Grape, Rattle and Roll

This was the name of the event yesterday at Chalone Vineyards. Personally, I hate 1950’s themed events. Afterall, is there a reason for the poodle skirt? I think not. In the wine world this will also equal old guys with slicked back hair to match their receding hair line and a ton of bowling shirts because we’re all fat by this stage in our lives. The Highlands did the food and that was a boon. A little mixed up with too many different themes, but every one was well executed. I had a hard time putting the mango chicken on the plate next to the grilled sausages and warmed potato salad, next to the shrimp and fennel salad, next to the grilled salmon and string beans. Still, every item was delicious. The dessert I was unable to dissect, but it was pineapple with a custardy base on a base of what looked to be pineapple gelatin. It may have had some sort of bird pudding in it or something. Anyway, it was refreshing, delicious and very different to anything I’ve ever had.

The wine was another story. Diageo brands include Chalone, BV, Acacia, Sterling, Jade Mountain, Beauzeaux, Canoe Ridge and numerous others I did not taste. I’m not a fan of Sterling, never have been. Yesterday was no exception. Just flat for what it was. The wine maker was there which made it even sadder. Chalone probably had the best wine there. I met their winemaker. I believe his name was Dan Cook. A mountain of a man, but seemed to be a good guy. Acacia had one wine I liked, their Beckstoffer Pinot Noir was very good, but I don’t know that it was $70 worth of good. Jade Mountain had a few interesting offerings. One was actually grown in Contra Costa County, out by the Sacramento River in Antioch. Beyond that it was a pretty dismal wine day. Certainly not worth the 3 hour drive.

After an epic free day
Weight 214
FAT 35.6
BMI 36.5

Thankfully, we left our weapons in the car

One of the interesting facets of my job is the research. I’ve been getting to do a bit of the interesting stuff as of late. Today I went down to City Hall to pull a Macinnerny. A Mac is the decree quieting title pursuant to the Macinnerny act that was put into place after the 1906 earthquake and fire. City Hall burned in the fire as did most people’s records. The fire burned to Van Ness. So the Macs were quicky court orders quieting title. San Francisco is great to work in because of the Macs. You have absolute title in usually 1908-1910ish. Pretty cool. So away I go all fired up to play with the old books. Except today there is some sort of carnival, which should probably be capitalized because it looks like something Brazilian to me, going on in the Rotunda, complete with a large drum corp. Trying to figure out those old records with a Brazilian drum corp echoing through the marbled halls of City Hall is enough to make you want to use weapons, on yourself. Unfortunately, after I successfully located all of my records, I couldn’t shout at the clerk loud enough for her to understand what I needed, so I’ll have to go back on Monday.

City Hall is a very nostalgic place for me. It’s where Billy and me forged our great friendship. It’s where Jimmy used to dream about driving Formula cars, it’s where we got in trouble for chair races after too many cocktails at the Giraffe.

Weight 212
Fat 36.3
BMI 36.2

And I got the house!

Bon Mots and Cheap Shots

With a nod to Herb Caen:

This is not how you support the troops!

This morning I’m driving down Treat en route to my morning workout. As I turn onto Treat this guy behind me is totally up my ass. Strangely, I’m driving the speed limit, it’s 5:30 in the morning. One guy driving a mini-van and he guns it and goes around me and speeds off down Treat at least 60 mph in a 40 mph zone. As he whizzes by I see the “Support our Troops” yellow ribbon. Now where I come from, wasting gas because you’re a selfish bastard so my friend’s sons can risk their lives in Iraq does not support the troops. It puts them in grave danger and if you’re not willing to do your fair share, you’re an asshole buddy. I’m really sick and tired of this entitlement attitude that people in this country have adopted. (which I also blame on Reagan) We are part of a greater society and we need to do our part, individually, to be a responsible member of that society. Nuff said.

Oh, don’t quit now…

Hey Bush Administration! Would it break the bank to give the troops that last .5% pay raise? Especially after those bonuses paid to the Veteran’s Administration? Gee GW, for a PFC we’d be talking $6.00 a month. Do you think you can spare it? Pay our service people. You disgust me.

This is how you do it

This morning’s weigh in:

Weight 212
Fat 36.3
BMI 36.2

It’s nice to live in a neighborhood

Last night as I got home from my walk with Beauregard, we saw a little white dog in the middle of the street. When ever I see a dog in the street, I do my best to get them out of the street safely. I always think of Scooby. This was a little albino chihuahua. The little guy was scared as shit. A neighbor lady came out and tried to coax him over to her, he kept going up the street, so I got in the car and drove past him and up the street hoping to cut him off at the pass but he was way too scared. He started running towards Treat and got past me. I figured letting him get to Treat was more dangerous than just walking away. He ran into some one’s yard and we left some dog treats out for him and hoped for the best. It’s nice to know people will try and help. I hope the little guy was okay. Treat is where my friend’s Doberman Bud was hit by a car around 10 or 15 years ago. She lives off Treat and someone broke into her house and there was all 95 pound of Bud, ready for some thief tartar. He chased them but they got away. Unfortunately, he was hit by a car on Treat. She found him laying in the median. They rushed him to Contra Costa Emergency Veterinarian and they saved his life, to the tune of $10,000 back then. My friend told me she could never put her dog down for doing his job. I learned something from her that day.

Why Washington Mutual Bank sucks hind tit

Three weeks ago, I put an ad on Craigslist to sell my 2001 525i. Shouldn’t be that much of a stretch. I needed the title, so I pulled $11,500 out of my brokerage account and deposited it into my Washington Mutual Bank checking account. I put this check in the bank on April 15th while walking Beauregard. On April 18th, I checked my brokerage account and the check had cleared, so WAMU had the money. I called them to let them know and ask them to release the hold.

No, we can’t release that hold.
Really? But you already have my money.
Procedure says we can’t release that money.
Oh yes you can and you will.
No, that money can only be released by the branch that took the deposit, they put the hold on it. You have to go in there.

I got iced by the Ass Clowns at Alliance Title, last October. Since February, I’ve been working in San Francisco. I leave the house at 7am and don’t return until 6pm. I can’t make it to the bank around the corner from my house while their open. Sorry. So on April 25th, the pay off check to BMW came through WAMU. No one, not one soul with a brain looked at my account or that check or any thing else. They just bounced it AND charged me $27 even though they had the money already. No one took into consideration that I had been writing checks to BMW for years. No one considered that the check in question was a check from me, to me, endorsed my me or the fact that I’ve had an account with them, complete with direct deposit for 10 years!

So I gather up all my crap and go down to the WAMU in the financial district. Low and behold, this girl could have released the hold, but the ass pirates at 1-800-788-7000 wouldn’t tell me that. They did tell me that the branch put the hold on the check which was also a lie. I talked to the branch yesterday and they don’t even look at ATM deposits, the send them directly to Chatsworth. Liars. Now it’s too late and the check has bounced, but she can at least reverse the charges and give me a cashier’s check with no charge. Now I have BMW’s $15 returned item charge and FEDEX both ways at $23.92 and $24.03 respectively because by now I have have a purchaser for the car. Don’t ask me why FEDEX charges $14.10 for corporate rate to anywhere in the country but J.Q. Public gets it up the butt. Anyway, I was expecting around $40 in FEDEX charges, but it ended up to be $47.95 plus the $15.00, plus the extra interest for two weeks which turned out to be $7.00 for a total of $69.95 pissed out the window because of who I do business with.

The truth of the matter is, it’s our money. Every one of us. They had use of that $11,000 for 11 days. They made interest on it in overnight floats. It is unconscionable that they make that money and then make more money off of me and then cost me nearly $70 more dollars because of their incompetence. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, they’re all the same.

Housing Alert

I think I might have gotten that place…we’ll see. It’s a dump…

The Argument for a Realtor

My realtor, Bob, met the seller’s agent at the house today, along with the seller. Apparently the seller had received an appraisal last August for $580,000 on the house. Bob explained very methodically to her that was then and this is now. The market has changed and so goes the merry drunken fun fest in residential real estate.

I’m a commercial title officer. Now that I’m in a commercial unit, business is business and we aren’t too affected by what’s going on in the residential world. People get so emotionally attached to property. It’s so stupid. No one falls in love with a Solar Energy plant in Nevada. I like this side much better.

Anywho, Bob explained to the seller and her agent that this was roughly all she could expect after spending 30 years doing no maintenance to the house. I wouldn’t want to be in front of Bob. He’s gentle and smooth and smart. He thinks we’re going to get this one with maybe a small counter. God I love a deal through a deal!

This morning’s weigh in:

Weight 214
Fat 36.6
BMI 36.5

Yesterday’s behavior? Perfect!

Real Estate Matters

After several months of trying to find retail space for my wine bar, I decided to hire a realtor to help me find a thrashed piece of property to rehab. I figured that if I worked full time at that, I could make enough per month to off set the fact that I wasn’t working at all. Well, that didn’t pan out either. We have, as of today written our fourth offer. Two had construction defect lawsuits and they didn’t have room on the price. Then there’s the guy in Lafayetteville or something like that. This clown bought the house in 1962 for $13,100. He held the house up until 2007. It’s on almost 1/4 acre, but it still has the original windows and it is a 3/1. Not particularly desirable. So it was on MLS for $500,000. We came in at $480,000. Now if someone has owned a house for 40 years, he has to be at least, at the very least, 58 years old. More likely than not, he’s way into his sixties, possibly even his seventies. This old fool told his agent that he would move back into the house before he took a dime under $500k for it. File that under dumb bastard. Maybe he’s spending too much time listening to the coyotes out in Lafayetteville, or six foot rabbits.

Now yesterday we found a property that I have to be careful about. I could fall in love and that would be wrong. It’s over 1/4 acre, it’s got a 3/2 on it and it’s got the ugliest lime green carpet you’ve ever seen. The bath fixtures are pink. This thing is a thing of beauty in my twisted little world. We wrote at $490,000. Wish me luck!

Spiders as big as Buicks

This place I’m living in hasn’t really been taken care of in years. I can see where grubs have gotten at the front lawn. (Which means they’re after the back lawn too). I saw these beetle nests when I was cutting the front lawn two weeks ago. The Deaf Guy next door was hanging around when I was fooling with them and came out and looked. He came back with some insecticide and showed me on the bottle what they were. Then I came out and found him spraying down the nest. Well, yesterday I finished the job, since I knew they were throughout the lawn. Around the garage door tons of them came up the front of the house to get away from the insecticide. Along with them was this big black spider roughly as big in diameter as a golf ball. Gack! I hate spiders. This house has the nastiest ones I’ve ever seen. I sprayed them all down a few more times and I think they are all gone along with their giant spider friend Delta 88.

Spent an hour and a half on the bike yesterday. Got to the base of Ygnacio Valley and back, it was calm. Looked at two potential homes to buy. One is just down my line. Nasty green carpet that looks like something Linda Blair spewed in her youth.

This week’s food

Oatmeal and FF cottage cheese
FF Yopait yogurt and Turkey Jerky
Chicken, brown rice and brocoli
Grapes, banana and string cheese
Mahi mahi, WW pasta and asparagus
Ricotta and fruit

This morning’s weigh in, after a week at it:
Weight 215
Fat 36.6
BMI 36.6

Quick weigh in

Weight 215
FAT 36.8
BMI 36.6

I’m off on a 2 hour or maybe an hour and a half bike ride. The wind has died down and it’s gorgeous here. Today ends one week of acting pretty damned right on my new BFL challenge. Tomorrow morning’s weigh in will be of great interest.

1998 Moss Creek Zinfandel

Every now and then I reach into the wine fridge and pull out something that amazes me. Tonight it was the 1998 Moss Creek Zinfandel. Now, I’m no dope so if I bought it, there’s something interesting about it in the first place. This thing has probably been there longer than I’d like to admit. I don’t remember when or where I bought it. I think I got it from the little place on the right of Highway 29 just past Sequoia. Or maybe at Sequoia and it was one of those places that also marketed another winery’s product.

It’s got that old wine feel. Hell, I’m drinking a 9 year old Zinfandel. It’s got that older wine color and it’s big, huge with cherries. Very soft mouthfeel, has certainly aged well and has that eloquent feel that older wine should. I had it with a grilled filet mignon and roasted potatoes and it was exquisite.

Who is afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Kathleen Turner is a lot scarier. Scary good. Bill Irwin is even scarier. He was spectacular as George. Last night, Kathleen Turner was Martha. What a great show. My friend thought the gal who played Honey, Kathleen Early was a little weak, but I thought she did a good job. I thought the guy who played Nick was a little weak and I’m not sure who played Nick last night. I think the charactor Honey just annoyed my friend. The banter between George and Martha was excellent. I’d never heard of Bill Irwin, but looking at his bio, he’s been around for a very long time and has impressive credits. Apparently he was even in the Pickle Family Circus. Kathleen Turner’s voice got more and more muddled as the performance went on. I was thinking how hard it must be to bring your speech patterns to a point of total drunkeness, gradually on stage. I’ve always like her and she totally sold me last night. Bill Irwin reminded me a little of John Waters, which made me giggle, knowing that Kathleen Turner had been Serial Mom. I do so love the theatre!
Yesterday was a bit of a free day, so I’m going to leave it that way and get back to business today. An escrow officer who’d been with the company for 20 years left yesterday so they brought in ribs. I had a beef rib, a couple of mozzerello sticks, a piece of corn bread, a couple of buffalo wings and a potato skin. Then I had some fried pita and hummus for dinner. Yeah, that sounds like a free food day.

Weight 215
Fat 36.4
BMI 36.6