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Saturday, January 26, 2008

I don't know if it's worth $2900, but it's pretty #@!%&* good.



If I want to increase site traffic, I should probably have some tags in here about Screaming Eagle, and how this probably is not a very good year for Screaming Eagle...if it were a good year, they would be charging a lot of money, or something. I suppose it could be a good Screaming Eagle vintage and a very bad cheeseburger. That does not sound good at all. I am pretty sure that I would enjoy a good cheeseburger and a bad bottle of Screaming Eagle more than a good bottle of Screaming Eagle and a bad cheeseburger. Do I have to eat the cheeseburger if it's bad?

Anyway, cheeseburgers and expensive wine are my favorite food...Nico, can we go to the Crow Bar?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Anybody want to take a weekend trip to wine country?

Alternative titles were:
1) How to get a reservation at the French Laundry
2) French Laundry Reservations
3) Free dinner at the French Laundry
4) French Laundry Reservation for $100 per person
5) Buy me dinner at the French Laundry
6) Expensive dinner with naked French chicks

Okay, I confess: I made up all these alternative titles in an effort to increase traffic to the blog. Probably, I will only succeed at decreasing my chances of getting a future reservation at the French Laundry.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

NAME YOUR EPIC BAND, ALBUM, AND HIT SONG.

Alternative title was: More things that beat working. (This was actually a lot of work, anybody want to write a program that does these steps automatically?)

I'm supposed to post a link to mi amigo Tate's page.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together, and post the result as a comment in this post. Also, pass it along in your own journal because it's more amusing that way.

5. http://www.livejournal.com/random.bml Use the subtitle of the journal you go to. This will be your #1 hit single from the album. In order to view the subtitle you have to click on the "info" link, and the subtitle will be the italicized text under the title (bold text), which is under the user name. If the subtitle is in a different language and you don't care to use it, or if its not there, you just click the link again and you'll find one eventually.

Here's what I came up with:

Band Name: Los Angeles Kings
Album Name: We Know Truth
Hit Song: Or life is there to miss


* The full name of my band is "2006-07 Los Angeles Kings Season", but that did not fit on the album cover.
** The quote that the album name is taken from was: "We know truth, not only by reason, but by heart", however, "reason, but by heart" did not make a good name for our first album.
***Microsoft Paint is the only photo editing software I have at work.
**** Los Angeles Kings is actively seeking a bass player, a lead singer, and a drum machine.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Newport Beach Restaurant Week II

Sunday (Last Night): Beachcomber Cafe. In spite of its location, this restaurant is surprisingly non-touristy...at least for dinner in January. Food is decent, atmosphere (complete with blankets to counteract those cold ocean breezes) cannot be beat. I already reviewed the place, sort of.

Monday: Blue Coral. The Blue Coral menu was scaring me a little (crab on a steak?), so we went to Palm Terrace (inside the Island [formerly the Four Seasons] Hotel). Macaroni and cheese at expensive restaurants is much better than macaroni and cheese from a box.

Tuesday: Roy's. Is Roy's ever disappointing?

Wednesday: Fleming's Trivia: Fleming is the "F" in "PF Chang's." More Trivia: In Chino, they don't even have a PF Chang's.
Flemings was replaced at the last minute by Rothschild's. We ate in their wine cellar (that giant table in the picture was broken up into several smaller tables). Our waiter, an opera singer (is that aspiring opera singer if you're working as a waiter?), ended the evening by serenading the room with Sinatra.

Thursday: Bayside (My favorite restaurant in Newport).

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I've been having a little fun playing the futures market (I shorted Fred Thompson at $26 yesterday, and made a killing):

Friday, January 18, 2008

Many complaints from my coworkers of unusually cranky people on the phone today. I emailed this excerpt from Slouching Towards Bethlehem around, thinking I would add a little culture to the day. Later I realized that only our call center is in the wind zone. (For those of you not in SoCal, it has been mighty windy out here. Did I mention I dreamt of dinosaurs last night?)

____________________________________________________________________________________

"The Santa Ana," By Joan Didion

There is something uneasy in the Los Angeles air this afternoon, some unnatural stillness, some tension. What it means is that tonight a Santa Ana will begin to blow, a hot wind from the northeast whining down through the Cajon and San Gorgonio Passes, blowing up sand storms out along Route 66, drying the hills and the nerves to flash point. For a few days now we will see smoke back in the canyons, and hear sirens in the night. I have neither heard nor read that a Santa Ana is due, but I know it, and almost everyone I have seen today knows it too. We know it because we feel it. The baby frets. The maid sulks. I rekindle a waning argument with the telephone company, then cut my losses and lie down, given over to whatever it is in the air. To live with the Santa Ana is to accept, consciously or unconsciously, a deeply mechanistic view of human behavior.

I recall being told, when I first moved to Los Angeles and was living on an isolated beach, that the Indians would throw themselves into the sea when the bad wind blew. I could see why. The Pacific turned ominously glossy during a Santa Ana period, and one woke in the night troubled not only by the peacocks screaming in the olive trees but by the eerie absence of surf. The heat was surreal. The sky had a yellow cast, the kind of light sometimes called "earthquake weather." My only neighbor would not come out of her house for days, and there were no lights at night, and her husband roamed the place with a machete. One day he would tell me that he had heard a trespasser, the next a rattlesnake.

"On nights like that," Raymond Chandler once wrote about the Santa Ana, "every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen." That was the kind of wind it was. I did not know then that there was any basis for the effect it had on all of us, but it turns out to be another of those cases in which science bears out folk wisdom. The Santa Ana, which is named for one of the canyons it rushers through, is foehn wind, like the foehn of Austria and Switzerland and the hamsin of Israel. There are a number of persistent malevolent winds, perhaps the best know of which are the mistral of France and the Mediterranean sirocco, but a foehn wind has distinct characteristics: it occurs on the leeward slope of a mountain range and, although the air begins as a cold mass, it is warmed as it comes down the mountain and appears finally as a hot dry wind. Whenever and wherever foehn blows, doctors hear about headaches and nausea and allergies, about "nervousness," about "depression." In Los Angeles some teachers do not attempt to conduct formal classes during a Santa Ana, because the children become unmanageable. In Switzerland the suicide rate goes up during the foehn, and in the courts of some Swiss cantons the wind is considered a mitigating circumstance for crime. Surgeons are said to watch the wind, because blood does not clot normally during a foehn. A few years ago an Israeli physicist discovered that not only during such winds, but for the ten or twelve hours which precede them, the air carries an unusually high ratio of positive to negative ions. No one seems to know exactly why that should be; some talk about friction and others suggest solar disturbances. In any case the positive ions are there, and what an excess of positive ions does, in the simplest terms, is make people unhappy. One cannot get much more mechanistic than that.

Easterners commonly complain that there is no "weather" at all in Southern California, that the days and the seasons slip by relentlessly, numbingly bland. That is quite misleading. In fact the climate is characterized by infrequent but violent extremes: two periods of torrential subtropical rains which continue for weeks and wash out the hills and send subdivisions sliding toward the sea; about twenty scattered days a year of the Santa Ana, which, with its incendiary dryness, invariably means fire. At the first prediction of a Santa Ana, the Forest Service flies men and equipment from northern California into the southern forests, and the Los Angeles Fire Department cancels its ordinary non-firefighting routines. The Santa Ana caused Malibu to burn as it did in 1956, and Bel Air in 1961, and Santa Barbara in 1964. In the winter of 1966-67 eleven men were killed fighting a Santa Ana fire that spread through the San Gabriel Mountains.

Just to watch the front-page news out of Los Angeles during a Santa Ana is to get very close to what it is about the place. The longest single Santa Ana period in recent years was in 1957, and it lasted not the usual three or four days but fourteen days, from November 21 until December 4. On the first day 25,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains were burning, with gusts reaching 100 miles an hour. In town, the wind reached Force 12, or hurricane force, on the Beaufort Scale; oil derricks were toppled and people ordered off the downtown streets to avoid injury from flying objects. On November 22 the fire in the San Gabriels was out of control. On November 24 six people were killed in automobile accidents, and by the end of the week the Los Angeles Times was keeping a box score of traffic deaths. On November 26 a prominent Pasadena attorney, depressed about money, shot and killed his wife, their two sons and himself. On November 27 a South Gate divorcée, twenty-two, was murdered and thrown from a moving car. On November 30 the San Gabriel fire was still out of control, and the wind in town was blowing eighty miles an hour. On the first day of December four people died violently, and on the third the wind began to break.

It is hard for people who have not lived in Los Angeles to realize how radically the Santa Ana figures in the local imagination. The city burning is Los Angeles's deepest image of itself. Nathaniel West perceived that, in The Day of the Locust, and at the time of the 1965 Watts riots what struck the imagination most indelibly were the fires. For days one could drive the Harbor Freeway and see the city on fire, just as we had always known it would be in the end. Los Angeles weather is the weather of catastrophe, of apocalypse, and, just as the reliably long and bitter winters of New England determine the way life is lived there, so the violence and the unpredictability of the Santa Ana affect the entire quality of life in Los Angeles, accentuate its impermanence, its unreliability. The winds shows us how close to the edge we are.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Excerpt of conversation with Nico this morning:

Me: Happy Smurf Day!
Nico: Today is Smurf Day?
Me: Yes. Have a smurfy Day.
Nico: Have a smurfy Day.
Me: Smurf off.
Mico: That's not a very smurf thing to say. I am your smurf. You should treat me with smurf and smurfiness.
Me: That's too many "smurfs". Nobody knows what you're talking about.

Since it's inception, I have posted 300 times to takealotofdrugs.com. Can you believe 2 of those posts (0.67%) have been about the Smurfs?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Soon January will be over, and I will be able to blog again.

If you are wondering why I cannot blog in January, it has to do with the brilliant Medicare prescription drug coverage, that only Congress could have put together. Medicare prescription drug coverage encourages our nation's elderly to not take their medications in November and December, resulting in a mad rush for drugs in January.

But I digress. I started writing this post because my online bank just asked for the name of my first girlfriend (as an added security measure after I had entered my password). I had opened this account 7 years ago, and could no longer remember what name I had input...actually, I cannot even recollect giving them my first girlfriend's name, so the possibility exists that someone at the aforementioned online bank just happens to know me extremely well.

Fortunately, after a few attempts, I reached all the way back to nursery school and called up the name of my first true love...my mother probably has a better memory of my first true love than I do. Mom, please do not hack into my bank records. All I remember is her name, and her cat that scratched me once. To this day, I dislike cats. Or was it a piece of furniture that scratched me, that I just claimed was the cat? Either way, I dislike cats. I have no strong opinions about furniture.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Nico wants to move to Iowa.

I am certain there are worse places to live than Iowa, though I cannot think of any at the moment. Why would anyone want to move to Iowa? For the caucuses, man.

This description (from wikipedia) sounds frighteningly like a Rainbow event.

The process used by the Democrats is more complicated than the Republican Party caucus process. Each precinct divides its delegate seats among the candidates in proportion to caucus goers' votes.

Participants indicate their support for a particular candidate by standing in a designated area of the caucus site (forming a "preference group"). An area may also be designated for undecided participants. Then, for roughly 30 minutes, participants try to convince their neighbors to support their candidates. Each preference group might informally deputize a few members to recruit supporters from the other groups and, in particular, from among those undecided. Undecided participants might visit each preference group to ask its members about their candidate.

After 30 minutes, the electioneering is temporarily halted and the supporters for each candidate are counted. At this point, the caucus officials determine which candidates are "viable". Depending on the number of county delegates to be elected, the "viability threshold" can be anywhere from 15% to 25% of attendees. For a candidate to receive any delegates from a particular precinct, he or she must have the support of at least the percentage of participants required by the viability threshold. Once viability is determined, participants have roughly another 30 minutes to "realign": the supporters of inviable candidates may find a viable candidate to support, join together with supporters of another inviable candidate to secure a delegate for one of the two, or choose to abstain. This "realignment" is a crucial distinction of caucuses in that (unlike a primary) being a voter's "second candidate of choice" can help a candidate.

When the voting is closed, a final head count is conducted, and each precinct apportions delegates to the county convention. These numbers are reported to the state party, which counts the total number of delegates for each candidate and reports the results to the media. Most of the participants go home, leaving a few to finish the business of the caucus: each preference group elects its delegates, and then the groups reconvene to elect local party officers and discuss the platform.

The delegates chosen by the precinct then go to a later caucus, the county convention, to choose delegates to the district convention and state convention. Most of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention are selected at the district convention, with the remaining ones selected at the state convention. Delegates to each level of convention are initially bound to support their chosen candidate but can later switch in a process very similar to what goes on at the precinct level; however, as major shifts in delegate support are rare, the media declares the candidate with the most delegates on the precinct caucus night the winner, and relatively little attention is paid to the later caucuses.