June 30, 2005

Food and Wine

I like to have a glass of wine every now and then. It relaxes my mind, and it is an enjoyable experience from almost all perspectives. Over the past couple of years, I have started buying more and better wine. This is a problem sometimes. Why? Well, one thing is that in Houston, it is hard to keep your house at the ideal “Cellar Temperature” all year round. That is 55 degrees F. If your house is much warmer than that, the wine ages poorly, or can even go bad. Not overnight, of course, but over the course of a year or two.

So I bought a wine cooler. No, not a Bartles and James, but a EuroCave. Which meant, of course, that I had to get better wine to justify that expense. Then it was hard to keep track of the wines I bought, so I had to find some way to record my wines. So I found Cellar Tracker. That way I could record my wines, my impressions of my wines, and read about other people and their wines. Now this sound suspiciously as if it becoming a hobby. I don’t do hobbies.

So what does this all mean? I tend to couple it with my enjoyment of cooking and eating. In my opinion, it is impossible to enjoy a great meal without a wonderful bottle of wine to accompany it. When I cook, I try to cook around the wine that I want to have that night. When I eat out at restaurants, I tend to select the wine before the food.

When we travel, our best time is when we find a little out of the way place to eat with a nice local wine. I am not a snob when it comes to food or to wine. What I object to is a homogenized or dumbed down cuisine. For example: The food on the Plaza in Vera Cruz is great. The same in San Miguel de Allende is overpriced and sad. The difference is this: In Vera Cruz, they are catering to their friends. In SMdA, they are catering to tourists or gringos.

Not that you can’t get good food that when you are being catered to. But when I think of great meals I have had, I can think of places like Lima, Peru. Milan, Italy. Beijing, China. Not tourist Meccas (of course, give me a great meal in Paris (scroll to the bottom) and I will die happy) but cities with a genuine population of people who love to eat. Mexico City. Singapore.

So I eat. I drink. And I write.

June 28, 2005

Been On Vacation

I have been on vacation.

You can see it here.

I am back, and will be posting again soon!

June 8, 2005

This is a mess of fried chicken that I cooked last Sunday. It was a lot of work, but quite tasty! Posted by Hello

I have a cousin who works in Alaska, This is in front of his office. Posted by Hello

Digital Cameras

I have a digital camera. Actually, we have seven in the house if you count the cell phones (3) attachments to a handheld Dell, and the legacy camera with which we took all our photos a couple of years ago when we ran away from home. People are always asking me about what camera to buy. The answer is: Get what you want. Attached is a link to an interesting article in the NYTimes about how to use your camera:

The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > Less Cursing, Better Pictures: 10 Suggestions

Remember, you need to register for the NYTimes

June 6, 2005

BBS: The Documentary

Since I used computers in the early days, ie Pre-World Wide Web, I am quite familiar with the old BBS or Bulletin Board Systems of early dial up computing. Evidently, someone has written and filmed a FIVE HOUR documentary about these early days of computer communications:

BBS: The Documentary

I will write more about BBSs - I was very active in several of them when I got my first Mac in 1984.

I baked an apple pie this weekend. Posted by Hello

June 5, 2005

Our dining room. Jazzy chairs. Posted by Hello

Housing and Houston

My younger sister just bought a house. I know that if you live in most large cities in this country, that can be a trying experience. In Houston, it is never that bad. She bought a house, a nice 1700 square foot house, seven minutes from her office. AND she works in the Houston Medical Center! It was a good deal, not outrageously priced, and will be a great place for her to live. Below is a picture of her son Quinn. I think he will be 16 this fall.

My Nephew Quinn Posted by Hello

June 4, 2005

Amazon.com: Books: The Penguin Classics Library Complete Collection

So here is an interesting thing that Amazon is now offering:

Amazon.com: Books: The Penguin Classics Library Complete Collection

Is this just what it seems like? 1,082 titles? Wow. I wonder how many of these books I already have.

A Celebratory Splash for an Enigmatic Figure - New York Times

Link to a story about Cy Twombly in the New York Times (remember - registration needed)

Love him or hate him, he is an important figure in 20th century art.

A Celebratory Splash for an Enigmatic Figure - New York Times

THIS is a link to the Cy Twombly Gallery in Houston.

If you are anywhere near Houston during the next month, you should stop and see this stuff. I am not fond of it myself, but Doreen loves him. We have other friends and neighbors who love him as well

Speed Bump Posted by Hello

June 3, 2005


One of the things that I love to talk about in Houston is traffic. (NO, not Traffic, the band – you know The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, but that does bring up an interesting aside. I live in Peru for a summer when I was 18 years old – and one of the very few English language albums I had was this Traffic one. I also had The White Album by The Beatles. SO if I ever hear While My Guitar Gently Weeps I am immediately transported back to San Juan, Peru – where I was working six days a week for S/.100 per day) and what I can’t figure out about Houston traffic is “Where are all those people going? Why don’t they just stay home?”

More later.

Doreen on The Beautiful Amalfi Coast Posted by Hello

A Race to the Top - New York Times

Another editorial from the NYTimes - this time from Friedman, regarding Europe and the world.

A Race to the Top - New York Times

June 2, 2005

We Eat Our Young

Not many people can say that there were present at the beginning of an entire industry. Or perhaps more importantly, not many people when they are in the middle of the invention of a new industry KNOW that it is the beginning of a new industry.

I will readily admit that while I was there, I did not really recognize the truly mind altering aspects of what I was living through.

I am talking, of course, of the PC revolution. As I have mentioned earlier in this monolog, I have been in the software business for a very long time. When it started, it was all mainframes and dumb terminals. The company I was with at the time would ultimately have its legs cut out from under it by PCs, but none of us really realized that was going to happen.

Moving from dumb terminals to PCs seemed harmless enough until you did the math. We would g et about $10,000 a month from a good client in our timesharing business. We would sell the software we used (think of it as a very specialized, very complicated spreadsheet) for $10,000 + 15% annual maintenance. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that we were eating our young.

And yet, the company survives to this day.

It happened in the midst of a bust and a boom. The bust was the oil industry, with hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs, at the same time that the start of the PC boom was taking root. Many were swept up with both sides. I was one.

I will save the sad and happy, sorry and lucky tales for later, but the facts of the matter was that the seeds of the oil bust were sewn in the computer boom.

But that is a story for another time.

Fear and Rejection - New York Times

This is a pretty good editorial by David Brooks from the New York Times. You will have to register at the NYTimes site if you haven't already done so. They are claiming that they will start charging for content like this in the future. I wonder if that will stick - it didn't for Slate. It seems to for Salon

Fear and Rejection - New York Times: "The Western European standard of living is about a third lower than the American standard of living, and it's "