Z-Day 2009 whisky tasting, party,and campout June 6th

More fun than spending the day on the beach in Normandy

We'll start the day out around 1PM with a whisky tasting.
We'll taste whiskies, munch on food and enjoy conversation throughout the afternoon. In the early evening, we'll clear up some of the mess from the tasting and around 8PM people will start arriving for what passes for a regular party.

June 8th will be Zab's Birthday, we'll be celebrating it the evening of June 6th.

People are welcome and encouraged to bring bedding to campout here rather than driving home late at night. We've got a couple of futons, and floorspace, plus plenty of room to spread sleeping bags on the deck, dancefloor or in the redwood grove.

After years of telling people how to get here with "You'll know you missed it when you get to the bridge" I wrote up a detailed set of directions that work quite well, if you follow them. In the Santa Cruz mountains every house looks different, so they end up all being the same. You can't see the addresses, so they don't do you any good. Follow the link below for my directions:


Please park in the pullout south of my house and don't block the neighbor's cars. We try to keep the driveway clear to make it easy for folks with large objects to unload, and for folks with mobility challenges. If you can legally park in a handicapped spot, you're most welcome to use the driveway.

Whisky Tasting

Note: you don't have to drink to come to the whisky tasting. There will be plenty of good food and better company. Many people who don't care for scotch find it interesting to just smell each one as it goes by. DETAILS:
At the moment, I have no idea how many people are going to show up. It could be 4, or it could be 24. This makes planning pretty tough.

If you think you may make it, please send an email to
and tell me the probability that you'll show,
how many people you'll be bringing (including yourself),
and what food, or beverage, you'll be bringing.

Even if you've RSVP'd elsewhere, if you may make it please email me this info so that I have everything in one place.

For the Whisky tasting, show up around 1PM. We'll start eating around 2. and sipping whisky sometime thereafter.

If you think you may show up, please send me an email. I prefer email to phone calls, especially at the last minute because when I'm way behind in my cleaning and cooking, having to stop to answer the phone interrupts what I'm doing. If you need an answer to a question right away, then go ahead and call.

If you think you know what you'll be bringing, please let me know, and I'll try to post it here so others will know what to bring that'll complement what we've already got planned.

If you can give someone a ride, or need a ride, let me know, and I'll try to pass the info on.


How the tasting works:

I did my first whisky tasting on Christmas 1988. Over several iterations we've discovered that what works best is to start with some food. We then will taste a few flights by pouring a little whisky into each of several wine glasses, and pass them around the room for people to sniff and take a sip of. After a while, we take a break to snack and visit a bit and repeat the process a few times.

Depending on the preferences of the folks there we may talk about the whiskies before tasting them, or taste first, then discuss them.

What to bring:
Everybody is encouraged to bring wonderful, decadent food to taste between the flights. The party is held at my house in the Santa Cruz mountains, and people are welcome, even encouraged, to be prepared to spend the night. It happens over the course of the afternoon, and the pace of the drinking is such that hardly anyone actually achieves drunkeness, though the CHP may argue that point. The day is about comraderie, not getting drunk.

If you can stop by a goodwill and pick up some cheap wineglasses, they could come in handy. I've got quite a few, but depending on how ambitious we get, more could be handy. Get the "tulip shaped" glasses rather than "bowl shaped" because they do a much better job of holding in the scent. Brandy snifters also work wonderfully. If you so desire, we can even try to get the same ones back to you.


Zab's Birthday Party

Gift Toss
There will be the traditional gift toss. Bring gifts for the guest of honor to throw to the gathered throngs below. They shouldn't be expensive, heavy, or fragile, as they will be thrown from a second floor balcony to the waiting throngs below

There will be dancing, but you don't have to dance to have fun.
If you want to learn some easy basic dancing, and can get to San Francisco the night before, check out Friday Night Blues.

Dance Floor
My dance floor has been repaired and expanded.

Links to info about parties gone by.

Guests are not required, or even expected to dance. I've had people not show up at parties before because "it's a dance party and I don't dance". That is silly, this is a birthday party where dance music will be played. You don't have to have a birthday, or be a dancer or musician to show up. You aren't even required to have fun, but if you don't you may be severely ridiculed, so that others can have fun at your expense.

Speaking of music, sources of dance music are greatly appreciated, particularly djs and musicians.

More, some redundant, details to be edited later

Gift Toss
I do plan on having the traditional birthday gift toss. Guests are encouraged to bring a small gift, wrapped or not. All of the gifts are put in a tub and at the appointed time, or times (likely 10PM and maybe another later one) the guests will gather below the balcony and those with birthdays in the close temporal vicinity will project the gifts on parabolic paths towards the waiting throngs. That's right, you give us gifts to throw at you. Water balloons, raw eggs and glassware may be amusing, but are considered somewhat uncool in this context.
Who will be there
Who will be at the party? Due to my many and varied interests, I have a very eclectic social circle. There will be geeks, dancers, racers, martial artists, musicians and all of the above. Hence the nexus book: http://red4est.com/party/nexus.html which was started at a birthday party about ten years ago.

While children are not banned from the party, the house is somewhere between "not child friendly" and "downright child surly". It is between a highway and a cliff. Many of my toys are fragile, others are sharp and dangerous, and while getting drunk is by no means the point of this party, there will be various odd folk wandering around in varying states of oddness and sobriety.

We don't have babysitters to watch children and keep them out of trouble, so if you bring them you do so at your, and their, own risk. The birthday girl would be delighted though, if someone brought a baby to cuddle who isn't yet mobile enough to get into breakables or wander off cliffs. She is a fan of babies! She is also a fan of kids, as long as she doesn't have to be the eyes watching to prevent disasters during the party.

Who to Bring
Who can you bring? See above. Both about the the diversity of people expected, and misbehaving children.

What to Bring
What should you bring? Food and drink are always welcome. I encourage people to bring a small amount of something wonderful, rather than a large amount of something less than wonderful. I have a fair amount of cheap booze that was brought to previous soirees and pretty much ignored.

Good food, and creative food are appreciated. If many people express interest, I can fire up the milk shake press and we can make milkshakes, in which case, icecream, milk and yummy things to put in milkshakes are appreciated.

Some may remember from previous events that Larry is not a fan of chocolate. Zab, however, is very much a fan of good quality dark chocolate, and it is her birthday. So go ahead and bring chocolate delicacies!

Food and Drink
I will likely be making a pot of chilli, likely vegan and relatively mild, along with alternate versions with meat and octane boost http://red4est.com/lrc/octaneboost.html to spice it up for those who indulge in meat and/or capsascin.

Crash Space
You are welcome to spend the night if you want. We enjoy a good pajama party. While some bedding is available, it's advisable for you to bring some if you think you might spend the night.

The road between the parking area and my house can be a bit dark, so it would be good to bring a flashlight. Also note that sometimes poison oak grows near to the trail, and a light can help you avoid it.

If you can offer rides to and from the party, please let me know.

Facebook links:


Previous parties


Whisky notes:

Chris Kantarjiev sent this note about whiskies:

About favorite whiskies: My absolute favorite is Laphroaig 15 yo. The 10 yo is nowhere near as good - it has a solvent taste and nose that the extra 5 years seems to adsorb away.

Close second of easily attainable is Lagavulin 16. Used to be really cheap at Trader Joe's so I'd buy it instead, but I prefer the Laphroaig.

Note by Larry: I prefer the Lagavulin 16 over the Laphraoig. My preferred "cheap" whisky is Bowmore legend.

I have a special bottling of Laphroaig from Murray McDavid, received as a gift. It's called "Leapfrog" - the story is that they bought some barrels and got into a legal tussle about naming the bottle. Yummy. Really yummy. But I really can't justify $80/bottle.

Bowmore is an acceptable Islay when I'm feeling cheap.

I've grown fond of Dalwhinnie as a lighter sip...

... and for something completely different, the version of Bushmills that's been aged in Sherry casks.

Last modified 081217 0005