wine by the color

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

In my line of work, I have a lot of contact with Japanese people. I find myself nodding and bowing constantly when I speak with them. Is that rude? They do it all the time, but I'm not sure if it's polite to nod and bow if you're not actually Japanese.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

What the hell day is it?

Seriously, I'm not sure. When you work weekends, as I'm now doing, you lose track of the days pretty quickly. It's been a whopper of a week. Within a 40-hour period this week, I was in five different states. At 4 p.m. on Tuesday, I was less than 30 minutes from the Pacific Ocean. Twelve hours later I was within spitting distance of the Atlantic.

The next few weeks are going to be like this, so you'll have to bear with me. I will not sleep in my bed again until July 16th. When I checked into the hotel the other day, the woman at the desk gave me a funny look and said, "You're with us for ... 11 nights?" Yep, that's right. I'm currently in Rhode Island, which would be lovely except for the nonstop rain.

I don't have much shtick to share, because I've been buried by work. What's going on in the entertainment world? I haven't even ...

HOLY CRAP. Aaron Spelling died? How terribly sad. I wish I had time to discuss the influence this man had on my life, but I don't. And that's also sad. He deserves better, for all the joy he gave me. I'll try to find time to fix that.

And Jon Benet Ramsey's mother died? And the son of the old guy Anna Nicole Smith was married to? Stop dying, people! I don't have time to keep up with this sort of news right now.

A few things...

-During my flight from SEA to EWR, I had the pleasure of sitting next to a woman who was not only of a sizable heft, she was wrapped in a sari, which continually wound up wrapped around my left arm. I'm trying to be a nicer person, dammit, but things like this test me.

-Is anyone surprised the USA sucked it up at the World Cup? We are simply not a soccer nation. But if they ever hold a World Football Cup (and by that I mean FOOTBALL, not soccer, as the rest of the world calls it), watch out!

-The Knicks fired Larry Brown and Isiah Thomas is going to take over coaching duties? I'm sure that's going to work out well, considering what a splendid job Thomas has done as GM.

-Damn, the Mets look good. And not just because I could watch David Wright run the bases in his baseball pants for hours on end.

-And finally, how Jersey are you?

Although I was no doubt hurt by my ability to pump gas, I still checked in at 96% Jersey.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Regular readers of Wine by the Color might remember my trip to Seattle a few months ago, during which I accidentally stopped for gas in the hood.

Well, guess who unknowingly booked a hotel room in the exact same neighborhood.

Live and learn.

This was my last weekend in New Jersey until mid-July, and I made the most of it, with a full slate of activities. Saw two movies, had the crazy nephews sleep over, had dinner with my old roommate, helped my brother with yard work, took some bike rides, played softball and golf.

There were no injuries during softball. I gave up my usual 18 runs. Unfortunately, the Sandman, after giving up an average of 25 runs the two previous weeks, gave up three. Three runs in slow-pitch softball. I didn't know that was possible.

Late yesterday afternoon, we were all in my brother's pool, and as I got out of the water to perform tricks on command off the diving board for the crazy nephews, a small plastic step gave way and broke in half. This led to a proclamation that I was going on a hunger strike. My brother insisted that the step was already broken, but that didn't assuage me. Also not helping was the memory of the last time the step was broken, by one of our distant cousins, who at the time weighed at least 325 pounds.

I hope everyone else enjoyed their Father's Day. In addition to the swimming and my brother standing over a smoking grill as temperatures soared into the 90s, we watched a whole lot of golf. I don't know if anyone else has seen the new Nike/Tiger commercial, but it is really good.

Someone recently found my blog by doing a google search for: "can you take boxed wine on Royal Caribbean cruises."

People, there is only one destination appropriate for boxed wine, and that's Jets tailgates. And that's only if the liquor store has run out of jug wine.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

After a string of long, crappy days, a quartet of bright spots:

1. When I walked out of the office late this afternoon, there remained only a small, manageable pile of to-do items for tomorrow.
2. This (thanks to Freakgirl for the heads-up). "Clerks 2" and "Jackass: Number Two" in the same two-month period. It's a cinematic bonanza.
3. I have a hot date tomorrow evening - pizza and "Cars" with the crazy nephews.
4. On my way to the driving range this evening (in the hopes of slamming out any lingering work-related angst), I almost drove off the road upon learning that the diner around the corner has apparently obtained a liquor license.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Work is insane. I left the office at 9:18 last night, had ice cream for dinner, watched one of the guys from softball get married on Queer Eye, and collapsed into bed. I was back at the computer by 5:22 a.m. today.

So, what sort of encouragement does my horoscope have for me today...

Why is it that your so-called "time off" is often more draining than your "time on?" What you really need is to be alone with your inspiration - just you and your muse.

I don't know what this "time off" they're referring to is, but if I find it, I'll be sure to use it hanging out with my muse.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Hey, guess who showed up to play in our game yesterday?

Ok, not really. He instead opted to play at his annual charity softball game. But that doesn’t mean our Sunday tilt was sans excitement.

The Sandman and I were again locked in a pitcher's duel (meaning we were giving up an average of 1-2 home runs and 4-5 runs per inning). In the fourth or fifth inning, with me on the mound, someone hit a long ball to the outfield. Our centerfielder threw it in to our shortstop, who was in short center for the cutoff. As he caught it, I yelled for him to hold the ball, since there wouldn't be a play at home plate. Instead, what he did was catch it, turn around and throw it, at full force since he was gunning for home.

Which meant I was a lame duck, standing there with my arms up in the "hold it" signal. So when the ball came flying at me, there was nothing I could do except catch it. Which I did. With my ribs.

As you can imagine, this was not pleasant. It knocked me to the ground, where I writhed in pain for a few minutes as the fellas gathered around. But I quickly decided I was going to live and got back on my feet. And then, I got back on the mound and finished the game. Don't ever let it be said that I'm not a gamer.

Which I had to prove again two innings later, when someone else barreled into me as I stood on second and knocked my ass back to the ground. That I could have done without. Particularly since he was on my own team. What can you do...

Not surprisingly, I spent the afternoon napping on my cousin's couch. But I was able to rally for a plateful of meat at Steve's Sizzlin' Steaks last night. Good times.

While I was sleeping, a tremendous black and blue marked emerged, measuring about four inches up and down and two inches across. It's lovely. I guess I'm going to have to let Bikini Monthly know that they'll have to wait a month or two to put me on their cover.

A few things from the weekend...

When you arrive at a house party and see there are two port-a-johns in the driveway, you know the hosts aren't messing around.

I can't tell you when - a week from now, a month, maybe a year - but at some point there will be a post about the shower caddy I just installed in the bathroom. Specifically, when it crashes down on me and batters me with shampoo and other assorted toiletries as I shower. It's very nice, but doesn't seem to be the most structurally sound gadget. Perhaps it was the installation.

My parents celebrated their 40th anniversary yesterday. They don't seem old enough to have been married for 40 years, but alas.

Now that I think about it - I have a history of getting injured on family events. In high school, I was once taken to the hospital via ambulance on my brother's birthday after having my foot and ankle ripped away from the rest of my leg during a softball game. My face-breaking incident in Hawaii happened on my mother's birthday (although I didn't tell her about it until the day after, so as to not ruin her day, which I thought was particularly considerate).

Perhaps someone is sending me a message that I should simply sit home and honor my loved ones on their special occasions. I've made a note.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Today has been so busy and stressful that I've listened to my favorite Krisha Das CD twice in the hopes of finding a happy place. I didn't think anything would have been noteworthy enough to interrupt the craziness to blog, but alas.

Apparently, Philly cheesesteak institution Geno’s is no longer serving customers who cannot order in English.

All we're asking them to do is learn the English language," said Geno's owner Joseph Vento, 66. "We're out to help these people, but they've got to help themselves, too."

Vento said he has gotten plenty of criticism and threats. One person told him they hoped one his many neon signs flames out and burns the place down, he said.

City of Brotherly Love, indeed.

Of course, it's not as if native Philadelphians speak the King's English either.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

While searching for a friend's wedding information on The Knot, I saw someone with the same last name whose wedding is scheduled for June 18. Of 2010.

Isn't that four years away? Does that not seem like an absurdly long lead time?

People retain all sorts of superfluous information. Case in point, I can remember the following:

First songs I remember hearing on the radio: Captain and Tennille, "Love Will Keep Us Together" and Pink Floyd, "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II"
First album I bought: Kinks, One for the Road
First tape I bought: Asia, Asia
First CDs I bought: Eric Clapton, Time Pieces; Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon; Bob Marley, Legend

And now, I can add another musical first, the first song I downloaded via the internet: Damien Rice, "The Blower’s Daughter." I still don't have an iPod (although it's under consideration with the Casa Magnolia Capital Expenditures Committee). But Continental has a promotion whereby every time you book a ticket online, you get five free song downloads from iTunes. Good times.

And finally…

"That’s not funny at all."

No, Elizabeth. No it’s not.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Given my lackluster attention to physical fitness lately, I’ve surprised myself with a few of the feats I've pulled off recently – the 45-mile bike ride, the five-mile run. But I think my most unexpected accomplishment may have come this morning, when I managed to hoist my ass out of bed.


Sunday, I pitched 11 innings in a marathon three-hour softball game. Given my history of shoulder problems, I didn't think that was physically possible anymore, but apparently it is. I gave up 18 runs, but fortunately the Sandman gave up 23. In our combined defense, a very low percentage of the 41 runs scored were earned.

Anyway, I returned home from that exhausted and limping. It probably wasn't the best way to rest up for Monday, but what the hell. I had a great time.

Yesterday, the alarm sounded at 5 a.m., and my day ended at 12:03 a.m. The 19 hours and three minutes in between were, quite frankly, mayhem. My dad and a few friends showed up throughout the day and their first words were almost always the same: "This is insane."

My main mission was to help keep a crowd of thousands out of the way of six people. Easier said than done. In doing so, I walked 13,691 yards, which translates to 41,073 feet, or 7.7 miles. My feet are well aware of how far this was, particularly since it was over hilly, uneven terrain. Despite the fact that they were iced immediately at the conclusion of the day, my feet are no longer speaking to me.

That said, it wasn't an awful day. In fact, it was at times quite exciting. To have a front-row seat as someone tries to make history is pretty cool. Most of the major newspapers in the country sent writers and even they seemed jazzed, which is unusual for my typically cynical media friends. For a good portion of the day, I thought she might actually do it. Ultimately, she fell short, but that doesn't detract from the excitement. Years from now, I'll look back and be really glad I was there.

Sadly, by the time I got home, I was too exhausted to enjoy a big wine fiesta. I settled for a huge bowl of Apple Jacks. Nothing like a big bowl of cinnamon-toasted goodness to end a long day.

Friday, June 02, 2006

This has been a busy, crappy week. My two college roommates were in AC last night and I've been so swamped that I couldn't get down there to carouse with them. Not good times.

A few completely random things...

What's a good time to move into a new home? Is it 12:30 a.m.? Is that when the kids do their moving these days? Apparently, it is if you're moving next door to me. Then, a day later, it's a fine hour at which to accidentally drive your car over the curb and onto the sidewalk, making it look like someone was driving into my building and thus scaring the absolute hell out of me.

Welcome to the neighborhood.

Speaking of moving, I saw a house advertised in the local paper yesterday. Cute house, nice neighborhood, surprisingly reasonable price. So I went to the online listing, and it's listed at $100,000 more than it was in the paper.

I have a MySpace account for one reason - to communicate with The Colonel, who only e-mails through MySpace. Today, I received an e-mail with the following subject: "Melissa with a big butt would like to be your friend."

I bet she would.

When I saw this headline, I so hoped it was referring to Crispin Glover. There's just not enough Crispin Glover news in the world. But no such luck. It's just not as interesting when it's Danny Glover.

You when I'll be encouraged by Chad Pennington's progress? When the season is over and he has played in all the games.

The Good Doctor has two great job offers. The closest of which is 330 miles away.

Everyone's all fired up about the NJ girl who won the National Spelling Bee. Quite frankly, I could give a crap if a 13-year-old can spell ursprache. I'd rather watch a grammatical contest for adults, to see how many of them can properly differentiate between its and it's. Based on some things I've seen this week, that number is distressingly low.

Finally, I try to steer clear of discussing my work life, lest someone from the office stumble across my blog and find I'm bashing colleagues or complaining about the job. I could talk about the call I got yesterday from someone who wanted to know if he was allowed to picket our office, but I won't.

I will, however, say this ... Monday promises to be one of the craziest days of my professional career. I will be helping supervise what will surely be a circus on a NJ golf course, monitoring media and spectators as a teenage girl tries to make history. I have no idea what's going to happen but I can guarantee you this - my day will end with wine. And lots of it.