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Well, that was fun. ^_^ Word went out a few weeks ago regarding Apple's iPhone Tech Talk World Tour, but most of the venues filled up within hours; but they encouraged people to sign up anyway, in case space became available. So, Friday saw me pop up to the University of Middlesex, and join a couple hundred other geeks in hearing a potted tour of the platform's development environment, OS, and design philosophies. (I'll admit I'd probably have gained more from the time had they not convened at 9.30am, compelling me to set the alarm for a dust-inducing 5.45am. =:P) After then, I followed my nose in seek of a good pint with accompanying good food, with space to sit and relax, on a Friday night. So, of course, I headed for the seclusion of Leicester Square, and discovered The Bear and Staff, with a charmingly peaceful dining room upstairs, where I enjoyed a chicken, glazed ham, and leek pie, with carrots, beans, and cabbage, plus herbed potato & parsnip mash, followed - perilously - by some wondrous vanilla cheesecake & forest fruits. Very good service, too.

And there is indeed such a thing as a free lunch: a chicken/ranch burrito, salmon skewers, and battered prawns. =:9 Followed by a free t-shirt, which wasn't nearly as tasty. (Simple design, with just "London" on the front, next to an iPhone Maps pin, and the cities on the back)

I did not touch the private rod.

Via vandringar, a most interesting point is raised: in being the major backer for Prop. 8, did the Mormon church violate the law that grants it tax exemption? "Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes [...] no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation [...]" The author invites people to submit IRS form 13909, along with suitable evidence of their violation, as an official complaint on those grounds.

Elsewhere in politics, Minnesota's providing an interesting battleground, between the Republican incumbent, Norm Coleman, and the DFL newcomer and SNL alumnus, Al Franken. As of the weekend, some Coleman was about 220 votes ahead, out of about 1.2m votes each - as slender a margin as it gets, whomsoever is eventually sent to the Senate. Current results can be found here.

And amongst California's propositions was one to fund high-speed rail from the Bay Area to LA, which, to my mild surprise and considerable pleasure, passed.

gatcat apparently has an eye for bunnies too, in his quite superb phographic repertoire, in this shot of evilyena's commendable work.

Is there any better vodka than Grey Goose? I'm largely unfamiliar with vodka, but to my palate, Grey Goose is leaps ahead of Stolichnaya. What do you do with vodka more or less by itself - just chilled, straight? Twist of lemon? (Wouldn't mind hearing cocktail suggestions, either, though I usually tend to have just some combination of cider, beer, red wine, and possibly vodka and/or cider brandy in the house)

Ooh! I see Monkey: Journey to the West is on at The O2 in the Meridian Gardens. (Is it worth using cheap ticket agencies? What are the catches?)
Is there any better vodka than Grey Goose?

Good question. That stuff is like silk. Probably the only vodka I prefer to drink neat. (And please don't put it in the freezer)

At a recent furry party in Toronto, I got to try something new. We'd brought along some fresh apple cider with us, and there was a fur there that had some of that Bison Grass Vodka (http://www.zubrowka.net/)

Anyway, the vodka itself isn't really all that great. But when you mix it with fresh cider, it tastes exactly like apple crisp. Pretty tasty.
It's a drink I've usually tended just to toss into diet cola, I confess. (I confess! Hm. Maybe that could be a new Gilbert & Sullivan production, set in Guantanamo Bay?) But while at the last gig, I enjoyed quite a few good Stoli & twists at the bar just around the corner from the coworker's place in North Beach. (Great neighborhood - dangerous if you like eating out, though, given the sheer density of good restaurants; and there's a very good deli across the road, too, where the owner was more than happy to give us some of his new prosciutto for us to try - so meltingly tender!)

I even was going to put the bottle in the freezer, but seeing the cork, thought better of it - so it just sits upright in the fridge door instead, which works out very nicely. Still surprises me just how smooth it is, given vodka's essentially a very simple drink - but then, making lager with the same basic ingredients, you can wind up with anything from Germany, down to anything from Budmilloors. =:)

Ooh.. now there's a combination I really should try! I did enjoy a mix of King Offa 10 year old cider brandy (when you're in the mood to burn some of your savings and visit the UK, you really should pick up at least one bottle of that) and Grey Goose, but cider itself could work very well, yes. S'pose I should get another order in with Orchard Hive & Vine sometime soon - they carry a great little selection of ciders from small farms, each quite unique in their outcome, some using relatively uncommon, traditional apples.

I wonder how well good tequila and cider would go together.. maybe the San Francisco version could add a little pineapple juice? =:9 Hmm. I am planning on dropping by the wine & beer emporium in town later today, but I'm not sure they carry any tequila. If nothing else, maybe I can add that to my next delivery order. ^_^

How much does GG go for in your neck of the woods, btw? Sometimes, international pricing of drinks can be quite wonky.