Archive | September, 2015

Weekly Wine – Cupcake

30 Sep


Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc
New Zealand
13% ABV
$9.99 (Delaware, U.S.A.)

Bought this at one of those discount liquor stores in Delaware. This bottle costs $16.95 in Ontario, so even with the exchange rate it is still a very good deal – price-wise. The wine is ok. It tasted a bit raw and unrefined – like it should have sat in a barrel for a few more months to mature. It was a very fresh wine and not particularly outstanding. For ten bucks, yeah, it was good. For our 17 bucks – I don’t know.
I’ve had better wines, Sauvignon Blanc amongst them, for under ten bucks Canadian. This wine made me squint a bit at the bottle to see if it was really worth it. But not that this is a bad wine, it is okay – it just needs to mature a bit.

Distant La Defence

27 Sep

This shot of Paris’ La Defence is taken from the Arc de Triomphe. La Defense is a futuristic looking office tower area. It is worth a visit when you are in Paris.

Weekly Vinyl – Beach Boys

25 Sep

Greatest Hits
The Beach Boys

I probably got this in a box with other records. This album did not have its sleeve So I know very little about this album. I know about the Beach Boys and they had a bunch of greatest hits records – probably more than real records. Good marketing … I guess.
I put the album on and went searching for the pedigree of this album. I was armed with the record company’s name, Capitol, the band’s name, The album title and the record’s serial number.
Usually you can find most information about a record with this information. The only thing I could find out was that this was an album released solely for the Canadian market.
The other thing I realized was that listening to The Beach Boys while researching information is vexing.
I turned the record off.

Oh my VW

24 Sep

Full disclosure – I own a VW Golf Wagon Diesel.
I love it.
The fuel economy is great.
We bought it because of this, its carrying capacity and the fact that it is a clean diesel.
The shock.
The horror.
The crushing disappointment.
They work faking the results by having the pollution controls kick in only when being tested. The company admitted as such.
Now I’ve been looking for a silver lining in this story and there really is only one…
Perhaps now the US politicians won’t be calling for a dismantling of the EPA (the US Environmental Protection Agency). They are the ones who caught this nefarious scheme. Canning the agency, that was set up by Nixon, of all people, to protect the nation’s water among other environmental concerns, was a big cry in the last US election.
Now the EPA caught a big foreign company scamming the system.
Great for the EPA.
But pity my poor pollution spewing VW Diesel.
I no longer can be smug about my clean efficient car.
Will it still be efficient and clean after it gets fixed?
Bad VW. Bad, bad, bad.

Weekly Wine – Apelia

23 Sep

Kourtakis Apelia Moschofilero White
12% ABV
$9.95 (LCBO)

This wine gave me a big smile. Under ten bucks. One litre of wine. Perfect.
But it was Greek wine and that can be iffy. This was the last Greek wine I tried.
But … wine making has been made in those lands since the dawn of time, so it behoves me to give this a go.
I set my bar low.
Once I got past the initial acidic nature of this wine, it settled in quite well.
Actually, saying that it settled well is a bit optimistic. It was tolerable. Drinkable.
It is the economy of this wine that has me confused. I can get a similar priced bottle of wine that is much better. But that bottle would be only 750ml. This is a litre. So a comparable wine would be just a shade under $7.50 – $7.46 actually.
It is inexpensive. It tastes inexpensive – but you get what you paid for.
It is OK, I guess for a summer barbecue when the weather is hot and this is well chilled. Or an outdoor festival, where alcohol is not allowed and you try to sneak a bottle in – If you get busted with this and lose the bottle it won’t harm your bottom line.
Another reason to buy this is to help the Greek economy. Every little bit helps.

Plane on a lake

20 Sep

Enjoying a nice late morning on a lake in Kawarthas in Ontario when this plane decided to take off. It was much quieter than I expected and was a nice break in the still day.

Weekly Vinyl – Six Wives

18 Sep

The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Rick Wakeman
My record collection is not in any order. I am not as fastidious or obsessive as John Cusacks’ character in the movie High Fidelity. So that being the case – choosing records at random from a random pile will sometimes give you similar things.
This album is an example of that. I selected Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Yes’ Fragile rather recently.
This is full blown pompous progressive rock here. It is overblown and grandiose. But it is clever and to the point. There are six tracks here – each dedicated/inspired by one of the wives of Henry VIII. None of the six tracks is too long to be overbearing – the longest clocks in at just under eight minutes. This makes the album very friendly and accessible with no arduous and painful noodling. The musical concepts are crisp and well developed. There is great variation in the themes and the music is lively.
Yes, the music has prog rock’s overblown pomposity but it works so well here that one just hears the great music.

Weekly Wine – Debroi

16 Sep


Hungarovin Debroi Cuvee
13% ABV
$8.95 (LCBO) 

I was naturally sceptic of this wine. I had a favourite Hungarian wine that was under ten bucks. It inspired me to write about wines under a sawbuck.
That wine is no longer available and what was placed in its stead is bad. Simply bad.
I’ve had others and they were very underwhelming. I guess the Hungarian President has mucked around and destroyed the Hungarian wine industry. But that’s a different subject.
This wine is passable. It is sweeter than I like – it is rated as a medium, but it has a bit of a bitter aftertaste. I tried to temper this with something salty, it didn’t work to well. Something sweet also did not take the edge off.
It has the aura of an inexpensive wine. Even an inexperienced wine drinker will recognize that this wine is not made to be savoured but to be gulped and not thought about much.


Desert Cabin

13 Sep

wwAs it gets colder, my thoughts turn to warmth. I stumbled upon some stone Cabins while in the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. This is a shot from inside. The interior was nice and cool-ish – while the outside was hot and dry.

Weekly Vinyl – Alicia

11 Sep

Свiте Тихий – Songs of the Ukraine
Alicia Andreadis
Here’s a weird record that is competently recorded, featuring great voices and nice backing music but is nearly completely unlistenable.
It is hard to describe what is going on here. There is the pathos, the longing, the bitterness – all set to bombastic melodramatic music.
It takes me back to my childhood sitting in hot humid church basements or low rent concert halls. I picture the singer Andreadis leaning against the piano, belting out tunes with a kerchief in her free hand.
The difference here is that you can hear the quality of the voices.
But still – this is an album that can clear a room.
Another thing – the producers of the Album called it “Songs of The Ukraine” They are dumbasses.