Monday, April 26, 2010

Organic Wine Review

Vida Organica - Malbec
2009 Argentina

Though made with organic grapes, apparently, it doesn't qualify under FDA regulations as being organic since sulfites are used to make it shelf stable. I'm not sure if this applies to all wines or if this refers to this one specifically. But how does it taste...

Well, initially, quite harsh and unbalanced, maybe a little bitter? Even running it though my new wine toy, an instant aerator, which speeds up the breathing process, failed to enhance the flavor. However, on day 3 (yes, it lasted that long since it wasn't very good) it finally showed promise, but by then I lost interest. It was softer and some of the fruit flavors became apparent, but who wants to wait 3 days for wine? According to the all-knowledgeable label, this wine is full bodied with flavors of dark berries and plums. Maybe berries that were picked about a month too early. I wouldn't yet write off the producers, but I can't recommend this vintage and since there are plenty of wines to choose from, I'd only recommend this to an alcoholic who has run through the avaiable wine universe and must now choose between this bottle and Boone's Farm.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Nathan Birthday Videos - Part 1

As promised...

Here are the boys cruising in Nathan's new ride.

hmm, video quality seems to be getting killed. May have to drop these in FB.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Crack A Bottle...

Yes, the glass broke. It was that good. (Whatever that means.)

2008 Shannon Ridge Chardonnay ~$15

This was part of the Bevmo 5-cent sale, so I guess it was only about $7.52. A little background - I wasn't feely Chardonnays for a while because all I was finding were apple-y/citrus-y ones and I was really wanting a buttery one. Having no luck on my own, a friend recommended J Lohr, which was excellent and buttery. That led me to find out a little more about the buttery trait and I found out that those Chardonnays that had gone through malolactic fermentation tended to have the buttery qualities. So, I found this little wine at the Bevmo sale and sure enough, right on the label, malolactic fermentation. So bam, $15.05, two bottles. You see because you have to buy 2.

Anyhoo, this one is not as buttery as the J Lohr, but still quite refreshing. A little pear flavors and a slight butteriness and overall smooth and crisp. I would recommend this at $7.50, but any higher and I'd steer you to the J Lohr, which runs about $11.

The glass in the picture actually broke as I tried to get a good angle to snap a few pictures of Nathan not-eating.

WTF Did You JUST Eat?!?!?!

We just watched this amazing movie, Food Inc., and I highly recommend it to everyone. It is a 90 minute documentary about where your food is coming from. You can even catch it for free in HD on PBS channel 8 this Wednesday, April 21st at 9:00 p.m. (in Phoenix - not that I have a national audience that needs clarifying).

This movie has everything: suspense, conspiracies (everyone I've told about the brief is dead), a mafia-like seed company with their own hitmen and that has infiltrated the government, crazy facts, ammonia-lace beef, genetically modified food, and MURDER!!

But seriously, it's an eye-opening movie that will get you thinking differently about what you eat.

Interesting links:
Movie web site:

If you watch just one movie this month, watch Sherlock Holmes. But if you have time for 2, check out Food Inc. Just kidding, put Food Inc. at the top of your list as it will have the biggest impact on your life.

ps - Alisa I will try not to neglect the blog in the future

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Who Needs Cable Anyway

So a few months ago we cut the cord. No, seriously, I did. Literally. I had to. Whoever owned the house before us had the brilliant idea to pour concrete over a cable instead of, oh, I don't know, say, maybe moving the cable to the side while pouring the concrete. Brilliant!!

But, yes, figuratively too. No more $55/month (or $70ish if you count the "free" HD service that we dropped a while back - seriously, you don't offer "Free HD" if I have to pay $10/month extra, or whatever it is, for the special receiver and another $5 for the included service tier) to the cable dictators. They only get our internet money now.

So why did we do it you ask. Well it's all Nathan's fault really. We no longer had the time to watch much TV. What we did watch was avaiable free over-the-air. And when we did watch, we were frequently interupted by the teenie guy. So we began watching TV shows online where we could start them anytime, pause anytime, and rewind when needed. Definitely fits our lives better. Plus there are several ways now available to stream the internet (, ABC/NBC/CBS full episodes, Live broadcasts, and sports) to the TV. So if anyone is interested, please continue on.

Only a few things are needed:
- High-speed internet (and a PC)- you likely have this so no additional costs, though the middle tier would be best, so this may add ~$12 (or subtract ~$12 from your savings)
- A converter (Playstation 3, XBox 360, Wii, or other stand-alone box) - You may have this too, but if you don't, the stand alone box is only about $80 (Ruku). If you play video games occassionally, try the Wii since it's easy and fun with groups. Otherwise you may like the Playstation 3 as it comes with a Blu-Ray player and you can store music/video/photos and play them through your TV and stereo system)
- Tversity or Playon software - both are easy to use, but Playon costs $30 after the 2 week trial. All you need to do is load up your programs and the software keeps your list updated. Then just select them up through your player in the above bullet and hit play. Both options support Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon videos, ESPN, ABC/NBC/CBS, plus have free options for Food Network, National Geographic, HGTV. However, only shows that are available online will be available, so check to make sure your favorite show is offered.

Optional: Netflix - since they offer streaming on demand for only $9/month. We are currently watching the most recent season of Weeds streamed to our TV, released on DVD in Decemeber, I believe.

So even if you upgrade your internet and sign up for Netflix, you're still saving $ if you don't mind losing some channels and being a little flexible: $55-12-9 = $34 or ~$1/day = $360/year.

Here's an artist's reinactment:
See it works.

Some caveats: while testing Playon and Tversity, some features were intermitent and with a slower connection the fast-forwarding/rewind kill playback (as you need to wait for the internet to catch up). But initial load times are fast and if all you do is pause/play there was only a few second delay, but once playing it was smooth. Netflix ran perfectly. Also, if you watch TV in several rooms, this may not be a good substitute since you would need several converters or to watch TV on your computer.

Addtional info: Cancel Cable