Monthly Archives: January 2011

I’m really busy, and don’t have much to say

So I’m not blogging much.  Starting to get in to the swing of the new job, but I still don’t have little things, like an office or phone, so it’s still a little disorganized and frustrating.

It’s overwhelming, though.  Lots of hours, lots to learn; it’s really been consuming all my time and energy.  I just caught up on WLTV, and had two weeks of episodes to watch.

Gonna try to get to the gym Tuesday morning.  I really need to get my life in order if work isn’t going to be.

Not much to say about current events.  I didn’t watch the SOTU, as it’s become a pointless speech; I got sick of listening to people discuss banning firearms and speech because a congresswoman got shot by a lunatic, and I don’t quite have the time to try to figure out what’s going on in Egypt.

I don’t even have time to fund my HSA or look at my Scottrade account.  I should probably be shopping for an accountant, because there’s no way I’ll have the time or energy for taxes.

Anyway, I do still occasionally drink and blog about wine, and have an idea for a good article at Bleacher Report… maybe this week.  Maybe not.


On the Ravens

Baltimore Ravens fans, including me, are still reeling from the awful loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional round of the playoffs.  The end of season press conferences are done, the lockers are cleared out, and the organization is already planning for next year.

There are many reasons to look back on the 2010 season as a success.

The Ravens improved from 9-7 in the regular season last year to 12-4 this year.  Unfortunately, the end result (second in the AFC North), was the same, a wild card spot in the playoffs.

The Ravens made it to the playoffs for the third year in a row, and have made the playoffs in six of the last ten years.  They are also the only team in the National Football League to have won a playoff game in each of the last three years.  By any standard but one (winning it all), that’s success. 

If you listen to sports talk radio, though, it sounds like the Ravens finished the year with the Cleveland Browns’ record.  There are calls to bench Joe Flacco, fire Cam Cameron, even replace John Harbaugh.

To that I say—be happy with what you have.

Since the expansion Browns returned that name to Cleveland in 1999, they have two winning seasons.  They have played in one playoff game.

The Cincinnati Bengals in the 2000’s?  Two winning seasons.  Two playoff appearances, no playoff game wins.

The Steelers are the clear class of the AFC North in the last ten years, with eight winning seasons, seven playoff appearances and two Super Bowls. 

Certainly there are areas for the Eagles to improve to get to where the Steelers are.  Joe Flacco needs to continue his development.  After having seemingly upgraded the offense in the off season, statistically the Ravens’ 2010 offense wasn’t as good as 2009.  But the only statistic that matters is wins—but for a horrible performance in their last game of the season, the Ravens could be playing in the Super Bowl.

The Ravens are a great organization.  Don’t let that one game tarnish the great season.


I’m a Breadfan

A little something for you while you’re waiting for more content.  The real thing.


Who’s Judgemental?

There are Planet Fitness commercials making the rounds on the interwebs that suggests their gym is for the more reasonable trainee, the one with reasonable goals and certainly the smarter person.  (There are plenty of gyms like Planet Fitness out there – my old gym became a Spunk Fitness which has a similar strategy.)

This one is my favorite, because big and strong, well, that’s just stupid.

Thank goodness for that judgement free zone, huh?

I was pretty happy today to see Iron Sport has a response. 

I train at The Colosseum in Columbia, MD.  I’ve never felt more at home.  I train with powerlifters, bodybuilders, college athletes, housewives, crossfitters, people with disabilities, retirees (one well over 80), and a host of others.  Not once have I felt judged, nor have I seen anyone judge anyone else.  (OK, so I judge personal trainers who give horrible advice, but that’s not the fault of the trainee).

The difference:  We’re there to reach a goal.  We’re not afraid to work hard, and we all appreciate and learn from others working hard to reach their goals.  Often those goals aren’t the same, and in fact what I’m doing might be a horrible choice for someone else.  But we’re serious about what we’re doing.

People who are serious about training aren’t going to Planet Fitness.  If you are new to the game or uncertain or uncomfortable, know we’ve all been there.  I was scared to death the first day I walked in to the Golds in Timonium and saw all those people bigger and stronger than I was.  Within an hour, that fear was gone, replaced with a sense of belonging.  Because people who are serious about training don’t judge others who are also serious.  Instead, they welcome them, help and encourage them.

There is no more positive, less judgemental group of people than the people who train where I train; and that goes for every serious gym out there. 

Overcome your fear and train like you mean it.  Something you will never be able to do in a place like Planet Fitness.


Intended Consequences

Sometimes people refer to things like this as “unintended consequences”.  I think they are intended by those in power who wish to grow the state.

Keeping poor people reliant on the state keeps poor people voting to expand the states’ power (as the state keeps others from helping); the more services people get from the state, the more power a small number of people keep.

This creates a culture of subjects, not citizens.  And that’s the goal; and it’s more important to reach that goal than to help people who need it.


Quote of the Day, Perspective Edition

Well said by “Ken” at Popehat.

Meanwhile, please remember that thoughtful and important people want you to know that libertarianism is a fringe belief and that legislators are just regular folks whose service ought to be respected.

Context.


Overwhelmed

Trying to get back in the swing of things, I’m a bit overwhelmed by the new gig to be honest. 

Off site meetings in Philly for two days, then on the road on Friday.  That on top of an awful lot of information, a pretty big cultural change, and lots to do will certainly force me to focus on work for the time being.

That said, I gotta get right with my body.  Started to get back to eating a little better (you know, like eating vegetables sometimes).  I actually have only had two beers since we left Napa (both on Wednesday evening at dinner with the group in Philly).  I have to get back on track with training if I want to finally meet some of my goals. 

I’ve got a pretty nasty cold – hopefully I’ll kick it this weekend… training starts in earnest Monday, sick or not.

Today and tomorrow are rest and football.

Regular blogging should pick up as I can fit it in, certainly training updates will be forthcoming.


Napa, Part II

My wife and I were in Napa for a few days last week.  Here’s the link to Part I.

On Tuesday, we only visited two wineries, as the whirlwind of the trip to San Francisco, the wedding and associated festivities, and all the wine drinking were wearing us out.

First, we had the best tour of the trip at Hall in Rutherford.  Another private tasting and tour, showcasing the unique vision of the owners of the winery, as well as some fantastic wine.  We tasted the 09 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($22, 3/5), the 07 Cabernet Sauvignon ($44, 4/5), the 07 “Katherine Hall” Cabernet Sauvignon ($80, 5/5), the T Bar T Cabernet Sauvignon ($45, 3/5), and as a special treat, the 06 Darwin Red Blend (Cab, Syrah) ($40, 4/5).  (The Darwin wine comes with a great story). 

The Hall Rutherford winery is stunning.  There are incredible views in their reception area, and the construction of their caves from Austrian bricks is amazing.  The entire winery is home to unique modern (and in some cases, priceless) art, kept in the working areas to remind the folks making wine that they too are artists. 

Our final winery visit was to Corison.  Another private tasting and quick tour of the small facility, some more outstanding wines.  We had the 07 Corazon Gewürztraminer ($30, 4/5), the 07 Cabernet Rose ($24, 3/5), the 07 Cabernet Sauvignon ($70, 3/5), and the 06 Kronos Cabernet ($98, 4/5).  Because these wines are not widely distributed, I asked to buy the Kronos, and our tasting guide suggested the 05 as it should be a better vintage and drinking better now.    I’m looking forward to it.

Now that we’re back, we are already planning our next trip out.  We loved the hotel, so we will probably stay there again.  We’d like to rent a mini van or SUV and convince some friends to come along for a 5 day trip, 3 days of as many private tastings/tours as we can schedule, a day in Calistoga, and a free day.  We need to get to the French Laundry, too.

I’m also trying to figure out how we can move there.

One disclosure:  As Lexus owners, our tastings at Hall and Corison were comped as part of an affinity program.  I at no time identified myself as a wine blogger or that any review would be published, the wonderful treatment we got at each winery was evidence only of the wineries’ committment to customer service (and selling wine, of course).


Napa, Part I

My wife and I were in San Francisco for the New Year (at a wedding), and popped over to Napa for a few days before flying home.

We stayed in the outstanding AVIA hotel in downtown Napa.  Given the short stay, we only got to visit a few wineries, but had a great time and a couple of great meals.

We arrived the evening of the second, and after checking in, drove to Bouchon in Yountville.  Outstanding.  Charcuterie, salads, quiche, and steak frites, all very good.  We also liked the wine program, and had an absolutely fantastic half carafe of Pinot from the Central Coast of California.

On Monday the third, we headed out to the one winery that was a ‘must’, Silver Oak.  On our last trip to Napa, other folks travelling with our group insisted we go, and we loved the wine.  We tasted the 06 Alexander Valley ($70, 4/5), the 05 Napa Valley ($100, 4/5), and the 03 Napa Valley ($110, 5/5).  While the wine was great, the people are even better.  Upon explaining when we were there last (they were building their new facility, so the tasting room was in a trailer), they gave us an impromptu tour. 

Next up was Judds Hill for a private tasting.  Judds Hill makes some great wine, but they also will work with you to make a custom wine with your label.  We tasted 5 of their wines.  The 2009 Sauvignon Blanc ($22, 4/5), 2009 Rose (3/5), 2008 Estate Pinot Noir ($34, 3/5), 2009 BBQ Zinfandel ($30, 3/5), the 2007 Petit Sirah ($30, 3/5), and the 2006 Cabernet ($45, 3/5).  All of these were good, and most are only available at the winery.  We purchased a few bottles of the Sauvignon Blanc.

We visited Charles Krug as well.  We met their director of marketing in the San Diego airport, and she gave us her card and got us a comped tasting (which shows it pays off to be friendly to strangers in airports).  We did the standard tasting, but again, making friends with the folks working at the winery might get you a couple of pours off the reserve tasting list as well.  We tasted the 09 Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley ($18, 3/5), the 08 Chardonnay from Carneros ($20, 3/5), the 07 Pinot Noir Carnaros/Napa ($25, 3/5), the 07 Zin from St Helena ($25, 4/5), the 07 Napa Merlot ($24, 4/5), and the 2008 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon ($27, 4/5).  Since all of these are nationally distributed, no need to weigh down our luggage trying to get it home. 

Finally on Monday we went to PEJU.  This was the only winery to offer a way to ship us wine (as Maryland residents, we are unable to receive direct shipments, but there are some ways around the laws… at least we’ll try them).  We tasted the 09 Chardonnay ($28, 3/5), the Provence, a non vintage red and white blend that was interesting ($22, 3/5), the 06 Merlot ($35, 3/5), and the 06 Cabernet Sauvignon ($45, 2/5); The tasting was entertaining, lead by Alan, the “yodelmeister.  We joined the mailing list/wine club, and got a couple of quick tastes of some of their reserve wines (the ones we’ll get), and they were very good.

For dinner, we went to Morimoto.  Frankly, after such a long day of tasting wine this was a bit overindulgent.  We both went with Omakase, and each course was fantastic.  Be warned, there is a celebrity chef price premium here.  It was worth it to go, but I don’t know that I’ll go back given all the choices in Napa for outstanding food.  (I much prefer the French Bistro vibe of Bouchon over the raucous club feel of Morimoto as well).    Of note was the beer I had with dinner, Morimoto Imperial Pilsner, made by Rogue.  Absolutely fantastic.

One disclosure:  As Lexus owners, our tastings at Judd and PEJU were comped as part of an affinity program.  I at no time identified myself as a wine blogger or that any review would be published, the wonderful treatment we got at each winery was evidence only of the wineries’ committment to customer service (and selling wine, of course).


Rational Reaction

After hearing of the tragic shooting yesterday in Arizona, there were two reactions.

Person A, hearing the news:

What a tragedy.  What kind of nutjob shoots up a peaceful assembly and kills innocent people for no reason?

Person B:

SARAH PALIN HAS BLOOD ON HER HANDS.  TEA PARTIERS ARE MURDERERS.  THE INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC OF THE RIGHT MUST BE STOPPED.

Only one of these two people is rational.  The other is an idiot who jumped to an unfounded conclusion with limited information, before they even knew the name of the shooter.

Turns out, he’s a nutjob.  This was not a political event, but a politician (two, actually) was involved.  It’s horrible; those who wish to make political hay are scumbag idiots.


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