Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Enthusiast Beckons...

...come on...comment as to what kind of wine buyer you are!


Image Seeker?
Savvy Shopper?
Satisfied Sipper?

A mixture...er, a cuvée of each? But which ones?

[Just to have it said, I didn't construct these categories. They were constructed by Constellation, the largest owner of wineries worldwide. These were the categories they defined after doing years of research nation-wide. It was something called the Wine Genome Project.]

Monday, January 26, 2009

How Do You Interact with Wine?

Still doing some research. If you have time, comment who of these six types you think you might be. Sorry, no anonymous comments.

• Entertain at home with friends and consider themselves knowledgeable about wine
• Live in cosmopolitan centers, affluent suburban spreads or comfortable country settings
• Like to browse the wine section, publications and are Influenced by wine ratings & reviews
• 47% of Enthusiasts buy wine in 1.5L size – “everyday wine” to supplement their “weekend wine”
• 98% of Enthusiasts buy wine over $6 and it accounts for 56% of what they buy on a volume basis

• View wine as a status symbol
• Have a basic knowledge of wine and discovering wines is new to them
• Likes to be the first to try a new wine, and are open to innovative packaging
• The number one most purchased varietal Merlot
• Use the Internet as key information source including checking restaurant wine lists before they dine out

• Enjoy shopping for wine and discovering new varietals on their own
• Have a few favorite wines to supplement new discoveries
• Shop in a variety of stores each week to find best deals and like specials and discounts
• Heavy coupon users and know what’s on sale before they walk into a store
• When dining out they typically buy a glass of the house because of the value

• Enjoy wines from established wineries
• Think wine makes an occasion more formal and prefer entertaining friends and family at home to going out
• Like to be offered a wide variety of well-known national brands
• Won’t often try new wine brands
• Shop at retail locations that make it easy to find favorite brands

• Don’t know much about wine, just know what they like to drink
• Usually buy the same brand, usually domestic and consider wine an everyday beverage
• Don’t enjoy the wine-buying experience so buy 1.5L bottles to have more wine on hand
• Second-biggest category of warehouse shoppers, buying 16 percent of wine in club stores
• Don’t dine out often but likely to order the house wine when they do

• Overwhelmed by sheer volume of choices on store shelves
• Like to drink wine but don’t know what kind to buy and may select by label
• Looking for wine information in retail settings that’s easy to understand
• Very open to advice but frustrated when there is no one in the wine section to help
• If information is confusing they won’t buy anything at all

What I've Been Up To

Pruning. Pruning. Pruning.

These trees were neglected for years. So I talked to a pro pruner and
read a book and got my pruners, ladder, and saw out.

It's a strange thing, pruning a plant. Holly tells me it's more
similar to clipping fingernails than cutting off limbs. But from this
picture you can see thy I look much more like a butcher.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My New Brew

This is my second Portland brew. Of course, I've brewed more than a dozen beers in my home, but I'm really feelin' it here in Portland. This, ladies and gentlemen, is my Stumptown Stout. That's right, a wonderfully full espresso stout. Holly says, "It's like chocolate and coffee with a little alchohol. Mmm. Perfect dessert."

"And perhaps even the perfect breakfast?" I ask.

Following on the heels of the last beer, my Southeast Amber, I feel like I'm making some damn fine brew here at home...which, by the by, is cheaper than going out (which I seldom do) and pretty much the same as it would be in the bottle (but I don't care terribly for bottled beer).

Anyway, Brittian and I brewed this earlier this month, and while the wort (beer prior to fermenting) was chilling, we walked to Stumptown and asked them to pull a dozen or so ristretto shots for us. Stumptown pulls the best shots in town (that I've found yet anyway), so I thought it'd be a fun way to "localize."

Anyway, if you're around, stop by. I'll take time out for a pint.

Why I Just Disabled Anonymous Comments

This is a blog, a place for conversation, and of course, for keeping up with me, my views, and my life. I encourage comments and I have even allowed anonymous comments (mainly for friends without any sort of blog/gmail account), but due to the last few comments about me cooking/eating lamb, I have decided to turn anonymous comments off.

Here's the thing, you may disagree with how I live my life, perceive my world, etc. And that's fine...even great! But to attack me from behind a one-way mirror is plain rude. I would never do that in real life. And I would never do that in a public forum like a blog.

If you (my readers) disagree with me and want to put some energy into a thoughtful response to a post/picture/thought/what-have-you, please do so, but give me (and other readers) some context instead of being a nameless heckler.

I mean, Kevin/anonymous, do I know you? Do you know me? Are we involved in each other's lives? Is this a conversation you'd have with me over coffee or are you just looking to get some aggression out against someone with a different viewpoint than yours?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Short Survey

I would love, love, love if you could take the time to fill out this survey for me. Thanks! It'll take you just a couple minutes. And I think I've fixed the bugs!

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Some Recent Pics

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dinner Pic 3

Fun to have our friends in town to make meals like this together.
Fresh pears in Zin and more...

Dinner Pic 2

Boiled rutabega, potatoes and carrots. Crushed and added my secret
ingredient...you ready? Smoked paprika. Oh, and butter. Mmm.

And that's a Hendry Pinot there. Does not disappoint.

Dinner Pic 1

Mmm. Slow-roasted lamb and chard. Unreal.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Even in his exit speech, I burn with fury. Did he really say that even
if we didn't agree with the tough decisions he made, at least he made
them?!? Wow. I really hope (but am skeptical) that this is the true
end of an era.

While On the Topic

When we moved to San Francisco 3+ years ago, we found a fresh pasta
shop and got addicted right away. Upon deciding to move to Portland,
we quickly scouted out one close by and made sure it was in walking
distance of our new home. Hooray!

So last night was Green on White: homemade Pesto (I did a damn fine
job) with fresh pasta, shrimp/avo salad with white wine/grapeseed oil
(see the color!) and a nice dry Reisling for drinking.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I, Sometimes Chef

I do enjoy cooking in the evening. Pax is asleep or being bathed by Holly. She gifts me this time to sip wine and make art on/near our stove/oven. And I do love heat. I thank our ancestors for fire and the earth for that magical natural gas that allows for a vigorous boil. Mmm.

Last night, I attempted a recipe from Jamie Oliver's beautiful cookbook. Yes, I'm a cookbook-cook. I know some folks like Dan Gregory can make beautiful dishes with no instructions, but not I. I need at least some framework.

So last night, we had some friends over and I thought I'd try a white fish & bacon over leeks recipe. Amos brought some amazing local bread and the Davises brought a white wine they were told "goes good with fish."

It turned out quite nicely.

Last week, Holly and I made Guiness Stew and Beef Burgundy and tonight I'm attempting to make fresh pesto and a yummy shrimp & avocado salad. And we'll be drinking our first bottle of Hendry since we left Napa...the Albariño. We'll drink it as well as use it in the dressing for the shrimp salad. Mmm.

I love cooking (sometimes). We indulge more and more into finer ingredients and more elaborate recipes. But why the hell not? Is life not to be enjoyed? To taste the flavors and smell the art?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Man On Wire

Holly and I downloaded this film a couple nights ago. What a great film. So interesting to get into the mind of someone like this.

If you haven't heard of the film, it's a documentary (with some great archival footage as well as some reenactments) about the legendary wirewalker Philippe Petit. Well, I didn't know of him, but perhaps I'm too young. He was a boy when the twin towers were being built and made it his life's goal to throw up a tightrope between the two towers and walk it.


“Life should be lived on the edge of rebellion,” he says. I love it. He defied all rules. Of course, all I could think through the film was, "Who's bankrolling this joker?" Seriously though. Get a real job, dude. ;)

But what a beautiful life...not for all...but beautiful that he lived this insanity, this magic, this mental illness called imagination.

When he came down from the twin towers, all the American media could ask him was, "Why did you do it?"

"Well that's a completely American question, now isn't it?" He responds. "There is no why. It just had to be done." (I'm using quotes, but paraphrasing, sorry.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Seasons Change

It's strange to think that about a year ago Holly was giving me the same haircut. (Click on the photo to get a real idea here.) These pics are from last night.

So much has happened in the last year. And what does Holly find in my hair a couple weeks back? Split ends.

And so, it forced her hand. And I welcomed the change.

Little changes like this are nice because they have the feeling of a big change, yet, they require very little change from within. Perhaps it requires us to get over how folks perceive us (no small thing for me), but all in all, it's not as great a shift as it appears. Still, it's good to have changes like this in between more substantial changes as it helps us along.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bombs Drop

I can't bear the news in the evening
I'm going to bed and they're going to war
All of this for
Anyone's guess

Sinners and saints, priests and kings
Are we just using God for our own gain?
What's in a name?
Open your eyes


A matter of land or a matter of who's simply right? Who knows. Hamas bombing a few; Israeli armies bombing too many to count. Who's less wrong?

I have no wisdom to offer on this topic. But the link between these Israeli Zionists and 9/11 strikes me as very thoughtful on a most subtle level. It's not the same people (in my opinion)...but it's the same mentality. One singular "chosen" people of God (what bullshit) that are trying to create a world to agree/support with that ideology/mentality/group. And what does this mean? Obliterating the Other.

The Other.

Again, I have no comment on this. Just sadness. And a feeling of anxiety at it's potential complexity. And I'll leave it at that.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


I am more and more convinced that we relate to each other by the objects we hover around. I used to think this was sickness or shallowness, but I am more and more convinced that objects are the glue that connect us. They allow us common experience.

I mean object broadly defined: God, TV, book, ideology, a holiday, religion, sports, whatever. We use objects to mediate and to connect.

Of course two people can connect to an object without connecting to each other, but I don't know if it works the other way around. Think of the last friend you made and how it happened. Think of most of your meaningful memories with others. Wasn't there generally an object that bound all of you?

Like I said, I used to think that objects were kind of like scaffolding, but more and more I find them to be like joists or studs, the actual structures.

This actually helps me redeem formality. You see, I generally eschew formality. It's laughable at best and repressive at worst in my mind. I mean seriously: Putting on forms? It's like theatre. But perhaps forms are just objects that can allow us to experience something together.

I do not miss Christian worship music. Most people who have left the "formal institution" of the church miss this aspect. I am convinced that, aside from music's sheer emotional value (of course here music is the object), it's this formality of singing together, as in a choir, a sort of theatre, that is the object. Of course, some will say the object is God and that's fine and all, but there's more there is all I am saying.

And all I am really saying is that I find myself in this strange spot of cognitively valuing objects, and therefor forms, while still finding them personally jarring, awkward, and disingenuous. But what to do? Hmm.

Monday, January 05, 2009

No Resolutions

I have been thinking of the Death Cab song the last couple days...

So this is the new year.
And i don't feel any different.
The clanking of crystal
Explosions off in the distance (in the distance).

So this is the new year
And I have no resolutions
For self assigned penance
For problems with easy solutions

So everybody put your best suit or dress on
Let's make believe that we are wealthy for just this once
Lighting firecrackers off on the front lawn
As thirty dialogs bleed into one

I wish the world was flat like the old days
Then i could travel just by folding a map
No more airplanes, or speed trains, or freeways
There'd be no distance that could hold us back.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Artifacts From an Amazing Trip to Napa

Mmm. Pina and Hendry. Mmm. This should set us up for a while...

Shasta in All Her Glory

Almost home. 4 more hours in snow and rain.