Chappellet!

Yesterday I went to the Pritchard Hill party at Chappellet. I took Harry. We hadn’t gotten in trouble in a while. I had never taken him to Chappellet because of their M-F appointment only policy. On one hand, it’s a pain in the ass, on the other hand, it weeds out the riff raff and I can respect Donn Chappellet for doing that. Having been to many wine club parties over the years, I can say that it does weed out to the riff raff. At the end of the day you’re left with amazing wine, incredible food and a family that it’s truly great to hang around with. The Chappellets moved to Pritchard Hill in 1967, so they were working with a Summer of Love 1967 theme. This was their 40th anniversary on the hill. They had a station for tie dying t-shirts, a band playing stuff from the late 60’s, a guitarist up at the winery playing instrumental versions of the all Beatles songs, and a soundtrack to their powerpoint slide show full of Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass. The food was off the hook. Polenta squares with a slice of sausage and a dab of tequila lime pesto. Roasted lamb sandwiches with a red pepper aioli. A portable pizza oven with a margerita pizza, an anchovy goat cheese pizzas, a fig prociutto gorgonzola pizza and another one with olives and some kind of cheese that we never managed to get a piece of. I fell into the lemon bars and couldn’t get out. Harry fell into the pecan bars and struggled out. The wine.

I found out about Chappellet in the mid 80’s. There was an article about their winemaker, a woman, an anomaly back then, in the Chronicle. The winemaker’s name was Cathy Corison. Cathy Corison went on to be a rock star in the valley and now owns her own winery, Corison Winery. Mia Klein studered under Cathy Corison and is a rock star in her own right. Anyway, I had to go up there and try the wine. It was amazing and I bought a bottle of the 1984 Signature Cab. They said you could hold it for 22 years. I paid around $20 for it. A couple of years ago, I googled the bottle and found it going for $220 a bottle. I drank it that fall. Philip Titus in now the winemaker at Chappellet. Most winemakers will tell you that the best wine is made in the fields. The winery is secluded way about the Napa Valley. There are no signs. There probably never will be. The family runs the whole thing. Yesterday we went on a walking tour where they discussed organic farming. While the vineyard manager was brilliant, he was hard to listen to, I wished Jon-Mark Chappellet had done the entire talk. He had such passion for the land and the wine. Chappellet is now a certified organic farm. They don’t make organic wine, but they are an organic farm. There is a difference. Frog’s Leap is the same way. They’re an organic farm too. I think Caymus is as well. All the great wineries are farms first. Great wine begins in the vineyard. A commitment to the land is what makes their wines so amazing. We had everything they made yesterday and then some. The best part was the library. Of the Signature Cabernets they had 1999, 1993, 1987, 1980, 1975 and 1971 open. As time passes these wines become elegant. Harry and I decided that 1980 was our favorite. Truth be told, we didn’t drink a bad wine all day.

The Pink Bunny is back!

After toiling away in the land of databases and localhosts and shiz that I just don’t really get, the problem was that the domain was pointed in the wrong direction. Kind of like those wind up toys that run into the wall and won’t turn. After a mere 10 minutes on the phone with 1and1 support, I’m good to go. The only reason it took 10 minutes was because the guy actually OFFERED to wait around to be sure what we did worked! OK, currently, I’m loving my provider.

The old blog has successfully imported so there’s stuff here that hasn’t been here before.  I’ll upload the other stuff over the next few days.

If you were a registered user, I’m sorry, you disappeared in the move.  Please come back. 🙂

Managing my own stupidity

I should have measured better, but I didn’t. So now, in order to install the microwave hood combination, I need to remove the cabinet over the cooktop, take 3-4″ off of the soffit and reinstall the cabinets. I started trying to pull out the cabinet a few days ago, to no avail. Yesterday I spoke to Tile Guy about the bathroom floor, which is now installed and told him about the issue with the cabinet. He looked, saw one nail I had not pulled (these a 5 inch six penny specials) and saw no other issues either. Last night I pulled that nail and started yanking on the cabinet. Apparently, my brain went to Texas on vacation along with Bush’s. I never considered the weight of the cabinet. It’s a heavy mofo. And it ain’t movin’. There must be more nails, I think, in all my infinite wisdom. So I look in the cabinet next to the one I’m trying to remove and low and behold, it has four more nails in it. So I yank a little more, because yanking is an approved home improvement technique. I get it bent enough to take the reciprocal saw to it. I cut one, then two, then three of the four nails. Now I realize that I can’t catch this thing and it’s not going to hold. It’s hooked on the vent but it’s probably not going to stay there. So I start dialing. I call everyone I know in Concord, Walnut Creek and Clayton. Not one person answers their phone. I contemplate a little more and decide to give up and call Ed. He’s my electrician’s father, a great old guy who was a contractor before he had a stroke. Now he does odd jobs, drives a school bus and doesn’t charge so much because he doesn’t move so fast. (So he told me). On the upside, dude can fix anything. Ed will be by tonight. I propped the cabinet up with some pvc pipe I found in the garage and put some carpet padding on the cooktop to protect it in the event of disaster. Today I shall work with my fingers crossed.

Prior to the cabinet debacle, I finished sanding the kitchen cabinets with 60 and then did them again with 150. I did the walls of the dining room with 100 and then 150. That motion has thrashed my surgically repaired left shoulder. I’ve decided to postpone the beginning of the next challenge until 9/3 when I’ll be moved into the new house. I have also decided to back off the weights to a maintenance program until 9/3. I am going to compete in Vegas on December 2nd and that will be the focus after I move in.

Weight is holding at :208

But wait there’s more! Last Friday, I managed to get reservations at Chappellet. For my money they are one of the best wineries in Napa. I originally heard of Chappellet in the mid 80’s when I read an article about women in wine. The woman they were profiling was Cathy Corison. At the time she was their winemakers and an up and comer. Since then, Cathy Corison has become a rock star and her protegy have also achieved rock star status. My other favorite is Mia Klien. Mia is a consultant and owns Selene Winery. Cathy Corison now owns her own house Corison Winery on Highway 29. I have had the pleasure of meeting her in her shop on a few occasions. Anyway, Chappellet has their own rock star, this guy named Phil Titus. They do not make a bad wine. Not one. And their wines aren’t good, each one is amazing in it’s own way. But don’t stop there, their wines are also reasonably priced. They have a Cab that will knock your socks off for $46. Eat that Whitehall. After our stop at Chappellet we stopped by Rombauer for some Danville Crack. The newest was released last Saturday. We ended the day with a lovely dinner at Bistro Jeanty. I had the pork chop, which is one of the two great pork chops in the bay area. The other is at Prima’s in Walnut Creek. One of my friends had the Coq au Vin, which is spectacular and the other had salmon carpaccio and a salad. (damned marathoners). An excellent day in the wine country all and all. The wine of the day is the Chappellet Signature Cab at $42 for club members.

Stuck on Stupid

If you don’t educate the people, they won’t know you’re telling lies. I’m pretty sure that’s the Republican edict. Here’s a perfect example:

NEW YORK – A foiled plot to blow up a jet fuel pipeline under John F.
Kennedy International Airport drew attention to what counterterrorism
experts
have warned could be a key target.
On Saturday, three men, one
of them a
former member of Guyana’s parliament, were arrested and one was
being sought in
Trinidad as part of a plan that intended to “cause greater
destruction than in
the Sept. 11 attacks” in a neighborhood surrounding the
airport, according to an
indictment.
It was the first threat against
Buckeye Pipe Line Co., which
operates petroleum conduits in 18 states, the
company said. Its pumping facility
in Linden, N.J., has 45 storage tanks
pumps turbine fuel, gasoline, diesel and
other fuel and heating oils through
two 12-inch pipes to customers in New York
City, including JFK and LaGuardia
airports. The network totals 35 miles within
the city alone.

Except…that’s not what happens when you light up a jet fuel pipeline. This is what happens:

ba_fire_023_mjm.jpg

Yup. That’s a jet fuel pipeline that hooks up to Oakland International Airport. A construction crew cut that by accident back in 2004. It went boom. It did not however, blow up all of Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Orinda, Berkeley, Oakland or Oakland International Airport. It just went boom. It did kill the guy who cut the line and another guy. It did severely burn some dudes. It did not expand because jet fuel needs air in order to burn. Apparently the United States Federal Goverment doesn’t know that little tidbit about jet fuel. Yeah, raise the alert level to BROWN=Shit for Brains.

This morning’s weigh in:

Weight 212

Fat 36.4

BMI 36.1

Give blood, play rugby

OK, so I don’t play rugby any more. I had to have Roto-Rooter come in and take care of my left shoulder back in 1992. Apparently, hauling 1200 pounds of woman into a set scrum with one arm takes it’s toll. I do give blood though. I’m O-. That makes me the universal donor. I’ve been donating since 1984. They call me, or track me down somehow, every eight weeks. Once the lady actually saw me on the street in Downtown and dragged me down to the Blood Center. I’m probably down around 5 or 6 gallons of the stuff by now. On the upside, they do mini physicals and now test your cholestrol.

BP 110/70
Resting HR 60
Cholestrol 176

This morning’s weigh in:
Weight: 213
Fat 36.9 WTF?
BMI 36.2

My free day bled a little into Sunday when my brother made a frozen orange chiffon pie. It rocked. Then I picked at a tray of cookies that was unfortunately placed in front of me. The lime ones were tasty. Back in the saddle today. I’m pretty sure this begins week four. I think I’ll do some photojournalism this evening.

What the big dog eats…

The portions are off a little on this plate. This is whole wheat couscous with swordfish in a grapefruit marmalade glaze. The grapefruit marmalade was made from the grapefruit tree in my yard. We jerk spiced it. I mixed a little marmalade with a little olive oil and made a glaze.
Here is some Mahi Mahi, cooked up in a non-stick pan with a touch of lime, then I cooked up a Roma tomato with some basil and white kidney beans. Steam a little broccoli and we’re good to go.
Here is some chicken andouille sausage with some rice and beans. Small portions of both the rice and beans and sausage. Lots of flavor, not much fat. Broccoli with lemon juice.


With the notable exception of the Ritter Sport, all you see is green vegetables. With Body for Life you can eat vegetables until the cows come home. I’ll have broccoli with my lunch or maybe some zucchini. I’ll grill the asparagus with dinner. I’ll put fresh lemon on the broccoli and brush the asparagus with olive oil. Beauregard lets you know that there is meat further down in the bag.

I’m building a Body for Life

One of the silly things that’s in Bill Phillips’ book is a cadence for weight lifting. The cadence is “I’m building” on the negative and “a body for life” on the positive. Sometimes I use it in the gym. Not very often because when you lift the mass that I do, your brain can’t handle more than “PRESS”, or “PULL”! But I’ll find myself doing it on ab work or good mornings or something that I have 10 or more reps to complete. Right now, I feel like I’m building a Body for Life. Boredom is my worse enemy, and I end up spending a ton of time contemplating things. Right now, I’ve been contemplating that fact that I turn 50 in a mere 15 months. It was 17 months when I started contemplating, but it’s gotten more and more out of hand as we head into September 2007. I don’t obsess, but I do show 14 of the 19 markers for ADD, and my intellect is often restless. But I really need something to show for myself by the time I turn 50.

Today’s numbers
Weight 210 (yay)
Fat 35.9
BMI 35.9

I didn’t work out yesterday, simply because my hip was better after the visit to Dr. Elkind so I felt it prudent to actually rest it for a day. Alright, the fact that I’m playing 18 holes today and I am afraid I will undo her handiwork today has played into that decision.

Bon Mots and Cheap Shots

This morning’s weigh in:

Weight 210
Fat 36.5
BMI 35.9

Just by keeping my head screwed on correctly, things are heading in the right directions. It’s taken me almost four weeks, but I have 8 pounds off of me. I had Dr. Elkind work on my aching hip yesterday. She does ART just like I get at Fitwell. I seem to have a hip flexor/IT band injury. It’s hindered nearly everything I do. Yesterday I broke down and left work early to go see her. While she does the same thing as Fitwell, she’s a lot more intense. Fitwell is a lot more gentle in their approach. Sometimes I just need the crap beat out of me. Today my hip is oodles better. She rocks.

Tomorrow, I’m playing 18 at San Geronomo. The last time I played with these guys I got high score, and not in a good way. I haven’t been able to practice because of the hip flexor so either tomorrow will be really good, or really long.

Food choices

Breakfast
Oatmeal and ff cottage cheese
Snack
Jerky and ff yogurt
Lunch
Curried chicken grape salad
Snack
Apple and string cheese
Dinner
Chicken andouille sausage sauteed up with brown rice and red beans
Brocoli
Dessert
Ricotta and blueberries

Drive it like you stole it!

In a fit of temporary insanity, The Contessa called me last Saturday night and asked for assistance retrieving his new Carrera from the Porsche dealership in Redwood City. Of course, I would help a friend in need, but I’m pretty sure I need to drive the Porsche.

ferris.jpg
OK, Richard Edson is my hero and I felt like him pulling out of the dealership. So the first thing I have to do is get the thing onto Highway 101. That was just screaming scarey. The gears are so tight on that thing. We got up to San Mateo and stopped by 750ml had a beautiful DuNah Chardonney in a flight of three they were serving. Then we decided a bottle was a great idea. And a cheese plate. It was a delightful afternoon. And then we drove it home. Whee! That was fun. Unfortunately, it was Memorial Day weekend and I thought it prudent to keep it under wraps so I never took it over 85, but what a fun toy.

Missing the point on immigration

The right wing of this country is spending oodles of time and money beefing up the border patrols and immigration sweeps and building a freaking ridiculous wall to keep the Mexicans from crossing the borders and taking jobs away from Americans. Except that ship has sailed and the jobs have been already taken away from Americans. Not by Mexicans and Guatemalans and Central Americans swimming across the Rio Grande, but by corporate wankers outsourcing our jobs to India and the Philippines and Pakistan. Not one Guatemalan walked across the Arizona desert to become a title officer for six dollars an hour. Plenty of engineers in India have stayed home and taken my job for $16 per day. I was making around $65 per hour. Who is the real threat to my personal security? Bill Foley, John Harritt, Parker Kennedy and the like. Bill Foley more than the others as he is the one who ruined the title insurance business. It used to be a business based on researching the records. There didn’t used to be title problems because the back room of the title companies solved the problems. Geeks and miscreants who had no real place in society methodically researched each recorded document and posted it in their respective title plants. In the mid 70’s many of these title plants became computerized. Then in 1988 Bill Foley, the burger flipper, bought the old Western Title, the stalwart of the business back then, and turned title insurance into burger flipping. Staff became instantly expendable, like the are right now. There is no loyalty from the companies and employees have no loyalty back to the companies, and rightly so. A guy I’ve known for 30 years who probably has 35 to 40 years with the same company, just got laid off last week. That is beyond wrong. No one swam across the Rio Grande or ran across the Arizona desert to take his job. His job was outsourced to India.

The same things has occurred in the tech field. We’ve all called HP support and gotten Pasha who can barely be understood and who will not tell you what country she is located in. She will read from a script and frustrate you to the end of time. Eventually, you’ll figure out your printer on your own.

It’s time we pointed to the real problem. It’s not people coming into this country, it’s jobs going out. The Bush Adminstration will puff there chests and tell you how many jobs they created, but they didn’t create jobs for displaced people like me. They didn’t create jobs for engineers. They did not create telecom jobs. They allowed their corporate buddies to ship those overseas. Their new jobs are pulling shots for Starbucks. Not quality career opportunities. Jobs that we don’t want to do, like sweeping floors and cleaning toilets, picking strawberries, jobs that are in the soft transient worker catagory are the jobs being done by the guys that have come into this country illegally. And all I have to say about that is, I’m glad they’re working and not living on the dole. Now lets bring back the real jobs that the corporate wankers have sent to other countries and get the real Americans off the dole.