Prayin’ it’s the weather, that’s kept him out all night

Well, talk about a good old fashioned ass kicking. Try 70mph winds on the 12th floor. The rain actually comes through the sealed windows. They had to board up the entrance to my building today because the winds were so intense the building engineer thought that they were going to shatter the glass. It took them almost a year to remodel this bad boy, so I can understand the concern. The wind whipped the back doors right out of your hands. There was occasional snow flakes on the 12th floor. All I could think of was my poor dog who is terrified of the wind home along. This is the first storm in the new house. Click on home improvement if you would like to see what an epic fixer upper this was. The fences seemed okay, but not good enough to handle a storm at the base of Mt. Diablo. And they weren’t. The back yard has now been expanded to include the horse property behind me. They don’t seem concerned right now. Wait until they see Beauregard nipping the heels of one of their ponies. Then they’ll be pulling out the 2X4’s and decking nails and helping out.

Loki has been running The Brother ragged. He’s a young boy, probably 11 months now. He eats anything that isn’t nailed down. Soon he will gnaw on that which is nailed down. I know of this. I owned Xica da Silva. The original Insane in the Membrane. That dog was out of her mind. Border Collie, pit bull and Mastiff. Throw the ball, throw the ball, throw the ball, throw the ball, or I will kill you, the ball and your family. Just a little intense. During the storms of 1992 she was out of her mind. She was two years old, living in the City and it had been raining for something like 54 days in a row. We were building arks. I decided to hell with it and took her to the dog park. She slipped and blew her ACL, as if there wasn’t already enough hell in my life. Try to keep a crazed dog quiet after surgery. Anyway, The Brother’s dog adventures make me think fondly of my little black dog.

xicaball.jpgRest in peace.

Tomorrow it looks like the weather is going to break long enough for me to go get Rita. I’m very excited. It will be a new adventure. She was a stray so God only knows what she does or doesn’t know. It should be extra fun with the fences down.

What the Wine Dog is drinking

Water. And the end of a couple of bottles that I started. I’ve been ridiculously busy since NYE. I’m itching to get into the wine cellar and pull out something off the hook. I don’t really have a great reason to go in there though, so I haven’t. I was going through my bills the other day and apparently I’m still a member at Trentadue, or at least they’re still charging me for wine. I’m such a mess, they may have sent it to me and I may have already drank it. I need to get up to Freemark Abbey and Keenan soon. Robert Keenan once said the the best piece of real estate he ever became involved in was the land on Spring Mountain. And he was a commercial realtor, he should know! For my money, they have the best product out there. They just don’t make a bad wine and last year, they went green. Even though they’re getting great ratings on their wines, they’re keeping the prices reasonable and that’s worth the price of admission.

Didja know?

Anyone know if Mercury Companies is still involved with Intero? That was always such a weird thing. They would do business with Financial Title Company but not Alliance Title Company. And now they can’t do business with Financial Title Company. And then there was the J. Rockcliff thing and who knows. Mercury’s website is still down and that’s just not very much fun. On the upside, they haven’t filed BK yet. They only references I can find to Alliance Title Company and bankruptcy or on the blogs and well, here at PBE, but we are certain it hasn’t occurred yet. Yet. It’s not like anyone has gotten their second check. You know, the one they promised in 72 hours.

And I’m still building a body for life

I’ve had a good solid week. I using a more traditional work out style right now. I’m going to try Turbulance Training starting next week. Because that works best with a new dog in the house. I think I’ll be cooking some of my red hot ass kicking BFL chili next week. Fire is mandatory. Wine Dog loves da heat!

And I’ve got a good rant in me again.  Subject will be outsourcing to unstable countries.

Grandma got run over by a reindeer

Let’s see, what would be the least responsible thing to do on Christmas Eve? What would be the ONE THING that I could do that would be like waving a red flag at law enforcement? WWWDD. What Would the Wine Dog Do? Go wine tasting in Santa hats singing Christmas carols at the top of our lungs. What else?

First stop, Chateau St. Jean. For the most part, my general feeling about them is the same as my general feeling about Chateau St. Michelle. I was wrong about them too. We tried a slew of their wines. They were all of journeyman quality, but a few stood out. The Robert Young Alexander Valley 2005 Chardonnay was a stand out. Definitely oaked, smooth with some cream to the palette, finishing with a toasty creme brulee finish. Really a nice wine. They ran a couple of the younger wines through a really cool toy they had there. I had to buy one. How freaking cool is that? It literally changed the taste of the wine. I wished I had one when I opened that 2000 Merlot last week. It grew on me because the oxygen got into it. With that cool little toy, I could have aerated it immediately.

Next stop Benziger. There’s a special place in my heart for Mike Benziger, simply because he owns a Doberman and makes organic juice. The Ricci Pinot was particularly interesting. Not your usual Pinot, dark, smoky with a dark chocolate finish. Left me thinking…hmmmm. The wine notes said something about grilled salmon and I made a comment to the guy at the tasting room. He admitted he didn’t know where that pairing came from. Another suggestion was pork loin and that made a lot of sense to me. Especially my pork loin grilled with an orange chipotle glaze. The Claret was also pretty interesting, but their Pinot was the one that grabbed me.

Next stop, their sister winery, Imagery. Last time I went to Imagery, we went to the Reserve room and were wholy ignored by the wine imp. He was so busy wetting himself over the Stag’s Leap event planner who was there tasting that he completely ignored the Wine Dog. I’ve been trashing them ever since. So under duress I returned to Imagery. Well, the same Wine Imp was present, but he was a lot more attentive today. We tried probably 8 or 10 of their wines. I came home with a bottle of their Malbec, but I could have easily brought home the Mourvedre. The Malbec was $38 and Mourvedre was $42. I had about $40 worth of love for either of them. The Malbec just jumped out at me and said “grill a steak”. I was helpless to it’s evil force. They also made a White Burgundy that I enjoyed, I thought it was priced well. Apparently it was an accident that occurred 10 years ago and was so successful they repeated year after year after year. It had a nice tropical beginning with a vanilla middle and toasty finish that I really enjoyed. I was definitely feeling the Chardonnay blends today.

Next stop, my good friends at B.R. Cohn. I have drunken pictures of Moose now. Here’s a professional picture of Moose, and Bruce Cohn, owner of B.R. Cohn and manager of the Doobie Brothers, uh borrowed from their website. OK, my pictures of Moose didn’t come out, but what a cool dog, eh?


I’m sure Bruce is a nice enough guy, but Moose rocks. Bruce makes damned good wine and excellent olive oil. The Olive Hill Cab is off the hook, but this year, very much out of my range. I’ve got a bottle in my cellar I got last year, that will have to do for now. Their Pinot was on sale for $36 a bottle, originally priced at $45. It was a deal at $36. It didn’t have all that fruity crap going on, it was quite smooth and elegant with vanilla and spice and a smooth finish. I almost brought that bad boy home. Final stop, the Girl and the Fig on the square in Sonoma. While we were starving by the time we got there, the duck was amazing. It came with a butternut squash gratin and some steamed spinach. it was a beautiful meal. By then I’d drank enough wine and had a Stella with dinner. All and all, the kind of Christmas Eve that’s worth repeating.

It’s just how we roll

As a public service, I am providing the following link for former Alliance Title Company employees.  Link-loo.  Your vacation owed and commissions are supposedly showing up in the next day or two, but I have it on good authority, that the rent checks are bouncing.  Okay, one of the landlords called my cell to discuss the matter.  So in the event that they break the law and don’t send y’all what’s owed, the link has a list of your options.  It is illegal to not pay employees, and they are in violation of the law if they don’t.  Your wages cannot be discharged in the impending bankruptcy either.  Financial Title Company employees are welcome here at too.  I suspect your next.  Show of hands…who thinks John Harritt’s pay check worked just fine?

Speaking of this week’s worst person in the world, it was pointed out to me that John Harritt claims a degree in communications.  The reason schools offer degrees in communications is so stupid pretty people can graduate too.  Communications majors are typically jocks and cheerleaders.  I wonder which one John Harritt was, or if he really got a degree at all.

Do only good, not evil

Today I have the pleasure of driving to San Jose to pick up two abandoned Doberman Pinschers.  One was left in a shelter in Santa Maria California, the other ended up in Scott’s Valley after his owner died and he laid next to the body for 5 days until help arrived.  That right there is why I love these dogs.  I’ll get them in San Jose from one of the best breeders around (who also helps rescue, which is what good breeders do) and drive them north to meet a woman who is driving six or seven hours today to get these dogs to safety.  My part is really the smallest leg of the whole process, but I am beyond proud to, one, be asked to participate, and two, be able to help these two lost souls.

Building a Body for Life

I know I’ve picked up a lot of new readers with my coverage of the Alliance Title Company debacle, and I welcome you all.  The original content of focused on my journey to lose 50 pounds prior to my 50th birthday using Body for Life.  It’s been a brutal fight, but this week started at 213 and ended at 209.  All through hard work and good diet, and a ton of cardio.  Today I’m doing some cardio and a bike ride before I go to get the dogs.  I encourage everyone out there to do something good for themselves every day.  It’s hard to keep your head straight when you don’t have a job to go to.  I was out of work for four and a half months last year.  I made it my job to get my self in better shape and worked out for two hours every day.  Walking, running, floor exercises don’t cost a penny and they’ll help you keep your head screwed on properly.  After the run you’ve all been through, you need to do something good for yourselves, you deserve it.

Bon mots and cheap shots

Wine of the Day

When I get a good one, I better open with it. Clos Pegase 1999 Homage Artisan series red wine. It’s sort of a Bordeaux blend. Cabernet Savignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot. At bottling the alcohol was 14.5%. It needed to open up a little and then it knocked my socks off. It was full of fruit and tannins and finished a little sweetness of a very ripe cherry. It was also smooth and subtle. I always look around to see what other people have to say about it. Here’s Wilson Daniel’s notes:

The 1999 Hommage Cabernet Sauvignon offers a dark and powerful blackcurrant and cherry fruit core, with toasted oak and spice elements. As a hallmark of the vintage, the wine is tightly wound on the palate, with a sweet, firm entry, full and rich mouthfeel and a dense tannin structure leading to a persistent finish. Drink now for unbridled power, or cellar for 10 years to allow the full depth and complexity of the wine to be revealed.

Drink now for unbridled power. That’s hot.

Conversation with my Mother

She is no longer driving. She tattooed some guy in downtown Concord two weeks ago and totaled the car. The good news…actually it was all good news. No one was hurt, she’s getting more for the car than she ever would have on the open market and the issue of when to retire her driver’s license is solved. This, however, has predicated a new issue for my brother and me. Driving Miss Daisy. We’ve agreed to swap off weekends taking her on her chores. Yesterday I took her to Costco (the prices are really good here, yes they are Mother) Trader Joe’s, Safeway and Walgreens. It takes a certain degree of planning to knock out all of your shopping in four stops and two hours, but we did pretty good. On the way home…

Mother: It’s really hard to think this far ahead to get the lists together.

Me: How’s that Ma?

Mother: Well, I’m used to shopping once a week.

Me: (blink, blink) You are shopping once a week.

New family addition

I’m very proud of my brother. After many years of saying he was going to get a dog, he finally did.



handsome young devil has come to live with my brother. His name is now Loki. He started out at the SF SPCA, then was almost bound for Redding, but ended up with Dogworks in Fairfield. I adopted Toby the Gypsy Doberman from them in 2003. They’re a great organization if you’re in the market for a rescue Doberman in Northern California. So far, the boys are very happy together. I missed them on Friday night, but hopefully I’ll catch up with them next weekend. Welcome Loki.

The goddamn French Door

This guy may be my brother from another mother. I found his site while looking for solutions to my French Doors. Now they track beautifully, and they are exactly, absolutely plumb. And they don’t meet properly in the middle. Everything I read said you needed a six foot level, so $50 later I have a six foot level. I’m still exactly, absolutely plumb. The other thing I needed was to run string from the corners and if it’s more than X of an inch apart at the cross, I’ve got something wrong. It rained yesterday, so I will try this experiment today.

Bon Mots and Cheap Shots

Ain’t nothing but a dog party!

The Fourth of July featured another dog party. I’ll have to quote the invite here, just because it’s brilliant and makes me laugh every time I see the email. It was entitled “The Liberation of Paris”

July 4th is on a Wedneday this year, and we should use the opportunity to commemorate, nay, celebrate Paris Hilton’s release from the clutches of the guv’mint. “Legally blonde” is more than a concept, it’s an affirmative defense, because everyone always thinks it’s so cute when blondes do goofy things…

Please bring your four legged friends (who, not being blonde, have always been smart enough to avoid violating probation, even to drive to a hamburger place) and join us for a BBQ in the afternoon, say 2 to 6. Anyone still around at dark can join us up on the hill to watch fireworks from a distance.

Yes, they’re all attorneys. It was 150 degrees out. Here is Beauregard in recline:


He said it was “damned hot” out. I even got him to lay down in a wading pool, and we all know that Dobermans will melt if exposed to water. Kind of like the wicked witch.

Back at the Farm
I’ve been working like a dog on the house. It’s almost 7:30 on a Sunday, I should have gotten out on my bike earlier today and I just can’t move. I had to hire a plumber to replace the angle valves under the sink. They were so corroded that I was afraid of breaking the house. What they did was ridiculously simple and I’m pretty pissed off at myself for not being able to figure it out on my own. It was a $250 lesson. It could have been worse. It’s done, they did a good job and I learned something. I have carpet samples laying in the living room. I need to get over there and pull the rest of the nasty flooring garbage up. I’d like to get to the dump today, but that may involve employing a day laborer. If I get an email soon from Craig’s list wanting to buy the fridge, I’ll go get me a day laborer. Otherwise, I’m Fred Sanford loadin’ up the truck. The tiles in the entry were clay clear through so I’m going to salvage them for use in the back yard. After I finish the floors today, I need to take TSP to the kitchen cabinets and the paneled den. Then I’m going to rub it down with mineral spirits and it should be ready for new stain. I’m running by Kelly Moore this morning to get some. On the upside, if I run my ass off for the next four days, I can fly to Hawaii on Thursday with a clear conscience.

Maverick’s Sports

Maverick’s is the gym up near the new house. My old gym, Bally’s is clear across town and probably a 20 minute drive. At 5:00a.m., twenty minutes each way is too much. Maverick’s is 4 minutes each way. It’s a 70,000 square foot facility. And the jackass owner has been cutting every corner possible for three years. Now the County has shut down the pool. It was supposed to be remodeled three years ago. He’s been “remodeling” the men’s locker rooms for close to three years. It’s an 8 week project, dumb ass. You can smell the mold in the carpet upstairs. I promise you, it’s the wrong kind of mold. The whirlpool is down in both locker rooms. I guess it’s nice that the steam room is working, but slats are missing. Yet this ass clown wants $62 month in membership. The membership maven called me Friday after my visit and I let her have it. She took a deep breath and I believe told me the truth. She’s willing to get the district manager in there to talk to me. I think I will do it. I could rehab the entire facility in six months for under $750k. I’m sure of it. This owner is a joker. Let’s see what the district manager has to say about this. On the upside, a friend of mine designed the weight rooms and they are beautiful. Perfectly laid out, equipment properly spaced. The owner is an embarrassment.

Hard work vs. working hard

Demo is hard work. Soul cleansing work, but hard work. While I tore out carpet, two layers of linoleum and a layer of particle board that covered the plywood, Beau and Coco, the tile guy’s boxer, played all star wrestling in the back yard.


Sometimes the demo is like a treasure hunt. Yesterday I found some really cool things. Grace, the former owner had lived in the house for 30 years. Apparently, according to the neighbors, she was a widow, but no husband ever lived there. She had done almost no work the entire time she lived there. That enabled me to have some muscle on the price, although I really liked the property and pushed only as hard as I needed to, without losing the place. That also meant that she had some of the original stuff, okay, probably all of the original stuff from 1958 when the property was built. This included the original manual for the nearly 50 year old cooktop. The original builder’s plans for the place and who knows what else, I didn’t get past the wonder of the plans. Speaking of original, underneath that terrible lino in the kitchen I found this:


I distinctly remember this from my childhood, (only in pink) but my mother has no recollection. I sent her a picture, maybe that’ll set something off and she will remember. Or maybe my brother remembers it, but it’s definitely in the way back machine somewhere. Here are two fine offerings from the dining/fireplace room:


Today the two maple trees will meet their maker. Some goofball planted them right up against the house and one in pushing on the foundation and the other has made the walkway heave. Since my plans include a smoker and a wood burning bread oven, maple stacked up is a beautiful thing. Jesus will cut them down. I wanted to pay $1200 for both. He called me yesterday and wanted $1700. Without saying anything about the price, I let him know that it was too high. He kept coming back at me until I agreed to meet him at the house in an hour. At that point I said I didn’t have $1700, so how much for just the one, no stump grinding. $1000. Then I told him the story of Dave and me cutting down the two Cedars at Toyon. He knew I knew. He says okay $1200 for both. Now why on God’s green earth would you want to build a wall to keep that guy out of the country? Hopefully he doesn’t screw up and drop the tree on my house today.

About Dillon

I am the home for wayward canine travelers. Yesterday, I went on a two hour bike ride in the heat of the day. It was easily 90 out when I left and worse upon my return. I was purple when I got home. I took a frozen Gatorade, that thawed way too quickly. At the turnaround in Danville, I was halfway through it, so I loaded it back up with psuedo-cold water. I got home and got inside and immediately got a terrible chill and realized I had probably over heated. So I drank another Gatorade and two liters of water and fell asleep. Only to be awakened 20 minutes later by my fierce protector, protecting. The space invader was a blonde pit named Dillon. I had never seen him before so I went out on the porch and whistled, and of course he came. He had a collar and tags, but I didn’t know how he’d do with Beauregard. I tried to lead him in the house, but Beau wouldn’t quit and Dillon got spooked and snapped at me. Fair enough. I tied Dillon to the truck (because real truck drivers have rope in their trucks) and went inside and got a leash and a phone. I called his Dad, no answer. I called his Mom and she was in San Francisco, listening to Dillon’s Dad, who was playing music. She was upset and was trying to devise a solution when I suggested that I keep Dillon and she just call when they got back into town. About two hours later, the phone rang and it was Dillon’s Mom, around the corner. They walked down and got him. His Dad was this monsterous guy, shaved bald with a goat. He was the sweetest man and absolutely in love with that dog. He wanted to buy me something or give me money or something for Dillon. I declined and asked him to just fix the fence so he didn’t get out again. Dillon was a square headed dog and a lot of people are afraid of square headed dogs. And they live close to Treat, and that reminds me of Bud. I was pleased that Dillon came my way so I could keep him safe. I didn’t want to tell them that I did it for Scooby.

Things that make me lose my lunch

I work in Downtown San Francisco. My job gives me angina. I figure if I am walking the streets when the big one hits, there will be more people available to call 911 when I keel over. Or step over my corpse. At any rate, today a woman walks by me with her medium sized dog. Dog’s are a rarity downtown, but I like seeing them. Then she proceeds to JAYWALK Mission Street at Stueart with one of those expando leashes. The dog is about 10 feet behind her when she realizes that there is ONCOMING TRAFFIC! For me, it worked like one of those machines they use on tv, you know the one that warms up and everybody goes CLEAR and the previously flatlining patient is revived? Yeah, that one. She runs back to her dog, the truck stops in the nick of time and life goes on. It did not help me clear my head from the rigors of this bullshit job of mine.

I almost forgot:

Weight 210

Fat 36.0

BMI 35.9