Archive for February, 2009

Matthew McConaughey

February 28th, 2009

A correre e cagare ci si immerda i garretti

February 28th, 2009

duomoYes, I know what that phrase means, do you?  The other night I went downtown to little Italy for a lecture on florence art and architecture at the ICC.  The lecture was done by Miti Aiello, Architecture and Art Professor at Newschool of Architecture and Design and was titled Under the Shadow of the Duomo: Architecture of the Renaissance in Florence.  It was an enjoyable lecture, seeing pictures from florence, and learning different things about certain aspects of the history of florence.

After the lecture, I walked around little Italy, and decided to stop for a bite and got a table curbside at Buon Appetito.  I had a lovely evening, on the street sipping a glass of wine, enjoying good food, and soaking in the culture.  I ordered a caprese salad, a glass of restaurant_outside_smRubico Lacryma di Moro d’ Alba ~ Marchevv, and a plate of Penne Pasticciate.  Everything was very delicious other than the wine.  Although I enjoyed it, I probably won’t order it again.  It had too much of a strong fruity taste.  The menu describes it as “Medium body with notes of dried rose petals with raspberry overtones. A hidden treasure! Like no other wine!”  I agree that it was like no other wine, but not in a good way.  However the caprese and the pasta were to die for.  The pasta was a penne bolognese, basically.  However, they put a dallop of mascarpone cheese on the top.  Mascarpone cheese is relatable to cream cheese.  So imagine a cold dollup of cream cheese on top of hot steamy pasta with meat sauce.  Odd, no?  I mixed the cheese into the sauce and it was heaven on a fork.  Yum.  I want to go back.

I like being immersed in culture.  I found it fascinating to just sit on the street patio, people watching.  Couples walking by speaking italian, customers at their tables jabbing about their flights back to the east coast, and waiters flirting with pretty girls.  I didn’t feel like I was in a different country, but I felt like I was not in my own neighborhood.  Part of me wishes that I was more cultural.  I am always fascinated when I am in a new place or am with people different than I am used to.  I love soaking in history, culture, and different people.

from my cell

from my cell

I feel completely blessed.  Part of me thinks that I could die today, and that I would feel like I have lived a lucky and blessed life.  I have experienced so much more than most people in the world.  I have traveld– been to about 10 different countires and about 35 different US states.  I have loved and I have been loved.  I have spent time at college.  I have developed deep friendships.  I have been employed.  I could die today and feel that there was very little my life lacked.  But despite that, I still wish there was more.  I am always in longing.  There is never enough time in life, enough hours, days, weeks,  months to fully do all that I want, or be all that I wish.

I wish there was someone in my life, that was more of a “forger.”  That fits themselves into any situation and holds total confidence.  I am a follower at heart.  I lack confidence.  I wish there was someone close to me that I could latch on to and find myself feeling at home in random situations and scenarios.  There is so much culture out there that I wish I could invert myself into.  Whether that means clubs downtown, bars, countries, art galleries…I want all that life can offer.  My shy un-confident side often keeps me out of these situations, or at least limits them.  There is so much more of life I want to soak up.  There is nothing I want to miss out on.  I want all that life has to offer.  I want to live the life.

Jocelyn Lonen – 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon

February 28th, 2009

Tom, Dan, and Birthday GirlWe recently celebrated Lisa‘s 35th birthday at the Barrel RoomArlene had them prepare a special menu listing and wine flight.  Tom, Sue, Dan, Adam and Joey were all in attendance.  We had a great time celebrating.  We also drank some wine. 

As you can tell if you have read any of my wine “reviews,” they are not very professional or have much personal opinion.  Although I have taken a trip to Napa Valley, and have sampled many outstanding wines in my life, I often have no idea what I am drinking other than wine.  I am still developing tastes and likes etc.  I think documentation is a great place to start learning what you like and what you don’t like.  Anyway, on this night, we drank a 2005 bottle of Jocelyn Lonen Cabernet.  We paid $41 for the bottle but it retails for about $37.

It was a night of celebration, so I didnt take out my notepad to jot down thoughts.  But we all agreed, that we liked this wine.  Thats the review I have for you:  we liked it.

Jocelyn Lonen 2005 CabHere is what the winery thinks:

Two stellar new grape sources round out our 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon nicely.  Bennett Ranch Vineyard in Coombsville provides dense, intense fruit and vivid coloring.  Temple from north Napa is an organic, sustainable vineyard producing pristine, well balanced fruit.  Blended together with our Stagecoach/Krupp fruit, the result is a lush, highly concentrated wine with vibrant flavors of mocha, current, wild berry, and plum. 

Production: 2700 cases
Blend: 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec
Grape Source: Stagecoach, Krupp, Bennett Ranch, Temple Vineyards
Price: $35 per 750ml bottle

What Movies Do Pirates Like To See?

February 21st, 2009

Castle Rock – 2006 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

February 18th, 2009

Castle RockOne of my favorite restraunts in San Diego, the world for that matter is Cafe Luna in Carmel Mountain Ranch.  On a recent trip there, Lisa and I ordered the 2006 Castle Rock Cabernet Reserve .  The bottle sells for $42 but you can purchase it retail for $16.

I have eaten at Cafe Luna many times, and this has turned into the wine I order every time.  It is very smooth to drink.  As usual, I smell mostly pepper and spice.  You can really taste the pepper too.  it is a rich and easy wine.  Lisa gave the wine a 8.5 saying “I like this wine.”  I gave it a 7.5 and we obviously would order it again.

Winery thoughts:
For sale by the case. We carefully handcrafted only 2,800 cases of the 2006 Castle Rock Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes were harvested from vines grown in the Napa Valley, one of California’s most prestigious grape growing appellations. The wine was fermented and then aged for eighteen months in mainly new French oak barrels which were coopered by Transaud, Vicard and Demptos. Our Castle RockReserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a deliciously full wine loaded with nuance and flavor. It is a deep garnet in color, and has aromas of dark cherry and molasses. On the palate it gives dark fruit flavors with a hint of cedar. The tannins are mellow, and it finishes harmoniously with long-lasting fruit flavors. It is perfect for drinking now, or it can be allowed to age and improve through 2011.

Barrel Monkeys – 2005 Shiraz

February 18th, 2009

Another wine from the barrel room.  This time we ordered Barrel Monkeys, which is a 2005 Austrailian Shiraz.  The wine comes from Redheads Studio, a Mclaren Vale Studio Winery.  We purchased this wine for $35 and it retails online for $16.

Barrel MonkeysAs you have noticed, my wine reviews are really elementary.  I am a novice.  I figure that the best way to learn tho, is to try and to document.  I one time took a trip to Napa, and learned a couple things that are my “go to” commentary.  Who knows how accurate I am.

So with this wine, we thought it tasted light and fruity.  I thought it had a spicy/peppery smell.  When I mentioned that to LAL, she said “it always just smells like alcohol to me.”

Another item of note, this bottle had a twist off cap.

We would order this again, but we did not give it a rating (out of forgetfulness, not out of “off the charts”)

The winery’s website was underconstruction when I went there, but here is a collection of tidbits found out there on the internet:

From The Wine Buyer:
Englishman Tony Laithwaite (you could call him the British equivalent of Dan Philips) bought an old bar called Red Heads in McLaren Vale, Australia and renamed it Red Heads Studio. He outfitted it with winemaking equipment and invited young, fresh out of college winemakers to try their hand at making small batches of wine with grapes that are usually very ripe from various sources in the region. The attraction is that these new winemakers usual starting jobs are working in wineries as “Barrel Monkeys” whose job is to move hoses and barrels around in a winery. The Studio gives them the opportunity to make wine which is what they really went to school for! This is one of those wines, which also has a completely irreverent label sort of explaining the whole Barrel Monkey job. We can only say that these Barrel Monkeys produced a wine that fans of in your face fruit bombs will enjoy!

This dark, almost opaque colored wine has nice aromas of blackberry and licorice. The juicy, full-throttle flavors hold true to the nose with blackberry, espresso, licorice and a hint of alcohol heat and pepper on the medium length finish. Wine Buyer 90 Points

Sub-Region: FLEURIEU
Appellation: MCLAREN VALE
Grape Varietal: SYRAH
Type: Still wine

From The Wine Spectator:
Raw-edged, with grippy tannins against ripe, red berry and plum flavors, lingering on the firm finish. Needs time to flesh out. Best after 2009. 5,000 cases made. 87 points

Rausch Cleaned Up The Mess

February 15th, 2009

camMy cousin is a kick-ass wrestler.  He has always been a competitor.  There was an article on him today, in a Orange County Paper.  Just in case the paper link goes away, I have inserted the article here, along with some pictures.  Congratulations Cameron!


Tars’ Rausch in comeback mode

A tiny fracture almost cracked Cameron Rausch’s big dream of reaching state.

cam3In December, the heavyweight injured his left foot, in a small area of the fifth metatarsal. The season at Newport Harbor High had just begun. Now, it looked like it was ending.

The doctor said two weeks off the foot was probably enough time for Rausch to get back into the wrestling room.

It still hurt. The doctor tagged three more weeks and it felt like the doctor slammed the door on Rausch’s foot.

His senior year was most likely over.

Which senior misses five weeks, a crucial part of the season, and returns to make a successful run into the postseason?

Not many.

Rausch had two options. Rehab for four hours in the pool and weight room each school day with no guarantees of a full recovery, or give up.

“Am I doing this for nothing?” Rausch asked himself day after day.

The Joy Of Victory And The Agony Of Defeat

The Joy Of Victory And The Agony Of Defeat

Rausch can thank himself for not quitting.

Rausch returned to the mat last week and won the Sunset League championship. Claiming his second straight heavyweight league title was not easy, but it was well worth it.

Rausch (19-2) advanced to the CIF Southern Section Inland Division individual tournament at Los Osos High in Rancho Cucamonga on Feb. 20-21.

Reaching the CIF State championships in Bakersfield next month is the ultimate goal. He needs to place in the top five at the section’s individual tournament and then top nine at the section’s Masters tournament the following week.

The tenacity Rausch showed in winning back-to-back overtime matches to win the league title leads you to believe this heavyweight has a lot left in the tank.

Rausch beat Fountain Valley’s Barry Gee, 5-4, in triple overtime. Heading into the first overtime period, it was Gee asking for a breather.

cam4“The kid was so exhausted that he had to take a timeout,” Newport Harbor Coach Dominic Bulone said. “He almost threw up in the trash can. During the timeout, Cameron looked up to the crowd and raised his hands. He wanted his fans to start cheering. It was the last match of the evening. Everyone was going nuts.

“I don’t know if the kid ever threw up, but he was for a good 30 seconds leaning over the trash can.”

Rausch cleaned up the mess.

The situation was sticky. When the title match went to the ultimate tiebreaker, Rausch and Gee were completely soaked in sweat. They looked like they stood in a kid’s inflatable swimming pool.

First wrestler to score won.

Rausch, starting on the bottom, tried to free himself, putting his foot down. He lost his balance and the two remained locked up.

Twelve seconds later, Rausch escaped, earning a point and the crown.

What Rausch overcame, the foot injury, to the match time in big tournaments and dual meets, to the conditioning in practice, he did so with a relentless attitude.

All Rausch had to prepare for the league finals was one dual meet match. Bulone asked him if he wanted to return earlier.

“On a one to 10 scale, 10 being the worst, how do you feel,” Bulone asked Rausch, who answered with the No. 7. “He didn’t wrestle and he didn’t practice for another week. I told him this was his last chance because you can’t compete at league finals without wrestling in a league dual meet.

Cameron wrestled and pinned his opponent.

“There’s a reason why I took Cameron to state last year to experience the finals in Bakersfield, where Josh [George] placed eighth [at 140 pounds]. He wants to go to state and wrestle this time.”

The dream will come true when Rausch’s name is announced in front of thousands of wrestling fans.


VICTORY! (click on me)

I Christen Thee, The Flying Wasp

February 11th, 2009

Cue Intro Music:

“I have a little poem I’d like to read in honor of this occasion, if I may. Spaulding, get your foot off the boat! :

It’s easy to grin
when your ship comes in 
and you’ve got the stock market beat.
But the man worthwhile
is the man who can smile
when his shorts are too tight in the seat”

…ah-ha-ha-ha. OK, Pookie, do the honors. ”

-Judge Smails


Small World

February 6th, 2009

I have been recently looking into planning a trip to Italy and perhaps some of its neighboring countries.  With the train systems and the cheap inter-continental flights, Europe can seem like a “small” place, that is easily manuervable.  But when I really started to examine it, I realized again how massive it is.  How, you cant easily get to Germany via a train thru Switzerland, because of something called the alps

Picture by John Minton

Picture by John Minton

I was chatting with my friend John and looking at some of his pictures from his trips to Europe.  John loves the outdoors and sci-fi/fantasy.  So he showed pictures of valleys, and waterfalls, and talked of Tolkien.  When he was showing me pictuers of the valley and glaciers near Grindelwald, Gimmelwald and Muerren, I realized, again, that the world is full of beauty.  There are popular places in the world to travel to, often because of its beauty.  But there are also little towns, little cities, little nooks and crannies that we often don’t think about, that are undisputed beauties.  How did God create such a magnificent world.  And to also imagine the beauty that we don’t often get to see–underwater–the world amazes me daily. 

People travel to parts of the world to see its history, to see its architecture, to see its art–to see the genius of God, the genius of artists, and the inexplicaable feats of building massive strcutres with non-modern equipment.  I am often blown away by the overall size of churches, and castles and other buildings across europe, that were built in the 1600’s, without the use of modern equipment such as cranes.  Furthermore, this makes me contemplate, what sort of feats of architecture do we erect today?  Are we building anything for the pure beauty of it?  What will our generation be remembered for?  Also, sure there are parts of the east coast that holds “history”, but what will “remain” for future tourists on the west coast?  What do we have in america where people travel to “see”, and not just be?  What “genius” are we presenting and will be remembered for?

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

I also find it contemplative, if there is a reason it is a “small” world.  I think everyone at one point or another, has been travelling in a remote part of the earth, and have ran into someone they knew.  John was describing walking thru that valley, and having one of the best days of his life, and running into the Lees , a couple who he knew.  When I was in Europe in 1997 with other students from my college, this happened to me twice during my 6 week jaunt.  The first occassion, I was travelling in Florence, walking down the street, and I recognized the sister of a friend of mine.  And then an even more random experience, was Andrew and I had just come out of Westminster Abbey in England, and im staring at the ground, looking at the cobblestones as we walk up the road.  When then im just staring at someones shoes, and there is silence.  I did one of those movie slow pans up, and then surprisingly exclaimed, “Sean Foster!”   We had ran into one of our classmates that was not on the trip with us.

I am sure we all have stories like this.  It always seems to happen, and the line always used is “its a small world.”  Is there a divine reason for this?  Perhaps, its a way of God reminding us that we are never alone, and never outside our community?  Is there some profound reason that this happens so often?  Perhaps it is just that we are more concious and aware when travelling, that we notice these little things more clearly?

Which reminds me (yes, this snide really fits the category of “rambling”) of the freedom of travelling.  I had an experience in Europe in 97 that I will never forget, and never be able to duplicate.  It was such a free time — not in the money sense, but in the freedom to think, freedom to live.  Every day was set in the moment, and my mind and eyes were seeing awe and thought inspiring places.  I felt so alive.  I was in community and was free to challenge myself and others.  It makes me wish I was young again with the freedom from responsibility, where I could just travel around the world, seeing and doing remarkable things, being inspired to interconciousness–yes, I just made up that word, but I think you know exactly what I mean.

Knee Surgery

February 6th, 2009
My knee has bothered me for about 2 years now. It started by just feeling “unstable” when I would warm up for sport. It eventually got worse. Finally after one game one night, my knee got really swollen and stiff. So I saw a doctor and stopped playing sport. The doctor at one time told me that I shouldn’t even go for walks, that that was too much impact and stress. I went from playing sport 5-6 days a week, to zero exercise.Eventually I was able to start biking, but that wasn’t the same. After 9 months off and 12 weeks of physical therapy, it still wasn’t better. So we decided on surgery.

I had knee surgery on December 30th. It was an odd experience. I was really worried about having an IV stuck in me. I made sure to look away when that was happening, and keep my eyes off of it at all times. The nurse led me down the hall to the operating room, which was freezing cold, and I laid on the table. I had barely been on the table and I felt this very weird sensation…like my body was lifting from the table, and that my brain was shaking and about to burst. I mentioned aloud “I feel funny” and the doctor from the back of the room said “you’re supposed to feel that way.” The very next second–so it seemed–I was waking up with a nurse moving my hair off my face. I didn’t have the strength to fully open my eyes, so a little at a time I would open one and gage my surroundings. Eventually I was able to overcome the might of my anaesthesia eyelids.

I was on crutches, but able to limp around that day. I started theraphy the very next day. Within a day or two I was able to walk. I saw the doctor a week later. Apparently surgery only lasted 30 minutes. It would take me that long just to shave my knee–which is striking by the way. He said that it was good they did the surgery, cause it wouldn’t have healed on its own with time or therapy. The cartilage behind the kneecap was shredded and they needed to smooth it out, as well as do some meniscus repair. I had cartilage chunks floating through my knee joints. He said I may need a similar scope in 10-15 years, but by that time–the way science is going–they will be selling cartilege at Costco.

I am still doing therapy now 4 weeks later, and I hope to be able to sport it up again within the next 3 months. Woohoo.

Digging on my rough cartilage

Digging On My Cartilage

Rough Cartilage Behind The Kneecap

Rough Cartilage Behind The Kneecap

Frayed Cartilage

Frayed Cartilage

Loose Cartilage Floating Around My Knee Joint

Loose Cartilage Floating Around My Knee Joint



Medial Meniscus

Medial Meniscus

This Week I'm Thinking About: Josh Stichter