Meditations in a Tiki Bar: Lessons Learned in Paradise

[Originally published 2013, Manarchy Magazine]

Not that long ago I wrote up an article on selling all your worldly possessions and throwing deuces to the mainland grind in exchange for island life. It was one of those essays full of promise, risk, naïve enthusiasm and reckless abandon.

I wasn’t merely paying lip-service to the notion, I really waved those deuces to SoCal and sold basically everything; the 46″ flat screen, the surround sound, almost every stick of furniture (that a relative didn’t want) and even a couple hot rods. Landed in Saint Lucia hit the ground running. I had a job lined up, which like most jobs, had ups and downs, but on the whole, it was great. I loved it. The family joined me only a few weeks later and it looked like we were set for life.

However, as those of you following me on Twitter or Facebook probably already know: It didn’t work out. In less than a year, I found myself hurled back in the first world. Now I’m looking for a nine to five on the other coast (where 4 or 5 tiny states share a football team, apparently), freezing my tail off and dreaming of the beach.

What happened? Continue reading

How to Sell Everything You Own And Move to the Caribbean

[Originally published in November, 2012 at Manarchy Magazine]

First, you have to realize this is life: Nobody gets out alive. If you’re like most people, you hate your job almost as much as you hate the drudging commute that makes you late on a semi-regular basis. Sure, you’ve got your TiVo and that super fast internet connection, but when was the last time you spent three hours on Facebook and felt good about it afterward? There must be more to life than merely passing the time between birth and death with vapid entertainment and forgettable distractions.

Junk mail, leaf blowers, telemarketers, MPG estimates that never add up and political ads that go on for months: What’s the point of a high life expectancy if you’re not enjoying yourself? First world problems may sound petty, but the ulcers they induce don’t hurt any less on account of their source.

Aim for blue skies and white sand beaches, where rum is cheaper than milk and there are more holidays than you know what to do with, and don’t work unless you absolutely have to. Do this for a year or so, and if after that you decide to return to the first world grind, you’ll have amazing stories to tell and your outlook on life can only have improved. Continue reading

Trending Now: Tequila and Cigar Pairings

[Originally published in November, 2012 at Manarchy Magazine]

We’re putting The Whiskey Review on hold this month to bring you something a little different. 

Hearing the word ‘tequila’ summons an image of a lime wedge perched on the salt dusted lip of a margarita glass, and this is only the beginning. Tiny umbrellas, body shots, Mexican food, spring break; whatever direction one’s imagination goes, a blue-grey puff of cigar smoke is probably not part of that picture. We pair cigars with whiskey or cognac, but clear spirits don’t even appear on the radar. To most, the thought of pairing tequila with a basically any cigar seems counterintuitive; the smoke almost certainly seems destined to overpower the delicate flavors in the spirit. There are those, however, who think outside this box.

As a Certified Master Tobacconist (among other things), Michael Herklots stands out as a rare talent in what many consider a dying art. He’s worked with manufacturers throughout the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras and now oversees Nat Sherman’s iconic flagship store on 42nd Street in Manhattan. The notes that follow are his contribution to a growing trend in cigar-tequila pairing. Continue reading

Four Hours With a Kindle Convinced Me To Buy An iPad

[Originally published in October, 2012 at Manarchy Magazine]

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: I sold my soul to Steve Jobs long ago. I’ve been a happy Mac user for over fifteen years with not a single crash, virus or lost file to look back on. Except the time this newbie at the “Genuis Bar” (and I’ll be the first to admit that just sounds pretentious) fiddled around with my backup disc and dumped a few thousand photos. But that wasn’t a result of bad software or hardware; Dude was just an idiot. But you don’t swear off a company because of a bad employee.

In fact, the only reason I don’t have my pre-order in for an iPhone 5 is that I just happened to be driving the wife to the maternity ward about the time they became available online. Such is life.

Why this situation is unique is that the device in question was a gift for my wife. As dedicated as I am to Apple, I don’t seek to impose my beliefs on others. I knew she wanted a Nook or Kindle touch/color screen tablet thing for her birthday so I obliged and, taking advantage of the last day to order from Amazon without paying California state sales tax, I ordered a Kindle Fire. We got the device a couple days later. Continue reading

The Whiskey Review: Maker’s 46 is Like Fight Club in a Bottle

[Originally published October, 2012 at Manarchy Magazine]

Thirteen years ago this month Fight Club began a rather lackluster theatrical run, only making 11 million the first weekend. Even though the studio’s hopes were rather low going in to the release, this figure was still a bit less than they’d expected. Quickly dubbed the “ultimate anti-date flick”, the film grossed around 37 million above production cost (of just over 67 million). Ouch. As with most movies based on books, the film is almost always a bit of a letdown, and this is what people expected.

However, despite its less-than-enthusiastic reception in theaters, Fight Club has since become a cult classic and enjoyed an award-winning DVD release. I can say with confidence that this is one of those rare instances where the film and the book stand on their own artistic merits, each serving to compliment the experience of its counterpart.  Continue reading

The New Beck Album You Can’t Hear

[Originally published September, 2012 at Manarchy Magazine]

Those who rightly mourn the way overproduced, made-to-order pop-rock with all its lip-synced, pitch-corrected, soullessness has been slowly taking over the airwaves should breathe a sigh of relief when Beck finally releases his new album.

Of sheet music.

You read that right. Sheet music. Continue reading