Thursday, March 31, 2005


Well, Terri Schiavo has passed away, without even the comfort of her parents' presence, thanks to her murderous, treacherous "husband". May that poor soul rest in peace. May God bless her family and may God help us all as we take one giant step towards becoming Logan's Run.

Zin - Repost

****This is a manual re-post of the Zin entry. Technical errors on my part have forced this. I'm very sorry to those who made comments that were lost.****

The Pink Stuff
Evil Pink
The Pink Death
A Mortal Zin

I am about to defend my rather bold comments a regarding White Zinfandel.

DISCLAIMER*** What you must know about me is that I am a wine-appreciation instructor and have been making my own homemade wine for about 8 years now. I am currently in the process of writing a down-to-earth sort of wine book; one that is fun, not snotty, and actually educational instead of snooty. Let it be known here and now that I hate wine snobs. I do not consider myself to be one. However, I believe White Zinfandel to be the scourge of the wine world, especially here, in America, where it remains the most popular wine on the shelves. ***END DISCLAIMER

Ever peek into a red grape? Inside, it's pretty much the same color as a white grape. Red grapes would make white wine unless the winemakers allowed the juice to sit with the skins for quite awhile. This is the only thing that makes red wine red. The skin. The humble skin is also the only thing that gives red wine its wonderful flavors, aromas, and complexity. The tannins in the skin give the wine the power to age gracefully and taste better with each passing year. It's a beautiful thing.

Now, consider the lovely Zinfandel grape. Ah, the Zinfandel. This grape is agruably the only noble (vitis vinifera) grape originally from America. It is the Uncle Sam of grapes. If handled properly (with skins) it produces one of the most delightful wines in the world. A rich, gorgeous wine of deep garnet. A wine that inspires many winemakers to give it cool, gothic, mysterious names. I love Zinfandel. If I were trapped on a desert island and told I could have only one variety of red wine for the rest of my life, I would choose Zinfandel. Hands down.

So, given all that, why is it that most of the Zinfandel grown in California is manhandled? It is separated from its skins very early on, allowed to be merely pink, stripped of it's flavors and aromas and then sweetened with sugar. It becomes a parody of its potentially great self. It becomes acoholic soda pop. Shamed. Why? Because Americans drink it by the gallon.

And why do American drink it so enthusiastically? I have a theory, and it won't go over too well with my conservative friends, but I'll put it out there anyway. Many Americans want to appear worldly and sophisticated, and they know that ordering wine gives that illusion. So they choose the most unsophisticated wine on earth and call it a day. They never bother to explore what the world has to offer.

In my wine classes, I have seen it many times. People who proudly state that they "only drink White Zinfandel" come to my class. I tell them up front that if I don't have them hating the stuff in two months (class meets once per month) I'll eat my own foot. I still have both feet. One woman, in particular, said she couldn't stand anything other than White Zin, but desperately wanted to broaden her horizons. This woman now eschews the evil pink and enjoys Pinot Noirs. If you know anything about wine, you know what an accomplishment this is.

The problem is, Americans have not had the inclination or the knowledge to educate their palates. Once they do, they find out what the rest of the world already knows. White Zinfandel sucks. It sucks loudly. It is repsonsible for robbing people of the true appreciation of wine.

I could go on forever, but I believe I've made my case. In spite of what you've just read, I still do not consider myself to be a wine snob. I believe wine is for everyone and does not need to be expensive to be excellent. I also think that folks should drink what they like, even if it is White Zinfandel. But please, don't let that be the only thing you ever try. I recommend a Riesling. Coax yourself to really quaff a Cabernet. Savor a Sauvignon. Share a Shiraz. Purchase a Pinot.

And let's all start to call White Zinfandel what it really is. Yucky.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


I HAVE HAD IT! Will the cold ever stop? I just want to see that stupid mother-humpin'-son-of-a-ditch-digger Weather Pixie dressed in shorts. Or tasteful capris. She taunts me. She wheedles me. She's pissing me off! Apparently, only the extermination of the Weather Pixie will bring the warm weather. It's her. She's doing this. That's why she smiles knowingly. When I'm not looking, she's laughing at me. Weather Pixie must die!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


I've been going insane with bidnis stuff I have to do. Just now, I hit a wall. There's nothing more I can do today. Now I'm sitting here, all confused. Maybe I should do some laundry. Maybe clean up the kitchen. Or maybe I should write a post about things I dislike. Ha. That's it. It's break time. Here's a list of 10 random things I dislike:

1. People who take e-mail addresses from mailings and use them for themselves. Must I always blind copy? I guess so, because I got a perturbed letter from a friend who was contacted by someone from whom she did not want to hear. This rogue e-mailer got her address from one of my jokey forwards. Can't do that anymore.

2. White Zinfandel. When will Americans wake up and realize that this is not wine? Well, technically, it is wine, but still. I'm just saying.

3. New Jersey accents. I'm sorry. They just sound really stupid.

4. People who hide their real intentions or try to manipulate me via my emotions. OK, this is going to come off really pompous, but sometimes I feel like I must be the smartest people-reader in the whole world. I know instantly when someone is trying to pull the wool over my eyes or wants something from me. I always know, but I never let on. Sneakiness in personal relationships is so ugly.

5. IPA beers. Too hoppy for me.

6. Winona Ryder. Becuase she is a very bad actor, and she keeps kissing all of my potential boyfriends. If you need proof of either one of these facts, watch Bram Stoker's Dracula and The Age of Innocence. Either movie will highlight both the bad acting and offensive boyfriend kissing.

7. When somebody quotes Shakespeare and then asks me, "Know what that's from?" And I say, "Henry V". And they say, "No! It's from Star Trek 2 : The Wrath of Khan." I swear, I don't have anyone in particular in mind. (HA HA HA) But if a person is such a trekkie, shouldn't they know that Khan is quoting Shakespeare?

8. When people pass off the words of others as their own. LAME!

9. Eating a meal that makes you REALLY thirsty later.

10. Short dudes who compensate by being really loud and authoritative. Basically, the Napoleonic Complex. They usually have no idea what they are talking about.

Monday, March 21, 2005


All of this talk about Robert Langdon, and my own comment about Tom Hanks not being "hot" enough to fill the bill, has got me thinking about casting decisions.

When Gary Oldman was cast to play Sirius Black in Harry Potter, the message boards were going wild with young'uns complaining that he was too old, and not hot enough. I was positively astounded, because I find Gary Oldman to be one of the sexiest men to ever grace the silver screen. (Maybe one of the twenty sexiest movie actors of all time.) Admittedly, it's not his looks. It's his intensity. If I had cast Sirius Black, incidentally, my very favorite Potter character to date, I would have cast Daniel Day Lewis. Because, you know, yum. But I thought Gary Oldman was a great choice for this tortured soul of a guy. So, good then.

Interesting to me too, is the fact that Peter Jackson's first choice for Aragorn was the aforementioned Daniel Day Lewis. Dan enjoyed quite a long reign at the very top of my Muy Caliente Babes list. And yes, I have a compulsion to make lists of all kinds, and yes, Daniel Day Lewis was at the very top of my real, I-actually-wrote-it-down list. Some of my friends do this too, so we can compare and contrast at get-togethers. Anyway, he's still pretty much tops. If only he didn't take himself so seriously, our love could last. But I digress. My point is, I actually shudder at the very thought of him as Aragorn. As I understand it, he was courted for the role rather vigorously by Jackson, but kept turning him down. After the shameful showing of Stuart Townsend, the role was finally filled by the man who was clearly meant to have it, the inimitable Viggo. And who isn't happy about that? Except for Stuart Townsend, that is.

So, what's my point, then? I really don't know. I suppose it is that I may be jumping the gun when criticizing Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon. Maybe that will work out just fine. Maybe he was meant to play the role. I do know this: The cinematic Robert Langdon is bound to be a better-developed character than the literary one. He would have to be, considering the "genius" that is Dan Brown.

Oh, but wait. I just realized who would play the perfect Langdon: A younger Harrison Ford. Because after all, isn't Langdon a total Indy ripoff? I've solved it.


I just got home from a day of much errand-running. I was tired, grumpy, and my head full of garbage regarding the vast seas of bidnis paperwork ahead of me still. I stopped at my mailbox, and saw that it was bursting at its seams with a big puffy package. Lo, the lovely Lorna of Lorna in Wonderland had sent me a package. Owing to our similar tastes, she has sent me two books: A.S. Byatt's Little Black Book of Stories, and a bonus, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials - Book 1 - The Golden Compass. I've never seen these Pullman books, but I must admit, this one looks to be right up my proverbial alley.

Right now, I am reading Candyfreak by Steve Almond, and I need to finish that for my book club. Then it's A.S. Byatt, all the way.

Lorna, you are both generous and wise, and a damned fine person to boot. I will report back to you with a review of each book. I will then send them on their merry way. I have just the person in mind, too. Thank you so much!

Friday, March 18, 2005


Maybe I'm way behind the times on this. Maybe everybody knows this but me. But I just saw that Tom Hanks is playing Robert Langdon in the movie version of The DaVinci code. Now, I really like Tom Hanks, a lot. But something about this just doesn't ring true. I pictured more of a Tom Selleck (I know - too old) or even a George Clooney or Ben Affleck (oh, Ben, you're such a guilty pleasure). Tom Hanks just doesn't seem quite suave enough for the part. Or is that just me?


This is it. Tonight, I sign a lease, hand over great wads of cash, and Stormy Blue Pottery and Gallery will be born. I'm overwhelmed by the amount I have to do, and frankly, I'm freaking out. Completely. I was at the supermarket this morning, and noticed that while I was pushing the cart, my arms were so tense that they were about half their normal length. No wonder I get backaches.

I have designated Saturday as my "Day to Make Lists All Day." Hopefully, by May 1, I'll be inviting all my bloggerbuddies to my big open house and gala grand opening soiree.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


I just got back from a meeting with my lawyer, and he said he would do all of the name stuff for my business for free, as a "gift to help me get started". I'll never tell another lawyer joke again. At least not about him. Not that I ever did. Whatever.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Blogger template changes always seem to be a little of a pain in the ass. This one took me all of 2 minutes. I'm pleased to welcome Alicia of Twilight Cafe and Lorna of Lorna in Wonderland to my blogroll. It's been too long coming, but you're here now, and that's a good thing.

Wonder what's with me and the "good things"? Am I channeling a certain recently-released felon with a cool crocheted poncho? Must be.

Monday, March 14, 2005


It may very well be that "catharsis" is too strong a word for this post. But I did have an eye-opening, possibly life-changing weekend. OK, now, don't get excited. I've set this up as some kind of major thing, but it isn't, really. Why don't I just stop with the set-up and get on with it?

1) On Friday night, I watched Supersize Me. If you haven't heard of it before, it's the documentary wherein Morgan Spurlock eats nothing but McDonald food for a full month. And I mean NOTHING but. Now, I would certainly expect that anyone who ate this ridiculous diet would suffer resultant health "issues." You know, eventually. What I found to be truly incredible was the speed at which this man's health deteriorated. It was alarming, to say the least. While watching it, I was able to console myself and feel mighty angelic because I haven't eaten a bite of McFood in well over 15 years. But still, I'm overweight. And now I'm afraid of even more food.

2) On Saturday night, some of our friends came over for fondue and games. I made the cheese fondue, and they made chocolate fondue. We played Cranium. Then we got drunk. BIG drunk. We hadn't planned it, but it just started happening. It was the kind of drunk I haven't been in quite a while. I woke up with a world-class hangover on Sunday, and the self-loathing began.

3) I was totally wigging out today with all the details for opening this business. I had been on the phone with the PA Department of Revenue, which, incidentally, makes the IRS looks like a well-run institution. Stress. I made my mom meet me for lunch at Shogun, which is one of those typical Japanese steakhouses. There's something about eating with chopsticks that calms me down. But then, I ate all the rice they gave me.

What it all comes down to is that I am now totally disgusted with excess. I'm the kind of disgusted that makes you actually take action. The last time I hated myself this much, I lost 60 pounds, and liked myself a whole lot more. I don't want any more refined sugar. Less fat. No more white bread or white pasta. I feel a return to my purer vegetarian past coming on. That's when I really ate mostly vegetables. I need to get back to that now, I think, to feel better physically and mentally.

Right now, I'm drinking an organic mango spritzer, and I think that's good. Let the detox begin.

Saturday, March 12, 2005


Fashionably late again for MCF's Blog Party. It's Saturday morning. Maybe some folks couldn't drive home last night and had to stay over.

My top three sitcom minor characters are...

Michael Warburton as Puddy on Seinfeld. He's just freakin' hilarious.

Stephen Root at Jimmy on News Radio. I love this guy! He's SO arrogant and pompous, but he does it all with a big smile and a good ol' boy chuckle.

Megan Mulally as Karen on Will & Grace. She probably can't even be counted as a minor character, but she makes me laugh till it hurts.

Runner-up: Seinfeld's J. Peterman.

Friday, March 11, 2005


Since blogger won't let me post comments today, I'm putting them here. Suck on it, blogger!

Lorna - Murrysville is in Pennsylvania, and I'm so happy you got the freaky Rod Stewart haircut. Sounds great!

Drake - On unions, AMEN, brother!

Kelly - I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more COWBELL.

Name Hidden - Great cartoon. Freaky cat, but I'm glad you visited Tammy B. She rocks.

SuperJeans - I'll expect you at my grand opening!

Thursday, March 10, 2005


For Kelly

Ladies and gentlemen, let it never be said that Kristine has no sense of adventure, no pioneering spirit. I sit here, freshly returned from Sheetz. In front of me sits a Zero Bar. I'm about to taste it. Here are my impressions as I do.

I'm opening the wrapper, and it is far whiter than I expected. I was imagining a thin veil of white chocolate, but no. It's quite substantial. It looks repulsive, like that white asparagus. Unnatural. It smells like white chocolate, and it reminds me of the Easters of my childhood. White chocolate bunnies. Ick.

I just took a bite and am now waiting for a taste to happen... Data overload. I cannot process this. Another bite, if I can get the first one out of my teeth. I thought there would be peanuts. No reason. I just thought there would. But it's just this mysterious thing called nougat. It tastes, well, really bad. Third and definitely final bite. No. I'm sorry. No. This is not worth the calories. This is not worth the chewing. OH! It hurts my teeth really bad! My teeth are really sensitive to sugar, and I can't get this out. My own fault. Chewed on wrong side. OUCH. The aftertaste that I'm experiencing is something akin to an unpleasant smell. I can't put my finger on it. Yuck. OW. Teeth. This is definitely not for me. Oh, bollocks.

I'll take a picture.

Kelly, want the rest of this?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


That's me. I've taken the plunge. The big plunge. I have just rented prime storefront space to open a ceramics studio and art/craft gallery. I have been wanting to do this for a long time and the time just seemed right. I also got a great deal on the space. (This is also in keeping with my birthday commitment to make loads of sweet moolah.) So, it's goodbye technical writing. Thank you, Lord!

In the past, I have always found this strange oxymoron to be very true: The busier you are, the more you get done. Years of working from home have proven this time and time again. When you have no schedule, you tend to get lazy. You swear it won't happen to you, but it does. I think that with this business, I am creating the perfect balance of working for myself, but outside the home. It will be MY store, with MY office. I know that spending so much time there will not only enable me to run the business, but inspire me to finish my books as well. I feel like I am finally going to create the life I have envisioned. Or at least a slightly-less-exciting version of that dream. But I'm getting there.

I've gotten this far now. I've gotten up the necessary courage to start something scary. Tornado chasing and auditioning for community theatre really can't be far away. Then, I'll have everything I've ever wanted.

Business owner
Tornado chaser
Local actor

AAAAAAAHHHHH.... I'm getting closer.

So, I'll be posting pictures as the store progresses. I anticipate an opening day of May 1. Everybody come to Murrysville when you need to get an art-on. HA HA HA

Oh, and right before opening day, I'm getting that blue streak in my hair. You only go around once.

Friday, March 04, 2005


Oh, my God. It's likely that I am too enraged to manage a coherent post today. I just returned from a day of errands which included a trip to the IRS outpost to gather some information for business purposes.

I don't even know where to begin.

I admit that government offices give me the creeps. Entering any government office makes me instantly more bitter than usual, and crueler. First off, I'm angry because I'm more than likely dealing with some kind of bullshit beauraucracy wherein I owe money. Second, I can't stand goverment employees. I theorize that upon applying for their government jobs, they must turn in a full-body Polaroid, just so that the hiring panel can ensure that they are homely and uncool enough to represent. The de rigeur homeliness and unfashionable footwear doesn't anger me as much as the utter smugness that they all seem to possess. I suppose this comes from better-than-average (to say the least) job security. And that's just for starters.

I made my way to the IRS office this morning, already kinda late for another appointment. I knew that getting in and out of there quickly was an impossible dream, but I didn't realize it was downright delusional. I thought I might get lucky. Why I entertained this notion remains a mystery. On my way in, I slipped and fell on a patch of ice right at the door. My IRS bitterness kicked in with great suddenness, and I immediately had visions of suing the IRS. I'm sure I broke my ass. I'm sure I got whiplashed or something. I could get some of my money back. AHHHHHH... But then I remembered that I'm against that litigious sort of thing. Crap. Principles are SO inconvenient.

So, I got to the IRS office door, and it clearly said, "FRIDAYS : BY APPOINTMENT ONLY." The bile rose higher. I went in anyway and saw people waiting with little number tickets. I spoke to the first lady in line

Me: Do you have an appointment?
Her: No. I called to make one and they said they don't take appointments.
Me: But it says on the door in big red letters....
Her: Yeah. I know. IRS for ya. You better take a number.
Me: Yeah, OK. Thanks.

I looked around then and saw that today, on March 4, the height of tax season, the office had one person working and a sea of empty cubicles. And yes, that one person moved with all the speed of someone who knows she can never be fired. Raping the citizenry is a booming industry, after all. Completely dejected, and still painful of buttock, I went over to the little ticket dispenser and got my number. I looked at it. There was a slogan on it. It said, "IRS Field Offices : Balancing Customer Service With Compliance." Do I even need to tell you how this made me feel? First of all, CUSTOMER?



Second of all, COMPLIANCE?

Screw YOU! That sounds very Borg-like, don'tcha think? Resistance is futile.

<---click here

As I stood there, quickly reaching maximum compression, I realized the absurdity of what I was doing. I was standing in line with a little number in my hand. I was willingly waiting there, so that Smugly McBadhair, a.k.a. Locutus of Borg, could complicate the process of robbing me of every penny she could. I was queueing up to be slapped across the face, in an institution I consider to be unconstitutional and immoral.

In the end, I waited 45 minutes. When I got to Locutus's desk, I managed to calm myself and told her what I needed. Her response was:

"We don't do that here. Call this 800 number. You can fill out the paperwork while you sit on hold. NEXT!"

I give you : Dante's lesser-known level of hell. Level 1040-EZ.


Wednesday, March 02, 2005


I am fascinated by the fact that there is an entire world within academia dedicated to sholarly works regarding pop culture. PhDs gather at conferences to discuss Buffy, Madonna, and Baywatch. This is amusing, as well as very interesting to me. Now, I'm sure it won't surprise you to learn that I view most things "scholarly" with an eye of suspicion. I am turned off by the useless scholarly terminology, turned off by the cleverer-than-thou attitudes and condescending tone, and turned off by many scholars themselves. As one PhD candidate friend of mine says, "I hope they don't actually force me to trade in my social skills." (Of course, I must point out that I have a few friends who are notable exceptions to this rule, and a few acquaintances who practically define the rule.)

Anyway, I have recently become very interested in the complex symbolism within The Matrix trilogy, which I had heretofore avoided. Mostly, the web is full of rubes who think they are wicked clever by informing me that "Neo means new, and if you rearrange the letters, you get One." Wow. What a fucking revelation. Some even went so far as to tell me that Neo is a Christ figure. Really? I'd never have gotten that on my own. I was looking for something a little deeper, and unfortunately, the only way to get there was to turn to the academic demagogues. For enlightenment, I looked to some of these scholarly articles to see if I could find anything of worth, and I did, well, kinda. These are the best articles I found, in The Journal of Religion and Film, via the University of Nebraska.

So, if you feel like delving a little into Gnosticism and Buddhism and Morpheus, try these out. If you read only one, choose the second in the list.

Reassessing The Matrix/Reloaded - This guy is obviously a little of a blowhard, but he makes some interesting points.

Wake up! Gnosticism and Buddhism in The Matrix - Probably the most succinct, straightforward, and enlightening article of the three. Certainly, it is the least annoying. Probably because it was written by women.

Buddhism, Christianity, and The Matrix:The Dialectic of Myth-Making in Contemporary Cinema1 - The most obtuse of the three, using the highest volume of annoying scholarly buzzwords. BIG WORD MAKE BOBO LOOK SMART.


A Sensitive Haiku by Kristine

Often, you're pompous,
And clearly, you bleach your teeth.
I think I love you.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Just because it's how I'm feeling today, here are ten things that piss me off. They are in no particular order. NH, I'm borrowing your format. Please forgive.

1. People who do things in a half-assed manner. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right.

2. Iceberg lettuce: A nutritional and taste wasteland. When a restaurant puts this garbage in my salad, my first instinct is to freak out completely, and throw the salad all over the place. Then I regain control and just eat it, like a good girl.

3. Unsolicited advice and/or suggestions on how to improve my life. When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you.

4. Committed pessimists. Stay the hell away from me. I'm actually trying here.

5. Scatological humor of ANY kind. Grow the hell up. The only exceptions to this rule are as follows: A) Using the word piss in the phrase pissed off. All other uses of the word should be banned, because YUCK. B) Using the word shit when referring to something that is subpar. e.g. My car is a piece of shit. C) Bullshit is always welcome, because it's a funny word, and was actually one of my first words. (Thanks, Dad.) Other than that, I am totally disgusted by scatological humor and wording.

6. People who tailor their tastes and likes to the group around them. I can actually smell the pathetic on these people. And it smells real bad.

7. Puffy jagoffs who are too fucking important to be nice to their waitress or any other poor sap toiling away in a service job. Karma, baby! I hope YOU are slicing meat behind a deli counter some day.

8. Places that sell iced tea, but don't have any fresh lemon. Or, even worse, places that purport to sell iced tea, when it is, in actuality, instant tea. What coffee drinker would put up with this?

9. People who flash their money around so everyone knows they have it (which usually means they are swimming in debt) or people who play poor (which usually means they have money but don't want you to know it). Either way, it's sickeningly obvious.

10. Filthy public restrooms. These piss me off, but I am assured by my b&c that women's rooms are far less disgusting than men's rooms. He can trump my most disturbing stories of restroom filth by a long shot, every time. Apparently, I can never win this competition, EVER, because of one particularly repulsive incident in the men's room at the Star Lake Amphitheatre. He won't even tell me the details.

Runner-up: People who read my blog but never leave me little notes. You know who you are, you, you, blogreading non-note leaving wimp! Why, I oughta.... Just kidding, SuperJeans, you can read all you want. And I think SuperJeans is your perfect secret name. HA HA HA HA