Monday, December 22, 2008


It's not just the Big 3 that are doing shitty.

Wine Review Experiment

There is a gray area when it comes to wine, that place between 12-18 dollars where you’re not sure if you’re buying swill or getting entry level world-class wine. This Gewurztraminer, for 17 bucks, is where you start to taste what real wine is supposed to be like. It’s complex, balanced, goes well with food, and doesn’t kill your bank account. It’s versatile enough to serve with a multitude of foods and it still packs enough punch to sip on its own. You’ll be shocked by how well this wine can stand up to the heartiest of foods because it has weight--similar to that of cheap cough medicine. I’ve had this wine many times in many situations and every time it’s been just right (you could say that 60% of the time, it works every time). What gets me is the range of very dry to very fruit forward flavors you will encounter. Obvious on the nose: wet rocks, citrus, a hint of white pepper, maybe some grassyness. On the palate are wonderful mineral qualities balanced with good lemon-lime citrus notes. The flavors go beyond that, but you should be convinced by this point that you're drinking good wine. Can it sit in your cellar and age? I have no idea. I feel like this is ready now and should be enjoyed as often as possible. If you’re a red wine snob and are put off by white wines, I think this Gewurztraminer is the crazy Frenchie that will reel you in.

Buy it here or search for it online or at your local wine shop


Chateau d'Orschwihr Gewurztraminer Bollenberg
Alsace, France
Estimated retail: $17-19 USD

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Three Hour Tour

When I was growing up, my older brother had taped on VHS a couple of Gilligan's Island marathons. I had every single episode on a VHS cassette. I watched that tape so often that it began to warp from overuse. I had memorized the commercials that ran between episodes. I would wake up on a Saturday, fire up the VCR, and watch the same episodes, over and over again.

It was in watching GI that I learned how to deal with sadness. The earliest episodes were expository. You saw each of the castaways accept the reality that they were stranded. The life that they had once known was now a ghost that would serve as a constant, haunting reminder that they were stuck, isolated, and helpless.

Gilligan would prove to be the foil in every improbable rescue scenario, and that would become the punchline of every episode. In the beginning, however, it was an unfortunate tragedy. To this day, I watch the pilot episode with an irrational hope that somehow Gilligan will get his shit together. I believe this has been defined as insanity by some psychologists, but as a youngster, those feelings were real. I still believed that life was fair. I believed that hope can change things. I was naive enough to think that there was such a thing as wishes-come-true.

I empathised with the seven castaways. I felt a faux-sophistication in having the ability to absorb all of the emotional fire-power of the first 3 episodes of Gilligan's Island. While that sounds utterly ridiculous, you have to develop your emotional intelligence somewhere, and I was part of a generation that was raised in front of a television. I have trouble making it through the black and white episodes of GI. I don't think they are funny. I watch them and get filled with melancholy. They don't make me cry, but they drum up feelings that I don't like feeling. I can't talk about this anymore.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Dear BCS:

If you're going to deny undefeated Boise State a BCS Bowl Game and let a 2-loss Ohio State team go to the Fiesta Bowl, then you need to stop using the word "championship." Ohio State's fan base is what earned them the spot in that game, not their performance on the field. If you're going to refuse Boise State a BCS game after a resounding undefeated season, then you should put large, profitable teams into one division, and the small, mid-major teams into another. There is blatant hypocrisy in keeping teams in the same division if they have no chance to prove themselves as champions.

The bowl system is a relic. It was originated to promote tourism to warm-climate cities during winter months. Bowl games were not created to solve the problem of picking a champion.

If you're not going to change the current system, then stop lying to me. Stop telling me that I'm watching football teams win championships. I think I watched two bowl games last year. This year I'll watch one. If there were a playoff, I'd watch every game. I'm tired of the BCS, and I want a playoff.



Friday, December 5, 2008

Things Have Changed

Jon Favreau was better in Swingers.

Remember, every single thing you do from here on out is public information because of the internet and social media. Be careful with those digital cameras, kids.

YouTube Dreams

After reading Mark Cuban's take on YouTube, I began to think of other forms of digital phenomena that captured my imagination, only to be ruined by corporate interference. It's not the corporations fault. People were spreading around content that was owned without compensating the owners. The life cycle goes something like this: some college kid creates some kick ass application, then a few million people use it, then we start to see a bunch of awesome, creative ideas distributed to millions of people that otherwise would never have seen them, and then big media companies try to cash in, then the site goes to shit. I remember Napster, don't you? MySpace, Facebook, YouTube. They're all going down. What seems to be too good to be true usually is. But hey, they were fun while they lasted.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Greed / Black Friday

By now I'm sure you've heard that a person was trampled to death on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, during a pre-dawn stampede at a New York area Wal-Mart. What I bet you didn't know was that the guy was 6 foot 5 inches tall and weighed 270 pounds. He sounds more like an offensive lineman than a Wal-Mart employee, so you know that the crowds must have been fierce.

I don't know exactly who is to blame for this. Advertisers get paid to encourage shoppers to take advantage of the massive markdowns, and it was their marketing efforts, in combination with the lagging economy, that resulted in a mad early morning dash to find discounted goods. It was unchecked greed, however, that turned a free for all shopping spree into catastrophe.

There was a time when I would laugh at modern consumerism. Often times I would participate myself with a number of ill-advised purchases, only to regret them later. I can't help it now when I go to the mall and think about the mentality of the shoppers. Walking up and down the mall corridors there will be shoppers living beyond their means, selfish shoppers, shoppers desperately trying to find values, shoppers who can't afford what they want, what they need. Now, I have to worry about the lengths these shoppers will go to in order to save an additional 15%.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Back to Work

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. You know what sucks? Going back to work after a long holiday weekend. The degree to which your first day back will suck is determined by the attitudes of your co-workers. Everyone shows up with a different outlook on the day. Some lines that you're going to hear a thousand times today with my snooty remarks below (stuff I'd never actually say, but stuff that's going through my head):

"I wish I were still on vacation!!!"
I wish you were still on vacation, too.

"I need a vacation!"
I see what you're doing here. You're being ironic because you just had a vacation, and here you are saying you need one. Clever.

"Don't you remember? We talked about it on Wednesday."
No, I don't remember. Please lower your expectations of me immediately.

"I really don't eat turkey."
Is that so? Are you also a communist? Everyone eats turkey on Thanksgiving, and you're not special if you don't.

"Oh Gosh, I must have gained ten pounds!"
Get out of town! You mean you stuffed your face for 5 days straight and you experienced weight gain?

Also, get ready to rehash your weekend, step by step, with everyone you talk to, even people you don't know. I've got a pre-packaged line ready: "Oh, you know, the usual, lots of food, lots of football. Saw some old friends, which was nice. What about you?"

Mondays are lame. Mondays after a long weekend are worse.