Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A little wine tasting

Yesterday we went to a couple of wineries in a little loop from St Helena to Healdsburg (home of Bear Republic brewery for all you Racer 5 lovers and Hope and Olive folks) and on to Santa Rosa before heading home.  We stopped first at Alexander Valley Vineyards, which is owned the family of one of my old peripheral friends from the days of hanging out with the day students at Deerfield Academy.  

The guy behind the tasting bar, Andy, was genial and tasted us on a good 8 wines (to paraphraze Bill C. "I sipped but I didn't swallow").  Tastings with people in the industry, like Deb, are fun because they not only know a lot about wine but they (and sometimes their friends) are treated to complimentary tastings (it used to be free out here, but it became big business at some point along the way, and now people expect to pay $10-20 for a couple of pours).  I also learned something cool and very sensible that I didn't know before, tasting rooms will trade equally valued bottles with people in the industry so you can bring wine from your place and trade it for another winery's product (one of the perks of working for wineries is that they usually give their employees a fair amount of free product, or at least steep discounts).

We went for a brief walk around Healdsburg looking for food (we were really hungry) but it was the quiet time between lunch and dinner when everyone in town was closed.  After finding a suitable snack we went on our way to J Winery (which makes some lovely bubbly).

I had to risk an accident here and take a picture while driving of this guy:
Being in California is kind of like going to a very strangely familiar but totally alien planet, where guys drive around in rigs like this crazy patchwork Bronco that doesn't even have a roof and of course he is talking on the phone.  Its really hard to see, but the icing on the cake with him was that he had one of those long armed monkeyish stuffed animals, pink and fluffy, dangling from his dashboard.  Awesome.

At the J tasting room we got this young dude (I'm guessing about 22) Jeff behind the bar.  He had just finished an internship in the cellar and had moved out to the front of the house.  We were treated to a bunch of tastes and ended up buying a ton of yummy stuff, including a very exciting pear liqueur and a magnum of 2001 Brut for her Deb's birthday dinner.  

"How will we get this huge bottle of bubbly chilled down in just an hour?"  (by filling the sink with ice and cold water)

The triumphal return

Kitty Ann Derrig touched down at 8:15 pm local time in Sacramento Ca.
When we got to the car, we let her out and she happily munched some
food while I ate some Sushi that Debbie brought me.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Kitty joins the mile high club.

Well she will in a few minutes anyway.

Friday, April 25, 2008


I helped Randy get his car to the mechanic on Tuesday. I showed upat
his house in my little white truck but he was washing off his
beautiful 196? Buick Wildcat for me to follow him to the mechanic in.
The thing is a giant, 18 feet long & 6 feet wide, with some kind
enormous engine. Driving along with its delicately thin wheel in my
hands, and deep breathy motor in front of me, I must admit to feeling
rather cool.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

My mom called me as I was driving to work with a tech support question re: her new iMac that Andre and I bought her.  The way she went about describing her problem (by telling me what she had been wanting to do and what program she had opened and what option she had chosen and then what had gone wrong and then what the dialog box that kept popping up had said and then...) pushed some kind of instant irritation triggers in me that got me highly annoyed.  I wasn't so annoyed that I lost sight of the fact that this was not really at all her fault, and a detached aspect of myself began to try to understand why this had happened... as I asked her to tell me what, generally, this technical problem concerned before she gave me any more details.  

It turned out that she wanted to force quit Adobe Illustrator, which had gotten stuck in a loop where it couldn't do what she asked, but wouldn't let her cancel her request.  We went through the usual akward back and forth as I tried to direct her to the key combination needed, while brusquely suggesting the omnipresent help menu for future reference.  It occured to me that we essentially had become meat modems, as I tried to operate her GUI machine through a analog, voice interface where I imagined the state of the machine then directed her to manipulate it.  

It felt like a generational thing.  I could have happend to her if her great grandmother had called her up with a car problem: "I wanted to get to visit Willis in Tulsa, so I got in this metal box with doors and windows and sat down in there and shut the door and now I'm looking at this wheel in front of me and behind it there are a bunch of dials that say......."  

Its about internalization.  My mom's great grandmother, living out her twilight years on a farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl may not have been exposed to automobiles until well into her adulthood, and in a way they always remained unfamiliar to her, something to translate into another frame of reference, unable to separate the relevant information (the thing won't start) from the irrelevant details.  

So it is between my mother and I,  the machine she uses in her house is virtualized inside of me thanks to childhood exposure, while for her it is a thing, to be respected, feared, and misunderstood

Sara and Maggie are going to Montreal

But where to eat?

Friday, April 18, 2008

The thumb.

Friday night casualties

We had a busy night at the bar. The rest of the place was quieter, but Val and I were running about all night.

It was a good time until I slammed my thumb against a shaker and my thumbnail separated: the nail went outside the shaker, the meaty part went down inside the shaker and into the drink.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hello Woodstar

Its been a while.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Everytime I see that car...

First flowers!

Good morning spring.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A busy weekend.

After a slow few weeks, business has been booming in the restaurant.
Last night, we served over 200 people, and tonight we came within 10
people of breaking our record (2% less than the record isn't that far

It was Val's 50'th birthday (though I have a hard time believing it)
and she was in with a bunch of her friends. When it was time to sing
to her, I was kind of in the weeds but I jumped away to sing.

Later somebody got pulled over in front of the restaurant, but I don't
think they were coming from us because no one had left for a while.

Oliver, who is our mascot and cracks us all up with comedy gems too
numerous to count, was obliging enough to participate in a left over
cake glamour shot at the bar after hours.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I have no idea.

So we are almost done with a Solair Retractible installation in Noho
and all we have to do is set the electric motor so it knows when to
stop rolling out and in.

We only do this kind of installation a few times a year, and I always
have to look in the book to figure out how to set those limit
switches. I tried to set them a few times until I got pissed off and
started to say nasty things to the motor and Roger said something
like, "Watch out for Jay when he starts getting sarcastic."

Since we couldn't figure out what was wrong with it, we decided to
take apart the switch. Of course we have no idea about electrical
work, my feeling is that anything invisible that can kill me is better
left to sweaty guys with low waistbands and their proteges.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

It looks like a circus canvas

But it is actually Margaret's new awning for "Ollie's Down Under"

Taking a break

Its sunny in town today where Roger and I are putting up a retractible awning for a restaurant that was damaged by the fire this winter.  Yesterday felt like the first real day of spring, but today its really windy and it feels like late winter again. The  
Yankee life is always interesting.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I ate at work on a day off.

Eggplant poppers with a roast red pepper coulis and peanut ginger
sirloin tips.