Assail him, impale him with monster truck force

After a bunch of rides in the 70-86 mile range you’d think this one would be a piece of cake. Not so much. I think mentally I didn’t prepare as much as I did for the long rides and well, 50 miles and 3000 feet of climbing isn’t for the weak. It actually turned out to be 55.89 miles. Don’t know where the other 7 miles came from. I also don’t know who ordered up yesterday’s ass weather but they can merrily go home and leave me alone. Supposedly it was 54 degrees in all places that I went. Not so much. Once I got over Pinehurst on to Skyline in Oakland it was cold, damp and foggy. On Grizzly Peak it was so foggy that I couldn’t see more than 10 yards in front of me. And so damp and cold that the dew was dropping off the trees like rain. Freaking miserable. And the wind. There were parts of 3bears that were so windy that I had to brake on the downhill, not because of speed but because the wind was pushing the front wheel of the bike making it hard to steer at high speeds. So it took a little longer than anticipated. I really hope I’m ready. And I’m really glad that the Sierra Century is next weekend. I’ve had enough of this kind of distance. I’d rather stick to 40-60 mile range. Live and learn.


We had a new listing come on the market. I argued with our broker about the pricing. He said I was too high. The bank priced it about $8k lower than my suggested repair price of $649k. (they took my numbers) I showed this property four times yesterday between 4:15 and 6pm. While I was there a conga line went out the door full of agents and clients. I actually had to walk through the house at 6pm and make sure it was empty there were so many people through. Everybody thought the pricing was low. Wine Dog win. The market has changed, it’s a wild place out there. If the asinine banks and title companies would pull their collective heads out of their own asses we might have a stabilized real estate market and some of our pals could get back to work. Feh.

You know you got it, if it makes you feel good

I got a copy of Rita’s test results. My regular vet was out of town and I guess his father or someone was running the practice. At the end of the day the guy’s accent was so thick I really don’t know what was up with Rita or her test results. He put her on Science Diet CD which is a kidney preparation. He wanted to put her on antibiotics but couldn’t tell me why so I didn’t allow that. And I need a new vet. I got the test results and beyond the crystals there are several other things that are off. I’d like them explained to me in a way that I can understand what’s wrong with the dog. T4 is low, Eosinophils are high (way high) fat droplets are high 3+ and she’s got Amorphous crystals 2+. Something is off in the dog and the crystals might be the least of the problems or just symptomatic of the real issue. I’d like to get these guys to a raw or home cooked diet. Bubba’s tummy issues are better but not gone. He’s massaging his midsection and crying right now. And I’d like something to really look at these dogs and figure out what’s going on with them. So I found a Vet who used to be at Creature Comfort in Oakland. She’s now over on Treat in Walnut Creek. She is a holistic vet that uses all modalities. In other words she combines western, eastern and holistic medicine and applies which ever modality best serves the pet at that moment in time. And she consults on nutrition, raw and home cooked in particular. So I’m going to see her on Monday afternoon with both of these clowns and see if I can straighten some things out. Rita is certainly happier since I started the CD, so it is addressing an issue. She’s quit leaking and that’s good and her demeanor has changed for the better. It’s not like she wasn’t happy, it’s weird, it’s just changed.

I spoke to a friend of mine yesterday. Last time I talked to him was last month. He had called to ask if I’d ever heard of a dog with pneumonia. Actually, I hadn’t ever heard of a dog getting pneumonia, although I guessed it was possible. I guessed they would treat it like human pneumonia and put her on antibiotics. He was really distracted and distant even though the dog was on her way to the house with his wife. They got Tippy two years ago. They are a couple without children and he told me he hadn’t had a dog since he lived in the Philippines which was years and years ago. Tippy was referred to as “the precious one”. She lived the life of luxury, spoiled and pampered. That evening, after he hung up from talking to me, his wife arrived home, let Tippy out of the car. She went to her favorite place and curled up and went to sleep. And died. Right then. She made it home to her safe spot and checked out. My friend arrived home to find his wife inconsolable sitting on the porch. She is an executive with a large multinational. Truly this is not a picture I can imagine, she’s a tough woman. It was days before she could return to work. He told me yesterday that he was just so sad he couldn’t put it into perspective. Yet, they went back to the rescue and saved two more lives. Tippy had changed their lives when she got there and changed them even more when she left. They thought about the joy that Tippy brought to their lives and the peace and solace they brought to hers and decided that they would bring home two more in her honor because they could make a difference for two more souls and so they should.


Those of us who have dogs know how much each creature changes our lives. OK the other faux pas of my vet’s office was when I asked for my dog’s test results they asked me if it was for Beauregard. Why the hell isn’t their chart marked that Beauregard died last year? The insurance company just sent me a mailer announcing that it was time to protect Beauregard from annoying fleas. He never had a flea problem. I would have liked to have protected him from lung cancer. That would have been nicer. Anyway, each and every animal that comes into our lives changes them in some way. And probably takes a piece of our hearts with them when they leave. Those of you who are newer around here don’t know that I had two cats for almost 16 years. Broderick missed his 16th birthday by a couple of weeks. He used to run Xica and Beauregard. I remember coming home from work when Xica was a puppy and there was a cat claw hanging out of the side of her muzzle. I looked at her and said “Hmmm, you must have pissed off the cat today”. Rayette was a very low key cat, but she really needed to be next to me when she needed to be next to me. She was the first animal I ever had to put down in my life. After several consultations with several vets I ended up having a conversation like this “I know you want to hospitalize this cat, but she’s never spent a night out of the house, so what do you expect to achieve by hospitalizing her?” Well, he explained, they could get three days, maybe three weeks, possibly three months by hospitalizing her. “OK, so I hospitalize this cat, traumatize her, so she can live an extra three weeks in a cage? I see what’s in it for you, and I see what’s in it for me, I don’t see what’s in this for the cat.” He couldn’t tell me what the benefit was to the cat. I had him load her up with Sub-Q fluids and I took her home for one more night and let her go the next day. Broderick had the same kidney disease. He lasted three more months because I caught it earlier in him. I gave him Sub-Q fluids every night. One day I came home and he’d gone flat. I wrapped him in a towel and took him down to the corner vet and they did the deed. That night I needed dog food. I’d come home from work expecting to change clothes, grab Xica and go get some dog food. I came home to Broderick nearly dead. When I got back, I still needed dog food. So I got Xica and when I loaded her up in the truck, she leaned down and sniffed the towel that Broderick had died on. Then she looked at me as if to say “Oh, the cat died”. She never looked for him. Beauregard on the other hand was a mess. He couldn’t find his cat and he spent over a week looking for him. Then one day I cleaned out the truck and brought that towel in the house. I tossed it next to the laundry room so I could add it into a load of towels. Beauregard came by sniffed the towel and looked at me as if to say “Oh, so that’s what happened to my cat”. He never looked for Broderick again.

Every one of these little critters has changed my life in one way or another.  Even Cody the Greyhound who was only here for about six months.  Toby the Gypsy Doberman was here for 19 months.  Xica 15 years.  Beau lived with me almost 9 years.  He was 10 months old when I got him.  Every one of them has made my life a little better and I can’t imagine coming home and not being met with little heart beats.

On the 8th of November, the angels were crying as they carried his brothers away


That ship sailed under the Bush regime. Here’s an old NYT story about a young soldier trying to armor a HumVee with old police vests. Those who have been coming here for any length of time know that I am opposed to the war in Iraq and think we should have turned Afghanistan into a glass highway. But at no point have I ever disparaged, or would I disparage, the service of the men and women of our armed forces. It is the highest level of service to this country and it’s not their fault that a bunch of fat old white guys think they are expendable. They aren’t. They’re fathers and brothers and sons and mothers and wives and daughters. And someone loves every freaking one of them, even the difficult ones. So when I read that they’re essentially having a bake sale to get these men and women helmet padding so that the concussion devices that pepper their daily lives don’t turn their noodles into tapioca, it pisses me off. Nuff said.

Since I can’t embed this. Link.

I’m just an animal looking for a home

Today’s post is like tapas. Little tasty plates.

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I’m still following LandAmerica, for all you former employees. I’m sure a lot of you are as well. I will say it’s becoming a fascinating bankruptcy. And I’m spending a lot of time reading the Times Dispatch. This one’s kind of interesting to me. If I’ve got this right, they’re calling themselves a creditor in the 1031 case so they can get the $65 million back that they lent the exchange company when their Gordon Gecko scheme ran amok, but they don’t want any of the people who entrusted them with their money to get that back? Oh my. Really? The judge said that the 1031 agreement papers were clear that the money wasn’t going into a trust account. I’d sure like to see one of those agreements. And I wonder what the sales people were telling the clients victims.

Oh, by the way Stewart Title in Alaska is looking for a receptionist.

We’re going to start seeing a gazillion of these. A good number of people are going to prevail as well. It’s about time.

And if I were in Virginia today, I would be doing this. When I got the email, I was all hopeful they were in Napa or Sonoma, but not to be.

Last weekend I went to Artesa and posted up a crappy picture of the amazing view. Well, today, this came across my screen. Down around numero 9 is Artesa. Too bad I didn’t really like their juice. Although I now have to add Merus to the tour. Look at that! Wow! Actually the architecture is one of the things that drew me to Clos Pegase. They call it a temple among the vines. He’s also an art collector so there are some amazing pieces around the winery. $14 million worth of art in the tasting room alone.

And who ordered up yesterday’s ass weather? A high of 58 and 25 mph winds? Or you kidding me? It was May 23 dammit! Thank God I went back home and put on a windbreaker. I would have died out there. I should have put on a thermal too. Especially at the part where I went up the back side of Moraga and dropped down in the Oakland and then Berkeley. It was foggy at 2pm in May ferdogsakes. WTF? I will say, I learned that it’s not the climbing or the distance. It’s the heat. I rode strong all day yesterday. I was even strong coming up the hill to the house. Tired but strong. In a fit of delusional thinking I believe I’m ready for the Sierra Century. I know I’m probably going to get my ass handed to me because it’s going to be hot. The bike fitting made a ton of difference. It allowed me to better pull through the pedal stroke and use all of my legs, not just the quads. My feet didn’t bother me until around mile 80 which is huge and my hands didn’t spend much time being all asleep and tingly. There was a ton of climbing yestrerday. 4400 feet. There’s always this big difference between actual mileage and mileage. said yesterday was going to be 94. My bike computer said 86. I was supposed to go 86 yesterday so that’s all good, but I turned the wrong way on Wildcat Canyon and had to ride about a mile back. Any road with “Canyon” or “Pass” in the title is fraught with peril, Wildcat Canyon was no exception so I was pretty pissed at myself for having to come back UP what I had just gone down. But I knew Park Hills was in Berkeley and I was supposed to be in Orinda and that just wasn’t right. I checked the map on the iPhone and there was no way out but to go back up the hill, so I did. So next week is a shorter ride and then the Sierra Century and that’s the last of the really stupid long rides, probably for this year. I want to work on getting faster and a better climber before I add distance again. I did make it to the junction without stopping yesterday. I’m very pleased about that. All and all a good strong ride.

Fat bottomed girls they’ll be riding today

It kind of looks like a child drew on a map.

The roads are that windy. There is 4400 feet of climbing. This is the last long ride before the Sierra Century. The Sierra Century has 6500 feet of climbing. Last weekend I was a little freaking out about that, but I think if I get through today ok, the Sierra will be fine. Then that’s the last long ride of the year. The next event is the Lance Armstrong Foundation LiveStrong event in San Jose on July 11th. Anyone who hasn’t (or who’s found some change in the couch) can sponsor my ride here. I’ve met the LAF minimum requirement, thank you all, but I set my own person bar high because I’m riding as part of Team Fatty. And why shouldn’t I be? Have you seen me? But more importantly, several of my friends, and probably several of yours have found out, fought and battled with cancer, JUST SINCE I SIGNED UP TO RIDE! LiveStrong is actually doing some amazing things. Fatty talks about it a little here and here. They do make a difference in peoples lives and that’s good enough for me to drag my fat butt out for 100 miles in the Sierra foothills. Hopefully it’s good enough for you to give my ride a little support too. Thanks.

In other news, Rita went to the vet on Thursday. I assumed she was going to come back with spay incontinence. It wouldn’t be the first time for that one with me. She’d been waking up pretty consistently in a pool of dog whiz. It clearly upset her because she’d then climb into my bed and wake me up, but she’d be ridiculously submissive and relentless until I got up. I knew she’d already had wet her so in my brain she wouldn’t whiz in my bed so why wouldn’t she just lay down with me and go back to sleep? Actually that was more annoying than washing dog beds every day. Well, I moderately trust this vet, and really check up on his ass pretty much. He was not there and I guess his father was the vet of the day. He wanted to check blood and her urine and put her on antibiotics. No antibiotics until you find an infection. Run the tests. Well, she’s got crystals in her urine. Knock me over with a feather. So now she’s on that crappy Science Diet CD food to get her system back in balance. After a bit of googling I know that I have to keep her on it until she settles down, minimum of 30 days. A friend wrote me and said I had to keep her on it for 30 days. If I can get her off of it then, I should just put some orange juice in her food after that and it will keep the acid in her system up enough to keep the whole thing in check. I’m glad I caught it before something bad happened. Crystals are bad. A cat many years ago had those problems. He almost ended up a she over it all. Bad stuff.

Never once suspectin’ what the final result would be

Yesterday I bought myself a little present.  I’m sure there are more economical ways to do what I did, but it’s a present.  And it will change the quality of my life.  And it was totally worth it.  Yesterday, at the request of my chiropractor, I went to PK Cycling and got my bike fit.  For those of you who don’t bike, that may not make a whole lot of sense.  I mean how freaking hard is it to adjust the seat on the damn thing anyway?  Well, apparently, harder than it looks.  Really any moron can adjust the seat, getting it right is a whole different matter. These guys have made an art and a science out of the minor adjustments on a bicycle.  And they’re damned good at it.  As a matter of fact, these guys are one of three in the world who are being credited with creating the art of fitting a bicycle.  That’s kind of cool.  Chris Kautz did my fitting.  A great guy full of knowledge (and he smells nice too).  I was impressed with how well he conveyed what he was doing and how it affected my body on the bike.  It’s all about angles and position.  In the end he dropped my seat almost a centimeter, changed the angle by 1.1 degree, moved the cleats on my shoes forward about a centimeter, brought the handlebars back about 4 centimeters and down about 1.5 centimeters.  It doesn’t sound like a lot, but but it feels like a lot.  I’ve been having two major issues on these distance rides, one, my feet hurt.  A lot.  My right foot has a neuroma in it.  Back in the 90’s I had the same problem.  It took a lot of PT and finally three different sets of shots into it to make it go away.  Unfortunately, my awesome Podiatrist back then has since retired.  The little bastard is my age and I find this to be wrong wrong wrong.  One because he was one of my favorite Doctors ever, and two he really knew his shit.  I had a plantar fascia release within a week of another woman in the office.  I was walking in about a week just fine and running again in a month while she was still hobbling in a boot.  He was a gifted surgeon.  I could use him right now, but he’s retired.  The other issue is my hands and shoulders get fatigued.  The adjustment he made to the pedal should end the foot problems and increase the power I deliver to the pedal stroke.  In my brain that translates as more bang for the buck in the effort department equals better performance.  Equals YEA!  The adjustment in the seat will also help deliver more power to the pedal stroke.  More YEA!  It also centers and balances me more on the bike.  The handlebar adjustments bring the handlebars back in closer to me.  I’m less stretched out, or over stretched is a better word.  It tightens up my position putting less fatigue on my shoulders by allowing my arms to be in a relaxed position most of the time.  I asked him about the drops since I rarely go into the drops, really on descents and occasionally to build up some speed.  I was wondering if I shouldn’t go to bullhorns.  He said most riders only spend 5-10% of the time in the drops.  That’s about what I do so I’m going to leave that alone.   Then yesterday got out of control and I couldn’t go out and play and get my speed work in.  I’m supposed to do hills today, I think I might go a little longer and get both workouts in.

I asked Chris what his degree was in.  I figured with everything he knew it had to be some sort of exercise physics or something bizarre.  Actually, his degree has nothing to do with what he does.  He was a professional cyclist and was going to school at the same time.  He wanted to keep being a cyclist but wasn’t making enough so he went to school too which helped him get by.  He and a buddy were sitting around one day trying to figure out how to get faster and essentially extend their cycling careers.  Since they were in grad school by then, they really knew how to think in the esoteric grad school kind of way.  They figured that to maximized efficiency on a bicycle the could enhance performance.  They did the research, wrote protocols and got noticed.  They adjusted bikes for a few friends and it just grew from there.  Cyclist who have had their bikes adjusted by him have won things like the Ironman and some of the world’s best cycling events.  They’ve been written up numerous times in Bicycling and other cycling magazines.  Chris told me he did Levi Leipheimer’s bike several years ago.  I’m a Levi fan so I thought that was pretty damned cool.

They also build bikes there.  Everything is totally custom.  There is no point in my life where I could ever justify these guys building me a bike, they run around $11k each.  I can sit there a look at them and say “That’s really pretty”.  And this is very pretty.  I’ll never be a big enough dog to justify owning something like this but how cool is it?


PK Cycling is a wonderful story about following your passion and it makes me happy to see that there are folks out there that get to do a great job while making a good living.  And thanks Chris for making my little present to me happen.

You work for your dollar and you never pass the blame

I was going to write about wine today, but I’ve got a great story, so I’m rolling with it. And the story has evolved as I told it to The Brother and it started getting intertwined with several other recent events. Now I feel like a Brady Bunch episode where various events lead to a hubris for Greg. Except it’s nothing I needed to learn, I already knew it. It was just interesting how it all ties in.

Ethics Schmethics

I’ve been in a discussion on and off for a couple of weeks on the subject of a family who has chosen to walk away from their home. They don’t have to. The market moved against the property that was purchased at the height of the market, but they’ve had no adjustment in the mortgage and their income has remained robust. He is an executive and the home is over a million dollar home. Even with the market adjusting. They couldn’t get a modification because of his income. The bank opined, correctly, that they didn’t need it. So they quit paying and they’re going to have the bank take back the house. They are justifying their conscious and willing breach of contract by calling it a “business decision”. There, that makes it all sound okay doesn’t it? Except Ford made a business decision that the lawsuits from deaths in Explorer rollovers would cost less than fixing the vehicle, and people died. I worked for a guy who filed away every file that had a title policy to be typed between 1975 and 1977 and didn’t have it typed. At the time the company had one typist and she had a heart attack so they fell woefully behind in the whole on policy production. It was a business decision. Even though the customer paid for the product, he did not deliver it. I won’t even get into all the loan officers and what they did between 2003-2007. We know.

Business in this country has lost it’s way and now we think it’s okay to behave like that. I really believe this can all be traced back to the Reagan Administration, but we all know that I think every thing that’s wrong in this country can be traced back to the Bonzo Great Communicator. (And Professor Cousin, who happens to be brilliant concurs) We’re supposed to do whatever is best for us with no regard for those around us. So business moved their operations overseas because that was best for the Corporation, not so much for the workers. The steel industry is a great example. Now the title industry. And of course the auto industry. The right thing was never to build those behemoths they’ve been putting on the market. The right thing was to put American engineers to work finding a brilliant way to build a fuel efficient vehicle that allowed us room and comfort while honoring the planet and environment. But that’s not what we did. Detroit made a business decision. In 1985, (during yet another gas crisis) an edict came from on high at BMW, reduce emissions, increase fuel efficiency in the over all line. A German business decision. Now, the eight cylinder versions are still beasts, but not as bad as American luxury vehicles. The 745i will get 26+ on the highway. The six cylinder versions, however, get decent gas mileage. My 2001 525i still gets 32 on the highway. At 105 with a curb weight of 4200lbs. And they ate Detroit’s lunch.

Which gets us to yesterday’s adventure. Every Monday I have to check on each of the properties I manage for my broker. I have roughly 30-35 stops to make on Monday. I check for occupancy when the former owner still lives there and break ins on the ones we’ve taken over. I arrived at a site yesterday while on the phone. I was setting an appointment to show another site, talking to a woman I had never spoken to before but was referred to me by a guy I had watching that site for me. (I always engage several neighbors in protecting my sites from vandalism and squatting) They want good neighbors and I get referrals from that practice. Anywho, as I walk into the house I can hear water running. Water is not my friend. I had an agent turn on the water at a site that I had it deliberately turned off at and ruin all the flooring. So hearing water running sent me into overdrive. And it was REALLY turned on. So I went upstairs expecting a faucet to be on and nothing. No running toilets. Nothing in the kitchen. Checked the garage, all was good. Walked out the back door and saw a hose running from the back of the house to the neighbor’s fence, through the fence and into his pool. At this point I was so distracted, I set the appointment and hung up. Then I started ticking through my options in my head. I resisted the temptation to go pound on his door and scream at him. I called the police instead. As I was talking to them on the phone this guy actually comes out and was in front of the house and motioned that he wanted to talk to me. I conjugated some words in a manner he has probably never heard strung together before, unless he’s been caught stealing from someone else. I was still on the phone with the Police when that little Tourette’s moment occurred and that got me three cars. When I came downstairs this asshole said “Let’s talk this out”. I was out of my mind. There was nothing to “talk out”, I caught him stealing from me. What’s to “talk out”? He explained to me that he and the neighbors had been taking care of the lawn and this place, mowing the lawn and watering and such at the request of the former owner. I found this fascinating because the house was an utter shit hole inside. Interesting that the former owners who lived like pigs would care so much about the landscaping. Then he went on to explain how they wanted a good family to move in and his wife was baking cookies for the people who were being shown the house. At this point I was looking around to see if I had magically transformed myself in to a barefoot bumpkin in overalls with a straw hat because ANYBODY handing me this line of crap must have thought I just fell off of the freaking turnip truck. WTF DUDE!!! That shit just enraged me. Then the little butt pirate goes on to explain that he used to be in the mortgage business and he knew how all of this worked. The fireworks went off, the flags waived and the band played. I resisted the temptation to retort “Oh, so you were a LO, that’s why you think it’s OK TO LIE TO ME!” But I didn’t. I just kept repeating “You’re stealing water, that is not ok”. Then I ask the $64,000 question. If you were so concerned about this house, why didn’t anyone call the number on this sign I’m standing next to? Then the Police show up. This town has a pretty decent Police Department. They’re for the most part not too overworked and they’re all pretty cool. The lady cop takes me in to the house and I take her out back, point to the hose and say “There’s just no explaining this, it is what it is”. Then she says “Well, he says he’s been taking care of the yards.” Oh honey, hasn’t anyone lied to you yet today? We have a service that takes care of the yard and we both know that this City has an ordinance regarding landscaping. Every other house I have in this town gets a phone call from the neighbors if there is one blade of brown grass, but not this one. This one the neighbors water the lawn and mow it and fill their pool with our water. Even though we’ve both seen my yard sign with my phone number on it. Why did not one of these concerned neighbors pick up the phone and call that number? OK, she says, what would I like to see happen here. Well, I have posted no trespassing out front, and as far as I’m concerned he’s trespassing and should be taken to jail. However, you’re a really good cop and you talked me out of it. Now go scare the crap out of him and let’s call it a day. Done deal.

Declining numbers at an even rate

When I went to work for LandAmerica’s National Commercial Services, Jan Alpert was the CEO. She came up through the NCS system. She knew what it was like to actually work for the company. And it ran pretty well. Of course, not well enough for Wall Street, so in comes NASCAR Teddy. And we start hearing about one stop shopping. I don’t know what it is, but every time I hear someone talk about one stop shopping, I bristle. Can’t tell you why, I just do. It might be something like irregardless. That makes me bristle too. So part of their one stop shopping included this little podunk loan subservicing business that Billy just picked up at fire sale prices out of the bankruptcy. While I dislike one stop shopping, I really don’t like large conglomerates. If you asked the founders of Pontiac today if they would have liked to remain autonomous, I think they would have a different answer, simply because the brand is now gone. Because General Motors is a bunch of idiots. More on that later. But something interesting came out of that bankruptcy last week. It’s good, but the way the court allowed it to operate bothers me. LandAmerica agreed to fully fund the pension plan. Since I’m always looking for the vig, I’ve got to figure it’s here. Granted this is good for the employees who have lost their jobs and were in the pension plan, but let’s ask who those employees were? They’re saying it affects 9600 employees and former employees and retirees at the firm, but dollars to donuts NASCAR Teddy and his cronies are in there getting their grubby little fingers back into the pie. Of course this is couched like they did it to avoid having the Feds take the whole thing over, but to me, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…quack quack quack. And of course there’s the ongoing issues with the poor schmucks that chose LandAmerica as their 1031 exchange company. I just don’t get how that judge arrived at that decision. You hand a company money to hold in trust pursuant to a government tax scheme provision, the company commingles and then fails and still gets to keep it? They weren’t investing in LandAmerica, they were giving them their money in trust. Did they receive a prospectus? Bet not. Bad form all around.

Other folks who deserve my ire this morning.

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And as we all know, I’m full of bad ideas. Yesterday was no exception. After that ride and this heat I woke up with no real direction. Not good. I could have cleaned my office, cut the weeds, bathed the dogs, set up my marketing campaign and folded the laundry or I could have pointed the lean green machine northerly and met my pal Luscious Lush for a wine adventure. Yeah, I chose B. I cannot be blamed for this. She was going to Folio. I’ve talked about these guys before. It’s Michael Mondavi’s project. It involves 2,3,4,5,6 different wineries, all small production, making very interesting product. One of my favorites is I/M, his wife’s project. She is solely responsible for my interest in Rosé. Yesterday’s vintage was the new one and it was amazing. Such strawberries on the nose, it was insane. I’ve never smelled that in a wine. It was dry and fruity glass of summery goodness. We met some cool people out on the veranda and Lessley made sure that we got to taste the best of what Folio had to offer. I left with a bottle of the Rosé and a bottle of Spellbound Reisling, because I never have any white wine here. And it was good. Kind of a melon thing going on but dry at the same time. Very interesting wine. We were there for a long time running through their amazing line up and some secret squirrel stuff not on the menu. That’s my kind of wine tasting adventure.


Next stop Artesa. This place is amazing for the view. The wine, not so much. It was ok, just after Folio, it was kind of pedestrian. And they were packed like a tourist destination and they pretty much ignored us and that’s not what I’m looking for in wine adventures. OTOH, the view.


Last stop Domaine Carneros. I thought I’d been here, but I hadn’t. I’d been to Domaine Chandon and they pissed me off. We were going to eat in their restaurant and everything was so freaking convoluted and pretentious that we left after the cucumber infused freaking water are you kidding me? I think their tasting fee was ridiculous too, I don’t remember what it was but the whole experience was gag invoking. Domaine Carneros, a lot different experience. They have a tasting restaurant sort of set up. Not as personal, Duckhorn has something similar, but it worked for this part of our day. We did a sampler and I’ve got to say, not a dog in there. I liked the Le Rêve. It’s a blanc d´blanc and had the fruity dryness that I like in a sparkling wine. We ordered a cheese plate that was full of tasty little cheeses. If they could just fix the air conditioning it would have been the perfect finish, but who knew it was going to be over a hundred the second weekend in May? It was still a pretty darned decent finish to a great spontaneous wine adventure.

Finding out along the way

A Road Less Traveled

Yesterday’s training schedule called for 83 miles, rolling hills. I probably failed on that because I went over Morgan Territory, which isn’t so rolling and isn’t so much of a hill. And it was 102 degrees when I got home. I did well, in spite of the conditions. I went through all of my PowerBars, most of my gel, seven bottles of water, one bottle of Accelerade, 10 Endurolytes and a partridge in a pear tree. I spent about an hour total off the bike while I was out. That included waylaying two Team in Training support trucks, a stop at a Chevron where I dumped water over my head in the rest room and probably made a terrible mess now that I think about it, three breaks for PowerBars under shade trees and making a mess at Heather Farms like I did at the Chevron. I finished the ride in 7:31, it was a whisker under 82 miles. Left at 6:45 got back around 3:30. According to the bike computer burned 3121 calories. For the most part I rode pretty strong. Strangely, I can move this morning. Then I looked at the Sierra Century website and it says 6500 feet of climbing. I did almost 3300 feet yesterday and I’m very concerned that I can do that twice in the same ride. Don’t know what to make of all this, but it’s giving me adgeda.

These long rides out in the back country are fascinating. Yesterday’s ride was full of snakes. I saw three big dead snakes on the road. Big. Like in over 3 feet, probably closer to 5 or six feet. From the area, I have to assume they were rattlers. I’ve ridden by and heard them in the brush before. I assume they became raptor fodder because they weren’t mangled like road kill. There’s always a lot of road kill. Yesterday there was more than usual. I presume the recent full moon has something to do with that. On Danville Blvd. I saw a doe run across the street around 2:30 in the afternoon, followed by a little black dog with a pink collar. I hope the people get their little dog back. They headed down to the creek.

I had to leave right when I got home to take a couple back through a home they made an offer on and are waffling on countering the counter. They should, the sellers are a little high but properties like this one don’t come around very often, this place is a turnkey showroom. We’ll see what they do. So by the time I got back home I had some bread and brie with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and called it a day.

So let’s talk wine for a minute. I cracked a Yorkville Sauvignon Blanc last night. Initially, the plan was to have the bread and cheese to gather enough strength to show the property and return home for a meal of seared ahi. But the ride took longer than expected so I came home to a bottle of gatorade, a shower and back out the door. So when I got back home, I was really truly done. Finished. Game over. So I got some of my beautiful french bread and some of my brie, poured a glass of the Yorkville Sauv Blanc and said “Wow!” because there was a reason why I took that little sweetie home with me. The combination of citrus and vanilla/honey on the forward with the minerally finish brought it home again. It was the perfect wine with last night’s snack. I wish I had the energy to fire up the grill, but it was nearly 100 degrees in the house and firing up the grill was more than I could handle. I noticed the tasting notes suggested fish tacos. That would be spectacular. This wonderful little wine is only around $15 a bottle and is perfect for this time of the year. And it’s organic.

OK, trying to decide if I’m going wine tasting, hitting golf balls or doing the chores that need to be done around here. I’m so in need of a day off that wine tasting is bubbling up to the top of the pile, and that’s such a bad idea.