Archive for the ‘Drunken Bunny’ Category

Presidential Seal T-shirts   1 comment

 

No sir, thank you.  I’m using the seal on the anti-Trump march, Friday.  More later.

 

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Posted July 7, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Drunken Bunny, Made Me Laugh, Politics

Tagged with , ,

2017: Year in Review   Leave a comment

Everyone does an End-Of-The-Year retrospective and I almost always do, too (here’s 2016’s review, for example).  Remember, this blog is about pubs and running more than anything else and most of what remains is primarily adolescent humour.  With that caveat, I bring you the Year 2017 In Review:

The Running Year 2017 (painfully detailed post to follow) was only salvaged in the last 1/3 of the year despite an initially strong start.  I started training for the Siracusa Marathon which had been cancelled at the last moment in 2016 and which was again cancelled this year nearly 3 months before it was scheduled to run.  Shit.  However, this left me in pretty good shape for tackling the London Outer Orbital Path mostly in May (while Jackie was Stateside), averaging more than 6½ miles per day and one week over 90 miles.

But, a prolonged respiratory infection hit me the first week of June (lingering for another week and with a relapse mid-July) and a spot of cancer related depression thereafter pushed my weekly mileage down significantly.  I had only managed to hit 1000 miles for the year by mid-August.

Fortuitously, I came into possession of a block of hash and a few very oily buds of home grown pot and, with their help and guidance, rediscovered the joys of hard training with no specific goal.  Well, one specific goal: I decided to try to salvage the annual mileage with a modest 1600 by year’s end, upping that to 1800 as it became clear 1600 was going to fall easily, eventually ending on 2022.  Now, if I hadn’t already blown through the weed I might target some real mileage for 2018.

So, running was all personal this year and that made it a good thing.  No races.  No hashing.  No GHAD.  Just finishing the London A to Z Runs, the London Outer Orbital Path, the Holiday Run Streak, and starting the TfL Run Project with 267 pub stops for the year in the midst of runs (and, 322 total, bringing the grand total to 2038).

Pub details (especially write-ups)

Pubs by month
16   Jan
17   Feb
20   Mar
11   Apr
74   May
12   Jun
19   Jul
23   Aug
30  Sep
28  Oct
40 Nov
32 Dec

Other good write-ups (reverse chronological order under the subheadings):

Favourite Pub visits:

The Woodman, Birmingham (pub #2000)
The Charlie Chaplin, Elephant & Castle (atmosphere)
The Queens, Crouch End (stunning)
The Victoria Tavern, Plaistow (atmosphere)
The Harp, Covent Garden (beer curation)
The Britannia, Plaistow (drunken conversation)
The Land of Liberty, Peace & Plenty, Chorleywood (damn near perfect pub)
The Marquis of Granby, New Cross (weird encounter)
The Old Oak Tree, Southall (whorehouse as revealed at the Lamb, shortly thereafter)
The Pineapple, Lambeth (not a half-bad local this close to Waterloo)
The George, Isle of Dogs (trying to convince a middle-aged guy he’s still fuckable)
The Wattenden Arms, Kenley (surreal art criticism)
The Sir Julian Huxley, Selsdon (foul-mouthed grannies)
The Tiger, Homerton (rare to find a hipster joint so hip)
The Duke’s Head, Crayford (almost too hospitable)
Dive Bar, Hull (they gave me too much change!)
Wm Hawkes, Hull (dark and awesome, despite fucking up my order)
The Rising Sun, Mill Hill (Grade 1 Listed)
Grim’s Dyke Hotel, Harrow & Wealdston (stunning former home of WS Gilbert)
The Queen’s Head, Limehouse (maybe gone by now, but as local as they come anymore)
Ye Olde Greene Manne, Rickmansworth (more encounters with nutters)
The Castle, Holland Park (architecture and hopelessly incompetent staff)
Lavin’s Bar, Hanwell (another psycopath encounter)
The Bull, Iver (for the local day drinkers)
Tap Social, Oxford (awesome microbrewery and tap room)

Other Events:

TfL Run Project (ongoing)
Beaujolais Nouveaux Day
Socialism 2017
Notting Hill Carnival (August Bank Holiday)
Mets vs Capitals Baseball
Nunhead Cemetery
Anti-Tory March and Rally (Not One Day More, July)
My First UK Vote
My Trip To Hull (many good posts)
Shakespeare’s Globe for “Nell Gwynn”
Taping of Have I Got News For You
Anti-Trump Rally at the US Embassy

Food and Feasting, mostly Recipes:

Vodca Sméar Dubh (Blackberry Vodka)
Tom Collins Obit
Feast of St Arnold
Hot Dogs
Treasures From Trumpministan
Yellow Peril Dandelion Wine
Angostura Tinted Martinis
Iron Duke Punch
Limping Lotta’s Banana Muffins
Tafel Spitz (Viennese boiled beef and stuff)
Chateaux La Limace et Le Gaz Hilarant (Drunken Bunny Cabernet)
Tamarinds (also, growing them)
A Week Of Haggis
Lyme Bay Mead (gift from workmates)
Winter Solstice Mead (another Drunken Bunny brewing attempt)
Colonel EH Taylor Small Batch Bourbon (gift from a lab visitor)
Best Kebab: Streatham Kebab, Fish and Chips House
Best Fish: The Carp & Trout, Hampton Hill

Previously Unwritten Recipe:

Basil & Grape Cocktail (from a food section article in The Guardian): makes 2 (these were really refreshing at the end of Summer)

Put these in a blender and blitz:
3 shots of good gin (I know, I know … all gin is good gin)
16 chilled green, seedless grapes
12 basil leaves
2 tsp sugar
juice of a lime

Pour into a shaker with ice, shake vigourously, and strain over 6 FROZEN grapes in each of two glasses. Garnish with one more basil leaf in each.  Yummy.

———————————————————————–

Obits (note, Tom Collins Obit in Food, above):

Robert Blakely, designer of the Fallout Shelter sign
Unnamed Person’s Wake at the Red Lion, Southall
Bill Simonsick (one of the few truly great Americans I have known and loved)
Bruce Langhorne (one of Dylan’s inspirations and dead ringer for my cousin, Chuck)
Lord Snowdon (trivia topic at the Sportsman, Croxley Green)
Tommy McDermot (late of the Old Crown in Hayes)

 

Best Ludicrous Posts:

Be Careful Of Your Dreams Coming True
Unfortunate Business Name
The Man Cave, Oxford
Party On, Wayne
The D.H. Lawrence Car Hire, Sudbury
A to Z Run W for Women
Jello Biafra/Dead Kennedys Tribute
A to Z Run U for Udders
New Cds From Notting Hill Market
Julie’s In The Drugs Squad
A Cancer On The Presidency
D90B (Drunken Bunny version of P90X)
NOT a Fetish Bar
Post to President Bannon
Trumpageddon…Inauguration Day

What an absolute bastard year.

 

 

TFL Run Project   47 comments

Note: Project now completed.  See the final post for a synopsis or the links, below, for individual lines.

There was this kid I corresponded with a couple of years back that was systematically hitting the London Underground stations in date order of their opening, having a pint in a nearby pub, then describing the architecture and history of both. I was jealous of him both for having the opportunity and the imagination not to mention he’s a much better writer). You can find these and an abortive subsequent project in his blog, INNSide Track.

I have been trying to figure out how to structure my next themed runs since finishing the LOOP and the A to Z runs, respectively, in May and September. I think I’ve found my quarry in a variation on the INNSide Track theme: run to every station on the TFL system. It is impractical, in this blog, to have a pint near every station not so much for the volume (my hollow legs have been well documented) but because I have already logged so many of the potential pubs — especially in the western and northwestern parts of the system. There will be drinking, of course, but there may be whole sections of quite a few miles without pubs that haven’t already featured here in “DRUNKENBUNNY” or in the earlier “1PUMPLANE” incarnation.

Runs must stop at each station in sequence, so overlap may result in redundant visits.  For instance, if I want to get to Finchley Road from Harrow-on-the-Hill but have already done Wembley Park on the Jubilee Line, a second stop there would be required. However, Harrow-on-the-Hill to Uxbridge does the Metropolitan Line for that potential full run as well as the Piccadilly Line from Rayners Lane to Uxbridge, all in one trip.

The final limits are these have to be tube, rail, or tram stations (bus routes would be madness).  These will include all Underground, Overground, and DLR; Trams are fairly close to buses, but I will strive to do these despite the dearth of “stations” to tick off.  No timetable for completion, but as I am hoping to move to The North or The Midlands in the next year or two there is some sense of urgency.  Wish me luck.

Update 16 March 2018: Completed

Here are the lines in order of completion:

London Trams

Central Line

Metropolitan Line

Bakerloo Line

Circle Line

Hammersmith and City Line

District Line

Victoria Line

Piccadilly Line

Waterloo & City

Northern Line

Overground

Jubilee Line

Docklands Light Rail

Yellow Peril Dandelion Wine   1 comment

 

There were four recipes for Dandelion Wine in my copy of the Farmer’s Weekly Home Made Country Wines, Beer, Mead, & Metheglin (c 1955) and I took what I thought to be the best bits of numbers 3 & 4 with some small variations based on the supplies available on the day. The basic recipe was:

4 quarts of dandelion heads (no stalks)
3.5 pounds Demerara sugar
1/2 pound raisins
peel of 1 lemon and one orange
1 1/2 ounces of heavily bruised ginger root
1 gallon of water

 

 

 

The early Spring, this year, brought a horde (or should that be ‘hoard’) of dandelions around the neighbourhood and it only took about twenty minutes (including a brief chat with an elderly neighbour about her friend who collects these for her tortoise: “do YOU have a tortoise?”) to gather a large bowl of flowers.

 

 

 

For the sugar, I bought a kg of demerara and topped it up with 380 g brewer’s sugars and 120 g of dark brown muscovado (1.5 kg or 3.3 pounds).

All those ingredients went into a stainless steel pot (there was still a bit of the green parts of the heads on the flower but I think the final product might taste good a little bitter) and brought to a boil, left to bubble for an hour, then cool for the next 4 hours. This wort was strained onto the juice of the lemon and orange, a teaspoon of yeast nutrients, and 2 crushed Campden tablets then left till the following afternoon.

 

 

 

The two recipes I was using were especially compelling because they used baker’s yeast for the fermentation. When I got home from a post-work run the next day, I poured a cup of the wort over 3/4 ounce (21 g) of bread yeast and let it get a start before shaking the bottle well and pitching the culture.

 

I took the patient route and, once the ferment slowed to almost nothing (about 3 weeks), I racked into a clean carboy and allowed it to settle on its own for 3 more weeks then racked again (off the lees) adding the inhibitor and a Campden tablet and shaking occasionally for a few days to mix the chemicals and release the CO2 (the test dram was a bit acidic).  Bottled 25 May, ready next Spring.

Starting SG = 1.110
Finished = 0.995
estimated ABV = 15.1%

 

Last year can fuck right off: 2016 by the numbers (mostly)   2 comments

2253-mile-asics-soles

Numbers, or so, listed in bold and underlined.

Everyone has shit to talk about 2016, and so do I; but, I’ll minimise that, here.  I finally sprang for two new pair of running shoes to replace the pair, featured in the photos here, that I picked up in Chattanooga in September 2015 and subsequently added 2253 running miles on before retiring them last weekend (with walking, as these were my usual day-to-day shoes, these had much closer to 4000 miles on them).

2253-mile-asics-top2253-mile-asics-toes

 

Over the Christmas break, we watched a shitload of TV and a bunch of really cheery movies (highly recommended of these are the drama Martha Marcy Mae Marlene and the documentary The Coming War With China.  To recover from those you might want to find Twenty Feet From Fame.  But, we also caught a bunch of shit tele and some old stuff.  In keeping with the theme of the year, we downloaded a collection of the Tonight Show (with Johnny Carson) and spent the entirety of each show playing the middle-age white person version of Jew-Not-A-Jew (aka the straight person’s version of Queer-Not-A-Queer) by pointing at each corpse we spotted on screen and saying, “DEAD.” “Bob Hope. DEAD.” “Joan Rivers! DEAD.” “Gary Shandling, DEAD.” (By the way, that’s Not A Jew, Jew, and a little of both).

2016-sgt-reapers-lonely-hearts

 

So, instead of the multitude of other celebrity deaths everyone is banging on about, here are the 17 I noticed but did not eulogise (and some of whom you may have missed):

17 January: Blowfly, 76
2 February: Bob Elliott, 92
16 February: Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 93
6 March: Merle Haggard, 79
3 June: Muhammad Ali, 74
17 June: Fred Tomlinson, 88
22 August: Toots Thielemans, 94
29 August: Gene Wilder, 83
8 September: The Lady Chablis, 59
16 September: Edward Albee, 88
30 September: Hanoi Hannah, 87
18 October: Phil Chess, 95
2 November: Dolores Klosowski, 93, American baseball player (Milwaukee Chicks)
7 November: Leonard Cohen, 82
25 November: Ron Glass, 71
22 December: Miruts Yifter, 72
25 December: George Michael, 53

In a similar vein, here are the other numbers of my year…

Obits actually in the blog: 16

Bowie
Alan Rickman
Nancy Reagan
Swindon’s Stagecoach Bus Depot in Old Town
Robert Ford, Madman Mayor of Toronto
Prince
Station Jim
Atlanta/Fulton County Stadium and Turner Field in apparent murder-suicide
Brownie’s dad
The jihadi sparrow
American democracy
The villages of Longford and Harmondsworth
America, the not so great pre-Trump version
Fidel Castro
Andrew Sachs
AA Gill

New Years Honours of Note: 1 (for the name): Mr Fabulous Flournoy, (MBE)

Mileage (running): 1589.8, quite the slack year — the least in two decades of keeping track

2016-cumulative-mileage

Pub write-ups 1 January thru 30 June: 38

Pub write-ups 1 July thru 31 December (we moved house 28 July): 216 (254 for the year)

Recipes, such as they are, published here: 5

Brunswick Stew and BBQ Sauce
Chicken Llewyn
Malted Milk Ball Hot Toddy
Chicken Breasts done as if for Pakoras
Pesto

Kebabs: 2

Fish: 22

International trips: Except for returning from Cork, technically a 2015 trip, 1 (Bremen)

Marathons: 1 (Wales Marathon)

Other races: 0, but a few planned for 2017

Weight (high): 169 lbs (12 stone 1 pound, Winter drinking weight)

Weight (low): 150 (10 stone 10 pounds, at the Marathon)

2016-weight

UK Passport   2 comments

passport-and-mojito-mixings

 

“When I was an American, I ran as an American, I drank
as an American, I traveled as an American: but when I
became British, I put away those childish things.”

 

The application for your first adult UK passport is another boondoggle (see ILR saga and Citizenship).  Having just been granted citizenship, this should be straightforward but that would be too straightforward.

For instance, Section 4 of the application (required only for your FIRST adult passport) asks for the names, dates of birth, nationality at the time of your birth, and date of wedding of your parents.  Seems fair enough; and, if they have British passports you should also supply these details (mine did not and as they are rotting in hell this should be the full extent of the inquiry).  But, no.  As they were born overseas, I needed also to provide these details for my grandparents even though the application is based on my Certificate of Naturalisation and not on any claim of British Nationality by birth.

Additionally, I had to have the endorsement of someone professional or with other standing in the community that knows me well enough to pick me out of a crowd (or, as is more likely, to avert their eyes if they spot me across a crowded room).  I know loads of people with letters after their surnames like DBE/KBE, FRS, PE or CEng, DPhil/PhD but most of the ones I would usually hit up were unavailable in the time I set aside to take this document to the Post Office.  I opted for one of the professors I work for at Oxford and all he had to do was sign, date, and write this statement on the back of one of my photographs:

I certify that this is a true likeness of First Middle Lastname

Which he proceeded to do leaving out the word ‘true’ and my middle name.  He also failed to date the photo (which I noticed and added myself hoping the other bits would go through).  He also needed to fill in some personal details on the form in BLACK ink (which he did in BLUE ink then when I pointed it out he went back over in black).  At the Post Office, they rejected the photo for those omissions, and the next one (it is my fault for not checking behind him) for leaving out the word ‘this’ then when I returned with my final copy of the photo done correctly the document checker was concerned that the blue ink might make the passport office reject the application.  “But, there’s black ink on top…blue is only bad because it is transparent to the reprographics equipment they use.”  I took a clean form, filled in everything myself, and got his signature on that one in the event the manager says that this one shouldn’t go in.

spoiled-passport-photos

 

But, that’s only the start.  Even though they have seen every pay stub and immigration document I have ever received since the day I applied for the job, have an iris scan, all my fingerprints, and letters of reference from the Chancellor of Cambridge University and a chaired professor at University of Oxford (who is also a Dame Commander of the British Empire) vouching for more than my identity but also my good character — even after all that and granting me citizenship — the passport office required that I come down to an appointment to confirm my identity based on info they have garnered from this application and a related credit check.  They had my US Passport, my Certificate of Naturalisation, and access to roughly 5 kg of documents supporting applications for a Work Permit (starting late 2008), a Tier 2 Visa and 2 renewals, Indefinite Leave To Remain, Citizenship, a Patent, Work and Pensions documents, and specific dates for each house I’ve lived in and every trip abroad whether for work or vacation (and letters from University of Oxford and Cambridge University stating that they were aware that I was abroad during each of those periods away).

The interrogation — they call it an interview — was meant to be a relaxed thing and only in place to prevent identity fraud.  So, I went in relaxed.  My interviewer asked my full name and I gave her those and spelled each of them.  I was probably a bit too relaxed from then on. For example:

“What is your occupation?” I started chuckling at that so before I could answer, she asked why.
“I’m a research scientist and engineer but I generally tell strangers I’m a rodeo clown or an underwear model.  At best, I just say I work in a lab.”
After a pause, she said, “okay, then,” and briefly consulted her computer screen. “What does your job as research scientist entail?”  I resisted, barely, the urge to say, “standing around in my skivvies while photographers and lighting techs work their magic.”

There were odd questions about the house we currently live in and the house we moved from; I tried not to give odd answers but I was already rolling at that point. Then, this came up: “now, I’d like to ask about your family. What can you tell me about your parents?”
“What can’t I tell you about them? My dad died in 2006, mom in 2004 but they were ancient and had never taken care of themselves so they were living in double overtime at that point.”
“They didn’t take care of themselves? Were they workaholics?”
“Ha! ALCOholics, but at least you were half right.”
“Oh, I’m very sorry, we won’t go there, then.”
“Noooo, you brought it up; this is for you.” I couldn’t contain my glee. “Mom was also on a warehouse of prescription meds. She was working dozens of GPs to get ‘scrips. I had a theory that she actually passed away 20 years earlier but the exquisite balance of pharmaceuticals, nicotine, and alcohol gave her the appearance of life or, at least, animation.”  Nodding to myself, I added, “that would explain the weird noises she made.”
The Passport Office woman’s mouth was open as she stared, aghast. I clicked my fingers and she shook her head slightly. “Do you have any siblings?”
“Oh, well, there’s my sister but I disowned her and her whole felonious, white-trash brood and if I never see any of them again it will be too soon. What do you want to know about her?”
“That’s enough,” she answered too quickly.  “One…sister,” she mumbled to herself as she typed.

A couple of questions later she seemed to have regained composure and asked if I could describe the process I went through such that I was now applying for a British Passport. “Do you mean the whole saga or just the bureaucratic hoops I jumped through?”
Wincing as she nodded and pointing at me with her pen, “yes, just the Immigration process,” then in the brief moment before I could continue, “please,” as though she were asking for mercy.
“Okay, but it’s a better story if I tell you how I decided to abandon America,” I offered.
“No, I’m sure it is, but no.”
“That’s a pity. Right,” and we briefly went through what I remembered of the applications submitted these last nearly 8 years.

At the end, she asked if I had any comments about the interview and I pointed out how I felt it was surreal. She replied, “really, you found this surreal?” so, I responded with a condensed version of the first part of this post about how they already have all this info on me having conferred citizenship just a few weeks ago.  “Don’t YOU think that’s all kind of weird?”

“No,” she answered. “I meant to ask how it is YOU found this surreal.”
Her point was valid and I smiled broadly and shrugged. “You do these all day, every half hour?” I asked as I rose to leave.
She smiled and nodded. “But, not usually like this.”

That was just before 9 am Wednesday.  My passport arrived just before 10 am Friday.

passport-scan-pixellated

British Citizenship (or, No Direction Home)   10 comments

citizenship-pic-2crop

 

“Fare thee well, gone away
There’s nothing left to say….”
Body of an American by the Pogues

The Body — and, of course, the accent — are the only things that are still American as I am now registered to vote in England and awaiting my British passport.  It has been arduous at times to get to this day and worth every greyed and shed hair and spent shilling (just look back at the posts on the Britishness exam and the application for Indefinite Leave To Remain to see what I mean).  If you want to know about the weird Citizenship Ceremony (at which photography is a strictly controlled franchise so no pictures here), I’ll tell you all about it when next we meet…just remind me.

I received the paperwork inviting me to swear fealty to Her Majesty‘s realm precisely 40 years, 1 month, and 21 days after I made this decision in the throes of my very first acid trip.  I have a crystalline memory of that day and how it led me to this one.

It was the 4th of July 1976 (not only Independence Day but the Bicentennial!) and I was about 8 hours into the ride on some Felix the Cat blotter, watching dusk encroach over a golf course fairway at Griffin (GA) City Park with the town hospital’s lights becoming noticeable on the hill opposite; the absolute ugliness of my native land, its ghastly inhabitants, and what passes there for culture made all too apparent — too concise and too clear — over the course of the day.  I concluded there-and-then that — not only did I want to be, but — I had the wherewithal to become a citizen of another country.

Since that moment, I’ve worked on this considering — and putting a bit of effort into — Canada, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, and Ireland as potential refuges; but, my new land is the one that made me feel the most welcome or, to be absolutely honest about it, the LEAST unwelcome.  And, so it came to pass that, earlier today, I became a Brit.

No longer need the Indefinite Leave To Remain card, so off it goes to the Home Office

No longer need the Indefinite Leave To Remain card, so off it goes to the Home Office

.

Afterwards, we stopped for beverages in the Three Tuns on the way to the Tube.  Disappointingly, they have no jukebox — modern ones are connected to the Interwebs offering unlimited possibilities — so my playlist would have to wait until the champagne at the house.  What I had in mind was the aforementioned Pogues, Billy Bragg’s “A New England” and some Dylan because, during The Ceremony, Bob’s 1966 audience banter popped into my head: the bit just after the “Judas!” heckle at the Manchester Free Trade Hall.  Not the part where he drawls, “I don’t believe you…you’re a liar,” but right after that (and just before he and the Hawks cracked into “Like a Rolling Stone”) when he says to the Band:

“Play it fucking loud”