October 2003

Tequila Hostage Crisis 2003

by Michael Alderete on 10/28/2003

Rochelle and I just returned from 11 days in the state of Jalisco in Mexico, touring the tequila region. We went with a group of like-minded tequila enthusiasts, and were lead (I use the term loosely) by the manager of the bar at Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant, the best place to drink tequila in the United States.

The entire group of us referred to the trip as the Tequila Hostage Crisis 2003, because of the fluid nature of our schedule, and because it was a train that once you got on, you couldn’t get off. In the five official days of the tour we visited eight different tequila fabricas, were treated to the finest hospitality Rochelle and I have ever enjoyed, and drank an average of two bottles of tequila per person per day. (And yes, someone did end up in the hospital — but no one officially part of the tour.)

In addition to wonderful hospitality, all places we visited were amazingly generosity, in the form of gifts of tequila, or amazing prices on their products, or both. As a result, Rochelle and I ended up dragging home 35 bottles of tequila (and two bottles of Cuban “Puerto Rican” rum), packed into six different pieces of baggage (only two of which were checked), with zero breakage. Although we spent “only” US$500-600 on bottled tequila, the U.S. retail value of what we brought home is easily US$3000. Our five best bottles alone are worth more than a grand — if you can find them.

I’ll post more soon (in particular, I want to revisit my all you need to know post below), but for now I need a lot of sleep, and a lot of water and cranberry juice.

My liver hurts.

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Everything you need to know about ordering tequila

by Michael Alderete on 10/14/2003 · 1 comment

Rochelle and I have our Ph.D.s in tequila. Rochelle is even a Ninja Master. And by the end of the month, we’ll both be Demi-Gods. If I was going to distill down the things I’ve learned, I would pass along these three pieces of wisdom about selecting tequila to drink:

  1. If it isn’t 100% agave, it’s shit.

    By law, for a spirit to be called tequila, it must be at least 51% by volume made from fermented and distilled agave plants. The other 49% can be liquor made from any other sugar source, and is usually sugar cane. It’s that 49% that gives you the hella awful hangover — and it doesn’t make the tequila taste better, either.

    This adulterated “tequila” is called mixto. Any tequila that is 100% agave will say so on the bottle, prominently, because it’s a mark of quality. It tastes better, and it feels better the morning after. (Note: You need to see “100% agave” on the bottle, with your own eyes; many bartenders don’t know, or know wrong. We’ve actually been told “All tequilas are 100% agave. Trust me, I’m Mexican, I know.”)

    Those $2 tequila shooters the guys are doing at the next table over? The ones that are going to make them want to die the next morning? Mixto crap. And 999 times out of a thousand, it’s going to be Cuervo Gold, possibly the worst tequila that legally bears the name. Which brings us to…

  2. Avoid Jose Cuervo brand tequilas (unless you know what you’re doing).

    Jose Cuervo makes some very fine tequilas, in particular, their Reserva de Familia, and everything in the Gran Centenario line. But by sales volume, the vast majority of their tequila is mixto crap (see #1 above). It’s a rare bar that has the good stuff, and a very rare bar that doesn’t have the bad stuff.

    Worse, there’s standard and “premium” products under their brand. Cuervo Gold, you already know is mixto crap. Especial? Mixto crap. Cuervo 1800? Expensive mixto crap. You ask for a premium tequila, and a lot of bartenders are going to push 1800 at you. Your wallet’s lighter, but you’re still drinkin’ crap. Cuervo is ubiquitous and confusing, and therefore dangerous. Which brings us to…

  3. When in doubt, ask for Herradura.

    Herradura is the world’s largest brand of exclusively 100% agave tequilas. That is, Herradura is the largest brand of tequila that doesn’t have any mixto crap. While not as widely distributed as Cuervo, you can find Herradura in any bar with a decent tequila selection. If you order Herradura, you will always be drinking good tequila.

Now, this isn’t everything you might like to know about tequila, but it is enough to keep you from unknowingly ordering bad tequila ever again. If you want to learn more, come drink with us at Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant, the premier tequila bar on earth.

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We’re in the NY Times

by Michael Alderete on 10/12/2003

Rochelle and I were mentioned, and Rochelle quoted, in this Sunday’s New York Times. The article is about couples registering for wine when they’re getting married, which we did, and recommend. Go read the article for more details (within the next 30 days, or you need to be a subscriber).

Rochelle’s marking an item off her “to do before I die” list, and we were both happy that we weren’t the couple with the largest age range mentioned in the article (we’re 4 years apart, while the biggest gap was 11 years).

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Quotation of the year candidate

by Michael Alderete on 10/12/2003

“Are you sure he’s not depressed? No one’s that lazy and undirected normally.”

“Ahahahahhahahahahaha! You obviously haven’t met my husband.”

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Quotation of the year candidate

by Michael Alderete on 10/12/2003

“I have friends like you.”

Said in a tone of accusation.

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The Next Big Thing

by Michael Alderete on 10/11/2003

Just read an inspirational editorial on Tim Oren’s Due Diligence weblog, which ends with this great quotation:

Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda. That’s what a Next Big Thing is like. Footprints from your ass to the top of your head. Keep it in mind the next time the Valley Grail Quest gets trotted out by the punditocracy. There will eventually be a Valley 4.0, but the odds of any of the [experts] calling it in advance aren’t very wonderful. Most likely, it will hit rudely from behind, when least expected. So find something that solves problems for real people, gets you up in the morning, and lets you work with good folks, and dig in. That’s the way the Valley actually rejuvenates itself.

Food for thought, given that I don’t really know what I want to do next. These are three important things to look for, not necessarily to find the Next Big Thing, but to find a comfortable seat from which to watch for it.

BTW, I strongly recommend Due Diligence, an insightful, technology-focused blog written by a venture capitalist.

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Found it

by Michael Alderete on 10/10/2003

I woke up this morning at 3am, and after 30 minutes of trying to relax back into sleep, I gave up, and started thinking again about where to find my errant ADB cable.

Amazing what a little time and unconsciousness will do for remembering things. I remembered quite vividly that I had indeed put the ADB cables into a box, as I’d originally thought. What was new was the clear recollection that one smaller box had not fit into the larger tote bin I have all the others in. I knew exactly where that one box was, and that I hadn’t searched it yesterday, completely missing it because it was in plain sight.

So, I got up, and opened the box. There it was, my four ADB cables. Back in business! Cranking through the G3 purge over the weekend. Hope to sell it next week…

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Fancy detective work

by Michael Alderete on 10/9/2003

So I am, as part of my effort to get rid of crap around the house, working on resuscitating my old Mac, a Beige G3, in order to sell it. The system has been sitting in the corner of our office, completely disconnected. Indeed, I’d unplugged everything from it, and stored the cables, mouse, keyboard, etc., elsewhere. Heh, to reduce clutter.

So setting it up initially involves tracking down all the pieces, so that I can turn it on. Power, graphics, and Ethernet were easy; those are already connected to things in the office, I can just borrow them. And I knew where the keyboard was, because I had used it for a while on my new Mac, until I found an acceptable replacement. After digging in boxes for 20 minutes, I found the old mouse. The only piece missing is an ADB cable to attach the keyboard to the Mac.

I can’t find one.

After digging in boxes in four different rooms for over an hour, I just can’t find where I stored the damn thing. I probably have exactly one of them, and it’s just hiding from me.

So, time to take a break, and think about where it could be. Let’s see, I got the new Mac about two years ago…both Macs where hooked up and running for a couple months…what did I do when I disconnected the G3? Well, I kept using the old keyboard for a while…but that was with an adapter, not the keyboard cable. What did I do when I retired the keyboard…?

Hmmm, wait a minute! I have a padded keyboard case, that I bought specifically for that beloved old keyboard, except the damn thing doesn’t fit. So I took the keyboard out of it, but maybe the cable is still there!

Ummm…but where did I put the keyboard case? Well, the closet, maybe, on the top shelf…? Yes, there it is! And, the top is still open! And look, there’s something inside it!

Eureka! My swim goggles!

Still looking…

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Rochelle. Lays. Down. The Law.

October 9, 2003

It would appear that my wife has decided I’m not doing enough with my time off, to clean up the house and otherwise work on useful projects (with “useful” being a word she gets to define). She’s decided that I need to get up with her in the morning, take a bath with her, and have coffee with her before she goes off to her job. All of this to ensure that my day at least starts early enough to accomplish something.

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Where the promo parties went, part 2

October 4, 2003

When Rochelle proposed we go out Thursday, I asked her, given she is planning a summer picnic for 100 people and has a school assignment due, both on Saturday, if she should be going out drinking. She said it was OK, but we absolutely could not go anywhere else after. So of course, when the guy sitting on the bar stool next to me told us about The Glenlivet party that was starting in 30 minutes, we decided to crash that one, too.

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Where the promo parties went, part 1

October 3, 2003

Yesterday at 3pm Rochelle asked me if I wanted to go out, to a party she had seen posted on Chowhound.com, at a local bar, Butter. The Food Network was going to be there, shooting footage of Butter’s unique approach to bar food, and there would be free food samples and giveaway goodies. Most importantly, there would be 25¢ pints of beer, and $2 cosmos. I was in like Flint, as they say.

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Showing my Dock in public

October 2, 2003

A deceptively frivolous article on MacDevCenter has inspired a lot of people to show their Docks in public. (The Dock is an application launcher / current applications list / application switcher in Mac OS X, analogous to the Taskbar + Start Menu in Windows.) I noticed a particular commonality among many of the Docks posted, and wanted to ask about it. But before I asked people about their Docks, I thought I ought to show mine.

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