Friday, December 28, 2007

BAC records

There was a woman who was recently arrested and blew a .55
Now, the legal limit in the states is .08….that’s a realllly drink lady. I didn’t even know you could get that drunk-really, I thought you went into a coma at .30. Learn something new every day, huh?
She is not the Drunkest Person in the Land, however, she is in 2nd place, to a guy who blew .69.
To give you an idea of how drunk you need to be to do that, there was a guy I knew who rear ended a semi because he didn’t see it (yes, you read that right) and he blew .21. So that’s three times as drunk as you need to be to miss a semi truck and run smack into it.

Holy crap, drunkards.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Michael, step away from the plastic surgeon.....

I saw this appears MJ had another plastic surgery procedure. Michael, step away from the plastic surgeon. Please. Just say no. Your face is going to fall off.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Best show to watch while working out....

The Biggest Loser. It makes sense, but really, if you're going to work out and it on that day, plan your workout for that hour because I guarantee those people will be working out harder than you and it will push you to kick up your intensity. I'm trying to use a few lbs and watching those people scream and push themselves hard and lose got me an extra 8 minutes and I worked harder during the workout too. If you work out at home, TIVO it and watch it while you walk or whatever...really.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Transporter Caps

So, I was looking at hats the other day and saw one titled St. Louis Cardinals Transporter Adjustable Cap. Transporter???

I went on my day and at various times I thought what a weird name…"transporter". Then I thought of the style of the hat and it clicked. It’s a trucker hat…and they are trying to be PC. How funny. Oh no, Sir, its not a “trucker hat”…with all due respect it’s a TRANSPORTER hat. Like people are transporting things using flying carpets and flying carpet drivers are wearing these hats. Heh. No, call it what it is.... a trucker hat.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Turning the bend on Shiraz

You know, I’m really turning the bend on Shiraz. I don’t know if I just had really bad shiraz or the less acidic stuff just eluded me, but I’m digging Shiraz and Syrah lately. Last night we had a yummy Shiraz- the Jim Barry Lodge Hill Shiraz…..

"Situated in the cool uplands of the North Mount Lofty ranges about 50 km north of Adelaide, the vineyards of Jim Barry were established in Clare in 1959. This is a family run winery are committed to producing quality wines through an innovative approach to viticulture and winemaking technology.

In 1977 when Jim Barry first purchased the Lodge Hill property, his intention was to devote the entire area to Riesling. However, there was a small area which had a gentle slope facing north, capturing the warmer conditions of the elevated site and he decided that it was an ideal place to grow a premium Shiraz.

Aged in French and American oak the Lodge Hill Shiraz is a brilliant deep red color with purple hues. It delivers complex and fascinating aromas of black cherry, liquorice and mint. The palate is rich, dense and full bodied, with ripe dark cherry fruit, velvety tannins, sweet vanillin oak and a long, juicy finish."

It really was nice. Not that spicy, not that oakey, good balance, long finish. Had it with steak and it was yummy. Their website isn't functional-it says we're out crushing grapes...ha ha. It was $36 at a restaurant but it looks like it goes for about $12-15 retail. Its really a nice wine for that price.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Mega wineries surprise me with cheap blends....

Ahh…the mega wineries. Usually predictable, but sometimes not always predictable in a good way. But occasionally I get surprised, so when I saw the 2005 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Vinetta and 2004 Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Meritage Red, both for under $12, at the grocery store, I couldn’t help but pick them up. Although fair warning, the Mondavi starts off with a near zero finish but, with like 20 mins in a decanter, it all sudden gets a finish. Still a short one, but about what you’d expect for a $15-ish wine. The Kendall-Jackson was actually pretty decent. I might even say it’s under priced- I’d pay close to $20 for it. Here’s some info on each:

Blend Percentage: 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 11% Petite Sirah, 5% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc
Winemaker's Notes
Robert Mondavi Private Selection 2005 Vinetta is a blend of the five class Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Produced from choice Central Coast and North Coast grapes, it offers lavish dark plum, black cherry and blackberry aromas, a smooth, plush texture, succulent mid-palate flavors and an impressively long finish bolstered by beautifully integrated tannins and savory oak tones. Enjoy this delicious red wine with grilled rib-eye or porterhouse steak, lamb chops, osso bucco and flavorful cheeses.
Tasting Notes
"The 2004 Meritage has aromas of blackberry, black licorice and violet. On the palate, juicy black cherry, along with cassis, espresso and pomegranate are well balanced with generous, round tannins. In a word, this wine is plush." – Randy Ullom, Winemaster

K-J Meritage Red:
"Meritage," pronounced like "heritage," is a combination of the words merit and heritage.
Only Meritage Association members may use this terminology. The association was founded in 1988.
Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a splash of Cabernet Franc from several counties including San Benito, Napa and San Luis Obispo.
Artisan winemaking techniques, such as cold soaking and extended maceration, were used to enhance and simultaneously, soften the tannins, deepen the color and intensify the flavors.
Handcrafted in small individual lots throughout the winemaking process – boutique winery style, for flavor distinction. Coastal San Benito County adds blackberry, dried cherry and cocoa flavors. Napa benchland vineyards provide cassis and licorice flavors with generous, round tannins.

Wine Statistics
Composition: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc
Growing Regions: 23% San Benito County, 22% Napa County, 15% San Luis Obispo County, 13% Sonoma County, 10% Mendocino County, 11% Solano County
Barrel Aging: 9 months in 56% French (53% new) and American oak

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

$90 gas cap or $6 gas cap??

St. Louis has emissions testing. Its "supposed to keep the air clean". Whatever-it has much more the appearance of a way to get more money. I really wish they'd just tack the testing fee onto our registration fee and leave it alone, versus making people jump through hoops to get their car tested. However, here's a tip that recent experience has taught us, if your car, which appears to be performing fine and isn't trailing out black smoke, fails emissions testing, and they offer to tell you WHY it failed for a mere $90 diagnostic cap, tell them to shove the diagnostic machine up their ass and go directly to an auto parts store and get a new $6 gas cap. That what we did and since they re-test it for free, we went back and voila! the car passed. How insanely easy and cheap. In fact, I might just say if your vehicle has 70K miles on, hell, spring for the gas cap BEFORE you take it to yourself the second test.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Peirano Estate Vineyards

We recently had 2 wines from Peirano Estate Vineyards Heritage Collection : the Chardonnay and the Six Clones Merlot. Sorry, just not crazy about them. But if you like what I like to call "french funk" in your wines, the aroma you find in a lot of bordeauxs and rhones, you might like merlot. (I think its also referred to as barnyard aroma, but whatever) We just didn't love either one. The Chardonnay had a wierd mineral buttery thing going on not really either but the presense of both, so I don't think my non-chard lovin friends would even like it. Sorry Peirano Estate.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More crazy Dear Abby letters

Yes, these are real…and were posted in the same day’s paper.

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "Leon" for a few months. He is smart, cute, ambitious, caring, a great kisser and has a fantastic sense of humor. The problem? He gives new meaning to the phrase, "Got milk?"

Leon still has the remains of the first gallon of milk he ever purchased when he moved into his apartment. (He had overestimated the amount of milk he would consume, and before he knew it, had a gallon in his fridge that was three weeks past its expiration date.) Time passed, and still it remained there. Soon it was 6 months old and a novelty.

Abby, Leon has kept this container of milk through two roommates, three girlfriends, seven jobs and two refrigerators. It will soon be five years. He seems to have formed some sort of sentimental attachment to it. Can it still be classified as -- milk? Leon is entertained by the reaction he gets when people hear about it, and even has a blog about it with a picture.

If our relationship is to get serious, I see a "me or the milk" ultimatum in our future. Is it asking too much for him to leave his life of keeping expired dairy, or should I cut my losses and seek a dairy-free bachelor? Or should I just accept it as a souvenir or a pet? -- LACTOSE INTOLERANT IN OREGON

Uck. I mean, what happens to milk after 5 years?? Does it continue down the path of spoiling? What happens after it clumps? How bad does that smell? Or does it plateau off, and become a solid, like fat does?
Here’s another one:

DEAR ABBY: My precious Mitzy went to the neighbor's house to socialize. She primped for nearly two hours, and even though she is of humble breeding, I thought she looked stunning. But when she pranced over to see Adonis, he ignored her! She swayed her hips to entice him, but finally became discouraged and returned home. I held her in my lap to soothe her and gave her a bowl of warm milk.

Later that week, Adonis' master came calling and ordered me to "Keep that tawdry Mitzy away from my fine Adonis!" I politely replied that my Mitzy would be a marvelous catch for his Adonis, and I am encouraging the relationship.

How can I protect Mitzy's heart? Did I do the right thing? -- LOVER OF LOVE

In case you didn’t get this, Mitzy’s a cat. What the hell is wrong with people?? And how on earth, did both these crazy SOBs get their letters printed????

Letter writin fool update....

Update on my phone- its fixed. (see They replaced the screen, basically the whole top part of the flip. From letter writing to getting it back it was done in less than a month, and I took 10 days to put the phone in the Fed Ex box to ship it to them, so it would’ve been just a bit over two weeks if I had done it right away.

See? Next time you have a problem with a product, write a letter- you might be surprised.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tortured with cookies…one of many ways I don’t want to die

Probably number one, or at least in the top few, of ways I don’t want to die is how Nick Stokes, CSI, almost died in an episode a few years back. It was directed by Quentin Tarantino and thus was great. Anyway, Nick got buried alive in a clear coffin. He was allowed enough air to stay alive for 12 hours, but fire eating ants were able to crawl in.
Yeah. Lets talk about how 1) I don’t like bugs 2) although I’m not particularly claustrophobic, I’m pretty sure I would be if I was buried alive in a coffin and 3) how horrible, to die that slowly. So, that’s pretty much one of the worst ways I can think of to die…other than a recent story at a local school (ok, ok, it’s the school I go to)….

Three men went to James' house to buy marijuana, but two of them grabbed the drugs and fled, leaving the third behind. The suspects held that man, who is in his late teens, and told him he needed to find $400 for the drugs …..The suspects beat the man with a wooden paddle, burned his neck and shoulders with cookies immediately after taking them from the oven, shaved off some of his hair and poured urine over him from a soda bottle.

The whole story:

There’s so much fodder in this story I don’t know what to do. A) since when do drug dealers make freshly baked cookies? B) Why did they burn him with cookies and not the PAN ITSELF? C) How stoned do you need to be to think burning someone with cookies is a good idea? D) Why is there a wooden paddle around? Was it a ping pong paddle? Who the hell has a wooden paddle around? E) Why just some of his hair? F) Why is there urine in a soda bottle?

Absolutely insane.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Jammy Jester’s Shiraz

We recently had a very jammy shiraz, Mitolo’s Jester Shiraz. Normally, although we do recognize the fruit in shiraz, most have such an acidic underdone (as mentioned before described as “heartburn wine”) that we don’t like them. However, this one also doesn’t have a lot, if any, “heartburn” and is just pretty jammy. Its from the McLaren Vale region, just like the d’Arenberg. I’m not sure if this is typical of this region, as I could’ve swore I had some that had the typical heartburn feel, but I like it, particularly for $15-17.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Letter Writin' Fool

As some of my friends know, I am a letter writer. If I have an unpleasant experience at a restaurant, store, or with a product, I write a letter. As a side note to those servers out there- I waited tables for 8 years so I certainly give servers every benefit of the doubt and usually, my complaints are not service oriented and I ensure that I say my service was fine. Some make fun, but recently I sent a letter to the CEO of Motorola because my razr phone was blacking out on me, 2 months outside the manufacturer’s warranty period:

Dear Edward Zander,
I recently did a graduate project on Motorola’s logo and culture and during my research I read quite a bit about the company and of course how you were the first “outsider” to run Motorola. I chose Motorola because I wanted to pick a US based company, I own a Razr, and I received my undergraduate degree in Business at ASU and thus lived down the street from Motorola.
I read an interview you did in 2004, regarding how Motorola’s quality and innovation has declined based on the non-urgent culture and how you were hoping to bring Motorola back to the top. You were interested developing the 4-in-1 phones and I have seen that in your new lines. I respect that. I like to see US based companies on top, coming up with the latest and greatest innovations and think its sad that so many of us have gotten used to associating foreign brands, like Sony or Samsung, with quality.
Well, I am sad to say that have owned my Motorola Razr for 14 months and it has started to just “die” at random times. I have to remove the battery and then power it on. I’ve tried master reset and nothing works and its getting worse. I have insurance, of course, and I get a replacement phone for $50, but I think its sad that I have to. I buy insurance so I’m covered if I lose the phone, not because I expect the phone to break on me 2 months outside the manufacturer’s warranty period. I’m eligible for a phone upgrade in a few months and was considering getting the Motorola Razr2, but I don’t think I am. I’ve had better luck with other phones and I’m not alone in my concerns about the Razr lines- I have quite a few friends and business associates who own them and while all of us really loved the slim size, what we want is a innovative phone with good service that is easy to use and doesn’t fail on us when we need it.
I just wanted to let you know how disappointed I am. Hopefully, in trying to be the most innovative and develop the latest and greatest products, you don’t lose sight of making a quality product that at least lasts the typical wireless contract period- 2 years.

I sent that on a Saturday. By Friday, less than one week later, I received a call from Motorola’s customer service. They stated they would fix my phone for free and were emailing me a pre-paid Fed Ex label. Isn’t that astonishing? Less than one week. I doubt the CEO read the letter and said wow, we need to fix that girl’s phone. I’m guessing what happened was that it got routed to the CEO’s office, his executive admin read it and forwarded it to Customer Service, who prioritized simply because it came from the CEO’s office. (not because anyone requested it was rushed)
But still-I’m impressed. Well the phone is on its way there (I had to find a spare phone to use in the interim) and I’ll keep you posted on progress.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Is K-Fed worth $20,000 a month?

Uh no, but I just read this on e! online…

According to financial declarations pertaining to the estranged exes' ongoing custody battle, Federline earned more than $500,000 in 2006, including $3,300 in royalties for "Popo Zao." But after factoring in his business and monthly personal expenses, including $7,500 for rent, $6,000 for security, $5,000 for "entertainment, gifts and vacation," $2,000 per month for clothes, etc., he only made a profit of $7,436.

Thank goodness for the $35,000 he was getting from Spears each month, $15,000 for child support and $20,000 for spousal support.

They said the 20K spousal support was going to expire soon, but the child support will likely go up. Now, I’m all for the child support- and Brittany deserves to fork out someone….girl needs to keep her panties on and get a license!
But really- 20K a month for K-Fed??? So he can keep spending $5K/month for enterainment? Puulleeeeze.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Power of the Decanter

Shiraz is the kind of wine people love or hate. You either love its spiciness or hate it and associate it as a “heartburn wine”. Well, recently I bought the 2002 d’Arenberg McLaren Vale Shiraz to try with some BBQ. On the bottle it says “will benefit from aging or decanting”…so I decanted it for about 70 minutes because we tend to be on the “heartburn wine” side. I’ll tell you what-it was really great. You probably wouldn’t have been able to tell it’s a shiraz. It as almost Malbec-like. I don’t know if it’s the shiraz or the Power of the Decanter, which you should never underestimate.
But it was really good- I’d recommend it for $15 at Sams’s Club. I've also had a few other d'Arenberg wines and would recommend them as well. I like something about the label too...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wedding Wine Tasting Part Sechs (six) - FINAL

We put the Hayman & Hill Pinot Noir against:

Niebaum Coppola Pinot Noir: Absolutely no nose. Really. Less scent than water. However, it does have a taste. Somewhat earthy, fairly light, not much finish. For people who get turned off by pinot “funk”, I’d recommend it. But, it wasn’t the favorite.

Marquee GSM: Still jammy. Actually has a cranberry juice kind of finish. We considered it for people who don’t like the oak and tannins in most reds, but in the end we chose……

Chateau Ste. Michelle Ophelin: Just good. A little fruity, little chocolate. Not too strong of tannins, just a little. In fact, in comparison to the other two, it had the most tannic presence, but I know if we drank it with the Kenwood it wouldn’t even come close.

So, yes, that means we are done with the wedding wine tasting. YEAHHHHHHH!!!!! (Unless we decide to serve sparkling…which we probably won’t.)

Final wedding wine selections are: Pine Ridge Viogner/Chenin Blanc, Kenwood Sonoma Merlot, and the Chateau Ste. Michelle Orphelin.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What ever happened to the wave??

No, not the wave at a sporting event....the wave you give someone who lets you over in traffic. Two days ago I let three people over during the course of a day and not one waved and I thought I should blog about this. Then I didn't. Then it happened again yesterday. And today. I mean really, what ever happened to the wave? I wave even if I "technically" cut someone off...I feel its sort of my way of saying "sorry I cut you off, thanks for not getting all road rage-y". I imagine them saying "(yelling) F*CK YOU....oh, wait, she waved. At least she waved.".
That and the lack of blinker usage gets me. I don't claim to always use my blinker, however, 98% of the time if there is a person behind me and if they will be affected by me turning (ie have to slow down) I certainly use my blinker. I understand why people don't use it in cut-throat must get over traffic situations (the kind where you cut someone off and then wave in hopes they don't pull out a .45), but in general. Your normal 35 mph streets, where you're already in the right lane, but you're turning right and if you notified the person behind you, they could hop over to the other lane. Or, if you see someone is trying to turn left and you're turning right, and if you used your blinker, they could make their turn. But you don't, so they miss it. Those situations. Why can't we all be a little nicer? When we learn how to drive, blinker usage is part of it and I know our mom's taught us all how to wave...... I wish we could have a big Driving Manner Movement....

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I love Quiktrip

I love Quiktrip. Its a great gas station. In Phoenix, they didn't have QTs when I first moved there, but when they first opened, I was so excited I would drive out of my way to get gas the point I actually ran out of gas once because I refused to fill up at another gas station. To those of you who don't know what Quiktrip is- its like a Love's or a Pilot...but cleaner. You don't realize how great QT is until you live in a city without one. They help keep other gas stations cleaner, really, there was a noticeable difference in the quality of other gas stations once QT moved to Phoenix. I love QT for a few reasons, its clean, well lit, people are friendly, the store is well staffed, and they are hardly ever out of stuff. In addition, the gas prices are usually competitive. And, they have funny ads- like this one. It made me laugh so I took a picture.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Age your wine in seconds????

I recently got a wine catalong and saw the weirdest thing....its supposed to age your wine a year per second it touches it:

"Clef du Vin is a scientifically-designed measuring device made from a mix of precious metals. Made for all wines, Clef du Vin, when dipped into a glass of wine, will age the wine one year for each second the alloy is in contact with the wine. Two seconds equals two years from now, three seconds equals three years from now, etc. Take the guesswork out of collecting with this invaluable tool. The individual Pocket Professional is presented in a handsome burgundy leather case."
How....weird. I know rushing the aging process is something everyone is looking to do - I've even heard freezing wine can age wine at a fast speed. Although weird, its understandable why people try stuff like this. Just like how people are trying to create lab diamonds-why wait if you can get the same thing now??
The pocket size one is 99.99 so I don't think I'll be trying it out soon, but I admit, I'm intrigued yet...very skeptical.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Wedding wine tasting part πέντε (Five in Greek)

We better hurry up and pick a wine, I'm running out of languages.

I forgot to update with the latest wedding wine posting:

We put the Pine Ridge and the Evolution against:

Arlie 7- blend of 7 grapes: Muller Thurgau, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot gris, and Muscat Ottonel. It was good, a bit sweet for what we’re looking for though. (It’s a smidge sweeter than the Evolution) Fun label though.

Cline Viogner-recommended by someone at the Wine Chateau. While we both liked it a lot, we liked it because it tasted like Chardonnay with a bit of butter. (but no oak.) So, its out as a wedding wine contender because we don’t want a Chardonnay-like wine.

We decided on the Pine Ridge. Two wines down, one more to go. The final red tasting is going to be a tough, because there’s two I really like.

Monday morning blog dump

With school and work and assistantship (lions and tigers and bears oh my) this will have to be a Monday morning blog dump:

Cubs go 100 years!!
Congrats to the Chicago Cubs for going 100 years without a world championship. Keep it up guys!

Another video in the works?
This cracks me up- Pamela Anderson and Rick Salomon just got married. In case you don’t know who he is, he’s the guy who spent One Night in Paris. Well, he probably spent a lot of nights in Paris, but he was with Paris Hilton in her video. And of course you can forget the Pamela / Tommy Lee video? (If you haven’t seen it….he’s…uh…got an extra arm between his legs)
Now, the test is will they film themselves? It will decide if they were really upset about the tapes being released or if it was really a PR thing. (which is my vote) But isn't it great- good ole USA lets anyone be a porn star.

Door holding standard?
The other day I was walking behind a man, about oh, 20 steps. He came to a door and held it open for me….which meant I had to practically run to allow him to hold it open for me. When someone does that, I always run because by all means, I don’t want to discourage gentlemanly behavior. Its funny thought, because while women generally hold the door open for each other as well, its usually for those about 3 steps behind us- as in if the door will smack them in the face, we’ll hold it open. However, there has to be a happy medium in social politeness. So, I decided its 7-10 steps to the door. Of course, if someone is carrying something or will clearly have a hard time opening the door, certainly rules are different.

Sicko pleading guilty.
From USA Today: “The former pizza parlor manager accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting two boys is pleading guilty in the case because he wants to spare his family and those of his victims any further pain, his defense attorney said.
Michael Devlin was expected to enter a plea on Monday in Franklin County Circuit Court, the first in a series of hearings this week in four jurisdictions where he faces more than 80 counts. Devlin will plead guilty next week to kidnapping and sexual abuse charges, a prosecutor and a relative of one of the boys said Friday.”

Good to hear it- hopefully this will keep them out of having to relive it any more than they have to with their own therapists. I just hope this guy is forced to spend his life in prison. Ass raping prison too.

Crazy headlines
“Dozens feel pinched by lobsterman's tale”
I didn’t know “lobsterman” was an actual term, but the story is evidently about how “John Kluth, lobsterman and alleged con man, is accused of netting an elite catch: a judge, an assistant attorney general, a state commissioner, a Marine colonel, a consumer protection investigator, an IRS agent and assorted licensed professionals…….he allegedly stole more than $27,000 with a story about a broken-down truck and a load of perishable lobsters.
Heh, who knew “lobsterman” was a profession. I guess fisherman is, but I’ve just never heard of lobsterman. Catchy headline though.

Monday, October 1, 2007

West County Wine Extravaganza

What a fun day on Saturday! We went to Lukas Liquors, had some wine. Since I cleared out Schnucks, I bought all of Lukas's Kenwood Merlot, although it was a couple bucks more, for the wedding and got another contender for the Wedding White. Then we went to Wine and Cheese Place, with some more wine. Then to Wine Chateau, where we had …..some more wine. Then sushi for dinner. Then more wine at Yia Yia’s. Actually, one of my favorite wines of the day was at Yia Yia’s. The 2004 Chateau Ste. Michelle Orphelin (red Rhone style blend of Mouvedre, Grenache and Cinsault) It was really good. Here’s an interesting tidbit about the wine and the name from the website:

“We grow many different Rhone varieties at our Columbia Valley vineyards, many of which don’t have a home when it comes time to blending. These varieties, such as Mourvedre and Grenache, are some of the more interesting varieties winemakers get to work with, and it always seemed a shame to have to blend away these orphans. Orphelin was born by trying to create a true Rhone-style blend from these wines, while showcasing Washington’s true potential for Rhone varieties. The wine bursts with ripe, red fruit and layers of spice and milk chocolate. On the palate, candied cherries and ripe strawberries abound offering an enticing, complex mouthfeel and a smiling finish.”

Hmm-I was curious about the name. How interesting that "Orphelin" comes from "Orphan" grapes. I'll have to agree about the smiling finish though-I did like it a lot. It was $11 for an 8 ounce glass at restaurant pricing, so I’m guessing its around 15-22/bottle. I’m going to go look for it.

After that, I decided to have some more wine at Big Sky- I had the Spellbound Cabernet. Also very yummy! I was actually suprised I liked it so much because of the price point. (you can also order directly from the website for $15/bottle including S&H) Its made by Robert Mondavi Jr. and his wife and another couple to focus on affordable and intersting wines. Another interesting tidbit, its 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Dornfelder. I've never heard of Dornfelder...

"A friend brought us a unique red varietal called Dornfelder, affectionately known as “German Pinot Noir” by many winemakers. As we blended the Dornfelder in with the Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine became more lively and showed a great amount of spiciness while maintaining the true Spellbound and California Cabernet Sauvignon style."
Its worth trying and I'll be looking for it out and about. Who doesn't like a good cab for under $20 a bottle???

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wedding Wine Tasting Part Quattro

Attention folks, we have a winner. Well, one wine out the three is picked out.

We testing the reining champion 2005 Cellar No 8 against:

2004 Kenwood Merlot. Normally around 15-18, on closeout sale for 9.88 with an additional 10% discount. Nice. Although I do like the Cellar No 8, it takes a bit to open up and this one is pretty much ready to drink right after opening. Not all too complex-easy drinking red, what most expect from a Merlot.

2004 Niebaum Coppola Merlot. Its also pretty good, although a bit oakey in comparison to the other two. It reminded me of chewy blackberries. I liked it and thought it would be good with food, but we liked the Kenwood Merlot the best. We want something that’s good with and without food, since there will only be light appetizers.

Whew! One wine down, two more to go.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

How can I forget Merryvale?

Last night we had one of my favorite chardonnays-the Merryvale Chardonnay. They have a few the one we had last night is the Starmont, around $18, and their top of line, which is how I fell in love with Chardonnay, the Silouette, around $50. They are just a smidge buttery, with 100% malolactic fermentation and aged in French oak, so not too terribly oakey.

Its been a while since I had it and I forgot how much I love it. Just enough butter to make it silky but not enough to taste like a spoonful of butter. It was a little crisp, more clean than minerally really, but really a great chardonnay for the price. I took a tour of Merryvale as well as a wine component tasting seminar back on 2002 and it was a great experience. Their top wine, the Profile (red blend) usually gets pretty good reviews. I was thinking that perhaps I would get another bottle to serve at nearly room temp (based on a recommendation from WineFriend) for my non-chard friends and see what they think. Then, if they didn’t like it, more for me. :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Peanut butter = loaded gun

A number of schools in the STL area have become “peanut free”. A lot have “peanut free tables” but some have actually banned other students bringing in peanut items to school, likening a peanut butter sandwich to a loaded gun for those students who airborne allergies to peanuts.

Hmm. Interesting topic. On one hand these students could die if they are around peanut butter. On the other hand, its peanut butter and we’re talking about kids. In the article it states that in 2006, a group estimated that 435,000, or less than 1 percent, of school-age children had a peanut allergy.

Less than one percent of school age children have a peanut allergy and because of this less than one percent, schools are banning peanut butter? I mean, what’s next. What if someone is allergic to fish? No fish oil, no fish sticks. How far are other parents that have kids with allergies away from requesting everything that their kids are allergic to be removed from the menu? Now I have a friend who’s allergic to , well, a lot of stuff. I try to be very sensitive and although I have no major allergies, empathize with him and those kids. However, having obstacles in your life just magically removed isn’t the way life works. When these kids get older are they going to request that bagel shops that sell peanut butter spread remove it from their menu? Perhaps even sue them?

This sort of reminds me of the second hand smoke debate. To smokers its their right to smoke where they want. To non-smokers, its dangerous and rude. Well, to non-peanut eaters, its dangerous but to a kid who loves peanut butter sandwiches, its their right to eat it for lunch. I know, its not the same thing, because kids have to go to school and non-smokers don’t have to go to smoky bars, yeah yeah. But, I just think that once schools start making concessions for one allergy, what’s to stop them from having to make concessions for ALL allergies? And you know its coming. We should just plan on keeping our kids in little plastic bubbles to avoid all risks. Or maybe just keep them in our bellies.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wedding Wine Tasting Part… Tres?

I might as well mix up languages, huh?
I’ll tell you what, I don’t want to ever pick a wine for the wedding. I am really enjoying this “research”! The other night we had 3 wines, 2 of which were new, up against the “defending white champ”, the Pine Ridge. The challengers were….

Evesham Wood Blanc du Puits Sec: 15% Pinot Gris and 15% Gewurztraminer, the winery is in Salem Oregon. Its pretty good, really light, and pretty similar to the Pine Ridge, just a little lighter, with just a smidge more crispness.

Sokol Blosser Evolution- basically a mixed bag of grapes with no specific breakdown. Its good- reminds me a fuzzy peach- easy in the mouth, just a smidge sweet, but I wouldn’t even come close to calling it a sweet wine.

Terry’s a bit more of a fan than I am of the Evolution. Its good, but I like the slight crispiness of the Pine Ridge. So now we have a tie. What to do, what to do….I guess we’ll keep drinking and find something soon!!

Stem Cell Procedures - working for a girl in Missouri

Ok, so I won’t say “I told you so” to all you people who voted against Stem Cell Research the last election who said it doesn’t do any good…..instead I’ll let this snippet from a local story do it for me.

WEBB CITY, Mo. — Rylea Barlett was born blind six years ago. Her optic nerves did not develop. She was diagnosed when she was a few months old. Doctor after doctor gave her no hope of ever seeing.

On July 4, the girl received the first of five stem cell transplants. The stem cells were from umbilical cords. The transplants were done in a remote hospital in China. Her mother, Dawn Barlett, was told not to expect anything for months. One week after the first transplant, her daughter was responding to the glow of a penlight.

"Three weeks ago on Sunday (Aug. 12), she asked me to get the penlight," Barlett said. "She wanted to show me where the light was. She kept grabbing at it. She could see the high contrast."

Then it occurred to Barlett that Rylea might be able to distinguish the features of a person's face. "I told her I wanted to show her something," Barlett said. "I held my breath and put my face in front of her face. I pulled away and asked her what she saw.

"She said: 'I saw my mommy. Mommy, you are beautiful.'"

Its rather long so I won’t paste the whole thing-if you care to look it up it’s “Missouri girl gaining sight after stem cell transplants” By Wally Kennedy in the JOPLIN GLOBE on 09/09/2007

But here’s a few more tidbits: The trip and treatments were financed by nearly $40,000 in donations. She not only saw the light, she saw a chart across the room with a big 'E' on it. The doctor has determined that she has 20/400 vision.”

Hey, that’s better than blind, right? Maybe its best that stem cell procedures stay in other countries-I’m sure that procedure would’ve cost hundreds of thousands of dollars with our current healthcare system. But that’s another post. :) For now, I’m happy there’s a 6 year old girl who can now see thanks to a progressively thinking country, but sad its not this country.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Brittany Spears is a vacuum cleaner?

Last night was the MTV awards, evidently Brittany Spears performed, or so I read on an E! article. How great it is that a moderately washed up pop star with no talent is given the opportunity to perform! Well they had a tidbit about it and other artists’ reactions:

The Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl wasn't exactly waiting with bated breath, either.

"You know those things that you put batteries in and they just vacuum the floor without anyone touching them? That’s what I think of Britney Spears,".

HA! Made me laugh out loud but then I realized….are Foo Fighter’s cool enough to be talking smack about how someone else isn’t cool?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Should firemen be able to divide?

Ok, so recently the city of St. Louis dropped a basic reading/writing/arithmetic test as a pre-employment test. (which you would need to pass in order to become a fireman) Evidently 7 out of 10 people failed the test. The only question that was released to the public was “Assume a length of hose is 30 feet long. A fire is 90 feet away. How many lengths of hose are needed to reach the fire?”.
While yes, that question is a skill I learned in elementary school- simple division, is it necessary to be a firefighter? Well, if you asked me “do firefighters need to know how to divide in order to fight a fire?” I probably would’ve said no…but put like it is above, I mean, do I really want someone taking their time and messing up getting a hose to my house? Not really. I’d rather have them be able to determine how much hose to get and fast, thank you. On the other hand, are they really told a fire is 90 feet away? Isn’t it more of a space judgment test? Maybe all I care about is that they know that the fire is about 3 hose lengths away because that’s what they need to know, not that 3 hose lengths make 90 feet.
I guess when I think of qualities I want my fireman to have: strong, quick, able to comprehend basic instruction and speak English. Lets get a test like that.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Wedding Wine Tasting Part Duex

Last night we tasted two contenders for the Wedding White Wine selection. As a recap, we’re looking for
-Two reds and one white.
-$10-ish bottles
-Something that will be generally likable to both those who have good taste and are novel wine drinkers.

Now, we love Chardonnay, however realizing not everyone does, we decided on a Viogner blend. Something somewhat fruity, but not too sweet, not to dry…and that we like as well. The contenders were:

2005 Shoofly Buzz Cut (blend of Verdelho, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Semillon) Its pretty good. Just a little acid and crispness, that we felt might be too much for some.

2006 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Vionger blend. We liked it. Its currently the top contender. Peachy, fruity, medium bodied, but not too sweet. We figure if you want something of more substance, you’ll probably like red wines as well and there will be two to choose from.

We drank all of them with no food at all because we figure the variety of food will just be too much to pair with so we need something that’s good by itself. Then….we decided lets open a 3rd bottle. We had a bottle of Beringer Chenin Blanc in the fridge that I purchased on sale from Schnucks for $4.88 (normally $8-9 I think) and that’s what we decided on. Well, during the opening process the top of the bottle busted. (see picture) Glass went in the bottle, on the floor, everywhere. That should’ve been a clue that we needed to not have a 3rd bottle. (just in case you missed it, its just the two of us) But no, we decided to overcome the obstacles presented before us and strain the wine into our glasses with a metal strainer. (while taking care not to disturb the pieces at the bottom of the bottle) All was fine, no glass shards ended up in our glass and are currently still in the bottom of the bottle. But this morning, when we had to get up to go to my mom’s, a mere 6 hours after we went to bed, we realized that it was a sign from the Hangover Gods to avoid that 3rd bottle, which we scoffed at and felt the pain this morning. Not too bad, but the pre-noon water theme park trip was hard. Sun is hard to avoid outside.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Ferment me wildly, baby

Last night we had a 2006 Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay. I admit I bought it because the label, which looks handwritten, and I was intrigued by the “wild ferment” part. I sort of invisioned people with buckets of yeast dancing around (like in sort of a ritual circle style) and singing and tossing yeast into vats of grapes. Sounded fun and since I do adore chardonnay, I couldn't pass up this bottle for $13.

Its from Chile and it was really quite yummy, although I’m positive my non-chard loving friends would probably not like it, as it has butter and oak. Although its tastefully done and it’s pretty complex, there’s still butter and oak. Tasting notes:

Our 2006 Chardonnay Wild Ferment is a complex wine with a rich mineral and citric character. The mouth-feel is soft and persistent, displaying elegance and finesse. Malolactic fermentation contributes buttery notes and richness, with well integrated toast and vanilla from barrel ageing providing the backdrop.

Yum. Its not that I ONLY like buttery oakey chards, because I’ve had a few that aren’t oaked that I like as well as quite a few overly buttery ones, but I do tend to prefer wines like this. It was around $13 and its from Chile, where you can typically get more wine for your money, so it was for sure worth the price.

Anyway, about this whole wild fermenting thing:

Wild fermentation is a process carried out using native yeast. Since the yeast are not selected using technological criteria (SO2 resistance, alcohol resistance, etc), they experience higher stress during fermentation. This effect, coupled with the presence of more strains during wild fermentation, produces different concentrations and byproduct proportions, adding distinctive flavours –and therefore more complexity– to the wine.

Hmm. During my search, I found there are a decent amount of wild fermented chards out there and even a few reds. Who knew?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bladder Busters at a Bar??

So the other day in school, where I am the “old” one, I was asking the other students if they’ve ever been to a bar that does Bladder Busters. Well, in truth, when I began the question, I couldn’t remember for the life of me what it was called so instead I described it as “you know, you go into a bar, maybe you pay a small cover, maybe you don’t, depends if the bar is a hole in the wall or not and then everybody gets to drink beer for a penny until someone pees.”

They looked at me as if I just asked them if they’ve ever been unicorn riding. Evidently its just an Arizona State thing. Of course now that I remember the name I’ve been asking other people I know and nope, no one has heard of it, except Terry who still has never participated but heard of it on a TV show. (he thinks King the Hill, but I can’t seem to find anything in an episode guide) But on my searching, I ran across a messageboard that talked about seeing one in a Tacoma Washington bar.

So maybe it’s a west coast thing?

Monday, August 27, 2007

An OAKED Sauvignon Blanc??

Last night I tried something I’ve never had before- an OAKED sauvignon blanc. (2004 Lobster Bay Sauv Blanc) Now, typically I don’t like sauvignon blancs. Not a big fan of grassy, tropical, or grapefruit in my wine, which are some of major characteristics of sauv blanc, particularly of the Marlborough region. There are some White Bordeaux’s I like, where the blended Semillon helps balance out the acid. Well, I got this through my wine club and they include some info about it…and a portion of it is aged in French oak for 3 months. Sure, that’s not a lot of oak and not for a long time AND its French oak, which doesn’t impart as much flavor as American, but hell, it’s an oaked sauv blanc and I didn’t even know such a thing existed.

Well, it was good. Still a little tropical for me, but the oak balances out the grassy and acid nicely. Its certainly not "oakey" and I doubt many could tell there was any oak, except for the nice balance. Its $20, so I probably won’t get it again, as I have other wines I like more for $20, but if I see it for $15 I’ll buy it again. I would recommend it for sauv blanc fans who don't like the heavy grass (such as the 06 Kim Crawford).

Garfield…actually funny?

I have the comic Garfield, among others, on my home page, as I used to, and occasionally still do, find it humorous. His cynicism is funny to me, plus I’m a cat person and I like to think my cats have as much personality as Garfield. By the way, to those who have been out of the Garfield Loop-Jon finally is dating the vet. Yep, 15 years in the making or whatever. Anyway, today’s, which has nothing to do with the vet, made me spit my coffee out.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wedding Wine Tasting Part 1

Since we will be fortunate enough to be able to bring our own alcohol to the reception, we feel obligated that the wine should be good. Or at least good in comparison. Here's the plan:
-Two reds and one white.
-$10-ish bottles
-Something that will be generally likable to both those who have good taste and are novel wine drinkers.

Tentatively have decided on a merlot (cheap cabs are just too harsh) and a pinot or other medium bodied wine. Top contender for the medium bodied is the Hayman & Hill Pinot Noir. So, a few days ago we had Wedding Wine Tasting Part 1- reds. We tried:

Ravenswood Merlot-actually pretty good. Easy to drink straight out of the bottle, a little bit of complexity.

Concannon Merlot-now we really like this chardonnay (its buttery) and we had the pinot not too long and it was also pretty decent. The merlot…well, not to much. Not horrible, but not good enough compared to the other two.

Marquee GSM-very jammy. Good, might be a contender instead of the Hayman & Hill Pinot but not different enough to be a separate choice from the pinot.

Big 8 Cellars Merlot-right out of the bottle its pretty harsh. Tastes like a young cheap red. But, give it just10 minutes in the bottle (not even in a decanter) and it opens up really nicely into a slightly tannic, but well rounded merlot. Top contender, because of the mystery of the wine-no one will have heard of it plus it’s a bit fuller bodied than the Ravenswood and thus would be a good choice for those who want a big red.

We’ll probably try a few more, and we’ll also try some whites. The whites in mind are the Shoofly Buzz Cut and Pine Ridge Viogner/Chenin Blanc. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The great temperature debate

With the weather being as warm as it is, I have noticed an increase in the discussion of wine and temperature, both serving and storing temperature. There are many sources of information on this topic but the majority agree on reds: store between 55-65, serve at 58-68. Where you fall in that range is personal preference.

Wednesday night we had some red wine that was room temp. Now, the vast majority of restaurants serve red wine at room temp, but we brought in this wine and paid the corkage fee. It was room temp because of travel time-and the fact that outside it was 100+ degrees. Although it could’ve been a few degrees colder, it was fine and actually better than it would’ve been if it was served at 55.

A concern about room temp during the summer is that rooms are usually hotter. I mean, in the winter we keep our house at 72-ish but in the summer its closer to 78. 78 is pretty far away from ideal temp-its almost warm.

On to whites and rose’s. Typically rose’s are served colder than fuller bodied whites, like Chardonnay. However, last night we had some rose’s that were served too cold and thus needed to be warmed up using our hands. A recent entry of my wine calendar says that sparkling is best served colder than fridge temp-they need to be ice bucket cold.

Either way, it seems like I’m always messing with the temp of wines lately and I’m really caring about it more than usual. Our wine fridge doesn’t have any moving parts, some special way of refrigeration that doesn’t vibrate, thus only keeps the wine a max of 25-30 degrees cooler than the air around it. Which with a poor air circulation set up in the kitchen, the fridges are in the hottest corner. A downside, yes, as in the summer the wines are around 65. Which means we have to cool down the whites for about 15 minutes and over the weekend, we even put the red in the fridge for about 5 minutes.

The good news with all this messing with the temps is that I’ve figured out what MY ideal serving temp is. Reds-58-62. Whites and dry rose’s: 48-50 Fruitier wines: 45-48 and I guess 40 for sparkling, although I don’t know what “ice bucket cold” is. When we buy another more expensive wine fridge where we don’t have to decide on vibration vs ideal temp, I’ll set storage at about 2-3 degrees cooler than that. But that’s at least a few years away, so I’ll have to deal with cooling my whites for 15 minutes and maybe my reds for 5 during the summer months.

Either way, I’ll be glad when summer is gone – it seems like the variation in wine temperature tastes is smaller and less of a debate in the winter.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

What? A smoke free casino? How lovely!!

I like gambling. In fact, I love playing Roulette and have started to learn to play Craps. I have some methods in place to keep it from becoming a problem-such as never taking my ATM card in with me and once I get “up” to a certain amount (usually double my money) I allow myself to continue to play until 3 losing spins/rolls/hands whatever. This way I don’t lose it all. What I don’t love about the casinos is that I feel the need to take a shower right when I get home because I smell like a lit cigarette.

Well, Illinois recently passed a public smoking ban which appears to include casinos. How progressive!! There is currently, of course, a bill in the process to allow casinos within 10 miles from a neighboring state that allows public smoking (such as the Casino Queen) to be exempt from the law. Not sure of the fate of that. Evidently people think the smoking ban will hurt the casino industry.

Some thoughts on this:

Those poor casinos-god forbid they make less money. I mean really, evidently the casino industry brings billions of dollars of revenue into the state of Missouri and its supposed to help education-yet MO has what, the 17th WORST quality of education in the country? Yeah, that means they are making bunches of money and not giving it back.

Am I the only person who’s excited about a smoke free casino??? Sure, the old people who play the penny slots might smoke a carton a day, but I swear I’ve seen people not smoking at casinos. Smoke free gamblers DO EXIST and gosh, maybe the thought of going to the casino and not coming home smelling like an ashtray appeals to people. Maybe so much that they might drive to the Casino Queen versus Ameristar to gamble in a smoke free environment. What a novel idea!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The ultimate mattress pad.........

Not sure if other couples have the same problem we have, (doesn’t that sound ominous) but I’m much warmer than Terry is. It’s something he loves in the winter and hates in the summer. Either way, I’m always warm enough to sleep with a foot out from underneath the covers so when I saw this I was very excited, if only we had more disposable income. It keeps your bed cool / warm and they offer dual temps too!!!! I can’t even imagine….

Friday, August 10, 2007

25% Alc Zin

We recently had quite a few yummy wines. One was a 2000 Spencer Roloson Zinfandel, the oldest zin I've ever had. Wow. It was....strong. Now, the bottle said 15.5%, but based on the smell and how we felt afterwards, we're thinking it must've done some serious fermentation in the bottle because we went from lightly buzzed to very buzzed with just a glass. We joked that it was a 25% alc Zin, but we're guessing more like 17%. Here's a label-not of the actual wine we had, but of their current release Zin. Very small production-they only made 125 cases of their current Zin release. I got it from one of my wine clubs.
Even though we felt the effects, it didn't taste that unbalanced, just a smidge hot. We decanted it- a must do because there was a ton of sediment and gave it an hour in the decanter. But it was great - almost the nose of a port, with raisins and chocolate taste. Terry even liked it and he doesn't usually like zin because "it tastes like heartburn". Not this one- in a blind tasting I'd think it was a well aged cab because it lacked the spicyness of a zin. It was really good and if I ever see it out I'll buy it and in fact, we'll be trying more higher-end Zin as well in hopes of finding another.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Grass is Ass

Man, I don't know came up with "grassy" is a good adjective for wine but I will have to disagree. Over the weekend I had the 2006 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. I’ve had the 2005 before, and while in general I’m not a fan of sauv blancs, it was ok. Tolerable. I would pour myself another glass or two. But the 2006- wow. It is like drinking liquid grass. Really, while drinking this wine I recalled eating grass when I was younger, it was that similar. Grassy isn’t the only reason, nor it usually the main reason I don’t like sauvignon blancs, but it is for this one.

If you’re unfamiliar with what “grassy” tastes like, try the 2006 Kim Crawford Sauv Blanc. You will then forever be able to identify grass in a wine.

Barry Bonds - 756

Ok, he hit it. Barry Bonds hit his 756th career home run. While I have somewhat mixed feelings about it, I will say I’m glad its over and done.

For those of you who don’t follow baseball, Barry Bonds is a pretty damn good baseball player, even if you don’t count the whole “home run thing”. He’s been in 14 all star games, has received 8 golden glove awards, and has been selected MVP 7 times, (more than anyone else- 2nd place is 3 times which Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Stan Musial, among others, all have been given the award only 3 times). He also holds the single season home run record (73) in addition to, as of August 7th, 2007, the all time home run record (756). Overall, a very talented ball player, both defensively and offensively.

Oh, and he’s accused of knowingly using performance enhancing drugs.

Oh, and so is nearly all of baseball.

No, I don’t want to debate if he used steroids or performance enhancing drugs or if he knew about it. I think nearly everyone in baseball took some level of performance enhancing drugs. Whether is was full on steroids or just stuff that made you recover from injuries faster, whatever- I think the bottom line is it was all over the game.

Really, admit that baseball was WAY TOO lax in testing so many baseball players took steroids. People talk like this is the only guy who took steroids and its “tainting” baseball. No, HUNDREDS of players took steroids and while it might be tainting the records, what can we do about it? Deny everyone who played in the 1990’s entrance into the fall of fame because they probably took steroids? I mean, really, the only players who are admitting it are sub-par players whose use of performance enhancing drugs (PED) didn’t do enough to for them to get them anywhere significant in the game. They were crappy players who became “OK” players. So what do they have to lose by telling everyone they took steroids? They aren’t damaging their chances of getting into the hall of fame-they’ll only get in with paid admission anyway.

By that rationale, if tons of players were on PED, doesn’t that make it an almost even playing field? I mean, there aren’t tons of players who are sitting on 756 home runs. There’s one. If the use of PED alone makes that much difference that he shouldn’t be allowed in the hall of fame, then gosh, why aren’t there tons of records being broken each and every year by all the players who used? If PEDs have that much power, then we should have many many many phenomenal players from the 90’s ‘Roid Days, but we don’t. So it doesn’t.

In my opinion, Barry Bonds is a hall of fame quality player anyway-look at the golden gloves, the MVP awards, the all star game appearances. Maybe it shouldn’t be the 756 home runs that gets him into the hall of fame-maybe without drugs he would’ve only hit 701, who knows? We can’t rewind time and if he’s smart, he’ll never admit anything. But the way I look at it, is IF he took drugs, then they made a great player phenomenal. And that’s something that you just can’t do with drugs. So to all the sub-par players, the writers who never played or were never any good, the ones who took the PED’s and it didn’t make them phenomenal, quit your bitching and be happy people go to games so you all have a fucking job.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Saran wrap quick fix mumbo jumbo

The latest "wine trick" to fix a bottle of corked wine by exposing it to Saran Wrap. Supposedly, Polyethylene absorbs TCA (the tainted chemical) like a sponge. Well, last night I had the unfortunate pleasure of giving it a test when I opened a bottle of chardonnay and discovered it was corked.
Well, I'm gonna have to call bullshit on this one. All the articles I've read said one square foot should do it, with 10 minutes and a repeat to be the top amount. We used at least 3 feet, 15 minutes, repeated it four times, including one 4 inch piece in our glasses, hoping a small scale would work. While it helped, at no point did the wine become anything resembling a good wine. In the end, it moved it from smelling like moldey apple juice soaked socks to just bad apple juice that was left out for a day in the kitchen. Still not drinkable and it met its fate with the drain.

Not sure at what point of corked wine this is a fix, but its not quite the magic cure-all we have heard of. Dissapointed me, that's for sure, but I'll try it again on reds.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Comment Grab Bag

Ok, lots to comment on.

Heat competitions
First off, what is with people finding ways to compete in the heat?? As noted in an earlier post, crazy people run though Death Valley in the summer. Well today, I saw a new level of craziness. A competition to sit in a 230 degree sauna.
Sure, you’re just sitting there, but your thighs and butt needs to be touching the seat. If you can take the heat for the longest you will be crowned the Sauna World Champion. Insane.

Wet toilet seats
Ok ladies, we have the cleaner restroom, but why can’t we manage to not pee on the seat? I swear in the past three months I can’t go into a public restroom, whether its at work, in a bar, or a porta- potty, 1 out of 3 toilets has pee on the seat. I don’t care if you hover, plop down on the seat, use toilet paper to cover it up, or use the little seat covers- all have a shot of getting the seat wet. Why can’t we just give it a little wipe so it doesn't look like our drunk boyfriends lost control of the hose on the seat??? I mean, really, lets look out for our fellow ladies and provide a dry seat to lay toilet paper or whatever on.

Minority Report-coming to a city near you
Here’s sort of a Minority Report-type story- there’s this guy in California who posts pictures of little girls, but not sexual pictures, just pictures, along with blog entries of his fantasies of what he would like to do to them.

Clearly, parents in the area are freaked out …but he hasn’t done anything yet. Well, today they got a temporary restraining order for the ENTIRE state of California- the perv can’t be within 10 yards of a minor.,0,5538435.story?coll=la-home-center

Clearly he’s on the path to action, so I commend the judge for ok’ing the restraining order and I think pedophiles and rapists are the lowest level of human on the earth and deserve sick, harsh, wrong things to be done to them.

But, lets think the long term implications here….if I talk about robbing a bank or some other crime, is that evidence of intent? I mean, how far are we from Minority Report??

Barry Bonds and home run 755
I have much to say about this, but when he breaks the record and hits his 756th, I’ll dedicate a whole post to it. For now, I’ll just note that he hit it over the weekend and that we have not heard the last of this, by far.

Auqafina = tap water
I’m not sure why this is big news. Am I the only person who realized some bottled water is called “drinking water” and some is “spring water”? Drinking water is the same stuff I drink at home out of my Pur filer…its tap water that’s been filtered. Well, maybe (hopefully) it goes through a more elaborate filtering process, but really, were people really clueless about the origin of this water? (ie the Missouri river?)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Josh Hancock

This was a good reason to start a blog and I let it slide. Tsk Tsk.

First off, unrelated to Josh Hancock's sobriety:

According to the report, Kennedy was at the bar with friends. His credit card statement says he bought 28 drinks for a total of $186.50, the report said. He asked that Hancock's tab be included in his. He left a $200 tip.

Wow, really, that's what I'm talking about-it warms my ex-waitress heart-people with insane amounts of money should leave insane amounts of tippage.

Now, onto Josh Hancock. As you know, the Hancock family was suing Mike Shannons, the tow truck driver, and the owner of car that broke down. The Hancock family dropped the suit recently, just days after the second investigation cleared Mike Shannon's. Evidently 13 of 15 people said he appeared sober. Here's my thoughts:

1. No way he was sober. Is that the restaurant's fault? I don't think so. I think we all know the point when our judgement becomes impaired. Lets say I know that once I hit 3 glasses of wine I'm very likely to drink a lot more and I will likely keep going until I'm falling over drunk. At 2 glasses I'm not visibly drunk but I know that 3rd will push me into the Time of Lacking Judgement. Well then when I'm at my second glass and I know this and I still order my 3rd glass, then I'm responsible for what happens after that. Not a restaurant, bartender or server. Me-I am responsible for my own sobriety or drunkenness unless someone is spiking my water.

2. The lawsuit was ridiculous. I mean really, the guy who's car broke down? Lets sue the car manufacturer while we're at it. Maybe the MO Dept of Transportation for making small shoulders in the fast lane?

3. People lied and said he was sober because they knew the lawsuit was ridiculous. They knew if they established that he was drunk then the family would have a leg to stand on against Mike Shannons, which is the only piece of the lawsuit the money is at. So once that was a lost cause, the family dropped their lawsuit against the other people. Because really, there's not millions of dollars to get from the guy who's car broke down.

4. It is sad that he died and its even sadder than getting a cab, or that Driver's Seat thing where they drive your car home for you, isn't more available and cheap. Its sad that in our culture of going out, we like to tell stories about how f*cked up we got, and that its just not very cool to admit hey, I've had too much and I need a ride. Because honestly, if you drink ever, then you are probably too drunk to drive legally. Who really goes out and has one beer an hour-once you hit two in an hour you're probably over the legal limit by your 2nd hour.

And thats all I have to say about that.

Dear Abby

I read Dear Abby daily. Not sure if its because I like to read about loser's problems or what but either way it provides me with a few minutes of free entertainment. Although I hardly ever read her answers, as they are usually so middle of the road I can't believe you'd call them advice. Today's made me laugh outloud:

DEAR ABBY: My soon-to-be-ex-husband's secretary keeps giving my 16-year-old daughter extravagant gifts for Christmas. One year it was a complete Tiffany jewelry set (earrings, necklace and ring). This past year, "Donna" gave my daughter a $200 gift certificate to an expensive clothing store and another $200 one at a trendy cosmetics store. Should I be suspicious? -- EAST COAST MAMA

DEAR EAST COAST MAMA: No, by now you should be convinced.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Friend-Friendly Chardonnay Quest

As noted before, I love chardonnay. A little bit of oak, a little cream, (not so much it tastes like a dollop of butter though) maybe even a hint of hazelnut or nutmeg equals a yummy chardonnay. However, aside from Terry, I stand alone in this chardonnay love affair. (luckily he likes it as much as I do)

I've been experimenting with others whites, hoping there was something I liked as much. Alas, it is just not the case. I just don't like wimpy white wines or crisp tart make my cheeks tingle whites either. Or wines that taste like grass, with or without lemon-no thank you either way. As an add-on to my quest however, I have been trying to find chardonnays that my friends might like. Well, not like as in buy again, but like as in not dread it when I walk in the door with a bottle of chardonnay. (Its not an evil grape, I promise!) Some like the Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay, so I'll focus my attention on finding some more oak-free chardonnays.

When I was researching the percentages for the previous post, I noted that St. Supery (which is coming up quite often in my posts, odd since I've only had their wines a few times) has un oakless chardonnay. It is described as:

Now, for something completely different. No barrels. No secondary fermentation. Chardonnay, pure, but oh so far from simple. Using gently pressed “free run” juice from just-ripe estate grapes, a chilled stainless steel fermentor and techniques adapted from our success with Sauvignon Blanc, as well as a sensibility inspired by our predecessors in Champagne and Chablis, we dare to strip Chardonnay down to its essence.

This wine is subtle, satisfyingly complex, complete, and hard to put down. It has delicate touches one finds in wine that has seen barrels, without the heavy hand of oak. Instead of wood, the grapes and yeast together supplied a whiff of nutmeg, sweet vanilla, and the savory smell of oven-fresh golden-crusted bread (without the butter.) The character of unadulterated Chardonnay, grapes or juice, is hard to describe, like the smell of fresh pippin apples and pears combined, plus something ineffable that one comes to recognize, after many tries, as “Chardonnay”. To taste this wine is to taste that.

Wow, "stripping" and "unadulterated" chardonnay grapes. How...naughty. With a description like that, how can I not try it, even if it fails to be the Friend Friendly Chardonnay?? One day I will find one, I know it. I'll be on the lookout for this one in the meantime, although on the website its listed as $22.

Drinking and eating is complicated

Last night I made chicken marsala. Its a difficult dish to pair with. Its chicken, which makes you think white wine. But I make it with a brown/creamy sauce, not quite cream, but not too brothy, and I use real marsala wine, which is not white. Its also very rich. So maybe a lighter red? But I also serve it with a side of fettuccine alfredo. So now we're back to white.

Well, we ended up having the St. Supery Virtu which is 53% Semillon, 47% Sauvignon Blanc.
It was really good with it. I've had it before by itself and didn't care for it as much as I liked it last night-I think the crispness of the sauv blanc was good with the creamy rich food, but it wasn't so sharp that it competed with the food.

But the choice of what we were going to have with it was really a 10 minute conversation. I started thinking about other hard to pair food/wine combos - I mean, even lasagna, which I make really cheesy, is a little hard to pair. You don't what a red that's too full bodied because the melted provolone and mozzarella and ricotta will be overpowered, but its a red sauce so you don't want a white. And Italian food is supposed to be easy to pair since so many italian wines go better with food.

On the flipside, I like Chardonnay. But really, a full bodied, oaky, slightly creamy chardonnay is very hard to pair with. Pork chops is about all I think fits with it- and I don't recall seeing very many recipies in pairing books that call for chardonnay. Even old world style chardonnay, which is less oakey and more minerally, is hard to pair.

Who knew drinking and eating was so complicated?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Good Idea/Bad Idea

So last night we were at a restaurant and we noted one of the plates have a severe chip in it. We joked about cutting ourselves with it and bleeding all over because our server was ignoring us and we thought that might get his attention. All the sudden I said

Good idea: eating out in a restaurant.
Bad idea: bleeding out in a restaurant.

If you’re wondering where that came from or if it sounds slightly familiar, it was on the cartoon show Animaniacs and was titled

Some examples from the show are:

Good idea: playing in the park.
Bad idea: playing in the parking lot.

Good idea: having breakfast served to you in bed.
Bad idea: having tennis balls served to you in bed.

Good idea: cleaning your dog.
Bad idea: dry-cleaning your dog.

Good idea: doing your own yard work.
Bad idea: doing your own dental work.

Good idea: playing the piccolo in the marching band.
Bad idea: playing the piano in the marching band.

Good idea: playing catch with your grandfather.
Bad idea: playing catch with [using] your grandfather.

Oh it was a funny show. What a random time to remember it.

St. Supery Merlot- 2001

Last night we had a 2001 St. Supery Merlot.
Tasting notes: This merlot shows its vibrance and life through its inviting hues of reds and purples. Aromas are elegant with black cherry, blueberry, and subtle oak with a sprinkling of tobacco and anise. The palate is well structured with good width, yet is supple and elegant, offering flavors that linger through to the finish. 99% Merlot, 1% Cabernet

Hmm. Well, I don’t know if the oak is subtle. Its pretty oakey and chewy. Not so great before the steaks arrived, wonderful with the steaks. I get my steak nice and rare so it was a good pair. I can’t say it was the absolute best wine for that steak-I think it could have had some more berry since the sauce was fairly earthy- it was a bourbon morel butter sauce.
Anyway, I’d recommend it with a steak for the price and I think it retails for around $20. I read that the 2002 was better. I think the 2001 was the first year St. Suprey did the merlot so I guess it makes sense the next year was better.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lets go run 135 miles in Death Valley....

I want to be a runner. I do. I’d love to be able to exercise any time, anywhere. I’d like to have one $500 piece of equipment that I can use at home versus a gym membership and have that be my one stop solution to weight control and a healthy heart. I am far from it, and in fact can't even run a mile. However, I just heard about this Badwater Ultra Marathon, which I will never, ever, ever, repeat EVER do, nor aspire to be able to do:

AdventureCORPS, an event production firm specializing in ultra-endurance and extreme sports events, will host the 30th Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon on July 23-25, 2007. A true "challenge of the champions," this legendary foot race pits approximately up to 90 of the world’s toughest athletes–runners, triathletes, adventure racers, and mountaineers–against one another and the elements. Covering 135 miles non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA in temperatures up to 130F, it is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet.

There are people who did not finish and in fact, as of noon on July 25th, many many people who are still running. The guy who won is from San Paulo Brazil- Valmir Nunes finished in 22 hours 51 minutes and 29 seconds. He’s 43. And just ran 135 miles, starting the race running an average of 7.91 mph then finished running 3.22 mph.

Holy mother of god what are those people thinking? 135 miles starting in Death Valley? Isn't it called Death Valley for a reason??

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bacon is great, but not in beverages

Ok, ok, now I love bacon. Love it so much that on my birthday I had it for all 3 meals. Not intentionally on the 3rd meal- we had it with breakfast, then a BLT for lunch, then at Café Brasil, an all you can eat churrasco place (grilled meat on swords), I had a few pieces of mini filet mignons. It was a glorious day. The Jack in the Box commercial where the guy says “can I get a bacon latte?” is an often quoted when my love of bacon comes up.

However, I had no idea bacon flavored coffee existed….until I get an email from Boca Java, the place we get our flavored coffee. (Our favorite is Surfin Safari- Kahula, caramel, and vanilla.) Their new release is….

Maple Bacon Morning- Embark on a smooth sail each morning with this breakfast flavored coffee. The taste of sweet maple and smoky bacon blend perfectly to create a hearty start to your day.
Wow, it really does exist. Now, as mentioned before I do love bacon. In fact, bacon might be my chocolate-I might have a Bacon Tooth. I don’t, however, have any desire to taste things that aren’t supposed to taste like bacon-such bacon flavored coffee or bacon tea or bacon soda. Bacon is great, but not in beverages.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sometimes pretty/cute wine bottles have good wine

Ok, so 3 posts in one day might be overkill, but I certainly wanted to have a wine post in the first 5 posts.
I know that to those of us that drink wine often, most of the time the label/ artwork/bottle lets us know the quality of the wine-typically flashy labels=bad wine. Exception of course being wine with actual artist's works of art, such as Kenwood's Artist Series and Imagery wines. Both are excellent and actually the Artist Series is Kenwood's reserve cab-I've had two years, 1994 and 1999, both were great. Last night we had Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (2002 Riserva). The bottle has a little wine twig on it. Its like $17 bucks at Sams Club and is really a nice wine. It has a WineSpectatorRating of 87 and a description of

A tasty red, with currant, passion fruit and fig, with a hint of spicy vanilla. Medium-bodied, with fine, well-integrated tannins and a clean, chocolaty finish.

We had it with 5 cheese pizza with basil and tomatoes and it was a good pairing. Not too tannic to overpower the mild pizza but complemented it well.

Anyway, its a darn cute bottle and I'm glad my friends Cynthia and Doug bought it and I had it at there place or I, too, would've walked right past it because its cute and I've already found myself judging based on labels. Now its a semi-regular pick up for me when I'm at Sams Club. Thanks guys!!

How the Amish Work

I was searching for a certification that a job I'm working on requires and ran across and enjoyed this title.
In general the site explains things like how timeshares work, how patents work....etc. But it also explains how the Amish work aka what's the deal with the Amish. Clearly a simple site and no idea on the validity-funny nontheless.

Musical Revolutionary Moments

On my way into work today I turned my Sirius to Backspin-and low and behold, Me So Horny was on. I was taken back to my middle school days and remembered what a big deal that album was. A bit of info for those of you that were never part of the hip hop fan club:

Back in 1990, Miami based rap group the 2 Live Crew got into trouble for the explicit lyrics on the album As Nasty as They Wanna Be. The album was banned for sale in parts of Florida, and some record store clerks actually got arrested for selling it. Of course, all the controversy actually ended up helping sales of the album, when people wanted to find out what the fuss was about. "Banned in the U.S.A." is a rap protest song about the persecution the group underwent. The chorus is based on Bruce Springsteen's hit "Born in the U.S.A.". The song ended up being the group's biggest hit, reaching #20 on the Hot 100.

Now I like the song mainly because it reminds me of middle school and the fun it was to be a kid. No worries of work, money, or any of that. The song isn't of high artistic quality- not in the least. But, it made a difference and upheld the first amendment. A song with lyrics like

I'm like a dog in heat, a freak without warning.
I have an appetite for sex 'cause me so horny.
Oh, so horny....Ohh, so horny...Ohh, so horny.
Me love you long time.

Isn't that crazy? God I love this country.

I must admit I plagiarized the above synopsis...I won't say the group underwent "persecution"...I think the whole banned thing is the only reason they are remembered.I don't ignore that there were plenty of musical revolutionary moments before and after, that were of much larger scale and for a better reason. (hello-the 60's??) Its just one that I lived through.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bus stop confessions

So I've been meaning to start a blog but have been really agonizing over what the first post will be. Its so important, that first post, you know.
So while I do like wine I have no tales of wonder to tell about that; I do however have a tale to tell about a bus stop.
Last Friday I went to Live on the Levee with friends. On the walk back to a friend's car, I needed to stop because my ankle (which has been sprained for 4 weeks) hurt. So, Amy and I stayed at a well lit bus stop in downtown St. Louis while a friend, Jon, went to get his car and pick us up. It was well lit and had a place to sit down, so it was good. He was gone for about 15 minutes. During that 15 minutes we lived a slew of aventures.....
-an Audi convertible drove by and Amy mentioned they were checking us out. I said next time tell me earlier and I'll do this. "This" being massage my breast through my shirt. Amy laughed, said yeah and reached down her shirt too. We're talking maybe a minute, tops, of this breast massage joke. Well, I glance on the street and notice this guy, homeless looking, staring at us. He had totally blended into the wall and we didn't even see him. Well, of course he was oogling us and our boob massaging. He notes we see him and then starts yelling "yeah baby" and what not. We're laughing (and of course at that moment we had stopped the self-fondling jokes)
-then he appears to start coming towards us then changes his mind. Whew!
-some other guy across the street starts to throw something away, looks at us, then takes what he was throwing away out of the trashcan. Not sure what it was-it appeared to be a bag of some sort. Drugs? Gun? Cash? Someone's hand? Empty Big Mac wrappers? We don't know but why would seeing us change his mind? The mystery remains until...
-some random people walk by and ask us for directions to a bar. I feel like saying do we look like we live downtown? We're at a bus stop, presumably to take a bus. But we do know how to get to where they want to go and decide to be nice and tell them. Anyway, by the time they leave the strange Throw Away Guy and the Creepy Maybe Homeless Guy are both nowhere to be seen.
-then a convertible, bigger than a miata, maybe a spyder? drove by and it was decorated like the Mentos wrapper. Yes, it had Mentos on it-all over the car. I don't know if they had any with them, but evidently we didn't need to be Mentos'd. How random. I wonder if what they get paid to drive that car. I mean, it was practically a Mentos package on wheels, not like a small logo on the door.
-More random people walk by and one guy, probably 6'2, 225, who is quite sweaty says they should have a foot race. Which I thought was an odd comment as they were all walking on foot anyway and what other sort of race would they have? A quarters race? Anyway, he sees us and kisses our hands and gives me an impromptu lap dance. Well, thanks guy.
-Then his friend walks by and say "Dang" (like Joe Dirt says it) "what are you ladies doing at the bus stop? You should be all up in my crib". Now, I know there's no sort of grammar dictionary for slang, but that was improper use of "all up in" because its typically negative. "Why you all up in my business man?" Not the way he meant it, I'm sure. They cross the street and Drunk Lap Dance Guy gives a similar dance to a tree on the sidewalk. I feel less special but that is ok.

Then Jon comes to pick us up, not a moment too soon.