Thoughts from 2:00am through 6:00am

Thursday, 10. June 2010 5:51 | Author:

Waking in the middle of the night, I stay up, awake but lost in a half-living and quiet world, and reflect back on the 1990s, my eyes tinted with longing, nostalgia, and history. Never before had the world known such peace and prosperity, with an amazing abundance of new wealth and literally life-changing technologies being announced, packaged, and sold at record speeds. Everything was colored by optimism. That world has been dead, though, for a decade. I don’t know what it must be like to grow up in a world haunted by 9/11, and in a country that looks ever-more outward for direction and inspiration rather than discovering those things within itself.

Obviously some of this comes from pure nostalgia – the painful yearning for youth – but not all of it. A moment in time, now passed, and passed by.

And then the sun comes slowly up, and the glow of the pre-dawn light brings with it those other feelings that can only be had after staying up all night and seeing darkness yield to softly glowing light – the feeling of having been through something, but with the permanence of the surrounding world unchallenged, immutable. Life resumes once more.

Category:Journal | Comments (1)

2005 Woot Cellars EHP

Monday, 22. February 2010 19:38 | Author:

Another wine review, this one of a wine.woot exclusive that was released a little over a year ago. wine.woot is an online site associated with, and generally offers 2 to 3 selections of wines a week for discounted prices. On occasion they release a few wines of their own under the Woot Cellars label. This is one that was released during the 2008 Christmas season. As such it isn’t readilly available anywhere anymore. Anyways, off we go.

Wine: 2005 Woot Cellars Central Coast Emergency Holiday Provisions (Blend of 57% Sangiovese, 29% Merlot, and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon)

Price: $59.99 for half a case ($9.99 a bottle)

The Tasting:

Color: Light garnet, almost rubyish. There is a slightly brown/reddish tinge on the edge. It’s roughly what I’ve come to expect from sangioveses, and given the large amount of sangiovese in this, it fits.

Nose: A bit harsh at first, with tart cherries and cranberries. Pretty fruity, but with hints of fresh-cut cedar planks. I like this nose; fruit without the sweetness.

Taste: There are definitely some serious cherries here, I’m thinking bing cherries. There’s also some blackberries to be found among hints of cinnomon and Dr. Pepper. There are tannins here that aren’t entirely integrated into the wine, but it does feel like they’re adding some decent structure here and that they’re trying to balance themselves against the fruit. I don’t think this wine is going to be getting much better with any additional aging, but maybe another 3 months or so would help mute the little bit of harshness that the tannins are bringing.

The finish is decently long, with some leathery and earthy oak on the tongue.

Final Thoughts: This is a nice wine, if a bit one-dimensional (lots of tart cherries!). That one dimension, however, is done pretty well, and there is decent structure here, and a respectable balance between the fruit flavors and the earthy finish. I’d rate this wine somewhere around 84 to 86 points (and probably on the higher side when paired with complementary foods – I’m thinking some nice pasta with a good red sauce). Not bad!

Category:Wine | Comment (0)

California Taxing Companies Outside California?

Sunday, 21. February 2010 9:35 | Author:

Well, with California’s record levels of debt, it looks like state lawmakers are now considering requiring all online companies that ship goods to California to collect sales tax. From the LA Times: Lawmakers want to tax Amazon sales in California.

This is problematic, in many ways. As the article states, (and many other ‘etailers’) don’t actually have any presence in California (no personnel, no property, no warehouses, no etc), so going after in California courts should this law (a law on the state-level) pass will be difficult, if not impossible. California’s sales and use tax regulations already require its residences to report their online purchases and then send sales tax amounts in to the state each year when doing their annual taxes, but in practice few do (who, after all, wants to pay more taxes? In any case, I have questions about the legality and enforcement of the proposed tax, and for the most part those questions are covered in the article from the LA Times.

However, if such a law would pass (somewhat doubtful, but possible) were deemed by the courts to be legal (even more doubtful),* and actually had some working mechanism for enforcement (next to impossible!), I still don’t think this would accomplish much except to diminish California consumers choices of where to shop. If I am operating an online sales business in Idaho, and suddenly I am required to collect and remit state sales taxes (for which there are different regulations for each state) for every state to which I sell products, the list of states in which I’ll be willing to send orders is going to be significantly diminished. Maybe I’ll keep sending to California, because it’s a big market. But what about a smaller state (say, Wisconsin)? Is it worth it to my business to deal with 50 different sets of byzantine tax laws to sell my product online? I doubt it. This is a law that would limit consumer choice, and in the end it might well end up hurting California more than it would help California.

*My doubt here is based on the argument for legality the article presented – California based entities refer customers to Amazon through referal links, and they then get a cut of sales at Amazon. First, Amazon has scaled WAY back on their referal program, so the amount of traffic steered to Amazon this way may be questionable. But second, if I, living in California, place a referal link to Amazon (a business entity located entirely outside of California’s jurisdiction) on my website (which is hosted on a server farm that too is located outside of California), it seems tenous to then determine that Amazon is thereby legally constrained by California law. 

But once you get to this point, where I am deciding not to sell goods to certain states due to their state regulations, I would think that it is clear that we would be dealing with a law that is impacting interstate commerce, at which the Feds would (should?) be obliged to step in. If/once that happens, who knows what would be to come? Not me.

Category:The Political Hack | Comment (0)

2008 Gaetano D’Aquino Pinot Grigio

Saturday, 20. February 2010 21:25 | Author:

The first of (hopefully) many reviews/ratings of wines. For this one we start out with a super budget wine, the 2008 Gaetano D’Aquino Pinot Grigio, which can be purchased for $3.99 at Trader Joe’s. In the future I’ll be adding several more ‘reviews’ of many different wines (don’t worry, not all of them are going to be cheap Trader Joes wines; just some of them!) Anyways, here we go:

Wine: 2008 Gaetano D’Aquino Pinot Grigio

Price: $3.99 at Trader Joes

The Tasting:

Color: Super pale (as you can probably see in the picture). Most pinot grigio’s I’ve had are quite pale, though this one is probably a bit more pale than most I’ve seen.

Nose: Sweet nectarines. There is some honeysuckle here, and the same kind of tingling scent that you can get from licorice, but without the actual licorice flavor. It’s almost like smelling sweet tarts without the tartness. Very similar to a combination of purple and blue pixy stix, if you’ve ever had that particular kind of candy. The nose definitely sets you up to think that this is going to be massively sweet, which isn’t what I look for in a pinot grigio. Moving on to the taste…

Taste: Surprisingly, not too sweet (hooray for that!). There is some grass here, and a hint of wet mint leaves/stems. Skittles candy come up in the middle of the tongue. There’s hints of pear with a minute amount of honey on it. These are all relatively sweet flavors, but the wine itself isn’t too sweet. It isn’t exactly crisp, but it is far from cloying. I’d say it’s a bit thin, and possibly a tad watery, but to so much that it lacks any and all substance. Not much finish.

My girlfriend after her first sip says that it is “mild and unobtrusive.” After her first glass, she’s determined that she likes it, and that it’s easy to drink quite a bit of it!

Final Thoughts: This is far from a profound wine, but it is also far from being dreck. I’d rate it around an 80-81. Not earth-shattering, but really, for only $3.99, you can’t argue.

Category:Wine | Comment (0)

Starting up again….

Saturday, 20. February 2010 12:58 | Author:

So…. looking back at this website/blog, it’s been one year, three months, and one week since I last made a post or updated anything.

However, over the last few days (or weeks) I’ve been thinking to myself, ‘I should really update my blog, and think about posting to it again.’ And so, the update and this new post. I plan to post more regularly (i.e. more than just once every 1.25 years), and on adding in my thoughts on things that I read, drink, eat,  play, etc. Almost reviews, I suppose. I generally have an opinion about those things, so it seems to make sense that they would furnish me material about which to write. That’s the plan, anyways.

To go along with that, I spent this morning redesigning the blog, updating features, getting the forum system back up and working,  cleaning up spam, and generally just some retrofitting that needed to be done. I plan to have the next few posts up soon.


Category:General | Comments (2)

England Pictures

Thursday, 13. November 2008 9:54 | Author:

Hello all –

The pictures from our England trip are now up at in the ‘trips’ section. Lauren’s also working on write-ups of the trip, which she’ll be posting at her blog, Anglophile in LA in the coming days. I’ll see if I can’t get them reposted up here at as well.

I’ll also likely work on a writeup of the trip, which will hopefully be completed, and then posted here for all to read.

In the mean time, enjoy the pictures!

Category:Journal, Photography | Comment (0)

Upstairs Balcony….

Saturday, 19. July 2008 10:36 | Author:

A few pictures of it with the shade cloth, new table, new chairs, plants, and new paintings.

Category:Photography | Comments (5)


Monday, 30. June 2008 23:22 | Author:

So, I haven’t been up to nothing after all. I’ve been working on a new online photo album for the past few weeks. Most of the time has been spent uploading pictures, though some time was also spent getting the album software up, picking the pictures to put into it, resizing them (all 1200 x 900, plus smaller versions) and doing a few touchups. Right now there are a little over 650 pictures up there.

I hope to have this updated in the coming weeks to work seemlessly with the blog part of this site, so that I can put album features into the blog posts, and blog features into the picture posts, and have a single logon for both the blog and the album. We’ll see how that goes.

In the mean time, the album is up here. I’ll also add a link in the ‘links’ list to the right.

The page layout and theme will probably be changing a bit too, as it’s very basic right now, but the bulk of the work in getting the basic setup and in uploading pictures is done, at least.


Category:General, Photography, Site Tests/Tech | Comment (0)


Sunday, 8. June 2008 21:19 | Author:

Lauren and I went camping this weekend in Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara. We met up with our friend Hovhannes, who we know from UCLA. A more detailed description of the weekend’s events to follow, BUT, for now, the pictures from the trip (un-photoshopped or correct or edited or etc) are up at a new test gallery, which you can get to by clicking here.

Right now the gallery is in its default mode after installation, so it’ll likely be changing and/or becoming more integrated with’s main site once I find a free weekend with which work on it. Once that happens, more pictures will be uploaded as well – I have about 8 gigs sitting on my computer, all neatly organized into folders for years, months, and activities during those years and months. Should I manage to get the gallery system to my liking, a bunch of that will be uploaded.

In the mean time, enjoy the pictures!

Category:Journal, Site Tests/Tech | Comment (0)


Friday, 30. May 2008 9:48 | Author:

Seats for the London Chargers/Saints Game are gotten. We’ll be at the little red dot in Block 118, row 19.

Wembley Stadium Seating Chart

Category:Miscillaneous Things | Comments (2)