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

Thursday, March 31, 2005

This just in…. Consuming Liquid Medication Pays for itself in One Brief Hour

I have been trying to keep myself on the healthy straight and narrow again, but when I run into information like this, my mind wanders off to provide an excuse for my bad habits. I wonder if drinking wine for an hour could be considered taking medication for an hour? If so, all I need to do is drink wine all day and I will pretty much break even. Add in my exhaustive trips to the bathroom, and I might lose weight! Amazing what I can convince myself of, I mean learn, if I really put my mind to it. Of course, if I accidently eat one of these or a cup of this, all bets are off!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Spice of Life! Cook on!

There is a new very very welcome neighbor! Welcome to the neighborhood, Penzey's!
If you like your spices, well... spicy, this is the place to be. I am so excited now, I could just cook! Anyone hungry? Now if I can just get these guys to open up a shop nearby life would be just very peachy keen!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Taking the Plunge aka Time to Become Certifiable!

The thought of Scuba diving has crossed my mind from time to time. Lately has been one of those times and a friend who did some Scuba diving in Australia offered to join me on my certification dives if I ever did decide to do it. So beginning the middle of next month, I will be on my way to being certifiable. Further posts may document this little adventure. For now, the class and the actual dive in San Carlos, Mexico are just something to look forward to for the future. Diving by day and Mexican wine by night! Wahoo!

I am not sure what to expect but something tells me I will learn that in the classroom. I even have to drop by a week ahead of the class to pick up my homework. It is a strange feeling when I am actually looking forward to homework! :)

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Wine Recommendation for the Weekend

Wine: Conundrum

Region: Napa, California

Varietal: Proprietary blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Muscat and Semillon

Tasting Notes:
The winemaker for this wine is actually a fellow University of Arizona Alum and yes good wine can be put together under the direction of desert folk. I will save the story for the link, but this is pretty much my favorite white. It is a proprietary blend rather than a single varietal so it usually comes out very balanced.

The nose is very strong on the citrus and apricot aromas. On the palate, honeysuckle, apricot, peach, pear, and citrus dominate and vanilla comes across at the finish when I have had it. It has a very thick, syrupy feel to it in the mouth but does not give the feeling of a sugar bomb and instead imparts a creamy, buttery sensation. It is easily the richest, fullest white wine I have ever had and would make a great wine to drink for the popcorn and movie night.

Drink this only slightly chilled and it is likely to go best with foods containing rich, creamy sauces, most any seafood, pork, and chicken (actually I think this would be great with a big bucket of fried chicken). I wonder if KFC would ever consider getting a wine/beer license? It would go well with any cheese that does not have a huge bite to it, so unless you have blue/gorgonzola, sharp cheddar or pepper jack you are probably fine.

Note that with a little green food coloring, this would be a much much much better alternative to green Budweiser!

Let the Madness Begin

With both 'Zona and Georgia Tech in the Tournament, I am not going to get much done at work for awhile. This is also the time of year I get polite suggestions to take that Prozac I have been meaning to start on as more than a few 'Yippee' or 'Oh Shucks!' (Yeah... shucks, that's it!) are heard from my general teal cube direction.

Now where did the Ooooo... Ahhh.... Man go? For those of you who have not been blessed with some sort of Arizona game in Tucson, the Oooo Ahhh Man is some crazed fan who jumped onto the court sometime in the 80s wearing a red shirt with 'oooo' on the front and 'Ahhhh' on the back. He then seems to be able to get the entire crowd screaming Oooo of Ahhh digressing into Oooo... Ahhhh.... Anyone know if he is still down there?

Cheers! Go 'Zona! Go Wreck!


Monday, March 14, 2005

Happy Happy Pi Day!

It is the 5th annual Pi Day at work. I work with a smattering of statistian/math people who happen to like to eat as well. So to be nice I suffer through this day and eat pie with them. If I have to explain the reasoning for the day, you are just not geeky enough to be in my presence!
Anyhow, happy Pi Day, y'all.

I cannot think of a good number that would correlate to a meteorologist's point of view, but I think a Cotton Candy Day is needed to celebrate the glory of clouds and a Snow Cone Day is needed to celebrate the glory of snow and hail!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Relax! It is now Okay to fly!

The first flight by a private airline in China during the Communist era has been completed. Okay Airlines flew from Tianjin to Kunming today. Now that it is OK to fly in China, I wonder if Snafu Airways is next?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Feed Me! Now! *bang*

Generally my cats are very demanding when they are hungry. I would say this sometimes backfires on them as it annoys me if I am not in a good mood and I wait a bit longer. On the otherhand, I am glad I do not own a gun or else they might backfire me. See this.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Have we rolled our dice today?

I found this on DC's blog who found it on Jesster's blog so I am a copy-cat, but anything that describes me as evil is strangely fun for me...

I am a d4

Take the quiz at


Wine is Heaven AND Hell

I am running way behind in my blogging lately….

Nonetheless, the weekend was a good escape and I can say that I am up to at least 60% or so now, a big improvement actually. I seem to have a knack for finding wine festivals without even thinking about it or knowing about it (at least not in the self-aware sense). This is not too good a skill when I really just want to get away and bike on roads but it did add to the fun in reality. I only did a 20 mile jaunt as I discovered I am both out of shape and unwilling to dodge cars too much. From what I understand though, only nearly getting hit every 10 miles or so is not too bad. I got to hear a few ‘curse the tourists in cars’ stories by some local cyclers while I was breaking for lunch.

So what do I decide to do next? Become a cursed tourist in a car of course. As I said, I had happened upon one of the largest festivals up there, the annual barrel tasting. I was told that there were over 100 wineries participating but unless I could find a cheap taxi, I was not willing to try all 100. I stopped to relax and have oysters and sparkling wine and visited a very few wineries before deciding it was a bit crowded. Dinner in Healdsburg was actually some very good Thai though I wish I could really get them to spice things up. No one ever takes me seriously that I like things hot. There was some nightlife, but for the most part I just sat and people watched.

The next day I started out a bit early on the recommendation of several wineries and avoided crowds. This was much more the way to do it and I never seem to have a problem drinking wine at 10am so off I went. The wine, as expected, was a bit on the pricey side but very good nonetheless. Barrel tasting in general is a unique experience. The wine is still in its childhood and one never knows if it will get that Ivy League scholarship and become the next great world leader or just drop out and surf the California coast all day but it is enjoyable to be able to know all stages of the wine.

Some of the wineries do a few things to stand out. Yes, it is just marketing, but making wine tasting a playful, fun experience as opposed to a snobby, holier than thou experience is something I respect and find endearing. One winery tried a Mardi Gras theme with beads, gumbo, silly hats, and label stickers (cheap advertisement I guess) and my favorite idea was the heaven/hell theme at Armida. The Chardonnay barrel tasting was in one room designed as Heaven while the Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel barrels were in Hell. They obviously had a lot more fun with the Hell concept complete with a chain and skull entrance, heavy industrial music, ‘Night of the Living Dead’ playing on a television, the standard fake blood/gore, and disco lights (disco was hell, right?). The general tasting room did not have the standard elevator music but instead played a good mix of 80s punk. Granted, looking at the pictures of the owners, it is obvious they did not do the marketing. Nevertheless, it is worth checking out during a festival as I was told they only have this set up during the various festivals. Next time I will have to stop and play bocce though.

There is something else I discovered on the trip as well. Wine Math! As I am limited to a case of wine checked in, I figured I would only be able to carry about 18 bottles total (one checked case, three bottles in checked luggage, three bottles in carryon (note that I would be limited to six here if I could fit them)) and counted as I went along. When I got home I managed 20 bottles. Lucky me!

The oddest thing about the trip was the feeling that I felt like I was home in a way. I am not sure that I ever want to admit that I would be at home in Northern California, but it certainly encouraged the developing thought of finally up and leaving Phoenix for new adventures. I will just have to see what opportunities open up ahead or at the very least what opportunities I can open up in my searching.

Anyone interested in the event next year? Take a look at the Russian River Wine Road.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Wine Recommendation for the Weekend

Sorry, all....
Forgot to do this one as I am too eager to get out of here for the weekend. How about I recommend a little Mad Dog or T-bird this weekend? :)

I’m Off to Bike the Wineries, the Wonderful Wineries of Sonoma!

At the moment, the coffee still has not kicked in and I still feel like I haven’t got a brain. Yes, I know it is already 9:30am but this is why I feel as such. Of course I am looking very forward to the weekend escape where I get to follow the Dry Creek Road on a bike.

Granted, I will not likely do more than one winery, if that, on the bike ride because I am thinking riding a bike on a road where there are cars containing wine tasters is mindless enough. I will try and hit two wineries after the bike trip and two wineries the next day. All of these wineries were chosen on the basis of their quirkiness and the unusual wine list so it ought to be fun to chat with these folks as well.

After that, I think I will just take a drive down River Road to the coast and have some oysters and then sit at Point Reyes and watch the waves. This trip may not be adventure at its wildest, but I need the unwind style of weekends sometimes too. Still, I look forward to celebrating a bit of anything.

Cheers and Salutations!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Musings from the Wine Bar of the Mind - Ya get what ya pay for! Oh really?

I have often wondered what evil thought is behind the thinking that this should be a fact. Bargains in the physical and esoteric sense are not necessarily the lowest quality and that which is expensive either continues to be a drain or may be of less quality than something a bit less on the expensive side. It often seems that, at least with respect to wine, those who insist on buying only “the expensive stuff”, perhaps as an ego thing, close their minds to a great many other taste adventures. Oh well, a fool and his money are soon parted I suppose.

I only got to thinking about this little thought while sitting at a wine bar one night drinking my lowly cava. As I mentioned in a blog a short while back, I am not generally a fan of sparkling wines, but this style really appeals to me and is very inexpensive. A gal I was chatting with insisted that she could only drink true French Champagnes. Mind you there are some very good ones there but not until you get very pricey and then I am not sure the money spent works up to the “getting what you pay for” concept. It was her choice, of course, but the lack of a sense of “wine adventure” and closed thought somewhat bored me. I will drink my cava and spend the additional on finding something else great thank you.

Of course, this leads to wondering about other things that are bargains. True friends, at least the ones I have, cost me nothing really and I don’t think I can come up with anything more valuable at the moment. Granted, with everyone running around trying to be expensive anymore, it is hard to find those of true value. Other things that cost me nothing are the spectacular display of a thunderstorm, the brilliance of a desert sunset, the hungry paw batting at me at 4am (ok, this one I really don’t want but…), etc.

So what is expensive? From conversations I have had with others and conversations I have overheard at bars, divorces seem to be incredibly expensive. I have not had the pleasure, but from what I have seen the expense is both financial and emotional and very high sometimes. I don’t think I have really been told they are something good, either. So does one get what they are paying for here?

Of course, these are just observations and I know I myself have fallen into the trap of desiring the expensive toys without understanding if I am really getting what I am paying for. I still find myself wanting the expensive toy car, but the recent decision to work towards a move in both career and location has reminded me that the expensive toy car is an expense that I cannot afford right now. It would trap me where I am now and though I am not entirely sure where I really want to be, I know it is not where I am now. So my trusty (knocks on wood) 40+mpg Civic will be perfectly fine for the moment and probably work out good a bit into the future as well.

Interesting how thoughts blend together lately. In many ways I am glad I had that little chat with the gal at the wine bar. I still find I learn a lot from others even if I disagree with them entirely. Oddly confusing that even those who I see closed in their attitudes and thoughts can teach me a bit.

Cheers to ya all!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

This doesn’t help!

I will admit I am somewhat neurotic about flying sometimes. It is less a fear of flying and more of a fact that my body does not do turbulence too well. As such, I am generally fine with commercial jets, but really do not like turboprops. I get the joy of flying one once a year to get to the annual family reunion in Oregon. The trip from Portland to Bend crosses over the Cascades and can have more than a few bumps. I find the concept of looking out the window and seeing Mount Hood at eyelevel is both beautiful and disconcerting.

Why am I mentioning this? I am reconsidering my trip to Translyvania and might take something in more flexible so I can go during Labor Day weekend and not use up too many precious and dwindling vacation days. There might be enough left for the Thanksgiving cruise I was looking at after all if I change things around as well. So I can still claim to do Europe I thought about the Scottish Highlands.

The Scottish Highlands will give me that solitary side vacation I need every so often anyhow. Who knows, I may even stay in a haunted castle or lighthouse. I will do a few Scotch distilleries though. Oh, and yes, I will say hi to Nessie for you all.

So back to the plane thing… There were a few reasonable deals that did Phoenix to London on the standard 747 jet and then London to Inverness on a plane type I was not familiar with. I wanted to make sure it was not a turboprop! Googling a list of images I find this! OOPS! I suppose if you are going to do something stupid you might as well do it right. Still, it is probably best not to do it where you can get it on tape. Of course one of the pictures gives me great relief to know it is not a turboprop, but I am not really interested in flying this exact plane.

Just to add, I found this amusing in a way.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Zhuangzi influenced deep wine thoughts

Ran across this on a Kory O's blog and thought I would try and find the phrase that I could use to get lucky. Turns out next time I am at a wine bar I should offer to buy a gal a drink and say 'Zhuangzi influenced deep wine thoughts' and according to google, I will get lucky.

Wish me luck!

Hold my breath!

AirNow is focused on Phoenix visibility today. Looks lovely!

Wineaux the Magic Dragon

I had wine and cheese for dinner last night with a coworker and her dogs. These were the same dogs that I had over the weekend while a few coworkers went skiing this weekend. As dogs go, they are actually very mild mannered and my cats seemed to tolerate them being around. On the other hand, I could see the cats were relieved to have the dogs not in the house anymore. Still, I wish I had the time for a dog as they appear to be good women magnets. :)

They appear to work better than the pet iguana idea that someone told me about a few weeks ago. Somehow the concept of “ooooo… what a cute lizard, I hope his dad will take me home tonight” does not quite make sense to me. Although, maybe the guy wanted someone less attractive around to make him look better? Dunno, as the friend of mine never said anything about that. This individual even appeared to be the subject of the “That Guy” skit that a local radio station does. It basically pokes fun at the most lame of the male side of the coin.

Speaking of lizards, in other news Kory O emailed me about an upcoming special on Dragons. I really don’t know why anyone would think I would have an interest in dragons, of course. :) I suppose I have plenty of time to get cable or, more likely, find a friend with cable and offer some wine for the viewing/taping. I am not really much of a TV watcher though I try not to miss the ever sophisticated “Le Simpsons”.

Just other random thoughts of the morning involve what are evidently called mondegreens or misheard lyrics. A coworker of mine had the lyrics to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” in her head because of the misheard lyric “Hold me close, Tony Danza” in place of “Hold me close, Tiny Dancer”. As such I could not resist but to find a place somewhere with a list of them. Here is a place where I found a slew of mondegreens.