For some reason, people think it is quite funny to order a “Whisky for Beginners” kit as a beginner to whiskey drinking.
If you look a bit deeper into it though, you will see that the kit is actually quite helpful.
Of course, we all know that there is no “best” or “perfect” whiskey – it is simply that there are many to choose from.
What I am talking about are this particular brand and their “hand-picked” best-selling whiskey.
While I think most people will agree that Johnnie Walker’s whiskey is indeed one of the best in the world, is there any way to make your drinking experience better?
Whisky for Beginners: Here’s How to Choose the Best Whiskies.
The main criteria that one should consider when purchasing a new selection of whiskey for beginners is – cost.
There is a general belief that the more expensive the selection the better it is – and there is some truth to it.
But that said, the cost should not be your only criterion.
Of course, price is not the only thing to look at.
After all, there is no point in buying something if you have to settle for the cheapest choice.
The selection here is actually quite wide.
You have Bulleit, Scotchford, Blended Scotch, Irish cream, whiskey barrels from around the world, and so much more.
Some people believe that price alone should determine what they buy, but I am here to tell you that this is not true.
If the price is high then it does not necessarily mean that the whiskey is of poor quality.
On the contrary, it can be that the distiller behind the brand has done a great job!
Of course, you will get more for your money when you buy good quality – so do not make the mistake of looking for the cheapest available choice.
Price, however, is certainly one of the most important considerations when choosing the best whiskey for beginners.
You must also consider the price when you are ready to make a big purchase.
You can buy a bottle of Whisky for beginners at a fraction of the cost of buying another bottle.
In fact, you may find that it is a lot cheaper – and this will be an excellent opportunity to try new blends.
At the same time, you can also save some money by not purchasing a single bottle.
In addition, prices are very important to newcomers because they need to set a budget, to begin with.
If you are a beginner, you must remember that there is no such thing as the perfect whiskey.
You must experiment to see which among the brands available is the best for you – and this can save you money and a lot of time.
When you are ready to make the choice of the best whiskey for beginners, one of the most important factors that you must look at is the aging process.
If you love Jack Daniels, you should check the label to see what the specific age statement is.
The younger the whiskey, the less aging it undergoes, so you might want to purchase the “younger” whiskies.
Whichever way you choose, keep in mind that quality comes before quantity.
Of course, we all know that there are some cheap brands as well as good brands.
There are even brands made from ingredients that are cheap such as palm oil.
This is why it is very important to check the label to see what the specific ingredients of the best whiskey for beginners are.
After you have chosen a good whiskey, always remember that good taste comes before an expensive price tag.…Read More
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Since the advent of offshore oil drilling in 1887, offshore oil drilling platforms (drill rigs) have evolved along an exponential trajectory. The first offshore oil rig was built by H. L. Williams on a large pier known as a wharf in 1887.
It stretched 300 ft from shore and set the stage for an industry which would grow continually throughout the next century. Williams’ wharfs were a predecessor in many ways to jackup rigs – the most popular offshore drilling platforms in the world today.
The oil industry was eager to keep pace with the industrialized world’s thirst for oil. In order to increase production, offshore drilling rigs have needed to increase their distance from shore as well as the depth of water through which they can reach. These demands affect each of the five primary concerns of offshore oil drilling:
- Exploration requires technologies that can determine the wealth of oil deposits hundreds or thousands of meters below the surface of the sea. The capabilities of modern drill ships have enabled exploratory drilling at rapidly increasing depths.
- Drilling requires meticulous attention to competing physical and technical details. Namely, the platform must remain stable during a constant onslaught of waves, tides, and winds. Jackups provide an air gap between the surface of the water and the hull of the platform.
- Fabrication is increasingly specialized as depth (and consequently, pressure) increases. Semi-submersibles float atop pontoons which are located below the surface of the water.
- Transportation difficulties arise as the amount of oil and distance from shore increase.
- Production capacities must continue to increase in accordance with the quantities of oil extracted from the earth.
Jackup Rigs are Mobile Platforms Equipped with Jack and Pinion Systems
Jackup rigs consist of a barge and several legs which dig into the sea floor supporting the barge. The barge is often towed or pushed by a tug boat. Alternatively, it may be self-propelled into its position. Once in place, the rig utilizes its jack and pinion system in to lower the legs snuggly into the sea floor.
During “preloading” the barge takes on water in order to increase weight. This “ballast water” is used to aid in driving the legs into the sea floor with enough force as to ensure that waves, tides, and currents do not budge the legs from their position during drilling.
The jack and pinion system works much like the action of a car being jacked up to change a wheel. In the case of a drill barge, the rig must be jacked up by several enormous legs which penetrate several meters into the sea floor. In most cases, these legs lift the barge hull above the surface of the water leaving an air gap between the hull of the barge and the surface of the water. In the case of “mat-type jackups,” however, the hull is partially submerged.
Jackups are especially popular due to their endurance at sea. Certain rigs are rated with normal holding capacities in excess of 600 tons with storm holding capacities reaching 720 tons.
While jackups have long been used in the offshore drilling industry, they have only recently been incorporated into the offshore wind energy industry. This is just a single example of the technological advances of offshore drilling leaking across into other fields.
Drill Ships are Primarily Used as Exploratory Vessels
In order to drill in water deeper than the 120 meter reach of jackups, the platform must float on the water. Drill ships have the advantage of drill depths up to ten times that of jackups.
The first drill ship, CUSS 1, built in 1961 used four underwater propellers to keep it in place. It was able to stay in position while drilling a well off the coast of California at a depth of 948 meters.
While CUSS 1 used a complicated system of radar and buoys to stay in place, modern drill ships are equipped with dynamic positioning systems. Because of the dual advantages of loose tether to any point and their ability to self-propel, drill ships travel to and from oil fields at a relatively quick pace.
Generally a drill ship will only be used in specific circumstances. They may be utilized in drilling new deep water wells, maintenance, or finish work. Drill ships are robbed of their mobility advantage if they are maintained over one well for too long a period. They are the cavalry as the oil business fights its war against the seas.
Semi-Submersibles are Useful in On-sight Production
The pontoons of a semi-submersibles (also known as a semi-sub or simply a semi) are ballasted – loaded with water – so that the pontoons provide buoyancy from below the surface of the water. The actual operation deck is built high over the pontoons with a sufficient air gap so as to keep wave activity from affecting operations. Because the pontoons are located below the surface of the water, wave activity does not affect them as much as a vessel that floats above the water.
Like submarines, semi-submersibles can take on or release water from pontoons in order to raise or lower the vessel. This process is known as drafting. When the pontoons of the semi-sub are below the surface, the vessel is in a “deep-draft” when they float above the water, a “shallow-draft.”
The advantage of a semi-submersible over a drill ship is its stability. Semi-subs are not so prone as drill ships to be jostled by waves. After drilling semi-subs are useful for on-sight production. This is the oil industry’s version of killing two (sometimes more) birds with one ship.…Read More
The fixed mana, mana cost of healing spells and mana regeneration for all healers has been a hot topic as of late, especially among my leafy and plate wearing friends. So I figured I’d offer my two cents on it.
I have nothing against any healing class, and again those numbers are just based on what I saw in our groups since we actually had raiders that didn’t stand in bad all of the time (shocking I know). Ultimately though, we’re all in the same boat, it’s a bit of a learning curve for us all, and it’s not released yet. There is still plenty of time for things to be adjusted, we’ll just have to wait and see.…Read More
Everyone has to do trouble shooting, whether they are housewives or mechanical engineers. Trouble shooting is a process and generally can be learned although some people have a natural ability bordering on nearly psychic in level.
The process of trouble shooting takes you from the known, to the unknown. The first step in any trouble shooting, solving a math problem, or, figuring out why a space probe is malfunctioning over a million miles away. The first step is to make a list, either an actual list or a mental list. For example the classic problem, where are my car keys? What do you know?
- I had my keys last night when I got home
- I don’t have my keys now
- I checked my key bowl, they weren’t there
Next, you need to determine what has changed in the environment. Sometimes leaving the familiar for a while then returning allows you to see things that “blend in” from familiarity. This is similar to a writer not being able to see the misspellings or missing words until they put the article away and look at it the next day. Again, making a list either on paper or in your mind helps you crystallize the changes.
- The table has several newspaper sections on it
- I was very tired, my pants are on the floor from last night
First, check the differences, in the above case look through the papers on the table, and check the pants pockets. In this case it is a no go. Let’s move on to round two, think again, what was different than normal?
- I was wearing a jacket because of the recent cold snap
Ok, check the jacket pockets, again no go. Ok, so we have determined that the differences in the environment were not a factor. Next, we should re-trace the actions up to the loss of the keys. So the last time I had them was at the car when I got out last night. So I went down to the car and looked in the window (the doors were locked) no keys in the ignition. I followed the path up to the house, viola! The keys were still in the door…like I said I was tired…oops, I was also carrying a bunch of stuff, something that I should have listed on the changes in the environment list.
Perhaps this was a simplistic example, it becomes more problematic when you deal with complex systems. Complex systems have power cords, connections and internal subcomponents, think about the computer you use. The computer is an electric device that has a cord and plug and may have multiple external components (printer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, network connection) as well as internal components (video cards, Ethernet cards (called NICs) and maybe fibre channel cards (called HBAs). In a complex system the steps are the same:
- Define what you know
- Determine changes since conditions were stable
- Isolate each change (back it out) to see if it caused the failure or problem
Step 1 in an electrical system also involves making sure things are as they should be, by this I mean:
- Check power supply, is the system plugged in (on both ends) is the power supply working?
- Are all the cables tight/plugged in properly?
- Are all the internal cards seated properly with good contact?
You would be surprised how many problems are solved at step 1! Oh, also add is the on/off interface to the on position (are the switches in the right position?)
Step 2 requires usually talking to the user of the system (if it isn’t you!) and as shown on the TV show House (about a cantankerous Doctor who uses differential diagnosis to cure people) everyone lies! People will insist that nothing has changed, but usually if you keep pushing they will admit they added a new program, changed a NIC or HBA or monkeyed with settings (switches or software.)
Step 3 happens if indeed something was changed, if so, get the system back as close as possible to the configuration where it worked, then apply the changes one at a time to determine what caused the problem.
Now what about when nothing has changed? Then you find out as much as possible about what was going on when the failure occurred, however sometimes you may not have anyone to ask. In the case of computers there are system logs than can be reviewed (if the system is up, just not working right.) If needed, the system disk drive can be attached to another working system to allow the logs to be reviewed (remember to set it as a non-booting drive or you may bring down another system, also scan it immediately for virus, worms or Trojan horses.)
We have discussed two situations, one, lost keys, can be fairly simple to solve, the other, a malfunctioning computer, can be complex, but just remember to break it down into: determine what you know, what has changed and determine what change caused the problem.…Read More
The day after we moved to Chicago we bought a little shopping cart to take around the city for grocery shopping. I never saw people pushing these carts around cities before I moved to Chicago. But now I see a ton of them every day.
Our first stop for groceries was Trader Joe’s (of course). I’m happy to say that Eric loves Trader Joe’s as much as I do! His first TJ’s experience was when we went to one last summer. I first went when I was on vacation with my family in Chicago one year. I think we stopped in to Trader Joe’s at least a few times on that vacation.
I love, love that we’re close to one now. We spent a good hour there on our first trip. And we probably spent a good hour in line to check out; I’m going to try and avoid going on a Sunday afternoon if I can.
Vanilla coconut milk, wild blueberries, frozen Indian food, pears, enchiladas, honey apple butter, Greek yogurt, arugula-spinach blend, and orange sparkling water. All of which were so darn good. Especially the yogurt. I didn’t realize it was full fat Greek yogurt when I bought it. Once you go full fat Greek yogurt, you never go back.
I’m still debating whether or not I liked this pizza. It was a little soggy, but I think if I had baked it longer it would’ve been perfect.
Eric’s new favorite Trader Joe’s favorites are the orange chicken, mini crispy chocolate chip cookies, white cheddar puff corn, and the spicy chili flour tortillas.
So now here’s the big question: what are your favorite Trader Joe’s items? What do you always buy? Are there any seasonal items we should look for?…Read More
This apartment we’re living in is a major upgrade from our townhouse. We have some added amenities, lots of space, a great view, and it’s in a great area. Sure, the rent is doubled, but we’re living in Chicago, and that’s to be expected.
We only had a day to find an apartment when we visited last week, and it was so, so stressful. We’d been advised from people what to expect. We were to expect old buildings, very little space, and high rent. That is exactly what we got. We had a realtor drive us around and show us some places. They were expensive, small, old, and dirty. I don’t know if they were worse than the usual apartments, or not. I didn’t feel good about any of them, but I knew we were going to have to settle on something.
Then the realtor showed us our current apartment, and we fell in love. Or maybe it just seemed much better than the other ones we looked at. That’s probably it.
So let me give you a tour of the place! We haven’t had a chance to buy any furniture or hang up the decorations (the few that we have) yet, so it’d kind of bare. I’m not sure if we even want any more decorations or furniture. After that move, I don’t want any more stuff. Next time when we move, I’m getting rid of more stuff. The less you own, the better.
The living room. Look at that view of the lake! Gorgeous!…Read More
Hey, if you’re browsing the Interwebs, looking for ideas for Easter dessert, you might want to go check out this Dreamy White Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie recipe. I created it for the Davidson’s Safest Choice Pasteurized Egg blog. I think this would be perfect for Easter dessert, because it’s light (in texture, not calories) and coconut-y.
I’m embarrassed to say (Well, not really… ) I ate almost this whole pie by myself. It was so good! I kept it in the freezer and had a slice every night, all week. You’re allowed to eat two slices if you’re watching Mad Men.
I love coconut cream pie, how about you? I think it’s my second favorite pie. Blueberry always reigns supreme. …Read More
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope you are all doing well, and having a good weekend. Sorry about any domain confusion I might have caused. I didn’t know I was switching domains until about a minute before I did it. You should still be able to use the old address as well.
http://www.visionsofsugarplum.com or http://www.sugarplumblog.net. Either address should work; it’s the same blog. I like sugarplumblog.net because it’s shorter and easier. I hope everything is back to normal… the switch takes a few days for everything to straighten out. If you have problems finding a recipe, please email me and I’ll help.
Anyway, let’s get to the fun stuff. And by fun, I mean Shamrock Shakes. I had one! I finally had my first Shamrock Shake! Eric took me to McDonalds (always the romantic! Just kidding, it was my idea) and I ordered a Shamrock Shake and some Chicken McBites. I keep wanting to call them Chicken Macdoodles. The chicken was gross; I felt sick after eating it. I was in one of those junk food moods where you want to eat anything and everything that’s greasy and bad for you.
The shake, delicious. I liked it! I know some people in the comments section said they liked the shake and some people said it tasted like toothpaste.
I was expecting it to be gross, but it really wasn’t bad… it was interesting. It tasted like mint and lime sherbet, and neither flavor was very strong. Mint and lime doesn’t sound like it goes together. Somehow it does. I would probably order another one in the future. Maybe once a year. Eric liked it, too! ”Here, pose with the shake and let me take a picture!” *Shoves Shamrock Shake in Eric’s hand.*
I made my own mint milkshake, but I didn’t use any lime flavoring. I used vanilla ice cream, milk, peppermint flavoring, and Thin Mints.
I think the Girl Scout cookie boxes need to be updated. Pretty sure they’re still the same from when I was a kid. Maybe not. Why am I being snarky? I love Girl Scout Cookies! Somebody slap me.
Here we have the blended milkshake, served with whipped cream and a Thin Mint. I know you probably don’t need a recipe for a milkshake, but I needed an excuse to make and drink milkshakes.
If you’re looking for a REAL recipe, please check out my post on Davidson’s Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs blog! I made a Chocolate Stout Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. Amaaazing!
Thin Mint Shamrock Shake (For one)
3/4 cup vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon green mint extract
1 drop green food coloring
4 Thin Mints (or more)
In a blender, combine ice cream, milk, mint extract, and food coloring; blend until well combined. Add Thin Mints and blend for just about 2 seconds so they're still chunky. Pour into a frosted glass and top with whipped cream.…Read More
Catchy title right? This is your one warning, this is going to be a bit of a rant, some of the things I say in this post you might not agree with but I need to get this off my chest. Again, that’s your one warning.
Last night I got into a pretty heated debate because I was actively rooting for a team to lose where a player had been sited publicly using the phrase “Raping the opposing team like the little bitches they were.” My rooting wasn’t based on the team being bad at what they do, I just simply did not want him to win. While this was the main starting point, it sort of snowballed from there into a bigger discussion about gamer culture.
Words have power, and so does your station
We live in a world where things aren’t pretty. Everything isn’t sunshine and roses, and I understand that. But in gamer social groups, there’s been a shocking increase in the level of bigotry, sexism, victim shaming and “rape culture”. I say shocking because I remember a time where the downtrodden, beaten up, picked on folks flocked to the gaming communities to find safe harbor. When we would close ranks when one of our own got attacked or felt misplaced in the world. You could rely on those that played the various games with you to be trusted companions through the worst of times. It’s gotten to a point though, that I’m not sure that’s the case anymore. It’s something that I hate, something that I wish wasn’t the reality of it.
As you add the idea of money into gaming, or competitions or anything that allows there to be someone who can declare themselves the best, you get an odd mix. Some folks are pretty awesome, genuinely good people who just love the game and love playing them. Other’s aren’t so nice, and have a tendency to spew things like using the term rape as a joke or casually in conversation, making fun of women or using sexual orientation as a means to judge someone. In short, recently there are a lot of jerks that have wormed their way in to things. Part of that is just the nature of the “gamer” tag growing so much and including such a large number of people now. The more people, the more likely this is to happen. The problem really is that it sort of was like a small infection that grew. Over the years it became alright to say you “raped” someone in a competition or use terms like “I’m going to rape their face, or they just got raped”. Somewhere along the line, people stopped getting offended by it and just let it go.
It’s particularly bad because those hailed as the top of the gamer geek food chain do this, not everyone mind you but all it takes is one, and for some people that’s all the justification they need. They see some e-celeb using the term “rape” casually so they think it’s OK for them to do it. They see those same e-celebs talking down to women or using terms like “little bitches” and then they think it’s OK for them to do it. I once saw a top ranked CS player many years ago rip a girl’s shirt off, and instead of being escorted to a padded room, the boys gathered around him cheered him on. Your words and actions have power, and the higher up you are on the social geek chain, the more power they carry.
But it’s not what I meant!
Now that there is starting to be backlash against this again, there are a bevy of excuses making their way to the front of the arguments to justify people using these words. Well, that’s all they really are, excuses and justification. One that particularly rankles at my sense of humanity is the one where “It doesn’t mean the same thing”. Words carry meaning based on the time and culture in which you use them. Lets look at the word “Gay”. Many years ago it was used to mean something completely different. It meant happiness, elation. Look at the song from West Side Story – I Feel Pretty. The musical took place in 1961, and well, it meant something much different then when compared to even 20 years later. Use that term now, and happy is not the first place people go to when associating it. If you use that word, I find it hard to believe that you don’t know the connotations present. When you’re using those words you need to know what they mean in your current culture climate. If you’re unsure, you look it up. Saying it doesn’t mean the same thing is a cop-out, even if you didn’t mean it like that, it’s all about how people perceive it. That’s is a lesson I learned a long time ago.
Another very common phrase I hear in response to this sort of behavior is “that’s just how it is!”. I’m sorry but that makes me downright angry. The reason it is like it is right now is that it’s been let go for so long. The behavior has gone unpunished, at let to fester, so people think it’s OK. They see their e-celebs get to do it without recourse and then they think it’s alright to do the exact same thing. Saying “that’s just how it is” is something that when I hear it, makes me incredibly angry.
The use of terms like Rape, Bitch, Gay or any other word that is considered the ilk of those needs to simply not be used. When they are used, they shouldn’t be swept under the rug, regardless of who uses them. They aren’t OK.
A call for change
There needs to be an honest change here. There needs to be repercussions, especially when it’s an e-celeb who does it. In regular sports when this happens, there are consequences. Suspensions, fines even removal from events are pretty common occurrences in professional sports for this sort of behavior. Why then, isn’t it a common occurrence for e-sports? I don’t think I’ve heard of any of the offenders being told to do more than offer an apology. Why not suspend them for the next major tournament? Why not fine them if they want to keep competing? Why not give some sort of recognizable hand slap other than making people simply apologize when they just continue to do more of the same afterwards.
Change of this nature though has to start from the top down. From the more visible players in these games. When they’re enforced to the rules, or they suffer repercussion, people are going to notice. They will take note that the bigger people aren’t allowed to do it and will begin to question if they should be doing it. I’m not questioning their ability as players, I’m not questioning the hard work that they do, but if your perpetuating these horrible things as something that’s OK to say, then there should be some repercussions. We should be asking for a change, we should be seeking it out. I don’t suffer people saying these things on my mumble, or in any game I play. Whether it’s raids, battle grounds, League of Legends, Diablo, SC2, CS, TF2 or any other game, I don’t allow this sort of stuff to gain root. I may be a constant gardener, but until it’s no longer necessary that’s what I’ll be.
With that said, I won’t ever root for a team that has players that say these things, or act like they’re completely socially acceptable.
So this is where I lay down a bit of a challenge, and I hope you accept it. This is a bit of a pay it forward / get your gardening gloves on. If you agree with me, and do not like this type of terminology in your games, your social sites, your guilds or what have you, step up. Ask people to stop. Tell them to stop. Remove them from your channels, add repercussions lets help make environments where these things don’t stand. Try to practice good sportsman ship, watch that line between fun and complete trash talking. Be excellent to each other, and help make our game communities better places.…Read More