Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Vibram Five Fingers

The five fingers. I was lucky enough to get a pair last November for my birthday (thanks Ma!).

Please ignore my pasty whiteness.

I have to give 100% of the credit to Dr. Ali for suggesting them. If she hadn't shown them to me, I wouldn't have seen them until about a week ago, where I spotted a pair on a billboard. Well, not the Vibrams. The copycat Filas - which are cheaper and likely just as good - are on the billboard.

I love them.

Other people stare. I wore them to the grocery store once. That was fun.

One guy came up to me and asked me about them. Kids pointed and laughed -- suddenly, it was like I was in sixth grade all over again.

I did about 75% of my usual workout in them. The next day, I was sore. My calves were tight.

Gravel is painful. I like pavement and grass. You feel every stick, every part of the ground underneath you. For some reason, it just works for me. A lot of my critics say their knees couldn't handle the stress of the impact. It's true, there's no forgiveness there.

I haven't tried cleaning them yet, but their instructions say you can toss them in the washing machine (no dryer!), so I'll give that a go. I did buy a couple of pairs of toe-socks to wear with them. Sometimes, my toes don't want to cooperate and go into the shoes. That takes some fenangling.

PS. I'm not a runner. I'm a casual jogger, in my spare time. These make me want to run. I have a pair of neon yellow & pink Nikes that a friend once told me, "If I had shoes like that - I'd run every day just to wear them." It's like that.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter, Eggs of Doom, and Hypotheticals

Happy Easter. I love late easters - warm weather, flowers, full contact egg hunts in skirts and church clothes, blasting the Hallelujah chorus with the car windows down, and the like.

Or, doing a power hour out of fake plastic eggs. And we measured this with a shot glass - the large side of the egg is exactly one shot. It's regulation size.

It's also a great season because of Eggs of Doom. Way back in the college days Liz and I would put can tabs in plastic eggs and launch them across the hall at one another. The plastic egg would usually split open on impact and the can tabs, aka shrapnel, would fly everywhere. Anyway this week in the mail I got a nice big package of Eggs of Doom courtesy of Liz. 

And it was so thoughtful of her - in addition to the eggs of doom was some fake yellow grass, which I was artfully able to weave into a nice toupee.

Anyway, just a few quick bullet points & double dose of hypotheticals:
- Last week I got $21 of groceries for $7. It's a slow beginning to Extreme Couponing. 
- I made sushi last week. As I came into the kitchen to clean up the dishes, a fortune cookie was in front of my rice cooker. No idea how it got there - kinda creepy actually. The best guess I have is it must have fallen from the cabinet above the counter, but even then, how a fortune cookie got there, I don't know. I was a bit concerned I'd read the fortune and it would turn out like the movie Big. I read it anyway - "Saints are merely sinners who try harder." Interesting.

- Hypothetical No. 1: So life gave you lemons. And we're not talking about a pansy amount of lemons - it's trucks and trucks of lemons. So when life gives you lemons, what do you do? 
- Hypothetical No. 2: If you find a stamped, addressed envelope, do you send it? Do you read it first? And it's not in an obvious location, like on your countertop. It's somewhere strange, like the side of a road, or an abandoned car, etc. 
- Lastly, I tried some new food this week including Shark Fin and Sea Cucumber. Interesting. 

Happy Holiday. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


After I put an empty glass under my pillow and the beer fairy still hadn't come, I realized it may take some manual labor for me to fill my beer fridge.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With ping pong balls and PBR
And solo cups all in a row!

The BGTV (Beer Garden TV) On-Site Caretaker and Watering Advisor, Greggy

With some healthy watering and a little bit of love, hopefully this beer garden will expand into a fountain. Who knows, maybe it'll even rainbow.

Monday, April 18, 2011

[almost] a professional tourist


"cigars are boy flowers." - leaf & bean, pittsburgh's strip district

All for one and one for all legguns... 1 size fits us all sexy leggings

Adding some color to a world that is otherwise black and white

fizz fizz

weapons to destroy homogeny

A brighter world! [Also, a huge mess]

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Physics & Hairstyles {arithmetic lessons for adults, vol. 3]

First off, $50 doesn't even fill my gas tank anymore. This sure isn't the 90s, Britney.

Next up, today's sermon. I'm under the belief that if hairstylists paid attention to basic science laws then bad hairstyles could be avoided. By simply adding a few 101-Physics, Chemistry, and Biology sessions to the standard chop & clip courses then style snafus could go extinct.

A solid example of this would be the Marge Simpson hairstyle. For this to be functional, the force of hairspray must overcome the force of gravity. This is an unnatural situation involving both the density of the hair, the surface area required to be doused in spray, and the strength of the spray. All of this was evaluated out in a lengthy proof that I decided to spare you from [although, feel free to inquire within]. Just know that I began with the basic law where

F = G * [m1m2/r2]
if I had sub/superscripts powers I'd use them.

and resulted in the discovery of the spray constant. Because this spray constant must overcome the force of gravity it requires the force similar to what propels an airplane - a force to lift metal off of the ground and move at a rapid pace - which must be harmful, taxing, and expensive. And boy-oh-boy is that obvious - what split ends you have, my pretty! I will define both the spray constant and all of this other nonsense in my course book, the law of hairodynamics - but with all of this headache and drama, the Marge Simpson Hairstyle could have been avoided. If nothing else, it is an improbable situation.

Next, a mullet. Oh, the infamous mullet, the hillbilly mullet, the child mullet, and even, the five dollar bet DJ mullet. Now the thing about the mullet is that up front, it's so practical. It's like a reversible belt, a shampoo that is also a body wash, or a spork - two in one, but when you look closely, it's just kind of effing weird.  That's the situation here.

For the mullet argument, assume that the "party in the back" is a proton and the "all work up front" is an electron. If you examine the atom, the protons are in the nucleus, at the "hub" of the atom. The electrons are all flailing about on the outside, fooling around, trying to configure themselves. The protons are attracting other electrons, causing a big mess and identity crisis for the original electrons. That's like the mullet here - an avoidable, two-natured beast that cannot be tamed. Too much yin and yang - although admittedly, some are just born with the burn of the mullet inside of them.

Advanced courses could provide statistics of hairstyles -- ie, %age of year spend in humidity (Florida) vs reccomending getting a permanent (hellooo Missus Frizzus!), or perhaps general athleticism vs ability to (a) easily, quickly and effectively pull hair into a ponytail, under a helmet, etc.

Next up, last week's hypothetical situation. Another pick your winner deathmatch! Your contestants in this chaotic circus ring:

a)       Ronald McDonald
b)      Wendy
c)      Colonel Sanders
d)      “The King”
e)      The Dairy Queen Mouth

Cheers, Frizzettes. I have major plans in the works for this weekend. You'll see next week.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cava Winery & Vineyard

So this one has been on delay a few weeks due to traveling, office hairs, wolf t-shirts, and other distractions of the like. But the third winery in the trifecta a few weekends ago (leaving - wait, wait, wait for it - TWO wineries left to go on the passport) is Cava Winery & Vineyard in Hamburg.

We pulled in on a windy Saturday afternoon. The scenery is likely quite beautiful in the summer and fall; however the structure's exterior doesn't look much like a winery. The huge parking lot made it feel more like a church. Maybe it is - turning water to wine?

We walked into the winery which had live music. Only two other patrons were enjoying the tunes; actually, in addition to their wine, they were dancing.

Anyway, we walked in to the countertop.

Cava has a bit of a different style, as you pick a set of wines to try instead of just any. They come in sets of four, but we were able to mix and match two different sets. After the selection, you seat yourself at a table, and they serve the wine to you.

Additionally, you can order some food (great if you have kids to bring along!).

I'm not sure of all of the wines they have because there wasn't an official list, but here's the ones I had.

Vini di Riccio - Old Vine Zinfandel. Aged 13 mo in American Oak; this smells like wood and is quite good.
Vini di Riccio - Sangiovese Blend. 20% Merlot and 80% Sangiovese. This is more bitter; just OK.
Cava Rosso Rame - 60% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot, 20% Sagrantino. Aged in oak 12 months. There's a bit of shudder in this as it goes down.
Cava D'Oro - 100% Sagrantino. Lightly tannic, buttery and good.

The seat yourself atmosphere and the food was a great touch, but there was little/no attention from hosts to ask questions or hear about the wines. Even with only four patrons in the entire place, it was uncomfortable to ask questions because it didn't seem to be the winery's process.

I have to admit, I'd browsed the winery's website more than once prior to visiting. I was pretty excited to visit after seeing their site, but it was kind of a hypo (hypo, noun. Like a typo but with the hype - an error with how vamped up something was). The place was brightly lit and the music was nice, but the people were cold and the winery itself was less fun than the others I've been to. Anyway, the wines are still good and the bottles are reasonably priced for taking them home.

Happy 80 degrees tomorrow!!!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Beer Fairy

I love it when the beer fairy hits. Sometimes (s)he leaves Bud Light for the kids to play drinking games with. Sometimes it's a thirty pack of Natural Light to remind you of the college days so you appreciate how far you've come. On cold days where you want something thick and creamy (yeah, you can say it, I'll wait...) it's a Milk Stout. On warm, summer days you may score a splash of Hefeweizen, and if you're very lucky, a lemon.

On days like Tuesdays, where it's supposed to be spring, but it's not, I'll use that decisive beer fairy trick as my own personal Punxsutawney Phil. Hand me a hefty lager? Allright, I'll treat this as winter. Oh! A sunny River Horse Double Wit. Summer is just on the horizon.

Anyway, to ponder as you enjoy a beer fairy treat, last week's hypothetical situation: You're writing the headline for the cover of the New York Times... It's April Fools Day. What's the news?

bottoms up.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Ventimiglia Vineyard

Ventimiglia Vineyard - two Vs make a W which is the forefront Wine which starts a happy day. Possibly a secret meaning behind their name? Doubtful, but I can be a theorist anyway.

I must admit, today is a Monday. Mondays have a bad rap; the weekend is over, the chaos starts again, and typically if you're drinking your friends think you're an alcoholic. But on Mondays where it's 75 degrees for the first time since the previous year, and at 9pm I can leave my window open and have a glass of oaked chardonnay hmmm, well that's just delightful.

So back to Ventimiglia. Let me sip my chardonnay first. It's going to be a good week.

As we pulled up, I was convinced the passport vs. GPS war had struck again. Half of the time we GPS an address listed in the passport and end up phoning the winery because they we're lost. Not the case this time; the arrival is just subtle.

Grapes lined the back of the tasting room, which was small but lit brightly with natural light. The other patrons appeared to be common visitors to the winery; and the owner's wife's Ma, who was in her 90s, was flitting around and keeping Jonaid entertained. Homemade cookies sat on the countertops.

$5 for a taste.

Buon Giorno - Cayuga with remnants of pear and apple.
Wantage White - Sweeter
Chambourcin - Aged in Hungarian Barrel (my notes say it has 4% Merlot - is that right?)
Cabernet Franc - Delicious
Carignane - Grapey with a strong finish. For the owner's grandfather (who is mostly to blame for all of this wine nonsense)
Merlot - Sold out!
Fratelli Ventimiglia - a Bordeaux blend
Rocky Ridge - A blend, quite good.

Like some other wineries, our pourer was hovering over my notes, so I felt awkward writing what I felt. I did ask him about the "spit" method - that is, you swirl a wine around your mouth and then spit it out without swallowing. It's not rude; it's actually to be able to taste and feel the wine without getting obnoxiously drunk. "Professionals do it," Gene, the owner, explained. I know it's common at large tastings, I just have never seen it done. He offered me the chance to try it, but I declined. Three wineries in one day wasn't going to "do me in". This isn't the minor leagues.

Gene is also on the board of the GSWGA, representing the northern wineries. And he is part of another Italian family who confirmed the pronunciation is Sang-ee-oh-vay-say and explained Ventimiglia is stated a soft g. The winery is a bit funny, they had an event where they celebrate and invite anyone with the same last name. Cheers!!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Three Wolves are Better than 1 gives it glowing reviews.
"This item has wolves on it which makes it intrinsically sweet and worth 5 stars by itself, but once I tried it on, that's when the magic happened. After checking to ensure that the shirt would properly cover my girth, I walked from my trailer to Wal-mart with the shirt on and was immediately approached by women. The women knew from the wolves on my shirt that I, like a wolf, am a mysterious loner who knows how to 'howl at the moon' from time to time (if you catch my drift!). The women that approached me wanted to know if I would be their boyfriend and/or give them money for something they called mehth. I told them no, because they didn't have enough teeth, and frankly a man with a wolf-shirt shouldn't settle for the first thing that comes to him.
I arrived at Wal-mart, mounted my courtesy-scooter (walking is such a drag!) sitting side saddle so that my wolves would show. While I was browsing tube socks, I could hear aroused asthmatic breathing behind me. I turned around to see a slightly sweaty dream in sweatpants and flip-flops standing there. She told me she liked the wolves on my shirt, I told her I wanted to howl at her moon. She offered me a swig from her mountain dew, and I drove my scooter, with her shuffling along side out the door and into the rest of our lives. Thank you wolf shirt.
Pros: Fits my girthy frame, has wolves on it, attracts women 
Cons: Only 3 wolves (could probably use a few more on the 'guns'), cannot see wolves when sitting with arms crossed, wolves would have been better if they glowed in the dark."
In addition to Amazon inspiring many to wear it, Dwight sported one at Pam and Jim's wedding.

So there I was, searching for a shirt that looked like a Texas Flag, when I turned to The Mountain Shop. And there it was, in all of its glory.

And it wasn't in a tourist shop - oh, no, it was in the real store. The REAL thing. The wolves store where wolf statues howl and wolf vases display and wolf hats reign. It was authentic, 100% Texas, and 100% Testosterone. The three wolves, howling at the moon, screen printed in high quality resolution.

I didn't hesitate. I bought it. And I bragged to my friends. "I'm the best girlfriend ever," I gloated. It was a gift for my boyfriend.

Shortly after my initial elation, my regret set in. As he put it on, I couldn't bear for him to leave the house. It was like a possessive, jealous cougar is clawing at my soul. I knew if he strolled the butcher aisle of the supermarket in this shirt, he'd get sultry looks from the cheese curl aisle. I knew, if he wore this to work, his boss may prematurely promote him simply due to his alluring qualities. I would never be able to trust him again.

The three wolves T-shirt turned me into a monster.

So I remedied the situation. I hid the wolves T-shirt, hoping it will never be unearthed again to unleash its horrendous powers over other women. It is in a dark location, never again to be seen by the likes of men. Oh, cursed shirt. Occasionally my lonesome boyfriend howls at night, and I know he's wishing for his lost shirt. But we're better off without it.

With great attraction comes great responsibility.

Friday, April 01, 2011

San Ant Hot

Everything is bigger in Texas. Accepting that theorem to be true brought me to last week's hypothetical situation of the week: If everything is bigger in Texas, where is everything smaller? The best answer may have been Greggy's "Alaska, because it's cold up there."

Reportedly, this was the last time I was in San Antonio, in 1989. It would appear I was smaller in Texas in 1989, however then I was well below five feet tall, so Texas through my four year old eyes was much larger.

Photo courtesy of Aunt Lynne.

So this time around, I went back to the Lone Star State with a whole different outlook. Pulling up on an afternoon thick with fog, I encountered the JW Marriott Resort and Spa that would be hosting my trip. Instantly my paranormal light blinked 'on' as the resort reminded me somewhat of The Overlook Hotel. Visually the similarities may be minimal, but large hotels always give me that eerie feeling. I'm too superstitious.

The hotel was also having a photo competition where the winners get two free nights at the resort. Serious incentive for me to waltz around and be touristy.

Moving beyond the luxurious hotel was the San Antonio Japanese Gardens.

Downtown we found the river walk, PBR factory, and a little bit of NJ.

And upcoming later, Jonaid's souvenier. I'm pretty proud.