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Showing posts from April, 2011

Dined Out and Then Some

My buddy T agreed to go to one of the Dining Out For Life spots for lunch today and our friend Dave went with us. We chose The Stockyards and all add the Prime Rib Sandwich. Oh, my, is it ever wonderful!

D'Arcy McGee's was our dinner choice. The Rocket Scientist and our friends, Barb and John, hit it up for some big beers and good food. As is typical, TRS and I ordered the same thing. We are really almost identically the same person. ;-)

There were some Dining Out For Life volunteers working the dinner crowd. They gave out envelopes where you could add to your automatic donation from the meal if you chose to. You could also just fill out the flap on the envelope and give it back. Either way, you got entered into a prize drawing.

Both Barb and I threw in some extra cash and she filled out forms for both her and John. TRS told me to fill his out for him and I made a joke about putting TRS-Pfister as his name. He didn't think it was funny but Barb and I did.

I did fill it out for…

Oltrepo Pavese Moscato

Nectar from the gods!

This is sweet, bubbly and smooth but also rich/full feeling and I could drink it day or night. I'm not even going to distract from the flavor by pairing it with any food. It's awesome on its own.

If you like sweet wines, you'll love it.

The Bob Karwin Report - You Should Listen!

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People who know me fairly well know that I HATE to admit that anyone is smarter than I. If you don't believe me on that statement, ask Steven or Sugar Daddy or The Rocket Scientist or Unruly Julie or, well, the list goes on.

There is one guy that I'm willing to concede that may be smarter than I, but I'm very willing to admit that he's far more clever. That guy would be old What's His Name? (For the non-Parrot Heads reading this, What's His Name? translates to Bob Karwin.)

Bob's a lawyer by day, Trop Rock musician by day and night and is fortunate enough to be married to a wonderful woman and have two gorgeous and well behaved children. He's also quite the pundit and the last person you want to heckle while he's on stage. He'll eviscerate you in less than a heartbeat and you may not even realize it.

So, here's the reason for this hype about Karwin. He recently started a show at Beachfront Radio which is an internet station that features a lot o…

Dining Out For Life Time Again

Man, the last year has apparently flown by because I didn't realize that it's now time for Dining Out For Life again. It's this Thursday and it's just not in Phoenix so check your local listing as they say.

The Phoenix restaurants are donating part (or all!) of their proceeds for the day to the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS.

I try to get in at least one meal and this year might get lunch and dinner from a participating restaurant.

Bertha's Cafe

Before Sugar Daddy retired, well, actually even a while before that, we tried out Bertha's Cafe for lunch. My memory is a little hazy but I think Andrea made us go there once and then Maria had us pick up lunch to take to her house when Harrison was a little tyke.

Sugar Daddy didn't like it at all so it never made it into our lunch rotation. I was indifferent so it didn't matter much to me. There were too many work people there that I didn't want to see when we did go anyway.

I met Andrea, Maria and Harrison there for lunch this week at Bertha's new location and I think it's been over two years since I'd eaten there. I'm not so indifferent now - I liked it a lot.

The new spot has much more room than the old. It had been so cramped you felt like everyone was sitting family style with ten people at a table for six. At the new spot, we got a nice, big table right next to the toy chest and kids' table so Harrison was amused for a while. Or, as amused as a …

My Beef With American Idol

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I don't watch American Idol though I have in the past. But, only because I lived with Sugar Daddy and he watched it and so did my friend who cut our hair so I had to see it at her house, too. The last season I paid any attention to was the one with the two Johns and I liked the red-headed crooner kid. I sometimes wonder what happened to him but never enough to google him.

Nowadays, I am mostly annoyed with American Idol. As a Project Manager, I'm offended by their lack of time management. Seriously, after all these years, can't they figure out how to finish on time? If I missed EVERY single deadline, I'd get fired.

Each show that I DVR that's after it (and that's a lot because it's on nearly every frakking day) captures a minute or two of AI. So, I'm subjected to shots of the judges looking sad or happy and people crying or pretending to like each other. Oh, and Ryan Seacrest and don't get me started there. And, because it runs long, my show then runs…

A Perfect Evening

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I needed a charmed night and I got one. Yay, me!

Shorty's brother, Bill, came out for a long weekend. Today is Grandpa Albert's (their Dad's) birthday and they decided to celebrate it at a Diamondbacks game. Hmmm. I never knew Grandpa was in to baseball but apparently he was and even refereed.

So, the whole family went. I met them at the game and we had fabulous seats, courtesy of Uncle Bill. They were in the lower level just past the third base dugout. The roof was open and the weather was gorgeous.

Steven and I got delegated to make the food and drink run, courtesy of all the money in Shorty's wallet. We ordered up a combo of dogs and brats, a tea for my Mom and Miller Lites for Uncle Bill and me then Steven made another run to get sodas for him and Shorty. The nice man at the concession stand broke the rules and let me buy two big beers at once even though Steven left his ID at home so we only had one ID between us.

We settled in to watch the DBacks against the Phillies…

Gone Too Soon

I was sitting home on Friday night and virtually socializing on Facebook while listening to Beachfrontradio.com. All was good in my world. It had been a satisfying work week, my Uncle is in town for the weekend and I was looking forward to spending time with him and, well, it was just nice. And peaceful.

Then I saw a post from one of my Parrot Head friends and the nice evening went to hell and took me with it.

Her husband had an apparent heart attack that day and didn't survive.

I was, and still am, in complete shock. Allan, Penny and their daughter Gabby have been my Meeting of the Minds friends and co-workers since I started working registration for the convention. Gabby started out as a young girl helping out and has become a young lady so sufficient that we can feel completely secure in leaving her in charge. They all worked the Goody Bag Stuffing, helped fold t-shirts and Allan worked security while Penny helped out at registration, too.

They also managed to have a lot of fun. Ga…

Book Review - Invicible

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Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this second book in the series a lot more than the first. It still has an element of "really, you're going to just easily accept that everyone is a demon?" to it and Nick is still really too much of a smart mouth. However, I liked that he got in a jam and didn't try to get out of it without some help from his friends. I read too many stories where I'm mentally screaming at the characters "Just talk to each other and you can solve the problem together!".

Nice cliff hanger moment to end it on, too.



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Antonini Ceresa Grand Italia Bianco

This was a nice, but not very remarkable, white table wine. I liked it better with food than just sipping it on its own as it was a little sharp to the taste. I won't go out of my way to buy it again but I would pick it up at the next BevMo! Five Cent Sale if it's there.

Too Good Not To Share

The year is 2016 and the United States has just elected the first woman president, who happens to be from Iowa. A few days after the election the president-elect, whose name is Susan, calls her father and says, 'So, Dad, I assume you will be coming to my inauguration?'

'I don't think so. It's an 18 hour drive."
'Don't worry about it Dad, I'll send Air Force One. And a limousine will pick you up at your door.'

'I don't know. Everybody will be so fancy. What would your mother wear?'

Oh Dad," replies Susan, 'I'll make sure she has a wonderful gown custom-made by the best designer in Washington ..'

'Honey,' Dad complains, 'you know I can't eat those rich foods you eat.'

The President-to-be responds, 'Don't worry Dad. The entire affair will be handled by the best caterer in Washington , I’ll ensure your meals are salt free. You and mom justhaveto be there.'

So Dad reluctantly agrees…

Oh What A Feeling, Eh

One of my Canadian buds, who works in IT by day but plays music and hockey by night, turned me on to this series of releases. Oh What A Feeling: A Vital Collection of Canadian Music was released over the years to celebrate the Juno Awards. For those not clued into the Great White North, the Junos are like our Grammy Awards in the US.

Altogether, there's 14.8 hours of music from 225 songs. I listened to all of it over a few days on my Mac while at work. It freaked people out a bit because I'm the one who wears my iPod earbuds and never hears people talking to me and not the one making the noise.

What a great collection of music!

Sure, there were a few songs that weren't my cup of tea but I'd willingly listen to 95% of the music again. And, I probably shall. Actually, make that 97% because there are really very few klunkers.

Some random thoughts from my listening experience:
Canada can keep Celine Dion. (My bud thinks Quebec should keep her as that's not really Canada and…

Book Review - Pale Demon

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Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started out not so excited about this one in the beginning but found I really enjoyed it by the end.

Rachel, Trent, Ivy and Jenks go on a road trip. Of course, it doesn't go well. A demon who can walk in the sun stalks them, Trent has to complete an elf quest and Rachel has to defend herself at a witch's counsel or be shunned.

Having a lot of Trent in here was fun and frustrating. Fun because I think he's an intriguing character and frustrating because he seemed to be doing so many stupid things.

There was also a lot of Al and he's by far the most awesome demon I've read about.

Finally, there was some nice closure to a few outstanding relationship issues and a nice opening for some future growth in the series.



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Proud To Be A Parrot Head

When people find out that I'm a Parrot Head, they usually have one of two reactions.

One is pure confusion. They barely know who Jimmy Buffett is let alone know that his followers were deemed Parrot Heads all those years ago by Timothy B. Schmit.

The second is an "aha" moment where the "aha" implies that my friends and I spend all of our time drinking Margaritas and partying. Little do they know that I'm not a Margarita girl.

One day, I hope the most common reaction will be one of "that's so cool and thanks for all you do". Because we do a lot. Don't get me wrong, we party and adult beverages are often involved but we are more than a group of drunks with money.

I'm reminded of how much we do when our parent organization, Parrot Heads in Paradise, puts on the annual State of the Phlock report. It came out today and it makes me very, very proud.

Let me quote for you:

With the economy still in a stagnant state, Parrot Head Clubs collectively r…

Good To Know Yourself

Every once in a while, I do a version of the Briggs-Myers personality test. Some friends took it at their work and wanted to compare our social circle's results so I took a version again this week.

Sometimes, I fluctuate on the middle two characteristics (Sensing/Intuition and Thinking/Feeling) but I always come out strongly as Extraverted (Extroverted) and Judging. In fact, this time I scored 100% on Extraverted. What can I say? I'm a people person.

ENTJExtravertedIntuitiveThinkingJudgingStrength of the preferences %100251289
You can take the test here.

Here's a fairly apt description of my personality (except for the home being nice and children being well educated parts). I am definitely a "take charge" person even when I try not to be.
As an ENTJ, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you deal with things rationally and logically. Your secondary mode is internal, where you take things in primarily via your intuition. ENTJs are natural born lead…

Brunch at St Francis

It's been exceedingly difficult for my chick poker group to get together. Between work, kids and travel, it seems like we don't all have the same weekend night free.

So, Chris suggested we do brunch at St Francis in North Central Phoenix (1st St and Camelback). I'm so glad she did because it was wonderful!

We sat in the front window that made it feel like we were outside and enjoyed the live music from a jazz band on the patio. We also ordered what felt like everything off the menu:

Cinnamon Roll with Caramel Sauce
Scone
Crispy Fingerling Potatoes
Egg Frittata
Omelette
Sausage Flatbread
Romaine Hearts Salad
Soup
French Onion Burger with Fries

It was a lot of food to share because the portions were huge. Any of the main dishes could have been satisfyingly split between two people. The food was not only beautifully presented, it was delish! Our server was a bit slow on the uptake but the chaps who brought out our food and checked on us were superb.

I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Book Review - Steel

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Steel by Carrie Vaughn

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Jill is a sixteen year old competitive fencer who is mourning her last lost match while on vacation with the family. She falls out of a tourist boat and ends up back in time with a pirate crew. She gets to use her fencing skills for real while trying to figure out a way home.

This is a young adult book that reads appropriately for that age. Vaughn does a good job of explaining piracy, sailing and fencing within her story but it was a bit immature for me.



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Stanza Gewurztraminer

My favorite wines are the sweet, white ones and, for some reason, I expected this 2008 Gewurstraminers to fall into that category. It did not. It wasn't at all bad, it just wasn't as sweet as I hoped it would be. It had more of a dry and spicy flavor than sweet and bubbly.

It did go well with a grilled chicken salad and was also fine on its own. I wouldn't hesitate to try it again now that I know what to prepare myself for.

It's All Jimmy's Fault

My pal and great Trop Rock artist, Kelly McGuire, has a song called Blame it on Buffett which has become my earworm of the day.

Why is that?

It's because I looked at my bank account.

In the past month or so, I've made the following big ticket purchases:

Airfare to Milwaukee to see Buffett at Alpine ValleyAirfare to Houston to go to the Galveston Bay Parrot Head Clubs' event, Riddles in the SandAirfare to Key West for the annual Parrot Head convention, Meeting of the Minds50% deposit on the condo rental for the previous trip
The other costly expense was for a new crown that I can't blame on Buffett but I can blame on granola.

Thankfully, we get paid three times in April or George would have to go short on kitty kibble.

Book Review - Live Wire

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Live Wire by Harlan Coben

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another fine entry in the Myron Bolitar series. Myron gets approached by one of his first clients, a former bad-girl tennis star, to investigate who's out to ruin her. As with all of his investigations, people turn up dead, Myron and Win get in fights and the ending is not happy for all parties. I really like Myron's Dad so it was nice to see more of him in this one.



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Remind Me Not To Do That Again

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So, the weather is quite nice right now and I had the front door open with just the security screen door between us and the axe murderers. All was quite peaceful until George started fussing.

I paused the TV and investigated but found nothing to indicate what her issue was so I went back to the TV. A few minutes later, she was hissing at the door so I checked it out again.

Turns out, there was this incredibly fluffy cat right on the other side of the door taunting her. Seriously, it was a total bully. Trying to save my baby from distress, I partially closed the door but she wouldn't get out of the way so I reached down to pick her up.


Ouch.

Dang, that picking up idea was a huge mistake. I not only got hissed at by George, I got scratched like you would not believe. It hurt like a mofo, in fact.

I would like to think that she felt bad because she did move away a moment after the scratching so I was able to close the door and she did come investigate my injury after I had to run it under…

Author Event - Michael Connelly

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View from the second row.

I've been reading Connelly for years. Harry Bosch is one of my all time favorite characters. He brings out this strange (for me) maternal instinct where I just want him to be happy. Poor Harry. Even when he seems to be happy, there's always some dark cloud just waiting to rain on him.

If you don't know who Connelly is, the latest Matthew McConaughey movie, The Lincoln Lawyer, is based on one of his books.

So, I was thrilled when The Poisoned Pen announced Connelly's latest engagement to be hosted at the Arizona Biltmore resort. I went with my friend Annette and our friend Joanne was working the event so it was some nice time together.

Connelly was great. The woman who interviewed him is an intellectual property lawyer from Phoenix (she has Stephenie Meyer as a client) so there was a lot of discussion about the business of optioning books for movies. As an MBA, I found it quite fascinating. He also talked about how and when he writes and the influe…

Another Attempt at Better Health

Our company has started another wellness competition. They're truly focused on improving our health, not only because it keeps insurance costs down but because our corporate mission is to improve world health and that mission starts at home.

This one has departments going up against in each other in two categories: activity points and percentage of weight loss. Points are counted at 1 per minute of activity that's outside your normal day. Each department needed at least four people in each category and you could participate in both categories if you wish. Each activity will be scored individually then combined to determine the ultimate winner.

We got 100% participation in our department, which is a first for just about anything. I'm not saying that changing the winning team's prize from the original idea of lunch with Senior Management to a paid day off increased interest but it surely didn't hurt. ;-)

Since I've been saying that I need to get back to eating well,…

Book Review - The Game of Kings

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The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was our book club selection based on something the hostess heard on NPR. Apparently, they made it sound more like a bodice ripper than it actually was.

It turned out to be a nice historical fiction story placed in Scotland in 1547. Mary, Queen of Scots, is only four years old when the story starts. There's a lot of intrigue, spying, violence and a few love stories. But, no sex scenes. :-(

Most of our group didn't actually finish the book. It took me about 100 pages before I could get into it because it started out with a lot of Scottish dialect, French, Spanish and Latin and introduced a new character every page. The latter point is only a slight exaggeration. However, once I decided to just keep reading, I finished the next 400 pages over two days.

I'm glad I finished it because I found the ultimate story very satisfactory. This is the first in a series so I may go on to read more.



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Movie Review - Inkheart

I've never read Cornelia Funke's book though it was a big seller for a long time. I'm not sure why I didn't since I like those fairy tale type stories. I guess I thought it would be too young for me. When the movie version came out, I recall it getting only mediocre reviews so I didn't cough up any money for it.

However, it was showing on HBO this week so I thought, what the heck, I could spend some time watching it. It would at least keep from cleaning house.

While far from being the best fantasy movie ever, it was still entertaining. An actress like Helen Mirren is completely out of place here and it was odd to see Brendan Fraser in a relatively humorless role. However, Paul Bettany, Jim Broadbent and Andy Serkis were fun to watch. Plot holes aside, not a bad way to spend almost two hours on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Book Review - I Love You, Beth Cooper

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I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun read this was. It brought back memories of the great 80s movies like Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club and Say Anything.

Denis Cooverman is Valedictorian of his high school class. He's also a major nerd with only one friend, the sexually ambivalent Rich. Rich persuades Denis to confess his long-time crush on the head cheerleader, Beth, in his "don't regret missing out on saying how you feel" Graduation speech.

What follows is a graduation night for the ages. Filled with drugs, alcohol, sex, violence and rock and roll, the evening presents the true side of Beth Cooper which is a very different image than the one Denis held for years. It also provides Denis with the chance to face his many fears.



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Arrogant Frog Lily Pad White

I'm not a huge fan of Chardonnay but this 2009 bottle from Arrogant Frog is quite delightful. It's the oak taste that turns me off. This one is not oaky at all and has lots of fruit flavor and scent. I started the glass with a jalapeno cheese sandwich and it well together. I'm now finishing the glass on its own and it's still enjoyable.

Movie Review - The Losers

The real loser was me for spending 97 minutes of my life watching this bad A-Team ripoff. Implausible plot, total overacting and actually very little humor. I chuckled at Chris Evans a few times but that was it.

I could have saved myself. I started watching it and realized it could be very bad so I sent Steven a text to see if he'd seen it. By the time he replied and said it was pretty lame, I was already captivated by the train wreck. I kept thinking, it couldn't be that bad, could it? I was wrong, it was.

Longest Scam Email I've Ever Gotten

Good Day

This is a personal email directed to you and I request that it be treated as such. I must solicit your confidentiality and assure you that I am contacting you in good faith and this proposal will be of mutual benefit. I am Brian Turner, a solicitor at law. I am the personal attorney/sole executor to a client of mine, who died along with his family in a plane crash on the 14th of August 2005.

My late client a formal Sub-Comptroller working with Chevron Texaco Oil here in the United Kingdom and had Left behind a deposit of Sixteen Million British Pounds Sterling only (£16,000,000.00) with a bank. After the death of my client, the finance company contacted me, as his attorney to provide his next of kin who should inherit his fortune this according to them is their policy in sure circumstances.

Since the death of my client, I have written several letters to the embassy with intent to locate any of his extended relatives whom shall be claimants/beneficiaries of his aba…