Two Painkillers

The Painkiller is a semi-classic tiki drink. I say semi- because one glance will tell you it’s a pretty close relative of the Piña Colada. With all respect to Rupert Holmes of “Escape” fame, the Piña Colada is kind of loathed by tiki aficionados. (From what I gather, it’s loathed by Holmes, too, who sadly quipped, “No matter what else I do, my tombstone will be a giant pineapple.”) But for some reason, the tiki gods have smiled on the Painkiller.

So, curiously, have the trademark lawyers: Pusser’s, a sort of funky “British navy style” rum from the Virgin Islands, has trademarked Painkiller and insists that it must be made with their rum. (Never mind that the original recipe from the Soggy Dollar Bar actually predates Pusser’s.) Here’s their recipe:


Painkiller

1 oz. coconut cream
1 oz. orange juice
4 oz. pineapple juice
2–4 oz. Pusser’s rum

Shake with crushed ice and pour unstrained into a sufficiently large glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg and a cinnamon stick.


So: stop pretending it isn’t a piña colada with orange juice. A relatively funky, dry navy rum brings a different flavor profile to the party than low-end Bacardi, but this is not a “spirit-forward” drink. (Unless you double the rum and make a “Painkiller 4,” which is an idea of dubious wisdom.) Also, despite Pusser’s attempted rewrite of pop culture history here, it wasn’t used in the original recipe, which was—as far as I’ve been able to tell—a mix of dark rums from Barbados and Jamaica.

As it turns out, though, screwing with the recipe is harder than it looks. I wanted to cut back on the pineapple juice to reduce the inherent Colada-ness, but cutting back on the sweetness too much took it too far from its roots. After a few attempts, I decided the simplest route was the best: slice the pineapple juice content in half, leaving the coconut cream and orange juice at their original levels. This makes the drink more like a refined cousin of its orange-free relative.

Also, why not get back to the original rum mix? It’d be more authentic, blending rums is fun, and screw Pusser’s trademark. So. In my version, I’ve gone with R. L. Seale’s 10 Year for the Barbados. For the Jamaican, I chose Smith & Cross: like Pusser’s, it’s “navy style,” meaning it’s a bit funky. (It’s also a rather formidable 57% ABV; the Seale’s is a respectable 43%. I’m just saying, do not do a “Painkiller 4” version of mine unless you want to make friends with the floor.) At my local Total Wine & More, the Seale’s was $24 and the Smith & Cross was $27; if you’d like a cheaper pairing, go with Mount Gay Eclipse and Appleton Estate Signature Blend.

Don’t skimp on the juices—get the freshest you can get. This is good advice for all drinks. I used Coco Lopez for the coconut cream, which seems to be the one most tiki bars use; I don’t know how much of a difference other brands make, but don’t use coconut milk. They’re not the same thing.


Coyote Painkiller

1 oz. coconut cream
1 oz. fresh orange juice
2 oz. pineapple juice (not from concentrate)
1 oz. R. L. Seale’s 10 Year rum
1 oz. Smith & Cross rum

Shake with cracked ice and pour unstrained into a double Old Fashioned glass. Add more ice if necessary, stir, and garnish with grated nutmeg and cinnamon.

A new home

Over the years, I’ve ended up with multiple “presences” online:

  • The original Coyote Tracks, hosted at Tumblr
  • “Coyote Prints,” an attempt at a writing news-ish weblog, generated with Jekyll
  • My Ranea.org website, made with a hacky homebrew static site generator
  • The occasional foray onto Medium

That’s not even inclusive of earlier attempts at this, like a LiveJournal and, before that, a very simple bloggy thing that worked by putting files with names like 1999-01-01-entry.txt in a specific directory that were picked up by a small PHP script. (That was back in the days when PHP was just used to embed bits of interactivity in HTML pages, just like that, which is something it’s pretty good at. I’m pretty sure I was doing that in early 1998, which by some measure might make me one of the earliest bloggers, or would if there had been just one damn person reading my home page.)

While this hodgepodge of bloglike objects had good intentions—separation of concerns, trying new platforms, keeping up with the cool kids—it’s become too unwieldy. The decision where to post is sometimes kind of arbitrary. Many of the people who read about my writing are interested in tech; while the reverse isn’t as true, I’d actually kinda like to expose some of my tech audience to my writing, especially stories that involve techy things.

A bigger concern, though, comes down to fully controlling my own content.

This isn’t a new concern; Marco Arment was writing about owning your identity back in 2011. Some blogging services let you bring your own domain—Tumblr does it for free, which is why you go to tracks.ranea.org instead of chipotle.tumblr.com—and others, like WordPress.com, let you do it for a modest charge. Medium makes it possible, but only for publications (and at a fairly high cost); many other services don’t offer this at all.

So: Welcome to coyotetracks.org.

But while owning your online identity is necessary, it’s not sufficient: you need to own your content, too. I don’t mean that in a legal sense—despite the headless chicken dance the internet goes through every time somebody changes their legal boilerplate, no reputable service ever has or ever will tried to steal your copyright. I mean it in an existential sense.

I still like Tumblr, despite its foibles, but as far as I know it was never profitable on its own, it was never profitable for Yahoo, and it’s on track to never be profitable for Verizon. As for Medium, I love what it’s trying to do, or maybe I love what it was trying to last business model and not so much now, or maybe vice-versa, or maybe it was three or four business models ago. What other businesses call pivots, Medium calls Tuesdays.

I’ll circle back to that, but the upshot is that I decided I needed a POSSE: “publish own site, syndicate everywhere.” (Look, I didn’t make it up.) And that brings me to…WordPress.

I’ll be blunt: I don’t like WordPress. Internally it’s a dumpster fire, full of arcanely formatted non-OO code, bloated HTML, and a theming engine designed by bipolar squirrels.

So I looked at other things. I know there are ways to make static site generators quasi-automatic, that Matt Gemmell swears it’s faster to blog from his iPad with Jekyll. I’ve done it, with a system not too dissimilar from the one he describes. It works, but I don’t love it. I’m comfortable at a shell prompt, but I don’t want it to be necessary for blogging, especially if I’m on an iPad. (I’m moving back to the Mac for portable writing, but that’s another post.)

I also looked at Ghost, which started with some fanfare a couple years ago as a modern take on WordPress that focused back on blogging essentials rather than shoehorning in a content management system. Now they’re a “professional publishing platform,” and all their messaging is we are not for you, casual blogger, pretty much the opposite of their original ideology.

But I can publish to WordPress right from Ulysses. Or MarsEdit. Or the WordPress web interface, desktop app, or iOS app. The WordPress API is, at least for me, a killer feature. And its ecosystem is unmatched: I have access to thousands of plugins, at least six of which are both worth using and actively maintained.

So: I’m still finding my way. I’ve added a cross-poster which can theoretically post everywhere I want, although I’m not sure if I’m going to use its Medium functionality—I want to be able to vet what it’s posting before it goes live there, so I’ll probably just use Medium’s post importer. And I don’t want to syndicate everything everywhere: I want to syndicate selectively. (This post probably won’t even go to Medium, for instance.)

The semi-ironic footnote: I don’t know if this is really going to make me post more, when all is said and done. I’ve always been guilty of being more interested in building things than running them. But we’ll see.

also on

The new Coyote Tracks

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated my personal web site; I’m consolidating my two very sporadic blogs—writing and tech—into, uh, one sporadic blog now. Yay?

My plan is to import a few posts selectively from both of the previous journals, although I’m not positive I’m going to do that—technically, those journals still exist, after all, with different subdomains, so the URLs aren’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future. (Assuming Verizon doesn’t kill Tumblr, the original home of Coyote Tracks, of course.)