Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saucy Sommilier

Hi, folks! Miss Kitty here. Jennifer finds herself indisposed after two Christmas day meals that involved ham, and a Boxing Day breakfast of Eggs Benedict, which also involved, um, ham. As she has frequently pointed out over the past few days, ham is the most difficult meat for humans to digest.
As you can see, our handcrafted Pissed Squirrel Red 2007 Barolo made all that ham go down a little more easily, perhaps too easily. Yes, we indulged in the holiday feasting with family. In theory, two big holiday meals would seem like a dream come true, and when you're in the moment, it certainly is. But then there is the day after of reckoning. ...Or sometimes the night after of reckoning.
Remember the Alka-Seltzer commercials where the guy sits there saying, "I can't believe I ate the whoooole thing"? I can remember sometimes being judgmental of that guy, thinking, "You fool." Well, this time of year I'm a little more understanding. It keeps you humble. We've all been that guy, and despite our better judgment, we'll probably all be that guy again next year. Yes, self-inflicted gastrointestinal distress can happen to the best of us. That's why we all have to learn to be compassionate toward our gassy brethren, while avoiding becoming an enabler.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Fending off boredom

Christmas is a time where we're forced to endure our families. Yes, family is a precious gift, and they're just one baby step better than being alone with a bottle of vodka and a knotted length of rope. And just a little planning can keep those get togethers from turning into ancient sibling rivalries dredged up and trotted out anew. What better way to fend off being stabbed in the arm with a salad fork than to play a friendly board game? Especially if the board game has such convoluted rules that it's almost impossible to figure out who's won? To that end I recommend the Buffy the Vampire Slayer board game. It has a zillion pieces, a bunch of cards and comes in a graphically pleasing box.
At all costs avoid Scrabble. Especially if my mother shows up on your doorstep toting the deluxe version of the game and the official Scrabble Dictionary. You'll soon regret taking pity on her when she screws up the entire board by making 'adz' and 'qat'. Remember; you don't have to let her in...we do.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Sparkle Season!

I just love how the feeding frenzy of sales has to be called something other than what it is in Pittsburgh.

Merry sparkle seasOn, all! I prefer the winter solstice anyway. At least that has meaning.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Pissed Red

After an exhaustive search, Miss Kitty and I have settled on this graphic as the figurehead for our 2007 Barolo vintage, dubbed Pissed Red. Believe it or not, she, not I, came up with the name. I was much too distracted with the methodology behind the nebbiolo grape used to create a fine Barolo wine to fetter my mind with name calling.
That didn't come out right. Regardless, Barolo wine originated in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy bordering France and Switzerland. Barolo is made from the nebbiolo grape, with 'nebbiolo' being derived from the local dialect root word 'nebbia', translating in English to: Fog.
The juice concentrate that we used to craft this fine wine was from the piedmont region of the Cascade Mountains in Washington state, an area that closely mimics the Italian area of the original grape, both in weather and soil composition.
So far we've sampled the Pissed Red and it's a perfect accompaniment to any meat. It's at best, only gently tannin-y, mildly fruity, and washes off the palate immediately, while still providing an enjoyable wine experience.
Overall I have to say that we'll probably barrel another batch as soon as possible!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Comic Chaos

Anyone need proof that Joss Whedon doesn't walk on water? Pick yourself up a copy of the Angel -After the Fall - comic and you can easily disabuse yourself of any deified delusions. This doesn't mean that I'll have the 'Joss is God' tattoo on my ass lasered off anytime soon...just what was he thinking? Comparisons between the Buffy and Angel comic are unavoidable, but one is particularly glaring: Joss's hands on approach with Buffy and his loose association with Angel (primarily involved only in rough plot outlines and allowing writer Brian Lynch to draft the script).
This is an interesting point since Joss is intimately involved in the upcoming Serenity comic. Which begs the question: Why the laissez faire attitude toward his sulking undead hero? And why are both Buffy and Serenity housed at Dark Horse comics and Angel is camped out at IDW comics? One being a premier publisher and the other, well, not awful but not running with the big guns either.
I guess I'll just get another cup of coffee and ponder all of the reasons there's a parallel Whedonverse.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Wonder, Woman

Preparing for battle...or getting their groove on? You know, I have no idea what men think women do when we're together. Obviously there is that certain element that thinks we have pillow fights and semi nude wrestling. I wish! But sadly, this is seldom - if ever - the case. No, usually when you've got a group of women gathered together it's usually something hellish like a baby shower or a pool league.
Now, back to the panel at hand, or left, as it were, this is from a Wonder Woman comic from 1978 and written and drawn by men (Jack Harris and Steve Ditko). Hey, I remember the 70s, and even though I was stoned from 1977-1979 I don't recall the locker room erupting into sextastic fringe porn of lesbian goodness. Yes, I would remember that, and probably still have the shaky polaroids.
Perhaps I have now hit upon the reason why the WW comic never appealed to me: It's geared toward the male ideal of hot woman on woman action that comes across as some spontaneous explosion of uncontrollable get it on-ness. See, in the real world all of the women portrayed here would actually be exes with each other and barely contained simmering jealousies would be more apt to surface and cause mayhem than this quasi pastoral sapphic wrestling scene.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Advisory - Road and Otherwise

Nothing says 'Christmas Season' like weather and travel advisories. And to herald the closing of the infamous Pennsylvania Turnpike due to traffic accidents, I thought I'd tell my scariest treacherous driving conditions story.
After I quit college I was forced to work for my grandmother in the family business. My grandmother shall I say...mean. As far as I could tell she liked three people; my father, my oldest brother, and me. To us she was generally less vicious. I saw her reduce a Bobby Brooks salesman to tears over their 1982 spring line.
Anyway, one of my main functions while working for grandma was to drive her back and forth to work. She'd quit driving for some unknown reason and wanted to be chauffeured around like some kind of dignitary. So, one inky black December night, after a busy day at the store, we were trying to traverse the winding snow covered roads home from town. This part of western Pennsylvania is geologically referred to as the Upper Allegheny Plateau, which means that we're not mountainous, but we're not flat. It's nothing but endless foothills rolling into and over each other until you descend into one of the river valleys. As we crept up one and hill and down another, grandma kept barking at me from the backseat to slow down, to not hit a tree. And when we started sliding sideways down one of the hills she insisted that I stop and let her out. Stop? I couldn't stop. Then, when we got to the last major hill that we had to go up, she got so hysterical that we'd never make it up the hill and that we'd slide over the hillside that I did actually stop and let her out. I figured that I'd wait for her at the top while she walked up. Turns out that she just waited for me at the bottom.
I almost made it up that hill. Almost. Right before the crest of that damn hill (locally known as Cooper's Hill, all of the hills have names so that we can differentiate between them) sure enough I started sliding toward the ditch and the guardrail. I kept the car on the road though and ended up backing down the hill, where I picked grandma up and we had to take the long way home.
Gee, I thought that story was going to be more interesting.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

End of Faith, for now

Unlike a rainbow, there is no pot of gold at the end of the Buffy comic four issue Faith arc. For the brave and spoilerific among you, here's a link to a five page preview of issue 9 that comes out tomorrow.
I'm debating whether to make a special trip to the comic book store tomorrow or simply wait until I have to go out there on Thursday anyway to drop Riechter Von Sanchez at his 'dream' job at a nearby video game store. I curse you, high gas prices!

From the preview pages it's abundantly clear that Faith still possesses the most mean-ass fighting skills since she and Buffy went toe-to-toe. You know, I've argued the fine points of Faith versus Buffy in a battle royale type setting...and the thing is Buffy always seemed so much more impassioned about what she was fighting for. faith knew what she was fighting for, but I think she had lingering doubts and that undermined her superior fighting prowess and left her on the bloody end of a knife.
Now, I don't believe that Faith harbors any doubts about her purpose and mission. She's resolved, one way or the other to see this mission through. I don't think that Gigi has much more going for her than an over inflated sense of entitlement that, I suspect, is about to be pierced.
Oh, and Gigi, big mistake to think that Faith was from NYC instead of Boston. Big. Mistake. It's like confusing Pittsburgh with Philadelphia, only worse.