Thursday, February 26, 2009

The b.h. got off to a late start on his tour, due to illnesses and canceled dates in the DBT clan. This resulted in us having two days off together (three if you count Sunday), which was great. Unfortunately, we have absolutely no cash and the weather was crap, so we couldn't just pack the boys in the car and drive up to the mountains, as we are wont to do under better circumstances.
Instead we built fires and read books and ate chili and cornbread and watched movies.
He had never seen Nine to Five, which is on my list of reasons why I remember the seventies fondly. If you haven't seen it recently, you absolutely must. Lily Tomlin has always been a favorite of mine, and of course I love Dolly Parton, but I forgot how effing FUNNY she is.
Also re-watched Sideways. You know, I did like that the first time around, but I think the problem was that the hype was so big that I couldn't help but be at least slightly let down. Virginia Madsen is fabulous and beautiful and underrated and underutilized. Somebody please fix that (looking at you, AJ). Anyway, I have spoken before of this movie and it's effect on the wine industry, which is incredibly frustrating. Having seen it again, I still can't figure it out. The guy is a JACKASS. That's the point. And yet his dismissal of "Fucking Merlot!" has changed the entire wine industry. Bizarre.
There is a very small lizard (anole?) that has been living in our house all winter. He pops up occasionally in a house plant or on a windowsill, and I have rescued him a couple times from the kitchen floor, where he was in danger of being trampled by spastic dogs. Last night he sat on my hand while I watched TV. He is too small to photograph properly, but so cute. After an hour or so he got up and scrambled up the wall of the fireplace and disappeared. Unlike the rodents, I find his presence comforting somehow.
Speaking of rodents, I have neither seen nor heard anything since we put the poison under the house. Cross your fingers. I hated to do it, but they are just too destructive and had gotten smart about avoiding the trap.
Still haven't seen K, but I heard from her yesterday and we have plans for tomorrow. I worked last night and I work tonight and then I'll get paid (Hooray for pay!) and then I'll work tomorrow morning and then I will be free and flush at the same time, which might be dangerous. Planning on seeing my friend MT play at the Farm, and I suspect we might wander in to the Manhattan at some point. You've been warned.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Last night we went to the weekly dinner party at Casa Del D & S. This was the Oscar version, complete with a baby in a gold suit portraying Oscar, with whom we each had a photo taken. Everybody dressed up, because why not, and people brought food that was in some way movie-related. These were all put on display and a contest was had to see who could guess which movie each dish was from. The b.h. won. I had no idea what most of them were about, and was particularly puzzled by a pair of oddly shaped mashed potato mounds, which turned out to be replicas of something(s) from Close Encounters, which I have never seen and am not terribly interested in. The b.h. made cannoli, which was delicious. Actually, I can honestly say (for once) that we made something, because - "Bizarro!" - I helped. I had an idea to bring bottles of both Pinot Noir and (fucking) Merlot, but I forgot until it was too late and since you can't purchase alcohol on Sundays, well, Cotes du Rhone had to suffice. I am expecting Sideways in the mail this week, and although I was not terribly fond of it the first time around, I am looking forward to watching it with fresh (and slightly more wine-educated) eyes.
So yeah, the party was nice, and the Oscars were less boring than usual, which was pleasant. I can still only manage to watch them as background noise for the most part. I have not seen most of the movies that were up for awards this year, because the b.h. and I don't tend to go out to the movies much, except when there's a new superhero or James Bond flick out. Most things I prefer to watch at home, where I am not subjected to other people and don't have to miss anything when I run to the bathroom.
Got to see my friend K again on Saturday. We went out to brunch at The National. He was still a bit green around the edges from Friday night, but after half a Bloody Mary and a few cups of coffee he was back to his old self and we had some fantastic food and got to catch up a bit. It was an unusually warm day (at least for this week it was unusual), so we went over to the square after we ate and sat chatting and avoiding the crazy people for a couple of hours. I dropped him back at his hotel, wishing him a safe journey back to Iraq and promising I'd see him one way or another when he was stateside again in July. Then I picked up the b.h. from work and headed off to the LLS.
Work was uneventful. I still don't know my schedule for the week, because we are cutting back on hours (payroll, not hours of operation) and our manager is having difficulty figuring out how to dole out hours. Sigh.
Anyway, any time I have off this week will be spent attempting to catch up with my other friend K, who is in town this week from New York.
Right. So off to assist the b.h. with our leaky shower. Happy Monday.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Customer of the Night #4216: The Ugly 'Merkin.

So I'm at work last night and this lady comes in. I'm helping another customer, and we are very obviously in the middle of a conversation about his needs. This woman comes up behind the guy I'm helping, on the other side of a row of wine, but only a couple feet away, and says very loudly
"Aw, dammit!"
I pause momentarily, and then continue on our tour of Spanish wine. Another moment later, another outburst, this time a sigh of mixed disappointment and outrage. I smile at the man I am speaking to and then pointedly turn to the woman and say

"I'm sorry, is there something I can help you find?"

She looks up, feigning surprise that I had somehow overheard her.

"Yes, do you have any more of these in the cooler?" She waves aloft a bottle of Riesling.
I glance toward the cooler, which is equidistant from us, maybe fifteen feet away. The bottle that she is referring to has bright pink flowers on the label and a bright pink metal cap. There are several bottles of it virtually shouting at us from the cooler.
"There are at least three that I can see from here."
"Well good, because you only have two over here."
"How many will you be needing?"
"I want three."
I retrieve one from the cooler, thanking the man I had been helping and plastering on a smile I reserve for PEOPLE WHO SUCK.
"Here you go. What else can I help you with?"
"I need another Riesling."
"Any particular Riesling?
"It's... (*sigh)... I can't remember... It's in a blue bottle. It's made my Sell-bick."

By this I know that she means Selbach, and because I try very hard not to be an asshole (out loud in front of customers when I am at work, anyway), I chose to ignore her mispronunciation, and instead started to answer her.
"We have some of their wines, but we don't have any in a blue bottle." I walk around the side of the wine rack, pointing out the ones that we do have.

"It's SELL-BICK," she says, more loudly, as if this will magically make the wine she wants appear.
"Yes, I heard you. We have several of their wines, but not in a blue bottle."
"The only place that has it is a little- well, I don't mean to be ugly, but it's owned by a foreigner, and I just don't- I prefer to buy from Americans."

There was a short pause, long enough for me to think twice about telling her to go fuck herself, and just long enough for her to realize that she was talking to the wrong 'Merkin.
"Well, we don't have that," I said, and turned very literally on my heel and walked away from her. I approached the next customer, smiling, and gave him help he neither needed nor asked for, just so I didn't have to look at her again.

My bosses were not born here. They came here and opened a store and raised their kids in the back and worked their asses off and memorized the Constitution and learned the language and became citizens and paid taxes and bought a house and cars and became part of a community. They have been here over twenty years. They are successful. They are good people and fantastic employers. What the fuck does it mean to be American? Who isn't a foreigner? How many generations does it take?

I only wish I had been quick enough to start belting out the lyrics to "Hot Blooded", or jump up and down going "Holy shit!! Lou Gramm has a liquor store in Athens?! Where?!" Ah well. Next time. There's sure to be a next time.
On a similar note,this is pretty damned awesome.
Also, a scoop of Breyer's Vanilla Bean ice cream is especially good in a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. Seriously.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tuesday I got my hair done. I went late and Shayne was off the clock, so I brought Prosecco and Elderflower Liquer, which we mixed and drank while we were gossiping and waiting for my hair to change color. She is going to New York in a couple months, and we were swapping stories about our previous trips (she goes a couple times a year for work, which makes me incredibly jealous). I am longing to go with her next time. It is highly unlikely.
Anyway, that finished I went and shopped for a bit, then went over and had a beer and talked politics with a friend while I waited for the b.h. to get through with band practice.
Wednesday I ran errands and got called in to help out at work for a bit. My phone rang around three o'clock and it was my nephew. He was in Tennessee with two of his friends, en route to Florida, and they had a few hours to kill and would it be okay if they stopped by? Of course!
I went home, straightened up a bit (and I really mean a bit- they're 21 and male and could care less, after all), then I dropped the b.h. at band practice and met my friends at Happy Hour. K is in from Iraq for a few days. I was happy to see him. He looks great. He is here for a few days, so I'm hoping to catch up with him again for breakfast on Saturday. There were a lot of people there, so we didn't get a lot of real talking in, but I was amazed at how relieved I was to actually see him. I guess I hadn't realized how much I worry until I stopped worrying for a minute.
Anyway, my nephew called and I went to meet him at my house. They all three showered, then we went back downtown. My friends had mostly left from their happy hour (not a total surprise since it was ten p.m. on a Wednesday), so we had a quick beer with Casey and Joanie and then met the b.h. over at Flicker.
My nephew and his friends are very sweet and totally hilarious, and even take it well when I rail on their collective favorite band (N1cklback), shaking my head and remarking how I had utterly failed as the Cool Aunt. To be fair, they are all fans of The Dictatortots, and seemed to enjoy The Replacements, Slobberbone, and Grand Buffet. It's just, well... Yeah.
They had been awake for over a day already (ah, to be that young again), so I suggested that we get some pizzas and get back to the house so they could nap, or at least relax, before another eight hours in the car. They agreed and we came back to watch The Hulk(The good one, with Edward Norton and Tim Roth).
I was barely awake when I sent them on their way at two in the morning. It was great seeing them What a nice surprise.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Work was dumb.
Burn After Reading was funnier than I remembered.
The dinner party was great.
Donnie makes wicked good pretzels.
Sometimes rats just need to be poisoned.
This may be one of those times.
I'm still debating.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wormy.

Just finished that 33 1/3 book about Murmur. The first part was good, the middle almost lost me completely because it was so technical as to be painfully boring - I actually skimmed and even skipped some pages altogether, which is completely out of character - and then the end was very interesting again. And most importantly, I finished so I can pass it on to the b.h. My favorite quote by far is this one:
"The same can be said for Murmur's lyrics: anyone's guess is truly as good as anyone else's... the interpretation of rock lyrics is a perilous and often embarrassing prospect I'd prefer to steer clear of out of basic concern of trying not to sound like a complete doofus. In this regard, no rock band in the history of magnetic tape has invited such disaster as R.E.M."
He goes on to provide some hilarious (and some just plain sad) examples.


Almost finished with The Singing Sands and A Hedonist in the Cellar, too. I expect I'll be through both of them before bed. Josephine Tey is just what the doctor ordered for bedtime: Smart enough to be interesting, mysterious enough to make me fight to stay awake for a couple extra pages, but light enough that my mind isn't racing when I finally do decide to put her down. Jay McInerney is just fun and funny. And since I'm trying to learn whatever I can right now about wine, this book has been extremely helpful.

I have long since finished Service Included, which the b.h. has also finished. We both liked many aspects of it but mostly felt that it wasn't novel material. The thing is, I appreciate having insight into the workings of a superfine dining establishment more than anything. While reading this book, I was very impressed by the author's passion for food and the restaurant's dedication both to food and to service, but I found myself at best bored and and at worst annoyed when she talked about her relationship. This is the same way I feel about The West Wing. Stick to what you know, people, and stop trying to be all things blah blah blah. In any case, I learned some things from the book, and that is always a plus.
As soon as I finish JT I'm going to finish Coraline, and then possibly see the movie. I'll also be dipping back into The Fortress of Solitude this week. There are unopened magazines piling up all over the place, too. It's all very exciting.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day, Y'all.




Reading up on different styles of porters. Had one from Smuttynose last night, and it is glorious. Also watched one episode of Smiley's People before passing out cold. I'm assuming that the reason I have no idea what's going on is that it was the first episode.
Two long days at work, and I'm about to embark on another. And then, Sunday. Ahhhhhh.

I think we're going to a dinner party, but we haven't decided what we're making yet. Or rather, we haven't decided what the b.h. is making yet. I think I'll go peruse our stack of Cook's Illustrated.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy New Year, Indeed.

A PHOTO ONE




These pictures are great, but it is difficult to do justice to the experience of Chinese New Year in Chinatown, NYC. I also have some video, but blogger is being a bugger and won't upload it properly. Ah well, you'll have to use your imagination.

I had no idea what to expect, but I bundled up and the b.h. and I followed K and soon we were knee deep in confetti and revelers. This was not the actual parade day (we were a week early for that), but it was some kind of firecracker festival or something. Apparently you can only light fireworks during the day (can't say I blame the FDNY for that), so instead of big brilliant fireballs, there was a whole lot of flying confetti.



This is the kind of confetti cannons that were going off everywhere.





video

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Accountant quoted Mark Twain and Waylon Jennings(complete with actual impersonation! Waylon produced a record for one of his old bands), and told us the story of his wife's great grandfather, after whom Butler Avenue on Tybee Island is named. He was the first mayor of Tybee, and of course, the story behind that is hilarious. It seems that there was another man who was to be the Mayor. They all took a boat over to the island, and the mayor-to-be fell overboard and drowned, leaving great grandpa to take his place.
We owe some money to the government, but other than that it was a lovely time. I'm going to miss that guy. We may just fly back here to do our taxes next year.
After that I took the b.h. to band practice, grabbed him a burrito and dropped it off, and went over to Flicker to have a beer. Jenn was kind enough to meet me and regale me with stories of the Slobberbone shows I missed over the weekend in Texas. I had a couple beers and then the b.h. came back and we went home.
Watched W., the movie. I am still not an Oliver Stone fan, but it was enjoyable enough. Josh Brolin is awesome.
Today I dropped the b.h. at work and ran some errands. I left my headlights on for a short while at one point (with the car off) and so killed my battery. It had actually been drained several times before and I knew it was getting time for a new one. I ended up getting it today. Boooo. But yay. At least it didn't die in the middle of the night and/or in the middle of nowhere. Whatever. I gave KG a bath and picked up the b.h. from work just in time to get to work myself. Business is down at the LLS, what with the economy in the toilet and all. It was a long and slow night. Now I'm home and I've had a Smuttynose Porter and I'm ready to turn in. Hasta manana.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Yesterday we got all gussied up and went to our friends' wedding reception. The weather was gorgeous, and we didn't need coats even outside. Found out that a couple friends are pregnant (on purpose, which is always great news), had a glass of wine and some terrific food from The National, and fantasized about getting married again. The first time was a lot of fun, but I think I'd just like to throw a big shindig like that every few years.
Last night we watched a movie and went to bed early. Today I worked at the LLS for a few hours, long enough to be there when we received our first shipment of Smuttynose beer, which is very exciting. I didn't have enough for a mixed twelve pack, so I grabbed a six pack of the porter and I'm chilling it as we speak.
Tonight I have a wine and chocolate tasting to attend (oh no, don't throw me in the briar patch!). I feel like I may be coming down with something, but it could just be allergies. Not sure. In any case I'm off tomorrow so I'm not terribly worried about it.
Tomorrow we go to the accountant. I love going to the accountant, not because I enjoy giving money to the government, but because our accountant is hilarious. He has a great blue-blood Southern accent and always has stories about his younger days in rock and roll. ("Once, we were at Cher's house in Malibu..."). I doubt very seriously that any accountant we find in Vermont will have a gold record on his or her wall, but we can always hope.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

We have a new hard drive, but the b.h. is still trying to retrieve everything from backup. We'll see.
Thursday night we both worked, and I had the good fortune of getting sprung early (I had a Paper Scissors Rock duel with my co-worker to win the privilege; I chose rock, of course, and therefore got to rock), which allowed me to see Patterson Hood & friends at Farm 255. His friends included William Tonks, Dave Barbe, Easy B, Don Chambers, John Neff, and the fabulous Mr. Dave Marr. I got to hear many of my favorite songs, quaff a couple Dogfish Head 90 minute pale ales, and hang out with the b.h. It was indescribably wonderful. We had every intention of going to the 40 Watt after, but it was very late when they finally quit and we both had to work early in the morning, so we decided to head home instead (I really am getting too responsible in my old age).
Friday morning was painful, but with the bonus that by the time I was fully awake my work day was half over. Work was enjoyable.
I got fresh samosas from the boss lady's parents, who know from samosas. They were cheap and delicious, and kept the b.h. from having to do any manual labor when we got home.
We rented Death Rac3, which we knew was not going to be thought-provoking (I could watch Ian McShane butter toast for two hours, though, so who cares?), and basically just turned off our brains when we got home. Went to bed very early. Still not finished reading Coraline, despite its being a children's book and an easy read, because I keep nodding off moments after turning in.
Woke up early to take the b.h. to work, stopped at the bank and the grocery store, and started some yard work when I got back. It is warm and beautiful outside today, and I'm trying to decide where to take the dogs for a short field trip before I go to work.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The computer repairman is in the next room. He's replacing the hard drive on our new desktop. As I have probably said before, the thing isn't even paid for yet, but luckily we have a lot of warranty.I can only hope that we haven't lost anything important. Mostly for me that would include all of the photos I have taken for the last five years. We do have backup and all that, and the b.h. seems unconcerned, but that is because he is technically inclined and understands technology, whereas it fills me with suspicion and fear.
Note to self: pay for a flickr account and upload everything. That way, when it gets lost, it will be lost to the ether and not just buggered in a useless chunk of metal on a shelf in our office.
Anyway, I've distracted the dogs with K0ng toys filled with peanut butter (bought ages ago and therefore salmonella free!) so they do not molest the poor man. They are behaving for the moment.
We both worked the daytime yesterday, then went to his friends' house to get some firewood. Last night we watched the rest of the Tom Petty documentary, which I highly recommend to everyone, and then did some reading and turned in early. We both work late today, and then the b.h. will go downtown to see Mother Jackson and The Heap and I will join him when I get done at the LLS. Which basically means that working tomorrow morning is going to suck, but there you have it :)
Have a good day everybody, and perhaps I will see you at the rock show.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The b.h. has just informed me that his band got a really shit gig for really good money at a sports bar in Alphafuckingretta in a couple weeks. Hilarious! I kind of want to go just because the idea is a bit ridiculous.

I started The Fortress of Solitude and Neil Gaiman's children's book Coraline. That movie is either just out or about to be, so I wanted to read the book first. I'm enjoying them both.

I know that talking about the weather is a bit of a copout, but right now it is 24 degrees ("feels like 10"!)outside. I would guess it's about forty inside. I am sitting under a dog and a giant blanket with the heat blasting and I am freezing my ass off.

Friday the high will be sixty.

Watching the end of the new Tom Petty documentary Runnin' Down a Dream. It is two discs of genius. I have always loved the man, but now I am beginning to understand what a badass he truly is. I have to go to work at the LLS in a few minutes. As it will surely be even colder there, I am not looking forward to it. Hopefully Lynn will call and need my help at her store so I won't get stuck. We need to collect some firewood before we come home tonight, too. Damn. Think anyone will notice if I just stay here and hunker down?

Shit. Alright, gotta go.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Want!

Decisions, decisions. I don't have any small children, so a plush uterus would be no danger. But the brain is also adorable.

Monday, February 02, 2009

37 Hours.

Off, that is. Tonight and tomorrow. Both of us. Now I just have to figure out which book I'm going to read next. I tore through Service Included, which I got from K, in just a couple of days. Now I'm trying to find that 33 1/3 R.E.M book again, and I've got The Collected Stories of Leonard Michaels (which Roy suggested and I bought with my b-day git certificate from MT), and also Fortress of Solitude, which K bought me at Strand Books (more on that later. Plus I've got the Joe Strummer biography, one called The Gift, which I started already, and a pile of other stuff to read.
Oh, decisions, decisions. Leonard Michaels first, because I can read one story in a short time. I'm gonna go grab a beer and flip a coin or whatever.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

New York, Part Deaux.

We woke up earlyish on Sunday, had some coffee and kolacky cookies (I can't find the word "kolacky" in the plural, so there you have it), layered ourselves fully, and set out to shop. I found a lot of stuff that I loved at the first store we went to, but I didn't want to spend all of my money on the first day so I settled for a long wool J. Cr3w coat and a shorter green tweedy Gu3ss coat that has really great buttons and detailing. They were both under twenty bucks. The store was called the Buffal0 Exchange, and I guess it's a chain. Some new stuff, some used stuff. It was chock full of hipsters and bargains. We each left with a full bag, and headed back to the restaurant where K works to drop them off in the office. We got on the subway and went into Manhattan, where we stopped at a Japanese version of the Gap. the name of that store escapes me, but I liked a lot of their clothes. The fitting rooms had long waits, so after a couple of unsuccessful attempts at new jeans I picked up a skirt and a few pairs of socks that were on sale and we got on our way.
The next stop was a place that was full of stuff I really wanted and didn't remotely need. Pearl River, I think it was called. The clothes were ridiculously expensive, but the dishes were very cool and all reasonably priced. I picked up a coffee cup and two bowls (ours keep breaking in the dishwasher. Note to self: No more dishes from fucking Target).
I got a call from the b.h. saying that the band was at the club and they were planning on eating at Katz, the deli famous for its giant pastrami sandwiches (and also for the famous faked orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally). We stopped by the club to say hello, but chose to eat at a more vegetarian friendly restaurant in the East Village.
Again, I do not remember the name, but it was a full-on veggie place, complete with some kind of shitty "natural" and "healthy" substitute for coffee (as fucking if). K was hilarious. She texted her friend M, who had recommended the place, swearing to get revenge.
Our waitress was slow and not terribly professional, but the food was remarkable. We both had dessert, too. After that we went back to her place to get cleaned up and dressed for the show.
When we got back to the club, it was a thousand degrees inside, which was bad because I had dressed for the cold and immediately started having a panic attack. I went backstage and dumped off a few layers and my coat and was much more comfortable. We ordered a draft for K and a bottle for me, which came to fourteen dollars. Ouch. Then we realized that we had left the cigarettes on her kitchen table, so we ran across the street to buy another pack. $9.25. For C@mel Lights. I have no idea how regular people can afford to smoke there. Luckily we ran into a friend and former Athenian Chris, who was putting the band up for the night. He bought a round for K and me.
The show was great, despite the fact that Donnie had mostly lost his voice. The crowd seemed to like it, too. Afterward K and I went up the street and got the most incredible falafel I think I have ever eaten. It was cheap and delicious, and it made up for the overpriced beer. When we got back to the club, K was accosted by two homeless guys who had earlier harassed her while she was out smoking. I blew past them and opened the door of the club, only to be told by the surly bouncer that there was "NO FOOD ALLOWED INSIDE!"
I told him to get the guys off of us, and he consented to let us hover by the door and eat while the band loaded out. This was made more difficult by the fact that I had bought a sandwich for the b.h., too. I stood there starving, unable to either eat (too messy for one hand) or set one down (pitas are not built to lie down), until K finished and was able to assist me.
We all split up for the night, the b.h. coming with K and me in a cab while the rest of the band went with Chris. It was nice to have the b.h. back, even if just for the night. Made the air mattress a little fuller and me a little warmer. We had a glass of wine, watched an episode of Laverne and Shirley, showered, and turned in.