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The Most Minimalist Shoes in Existence

I had a bit of a love affair with the Vibram Five Fingers. Todd got a pair right before we headed to Tokyo on Life Nomadic 2008, and I was jealous the whole time. Near the end of the trip Vibram graciously sent me a pair (intentionally delayed until after the running of the bulls, because they didn't want to be associated with that), and I wore them as my only shoes for a couple years afterwards.

I love how the Five Fingers feel, I love how they look, and I love supporting such an innovative company, BUT.... they smell terrible.

If you wear them as your primary shoes, you have to wash them every five to seven days or they smell really bad. When you live in an RV, this is difficult to do well, and when they're your only set of footwear, it's annoying to wait for them to dry. So I began searching for a replacement.

How to make a F**king Manhattan, Properly

On Bon Vivant Life

I had the distinct (dis)pleasure recently to be served two of the most heinous excuses for a Manhattan. Fortunately, I also enjoyed one of the best examples of this cocktail as well which likely rescued me from swearing off this excellent drink whilst out and about. I'm going to teach you how to make a Manhattan so you might avoid this indignity. But first I must rant.

The first travesty was issued forth by Louisville Rex on Main Street in Louisville, CO. I rolled into the Rex with Spike for a pre-diner cocktail, ready for a decent drink. We asked the bartender if she was able to make a Manhattan, she assured us she could. I watched her pour out the Makers Mark, add a couple dashes of bitters (Angostura, the only bitters on hand as in most bars), shake it lightly and pour it out. Ooof. When politely queried on whether she added any vermouth she replied, "Well, since I moved here nobody ever wants vermouth in their Manhattans". Um, you mean Martinis? "No, their Manhattans". Fail.

The second injustice was served forth in Austin, TX after a long day of drinking Imperial pints from the can at ACL Fest. Needing a reprieve from beer, my buddy Josh and I wandered into the Upper Decks, a self-proclaimed "upscale sports bar". Which means they had leather chairs and bar stools and several flat screens on the walls. The pride of UT (hook 'em horns! sigh...) was behind the bar. I know this because she was wearing her best burnt orange t-shirt. Keep it classy Austin. At any rate, I proposed the same question, "Can you make a Manhattan?". She of course replied yes, and inquired as to our preference - on the rocks or up. We requested up, expecting a well made drink in a martini-type glass. Fools that we are.

It gets worse. She returned a few moments later to share the sad news that she was out of cherry juice but could substitute grenadine. That should have been our sign that it might prudent to order a draft and get the hell out of there. Maybe it was the long day in the sun, maybe the unrequited desire quashed by my previous experience at Rex, but we soldiered on and pass along some drink making guidance - Makers, vermouth, bitters. And that's what we got. Not shaken. Not stirred. Not even cold. Just warm bourbon, warm vermouth, too much bitters, all in a warm rocks glass. Fuck.

The lesson to be learned here is that you will likely have much better odds of a decent cocktail if your bartender is dressed like the banjo player in Mumford & Sons that a Mid-South Texas Rodeo Queen (er, 2nd runner up...). Or you stay home and make your own.

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