Deep Thoughts Only Partially Influenced by Wine

"Where there is impossibility, there is possibility; and where there is possibility, there is impossibility. It is because there is right, that there is wrong; it is because there is wrong, there is right...Thereupon the self is also the other; the other is also the self." --Zhuangzi

Monday, February 28, 2005

Weekend, Weekend, where did thoust go?

There are good things to the rains I suppose. Wildflowers are here! I will be unable to appreciate them for a few weeks as next weekend I am off to bike and wine, but the following week I should get the hiking boots back on. I actually miss doing it but I am not into mud and or just getting stuck taking a shower a few miles into a hike. Yeah, I know… WIMP!!! I have my limits I suppose. I am really really looking forward to this little trip this weekend though and will post the plans sometime today so that I can actually have a post lately.

It was nice this weekend finally as I had a chance to hit the RenFest again and watch the fools. It is better than watching the weeds in my yard anyhow and I am looking at a lot of exercise in the coming weeks! Wahoo! I need it as I keep eating and drinking while at the RenFest and not much else. I cannot seem to find any Dragon art or the like I would want around lately so maybe I need to find this Modern stuff again, perhaps something in Post-Industrial Hubcap?

I thought about taking a jaunt into the town to take a look at a protégé of Monet, Theodore Robinson but will try that out sometime in the coming weeks. I have always found impressionism a bit soothing so it is actually art I can appreciate. Note that I do not analyze or understand art, I simply appreciate it. Whatever the artist meant is of less importance to me than the emotions and feelings I get by seeing it so there! If there are any Phoenix-areaites interested in joining me for the jaunt, let me know.

Coming soon to a theater surrounded by geeks, I mean those-too-smart-to-be-understood, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!!! I know that Rawdog is already planning a midnight grouping so if any of my fellow not-understood-Phoenix-areaites are interested, just let me know as well.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Wine Recommendation for the Weekend

Note: I have only had this once (last Saturday at Cowboy Ciao’s at $6 a glass) but it really did impress me. I have intended to drop in again and actually taste it for tasting note purposes but it has been a strangely busy week after work so far. I will try and do so tonight and update you all. Granted, if I knew my date was not going to show up on Monday, I would have been able to re-taste the nice little Spanish sparkler. Women! Arrrghh!! :D

Suite de Gramona

Penedes, Spain

This is a wonderful side trip from Barcelona and the train system is excellent. The trip is less than an hour by train and there are wonderful rolling hills covered by vines along the way. Taxis (often with English speaking drivers) are readily available in Villafranca de Penedes and will take you to any of the wineries in the area. Most cava actually comes from the nearby town of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia and the train stops there as well. It is a much smaller town but I am guessing the taxi situation is similar there. There are lots of Bodegas (wine shops) in both towns but as I was there only a for a brief time before a cruise, I did not get a chance to try them out. Tell me what they are like if you visit.

Cava (Spanish Sparkling Wine)

This is a true cava made from an equal blend of three native Spanish grapes: Xarello, Macabeo and Parellada.

Tasting Notes:

Random tasting note I liked.
In a blind tasting, held by our distributor, this Spanish sparkling wine totally blew away NV Veuve Clicquot and Chandon’s White Star. There is some earth and toast on the nose. It has a fetching satin mouthfeel. The flavors are long, not bone dry and utterly agreeable.

This is about an $18 bottle of cava compared to the neighborhood of $45 to $50 for the other two true Champagnes listed above. Can one really prefer one bottle over three good ones?

This nice little sparkler has a very pleasant nutty (maybe walnut/pecan) and green apple nose. This is surprising given that the carbonation usually hides much of the nose in a sparkling wine, but it hints at what is to come.

This cava is fuller and sweeter than any other cava I have ever run across and is the best sparkler I have had, though this is the opinion of someone who does not really drink sparkling wine much. Understand that it is still dry as most cavas are but it has enough sugar for the flavors to linger very nicely. The flavor makes me think of breakfast though this is not something I could use to make mimosas with as it is very good on its own. A bit toasty and nutty at first and fruit, mostly green apple with a bit of citrus comes through soon afterwards and lingers through a long finish. There is absolutely no metallic aftertaste in this one.

I am thinking I need to try this again tonight and I will be putting in an order for a few cases when I find a wine shop that can get it.

Monday, February 21, 2005

It’s Raining Pineapples!

Strange but even this former meteorologist is really tired of seeing rain! A bit of a break for most of yesterday and some of today and the rain is back this evening. On average most places around Phoenix end up with somewhere between 8 and 10 inches of rain a year with the suburbs getting closer to 10 inches for various reasons (terrain, less of the urban heat island, etc). Around me personal weather stations are registering nearly 7 inches for the year already. I would have an exact idea on my location if my weather station was up but laziness has put it out of order for quite awhile.

The unofficial term for these storm systems is the Pineapple Express given that they are warm wet Pacific systems that stretch from Hawaii to British Columbia and meteorologists have to give things colorful names to make up for the not so colorful stuff (Navier-Stokes Equation, Quasi-Geostrophic Winds, Pseudo-Adiabatic Diagrams, etc.). Sometimes they will help keep Southern California and Arizona wet as well. Unfortunately because they are warm systems, the snowpack does not build up and the rain goes to closing bridges and creating lots of green stuff around, including weeds.

I think I am going to be busy for several weekends in March/April as it is, but I need my exercise anyhow, right? At this point I am honestly not sure if I live in Arizona or in the Midwest as everything looks grassland like and the only reminder is the mountains and the rather out of place looking cacti. Just thought I would ramble on about the rain today since there appears to be a bit of a break in it finally.

There are a few systems still out in the Pacific that do not appear to follow the Pineapple Express path but are still going to help out my weed garden anyhow. Oh well. Now, I am off to plant my pineapple tree!

Sneaky kid

For whatever reason I feel the need to post something. Granted I have a lot of thoughts bouncing around but I just have been too lazy lately I suppose. I have tried to spruce up the blog with a few other blogs and links of interest, but in general I hope to get back to true blogging soon with ever so interesting topics that include my planned wine/cycling excursion, interesting discussions overheard over wine and whatever else just happens about. Until then you get to see the woman in my life. When she is not trying to wake me up at 4am or ambush the other "kid", she likes to hide under things. In this case it was the packaging to my order of Pensey's spices.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Weekend Wine Recommendation

Las Rocas de San Alejandro 2002 Garnacha


Garnacha (Grenache)

Tasting Notes:
Robert Parker:
"The 2002 Garnacha is fashioned from 75-year old Grenache vines planted on pure slate. Sixty percent was aged in tank, and 40% in neutral wood foudres. There are 20,000 cases of this offering, which may be the greatest wine value I have ever tasted. Deep ruby/purple-colored, with a gorgeous nose of kirsch liqueur intermixed with melted licorice and white flowers, this deep, medium to full-bodied, fruit-driven, sumptuously-textured 2002 is loaded. It should drink well for 3-4 years, possibly longer."

OK, I get the licorice and this one is very fruit driven with powerful overtones of strawberry, cherry and plum at the finish. However, I have no idea what kirsch liqueur is so don’t ask me what Robert Parker is talking about. Generally I disagree with him anyhow so this wine is an odd exception.

I like to think of tastes and flavors from my childhood when describing a wine so as not to get too serious about it. The first time I tried this wine, I thought ‘Flintstone’s Vitamins!’ I loved those things and remember my parents having to hide the bottle from me because I kept eating them! Anyhow, both the initial hit and the finish on this wine are very Flintstone Vitamin-like without the chalkiness. Note that I am not quite as elegant as others when describing wines so beware!

I did not get too much pepper or vanilla when compared to what I often get in grenaches, but because this had limited contact with any oak (see note above), I would not quite expect it either. As much as I like these overtones in wine, I did not really miss them with the San Alejandro.

This wine is actually fairly low on the acid/tannin side which makes it easy to drink, but I do not expect that it would age well because of this so I have no idea what Robert Parker’s thought is on ‘possibly longer’ but I suppose because, like many Garnachas/Grenaches, it is fairly thick. Oh well, what dost me know…
Drink On!

Food Pairings:
Bacon, barbecue beef/poultry/pork, Chinese cuisine with beef, moo shoo pork, meat couscous, creole steak/gumbo, Indian cuisine (excuding fish dishes), Italian cuisine, lasagna, Mexican cuisine, pizza, potato salad, cheese soufflé, cajun cuisine, calzone, cannelloni with meat, lamb, pork, veal, eggplant, pasta, and red snapper.

Cheese Pairings:
Cheddar, Gouda, Romano, Asaigo, Manchego

Have Hummer, Will Swim!

OK, In Arizona most people don’t know what to do around water. Those who move here seem to quickly forget about the substance when it is in its wild state (i.e. not in the pool in the backyard). As such, I got used to growing up seeing reports of motorists trying to cross not so dry washes because they had a four-wheel drive vehicle and therefore were all powerful, despite the road closed signs. They inevitably got stuck and had to be rescued from their boating trip on my dime. A few years back, the state legislature decided to enact the Stupid Motorist Law. However, it was never enforced, until today! Wahoo! I am a happy camper in a twisted sort of way and even more amused that it was a Hummer that got stuck.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Target Practice on the Dance Floor

Ummmm..... This just kinda scared me this morning...
Granted, I am used to seeing this a lot as I did grow up in Arizona but....
So I got to thinking about oxymorons. Quite an interesting list. MicroSoft Works and Work Party are my favorite on the list so far.

More Valentine’s Day Musings: The Day After

Hey! These walls look a familiar teal. Oh, I am back at work again. Wahoo! OK, I imagine I did not have as interesting evening as most, but I still had a bit of fun with it. If Valentine’s Day is all about love, I figured I would try and do a few things I love or plan to do a few things I love. So I went to the store and got my stick of butter and cheap wine for cooking and made a nice butter wine sauce for my shark. I did consider throwing garlic into the mix but decided that since it was fish, it might not quite work. I should have done this as I remember why I have not had shark in a long time. There really was no flavor to it.

One thing of note when I was at the grocery store that I found exceptionally amusing, though I am not sure why. There were several guys in line behind me. They all had roses and some sweet concoction. This was around 7pm. Way to be last minute guys! Though I am sure it may not be a big deal to most, there is not really very much that seems romantic to me about a gift from the grocery store. Just my humbly amused opinion.

Although wine is another love, wine-based escapes are even more to my liking. As I found yesterday’s work day a bit of an annoying one, I felt I deserved one anyhow because I’m smart, I’m funny and doggone it, people love me! So anyone want to meet me in Sonoma? It is much different than Napa, at least it was the last time, in that it is friendlier, more rugged, and has actual ocean views. The drive that follows the Russian River to the coast is one of my favorite drives. Sonoma has more to do than wineries and quite honestly, even I can only manage no more than five wineries in a day and that is with a break.

Contrary to popular opinion, I am not necessarily all about the wine. Every so often I really need solitude and I was not able to get that on the cruise I just took because the (expletive) ship was lit up like a Christmas tree. Watching a meteor shower in the middle of the sea is most definitely a treat in my opinion and very much allows me that solitude. Hiking the beaches, cliffs, hills and forests in Sonoma very much helped me find the solitude I needed the last time I did it so hopefully it is still there somewhere.

The odd thing about this trip is I just told friends I would not be able to go on a ski trip to Utah with them because of money and time. Reality is, I just wanted to get away by myself as I need a true recharge and I am not sure being on a potentially crowded mountain would have done it for me. Still, they are great friends and I am sure they will have a cool time in the snow.

Now I just have to figure out how I am going to go learn me how to scuba dive, continue my Spiderman imitation, put together/participate in a whitewater rafting trip that some cruise buds are interested in, visit friends in Orlando and collect beads on Bourbon Street, all in the next few months.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Reflections on Valentine’s Day: Romance spelled backwards is ecnamor!

For whatever ironic reason this seems to be the only holiday I have not been in the dating scene for in one manner or another, so it is an odd day for me. I used to absolutely hate it, but as commercialism has seemingly always had its hand in the holiday it is nice in a way to look in my wallet and think (only on a relative basis compared to the money that leaves other guy’s wallets) ‘I’m rich! I’m rich!’ :) It is actually more of a fun holiday to me anymore. Most people seem to be very happy with the holiday, but sometimes it seems as if the stress and pressure of an ‘ideal’ that is forced upon them really makes this a miserable holiday for some. It is an interesting observation to take a look at what trying to live up to views outside oneself does to the quality of life for that person. Generally it is not good. Seeing how other people react to the world around them and why they react that way often teaches me an unexpected lesson about my own life though I still rarely seem to act upon it until learning it over and over. Developing and nurturing one’s own ideals does not seem to be a natural thing to do, but seems to have greater rewards. At least that is what my psychotherapist says. :D
BTW, I really see that word as odd…. How helpful can a PsychoTheRapist really be?

To all my good coupled up friends out there, have a very good Valentine’s Day and enjoy the ecnamor. As for me, I am going home and have shark tonight!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Me Spiderman!

OK, maybe just Spiderman’s Apprentice who has yet to be fired but… This was the second time up the walls and there was an ever so slight adrenaline rush. I can see this as addicting though I will admit there still is this voice screaming ‘WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!!!’ in my head but I as I am getting better at ignoring the voices in my head, I did like being able to tap the bar at the top. With the exception of one slip up I think I am getting the hang of it. Of course I must remember not to curse in a kid's ear as I slip off the wall. If I were Buddhist I would say I lost a bit of karma on that move, but as I am not, I do not think I am too worried. I am told I need to try the chimney now though! Hmmmm…..
I reflected on the achievement. Yes, I know it seems all very silly to consider it an achievement but I have done very little to challenge the status quo about my attitudes towards anything until recently (being the last year or so). My concern over heights has always been excessive and probably has prevented me from enjoying the ever so slight rush this morning brought. Even a small rush is one I do not think I should miss. Of course the nagging discomfort is still there as I did not exactly turn around and wave at my friends below and hearing something about something being stuck when I was at the top was a little disconcerting. Not sure what it was, but it was fixed quickly and I was on my way back down to freedom or something like that. Still, that screaming voice kept getting quieter so I will continue this exercise for as far as it can go and as long as still enjoy the Spiderman imitation.
I am not sure what other "status quo attitudes" to challenge or if I need to really go searching for them anyhow. While I will certainly say the exercise is pretty much an just an exercise, there is a method to my madness here as well. I tend to care very much how people feel about that which is around them and that would, of course, include me. I suppose I could simply turn off and play the "cocky but funny" game and though I really do not wish to insult anyone, this is just too simple and as such, I consider it below me.
I looked back on my last go through with and reflected on something interesting. The ad and most especially my responses were focused on my desires to basically "make others happy". This really is something I consider very much a character flaw because I simply cannot do that. It is their choice to be happy with their life, not mine. I am honestly not sure if the large majority of women on are unhappy and/or tend to dislike men, but these are the women I tended to end up dating the last time and they hid this well or I just did not want to see it. I wonder where my ‘Well, Duh!’ hammer was then but oh well.
This time around I do not really expect any more or any fewer responses, but I have tried very much to construct the profile as more of a this is who I am, like it or not type. Responses to ads are getting progressively more playful and silly as I go along in this experiment and I am really having a lot more fun with it. I actually do not care about getting a response back… Only that I discover how to let the playful and silly at the heart of me actually out when I initially talk to someone, even if it is in an email. Granted, I still cannot quite escape the "make people happy" as it may be more a part of my nature than I really want to admit, but it is fun trying something else for a bit.
Ugh, getting tired and I am worrying that I am just not going to make sense any further on this subject. I would like to find some way of making the above silly but hey, even I have to be reflective at times.

Friday, February 11, 2005

I’m Musing in the Rain, Just Musing in the Rain!

OK, today started out with me looking over my email (and thus spam) this morning.
‘Don’t miss the Wiggles’ was one tagline. Ummmm… ‘k. However, the mood struck me and I had to do a little twist and shout dance. I guess I am just far too spam compliant in the morning before I have my coffee. Perhaps reading email first thing in the morning is best not done by me. Anyhow, I went about my morning ritual and walked out the door to greet the rain. Granted, I knew the rain was coming, after all I am a non-practicing meteorologist. However, I am also essentially an Arizona native (a few holes for school and such but…)
who is just not programmed to think about rain and its consequences so out in jeans and a t-shirt (no jacket) I went. Understand I had to do that as Friday is jeans and t-shirt day and I am the good little corporate zombie.
And now here I am after lunch in my own little space. I miss the Wiggles already!

Still haven't found what I'm looking for.... Online Dating Initial Impressions

This online dating thing can be interesting though I will admit that the most interesting thing about it is the comments I received on my previous post about jumping into this online dating thing.
There was a pleasant surprise to start. Some strange woman found my blog and offered some interesting advice. I wonder if this is sort of like those strangers offering me candy when I was a kid? Still, I could not help but take a look at her ummm… blog… yeah, that was what I was going to say… yes, that’s the ticket… Anyhow I am doing that digressing thing again. It was a nice treat to see a very attractive, intelligent, playful adventurous gal with interests ranging from the quirky and fun to the wild and adventurous. Note to self: Need to ask for one of those for my birthday! I would put in an application for her Valentine’s celebration, but I am on the wrong side of this country so maybe just a toast from afar! ;) Her blog seems a soap opera at the moment. As soon as I figure it out, I may start commenting.
Methinks this is why the profiles seem ordinary of course but… Thanks a lot!

OK, I have only been back on for a little more than a day and already I am remembering all about why I went back to the real world or at least my version of the real world. Although, there are a lot of nice profiles out there, I am not really sure I have found too many that fit what I really indicated I was looking for in that partner in crime. However, I am fully aware that 2000 characters does not allow a lot of room to indicate the variety that a person may have. As such, I am responding to those that have something I can actually respond to. I intended to respond to a lot more, but as I very much like to personalize the responses at least a bit, I have only gotten a few out (12) so far. Maybe I will be able to get more out over the weekend. Being a guy on an online site, I was actually surprised to get one back so soon if at all. It was disappointing that all the response said was basically ‘Hi There!’ and they did not tell me a story as requested. Women just don’t follow orders very well! Ummm, yeah I know, and GUYS do? LMAO It was very tempting just to email back just ‘Hi There!’ but I think I did try and say a little more so as to try and coax some story out of her…. At least ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ though that one might not work as I always cry when the porridge gets too cold. I cannot have a woman see me cry, ya know!

I am thinking of putting together a template now though as I may have to respond to a lot of personals to get in ahead of the 400 other guys responding. I am thinking of the below:

Greetings (Insert Screen Name Here), you are so purrrrrrty!
My name is (Insert My Name Here) and I like to (Insert Common Interest Here).
Wow! What a coinkydink! You like to (Insert Common Interest Here) as well! ;)
How about meeting me this weekend at (Choose One of the Following: Star Trek Convention, Geeks with Chicks Rally (tell them that they would be your chick here!), Lemmings Are Swimmers Too ‘feel good’ Conference, Cattle Have Direction Too 'motivation' Conference, Big Hooters Bar, My Parent’s Basement)? We can have dinner at (Choose one of the following: McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Chuck E. Cheese’s) and it will be my treat!
Respond today and I will throw in a trip on my tricked out pink and green tricycle!
Ciao (that’s French for some Italian word) Honeybear!
Looking forward to showing you my cockroach collection!
(Insert My Name Here)

So you think that template will be good enough? :D
Thanks for all your advice all, BTW Glad to know the “code” now, but what does “Self Employed” mean? I assume it means “I stay at home all day and only get out of the house to see if the aliens have come to take me to my true home, far far away!”
It is good to know that most blondes are not blonde and that you all have also had “interesting” experiences with the online dating thing. No, Arizona does not really have an excessive amount of 20/30s women but plenty of 70/80s women if I want. Retirement meccas have their benefits I suppose. I am not sure I want to have to lie about my height as I heard those elevator shoe things are not back in style yet so no worries about me on that and I have even accepted and become one with my 5’7”ness. Hmmmm…. Mysterious brunettes and haystacks… could work!
Cheers all!

Thanks to Rawdog for this! I thought it appropriate to add it to this post.
Its just not going to work!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Weekend Wine Recommendation

Brand: Hécula

Producer: Bodegas Castaño

Denominación de Origen: Yecla

Class/Type: Tinto (Red table wine)

Varietal Content: Monastrell (75%); Garnacha (20%); Cabernet Sauvignon (5%); Estate grown

Winemaking Notes: Six months in American Oak. 15,000 cases produced.

Tasting Notes: A soft and spicy red wine. Red fruits, wood and black pepper greet the nose. The flavor of spicy fruit is balanced by a delicate oak structure.

Food Match: The perfect wine for pizza, pasta, ratatouille. These soft, fruity flavors cool spicy heat in cuisines such as Cajun, Southwestern, Asian, and East Indian. A complement to Mediterranean Cuisine - Paella, Bouillabaisse, Chicken Oregano.

Interesting: 85 Points, Wine Enthusiast, April 1998. "Hécula" is the archaic Roman for "Yecla" - a city with an ancient Roman heritage. Bodegas Castaño is a thoroughly modern, well-positioned winery with a fast-growing international presence and reputation. Quality and consistency are the primary winemaking objectives.

Sadly, I am searching for this one again. It flew off the shelves of a wine shop here at eight and change! They decided not to carry it anymore. Too low a profit margin I suppose? I really need to learn to get cases more often of good cheap stuff! :)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Online Dating Revisited – Searching for the Haystack Among the Needles

Okay, note that I am finding blogging addictive!

I have decided to follow a few other bloggers into the online dating world again. It has been about 8 months or so since I last tried a date from the online world. I think I took things to seriously last time and found the experience not really WYSIWYG. Details are available and quite amusing actually, but that is probably all I need to say!
Well, let us see what happens when I do not take it too seriously then! :D

A few notes on the oddities of Match.Com. They appear slow to change things sometimes. The previous ad was just ummmm…. ordinary so I am waiting for them to actually change the text before I jump into this adventure. I will put the text of the new ad at the end of this blog if I remember. Second, the match engine likes to match me with women 5’10” or higher. Height is not a big thing to me either way, but at 5’7”, I am not sure I am likely to score a hit there… possible but… :D

OK, on to a few observations after an evening of investigating the ads of you lovely ladies. Understand that I am not at all bitter about anything, just very amused, though I am guessing it may sound otherwise.
There seem to be a few women out there wanting to get marred someday. Are you sure you found the right site? may offer plenty of guys for you, of course, so this is just an observation. Good luck on the search to be marred!
As I said the height thing is not a big deal to me. I expect that it is only fair that if guys expect you to wear those high heel torture devices, a few inches taller is necessary. I am perplexed though by the 4’10” types looking for someone 6’2” or taller. Do you have one of those collapsible step ladders in your purse for the goodnight kiss? As I could use something that compact around my house, please let me know where you got it. Really, I could use one!
When telling us guys what you are looking for, please really actually tell us! If all you say is you are looking for is a nice guy or looking for chemistry, there is not much I can really say back to you other than I am a really nice chemist! In reality I am not a full fledged chemist as I received my Masters degree in Atmospheric Chemistry so you could consider me a chemist with my head in the clouds or just a meteorologist who kept walking into the wrong classes and learned a bit of chemistry as well. Still, perhaps we can exchange electrons and talk? I might even show you my d-shell sometime, baby! (Ugh! I am reverting to bad chemist jokes now!) Seriously though, remember your ad is being read by GUYS. Granted, we may be able to read the sports section of the newspaper and some of us can read that ever challenging book ‘See Dick Run’, though more than two words can be difficult for us. Think beer me, need food, watch football, sit couch! However, we simply cannot read minds. Not that all guys want to know too much anyhow, but I actually do, so tell me something!
See, I told you I was not bitter! LOL

I find it interesting to note that the majority of women in the group I will be responding to are blonde and a few blogs ago, I indicated I am not necessarily inclined to date blondes. Perhaps I am turning a corner and becoming more open-minded? Or am I just realizing that blondes really do have more fun? ;) I am honestly afraid to say I am not inclined to date women with spiked rainbow hair now though! I may keep you all posted on my progress but here is the ad text for the intro to me/what am I looking for section. Your turn to be amused! Let the adventure begin!

Searching for the Haystack Among the Needles!

Who am I?
I am an eclectic mix of contrasts all bundled up into one nice neat package. Musical interests range from AC/DC, to Diana Krall, to Vivaldi with a bit of Reggae mixed in for good measure. I am outdoorsy and love to whitewater raft, ski, hike, and dance in the rain, but I am also the sophisticated urbanite who loves wine tastings, the symphony, art museums and deep meaningful discussions about the next great reality show (ok, this is only if I have had way too much wine). I have been known to be quiet and reflective and think about such things as the contrasts of Eastern and Western philosophy and the all important questions of why am I here, what is the meaning of the universe, should I switch to decaf and did I leave the iron on? On the other hand, I can also be the playful romantic. Anyone interested in joining me in my next set of travels let me know. ;) These include sunrise on a gondola in Venice, followed by lunch on the Eze river in Florence and a sunset beach dinner on the island of Alba. A balloon adventure over Tuscany and a riverboat cruise out of the city lights of Paris and into the glorious night sky may follow the other trip someday. Of course I can just be playful too. I am still working on my job skills as Court Jester and love Halloween because it is a chance for this adult to be a kid for a bit.
In addition to the eclectic mix of contrasts, I am also someone who simply likes to see what is out there and discover a bit. As such, though I am willing to talk about myself when needed, I generally like hearing what else is out there and what others have to say. I consider myself to be a great individual of course, a rare breed and only slightly ticklish…. However, I already know all about myself and nothing about you so…..

The title explains exactly what I am looking for though in somewhat of an esoteric manner. I am looking for someone with a wide degree of interests, experiences, ambitions, goals, and dreams. A needle is narrow in focus, small, and hurts when you sit on it. Ouch! A haystack, on the other hand, is broad, wide and contains much to discover that is not seen on the surface. The person I am looking for needs to be open to a wide variety of views and experiences as I expect someone to share in my experiences and allow me to share in their experiences. There are no sidelines to sit on here! This other person must truly wish to share who they are with me. I love listening to stories so do you have any for me? Grab a glass of wine, smile, and tell me a story about the spirit within you! And no ghost or horror stories! LOL

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Merry Fat Tuesday to the Big Easy!

When I lived in Atlanta I was a grad student at that party school mecca, Georgia Tech. Considering that most of my friends have always been female, attending a school that was 80% male seems odd to me in retrospect. However, there were the escapes! Take a bunch of Georgia Tech grad students, add a weekend, and sprinkle in a trip to New Orleans and you have ummmm…. exciting adventures! OK, I take that back, these were Georgia Tech grad students after all. Still, New Orleans quickly became my favorite city to visit and it really still is though I have not been back for a few years. Keep in mind, I said favorite city to VISIT! If I actually lived there, I do not think I would fit in my cubicle now. There was of course the party atmosphere, but that combined with the music, food, and really good people watching was what has made New Orleans so fun to me. I cannot really put it completely into words, but if you ever go there are things you really need to do:
Grab a beer and walk down Bourbon Street before it gets too rowdy. Take in the music coming out of the bars during your walk. Even if you don’t like Jazz, these guys really put their hearts into it and the energy gets one in the mood to really have a good time! Let the crowds roll in while you are having gator at one of the small restaurants on Toulouse Street. There are some good ones just off of Bourbon Street towards the river. Have a Hurricane at Pat Obrien’s while the crowds roll in. Wander through the crowds and through the large number of Voodoo shops. They have quite the collection of stuff. If the crowds get too much, drop down a block in the river direction and find the Court of Two Sisters for a quiet reflective glass of wine. One could always go back to the crowds on Bourbon Street, but the option to just grab a map and take in the ghost story and cemetery lore of New Orleans is a unique experience that must be done at least once!
A requirement for the next morning is Café Du Monde. Chicory and beignets mixed in with the standard Bloody Mary from time to time is an ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT! Get there early however!

Jumbalaya, Gumbo, and Po' Boys and anything with butter, Cajun, Creole or fried is also required eating!

Xin Nian Yu Kuai and Happy Rooster Year!

A good new year is wished upon all friends, Chinese or otherwise!
May your new year be filled with good cheer and wonderful blessings!
May it be a prosperous year filled with opportunities to read my off the wall thoughts here! Have a moon pie for me now!
Bao Zhong!

Monday, February 07, 2005

Philosophical Thought of the Day #2: Thinking like a kid again!

My last post got me thinking about the fact that I don't think too much about my childhood and really don't think like a kid too much though I seem to try to still be the 'Toy's R Us' type if I can anyhow. OK, that made limited sense but making sense is overrated anyhow.....
Nevertheless, I thought I would try and think like a kid again for just a bit and focus on a bit on a question that is sorta philosophical, but mostly just physics. As a non-practicing meteorologist, I thought I would make it difficult by finding a question that is almost irresistible to answer in a scientifically sound manner.... Why is the sky blue?
If you want a somewhat odd-ball, but correct answer try this discussion on Rayleigh scattering that does not actually mention the word Rayleigh. Of course I tend to have more fun with Mie scattering as it is all about Mie anyhow! (Sorry bad meteorologist joke!). Anyhow, I digress...

I came up with a few thoughts and that was it! Thinking like a kid is actually hard when one, ummmm... really thinks about it! But that seems to be where imagination and creativity, and thus real solutions to real problems, start...

1. God's favorite color is blue so he painted his house that color!

2. The ocean leaked!

3. Birds must actually live in the ocean and come up during the day to scatter the ocean all over the sky!

4. Clouds are blue on the other side and paint the sky blue as they go to work each day!

5. The sun is mad at us and throws blue paint at the earth all day!

6. The sky likes the moon and stars better and gets depressed when they are not there during the day!

7. There is another ocean up there!

8. It's cold up there and blue things are cold, right?

9. I like blue and the sky likes me!

10. 'Cuz mom and dad told the sky that it looked pretty blue!

OK, all of these are very silly if not just strange, but hey, you chose to read this blog and for those of you who know me, you know what you are getting into anyhow! Granted with the above answers comes 'Why is the ocean blue?' but I just had sushi for lunch and don't want to think about such things now! And then of course there is 'The meaning of life'!

I honestly don't really feel I can think like a kid anymore after this silly exercise though I may just need practice. Fun to try in an odd way though. Any other thoughts on why the sky is blue?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Heart of Darkness, Soul of Reflection

Today there was a world after my rock climbing adventure. After attending a memorial service for my aunt's mom, I wandered back across town. The service was short and as I live on the far far far far East side and the service was on the far West side of the Phoenix area, I made my way back rather slowly. I grew up on the near West side (if there is such a term/place) and drove by my old high school, old house, and old hangouts. Of course I expected not to recognize anything, but I was suprised how small my neighborhood appeared and how closed in everything appeared. I have not been back through that area in years and years so it was interesting to do so. I will admit that I expected to have a few memories pop up or really think "Wow, things are different!" In reality, nothing came to mind.... Just, OK, time to go find some wine now that I am headed through downtown. Weird to me that I did not seem to care about my childhood or growing up anymore. Anyone else end up feeling that way anymore?

The trip for wine downtown yielded good things! I am not quite a fan of Joseph Conrad or the book Heart of Darkness or the movie Apocalypse Now, but the wine is a different story. It is a good basic Cab Franc blend and I would recommend it for anyone looking for an intro to Cab Francs.... Relatively inexpensive and balanced. So now I know where to get it!


Up Up and Away!

Today I attempted something new and found I did enjoy it though I need more practice. INDOOR ROCK WALL CLIMBING!!! I will be honest, I hate heights, period! Combined with my wonderful imagination (not really a blessing here!), I tend to avoid the height thing unless the reward is great. However, there are so many wonderful hiking trails in Arizona that have points that are a bit... ummm.... hey nice view straight down combined with is that really still the trail! LOL Because I refuse to not enjoy the beauty of the world around me, I need to really challenge the dislike of heights. Although it was great to go out and do something with a good group of friends, the above concern was the real reason for this venture. Silly as it sounds to me anyhow, I get a great satisfaction in dashing to pieces anything that limits me. That said, skydiving is not exactly next!

Although, I will admit I never quite made it to the top before thinking too much about things, that really disappeared quite quickly. I am told I almost did a few times though perspective was a bit different actually going up the wall. I simply had friends who kept challenging me to do the more difficult ones with them. As such I ended up in midair more often than on the cliff. One thing of note though, I actually found hanging there or the trip down soothing. Of course next time I hope there is not a child's birthday party going on so I can make it to the top of the easy part and give my ego and developing coordination skills a boost!

Thanks Rawdog and gang for the adventure!

Jesters, Basketballs, and Firepits Oh My!

Another day has passed with the following results:
At the RenFest:
A) I found my mead and turkey leg but not any more of my jester costume.
B) Although I love to watch Irish Gigs, there needs to be energy in the dancers for it to really be fun to watch.
C) Guys just do not have the muscles and body form to belly dance and it is very very scary to watch.
D) I can evidently effectively give ever so loveable friends advice via cell phone while a parade of fools, knights, and rednecks with turkey legs walk by.
E) Traffic in Phoenix is bad on a Saturday only when very unwanted.
At the basketball game:
A) Will call is very polite even when you are late and impatient.
B) The gal behind my dad and I is still very annoying and needs to be shot with a water gun repeatedly until she develops at least one brain cell!
C) Arizona State basketball seems to find a way to lose whenever possible
At the party:
A) Firepits are very entertaining.
B) Kids like sparklers.
C) I like wine!
D) Smores are still good
E) They hid the lampshades from me!

OK, actually, it was a very good day. I did enjoy watching a lot of folk dance to start the day. I chatted with a cruise friend a bit and may just have to take her up on that offer of being allowed to visit on Memorial Day weekend as I will need an escape by then. It is always nice to see a basketball game even if it is watching my rivals (I am Univ. of Arizona Alum and my dad takes me to Arizona State games from time to time). My friends are getting older and so the parties seem to end earlier and earlier. I was the last to leave this one at 10pm. Still it is good to see a few of them. I just wish I had been given the chance to try on at least one lampshade!
Tomorrow is my first attempt at rock climbing. I am strangely nervous as heights have not been one of my favorite things though I am always needing to try new things so here goes it!

Friday, February 04, 2005

Ready for the weekend

As the Friday work day comes to a close, I have to think of something to do this weekend. Granted, today was nearly a three coffee day, so I am estimating that I will not get to sleep too early tonight. This means I will have plenty of time to think about it over wine tonight. I think I will probably end up at RenFest and find the next piece of my jester costume. A turkey leg and mead will make a decent lunch. After that it is off friend's wild party that evening. Hide the lampshades from me!
Tonight, I have been ordered to drink a bottle of wine for a friend, and given that I take orders well, I will pick out a nice rich Aussie red tonight.
Now I am thirsty!

Women and Wine

Greetings yet again all,
Today's subject is an interesting mix but probably my favorite combination: Women and wine... heh heh
Last night I actually had the chance to combine the two for at least a wine tasting. Wine tastings lately have been getting more to my liking lately so I may start going to them on a much more regular basis again. Generally they are full of people ready to retire or full of very early twentysomethings just learning to be yuppies. As I am somewhere in between and both groups use pretentiousness to destroy the fun of enjoying my precious grape juice, I have slowed from my original pace (meaning if there was a wine tasting, I was there). Yesterday was a pleasant exception to the rule. I was originally going to try to crash a Scottsdale Jaycees meeting as I am looking for another group of those volunteer types to hang with, but did not time getting out of work that well. Alas, I had to go to a wine tasting at my latest local hangout, Tapino. Given that I was late, there was really only one more place to sit and that happened to be next to this very cute blonde. Generally, I will admit, I am less inclined towards focusing on blondes but exceptions to the rule are always a nice thing for me anyhow. She was actually very pleasant to talk to and actually became mesmerizing quite quickly. I am always fascinated by someone who worked in Europe (Air Force) out of high school and spent time and the limited money on actually seeing what was around them in place of just drinking the opportunity away. She had quite a few interesting stories and was one of those rare ones that seems to get more lovely the more that is said. I did grab a glass of wine after the wine tasting and chatted with her a bit more. Granted I kept forgetting to actually drink the wine (over two hours later I still had half a glass), but that is beside the point. ;)
OK, so I expect the question: So when ya going to see her again?
Well, here is why women confuse me…. And of course, why I confuse myself…
During the conversation, I did get blessed with a few touches on the shoulder and a lot of eye contact, but I can be relatively sure she was not quite mesmerized by me at least at this point (perhaps she needs convincing… heh heh). There was interest, but fairly guarded interest and she seemed to keep herself quite busy on purpose. Long story short, though she will be at the wine tasting at the same place two weeks from now, she politely indicated that with her being out of town next week and busy with school she would not have the chance to see ‘Sideways’ with me. I am guessing I will end up seeing that with just me anyhow. Admittedly, because I am a bit slow on the getting to know people side of things and knew it was possible I would run into her on future wine tastings, I did not try too hard anyhow. Aggressiveness is something I am still learning. LOL
It was nice chatting with her nonetheless and she actually really seemed to like the chance to just be listened to for a change. So all in all, it was a good night and while there are still possibilities in my mind, women can be too confusing sometimes to hold my breath. Who’s next? LOL

Thursday, February 03, 2005

I'm baaaack! Miss me? :)

A few days of Vegas and I am back surrounded by fuzzy teal fabric and an interesting patterned tan floor. Did not run into Ms. Bank of America this time, but managed to chat with a few people about their ummmm.... security issues and solutions.... Gee, I feel safe now! LOL I am soooo glad I don't have ANY issues myself, just eccentricities.
Still it looks like there might be a few interesting things in the next version of MicroStrategy and it is inferred that the latest version will just jump out of the package, turn your computer on, install itself perfectly and make you a latte on the spot! Marketers are intriguing people to me! Perhaps I will make them the subject of next 'Philosophical Thought of the Day'.
Got home at 3am last night and think I got to bed by 3:30am so I am glad my boss let me make it in just a bit later today.
I did get to see a fellow cruiser up in Vegas who was a first time cruiser and appears to be well on her way to a many time cruiser.