March 29, 2009

Sunday Surf - Spring Break Summary and Wine Review

Does it really count as a Spring Break if you don't go anywhere and you end up catching up on client appointments? I thought not. Oh well, it's probably a good thing that I saved my money...except for that $110 I ended up paying to the City of Denver for a speeding ticket from the week before Spring Break. I will not go into detail other than to say I was speeding, although not as fast as the officer said and only for a minute when I was trying to get out of the way of a potential accident that turned out to be the officer pointing her radar gun at everyone in the line of traffic I was following. See not too much detail...heh.

So in the past month (or maybe less than that) I've tried several bottles of wine. Four reds and one white. I'll start with the last one I had...which I just finished this evening with my dinner of Ravioli (okay, it was that canned stuff from childhood was on had a coupon dang it...heh). But hey, the wine was fun as you can see by the label!

This a 2007 French Maid Pinot Noir is from the Pays d'Oc region of France. Since I was on a bit of a wine buying spree last month, I'm not sure, but I think I picked this one up at 3S Liquors (they have a lot of wines with cool labels) for about $9.00. It was a medium full bodied pinot noir with light tannins and very little alcohol burn on the finish. It also had good fruit flavors, but it wasn't sweet. Obviously it went well with the ravioli. I also had it with pizza and a leftover burger (well half a burger) and 4 leftover tater tots (yes, I also added a salad of baby spinach and cherry tomatoes with Good Season's Italian Dressing).

Staying in Europe and with the Pinot...but going Grigio...I tried this 2007 one from Italy. It's from the producer Mezzacorona. The region is called Vigneti delle Dolomiti (actually I think "Vigneti delle" probably means "wine of"...hopefully the Gentleman will pop by and let us know since she lives in Italy). Anyway, as I recall, this was a good crisp Pinot Grigio and that I picked up for around $7.00. I definitely will revisit it this summer. Here's a quote I found from Wine Enthusiast:

This is a pristine albeit easy wine with clean and compact aromas of stone fruit, yellow flower and zesty citrus. Genuine and aromatic, this is textbook Pinot Grigio with pleasing creaminess on the palate. Pair with pasta salad, grilled white meats and finger foods. Score: 87. —Monica Larner, November 15, 2007.

Awhile back I reviewed Jacob's Creek Shiraz which I found quite tasty. I tried the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon a couple weeks ago with a steak and various other meals. It was quite good as well. Jacob's Creek is located in South Eastern Australia (like most decent wines from Australia). I found it just as tasty as the Shiraz, but of course, less big fruit flavors and a tad more tannins. The vineyard has been growing grapes since 1947 and describes this cabernet as a "full bodied wine" that "exhibits an aroma of mint and blackcurrent (sic) with a palate rich in berry fruit flavors and well integrated tannins (yeah, what I said...heh). Try it, you'll like it for under $10.00.

I don't think I've mentioned one of my favorite cheap wines...kind of the wines that got me started on my quest. Walnut Crest is a vineyard in Rapel Valley, Chile. Back in 1996 they were awarded Consumer Reports' highest rating for red wine as compared by trained wine tasters to some French wines. Anyway, I really love the Cabernet Sauvignon which I pick up at Applejack Wine and Liquors anytime I'm there and it's on sale for $4.00. Recently I discovered this Shiraz. How about that!?! This is new to their collection I think. Or at least Applejack hasn't been carrying it that long. I found it quite good for the price. On their website I found the following information:

Color: Deep cherry red with tinges of purple.
Bouquet: Hints of plum, jam and spice.
Taste: Spicy black berry, plum and pepper.

I have to agree. I also agree with their recommendation to try it with "spicy-sauced" pastas. Of course, I love spicy, so I might be a tad biased about that suggestion...heh.

The last wine I tried was one I grew up seeing in the kitchen: Gallo Hearty Burgundy. Basically, this is a red blend screw top jug wine. I saw it on the shelf at 3S Liquors and couldn't resist the chance to taste what was a regular guest at the dining room table. My mother used to buy two gallon jugs of this, one of Chablis and one of Rose. They would last a month or two. Nowadays, it comes in 1.5 litre bottles for about $8.00 or so. And they did away with the screw top. Too bad about that, since they tend to last longer than when you remove a cork.

Anyway, as red blends go, this was really good! When I told my mother I really enjoyed it, she said it was a wine before it's time...heh. I actually bought a second bottle a couple weeks later and finished it up during this past week. It tastes like a cabernet sauvignon mixed with a shiraz actually. Along with Walnut Crest, I can see Gallo being a regular guest at my dining room living room coffee table (or should I call it my wine table...hmmm). Gallo has branded this wine as one of their Twin Valley wines. This is what they said about it:

Our Twin Valley Hearty Burgundy combines mouth-watering richness with flavors ranging from dark berry to red plum. Well-balanced and approachable, its fruit is complemented by hints of oak and spice. Our Hearty Burgundy stands up well to almost any boldly flavored dish. It's fantastic with red meat and heavier foods such as chili and Italian dishes.


March 27, 2009

Friday's Fling - Spring Break Bonus Time Waster

So I was visiting for my daily dose of all things lesbian/bi women and pop culture... And here I found a fun, if inaccurate, personality assessment. Basically the Typealizer analyzes the content of your blog and provides a Myers Briggs personality result. Here's mine:

ESFP - The Performers

The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.

So what's yours?

March 24, 2009

Tuesday's Time Waster - South Park Avatar Maker

I know you all have been waiting a LONG time for a fun time waster. Since I'm on spring break, I have a little bit of extra time to waste...heh. You've seen my Simpsonized pic for over a year and I have a fun avatar that I made a few weeks ago for my Yahoo IM program. But at the time I couldn't figure out how to import it anywhere else. But in the process of making a South Park Avatar today, I got the idea to do a screen cap of it so I could show it here. So follow the link above to make your avatar and then open a new browser window to follow these directions for an easy way to do a screen cap. I love the idea of a South Park Avatar, because the guys who produce the show are from Colorado and those kidletts are too funny!

Here's my new South Park Avatar:

Have fun!

UPDATE: I'm a great Auntie now (dang I feel old). My neice just gave birth to my great neice, Mia!!! I'm sure she'll be very cute when I finally get to see her!

March 22, 2009

Sunday Surf - OpenLeft

Since today is Sunday, I called my mom. I call her pretty much every Sunday whether she likes it or not. I think she likes it a little bit, but won't admit it, preferring to randomly remind me that I don't need to call so often. Today's topic was my brother and his family visiting for a couple days this past week, since it was Spring Break in Texas. I mentioned that I've been reading things in the paper and on the Internet (did you know Internet is supposed to be capitalized!?!) that are either kinda geeky (Twitter) or political (Obama, AIG, etc.) and I always think, this or that would be something to ask my brother about (yeah, bad grammar, I know...and I always think about bad grammar when also thinking about my mom). Anyway, I called him while he and his family were driving to visit my mom because he said that would be a good time to call (which it would have been except for the road noise, so we hung up). This led my mother to suggest that I go to OpenLeft and I could read his mostly political blog posts along with MANY others.

My mom does not have a computer anymore because she never liked them. She only kept my dad's for about 18 months after he died so that she could check emails until she trained everyone to stop sending email...heh. As you can imagine, it's a bit weird to learn from your non-computing mother that your brother posts somewhere on the Internet. Not that it's a surprise that he posts somewhere, just that SHE was the one to inform me of this fact, instead of say...MY BROTHER...sheesh. After some googling (still not a verb, even though everyone does it) around I found out that he's been posting there for about a year now. I'll never catch up. Oh well, some of it's old political news anyway. I do like the idea of being able to see what his opinion is on various topics though. I say "see" because of course you read blogs with your eyes generally. And I'm not actually an auditory kind of gal, so seeing words makes more sense faster than hearing words. So, if you're a lefty and want to be part of the choir to which is being preached (good grammar sounds so bad), check it out (see link above or to the right in News & References list). If you happen to be one of the random right wingnuts that happen to accidentally visit today, well you can still check it out for an opposing opinion and no one will hear you trying to interrupt the poster by yelling at your screen...heh...except maybe someone who happens to be in the same room with you and your computer.

March 14, 2009

Saturday Surf - Nothing to do on Saturday Nights Now...

So one of the long time women's bar...a country western dance club called Ms. C's or just C's...closed at the end of February after close to 20 years. I was going to write a obituary for the place on the following Sunday, but well, I didn't feel up to it. But now, of course I want to go dancing tonight and at the moment, there aren't really any options unless I go to the men's country western bar, Charlie's. They used to occupy the space where C's was, but had to move to a larger building which is how Ms. C's came to be, so actually the space was some kind of gay bar for well over 24 years...not sure really how long. The problem with Charlie's is that the guys there wear tall boots and tall hats. You just can't see around them at all...not so good for um...scoping out the few other women there...heh. Although, I imagine there might be a larger number of women there than usual right now.

Another option is large men's nightclub, Tracks, that currently helps to host the largest women's party in the country...First Friday put on by BAD (Babes Around Denver). Of course, the rest of the month it's mostly men, drag queens, and ladies who love the gay boys...but I suppose the crowd will have more ladies who love the ladies now. The downside of going to Tracks is the cover charge. I suspect it's rather high. The general manager is a client of mine, but I would feel funny asking for a free pass...heh...since he pays me for my financial services. I will say that Denver and Tracks are getting a name with LOGO though. They're filming an episode of Ru Paul's Drag Race there (or they might have just done that) and Briana Stockton from Bravo's Workout and LOGO's made an appearance at this month's First Friday (and yes, I did get to meet her...she's much tinier than she seems on TV and her AfterEllen vlog).

The last option for dancing is based on a rumor. The rumor is a new lesbian club is openning. And so the other afternoon I drove by the purported location to take a gander. As best as I can tell, the club is likely to be in a building currently occupied by another club called Dr. Hook's which has two dance floors. My guess is that they'll be "hosting" a women's night and it won't actually BE a women's bar. It's in a dicey location, kind of remote and near an area of Denver called Commerce City. It's a "Gary, Indiana" kind of town (lot's of low income homes and smoke stacks). And I would say, based on the size of the place, that they've got parking hidden somewhere, I just didn't see it when I drove by.

Of course, I could just go to one of the ACTUAL lesbian bars, but they aren't really set up for dancing. The Detour finally reopened in their new location a few months ago after many delays. I've been a few times and they have room to host small bands, but not really for dancing unless it's a small crowd. The advantage is I live about 6 miles from it and it's directly south of me on the same street. So it's easy to find my way home and I could even ride my bike, if it weren't so hilly! The other bar is Decatuer Street (in the location formerly known as Nobody's Biznes). A friend was a partner in it when it first changed to the new name (Nobody's was owned by some other friends for about 10 years and then they sold it). However, it was a snafu from the start, though it was a cleaned up snafu! Anyway, another friend (who actually IS in the bar business) bought her out and became partners with the gal who was kind of the cause of the snafu. Things seem much better now. They have a great patio, but parking is scarce. This summer, I think they'll be a rather popular partying location.

So with that, I thought now would be a good time to show some pictures of the last party at C's. And bid it farewell. Some of my friends blame the demise of C's on the women's community for not supporting the club as much in the past couple of years or so. They don't really know why the lease was lost. I suspect the rent went up too far or the owner of the property wants to sell it. But it could be that they weren't bringing in enough revenue to cover expenses, because it's true that the size of the crowd had decreased and the women usually came late and left early. And of course, since the last night was advertized as the last night, the girls came out of the woodwork in droves. I have to say, there were many many women there that I don't think I've ever seen before and many regulars that stayed away for some reason. There were a few guys there, too, who were probably saying goodbye to the location that was once Charlie's. I'm glad I went for the last party anyway. The pics really don't do the party justice, but you can see we were having fun!

In the back of this pic you can see the crowd coming in the door and then lining up to buy a drink. I waited 45 minutes in line. THAT never happened before.

Here's the pool playing area. The crowd kind of ended the play there
early during the final party.

Doing the Cotton Eyed Joe:

Starting a line dance now:

These ladies (and gents) do know how to strut:

Hey dude...the light is really bouncing off your head...where's your hat???

Dang it, I forgot to catch the ladies two stepping (because it's hard to take a picture while you're dancing, ya know), but there was much of that and some breaks to boogie disco style as well. Tippin' my hat to C's. We'll miss ya girl!

March 3, 2009

Tuesday's Time Waster - Proctoring Exams for Students

NCLB (No Child Left Behind) is a somewhat good idea gone terribly awry. You remember having to take exams once a year or once every couple years that all kids in the state have to take? You know, like the Iowa Basics...that I took in OHIO!?! Well here in Colorado we have the CSAPs. I think it means Colorado Student Achievement Plan or something similarly inane. I know I should look it up and get it right, but that would be adding more time wasting to my day. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I'm NOT a teacher and never in my 17 year (mostly part time) career have I ever been required to spend 3 or 4 hours a day for 2 or 3 weeks proctoring group achievement testing. Sigh. I like some things about my JOB, but seriously this was not on my radar. I then spent part of the afternoon in a debate about who's responsible for helping students that are NOT already receiving special education services when the regular education staff can't figure out what to do next with difficult to teach students and as a result keep trying to get us to help. After much back and forth, we finally found a new way to say the same old thing (No). At least this time it doesn't make us sound like we don't care, because now we get to point them to the right person (or it could be the wrong person, but at least it puts them on the right path...we hope). Sigh. I feel better anyway.