Is this the blues I’m singing?

Last week was the last session of Rita’s dog class. I’m skipping this session so I can work on what we did and will start taking her down there for the next session. One of the club members, who is a school teacher, asked me if I could bring Rita back yesterday for a student to meet her. I’ve been off since Thursday, so I thought it would be fine. The girl was doing a presentation on rescue dogs. She looked to be 14-15 years old. So I brought Rita down to meet her and told her Rita’s story. I brought her Rita’s adoption flyer and a picture of her playing in the back yard for her presentation. The girl was pretty shy, so Hope and I just started talking dog stories. We talked for almost an hour with this kid’s eyes just huge. Beauregard’s adventure with trying to compete in the Obedience Ring had passed by the time I started this blog. It’s too bad, they were riotous. On the recalls, he would stand at the other end of the barn and just tremble until I gave him the command. Then he would bolt to me, Hope said he looked like a race horse running, and then he would slam on the brakes and slide into a perfect sit right in front of me. Occasionally, he’d screw up. Screw ups included his dog decision to run dog laps around the barn, or the time he slipped and slid in ass first, legs in the air, on his back. He still managed to place his front legs perfectly where they were supposed to be, even though his butt and hind legs had slid past me. I did not know this, but she was afraid of Beau when she first met him. Mostly because he was so wild. She told me that after time she realized there wasn’t a mean bone in his dog body. There isn’t. We talked about how Beauregard was a breeder rehome and he was 10 months old when I got him. And how sometimes rescues don’t bond right away to their new owners. It took Beauregard a years to bond to me. There were points where I wondered if he would be happier elsewhere. I’m glad I stuck it out. He’s been worth every minute. Rita bonded almost instantaneously with me. She may spend the whole day barking at squirrels, but at the end of the day, she really NEEDS to know where I am. She has always pushed the crown of her head into me to get the back of her neck rubbed. She’s one of those cases where the dog bonded immediately. It’s not always like that. Rita was a great example of a dog lost. I’m having a terrible time getting weight on her. She eats more than Beau does. Beau weight 76, Rita weight 49. They eat Evo, and I really think Rita isn’t assimilating her food well enough. Be it from the residual of a worm infestation before she went into rescue or from her OCSD. (Obsessive Compulsive Squirrel Disease) I’m thinking about supplementing her diet with probiotics. The point being, she looks like a rescue still. She’s rail thin, well muscled, but rail thin. Hope told a couple of stories about dogs she’d rescued. A German Shepherd that had been the shelter dog for three years and the new director announced there would be no more shelter dogs. Hope took him home. Hard cases that no one else wanted. I told her about Toby the Gypsy Doberman. (see bloglog for Toby’s story). I think the gal will have a good presentation. She thanked me profusely for bringing her the materials and for coming to see her. If one kid learned something from listening to us, that’s great. If just two or three learn something from her presentation, that’s awesome.

All in the Family

I think I mentioned that my cousin and his wife were here for a couple of days. He just wanted to hang out with the family rather than sight see. I didn’t know that, but it worked out to be a boon for me. We went and picked up my Dad and spent all afternoon Sunday digging out fence posts and resetting them. Dad broke up the existing fence.

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Unfortunately, he caught his arm or did something, his skin is paper thin, and started bleeding like a stuck pig. So here he is taking a time out under Beauregard’s watchful eye with his arm all bandaged up. God knows what the old woman is looking at. Yesterday we started around 11:30 and framed it out.

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Then we went and got lunch. When we got done it was around 1:30. They had to catch a 3:30 BART train, so I figured I’d put the panels up myself. Not so. His wife said, let’s get that fence finished. She brought the boards up the hill and I drilled the holes and he placed the screws and the fence was finished an 70 minutes. And they made their BART train. And now I can quit worrying about my dogs getting out.

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Numbers don’t lie

One of our gentle readers informed me that Financial Title’s numbers for January were a loss of $680,000 in just ONE county. February was looking to be a quarter of a million loss in that county. So nearly a million dollar lost JUST IN ONE COUNTY. Wonder what the other counties did. Now that things are starting to stabilize in the marketplace Escrow Officers are diving off the sinking ship in droves. This can’t be good. Is United General far behind in the takeover? And don’t you just wonder what John Harritt is doing these days? He’s got to be the loneliest guy in the title business.

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences

The Wine Dog’s been busy.  Saturday we went to Corison, Keenan and Chappellet.  There’s your day with not bad wines at all.  We had the latest Corison 2004 Cab and the 2003 Kronos which I think is one of the great California cabs.  This adventure was no exception.  She’s also got some second label stuff that they were tasting.  It’s pretty darned good as well.  Helios is the second label (sorry no links) a great merlot and a damned good Syrah.  Next stop Keenan.  The good news, they paved the road up there, all the way.  It used to be about half and half.  Our driver didn’t want to get gravel on her new toy, but the Wine Dog will do anything for a great wine.  The chardonnay will blow you away.  It’s a good as a Rombauer with out all the over the top nonsense.  And without the  Danville Housewives Crack surcharge.  Well priced excellent chardonnay.  We left with five bottles of it.   Last stop, Chappellet to run through their line.  We must have been on a chardonnay binge.  Their signature chardonnay was amazing.  So much so that we left with some of it and then cracked a bottle when we got back.  That night’s offering, with BBQ salmon included a Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon, a Rombauer Chardonnay, a Chappellet Chardonnay and I think we opened a Keenan too.

The damned fence, redux 

The good news is I only had to replace 42 feet of the fence.  (instead of 72)  The bad news, the clown the installed previously only put cement on three sides so that’s why the fence snapped.  The really  bad news, he sunk it about 30 inches down.  After digging two of them out at about an hour a piece, we moved the posts over and dug new holes on the remainders.

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My cousin is here visiting with his wife.  I thought they were going adventuring in San Francisco, they haven’t been to California since their honeymoon almost 30 years ago.  They aren’t, so he helped me, which took a tremendous amount of stress off of the situation.  He could have gone to the orchid show with my Brother and his wife, but he chose digging fence post holes with me.  I am thankful for that which I do not understand.  Today the three of us are going to hang the new boards and that stress will be gone.  Tomorrow is my stress echo and hopefully I’m back in the gym by 10am tomorrow.

I’ve got some great title dirt I need to vet, as soon as I’m done we’ll have a big ol’ food fight.

Don’t give us none of your aggravation

I think the storm has passed. For the first time in a week it’s NOT raining. Saturday night I lost the back fence again. This time it went down bad. I should have taken a picture of it down, but it was laying on top of two of the bareroot berries I had planted two weeks ago and it needed to be moved NOW. So I didn’t get pictures of it down. I did get pictures of it kludged together.

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You can see in the center of the picture that it’s not connected. And it’s not. It’s just sort of leaning there.

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At the bottom of this fence post you can see where it moved about a foot because of the mud.

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That two by for is just about the only reason that bad boy is upright. Discovery Builders is not going to like this morning’s phone call. I think they just tried to blow me off last time. Something you’ll notice from these photographs is the side of the fence which has the bones and the side which is finished.

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Yeah, the bones are on my side and the finished fence is on Seeno‘s side. You wonder about how a guy gets a place like this, then behaves like that. It makes no sense to me. They get construction supplies at cost and they have tons of guys on staff and the thing could be fixed for probably half of retail. A good neighbor would have already arrived at that point. I’d love to split half of retail with them, yet they chose to yank my chain instead. That sure says a lot about their business practice and ethics.

So either things go a little differently this morning or as soon as I get this monster deal put to bed, I’m taking days off and hammering on a fence.

Tach it up, tach it up, buddy gonna shut you down

The State of California likes us to smog our vehicles. I’m good with that, I think it’s a good idea. I’m just not so good with what it costs to get it done. Especially since the BMW registration comes up the first week in November and the truck registration follows in December. With the holidays and everything else and then paying the registration, sometimes paying the smog too is just a little more than the old budget can swing. So I’ve learned to pay the fees and wait to get the smog letter back and then go smog them. I have never had a vehicle fail. I’d like to think that it has to do with the fact that I do keep my vehicles in good working order. When something gets hinky, I get right on it. I change the oil regularly and do regular services. I should probably wash them more often, but there comes a point where you have to draw the line. That’s where I draw the line. If I have time to get the oil changed and get the 35 empty water bottles out of the back seat, that’s a good day and the actual act of applying soap and water to the exterior can be waived that weekend. It’s particularly stupid because my gym membership allows full service the local car wash for $10 instead of $20. It should be a no brainer, but by the time I remember again (again because it’s 6:21am and they aren’t open for another 99 minutes) it will be 2pm and the line will be out into the street. So it’s strangely complicated for me to wash a car, or two. Anyway, I got both vehicles in yesterday and $250 later, they both are now smogged. The original plan was to take the truck to the place on the corner and walk the Hounds of Hell to the pet store for bathes. But that place was a something and something and not a Test Only and there’s a difference and I had to drive clear down to Heather Farms to get it done for $80 more than a regular test would have been…because it’s a 1994 truck and anything before 1995 has to pay more. Dear State of California Department of Motor Vehicles, that was a rip. It passed, just like it’s done on every other every other year since 1994. Thanks for giving it to me up the ass yesterday. There was nothing else I could have done with that $80 yesterday. I wouldn’t have bought dog food, or people food for that matter. I wouldn’t have paid a bill or put it in the bank because I just didn’t need that extra $70. $160 to smog a vehicle is a rip.

Unfortunately the Test Only place was no where near a dog bath so I had to take them for a walk instead. They did great. They’ve actually always walked well together. It was the first time I’d walked Rita with Beau outside of our neighborhood. She was a little leery of some of the people we passed on the walkway (we were at Heather Farms). But I used her “leave it” command and she did great. We stumbled upon the Heather Farms dog park. I stood there for a few minutes considering letting the Hounds of Hell off leash to play with other dogs and then remembered Rita protecting Beau from Loki (protection Beau didn’t need but Rita was hellbent to provide) and decided that any dog that chose to play with Beauregard might be in for a long morning and thought better of the whole thing. Upon arriving at the Test site to get my truck there was a guy there with two Corgis. He wasn’t a very smart dog owner. His Corgis were acting up and talking dog smack at my dogs. I moved back so that a car blocked my dogs view and the Test Site guy came out to me. Then this jackass with the Corgis moves so his dogs can see mine AGAIN. Well, my guys have something to say now. Now I have not one, but two Dobermans barking back, talking their own version of dog smack. The Corgis now look like two Pepperdine students that went to East LA to prove they were cool. And my dogs are Jimmy the Nose’s enforcers. So I move again and tell the guy to please keep his dogs out of the sight of my dogs. (not mentioning that his little delinquents started the whole mess). So he does, for just then. I sign my papers, get my cert and head back to my truck. As I’m giving my guys the command to get up into the truck, Beau’s head starts swiveling around like Linda Blair in the Exorcist. (Yes, I did ask Linda Blair to “do that head thing” one night when she came in and sat down at the bar I was tending) This makes Rita’s head start whirling around and this Ass Clown with the Corgis is now walking his dogs over towards where we are. Dude, could you have just pulled your head out of your ass long enough to let me get my dogs into my truck and drive away? And I’m sure it would be my fault if something went hinky, even though your dogs were jawing at my dogs from the get go and you thought there was nothing wrong with that and didn’t attempt to correct your little munchkins.

Began career at the Continental Baths

On the way back up the hill, I stop at the dog baths and there are two Doberman already there. I stopped by the register to pick up a couple of towels and said to the gal “Have you ever had this many Doberman Pinschers in here at the same time before?”. She didn’t think so. As it turned out, it was this guy Frank, who I had met at the Lafayette Street Fair. He’s got a beautiful bitch and a rescue boy. The boy is floppy eared and skinny. The bitch is being shown today in San Jose. His daughter will be handling her. Frank took a look at Rita and said “Worms”. I told him I’d wormed her, and he said that yeah, they were dead but it would take a while to get the weight back on her. He asked if she was flighty and she is in constant motion. He said it’s from the worms. Their tummies are still damaged and it takes a while for that to heal and when it does, she’ll put the weight on. He said she’d never have the nice mass the Beau or his bitch does, but she’d eventually fill out like his boy had. I enjoy running into this guy, he’s a good guy. Two dogs washed, priceless. Their coats are so gorgeous and all the mud from the three weeks of raining is gone.

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You can see here that she’s got some musculature but just isn’t carrying an extra ounce of fat. And not one squirrel came out of the trees yesterday. You can also see how beautiful her red is when she’s clean.

I also spent some time out at Lowe’s (my home away from home). I got the wood for the fence. After some mathematics I determined that pre-cut picket stakes was the most economical way to go. It looks pretty good too. I’ll finish this off and hopefully build the gate today.

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Busy keeping less never getting more

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I dug a shallow grave for my career today.

Actually, the hole is now much larger.  It’s 10X 4 and it’s the basis for my first of two raised gardens.  I’ve got the fence framed and even the terminal poles for the dog run gate installed.  I even did my neighbors a favor and pulled some of the weeds in the front yard.  They’re really nice people who have been dealt a couple of really tough cards.  Her mother has Stage IV some kind of vicious cancer, his sister is fighting some other nasty cancer and the daughter has a brain tumor.  That’s the shitty end of the stick.  The least I can do is keep my weeds from giving him more headaches.  He’s running the house while she’s taking care of her mother.  Tough on a young family like them.

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Rita stand guard on her tree stump.  You can see how boney she is.  I feed her the same as Beauregard.  He weighs 76, she weighs 49.  But she never stops moving.  Ever.  Never.  She’s now finally sleeping and Beau and me couldn’t be happier.

Red flag, bull, charge!

One of my gentle readers forwarded me the following link from the LA Times. I guess he wanted to see my head blow off first thing in the morning. It did.

Still, at least half of what Americans pay for title insurance can be attributed to illegal referral payments, said J. Robert Hunter, insurance director for the Consumer Federation of America.

This guy clearly has no clue as to what we do. I give him credit for getting after the casualty guys after Katrina. They needed it. Oh it’s wind damage, not covered, oh it’s water damage, not covered, oh it was cause by the…blah blah blah. Too many wiggle words, too much bullshit. But title insurance is a different beast. We keep huge reserves. Yes, over 70%  of our customers will never need their title insurance. HOWEVER, I pitty the poor schmuck that doesn’t have it when something gets sideways.  That $2500 is going to go a long freaking way buddy. That number won’t even get you a retainer with the class of attorneys that a title company will hire for you. We’re pretty damned cheap when it’s all said and done with.

Half of the premium to illegal kickbacks? He ought to look at a title company P&L. I’ve seen a few in my time. Not so much Bobby. I know Alliance maintained a department that was questionable, but it wasn’t half of our budget. Tops and I do mean tops 3 to 5 percent. It also generated a lot of pieces that were specifically designed for the end-consumer. That’s right Steve, the guy who paid for the policy. Buyer’s guides, seller’s guides, borrower’s guides, all explained the process to the end user. Objectively. So I’d say even 3-5% is generous. They also generated our marketing campaigns. We did not give away sporting event tickets or anything else that could not be tied directly back to the consumer. We did not pay for bus trips to Pebble Beach. Promotions I was involved with involved candy canes, candy bars, valentines with candy hearts, home made cupcakes with babies and mardi gras beads. (and maybe our babies had mohawks) Cost per customer: around .50 cents. Not 50% of our operating income. So what this shows me is a clear misunderstanding of what we do for a living. Now, part of this is our fault. We should not be outsourcing to Bangalore, and on some levels we deserve what we’re getting now for allow that. On some levels, it reminds me of Martin Niemöller’s poem. (Not to detract at all from the horror of the holocaust, but rather to point out the inaction on our part, which in general can be compared to the inaction by the German intellectual community)

…When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

There’s no one left to speak for us. Our jobs are gone and we’re the only ones that care. The government is bickering on who’s going to build a ridiculous wall between here and Mexico and our jobs are already gone. Maybe we can get jobs building the Wall.

And I have incredulously ask “What does $500k get you in Iowa?”

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Lot is 22210 sq. ft., Year Built: 2007, Central air conditioning, Basement, Fireplace(s), Dining room, Den, Laundry room, Hardwood floors, house is 3246 sq. feet. It’s a 4/3.5. Forced air heat. Central air conditioning. Interior features: Dining Areas, Eat In Kitchen, 1st Floor Family Room, Mud Room, Pantry, Unfinished Basement, 1st Floor Laundry, Carpeting, Tile, Maple Trim, Painted Trim, Dishwasher, Microwave, Stove And the basement is 1745 feet.

You want to know what you get for your money Mr. Washington DC Ass Clown? Ask the guy with World Savings who got the $40 million dollar check from Title Insurance of Minnesota. TIM wrote the check, that day. Zev ben Simon ran a pyramid-esque scheme. I don’t think he meant to in the beginning, I think the market moved against him and finally it became apparent what was going to happen and he ran. I’ve got to ask, sit in a US jail or an Israeli prison? He probably could have gone to Lompoc (Club Fed). Don’t know if Israel has that sort of hook up.

Title Insurance professionals actually review the records Bob-O and good ones find stuff like finding the forged notary that brought down a local company. They were renting space from a guy who was on the Board of Directors of the company. He was coming into the branch late at night and using the Escrow Officer’s notary stamp (that sat in her desk drawer) to forge reconveyances on his properties. He robbed Peter and paid Paul until I called the Escrow Officer and asked her to verify her signature on the recorded reconveyance. She was horrified, the FBI was called and he did 9 years. That’s what your premiums pay for Bob. That kind of expertise.

Or the guy who I threw out of ORTC. I wouldn’t do his deals because all of the vesting deeds were uninsured and he wouldn’t let me call his “aunties” who gave him the property. Next thing you know, dudes on the front page of the Oakland Tribune for stealing houses from old ladies. I sent that article to the Escrow Officer who was upset that I 86ed her client. That’s what title professionals see. That’s what we do, and that’s our value, Steve. Now what’s your value?

Come in all you jesters, Enter all you fools,

I almost feel like I’m cheating when I give away one like that.  Sonofabun already knows what song I’m talking about.  The Brother might too.  I should probably have some sort of daily contest for the titles. 

Day 8, it’s still raining.  According the weather.com, Monday February 4, 2008 is supposed to be a nice day.  Monday.  Bastards.  On the upside, it makes it pretty easy to dig fence post holes.  I got four knocked out today.  Next weekend I have three more to knock out and then I can start on the half fence.  I also started digging one of the trenches that will become a raised garden.  I’ve even figured out how to stablize the fence.  Ah, Manuel Labor, he’s a good friend of mine.  He’s good for your soul too.  All this sitting in offices pushing bullshit paper that we do, nothing like digging a fence post hole to let you know you’re alive.  Today is the first day I haven’t worked out at all in several weeks.  I figured digging fence post holes would suffice.  Today is supposed to be an off day, but I usually cycle on my off day.  Not today, not in the rain.  So I dug four holes and a trench instead.  I can tell the difference with the Turbulance Training added in.  It’s hard, core strengthening work.  I think it’s good for me.  I’ve also added kettlebells into my regular workout.  So a day off digging holes was probably just fine.

While I was digging holes, Beauregard and Rita were patrolling the perimeter, keeping the homestead safe from invading squirrel terrorists.  We have a health hatred of squirrels, ever since they ran poor old Beauregard into the wheelbarrow.  He thinks he’s Seal now with his scar.  There’s a great picture of it, inside the dead mac.  The mac I just dropped $300 on parts and several hours of tinkering and still won’t fire up the monitor.  I need to find a mac tech.  The machine is four years old and if I take it to apple, I will want to kill one of their counter people or Steve Jobs.

I also installed a motion control light in the back yard.  It should have taken 15 minutes and ended up taking 90 minutes and included a trip to the hardware store.  Still, it’s properly installed and I now know what’s wrong with the one on the front of the house, so fixing that one should only take say 20 minutes, now that I know the trick.  And a trip back to the hardware store.  What I’ve noticed most in this sort of work is that I can’t see up close any more.  I never could really see, I’ve been wearing either glasses or contacts since I was 15 years old.  Just in the last year, I can’t see up close any more.  It makes plumbing, electrical work, mechanical work all an adventure.  I have to wear those half glasses at work, which some people have said makes me look like I know what I’m doing.  Go figure.  I think they should make safety reading glasses.  I’m not the only person who can’t see this crap.  I think I might be on to something.  I’m getting out my teaspoon and digging my hole to freedom behind my Rita Hayward poster.

I have an in depth report of ZAP coming up in the next day or two.  As soon as I remember what happened.
 

Tomorrow’s another day, and I’m thirsty anyway…

Today is actually Day 7, but I’ll take a moment to write about Day 6 of the rain.  My unlandscaped back yard is like a horse stable after a rainstorm.  Basically a similar cocktail.  I was thrilled to find my fences still standing yesterday when I got home from work.  Since Seeno, (probably the richest guy in Contra Costa County) refused to split the cost or even send his guys and his at cost wood up to the property where the common fence I meant my fence is listing to and fro, I’ve decided to just sink some metal poles and run some chain link.  I’m going to put a berry patch in front of it, as it will be the furtherest point in the yard and not a place the dogs will be going.  It will be the forbidden zone.  So as much as I would like to build the ultimate spite fence, the law says I can’t. 

Rita is fixated on the squirrel nest even though there hasn’t been a squirrel sighting since Sunday.  She’s crated away from the window during the day.  I’m thinking about moving her to a larger confined space this weekend as she learns to be better in bigger and bigger spaces.  She does great in the office with me.  She’s laying at my feet right now.

Rita in repose

I’d love to stay and chat, but it’s off to the gym, because my competitor is kicking some major butt (namely mine) right now.  And I need to be at the BARF station by 8:30 for ZAP.  And sorry Ma, I’d rather drink at 10am than shop for Listerine.  OK, you might get a call from a drugstore.  You should have your list ready.  Humor me.

Because there’s no explaining what your imagination

… Can make you see and feel

We thought John Harritt was in the Witness Protection Program. But lo and behold, there’s been a sighting of sorts. The Wine Dog’s Coconut Telegraph reports John Harritt calling a former employee (who coincidentally threatened to sue Patty Hauptman personally) last week to say “Sorry, there’s no money to pay your vacation”. At least we know he still has phone service. And Patty Hauptman still has a lap dog.

No good deed goes unpunished

For those of you who thrive on my home improvements adventures, today I put the dishwasher from my house into my mother’s condo. Everything under the sink at my mother’s house is frozen. So I had to go back to my house to get some Liquid Wrench. So I crack the faucet handle and THINK I turn the water OFF. Not so much. So when I take the hose off of the dishwasher water sprays all over the kitchen. And sprays. And sprays. And sprays. Now I have an inch or so of water on the floor and my helper Guillermo (really my Uncle, Billy the Pope) is shouting “Mop, mop!” but I hear “hot, hot” and I’m like “yeah, it’s damned hot”. After that portion of our show, I realize that the discharge hose we have won’t fit this dishwasher. So off I go to General Plumbing. I’m not a fan of General Plumbing since a couple of their guys were jackasses to me in 2002. Yeah, I hold a grudge. But I needed a real plumbing supply and had no choice. I get down there and they’re packed. An older guy helps me and actually takes the time to understand my plight and then tells me “You have to go to Sears for that part, they make them proprietary so you have to go back to them”. So off I go to Sears. Downstairs to the dishwasher department and a very helpful young man informs me that I need to go to the parts depot (which is much closer to my mother’s house than the last two stops). So off I go to the parts department and they have ONE left. The guy at counter is probably from Willows, California, because he is epically stupid and may have an extra hand coming out of his forehead. Twenty minutes later, someone else returns from their break (I was the next person in line for all that time) and takes over whatever Epically Stupid Guy was trying to do and Epically Stupid Guy checks me out. For $16.98 I needed to show him my ID. Wow.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer company

American Express apparently is having some issues. After Thursday debacle all I can say is couldn’t happen to a nicer group of people.

What the Wine Dog is drinking

Ballentine’s Scotch. Hand carried back for me from Scotland. Yeah, that rocks.

What the Wine Dog recommends

If you’re owed vacation time etc. from Patty Hauptman and her trained lap dog John Harritt, threaten to sue them and send a copy to the local paper. And the Wine Dog, I’ll publish it too. And do check our archives, I have all the information you need to collect what’s owed, because you can not discharge wages in bankruptcy court. And please, file judgments on some of the lovely homes we’ve showcased here on PBE. Don’t file one on the PBE abode. 😉

Mouse 3 Wine Dog 0

I’m getting my ass kicked by a rodent. I’ve got to say, the Mouse’s got game. Last night I had traps on either side of the Mouse Holy Grail, the water crackers he loves. I turned the clamshell of the cracker container against the wall, so that he would have to touch the traps to get to his crackers. Sure enough, he set off a trap. Then ran. I got up this morning to one tripped trap, three intact traps and no mouse. I imagine his little mouse heart was beating right out of his mouse chest when he returned to his mouse house. It’s getting to the point that the gamemanship is almost more interesting than catching the mouse. The sad part about this is the mouse will only lose once. If I don’t get him during the day today, I may switch out to humane traps and take him up to the field at the end of the block. Just because he’s got game.

Wine of the Day

Last night there was a birthday dinner and The Sommelier did the cooking. Speaking of game, The Sommelier’s got game in the kitchen too. I called before I left the house and asked “I never have pot roast, what should I bring?” I thought a Cab was too much, a Zin might be ok. The Sommelier concurred with that thinking, suggesting a Cab blend or a Zin blend. I chose the 2003 Clos Pegase Pegaso. It was a blend of Petite Syrah and Zinfandel. The last bottle I brought over to The Sommelier’s house was pissed so I was pleased that this one was in good shape. It would have gone nicely with the pot roast, if we hadn’t drank the whole thing before dinner was served. It had a nice body to it, I felt it had nice balance as well. It didn’t have that over sweetness, high alcohol everyone is putting in the Zins these days. Nice fruit, some dirt, light tannins on the finish. I’m pretty sure it’s developed some elegance since it was first released. Clos Pegase isn’t into making BIG this that or the other, they’re more into balance, elegance and art. Quite a change up from drinking a Rombauer the night before. Definitely a nice wine.

Mouse 2 Wine Dog 0

I hate losing

And I’m losing with this freaking mouse.  He is locked on this little package of crackers.  He has stolen several over the last week.  Wednesday I found several behind my basket of supplements.  I came home Friday night to find one of these crackers on the floor.  Last night he opened the package, took some, left a few on the counter and more behind the supplement basket.  Notice the two mouse traps next to the crackers with MOUSE POOP on them.  Are you kidding me?

Wine of the Day

Last night’s offering came from deep in the Wine Dog’s cellar.  I found a 2001 Rombauer El Dorado Zinfandel.  I bought a bunch of this initially because of it’s intense jamminess and peppery finish.  To find a bottle that was still in there made me nervous.  I was afraid it was past it’s prime.  I don’t think Rombauer’s wines age that well.  I think they’re releasing 2004 Zins right now.  The new ones are terrible by my palatte.  So much jam and sweetness and little else.  The didn’t make the El Dorado or the Joan’s vineyard this year, or if they did, they haven’t released them yet.  I also found a 2003 Rombauer Chardonnay in there.  I probably own the only bottle of that in Contra Costa County.  It’s affectionately referred to as “Danville Crack”.   Anyway, back to last night’s adventure.  I opened it and the bottle smelled ok, so I let it breath a little.  The nose betrayed the wine.  It had that old cellar fragrance, with a little bit of dirt, but not much.  I was concerned.  I bought so much of this wine because it was perfect with a Blackened filet, which is one of my favorite Free Day meals.  The cajun spices would pull out the pepper and the jamminess would put out the fire.  The finish was just right, leaving you wanting more steak and more Zin.  I Cajun-spiced a NY steak and threw it on the grill last night and hoped for the best.  The wine softened with age.  I’d heard it may have become a little flabby, but I didn’t get that.   I got a nice maturity, tempering the jamminess, still nice pepper in the middle with that sweetness in the finish.  It held up nicely.