Archive | April, 2011

New Brew Tuesday: Thurston Wolfe JTW Port

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Type: WinePort
Name: Thurston Wolfe 2007 JTW Port
Price: $20.00
Made: Prosser, WA
Alc/Vol: 19%

So what does Thurston Wolfe have to say about their Port wine?

“Our 2008 JTW’s Port is a blend of Touriga (37%), Petite Sirah (32%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (31%), all grown in Washington State. Touriga is a traditional Portuguese Port variety that produces aromatic wines with deep ruby color. Petite Sirah adds color and structure and Cabernet contributes bright fruit aromas to the blend. Descriptors: Black cherry, boysenberry, chocolate, spice and black pepper. Enjoy with anything chocolate, Stilton cheese and Bartlett pears, or curled up next to a winter fire. 19% alcohol, 10% residual sugar.”

OK I know the picture and description say 2008 but my title says 2007, well I guess I had last year’s bottle. This Portuguese influenced wine, is a dessert wine but if you are unfamiliar with Port wines don’t expect this to be a fruity overly sweet and crisp concoction. No my friend this is a spicy sweet mix that is kicked up by the mixture of brandy.

I remember my first introduction to Port wines, I had just landed in Brazil and found my way to a nice Bistro style restaurant that opened up into a street corner nearby. A band played, sitting at a table providing beautiful entertainment to diners and passerby’s. I had no clue what I was ordering to eat or drink but the waiter recommended a small port to go with our meal. The port came in a tiny wine glass and was served with our appetizers, something completely different then I was used to. I fell in love with this unusual spicy drink that was still a wine.

If you are a fan of the inherent spice that comes with a good brandy, as you sip it down not a shot, then this style of wine may be for you. I poured this wine into a typical red wine glass, although I’m thinking the smaller style I had in Brazil may be better. As I inhaled the aromas, the scent of the spice overcame me. The taste of this wine matched the scent, sweet yet filled with different spices that make it into a complex drink. I didn’t have a dessert to eat this with but I feel that it would have blended well with a deep rich treat, such as a chocolate treat.
This wine is good but a little too much spice for me, and I like spicy treats, although it could be that I didn’t have it with its traditional pairing partner. I give this drink 2.5 out of 5 bananas, it is a good wine at a good price but I feel the spicy flavoring overpowers the other flavors a little too much. Have you tried this wine before or have a better Port suggestion?

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Stumbling Around Slovenia

Photo Property of T. Jesenicnik

Recessions, rising costs, inflation…with all the economical doom and gloom that plagues the UK press right now, I just had to get out of the country for a bit and let loose.

Having scoured the internet for a place with all the holiday essentials (a good bar or two), I found the perfect place. off I went in the search of fun and frivolity at my destination, Slovenia!

Photo Property of K. Kunaver

After a tiresome journey, I will admit that my primary aim was to hit a local bar as soon as possible to sample local delights, but as drinking before 11am is generally frowned upon, I decided to check out a few of the local tourist sights. I was staying in Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, where there proved plenty of things to do. However, my particular highlight was Ljubljana Castle, which dates back to 1200 BC. It has a fascinating history: it was used to defend against Turkish invasions, peasant rebellions and was even used as a military hospital in the 18th Century.

Photo Property of Bobo

After my hit of Slovenian history, it was well past lunch-time and was high-time to find some food to feed this wandering soul.  After drifting around the town for a while, I found the Cutty Sark Pub and it was from here the fun started…The pub itself had a warm atmosphere and most importantly, a whole host of beers. Drinking there for most of the afternoon, I got to know a few of the locals who managed to persuade me to partake in a light drinking game or two. Needless to say, it didn’t end well! Lucky for me, my hotel was a short stumble away from the pub, allowing me to sleep off my hangover for most of the next day. I’m not going to lie to you, the Slovenians I met knew how to drink and boy could they do it for a long time! Three years of University lifestyle was nothing compared to the night I had…

Photo Property of M. Petrej

My introduction to Slovenian customs the previous night had left me feeling more than a little peckish.  Lucky for me, I discovered the holy grail of fast-food restaurants, a place aptly named “Hot Horse.” Although dining in Slovenia, especially in the capital, can be quite expensive, this place was excellent value for money. The speciality of this restaurant is horse burgers. The infamous horse-burger is huge and comes in at the equivalent of around £2. The tastiest and most effective hangover cure for that price!


Photo Property of O. Trzic

Slovenia was a brilliant holiday, just what I needed to shake off the recession-blues! Be sure to check out the horse burgers and, for your own sake, do not try and keep up with the locals when you’re drinking. You will lose. You have been warned!

Meet the Author: Jade Eva 

Jade Eva is an English Literature student who has read books based in all the corners of the world. But now she wants to see it for herself. From Verona to Vegas, Peru to Portugal, Jade will see it all!

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New Brew Tuesday: Avery Brewing – Karma Ale

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Type: BeerBelgian Pale Ale
Name: Avery Brewing – Karma Ale
Price: $1.99
Made: Boulder, CO
Alc/Vol: 5.2%

This ale gets right to the point in where it gets its name from by putting it on the bottle.



So You Are Going to Teach English Abroad

de l'Isle globe, 1765 by Minnesota Historical Society, on Flickr, via Creative Commons

Teaching English overseas has been the travel ticket for many throughout the world for generations. Popular places like Japan are now no longer show up and land the job type destinations, you have to be prepared.  Even after you checked out sites like the Publications of  the Japan Association of Language Teaching, O-Hayo SenseiWestgate, and the Japan Association of College English Teachers you still had no luck. Then you realized that there are still many other popular destinations where the job market is hot for English teachers.


So you go off and explore resources like TIE, Teaching International, Joy Jobs, Transitions AbroadTeachers Without Borders heck you even explored the Department of Defense Education Activity site (which is more of teaching on a military base) and you eventually found a job. Now what?

You teach, duh! But maybe that TESOL crash course didn’t adequately prepare you for the classroom. That’s OK because I have a few recommendations that will help you prepare. Everything that I recommend is geared towards travel purposes, if it is a book I’m recommending, throw it on an E-Reader to save space. The other supplies are small and lightweight and some can even be made or purchased once you arrive.


Learner English – This book helps identify common difficulties English learners have based upon their L1 (first language). Additionally it also has IPA pronunciation charts to help you understand what part of your mouth is used to pronounce certain vowels.

Merriam-Webster’s Pocket Thesaurus – This little book can be a lifesaver when all you can think of is one, maybe two, synonyms for a word. Dictionaries are good to an extent because they break down pronunciation but often I found a thesaurus is more helpful.

Finger Strings/Cat’s Cradle  – now I don’t expect you to buy a book or even the strings online. You can go to a hardware store buy string and use a candle to join the two ends. But this is a simple and interactive tool that you can use to engage your students. Teaching them ordering sentences (First, Next, Then) and giving instructions in their L2 (Second Language) while designing a cat’s-cradle because doing is more fun than reading it out of a book.

Inflatable Earth Globe Beach Ball – I really wish I could remember the post I read about a traveler(s) who brought a globe with them and how it was a great simple resource. If you are reading this and know which post I’m talking about comment below I’ll be sure to place the link. This, like the string is a classroom tool that will make your lessons more engaging and can be used a variety of ways.

Classroom Stickers – Not just for elementary kids, even Jr. high and high school kids can get into stickers. Especially if they say little words or phrases in English like “Good Job” or “Way to Go”

I also recommend locating a teacher store nearby (yes there are stores just for teachers) and try to find some other great resources that can help you. Often they’ll have plenty of suggestions for you, all you need to do is figure out what is worth taking up space in your luggage. Also knowing what age group you are working with will help you in what level English language resources you’ll need.  There are also plenty of online resources like Purdue OWL or ESL Site to give you a start and from there you can really just Google any ESL lesson plan ideas and probably get a dozen free examples. There are also a few blogs that you may want to check out like Wandering Educators, Grammar Girl or TEFL Newbie.

So why should you listen to me, well because I said so. There.

…That and I’m half way through earning a Master of Arts in Teacher Education specializing in Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). You can get into details about consonant clusters, intonation, and other over complicated strategies but to be honest as long as you are genuine and really work at trying to help your students instead of using it just as a free travel pass you’ll likely find your own rhythm and end up doing fine. That and make sure you quickly set up some classroom management rules as Sasha learned when teaching in China. My two biggest tips, be careful about over-correction not every mistake they make will become fossilized (permanent) the point of learning a second (or third) language is for communicative purposes, so let them communicate. Read below about the acquisition of grammatical morphemes to see what I mean. The other tip, learn to distinguish between local errors and global errors. Local errors are mistakes that do not hinder the comprehension of what the speaker is trying to say. Global errors are mistakes that alter the speaker’s message so much you are no longer able to distinguish or it alters what they are trying to say.

Lastly, as Brown (1973) discovered in children learning their first language there is a set order in their development of grammatical morphemes. This has been found as also being true with second language acquisition.  What this means is, there is no point stressing over a student’s misuse of a certain morpheme if they haven’t already developed those that precede it.

  1. Present Progressive
  2. Prepositions
  3. Plural
  4. Irregular Past Tense
  5. Possessive
  6. Regular past tense
  7. person present tense, regular and irregular
  8. Auxiliary

EX: “I be gone to the store tomorrow.” It would be better to focus on correct use of present progressive ‘going’ vs ‘gone’ over correct use of the auxiliary ‘be’.

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New Brew Tuesday: Lagunitas Pils – Czech Style Pilsner

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Type: BeerCzech Pilsner
Name: Lagunitas PilsCzech Style Pilsner
Price: $1.99
Made: Petaluma, CA
Alc/Vol: 6.2%

As I poured myself a glass I noticed a little trail of words that followed the label, and to my pleasant surprise this is what I read.

“Like Adam and Eve, Isaac and Ishmael, Mao and Confuscious, Good and Evil, Day and Night, Hittites and Visigoths, John and Lorena or Groucho and Moe, Ales and Lagers are as different as can be. Still we must love each for who they are, separately but equally, with liberty, and justice, for all. Cheers!”

To be honest I’m not a huge pils fanatic, it is a great style of beer but I’m slightly put off by the grassy taste. However I did enjoy this one, it had a nice mild flavor, which was surprising since it does have a high percentage of alcohol – but no lingering taste of it. The last thing you want is a grassy beer that taste only like alcohol.

The after taste has a trail of malt flavor that carries through that initial pils mild bitter taste. This brew wasn’t as strong as a typical Pils beer but it had a lot of subtle flavorings that I just couldn’t pick up enough to identify. It was a good beer and is very drinkable overall and is worth a try and may be a great introduction into Pils beer if you are unsure if you are a fan of the style or not.

I give this beer 3 out of 5 bananas, if you want a sturdy pils it make come off as a little light. On the other hand if you aren’t a huge pils fan or just want to try a nice smooth pils then this would be a good beer for you.


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