Kaiken Malbec 2003 - I have nothing particularly witty to say about this wine – there are no nifty stories, and I can’t even think of a way to throw in a reference to Bosom Buddies here, other than that. It’s a great malbec, that simple. Not the best, but solid. At $13, it gets the job done, but it’s the same job a $10 malbec could get away with. However, if you have $3 that are particularly pissing you off, spend them on Kaiken and you will not be sorry. 8/10
Zardetto Prosecco - Prossecco, coming from the Italian word for “I should do research”, is a sparkling wine, and boy did this one just sparkle. It was actually a gift I had received a long time ago, and I drank it mainly because I don’t know how long sparkling wine keeps (even if unopened) in a refrigerator. This was interesting, and ended up being a very dry drink that tasted not unlike champagne, but also not exactly. It’s certainly not the type of drink to just plow through a bottle unless you don’t have taste buds, but it achieved its purpose, and would likely be a nice celebratory wine. Not only that, but the name of this drink sounds like some old-school gangster leader, and that’s worth joking about while drinking. It still only gets a 5/10, because it is not a leisure wine.
So my supervisor (and attorney) Raul goes down to AC all the time. They know him by name at many places – he’s one of those guys. So when he asked me to come down, telling me we’d have a mini-suite at the Trump Plaza and a free comped dinner, I wasn’t about to turn that down. We were planning on playing the $100 hold’em tournament. I was stoked.
After my harrowing driving experience, I felt I had Lady Luck on my side for the weekend. So we get down and I hit some Let It Ride. I think I played 6 hands without even cashing once. I pick up and leave. I have $45 left of the $100 I was allocating for this, meaning I have 3 hands to play. I tell the lady “I only have three hands in me. Make them count.” I won my first 5 hands and put myself up $50 overall. Then they reshuffled the cards and my luck waned, but I managed to escape after 45 minutes with only losing $25. I’ll take it.
We go to dinner, drink a $92 bottle of Riesling, which I shall review later, and ate a $250 dinner for the price of tip. Not shabby. Then on to the Hold’em tournament. Only 25 people in it, and the price was more than we thought ($125), but first place took home $1500+. I could have done for that.
I also could have done for cards – seriously, I can’t even evaluate my play because aside from pocket queens (once), my best hand was K10 off suit. I mean, utter garbage. I bluffed a few hands, but nobody could win with the cards I was getting. I got knocked out unceremoniously and went back downstairs while Raul and Mike were betting ludicrous amounts of money at a cash game.
I took out $120 (something I was kinda against) and played the table game version of hold’em (just beat the dealer, essentially) Cards were terrible. I lost. It was my biggest loss ever at a casino, totally $270 (which puts me almost exactly even at AC in general)
What amazes me is that, bearing all this in mind, I had no real shenanigans. Just bad luck. I guess having my life saved the night before was enough luck for a while. And really I can’t complain about that.
Merry Christmas to those who wish to hear that. To everyone else, Happy Holidays.
Almost every part of me wants to ignore what just happened. It’s 4 in the morning – I am driving home from Kitt’s party, late at night, on a rainy (I hate NJ because of this) December night. I made it 3/4 the way home. Around exit 150 on the NJ Parkway, I am coasting along, fighting fatigue. I am in the left lane. Suddenly, I hit a patch of water I don’t see and I hydroplane. BADLY. My car slides 90 degrees right. I cut across two lanes of traffic and end up facing the wrong way on this 3-lane highway. I fishtail terribly. Throughout all of this, I am very calm, but I realize the terror of this situation – intellectually, I am waiting for some car to careen into me. Somehow, I manage to pump my brakes and right myself with some fancy steering. I find myself in the right lane, facing correctly, and completely stopped. My car is panting, thoroughly exhausted, and even confused. I turn it off. Thinking quickly, I put on my hazard lights – the visibility is admittedly slight at best. A few cars swerve to miss me, some jutting into the shoulder to avoid me. I take a deep breath, restart my car, and slide it into drive, accelerating as fast as it will go.
I made it alive. Moreover, I made it thoroughly unscathed. I’m pretty emotionally beat up by this incident, but I’m perfectly healthy. I really don’t know who to thank – God? Fate? Michelin? I’m really really happy it was this late when this happened – if it were rush hour, I would be dead right now, and this journal entry would be much less here.
I’m still thoroughly spooked out. I hope I can sleep tonight. Thank you, to whoever deserves it. Whatever I might have said about my luck, I rescind. Thank you. I owe you one.
Don Miguel Gascon Malbec 2004 – First of all, I’d like to give a shout-out to all my international wine-enthusiasts… wineaholics… they should really come up with a good word for “people who really really really like liquor”… It’s nice to know that my fake wine reviews have global appeal. And fittingly, this next wine is another Argentinian import. In an impossibly tall bottle, this malbec is extremely dark in color, and extremely unadhesive in terms of feel. It did not hold my painting up AT ALL. However, it did go down pretty smoothely, though it lacked the certain yum-punch that several other of the malbecs have had. This wasn’t an unenjoyable wine, and unlike the last malbec, this definitely tasted the part. It just wasn’t the cream of the crop. And at $10 a bottle, I expect it to be just that. Still quite passable and a good alternative if you want something that comes in a tall bottle. 7/10
Day 1: Came in late (at 10). Trained for about an hour. Started work. Left early (at 3)
Day 2: They repaired my computer which had been virused and installed $200 worth of software. Suggested one of my best friends for a job here.
Day 3: Already doing what I will be doing full time. I begin training someone else.
Day 4: Work from home – wait all day for my phone to get hooked up. It doesn’t get hooked up until 4:45pm. Basically, I did nothing and was paid for it (boss was made aware that I did nothing) Office pays for the new phone line and installation.
Day 5: Come in. Train a new potential employee. He does my work (only one phone between us). I supervise the whole day. 1st office party after work. Much free alcohol.
Day 6: Back to normal work. 2nd office party after work. Much free alcohol. Stupidly nice 3-story “apartment” in the Upper West Side.
Day 7: Working from home. Wait until 2pm for my internet to get hooked up. Work for three hours. Work pays for the internet and hookup. My friend that I suggested worked out an agreement and will be working here full time.
Day 8: In a meeting from 10pm until 4pm. Then we exchange office holiday gifts. I get liquor and porn.
I think I like my job.
This weekend was the Buzzy’s Doubles tournament. As of the morning of I had no partner. I was just going to show up and have some fun. The weather was unseasonably beautiful, hitting 50 degrees. Plus, JASON HAAAAAASS would be there. You might remember him from my tour, when I stayed with his beautiful wife and him in Ohio. Good people.
So I ended up partnering with Anne Yondolino in the burgeoning ‘mixed’ division. There were five teams. The first round was ‘best disc’, where both teammates throw and you simply pick the better shot and both throw your second shot from there. Anne and I played miserably. Actually, I played miserably and Anne did all right. She carried my sorry ass all over that course. We ended up -5, which was NOT great. We were three strokes off the lead (Adam and Jeannie, my good friends, shot a solid -8)
The second round (starting immediately after the first) was an interesting format called “Second Marriage” (also called ‘choice’) One player shoots, and if it’s good, you can take it and the second player never shoots. If it’s not great, the second player shoots but you are MARRIED to that shot (you must take it no matter what) This is some interesting strategy. Anne stepped up to the plate, though, and played REALLY REALLY well. She drove first on almost every hole, and for three straight holes, I didn’t touch a disc because her shots were good enough each time. We ended up shooting a mirror image round of -5, making up three strokes and putting us in a tie with Adam and Jeannie (with 5 strokes separating us and the third place team)
After a short break, we played round three, which was a modified best disc round. It’s normal best-disc, except you can’t use one person’s drive more than two holes in a row. I like this format and think it suits the mixed division well. Finally, I took my head out of my arse and started throwing some decent shots. I ended up hitting probably about 5 or 6 good putts on the tournament (missing four easy ones, but that still comes out ahead). We ended up shooting a very solid -6, giving us a 4 stroke victory, and a super $35 each to pocket on our $10 investment.
It was a great day of fun, and most importantly, the TD Roach’s wife had suggested that everyone bring an unwrapped toy to donate to the battered women’s shelter that Buzzy’s always donates to. It was a great tournament, and I’m glad we were able to do something good for Christmas (even if I brain farted and forgot a toy… I’ll donate extra during the ice bowl)
Up next? Who knows?
So at the start of my dream, there was a very large albatross on the street of some unnamed city. I was almost immediately taken away to a “side-dream”, something completely unrelated. It was at my old church and I remember very little of this part of the dream. Then I went back to the other part, and I saw the albatross in this large bucket type thing plummeting into a very very deep well and splashing into some water at the bottom.
Right then, Iron Maiden music started playing. As I scaled down the side ladders of the well, I noticed this beautiful woman also descending. I pointed out to her that it’s funny they’re playing Maiden, because Maiden wrote “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, a song based on the Coleridge poem. (The albatross falls from his neck… sinks down like lead… into the sea) She pointed out that this WASN’T that song, it was a slower song I’ve never heard of (though I recognized Bruce Dickinson’s vocals immediately) She said, “Listen to the lyrics” I did. They were something like: “If you’re in danger, walk away. Walk away. Walk away.” And suddenly I realized this was a trap.
I started to bolt up the ladders and I could see she was too, a little behind me. When we were almost at the top, I could see an explosion below and I raced harder. I knew I’d make it, but I didn’t know about her. With one last burst of flames, she literally was blown out of the well. She landed on the street in my arms. I immediately knew who she was – she was this girl I’d met online in real life but hadn’t met in person (of course didn’t look like her, but it’s one of those oneiric conventions where even though they’re NOT the person, you know they are)
We soon were unfettered and hanging out with this man and this woman. The man was some authoritative figure that I didn’t really like, and he was definitely hitting on my new woman. I got the impression that Ashley was SUPPOSED to be with him (like they had been on a first date that night, or something like that), but I could tell she liked me and I liked her. I think we even verbally confirmed it. So I sorta acted uncommonly brazen for me. And at one point, she was wearing this blanket to keep warm, and I was touching her knee under it. The other woman, either jealous or trying to make sure I knew the man would NOT approve, said “I know your hand is under that blanket and on her knee,” and I turned around and confidently smiled, “I know. That’s why I’m wiggling my fingers, in case both you didn’t notice.”
I woke up, pretty satisfied with myself there.
I’m sometimes branded as negative. But I also posted my favorite 117 songs on here, with descriptions of all. So I tend to think I’m “passionate”, whether positive or negative, about many things. But while plodding through a book I just can’t get into (which is rare), I thought of what things I definitely disliked. I can only think of three lists right now, but let’s try it:
Least Favorite Movies
5. 10 Things I Hate About You
4. Resevoir Dogs (tied with all of Tarrantino’s films, really)
3. Romeo & Juliet
2. The Royal Tannenbaums
1. Napoleon Dynamite
Least Favorite Books
5. Apollo 13 by Jeffrey Kluger and James Lovell – It reads like a NASA handbook, not a novel. Seriously, watch the movie – it’s much better.
4. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller – I’ve tried to get through this one a few times, and it’s really giving me problems
3. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje – I’ve never seen the movie, but I can’t fathom it being any more boring than the book
2. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster – I read 44 pages of this book for English class in high school and told the teacher I refused to read another page. It would be #1 except I got an A on the essay/oral report about the main themes of the book, a feat that still impresses me to this day, and infuriated the teacher.
1. The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro – There were dents, scrapes, and tears in my book where I had slammed it into a wall while reading it, and I read every one of its 544 pages. Just an infuriating book.
5 Bands I Don’t Understand Why People Like So Much (I hesitate to say my least favorite, because there are bands I’d certainly rather NOT hear than these, but are just head scratchers for me)
5. Rush – Okay, I know Neil Peart is a great drummer, but Geddy Lee sounds like one of the Chipmunks
4. Gnarls Barkley – “Crazy” might very well be the worst song ever written
3. U2 – I just don’t get it
2. Red Hot Chilli Peppers – While there are a few exceptions (mainly in their earlier days) I can’t think of another band who churns out such uninspired drivel that so consistently gets airplay
1. Neil Young – Nails on a chalkboard
MAN vintners Sauvignon Blanc 2005 – It will readily become apparent where the problem with my wine review column is: I don’t know very much about wine. More specifically, I don’t know what I normally like and dislike. So when I try these new wines, I don’t know if it’s a bad brand, or if I just plum don’t like the type of wine altogether. I now see that not only will this column be an expensive venture, but a potentially very stupid one as I try countless brands of a wine that, no matter how good the winery, still tastes like backwash. Nevertheless, I have people that rely on my wise words before choosing their wine. I’m their elitest lifeboat. I typed “lifebat” I think that might be more appropriate.
Anyway, onto the MAN vintners, which I bought specifically for the bold MAN on the label. It’s from South Africa, so I’ll let slide that they used a screw-cap and not a cork (I don’t know, maybe they’re afraid of cork down there…) Now, this was not a great wine. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t terrible, but it had a weird taste that kinda sat in my mouth long after I had swallowed it. Although I did find that, like most wines, it tasted better the more I had. But then I noticed the weirdest thing (how I didn’t notice it first is beyond me). The smell was terrible. Really awful. I don’t know if my cup was dirty or something, or just these grapes had pungent skin, but it was like inhaling roadkill right before eating ice cream. The taste was certainly better than the smell.
All in all, this was a mediocre wine, and I’ll need to try more Sauv Blancs before I start writing educated reviews on the subject. I’d say save the $9 here and just sniff a dead raccoon. Then go drink some good wine. It gets a 4/10.