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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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This is a weird entry I’ve been writing for many months now.

It is 2013.

Time to look back on 2012 and think about the future, I guess.

Consistent with the past few years, 2012 went by pretty quickly. It’s not so much that “time flies when you’re having fun.” Instead, “time passes faster when you get older.” Turns out all of those irritating people spouting their bullshit when I was a kid were right. Bummer.

A lot of shitty things happened in 2012, locally, nationally, and globally. Of course, a lot of good things happened too. I’m not focusing on these things; far more talented people have already covered them. This is water.

Also, nothing I say has any deep or hidden meaning. I promise.

2012 In Review

Let’s get this one out of the way first: In August I made the decision to kill my cat. Her suffering reached a level that became impossible to mitigate. In any rational sense, it was the right decision. It was also one of the most difficult things I’ve done. It was devastating and I miss her.

On a happier note, my cocktails project was concluded in August as well. More than really achieving something, I’m glad I at least completed something. Clearly this was no French Laundry at Home, but drinking my way through an entire book of drinks was still sort of neat. I learned a few things about cocktails along the way. Maybe of more interest, I was reminded that there is often a reason that certain things become forgotten over time. The peripheral exposure and knowledge, however, was invaluable. I lack many things (interpersonal skills being the most obvious one) necessary to be a bartender of any sort. I can’t learn those things from books. With that said, I can now mix some pretty mean classic and contemporary cocktails if you swing by for a visit.

While we’re on the hard liquor bent I also managed to perfect the negroni by finding a satisfying replacement for Campari. My research and conclusion here is far from original, but it was deeply in the end. The only downside is that it remains relatively irritating to get things like Gran Classico and Carpano Antica Formula in Connecticut. Because, fuck Connecticut. It’s such a pain in the ass to buy liquor and wine here if your tastes are distinct from what Connecticut’s distributors are pushing.

I digress.

I also developed a fondness for Fernet-Branca, which makes sense, since Fernet-Branca is amazing. It’s largely replaced TUMS for me, and I’m much the better for it. Also it’s delicious.

I developed a new appreciation for Mezcal. I especially enjoyed Del Maguey’s Mezcals. Even my brother is drinking mezcal now, which just confuses the shit out of me. I’ve grown relatively tired of gins, completely lost interest in vodkas, and have started abandoning Bourbon for Rye and Highland Single Malts for Islay.

It’s been a weird year.

I made macarons. I don’t seem to have any photos handy about this, nor did I blog about it, but they were pretty fantastic. They were not the best macarons I’ve had, but they were in my top 5, which isn’t bad for a first go. It was less difficult than I imagined. Otherwise I don’t recall cooking or baking too many things I was particularly impressed with. Except poached eggs in Moroccan Merguez Ragout, which you need to go make and eat. Right now. Go. Now.

My appendix came out in November, ending several months of fighting with the little vestigial (or not, if you read the current research) sanitary tee plumbing that was causing me pain. Found out morphine doesn’t do very much for me, which is probably important to know too.

Southern Air went bankrupt so I don’t have a nice view of PW JT9D powerplants anymore. I guess running a fleet of jets more than a few decades old is really profitable only for the US government.

I got summer tires and a set of rims to hold them. This is a bit of a lease on life for a car that’s now about a decade old, but the darn thing just keeps running. Honest, I’m not complaining, as much as careless people like to fuck it up and dent it in the work garage. I would cry if I had something new and that happened. Despite some broken suspension parts and various other odds and ends, the car still costs significantly less per year than car payments on a new vehicle. So I’ll leave it be, I guess.

In 2012, I worked harder at my job than I ever have before. It occupied far more of my time when I wasn’t in the office than ever before. Despite this it was somehow my worst year ever, too.

I got some comfy leather chairs. I knew when I was sixteen that I wanted those, and it only took me another sixteen years to pull it off. Having now arrived, I can disappear without regretting anything. While we’re on the furniture topic I also picked up some anthropomorphic lamps, because if there’s one thing nobody has enough of, it’s anthropomorphic lamps. Trust me.

With few exceptions, I’m paperless now. I scan incoming paperwork with a Fujitsu ScanSnap and then shred it. It’s great. The conversion process (scanning boxes of paperwork) was a giant pain in the ass. On the other hand, I discovered a lot of paperwork that seemed important years ago really doesn’t matter anymore. That’s probably true with a lot of things I’ve kept around. In any event, do this.

I went on a couple of vacations. I had a relaxing time in Jamaica in April. The food could have been better. I had a great experience in Napa and Sonoma in December. The weather could have been better. I guess a composite of the two would have been pretty unstoppable. Both were pretty good trips. Otherwise, I had a lot of vacation time left, so I did something new this year, and just took the second half of December off. It was interesting.

Already have two things booked for weddings in 2013, so not sure what else I’ll pull off in terms of traveling this year.

I remain happily engaged, and will get married in the future. I’m really happy in this regard.

I tasted a lot of fantastic wine this year. Versus the previous year I’ve neglected Burgundy (due to price) and Italy (not sure why, exactly). Still ignoring Bordeaux (price there for sure). Between the Chinese market and 2009/2010, I’m probably priced out of France for good now. Somehow things ended up more California-centric this year, even before the trip there. Need to get back to Oregon, my Pinot inventory is rapidly diminishing. Here’s a top ten list of wines this year to break up this wall of text visually, in order:

  1. 1987 Argyle Library Brut
  2. 2008 Domaine Jamet Côte-Rôtie
  3. 2000 R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Rosé Gran Reserva
  4. 1986 Château La Nerthe
  5. 2009 Quilceda Creek
  6. 2009 Continuum
  7. 2003 Clos Mimi Syrah Westerly Vineyard
  8. 2010 Donelan Syrah Obsidian Vineyard
  9. 2001 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon
  10. 1998 La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 904

Honorable mention:

  1. 1993 Château Pajzos Tokaji Esszencia

And then, I suppose there’s the more obvious stuff: I ate too much. I read less than I’d like. Didn’t talk to my folks enough. I’m behind on several good movies and television shows. I spent less time with friends than I’d like, and spent more time alone than I’d like. I didn’t exercise enough. Learned less about cooking than I planned. Didn’t write much code. I didn’t save enough money. I accumulated wine at a rate faster than I consumed it. I didn’t prepare enough for the future. I often put off haircuts when I clearly needed one. I weigh too much. I still haven’t learned French. My blood pressure is high. I don’t know. Even I don’t find these realizations interesting. Too many small and uninteresting failures to recount. I should probably pick the ones that are actually important to me and fix them next year.

I guess it was a year.

Thoughts For 2013

For the most part, my goals and resolutions for the coming year are my own. Declaring them publicly has had no impact on their efficacy to this point. No point in trying the same thing and hoping for different results.

And yet I rant.

I hurt a lot of people’s feelings last year. There’s a certain intent and ownership when I do so on purpose. It bothers me when it’s unintentional. Even worse is when I’m not even aware I’ve done it. So, I’m not sure what the trick is here, but I suppose I need more carefully analyze what I’m saying, and consider how it can be interpreted. I suppose this applies to all things, but it’s probably a big part of me becoming a better person. Or at least seeming like a better person.

While we’re heading down that lonely trail, it’s too easy to be critical, and rather difficult to be supportive. I suppose this is a common sentiment, but I’d like to think better thoughts, make fewer judgments, and avoid assumptions. Some of this is just not confusing sufficiently advanced ignorance (see, there I go again) for malice, but a lot more of it is empathizing with where people are coming from. People are not awful.

Whatever. This year I’m going to laugh, because crying is too much work. Hopefully this means I need to drink less water.