Have Towel, Will Travel

Have Towel, Will Travel

I remembered my towel today, and I didn’t panic once. Plus, I do believe I understand the psyche of Linus much better now as well. I did notice that there were a number of people at work today that gave me a noticeable glance of confused inquiry when I walked into the office with a towel draped over my satchel. The nice thing about towel accompaniment is that when you enter a situation where people are in the midst of panic you know you are going to be just fine, and you know why? Because you remembered your towel.

I figure this is the reason why these people only hurriedly glance in my direction as opposed to deliberate staring, or conversing with me as to why I had a towel. I would dare venture to say that the only people smiling at me were people who had also come to work today with a towel, but I was the only towel wielding one in the place. So venturing to say that would do no good. I did explain to a few friends in upper management my towel toting ensemble was a result of it being Towel Day, but this really didn’t help the confusion. So I gave them the history of this panic free day of remembrance.

Towel day first started in 2001, just two weeks after the sudden and premature death of author Douglas Adams. And since its incarnation, on every 25th of May for the past nine years, fans of Douglas display their love and appreciation of both the author and his works by toweling around for the day with a towel.

For those of you not familiar with the work of Douglas and therefore are a bit lost in regards to the towel homage being giving, here is my public service for the day. Here is the origin of the greatness of the towel, found in Chapter 3 of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”
— Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas captured my creative appreciation when I first introduced to him by my brother Dave, who gave me a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for my 16th birthday. It was groovy enough that upon turning 16, I was legal to drive a car without supervisor, but to top it off I had a guide book, which even though it never helped me get a date, at least it reassured me that I would never be as depressed and Marvin, and encouraged me to always know where my towel was.

At 16 “The Guide” was a novelty and a source of a good laugh, but I never really let myself marinade in its Douglasian wit. It was a good read and a recommendation that I would give to others, but I never sought for more. My true appreciation for Douglas didn’t develop until he was, well, post Douglas and I read The Salmon of Doubt for the first time. There was something about the person Douglas that others wrote about that captured my true appreciation for the writer Douglas. The short articles that filled the first half of Salmon of The Doubt kept me laughing out at his wit, wordplay, and perspective on life that makes the loss of Douglas that much more reminiscent of Vogon poetry.

Since it is Towel Day and I am going to share a few of my Douglas related tokens I received this year, both from one of my new Facebook friends John Palfrey. The first is a nugget of Douglas trivia. Apparently, according to the book Pigs Might Fly by Mark Blake, The Inside Story of Pink Floyd, David Gilmour and Douglas Adams were best mates… I had no idea. So to those of you that didn’t know, you’re welcome (thanks John), and if you happen to be one of those that did know, you have all earned yourself the brown Arts & Literature Trivial Pursuit triangle. Well done and roll again.

The other thank you to John is for sending me the photo he took of Douglas’ headstone a few years back. Yes, that is a toy dolphin setting on top of it. There are some sayings that seem to find their perfect place in time and space. Creating a type of literary immortality where, as long as there are people who read, these phrases will live on. Some have been tried by time and translation, and are here for the long count. Phrases like, “And it came to pass”, “To be or not to be”, and “When in Rome.”

Then there are some sayings that are so poignant that even in their own time they catch a people’s minds and hearts and will not go gently into that good night. These phrases include “I have a dream”, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”, and, of course, “So long and thanks for all the fish.” There are words that tie humanity together. Phrases that inspire in us, give us joy, strengthen our resolve, fill us with passion, bring us together in unity, and fill us with laughter. Douglas always had a gift at the latter of those.

Apart from all the unsure and panic stricken glances that today held, I did have, what I believe alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity, which was this… regardless how you feel about Douglas or his canon of Hitchhiking tales, there is one irrevocable truth that encompasses today… As long as we live in a world where there are towels, we will have a world that remembers Douglas Adams.

Did any of you remember your towel today?

Image Source: John Palfrey and Google Images, key words: Towel Day, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and The Salmon of Doubt.

Iceland’s Volcano of Sin Awareness… Who Knew?

Iceland’s Volcano of Sin Awareness… Who Knew?

I recently had one of my new Australian friends (thanks Heather) send me a link to a news article from the World News Australia. It was the headline that got me smiling right from the beginning. Headlines are tricky in that regard. Some headlines cause you to pause and reflect, and go into the piece with a certain reverence or concern for the people affect in the story. Other headlines make you turn the page to look for something else that is a touch more interesting to read. Some headlines make you smile because of the comical or feel good story you are about to read through. And then there are some that make you smile, because they are so ludicrous that you can’t help but smile and think to yourself, “Here we go again!” The heading “Ash cloud ‘sign that Britons must repent’ says candidate” is definitely one of those last types of headlines.

Ah yes the age old self proclaimed prophetic mandate of calling others to repentance. If I had to wrap this whole topic up in my own headline I think it would read something like this:

Blogger proclaims ‘candidate who said an ash cloud is a sign that Britons must repent is a sign that the candidate must repent!’

Apparently, an ash cloud billowed out of Iceland’s Mount Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which closed British air space for almost a week. So clearly the first thing I want to know is… how the hell do you say Eyjafjallajokull? And second, where can I get a tee shirt that has the name Mount Eyjafjallajokull printed on it, because that is by far the most impressive, fascinating, entertaining, and fabulous name for a volcano… EVER!

The problem I have with this whole thing is it’s a personal interpretation that has been around just as long as the idea of gods has been around. Plus, as far as signs from a god go, it’s so ambiguous. It’s a perfectly natural aspect of Earthly functionality. I usually call this type of nature activity an Earth fart. Plus, in this case, this event has been happening repeatedly for a very long time. Documented cases of this volcano erupting have occurred in 920, 1612, 1821, 1823, and twice in 2010. I wonder if Britons have had to repent every time it’s happens. So maybe John, our friendly neighborhood Christian People Alliance candidate, is only following tradition by telling anyone who will listen to repent. I mean, scientifically it seems like a rather common action for a volcano, especially that one. Still it would appear that there are some that think it’s the result of some obscure smoke signal from their god informing the world that every Briton needs to repent.

I’m not trying to be rude, but I would like to point out to the Christian People Alliance candidates and like minded folk everywhere, Mount Eyjafjallajokull is not now, nor has it ever been a “volcano of sin awareness.” It’s just an old volcano that ate some bad magma and has had a case of the windy puffs the past few months. By pointing this out to everyone and making such a big deal about it you are only embarrassing the volcano, and yourselves. Please leave Mount Eyjafjallajokull alone. It needs some to rest so it can get feeling better. Thank you.

This whole concept is like watching a video of a baby sneezing and then having the audacity to publically proclaim that the sneeze is a message from god informing the world that the all of the head statues on Easter Island need to repent for making those faces at the ocean for all these years. There is no relation between the two, and it really just doesn’t make any sense. Now, if the parents of the baby had named the baby Squiggy, then I can see calling the parents to repentance, but that’s about it.

Nature is not a warning sign from any religious icon, even if you chose nature as your god. If you live in a place on this planet that has a tornado 5 out of 7 days a week, every week of the year, and your house gets destroyed by a tornado, the nature god is not telling you to repent and plant more rhubarb in her honor. I would dare venture that to me, from a common sense approach, it only means that you live in a place where there are tornados 5 out of 7 days a week, every week of the year.

Here’s my thought about people telling other people they need to repent… they, meaning the tellers are probably the ones that need to do a little repenting. The thing is, if you are not a supporter of a repentance culture and someone belonging to that culture tries having a “repent sinner” conversation with you, it’s a lot like asking a bear if they would like bless the food before they eat you. It’s an incredibly irrelevant conversation.

If you think you should be the one to tell others to repent, can I recommend you take some time off, start looking at your own life and make a few changes to yourself? Leave everyone else alone until you are ready to have a respectful conversation with other people. When people try to inflict repentance on others, it has a tendency to come across as a rather judgmental thing to do, and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard people say that there is a story somewhere about someone saying something about how people should not be judgmental. Then again that might just be me making a judgment call.

What are your thoughts?

Source Images:
World News Australia and Google Images, key words: Eyjafjallajökull, repent sign, and do not judge.

Fore… the Love of Golf (Rich Style)

Fore… the Love of Golf (Rich Style)

Years ago I was spending some time in Washington state and became friends with a wonderful retired couple whose names I no longer remember. I do recall that the husband was a golfer though. Not a casual player, no he was an everyday kind of player. He even had a small side business where he would custom make putters, which really were works of art and created with a great deal of love for the game. Out of all the times I visited them there was one conversation that always comes to mind when I think about them. The husband was talking about going to a course that next morning to which his wife reminded him that he was going to be golfing on the Sabbath and asked if he thought it was a good idea to miss church because of golf. Then, almost instantaneously he replied, “But honey, golf is 2/3’s god.” He smiled at her, I started laughing, and she rolled her eyes and walked out of the room, thus ending conversation.

For some, golf is the heaven on Earth. For others it’s an incredible waste of land and natural resources. For example, keeping a lush green course alive and well in a place like Las Vegas. As for my perspective on golf, I have played the game. I have even purchased my own clubs. Granted, I only have three clubs and the first two, a pitching wedge and a 5 iron, I got for a dollar each from a thrift shop. I also own a 2 wood, which I purchased for 20 dollars from a Kmart that was going out of business and everything in the store was on clearance. I even keep the clubs in the trunk of my car for years with no bag to put them in. They just rolled around in the trunk along with an empty tennis ball container, a cardboard box filled with cleaning supplies.

When people see the clubs in my trunk there is always a pause of confusion. I get asked if I play, but it’s always an unsure question because I only have three clubs and they are pretty sure positive that I can’t play with only three clubs. I tell them the truth… yes, I do play, just not in the conventional way. And I only need those three clubs to play. Oh, and I only play once every 3 years or so, although I have been known to visit a driving range about once a year to hit a bucket with some coworkers.

So what is Rich Golf? It’s more a game of adventure with golf added into the mix. And I always make sure I bring a Baby Ruth with me in the event I run into a Sloth type character lurking in the rough. To begin with, I borrow a golf ball from one of the friends I am golfing.

Here’s my qualm with regular golf, the better you do, the less you get for your money. If you are playing 9 holes of golf and you get par every time, you get to hit the ball around what 30 to 40 times? Now my logic is that if it takes me 60 strokes instead of 30 I am getting twice as much play time for my money. To give you a clear understanding of my skill in this game, finishing a 9 hole game with a total of 60 hits of the ball is quite exceptional for me. On the average thought I’d say 10 hits before I get the ball in the hole is pretty standard and something I pride myself on. In the game of Rich Golf that is a fairly accomplished feat.

Treasure hunting is the other aspect of Rich Golf, which adds a whole new level of personal entertainment to the game. The rule is you have to try to keep it on the fairway when hitting the ball. Because I my excessive skill in hitting the golf ball in a way that makes it spin dramatically off course like a race car on icy roads. I spend about half of the game in the tall grass and tree filled areas. The thing about venturing off the padded grass path is that this is where I start building up my collection, no make that my bounty of surplus golf balls. I do attempt to find the golf ball I was using. I also begin looking for any homeless golf balls that happen to be living in the tall grass or wooded areas. The rule is that you have to stop searching for rogue golf balls once you find the one you hit into the rough. Unless you can’t find it, in that case you drop a new ball after 10 minutes of searching.

It’s so entertaining for me to come running out of the woods with 6 golf balls in the side pockets of my cargo pants that I did not have before (cargo pants are a must for this game, you need lots of pockets and storage space). I keep a running tally for the whole game. I always come out ahead too, which is another way you win while playing Rich Golf. I think my personal best over the past 10 years, by the end of the 9th hole, was 32 golf balls ahead. I was unable to return the ball I had borrowed, mainly because I had lost it, but did make up for that one lost golf ball. My record game was in Logan, Utah. It was a morning game too. Three friends and I headed to the links? Court? Field? Course… and it was by far one of the most amusing, entertaining, and playful games of Rich Golf I have ever played. My friends told me I came in last, but I think they meant that in the traditional sense of the game.

I never keep the golf balls for two reasons. I don’t have any place to keep them and since I only play golf with friends and they always have traditional golf equipment, why not let them keep the surplus of found golf balls to use at some later time. I know they actually play the game more than once every few years. The second reason, I wouldn’t feel right about keeping them. It’s like buying chocolates from Belgium and then keeping them in the box waiting for a special occasion to eat them. Not allowing inanimate objects fulfill the purpose and function of their existence is not only sacrilege, but it’s incredibly… well it makes me want to eat ice cream when I’m not in the mood to eat ice cream, and that is just not right, period. It might make a little more sense if I point out that I’m really not a big ice cream person either.

Some of you might be wondering how playing 9 holes of golf with just three clubs works especially then none of those clubs fall into the putter category. Putters are highly overrated and in my case never necessary. I either use my wood in a very soft tapping style, or I just use a clubs long section that has the grippy bits at the end and use it in a pool cue fashion to hit the ball into the hole. Besides, with only three clubs I just walk around with the three of them in only one hand. I then drop the two I don’t need for the shot and use the club that feels right. I do think that the more clubs you have the more befuddled the constricting the game becomes. I do think I might attempt using two clubs next time instead of three, you know, just to gauge the doability of the thing.

There is one alteration that may happen to my game though. A few weeks ago I lent my car to a friend to drive to Boise Idaho to help a friend pack up his house and move. When he got back and returned the car, he had me open the trunk. Inside was an old black and pink golf club bag fill will old, weather beaten clubs. He explained that as he was helping his friend move he noticed that a neighbor had placed the old bag of clubs out on the curb as trash for the garbage man to pick up and take away. So he grabbed it for me. There nestled in with the collection of old golf clubs were my three clubs, looking happy to have a bag to call home. I really have only one gripe. It’s not that they are women’s clubs, which they are, but I could care less about that. The problem is that they are right handed clubs.

Now I might be a lot of things, but right handed was never one of those… except for using scissors. It’s not my fault though. I blame it on the fact that I only had access to right-handed scissors in elementary school. I also believe that this is why I cannot make that Vulcan “live long and prosper” hand gesture with my left hand. I can make it with my right hand as easy as a monkey flings… er, messy stuff. But I cannot for the life of me make that symbol with my left hand, unless I can cheat and tape my pinky and forth finger together.

With this new bag addition to the game I have thought about keeping a golf ball for myself the next time I go. That way I will have my own starting ball the next time I go. Since having that initial thought the motion has been vetoed and will not be becoming a practice for my game. Borrowing that first ball is at the core what the game is about. An initial act of trust and kindness that is extended to you, which is repaid at the end of the game by the reciprocating act of giving them the entire golf ball treasure you collected throughout the game. It’s a brilliant moment when you ask your friend to hold out their hands and you begin unloading your golf ball filled pockets into their hands. Once you get to number fifteen they usually start laughing so hard they can no longer hold them all and they spill all over the ground as you keep handing them ball after ball after ball. It’s the perfect ending to a perfect game.

Do you have any sports that you altered to make your own?

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: man golfing, sloth goonies, treasure, golf balls, using golf club as pool cue, Shatner Vulcan fail, and handful of golf balls.

How about that Earth Day?

How about that Earth Day?

Is it wrong that for Earth Day I had a salad for lunch? I wasn’t trying to be insensitive, I was just hungry… just not terribly hungry. So it’s Earth Day. Um, go Earth! I’ve decided that for Earth Day that I would go ahead and anthropomorphize the Earth for a minute or two, which I’m pretty sure has never ever been done before. I even called my mom to make sure.

I think I’d like to start a campaign to rename planets and moons. According to NASA:

“The official names of planets and their moons are governed by an organization called the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The IAU was established in 1919. The IAU is the internationally recognized authority for assigning names to celestial bodies and any surface features on them.

The IAU recognizes that astronomy is an old science and many of its names come from long-standing traditions and/or are founded in history. With the exception of Earth, all of the planets in our solar system have names from Greek or Roman mythology. This tradition was continued when Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were discovered in more modern times.”

In my opinion they are a little out of date. I’d like to see them with a more contemporary name. We go with names loosely based off of the 7 dwarves or possibly even the Smurfs:

  • Change Mercury to Tiny
  • Change Venus to Surfette… ok how about Neurotic … hmm, maybe Happy then.
  • Change Earth to Lively
  • Change Mars to Angry
  • Change Saturn to Hoopy
  • Change Uranus to Lazy
  • Change Neptune to Hungry
  • Change Pluto to Lonely

And for the Sun, I think we should all just call it Frank.

I’m not saying these are set in stone, except maybe the Frank thing, but it’s a smirk worth having.

The point being that the anthropomorphized Earth, let’s call her Ethel. Ethel is that one girl that you somehow had every class with that was brilliant, creative, breath taking, but has no idea how amazing she really is. Plus, she’s always really nice, except when she’s not. Also, when she’d go out with someone that was going to treat her like crap and take advantage of her, you’d always get really upset.

I like Ethel, actually I need to call it what it is and what it is, is love. I love Ethel. I can honestly say that if it was not for her I would not be here today. Yeah, I know, I could do those all day. For today though, I am going to share with you my Earth Day activity, and would invite you all try it after you finish reading today’s Earth Day Smirk.

First, go outside. Once there find a patch of grass, dirt, a tree trunk, something organic that is connected to the planet and touch it. If you are going to stand in the sand, grass, dirt, mud, whatever really. Do it barefoot. The point is establishing that connection between you and Earth… your skin against the Earth’s skin.

Then allow yourself to think about it. Don’t think about work, or dinner, or puppies, or your favorite Bee Gees song. Just take a minute to think about the Earth and the connection you are making with it at that moment. If you want to go longer than a minute, by all means take an hour if you want. Whatever is right for you is right for you.

This actually started as a result from a conversation I was having with a surfer in Washington State. He was one of those zenish, zenful… zennanite surfers? He was one of those “Surfing is Zen” people. In our conversation though, he brought up his practice of connecting to the Earth. When he was having a not so Zen day, he would go to the beach and cover himself with sand, and let that connection help him in feeling better. Does it really work? I did for him, and I’d dare say it does if you let it. Ultimately, it’s your choice.

It makes for a good Earth Day moment regardless. If you dig it, the nice thing about it is that you don’t have to wait until next year’s Earth Day to do it again. It’s all yours now, use it whenever you want. I do hope you give it a go and at least try it once. I know I appreciated it when I finally tried it. Besides if you do it barefoot there is always a chance that the grass might tickle your feet, so there is a definite chance you’ll get a giggle out of the whole thing… if you have ticklish feet that is.

Any groovy Earth Day moments you experienced this year?

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: Earth Day, Pluto, Zen Surfer, and feet in grass.

How about that Earth Day?

Tuesday with Lisa

So yesterday, I had managed to put together a few lines for a new Smirk plus an intro and rough outline for a new book and then… I went to a Biz Divas event, with special guest star Lisa Nichols. Yes Lisa was back in town and was speaking at another of my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh’s events. The Biz Divas is Angela’s networking and education company for business women and entrepreneurs. So when faced with the option of writing about the finer points of how to best review a Hollywood movie or sharing some of the points Lisa talked about the previous evening, well, let’s just say… take it away Lisa!

See had I actually recorded any of her presentation that would have been a perfect place to put it. I did take some notes though, and I do concede that now would probably be a perfect time for those. Funny thing about perfection, it’s a little more subjective than one might think. One person’s perfection is another person’s pa… something. I was hoping for another p word, but I’m not exactly sure which one fits the way I want it do. Hmm… problem, poppycock, picture frame, ooh how about placency, well complacency. There’s even a p in it and I think it works. Actually, I think I’m looking for the opposite of that word, something like anxiety… only with a p in it. I think I’ve made my… a point.

So when arrived at the event I was a bit bothered. Not because of the event, but because of work. Ok not exactly work, but I received a phone call at work from a Crap-Magnon, which is a lot like a Cro-Magnon except that they look like humans and sound like humans when they speak, but have not evolved to the point that they know how to speak with and be human. They reek of foul, vile energy and after talking to them for about one to two minutes tops, your skin begins crawling and a trigger in your brain that goes off that repeats over and over again that this is not a good person and you need to get away from them as soon as possible.

Even an hour after the call had ended I was still bothered that I had experienced such an intense black hole of negative energy. You could say it was the energetic equivalent of accidentally stepping into a pile of Great Dane pooh. The smell follows you around for a while and it takes a little time to get all of it off. Plus, you’re going to need a water hose to do it.

The water hose arrived when I walked into the event. The room was an energetic white hole, which is the opposite of a black hole… I looked it up. When I walked into the event the room was full of friendly faces, old friends, new friends, friends that will someday be friends, but as of yet we’ve still not met. It was the radiating positive energy of people there. It was light, kind, warm, and accepting. Also, because the room was full of people like that the energy just kept growing, and expanding outward. Five minutes after walking into that room any residuals from the Crap-Magnon caller were all gone. It was a good day and it was only going to get better. So a thank you to everyone there for that, and thanks for the smiles, the hugs, and the love.

Lisa’s presentation was grand, and it was a little different than last time I saw her. This time the focus was on business and some tips, suggestions… make that steps for people to mull through and start with to assist them with their own business. I did like this concept a lot. One of the things that make us all the same is the fact that we are all so different. When you share information designed to help others it helps to have multiple choices that people can choose from, because we’re not all in the same place. One person’s “eureka” is another’s “that was so last year.” Out of the 6 steps she shared there were individuals knowing that Step 1 was just for them while others cradled Step 2 as their “Yes, YES” and so on for each step shared.

Here are the steps Lisa gave, although if you get the chance to see her present these 6 steps I highly recommend you do so. Mainly because she has a brilliant entertaining personal story to go along with each step, and the presentation is definitely going to make you feel all warm and fuzzy.

  • Step 1: Begin with the end in mind. It’s good to think about the process, but it just as important to know what the end result looks like.
  • Step 2: Give yourself a thousand second chances. It’s not that your idea or dream didn’t work. It just didn’t work that time. Give yourself a second change, and then another, and another, and another. You get the point.
  • Step 3: Get someone who is better than you to play with you. Get a coach and/or mentor for your business (art, music, writing, whatever it is you do), to motivate and encourage you, and to remind you that they were once were you are now, and are now were you want to be.
  • Step 4: Give yourself permission to have what it is you say you want. If you have no respect for millionaires and think they are all evil and bad people, how can you become one? The more successful you are the more you can share your message and help others. Begin wealthy does not make you a bad person, it only amplifies the person you are.
  • Step 5: Bring your family on the journey, but don’t drag them. And don’t wait for them. It is your vision, and you have to keep it going. Either they will support you or they won’t. What you need to do is keep moving forward.
  • Step 6: Move from operating like a flood light to operating like a laser. Don’t try to do everything at once. Start with one or two things and focus on those. Once you get those down and they begins running on its own (or the event you planned is over, or the song you wrote is recorded, or the book you wrote is finished), focus on your next vision, idea, product, etc.

And that’s it… six steps. Find the one that speaks to you and own it… or don’t, in the end it’s always going to be your choice and no one else.

Which one was my “ah ha!” step? I think it was a mixture of 1 and 6, but mostly 6, mainly when it comes to my writing. I have already started four novels and only one is roughly finished. I get to finish that first book. Proofread, edited, revised, and submitted to publishers. Then it will be time to start working on the next one. I get to be more laser focused on completely finishing my first novel instead focusing on my writing like a puppy with ADD in a bouncy ball factory. Don’t worry though, I’ll keep Smirking as long as people are willing to read and happy to laugh.

It was a good presentation and a good night. Of course when Lisa is in the room, it always is. I wish you all could have been there. But since you couldn’t I guess it’s a good thing I took notes. Yay me!

Any thoughts on today’s Smirk?

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: Lisa Nichols, 6 steps, rude people, hosing off shoes, and puppy with ball.

How about that Earth Day?

A Reunionful Weekend and Wine Review

Saturday proved to be a rather delightful day dedicated to catching up with old friends. Some dear friends from my coffee shop past just so happened to be in town this weekend celebrating their birthday. Only one of them was having their birthday, but since they were married, it made sense that they should celebrate it together. They wanted to get together and catch up, and they wanted to eat some really good Mexican food. So we killed two stones with one bird and Angela and I met Jules and Brandon and their ridiculously adorable kids at one of the best, if not the best, Mexican Restaurants in Salt Lake, The Red Iguana.

It had only been about 12 or 13 years since I had last seen Jules and Brandon, but I can always count on a clever and well written Christmas letter from them when the holiday comes along. Now there are a few things that happen when you first learn that you will be having lunch with your old friend’s kids. I mean your friends will be there too, obviously, but it’s the unknown element that kids seem to always be bring into any equation that gets you initially a little unnerved. When it comes to old friend’s kids there are really only two possible outcomes, well behaved fabulous children, or misbehaved complete and total bastards. There is also that inner little person filter that you need to remember to pay attention to. I did a fairly good job keeping my language at least at a PG-13 level through the entire meal.

As for the kids, they were grand. There are a lot of little people (I mean children for those of you that don’t know I call all children little people) in Utah. Making babies is kind of a… a hobby for a fair portion of the inhabitants of this state. In my experience I see a lot more ill behaved kids than well behaved kids. So anytime I run into well behaved kids, I always feel like I’m in a Ripley’s Believe It or Not episode. It’s just commonly so uncommon that I’m usually befuddled for the first 5 to 10 minutes. It was unbelievable. The kids just sat in their chairs, eating their food, and giving the adults a chance to catch up. Well done Jules and Brandon… well done Jules and Brandon’s little people.

After lunch and a huggy farewell, it was back to the house to get things ready for the wine party that was to start at 7PM. Oddly enough, to keep in tune with the reunion motif that was lunch, I had two old friends that I had not seen since 2002, at my ten year high school reunion, show up at the wine party. They live in the area and ever since we agreed to be friends on Facebook I have invited them to a number of wine parties, but it just never worked out.

So yeah, the wine party had its own reunion element with these old high school friends showing up for the first time. It’s always nice to catch up with old friends and realize that you have more in common with them that you thought you might have. Conversation definitely evolves to new levels of sharing when you hit that point. I did hear some stories about other people in high school that I never really cared to know, but alcohol has a way of enabling people to share stories that you normally wouldn’t. Still, all in all, it was a lot of fun reminiscing and being reminded of things I had completely forgotten about… such as the Samantha Fox lip syncing video that I shot at my with all the girls at the 8th grade graduation party while all of the boys sat in the next room watching Aliens or some Arnie movie. I have no idea where it is and for the sake of all of us, let’s hope I never find it.

There were a few other first time wine party friends there as well, plus the always reliable wine party regulars that are truly the friends I refer to as my other family. We did have plans to have a Earth Day moment. For some reason that seemed like a good idea at some point in the party planning, but it sort of got lost in the evenings consumption. I think the forgetfulness could be connected to the 15 empty wine bottles that covered the table be the end of the night. That doesn’t include any of the mixed drinks that were being enjoyed throughout the night as well.

I think for the Earth Day thing we were going to turn off all the lights in the house for a moment a darkened Earth appreciation and meditation for those that were coherent enough to meditate. When we finally remembered that we had forgotten we decided that since so many people were at the house that meant their houses had all the lights turned out, thus conserving a lot more energy than if we had simple turned out our lights for a few minutes. I believe it’s called proxy energy conservation. It’s a new theory. I mean brand new… as of Saturday night at 11:37PM, but I think it’s going to catch on.

I do have two favorite lines of the night that I wrote down so that I would remember to share them with all of you. They consist of:

  • One friend arriving late so there are only a few bottles left that have any wine in them. Once he helped finish the last of the bottled reds, he notices a box of Sangria, pours a glass. He takes one sip and replies, “Ew, if I’m willing to drink that, it’s time for me to stop drinking.” That about an expected profoundity, profan… talk about a profound moment.
  • The other was mostly an observation said with the desire to get a friends to smile who was going through a spell of drunken melancholy. The line was, “You know, if urine smelled more like lemons, bathrooms would get cleaned a lot less.”

Yes, I know boys and their toilet humor, but hey after 15 bottles of wine there’s a good chance that even you would be giggling at either one of those lines. Well if you hadn’t already passed out that is.

As for the party’s wine winner, I give you the 2005 Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva. It was a bit of a fixed win though. I hold a very special place in my heart for this wine. It was the wine Angela and I had at our wedding. Regardless of that little fact, the wine is still an amazing wine. I was first introduced to it when we first started the wine tasting group all those years ago. They were 2003 bottles at the time though. Still, the 2005 release has kept the flavor and depth that caused me to fall in love with the 2003 release in the first place.

It is one of those wines that after I take my first sip, my eyelids automatically shut as my eyes roll to back. Then, ss the wine hits the back of my throat I unconsciously begin smiling. And as I let it roll down my throat a small, “Mmm.” involuntarily escapes signifying to everyone in the room that yes, the wine is that good.

The key thing to remember is that it is the Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva, which is the bottle with the black label. The regular Gabbiano Chianti is ok, but pales in comparison to the Riserva. It’s a $20 bottle of wine, but is definitely worth it, unless you are a fruity wine person. The thing I like about a $20 bottle of wine is that if you are a posh wine consumer, sure it might be a little low end for you, but it’s still in the high low end range instead of low or medium low end range. And even if you are a two buck chuck drinker $20 is something you could do and be ok with once a year, like on your birthday when someone is buying a bottle for you and you want to try something that is an experience to remember.

It was a good Saturday all the way around, and on a groovy note, the next wine party is in two weeks. I have one of my best friends visiting and if there is one thing I know for sure its when a friend is visiting from out of town, you definitely have a party.

Any good wines that you’ve tried lately? I’d love to hear about them and add them to my list of friend recommended wines.

Images Sources:
Google Images, key words: red iguana, 2005 Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Riserva, good kids, friends laughing, and lemons.