French police wouldn’t give me no peace

Bubba mixed it up with Loki yesterday. It was the worst fight he’s been in. They locked on each other and weren’t giving in. The Brother had Loki I think by the scruff or maybe in a barrel hug and I had Bubba by his haunches and I was pulling away. I thought Bubba was ok, but he just continues to get his ass kicked. His face is punctured. He’s still on antibiotics from the asskicking Rita handed him, so it’s just another day at the farm. He was actually really protective when they first got here and he really didn’t back off that position too much. Loki was a little pissed off as he’s a regular at this bar and grill. I think it was a case of “Don’t mess with my Dad” as Brother was sitting with Loki and Bubba came up to them. It’s funny since the worst ass kicking Beau ever got was at the hands of Xica over The Brother’s attentions.

We don’t have a lot of rules here. Rule One, no playing in my bed.

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I have a sneaking suspicion that rule is not being followed.

I spent a goodly portion of the day sanding down the siding. The Farm needs a paint job.

Before:

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Wood destroying pests have left ridges in the wood.

After:

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Black and Decker rules all. I’m also working on the Japanese Maple stump. I had this tree cut down last year. Somebody came up to Jesus the tree cutter dude and complained that he couldn’t do it. Jesus, who speaks pretty good English no comprende what they wanted and the tree came down dove nest and all. I later learned the doves were the dumb blondes of the bird world. It was probably the crazy lady who incidentally got hauled off on a 5150 about two weeks ago. Glass houses, dear. Anyway, the damned termites didn’t eat that so I’m having to use Grants Stump Kill. It involved drilling these 1 inch holes in the stump and then putting this stuff into it.

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And last but not least. This dude:

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I didn’t sand over there and just let him be. Don’t know what he does or doesn’t eat, but he didn’t look like a termite, so I figured he could live.

So you can wipe off the grin, I know where you’ve been

There must be something in the air. I’m waiting for some things to happen which should give me some direction, but in the interim, I’m cooling my heels waiting on the State of California. They’ve been moving decidedly slower since Arnie’s proclamation. Thanks for nothing Arnie. The Barbarians are at my Gate. Directv wanted a bunch of money. I didn’t have it. They wouldn’t budge. I chose dog food over Law & Order reruns. And the Olympics. Good news, Countdown with Keith Olbermann is now webcast. So long Directv. Thanks Arnie. I’m not the sort of personality to love limbo. I need a plan. A date. A goal. A deadline. Otherwise, I’m really pissy and wish I were in a grass shack in Kona with a surf board and my dogs.

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Red Dog Blue Dog

So with some of this time on my hands I’ve been able to be retrospective. I’m good with dates too. Especially after a glass of wine. A year ago today, the Amateur Manager began his campaign to get rid of me. A year ago, I hadn’t moved into the Farm yet. I was renting a place a few miles from here looking for some direction. Bob Whitfield found me the Farm. Bob’s a great guy and I am glad I had an opportunity to do business with him. He needs to update his website…he’s with Sotheby now. I can always use him as an example as to why you want to use a professional in your real estate dealings. He saved me probably $30k on the Farm. The sellers agent really wasn’t worth much and Bob got in front of the seller. He’s not a pressure guy but he owned her at the end of the meeting.

A year ago, me and Beau were packing up to move in here. I’d been remodeling for three months. After work I’d come home, change, pick him up and come over here and start work. I’d work until 10pm at night and then go home and get up and start all over the next day. I slept on BART both ways while I was remodeling this place. It’s a year later and Beau’s gone. I still can’t believe that one. That big beautiful black and tan boy that used to sit on my foot in the office while I wrote this page is gone. He would press himself up against me as much as he could. It was like he just couldn’t get close enough.

Now Rita is here. She’s about 80% trained. For the most part she does what I ask her to. She even comes when she’s been a bad dog. Most dogs won’t do that. Beau wouldn’t. Beau was trained to the nines. He was a prince too. So he wouldn’t smack me in the face with his big ol’ paw. He might accidently hit me in the head with his, but he was aware of how his body went. Now I have two young dogs with dubious backgrounds. I am bruised all over. Two days ago we had a series of accidents in the house. Me and the spotbot were working overtime. Bubba actually lifted his leg on one of the bedroom doors. If I had a mousetrap at the moment…well, he wouldn’t ever do that again. Ever. Beau slept on the floor at the foot of that bed sometimes and I’m sure that room smells like him. His old bed was in there too. I finally washed his bed yesterday. Now it shouldn’t smell as much like another male dog. Rita whizzed in the dining room while I was out. It had been a couple of weeks since she committed that transgression. We’ve had two days now of better behavior. Bubba is learning to “come”. He’s very hinky with that one. I have to trick him into the house when I’m getting ready to leave and then close the door before he catches on. They’re both learning that fighting in the house in not allowed. Reindeer games belong outside. And Bubba has found my bed.

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As regal as Beauregard was, these guys are hillbillies. I know they’ll get there, but sometimes I wonder.

Biker down

This story is just tragic. A kid learning to drive, something goes terribly wrong and a guy is dead. My gut tells me this was just a tragic accident, but it just spotlights how fragile everything is. I had a very good friend who was involved in this sort of accident when she was 18. A 4 year old ran into the street from between two cars. It wasn’t her fault. She was one of those people who never broke a law, never did anything any way other than the way it was supposed to be done. The police did their investigation, but of course the parent blamed her and sued her. That event is with her today and she’s in her 40’s. It never goes away. Just a tragic accident. Last month I wrecked my neighbor’s travel trailer because my foot slipped off of the clutch. Sometimes accidents just happen. I’m thankful no one was standing there when it happened. For the rest of the time, we need to be eternally vigilant so that at least we remove our own stupid mistakes.

I’ve been following this guy’s story since it happened. This was a crime. Drunk on a Saturday night, Safeway wouldn’t sell the driver beer at 2:30a.m. So the jackhole decides to steal it, runs out of the store, jumps into his car (remember he’s drunk) and runs Eric over trying to escape with a 12-pack. We’re at day 102 right now and I’ve been reading his wife’s blog daily as they struggle with his injuries. He owned a mortgage company that she’s had to shut down. Yeah, it hits a little closer to home when he could have been any guy I ran into at a networking meeting. Every day I thank God that I’m not the one that got run over and every time I go out and pray that I don’t end up like Eric, fighting to regain my life again.

Another tragic event has put another young man’s life hanging in the balance. This guy is the 25 year old son of one of the Brother’s friends. I know his Dad but never met the son. On a Saturday night, three guys jumped him. Apparently they’re moving him to Columbia Presbyterian today. That’s where our Mother went to school and worked at the turn of the century in the late 1940’s, early 1950’s. It should be the best place for this kid. They’re still one of the best in the country. I wish him a speedy and as complete as possible recovery. The human body is an amazing machine, let his be particularly amazing for this kid.

The sign says long haired freaky people need not apply

For some reason, I’ve been noticing signs a lot lately. Signs of the apocalypse. Signs on buildings. Signs in general. Today’s curiosity was a Yogurt Shack. Signs said “Do not touch” on an award thingie by the door shaped like a guitar that, trust me, everyone wanted to touch. On the door said “No Restrooms”, “No Pets” read another sign and yet another one in the window said “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”. Not one sign that said “Welcome”, “Open” or “Come on in”. I also went to the Contra Costa County Recorder’s office today. There wasn’t a single sign telling me that I had found the right building but every parking space was marked “Employee Only”. So I parked on the street and then tried to use an entrance that said “Staff Only”. That same sign was on the elevator. Apparently, you assholes forgot who you work for. Here’s a hint, it’s Us, the Taxpayers, we pay your salary and it’s about damned time you paid some proper attention to us.

Denver Omelet

What’s this I hear? The Alliance and Financial and Investors and, and, and…Cobra checks not being cashed and oops! Thanks for playing our game but you have no health insurance? Do I need to bring out the Kangaroo here? Mercury isn’t administering it like they’re supposed to be?  Not good. As a matter of fact, bad. Speaking of health insurance, my Cobra for my single all by my self dumb ass is $446 a month. WTF said the Kangaroo. So I have endeavored to get health insurance on my own. Get this…I am a risk and they want to charge 150% to insure me. That’s right, 150% of the premium for me. Why? Good question. Last time I had this problem I offered to kick Blue Cross’s CEO’s ass in the parking lot. If I won, they had to insure me. Seemed as logical to me as their asinine underwriting policies. I’m high risk because of my weight and the fact that the Amateur Manager nearly gave me a heart attack last winter. I’m not sure how some ass klown like that guy can run someone into the ground like he tried to do to me and then the insurance industry can say “sorry, thanks for playing our game” because my body couldn’t handle the emotional abuse. The Bloodless Empire should be embarrassed for having a guy like him on the payroll. And they should be paying my insurance at this point. But seriously, what’s wrong with a country that this kind of bullshit can go on and now I have no health coverage? (All you Mercury folks are twisting in the wind with me) When I was in Germany I sprained an ankle, bad. I went to a Doctor. He fixed it. My out of pocket? Zero. Yeah, we don’t want that here. We want to pay a bunch of extra money to a bunch of companies to make a bunch of money they don’t deserve by telling people that they can’t have the surgery that they need or the medicine that they need. Yeah, that’s a better plan. I hate to have to utter these words, but Hillary was right. She was right 16 years ago and we’re too ignorant to see it.

At this point y’all are asking “What’s the Wine Dog drinking?” Funny you should ask. B.R. Cohn Silver Label Cabernet Sauvignon. $60 at Bing Crosby’s. The best deal on the menu. Berry, black cherry and vanilla. We had it with the pork chop. Perfect match.

A little light reading

Here‘s a little something from our pal with the Pacer account. Well, Parker, thanks for playing our game, and as a little parting gift, we have these lovely steak knives.

Why I lost the battle in my own house:

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And in lieu of Olympic coverage this evening:

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The intergalactic laxative will get you from here to there

I’ve been busy taking care of just general house stuff today. As a matter of fact, I didn’t start a car today. It takes the better part of two hours to clean the slate here. I think there’s around a 750 square feet of it, every entrance is slated. That way when winter rolls around and muddy paws come in and out, they don’t track on the carpet. Unfortunately, with the back yard not being landscaped, all the dogs do is turn the dirt to powder, kick the powder up and it ultimately blows into the house. So it takes a sweeping then a scrubbing and then a second mopping to clean those floors. I can vacuum the rest of the house in a quarter of the time. Today on the third pass, I thought of another fatality of this bullshit. Our housekeepers. Admit it, you had one. So did I. Mine got the ax in October 2006. I miss her and all her sisters and cousins that used to come to my house and clean it terribly. Some day I’d like to bring her back. She was so sweet to Beauregard. She brought him treats, rubbed his ears and called him mi’ ja, he loved when she came. She would love Rita and Bubba. I also did some organizing of the online photographs. What I noticed was the improvement in Rita. Look at this poor little skinny thing.

8-10rita-woodpile.JPGAnd here she is yesterday.8-10-rita-yesterday.JPG A marked improvement. Of course looking at those pictures took me back through all of the pictures of Beauregard, which was bound to happen. I opened my box of personal stuff that the Amateur Manager sent me a week after he RIF’ed me…assklown. There was a board at our office where we posted pictures of our pets. Beauregard’s picture was up there, along with my favorite picture of Rita and Beau wrassling. Many employees have left there and the pictures of their pets remain, but apparently Beau’s didn’t, it was stuffed in my box. I had left it there. I hope someone there who cares about me put it in there, knowing that he was now gone, rather than the Amateur Manager continuing his asshat behavior. Anyway, back to the photo album, I could not believe the pictures I had of Beau just a month before he got sick. It really was amazing how fast that dog faded away. I still cry about him, almost daily. And I would have never written that if I thought those shit stains in Santa Ana were still monitoring this.

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Yeah, he matched the couch, and I’m just about ready to finally wash that blanket that he slept on. It doesn’t really smell like him any more.

And the Kangaroo said WTF mate?

Sonofabun was over here the other night to meet Bubba. Bubba was completely terrorized by a man coming into the house.

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Or maybe it was his fuzzy slippers. Anyway, Sonofabun brought rawhide and any other dog would have relished the opportunity to meet the Rawhide God. Not Bubba. I told Sonofabun to just give him some space, which he did. Then Bubba went out into the back yard and let out a plaintive wail. It was the funniest thing and we both laughed at the poor boy. They ended up friends but it really was a carefully constructed detente. While he was there Sonofabun, the Realtor noticed the dead apricot tree and suggested that I deal with it before it falls on the house. It didn’t fall during those storms, I protested. He proceeded to push on the tree (in the direction of the house) to prove that I needed to deal with it. Well, tonight I pushed it away from the house.

8-10-fallen-tree.JPG Go ahead a click on it, it’ll blow up. And then I inspected the stump.

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And there were these weird little worm things, which I assume are termites, but if somebody really knew that would be great. And if you’re afraid of weird little worm things, don’t click this next thumbnail.

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After that, you know the Wine Dog was drinking. Freemark Abbey’s 2003 Bootleg Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep ruby color, plums and cherries on the aroma. Sweet dark cherries and tobacco on the palette. Ted says eucalyptus, but I’m not feeling that. Anyway a great little wine at $45 a bottle, 20% less for the Wine Dog…club membership has its privileges.

When the jester sang for the king and queen

Photojournalism

My dog is a jerk.

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Title bots up close and personal

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I left them a little something on the window sill. They are either hiding real well or haven’t been back.

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Better than Coconut Telegraph

Don’t be a hater, but look what one gentle reader put in the Wine Dog’s inbox.

We have all seen and experienced changes going on in our marketplace, some within LandAmerica and many around us in the industry. We have seen friends and co-workers leave the business as these times dictate, some have had their positions reduced, some at a time of their choice. We have another such change on our horizon.

As you know, we have recently seen announcements about some of LandAmerica’s benefits changing at the end of the month, and a few at the end of the year. That has changed the plans of some employees and Don Littell is one of those individuals. As we talked over the past couple of weeks, Don made it known that this may be the best time for him to leave the company in order to maximize the opportunities he had available to him. Therefore, we have worked out a voluntary reduction for Don and he will be leaving LandAmerica at the end of July. Don has been a great contributor to the over all efforts in Northern California for LandAmerica Commonwealth for many years and we are working with him in this endeavor to honor those contributions.

As we move forward, we have two individuals who will be stepping into Don’s responsibilities. For Contra Costa County, Mark Medel will be the interim residential manager as we develop a plan for the long term success of this area. Mark is no stranger to Contra Costa, having been the manager there in the past, as well as currently running a successful Alameda operation. For Napa County, Bill Starner will assume the residential manager responsibilities there. Joining us recently from Liberty Title and currently the Sonoma manager, Bill will bring many years of experience in the industry to the great staff in Napa.

Please take the opportunity to touch bases with Don before the end of the month and express your appreciation for what he has contributed to the Northern California operations. Thank you Don.

The Wine Dog wishes you well, Don. At least you had a choice.

Hinkiness

Or stuck on stupid… For some reason, I went through my time card on Tuesday of last week, as in one day before Mr. First American called in my paperwork. What I found was that Mr. First American had taken hours off of my time card that I had worked and substituted in PTO, thereby eating up some of my PTO. Well, Dearly Departed Escrow Officer’s told me that he’d done some funny stuff to her time card, which is why I looking in the first place.  She did an audit and found a lot of missing time. Imagine that! An Escrow Officer doing an audit, as if you didn’t see that one coming. Well, I found missing time too, and I had kept records too. When I called his ass on it his lame excuse was “Sometimes I have to do these remotely and they need to get done so I make the changes”. Hey Eagle boy! There was nothing to change.   My card was right! How about picking up that freaking thing on your belt that you play with during meetings and dialing a number? BTW, a cell phone on your belts is sooo 2002. So you got to wonder how many before us got cheated out of their PTO by this joker. They are so shutting that sonofabitch down.

How do you like me now?

The Eagle didn’t like PBE. Back on April 24th they called me in and gave me a formal verbal warning for internet usage. I lost my mojo for about a week and this precipitated the Al Capone analogy . Because my internet usage was not what the problem was. It was PBE they were upset about. They didn’t get that I was writing about things that were already out on the internet in some other form. I guess they were confused by The Google. So they shitcanned me. Who thought that was a good way to shut me up? Yeah, I know the answer to that. How do you like me now? I’m sure Patty Hauptman is thrilled that I got laid off. Don’t worry honey, I’ll be back up your ass soon.

Road Rage

Yesterday’s ride was a lot of things. The Ygnacio loop at 1:10:41. A loss of five minutes. The wind was blowing all the way down the hill so I took it a lot slower, just to be safe. And my legs felt like lead. And it was around 95 out. And I was so bad coming up the hill that I will tell you it was around 10 minutes. Tuesday I got to the base at 46:03. Today it was 50:10 and went downhill (not really) from there. I just stunk up the place. I did do a crossfit workout this morning. I’m going to start powerlifting again on Monday. It was thrusters and pullups. I added a bench in there two. Three sets 21-15-9.

Another drunk kills another cyclist.  My Father taught me way back when I was 15 years old that a vehicle is a dangerous weapon.  Too bad he couldn’t have taught that to everyone.

Double Secret Probation 

I know it’s long, but it’s worth it.

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And this little tidbit came in from dolphyngyrl.  I told you so.   And because we’re on the subject, little Brother was hilarious yesterday.

Dreamed I was an Eskimo

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I’m back from San Diego. The meet went ok. Not great, not bad. I decided to do the “full meet” in addition to the bench meet I was already entered in. Good thing. A full meet is squat, bench and deadlift. You have to get one of each. A good squat is when the crease in your hips drops below the axis of your knee joint. I got two out of three. Didn’t come anywhere near the record (currently held by me) but got a good squat in. Then came the bench. I was going to open with 203.7, which is like a day at the beach for me normally. (also a record, held by me) But not yesterday. The first lift I brought it down to my chest, but missed my chest by about 1 cm. The ref didn’t see this and gave the “press” command. Unfortunately, I was still bringing the weight down so it looked like I hitched it, which I didn’t, I hadn’t touched my chest yet. Redlight. Then I was done, I couldn’t hit the other two lifts at all. It was screaming hot in Vista yesterday, the news said 90, but it was 95 according to the temperature thing in the rented drop top PT cruiser. (Gutless piece o’ crap) I drank 4 32 oz things of G2 and three liters of water during the meet. I learned in Chicago to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate when it’s that hot. The building had air, but it sputtered under the stress of the day.

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Looking good there.

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I gave my camera to my friend Mrs. SemperFi to take some pictures. I’ll never understand the mystery of cameras to old people. She also took this gem.

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I sure hope I wasn’t doing something really good when she got that one! Anyway, I missed all of my bench attempts…even though I really got the first one. Then came the deadlift. I was a little funky from the bench debacle and thought it best to dial back the opener a little on the dead lift. And I did by about 12 pounds, since everything’s in kg’s it’s this math bullshit all the time. So I made my opener and then the 2nd lift and figured out what I had to do to get close to the record. (also held by me) I missed the next lift, but it was enough to win the division. How ’bout my buddy, going to turn 70 this year.

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And here’s my personal spotter.

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He’s the former Chairman of USAPL in Colorado, and a ref and a rockin’ coach. It was awesome having someone so knowledgeable in my corner. I just wish I’d made that damned bench.

City Heat

The Brother volunteered to stay here with the dogs after Beauregard was diagnosed last weekend. I canceled their reservation at the puppy prison pet hotel. No one expected Beau to not make the week. So Wednesday, here I am with a dead dog and no real reason for The Brother to have to come out here except that I cancelled the reservation. He didn’t have a problem coming out here anyway. So when it hit 107 degrees on Friday afternoon, I was concerned about the boys from the City. They actually did pretty good. Loki was an excellent playmate for Rita and all worked out nicely all around.

Heartbreak Ridge

Nascar Teddy in all his ego wisdom, has hired a consulting firm to tell him that he needs to be sure that everyone they’re carrying on the insurance, really should be there. So if you work for LandAmerica, expect to have to prove that your domestic partner, husband, wife and children, really are your immediate family. I’m not sure how they handle that in Utah. And the consulting firm? A division of Fidelity? Really? I do need some confirmation on that part of the story. Anyone? Bueller? Oh what the Hell! Party on Bill, party on Ted.

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But wait there’s more! Southland? New Century? United? Buh bye!

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Nascar Teddy’s “assimulating” the brand into LandAmerica. I guess they didn’t get the memo. Bill has Fidelity, Chicago, Ticor, Security Union and Alamo, where he has numerous opportunities to piss you off and still retain your dollars. Teddy, when LandAmerica pisses them off, it’s over. This little diatribe was in my inbox a week or so ago. Funny, Teddy wasn’t copied…maybe it was a bcc because he sure needs to read it. PBE has some very smart readers.

Actually, Foley was the first to really understand that self-competition works in the Southern California market where the business is controlled by the sales reps. Back in The Day when Chicago bought Safeco, they each had about 8 percent of the SoCal business. Chicago merged the two operations, and within six months the merged operation had (wait for it) 8 percent of the business. Not to be phased by that, when Chicago bought Ticor, they each had about 8 percent of the business. Guess what happened when they merged the operations. You betcha.
When Foley bought Chicago, etc., he kept them separate at the operations level. Little loss of business, and the money stayed in the Financial system.
This only works if the local public perception is that they are separate. LandAm, in their infinite wisdom, insists on labeling each brand as “LandAmerica”. As in LandAmerica Gateway (now closed),LandAmerica Southland, LandAmerica Commonwealth, LandAmerica Lawyers, etc. You can see how well that worked out for them. When a broker gets pissed at their title company, it’s unlikely they will switch to someone who is clearly a part of the same organization. Make no mistake, from my experience with LandAm and Mercury, the brands view each other as competition, not as “sister companies”.

Smart. Very smart.

High Plains Drifter

You know when you google a name search and you get all those advertisements for finding the person for $7.95? Yeah, from Intellius, those guys. One of my co-workers was leaving our office one evening and found a wallet lying on the ground. It was full of credit cards and everything. He couldn’t find a phone number for the person so he clicked on the Intellius link and for $7.95 got the info and returned the wallet. Unfortunately, he didn’t read the fine print and they started charging his card $19.95 a month, every month. Finally, he remembered to sit down and find the spot on the webpage and email them to cancel the service. No response. Next month, another charge. So he sent them this:

On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 10:08 PM, XXXX <XXXXXxxx@comcast.net> wrote:

What is the status of my request to cancel, please?

And their response?

—– Original Message —–

From: Customer Service <mailto:custserv@gmail.com>

To:

Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 1:13 PM

Subject: Re: Membership No. 52xxxxxx

ain’t gonna happen. that’s the status. now zip it!

Makes me want to sign up with those guys right now, eh?

Well, you don’t know what we can find

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  • What the Hell is that?
  • I don’t know, what the Hell do you think it is?
  • I don’t know. Should we do something about it?
  • I don’t know, what do you think we should do about it?
  • I don’t know, but we really should do something, shouldn’t we?
  • I suppose we should. What do you think it should be?
  • I don’t know, but we just can’t leave it like that?
  • No, I suppose we shouldn’t.

Just in case you wanted to know what went through dog brains.

Psilocybin?

Wouldn’t that be a hoot? These are growing in my raised beds. Why don’t you come with me little girl, on a magic carpet ride. I’ll never know because I’ve pulled them out. I’m afraid they’re death caps… although they don’t look like it.

I built a bike repair stand today. It cost under $20 and took less than 30 minutes to build. I lost a part somewhere between Home Depot and my house or it would be absolutely complete. Check it out.

bike-stand-medium.JPGI’m a link…click me, click me.

Check out the workmanship on the clamp. Epic. Somewhere along the line I lost the foam that was supposed to go inside and protect the bike, but it’s only a .98 cent part, so I can go back and get some at any time.

A moment of silence

For two of my favorites who passed this week. Sidney Pollack and Harvey Korman. Sidney Pollack for Bobby Deerfield. That movie made me dream when I needed to. The countryside in that film is why I decided to go to school in Germany in 1978. Of course he was famous for every other film he did during that period of time…They Shoot Horses Don’t They?…The Way We Were…Three Days of the Condor…Absence of Malice…Tootsie. But those movies were for everyone else. Bobby Deerfield was for me. Harvey Korman. Say no more. The funniest guy around for years. Hedly Lamar. Rat Butler. I couldn’t find any of the outtakes where Tim Conway got him laughing, those were the absolute best. And don’t get saucy with me Bernaise.

Life is like a box of chocolates

And today PBE is a box of chocolates. I’ve just got a ton of bits and pieces and not a complete thought in the whole mess…a lot like a box of chocolates. First off, I know youtube doesn’t show up right here, but today I have something from Blutube. The take down by the dog is awesome. And don’t run when they bring in the chopper, they can see you in the dark.

NOLA revisited

This gal is one of the best real estate bloggers on the internet. She’s based in San Diego and really does an excellent job. I think her blog even has awards from people that matter. I just enjoy reading her. She’s been in New Orleans with her daughter. Anyone that’s been here for any period of time knows how much this matters to me. She spells it out beautifully. Another nice job by the Bush Administration.

Down on The Farm

The dogs are now all healthy. I don’t know what went on two weeks ago, but I’m glad it’s over. Beauregard is gaining some weight. I’ve been weighing him, he’s up three pounds the other day, I’ll weigh him later on today. Never pick up a Doberman first thing in the morning to weigh them. Even if they’re down to 70 pounds it’s not so sporty on the back. This week I spent two evenings chasing around the boxes (there were two) that were lost/misplaced/mishandled/misdelivered by the asshats at UPS. Thursday night I had to replace a faucet at my parents house and last night I actually went out to dinner with Sonofabun. So I haven’t been home much and the dogs have taken exception to this. At three o’clock in the morning. For the last three nights. Last night I got them to lay down again, but at 4:30 they were at it again, so I got up, let them out, fed them, left the back of the house open and went back to bed. I woke up at 7:00 a.m. to find them both curled back up and in bed with me. The little stinkers miss me. They’ll be over that after their baths today.

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I’m not sure what she heard under that piece of wood, my guess is a lizard, but she was on full alert.

Better than the Coconut Telegraph

New guy, escrowdude, got me the link to the Mercury/FATCO lawsuit. So here it is for your enjoyment.

mercury_v_first_american.pdf

I don’t know what Patty and her attorneys are smoking. The First American attorneys ought to be sniffing the blood in the water and it’s not going to be pretty. The only way she prevails on any level is if there is a corporate decision to not crush her. This is soooo last ditch, we all know the Mercury bankruptcy paperwork is all but filed. We also got a tip in the comments this week about the WARN act. That’s Federal. You know the rule, don’t mess with the Feds.

Speaking of dinner

We went to Moresi’s, a local chophouse last night. They do a really good job. They could do something about the acoustics in the place, but the food is good and the service was excellent. I know the lines get out the door in the summer, but we didn’t have a problem. We were seated in the very back, which was fine, but it was so noisy it was hard to hear without shouting at each other. Even the waiter couldn’t hear us order. The place is very quaint, we had mojito’s to open. I had a peach one and it was a beautiful cocktail. The appetizers were good but nothing special. The steaks were very good. I had a petite filet done “Black and Blue” (charred on the outside rare on the inside) with scalloped potatoes, creamed corn and a side of Lipitor. I brought a 1998 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon with me. It needs to breathe for a while. You just can’t keep that much love confined in the bottle for that many years and not give it a moment or two before inviting it to dinner.  Subtle ripe cherry and plums with some floral undertones. A little spice on the finish. Beautiful mouthfeel (one of my favorite wine words) full of elegance and a dark ruby color. This is what Wine Spectator said about this wine in 2001:

Medium-weight, with herb, dill, cedar and earthy cherry and plum flavors that are elegant and well-proportioned. Turns complex on the finish.
The Wine Spectator 10/31/01

It got better. Much better over those last seven years. It was perfect with a steak dinner.

Beating my head against the wall because it feels so good when I stop

I know I talk a lot about cyclists and downed bikers etc. But I got this link off of drunkcyclist the other day. It just brings home the importance of watching for cyclists, and riding safely. This AssKlown drove drunk, didn’t watch for Eric and Ace is living the aftermath. The judge should require that he to read Ace’s journal every day for the rest of his miserable live, much of which should be spent in prison.

Caught beneath the landslide in a champagne supernova

I should never be left to my own devices. Moreover, I should not be left to my own devices with a partner in crime, or five. That being said, we’ve got a sparkling wine review today. First up, the big bad boy from France. Voirin-Jumel Blanc de Blancs, a very nice well priced ($37) Champagne. This one is a chardonnay blend, with a nice yeastiness, some citrus and a little floral. Really very good for the price. Second up was a little Spanish number. The Dibon Cava. It was $8.50 a bottle. I swear to God. I’m sure enough of that would give you a headache, but for just a touch of sparkling wine (rather than an afternoon of champagne drinking) this little punk will do the trick. We followed that up with a Gloria Ferrar Sonoma Brut. For the price, they do a very good job, although for the price, I’d take the Spaniard.

A couple of weeks ago, the Contessa had friends come in from out of town. He wanted to take them to the wine country and contacted the Wine Dog to plot out a route. I didn’t have to go deep into the play book for three girls from Florida. I just needed a couple of good plays. Chimney Rock is always a good play. They are a Cab house. So as we’re walking in I hear them say, we don’t really like red wine. I know this means that they haven’t had good red wine. School is now in session. Do this, now do that, now tell me what you smell. OK, now do this, now do that, do you taste the dark chocolate? Of course they did. Yeah, you just don’t like bad red wine. I walked out with the latest release, knowing full well I’m going to lay it down for four or five years. Next stop, Rombauer. Certainly not a daring pick, but a rock solid pick. Their Chardonnay is the same thing year after year, but that’s not a bad thing. They’ve been served at the White House more than any other chardonnay and there’s a reason for that. For a big buttery, oaky California Chardonnay, they cannot be beat. Their Zinfandel port truly is German Chocolate cake in a bottle. It is consistently beautiful. Personally, I like their Zins. They do a big jammy one and every now and again they do a peppery one. They’re getting a little too jammy for my palette, but I’m thinking they’ll calm down if you hold them. Next stop Freemark Abbey. I don’t know why we go here. I seem to always lose my mind by the time we leave. This stop was no exception. I have three wine shipments to pick up. It would have been a good time to quit tasting and go to the Culinary Academy for dinner. The Contessa had made reservations but in my insanity I pointed out that the wineries would be closed if we quit at 3:30 and had dinner, so he changed the reservations and we went to Clos Pegase. Another classically bad idea. I had shipments to pick up there too. I love their Mitsuko’s vineyard stuff. It’s always a beautiful wine. Everybody bought things that they really didn’t need or want the next morning. Further evidence that dinner at CIA was a better idea. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the Culinary Academy. A little too too. My entree was good, encrusted halibut, always a winner with me. My nap in the limo was better.

And it wouldn’t be Sunday without some

Photojournalism

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And check out Rita’s ribs! Yeah, they’re not sticking out any more.

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And Mr. Man is afraid of the wind, so he’s hiding with me in the spare bedroom where I’m folding laundry.

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All the celebration and the stress

I’m on serious waivers right now, in just about every aspect of my life. I’ve been told not to lift for two days even if I feel better. Currently, I do not feel that better. Although I have a Chateau de Brandey Bordeaux, which is not the Holy Grail of Bordeaux. It’s not Plonk of the Month either. It needs some time, that’s for sure. Thankfully I bought two bottles of it at $16.99 for the first a nickel for the second. Deep ruby color is deceptive. There is some sour cherry, dark chocolate going on with this one. It’s got a bunch of 90’s which I think is too high right now. I can see it settling down in the next few years to being a great table red. I had to use the aerator. It improved it 100%.

I went to Integro this afternoon. Dr. Elkind is a gifted practitioner. She very rarely makes normal chiropractic adjustments. It works for me because the cracking type adjustments rarely hold. My muscles just push them back to the jacked up way they want it to be. She makes adjustments to the tissue and the bones follow. It’s really amazing. And goddamn painful. Actually, it doesn’t usually hurt…in a bad way, but today was an exception. Today I was crying “Mama, Mama, Mama!” Considering I could barely get out of bed this morning and it took two hours to loosen up enough to get dressed to go to work, the fact that it hurt was really no big deal. She had her assistant come in and move my leg while she did her Active Release Torture Technique. She’s doing something horrendous to my hip flexor and deep inside my joint you could hear a “thunk”. Not a “snap” or a “crack” or a “pop”, a “thunk”. It moved. Yeah, I know. I think I need a cigarette. So I’m hoping that if I continue with my foam roller and yoga stretches and Vitamin A(dvil) and Bordeaux that it will start to come around for me. I see her again on Thursday for what I hope is just a touch up. I didn’t mention that I’m playing 18 on Saturday.

Coconut Telegraph

Oh Honey! We are burning up the wires the last few days. Where to start? There’s been a bunch of folks whispering in the Wine Dog’s ear. If you’ll watch carefully, you’ll see that the Wine Dog has that look in her eye, the kind that dogs get when they hear a sound far away and can’t quite tell what it is. Which Mercury owned subsidiary in Walnut Creek had a visit from Jerry Hauptman last week to “crunch” numbers? Oh, to be a crane fly on that wall. The same Mercury subsidiary that we’ve been drumming the Death March for since January. Who lays off the top money producer and the top order producer on the same day? Someone who doesn’t have a commitment to making any money, the future, that’s who. They run one of the two remaining title plants in the Bay Area. From that perspective, I’d hate to see them go. Could the Concord Title Group be the last man standing? I know that PBE is blocked from FTC servers so unless they log on at home they can’t enjoy my daily prattle. Speaking of prattle, which Denver based company decided that they didn’t need an internet security team any more and shit canned the whole department.? I guess if you all gather ’round and sing Kumbaya nothin’ bad’ll happen. Right? Maybe they contracted to have that done in India. Maybe they’d be better off whistling this.

Speaking of Dogs

Rita has been doing awesome on her training walks. Lots of them with no gym time. I’ve separated them so that I don’t have to wrastle two of them with my back the way it is. It’s helpful in that they are getting some individual training. I can’t believe how good Rita is on a leash. I spent a lot of time taking Beauregard to Mt. Diablo Dog Training Club. He does all the moves from the Obedience Trials with absolute precision…when he’s not being a jackass. Rita only went through the first six weeks. I just couldn’t continue it with these 11 hour days I have. So I work her out when I can. She was precision on the leash tonight. She sometimes sits too far back, not tonight, right at heel. Beau started his walk being very good, had a brief stint of jackassery and returned to precision by the end. When I watered my mud garden tonight (because I might be dealing with crop failure) there’s a hole in the hose. Rita was biting and snapping at the water spraying from the hose. It did my heart well. Another Doberman I used to know snapped at the hose. Kris.

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Check out those gorgeous ears. My Dad bred her. She was something else. And she loved to play with the hose. And my Granddad.

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This was a game my Dad made up. They chased a rag on a rope in the back yard. This was probably taken in 1967 or 1968. That dog was something. Granddad was pretty cool too.

And last but certainly not least

Remember Jax. Here’s the link to tell the NOLA lawmakers that shooting the family dog eight times is not okay.

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