ROCK STAR!

Today, I rock!

I think I rock every day, but today is special.  I’m leaving tonight for Vegas.  I have to fly, I’m pissy about that because my boss wouldn’t give me the day off.  At the end of the day there was no reason.  That’s neither here nor there for this story.  I get a call from my friend Robin, who is hoping to open a new health club with her husband.  We’re chit chatting about this that and the other and I mention the Vegas trip and how I’m hoping to punch 215.  She proceeds to tell me a story about one of the trainers has all of his clients doing powerlifting moves.  They are talking about it a little, and he tells her that he’s training them like that gal that’s there in the morning.  Robin’s little brain goes “ding”.  She knows I’m the only gal that powerlifts in the morning, or the evening or any other time of day in there.  Yeah, I’m a rock star.

Quote of the day

This seems appropriate for the way my life has been going.  From Steve W. Martin’s book “Heavy Hitters”.

Amateur Managers

Amateur managers are the toughest of all the types to work for.  While they may make a great first impression, analogous to a great first date, each subsequent date becomes more painful and frustrating.  Amateur managers may have any word catalog, but most likely they have a stronger auditory catalog and weaker kinesthetic catalog.

Yeah, amateurs.

BARF

Bay Area Rapid FUBAR was a hoot today.  Not so much.  The BARF police are on the platform as I’m getting onto the train…never a good sign.  Then they get onto my car, walk up to a sleeping bum and say “Pull your pants up!”.  You just don’t want to hear those words at 7:15 in the morning on public transportation.

Follow the bouncing ball

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Who would have thought that being a wine mascot would turn out to be such a gas? Any initial dismay I might have felt has been thoroughly dispelled. I’ve really been having the time of my life. My job includes going on all the Plungerhead promotional tastings now, and people actually want me to autograph their wine bottles. And of course, nobody can explain the Zork closure better than yours truly. All of this heady adulation is more than adequate trade-off for having to wear the plunger on my head during public appearances.

Signed

Eddie Plongerheid

-Edgar D. Plongerheid, Loyal Employee

That’s what it says on the back of the bottle.  It’s a project by Don Sebastiani and Sons.  TOG – The Other Guys.  OK, the Plungerhead 2004 Sierra Foothills Old Vine Zin turned out to be a winner. Big black fruit, cherries, berries and you can smell the dirt in the wine and it’s a great little wine with pasta dishes. Or if you’re pissed off with your job.  The Zork closure is a trip, it’s kind of like having your own personal vacuum sealer or something and it sort of looks like a plunger, but it works.

ART

I went to my Applied Release Treatment appointment yesterday. She barely weighs half of what I do and she picked me up in a full nelson and popped my cranky back. She hurt me in a bunch of different ways yesterday. I’m sore all over today so I know tomorrow will be a winner and I’ll be ready to lift in Vegas on Saturday.  I gave up the ghost, because I’m broke and got reservations at the host hotel.  I’m afraid it’s going to be a dive, but right now, I just don’t give a crap.  All I want is some loose slots Saturday night or a winner of a roulette table.  COME’ON RED 36!

A mouse in the house

Well, say hello to my little friend.  I caught him skittering away in the garage yesterday.  I came out into the kitchen in the middle of the day today and caught him skittering away and behind the refrigerator.  As I went to look behind the fridge, he took off through the gap under the garage door, which was haphazardly protected with a dog towel where he had made a mouse tent.  Unfortunately, he must die.  So the trap has been set as I embark on Part II of Pestilence.  Later in the day, I got out the meat slicer to slice up the London Broil I cooked last night so I can make sandwiches this week and it appears that it wasn’t my little friends first visit to the big house.  It will be his last, his path is booby trapped.  I hate cleaning the meat slicer, but I also hate bacterial based infections so I scrub the hell out of it before I put it away and wipe it down before I use it.  This time, I scrubbed the hell out of it before I used it, and again afterward.  Little bastard!  You will die.

Thanksgiving

When I was a kid, I hated Thanksgiving dinner. I didn’t like turkey, hated stuffing, didn’t even like the smell of everything being put together. The Thanksgiving that I spent with my Aunt and Uncle (who didn’t have a niece…that’s a good family story). My Aunt knew I didn’t like turkey and they fixed me a steak. Thanksgiving was better then. As time passed, I figured out that I was going to weigh in at 500+ if I didn’t start eating turkey and chicken instead of beef. So I ordered a turkey sandwich. It wasn’t bad at all. As a matter of fact, it was pretty good. Several years ago, I went somewhere with my Aunt and ordered something turkey and she says “I thought you didn’t like turkey…” Then the realization that I like turkey just fine, it’s my mother’s turkey that I don’t like. They over cook it to the point that gravy is necessary to rehydrate the bone dry meat. And I like stuffing fine too, if you don’t put gizzards and organ meat into it. I went to Hardcore’s home for dinner last night. I didn’t over eat, I skipped the bean casserole thing, skipped the stuffing, only had breast meat, salad, some really nice asparagus and some smashed potatoes. I had little bits of three desserts and felt great last night and great today. I passed on the gluttony in favor of making weight in Vegas. I was asked to bring wine. I brought

  • 2003 Robert Keenan Zinfandel
  • 2005 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
  • 2005 Gundlach Bundschu Pinot Noir
  • 2005 Arrowood Syrah
  • 2006 I’M Rose of Cabernet Savignion

That’s a pretty sporty wine list. Someone else brought a couple of bottles of Rombauer 2006 Chardonnay. I skipped the Danville crack. I have a bottle of that in my cellar and found yesterday a bottle of the 2003 Rombauer Chardonnay that I didn’t know I had. (I didn’t bring that, or the D2 I forgot I had).

Earlier in the day my Brother brought Loki over to play with Beauregard. For those of you who think that male Doberman’s don’t get along, I present Loki and Beauregard.

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And here’s dear old Dad trying to get the boys to do God only knows what, but they didn’t do it, so all is right in the dog world.

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Benessere is Italian for “well being”

So sayeth their website. After a couple of glasses of their 2003 Syrah, I can state that I have achieved a status of well being. Good thing, this week was the week from Hell. Now, all is good. I just wish I lived somewhere warm where I could head down to a beach right now, because Life Is Good.

The Wine Dog is drinking a Benessere 2003 Napa Valley Estate bottled Syrah. We found Benessere a couple of years ago by accident. We were on a wine tour where we could not go any where that we had been before. So if none of the three people in the car had been there, we went. Harry mentioned that they were beginning to lose their buzz when I saw the sign to Benessere. They were the best stop of the day. Really, the best. The worst was the one with the CHP where I had to follow his pen light and prove to the little Tom Cruise wannabe wanker that I was fine to drive. The pisser of the whole situation was the fact that I had hit it to get away from someone who really was drunk and here this little punk in a big boy uniform was trying to jack me up when the real drunk was heading down the 29 at 40 miles per hour in a 60.

Back to Benessere, the thought of the CHP was messing with my euphoria. They had an awesome wine dog there. A big black ol’ mooch. Great dog. Great stop actually. I came away with the Benessere 2003 Napa Valley Estate grown Syrah. It blew me away. I remember the Zin as being very good, but the Syrah being off the hook. Tonight I opened it. I didn’t pair it real well, as I was having sourdough and a brie and some chevre and some roquefort, but once I had it on it’s own I got lots of blackberries, a spice/vanilla finish with gentle tannins and a bunch of things going on that I couldn’t describe. Here are the notes from Wine Enthusiast on this wine.

Limited production (under 200 cases), but worth seeking out. Features bold blackberries accented by hints of savory dried herbs, pepper and dried spices, all buoyed by a creamy, supple, mouthfeel. The long, berry-filled finish boasts hints of coffee and vanilla. Nicely done.”

Yeah, I’m a lucky schmuck to be drinking this right now. Now there’s only 199 bottles of it left.

What the Wine Dog is drinking

Shale Peak Vineyards Tuscan di Solano. Yeah, Solano Red. One step away from a diego red. Except this is a really great little wine. It’s Sangiovese based and filled out with Petite Syrah. It’s got cherries on the front end, nice balance and is kind of floral on the finish. It went great with dinner last night. I took a Roma tomato, a clove a garlic, fresh basil and a orange sweet pepper (not bell) and sauteed them up in a touch of olive oil. At the halfway point I tossed in some red wine. Meanwhile I coated a chicken breast in egg whites then parmesan cheese and sauteed that it olive oil. Meanwhile I also cooked some whole wheat spaghetti. I took the cooked spaghetti and added it to the tomato mixture. Thin sliced the cooked chicken breast and put it on top of the whole thing. Beautiful, dinner. This little Solano County red went just perfect with it. It think I paid $18 for it. It might not be easy to find. I got it up at the Lodge in Sonoma County. They also feature it at the Suisun Valley Wine Coop. I highly recommend the Lodge. I joked with the massage therapist that me and my dog (yeah they take dogs) were going to get a couples massage. She said “Not a problem I know Tellington Touch“. She taught it to herself. OK, my life might be a little weird but that was a great adventure. My dog got to go to the spa AND he went wine tasting with me, fulfilling half of my lifetime dream of being able to conduct business in a bar…with my dog.

Meet Loki the Doberman

loki-beau-uh.JPGMy brother brought Loki over yesterday while he was driving Miss Daisy. He left him around 11am. He ran and ran and ran with Beauregard. And then they ran some more. His gait is this dorky puppy lumbering ass over teakettle sort of thing. How he doesn’t fall over is a mystery to me. Then, later in the day, he was running like a greyhound. He is a man child afterall, so sometimes he’s all growed up and sometimes he’s a dorky puppy. After about an hour of this, I decided I was hungry so I cooked some lunch. I let them continue to run and checked on them more than I checked on my lunch. The beef patty was slightly overcooked and that appeared to be the only fatality. I hooked Loki up on a lead because I wasn’t sure that he was completely housebroken in a strange house. He sat like a good boy and watched me eat. I went back out and cleaned up some of the construction debri on the patio. They ran some more, then a funny thing happened. They quit running. They were done. I was too, especially after Saturday’s adventures, so I brought them in and laid down on the couch. I massaged Loki’s neck and he slowly collapsed into a black puddle of puppy. 45 minutes later I woke up and he was asleep with my hand on him. Beau was asleep with his head on my chest and the Raiders had lost again. Sometimes you get the greatest dogs from rescue. Loki is going to be something else.

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This morning Beauregard woke up like an old man with a hangover. I had given him an Ascriptin with his dinner last night. I’m about to give him another with his breakfast. He’s already back in bed snoozing. These young kids just wear an old man out.

$22.00 worth of love

Yesterday was a pretty nice event.  Not as nice as the Wine Road, but pretty nice all the same.  We started out at Truchard.  Tony Truchard was pouring at the tasting table.  This reinforces my theory that the best wines come from farmers.  Tony’s a great guy and Truchard wines are very good.  Wine wise, one of the best stops of the day.  Their Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo and Chardonnay was out.  Their Cabernet Franc was their best wine, although they were all quite good.  Next stop was Folio Winemakers Studio.  It’s a fascinating concept by the Michael Mondavi Family.  Click on the link and check them out.  There are five winemakers there.  I’M, which is Michael’s wife Isabel’s project, Hangtime, a project by Michael’s son Rob, Medusa, a project by Lydia Mondavi and Patti Romano Hoffman, Rob Mondavi is the winemaker, Oberan, also a project with Rob Mondavi and Tony Coltrin, Spellbound, by  Rob and Lydia Mondavi, Paul Hoffman and Patti Hoffman.  There were a couple of wines in addition to the usual fair, Trinitas and Mayro-Murdick.   Best of class there was the I’M Rose of Cabernet Sauvignon for $14 a bottle out the door.  It was an amazing little wine.  The fact that it is a Rose of Cabernet Sauvignon allowed it to have more going on than most Roses.  I could instantaneously imagine it with a turkey dinner or a pork roast.  Definitely the best of class for the day.  The Medusa Friend’s and Family Zinfandel for $34.99 was a runner up.  Mayro-Murdick’s Pinot was also a good wine, I just don’t know if I had $35.99 worth of love for it.  The Hangtime Gallery Pinot Noir was decent, but also over priced.  I didn’t know how much it was when we tasted it, but I turned to the Sommelier and said “I got $22 worth of love for this”.  We agreed, unfortunately it as priced at $29.  Anyway, the concept of Folio is really cool, the building is gorgeous and it was the most enjoyable stop.  They were serving duck sausage and orzo.  The chef was a former chef for the US Olympic team.  He told me some fun little tidbits about cooking for the athletes in Salt Lake City.  The best was trying to make rice flour bread in the altitude for Picabo Street.  She was coming off a bad injury and needed to not have wheat gluten, so they had to bake bread with rice flour.  Apparently it didn’t raise so good and they had to take a couple of runs at it before they got it right.  He had all the ingredients for his dish laid out on a nice display.  Duck sausage, green onions, lemon, olive oil, orzo and parmesan cheese.  That was it, and it was excellent, also the best snack of the day.  Next stop Etude.  They had a lot of wine out and a tent set up.  They had an array of excellent cheeses, fruits and nuts.  I don’t know where they got their raisins, but they were the best I have had in my life.  Big, plump, juicy, amazing raisins.  Their best of class was the Fortitude Shake Ridge and the Fortitude Frediani Field Blend.  Both were beautiful blends.  The Field blend had some Charbono in it, which got us over there in the first place.  The Shake Ridge was more of a Zinfandel based blend, both were well structured for my taste and finished nicely.  Next stop Adastra.   We stopped there because they were an organic winery.  The wines were decent, but well overpriced for what they were.  Nothing jumped out at us, but I commend them for making organic product.  They were set up in a very cool old barn.  Next stop was off the tour map, but on the program.  Homewood, had a nice little set up.   None of the wines jumped out at me, but they had these amazing meatballs they were serving.  He had several other little artisans in there and a musician and it was an enjoyable experience.  If I were one of David Homewood’s friends, which it appears that a lot of people were, I’d drink his wines and support his endeavors.  Nice stop.  Next stop was Cline Cellars.  The Sommelier really likes their wines.  They don’t really do it for me.  They had barrel tasting of their Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris, a tent for cooking demonstrations and a lot of stuff going on.  It’s a beautiful property, but they really didn’t do anything to make me think differently of their wine.  They strike me as good working wines, that you can always depend on, but your socks will not be knocked off.  The Sommelier disagrees with me on this.  From there we went to a warehouse district that housed Tin Barn, Ty Caton, Castle and MacRostie.  It was cool the way these guys are making wine on a very small level.   I liked some of Ty Caton’s work, and Castle.  I’d say they were people to watch in the future.  All and all, a good wine day.  Today, I’m back to being Tim the Toolman Taylor.  Get me that Binford 2000 Power Driver.

Back on the Wine Road

I’m leaving in about an hour or so for today’s wine adventure.  Today’s stops include:

Adastra
Artesa Winery
Bouchaine Vineyards
Cline
Etude Winery
Folio Winemakers’ Studio
MacRostie Winery and Vineyards
Robledo Family Winery
Truchard Vineyards
Viansa Winery and Italian Marketplace

Nothing good can come of this.

Plumbing Redux

When all else fails, read instructions

Last night I returned to the scene of the crime. The issue when I installed the vanity was that the drawers did not come out. It made it nearly impossible to install and logically it made my head want to explode. When I got home from work, I went to American Standard’s web-page and downloaded the instructions. These turned out to NOT be the same instructions that came with the product. My instructions were missing page two, which clearly showed you how to remove the drawers for installation. Apparently the screw that attaches them to the drawer slides has to be removed. So last night I removed the screw and the drawers came right out. Do I wish I had known this three months ago when I originally installed it? You betcha. I was able to fix the major leak, but a second little drip has appeared in the lines to the faucet itself. That is going to require a little more twisting and turning than my back was ready to do last night. At least a solution is now in sight.

Wine of the Day

Since Thanksgiving is coming up, I went into the wine fridge looking for ideas to take with me next week. I found two bottles of 2004 Gundlach Bundschu Pinot Noir. I belonged to their wine club for about a year. They pummel you with wine. I think I still have a case from that year. They also have one of the most creative ad campaigns in wine. Their mailers are a riot. The 2004 Pinot has the cherries that I was looking for. It’s not a fruit bomb, it’s more subtle, and it does have some tannins. It finishes nicely with a touch of spice and cherry. It’s a lot more elegant than what we’re currently seeing in the Pinot realm these days. The other bottle will go to the hostess next week. It will be perfect with Thanksgiving dinner. (Last year I brought a Merlot)

Death march to Vegas

I’ve been training like a dog. Today I’m pretty stiff from yesterday’s deadlifts. My benching is very strong right now. I did 200 with no issue yesterday. The meet is in 16 days. I’m still trying to get my weight under control a little more. I’ve been doing pretty good this week, but one of the women I work with brought in these damned pretzel things that were covered in white chocolate and peanut butter. She is Satan. I think I will have to go to two a days next week. I’ve been coming home from work and doing Sun Salutations, with the exception of last night. They’ve helped a lot. I know you’re supposed to do them in the morning facing the sun, blah blah blah. I do them at night facing the sun rise. That’s the best I can do with the 24 hours we’ve been handed in a day to work with.