Money, Friends, AirBnB

Yesterday spent like a hundred and fifty bucks on groceries. GF is getting ready for her final project at school. We hung out with the AirBnB guest. I was making margaritas and I was like here have one! And he was like nah and I thought that it was because he didn’t want to drink but he just didn’t feel right taking out liquor or whatever. Then we opened some wine and I was like here have some and it was the same thing but in the end he did take some after we convinced him that we were earnest in our generosity. I mean it doesn’t seem implausibly generous to me, but this is his first AirBnB stay. It was fun. It reminded me of what Kurt Vonnegut says in an essay about modern society and extended families.

But most of us, if we get married nowadays, are just one more person for the other person. The groom gets one more pal, but it’s a woman. The woman gets one more person to talk to about everything, but it’s a man.

When a couple has an argument nowadays, they may think it’s about money or power or sex or how to raise the kids or whatever. What they’re really saying to each other, though without realizing it, is this: ‘You are not enough people!’

A husband, a wife and some kids is not a family. It’s a terribly vulnerable survival unit.

It was crazy because we had spent the whole day together and were having a good time, but when he showed up and sat down we had a million new things to talk about, even though we’ve talked about those kinds of things a thousand times with each other, it was all new material while he was there.

I just got my new shoes in the mail. I’m still waiting for some god damn protein powder. Don’t know how I’m supposed to make it through these ten hour shifts with no food. But the shoes are mad expensive. They are Danskos. GF has them and likes them so I thought I would try them out. And I finally have enough money to buy something expensive.

Hold On

I’m out already. Back in the comfort of the office. All is dark now and the light is on and it smells good and now I really am drinking whiskey and ginger ale, but the heat is still off. No sign of the AirBnB guest, except that the back door was unlocked and the extra set of keys were on the table. So far as I can tell he is fast asleep in his quarters.

Just before I left for work I watched the Alabama Shakes on YouTube. I’d never actually seen a video of theirs even though I listen to their album all the time. This video is a little different than the album version and it almost made me cry. And it got me through the day. That’s what art is all about!

GF is out with her friends, celebrating killing her first lobster at school. I am supposed to pick her up in a Zipcar when she’s done. I offered because one in five woman in the United States will be a victim of a crime and I want to keep her out of that. Don’t like her traveling home alone at night. She does it sometimes and it’s fine, but I’d rather her not if I can help it.

Supposed to be a busy day tomorrow. I’m working a double. But I’ll be home again at a decent hour. So strange, three days in a row. I kept thinking all day that today was Thursday. I was so sure of it. But anyway, strange, because I usually close tonight, tomorrow, the next night and the next, but I’m not even working Saturday, going home for Easter. Coworker left me two dollars from yesterday’s cash take. Weak.

At the wine tasting, no one gave the salesperson who was showing us the wine any respect. It was so weird. One guy was yawning and saying the wine was bad and another was interrupting her all the time saying she didn’t think that was right. It was so weird. One coworker said that they were probably acting this way because the wines were inexpensive, and last week were tasting Burgundy Grand Crus, so they were probably like yeah whatever. Well, shit, that’s pretty fucked up to disrespect someone just because of that. I mean shit our manager is the one who told her which wines to show.

But fuck it. Everyone is mean sometimes, sometimes you just got to Hold On.

Only If For a Night

Shit I couldn’t hardly sleep last night after a long day of working I came home and ate some seafood pizza that GF made and drank half a bottle of Californian psuedo-champagne I got for free from a man in a bejeweled blazer. The pizza was delicious. I ran out of bubbly halfway through so I also had a beer. And before that, I had a shit ton of caffeine, so my dreams were lucid yet horrible.

I dreamed I was serving lemonade, bartender style, at a bus stop where these cranky bitches who brunch were yelling at me and Lawrence Fishburne wasn’t taking any guff. It was awful. And with GF turning on and off the lights and whatnot shit was getting psychadelic in there.

She had to go to this volunteer thing at like 6:30 in the morning, so all this was going on around 6. I was like fuck it, I’m getting up. And that rarely happens but the dreams were so bad and I felt like a ball of fiendishness.

I’ve been up for a few hours now and watched the sun not rise at all behind all the clouds from the windows of the office.

Shit I did my taxes. Just got my last W2. Got some money back but for the first time in my life I don’t need it desperately to make a payment. I mean, the loan companies want it but they can wait. I’m just going to bank that bitch and I’m sure the IRS will come calling wanting that shit back anyway.

Yeah but then I thought about asking GF to marry me. I would have a long time ago but never had enough money for a ring and we’re in no rush anyway, since we’ve been living as a married couple since 2009. But now I got this credit card with six months of no interest so fuck it!

Now my landlord is outside walking around with that weird Saturday morning gait, checking license plates and whatnot.

So basically all is right and good with the world, and my life is a tiny sphere of perfection. Just waiting for other shoe to drop, as it were. A mother fucker really can’t get this lucky forever.

We Got Another Thing Comin’ Undone

The National just knows how to write whatever they want and make it a song. The words can’t hardly make sense but they are just right for the rhythm and they manage to somehow evoke feeling.

I was thinking about tasting wine. I’ve never been very good at it, or good at all. In fact I didn’t even like most of the wines I tried, and I tried a lot that were supposed to be good.

But I’ve never tasted as many as I have in these past couple of months. And the more I taste and the more I drink, even if it’s not tasting new wines it’s like drinking a whole bottle of each kind…so I guess what I’m saying is the more wine you drink, even if it’s the same two wines, the more wine that goes into your body the better you start to understand what you’re supposed to be looking for. It’s like tasting is a kind of relative thing. The first thing you have to do is drink enough so that you know what grapes in general taste like, and then you can look for the other subtleties if you want to.

It’s like Vonnegut says in Bluebeard, if you want to be able to tell a good painting from a bad one, you only need to look at a million paintings. Then you can never be wrong.

Tenuta Delle Terre Nere 2011

Oh yes, Beloved, the time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things. Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings, and why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings. Damn I need to memorize the rest of that poem. Now GF is home and brought Venison Wellington and also a cold virus. So now I’m drinking wine and eating Wellington and drinking Emergen-C. I can not miss any work! Although I’d love to stay home and write, it just don’t play that way in the service industry.

Yeah but shit I better get on this wine training thing. I was thinking I’d learn about wine while I was at work, but I’m always too busy working so got to figure it out otherwise. So I thought I’ll just bring home the bottles that we have for wine service and learn about them one at a time.

This wine is Tenuta della Terre Nere and I think it’s from Sicily. I’m reading The World Atlas of Wine on Sicily now. And GF and I are hacking and sneezing and my eyes are watering now. Shit!

I’ll just take one of these unlabeled pink pills I found in the medicine cabinet. That should do it. And more wine thanks.

Ok so it appears that Sicily is a place where a lot of other civilizations, or a lot of civilizations just, have made their mark and then evaporated. There’s some Greek temples, some Roman shits…something else up in there I’m sure. And it’s got so many different kinds of wine growing regions that the Atlas raves that it should be called a continent instead of an island.

You know, it sucks to get sick but I don’t mind so much. Just imagine if I had “suicide headaches.” Those are the unexplained headaches featured in such films as Darren Aranofsky’s Pi, where the pain is purportedly on par with childbirth (they know so because a mother contracted them). Well, you can do a lot of good living if you think, well shit, this sucks but what if this. Like yesterday I was kind of bored, but I thought about all the times I’ve been so hung over that I had to run to the bathroom to throw up between waiting on tables and how much that sucked and how I thought in those times that I would be so grateful to the world when the alcohol had gone because anything would be better than to have that hangover (not including suicide headaches of course). So at least I’m not hungover and working at a restaurant right now. Or at least I’m not inside an MRI. I did a bunch of MRIs at the NIH to get paid and I didn’t think I was claustrophobic but turns out I’m a little claustrophobic. I really had to focus on my breathing. And the first time I thought, well, once I’m out of here, normal life will seem like paradise in comparison to this shit.

But back to wine then.

Sicily is perfect for organic growing because it’s so damn hot that you don’t have to worry about pests. On the southern tip of the island, winds from Africa bring the grapes to boiling point, but inland, apparently, it is cooler. They grow these grapes that they usually use for Masala, called Cataratto…at least I think so.

In the mid 90s and I guess before that, Sicily made strong wine that the Italians would then use for blending. Now they are focusing more on quality wines that can stand on their own. The Planeta family has been largely responsible for this. They are trying to make the native varieties viable, even standing up against Merlot and Chardonnay, which apparently the Planetas are famous for.

Nero d’Avola is the most famous grape so far. Avola is in the southeastern part of Sicily. There is also Nerello Mascalese from the slopes of Mt. Etna, which I think is where my wine is from. The bottle just says Etna Rosso. Mt Etna is a live volcano, so these motherfuckers are crazy to be growing grapes on that shit. Oh shit! They’re talking about my wine now. Apparently Nerello is a part of Etna Rosso, which is supposed to be “spicy.” Well, yeah, I think this wine is pretty spicy. It tastes like dark fruit, even though I don’t eat dark fruit, and I guess really grapes could be a dark fruit, so it pretty much tastes like grapes I suppose. Big surprise there. It doesn’t seem to go very well with my venison wellington either.

Cataratto is the “workhorse white grape of the west.” And they got some moscato type grapes round there and some malvasia, which is a word I hear a lot.

So looks like Terre Nere uses simple vinification processes instead of getting all fancy with it. They put the wine in 25% new oak and they bottle it without filtering it after 18 months. The vineyards are way up on the mountain so they get hot direct sunlight but cold nights, which makes for elegant wine as opposed to the high alcohol intensely flavored southern Sicilian wines. This is some of the highest grape growing type shit going on. This is some risky business going on. Anyway I got all that from a “Winemakers Note” on some wine shopping web site.

The volcanic eruptions leave deposits of volacnic soil, which creates an easy draining terroir with little nutrient density that makes the grapes struggle to grow, which can generally make good wine.

Well, everyone is saying it’s light bodied and great with red meat but I did not find it to be so. Of course, I am having a hard time smelling so that could do it. Also I don’t like wine. But I’m working on that.

An American importer of wines from Northern Italy, Marco de Grazia, started the vineyard in 2002. The wine is a little tannic, tastes like dark fruit, has a light body I suppose. I don’t like it.
So bottom line:
Marco di Grazia moved to Mt Etna in 2002 to take advantage of the volcanic terroir and high elevation in order to make some outstanding and unique wines. Terre Nere is his entry level wine made with nerello grapes. It’s light bodied and well balanced and goes well with red meat and white fish.
There you go. Wine post. Done.

Back in the House

It’s cold out there ya’ll. Snowing last night and shit. Snows like a mofo in this town. But I am so warm and toasty now I got the space heater and the regular heaters rocking. And I heated up some soup from last night, the squash soup, and opened up a bottle of red wine I bought from work to learn about since my wine education has been slowing down to the point it’s falling backwards. And now I got a head rush. And I’m eating this roasted duck,what’s left of it. Oh my God I can hardly function this way. And I just finished reading Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires. An amazing book that talks about food all the time, so I am in a food place right now, a food paradise. A paradise of the senses. And fingers on the keys too so I got the touch and I’m listening to The National so I got the ears going too. Life just doesn’t get much better than this.

I wanted to link to this interview about Seth Godin if only to remind myself later that I read it at this time, because I think it’s going to change the way I look at writing, or at least change a little bit, or at least start a change to the way I approach the idea of writing. This is how Seth Godin writes. This was the part that really made me think:

What’s your best advice for overcoming procrastination?

The deadline focuses the mind, of course. The curse of the traditional writer is that the publisher wants a book no more often than once a year. So procrastination is part of the process.

But blogging? Once a day. Not every minute like Twitter, which provokes mediocre writing because there’s so much of it. But every day? Better write something, better make it good.

Oh my god I’m like the posterboy for gluttony right now. This class I took once, Biblical and Classical Literature, one of the five major contributors to my renouncing my Christian faith, we had to illustrate the seven deadly sins. I could take a picture of myself right now. Shoving basically an entire duck in my mouth. Oh my god oh my god.

Though I’ll remember not to recommend this wine with duck.

“Better write something. Better make it good.” I’ve just been thinking that over and over again today.

Tonight should be a good night for writing. GF has a lot of reading to do and I don’t think we have anywhere to go. Tomorrow I’m going to take this rusted bike to the bike shop and see what’s what. I’ve been having to take a taxi home after work too many times  and it’s not financially sustainable so time to consider other options. Helmets probably cost a shitload. Or a shit-ton. Or at least a guinea.

I’m slowly making my way through Great Expectations. The last time I read it was in…ninth grade or before that. I’m at the time when Pip is taking leave of his old friends and he’s being a total douche. Poor Joe.

I’m going to try to write something about something specific today. Maybe instead of being a food critic like Ruth Reichl I could be a book reviewer. I need more time to read books though. Fuck it I’m already a bartender. I’ll write a post about this wine.

Break on Through

Readability Index: Unreadable

Fuck all that dumb shit. I’m going to beat this shit god damn it! I’m bout to get crazy on this motherfucker. Just type some shit out fast as I can like a hedonistic rabbit out this shit. You know fuck it I just drank some wine and I don’t know what that signifies. Ah christ these stupid ass commercials on Pandora. Fucking dumb dumb dumb. And I hate this station too.

Har mother trundle cuddle brother asunder wonder kinder hinder

Yeah we been drinking this wine like three days straight so it’s really oxidized now and I’m trying to figure out what that means, what that does to the taste.

There’s a big frontier now and it’s wine knowledge. It’s on the horizon, coming down like Moses across the Jordan. AKA the Red Sea. Yeah I made a joke about the River Jordan today to one of the customers and that shit when over…nicely.

Hot damn. Shit.

Nah I’m just not feeling it.

But I am typing faster. And I did 40 pushups. So that’s good.

I was thinking that knowing about wine is to be good at it you have to do what you do to be good at chess. The best indicator of whether someone will be good at chess is not how high their IQ is, but how many chess games they have memorized, how many chess positions they can recognize. Success in chess does not necessarily carry over into other things in life, not even things so close as other strategical game. The knowledge of chess is extremely specialized, by that I mean that…well it’s a self serving loop of sorts. Man I’m not thinking about any of this, and any of the salient points were actually made in a book called The Genius in All of Us. So take this with a grain of salt. But I’m thinking I could get good at wine by just memorizing all the vineyards and their characteristics, like a chess master memorizing positions.

There’s a book I’m going to read called Liquid Memory that talks about taste, and how one develops one’s own taste. And not just the taste of the mouth. But it talks about trusting your own taste, instead of some arbiter’s. you have to be educated about the subject you want to have an opinion on, but you should have an opinion of it if you want to have taste. None of this makes the sense I want it to.

Hot damn I am so tired. I am so tired and boring right now. None of this shit makes any sense at all. I think I’ll just go around and comment on other people’s stuff. Maybe tomorrow I will have something to say to myself.