Sunday, December 31, 2006

End of the Year Extravaganza!!!

Been a whole week since I wrote something, so let's get to it.

For those interested in seeing THE graphic REAL SADDAM EXECUTION VIDEO linked to this BLOG, please click here. (Fair warning, it is real, it is gruesome but I didn't mind watching it 30 or 40 times. His eyes are still tripping me out at the end. Taken from a cellphone. Yes I am against the death penalty, but... )

Wow! What a year. Where to begin?

As most of my long time readers know, I cleaned house playing blackjack this year. Though I have not walked into a casino since early summer, I snared around eight grand. It was a lot of fun. I felt like a pro but now I am afraid to ever go back. Fear of losing even 50 bucks, if you can imagine that.

With those earnings I became a professional IKEA shopper. My IKEA faucet install post is still getting lots of hits and is number one on Google. The comments on that post are getting hilarious. I was called a political facsist from the links on my side bar. Hmmm... links on my side bar? I wonder what pia, gun-toting liberal and the cast and crew of Bring It On think about that? Sure my side bar leans right but there are a bunch of non-political and left leaning sites there as well. I am an equal opportunity employer here. I take it from all sides. And so what if what I say makes you uncomfortable, (teeny) it's a free country and those folks on that side bar, including the Mad Haiku guy (and if you haven't been there you are totally missing out) promote freedom better than anyone around. Including the Stop the ACLU guys. Kos is the real ass when it comes to political fascism.

We had our first child this summer. Elijah Joachim. Old school, old biblical name in a new body. It was and still is my proudest moment watching him be born. His eyes are mesmorizing. He is gonna be a knock out (especially if he takes after his father mother). Lately, he is enjoying my guitar. Let's hope he keeps that hope.

Lastly, let's all have a good 2007.

Here are my predictions:

Britney Spears will be pregnant by the end of the year with Ashton Kutcher's love child.

The San Diego Chargers will beat the Saints in the Super Bowl. (oooooooh)

LeBron James will fail to get the Cav's past the 1st round of the playoffs.

We will have a hurricane strike the south east, an earthquake in California but this will be Dick Clark's last Rockin New Years Eve.

The winner of American Idol will be Asian.

The leading candidate for both major parties will be apparent by next fall, both are not who we expected.

Barry Bonds will break the homerun record, late July in Cincinatti or St. Louis, he will not finish this year with the Giants.

In May, I will write a post blasting the a "pitiful" ending to the first season of Heroes. This is not what I want, I hope the ending will be great, but these are random stream of conciousness predictions.

I will break 100 again on a golf course, preferably on a 18 hole course.

Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Christmas Birthday Wish...

I wish for him to be open, generous and kind.

Am I missing anything?

Merry 1st Christmas Elijah.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Rocky Balboa... The Enduring Hero and My Parallel Universe

(Disclaimer: I will not be spoiling the movie so keep reading. I will say any movie critic, who thinks they are worth anything, is severely fucked in the head if they bash this movie. Yes you are entitled to your opinion and SO AM I!!!!)

Now to the post...

Okay, I went and saw Rocky Balboa tonight. I wasn't the only male in the theater who fits the 20-40 age demographic that grew up on Rocky movies. I think I actually saw the first one when I was three. I saw Rocky II later on but never remembered being in the theater. When I was 9, I saw Rocky III minutes after I saw painful rear ender along the El Camino Real in Millbrae. (Semi into a tan Olds: The Olds lost) I remember them actually showing a cartoon before the movie and I remember seeing Hulk Hogan for the first time. (We didn't have cable) And I saw Rocky 4 with an old friend when I was 12 and later saw 5 when I was like 17 or something.

On Monday, I'll turn 33... (Yeah Christmas but that's for another post) The theme of the movie that stuck: Age. (Okay... no spoilers)

There is one line though, and this doesn't spoil the movie where Rock says "Time moves too fast, too quickly..." And Paulie says, "Time doesn't move fast enough". This is reality to me sometimes. I mean seriously, this is as real of a thought as it gets.

We go through life thinking of all the things we could have done, whether it'd be how we played a sport, something we said that we could not take back in the moment or a seemingly small decision we have made in our lives that had huge repercussions later on. And you can choose to sit back and dwell on these little things. Me... dwelling on the past is a beast of burden. I think a lot about the times where I was picked on in 8th Grade for something as stupid as being from the big city because there is just a meanness in this world. And how much that laid into me as I grew up. How on one hand I made myself stronger by overcoming what I thought was a huge obstacle but at the same time I really had no control over. I still can't let the past go in a lot of situations. In all seriousness, I want to be part of the crowd but I find the crowd suffocating at the same time. A crowd makes me nervous because I fear people so much, yet I want to be there to be the life of the party, to be one with confidence.

Control is something in life we all strive for. Whether it is with money, or a relationship. The well being of a significant other or even something as trivial as our Health Care plans. Control is what makes us really who we are as people. We have what we have because of our control on life. Control makes us happy. When we lose control over something however, that is what we ultimately hang our hats on, what pulls at our hearts, destroys ourrelationships with people and ultimately lack of control is what we succumb to... Hopefully much later in life as possible.

What I found in the movie theater was interesting. Here you had this emotionally deep movie going on. Some laughter from the crowd but the thing I noticed and I had only seen this in a theater once (Fight Club), everyone my age and demographic was up in their seat, on the edge... leaning foward. And even though the fight sequence wasn't until the end (how could that spoil it?) it was like we were watching Rocky's fight for survival, for what made him actually... real. A real fight... the actually boxing match is just a metaphor.

It's hard to imagine a fictious character, totally made up in Hollywood with millions at stake, to walk out of the screen and become real but after 6 movies Rocky did. Now it'd be easy to sit here and say that for the rest of my life I am gonna stand up to the pressures of life or my new found fatherhood or that God awful pain in my back that has been driving me nuts for the past year and be like Rocky and just endure, "push forward" or simply stand toe to toe with challenges and say, "I AM".

The hardest part is actually doing it.

The reward is the pain or angst you do get facing the fear. The outcome is ultimately what we strive to have.

Wouldn't you be happy to walk out of life on your terms, knowing what you did was your best? I'm glad Rocky did...

Will there be a 7? Maybe some day... I hope Rocky's story never ends.

Monday, December 18, 2006

California Seeks to Improve Lethal Injection

See link.

Yeah right, how the hell do you "improve" lethal injection? Use a gun? Cyanide? C'mon!!

And really, fat chance of that happening with ole Jerry "I live in a co-op loft in a bad part of Oakland, instead of warm and friendly Sacramento" Brown ringing in the new year as Attorney General, And we thought Bill Lockyer was a liberal, whoa shit dude!! By the way, ever see Jerry Brown's Eco-Friendly car back when he was governor of California? (see link). Where were you flower kids then with your, global warming eh? I bet that gets worse mileage than ole Arnie's Humvee collection...

Heh... Anyhow, this middle of the road, right leaning, abortion hating Republican would actually like to see the death penalty abolished in this state. Last thing we need is some dude, flailing wildly on the gurney (sp?) because the "injector" has a issues sticking someone, even guilty as hell, in the arm with a potent cocktail of death juice that may or may not work quickly.

Anyhow... I'm done... Go back to what ever it is y'all do...

Cross posted with the liberals at Bring It On. (My other blog)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Steve's Blog: Now Palm OS Friendly!

l just switched to Blogger Beta and linked to my gmail. The end result is this blog looks cool on a Palm handheld. Bookmark this blog, now!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Tickle Me Elmo...

The things we do to our kids that will embarass them when they are teenagers. This is so becoming a "Mommy Blog" isn't it?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Psychology of Steve, Part 2

Well... I had my second run in with a psychologist yesterday for all the pain that riddles my body daily. He's like... "Yeah that Vicodin, those sleep aids... They really don't do anything for you."

Yeah...ok... What is it with psychogists... they think they know everything. ('sup Tina!)

So, now I get to get hooked up with electrodes and sit in a chair for like a 1/2 hour to see if I relax at all. I really am not a stressful person, I am just difficult to be around in large doses. (Heh)

Then after Christmas, I get to go to a sleeping class to learn how to sleep more good. (lol more good) Apparently 3-4 hours I get a night aren't good enough. I swear to God, they re-run Blade Trinity on HBO like 4 times a week after 1 AM. I have seen it like 8 times now but never once all the way through. I turned it on the other day and I am like, "Hmmm... wasn't that blind chick in American Pie, why haven't I seen her before?"

Anyhow... back to the suck...

Toodles...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Like A Little Kitten...


Half a lifetime ago... He turns 4 months on Sunday. This was at two months.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Beer Incident

Tina, a frequent commentator on this blog, brought up how my treatment of people can affect my Karma (Id really, but...). She reminded me of a true story from around 11 years ago when I was in my final year in college. It'd be a great addition to bring story to this blog.

Here goes...

Back in 1996, before Kristen and I were, ahem, Kristen and I, there was an incident at a bar, at a ski lodge up in Calaveras County called Bear Valley. See, back then Kristen and I were "just friends". In fact, we really weren't even that yet. We were basically school mates that lived in the same dorm complex, who hung out with the same people. It was spring break and we were both home in Calaveras County with our families. We both were into music and guitars and we liked to jam together. Kristen plays. In fact, you could drop her in with the Pixies, The Cure or the Smashing Pumpkins and you could not tell the difference. So over the break we decided to get together and I would head 70 miles up the mountain to her parents house to jam.

While up there, we decided to head up to the snow and get a drink up at the bar. This bar brews its own beer called Snowshoe. It was a fun little trip up there. I think we rode in her old Ford Tempo up there because it was 4 wheel drive or something. Anyhow... I remember rocking out to Pumpkins all the way up there. Cool Stuff...

Anyhow, the ski season was winding down and there were quite a few people in this little bar. It was mid-afternoon. A lot of older people were there. They weren't old, they just were "older". Anyhow, so I go to the bar and ask the keep for some of the Snowshoe Red Ale. Certainly, he says..."but can I see your ID".

I complied...

There was this lady next to me, laughing and having a good time and she sees the keep, checking my license.

"Hey," she says, "How come he didn't check my ID?"

I go... "BECAUSE YOU'RE OLD!!!!"

She sat there, jaw dropped to the ground, much farther than Kristen's....

Then I look at her and say, "Seriously!!"

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A phishing we will go...

From a recent spam email:

Dear eBay Community Member,

I'm writing to let you know that your account have been indefinitely suspended from eBay because our records indicate your account was involved in activities that violate our policy governing seller non-performance.

If you feel you have been suspended in error or want to appeal this decision by providing additional information, please click here .

An email regarding this was sent to your email address on file with eBay.

Thank you for using eBay and we look forward to many more successful transactions!

Sincerely,

Scott R. Shipman, CIPP
Senior Counsel, Global Privacy Practices
eBay Inc.



Yeah right, jerk off!!! I am totally gonna click that link...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Dear Old Lady...

Dear Old Lady,

Yes, it is I... the one glaring at you from behind in aisle 14 at Target. How you doing? Not good from what I can tell. I see you sitting here, purchasing those hangers, the boxes of Kleenex, that tube of hand cream and all of those damn gift cards. $175.13 is the total right there.

Listen lady, it is 2006 almost 2007. And over the years, technology has dramatically changed. And there is a handy little thing that was made 20 something years ago. It's called an ATM card. May I ask why in the hell are you writing a check? Let me ask you something else... Why did you wait for the total to get posted on the register before you opened that big ole "old lady" purse to find your check book? And why is it, that it takes you about an hour to write "Target" in the payee section before you complain about your arthritis. Then... you put your wallet away BEFORE the checker can see your ID. Imagine that?

Use the freaking ATM Card that I can see as plain as the morning sun, shining from the bill fold featuring your ugly assed grand child in various holiday poses.

Damn you, old people suck!! Get with the program, slide your card, tap in your secret code, pull your receipt and MOVE ON.

Happy Holidays,

Steve

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Christmas Season is Upon Us

I guess it becomes official when you get the tree up, the presents all bought and waiting for them to arrive from all the various online companies. I have been in a bit of a posting drought, even though I have posted a lot recently. Those posts were about nothing. Well except for the wine tour and the pain management thing.

Great morning. Crystal clear. Low 30's this morning topping out with a high around 58. Autumn leaves in huge piles all over the nieghborhood. The smell of fireplace smoke polluting our air. Huge lines at Costco and suprisingly, none at IKEA. It's all good! Maybe make a pot of bratwursts in beer today. Maybe the 49er's will pull it out today in New Orleans. And maybe, the Simpsons will actually be funny tonight.

Had to plunk down for a new router yesterday. Uploads are faster. We run with the fiberoptic service locally provided by a cable company. 10mb per second each way. It is sweet for movies with the new router. Triple band... N, G and B. Videos stream in about a second if the site is fast.

Good times... Enjoy this Elijah photo...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Steve Gets To Visit a Psychologist (Again!)

Heh... This is too funny. In my ongoing saga of chronic back pain I yet get to turn another leaf and journey down another hole of pain management. I should just post reruns of posts from the past because it's the same thing, yet this is sweep's week and we're always due for good first run episodes. (Boston Legal looks good tonight...)

I went back this week to the doctor with for a "Hmmm, let's try this now" visit. They use words like "puzzle" and "a mix" to describe my painful situation.

Heh... It all started when I emailed the Doc a few weeks ago saying my situation needed improving. His office agreed and I got a call to come back in. What was interesting though, they realized I had a follow up appointment so they told me to keep that because "the doctor is in that day and he'll see you... no need to have another appointment." So when I show up and the nurse asks me why I was there, I go..."For a follow up and they said I'd see the doctor about my back pain."

The nurse sighs, and says something like "You're unbelievable, he can't see you today... he's totally booked!!" Okay, I thought, for one, it was the first appointment of the day, so why is he suddenly booked up? A line a Starbucks? The 5 series is in the shop, so he had to drive the wife's M-Class? And two... they told me to freaking show up and said, he was in and would see me. I used answer two without the freaking part.

So the nurse weighs me and asks me my height. For one, she marked down the wrong number to what the scale said. I was wearing steel toed boots that way about 5 pounds each. So I look at the Body Mass chart that she had and the Body Mass number she put me down for... and... OBESE? WTF? I am obese? If I am obese, Nicole Ritchie needs a serious diet. What the hell? It's like she added 15 pounds here and there to whatever the scale said. I ran home to weigh myself after... No wonder she wasn't helpful.

Anyhow... I get the nice nurse now and we run through my follow up.

Basically, I am still screwed and the MRI's don't show anything and they just don't know. So now comes treatment. I get to go to the psychologist again. I was like, "No not that boring dude!!" This one is gonna be different and is gonna hook me up to a machine and stuff. What's really cool is they are gonna toss me over to some alternative medicine too. Acupuncture! This I gotta see man... I wanna go just to see what they do and have all those needles stuck in me! I wanna video tape it! Post it here. I think that would be freaking awesome. Me. Laying there... in my BVD's with a bunch of needles in my back like the Matrix or something. Then you all could see that I am not obese!

So there's that and...

Oh yeah... Steroid injections. See after the Psychologist, I get another follow up. Then the needle. This one I am 50/50 on. Epidural. Right in the spine. A big ole needle shoved right into the spinal column. I mean, it's gonna hurt but for how long? It's scheduled in the New Year. I try not to think about it though. The pain. The possible side effects that happen to 2-3 out of a hundred. Wait! That's like 1:50 or 1:33!! One possible side effect: Permanent numbness. That and I could probably poop everywhere during it. Nice! I think I am not gonna eat a thing the day before. Oh and another possible side effect: a "wet" tap. Which basically means, the doctor yells "Oh shit!!" as your spinal fluid leaks out and gives you a headache for like a week and you have to lay horizontal until it goes away. Either way... they are the doctor, I guess they know what they are doing.

Oh and I got a big ole bottle of Vicodin to take home with me.

Life's good though! I am a happy person... (despite our losses in the House and Senate)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Steve Pimps Some Wine... (again!)

*

Are you twisted?

Ah... What better to do on a brisk Fall afternoon than taste wine? What the hell, it's Christmas and what better for Christmas than a fine bottle of Calaveras County wine. Mmmm.... Mmmm Good.

Started the morning at Twisted Oak linked above. Twisted is @$%!ing good!!! Started with the Tempranillo. A great Spanish wine grown here in the foothills. Awesome stuff. Bold yet drinkable. A very even tasting wine. Good stuff. I bought a couple of bottles. I recommend Twisted's Murgatroyd as well. Cool little winery with a lot of sass. Very cool to plug.

Next stop was Irish Vineyard. A tiny winery up the street from Twisted. They had some good whites and reds though were out of a lot. We bought a bottle of Chenin Blanc. I am not big on whites but I really liked this one. It was probably 40 degrees in the winery which probably made it extra special. I also bought the Apricot dessert wine. This white dessert wine had an unbelievable taste that'd go well with any fruity or non-chocolate dessert like a creme brulee or vanilla tort. Killer taste...

After this, we went up the road to Chatom. For some reason, they're always crowded. Must be the good wine and hospitality. I bought a couple cases of Gitano-Sangiovese for the holidays. It will get drunk fast!! I can't keep this stuff too long in my little cellar because you can have it with everything. I joined their club today and saved some big bucks. I also picked up 3 Zins, the Esmeralda Syrah and the Chardonnay. You cannot go wrong with a single purchase at this place. My other favorites are the cheaper Syrah and the Merlot. Always a fun and expensive stop.

We also went into town today and stopped at the Solomon tasting room in Downtown Murphys. We sampled all of the reds. I bought the Cloud 9 Composition. They had the 2000 available over the normal 2001 release this weekend. A combination of 5-6 grapes. Unbelievable taste and a steal for 32 bucks! Good stuff. They also make under their Garsa label, a Tempranillo that is quite outstanding. Calaveras County's climate is great for the Spanish wines.

Getting quite tipsy, we headed down to Zucca Mountain. They probably have the coolest tasting room in town. Murphys is an old "gold rush" town founded back in the mid to late 1800's. Most of the buildings are around 150 years old. Zucca's tasting room is located in the basement. A kind of quirky staircase leads you down into the cellar and if you are over 6 feet tall, DUCK!! Great host of wines here. They make a killer Barbera and a good Sangiovese. I was intrigued by their Tesoro, which was a blend of different reds made on the light side. Good stuff, but make this the first stop if you are in town to taste. Stumbling out could be hazardous to your health.

Our final stop of the day was Milliaire. If you are a Zin fan, stop here because there are 7 of them!! My favorite is the Ghiradeli Zin grown on 110 year old vines outside the town of Burson. Pretty heavy handed tastings too. It is fun to go through the whole rack. We're always keen on the Ghiradeli and they also make a good Syrah. What's disappointing is they offer 5 or 6 more reds that aren't on the tasting menu. I could have done without all of the Zins. A fun winery though, with lots of elbow room. A lot of the tasting rooms in Murphys are tight. The town seems to have exploded with almost 15 winerys. California's best kept secret tasting town is someday gonna explode.

It's all good though... I love coming up here.

Friday, November 24, 2006

After Thanksgiving...

We started and finished Christmas shopping today.

We didn't leave the house and people are getting cool stuff.

I watched my in-laws go through the pain staking process of setting up their house for Christmas. This involved a tree, tons of nick-nacks, and lights. Yay!!

Christmas comes and I get another year older at the same time. I can officially start my count down till my crappy birthday: December 25th.

Off to have another Manhattan...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

May your turkey not be dry.

May your relatives get along longer than five minutes.

May no one pour you a glass of White Zinfandel and say it's "good wine". It's not! No matter who makes it!

May you not eat watery pumpkin pie that tastes like fish.

May your mother not talk about her "strategy" at Walmart tomorrow.

May I stop trying to be funny because this is not working like I thought...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dental Hygiene and Easy Listening

I went to the dentist today for my four month check up. I go every four months for cleanings instead of six months because my insurance is cool and pays for all of it. (See, I am a Republican, I search out good insurance instead of waiting for the government to entitle me to it) My dentist is cool though. Completely painless...

But as usual I had no cavities. And what got me this trip was the dental hygentist. Mostly you'd think it was a "chick" job. But not at this place... It's a dude and a straight dude at that. Anyhow this guy is meticulous when it comes to cleaning teeth. He's got all the gadgets out. Pulls all the stops, works fast and doesn't ask too many questions. No unnecessary small talk. I hate it when you go to one of these cleaners and they ask questions that involve more than yes or no answers. It freaking sucks when they do that.

So there I was laying there getting my teeth scraped. I like all the things they do to create a "calm" atmosphere. Light blue color on the walls. Clouds in the lights with hot air balloons. Landscaping outside the window... And...

The radio tuned to the adult contemporary station. Let me tell you... I was numbed by it!

It's like we went through Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", Whitney Houston's "I Will Always, Love You", Madonna's "True Love", Billy Joel's "My Life", Bryan Adams, Phil Collins...John Mayer... Boys II Men. It went on and on. I was there for an hour. And it was like on cue, that it was some easy song that you knew that was some big hit. What I thought was hilarious was that the hygenist made the sales pitch regarding why you should floss every waking moment of your life, during the song "My Life" by Billy Joel:

I don't care what you say anymore this is my life... Go ahead with your own life and leave me alone!


I was about to bust up laughing because you can almost think that these guys are in a cult or some whacky religious group like the JW's when they talk about flossing. It's like they are saying, "You know you really need to do this... to be a BETTER PERSON and a BETTER FATHER!!!" or something. Like the whole world depends on it and missing a days worth of flossing is like not filing your income taxes. They really sell it hard. I floss once in a while and brush with a Sonic Care tootbrush. No cavities. I go visits without any problems. Sure. I had a wisdom tooth pulled last year I wrote about somewhere on this blog but that doesn't count. Flossing could not save that tooth. But these guys equate not flossing to sinning.

It's kind of sad if you think about it....

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Elijah's Trip to Starbucks

My wife's got the flu and in bed this morning. The boy and I were awake and as usual at 7:30am in the morning, I start craving caffeine. So I changed a diaper, packed up the kid carrier and headed out into the fog.

The Hummer is great. We have XM Radio in it. I love their channel selections and the fact there are 4 stations in a row 47, 48, 53, and 54 that just play the right music. And Lucy 54 was perfect this morning on the way to Starbucks. It's like all the music from college on one station. It also get's me the chance to educate my son on proper musical tastes.

For example:

The first song on when we got in the car, Pearl Jam's Yellow Ledbetter. Good song? Yeah maybe but, I am like,

Okay Elijah, this is Pearl Jam, the most over-rated band of the 90's. You can listen to them but only in moderation and if I catch you emulating them, I'll dis-own you!!
Then the second song comes on, Soundgarden's Rusty Cage. Awesome pre-sell out music and I am like,

Okay Elijah, this is Soundgarden. Pearl Jam tried desperately to rip off this band's sound. Someday I hope you grow up and have a voice as strong as Chris Cornell's so we can make millions for your ma and I's retirement. You have the screaming part totally down right now!


We entered Starbucks and it was totally full of old guys blowing on their coffee to cool it down. (Hmm... that is why my Latte is piping hot!) They all gave me the stare. You know, the "Dude's got a baby with him and no mother in sight! What did he do?" stare. Another baby came in as they were processing my order. Elijah flirted with the barrista jockeying the espresso machine. I just stared aimlessly at the music selection. Would you ever buy a pre packaged music CD at a coffee shop? Not me.

Anyhow... on the way back to the car, usually there is a bum asking for money at this Starbucks. I swear it's always a different bum but I think they rotate or set a schedule or something. Anyhow the guy sees me and he is about to ask for money but notices the blue kid carrier and flips a 180. No one begs someone with a kid for money I guess.

Meanwhile back in the Hummer, Alice in Chains is blaring Down in a Hole on XM. I just turn back and say to Elijah:

Don't do drugs!! Drugs may make you write a song as beautiful as Down in a Hole with it's signature line, "Down in a hole and I don't know if I can be saved." Seriously, I know this song rocks, but don't do drugs.


Heh... I am a gonna be a pretty good father!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Saddest Day in American History...

*

The new House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi

Why America? Why!!! Why did you do this? Why!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hey I Laughed

Browsing break.com and I saw this...

*


Too funny!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Single-Serving Friends

I did some travelling this week out to Colorado. I had to change planes midway to get to my destination. It was easiest to fly through Salt Lake City with a quick connection to get over to Colorado Springs. When I fly, I always think of Fight Club, not the part about the shelf of the plane ripping off (like that'd happen), but the part where he discusses single serving friends.

My friends on this trip were interesting:

On the way to Salt Lake City, I had the youth pastor. Dude was wearing blue jeans, t-shirt and sandals. Had a necklace with a giant cross on it. Carried a Bible on board and read it most of the trip. Real quiet guy. If he hadn't had the cross on I'd think he was gay. Maybe he was... who knows. I knew he was a youth pastor because before I slapped my iPod on shuffle he had mentioned it. Why he was going to Salt Lake City, who knows? Definately not a Mormon. I played Delta's new interactive trivia game with a few passengers around the plane. More on this later...

On the connection to Colorado I had a tough time. This time I had a window seat and it was not fun. Small, tight plane with only two seats on each side. So I get the window with a bad back and a super tall guy as a single-serving friend, who... was an aviation guy and like to talk about what the plane was doing next. Jesus it sucked... The flight was an hour late.. I could have walked out to the runway faster than the plane did.

The way back had the same kind of small plane but this time I had aisle. Who do I get now? Likes to talk guy... who's flown twice in his entire life, last time ten years ago!! He liked to asked questions. Not just asking what I did or how long I was in town but personal crap like, "So how does one do what your doing now? What education did you need?" He wanted details throughout the flight. Shook my hand when I sat down and shook it when I left the plane. Polite but...

Out of Salt Lake was the best. Plane was half full. The plane had the personal LCD screens with TV and trivia game. No one was around me. The plane went up, I fired up the trivia game and started plugging away. 15 people from around the plane joined. I was on too. I wasn't just on with trivia skills, it was total pwnage. I pwn3d the plane, winning on not only questions answered but also answering them faster, which brought up my score big time. I preceded win a few rounds as we travelled. I was on fire. I got up to 4 rounds and this guy from the back of the plane in 37C finally yells, "Damn Steve... stop it!" Best single serving friend yet...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Two Years Ago Today....

I started this blog. Almost 45,000 hits... Made a few friends... Pissed off a few people... Watched the Republicans lose...

It's still all good though...

Keep on Trucking!!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sweetness!


Santa Elijah, The things we do to people when they sleep.

Been a while since I had a good rant about something but I got one and here goes. I title it:

The Food Court: No lady, I think you were behind me!

My sister in law is gonna crack up at this but it deserves to be on this blog... Saturday my wife, her sister, Elijah and I pack up the Hummer and head to the mall for some pictures of Elijah in his obnoxiously cute Santa outfit. We get to the picture place and are ushered right in for a photo session that included this photo. How can you pass it up, eh?

So we get done and are hungry so we head up to the food court. My wife and her sister head over to the Japanese place and I hang back with Elijah. The food court is pretty packed but not too bad. Lots of people stuffing their faces with completely unhealthy food all around. You could just smell the grease. Anyhow, I scoped the place out while I sat with Elijah. I wanted something good, not a burger or a slice of pizza at Sbarro's but something that quenched my hunger and a beer! What I found was a hot dog/sausage place and I saw some beer taps. Beer at the mall, good times.

So when the ladies came back I went off to the sausage place for a Bratwurst and some beer. One dude in line with a kid, placing an order. I wait. I just stand, deciding which beer to get not named Bud, Coors or Miller or with the suffix Lite or Light after the name. People are building up behind me, a lady with her kid... some other guy... it was forming pretty good. I started the line. Behind the guy with the tan shirt plus I was there first, before the people who now walked up later. I was "in-line to be next". It was clear. I WAS NEXT. The lady behind the register nodded my way, with the "Hi can I help you look". So it was technically now official... dude in tan shirt has his food... he paid and he is stepping aside. The lady behind the counter, working for the sausage place, is presenting me with clear, non-verbal communication. I was greeting her with a smile, it was reciprical. It was two way communication. We connected... All systems go.. and as I take a breath to say what I want to order, the bitch behind me, steps around me and attempts to order "Just an Ice Tea, please".

I am not a bad guy... really I am not. And it wasn't until after I say, "Dude, WTF?" did I notice her 3 year old brat she had in tow. I interrupt her order and go, "What do you think you are doing?" She's like stunned... I say, "It was pretty clear to the people behind me, the nice lady ready to take my order and anyone else who has stood here the last 5 minutes that... I WAS NEXT!!!"

She's like..."Go 'head... go.." Glancing down at her daughter and pulling her back like I was some mean man with the grey t shirt or something.

Without saying "Thank you" or anything I turn away, smile, and place my order and ask if the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is truly pale or something to artificially extend my order time. The whole time I feel this glare behind me. I turn and look at the little girl and it was like I ran over her cat. I paid and stepped aside... waiting for my bratwurst and beer.

The moral to the story: We should end liberal entitlements! That's where this lady who tried to cut in front of me gets it from. Because she had a little kid and was gettng "Just an Ice Tea, thanks!" that she was entitled to be in line first before me... who earned my spot for arriving early and having my stuff prepared on time to be next. (C'mon lawryde, what would you have done?)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

My Tuesday Prediction.

*

Republicans keep the Senate and narrowly escape defeat in the House. That and Boston Legal will not be seen because every election now will have all major networks, CNN and Fox News on lock down watching vote counts come in.

Also on Tuesday, the sun will rise and fall just like normal. There will be stories of some disenfranchised voters, continued speculation of Lieberman's $387,000 petty cash fund and Harold Ford will refuse to concede defeat for three weeks because he'll want a recount.

In California 87 won't pass. 85, 88, 89 will. Measures 1a-e pass and the Kings will be moving to Vegas.

Then I am done with politics for a while.

And guess what, if the Republicans lose... it means the better team won. But still we'll always have the power of Voltron, defender of the universe at our side!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Thank God He Isn't President!!!!

*

“You know, education — if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. “

“If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Thanks for handing us another election!!!


Friday, October 27, 2006

Back from Disneyland...

Somebody had fun at Disneyland. We've been back a couple of days. Tiger Woods 2007 has been slowly sucking my life away since it's arrival. Next week will be two years since I started this blog. Freaking amazing...

Friday, October 20, 2006

On Notice...
















Yeah, I stole the idea from Steve O over at BIO. But hey it's a free country... Props to this site.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

When Socialism Strikes...

Elementary school in Massachusetts bans the game of "Tag!"

What is up with that? Kids getting are getting into too many collisions so the article says. They also note that the school banned dodgeball as well a while back because it was "exclusionary and dangerous."

Tag though is apparently unsupervised. Touch football has also been eliminated. What is the cause of all this?

It's mind control from the evil Socialists that plague half this country under the softer label of "Democrats". They want to take away all the fun we have in this world, like success, fancy cars and individual freedoms like the right to play "Tag!". It's a crock of shit if you ask me!

First they take our power, then they'll take our money, and then they'll take our women!!!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Greg Graffin: Cold As Clay


Cold As Clay

I am getting old. I am missing all the good music. I have fallin off the edge. My Tower Records post below says more about that.

My focus on this post is the excellent CD, I found this afternoon on iTunes. Greg Graffin, lead singer of such bands as Bad Religion, one the greatest punk bands of all time (Social Distortion would be the best punk band) released a solo album, a la Mike Ness style. And it is out right awesome.

These punk rock songwriters sometimes can translate their music to other genres very well. It comes from the limited song form they use when composing. No room for themes and variations, it's straight verse chorus verse. You might get a guitar interlude but usually punk songs are riff driven.

Greg Graffin does a phenomonal job on this CD, playing folk, country and acoustic rock. His lyrics are deep and meaningful. However if you can't stand atheist liberals, this is not for you. And this comes from a conservative. (See Inner Logic post below)

Greg's voice lends itself well to his style. Doesn't really have to sing it to sound good.
My faves on this CD are:

The title track Cold As Clay
Don't Be Afraid To Run
Highway (Sounds folky and almost Baroque)
One More Hill (Almost Hank Williams-like)

Anyway good stuff if your ear likes acoustic rock or if you wanna try something new.

Friday, October 13, 2006

D'You Know What I Mean??

I felt compelled to write something a bit more personal this time. Kind of a post to leave for the weekend or something. I don't know I'll post more probably this weekend when something else happens that strikes my mind.

When I was 14 I went through some personal drama. My parents moved me from the giant suburbia known as the San Francisco Bay Area out to the golden hills of Calaveras County. I was laying awake last night, listening to my iPod and thinking of the past. This song by Oasis, "D'you know what I mean?" came on and for some reason, I just wanted to crank it up and think about the challenges I went through when I was 14, starting that new school and meeting new people for the first time. I have copied the lyrics over the post, just to do something different.

Liam sings...



Step off the train all alone at dawn
Back into the hole where I was born
The sun in the sky never raised an eye to me
The blood on the tracks and must be mine
The fool on the hill and I feel fine
Don't look back cos you know what you might see


I started my new middle school just over midway through my 8th grade year. I felt lonely for the first time when my mom drove away from the school parking lot. I had know idea. It was February and all I remember was how bright the sun was that day. It was crisp and clear, probably close to 70 degrees which is rare for the foothills in February. My first class was English. So awkward being the new guy. I actually felt chastised from the moment I walked in the door. A few people giggled. I walked with a limp because I shredded my knee skateboarding and had to have it drained just weeks before. The class was ready Johnny Tremaine and I think they were on the part where he burns his hand.

I remember hobbling after that to my second period class which was P.E. I checked in and was assigned to a group. But since I could not participate with my knee I had to sit on the bleachers. I remember a kid, some scrawny little creep, muscling past me because "I was the new guy". He kicked me in the leg as he was pushing past to take a seat on the bleachers. He shouted some explicitives at me and that's when I threw my first punch, approximately one hour, into my first day at the new school, right into his gut, knocking him right to his back. (Told you he was a scrawny kid)

Liam sings...



Look into the wall of my mind's eye
I think I know, but I don't know why
The questions are the answers you might need
Coming in a mess going out in style
I ain't good-looking but I'm someone's child
No-one can give me the air that's mine to breathe


This of course... was a mistake! I grabbed the attention of every student in the room at this point and it was dead silent. Instinct told me to get down on the ground, on my feet, especially with a bum knee. I had to show strength.

It was amazing how fast this almost artificial circle formed around me. Students, boys and girls, all gawking at me and the kid some 10 yards away from me now, catching his breathe. I remember the look on his face. The "You are so Dead!!" smirk that now formed was the eerie beginning of something that was changing my life forever. I was on defense for the rest of school years... I had no friends here at this school and this day was the start of something bigger than I could control.

Liam really sings it here...

I met my maker
I made him cry
And on my shoulder he asked me why
His people won't fly through the storm
I said "Listen up man, they don't even know you're born"


Out of nowhere, to this day comes the biggest 8th grader I have ever scene. He wasn't fat or really had any bulk, but he was already 6 feet tall. What was striking was that he wasn't lanky or disproportionate. He had a muscle shirt on. Had the whole, Matt Dillon from the Outsiders thing going on. He just stared. In a total defensive position, I stared back. Never once letting me eye off of him. Unless he was gonna talk to me, I still had somewhat of an advantage. I was more unknown to him as he was to me. I had a slim chance if this thing went down. He tried to make me flinch (which for some reason was the big joke at that school) but I just stared. The moment of truth was seconds away.

Liam sings the Chorus...

All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
Yeah, yeah


The silence was deafening. The two P.E. coaches were now realizing this thing was on but they had 75 students to get through and were not moving too fast to break this thing up before it got nasty. Who really was in charge, the coaches? The Dallas Winston look alike or me?

So I made the first move... Why not right.... right?

Liam sings another verse...

I don't really care for what you believe
So open up your fist or you won't receive
The thoughts and the words of every man you'll need
Get up off the floor and believe in life
No-one's ever gonna ever ask you twice
Get on the bus and bring it on home to me


I stuck out my hand for a shake. Like, "hey... this is intense... Um... we cool now?" My hand was briskly slapped away. I stuck it back out there just as fast. It was slapped away again and this time I stepped back and got some chuckles from the audience waiting for me to die. I stuck it out there again anyway and this time, he paused... then threw me to the floor. "OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!" The crowd screamed. I picked myself up. His back now to me... I shouted "Hey!" And stuck my hand out hoping he would rescue me out of this humiliation with a shake. Nope... Nothing... Zilch... He was combing his dark brown hair...

All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
Yeah, yeah


The next day I was asked where I was from. Daly City... I said. Near San Francisco... I was called a faggot and a pussy and harassed for the next year... I guess you don't go to a country school and tell them where you are from. So many fights, bloody noses and bruises. Sometimes they beat my ass, but sometimes I beat the living hell out of them!!

One day, my freshman year high school, while I was in my English Class, I was being ridiculed by a few guys. I still was there fighting back, every word, standing up for myself. This deep voice from the back of the room yelled "Cool it, leave Steve alone now." The silence in the class of deafening. It was the big kid from 8th grade... bailing me out...

I guess a year was enough...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Store's Closing: The Death of an Old Friend

*
Where it all began

Kind of like one of those ol' sad, realize-you've-grown up moments. Tower Records is no more. The signs are posted up and down Broadway this afternoon. 30% off liquidation "Going Out of Business" sale. It's sad to see it's finally come to this. The dimension of that corner down the street on 16th and Broadway will change for ever. No Tower Records, no Tower Books, no Tower Video... and maybe if some developer wins the fight, no more Tower Theater (Art Deco home now to all the indie flicks) which means no more Tower Cafe and perhaps the only thing left standing across the street will be Tower Liquors and the H&C Burger Stand.

I got into rock music pretty seriously at around 17 years old. The first tape I think I can remember buying was EMF's first album. My collection grew from there. I got into Pink Floyd. Some REM. The whole Nirvana thing. U2... All that old new wave stuff from Flock of Seagulls through Depeche Mode and even into the Cure. By the time I entered college in 1992, I had a pretty damn good collection: All bought with my hard earned cash at Tower Records. I was always there on Tuesdays for the new music. Just to browse or to buy, it didn't matter those four years in college. There was always enough money for that 11.99 new cd.

Then there were the midnight releases at 12:AM early Tuesday. Standing in line to be the first one. When the Beatles released their first anthology series in 1995, I was there in Stockton. The first one in line at midnight. Got my photo on the front page of the Stockton Record the next day. Me, standing there in line being the first. Other midnight releases: Green Day's Insomniac, U2's Pop, REM's New Adventures in Hi-Fi (good shit by the way), Cake's 2nd album was released the same time as REM's Hi Fi so I got that too. In fact, I got those two at the Sunset Store in Hollywood. The property is being sold for $12 million!!! I think I got Weezer's second album, Pinkerton (best album of the 1990's) Good times... being first was it. I had to be the one telling my friends to get the new record.

I guess though, I indirectly helped kill the Tower brand. Back in 2000, Napster was it. I downloaded all I could. I mostly searched for covers and for that one song from some random band that you didn't want the rest of. I had thousands. Then the hard drive crashed. Probably out of my own guilt though. In 2000, I was in prog rock band. I was the lead guitarist in a three piece, called Perception. Maybe you heard of us? (No you didn't!!) I downloaded songs we wanted to cover or for ideas in our songwriting sessions. The other two members had their own tastes. Became a Dave Matthews fan out of it. The band was good for what it was. I'll lose my hearing 5 years sooner because of it. But losing those thousands of songs I illegally downloaded was a good thing. Illegal downloading is stealing, period. Just because it is there, doesn't mean you can take it. Hence why Tower is no longer around.

I grew up though. Sure I'd pop in every season for the new record. Like the new Pearl Jam or U2 album that showed up every couple of years. I wasn't seeking out new cutting edge bands like I did before I got married. There were no Samiam's or Jawbreaker's on the horizon that I had to seek out. No new Camper Van Beethovens or Crackers (virtually the same band...lol) to get others into. If I saw a new album I'd get it but it wasn't the same. I wasn't buying a 100 or so cd's year anymore. Maybe 25 tops, if that.

Now it's all about iTunes. For one, it was easier now to put the 1000 or so cd's I have onto one little iPod and buy stuff I needed to replenish, like when I went on the Metallica binge last week. Bought the new Killers this week. Jury still out.

I guess Tower is like an old friend that you sort of lost touch with. You don't call or see them very often for years. And then you read their obituary in the paper. And you are stunned into just remembering...

(Van Halen's Eruption cues up on iPod)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Back From Where Ever

Fun week so far. I got to know the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport REAL well last night. Spent 5 1/2 hours sitting and waiting, then waiting some more.

You can only drink so much beer at the airport.

Something I just gotta say about planes and politics:

Why are there so many people handicapped or need "wheel chairs"? I truly do not mean to be so malicious with that statement but more of a thought. I mean you can go days with out so much as seeing someone with a cane. Sure you see the cars in the "blue spots" out in front of the local businesses and the people getting out of them but you really don't draw any attention to it... until you are trying to get off the plane.

We let these people on the plane first. They get all the time. Being in the wheel chair is almost like first class because you get assistance from the stewardesses. You get your bags put away for it. Hell, you are even driven acrossed a vast airport like MSP in an electric cart. Usually, you get to sit in front of the plane as well.

Yet, when that plane lands, stops at the gate and the door opens, why is it now suddenly "your turn" to leave the plane "like everyone else", The handicapped get special treatment all the way through like I described, yet when there are 200 people behind them that just want to get off the plane, they stand up and try to stumble off the plane. Why? You boarded first, you don't have to deal with little kids and their swinging backpacks as they follow their parents to their seats. You don't have the guy at the limit with his carry on's. You know the big suitcase, the man purse AND the laptop case and sport coat, with the earbuds on stuffing his shit all the way down the aisle. (Yeah that'd be me sans the man purse) You don't have to deal with it handi-capable people! You got your special treatment because you are not like everyone else yet, when that seat belt light goes off... you join the rush. Hobbling off the plane to look for your wheel chair and someone to drive out of the airport no less, while we all suffer back with the cattle watching you negotiate the aisle.

And this my friends, is where a societal change, like recognition becomes an entitlement. It's all about me, I guess, that is, if you are in a wheel chair.

We can take it step further. There only one thing worse than the Republican Party. Their lying and cheating...fallacies. The President and his war on terror, Iran and North Korea. One thing worse than having someone like Mark Foley around. One thing worse than a Tom Delay and his little scandal. The one thing being:

The Democratic Party!!!

So against the things that protect us like wire-tapping, that when something like this whole Foley IM thing surfaces (conveniently in an election year, in October) that the whole wire tap thing is now "cool" and "new" and it was used to take down a seat in Congress they so desperately need. I mean, how do you catch Foley if not for some "eaves dropping" er uh, "wire tapping". And if they knew they had these goods on Foley and Hastert, why now? Don't get me wrong, Foley is a sick creep that should have never have had the power he got and hopefully goes to a jail. But aren't they just as guilty for waiting? I mean, there was a minor involved.

It's also so wrong now that there was an older man, "sexually involved" with a much younger, easily impressionable, DC intern but was "no big deal" when Clinton did it, from the Oval Office. Clinton was caught and lied to the grand jury about it. Yet, when Foley gets caught, he doesn't lie about it, he resigns and "becomes true to himself" by announcing he is gay. And where is the gay community out standing for this guy? Yeah, ok... he's creepy with his AIM messages towards high school kids. But dude... where are you on this one?

The Democrats are bad people. It's all a smoke screen. It's all a power grab. Don't buy into it!!
These people are not your friends!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Inner Logic

I had an interesting iPod experience on a plane the other day.

So, I am flying along and my iPod is on "shuffle". So 1 in 3000 songs are just coming on in random. Johnny Cash to Def Leopard to Janis Joplin to For Squirrels (of all things) and then to Bad Religion, one of my favorite punk bands. This song, "Inner Logic" popped up. For some reason I felt it inspiring (only in thought). Here are the words:

Inner Logic (Graffin)

automatons with business suits clinging black boxes,
sequestering the blueprints of daily life
contented, free of care, they rejoice in morning ritual
as they file like drone ant colonies to their office in the sky
I don't ask questions, don't promote demonstrations,
don't look for new consensus, don't stray from constitution
if I pierce the complexity I won't find salvation
just the bald and over truth
of the evil and deception
there is an inner logic,
and we're taught to stay far from it
it is simple and elegant,
but it's cruel and antithetic
and there's no effort to reveal it
graduated mentors stroll in marbled brick porticos
in sagacious dialog they despise their average ways
displaying pomp and discipline, they mold their institution
where they practice exclusion on the masses every day
decorated warriors drill harmless kids on pavement
simulating tyranny under red alert
protecting the opulent and staging moral standard
they expect redemption of character and self-growth
(no equality, no opportunity,
no tolerance for the progressive alternative . . .)

Deep Eh???

Friday, September 29, 2006

No Need for Altruism...

I learned something about myself today. I took some psycho-analysis a few weeks back and had a two hour call regarding it today. I learned that I am fun, want recognition, intuitive, friendly, aspire to lead and can lead others well, artistic (explains the whole music thing), self-assured and think quickly. I am a traditionalist. But that all gets me into trouble and I am blunt, but we already knew that.

However...

I scored extremely low in altruism. Which I find weird. Let Webster's explain:

"Main Entry: al·tru·ism
Pronunciation: 'al-trĂ¼-"i-z&m
Etymology: French altruisme, from autrui other people, from Old French, oblique case form of autre other, from Latin alter
1 : unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others"

Yeah, apparently this is not me. Supposedly if you are not my friend, nor can't help me in any way, I have a "Screw you" attitude. Which explains me running to the Hummer last night while getting a burger to avoid the pan handler who'd just take the money I could potentially have given him, to the liquor store to by a pint of Mad Dog 20/20.

Forget the fact, I donated to Katrina Victims and the Tsunami. Those people don't count I guess. Even all those clothes we specifically donated down there.

Nor, do I believe in the death penalty. I have written about this many times, the OJ acquital is why I am against it, no matter how sick and twisted the individual is or appears to be... We're always hearing about "new evidence" and dudes being let free after 20 some odd years ("Here comes the story of the Hurricane...") after we found out they didn't do it.

I mean, I scored in the 10th percentile in altruism. Maybe it's because I think every homeless person should just get a job or people shouldn't have kids if they are on drugs or can't afford them. I mean, seriously, people should take responsibility for their own actions if they get into trouble. I don't like government handouts... I don't like taxes that give money to lost causes. Handouts are a cottage industry.... we give employment to social workers to just help people... Not for me I guess.

It's all very interesting...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Giant Turtle Invades Sacramento!!!

A photo taken of the turtle, standing nearly as tall as the flower pot behind him, some two feet tall!!! Note his massive physique!

A giant turtle was nearly struck by on coming traffic this afternoon as it walked down the middle of a busy street. A local Sacramento Woman, and reptile samaritan, got out of her "Turtle Rescue Humvee", stopped traffic and rescued the large reptile before some serious damage was caused.

"We were lucky today that the lady with the H3 showed up," a witness on scene told reporters, "Somebody could have gotten hurt! What would we do without those massive vehicles."

She was able to transport the beast, affectionately known as "Charles the Turtle", to the holding facility located at her home until "Reptile Rescue" could arrive on scene to care for the beast.

More photos below.


Bone crushing feet pummeled the black top!





With gaping jaws and bald head, "Charles the Turtle" was ready to strike in his holding pen.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Steve Pimps Some Beer Now...


My work duties, doing what I do to make money, brought me to the northwest corner of California, to Eureka. Why? Because it's there and I have one solitary customer that needs to be seen once in a blue moon. (Which as you know occurs when the Moon is full twice in a calender month, but I ain't into that hippy tree-hugging Zodiac loving crap)

And when in Eureka, you must drink beer because there is nothing else to do. Well, that is, if you are a conservative Republican Hummer driving, IKEA shopping, Capitalist, like me. Afterall it is Humboldt Country, I am sure if I were a liberal, I'd identify with the locals at some soup kitchen line, feeding the poor, on my spare time, that is if I wasn't smoking pot in my dorm room, as a career student. OK... enough liberal bashing and back to the beer...

When you go to Eureka, you have to stop at the Lost Coast Brewery downtown. It is a cool little brewery with some outstanding beer. They are well known in Northern California for their Downtown Brown Ale as it can be found around various bars and taverns.

I entered the brewery after getting to town and situated in my hotel room. It was packed and I was hungry and unfortunately I was by myself, so I had to get a table for "just one?". I sat down, I scoped the room to see what people were drinking and my waitress comes and asks which beer I wanted. "All of them." I said, "including the Seasonal brews." She goes, "The sampler?" Yeah... lay it on me.

So here I am thinking I am gonna get 5 or 6 tastes. Out comes 10, 6 ounce glasses in a little Sushi-like wooden tray. I also got a tasting map. Great... I then motioned to the waitress for one of those big pretzels with all the mustards, using my best "deaf" hands motion. And well.. I got to drinking. I went light to dark instead of following the map. So here's the review, numbers correalate to the map, the order here is how I drunk them:

1. Lost Coast Wheat, a typical Hefeweissen brew. Pretty delicate. Not too much of a"beer" taste. Good if it ever got warm in Eureka. It's foggy 360 days a year. Today was one of the five it wasn't foggy... it was windy!!!

8. Great White, from the map "made with two-row malted barley, unmalted wheat, a secret blend of Humboldt Herbs and Ale Yeast". Humboldt Herbs? I picture in my mind some dudes in a faded orange 1979 Toyota 4X4 pickup, who look like the dudes from Phish, "farming" in the middle of the Redwoods. Whatever. Great White is tasty and refreshing. Nice set up to drink the Wheat beer first and go to this. Had a lager type taste. Good stuff.

2. Pale Ale, a slight hoppy finish but well balanced. I enjoyed it but at this point, I noticed I am sitting in the middle of this brewery, all by myself, with a tray beers everyone in the place wished they ordered instead. Way to mark myself, just sitting here with my tray of beers... I couldn't tell if people were feeling sorry for me but I explained enough times that I was from out of town, walked to the brewery and yes, I had been there before. Good times...

10. Tangerine Wheat, at this point I noticed I went "out of order" in my light to dark route I was taking to the mighty stout. This beer was the lightest!! Tangerine Wheat... hmmm... at first taste, I swear I felt like I was at my Grandmother's old house in San Jose with the huge Tangerine tree in front. Tasted like that that front yard smelled, which to me... a guy who hates "foo foo" beer, pretty damn good. I could conceivably drink that all night and still be proud of my manhood (liking women still too). Good times...

5. Apricot Wheat, total chick "foo foo" beer. Avoid if you want to escape with your manhood or if you are guy who likes women that doesn't want to be mistaken for liking men. ... not that there is anything wrong with it.

9. Indica IPA, finally... the one I wanted to taste when I saw the list. I am an IPA man, after the stouts of course. Well, after the whiskey, then the wine, the stouts and then comes the IPA. I liked this one because it was an IPA-taste without a, "Hello, I am trying to be a hoppy tasting beer". About here is where the buzz is coming on nice. I avoid beef when I order and go Vegetarian for dinner, which for me, is a Caesar's Salad. About the IPA, on the map it says "Highly Hopped Strong Ale in the style of the early 9th Century beers making the sea voyage from Great Britain to India." I became puzzled because that is such a miss print. In the 9th Century Britain, surely wasn't great, after coming out of rule from the Romans, Celts and Gauls. I think they meant the 19th Century when the Brits were on the roll, setting the middle east up for us here in the 21st Century. Yeah, colonialism brings great beer. Can't wait to taste Baghdad Ale or Kurdistan "Black Gold" Stout.

3. Alley Cat Amber, a decent red beer. I think... I was almost fully buzzed because I hadn't eaten all day and had just digested the pretzel and was gnawing on the Caesar's Salad still. I bought the T-Shirt for this beer for my sister in law because she reminds me of a Cat.

4. Downtown Brown, the world's best brown ale. Kicks the living hell out of Newcastle. Taste this beer and you'll say, "Newcastle Beer sucks!" Smooth, on smooth, brown ale. Tastes like Guinness, goes down like a pale ale. Nice.

6. Raspberry Brown, apparently the geniuses that run Lost Coast had a few too many Downtowns the night they decided to dump raspberries into the world's best brown ale. Or maybe it was the "Secret Humboldt Herb" or something. Fully-hated this beer, I wanted to yack so bad but I manned up and finished it. Ordered the Bread Pudding for desert at this point because I was buzzed. Not good... because...

7. 8-Ball Stout, so here I was at 54 ounces of beer in less than say, oh 45 minutes and I am holding "Big Papi". The Oatmeal Stout. I called it "Big Papi" because ESPN was showing highlights of David Ortiz's 51st and 52nd homers. Not because the beer was dark. Oh no! This beer is robust! Full... creamy. Loaded with roasted malt goodness every 30 something needs. Ordered a pint when I downed this sucker, forgetting I had orded Bread Pudding. I became full because the Caesar's salad was expanding at an ever growing pace in my gut. Good times...

So there you have it. The Fall Selection of beers from the Lost Coast Brewery, in Eureka, California.

I wrote this post to get my street cred back with Tom, since he dropped the whole port fiasco in the comment section in my wine post! Irishmen...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Rage!!!

On the verge of snapping this morning. I dodged many of bullets this week like actually sitting on a jury trial and wasting a week serving my "civic duty".

So I am sitting here having lunch, and I am just totally f-ing pissed about Hugo Chavez. Forget the whole Democrat/Republican thing, or whether you ride up on people driving Hummers and chastize them for using gas, or if you are Pro- or Anti-War. Who does this idiot think he is coming to America, standing up before the UN and calling an American President the Devil. My God! I feeling like burning his country's flag in street but I won't because I am civilized. I feel like fire-bombing the Venezuelan embassy but I won't because I am civilized. Yeah because I am civilized, I'll just write a blog post about it and that will be that. Who does this guy think he is? We should capture him, put him on a plane, and send his ass back the South America. Over... done! Except tomorrow he's gonna tour Brooklyn with one of the Kennedys. Is this really happening? Is this for real? Are we actually going to let this man see how freedom is supposed to work? Are there some politicians that support this guy? If it's not Bush then it's some other American President. The next American President will still be pro-freedom no matter who it is. The next American President will still be at war somewhere in this world. It doesn't end because Bush is out of office... When do we do something about this guy? Or the Iranian guy or whatever flavor of the month pops up.

Give it up already... send the dude home... Enough is enough!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Steve Pimps Some Wine...

Calaveras County is not known for much except, Mark Twain's Jumping Frog, the Zodiac Killer and psycho killers Charles Ng and Leonard Lake. However...

They have some fine wines.

Let's have a look shall we?

Chatom Winery located along Hwy 4 before you get into Murphys is a great little first impression of the wine country here. The owner is Gay. Seriously! (note: pun) My favorites are the Syrah, the Sangiovese and the Merlot. They have two Syrah's actually. One's a reserve that is pretty good and bold Syrah. The Sangiovese is light and dry. Good turkey wine actually though a nice pasta would be great as well. I am usually terrified of Merlots. Don't get me wrong but after the movie Sideways, I know why you should be scared. Merlot is a sucker wine. It makes people believe they can taste, "a red wine". But Chatom's Merlot is very tasty and would go great with a nice steak. Chatom's Chardonnay is good but white win is for...

Zucca Mountain's tasting room in Murphy's is located in a basement of a 19th Century building. I am not tall, just 5 foot 10 and I nearly banged my head along the low ceiling of the tasting room and with my back it was difficult to limbo into the door, especially after you have been tasting a while. However... again another Merlot hit my taste buds. I envisioned sitting inside Lawry's Steakhouse, diving into a Lawry Cut Prime Rib. It was really subtle in taste. Again Calaveras County also produced another fine Sangiovese. Zucca Mountain's to me was light and delicate and very smooth. I also enjoyed their Tesoro which was a Merlot/Syrah blend. All of the tasters made a big stink about the Barbera. I was not seeing it. Too bland for a Barbera. I know my Italians and this Barbera was made far from Italy.

Black Sheep Winery is a great for bargain hunting. Their Syrah is 10 bucks a bottle and could be easily sold for 30 or 40 in a upscale grocery store. A case right now is $72. 72 bucks!!! How can you go wrong. I enjoy their Sangiovese as well. For some reason, I don't like the Cabs up here. Maybe at 2000 feet, the grapes get too cold or maybe it's too warm in the summer and the grapes don't cool enough. I don't know, Alexander Valley down in Sonoma County has the best Cabs.

Millier Winery has a small tasting room along Main Street in Murphys. Used to be an old gas station. We (my sister in law and I) were both floored by the "Ghiradeli" Zinfindel. Zins go either way with me. Either they are too fruity or too dry. This one reached the middle and hung there. The old heavy handed pourer, poured us some hefty tastes which really set up the buzzes for today. They had a great Syrah but I only gave myself a $100 budget today. Easily spent up here on 4 good bottles of wine.

If you bargain shop and basically just like red... you can do that too. Great wines at low prices at Kautz, Black Sheep, and Stevenot.

It's a habit up here for us to hit these wineries. My wife's family grew up here and her parents live close to Main Street here in Murphys. Very addicting habit and even if you don't like to buy wine, it's good for a free buzz.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Psychology of Steve

So I went to the psychologist dude today and in a nutshell... (get pun?) there is nothing out of the ordinary with me.

The guy was totally gentle. I mean, seriously... you cannot prescribe a drug to a person that would make them this mellow. He spoke quietly and soft, almost apologetic. The guy sounded like the teacher from Beavis and Butthead. I kept thinking this the whole time which probably made me seem happier than normal because I kept trying to hold back a smirk or two.

Anyhow... I apparently need to sleep more. I need to find a way to get to the deep stage 4 sleep. I may not be there long enough because I have an irregular sleep pattern. I gotta figure out away to shut it down and night and knock it back a few notches before when I get home from work. This abnormal pattern contributes to the real physical pain I apparently am suffering because I get all tense and stuff through out the day because of the lack of sleep. He actually told me to sleep in the afternoon when I can. Yeah, that is possible...

Also he asked me to try some Oxycontin at bedtime. Of course, I perked up when he said that. I'd look really Republican to my friends then... Go Rush Limbaugh... He denied that I'd ever get that far but if I needed some more pain help to try that out. Yeah that sounds cool... hmmm.... Not!

I got a sleep chart and a list of herbal supplements for my diet to go home with otherwise. I guess it is time for the spinal tap er uh, Lumbar Puncture next to make sure I don't have some spinal fluid disease.

Kewl Beans!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Well, He'd Better Blog Something!!

I did not participate in any 9/11 discussion yesterday other than where I was during that time, which was on the couch watching it all at 6 AM, puking my guts out from a bad flu I had. I only remember how eerie my neighborhood was that night when my wife and I went for a walk. It was just so damn quiet. Really interesting experience.

Gonna see a "shrink" on Friday! Yeah, that is cool stuff... A "shrink". Woo hoo... Well not really a shrink per se, but a psychologist. So no cool drugs to play with! This is part of my pain management thing I have been working on. My back, neck and wrist all still hurt from time to time but screw it, I play golf and strum my guitar anyway. (As my left hand slowly goes numb on the keyboard) I happen to be pretty fast typing on the keyboard but I notice lately with my hands, I tend to have a few more typos than normal, which is kind of weird. Something I should tell the dude I guess. I tend to hurt more in tense situations too. Like when I can't find my golf ball when there is money on the line or if I am stuck in traffic or if some snotty Cheeto fingered brat on a plane is bouncing his hard plastic green truck off my dome or something. Things I do enjoy like work aren't too tense in and of themselves. I like seeing "my people" even if only once a month, I like seeing them, spending time, helping them make money or save money or whatever it is I actually do that pays the bills. (Note: I still refrain from telling you people what I do for a living. It carries it's own mystique but half the regular readers are friends and well, they know) But really, what am I going to tell this psychologist dude on Friday? I know:
Y'all don't know what it's like, being male, middle-class and white...

Yeah, that'd go over well eh? Especially if he's not white...

Damn... Now I am sounding like our Governor. At least he is not gonna raise our taxes like Angelides. I swear, if ole Phil get's elected over Arnold, I am moving out of state because this hell hole is gonna get twice as expensive in a heartbeat. Dude, will repeal Prop 13 or something and jack our property taxes. He'll tax hard alcohol which will put a bind on my Whiskey drinking. (It's after Labor Day, start up the Knob Creek) I could go on... but why...

What's the point? Anyhow... Live strong peeps!!! Off to see Elijah some more!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Freakonomics vs. The Spawn of Satan

Finaly back home. I spent the week in the upper midwest playing "corporate guy". I must say Minnesota is a beautiful state... it sucks it gets so cold there.

Anyhow, on the way back there was like no direct flight at a convenient time. I had to stop off in Utah. It was like 2 plus hours from Minneapolis to Salt Lake City and I was lucky to have a window seat... so I thought!!!

35 F was my seat and you guessed it 35 F was the last seat, by the window in the very back of the plane. Dude, I was the first one there and it sucked being so far back. I knew I was screwed with my bad back and all as well. But I had my new book "Freakonomics" and I was gonna be intent on reading anyway since it was such a long flight.

So after I took my seat at the window, the dude who had the aisle seat shows up and he is huge. I mean he is like 6' 8" to 6' 10" and he was just big. He could not stand up fully and he almost took up two seats! So I actually was kinda happy because they announced it was a full flight. I figured the guy was so big he probably bought two seats. So I was gonna have the coolest seat on the plan because I wouldn't be packed in.

Around a minute before the plan door shuts I see this lady walking slowly to the back of the plane. I mean she is going slow.... looking at her feet every 2 or 3 seconds. When she finally reached her destination, which happened to be my row... She revealed why she was walking so slow. Her 18 month old son, binky in his mouth and little green truck. Goliath stood up and let her in. Then "Slam!" right in the face, little "Chucky" hits me with the green truck. I am like, "WTF!" inside but I say politely, "Gee how old? my son was born about a month ago--" and I am cut off while she says humorously, "Just you wait!"

Okay, so we're packed now... I reach up and crank that fan near the lights on and point the one over the lady next to me my direction as well, because my claustrophobia is now kicking in. Yes, I am clausrophobic but as long as I have a fan on and I can breath fresh air, I am totally fine.

The plane takes off and little "Chucky" starts, first pulling my book then he does the running thing with his legs off of the seat in front of us. And he just lets out this total, Chris Cornell-like wail (listening to new Audioslave album while writing this) and I am like, just get this plane up to 10,000 feet so I can bust out my iPod. I am thinking, 2 hours of this will be too much. What if I have to pee? What happens then? 4 people in one row?

"Chucky's" mom explains how good he was the previous flight but when I asked her when they flew into St. Paul, she says..."Oh three nights ago, we took the red eye!" No kidding? Ya think he slept because he was actually tired? Because it was late? It's 5:30pm for Christ's sake!! The little dude is amped... The sun is still up... What are you thinking? I so want to say all that but I am polite.

10,000 feet and I finally get the iPod going so I can tune out the kid and get to "Freakonomics" (good book by the way, especially the part where he talks about the Economics guy joining the crack gang in Chicago). I hit random on my iPod and up comes the appropriate "I wanna tune the screamer out next to me" songs in succession.
  • Metallica's Disposable Heroes
  • Hum's Stars
  • Samiam's My Time by the Dime
  • Rancid's Salvation
Good times I tell you... almost 20 minutes of pure aggression that would drown out anything. Then "Smack" I am hit with the green truck again but this time it's on the ground at my feet. I got the "sorry" look from the mom and I am like, "Dude! c'mon". "Chucky" is crying and screaming and he wants his truck back, so I reach down like a contortionist to get it and I hit that right nerve in my neck and back and it was like a lightning bolt from Thor's hammer through my spine. I got the truck but I swear I thought I was gonna cry it hurt so bad and the bad thing was, I could not move. I literally was frozen waiting for the pain to subside. After a minute or so I was able to move and hand the truck back. I know the mom could tell I was hurt, so she got up and walked "Chucky" up and down the aisle for awhile. I shook my head at Goliath a bit and he smirked saying how screwed I was.

Well... we finally headed for decent and I had to pull off the iPod. The lady and the Spawn of Satan came back to sit down. The kid was restless as ever opening the tray table as the mom shut it and this repeated for minutes and then the kid was hungry. So the mom busts out some Cheetos. Cheetos!!! To an 18 month old kid? The kid had orange dust all over the place in minutes. And then after that? Raspberry Fig Newtons. Holy Crap! No wonder the kid was so amped and out of control, he was being fed garbage. Empty calories man... pure energy. I wonder if he gets a Red Bull at night to go to bed?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Drunk Guy at the KFC...

So... I went off tonight to the ATM to get some cash for the week and deposit a check I got. And wouldn't you know it, there was a KFC/A&W right next door to the bank. I had the hankerin' for some Kentucky Fried Chicken despite the whole "cruelty of animals" thing that KFC does before they deep fry them. (I know, I just made ya think about the whole de-beaking thing... gobble gobble...) (oops that's turkey not chicken)

Anyhow, wouldn't you know it there was a grip of people in the place getting a few buckets of chicken for their hungry families. There was a useless rent-a-cop on duty with his badge sewn on to his shirt. I almost laughed when I saw him. Sorry, but seriously, when I walk into a fast food place, I'd like to know who's who. You know... who you shouldn't look at because of their gang affiliation or who you should look at because they are fun to look at, like the rent-a-cop who I'd bust in half in two seconds if it ever went down.

I'd also like to know where the exits are, including the ones behind the restaurant because if some psycho runs in with an AK-47 or a sawed off Remmington 12 gauge because he lost his assistant manager's job to the freckle faced kid that shows up on time and stays late, I'm freaking bailing. I totally want nothing with that.

Today though... drunk guy was there. For some reason I knew this when I rolled up in the Hummer bumpin' my Ben Fold's Rockin' the Suburbs off of my iPod. All the spots downtown are labeled compact which means to me that the parking spots are small and you gotta take care when navigating these. An H3 fits tight into a compact spot and still has room to swing the doors open fully. I parked in back by the fence so no one would mind, though. But drunk guy was already there in his 1990 turquoise green Ford 150 LONG BED stretched acrossed four spots. "What a dick!" I thought as I passed by it to the door.

So I am like three spots back in line, right? Well... make it two actually. Basically there was this dude with a... you guessed it, Budweiser hat one with his shirt unbuttoned like he was cool or something and some fresh faced early twenty something who was waiting behind him in what he thought was a line. Then there was me, in my Tommy Bahama, sandals and pocket safari shorts.

I'm sitting here watching and the kid in front asks, "Are you in line?" to the drunk guy.

"Um... do you see a line?" says 'Bud'.

The little Asian guy that works behind the counter decides to get further involved then he already is by saying, "Can I help who's next?" for like the third time.

"I'm waiting for my food, buddy... and I am gonna stand here," interjects 'Bud'.

The kid suddenly gets pissed, and I am thinking, this is so me 10 years ago... I was just like this kid. He just wanted to order and some dick was standing in his way. The kid was ready go a few rounds but the drunk guy had the size and position and rent-a-cop is nowhere in sight. I felt I needed to act fast because this kid could get dropped right in front of me. I perked up, y'know, flexing my chest and got up to full posture and I just about said, "I got his back, get the F--- out of line!!!" But before I got that off, the greasy looking dude in the shades and black Raider hat with matching white tank top that I have just now noticed says... "Hey man, let the kid order... get out of line man..."

'Bud' shouts out a few explicitives and pretends to go at the Raider Nation guy. I am thinking, "OK here it goes, right now... rent-a cop better get up here and call someone or something, Raider guy likes to fight. I have heard about these guys on Rome. They took a Miami Dolphins fan down in the bathroom at the playoffs a few years back and peed all over him, right in front of his kids. These guys are just straight up, hard". But dude, Raider guy suddenly changes the subject on us all while we were in suspense because him and 'Bud' are "buddies". They had just hit few cases of beer hard all day at the condo or something and Raider guy was reigning his friend in because he was an ass. They went off and got their rootbeer and stuff and left. I got my food soon after.

Sure enough, they got into the so-1990's green truck straddling the back lot. The cruised by the H3 slowly and gave me the cool car nod.

Silver and black are bad colors.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Something About Modern Times...

Ain't much time to be writing this evening. Been a busy, busy week. Something here seems to make it all during. Modern Times is "the" best Dylan Album ever!!! He sings on "Rolling and Tumblin":

I ain't holding back now and I ain't standin in anybody's way
Something tells me, when a 66 year old man with the career he has had, and the mythical pedestal people have put Dylan on all these years, he just wasn't messing around. He's not fading away or doing it for the money.

Best track on the album: "When The Deal Goes Down"

You like plain old rock n roll with a hint of blues where you can hear a guitar, a bass and a simple drum line shuffling under a "clear" Dylan vocal then this is the album. (You can totally understand him!)

Good stuff... go buy it!

Vote Republican!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

40,000th Visitor Was...

...inadvertantly me!!

Used my wife's computer to access the net this morning on the in-laws WiFi, thus counting me as number 40,000.

So much for the fanfare in celebrating meaningless milestones. Remember when Catepillar hit my site 400 times back for 30,000. That was awesome.

50K by Election day... you heard it here first.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Could I really be this evil?

So last night me and my crazy sister in law went out to Best Buy to return something and then look for a small refridgerator for her classroom this fall. Best Buy was actually smooth this time. Those of you can remember a year or so ago where I swore I'd never go back. I may have to again though because my video camera still does not work.

Anyhow, after seeing the horrifically over priced $150 fridge at Best Buy we decided to hop on over to Target.

This Target was super large compared to ours near our home and is laid out differently. We looked around for a few minutes and then we finally found our way to the small appliances.

They had a grip of small fridges. It was like the move in day at a dorm room with all the fancy different versions. Target had one for sale for like $75 and we could not find it. In that section we saw a little old lady looking for a fridge similar to the one we were looking for. She kept reading off the dimensions from her ad. She was old and frail and maybe 70 plus years old. Just kept right on talking to her self saying things like, "Oh shoot, where are you... 1.7 cubic feet... $75 c'mon where are you." She even showed us the ad. And there it was, right from the ad, the fridge she and I were both after and it was the last one. She was there first and well, if I was a kind hearted person, I'd have let her have it.

Nope. Not me...

I grabbed the thing from right out in front of her nose and tossed it on the cart and walked away to the check stand.

You snooze... you lose. I win. My kid is cute. I chuckled as she walked out the door empty handed while I loaded the thing into the back of the Hummer.

"She'd never get it into her car anyway." I thought to myself. "At least without help, Ah HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!"

We then saw the Planter's peanut truck outside the Target. Must have been for the state fair going on down the street. I think Lifehouse played there last night, but I am not sure.

Dedicated to some fine human beings that blog here, here and here. Honorable mention here and here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Slam!!!

At approximately 3:53PM this afternoon, I finally hit the wall. With everything that has gone on since the arrival of Elijah since the 10th, my health, which seems to be getting better and just all the activity going on with family members coming and going... I just dropped.

Out of gas...

Done...

Three hour nap this afternoon while the TV was on Fox News and the phone on silent. Missed one call. I love my basement.

Elijah still has his days and nights confused. Real active at night the last four or five nights. Thank goodness for things like the Baby Bjorn and the iPod. We found an album of whitewater sounds. Just an hour of rushing water on one track. We set up a playlist on the iPod. And just having the Bjorn to hold him close to you seems to work the best. Elijah loves being close and hearing your heartbeat. The Bjorn is really handy when you take him outside for that quick walk too.

So 8:00pm now and I am off to catch up on more sleep so I can help out tonight.

Newborns.... I wonder how people handle twins.

(crap, I am Mommy Blogging...)