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Wine Tasting Agents are GO!!!

Filed under: General — 19day @ 01:07:41

I need to write this out quickly as I’m going to a cottage tomorrow, and don’t want to forget the whole deal. So last weekend (more accurately, Sunday to Tuesday) some friends and I went on a wine tour in Niagara.

The first night we got there we checked into the hotel and then went to the falls, I photographed many many many pictures of a rainbow, not sure why, it was just pretty I guess. Later we enjoyed the midway where I won what I thought was a sick number of tickets from a token-pushing game. You know the ones, a Mr Bean episode had one, where there is a little wall that cycles, pushing coins towards the drop-zone, and then moves back again, and the goal is to get your coin to cause a chain reaction to push coins down. On no other game did I get as many tickets, but even then the combined winnings of Curtis, Alicia and I were enough for a football and some trinkets. Later we watched the fireworks over the falls and found dinner at this place called Coco’s where the waitress kept coming by asking us if we needed anything because apparently someone somewhere kept telling her we needed her.

Rainbow in Niagara Falls

I must have taken a dozen other shots of this

The next day we had to get up relatively early to meet our tour driver, 9:30 I think. The 8 of us piled in the van and went off to our first vineyard, Jackson-Triggs, where we toured the production facility and then learned our first lesson on drinking wine. Step one was to tilt the glass and inspect the colour, checking for clarity in a white wine, or the rubyness of a red wine. Then we are to take a sip to cleanse the palate, which I rarely did since I don’t like wine until a later step. Then you smell the wine. Then swirl it to aerate it a bit. Smell again (it smells much better now). Take a sip and consider the taste, then take in air like a reverse-whistle and consider the taste. That last step is the only way I managed to drink my red wine. I still hate the stuff, but I had a couple of whites I enjoyed. I was expecting a later step about checking for the ‘legs’ of the wine as the residue from tilting it broke across the glass, but no step was forthcoming from the vineyard tour-giver, alas. It was then I had discovered ice-wine. Oh lord. So good it was, I bought a bottle of it from them. It’s like nectar. When the reds came out, Murad dumped some of his in the bucket, and he got a stern talking to from Laura, she wanted to be the bucket. Alicia bought a pack of 3 icewines at Jackson-Triggs to keep the one bottle she already had previously company, and presumably one day one might be drunk. But I can see why she’d hold onto them, they are preciously expensive tiny bottles of ambrosia (see the Maleta section)

Our next stop was Palatine Hill, where it was just a tasting. They also gave us an ice-wine, but they had a Vidal non-icewine that sort of reminded me of an ice-wine, so I bought a bottle of that, I’m taking it up to the cottage where I hope it goes over well. Since no tour occurred, not much to say about it, other than they had a very large and tired dog semi-guarding the place. They had given us a few tastings, didn’t really seem to count the ones we had, sometimes poured whatever, other times asked what we wanted.

The next stop was Strewn that had a cooking school and a restaurant as part of its operation. We had lunch there, nothing terribly memorable, but it all seemed okay. I think 3rd of 4 is a hard place to be in when it comes to vineyard tour orders. People buy stuff at the first because it’s the first one, then probably get something at the second. By the third, they are all bought-out and probably more conservative. The fourth, being last, suddenly reinvigorates the wallet, since it’s the last chance. In any case, I didn’t get anything from Strewn, and I think a few others also failed to do so as well. The tasting had I think a white, a red, and an ice-wine. Some paid for more tastings, but I didn’t feel like it. They gave us an icewine that was pretty good. I think perhaps one other ice-wine called a Late Harvest where they press the grapes again and get something that’s not quite as sweet, but still a nice flavour. We all got a generous helping of that, but for some reason, people didn’t care for it, and many used Alicia’s glass as the bucket, and so she ended up drinking nearly a full glass of it.


One of many rows of vines, sort of like a simple-man’s hedge maze

The last place was a something that was running out of what I think was their own private residence. It was a tiny place, with a tiny field of vines, called Maleta. Apparently they make some good wine, but not much of it, so it’s sort of a specialty. By that time, we were getting wined out, but they gave us 4 tastings, 2 whites and 2 reds. Being a small operation, I guess they couldn’t part with icewines. For the first three wines, they had an accompanying cracker with either cream cheese or actual cheese on it, which was the only place to do something like that. They did offer a taste of an icewine for $4, but it was free if you bought the bottle. They had a 2003 vidal that was reasonable, but a 2002 vidal that was in an even smaller bottle, and apparently won awards. Since I’m a sucker for that kind of thing, I bought one of those for a tidy sum. I’ll probably hang onto it the longest. So now that I know of icewines, something tells me I’ll scope them out. I can only imagine how many calories they are. But hopefully the price will keep my tastebuds in check. All in all, I learned I still hate red wine, am sometimes able to like white wine, and otherwise enjoy sugar in things.

That night we hit the casino, not much to speak of there, other than my losing $40 in very short order to no good dirty slot machines. Alicia stayed alive for a good while playing a sort of roulette-like game. Curtis opted out entirely and just watched us. I think others lost a bit or broke even. One amusing anecdote that will probably be referenced for a while was how the game-runner would wave their hands over the betting-board to stop the bets just before a spin. It looked like they were casting a spell or something. That night we ended up at Coco’s again god help us.

Infernal Machine

A weird water-flowing sculpture at the casino, which I’m sure pulls in the crowds from the falls next door
Warning Sign

Apparently climbing fences more ornate than this one is a danger, so I assume this one is fine

The next day was wrap up, so we checked out of the hotel and went to Niagara-on-the-lake to browse around the town. It reminded me most of St. Jacobs, a little touristy town. I didn’t buy anything, having already spent enough money for one weekend. We went to a restaurant where we were denied seating on the patio as there was nowhere to seat 8, despite the fact the patio was deserted. Apparently the tables and chairs are simply incapable of being moved without disrupting the harmony and flow of the restaurant. After that, it was home time, we said our faretheewells, and we went off.

Niagara-on-the-lake town

My friends know to stay ahead of me and to walk away as quickly as possible

One interesting thing was our time in the hotel rooms. I was with Curtis, and he and Alicia both brought their DS’s and games. Alicia had a weird little game called Elite Beat Agents which fascinated me, despite my inability to play. It’s sort of a DS version of Amplitude, or probably more like Dance-Dance-Revolution, except you use the stylus to touch circles on the screen at the right time (ie, in the beat). Not having any sort of natural rhythm, I failed utterly at it, but the weird plot of Beat Agents who somehow by rocking out cause the day to be saved and the anime feel of it all, I found it very amusing, so here’s a flash of that. I spent a little more time with the DS. I’m not much of a game player anymore, sadly, but it is a very neat device.

Anyway, it was a short vacation, but it was sorely needed. Props to Alicia for organizing. And so, now, for a long weekend, off to cottage.


This is a Journey Into Sound

Filed under: General — 19day @ 15:37:06

So I’ve finished watching the Simpsons Season 10 (with commentary of course). So I’ve been putting them on in the background while I do other stuff (without commentary). I’ve seen them before so many times that there isn’t much point of actually watching most of them, others I may have only seen once so I pay attention to them.

One that caused me to take notice was Bart The Mother. I had seen it before, in fact I saw it on television the last time I was home I think. The thing that got me was that… something was wrong…. what was it?… Homer didn’t sound right… Bart sounded most right… Marge sounded fine as far as I can tell…. but Homer was definitely off. It was like the sound was slowed down, just the tiniest of bits.

I thought, shit, is something wrong with the DVD. But I was too tired to play with it, so I played the episode again this morning… seemed fine. But then I realized (using my QA powers) that I didn’t quite do it the same this time. I played it through the episode selection rather than the Play All. So I tried Play All, skipping past the first episodes in the way, and there it is again, weird slow down. It’s the only one I know of with this issue, so far. I tried looking online but couldn’t spot any other complaints, which either means it’s specific to me, specific to a laughably small group, or it’s just my computer’s DVD player being stupid… but odd that it would be stupid in that way. Never seen that before, that I’ve noticed anyway.

So I’ve posted the first opening joke from the episode in question, as mp3, the first part is when I used Play All to get to the episode, where things sound off, and the second is when I select the episode itself from the main menu, where it sounds right. Assuming I highlighted the waveforms in the right place, even that shows a slight difference in waveform-length.

In other news, heading up to Niagara for a couple of days with friends to drink the wine, see the sights, and verb the adjective noun. This mini-vacation probably couldn’t have come at a worse time work-wise, as I have about 50% more work than can actually be done right now.

If I don’t come back, avenge my death


No, I Assure You, I Do Not Want A Service Plan

Filed under: General — 19day @ 14:29:43

Welp, I just spent most of my quarterly bonus, well, the last bonus, and not for the entire quarter, just two months of it, since Infor has different policies. Oh yeah, my company was bought by Infor, I didn’t talk about that since I don’t talk about work. But as I originally posted about having been hired by Workbrain, I guess I’ll say, I’ve been hired by Infor (by virtue of not having been un-hired when they took over)

Anyway, so I’m now a ambivalent ipod owner. I dunno about these things, I got one for my mother for christmas because it has a reputation of being easy to use and I thought that would help, and she loves it. My brother got one for his birthday from my mother, and he apparently enjoys his. And now that I go to the gym, and my gymming cohort has had to miss the last couple, I thought I would get one to give me distraction while I elliptical myself to death for 2 hours.

But it didn’t stop there, oh no, I bought a 320 GB external drive as well, since I always seem to need more space, woot. And then I bought another massive surge protector since my UPS takes up one socket, and an extension cord running to the other side of the room (for lamp, fan, alarm clock) takes up the other, and I have no more outlets other than that one dual outlet, which sucks. So I’ll plug the new adaptor into the extension cord one and then the cord into it. I really don’t want to overtax my poor UPS.

And it didn’t stop there either, cause then I got a case for my ipod since I know they scratch like hell (I presume apple did this on purpose, to fuel an accessory business). And finally, I picked up season 10 of the Simpsons, just because I felt like it.

When I was buying the ipod, the guy went through their service plan, and tried to coax me into getting it. But I never go for those things, I’ve never really had a problem with these things, and if I did, then I’d just suck it up. There are other warranties on these things, and it’s not that huge of an item. A computer, yes, I’d probably think more about it, but these always feel like a scam to me. It was originally like 80 dollars, when I first said no, he said “…. well, what if it was *clickity* 60 dollars?”. I know he lost commission or will get punished or something, but I’m just not willing to pay them money so they can tell me the service plan won’t cover whatever happened to whatever you are complaining about and oh you don’t have the special Service Plan pin we gave you then I’m sorry there is nothing we can do no I assure you nothing will someone get security over here…. yeah.

So I now have my goodies, and my account weeps. I’ll probably blog in a minute when my ipod melts or something “Why?! Why didn’t I get that service plan!?!?”


Ghyme?… ooooooh.., Ghyme!

Filed under: General — 19day @ 01:34:34

There have been a few things going on recently… I know I haven’t updated in a hell of a long time, but mostly that’s because the things going on were both fairly large, and dwarfed other issues that I might have blogged about. One is embarrassing so I won’t share. One is related to work so I won’t share. And one is related to relationship challenges, which I’ve learned is utterly useless to share, so I won’t.

The only thing of note interesting is that I’ve finally joined the gym thats in our building. It’s a proper gym, not some dinky thing set up by the company (the time of thing I’ve seen first hand at places when I was a co-op). Salman (ex-coworker, “Hi” if you’re reading) was on my case for months and months, and people before that as well. It’s been on my list of things to do for.. oh.. 2 years now I guess. But it’s always one thing or another that makes me say I’ll do it later. But recently one of my co-workers left, T-dot (a nickname), and she used to go to the gym with a co-worker, they provided cross-motivation. But now she’s alone, and has induced me to be T-dot’s gym replacement, which is just as well, since I desperately need to get in some sort of shape other than spheroid.

But, as I’ve heard, “A beginning is a very delicate time”, since I’ve only actually been to the gym twice since joining (on Tuesday). Wednesday I couldn’t go due to work. I spent around 1 hour the first time, and around 2 hours today. It’s good because it’s actually not that busy, and there are many many machines always available. Though the eliptical machine I like to use has an irratating feature… it reads your heart rate through the handles (pretty spiffy, the other ones I used elsewhere didn’t do that), but then it knows what your heart rate should be, so if you go above it, it beeps at you. To get to the machines, you have to go up two flights of stairs, I had done that, gotten a drink of water, chose out my machine, and got started. As it started, it told me what my ideal heartrate is for weight-loss, and my heart rate was basically just a beat or two below that to start with. I take that as a bad sign. But I suppose it’s the results of stair climbing (of which I have no endurance), and I have a crappy recovery time. I’m sure sitting still my heartrate isn’t quite as high, otherwise I should be burning fat all the time or some such, heh. Anyway, my realistic goal is that I probably won’t lose any significant amount of weight because I still eat like crap and have no self-control, but to keep working out anyway, since I’d rather die of an stroke hunched over some peice of excersize equipment, than die of it while sitting on the couch watching Simpsons with my fingers stained orange from eating Doritos. My lofty unattainable goal is a loss of mass between 33% at the least, to 50% at the most (I’d want to go into the 110%, figuring if I went into the negatives I’d have more wiggle-room with my regiment, but I figure I’d keep impossibilities aside)

Anyway, I’ve read a few news stories (which I can’t cite because I seem to have lost the URLs, and I don’t feel like searching), but one was talking about how being fat was contagious. Fat people make their friends fat, presumably by not ridiculing them whenever they eat something, and being non-judgmental, oh well. The other one, and more relavent for me, is a news story suggesting that people perceive fat people as having some sort of horrible infection, so that the disdain they have for them is like a mid-brain or brainstem response, like the revulsion one feels when seeing someone with horrific burns all over their body or something. So all together, this makes us lepers I guess. It’s one of those things I don’t expect a thin person (or ‘Normies’ as I call you) to understand.

In other news, I have a rather busy set of weekends coming up. This weekend is a Japanese themed food-trough featuring sushi, but I won’t have to punch Curtis in the face, he’s making chicken bits too, hehe. And the weekend after that is a trip to Niagara (actually occurring on the Sunday-Tuesday), leaving my team staffless (I’m the only one at the moment), so hopefully nothing goes wrong. And then the next weekend, John has invited us up to his cottage again, where hopefully the woodland creatures don’t try to take revenge because of last time when a deer was unfortunately ended, and the car in the shop ever since.

And I feel like linking a few things, so I’ll link this Penny Arcade comic because I find it oddly hilarious.

And here’s an interesting youtube I found giving the progression of intro sounds of Windows.
My favorites are definitely from Windows 95 and 98, they both sound like they were ripped out of Zork Nemesis to me. The Windows 2000/ME to me sound like return-from-commercial muzak from Canada AM.
The funniest thing about it (to me) is that the author of the clip put, at the end, the 3.1 and the Vista ones again, as if to show “how far we’ve come” or something. But I interpret it differently… the 3.1 sound is the cheezy but appropriate Tada sound. The Vista one almost, to me, sounds like what would happen if you told someone to take Tada and make it sound harmonious, etheric, nebulous, and with more beats, etc. Tuuuuhhhaaaaaa….ddddddaaaaahaaaa. Or I’m just crazy, either is good.

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