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Ice Cream Chronicles - New Interactive Map

As you may have noticed, a new interactive Google Map containing all the location and links to all my Ice Cream Chronicles posts is now acce...

You Can't Spell Nostalgia without L-A-G

Just one of the numerous albums put out by Jandek, perhaps the most
cultiest of cult artists in the music world today
Does owning one album from a cult artist count as nostalgia?

Back in college, my favorite place on campus was not the outdoors and most definitely not the classroom, but rather either of the two listening rooms deep inside the bowels of the college radio station. I couldn't imagine much better than cozying up by my lonesome a couple hours with a few dozen vinyl albums, both new and the previously unexplored, prepping for the week's show.

One day, a colleague of mine asked me if I had heard of Jandek.  The Jam, John Lydon and Jesse Johnson, sure. The Jesus and Mary Chain? Joy Division? Yep. But Jandek? I shook my head no.

My colleague's eyes rounded like large saucers. He touted his love of Jandek (almost certainly one Sterling R. Smith), his reclusive nature, and his rambling, weirdly bluesy compositions. In fact, Jandek, who sports Texas roots, might be the cultiest of all cult artists; through his Corwood Industries label, over 100 albums have been produced since the first LP was released in 1978.

An inquiry from an interested party might be reciprocated with a bundle of copies of his latest work, and generally his work can be obtained at relatively low prices. Before I knew it, a copy of his latest album, "You Walk Alone" (the album pictured above) was in my hands.  He looked a bit like Beck, though I would not reach this conclusion until several years later when Beck released his 1994 debut "Mellow Gold." Best of all, the album was free: for a broke-ass college student like me, anything free was indeed gold.  And now for nearly three decades, I've owned a piece of Jandek.

Noc Noc Noc-ing at Powell's Door: Nocterra Brewing

Funkwerks, circa our 2015 trip to Colorado. Like Fort Collins, Columbus'
beer scene is one where new breweries have increasingly to prove
their wares are worthy to the public early on or risk being left behind
Craft beer fans know that Colorado's breweries rate as some of the country's best. That fact did not escape our mind during our 2015 trip to visit my spouse's brother and his family in the Denver area. Thankfully, her brother (like most of the family) has been into craft beer for quite awhile - in fact, during his years in Columbus, his first homebrew kit came from the Clintonville's Winemaker's Shop from none other than Angelo Signorino, the longtime head brewer at the venerable Barley's Brewing Company.

For a day, her brother graciously chauffeured us to some of Fort Collins' finest breweries. During our journey, he mentioned that breweries there just simply couldn't open up and expect to be successful; they had to have at least a couple years planned out to even have a chance to make it in what was and still is a competitive beer scene.

Back then, that was nowhere near the case with Columbus, a beer scene that was still growing and evolving. Not so much anymore, though - in my mind, Central Ohio's scene has reached a point where a new brewery's chance to establish their footing has shrunk considerably. Indeed, many of the newer arrivals, including but not exclusive to Combustion, Somewhere in Particular, and Pretentious, have been received favorably fairly quickly by the locals. This notion was tucked in the back of my mind when my spouse and I dropped by to one of the area's newest in Powell's Nocterra Brewing for a sneak preview.

One Latte, One Lunch, One Beer - 2018 California Travel Wrap-Up

Well, the recap of a wonderful tour of California comes to an end with this blogpost. As usual, there were places that didn't quite conveniently fit in with any of our previous posts, but are definitely worthy of your consideration if you're in the neighborhood. And now, without further adieu...

Spearhead Coffee: Opened up a couple years after our first visit to Paso Robles, Spearhead Coffee has provided locals an elevated cup of coffee for their day's duties since 2015. Similar to many spaces with that modern industrial look, the interior of Spearhead used plenty of reclaimed materials from around the area as well as from space itself in its initial construction.

Two Do Right: Firestone Walker and Russian River Brewing

The welcoming fronts of Russian River Brewing's Santa Rosa, CA brewpub
and Firestone Walker's Barrelworks facility in Buellton, CA
Those who have read my blog before know that we are huge fans of two well-known California breweries in Firestone Walker and Russian River Brewing.  With the former, we had visited their two co-joined facilities in Buellton (their taproom and then their sour-focused Barrelworks facility - this blogpost details how we ended up visiting each separately), and for the latter, their iconic Santa Rosa brewpub seems is something of a mandatory stop when we're in the area, even if it is just to buy a couple of bottles of Pliny The Elder or one of their lovely sours to bring back to Ohio.

One would think that we're traversing over well-trod ground by writing about these two breweries again, but two recent developments for each brewery offered an opportunity to explore some new ground for us, and we were only more than happy to venture in again.

The House That Sarah Built: The Winchester Mystery House (San Jose, CA)

The front of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California
Way before San Jose, California, transformed into the anchor of what eventually became known as Silicon Valley, I had two personal mental associations with the city. One was the Dionne Warwick song "Do You Know The Way to San Jose", one of the first songs I remember listening to and liking immensely.

The other association was The Winchester Mystery House, which I always perceived as something of a cheesy attraction, based on both the promo ads I heard and read as well as the story (essentially, superstitious rich widow, in this case, Sarah Winchester, takes fortune teller’s crazy story to heart and builds a likewise crazy house to match in the quest for immortality.)

However, as we were happy to find out on our first visit ever, the tale behind The Winchester House is far more nuanced than that, with aspects about Winchester herself as well as the house she ended up building wouldn’t realize upon first glance.