//
archives

larry

larry has written 533 posts for Dusk Before the Dawn
International Space Station

Viewing the International Space Station

We saw the International Space Stations (ISS) as we drove from Houston to Austin Monday evening (10/16/17) at about 7:50pm looking at the NW horizon. At first we saw lots of planes and stars thinking it might be the ISS, but once it came shooting across the sky it was easy to see.

International Space StationWe heard about it on the news, but found the directions looking at SpotTheStation, a NASA website that will not only tell you when the ISS is coming into view in your area and alert you via email, but if you scroll down the page it will tell you what the directions for viewing mean (see image to the right).

Watching the ISS go over reminded me of another website I had found: WhoIsInSpaceRightNow. As the ISS was going overhead, the number was 6…as always, an amazingly small number compared to the 7.4 billion people on the earth.

And the total number of people who have ever been in space currently stands at 536 according to this Wiki article.

Both current and all time space travelers remain an exclusive club…until the bus starts loading for Mars!

Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar and The Circle – Sugarland 09/15/17

I wrote a long article about Sammy Hagar then and now about a week before this  concert. Here’s my notes on the show.

Opening act – The Contagious

The ContagiousWe arrived expecting to see Sammy’s son as the opening act. Instead, we witnessed three 9th graders from Montgomery, Texas, baby-faced young men who rocked the crowd in the absence of Sammy’s son (who was ill). They were loud, and they were quite good. It was hard to tell they were youngsters until the lead singer/guitarist got up to the microphone in between sets and said “Thanks, guys!”. He also said “at 5am this morning we were getting ready to go to school…now we are opening for Sammy Hagar and the Circle.”

TheContagiousLeadOne of the ushers told me they had opened earlier in the week for ZZTop, as one of the band members parents is friends with one of the ZZ members. And this usher seemed to know everything.

Here’s The Contagious’ Reverb Nation link, they have a couple of songs on there to download.

Sammy and The Circle

Sammy Hagar and The Circle

At the opposite end of the age spectrum from the opening act, Sammy Hagar has been rocking for four decades. Between Montrose, Van Halen, Chickenfoot and his solo career, the list of songs to choose from is LARGE.

In addition to Sammy (lead vocals and guitar), the Circle is:

  • Michael Anthony (bass, backing vocals).  Van Halen bassist, Chickenfoot.
  • Jason Bonham (drums). John Bonham of Led Zeppelin’s son.
  • Vic Johnson (lead guitar). Vic has been playing with Sammy since 1997 on solo albums and in Sammy’s band the Waboritas.

Sammy and “Mikey” have been together for a long time. They introduced each other and the party started (and included Santo Mezquila and Sammy’s Rum on stage).

The Setlist of 16 songs included:

  • 5 Sammy Hagar songs (including a renamed “Mas Mezquila” with Sammy pouring out shots from a bottle to the folks in the pit);
  • 6 Van Halen songs  (including an acoustic version of “Dreams” as the final number);
  • 1 Chickenfoot song;
  • “Rock Candy” from Montrose (I was hoping for this and “Bad Motor Scooter”…but 50% is good enough!) and
  • 2 well performed Led Zeppelin tracks (When the Levee Breaks, which the top picture is off, dry ice and all, and Rock and Roll in the Encore).

Michael Anthony sang on a few tracks, and the more I hear him singing lead or background vocals, the more I believe he was the main voice behind that signature Van Halen background chorus.

Sammy Hagar and The Circle

Soon-to-be-70-year-old Sammy Hagar had as much energy as the three freshman high school rockers….and had more fun all the way through. I’m hoping to get lucky enough to see him again at his show in Clearwater, Florida which was postponed due to the hurricane.

Sammy Hagar

The Venue

A couple of words on the Smart Financial Center in Sugarland: after our first visit there (to see Steve Martin and Martin Short) I swore I’d never go back because the traffic getting in and out was so terribly handled. I made an exception for Sammy, and I’m glad I did – we had no trouble getting in or out. I was told that attendance was equivalent for both

Also, the usher that I spoke with throughout the concert was not only knowledgeable about the venue and the acts, he was amazingly courteous to everyone he spoke with that evening (he was stationed right beside us).

And lastly…someone in attendance had a sweet and appropriate ride!

IMG_1042

HSASInsideSleeve

Sammy Hagar – 35 years ago and now

Sammy1982Ticket

As you downsize, a process my wife and I are currently going through, the plethora of items from one’s past that you must classify as keep/store/trash is larger than you think. The number of items in one’s house grows to accommodate available space.

Furniture, clothes, tools – those are just things, with little sentimental value. But books and music – those I keep with me, each one a particular memory that I rustle through every so often, flashes returning of events, real and imagined.

I also apparently kept a set of concert tickets with a rubber band wrapped around them. And sitting through an interview session of Sammy Hagar at this year’s South-By-Southwest conference had me digging through albums and concert tix, flashing back. With tickets in hand to see Sammy and The Circle this weekend in Houston (and with a bottle of Hagar’s Santo Mezquila by my side!), I thought it was time to revisit that session.

March 5, 1982 – Sammy Hagar in Concert

San Antonio, Texas. The Rock and Roll capital of the world (at the time). Floor section A 16th row tickets, for a whopping $10.00 to see Sammy Hagar. Before the Internet age of scalpers getting in to get the choice front row tickets, a group of us (me, Tom, Bob, Dano and others) would wait outside the mall on the 410 Loop at either a Joske’s or Foleys (I can’t remember which, and like it that way), sometimes all night. In retrospect, were we the pre-cursor to the Apple fan-boys who waited in line for new iPhones? When the doors opened, we ran in, assuming other rockers were racing from other entrances to line up at the ticket window. If you look at the ticket montage posted at the end of this article, you can see that we used this method to get some pretty choice seats to see some classic rock bands.

I don’t think this ticket represents the first time I saw Hagar. I would have been a junior in college in 1982, and as you can see, some of my precious ticket stubs are from 1979. But whether it was this concert or a later one, I have this image etched in my mind: Sammy sitting, his feet dangling off the stage, guitar flat on his lap, finger slide on the strings playing a extended intro to “Bad Motor Scooter”. The 1982 show would have been the tour supporting the Album “Standing Hampton”, which had the songs “There’s Only One Way to Rock” and “Heavy Metal” (title song of the movie of the same name). But Hagar always played the songs he wrote for the band Montrose (in addition to Bad Motor Scooter, he wrote “Make It Last” and co-wrote “Rock Candy” and four other songs on the first Montrose album).

With these concerts we were always on our feet…and often standing on metal chairs (and sometimes falling) on the floor so we could see (which meant everyone in front and behind us was doing the same thing). The concerts I’ve been to recently seem more concerned with safety than with enjoyment. Running up the aisles to rush the stage in the 80s was not only a contact sport, it was a time-honored tradition.

SammyComesOnStageMarch 16, 2017 – Sammy at SXSW, Austin

I was about the same distance from the stage this past March 16, almost 35 years to the day of that concert, watching Sammy again, this time in Austin at SXSW. We were both obviously older, and this time he wasn’t playing, but talking, being semi-interviewed.

Before Hagar came out, they were playing warm up music…that would have been great for a rap artist…and then a folk singer. The friendly long-haired gent who was sitting next to me said “What is this shit?”…ya gotta dis the warmup music if it isn’t Sammy appropriate. Then they put on some of Austin’s own Brownout (and if you haven’t heard their “Brown Sabbath” covers of Black Sabbath…you owe it to yourself!) to tide us over.

Sammy walked out with Mike Snider (from USA Today), looking bulkier than he did 25 years ago (see the album covers below), but with the same smile on his face. Wearing a leather jacket with a Santo Mezquila shirt (more on that later). he and Mike sat down and did a little walk through Sammy-history.

Montrose

Sammy’s a guitar player, but, as he put it, he kept winding up in bands with great guitar players: Ronnie Montrose, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani. When he met Montrose, Sammy said they had most of the songs on that first Montrose album completed in two weeks. He also said it didn’t take long for him to learn his biggest lesson in bandmates: never tour or play with anyone you don’t like. I may not have the exact quote, but Sammy said “Ronnie was a bastard, God rest his soul.”

The first Montrose album (1973) has been called “America’s answer to Led Zeppelin.” The second album, “Paper Money”, was not anywhere near has hard core and rocking as the first (IMHO), and, by no coincidence, was Hagar’s last with the band. I still have my vinyl of “Montrose”, and I had “Paper Money” but may have made it into a frisbee long ago.

I also believe this is the last time Sammy was called “Sam Hagar” on an album cover.

Montrose

Solo

Though he had a long (and continuing) solo career, Sammy only mentioned “Red” and “I Can’t Drive 55″ during the SXSW session.

Red is all about numerology (“Red’s my number…”), which Sammy said he was into at the time. He was walking down the street after the song came out, and some one called him the “Red Rocker”…and it stuck. And, as you can see in the album covers from my collection below, he embraced the “Red” moniker.

SammySolos

Mike, the interviewer, asked Sammy, given his penchant for fast cars and fast driving, how many tickets he’d gotten. Sammy said “two. You have no idea how many times that song has gotten me out of a ticket.” Obviously “that song” was “I Can’t Drive 55.”

Hagar Schon Aaronson and Shrieve

This didn’t come up in the interview at all, but I’ve got the vinyl of the Hagar-Schon-Aaronson-Shrieve album (1984), and am probably one of the few packrats that kept it. Gratuitous album cover shot, still in the plastic with the $5.99 Sound Warehouse price tag on it! One of the early super groups, this album features Neal Schon, lead guitarist of Journey and early Santana. There’s a good cover of “Whiter Shade of Pale” and the lead song “Top of the Rock” did pretty well, as I recall.

HSASAlbumCover1024

 

Albums had some pretty slick inner sleeves, back in the day. The sleeve for HSAS show the boys all with their 80′s rocker stares and Sammy living that Red Rocker persona.

HSASInsideSleeve

Van Halen

Much has been said and written about Sammy and Van Halen. He only mentioned two main topics at the SXSW session – a desire to do a live concert performance with David Lee Roth, where they would trade-off sets as a type of competition (which was met, of course, with approval from the crowd); and that he had reached out to Eddie Van Halen, sending birthday regards.

For background, Hagar was in Van Halen for four studio albums that all went at least 3x platinum (5150, OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, Balance) from 1986 to 1995. Then he and bassist Michael Anthony left (or were dumped, depending on which story you listen to). Anthony still plays with Sammy on both Chickenfoot and The Circle.

Sammy HagarBusiness and Booze

This was at SXSW, which features Interactive, Film, Music and Education tracks, so there was quite a bit of discussion about Sammy’s businesses (past and present) and the music biz. Hagar has been a serial entrepreneur his entire adult life, so he touched on several of his ventures, past and current.

  • Cabo Wabo. In the 1990s, Hagar started selling tequila from his Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. In 2007, Hagar sold an 80% interest in Cabo Wabo Tequila to Gruppo Campari for $80 million (he later sold the rest of his part for $11 million). So…Sammy is set. And said he really doesn’t play for money any more, and doesn’t do hundreds of live shows a year. He has quite a few charities he works with, including a local annual acoustic set in San Francisco to generate enough dough for a local healthcare organization.
  • Beach Bar Rum. Sammy’s former attire (check out any video of The Circle) consisted of “Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum” t-shirts. Four years after he sold the last part of his Cabo Wabo business, Hagar started a Rum business made in Hawaii from locally grown sugar cane.

Santo Mezquila Sammy Hagar

  • Santo Mezquila. Sammy was wearing a Santo shirt promoting his new alcoholic venture. He said he couldn’t do another tequila because Cabo was his baby. However, he told the story of meeting Adam Levine of Maroon 5, and how Sammy doesn’t like the smokey taste of Mezcal and Levine didn’t like tequila. A few (no doubt enjoyable) chemistry sessions later and they had a mix they both enjoyed. Some lucky and forward thinking young lady actually had a bottle with her at the session, which Sammy signed. He said there weren’t that many bottles shipped to Texas yet. I found my own bottle (mine!) at a Total Wine after a hot tip from a friend. On the side it says “50% Distilled Blue Agave and 50% Distilled Espadin Agave.” For tequila drinkers, tequila can only be made with blue agave, but mezcal can be made with several different kinds of agave, espadin being the most prevalent. And, to further complicate things, all tequilas are mezcals by definition. I vote we just let Sammy keep this straight for us.  Although the lyrics of Van Halen’s Cabo Wabo does mention going after that “guave worm” there is indeed no worm in Santo. I’ve looked.

We drink Mescal right from the bottle
Salt shaker, little lick a lime, oh
Throwin’ down, down tryin’ to reach the bottom
Where the guave worm, well he’s mine, all mine

  • TV show. Sammy has a show on AXS TV called “Rock and Roll Road Trip” which was in Season Two during SXSW. He talked about how he enjoys getting to know fellow musicians outside of the normal “on-the-road” work environment. He’d just finished an episode with John Mellencamp, and had an upcoming episode with Mick Fleetwood.
  • The music business today. Since it was SXSW, Sammy was asked what he thought about getting noticed in the music business today. He commented on how hard it would be to get started today, and said that it is obvious that an artist has to have a very active social media presence (Sammy got on Instagram in August 2014, and is up to 94,000 followers).

Cooking, UFOs and ghosts

Sammy is Italian. He calls chef Guy Fieri his “brother from another mother.” During this session he said to the audience that he could walk into anyone’s kitchen, go out to their garden if they had one and cook a great meal. I invited him over…about the same time everyone else in the audience did.

During the Q&A period, someone asked Sammy about his appearance on a Celebrity Ghoststories show. In his bio, Hagar says he is a bigger believer in UFOs and Ghosts. Below is a video of his re-telling of his ghost story, with a bit of the end of his opinion Mexican Mariachi music (which he likes, but only acoustic and not in big arenas).

 

 

SammySquattingThen it was time to once more rush the stage. I got as close to Sammy as I’d ever been, close enough to comment on how good his knees were at our age, as he squatted down for a selfie. My comment elicited a quick look and a chuckle. Above all else, Sammy seems happy. A TV show, a place in Hawaii, three bands he plays with (The Waboritas, ChickenFoot and The Circle, which is touring this year), a new mezquila and his rum bars.

Sammy Hagar is on tour this year with The Circle (concert dates on the Red Rocker events calendar), and I aim to see him somewhere along the tour.

ConcertTix

Untappd Venue Badges

Five Years of Beer on UnTappd

Untappd profileAccording to the Untappd app, August 23, 2017 marks five years since I started using the app. Also according to the app and website, during the last 1,826 days (plus 1 added for a leap year!) I have consumed 1,753 Unique Beers, 2,589 Beers Checked-in (not all of the beers I drank in that time frame were checked in) and earned 985 incredibly valuable badges.  This includes the nice “For a Few Unidragons More” from Clown Shoes checked in on that anniversary date. As a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western fan and a stout lover, I really like this series from Clown Shoes.

I’ve also hooked innumerable friends onto this addictive app, and also wrote an article about the psychology of the app from a gamification perspective.

As an Untappd Supporter, one can download one’s entire glutinously logged beer consumption history. Just a note for those that attempt this:

  • the CSV file download gets screwed up with some of the check-in comments, so make sure that the number of rows of data after CSV import is equal to your total number of logged beers.
  • There are some HTML characters in place after import (like the code for ampersand instead of &). I’m sure there’s a way to get rid of this in the import process, but I just did a “Replace” of the few I cared about.

A bit of slicing and dicing later, and here’s what the numbers tell:

Top Breweries

Firestone WalkerMy list includes beers from 497 different breweries. Firestone Walker is my favorite brewery and the numbers reflect it. Also reflected is the “drink local” mentality with breweries around Houston, Tampa (where I go for business) and Austin high on the list.

 

Brewery
Beers
Firestone Walker Brewing Company124
Saint Arnold Brewing Company107
Karbach Brewing Co102
Boston Beer Company55
Cigar City Brewing54
Grupo Modelo54
Founders Brewing Co.40
Stone Brewing40
Real Ale Brewing Company39
Clown Shoes36
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery34
New Belgium Brewing Company31
Guinness30
Buffalo Bayou Brewing29
Goose Island Beer Co.29
Spoetzl Brewery28
Big Storm Brewing Co.26
Brooklyn Brewery26
Anheuser-Busch25
Ballast Point Brewing Company25
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.24
Oskar Blues Brewery23
Avery Brewing Co.22
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company22
Odell Brewing Co.22
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company21
Abita Brewing Company20
Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma S.A. de C.V.20
Lagunitas Brewing Company20
(512) Brewing Company19
Freetail Brewing Co.19
8th Wonder Brewery17
BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse17
Left Hand Brewing Company17
Prairie Artisan Ales17
Southern Star Brewing Company17
Alaskan Brewing Co.16
Crooked Thumb Brewery16
Deschutes Brewery16
Sixpoint Brewery16
Boulevard Brewing Co.15
Funky Buddha Brewery15
Stella Artois15
North Coast Brewing Company14
Great Divide Brewing Company13
Independence Brewing Co.13
Breckenridge Brewery12
Deep Ellum Brewing Company12
Southern Tier Brewing Company12
SweetWater Brewing Company12
Victory Brewing Company12
Blue Moon Brewing Company11
Dundee Ales & Lagers11
B-52 Brewing Co.10
Brewery Ommegang10
Dunedin Brewery10
Hops & Grain Brewing10
Kona Brewing Company10
No Label Brewing Company10
Rogue Ales & Spirits10
Samuel Smith's Old Brewery10
3 Daughters Brewing9
Brigadoon Brewery9
Epic Brewing Co. (Utah, Colorado)9
Evil Twin Brewing9
Fort Collins Brewery (FCB)9
Jester King Brewery9
Arkane Aleworks8
Arrogant Brewing8
Austin Beerworks8
Baltika Breweries (–ë–_–ª—Ç–_–_–_)8
Bare Arms Brewing8
Barley Mow Brewing Company8
Cerveceria Costa Rica (Florida Bebidas)8
Community Beer Company8
Coppertail Brewing Company8
Cycler's Brewing8
Lone Pint Brewery8
Miller Brewing Company8
Terrapin Beer Co.8
Widmer Brothers Brewing8
Yuengling Brewery8
11 Below Brewing7
Bell's Brewery7
Full Sail Brewing Company7
Green Flash Brewing Company7
Lakewood Brewing Company7
Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company7
Anderson Valley Brewing Company6
Belhaven Brewery6
Brash Brewing Company6
Coors Brewing Company6
Heineken6
Innis & Gunn6
Pair O' Dice Brewing6
Pinthouse Pizza6
Redhook Brewery6
Shipyard Brewing Company6
Shmaltz Brewing Company6
Tampa Bay Brewing Company6
Tr__egs Independent Brewing6
7venth Sun5
Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy5
Alamo Beer Company5
Asahi Breweries5
Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan5
Bear Republic Brewing Co.5
Bi_®res de Chimay5
Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana5
Charles Wells Brewery5
Cycle Brewing Company5
Darwin Brewing Company5
Franconia Brewing Company5
Humboldt Brewing Company5
John Smith's5
Labatt Brewing Company5
Martin House Brewing Company5
Monday Night Brewing5
Ska Brewing5
St. Pete Brewing Company5
Anchor Brewing Company4
Big Bend Brewing Company4
Big Sky Brewing Company4
Birra Peroni4
Brazos Valley Brewing4
Brouwerij St. Bernardus4
Brouwerij van Hoegaarden4
Capitol City Brewing Company4
City Acre Brewing4
Funkwerks4
Golden Road Brewing4
Green Bench Brewing Co4
High Mesa Brewery4
Infamous Brewing Company4
Koninklijke Grolsch4
Le Corsaire Microbrasserie4
Live Oak Brewing Company4
Magic Hat Brewing Company4
Moon Tower Sudworks4
Oasis Texas Brewing Company4
Oggi's Pizza & Brewing Co.4
Paulaner Brauerei4
Pedernales Brewing Company4
Rio Grande & Sierra Blanca Brewing Company4
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery4
Santa Fe Brewing Company4
Sapporo Breweries4
Shock Top Brewing Co.4
The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery4
Thirsty Planet Brewing Company4
Twisted X Brewing Company4
Uinta Brewing Company4
Wasatch Brewery4
Angry Orchard Cider Company3
Ayinger Privatbrauerei3
Back Pew Brewing Company3
Big Dog's Brewing Company3
Big Texan Brewery3
Blue Point Brewing Company3
Bold City Brewery3
Boreale3
Brouwerij Huyghe3
Circle Brewing Co.3
Copperhead Brewery3
DC Brau Brewing Company3
Evolution Craft Brewing Company3
Flying Dog Brewery3
Fredericksburg Brewing Co.3
Friends & Allies3
Gordon Biersch Brewing Company3
Guadalupe Brewing3
Harpoon Brewery3
Harviestoun Brewery3
Heineken Brasil3
Highland Brewing Company3
Kiuchi Brewery3
Lost Coast Brewery3
Marker 48 Brewing3
Molson Coors Canada3
Mother Earth Brewing (North Carolina)3
Nebraska Brewing Company3
Peticolas Brewing Company3
Phantom Ales3
Port City Brewing3
Prescott Brewing Company3
Rockyard Brewing Company3
Se_±orial Brewing Co.3
Sea Dog Brewing Company3
St. Peter's Brewery Co.3
Staatliches Hofbr_§uhaus M_ºnchen3
The Bruery3
The Lost Abbey3
Wynkoop Brewing Co.3
Zilker Brewing Company3
10 Barrel Brewing Co.2
21st Amendment Brewery2
4th Tap Brewing Co-Op2
5 Stones Artisan Brewery2
AleSmith Brewing Company2
Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.2
Alpine Beer Company2
Archibald Microbrasserie2
Ass Kisser Ales2
Atwater Brewery2
Birra Moretti2
Blue Mountain Brewery2
Boddington's Brewery2
Boon Rawd Brewery2
Boulder Beer Company2
Branchline Brewing Co.2
Brasserie McAuslan (St-Ambroise)2
Brew Bus Brewing2
Brouwerij Palm2
Brouwerij Van Steenberge2
Brouwerij Van Viven2
Busted Sandal Brewing2
Central 28 Beer Company2
Commonwealth Brewery2
Compa_±ia Cervecera de Puerto Rico2
Coney Island Brewery2
Coopers Brewery2
CooperSmith's Pub & Brewing2
Coronado Brewing Company2
Denver Beer Co.2
DuClaw Brewing Company2
Elevation Beer Company2
Equinox Brewing Company2
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.2
Fort Bend Brewing Company2
Four Corners Brewing Company2
Fuller, Smith & Turner 2
GolfBeer Brewing Co2
Great Lakes Brewing Company2
Grupo Damm2
Hand-Brewed Beer2
Heavy Seas Beer2
Heineken Asia Pacific2
Hi Sign Brewing2
Hinterland Brewery2
JDub's Brewing Co.2
Johnson Brewhouse2
Joseph James Brewing Company2
Kirin Brewery Company2
Krombacher Gruppe2
La Cumbre Brewing Company2
Last Stand Brewing Company2
M.I.A. Beer Co.2
Manitou Brewing Company2
Maui Brewing Company2
Motorworks Brewing2
New Holland Brewing Company2
Old Bust Head Brewing Company2
Pabst Brewing Company2
Pizza Boy Brewing Co.2
Rabbit Hole Brewing2
Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling2
Red Brick Brewing Co.2
Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing Co.2
Revolver Brewing2
Rhinelander Brewing Company2
Rock Brothers Brewing2
Rogness Brewing Company2
Small Town Brewery2
Solid Rock Brewing2
South Austin Brewery2
Squatters Craft Beers2
Strange Land Brewery2
Swamp Head Brewery2
Texas Big Beer Brewery2
Thai Beverage PLC2
Three Nations Brewing2
Tsingtao Brewery2
Warsteiner2
Weyerbacher Brewing Company2
Yards Brewing Co.2
3 Floyds Brewing Company1
3 Stars Brewing Company1
81Bay Brewing Co.1
Abbaye de Leffe1
Abbaye de Maredsous1
Abnormal Beer Co1
Adelbert's Brewery1
Ajeper S.A.1
Alchimiste Microbrasserie1
Allagash Brewing Company1
Amstel Bier1
Angel City Brewery1
Angry Chair Brewing1
Atlas Brew Works1
Augustiner-Br_§u M_ºnchen1
Avondale Brewing Co.1
B. Nektar Meadery1
Baja Brewing Company1
Barq's1
Barren Hill Tavern & Brewery1
Bass Brewers1
Beachwood Brewing1
Bearded Fox Brewing Company1
Berkshire Brewing Company (B.B.C.)1
Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven1
Big Top Brewing Company1
Birrificio Del Ducato1
Bitburger Braugruppe1
Black Shirt Brewing Co1
Blue Star Brewing Company1
Brasserie Caracole1
Brasserie de Silly1
Brasserie Lefebvre1
Brasseurs Illimites1
Brauerei Beck1
Brew Hub1
BrewDog1
Bristol Brewing Company1
Brooksville Brewing Company1
Brothers Craft Brewing1
Brouwerij Alken-Maes1
Brouwerij Boon1
Brouwerij De Brabandere (Bavik)1
Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle1
Buffalo Bill's Brewery1
Bull and Barrel Brew Pub1
Caboose Brewing Company1
Captain Lawrence Brewing Company1
Carlsberg UK1
Cascade Brewing Company (USA)1
Cat Cora1
Ceiba1
Celis Brewing Company1
Cerveceria Mexicana1
Cerveceria y Malteria Quilmes1
Cerveza R__stica Yucateca1
City Star Brewing1
Cocoa Beach Brewing Company1
Compa_±ia Cervecera de Nicaragua1
Copper Kettle Brewing Company (Colorado)1
Covington Brewhouse1
Darwin Brewery1
de Bine Brewing Co1
Dej Buh Stesti Brewery1
Desnoes & Geddes1
Devils Backbone Brewing Company1
Dixie Brewing Co.1
Driftwood Brewing1
Dry Dock Brewing Company1
Duvel Moortgat1
Easy Pretzel Brewing Company1
Einst__k _ñlger__1
Elk Mountain Brewing Company1
Elysian Brewing Company1
Engine 15 Brewing Co.1
Escape Brewing Company1
Faction Brewing1
Falls City Beer1
Farnham Ale & Lager1
Florida Avenue Brewing Co.1
Florida Beer Company1
Foster's Group1
Galveston Bay Beer Company1
Gigantic Brewing Company1
Goodwood Brewing1
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant1
Grapevine Craft Brewery1
Green Man Brewery1
Green's Beers1
Grimm Brothers Brewhouse1
Grist Brewing Company1
Grupa _ªywiec1
Grupo Mahou-San Miguel1
Guns And Oil1
Hall Brewing Company1
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery1
Heineken Brewery Ireland1
Hellenic Brewery of Atalanti (EZA)1
Heritage Brewing Company1
Hermitage Brewing1
HOB Brewing (Dunedin)1
Holsten-Brauerei1
Horse & Dragon Brewing Company1
Huff Brewing Company1
Industrias La Constancia1
Intuition Ale Works1
Islamorada Beer Company1
J. Wakefield Brewing1
JailHouse Brewing Company1
Jekyll Brewing1
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales1
K__nig Brauerei1
K__stritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei1
Key Brewing Company1
Kinnitty Castle1
Kronenbourg1
Latitude 33 Brewing1
Laughing Dog Brewing1
Le Trou du Diable1
Left Coast Brewing1
Legend Brewing Company1
Long Trail Brewing Company1
Lost Rhino Brewing Company1
Magnolia Brewing Company1
Margaritaville Brewing Company1
Mike Hess Brewing1
Moa Brewing Company1
Moody Tongue1
Narragansett Brewing Company1
Naughty Brewing1
New Republic Brewing Company1
Nico's Brewing1
Nine Band Brewing1
Ninkasi Brewing Company1
NOLA Brewing1
NXNW Restaurant & Brewery1
O'Dempsey's1
Old Harbor Brewery1
Olympic Brewery1
Omission Beer1
Orpheus Brewing1
Pale Fire Brewing Company1
Paradox Beer Company (Colorado)1
Parkway Brewing Company1
Pateros Creek Brewing1
Peak Organic Brewing Company1
Pensacola Bay Brewery1
Perennial Artisan Ales1
Perrin Brewing Co.1
Pikes Peak Brewing Co.1
Pinellas Ale Works1
Pivovary Staropramen1
Plze_àsk__ Prazdroj1
Prost Brewing Company1
Rapp Brewing Company1
Red Hare Brewing Company1
Reformation Brewery1
Renegade Brewing Company1
Rhinegeist Brewery1
Ridgeway Brewing1
Rinku_°kiai1
River North Brewery1
Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House (Ohio)1
RJ Rockers Brewing Company1
Robinsons Brewery1
Russian River Brewing Company1
Saint Alexandre Pub1
Saint Patrick's Brewing Company1
Saltwater Brewery1
San Antonio Beverage Company1
San Luis Valley Brewing Company1
Santa Clara Valley Brewing1
Schlenkerla ("Heller-Br_§u" Trum)1
Schneider Weisse G. Schneider & Sohn1
Silverking Brewing Company1
Sin City Brewing Co.1
Sinebrychoff1
Six Ten Brewing1
Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill1
Smuttynose Brewing Co.1
Spaten-Franziskaner-L__wenbr_§u-Gruppe1
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers1
SpindleTap Brewery1
Starr Hill Brewery1
Stieglbrauerei zu Salzburg1
Stift Engelszell1
Straight to Ale1
Tap Room No. 21 Brewing1
Texas Ale Project1
Texas Beer Refinery1
The Alchemist1
The Headquarters Homebrewing Club1
The Palace1
The Post Brewing Company1
Thomas Creek Brewery1
Three Taverns Craft Brewery1
Tin Roof Brewing Co.1
Titletown Brewing Company1
To _òl1
Tommyknocker Brewery1
Traveler Beer Co.1
Treaty Oak Brewing1
Triple Voodoo Brewery and Tap Room1
Trumer Privatbrauerei1
Twin Peaks Restaurants1
Twisted Pine Brewing Company1
Two Brothers Brewing Company1
Uncle Billy's Brewery1
Unibroue1
United Breweries (India)1
Upslope Brewing Company1
W_ºrzburger Hofbr_§u1
West Flanders Brewing Co.1
Westbrook Brewing Co.1
Whistle Stop Ale House1
Wrecking Bar Brewing1
Wychwood Brewery1
Wynwood Brewing Company1
Yazoo Brewing Company1
Yee-Haw Brewing Company1
ZEOS Brewing1
Zevia1
Grand Total2588

 

While the majority of the beers were from breweries in the United States, this includes beers from brewers in 38 countries:

Brewery Country
Beer Count
United States2222
Mexico78
Belgium52
England34
Ireland32
Germany29
Canada25
Scotland16
Japan14
Netherlands12
Costa Rica8
Russia8
Italy7
Puerto Rico6
Dominican Republic5
Thailand4
Australia3
Austria3
Brazil3
Greece3
Spain3
Bahamas2
China / People's Republic of China2
Czech Republic2
Singapore2
Argentina1
Denmark1
El Salvador1
Finland1
France1
Iceland1
India1
Jamaica1
Lithuania1
New Zealand1
Nicaragua1
Peru1
Poland1

Top Styles

Out of the 134 different styles of beer tasted, my preferred styles are dark (stouts and porters) but due to their seasonality (I’d drink them year round, but most breweries release them in the fall for cool weather drinking) I cannot get the ones I want all the time. I was surprised by how far ahead American IPAs were over other styles.

Style
Beer Count
IPA - American254
IPA - Imperial / Double122
Stout - American Imperial / Double106
Pale Ale - American104
Porter - American94
Stout - Russian Imperial70
Red Ale - American Amber / Red69
Lager - Vienna62
Stout - Oatmeal59
Stout - Milk / Sweet56
Lager - North American Adjunct50
Porter - Imperial / Double48
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy48
Lager - Pale47
Stout - American45
Porter - Other44
Marzen38
Pumpkin / Yam Beer37
IPA - Session / India Session Ale36
Pale Wheat Ale - American35
Witbier34
Blonde Ale31
Lager - Dark31
IPA - Black / Cascadian Dark Ale30
Brown Ale - American29
Pilsner - Other29
Stout - Irish Dry29
Barleywine - American28
Lager - Euro27
Brown Ale - English25
Lager - American Light25
Strong Ale - American25
Fruit Beer24
Old Ale24
Saison / Farmhouse Ale24
Belgian Quad23
K__lsch23
Pale Ale - English23
Stout - Imperial / Double23
Lager - Helles21
Pilsner - German21
Stout - Other21
Belgian Tripel19
Doppelbock19
Hefeweizen19
Belgian Strong Dark Ale18
Lager - American Amber / Red18
Porter - Baltic18
Barleywine - English17
Belgian Strong Golden Ale15
Pale Ale - Belgian15
Spiced / Herbed Beer15
Winter Warmer15
IPA - English14
Lager - Dunkel Munich14
Red Ale - Irish13
Belgian Dubbel12
Brown Ale - Imperial / Double12
Porter - English12
Winter Ale12
Cream Ale11
English Bitter11
Pilsner - Czech11
Shandy / Radler10
Smoked Beer10
Sour - Ale10
Stout - Imperial Milk / Sweet10
Schwarzbier9
Stout - Foreign / Export9
American Wild Ale8
Golden Ale8
Kellerbier / Zwickelbier8
Rye IPA8
Sour - Gose8
Bock7
IPA - Belgian7
IPA - White7
Lager - Winter7
Red Ale - Imperial / Double7
Stout - Imperial Oatmeal7
Blonde Ale - Belgian Blonde / Golden6
Sour - Berliner Weisse6
Altbier5
Dunkelweizen5
Lager - Japanese Rice5
Root Beer5
Scottish Ale5
Scottish Export Ale5
Brown Ale - Other4
Cider4
Extra Special / Strong Bitter4
Gluten-Free4
IPA - Imperial / Double Black4
IPA - Red4
Kristallweizen4
Lager - Euro Dark4
Lager - IPL (India Pale Lager)4
Maibock / Heller (Helles) Bock4
Other4
Pumpkin / Yam Beer - Imperial4
Weizenbock4
Dark Ale3
IPA - Triple3
Lager - Amber3
Pilsner - Imperial / Double3
Rye Beer3
Strong Ale - English3
California Common2
Festbier2
IPA - International2
Lager - Dortmunder / Export2
Lambic - Gueuze2
Malt Liquor2
Pale Ale - International2
Barleywine - Other1
Biére de Garde1
Burton Ale1
Eisbock1
English Mild Ale1
Grisette1
Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale1
IPA - New England1
Lager - Euro Strong1
Mead - Braggot1
Mead - Cyser1
Mead - Other1
Non-Alcoholic1
Pale Ale - Australian1
Rauchbier1
Roggenbier1
Sour - Flanders Oud Bruin1
Specialty Grain1
Stout - Oyster1
Wheat Wine1

Top Beers

There’s lots of variety in the list of 1,751 unique beers. I did not typically record every beer, but certainly did for the unique ones. Negra Modelo would be even further out in front if I checked in every one that I had. Every Mexican food dinner is enjoyed with one plus a reposado tequila of some sort. Try it!

I blame all of the Stella check-ins on Bob. I successfully avoided most of his Miller Lite temptations. (How is Miller Lite like sex in a canoe? They are both f-ing near water!).
Untappd top beers
Untappd Top beers

Untappd

Badges

At first I thought the Untappd badges were meaningless trinkets. Now I see them as worthless trinkets, some of which show interesting trends. Untappd recently made badges retroactive, so if they announced a new badge all of your previous check-ins would count towards it. They also allowed some badges to go up to a level 100.

Untappd Beer Badges

For those mathematically inclined (like me) who are wondering why Untappd says I have 982 badges but this screenshot only shows 977 – it’s because they count the “Local Badges” separately. I like the local badges, and I wish more venues would do them. And, if you haven’t tried Craft Pride on Rainey Street in Austin, you really should (they are my highest local badge).

From a trend standpoint, maxing out on the US beer badge (Land of the Free) and the “I take pictures of my beers and post them to the Reddit beer porn sub” badge (Photogenic) are obvious. The “Heavy Weight” badge reflects my penchant for stouts and porters (see the “Top ABV” section below). And given that IPAs are at the top of the Top Styles count, it is somewhat surprising that the “I Believe in IPA” badge is so low.

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 8.51.00 PM

The “Bar Explorer” badge almost being maxed out is not surprising. But the “Layover” badge only being a level 5 seems to reflect what I have discovered: airports have crap beers. I’m also surprised that the “Big Game” badge is only at Level 2, but this is probably because we hit the same place for every Packers game.

Top ABV

It figures that the top ABV is a home-brew mead (way to go Nick!).  There are lots of Firestone Walker and Clown Shoes brews on this list. I’ve only put the top few (ABV > 13).

ABV
Beer
Brewery
Style
18.5I Feel the Need For MeadNico's BrewingMead - Other
18120 Minute IPADogfish Head BrewingIPA - Imperial / Double
120 Minute IPA (2012)Dogfish Head BrewingIPA - Imperial / Double
Raison D'ExtraDogfish Head BrewingBelgian Strong Dark Ale
17.5120 Minute IPA (2013)Dogfish Head BrewingIPA - Imperial / Double
17.1Mephistopheles' (2015)Avery Brewing Co.Stout - Imperial / Double
Mephistopheles' Stout (2014)Avery Brewing Co.Stout - American Imperial / Double
Uncle Jacob's StoutAvery Brewing Co.Stout - American Imperial / Double
17He'Brew Jewbelation RebornShmaltz Brewing CompanyStrong Ale - American
15Bolt Cutter (15th Anniversary Barley Wine)Founders Brewing Co.Barleywine - American
Bourbon County Brand StoutGoose Island Beer Co.Stout - American Imperial / Double
14.6Mephistopheles' Stout Avery Brewing Co.Stout - American Imperial / Double
14A Fistful of UnidragonsClown ShoesStout - Russian Imperial
For a Few Unidragons MoreClown ShoesStout - Russian Imperial
For a Few Unidragons More (2017)Clown ShoesStout - Russian Imperial
ParabolaFirestone Walker Brewing CompanyStout - Russian Imperial
Parabola (2014)Firestone Walker Brewing CompanyStout - Russian Imperial
Smoking Wood (Bourbon Barrel Aged) (2014)The BruerySmoked Beer
The Good, The Bad & The UnidragonClown ShoesStout - Russian Imperial
13.5SucubaFirestone Walker Brewing CompanyBarleywine - English
Sucuba (2014)Firestone Walker Brewing CompanyBarleywine - American
Track #10: Bat Out of HellThe Lost AbbeyStout - American Imperial / Double
13.4Stickee Monkee (2014)Firestone Walker Brewing CompanyStrong Ale - American
13.3Sucuba (2015)Firestone Walker Brewing CompanyBarleywine - American
13.2Bravo (2017)Firestone Walker Brewing CompanyBrown Ale - Imperial / Double
HelldoradoFirestone Walker Brewing CompanyBarleywine - American
Helldorado (2015)Firestone Walker Brewing CompanyBarleywine - American
13.1Bishop's Barrel No. 15Saint Arnold Brewing CompanyBarleywine - English

Top IBU

Palate Wrecker is thy name! Again, only the top few (IBU > 100) are shown on this table.

IBU
Beer
Brewery
Style
149Palate WreckerGreen Flash Brewing CompanyIPA - Imperial / Double
120120 Minute IPADogfish Head BrewingIPA - Imperial / Double
120 Minute IPA (2012)Dogfish Head BrewingIPA - Imperial / Double
Dreamcrusher Double IPADeep Ellum Brewing CompanyIPA - Imperial / Double
118Cedar Aged More CowbellBuffalo Bayou BrewingIPA - Imperial / Double
More Cowbell Double IPABuffalo Bayou BrewingIPA - Imperial / Double
115Hop DelusionKarbach Brewing Co.IPA - Imperial / Double
Pussy WagonBrash Brewing CompanyIPA - American
114The JabberwockyLone Pint BreweryIPA - Imperial / Double
110Stone RuinTen Triple IPAStone BrewingIPA - Triple
ValkyrieSouthern Star Brewing CompanyIPA - Imperial / Double
108PuffSixpoint BreweryIPA - Imperial / Double
The EffectBrazos Valley BrewingIPA - Black / Cascadian Dark Ale
104Hog HeavenAvery Brewing Co.IPA - Imperial / Double
Hog Heaven Barleywine (2014)Avery Brewing Co.IPA - Imperial / Double
103Mr. Chain-Blue LightningWest Flanders Brewing Co.IPA - Imperial / Double
ResinSixpoint BreweryIPA - Imperial / Double
102The MaharajaAvery Brewing Co.IPA - Imperial / Double
101Imperial IPA (2014)Green Flash Brewing CompanyIPA - Imperial / Double

Top Check-in Locations

Of the 451 locations I was brazen enough to check a beer in at, there are 165 where I checked in only once. Some of those were just for fun (Luckenbach Texas, Thumb Butte Lookout, The Carousel Bar in New Orleans, Leavenworth Federal Prison (the kids were so proud), Houston Air Traffic Control Tower (fly by), Hidden Corner Ewa Beach on Oahu, Grand Canyon National Park Airport, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Locker Room (at the game where the Packer came back from 21 down to beat the Cowboys with a backup QB!),  Cenote Yokdzonot (in the Yucatan), and the Bull Shark Feeding Grounds (I don’t remember where this was!).

Obviously at home check-ins were the highest. And yes, I’ve checked in 4 beers at Lambeau Field (so far!).

Check-In LocationTotal
Ketchersid Sports Bar484
Topgolf108
Kilburn's Tavern & Grille81
Mike's Pizza & Tap House56
Rockwell Grill49
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema- Vintage Park44
Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill42
Willard's Tap House39
Mo's Irish Pub38
The Shack37
Whole Foods Market31
Bar fly31
Cigar City Brewing30
Buffalo Wild Wings24
The Holy Grail Pub23
Juanita's22
BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse20
Big Storm Pinellas20
World of Beer18
US Post Office18
Freetail Brewing Co.17
Brick House Tavern + Tap16
Rumba Island Bar & Grill15
Petrol Station15
Mellow Mushroom14
Karbach Brewing Co.14
Flying Saucer Draught Emporium14
Texas Renaissance Festival13
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott13
Ker's WingHouse Bar &; Grill12
Crooked Thumb Brewing12
Craft Pride12
Brix Wine Cellars &; Restaurant12
The Hay Merchant11
Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens Liberty Station11
Omni Dallas Hotel at Park West11
Moon Tower Inn11
G'Raj Mahal Cafe11
City of Highlands Ranch11
Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden11
Amalie Arena11
Old School Pizza &; Suds10
Ketchersid Sky Bar10
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion10
Ceviche Tapas Bar &; Restaurant10
B-52 Brewing Company10
Taco Mac9
Fort Collins Brewery &; Tavern9
Dunedin Brewery9
The Westin Alexandria8
The Hideaway8
Tampa International Airport (TPA) (Tampa International Airport)8
Mike's Pizza and Tap House 28
Meddlesome Moth8
Hooters8
Ballast Point Tasting Room &; Kitchen - Little Italy8
Abel's on the Lake8
Peli Peli7
Mongoose vs Cobra7
George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) (George Bush Intercontinental Airport)7
Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen7
Chester's Hamburgers7
Brooks Tower7
Art and Soul7
Arkane Aleworks7
Valley Tavern6
Saltgrass Steak House6
New Belgium Brewing6
El Tiempo Cantina - Vintage Park6
Courtyard by Marriott6
BRC Gastropub6
54th Street Restaurant & Drafthouse6
Whistle Stop Grill &; Bar5
Trademark Drink &; Eat5
The Quarter Bar &; Grill5
The Porter Beer Bar5
The Original Ninfa's on Navigation5
Penn Social5
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen5
La Taberna L__pulo5
JW Marriott Austin5
Jester King Brewery5
Freshcraft5
Frenchy's Rockaway Grill5
Cypress Street Pint &; Plate5
Brigadoon Brewery5
8th Wonder Brewery5
3 Stacks Smoke &; Tap House5
Watson's House of Ale's4
Twin Peaks Restaurant4
Taps Valley Gastropub4
Southern Star Brewing Company4
Shadow cliff swim club4
Saint Arnold Brewing Company4
Rock Bottom Brewery4
Reserve 1014
Punta Cana Dominican Restaurant4
Pizza e Birra4
Outback Steakhouse4
Omni Shoreham Hotel4
Omni Austin Hotel Downtown4
Oggi’s Pizza &; Brewhouse Point Loma4
Mike's Pizza &; Deli Station4
Makaha Valley Towers4
Maggiano's Little Italy4
Luz En Yucatan4
Lucky's Pub4
Lambeau Field4
La Bierhaus4
L'affaire est Ketchup4
Javelina4
Hop Scholar Ale House4
Hank's Oyster Bar4
Great Divide Brewing Co.4
Draught House Pub &; Brewery4
Corsaire Microbrasserie4
City Acre Brewing4
Cedar Creek Caf_©, Bar &; Grill4
Capitol City Brewing Company4
Bare Arms Brewing Company4
American Airlines Center4
Wynkoop Brewing Co.3
White Horse Tavern3
Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie3
United Club3
Tropicana Field3
Tilted Kilt King of Prussia3
Thumb Butte Trail3
The Vortex Bar &; Grill3
The Marketplace3
The Local Peasant3
The Jefferson Hotel3
The Big Texan Steak Ranch3
Rockyard Brewing Co.3
Ramen Tatsu-ya3
Prescott Brewing Company3
Poblano's Grill &; Bar3
Phantom Ales &; Home Brew Shop3
Odell Brewing Co.3
Mussel Bar &; Grille3
Mulligan's3
Megg's Cafe3
Lucille's3
La Merienda3
Kahlo3
Hotel S_°mara Inn3
Hog Island Oyster Co.3
Growler's Beer and Wine To Go3
Funkwerks3
Fredericksburg Brewing Company3
Foxworthy Shopping Center3
Falling Rock Tap House3
Exhibit Ale3
El Prez3
Dixie Tavern3
Cottonwood3
Carrabba's Italian Grill3
Can Can Brasserie3
Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.3
Brick Store Pub3
Big Woodrow's3
Big Hops Gastropub3
Beer Market Co.3
Bavarian Brauhaus3
Baba Yega3
Avery Brewing Company3
Anothai Cuisine3
20 Mile Tap House3
Zona Arqueol__gica de Uxmal2
Wung Thai and Sushi Bar2
West Flanders Brewing Company2
USS Midway Flight Deck2
United Club - Terminal C2
TJ's Sports Bar &; Grill2
The Townsend2
The Sunset Restaurant2
The Strand Historic District2
The Shack Burger Resort - Rose Hill2
The Raven2
The Oasis on Lake Travis2
The Moon Under Water2
The Lion &; Rose British Restaurant &; Pub2
The Hoppy Monk2
The Crafted Plate2
The Cherry Cricket2
The Brown Hotel2
Tarpon Tavern2
Table and Tavern2
Swanky's Oysters &; Libations2
Stats Sports Bar &; Grill2
Sprouts Farmers Market2
South City Kitchen Vinings2
Shogun Hibachi Grill - Vintage2
Shady Grove2
Shack Burger Resort Telge2
San Antonio International Airport (SAT)2
Saint-Alexandre Pub2
Saigon Fresh2
Safety Harbor Grill &; Bar2
Royal Gorge Train Route2
Roy's Ko Olina2
Rolling Stone Bar &; Grill2
Rolling Oaks Golf and Sports Bar2
Raymond James Stadium2
Prescott Ear Nose &; Throat2
Pizza Italia2
Pete &; Shorty's2
Pacific Moon2
Omni Houston Hotel2
Odd Duck2
Norman Y. Mineta San Jos_© International Airport (SJC) (Norman Y. Mineta San Jos_© International Airport)2
Nolan's Pub2
Noe at the Omni Los Angeles2
Nick's Sports Bar &; Grill2
New World Brewery2
Naschmarkt2
Mythos Greek Taverna2
Mar y Tierra2
Manning's2
Manitou Springs Memorial Park2
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino2
Lone Pint Brewery2
Locatelli's Pizza2
Locatelli2
Local Pour2
La Vela Latina Beach Bar2
La Chapelle Pub &; Grill2
Knife &; Fork Gastropub2
Kaua'i Marriott Resort2
John Wayne Airport (SNA) (John Wayne Airport)2
Hobbit Cafe2
Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Perimeter Center2
Hido Japanese Grill &; Sushi2
Hearsay Gastro Lounge2
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)2
Harrisburg International Airport (MDT)2
H-E-B2
Grind House Bar &; Grill2
Grille District2
Green Bay Distillery2
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant2
Fourth Street Shrimp Store2
FM Smoke House2
Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue2
Ferg's Sports Bar &; Grill2
Eureka!2
Equinox Brewing2
Embassy Suites by Hilton Austin Downtown Town Lake2
El Jarro De Arturo2
El Chile Cafe y Cantina2
Ducky's2
Drago's Seafood Restaurant2
Dr. Pepper Star Center2
Denver International Airport (DEN)2
Denver Beer Co.2
Cypress Station Grill2
Courtyard Marriott Atlanta Cumberland Center2
Courtside Grille2
Copperheads Taphouse2
CooperSmith's Pub &; Brewing :: Pubside2
Colorado Renaissance Festival2
Clearwater Yacht Club2
Clear Sky Draught Haus2
Chart House Restaurant2
Champions Restaurant &; Sports Bar2
Cenote2
Brother's Pizza2
Boiler House Texas Grill &; Wine Garden2
Boardwalk - Santa Monica Beach2
Black Sheep Lodge2
Billy's On Burnet2
Bernie's Burger Bus Stop2
Bear Creek Soccer Fields2
BB's Tex-Orleans Cooking!2
Barton's Lounge2
Barren Hill Tavern &; Brewery2
Barley Mow Brewing Company2
Baker St. Pub &; Grill2
Auberge St-Antoine2
Apoala | Mexican Cuisine2
All_¥ French Rotisserie2
Alamo Drafthouse Ritz2
A_©roport International Jean-Lesage de Qu_©bec (YQB) (A_©roport International Jean-Lesage de Qu_©bec)2
8th Avenue Pub2
400 Beach Seafood &; Tap House2
11 Below Brewing2
Wrecking Bar Brewpub1
Woodway &; Voss1
WinStar World Casino and Resort1
Via 3131
Twin Liquors1
Twin Liqours1
Tuckahoe Plantation1
Train1
Toyota Center1
Toby Keith's I Love This Bar &; Grill1
Titletown Brewing Co.1
Tilted Kilt Clearwater1
Thumb Butte Lookout1
The Villa Restaurant of Woodland Hills1
The Trinity Hotel1
The Train Tracks1
The Ronald Reagan Pub1
The Ranch at Las Colinas1
The Pool1
The Palace1
The Old Stone Church Restaraunt1
The Hot Tub At The Fairfield Inn1
The Goodwin1
The Container Bar1
The Carousel Bar &; Lounge1
Thai Chili1
Terminal B1
Tanq1
Tampa Bay Brewing Company1
TAG Lounge &; Bar1
Swift's Attic1
SUR Beach House1
Stopped By A Train1
St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater1
SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza Overland Park1
Speakeasy1
Southside Flying Pizza1
Southern Star Brewing Company Taproom1
somewhere in houston1
Soda Springs Park1
Smart Financial Centre1
SLS Las Vegas1
Shaburi1
Sea Devil Tavern1
Santikos Silverado 19 IMAX1
Sam Snead's Tavern1
Sal's Italian Restaurant1
Rusty Bellies1
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) (Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport)1
Richmond International Airport (RIC)1
Poppy's Seafood Grill1
Polish Pub1
Piedra de Agua1
Phillip's Seafood1
Phantom Ranch1
Perfect Landing Restaurant1
Pepsi Center1
Pateros Creek Brewing1
Pappas Seafood House1
Osteria Mazzantini1
opa's schnitzel haus1
Onion Creek1
Omni Hotel at CNN Center1
Nocturne1
Niko Niko's1
New Orleans City Park1
Native Bar and Kitchen1
Na Pali Coast1
Monarch Restaurant1
MKT BAR1
Minute Maid Park1
Miller Outdoor Theatre1
Mellow Mushroom - San Antonio1
McCray's Tavern on the Square1
McCarran International Airport (LAS)1
MAX's Wine Dive Austin1
Luis Mu_±oz Mar__n International Airport (SJU) (Aeropuerto Internacional Luis Mu_±oz Mar__n)1
Luckenbach Texas and Dance Hall1
Luckenbach1
Local Republic1
Little India1
Little Colorado River Gorge1
Levi's Stadium1
Lemaire1
Leavenworth Federal Prison1
Latin Bites1
Lankford's Grocery &; Market1
La Tratto Santa Luc__a1
La Chaya Maya1
La Carafe1
Kurios By Cirque Du Soleil1
King's Bierhaus1
Kennedy's Chicago Pizza1
Kansas City International Airport (MCI) (Kansas City International Airport)1
Johnson Beer Fridge1
Jackson's Denver1
Houstonia Magazine1
Houston Greek Festival1
Houston Air Traffic Control Tower1
Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin1
Hotel El Convento1
Hopdoddy Burger Bar1
Hoover's Cooking1
Hilton Austin1
Hidden Corner Ewa Beach1
Harvest by Roy Ellamar1
Hard Eight BBQ1
Hall of Fame Chophouse1
Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen &; Bar1
Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken1
Grand Canyon National Park Airport (GCN)1
Gordon Biersch Bar &; Restaurant1
Galveston Seawall1
Galveston Beach @ Murdochs1
Frankies Spuntino 5701
Frank &; Angie's1
Fort Worth Museum of Science and History1
Ford Thunder Alley - West Plaza, Tampa Bay Times Forum1
Flight 17051
El Tucho1
El Naranjo1
Editing Desk1
Echo Lake Lodge1
Dubliner Restaurant &; Pub1
Dover's Grill1
Discovery Green1
Denver Oktoberfest1
Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)1
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Locker Room1
Cypress Saloon1
Cured1
Craft Street Kitchen Oldsmar1
Courtyard San Diego Airport/Liberty Station1
Clicks Billiards San Antonio North1
Chipotle Mexican Grill1
Chinatown Express1
Chi'lantro1
Chefusion Bar/lounge UPstairs1
Cenote Yokdzonot1
Carlyle Club1
Capparelli's Restaurant1
Canyon Creek1
Cafe Marrese1
Cabo Wabo1
Bull shark feeding grounds1
Bonefish Grill1
Bombay Pizza Co.1
Blue Bar at Brenner's on the Bayou1
BJ's1
Bikestation Washington DC1
Barclays Center1
Ban Thai Restaurant - Clearwater1
Ban Thai Restaurant1
Bam Bam Vietnamese1
Balliceaux1
Bahama Breeze1
Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) (Austin Bergstrom International Airport)1
AT&;T Stadium1
AOA Bar &; Grill1
Antico Pizza Napoletana1
AMC Willowbrook 241
Alley Theatre1
Alamodome1
Acme Oyster House1
3rd Bar Eating House1

If you use the Untappd app, you too can get more data about your beer logging that you would ever need by becoming an Untappd supporter here.

ReviewsTabCurrentVersioniOS9

Steps to Rate and Review Apps on the Apple App Store

An App’s visibility on the Apple App Store is enhanced by its ratings and reviews. We’ve received many great ratings and reviews for our JoSara MeDia apps that are in the Apple App Store. And the steps to provide App Store reviews and ratings have changed slightly between the current iOS10 and the forthcoming iOS11 (now in preview).

What some users are not aware of is that the rating visibility of an App is reset with each new version. Even a minor change to an app will cause the ratings to reset. For example, we made a minor change to our Grand Canyon app to make the videos fit better when the iPhone 7 and 7+ were released. Even though the Grand Canyon app has only five star ratings (13 at last count) those ratings are not visible on the new version unless a user explicitly selects to look for reviews and ratings for “All Versions.”

There are several ways to ensure re-ratings, such as in-app pop-ups (Update: this will change with iOS11 as Apple will require developers to use its own in-app rating API, which will limit the number of times a user is prompted).. But users can also go into the App Store from their iPhone or iPad and easily rate apps.

The main differences between App Store reviews and ratings in iOS10 and the iOS11 preview are:

  • the app developer will be given a method (most likely in iTuneConnect) to select whether they would like ratings to carry across updates (hat tip to Reddit user emlombardo for pointing this out)
  • to rate an app on iOS11 can be done from the app’s page in the app store without going into the “Write a Review” section. This should provide for more ratings, albeit without reviews.

Here are the steps. Screenshots are below.

  1. Tap on the App Store Icon
  2. Tap in Search
  3. Type in “josara” to search for JoSara MeDia apps (or any other app name or app developer if you want to rate their apps)
  4. Scroll to the app you want to rate and tap on that apps name
  5. For iOS 10 and earlier versions:
    1. tap on the “Reviews” tab (between “Details” and “Related)
    2. tap on “Write a Review”
    3. tap on a star rating (5 stars is best, 1 star is worst)
    4. if you like, enter a title and a review of the app
  6. For iOS 11 (as of the current beta)
    1. scroll down to the “Ratings and Reviews” section
    2. tap on a star rating
    3. if you like tap on “Write a Review”

Click on the screenshots for App Store reviews and ratings in the table below to see larger versions.

iOS10 and earlier
iOS11
Locate App Store
Locate Search icon
Enter Search Terms
View Search Results
Select App to Rate and/or Review
For iOS10, tap on "Reviews" header.

For iOS11, scroll down to "Reviews" section
For iOS 10, tap on the "All Versions" tab to see ratings and reviews for all versions.

For iOS11, as of the current preview release, I can find no such option
To Rate an App:

For iOS 10, tap on "Write a Review." Star ratings are inside the "Write a Review" section. Tap a star, then tap send. Reviews are optional.

For iOS11, simply tap on the star rating.
To Review an App, tap on the "Write a Review" label in both versions

The Witchwood Crown

The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams (Book 1 of The Last King of Osten Ard)

The Witchwood CrownIt was with equal parts anticipation and trepidation that I began reading The Witchwood Crown, the first book in The Last King of Osten Ard series which follows the classic Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. The anticipation points are obvious: there is evidence all over this blog how deep I’ve gotten into Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, and how much I and many other readers were looking forward to continuing the story, revisiting the world of Osten Ard. And while I had no trepidation about whether it would be a good book (I’ve read almost everything Tad has written, and have enjoyed them all), my concerns were split between personal and magnanimous. Personal, in that as Tad is the GOD of Osten Ard he has the power and the right to not pursue characters and plot lines that I the self-absorbed reader would want to follow. Magnanimous, in that Tad deserves the kind of world-wide recognition and success that authors whose works came out in the Internet age of Reddit, HBO and You-Tube receive. When Memory, Sorrow and Thorn hit the presses between 1988 and 1993, an author’s legend was formed on word-of-mouth and newspaper reviews. The DAW flyer that was sent out with promotional copies described Tad Williams as a “California-based fantasy superstar.” This book, this series is and was the chance to show the world what those of us who are fans of MS&T knew was true.

I was also very interested to see how Tad’s writing experience would express itself. After thirty years of writing, plus some great collaborative editing with his wife Deb and with the experience of venturing outside of fantasy with other series, Tad’s had a lot of pages to hone his craft.

Happily, my worries on most of the above were all for naught. The Witchwood Crown is better than we could have hoped for – at times poetic in its philosophizing, blatant in its treachery, tear-jerking (no, Audrey, I didn’t cry reading this book either!) and exciting. My biggest issue was trying to slow down my reading at the end, knowing I’d be waiting twelve months for the next installment.

Though I do not believe a new reader would be lost starting here instead of reading MS&T (and the follow-on novel, The Heart of What Was Lost), I highly recommend riding the entire Osten Ard train, and then diving into this one. Or at least read the re-read eBook (shameless plug).

My reactions fall into several categories:

  • Past characters – who would be in the plot? who, after 30 years, were too old to continue? who would be left out? How many times would I cry out “No, Tad! Don’t do it!”?
  • New characters – how would they blend in? I’m including those characters that were introduced in The Heart of What Was Lost (THOWWL) as well here.
  • Motivation – Tad has spoken in many interviews about his motivation for getting back to Osten Ard. What would be the motivation for the story, what would keep the characters moving?
  • Repetition – in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, Tad paid homage to and broke some of the (at the time) well-laid and well-worn fantasy tropes. And the story of a boy who turned into a man who turned into a hero with a to-be-revealed past played well with Simon. Would we see more of that, or a different plot line? Would this be Utuk’ku vs. mankind part deus (since we know she is only in the deep sleep)?
  • Differences in Tad’s writing - Tad’s older and has many pages under his belt. How would his writing show the changes?
  • Continuity – there are at least two more books planned in the Last King of Osten Ard series. What will be the reason for continuing?

I will mark each section if there are potential spoilers for those who have not yet read the book. If it is on the cover blurb and freely available, I’ll assume it is not a spoiler. The potential spoiler passages will be blurred out like this next section   this is a SPOILER  - just hover over to see it.

Past characters

One of the hardest challenges of The Witchwood Crown, of continuing a series such as Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, is how to handle the characters that Tad knew all of us had grown very attached to, while weaving in the new ones that will carry the story forward. I am totally enthralled in the way Tad is pursuing this.

Tad writes the reunions of his old characters like they are reunions between his readers and those same characters, as it should be:

But both the King and the wolf-riding apparition had stopped in the middle of the bridge and were climbing down from their mounts, paying little attention to nobody but each other.
“Binabik!” his grandfather shouted, then pulled the small figure into his arms like a father whose child had been returned to him after a long, frightening absence. (pg. 91)

While I wouldn’t call the time without Osten Ard frightening, it has certainly been long and arduous!

The returning mortal characters are 30-or-so years older, and King Simon and Queen Miri have been working to rebuild a war-torn kingdom in that time, while Simon learns what it is to rule. The interplay between these two 50-somethings is one of the best characterizations of the writing. Tad lets us see glimpses of the people that they were (Simon referring to himself as “mooncalf”, Miri telling stories about him) while showing us the people and couple that they are now. They should be enjoying the twilight of their lives, but their kingdom is under siege from forces within and outside.

He didn’t mean to sound like a hurt child, but he knew that he did. At the moment though, hidden by the darkness, he did not care. “When we argued earlier, you all but called me a ‘kitchen boy.’ As if, despite more than thirty years of being a king, of ruling at your side, I was still a child you thought you had to instruct.”
“No, no. That’s not true. It’s not even fair.” He heard her bare feet pad across the floor, felt the bed sag slightly as she climbed back in. “It’s just…sometimes I lose patience.”
“As you would lose patience with a child. Or a simpleton.”
“Simon, please. It isn’t like that. Not truly.” Her hand found his in the darkness and curled within it, like an exhausted animal looking for shelter. “I love you so much that is sometimes makes me think I would go mad without you. But sometimes you don’t seem to think beyond what you can see, what you can reach. If someone tells you the mean well, you believe them. If someone fails you but tried hard, you never punish them or even dismiss them.” (pg 590)

This occurred after the oldsters had just made mad, passionate love. Relationships are complex, even after 30 years of marriage. Tad knows this, and his depiction of their relationship is complicated and engaging. I’ve never been a big fan of Miriamele, but I am a fan of her vivid depiction: a spoiled former princess who has maintained some of her airs as Queen. She is balanced out by Simon, who she constantly chides for being too nice and naive.

As noted above Binabik is back, as are Tiamak, Count Eolair, Jerimias and others. Alas, age affects mortal men and mortal beasts. Duke Isgrimnur, a key figure in both the original trilogy and THOWWL, was old in those books and barely makes it to this one. Also, Qantaqa, Binabik’s wolf partner, has went to that great wolf home in the sky. He will be sorely missed.

Josua, Miri’s uncle, has not been heard from in quite some time, along with his wife and his twin children (who were the subject of Aditu’s prophecy – see below). This is from the book cover blurb.

Utuk’ku was, at the end of MS&T (and in THOWWL as well) in a deep recovery sleep after her defeat in To Green Angel Tower. As the book cover blurb states, she has awakened.

The Sithi are back as well, though the ones we know and love do not make their presence known until the very end of the novel.

New characters

There are two vectors here: how would the new characters introduced in The Heart of What Was Lost influence this new series? And how would new characters be integrated amongst the Simon, Miriamele, Binabik, Tikmak core group of players?

On my first reading of The Heart of What Was Lost my impression of it was that it was a nice vignette (short by Tad standards!), a standalone novel if you will, the main purpose of which was to get readers back into the world of Osten Ard and get them primed for the series. Au contraire! There are major plot points and characters that were introduced in that lovely bridge novel that highly impact The Witchwood Crown.

From The Heart of What Was Lost, the characters of Porto the misplaced warrior, Viyeki the Norn High Magister of the Order of Builders and and several half-breed Norn-mortals (which was excellently setup by THOWWL) play a roll in The Witchwood Crown, with  Viyeki and his half-breed daughter Nezeru  acting as point-of-view characters in several chapters. With The Heart of What Was Lost, we were able to see a Norn’s point of view, and luckily this continues even more so in The Witchwood Crown. There is no black and white/good and evil, lots of shades of grey on all sides.

Tad always has written strong female characters, and the new characters introduced here are no exception. Viyeki’s half-breed daughter Nezeru is a central character, strong but conflicted between her human and Norn selves. She is my favorite of all of the new characters introduced.

Prince Morgan, grandson of Simon and Miri, is a central character. There are some similarities with Simon from the first book; they both have some growing up to do. But there the similarities end. Morgan drinks and cavorts his way through his first chapters. Will he be able to grow out of that and be able to lead the Kingdom? Is he the titular Last King of Osten Ard? Tad writes spoiled rotten kid roles very well (see above comment about Miri), but Morgan is very  complex depiction of that personality.

Motivation

In my article on where MS&T fit in the history of fantasy, I wrote “From a certain perspective, Williams’ MS&T is at once an homage to LOTR and a commentary on those parts that seem a bit ‘black and white.’ I still believe this was the motivation for the series – to take the success Tolkein had with his imageries of pure good vs. pure evil, and make them more grey. I was very interested in trying to discern what Williams’ motivation for diving back into the world was…but even after devouring this first book, I do not yet know. Anticipation is a GOOD thing.

All of the characters that we followed in the first series are 30 years older. For the immortal ones, that is a minor blip; but for the mortals, many of them have reached the advanced ages of life; Simon and Miri would be in their 50s if my math is correct. There are certainly the plot points of ruling a kingdom, of lands whose rulers are less that subservient or whose rulers are in danger of being usurped. However, this is certainly not motivation enough to extend the classic MS&T.

The prophecy that Aditu foretold in MS&T about Josua and Vorzheva’s twins was seen by many as motivation. For those that don’t have it memorized (I had to go back and find it) it is:

“They will be as close as brother and sister can be,” Aditu intoned, her voice suddenly solemn and powerful, “although they will live many years apart. She will travel in lands that have never known a mortal woman’s step, and will lose what she loves best, but find happiness with what she once despised. He will be given another name. He will never have a throne, but kingdoms will rise and fall by his hand.” The Sitha’s eyes opened wide, but seemed to gaze far beyond the confines of the room. “Their steps will carry them into mystery.” (pg. 411-412 of To Green Angel Tower)

The twins are in this book, not quite in the way I’ve imagined them. I’ll leave no spoilers here because I thought the reveal was pretty sweet. But I do not think this is Tad’s main motivation for restarting the series.

Nor do I think a second battle with Utuk’ku (though with her awakening that certainly seems likely) is Tad’s motivating factor either.

I was hoping for a view into the Norns’ perspective. That came with THOWWL and increases here.  The breeding of Norns with mortals, and the pursuant issues of prejudice and judgement of the pure bloods vs. half-breeds that comes with that, are a central part of the Norns story in this series, central to their survival and a major change in their culture. Williams writes scenes involving these characters very well, showing the  full blood Norns disdain for their less than pure brethren.

I do not think the reason for the series has been revealed by the end of this first book, although the search for the item that is indeed The Witchwood Crown (though we readers still do not know what it is) leads me to believe that it, its backstory and its usage will provide us the answer for Tad’s return to Osten Ard.

Repetition

There are several themes and plot lines that are similar between MS&T and this new novel.

MS&T can be described as a coming-of-age story of a boy that grows up to challenge dark forces led by a vengeful immortal Queen (with a Storm King side-kick, plus a mad mortal King). And that one line description could be used to describe the basis of The Witchwood Crown as well, as a lot centers on Prince Morgan who indeed has quite a bit of growing up to do.

MS&T could also be described as a treatise on love…and not just Simon’s and Miri’s. The motivation for King Elias to do the evil things he did, though it was never explicitly stated, was to go back in time to when his dear wife was alive. And let’s not forget about the love between Binabik and Qantaqa!!! The Witchwood Crown richly explores the love of Simon and Miri, but it does not seem to be as deep a theme as the first series.

There’s also a bit of familiarity of Simon and Binabik’s friendship with the one between Morgan and the Qanuc Snenneq.

I’m not pointing these out as bad things, and certainly not laziness on the writer’s part. These tie ins of familiarity are actually stimulating for readers of the first series, reminding us of what happened and how it felt to make that journey.

Differences in Tad’s Writing

It’s easy to forget that, as legendary as Memory, Sorrow and Thorn is in the annals of fantasy (see my article on SFSignal), it was the second piece of writing Tad Williams did (after Tailchaser’s Song if my history is correct). Like the characters in his book, Tad is older (though the shaved head hides it well!) and wiser…and certainly a more experienced writer. With Otherland, ShadowMarch, Bobby Dollar and other works under his belt, the pacing in The Witchwood Crown feels more natural, the characterizations more defined, the plot tighter. Some of this may be attributed to the familiarity of the world, much could be the editing of Tad’s lovely wife Deborah. It feels like a runner hitting his stride, and I can’t help but wonder if this is why Tad picked up the thread of the story…like a runner who’s feeling it and signs up for a race with confidence.

One of the knocks on The Dragonbone Chair is that it starts off slowly. There are a couple of chapters in that first book where I would agree with that sentiment – though I do enjoy the setup, the surrounding of the reader with the normalcy of Simon’s everyday life before all heck breaks loose. I personally experienced no such slowness of pace in The Witchwood Crown. I was told that I would speed through the last 200 pages – and the temptation and motivation was certainly there (though I resisted to make it last).

There are some situations here that are much more adult than the previous series, which I welcome…as they are a specific part of either the plot, or, more importantly of characterizations (especially of Simon and Miri, Pasevalles and Nezeru (not together). ).

Continuation

I do not recall reading any of Tad’s books that possess more cliff hangers than this one. Perhaps the fact that I could re-read the first trilogy back-to-back-to-back made any cliff hangers seem less significant.

In this novel, it seems that almost every major character was left hanging in one form or another – or revealed something about themselves that made us wonder how they were motivated to do that. On the one hand, I’d like to poke Mr. Williams in the ribs and shout “what the hell, Tad?” for doing that to us loyal readers. On the other hand, that might slow him down from completing the 2nd book in the saga.

There are certainly more than enough plot lines and secrets to be revealed to keep this series barreling along through the inevitable fourth book (a large third book split in two equals four)!

Things I wish would have happened

These have nothing to do with anything, just random thoughts. These contain MAJOR spoilers, so tread lightly.

  •  Aditu’s child was Simon’s. C’mon, we’re all thinking it, I just wrote it out loud!
  • Qantaqa, Binabik’s first wolf, was still alive. Maybe the wolf could have had an injection of Sithi blood or DNA to make the wolf immortal.

In Conclusion

If DAW, the publisher of this series, does a year between books, then there’s only 11 months until Empire of Grass. At least I’ve got a Packers season and the rest of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series to tide me over. Tad recently posted on Facebook that he was cleaning out the garage. If that was in any way slowing down the writing/publishing of the next novel, he could have found ample volunteers for the chore!

Tad’s trophy chest, though full of awards for bass playing, garage cleaning and promoting clowns, is empty of Hugo and Nebula awards. This books is a great story, a great start to a new series. We’ll see what else comes out this year, but The Witchwood Crown should certainly be in consideration.

Tad Williams Osten Ard

The Witchwood Crown – Thoughts on the return to Osten Ard – Part 5

As much as I tried to make the return to Osten Ard in The Witchwood Crown last, for there is a wait of at least a year before The Empire of Grass arrives, it had to end at some point. Similar to the binge watching Netflix crowd who like to feast on entire seasons of a show in a few (or one!) sittings, I like to line up the books in a series and plow right through them. This is not just for continuity, but also for the freshness that comes with the characters. I’m in the midst (interrupted only by Tad’s latest) of a straight read through of Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen, which is a march through ten massive novels (with some of his cohort Ian Esselmont’s stories thrown in as well).

But for an Osten Ard novel, I will make an exception.

It will take me a while to get my thoughts together, but I would certainly agree with the job title attributed to Mr. Williams in the DAW promotional note that accompanied the book I received (thanks John!)….Tad Williams is indeed a  California-based fantasy superstar. He may not get paid as much as that other California-based fantasy superstar (who plays for Tad’s hometown Warriors)…a deeper conversation on the compensation differences between those who write prose that will last several lifetimes, and those who entertain us with skill in sports.

Tad Williams Osten Ard

In the mean time for my friend Ylva (who probably already has this memorized), here’s a list of the chapters (which I need to aid my memory as I write some notes). From my perspective after having read the book, there are no spoilers in reading these titles.

Foreword

Part 1 – Widows

  1. The Glorious
  2. The Finest Tent on the Frostmarch
  3. Conversation with a Corpse-Giant
  4. Brother Monarchs
  5. Awake
  6. An Aversion to Widows
  7. Island of Bones
  8. A Meeting on Lantern Bridge
  9. Heart of the Kynswood
  10. Hymns of the Lightless
  11. The Third Duke
  12. The Bloody Sand
  13. Lady Alva’s Tale
  14. Ghosts of the Garden
  15. Atop the Holy Tree
  16. A Layer of Fresh Snow
  17. White Hand
  18. A Bad Book
  19. The Moon’s Token
  20. His Bright Gem
  21. Crossroad
  22. Death Songs
  23. Testament of the White Hand

Part Two – Orphans

  1. Terrible Flame
  2. Example of a Dead Hedgehog
  3. The Inner Council
  4. Noontide at the Quarterly Maid
  5. Cradle Songs of Red Pig Lagoon
  6. Brown Bones and Black Statues
  7. The Slow Game
  8. A High, Dark Place
  9. Rosewater and Balsam
  10. Secrets and Promises
  11. Feeding the Familiar
  12. The Man with the Odd Smile
  13. A Foolish Dream
  14. Two Bedroom Conversations
  15. The Factor’s Ship
  16. A Grassland Wedding
  17. Watching Like God

Part Three – Exiles

  1. Hern’s Horde
  2. Forest Music
  3. Into Deeper Shadows
  4. Charms and Tokens
  5. A Nighttime Sun
  6. River Man
  7. Hidden Chambers
  8. The Little Boats
  9. Blood as Black as Night
  10. Several Matters of State
  11. Stolen Scales
  12. Homecoming
  13. Their Masters’ Folly
  14. Voices Unheard, Faces Unseen

Afterword

The Witchwood Crown

The Witchwood Crown – Thoughts on the return to Osten Ard – Part 4

As I sit on Chapter 28 of 54 chapters in The Witchwood Crown, a few random observations:

Chapter Names

I mentioned this in the re-read and commentary eBook that I put together, but I’ll bring it up again. I normally never read the Chapter names in a book. Some authors keep it simple by naming the chapter at the PoV character (looking at you, Mr. GRRM!); some do not even bother with naming their chapters (guilty!). But I noticed during the re-read that Tad’s chapter names had either foreshadowing, humor or serious sarcasm in them.

The name of Chapter 28 made me think Tad was laughing when he pulled that one out of his…head. It conjures up many different images at once, and somehow made me think of the WerePig from the Bobby Dollar series!

The Witchwood Crown chapter name

 

The Appendix of The Witchwood Crown

There is a 15 page Appendix in To Green Angel Tower (which is 1,066 pages in hardback) versus a 25 page Appendix in The Witchwood Crown (which is 694 pages in hardback). Obviously the world of Osten And has grown, and/or Mr. Williams marching band of personal Scrollbearers did great research (perhaps a bit of both, and kudos to Ylva and Ron, great mentions in the Acknowledgements!). I’ve tried hard to stay out of the Appendix, for the same reason I’ve tried hard to stay away from other people’s reviews…no spoilers please!

The Back Cover Flap

To Green Angel Tower and The Witchwood Crown back cover flaps, side by side…I’ll just leave this image here. The Dogly one ages well!

The Witchwood Crown

The Witchwood Crown

The Witchwood Crown – Thoughts on the return to Osten Ard – Part 3

Binabik-isms

The Witchwood Crown is set some 30-odd years after the end of To Green Angel Tower. This implies that some of the mortal characters will be around in the new series, and some will not. It should not be a spoiler (and I apologize if it is) to anyone that Binabik is around.

In the re-read and commentary eBook that I put together on Memory, Sorrow and Thorn (on Amazon here), I tried to call out every saying that Binabik mentioned, every Binabik-ism. Given that they were translated from his native language into Simon’s Erkynlandish, they had a very roundabout but wise-sounding way of getting to the point. As the “Singing Man” of his people, perhaps cataloging these phrases is part of the job?

The first Binabik-ism that I came across in The Witchwood Crown reads like a parallel to getting back into Osten And:

“My people are saying that to meet an old friend is like the finding of a welcoming campfire in the dark,” the little man said.

The Witchwood Crown

And, one page later, yet another:

“As we also say on Mintahoq, hanna via mo siqsiq, chahu naha! – as easily be trying to catch an avalanche in a thimble as to make the seasons stand still.”

I’m sure there will be many more

The Witchwood Crown maps

The Witchwood Crown – Thoughts on the return to Osten Ard – Part 2

Maps

I like maps. And I’m not referring to Google Maps, Waze or Apple Maps. I’m talking about paper maps. I still have the Texaco maps of states we drove through on camping trips with my parents in a Jayco Pop-Up camper, with my own felt-tip pen lines showing the roads and the stops along the way. Thus I’m quite content with the maps in The Witchwood Crown.

As an aside, if you also like maps, you should really subscribe to the MapPorn Reddit subgroup.

In the original Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, our hero (not Simon – the author, Tad Williams) not only played the role of writer but also of cartographer. He’s listed on the credits page, and in the bottom right of the maps is a “TW” set of initials.

In The Witchwood Crown, the maps are by Isaac Stewart. Using my google-fu, I found out that he is THE Isaac Stewart who has done the maps for Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn and Stormlight Archives series…and now he has added The Witchwood Crown to an impressive portfolio.

Below is an image of the map in the first pages of To Green Angel Tower (on the right) with the map from the first pages of The Witchwood Crown on the left. Clicking on the image will take you to a mo’ bigger one.

The Witchwood Crown maps

The new map is excellently similar to Tad’s original map. Stewart’s has more detail, more names of places that were visited and discovered in MS&T. But I like the way it carries on the old tradition while embellishing on the original.

In typical Tad fashion, The Witchwood Crown has three parts (no names as thar be no spoilers here) and each part has one of Mr. Stewart’s maps at the beginning (in addition to the map pictured above which is at the beginning of the book). Each of the maps show additional detail of particular areas of the first overall map.

8 chapters in (out of 54 chapters)!

Re-reading MSandT

Re-reading Tad William's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

click on the image for more info and to support this blog

Dusk Before the Dawn

Dusk Before the Dawn

Software By the Kilo

Software by the Kilo

Archives

%d bloggers like this: