wine by the color

Monday, September 29, 2008

I have been to a lot of sporting events, but I'd be hard pressed to come up with a better two-fer that watching Santana hurl a three-hit shutout on three days' rest Saturday to keep the Mets (temporarily) alive, then watching His Holiness throw six touchdowns in leading the Jets to 56 points (albeit in very ugly uniforms) on Sunday.

For a while, it poured during yesterday's tailgate. You might think that would have put a damper on everyone's good time, but I think it just kicked things up a notch. The crowd grew by the hour, putting more people in our tent city.

8 a.m.

11 a.m.


Yesterday's game also marked the return of my favorite not-so-anonymous poster and his wonderful Mrs., who left their four children home to join our festivities, a special appearance I enjoyed greatly (and not just because they brought the good kielbasa).

All in all, good times.

Well, until after the game when a small group of us gathered in the parking lot to listen to the official end of the Mets...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Any fan of 80s cinematic cheese no doubt fondly remembers "Summer School," starring Mark Harmon, a thin Kirstie Alley and a very young Courtney Thorne-Smith. It's a classic tale of a gym teacher who gets trapped into summer school duty. His main purpose is to babysit the miscreants during the summer session but of course he winds up teaching the wayward youth a few things while at the same time learning something about himself.

(And might I interrupt myself to point out that IMDB is one of the best sites in the history of the Internet. How else would I have known that the guy who played Dave died the year the film came out. Anyway...)

One memorable scene in the film occurs when Chainsaw's sunglasses break and Mr. Shoop has the class write letters to the company to express dissatisfaction with the product. The class writes its letters and a few weeks later a box filled with new sunglasses arrives, and everyone learns a valuable lesson about the power of the written word.

And why does this warrant a mention...

Dear Jersey Girl,

Earlier this month, we announced that OnePassĀ® members will earn the actual miles flown rather than a minimum of 500 miles per flight for tickets purchased on or after Nov. 15, 2008.

We've listened, and our Elite members think this change unfairly dilutes the benefits of the OnePass program. Therefore we are exempting you from this change, and Elite members will continue to earn the 500 mile minimum on all segments flown under the current policy.

We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you again soon.

Mark Bergsrud
Sr. Vice President, Marketing Programs and Distribution

Now, if we could only do something about those pesky baggage fees and policies...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Megs, this one's for you...

(Special thanks to DPH for this one.)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

After doing roughly 0 stomach crunches in the past six months, I decided to make up for lost time at the gym yesterday. Why do I mention this? Because the end result was a sore mid-section, which has made laughing, coughing and sneezing all painful pursuits.

So needless to say, when I came across this on the wonderment that is Go Fug Yourself, the ensuing fits of laughter almost sent me to the hospital.

Galactic warlords. Good times.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mark Bergsrud
Senior Vice President, Marketing Programs and Distribution
Continental Airlines
Houston, TX

Dear Mr. Bergsrud:

Guess who?

I was hoping I wouldn't have to write again so soon after the "Continental and United Plan Cooperation" debacle a few months ago. Alas, it was not meant to be, for you are a treasure trove of ridiculous correspondence.

Let's just jump into your latest round of good news, shall we? How about if we review your most recent salvo graph by graph...

Our OnePassĀ® members are important to us, so we are making every effort to keep you informed of some changes to our checked baggage policy and the OnePass program.

Yes, Obi Wan. Hit your important OnePass members with it...

Effective Oct. 7, 2008, customers will be charged $15 for their first checked bag when traveling on tickets purchased on or after Sept. 5, 2008, within the U.S., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada.

Whoops. Houston, I think we have a problem.

Because you are an Elite member, you are exempt from paying the fee and will be allowed to check your first bag free of charge. Customers traveling with you are also exempt from the fee as long as they are traveling in the same reservation.

I notice you specify "first bag free of charge." Is that intentional, leaving the door open for you to charge for a second bag? And don't think the go-fuck-yourself message isn't clearly visible to all non-Elite travelers. I think they get it.

Also, do you all have any idea what kind of mayhem this is going to cause on flights, as people try to carry on all their possessions to avoid paying the $15 fee? Have you been on a plane recently to see the obnoxious bags people are already carrying onto planes? And they're still free!

Just today, I stepped onto a DFW-bound flight. Although I could not have been more than the 15th person to board, I could not find anywhere to store my bag in the first seven rows of the plane. And I was only carrying a backpack. It should be noted, however, that one of your flight attendants, whose diction was so poor it was impossible to understand him during announcements but that is a story for another day, stored at least two bags in the overhead compartment in first class, which I noticed because he removed or replaced something in his bags no less than eight times. With so much personal business to conduct, I'm amazed he was able to find time to deliver beverages.

I digress. Where was I...

Effective for travel on or after Jan. 1, 2009, OnePass members will earn the actual miles flown rather than a minimum of 500 miles per flight for tickets purchased on or after Nov. 15, 2008. This affects base miles and Elite Qualifying Miles on flights operated by Continental* and most OnePass airline partners**.

Wow, the good news just keeps rolling. Very crafty to try to slip this in there too. Perhaps this would be a good time to mention you're no longer offering Coca-Cola beverages but will instead provide Wal-Mart brand soda? Or perhaps going this route?

Also effective for reward travel booked on or after Jan. 1, 2009, reward travel mileage requirements will increase for customers traveling between North America and Tel Aviv (TLV) and between Hawaii and Tel Aviv.

I mean, seriously. How many people are flying from Hawaii to Tel Aviv? Is that even a daily flight?

Effective for travel on or after March 1, 2009, Elite Mileage Bonuses will decrease for Platinum members from 125% to 100% and for Silver members from 50% to 25% for tickets purchased on or after Nov. 15, 2008. Gold members will continue to earn 100% mileage bonuses.

Way to finish strong. A cornucopia of customer screwing. Nicely played. Most companies would have tried to minimize the damage and space such announcements apart a bit, to lessen the blow. I suppose your forthright, fuck-off approach is to be commended.

Full details of all changes can be found at


We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you soon.

Do you? How can that possibly be? If your outfit is so appreciative of my business, why is it doing everything it can to convince me that I don't want to travel on your airline any longer?

Mark Bergsrud
Sr. Vice President,
Marketing Programs and Distribution

Is this your idea of a marketing program? Aren't marketing programs typically designed to attract customers, not repel them? If so, I think this one might be missing the mark a bit.

I can't imagine how many nasty letters you get per day. Here's hoping I don't have to send you another one for a while.

Hugs & kisses,
Jersey Girl

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Why does this man look so down?

A) The Jets' offensive coordinator doesn't seem to realize he has a game changer lined up behind center now and thus ran the offense more or less the same as he did during the Pennington days, which is to say without creativity or cajones?
B) He looked up at the scoreboard and realized his replacement led the Packers to 48 points, while his squad had a mere three at the half?
C) He's just realizing how difficult it apparently is for a Jets kicker to make a fucking chip shot field goal?
D) He didn't realize how hot it could be in mid-September in New Jersey, with temperatures soaring into the humidity-laden 90s?
E) He'd heard Jersey Girl had just realized the prescription she's taking has a warning label that reads: "Avoid direct exposure to sunlight while taking medication" yet spent the entire day in the bright, hot sun?
F) He'd learned about the abysmal parking situation at the Meadowlands which caused a large portion of the Gang Green fan base to travel in buses with signs like this?

All this said, we enjoyed a tremendous tailgate. We were dealing with a few potentially troublesome variables, including some off-season personnel changes and the heat. I don't want you to think I'm overexaggerating here, but it was ridiculously hot - crotch-pot-cooking hot, yet everyone came ready to play. We ran out of beer (128 at final count) and almost polished off the food, which was a miracle considering it was almost too hot to eat. I drank four waters before the game and never visited the restroom. H. O. T. The photo of three melting and sweating, yet festive souls, tells the story.

This man, in particular, deserves kudos for preparing a melange of meats on miniature grills for more than four hours in the heat. Making this all the more impressive is that he wasn't even able to attend the game, given he had a wedding reception to attend later in the day.

Much less worthy of applause? The kid who sat in front of me for the entire game wearing a ski cap.

92 degrees.

Ski cap.

I just do not understand this younger generation...
The rest of the SNL season will probably suck, but it got off to a hilarious start last night...

"You know, Sarah, looking back, if I could change one thing, I probably should have wanted it more."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I am a fervent supporter of three football teams. This is what happened to one of them Friday night. I'm not ready to discuss what happened to the second tonight (other than to say my decision to watch the game at home instead of at the local tavern was proven a wise one when the game got completely out of hand, thus allowing me to turn it off and set up the Wii I bought three months ago but have been too busy to deal with since).

That leaves tomorrow's Jets-Pats game as my only hope. The Jets' home opener is always one of my favorite days of the year, and several factors (including the Brady-less Patriots being the opponent, an expected tailgate crowd of more than 30 clowns and yahoos and my brother making a special guest appearance) will only serve to up the ante tomorrow. A rainy weather forecast with temperatures predicted to soar into the 90s isn't ideal, but we'll make the best of it.

And then there is this...

That His Holiness will run onto the field in East Rutherford tomorrow is still surreal to me. I'm not sure what my reaction will be. If I am not removed from the stadium in an ambulance due to an out-of-control heart rate, I'll provide a full report.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

People often ask why I've never gotten married. One might think it was because I've been waiting for the right guy to come along, but clearly it's because I've been waiting for a dress like this. Note: while wearing this would not be safe in the office, I think opening a photo of it should be okay.

(And thanks to The Big Lead for notifying me to the existence of said frock.)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

My life is a bit of a Catch-22 these days. I've got a ton going on but am almost too busy to take the time to write about anything. Perhaps my newfound obsession with Facebook is largely to blame. Ok, a terrific relationship with a great guy and a new position at work are also important parts of the equation, but Facebook is a time sucker the likes of which are somewhat startling. I just lose hours there.

One of my favorite Facebook features is the Status Update, which offers users an opportunity to provide commentary about their goings-on. Mine have included such riveting, pithy nuggets as "Jersey Girl is wondering if, when her dentist told her not to bite into anything for the next few days, whether he meant salt-water taffy" to "Jersey Girl is going to need a nap later today."

Now, realizing that quite a bit of my broad readership here (ahem) does not currently participate in Facebook (although, Mom, you should) I'm going to start a new weekly feature, to be called The Facebook Files. Each weekend, I'll list my status updates from that week, with a few explanatory comments.

Of course, this is ridiculously self-important promotion, but it's my blog so I'll do with it what I want. If you want political commentary or anything of actual relevance, go elsewhere. This is not the blog for you. Unless this is your first day here, you already know that. Sports and shtick - that's what we're all about here at Wine By The Color.

On to the first Facebook Files round-up...

Tuesday: Jersey Girl is sitting in her new office. Which has walls. And a door. And windows.

Among the biggest recent news is that three months ago I accepted a new position at work. It would take forever to discuss how this came about, and reviewing some of the factors that led me to make the change will only serve to unnecessarily raise my blood pressure late on a Sunday evening.

The bottom line is that I have been wrapping up my old responsibities all summer while starting to transition to the new gig, and last week I finally moved from the window-free cubicle that has served as my office home for the past eight years to a lovely office in a new building next door. My new professional home features not only a door, walls and windows but also a fireplace. It's not functioning but who cares - it's a fireplace! My new home also overlooks a fountain and several thousand trees, which should be just lovely when the leaves start to turn in a month or so.

And while this is all nice, most importantly the new job affords me the opportunity to do something new and interesting and to work with excellent people. I'm also going to be home much more often, which given some other recent developments is a very good thing indeed.

Wednesday: Jersey Girl is in America's Dairyland

Wisconsin. Definitely a top-five state for me.

Friday: Jersey Girl couldn't decide between the fried cheese curds and cheese fries at Miller Park tonight. So she had both.

Of course I did. It would have been rude not to try all of their cheesy goodness offerings.

Below is a picture of my second course, the cheese fries and beer #2 (according to Megan, the "champagne of beers," Miller Light). I wish I could provide a photo of the fried cheese curds, but they were so damn good they didn't quite make it back to my seat. I believe the correct word would be INHALED.

Yes, my arteries thanked me.

And Megs, you'd be amused to hear that my boss, who accompanied me to the park, offered the following assesment of the local ladies: "These girls look like they can drink."

I also got to see Sabathia pitch in person, and while the mystery of whether he'd throw a no-hitter was answered immediately by the first batter, he is still a sight to behold. A huge human being.

On Saturday I didn't update my status. Had I done so, it would have read: Jersey Girl is going to have a stroke if Ohio State loses to Ohio, particularly given that her aunt and uncle are attending their first game in the 'Shoe in more than 30 years.

It wasn't pretty but all's well that ends well.

Sunday: Jersey Girl is excited about future plans. And about the J-E-T-S.

If you had told me this would be a possibility after the first week of the season, I'd have told you to step away from the crackpipe.

(By the way, it's lines like You could sever your arm and Belichick would describe the injury as "an abrasion" that put Wojciechowski at the head of the class. Just classic. And accurate.)

I'm not proud to take such delight in the misfortune of others, but it is what it is. I'm not going to beat myself up over a little schadenfreude. It's not so much directed at Brady but his dickhead coach.

Now, I realize a lackluster win over a shitty team does not mean the J-E-T-S are on their way to the Super Bowl. But it's nice to have a little hope, particularly after a dismal 4-12 season last year.

And overall, life is good. Very good. Lots of exciting things on the horizon. I've gone on long enough so we'll save that for another day.

Also coming another day ... another love letter to my dear friends at Continental Airlines. Oh yes, they're at it again...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

In life, there are friends, there are good friends, and then there are people like Freakgirl, who reminded me five minutes before tonight's premiere of the new 90210 that this was indeed the big night.

I'm blessed to have such good friends.

Many of whom, it's worth noting, have checked in during the past week or so to inquire about the lack of goings-on at Wine by the Color. I wish I could blame the hiatus on something other than a lack of focus/motivation, coupled with a lot going on. I can't. So let's move on.

Outside of the two hours I'll spend tonight getting sucked into the aforementioned show, I don't watch a lot of television that doesn't include men wearing jerseys, shoulder pads or jock straps. But during the long holiday weekend, I watched a ton of Spongebob Squarepants and the like with the crazy nephews. Frequently, as I did so, I'd be reading or playing around on the computer, so I wasn't completely tuned in, particularly during the ads.

But I kept hearing one particular commercial which featured a bouncy tune. Admittedly, I didn't pay much attention to the lyrics, but after about 12 airings I finally looked up to see what was accompanying such a light-hearted melody...

Holy crap.

Then I went back and gave the lyrics a good listen.

Holy fucking crap.

Matthew, in particular, watches this commercial with an absolute glazed look. If this is the kind of messaging that could send a child to a future as a professional killer, I think my brother and sister-in-law are going to really need to keep a good eye on their youngest son.

Speaking of glazed looks, I would have certainly been sporting one had Mr. Springsteen opened one of the New Jersey shows with this, as he recently did in St. Louis...

Other than that, I am busy with a variety of things. Good things. Bear with me, and I'll be with you again soon.