As soon as I said Fluffy Bear’s paranormal activities had ceased, I knew it was a mistake. Sure, he’d been staring blankly at the wall for weeks without incident. Sure, the bumps in the night had settled into the normal noises of a 30-year-old house. But you never want to take the occult for granted.

I could kick myself for saying Granny had departed Fluffy’s body. Of course she hadn’t; the two of them must have been hibernating. Because as soon as I posted it, our television died. With one psychic zap, Fluffy annihilated our plasma, and now we have no TV.


You are so dead, LB.

Scarybear is devastated. Television is his whole life, and naturally he’s pissed at yours truly for foolishly saying Fluffy had gone dormant. Of course he hadn’t!! If anything he was saving up his telekinetic powers. Who knows—maybe it was Fluffy who broke the dishwasher in October, and he just needed to recharge so he could attack the TV.

You never want an animal like Scary mad at you, so I offered him some ERRAZURIZ ESTATE RESERVA SAUVIGNON BLANC (2012). To this he made a politically incorrect limp-wrist gesture, and then kicked my ass. Scary isn’t very enlightened.

DSCN2986Too bad for Scary. This Chilean wine is crisp and zingy with hints of tropical fruit and sharp green apple. Produced from grapes grown in the Aconcagua Valley, a region thought for many years to be unsuitably hot, ERRAZURIZ proves naysayers wrong with its elegant and substantial (13.5%) Sauvignon Blanc. In perfect character for the varietal, ERRAZURIZ would be refreshing on a hot summer day or when you’re sweating after an ass-kicking. It disappeared very quickly at LBHQ.

Would we buy it again, though? It’s light, it’s zingy…but Scary may accidentally be right about it being too airy and bright—at least in winter. It’s certainly worth noting for when the hot weather comes.

As for Fluffy, he’s getting no wine. Seriously, he likes TV. The dishwasher he may not have given a crap about, but TV?? Breaking Bad? What the hell, Fluffy?

RIPTIDE PALE ALE—Get thee behind me, weird-tasting beer

My Fellow Inebriates,

The other night Fluffy started using his mind powers again—this time making one of the kitchen lights stutter with a freaky high-pitched sound. Holy crap, I’m glad my parents were home; it was so scary, and there was Fluffy, just sitting there, impassive.

So I decided I’d had it with Fluffy and his weirdness. It was time for an exorcism. My first thought was to contact the Pope, but he is surprisingly impenetrable, although he does have a Facebook page. 

Anyhow, I sent off my little query, but as usual it went into the ether, just like my letter to Bono regarding a Gin-Aid concert to raise money for a kick-ass premium gin selection at LBHQ. 

Then I found an organization called Exorismus. They seemed to know their shit, so I contacted them.

Still, I had a sinking sense of being alone on this. I realized I really didn’t know anything about exorcisms, but fortunately the Internet abounds with instructions.

  1. Exorcise in pairs. Just like exercising, exorcising works better with a buddy. If one of you starts feeling doubtful, the other one can spot for you.
  2. Make sure that the possessed person has nothing that may be possessed. Such things include religious artifacts, voodoo dolls, unholy writings, etc. But what if the possessed person is a thing like Fluffy?
  3. You don’t need to cast a circle of protection. Good, because the kids threw all their new sidewalk chalk into a bucket of water and turned it into soup. My mum says there’s no way they’re getting any more.
  4. Only attempt an exorcism if you can’t contact a trained exorcist. Trust me, I don’t really want to spearhead Fluffy’s exorcism. But the Pope’s probably less likely to call me back than Bono.
  5. The “Exorcism” movies are not valid guides for performing your exorcism. Dammit!
  6. Do not converse with the demon. My granny may have had some personal demons, but she’s certainly not an actual demon, although Fluffy might have some of his own. It could be crowded in there.
  7. Do not challenge the demon. OMG, to what? High-jump?
  8. Do not command the demon to do anything on your own authority. Well, I wouldn’t, would I? I can’t even get Fluffy to move over on the couch when we’re watching TV.
  9. Do not be afraid. Sure.
  10. Do not get angry. Supposedly demons thrive on anger and fear, just like that energy ball on Star Trek that made the Klingons and humans fight. Perhaps getting drunk would help.
  11. This process should NEVER be performed by anyone who is not a bishop or an exorcist, because it will cause a disaster. Okay, so maybe this point should have been number one on the list. If my parents come home and find me performing an exorcism they might get really freaking mad, especially if it damages the house. They are already in a world of shit with the strata council because they broke the garage door. (Or maybe Fluffy did that.)

So there you have it. No exorcism, at least for today. Instead, let’s kick back with a RIPTIDE PALE ALE from Lighthouse Brewing. Hazy-looking with a thin head, RIPTIDE has the same funky aroma as RACE ROCKS ALE—musty rotting orchard notes with some citrus thrown in. Sweet malt and floral notes chime in on the palate, but the carbonation is insufficient to counterbalance the funky taste. The body is medium—not satisfyingly substantial, yet not crisp or refreshing. This beer is mired in a limbo between the solid ale I hoped it would be and the fizzy summer sipper I would have settled for. Much the way Granny’s stuck between two worlds, housed in a musty furball named Fluffy.

If I could perform an exorcism on RIPTIDE PALE ALE I would cast out its “sessionable” aspirations. Whatever it’s trying to do with the overripe fruit, it doesn’t do it well. And if there were other beers in the house, well, it would languish in our fridge like a limbo-trapped soul*.

*The Vatican declared limbo non-existent in 2007.

CRIOS TORRONTES (2011)—Good enough to attract the undead

My Fellow Inebriates,

It appears Granny doesn’t need Fluffy any more; she’s loose in the house and no longer requires a furry vessel.

Go ahead. Roll your eyes. But last night at 3:00am both kids woke up screaming.

Usually, if this happens, my dad wakes up first. In contrast to all the other mothers in the world who are famously sensitive to their little ones’ cries, my mother goes into a coma when she sleeps, and by the time she’s aware of their distress (if she even becomes aware) my dad’s already parked himself on the floor between their two beds and resigned himself to an uncomfortable hour while they settle down.

Tough luck for my mum—Dad’s in Vegas this week. Who knows how long the kids had to scream to rouse her; I didn’t hear it myself. (I don’t sleep in my parents’ room [for fear of witnessing Unspeakable Acts].) I was downstairs, passed out after an irresistible glass of CRIOS TORRONTES (2011). But she finally dragged herself into the girls’ room and sprawled between their beds.

On the floor she was oppressed by dreams of Granny, who demanded—in the only dream my mother could remember particularly—whether she had watered the plant. (She hadn’t.)

But why do I suspect Granny’s ghost has decoupled itself from Fluffy? It seems to need to be somewhere; it wasn’t here until Fluffy arrived from Ireland, which makes me think it hitchhiked, which makes me think she needed a place to reside for the voyage. It’s just that lately…lately Fluffy’s started seeming kind of normal, maybe even cool. He hasn’t given off that freaky golem aura in a while. He hangs out with the bears; he watches Breaking Bad with us…he’s okay.

So why did Granny ditch him? And where is she now?

The first question is easy. Summer will drive our thermostat beyond 38°C (that’s over 100°F). Fluffy’s the fluffiest, most insulated animal who ever entered the house. His body will be purgatory for any occupant spirits. In fact, a paranormal squatter would be only slightly less desperate than Fluffy himself. Granny must have vamoosed.

What confirms this is the thermostat itself. We bears have been razzing Fluffy about his thick pelt and warning him that Langley ain’t Northern Ireland—he’s gonna suffer when the mercury rises. So he’s been getting stressed out. And the day Dad left for Vegas, the thermostat quit. I think Fluffy accidentally destroyed it with his mind just by fretting about his impending suffering. And Granny herself—well, she’s visited Langley in summer before, so she knows what it’s like; she probably deked out at that moment, leaving Fluffy in sole charge of his paranormally amplified faculties and nuking our thermostat.

So Granny is bumping around the house sans Fluffy and messing with everybody’s REM sleep. OMG! Why? How long do the dead hang around? Isn’t there some notion about them going somewhere? Or is there unfinished business here?

Personally, and you may find this cynical, I think she may well have been on her way into the ether when we bought BEEFEATER 24. Granny was pretty easygoing about her booze, so she wouldn’t quibble about whether it was the family gin of my mother’s childhood or a tea-infused 2008 bid for more market share. It was BEEFEATER, damn it, and when 750mL of it arrived in the house, she decided to stay. And my mum sealed the deal by also buying a delectable white wine. Why would Granny go anywhere with CRIOS TORRONTES in the house?

A Staff Pick at our neighborhood booze shop, CRIOS TORRONTES had been giving us come hither looks for months. The only thing delaying the purchase was my dad, who’s not keen on white wine. My mum bought it within an hour of dropping him off at the airport—that’s how keen we both were to try it. And with good reason.

Intensely aromatic, CRIOS TORRONTES exudes peach—not the gently rotting peach of a Unibroue beer but rapturously fresh peach backed up by subtler orchard fruits. These generous fragrances hint of fruit hedonism—out-of-control sweetness and mayhem in the mouth. But CRIOS TORRONTES is faking you out with those orgiastic aromas. Sip it, and instead of being overwhelmed, you are drawn into a beguiling off-dry symphony of flavors, delicately structured with all the fruity exuberance of a good Sauvignon Blanc—but in a bigger-bodied, sultry, and lingering Torrontes. As it rises from fridge temperature, CRIOS TORRONTES becomes even more appealing, continuing to waft gorgeous peach and melon while spreading across the palate with elegant pacing and controlled generosity.

I’m thinking we need to pound this wine tonight and chase it with the BEEFEATER 24 so these libations are not hanging around when everybody goes to sleep. As much as I liked Granny, her visits are freaking me out.