Archive | July, 2013

Weekly Wine – Fünf5

31 Jul

Fünf5Fünf 5 Riesling
Germany
750ml
9% ABV
$9.95 (LCBO)

There is always a danger when getting a German white wine. They tend to be sweet. Especially the inexpensive ones. They sometimes are so sweet that they will put soft drinks, like Coke, or 7up, to shame.
Fünf is sweet, but not so much. More fruity than sweet, it is a nice drink to close out a glorious summers day. It has a nice balance of flavour that does not diminish when the cold leaves the glass. Truth be told I am quite taken by this wine as it is a perfect summer wine.
The bottle is striking, having a white plastic wrap and very sparse lettering. The look is a bit too trendy. The marketing drivel on the bottle encourages the customer to, “add a little Fünf to your life.” OK I get it — “Fün begins at 5” the label says.” We all knock off work at five. This wine seems to be a development of brand marketing professionals. I would have preferred to think of this wine as the fifth blend that the winery made. The wine is great. The marketing a little obvious.

Computer coma

29 Jul

A computer of mine has entered a deep sleep. I went to turn it on and nothing. I looked at the machine and scowled. It was a machine I used to play a few old games whenever I had the chance. There were also A few older bits of software installed on it that was useful on occasion. It was the only machine that can run that software.
I bought the computer about 6 years ago for $69. It was a refurbished PC box that was reliable until the day it stopped working.
The error is not in the computer’s hardware but for some reason the hard drive decided to pack up. Most likely a reformat will solve the issue. It is quite impressive how some technology can be stretched for a lengthy time while other technology falls by the wayside.
One can think that some obsolescence is a conspiracy – but it isn’t. One company is trying to race ahead of another company in terms of market share and no one thinks of the consequences. This is how it has always has been.
I am contemplating the time it will take me to bring the computer back to life. Is it worth it? Most likely I will find myself fixing this box because of sentimental reasons I will miss some of the old software, Flight Simulator and a bevy of Formula 1 simulation games. Nothing I really need but things I like to have around.

Northern Pelican

28 Jul

PelicanNorth
This pelican was photographed swimming in the Lake of The Woods. I always though that the pelican was a tropical bird, yet I subsequently found out that some, not all, migrate to northern Ontario. I saw a documentary film about Australian pelicans where again, some – not all, pelicans migrate to a dry lake in the middle of the Australia desert, when particularly heavy rains create this lake. What a strange yet exquisite bird.

Weekly Vinyl – Grobschnitt

26 Jul

Grobschnitt
Grobschnitt
(1972)

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This is one of my favourite bands. They are a strange lot – mixing psychadelic, progressive, symphonic rock music together. How did they do this? With humour.
Not some kind of grand exotic humour one would expect from music of this ilk, but rather ironic and sophomoric humour.
It works at times.
This is the band’s first album and the band is still looking for its voice. The songs are a melange of styles awkwardly fitting into each other – some better than others. The symphonic elements are here, there are but four “songs” on the album, notably that the first song is called Symphony. It, and most of the songs here are meticulously performed and a pleasure to hear. The only song that is “radio friendly” is the first song on side two –Wonderful Music — a naive little ditty that exists firmly in the flower-power era.
I listen to this album in the context of their following albums and I hear where they are going musically. This debut album was a good one.

Location, location

25 Jul

I’ve written about this bar before. It is not a bad bar – but I would not really recommend it to anyone. I would acknowledge that it exists and I would admit, sheepishly no doubt, that I occasionally frequent said establishment. There is really nothing compelling about this watering hole except for location. And in business and life, is that not the essence.
The beer here ranges from uninteresting to undrinkable. The wings are fair. The atmosphere is pedestrian. The decor is comprised of TV sets and whatever free propaganda the beer salesman foisted upon the manager.
It is loud. Not obnoxiously, but a mix of forgettable tunes, two sports games simultaneously blaring as they are wont to do, and the regular hubbub of 30 or so humans trying to converse. Carrying a conversation at normal voice level is next to impossible – voices are raised – and that leads to the bar’s din.
Now, I have to mention the waitresses. A nice lot, but I rarely see the same twice. High turnover at this place.
And yet here I am typing on my Blackberry waiting for my buddy to show up. I am looking around this den of joy and misery and think to myself…

The location.

The location.

The location.

Weekly Wine – Astica

24 Jul

AsticaTrapiche Astica Sauvignon Blanc – Semillon
2012
Argentina
750ml
13% ABV
$7.95 (LCBO)

I had no idea that they made white wine in Argentina when I pulled this bottle off the shelf. It just never occurred to me. I like the winery Trapiche as they make sove very decent inexpensive red wines.

The first thing that struck me about this wine was the very faint pale yellow colour of the wine itself. You can’t see it in the picture because the bottle was empty when I took this picture. For some reason the colour of this wine did not appeal to me. The taste of the wine was also rather thin. There were a bit of harsh tones in the aftertaste but these were not too objectable. The wine is fine when chilled but gets progressively harder to drink as it warms up. At room temperature it is not bad, but one wishes it was chilled. It’s a mildly fair wine at a very affordable price. Probably good to make sangria blanca or wine spritzers if you are into that sort of thing.

Przemysl Morning

21 Jul

Pzem01
Morning in Przemysl, Poland in 1989. I had just gotten off the overnight train from Warsaw and was making my way to a friend’s house – to wake him up no doubt.

Weekly Vinyl – The Heart and Soul of Italy

19 Jul

The Heart and Soul of Italy
Living Guitars Play Italian Favorites

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This album is a soundtrack. Not to a Fellini movie. But to a cheap copy of a Fellini movie. A Tortellini movie perhaps. That was a bad joke. But one that I will keep in this spiel because this music fills me with such joy.
I’m drinking cheap wine from an undisclosed country, the review of which you can read somewhere else on this blog, and my heart and soul is elated. It is not Italian wine, which is too bad. It would be so much more fitting.
I wish I was a tall, thin, mysterious Italian male, peering out of a darkened doorway, for no apparent reason, while puffing a cigarette. This music would be in the background. Or I could be the old guy sitting on a bench in front of a bleached wall,  dressed in black, spouting nonsensical wisdom and looking wizen, wise and insane at the same time.
This is kitsch Italian Muzak. I love it. I have no idea how this album wound up in my collection, but I am positive that this is the first time I am hearing this music. There is a truism that I do not particularly like but it works well with this album. It is what it is.

Weekly Wine – Partager

17 Jul

SONY DSCB& G Partager Reserve Merlot
2011
France
750ml
13.5% ABV
$9.95 (LCBO)

This wine impresses. It is good. For the price it is splendid because it is dry, fruity and light on the palate with no hint of harshness.
This is a wine you can take places. The label is simple and elegant without any hint of faddishness the “look at me” marketing that is in vogue. It looks like expensive wine. Were I to take it to an evening soiree I would buy it a week or two in advance and get some dust on the bottle to make it seem that it was cellared for a long time. Hopefully no one would notice the date.
My dad always liked the B&G brand because those were his initials. He always said, “Ah, this is my wine.” This is probably the first bottle of B&G that I have had since his passing and it is a good bottle – of his wine.

Internet vs. mosquitoes

16 Jul

I have been away to a secluded spot where there is no Internet. The cell phone works so I’m sure if pressed I could get some Internet action. It was peaceful. The DTs only lasted about one hour or so.
I actually got some work done on a few writing projects I have ongoing. This was a result of having no distractions. Except for the sound of waves, mosquitoes and other flying insects, and one strangely persistent unidentified bug that wanted to make its home in the middle of my laptop screen. (It met an untimely death after I got up the nerve to squash something against the screen.)
I’m going back tonight. To do another round of sitting in an unairconditioned cabin. I will ignore the mosquitoes and other pests and write till I hear the birds sing.