Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year!

I'd like to wish everyone a safe and happy New Year's. I have to work both jobs on New Year's Eve. It's going to be a long-ass day.

May 2005 be everything that you dream it to be. It can't be much worse than 2004. Wishing you peace, joy, and prosperity in the new year. Cheers!


2004 Person of the Year

My 2004 Person of the Year is not is not even living any more. There are lots of worthy individuals that are still living (Jon Stewart was one of my considerations), but this one really stands out. She was a kind, passionate, brilliant individual and has made quite an impact on many people's lives. My 2004 Person of the Year is...

Julia Child

I've been a huge fan of Julia Child for years. I remember watching her host cooking shows when I was a kid. Her personality struck me then. Mrs. Child died in August at the age of 92. I remember being in my car listening to the radio when I heard the announcement. I started to cry. She is one of the people that I most wanted to meet in life. Her awkward and tall stature and shaky voice will always be remembered. Did you know that she worked for the OSS? She then met her husband Paul(a fellow OSS worker)in Sri Lanka and moved to France when her husband became a diplomat working for the US Information Service. She learned to cook at Le Cordon Bleu and cooking became her passion. She has written many cookbooks, but the standout is Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Mastering the Art of French Cooking is considered by many in the field to be the finest cookbook ever written. It is not overly complicated, and that's the beauty of it. Americans were not very good or adventurous cooks at the time. Mrs. Child's book opened up a world of possibilities for a whole generation of home cooks. Her laid back, casual demeanor made her very accessible and enjoyable to watch on television. She made cooking fun and she made it known that it's okay to screw up. She did it herself on TV. She'd simply laugh and add a little more wine. She was part of a circle of greats including James Beard and her good friend Jacques Pepin. One of my greatest TV memories is when she and Jacques Pepin co-hosted a cooking show on PBS. It was brilliant. You could tell that they were good friends and comfortable with each other and they played off each other with the most surreal chemistry. That show was an absolute joy to watch. Her spirit was infectious and it took hold on generations of home and professional cooks. Although she was not an accredited chef (CEC or CMC)she had the respect of the food community across the world. Anyone that can turn a meatloaf nation onto fine French cuisine had a natural knack. People were comfortable with Mrs. Child. Never intimidated. It is her brilliance, kindness, love of wine and food,and commanding personality that will always be ingrained in my memory. Mrs. Child passed away at the age of 92 eating butter, cheese, foie gras, goose fat, and drinking plenty of wine. There's something to be said for the "unhealthy" French lifestyle. She loved nothing better than sharing a good meal with good friends. Cheers to that! One of my dreams (honestly) was to eat with Julia Child. That will not come to fruition and I shed a tear for her passing. But I extend a wink and a toast to one of the finest people ever to grace our presence. Cheers! And as Mrs. Child would always say at the end of her show... "Bon appetit!"


2004 Book of the Year

My book of the year for 2004 was actually released in 2003, but I didn't read it until 2004. Sue me. My book of the year for 2004 is...

The Apprentice-My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin

This is the autobiography of one of my favorite chef/author/TV personalities of all time. This well written bio is like crack for foodies like me. It's smart and thoughtful and his life has been a surprisingly fascinating one. Read this if you're a foodie or not. You'll likely become one if you weren't before. You'll laugh and salivate. I read it in one day because I couldn't put it down. It's only 293 pages and there's a recipe at the end of every chapter. He was one of my favorite "celebrities" before I read it and now I respect him so much more. He's a kind and brilliant person. Enjoy.


Tsunami Relief Part II is now taking donations for the American Red Cross for relief efforts in Asia. It's simple and super-quick, especially if you've already got an account. members had donated nearly $7,000,000 at the time I made my donation. That's fantastic! Way to go everyone! It's great to know that there are such decent souls out there. Thanks to for all their efforts. Please consider donating using one of the above links or click on the link I posted the other day for more options.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

2004 Album of the Year

And on a lighter note...
My favorite album of 2004 is...

"Give" by The Bad Plus

The Bad Plus are a great three piece jazz group (bass, drums, piano) from Minnesota. They're each very talented musicians and songwriters. Their music follows all the traditional jazz rules and standards while being contemporary at the same time. There are three awesome covers on this album
"Street Woman" - Ornette Coleman
"Velouria" - Pixies
"Iron Man" - Black Sabbath
and a great tune with the great name of "Cheney Pinata".
Think of Brad Mehldau but more raw, primal, and succinct in their delivery.
This album is catchy and intelligent. It's a joy to listen to. Each of these guys could hold their own as members of any world class/world famous trio, quartet, etc. It's their creativity that separates them from the rest of the pack and you don't have to be a jazz fan to appreciate them. Also check out their great "These Are the Vistas" album. Run, don't walk, to Glen's store and have him order a copy for you.


The horsemen are getting closer...

Frank Sinatra sang "It Was a Very Good Year". He certainly wasn't singing about 2004. The worst natural disaster in recent world history has just occurred with the tsunami eminating from Sumatra. I am deeply saddened by the recent events and cannot begin to fathom the scale of it. Recent reports show that as many as 58,000 people may already be dead. They predict that at least as many will die from disease and that there are at least 200,000 more injured. I offer my sincerest condolences to all that have been affected by this gigantic tragedy. Most of the deaths have been reported in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Myanmar, the Maldives, Kenya, and elsewhere. Please consider donating anything you can to any of the fine relief agencies. Here is a link to a site that has direct links to many relief agencies directly involved with the current tsunami.

Please give as much as you can to your agency of choice. The scale of this recent tragedy is incomprensible. I've been watching various news reports and everything I see shocks the hell out of me. Most of the reporting has been pretty good, but I don't need to know about the celebrities on holiday and how they hurt their foot.

2004 has been a pretty shitty year. It's been okay on a personal front, but national and international news stories just keep reminding me of what a shitty state the world is in. Blue state blues, Iraq, North Korea, Ukrainian presidential candidate poisoning, locusts, Echo Boomers, the killer tsunami, etc... We'd better do something to make a difference in this miserable world. Please give generously to aid the survivors of the tsunami and also to all of your other favorite charities before your holiday spirit runs dry.


Tuesday, December 28, 2004

My favorite film of 2004 and why I hate Hummers...

I hate Hummers (the vehicles, not the fun kind)! I thought that they were just for guys with small penises, but now even soccer moms are driving them (maybe to protect their precious Echo Boomers). I drive a Hyundai. That means I'm poor with a small... Anyway, Hummers really piss me off. They're certainly larger than necessary and guzzle way too much gas. They're ugly. They take up more than one parking spot. The people who drive them are obnoxious. That all being said check out this really cool website ( It's pretty damn hilarious!

And now on to something a little more serious...
There were some pretty good films out in '04. Check out Hero and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But my favorite film of 2004 is...


Japanese Story is an absolutely beautiful and gut-wrenching film starring the amazingly talented Toni Collette. It was released in 2003 in Australia, but not released to the U.S. market until 2004. I'm not going to give much away about the plot as I don't want to give anything away. This stunningly beautiful film is directed by Sue Brooks and stars Toni Collette and Gotaro Tsunashima (in his first ever role). It is filmed entirely in Western Australia and the cinematography/photography is absolutely breathtaking. Essentially it's a love story between two unlikely individuals only put together for work purposes. Mr. Tsunashima plays the son of a very important Japanese businessman and Ms. Collette is a geologist that must drive him around the Outback/desert and satisfy all of his whims because they really can't afford to lose the account/sale. The first and most important difference between the two is the language barrier. This is soon overcome and it is realized that the biggest difference is indeed cultural. The two don't get along together at first, but as they are forced together and must overcome obstacles together they eventually develop a very pure, passionate, moving relationship. I'm not going to give away the ending as it's a bit of a shocker. The first time I watched this film I was thoroughly enjoying it and then it's as if someone took a sledgehammer to my ribcage. WTF?!?!? There is good and convincing closure at the very end, which makes it a bit more bearable. Let's just say that if you don't cry at the end you are the WORLD'S BIGGEST ASSHOLE.

Toni Collette's perfomance is nothing short of genius. It blew me away and I've been a fan of hers for years. The photography is stunning and the colors are mesmerizing. The direction is bloody fantastic. The acting is unparalleled. The script is fascinating and original. It's damn bloody brilliant. It did win 8 Australian Film Instituted Awards including Best Film, Best Cinematography, and Best Actress (Toni Collette). This is an absolutely amazing film demonstrating the love and passion that two people can share in spite of a very obvious culture clash. It is beautiful, poignant, emotional, devastating, and pure. This is going into my Top 10 Movies Of All Time list. This movie will affect you. I'm not just saying this because I'm a fan of all things Aussie. This movie is an emotional steamroller. Hop on board.


Sunday, December 26, 2004

Hope y'all had a nice Christmas...

I hope that everyone had a fantastic Christmas! Mine was rather uneventful. But I guess that's good. I ended up not going to the Lions game and gave my tickets away. I was listening to the game on the drive back from Caseville, but I never heard the end result (they were winning 19-6 before I switched stations).

Christmas is finally over and that's a huge relief at work. I still have New Years to contend with, but that's nothing compared to Christmas. I work both jobs on New Years Eve. It's going to be a long ass day. Hopefully I'll be walking with plenty of coin at the restaurant job. I spent a lot of money on Christmas this year and need to recoup my losses somehow. Normally I work at least one or two specific Christmas parties for the store, but neither had a party this year. I used to wait on both families at the Country Club so they always request me to work their parties. But no parties. No parties = no cash. Ouch. I always half-counted on that money to help pay for Christmas presents. I haven't heard any word on bonuses yet at work, and I'm not holding out any hope (don't get me started). Oh well. I hope that everyone had a merry one.

I was watching 60 Minutes and saw a really interesting story on Echo Boomers. Turns out that my fears are well founded. I've been known to bitch about the current generation of children and teenagers being to sheltered. Kids of the current generation have never known life without bicycle helmets, seatbelts, soccer, child carseats, play groups, or having a regimented/organized life. If you tell kids to go out and play they don't know what to do...literally. Kids today are encouraged to be team players and get awards/trophies for being such. Kids aren't rewarded to be "Number One" anymore because it may hurt someone's feelings. They spoke to some college students who said that they had tons of trophies for doing nothing. A specialist asked a corporate CEO about problems that the new generation of young workers exhibit. Turns out at they have absolutely no grasp of the big picture or planning for the future. The video-game culture wants immediate results immediately. Turns out that sheltering these kids so much has really f'ed them up and may destroy America's business future. Ha ha. I was right. Check out the link above. It's really interesting. I'm glad I grew up in an age without seatbelts, carseats, bike helmets, and Soccer on Monday/Karate on Tuesday... When we fell we got hurt and we bled, and we kept on playing. In the 60 Minutes story they stated that children today will never know what it's like to have peanut butter allowed in the lunchroom. WTF?!?!?!? I realize that some people have serious allergies, but come on. I don't remember anyone having any peanut/gluten/dairy allergies when I was a kid. I'm no doctor, but I think maybe everyone is developing allergies to things because they're so sheltered. How can you develop an immunity to anything if you've never had it? Check out the story for yourself. It'll make you feel better about your generation. Oh well, it's time for me to fall off the monkey bars (onto non-antibacterial cement).

I did post my best and worst 25 of 2004 earlier. I'm going to post on my favorite album, movie, etc. later this week.

Until the next bottle...

Friday, December 24, 2004

"Ohhhhhhhh fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuudddddge..."

"Only I didn't say "fudge". I said the word. The big one. The Queen Mother of all dirty words. The F dash dash dash word."
I just realized that I hadn't watched A Christmas Story yet this year, so I made a point to watch it. It's hilarious as ever. It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street may be Christmas customs in some households (both are fantastic), but it's A Christmas Story for me. Some of the most quotable lines in movie history can be found in this joyous Christmas film.
"How do little piggies eat?"
"Daddy's gonna kill Ralphie."
"FRAGILE. Must be Italian."
"You'll shoot your eye out."
Ralphie's optimism is unswerving. This is a nice, harmless, thoroughly enjoyable film. Bad Santa may soon become another Christmas classic in my home. It is neither nice or harmless, but it's thoroughly enjoyable. There's nothing like a Christmas film that makes you feel dirty.

One more retail day 'til Christmas. I'm looking forward to Christmas more as a day off than as a holiday at this point. I work until 6:00 on Christmas Eve and then it's off on a three hour drive to my parents. I'll be spending the night and then spending Christmas day at their house (a change in plans). My aunt and her husband will be driving up to my parents' this year instead of us driving to their place in Macomb Township. I may or may not spend Christmas night at my parents. Kelvin Pritchett (Detroit Lions Defensive Tackle) called me at the store and said he'd drop off some tickets for Sunday's game. I'm not a huge football fan, but he got me tickets for the Green Bay game earlier this year and I had a great time (they got their asses kicked). It's the last home game and a nice gesture. Marcus Bell and Corey Redding (a DT and a DE) also came in the store today and I sold them some wine and booze for the holidays. These guys (all three of them) are really huge, really nice guys. If he drops the tickets off I might not spend the night at my parents on Saturday because it's a 1:00PM game on Sunday. I also need to find someone who'd like to go with me. I have an offer out to my friend Glen, but I haven't heard back from him yet. I've got lots of friends, but amazingly not too many of them are football fans. I've got a couple of other people in mind if Glen can't go. You'll be hearing from me soon if that's the case.

I'd like to thank my reader (singular) or readers a peaceful and joyous Christmas. Wishing you the best this holiday season. May all your dreams come true. I won't be posting until after Christmas as I won't have access to a computer until I get back home.

Watch A Christmas Story and A Charlie Brown Christmas, drink some eggnog (with booze in it), and have a most Merry Christmas. Wishing you, your friends, and your family peace and joy. Enjoy your time with your loved ones and enjoy your day off. Peace and love.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Kalangadoo House for sale.

Kalangadoo House is for sale. Kalangadoo House is situated in Kalangadoo in the state of South Australia near Penola and Mt. Gambier. This is the beautiful 1870 homestead that has been converted to an operating Bed and Breakfast. It sits on about 50 acres. I had the amazing opportunity to stay here in the spring (Australian spring) of 2003. My memories of Kalangadoo house are so fond that I've named my blog after it. Antonia, the current owner, who with her husband completed renovated the place, says that it's too much to handle. She and her husband (and daughter) still live in Melbourne where here husband is employed. It's too difficult to handle both. She's very sweet and it would be fantastic if you would like to buy the place. The sunsets are surreal, the night sky is mesmerizing (and not polluted by light), the Australian magpies serenade, the sheep and cattle gently call in the distance, and the gum trees stretch as far as the eye can see. Don't forget the occasional kangaroo. If you're really rich and are looking for the world's most beautiful B&B to buy and operate please give Antonia a ring. The house has been for sale for over a year now. They may be willing to negotiate. Please buy it...for me. Check out the above link (or this one) to go the Kalangadoo House website. There are lots of details and some beautiful pictures. I'd post them here if I knew how.

Until the next bottle...

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Best and Worst of 2004 it is...some sort of best and worst list for 2004. First I was going to just do a top albums of the year list, but I realized that I don't have a large list of top albums from 2004. There were some great re-issues and of course some great new albums, but most of the stuff I bought in 2004 was older. So I decided to list the best 25 and worst 25 things of 2004. Here goes...

BEST (in no particular order)

Japanese Story (film)
Brad Mehldau Live in Tokyo (album)
America (The Book) - John Stewart and the Daily Show staff(book)
Partly Cloudy Patriot - Sarah Vowell (book)
Smile - Brian Wilson (album)
Loretta Lynn - Van Lear Rose (album)
the Australian swim team in Athens
Alfie Soundtrack (album)
My vacation "Up North"
Arrested Development (TV)
Angels in America (TV)
Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (album)
Give - The Bad Plus (album)
Margerine Eclipse - Stereolab (album)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (film)
Hero (film)
Fahrenheit 9/11 (film)
Chappelle's Show (TV)
Anchorman (film)
Sonic Nurse - Sonic Youth (album)
Careless Love - Madeline Peyroux (album)
Ba Ba Tiki - Sigur Ros (album)
Real Gone - Tom Waits (album)
Barack Obama
Phish breaks up (Gosh they sucked!)

WORST (in no particular order)

November 2, 2004
WDET's format change
the Dave Matthews Band "poo incident"
The Paris Hilton Sex Tape
The Swan (TV)
"Red State" ignorance
Detroit Lions
Ashlee Simpson
Jessica Simpson
Dan Rather
Troy (film)
Janet Jackson's nipple
William Hung
Fox News
Mass failure of gay marriage initiatives
John Peel-RIP
Ray Charles-RIP
Arthur "Killer" Kane-RIP
Marlon Brando-RIP
Elvin Jones-RIP
Rodney Dangerfield-RIP
Johnny Ramone-RIP
Detroit rated #1 in STD's

It occurs to me that 2004 was not such a good year. I think 2003 was better. There was (more) better film and music in '03. I also went to Australia in 2003, so maybe it has an unfair advantage. Let's all hope and pray that 2005 will be a better year. At least blogging made 2004 a little more interesting. Let's toast to a better 2005! Cheers!

Until the next bottle...

Monday, December 20, 2004

Yet another borrowed survey...

I borrowed this Top 50 list from Julie.

The BBC has come up with a list of 50 things you should eat before you die.
Items in CAPS are things I have eaten.

The BBC Top 50

11. MORETON BAY BUGS (Fantastic! It's a type of Australian lobster.)
18. LAMB
19. Cream tea (I'm not even sure what this is. Unless it's tea with cream in it, in which case I have had it.)
32. Guinea pig
36. BARRAMUNDI (A delicious Australian fish. I had an amazing whole fried spicy Barramundi at a Malaysian restaurant in Adelaide.)
40. AUSTRALIAN MEAT PIE (The breakfast of champions...yum!!!)
42. Durian fruit (Durian fruit is banned in this country. It's supposed to be one of the stinkiest things on earth. The smell is supposed to be reminiscent of rotting flesh. It's supposed to taste great though. I'd love to try it given the opportunity.)
44. RIBS

I've eaten just about everything on this list. Does this mean that my time is almost up? I've also eaten a lot of stranger things that don't appear on this list. I don't intend on eating any guinea pig. I suppose if I were offered some in the Philippines I'd try it. Here's a little inside joke to a few friends..."Jay Jay - are you washing your guinea?"

Until the next bottle...

How 'bout a quickie?

This is just going to be a quick one. I just got home from seeing a show at the Garden Bowl. It's 2:30AM Monday morning. I haven't done that on a Sunday night in years. Saw a good local act by the name of Loretta Lucas. She's my friend Julie's identical twin sister (not the same Julie that's usually mentioned). I work with Julie at Andiamo. A few people from the restaurant showed up and a fun time was had by all. It was in celebration of Julie and Loretta's birthday. The creepy guy that used to be at WUMD whose name I never remember who is it every show I go to was there. He's a slum-lord (is that supposed to be hyphenated?). I tried to remember his name all night and now (literally) I just remembered it. I think it's "Frank". He's kinda the stalker-type.

What's up with this ASS COLD weather? It was 6 degrees Fahrenheit earlier and I heard that it was "1" when I was at the show. Locusts...ASS COLD weather...Bush. It's either a sign of the apocolypse or a coming ice-age. I've been home for about a half an hour now and my nipples could still cut diamonds.

HOLY CRAP! Apparently I haven't driven down Michigan Ave. (between Southfield and 94) lately. The construction is finally done. I've been avoiding it, but it was still the quickest access to 94. The construction was done, but the 94 exit was closed. D'oh!!!

Check out the quiz on Glen's blog. Find out which member of the Velvet Underground you would be. I'm Sterling Morrison. I guess that makes me dead.

Went to a party at my friend Brian's house last night. Good times...good times. Saw a few people I haven't seen in a while. And there ain't no party like a P-Funk party (at Brian's) without Bacony Goodness. Mmhhmmmhmm...bacon...

Time to get my ass to bed. I've got to work in the morning. Christmas in retail is still kicking my ass. I can't wait to have a day off (Christmas Day). It's almost over. Then I've got New Year's at both jobs to contend's all a bunch of shite. Bloody holidays! I'll try to post some sort of "Best of 2004" list or something tomorrow. Toodles.

Until the next bottle...

Friday, December 17, 2004

100 reasons I should be your boyfriend...

The holidays are here and everything is going insane. I was thinking about something though. I have lots of great friends, but I still get lonely. Especially during the holidays. So I thought I’d put myself out there. I'm the prototypical "nice guy" which usually works to my disadvantage. Here are 100 reasons that I should be your boyfriend. (These are in no particular order.)

1) I enjoy the theater.
2) I love to cook.
3) I shower daily.
4) I’m disease-free.
5) I don’t have a mullet.
6) I don’t run with scissors.
7) I don’t run a sweat-shop.
8) I’ve never led a political/military coup.
9) I will always open the door/car door for you.
10) I enjoy dining out.
11) It’s better to give than receive (especially in bed).
12) I’m not afraid to ask for directions.
13) I voted for Kerry.
14) I am not related to the Bush family.
15) I like to cuddle.
16) Money isn’t everything (because I don’t have any).
17) If I lived near a beach I’d take long walks on it with you.
18) I’ve never committed a felony.
19) I’m well-traveled.
20) I’m a good speller.
21) I can read past the fifth-grade level.
22) I’ll always put the toilet seat down.
23) I love animals.
24) I give money to charity and non-profits.
25) I don’t do drugs.
26) I’m a gentleman.
27) I’m not a sports fanatic.
28) I make a mean chocolate torte.
29) I know a lot about wine.
30) I would love to go to the symphony/ballet/opera with you.
31) I’m a very patient person.
32) I’m not David Gest.
33) I will remember milestones in our relationship and celebrate them.
34) I will not ask you to “pull my finger”.
35) If I won the Lotto I’d take you to Australia with me (however, I don’t play the Lotto as I think it’s a waste).
36) I’m a generous gift-giver.
37) No mosquito will ever bite you as long as you’re near me. Apparently I’m delicious.
38) I’d be willing to take dance lessons with you.
39) I’m romantic.
40) I like to give flowers.
41) I’m not afraid to cry.
42) I’ve never been one of Liz Taylor’s husbands.
43) I will never cheat on you.
44) I’m not afraid of commitment.
45) I don’t have any Nascar stickers on my car.
46) It’s not my ambition to build my own monster-truck.
47) I’m not afraid of sub-titles.
48) I’ve never killed a hooker.
49) I’m not gay (surprisingly enough).
50) I don’t mind dressing up (although I don’t have any suits that currently fit me).
51) It’s okay to “stay-in”.
52) I put out.
53) I make some mean scrambled eggs.
54) My friends are nice.
55) I have a cool job.
56) I don’t smoke.
57) I’ve never broken the rules of the Geneva Convention.
58) I’ve never needed a barf-bag on a plane.
59) I will sacrifice the most comfortable airplane seat/restaurant seat for you.
60) I’d probably agree with everything you say.
61) I like hugs.
62) I will walk between you and the street or a beggar.
63) I will not ask you to go to the new Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude Vandamme film with me.
64) I stopped wetting the bed years ago.
65) I have a healthy relationship with my mom, but we’re not “too close”.
66) I’m a good listener.
67) I will always offer my arm or hand when walking in snow or on icy ground.
68) Damn I’m good looking!
69) I’m not a racist.
70) I don’t drink Budweiser or Miller.
71) I will prepare your favorite meal for you whenever you want it.
72) I make my coffee in a French-press.
73) I have an ice cream-maker.
74) I eat all my vegetables.
75) I don’t spit in public.
76) I try not to fart in public.
77) I think that Ashcroft is a dick.
78) I believe in women’s rights.
79) I’ve never been arrested for public urination.
80) I’ve never been featured on America’s Most Wanted.
81) I love kids.
82) Yes, I’ll buy you an ice cream.
83) If you’re driving I’ll pump your gas for you.
84) I used to do volunteer work (I don’t have the time now).
85) Even I think that John Cusack is cute.
86) I’ve never been banned from a public place.
87) No, you’re not fat.
88) Did you do something different with your hair? I like it.
89) I will tell you if you have spinach in your teeth or toilet paper stuck on the bottom of your shoe.
90) I don’t eat yellow snow.
91) I can write my name in the snow (cursive, not print).
92) Although they’re all great, George was my favorite Beatle.
93) I will never perform the Macarena, the chicken dance, the hustle, or dance to YMCA at a wedding or elsewhere.
94) I can follow product assembly instructions, but I can’t fix your car.
95) I get $13.00 haircuts so I can spend more money on you.
96) I’ve never run for public office.
97) I’d like to watch the sunset/sunrise with you.
98) I don’t eat paint chips.
99) I will serenade you if you like, but not very well.
100) I’m cuddly.

I’d better let you in on a few things, though…
I’m fat.
I’m poor.
I can belch the alphabet.
I’ve been known to be a little gassy on occasion.
I may blind you with my pale-whiteness.
I used to be a Republican.
I think Airplane and Monty Python are funny.

There you go ladies. I’m available and I think that I’m quite the catch. Don’t all respond at once.

Until the next bottle…

Another damn stolen survey...

You may as well read Julie's latest post on "White Trash" as it's far more entertaining.

It's almost Christmas and work really sucks. I'm burning out earlier than usual this year. Oy. Well, here's another stolen survey...

What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?
Started this blog. Pretty uneventful year.

Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t think I made any. It’s usually to lose weight and that hasn’t happened. I don’t know if I’ll make any this year.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friend Lisa gave birth to Andrew. My friends Kelli and Rick had Brendan. Michael and Joanne had Megan and Grace.

Did anyone close to you die?
No family or friends, but a few acquaintances.

What countries did you visit?
Canada for dinner once. I went to Australia in 2003. 2003 was a much better year.

What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?

What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
November 2, 2004, a day that will live in infamy.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Surviving work without losing my sanity (although that’s questionable).

What was your biggest failure?
I didn’t have a single date.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just mental illness and a damned ingrown toenail.

What was the best thing you bought?
Gifts for others.

Whose behavior merited celebration?
John Stewart as a guest on that moronic “news” show. My friend Perl behaving at his wedding and having the “best wedding ever”.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
President Bush.

Where did most of your money go?
Restaurants, wine, food, CDs, DVDs

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Getting picture CDs and digital pictures from my friends Brittney, Tim, and Eric from my Australia trip.

What song will always remind you of 2004?
She Was Dancing, He Was Dreaming by Julian Schnabel

Compared to this time last year, are you:

happier or sadder? Sadder.

thinner or fatter? Fatter

richer or poorer? Poorer

What do you wish you'd done more of?
Sleeping, reading

What do you wish you'd done less of?
Working, eating

How will you be spending Christmas?
I work until 6:00PM Christmas Eve. Sometimes we’ll open a little champagne to celebrate surving another retail Christmas. From there I will drive for three hours at night to my parents in Caseville. We always celebrate on Christmas Eve (my mom is Swiss, it’s a European thing). I’ll spend the night and then in the morning we’ll drive separately to my aunt’s in Macomb Township with her husband and my grandmother. There was a rumor of some of my friends getting together for the new Wes Anderson film Christmas evening.

Did you fall in love in 2004?
Sadly, no. Although I do have a raging crush and a few lesser ones.

How many one-night stands?
Ouch! Next question…

Favorite shows?
Simpsons, ER, Law and Order SVU, Daily Show, Sopranos

Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
No, I just hate some people more.

What was the best book you read?
The Apprentice by Jacques Pepin

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Lakme – A French opera by Delibes

What did you want and get?
A vacation “Up North” with friends.

What did you want and not get?
Another free trip to Australia.

What was your favorite film of this year?
Japanese Story and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

What did you do on your birthday?
I think I worked. I went to a truck stop for dinner with friends at a later date.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Other than living in Australia, it would have been nice to have someone else in my life.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
Haphazard and whites after Labor Day.

What kept you sane?
Sane? That’s questionable. Friends and music are very grounding.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Scarlett Johansson

What political issue stirred you the most?
Dubya, Dubya, Dubya…

Who did you miss?
All my dear friends from Australia and my Swiss family.

Who was the best new person you met?
I must be in a rut. I don’t think I really met anyone other than some new customers.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004:
Bad things happen to good people.

Today's Time Waster:
This. I had a really shitty day at work and didn’t have any time to waste. This is my stress relief now that I’m at home.

My New Favorite Song: “Rock of Gibraltar” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (it’s not on the newest album, it’s on Nocturama)

Food I'm Craving: I could really go for some duck confit right about now.

That's all for now, but I'll be posting "50 reasons I should be your boyfriend" soon...

Until the next bottle...

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I hear three horsemen coming...

Apparently there have been record-setting large swarms of locusts in the Canary Islands, Africa, Mexico, and Australia in recent days. It's been snowing here off and on. I certainly hope I don't have to scrape any frogs off my windshield in the morning. I think that Dubya's second term may coincide with this catastrophic sign.

I'd like to respond to my friends Kathleen and Glen who were kind enough to comment on my last post. Yes, I am indeed a big fan of both Kevin Spacey and John Turturro. Kevin Spacey has an arresting screen presence an is wildly talented. I look forward to his Bobby Darin flick (I'd like to see his concert performance when he comes to town as well.) He's most likely in my top 30, but doesn't quite make my top 25. John Turturro is pure genius (see Barton Fink, Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? , and Miller's Crossing). I left off lots of others that I think are amazingly talented...such as Tim Robbins, Rachel Griffiths, Jane Adams, Solveig Dommartin, Nigel Hawthorne, the Gyllenhalls, Jason Schwarzman, Leelee Sobieski, John Cusack, Jeremy Piven, Natalie Portman, Kenneth Branagh, Ian Holm, Edward Norton, John Malkovich, Julianne Moore, James Woods, Scarlett Johansson, Susan Sarandon, Cate Blanchett, Harvey Keitel, Robin Williams, Forest Whittaker, Sean Penn, Robert DeNiro, Pauly Shore and Yahoo Serious (kiddin'), etc. Thank goodness for foreign and independent films. There's not a lot of mainstream films exciting me in this day and age. Luckily there are a lot of talented screenwriters, directors, and actors out there that are willing to make a film for art's sake and not mainstream box-office appeal. I'll take Raise the Red Lantern or Stranger Than Paradise over Superbabies II any day.

Until the next bottle...

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The most talented film thespians list...

I recently read a review of a new film coming out starring Javier Bardem. I think that Mr. Bardem is one of the most brilliantly talented actors out there. That got me to thinking about some of my favorite actors and actresses in film. Sidney Poitier, Sir Alec Guinness, Audrey Hepburn, and Sir John Gielgud (among others, ie Olivier) are some of my favorite and some of the most brilliantly talented actors of all time (living or dead). I came up with 25 actors and 25 actresses still living and still acting that I think are some of the world's greatest talents. This is strictly my opinion, and I'm sure that I've even missed some of my own favorites.


Jeffrey Wright (THE ACTOR to watch out for. His work in Basquiat and Angels in America is masterful. Nothing short of genius. A balls-out risk taker.)
Javier Bardem (Check out Before Night Falls)
Noah Taylor (Amazingly talented young Aussie actor. Check out Flirting, The Year My Voice Broke, Nostradamus Kid, Shine.)
Daniel Day Lewis (Duh!!!)
Timothy Spall (Genius British actor, Secrets and Lies)
David Thewlis (Check out Mike Leigh's Naked. He's like the Shane McGowan of acting - scarily ugly and brilliantly talented.)
Willem Dafoe (Everyone knows his work, but check out the little known Light Sleeper)
Gary Oldman (Another duhh!!! Brilliant as Sid Vicious.)
Benicio del Toro
William H. Macy
Kevin Kline
Steve Buscemi
Tim Roth
Geoffrey Rush
Daniel Auteuil (Amazingly successful in France. Not here. Check out The Eighth Day)
Matthew Modine (Great underused actor. His turn as Joker in Full Metal Jacket is career defining.)
Max von Sydow
James Spader
Kevin Corrigan
Michael Rappaport (You see him a lot, but check out his early role in Zebrahead.)
Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Albert Finney
Ray Liotta (The most underrated, underused actor as far as I'm concerned. He's intense.)
Vincent Donofrio (His role as Pyle should be a case-study.)
John Lurie (Great musician, narrator of Animal Cops Detroit, and coolest person to star in Jim Jarmusch films other than Tom Waits.)


Lili Taylor (Brilliant in anything she does! The queen of indie. Check out I Shot Andy Warhol, Dogtown, or Household Saints)
Toni Collette (Sure, she's great in Muriel's Wedding, but she will blow you away in the very moving Japanese Story. WOW!!!
Parker Posey (The other queen of indie. Check out Party Girl or The House of Yes.)
Rena Owen (Once Were Warriors is my favorite movie of all time!)
Audrey Tautou
Kate Winslet (Very talented and gorgeous! Check out her early role in Heavenly Creatures)
Marianne Jean-Baptiste (She will make you cry in Secrets and Lies)
Brenda Blethyn (She will also make you cry in Secrets and Lies)
Isabella Rosselini
Irene Jakob
Juliette Binoche
Julie Delpy
Dame Judi Dench
Emma Thompson
Thandie Newton (You may know her from Mission Impossible and some episodes of ER, but check her out in Flirting with Noah Taylor and a young Nicole Kidman.)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (If you haven't seen Georgia, see it!)
Emily Watson
Frances McDormand
Gong Li (To Live will make you cry, even if you don't have tear ducts.)
Christina Ricci
Keisha Castle-Hughes (She was the young star of Whalerider. Her performance was nothing short of mesmerizing. She wears her emotions on her sleeve brilliantly. She's definitely one to look out for. As far as I'm concerned she should have won the Oscar.)
Rosario Dawson
Helen Mirren
Emanuelle Beart
Martha Plimpton

This list came to me pretty quickly. I think that everyone listed above is talented in the field of acting. They may not all be big box office draws, but damn they're good.

Until the next bottle...

Saturday, December 11, 2004

A sigh of relief...

It's always a good feeling when you get all your Christmas cards in the mail. Whew!! I sent out about 50 and almost ran out of ink in a new pen. It's fun, but I'm glad I'm done. I always look forward to receiving them as well, especially from people I haven't heard from in a while. It's fun to catch up on the lives of distant friends and in some cases people I haven't seen in 10 or more years. I'm also almost done with my Christmas shopping thanks to the internet. Shopping online is so much easier. I don't necessarily think that it's impersonal. There's a lot of cool stuff out there that I'm not going to find in stores. I certainly don't have a lot of free time to shop seeing as I work in retail, at Christmas time. I'm off on Sunday and going to my good friend and coworker's house for wine and vittles with his wife and other friends. She's an amazing cook and it's always a good time. Lots of wine will be consumed. There's nothing as fun as good wine, good food, and good friends. I hosted a dinner party last week for some good friends and I had a most enjoyable time. I also look forward to Sunday as it's my last day off until Christmas. It's going to busy, busy, busy for me with work and some holiday parties to attend in my limited free time. I love Christmas though. I start singing some of my favorite Christmas songs to myself and find myself in the Christmas spirit. Too bad people can't be like that all year round.

I used to work at a place in Taylor, Michigan years ago called Gibraltar Trade Center (I worked for the owner of the building, not one of the vendors). It was tough, physical work for pretty low pay and I was one of the very few college students working there. I met some great people when I was working there. I have a specific Christmas memory from the GTC that I think about occasionally. One of our many duties was to clean a ditch that paralleled the driveway into the parking lot. Typically there would be one of us on each side of the ditch cleaning the debris that would collect from the weekend. It was especially brutal and somewhat dangerous work in the winter. There was a stock guy named Eric that liked to sing as he had spent a little time with the Salvation Army. I had about 12 years of choir experience including school and church. We would be cleaning the ditch while harmonizing acapella versions of "Silent Night" and other Christmas songs (we even sang some in the round). It was cold, wet, dirty, dangerous work, but the Christmas spirit would sneak in and make it a little more enjoyable. I must say that I've never heard a more moving version of "Silent Night" sung from a ditch. Maybe it was the outdoor acoustics, but it sounded bloody brilliant. For that moment I thought we were harmonizing better than the Beach Boys or Crowded House. It was beautiful. I don't know what happened to Eric, but he was a good guy who had turned his life around. I hope that he's doing well wherever he is. I was always a good choir member, but never a soloist. I was a little shy to sing by myself in front of people and I never let anyone hear my true ability. Honestly, at one time, I may have been good enough to sing as a soloist, but I always held back. I sing in the car like nobody's business and I don't hold anything back. Another memory I'll write about someday is the great experience I had as a high school freshman in Salem, Oregon. I was one of about 5 freshman members of a 120 member Concert Choir that represented the state of Oregon in Philadelphia.

Here's a list of some of my favorite Christmas songs to sing along to...
"Silent Night (Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht)"
"What Child is This?"
"O Tannenbaum"
"Adeste Fidelis"
"O Come All Ye Faithful"
"The First Noel"
"Angels We Have Heard on High"
"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"
"Go Tell It On the Mountain"

I haven't been to church in a very long time, and I don't have any plans to return, but the thing I miss the most is the music. There's nothing quite like the sound of a pipe organ. It's moving, especially when accompanied by a choir. I don't own much classical music (although my collection is growing), but my favorite composer is JS Bach. My favorite Bach CDs are simply organ music. It stirs the spirit and is very moving. I was lucky enough to attend a former choir director's Masters organ recital at EMU several years ago. You haven't heard anything until you've heard Rachmoninov played perfectly on a pipe organ. I've always liked classical music, but never really pursued it. I'm getting more and more into it, albeit slowly. I've discovered that I really enjoy Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, Mozart, and Beethoven. I'm also discovering Tchaiskovsky, Rachmoninov, Mahler, Brahms, Schubert, Mendolssohn, and Strauss. I don't know if my classical CD collection will ever rival the rest, but it's going to start growing slowly. Classical music has always been there and I've always enjoyed it, but now I'm starting to listen more closely.

Okay, I've got another stupid people story. This time it involves stupid people in a restaurant environment rather than a retail environment. Remind me to blog about more stupid restaurant patrons later. I worked at the restaurant tonight. It had the makings to be insanely busy. We started with a party of 25 and the restaurant was filling up pretty well in the early dinner hours. A party with a reservation for 18 people didn't show up. They made the reservation at our location, but went to another location. The poor waitress slated to wait on them ended up having four tables all night because we held the reservation for them. Another big party didn't show up. Think before cancelling or not showing up for a reservation. You're screwing everybody. Not only did we lose these 18 patrons, but another location had to scramble and put together a table for 18 during peak hours. Don't be stupid. I have lots of stupid restaurant patron stories that I'll blog about some other time.

Today's wine recommendation - R.L. Buller Calliope Rare Tokay $59.99/375ml
This stuff is insane! This is made from an assortment of different aged barrels of muscadelle from the Rutherglen district of Victoria, Australia. It is ultra-rich and sweet with notes of toffee, almond, coffee, maple, marmalade, tea, treacle, caramel, figs, cream, and dried fruits. It is amazingly complex and the finish is seemingly endless. The perfect match for chocolate, toffee, caramel, maple, or fig desserts. Great with nuts and blue cheese. I served this at a dinner party last week with a chocolate mousse made with Valrhona 71%. Damn!!!! Pour it on pancakes for a drunken breakfast treat. Seriously.

Until the next bottle...

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Stupid questions from stupid people..

Why do people ask such dumb questions in a retail environment? Dumb questions in a retail store are as frequent as meth-lab explosions in Mendocino. I run the wine department in a large wine/beer/liquor/specialty food store. I'm not going to subject you to wine-specific questions as that is not fair, and I may come across as a wine-asshole. I get a lot of stupid wine-specific questions, but it is my duty to educate people about wine. That's understandable. Here are some of my favorite questions, statements and scenarios...

"Do you work here?" - "No. I just like to wear the store uniform and the apron with the company logo on it while I use their computer to play Tetris."

I love it when people walk past the BEER department and walk up to me in the WINE department and ask me for BEER assistance. I'm always polite and lead them to the BEER department and help them as much as I can. I usually turn them over to the BEER manager, who is in the BEER department.

I love getting paged to the BEER DEPARTMENT for WINE ASSISTANCE.

I love getting paged to the DELI for WINE ASSISTANCE.

"Do you drink wine?"

"Do you like wine?"

"Have you tried any of these wines?"

"Do you carry this wine that I bought at the winery? They said it's only sold at the winery. Do you have it? Why not?"

"None of these wines are any good. My grandpa makes the world's best wine in his garage."

Me - "No sir. White zinfandel in a box doesn't age well."
Him- "That's ridiculous! You obviously don't know anything about wine. I'm a wine expert and I KNOW that all wine gets better with age. I have white zin (5L box) at home from four years ago and it's delicious! How do they let you work here if you don't know that?"

"Do you know anything about wine?"
"Yes ma'am. I run the wine department here. I've been doing this for over 5 years plus an additional 7 years in the restaurant business. I own over 40 wine books. I've tasted 1000's of wines and have judged and acted as table-captain at wine competitions. I've taught about wine at the collegiate level to culinary students and I've passed the first of three levels offered by the Court of Master Sommeliers. I've done a little writing on the subject and acted as a wine consultant on numerous occasions. I was also one of eight national winners to win a wine-trip to Australia, sponsored by the Australian Wine Bureau, based on my knowledge of Australian wine. Yes, I know about wine."
"I don't think I'll take your recommendation. I'd rather buy this bottle with the pretty label even though you told me it was rot-gut. I don't believe you. I know for a fact that all the good wines have pretty labels. The ones with boring labels aren't any good. You don't know anything about wine."
"Yes, ma'am."

"Wine's good after it's been opened for three weeks, right?"

"I know that chardonnay pairs with steak!"

"I know that cabernet sauvignon is the best wine with sole!"

"Do you sell Two Buck Chuck (Charles Shaw)? I heard about it on 20/20 It's supposed to be the best wine in the world."
"No, Ma'am. Charles Shaw is sold only at Trader Joe's. It's their exclusive item. They have sole rights to it. Charles Shaw was a real winemaker, then he sold the name to Bronco (Franzia) Corporation. There is a wine glut in California and a lot of excess juice. Charles Shaw is made from excess juice from the Central Valley (home of crappy box wine). It's really not that good. In fact, it sucks! In fact, I'd rather drink monkey bile. All of the articles and the 20/20 and 60 Minutes pieces mentioned that it's only sold at Trader Joe's. We can't get it. We couldn't order it if we tried. You have to go to Trader Joe's, ma'am."
"Do you sell it?"
"Why not?"
"It's only sold at Trader Joe's."
"Trader Joe's is a large national chain. Charles Shaw is essentially their store brand."
"Can you order some for me?"
"No, ma'am."
"Why not?"
"We're not allowed to order/sell it. I have a much better wine at the same price or a dollar more. Would you like to try that?"
"No! USA Today didn't write about. They said Charles Shaw is the best wine made."
"Okay, you enjoy the pretty pie-charts, small words, and large font. Have a nice day."
She walks away to the next employee and asks, "Do you sell Two Buck Chuck?"

The next person asks, "Do you sell Two Buck Chuck? It's really good."

Some people just flock to me because I must be helpful or have an honest face. I've been helping some people for years and they don't even buy wine. They always come to me for food/beer/liquor assistance. Although I'm pretty well rounded and I can answer lots of questions, each department has a specialist. I always refer them to the appropriate expert, seven times in a row. Essentially, the expert helps them every time, but the customer never seems to remember that. They always come to me because they say I helped them last time. Yes, I referred them to the person that could answer their question. The same person that's helped them the last seven times.

This one is not a gripe...
Why do old ladies love me so much? Is it because I actually offer them help? A lot of people like to ignore older customers. They're so grateful for the help and then proceed to tell me their life stories. Sweet, but one of the reasons people often avoid helping the elderly. Guess I'm just a nice guy. A lot of people underestimate the elderly. I love the elderly customer that actually knows A LOT about wine. I'm always curious about their past. Bon-vivants, like myself, but from another generation.

"Do you sell beer?"
"You just walked past the state's largest beer selection when you walked in."

More later...
Until the next bottle...

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Another borrowed survey...

I borrowed another survey from a friend. The listings in "ALL-CAPS" are the ones that I've done.

01. BOUGHT EVERYONE IN THE PUB A DRINK. (It was a slow night at the pub)
02. Swam with wild dolphins
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a bath with someone (Does a shower count?)
08. SAID I LOVE YOU AND MEANT IT (not romantically)
10. Done a strip tease
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. WATCHED A LIGHTNING STORM AT SEA (from the beach, not a boat/ship)
15. Seen the Northern Lights
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
19. Touched an iceberg
22. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
24. Gotten drunk off Champagne (As much Champagne as I drink, I’ve never actually gotten drunk from it)
28. Had a food fight
29. Bet on a winning horse
30. CALLED IN SICK WHEN YOU WERE NOT ILL (not at my current job)
33. Photocopied your bottom on the office photocopier
35. Held a lamb
36. ENACTED A FAVORITE FANTASY (I went to Australia for free if that counts)
39. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
42. Hit a home run (I did in a co-ed middle school gym class)
43. Fit three days into three weeks
48. Had two hard drives for your computer
49. Visited all 50 states/every county
50. Loved your job (Although my library job when I was in high school was pretty cool. I love what I do now, but I can’t say that I love my job)
52. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
54. Danced in with a stranger in a foreign country
56. Stolen a sign
57. BACKPACKED IN EUROPE (Sort of, but not in the cool way. I was with my family)
59. Rock climbing
60. Lied to foreign government's official in that country to avoid notice
62. Visited Ireland
63. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
65. Visited Japan
66. Benchpressed your own weight
67. Milked a cow
69. PRETENDED TO BE A SUPERHERO (just yesterday, in fact)
71. Lounged all day in bed (I’ve lazed about on the couch all day, but not in bed)
72. Posed nude in front of strangers (only whilst skinny dipping, but it was dark)
73. Scuba diving
74. Got it on to "let's get it on" by Marvin Gaye
75. Kissed in the rain
80. Visited the Great Wall of China
81. Discovered that someone who wasn't supposed to discover your blog had discovered it. (Not yet, thankfully)
82. Dropped Windows in favor of something better
83. Started a business (Does a lemonade stand count?)
84. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
86. Taken a martial arts class.
87. Swordfought for the honor of a woman
88. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
89. Gotten married
90. Been in a movie
91. Crashed a party
92. Loved someone you shouldn’t have
93. Had sex at the office restaurant
94. Gone without food for five days
96. Won first prize in a costume contest
97. Ridden a gondola in Venice
100. Rafted the Snake River (I rafted the Rogue River twice, though)
101. Been on television news programs as an "expert" (I was almost on the radio)
102. Got flowers no reason. (That would be nice. I love flowers.)
103. Masturbated in a public place.
104. Got so drunk you don't remember anything.
105. Been addicted to some form of illegal drug
107. Been to Las Vegas
108. Recorded music
110. Gone to Thailand
112. Bought a house
113. Been in a combat zone
114. Buried one/both of your parents
115. Shaved or waxed your pubic hair off
116. Been on a cruise ship
117. Spoken more than one language fluently. (I spoke German well for a while, now it’s all forgotten)
118. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone (I’ve never been in a fight nor do I want to be, but I would to defend a friend if it came down to it)
119. Bounced a check
120. Performed in Rocky Horror
121. Read – and understood – your credit report
122. Raised children
123. Recently bought and played with favorite childhood toy
124. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour (I didn’t really follow them, but I did see Stereolab 3 times in one week – once in Detroit and twice in Manhattan)
125. Created and named your own constellation of stars
126. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
127. Found out something significant that your ancestors did
129. Picked up and moved to another city just to start over
130. More than once?
131. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge/Q E II
133. Had an abortion or your female partner did
134. Had plastic surgery
135. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
136. Wrote articles for a large publication (I write articles for a website)
137. Lost over 100 pounds
138. Held someone while they were having a flashback
139. Piloted an airplane
141. BROKEN SOMEONE’S HEART (And I feel absolutely horrible for doing it. I didn’t handle things well. I still feel guilty to this day for doing it. Luckily, she’s long since moved on and found someone who is a much better person than me. I’m everthing I didn’t want to be, a typical male asshole.)
142. Helped an animal give birth
143. Been fired or laid off from a job
144. Won money on a T.V. game show
145. Broken a bone
146. Killed a human being
147. Gone on an African photo safari
148. Ridden a motorcycle
149. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100mph an hour (But I have been a passenger on the Swiss Autobahn well exceeding 100mph)
150. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
151. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
153. Ridden a horse (Does a pony ride count?)
154. Had a major surgery
155. Had sex on a moving train
156. Had a snake as a pet
157. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
158. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
159. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours ( I wish)
160. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states (7 countries, 23 states)
161. Visited all 7 continents (3 for 7)
162. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
164. Fallen in love at an ancient Mayan burial ground
165. Been a sperm or egg donor
167. HAD YOUR PICTURE IN THE NEWSPAPER (Middle school, high school, and college papers only)
168. Had 2 (or more) healthy relationships for over a year in your life.
171. Gone back to school.
172. Parasailed
173. Changed your name
174. Pet a cockroach
176. Read the Iliad
178. Dined in a restaurant and stolen silverware, plates, cups because your apartment needed them
179. ...and gotten 86'ed from the restaurant because you did it so many times, they figured out it was you
180. Taught yourself an art from scratch (I figured out how to belch the alphabet in middle school. The whole thing in one belch.)
181. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (I never even caught a fish to do it)
182. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
183. Skipped all your school reunions
185. Been elected to public office (I was written-in to a student government position in college, but I resigned a week later. They wanted me to be union steward at a previous job, but I declined.)
186. Written your own computer language
187. Thought to yourself that your living out your dreams. (Nightmares, maybe)
188. Had to put someone you love into Hospice care
189. Built your own PC from parts
190. Sold your artwork to someone who didn't know you.
191. Had a booth at a street fair
192. Dyed your hair
193. BEEN A DJ (Radio DJ, WUMD)
194. Found out someone was going to dump you via Live Journal
195. Written your own role playing game
196. Been arrested
199. Kissed a hummingbird......?
200. Given birth
201. EATEN SOME TREE BARK (Cinnamon and cassia – trick question)
203. Braided the bread
204. Foraged and eaten wild food, and/or used wild herbs as medicine
206. WALKED IN TOTAL DARKNESS (Various camping trips in Oregon)
207. Went snorkling in the Great Barrier Reef – No, but I have flew over it.
208. Been mistaken as someone of the opposite sex, and they never realized it (Maybe when I was a baby)
209. Had a supernatural experience.
210. Performed at a poetry reading
212. Been strip searched
213. Gotten a lapdance at a strip club
214. Gotten hate mail from something of yours that had been published
215. Met someone in person that you met online
216. Cross-dressed
217. Told your boss off and quit your job
218. Held a Hummingbird.

Future postings will feature dumb-ass retail customers, more music lists, and maybe some recipes. Who knows?

Today's recommended wine- 2001 Camaraderie Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon $24.99
This fantastic cab is listed under the Washington State AVA, but the grapes are actually sourced from Mercer Ranch (Champoux Vineyard) and Red Mountain in the Columbia Valley. The winery itself is in Port Angeles, Washington, across from Vancouver Island. They pick some of the best grapes from the Columbia valley and truck them to Port Angeles and make some of the best small production wines to be had (at reasonable prices!). Big, rich, chewy, yet elegant at the same time, this cab has blackberry fruit and subtle dark chocolate notes. Yum. Try with pecan- encrusted rack of lamb or a nice Delmonico steak.
Until the next bottle...

Friday, December 03, 2004

Top 100 songs...

Okay, I'm going to try this again. Rolling Stone magazine recently released their top 500 songs issue. So I figured that I should jump on the bandwagon and try to do something similar. These may not be the best songs technically, structurally, or critically, but I like them. This is a very tough challenge. I love music. There are literally thousands of songs that I like. I may be light on the classics (which are amazing songs), but these are the kind of songs that I can listen to over and over again. I do not mean to knock any musicians or genres. My list would probably be completely different if you asked me to do it again tomorrow. Here are 100 songs that I think are really, really, really good. The top 10 will be listed numerically, the remaining 90 are in random order (it would be too damn hard for me to list 100 songs in numerical order).

1. Atmosphere - Joy Division (Haunting, beautiful, and perfect. Sometimes it makes me tear up).
2. It's All Over Now Baby Blue - Them (This is a great Dylan song that's been covered numerous times, but Van Morrison nails it on this one. Beautiful. Also check out the really cool 13th Floor Elevators version.)
3. Tupelo - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (This is why Nick Cave is my favorite musician.)
4. Mercy Seat - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (Emotional, poignant, and raw, my favorite song about the electric chair.)
5. Swamp Thing - Chameleons (This was my favorite song to dance to in my clubbing days and I have the tattoo to prove it.)
6. Cotton Crown - Sonic Youth (Not the typical Sonic Youth song. It's pretty.)
7. Hallelujah - John Cale (An awesome cover of a Leonard Cohen classic. It shocked the hell out of me when I heard it in Shrek.)
8. Woodstock - Joni Mitchell (Joni's myriad range transcends the earthly realm.)
9. Ocean Rain - Echo & the Bunnymen (The Bunnymen are one of my favorite bands to sing along to and this one tops the list.)
10. Do You Love Me? - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (Powerful and trance-inducing. Lots of raw energy and emotion.)

And in no particular order...

God Only Knows - Beach Boys
Spooky Vibes - Blind Mr. Jones
Chelsea Girl - Ride
Chelsea Girls - Nico
The Man Comes Around - Johnny Cash
The Eternal - Joy Division
At Last - Etta Jones (Not Etta James, Etta Jones. I had the great honor of hearing this live one month before she died. Wow!!!)
Sound and Vision - David Bowie
A Thousand Stars Burst Open - Pale Saints
Wild Cats of Kilkenny - Pogues
Candle - Sonic Youth
Tame - Pixies
Mandinka - Sinead O'Connor
Beds Are Burning - Midnight Oil
Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want - Smiths
Strange Fruit - Billie Holiday
Titus - Split Enz
A Love Supreme - John Coltraine (Okay, this may be in 3 parts, but it may be the most musically genius piece ever composed.)
Sehnsucht - Einsturzende Neubauten
Genius Spider - Trains, and Boats, and Planes
Slowly Rising - Nightblooms
Summer - Yo La Tengo
Tom Traubert's Blues - Tom Waits
John Zorn's S&M Circus - Lounge Lizards
Murder in Mairyland Park - Stina Nordenstam
Birthday - Sugarcubes
Power and the Passion - Midnight Oil
Gimme Shelter - Rolling Stones
I Believe - Tears For Fears
Drive - Throwing Muses
Hole In the River - Crowded House
Pictures of You - The Cure
We're Desperate - X
Seven Seas - Echo and the Bunnymen
Madam Butterfly - Malcolm McLaren
Blue Rondo A La Turk - Dave Brubeck
The Door-to-Door Inspector - Fatima Mansions
Waiting For a Superman - Flaming Lips
Autobahn - Kraftwerk
The Man With the Child In His Eyes - Kate Bush (Where are you, Kate?)
Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash
23 Minutes in Brussels - Luna
Eight Miles High - Byrds (Roger McQuinn RULES the guitar on this one.)
Sometimes - My Bloody Valentine
Vapour Trail - Ride
Into My Arms - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
The Weeping Song - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
I'm Going Out of My Way - Stereolab
Crosswords - Split Enz
Haul Away - Split Enz
She's Dancing, He's Dreaming - Julian Schnabel
Public Image - PIL
The Queen Is Dead - The Smiths
Everyday Is Like Sunday - Morrissey
The Seeming and the Meaning - Stereolab
Paint It Black - Rolling Stones
Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper (Don't laugh! I love Cyndi Lauper. She was my first concert. Would you believe that CONCRETE BLONDE opened?)
Lorelei - Pogues
Fairytale of New York - Pogues with Kirsty MacColl
Soho Square - Kirsty MacColl
Arctic World - Midnight Oil
Stagger Lee - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (This song has the single-most disturbing line of all time. I dare not repeat it here.)
Bigmouth Strikes Again - The Smiths
The Stolen Child - The Waterboys
Teenage Riot - Sonic Youth
Rock of Gibraltar - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Forgotten Years - Midnight Oil
Cherry Chapstick - Yo La Tengo
Heart Full of Soul - Yardbirds
Fight the Power - Public Enemy
Troy - Sinead O'Connor
Drink Before the War- Sinead O'Connor
Three Babies - Sinead O'Connor
The Final Solution - Pere Ubu
I Wanna Destroy You - The Softboys
The Band Played Waltzing Matilda - Pogues
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes - The Platters
Subway I Call You - Gary Numan
Cuts You Up - Peter Murphy
Murderers, the Hope of Women - Momus
Urge For Going - Joni Mitchell
Raise the Bells - Folk Implosion
Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
Isolation - Joy Division
Handsome Johnny - Richie Havens
God Bless the Child - Billie Holiday
What's Going On - Marvin Gaye
Goodbye Pork Pie Hat - Charles Mingus
Into Temptation - Crowded House
Straight to You - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
It Was A Pleasure Then - Velvet Underground

Well, there it is. It may or may not come out to 100, but it should be close. Like I said before, my list would probably be completely different if I was asked to do it again tomorrow. These are just 100 of 1000's that I enjoy, but these are special for some reason or another.

Today's wine recommendation- Have a beer today!
Until the next bottle...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Okay, now I'm pissy...

Spring in McLaren Vale too Posted by Hello

I finished typing out my top 100 songs and I was saving the draft when the website stopped responding and I lost the whole damn thing. I'm pissed off! I just spent about an hour on the computer for nothing. Well, here's another pretty picture from the McLaren Vale to look at. Sorry.
Until the next bottle...

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Apparently my blog is depressing so here's a pretty picture...

Spring in McLaren Vale Posted by Hello

A friend told me that my blog has been depressing to read. So here's a pretty picture taken in October of 2003 in McLaren Vale, South Australia (wine country). Enjoy. Now you know why I want to live there. Rolling Stone magazine recently released the top 500 songs list. Tomorrow I'll be posting my top 100.
Today's recommended wine- 2002 Pavilion Napa Valley Merlot $14.99
This is a pretty good merlot, and I HATE merlot! It's got smooth plum, blueberry, and raspberry fruit with a hint of dark chocolate. Smooth with silken soft tannins. A steal for the price. I don't know much about this new winery, but I like their wines. Try with venison with a blackberry sauce or a hanger steak.
Until the next bottle...