So About the New Look…

“Drink Vicariously” has been reborn as “Love and Barley.” The inspiration for the new name is from a collection of poems by the Japanese haiku master Basho, who eschewed material possessions and devoted his life to traveling. The new name pinpoints our passions: barley, travel, and writing. Befittingly, the compilation “On Love and Barley” begins with poetry…

2014: This is what gathering moss looks like.

It seems like just yesterday we wrote about the insanity that was 2013. To create balance in the universe, 2014 has been THE YEAR OF STAYING PUT. At least by our standards. We visited the Canadian Rockies, Alaska, Hawaii, and Portland. And staying put has its own rewards: like spending time with family and reconnecting with old…

Squirreling away for the winter

As we were hiking in Alaska, we saw a mushroom high up in the tree. It turns out a squirrel put it there as part of its overall winter-proofing strategy. Good job. What are you good at squirreling away? How do you maintain a balance between saving and stashing for a long winter and unhealthy…

Spoiled Brat Tourists

We’ve all been disappointed. A hyped movie wasn’t what we expected; a vouched-for restaurant’s food seemed bland. It happens with places too. A few places I’ve been didn’t live up to my expectations, though certainly not as many places as surpassed them. One thing I would never ever do is stoop to the level of these self-entitled…

Southern Mexico Upcoming Trip: Got Tips?

ISO: Your tips! Dates: January-February 2014 (7 weeks total) Methods: Car Key Points: Mexico City Puebla (with possible deke to Xalapa) Oaxaca and surrounds Oaxaca coast (Puerto Escondido and Huatulco) Free/Flex Time: About One Week. Would like to visit Chiapas and Palenque.

6 Candidates Show You Why Vancouver is Special

Vancouver’s civic election is happening now, and all these amazing candidates are floating to the surface like turds in Lost Lagoon. It’s beautiful, really, to watch the process of democracy in action. I had to share some of the best candidates with you, because they are too good to Bogart. 1. Would you vote for…

Easy Sichuan Popcorn

Sichuan mala peanuts are one of the greatest junk foods in the world. We first encountered these in Beijing, at Great Leap Brewing. Luckily, we were able to find the product here in Vancouver. It looks like this: Toward the bottom of each bag will be quite a bit of Sichuan peppercorns and dried chilis,…

Is AirBnB getting creepy or what?

It’s just become less invasive to buy a house than it is to book one on AirBnB. When I started using AirBnB, I was put off by their service fee structure, but otherwise liked the experience. We stayed in cliffside houses overlooking the sea, urban lofts, and jungle cabins. Because other websites ask for basic information, I didn’t mind that…

Why Albertans Are Better Americans Than Americans

Driving through Alberta triggered all sorts of thoughts and made me aware of how prejudiced I can be towards people who are different from me. But when you come from the USA, Christians, conservatives, and cowboys are often crazy. In Alberta, that’s just not the case. While more overtly conservative than Quebec and the maritimes, Alberta’s politics…

Hawaii: The Final Frontier

One of the great highlights of Hawaii’s Big Island is the Mauna Kea observatory complex. It’s located 14,000 feet up on what is the tallest mountain in the world when measured from the base of the sea floor. From our home base in Waimea, we drove only about an hour to the visitor’s center named after…