Showing posts from March, 2011

Oh, The Horror!

George is getting tubby. Really tubby. I only buy her Weight Control cat food and don't give her any treats but she's still quite round. As a way to cut down on her eating, I'm letting her food bowl actually go empty before I refill it. I figure a few hours without munching would be good for her.

Before going to bed last night, I checked her dish and there were probably about 20 pieces of dry food left. I let it go with the full intention of refilling the dish this morning.

Apparently, she STARVED during the night because I was loudly scolded this morning on my way down the hall to her room. Not only that, but I had my ankles swatted at as I was walking. She was a bit angry with her Mommy.

Of course, after I filled the bowl to the brim, she ate about three pieces of food then went off to nap under the bed.

Man, the drama of this cat. It's just like having a teenager.

Movie Review - The Blind Side

OK, I know I'm way late to the party on this one. I just never got around to it in the theater. I saw the first few minutes in Florida last year but that was far as I got. I saw it was on HBO so I recorded it and finally watched it.

I really, really liked this movie. I'm a sympathetic crier so every time Sandra Bullock choked up, I was right there with her. When Michael said he'd never had a bed before, I had tears literally running down my cheeks.

It was also quite funny. I loved how the family lived off of Taco Bell and how cheeky the Mom was to everyone. And SJ was quite the little comedian. Kathy Bates' character's fearful confession that she was a Democrat also cracked me up.

Of course, I could relate to the school pride. If U of A tried to recruit my son, I'd do everything I could to persuade him away. (For the record, at this point in his life, I'd be happy if the kid would just go to college anywhere.)

It was really a wonderful, heart-warming film.

Side Yard Mosel Sweet Red

How sweet it is!

Side Yard never disappoints. Every wine I've had from them has been a great taste for the price.

This may be my favorite, though. When they say sweet, they mean it. It's like soda pop sweet which is not appealing to some palates but I love it. I had a glass with my chicken tonight and have had a glass (OK, maybe two) on its own and both were decidedly pleasant.

Book Review - War Dances

War Dances by Sherman Alexie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been a fan of Alexie's for years. Every time he comes to town, I want to go see him but somehow don't then regret it for months. Maybe I'm worried he won't live up to my view of him. I'm not worried that his writing won't live up to my expectations, though.

War Dances is a collection of short stories divided by poems. Each one resonates with so much truth that I wonder how much is autobiographical. I suspect he's just that great of a writer.

My favorite stories were War Dances, The Senator's Son and The Ballad of Paul Nonetheless. The protagonists of the last two stories didn't engender much sympathy but the stories were very compelling.

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So, We Pretty Much All Suck

Every year, we do an NCAA Tournament game within the Arizona Parrot Head Club. No money changes hands, it's just for fun.

I usually suck because I don't pay attention to college hoops like I used to but I have managed two Third Place finishes over the years. (I do waaaaay better at football.)

I really, really sucked this year. After being tied for first at the end of the first day's games, the road went decidedly downhill. I finished a miserable 14th out of 21 players. Even The Rocket Scientist beat me and he follows college ball less than I do.

But, here's the thing. We all pretty much sucked. When the dust settled on the Final Four, no one had any teams left in the tournament. What a crazy year for upsets.

One thing I learned, I'm not going to listen to anyone from Texas about how far their team is going to go. Clearly, they were blinded by allegiance and ignored the realistic trend.

Oh, and another thing, I'm still never going to root for the University of Arizon…

Ships and Dip 4 - The Music: Guster

It seems a bit odd to me that my last post about the Ships and Dip cruise would be about the band that I saw the most of during the cruise. I caught lots of Guster shows, played in the Flip Cup Tournament that they hosted and spent the day on the Costa Mayan beach next to a couple of the guys and their families.

But, there you have it. This is the end of the posts and, now nearly two months after the event, I'm still happily celebrating and remembering how fantastic it was.

For my pre-cruise music lesson, Blondie suggested I get the album Lost and Gone Forever. Great choice. I love every song on it. My favorites are Barrel of a Gun, and Either Way. After I got home, I bought Easy Wonderful (Deluxe Version). Another album full of great music! Probably my favorite song from that is Stay With Me Jesus which is, no doubt, incredibly surprising to those that know me because it's actually a sincere song and not a snarky anti-religious one.

My absolute favorite moment of the cruise was …

De Bortoli Petite Sirah

My tasting selection was bottled in 2008 and it was everything I wanted it to be. Rich, warm tasting and with a touch of heat/spice. This wine would be great with food.

I think this was the first time I've had anything from this Australian vintner but I'll keep an eye out for the label going forward.

Senorio de Fuentealmo Macabea

The last BevMo! Five Cent Sale didn't feature any Vinho Verde. That made me sad because it's a great drink with anything or just drink wine. The wineseller there suggested this wine was similar. He was correct. This is a refreshing, light wine that is good on its own. However, it may be over-powered by heavy food. I've enjoyed it over three nights, one glass at a time. It's just delightful with a crisp taste, clear color and a surprisingly long finish. It would be perfect for a summer's eve.

99 Vine Pinots Grigio

The 99 Vines vineyard from California is almost always featured in the BevMo! Five Cent Sale so I've tried several types. So far, I haven't found one that's been a disappointment.

I quite enjoy the Pinot Grigio. It's refreshing, light and has a pleasant fruit to it. It goes well with food and is also great just as a sipping wine on its own. In fact, it's quite easy to sip a lot as it's very smooth.

The alcohol count is 12.5% by volume which makes it about average for what's in my wine cooler. More than two glasses and I wouldn't want to be driving.

New Category - Wine

I'm a big wino. While I usually drink beer when we're out but, at home, I drink wine 99% of the time (when drinking alcohol which isn't 99% of the time, really, I swear). The BevMo! Five Cent Sale is like a quarterly holiday for me, almost the equivalent of Christmas. I save so much money!

The interesting thing about wine (and beer and spirits and food) is that it's not a universal feeling for each one. A few years back, my Chick Poker girls and I took several wine tasting classes and the key message was "Trust your pallet". The point was that if you liked something, enjoy it. And, that not everyone else would agree it's as enjoyable as you find it to be.

So, I've decided to post my wine reviews. Mostly so that I have a record of what I liked and what I hated so I can query going forward. Nothing is worse than buying something a second time to relearn that you didn't like it the first.

New TV

I started watching some of this season's new shows. Well, this mid-season is probably technically correct. I've become pretty ruthless at adding new shows because I already watch way too much TV so something has to hook me after two or three episodes or I'm done.

Like with The Cape. Oy vey, was that bad! I had high hopes for it, too. It just never got good at all so I dumped it. I think Steven even dumped it and he's the graphic novel junkie in the family.

The Chicago Code, however, was just as good as I thought it would be. It was created by Shawn Ryan who also did Terriers which was a fantastic show that should never have been canceled. It's a cop show with a large ensemble cast but the main characters are the Superintendent of the Police Force (Jennifer Beals), a know it all but doesn't follow the rules detective (Jason Clarke) and a corrupt (aren't they all in Chicago?) Alderman (Delroy Lindo). Those three are all good but Lindo is especially so. I hope t…

The Living Room

No, I'm not remodeling or painting. The Living Room is a restaurant/bar establishment here in the Valley with one location in Chandler and one in Phoenix.

We hit the Phoenix one today for lunch. It's on 7th St and not far from our office. I suspected it was my kind of place from the cool decor but I KNEW it was my kind of place when I saw that the menu had more booze than food pages.

It was good food, though! I had Italian Sausage Sliders that were very flavorful and the bread was delightfully fluffy without falling apart. One of my companions had a Chicken Sandwich and Butternut Soup. She said both were quite good and I feel compelled to order the soup next time. It looked yummy! Our other lunch mate had the Reuban with fries and liked those as well. We closed with a Pecan Torte with ice cream and a ginormous Chocolate Chip Cookie with ice cream.

Back to the decor. It was cool and inviting. Retro chairs, several couches and padded stools and a small bar that my friend said gets …

Kitten In The Sink

I don't see you waiting to use the sink.

I don't hear you telling me to get out of the sink.

OK, I see you and I hear you but I'm not getting out of the sink.
Live with it.

Book Review - Infinity

Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting addition to the Dark-Hunters world. Nick Gautier is a poor 14 year old in New Orleans. His Dad is in prison for murdering a dozen people and his Mom is forced to work as an exotic dancer to support the family. Nick's schoolmates aren't the friendliest to begin with but when they start turning into human zombies, it gets really bad.

Of course, being in this genre, no one is as they seem, including Nick. Though he doesn't realize it, he's the most powerful of all the creatures of the night with the potential to destroy everyone and everything in his wake. I find it both amusing and unbelievable how quickly the main characters in these books adjust to the freakiness of zombies, vampires, demons and gods.

This is a teen fiction entry and I probably would have it enjoyed it more if I were, well, a teen. (Actually, a preteen since I was reading adult novels in grade school.)

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Book Review - Long Lost

Long Lost by Harlan Coben

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another in the Myron Bolitar series. A call from a lost love sends him to Paris, some grisly murders and a scary view of the world of extremists. Usually, I'm good with the plots but this one was, well, quite creative and therefore less plausible than I would have liked. Perhaps, I'm just naive and it wasn't as far from reality as I thought. I still love this series.

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Book Review - Naked Heat

Naked Heat by Richard Castle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books are such an interesting concept. A fictionalized story based on fictional characters. I loved it!

The best part is that "Rook" and "Heat" get to have lots of sexy sex, unlike Castle and Becket who are still dancing around their mutual attraction.

OK, the story was good, too. An NYC gossip columnist is brutally murdered and the suspects range from a grunge rock start, starting NY Yankees pitcher, the columnist's abandoned daughter and a disgraced politician. I was unable to figure out the murderer until late in the book which is a good thing.

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Ships and Dip 4 - Where's Shannon?

About a week or so before we headed out for our cruise, our friend Tkay sent us an email saying that her cousin Shannon was going to be on the same cruise and that we should hook up with her. It was an email to all of us that went something like, “Shannon meet my friends, friends meet Shannon.”

I was in the midst of going to Calgary for a business trip so I didn't do much more than look Shannon up on Facebook (and found we had some stuff in common) and ask her to give me scoop on Tkay's antics as a child. For the record, she had no scoop on that at all. Dang.

Mary, however, replied with their cabin number and Shannon did the same. I had no clue what our number was but I figured it would all work out somehow.

When we were in Miami, I asked Mary if she'd written down Shannon's cabin number somewhere so we could put in on the master list of everyone's that we were dispersing. She said she hadn't but it was still on the iPad so she'd look it up before we got on b…