at work.

And I spent a long time kicking myself for not getting in the car and driving those three hours to meet this guy, look him in the face when we talked, give him a hug.

And I swore I wouldn’t do that again. I would not miss an opportunity to meet a friend.

This morning I came into work to find a coworker had died in a car accident over the weekend.

Academic department staffs are usually very small, a team of two to four people (depending on the size and complexity of the department and programs). David was our IT guy  (between GIS, terrestrial laser scanning, atmospheric sciences, etc. we have a lot of computers going in this department). David was quiet and good-natured, funny, hardworking, devoted to his siblings and parents. Seemed like an interesting guy, but we didn’t interact a lot. Like me, he had cut his degree short to go to work on campus and was completing it one class at a time. He was 24.

And that’s all I really knew about him.

And he worked twenty feet away from me for almost two years.

Now my unselfish-self sends prayers and wishes for his family and friends to find comfort during this dark time. But I’m not going to wax poetic about the fleeting nature of existence and how life is unfair. It is.

But goddamn it I should have taken the time to get to know him better. I should have walked over there and talked to him more.

So Caty (and Nell), I’m coming to visit. I don’t know how or when, but I’m definitely getting on a plane to come see you. And if I can ever get up the scratch, I’ll make it down to see you too Augie.


RA posted this story about a young woman’s experience with cyberbullying and the positive steps she took to get the message across of how hurtful cyberbullying is to both the bully and the victim.

She was certainly bullied, but there are some terminology issues I want to get out of the way before I address the main topic:

“Debate/Argument” – Someone disagreeing with you online over a topic is not a troll or a bully or trying to censor you. As the Takei has said, “Freedom of Speech is not freedom from consequence.” As you are allowed to express your opinion, so others are allowed to express their opinion of what you said. Calling them “trolls” or “cyberbullies” is a cheap ad hominem in an attempt shame them into shutting up. If someone is disagreeing with you and keeping it about the topic? Deal. If the exchange gets heated, then it’s an argument and the best thing is to walk away for a while and cool off.

Flame/Flamewar” – When a debate/argument crosses over the line into personal attacks. The comment I received this morning on YouTube is a perfect example of a flame: “yeah thats why every one of the 30,000 plus Islamic terror attacks in the last ten years they scream god is the greatest before blowing themselves up, or the group(and there are hundreds of them) who takes responsiblity for the attack quote verses from the quran in explaining why they carried it out, take your neo pagan ass out of here before a muslim beheads you…” If I responded in kind it would become a flamewar as the topic got lost while we slagged each other on a personal level. From here on out the exchange with this person will be completely unproductive. He/she obviously has no interest in an exchange of ideas. I deleted the comment from my inbox and walked away.

Troll” – An online troll is not a cyberbully, but someone who goes on blog comment threads or message boards to post provocative statements in order to get an emotional rise out of the people and start a fight. The term comes from the same analogy as “fishing,” they are trolling for an argument. An example would be to go on a message board filled with Jewish people and say, “Hitler was a swell guy.” That is going to upset people and their responses may not be entirely rational. That’s what the trolls want. It’s not personal, they just want to get the power rush of getting someone, anyone, upset. In short, they’re assholes. The “ignore” button works wonders and, bonus feature, drives them batty.

At the crossover point are the people who go on personal venues, like Facebook pages, to personally attack random people. I remember watching a story about a guy in Britain who would go on Facebook pages of the families of people who had died to fuck with the family. They are more than trolls, but not quite cyberbullies in that their targets are random and they were not willing to go as far as cyberbullies do.

Cyberbully” – Now we get to the nasty. Cyberbullies don’t care about a topic of discussion. It is all about you. They have just decided that they hate you and are going to make you miserable. It’s is completely personal, irrational and vicious. They are obsessed with hurting you, depriving you of any enjoyment or peace, and driving you off. And leaving does not make them go away. The victim leaving empowers them. They got what they wanted and they want more. When they force you from one place, they follow you to another. They viciously insult, they lie about things that supposedly happen away from the board or blog, or even in real life to defame the victim. (And whatever a cyberbully claims happened elsewhere, if the victim has been a positive, contributing board member than A. the bullies are probably full of shit and B. unless it is criminal or they willingly share it, what a person does elsewhere is none of the board’s business. Dragging arguments from one board to another is a Netiquette no-no.)

And really scary bit, where every other activity on this list is online, cyberbullies will sometimes/often engage in cyberstalking, attacks that affect your real life. For instance, after months of personal attacks and libel from a group, on separate message board in an otherwise topical discussion, I corrected one of them about a statistic. (That’s it. A statistic about rape convictions.) This person decided I “needed to be stopped.” She obtained my real name and where I lived and worked. She then published the information in two places on the original website, Twitter, Livejournal and a Wikipage with a threat to harass me and my co-workers (telling them about my “horrible activities online”) if I ever said anything she did not like again.

I called HR. Then I called a friend who was a lawyer who advised me to call the police. They called the police where she lived who showed up on her doorstep. That cooled her down a bit.

(As soon as something like that happens, never be ashamed to call the police even if the stalker is in another country. Stalking is nothing to mess around with.)

But she was just the most offensive of a group. Like RL bullies, cyberbullies rarely work alone. Not even content to insult and libel me while letting this person go the extra mile, the others took part by retweeting and spreading my personal info.

The joke with cyberbullies/cyberstalkers is that they often play the victim card, claiming that *they* were bullied and their attacks are completely justified self-defense. Despite fulfilling textbook definitions, the bully in my case, and her friends, did not consider what she had done to be cyberbullying or cyberstalking because I “deserved it.” In fact, she was quite proud of what she had done because she saw her actions as bravely confronting and taking down someone who was “evil.”

Cyberbullying, like bullying in RL, is incredibly destructive. People have committed suicide because of it. Some people on the internet are isolated in RL. They may simply be introverts, or they may have a personal issue, medical issue or lifestyle that is not accepted by society at large. Or many other reasons. They go to the internet to connect with people who share their concerns and interests. It is their social and support group. (And often the safety and positive feedback internet friends provide encourages them to reach out in RL.) Cyberbullies do everything in their power to destroy that. Some people are in a place in their life where they are withstand the storm. Some are not and the bullying is the tipping point that drives them into a despair from which they never recover. To say this is “melodramatic” or “OTT” is B.S.. People are dead.

Nor is cyberbullying easy to escape. Many people who have not experienced it say, “Well, why don’t you just walk away?” Because they don’t let you. Even if you place the bullies on ignore they will continue to insult and libel you in front of your peers. As I pointed out, even if you leave bullies follow their victims, driving them from place to place until they have nowhere to go and have to cut themselves off from groups they were accepted by and activities they once enjoyed. It is especially hard to escape if the victim has a smartphone with social media aps. (That’s if the bully has not obtained their phone number to send vicious texts.) And as pointed out, they sometimes follow them into RL.

Sadly, moderators on most websites and social media have proven inadequate. Too often the company refuses to hire enough moderators to handle the traffic for their site and they are simply overwhelmed. Or they maybe more concerned about board peace or even board traffic than they are about doing the right thing and protecting their members. Or they simply don’t care. When I e-mailed Twitter two years ago to get my personal information pulled, five days later I got an e-mail back saying they were not responsible for the content of people’s posts. I understand that policy has finally changed but sadly it is still too common across the internet.

(I will note that both the mods on that particular Livejournal board and Wikipedia were both very responsive.)

Which means communities have to police themselves. Too often other board members don’t want to become involved. Either they are uncomfortable with conflict or “it has nothing to do with me.” With an argument that would be so. With a flamewar that would be so, but not bullying and stalking. Anytime bullying takes place in a community, the entire community is poisoned. The atmosphere becomes less warm, less safe, basic civility begins to erode and of course, the community loses contributing members. Just like how we need to deal with seeing misogynist crap in the geekdom, when members of a board community see bullying; see repeated, unwarranted personal attacks on a member, we need to come together and say “KNOCK IT OFF! If you can’t behave like a rational human being, get lost!” We should not become a bullies ourselves (and I do understand the temptation), just make it clear that behavior is not tolerated in your community. With some message boards, a mass ignore with mass petition to a moderator to remove a disruptive board member will probably get more results than a single or a scattering of complaints.

Cyberbullying is abhorrent and internet communities simply should not tolerate it.

Lest We Forget Why People Are Doing This…

This has been making the rounds on the ‘net and maybe you  have seen it before. But if you have not, you really need to watch the whole thing.

As I said before, people are dissing this viral movement as some form of jaded hipster, “Well, if everyone is doing it then it must be lame.”

STFU you parsimonious killjoy douchebags.

It’s helping. And that’s what matters.

P.S. If you still think it silly, do what Patrick Stewart did.


When the Internet is Really Cool

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Someone people have jumped on the bandwagon to criticize this viral movement of people accepting a challenge from someone to dump a bucket of ice water on their head or donate a named amount to an ALS charity. After they dump ice water on their heads, they get to challenge three others and name the amount they must donate should they fail the challenge.

Folks, I can a be pretty negative person who tends to criticize a lot, but people who criticize this are nothing but parsimonious killjoys. Yes, it’s silly, but it raises awareness and money in new and engaging way. It’s funny, and most importantly it harms NO ONE.

I think it is awesome; a really nice thing to do and a really fun way to do it.

Some YouTube vids of people doing the challenge.

The latest to hit the ‘net this morning: Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg

Perhaps the most dramatic: Canadian ice hockey player Paul Bisonette


When the Internet Sucks, or Why Open Social Media is a Really Bad Idea for Celebrities

There are a number reasons for famous people to not Tweet, Facebook, Instagram, etc.. It opens the doors of their privacy, for one. Twitter and other social media sites do this on multiple levels with our own mistakes of TMI, people digging into information we wish to keep among friends and companies data-mining our accounts. The strong likelihood of a major embarrassing gaffe is another reason. If Stephen Fry can step in it on Twitter, no one is safe from their own stupidity.

But today presented a sadly normal hell that social media is capable of:

Robin Williams Daughter Leaves Social Media After Receiving Abuse

Robin Williams’ daughter has left social media after receiving abusive messages – including images of photoshopped images of her father’s body – in the wake of his death.

This happened within 24 hours of his death. These people are sick fucks. And they will continue to be sick fucks to anyone they can be, the more famous the better. Trolling famous people, and their fans, in social media is a much bigger stage than they could get on their own and gets them more of the attention they crave.

I know fans have been pushing a certain actor to get a Twitter account in order to get a daily fix of their obsession. Sure they say, “it’s better for publicity” but there really is no proof that a Twitter account got anyone an acting job. (His performances get him acting jobs, just like his performances get him fans.) The media and fansites keep people informed of his projects and appearances in the press, so he and his publicist do not need a social media platform/account to do so. His fans just want more access to him, direct access to him. (Social media propagates the illusion of intimacy.) Thus far he has wisely refused.

I hope he will continue to be wise. His privacy is already disappearing faster than snow in August. Twitter, Facebook, etc. would only further expose the private life he has quite clearly stated he wants to keep out of the public eye (tho’ many fans have proven they don’t give a damn about what he wants for his own life) and expose him to hurtful jerks like the trolls above and the ensuing drama.

I feel deeply sorry for Zelda Williams and the rest of Robin Williams’ family. I hope they can find some peace and comfort during this time.

Books Books Books

I love my Nook e-reader. LuvitLuvitLuvit. I can understand liking the feel of a physical book in your hand (though often people waxing poetic on it sound kinda pretentious, especially if they are under 27 and enjoy all the other modern technological conveniences/toys), but my Nook has proved a boon. As I mentioned before it has allowed me to make more space in my apartment and is a library of choices wherever I go.

As you all may have noticed on the sidebar, I have added a widget that goes to my Goodreads account. The Goodreads account is new. Up until recently I had been using Shelfari, but WordPress doesn’t have a widget for that site. I have been transferring reviews from one to the other.

Some handy links for those looking to fill their e-readers:

Project Gutenberg A website which provides electronic copies of any work in the public domain, sparing you from spending $2 to $5 on some Penguin edition or something. The texts from almost every century are scanned in and corrected by volunteer editors. Then translated into various formats for people to download into the various readers. I replaced my entire bookshelf of “classics” from this site, for nothing.

Bookbub This is a website that scans Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Smashword, Kobo and other purveyors of e-literature for their sales (almost all $2 and under) and posts them. You can sign up for a daily e-mail which will let you know the *some* of the latest deals, but it is worth checking the site everyday. 80% of what lands on their site is crap, but it is worth keeping an eye out for that 20%.

Harper Collins Bookperk. Another daily e-mailing of e-book deals, but this one direct from the publisher, they also advertise contests through this service.

Nook Daily Find They used to send out an e-mail notification about what book was on sale today, but the e-mail came to an end. So I check once a day. It’s worth poking through the Nook Books Under $5 every once in a while too. I have also found it is worth going through your Wishlist once a week. One of the books you have on there may be on sale.

Of course, that last bit is B&N-centric. If anyone has Kindle related shopping secrets or anymore good websites for getting cheap books, please let me know in the comments and I will add them.

Katherinej1012 suggested Indie Book Bargains.