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Sunday, January 1st, 2012
12:17 am - Resolutions.
1: I shall not be an emotional black hole.

II: I shall find a job. Preferably one I can enjoy and be honestly interested in.

C: I shall continue to divest myself of *stuff*.

Fourth: I shall no longer be self-destructive.

Five: I shall broaden my horizons; Portland is wonderful, but there's no reason to stay there. I hear Guam is nice this time of year.

Lastly: I shan't pursue dead-end relationships with people who manifestly do not love me.

Postscript: Suicide is for the weak. I shall not dwell on this further.

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Friday, July 10th, 2009
3:04 pm - New.
Well... new life.

New girlfriend: Carrie moved up from Florida late last summer. I am madly fond of her, and she puts up with me, which is more than I could reasonably expect. We spent a few happy months living with my sister in Woodstock, VT, until...

New house: About a month ago we found our own place, also in Woodstock. It's an old carriage house apartment. Built by deranged midgets, of course, but that's the way of things. Oddly enough, it's a shared unit, and just before we moved in, we found that the other folks who live here are some very good friends of my boss in my...

New job: I've been working at the Woodstock Inn and Resort for a few months now. Since December, actually. Apparently I'm the Jack-of-all-trades (none of which involve computers, which makes me simultaneously both happy and depressed), but at least it's a job. Don't have benefits yet, but we're working on that. All while I'm working on my...

New character: I recently got around to (finally) leveling my warrior to 80 in WoW. Of course, as soon as I did, my guild fell apart. Sigh.

Anyway, that's the news from here. We actually have room for guests (wonder of wonders), although Carrie's kids will be arriving this coming Wednesday and staying for a month. After that, if anyone would like to visit us in VT, you're all more than welcome. (Carrie will kill me for offering space to stay without consulting with her first, but at least I'm used to being beaten up.)

Best to all.

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Sunday, October 14th, 2007
6:45 pm - Virtuosity.
By the way, zsquirrelboy , if you enjoyed Gitbox, you may also want to check out Jake Shimabukuro on ukelele, and Back Door Slam (aka Davy Knowles) for bluesy guitar...

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Tuesday, September 18th, 2007
9:10 am - Eek.
This is exactly the sort of thing I could never see myself doing... but I'm still impressed at the virtuosity.

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Saturday, July 28th, 2007
9:55 pm - Burglar!
I just broke into my own house.

Family's away for the weekend, and I locked the house up before I left for work this morning. Unfortunately, it seems that the garage door opener is busted...

Half an hour of gathering and piling lawn furniture, plant pots, chairs, motorcycle luggage, and etc. later, I was able to climb up onto the roof and break in through one of the upstairs windows. How silly I feel.

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Thursday, June 28th, 2007
3:13 pm - Divorced.
Apparently I've been divorced for over a week now, and only found out today. Heh. Funny how I'm always the last to know...

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Wednesday, June 27th, 2007
9:07 pm - Chasing The Storm.
I left work a smidge late this evening, and then I sat in the parking lot reading for a while. When I finally calmed down enough to throw a leg over and ride home, I saw ominous clouds off to the west. I *knew* I'd be riding into them, but decided I'd not bother putting on my rain jacket.

Magnificent. Streaks of lightning racing down from the unusually dark sky. Sunset wasn't for another half-hour, but it was pitch black outside. The sheer glory of the weather -- even when it's foul weather -- is something you never really appreciate until you're out in it for real, not safely ensconced in a cage.

I chased the storm all the way home. Finally, with about five minutes to go, I caught it. Branches down on the road to dodge, sheets of rain, the bracing sting of hard-driven drops against my neck.

And here I sit, terrified little dog in my lap, my t-shirt soaked, thunder pounding outside... and happy as a pig in shit.

I adore weather.

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Sunday, June 17th, 2007
7:03 pm - Serious?
So I got my helmet ears yesterday. As I was stopped at a stoplight today on the way to work, some cruiser dude on a Harley pulled up next to me. I turned and waved, and he said to me: "You don't take motorcycling seriously enough!"

I asked: "Do you ride in the rain?" His response: "Huh?"

I figured maybe he couldn't hear me over the huge rumbling of his engine and through my full-face helm. Or maybe he was just deaf from riding on highways without wearing earplugs. So I asked again: "DO YOU RIDE IN THE RAIN?" His response, looking bewildered: "Of course not."

"THEN YOU WOULDN'T UNDERSTAND."

The light changed, and I just rode off, tail flapping in the wind.

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Friday, June 1st, 2007
10:38 pm - How Soon We Forget.
Three years and a bit ago, I bought my first brand-spanking-new motorcycle. The first year Suzuki released their DL650 V-Strom, I absolutely had to have one (in black, natch). The perfect ride: upright, comfortable seating, dual-sportish suspension, a windscreen, V-twin torque and power. My ultimate ride.

I had ridden other bikes before, Suzuki GS500Es lovingly rebuilt by my friend Matthew Patton. Reconstructed from frames, engines, fairings, carburetors from multiple different motorcycles, I referred to my first motorcycle as Frankenbike, and he was a revelation. From an early mid-life crisis came a new love, that of riding, the open road, and personal fulfillment. I rode year-round in the DC area, neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow preventing me from fulfilling my mission: Life on two wheels.

Three years ago to the day, my beautiful DL650 was stolen out of my driveway as I slept. It wasn't insured, and I had taken out a bank loan on it. I had been intending to take it in to my insurance agent the very next day to get it insured... but alas, I was a day too late. For two years I paid off the bank loan on a bike that no longer existed. The police never recovered it, no surprise.

Three years pass. Heartbreak, a broken marriage, a move back home to live with the parents, a new career...

One of the worst things about my divorce was getting my old GS500s back out of long-term storage, where they were stowed while we lived in the UK. As I sat astride those sad, broken bikes, pushing them onto the donation trailer, I realized how deeply I'd missed riding. How confined I had felt over the past years driving a cage.

In time, a long-awaited promotion arrived, and I finally had the funds to buy a new motorcycle. What else would I choose, but the DL650 that I had loved so well and so briefly? Two months searching for one in grey (blue, ick, and black hasn't been available since the first year of release). Determination will win out -- I was back on two wheels.

At first I was concerned -- would I remember how to ride? What if I couldn't manage the clutch and the gears and all that? To my joy, it turns out just to be like riding a bike. You never forget.

Now, just a brief time after, my bike is back in the shop for the first service. (The service manager noted: "This bike looks ridden. Most bikes we get back for their first service have been washed twice as often as they've been ridden. Yours has bugs and grime all over it... and is that really your helmet?" (Arai with Halo band.) "I have the exact same helmet setup, except without the bugs.")

I drove a cage into work today. I took all the back roads I love... and felt uneasy. I didn't have complete control over where I was going. I couldn't see around the rearview. When I was stuck in traffic, I could listen to the stereo, and sit patiently with my foot on the brake, not sweltering in my gear... but what I really wanted was to open my visor, and sit in the sun and glory in the sunlight, sweating buckets and loving it.

Two days ago I was waiting at a stoplight next to an SUV full of young Korean kids. They saw my bike, cheered wildly, and waved. When I waved back, they were thrilled. I suspect it made their day.

Today, I was waiting at the same stoplight in my cage. The same SUV was next to me, with the same kids. I waved at them. They didn't notice.

I miss my motorcycle.

Two years ago, as I was swirling around a tight road in Yorkshire, I narrowly dodged a deer in my wife's cage. Lost control, hit the stone embankment, and snapped two ribs as I smashed against the wall. I can't help but wonder whether I'd have dodged the deer cleanly on a motorcycle, or simply spilled and died. (I always wanted to ride in Yorkshire. The scenery is gorgeous, the roads twisty like you couldn't believe.)

Is it worth it to ride?

As I sat in my comfortable air conditioning today in traffic, I realized: Hell yes, it is. We only live once. Why waste my life stifled in the mundane humdrum? Better to live life to the full.

Next time it rains, put on your rain gear and ride anyway.

Before my promotion (and transfer to another store), I had a regular. I always asked him how he was doing. His answer: "Living the dream." Live the dream. Ride your bike.

Enough proselytizing. I just heard my bike will be done tomorrow. I'll be up early to go pick it up.

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Tuesday, May 15th, 2007
10:29 pm - Back On Two Wheels.
Images behind cut.Collapse )

Hooray.

current mood: giddy

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Tuesday, September 19th, 2006
1:10 pm - Dzur.
For reasons which I'm not sure I entirely understand, I was given a $25 gift certificate to B&N by the deli. Hey, don't look a gift book in the mouth. So, Dzur arrived today... And I don't have time to read it. *cry*

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Thursday, September 14th, 2006
11:51 pm - [beer] Stone 10th Anniversary IPA.
Stone 10th Anniversary IPA: I've been waiting eagerly for this release to come out, and we finally got a case in today. (It's all we're likely to get, so we're basically holding it back just for us and our absolute favorite customers.)

Apricots and hops on the nose, with a touch of bitterness. Mouthfeel is initially fairly sweet (those apricots again -- totally unexpected from Stone! -- almost like Magic Hat #9, although not so overwhelming), but quickly settles down to a nice bitter, hop flavor. Lingers on the tongue for about eight hours, with that classic IPA bitterness. Very nice finish.

We're selling this for $5 per 22-oz. bottle, which is mere pennies above our cost (because we're basically just selling it to ourselves and our buddies); we could easily be selling this for $10 (which would be fitting, given the anniversary). If you can find this, buy all you can get.

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Friday, September 1st, 2006
11:33 pm - [wine&beer] Affreschi Pinot Grigio, Arrogant Bastard Ale.
Affreschi Pinot Grigio: Italian (Delle Venezie), imported by Monsieur Touton, approx. $6 per 750 mL bottle, $10-$11 per 1.5 litre bottle. 11% ABV. Light straw in color, light pear on the nose. Crisp, clear mouthfeel. Very clean -- short finish, but pinot grigio shouldn't linger too long. Just a bit of tartness. Very little oak, unlike (say) Cavit or Santa Margherita. Very refreshing -- best served chilled. Highly recommended, if you can find it, which I'll bet you can't. (We sell about 20 cases a week, but I think we're the only store in the state which has bothered to taste this and realize it's one of the best pinot grigios out there, even ignoring the dirt-cheap price. Based on our recommendations, this is now outselling Cavit, the 800-pound-gorilla of Italian pinot grigios, 3:1. Go us.)

Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale: California (Escondido, San Diego County). $4.99 for a 24-oz. bottle. 7.2% ABV. Rich gold in color, nice head on the pour. The "marketing" text from the back of the bottle:

Arrogant BlatherCollapse )

So that gives you an idea where they're coming from. And they're not kidding. This is an aggressive, highly hopped, golden ale. (Not as totally over-the-top as their Vertical Ale, or their Ruination IPA -- be still my beating alcoholic heart -- but still pretty damn aggressive.) Very rich, with a wonderful bitterness, this may just be my favorite golden ale ever... and not simply because I'm an arrogant bastard myself.

And, hey, the bottom of the label says "You're Not Worthy", and around the rim of the case boxes it says "It's Not Too Expensive -- You're Too Cheap." These guys aren't kidding around about being arrogant. We go through this by the caseload -- three cases last week, which is pretty damn good for a limited-distribution craft brew from the other side of the fucking nation, and that's not even including their IPA, Ruination IPA, or Smoked Porter. (Or their limited-release stuff, which is hard to get and hard to sell, but that's another post.)

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Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006
12:42 am - How Not To Watch A Clive Owen Film.
Some simple precepts to follow when watching a film starring Clive Owen:

A) Do not watch a Clive Owen film in a room where nobody knows who Clive Owen *is*.

B) Do not watch a Clive Owen film in which he pretends to have a General American accent.

C) Do not watch a Clive Owen film when the only other viewers are teenagers with too goddamn many cellphones.

D) Do not watch a Clive Owen film where he spends his entire film time, save for thirty seconds at the opening of an excessively long film, and thirty seconds at the end, with his face behind a sock.

E) Do not watch a Clive Owen film with people who look at you strangely and think you're "So, like, gay" for thinking that Clive Owen is possibly the hottest being to walk the planet since, say, Apollo.

F) Do not watch a Clive Owen film with people who have never even heard of Christopher Plummer.

So, yeah, basically my recent viewing of "The Inside Man" was somewhat disappointing. Perhaps it would have been more enjoyable if I could have heard the dialogue above the shouts of "Oh my *GOD*, my boyfriend is such a *DICK*!". I don't know.

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Sunday, August 20th, 2006
12:38 am - Employed.
As some of you may already know, I've actually found employment, at long last. I'm working as a wine salesman in a local grocery store (A&P, if that means anything to any of you). The hours are irregular, the work load is immense, the pay is abysmal -- although if all goes according to plan, that will improve dramatically, as I'm gunning for management soon -- but despite that, I find I'm actually enjoying myself. More so than in any of my geek jobs before. I've been doing this for a few months now, and so far it's actually rather pleasant, despite the occasional off day. (Yesterday was an off day, as was today, but in general it's not that bad. Lots of heavy manual labor, and dealing with stupid people, and attempting to be cheerful when you're hung over and short on sleep... but every now and then, you find an inexpensive wine that's pouring at twice it's price, or a high-end wine that you *know* Bob Brown or Sue Samuelson will absolutely love... and it all pays off. I love it when I get a customer who comes to me and says, "You recommended this wine, which I absolutely adored... what do you have for me today?")

Go figure. I'm such a dour, prickly, unfriendly son of a bitch that I never expected I'd enjoy making people happy for a living.

Aside from that, I'm still heavily involved with World of Warcraft (Eonar realm, Alliance side, main character is Fishfoo, as you might expect), but otherwise have no life.

The divorce is getting increasingly messy by the day.

And that's about it. Hope you all are well.

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Wednesday, August 16th, 2006
6:00 pm - [wine] Chateau Ste. Michelle, Assorted.
The pick of the lot:

2004 Canoe Ridge Chardonnay: $22. Fairly tart nose, a bit acidic (which is good). Light mouthfeel, almost no acidity on the initial taste, quite clean -- light oak. *Long* finish -- very nice. Fairly fruity on the finish, but brings out the grape well. Compare to: Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches.

2001 Artist Series Meritage: $50 (winery), $44 (our price). 68% Cab, 16% Merlot, 16% Malbec. Brilliant. Wonderfully fruity nose, blackberry and earth. Complicated but smooth mouthfeel, quite deep, but never harsh. Finish goes on forever. Fantastic. (I brought two bottles of this home.) This should age well for 5-10 years. Compare to: Yalumba M/G/S.

2002 Artist Series Meritage: $50 (winery). 70% Cab, 10% Merlot, 20% Malbec. Very nice fruit on the body, tannic but well-developed mouthfeel. Good finish, if a bit tannic. Should be good with heartier red meats. Might need another year or two of aging.

2003 Artist Series Meritage: $50 (winery). 66% Cab, 20% Merlot, 12% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot. Still tannic (a bit young), but reasonably clean and smooth. Nice blackberry on the mouth, but probably needs a bit more time to mature. I won't carry this for another year or two.

2003 Ethos Syrah: $40 (winery). *Wonderful* nose. Very fruity, extremely clean. Touches of strawberry on the nose. Mouth is very clean -- fruity, but no metal at all -- light, complicated (three-part), with a very tight finish. A very nice Syrah in the French style. Yum. Compare to: Classic French Syrahs, some Beaujolais Grand Cru, some of the higher-end Pinots.

2005 Eroica Riesling: $22. Washington State grapes, but crafted with the assistance of Ernst Loosen (of DR Loosen fame, Germany). Washington riesling in the German style. Floral aroma, with a dry start, but develops a nice fruity body. Good slate, mineral finish, classic German riesling. Very long finish. Compare to: High-end off-dry rieslings: Willm (Alsace), Bonny Doon (CA), etc.

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Sunday, December 25th, 2005
10:51 am - Wahey!
Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Good Kwanzaa! Cheerful, uh, agnostic day!

I understand that this is the first time in about a hundred years that Christmas and Hanukkah have fallen on the same day. What luck! One all-purpose holiday message deals with all of that bothersome nonsense.

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Saturday, December 24th, 2005
8:30 am - MUCH SNOW, (I) FEEL DOUR.
28 words.Collapse )

x-posted to lcwg .

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4:57 am - Huh? Wha?
This thing is still here? The LJ gods haven't deleted this account out of sheer frustration at my apathy and lack of posting? Ye gods.

Some people send out Christmas cards, or the annual holiday letter. I figure I may as well post something here.

Me, a year on.Collapse )

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Sunday, December 19th, 2004
1:41 pm - [breadlog] Potato Rosemary Bread.
Another recipe from Reinhart. I first made this on Thursday; B liked it so much she had me make it again today for a potluck at work. Uses a biga pre-ferment and rosemary for flavor, and mashed potatoes (fresh or leftover) to help get a nice, soft crumb.

We have rosemary growing in our massive back yard. This is a fun way to use it.

Potato Rosemary Bread. Makes 2 loaves or ~18 dinner rolls.Collapse )

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