2006 Deerfield Ranch Red Rex

Holy crap, this is one delicious bottle of wine.

I like my wines big, red and juicy. The bigger, the better. I like a good long finish that lets me sit and dwell on it for a while. I like rich and complex flavours and aromas. If it’s spicy and peppery too, well, I’m in heaven.

The ’06 Red Rex missed out on the black pepper, except as an aftertaste, but it hit the bell on every other check on my list. I had never tasted wine as dense as this fella, to the point that I had to ask the Wine Chef what the proper terminology was for that kind of texture and mouth feel. I’d never had anything like it! Viscous. Or, I could say it’s incredibly chewy (though, that doesn’t sound nearly as appealing, does it?) You could just roll it around on your tongue and keep pulling different notes from it.

I don’t want to make you think Red Rex tastes like a sherry or a fortified wine, it’s not sweet. In fact, the heavy tanins could almost make it seem bitter to some. But, the way they make your mouth water and help deliver those black cherry, blackberry and blackcurrant notes more than put me into winegasm.

The aroma of Red Rex is as big as it’s taste. The fruit definitely comes through, but you also get the hints of smokey meat (which is more delicious that it sounds), and even a bit of sage.

Definitely not a wine for everyone, you need to be prepared to get your ass kicked by Red Rex. But if you like them big and beautiful, give this complex bad boy a try. I’m looking forward to my next bottle.

WHO: Deerfield Ranch
WHERE: Sonoma County, California
WHEN: 2006
WHAT: Cabernet Sauvignon (40%), Syrah (23%), Merlot (19%), Sangiovese (7%), Malbec (5%), Cabernet Franc (2%), Petit Verdot (2%)
COST: $29 at The Winehouse


The new iPad: March 2012

Everyone knew it was coming: the new iPad. Not an iPad 3 or iPad HD; just an iPad. (A lot of people are making a big deal about that, but think about the iPod. No matter what updates they roll out, they just usually call them an iPod.) Pre-orders for the new iPod started yesterday and it will be available on March 16th.

It doesn’t have any substantial changes from the iPad 2, but there’s definitely some upgrades. It has a ridiculously high-resolution screen. In fact, the “Retina Display” out-pixels your HDTV at home. There’s voice dictation, 4G LTE capability, which means very fast download speeds, and it can also be used as a wireless hotspot. It also has a better camera at 5-megapixel, illuminated sensor with a 5-element lens, face detection and IR filter, plus HD (1080p) video capture.

Instead of going smaller, it’s actually a bit bigger, but you probably won’t even notice it at 0.11 pounds heavier and 0.37 inches thicker. Battery life stays the same at 10 hours; 9 on 4G. And, they didn’t add Siri on to the iPad, like it had been rumoured earlier this week. Also the same, it will run on Rogers, Telus and Bell in Canada.

Basically, what it boils down to is if you have the iPad 2, there really aren’t any huge reasons to rush out and pick up the new iPad. Unless you’re really into shooting video with your iPad and editing it on the fly, you’re not going to notice a whole heck of a lot of difference between the two.

Which is handy to those cheapskates among us – myself included – who might just want to pick up an iPad 2 since they’re dropping that price $100.

(Originally published on the Tom and Joe blog)

The Wonderlic Personnel Test ™

Set your clock for five minutes, don’t peek at the answers, and see if you’re smart enough to be a quarterback. Tom got 60%, Joe 67%, Bubba 73% and I managed a 93%. Looks like it’s time to make me the “moneyball” behind the scene!

The Wonderlic Personnel Test ™
WPT ™ Sample Questions

1. Look at the row of numbers below. What number should come next?

8 4 2 1 ½ ¼ ?

2. Assume the first two statements are true. Is the final one:

1. true, 2. false, 3. not certain?

The boy plays baseball. All baseball players wear hats. The boy wears a hat.

3. Paper sells for 21 cents per pad. What will four pads cost?

4. How many of the five pairs of items listed below are exact duplicates?

Nieman, K.M. Neiman, K.M.
Thomas, G.K. Thomas, C.K.
Hoff, J.P. Hoff, J.P.
Pino, L.R. Pina, L.R.
Warner, T.S. Wanner, T.S.

5. RESENT RESERVE � Do these words
1. have similar meanings, 2. have contradictory meanings, 3. mean neither the same nor opposite?

6. One of the numbered figures in the following drawing is most different from the others. What is the number in that figure?




7. A train travels 20 feet in 1/5 second. At this same speed, how many feet will it travel in three seconds?

8. When rope is selling at $.10 a foot, how many feet can you buy for sixty cents?

9. The ninth month of the year is

1. October, 2. January, 3. June, 4. September, 5 May.

10. Which number in the following group of numbers represents the smallest amount?

7 .8 31 .33 2

11. In printing an article of 48,000 words, a printer decides to use two sizes of type. Using the larger type, a printed page contains 1,800 words. Using smaller type, a page contains 2,400 words. The article is allotted 21 full pages in a magazine. How many pages must be in smaller type?

12. The hours of daylight and darkness in SEPTEMBER are nearest equal to the hours of daylight and darkness in:

1. June, 2. March, 3. May, 4. November.

13. Three individuals form a partnership and agree to divide the profits equally. X invests $9,000, Y invests $7,000, Z invests $4,000. If the profits are $4,800, how much less does X receive than if the profits were divided in proportion to the amount invested?

14. Assume the first two statements are true. Is the final one:

1. true, 2. false, 3. not certain?

Tom greeted Beth. Beth greeted Dawn. Tom did not greet Dawn.

15. A boy is 17 years old and his sister is twice as old. When the boy is 23 years old, what will be the age of his sister?

These are sample test questions and are intended for demonstration purposes only. The Wonderlic Personnel Test is published by Wonderlic, Inc. via ESPN.com

1. 1/8
2. true
3. 84 cents
4. 1
5. 3
6. 4
7. 300 feet
8. 6 feet
9. September
10. .33
11. 17
12. March
13. $560
14. not certain
15. 40 years old

(originally published on the Tom & Joe blog)

Winnipeg Jets Fan Brew

 You could be cheering on the Jets tonight, by winning the Last Seat in the House. But, if you’re watching at home you could be enjoying the game with some Winnipeg Jets Fan Brew: a special Budweiser beer made with Manitoba water and blessed by Jets fans. It went on sale today at MLCC locations and 100 other beer stores and, while supplies last, the Budweiser Winnipeg Jets Fan Brew is available at Tavern United before and after Jets games.

photo Wayne Glowacki/ Winnipeg Free Press

They actually got the water to brew it from landmarks across Winnipeg – places like The Forks, the legislature and, of course, the MTS Centre. (A bit of the water was even poured onto centre ice.) Then the water was “blessed” by Jets fans before being turned into that crisp, clean lager.

Only 24,000 two-fours of the Jets brew will be sold in specially marked 12-can packages. It should taste the same as a normal Bud, as it’s brewed exactly the same, but the warm glow you get you can blame on Jets pride instead of your normal beer buzz.

You planning on picking up a case while you cheer on your team?

How much do the little things matter?

You hear a lot of varying opinions on customer service these days. A lot of people that think businesses aren’t delivering enough. ( I also think a lot of customers are starting to feel entitled to a business giving away the farm, when they’re not at fault and it just doesn’t make monetary sense but that’s a whole different post.)

But, what about the little things? The smile when you walk into a business. Your salesguy remembering your name. That extra bit a business does to show you matter. Do they really make a difference?

I was in a car accident just before Christmas. A guy ran a stop sign and plowed right into the side of my car. Took about a month to get it all fixed up and I moved to Winnipeg before it was ready. Last week, when I flew back to Kelowna to get the moving truck loaded, it was my first chance to pick the car up.

The autobody shop knew all about my bouncing between provinces and the time crunch I was under. They’d even had me call the day before I was picking it up, to make sure it was ready for me. But, when they opened the back door to show me the interior work, first thing the sales rep and I notice is all the mud inside. You could tell by the smudges and prints that it had been from the work getting done (and, I knew for sure as I’d just had the car detailed before the accident so it was pretty much sparkling beforehand). He apologizes and says he’ll get his guys on it right away.

Then I notice that my (now) horribly cracked windshield hasn’t been replaced either. He explains that ICBC usually doesn’t cover the windshield if there are any rock chips. Only problem with that explanation (beyond it seeming like BS from the insurance side of things) is we’d had the same conversation the month before. I said I wanted the insurance broker to verify that and, if they still wouldn’t cover it, to replace the windshield at my expense. I’m a bit frustrated, but he says no problem. Bring it in the next day and he’ll replace the windshield and get it detailed at the same time.

Perfect! A little time out of a pretty packed schedule, but great that he can make it happen. I’ll feel safer about driving cross country if I have a clear view out that window.

I get the car in. They have a courtesy driver to run me back home and pick me up when it’s done. (Handy! Customer service bonus points.) Pay for the windshield, friendly chat with the salesguy, get in the car…disapointment. It still hasn’t been detailed.

What do you do? Turn around, walk back in and tell them they forgot to detail the car…again? What’s the autobody equivalent of spitting in your burger? Plus, I was already too busy to fit in getting my windshield replaced and just don’t have any more time to spare. Instead, I drive away. Mildly annoyed that I have a dirty car.

And, THAT is what has stuck with me. Not the amazing job they did with the repairs and how you can’t even tell I was in an accident. Not the incredibly friendly salesman. Not the courtesey driver. Not even the fact that they didn’t change the windshield, which seems like the bigger issue in hindsight. Nope, it was the fact that my car interior didn’t get vacuumed and wiped down.

Sometimes, it is all about the little things.

Macintosh Toffee

Remember this stuff? Not the ones in the individually wrapped pieces, but the stuff in the box. It came in one giant slab. Usually, it was a little bit hard so you’d come close to breaking a tooth off when you went to rip off a hunk.

I LOVE THIS STUFF!! Seriously, any time I see it in a store, I buy it. Just because it’s so bloody hard to find. Well…that, and I think it’s absolutely delicious. Rarely does my sweet tooth kick in, but I am a serious sucker for Macintosh Toffee.

Now, Holly is heading to the States next week on holidays and her aunt asked her to bring a box of Macintosh Toffee, since they don’t sell it down there. We peeked around at the stores, but a couple blocks from my house is Sugar Mountain on Corydon. Perfect! We’ll just stop there before she drops me off.

The place is a candy goldmine but when we asked about toffee the girl working tells us it has been discontinued! WHAT?!?!?! Yup, they’re only selling the bags of individually wrapped toffees now. Not the same! Those little pieces are always soft, not as chewy and, well, they just kinda taste chalky. Plus, those guys suck for baking…you know…if I was ever inspired to bake something 😉 And, most importantly, no longer will I have the joy of stumbling across a box in a random store and rewarding that find with some delicious candy!

I’m mildly candy devastated. Damn you Nestle!!


This is the infamous ‘boneyard’ in Colon Cemetery in Havana, Cuba, circa 1989. The picture is one of the photos taken and sent back home as a souvenir, showing American soldiers on top of the thirty foot deep pile pile of human remians. It seems pretty gruesome at first look, but it was actually a matter of space. With more than 800,000 graves and 1 million interments, there just wasn’t room for everyone to get their own grave.

A single grave in the cemetery cost $10 in rent for five years, or you could share a grave with two other people for $3 each. At the end of the five years, if the remains were not claimed, the bones were thrown into the boneyard [sometimes known as ‘bone pile] by the cemetery authorities.

Now the practice is, after three years, remains are removed from their tombs, boxed and placed in a storage building. The bone pile in the picture has been covered.

I find this fascinating. Not in a creepy, I want to get in touch with my gothic self kind of way. More that some people are horrified at the idea of a giant pile of bones. We all have such different reactions to death, how we remember people and what our culture finds an acceptable and/or respectful way of dealing with what we leave behind.

Some cultures have crypts, some built giant pyramids, some burn bodies in a majestic, fiery send off. These days, most of us (at least in Canada) are making the choice between burial or cremation. Though, you can turn your body into a diamond or be frozen in hopes of being revived later on. Heck, you can have your body donated to science! Maybe even become one of those skelletons in a classroom 😉

I had the talk with my husband, while we were buying our life insurance, about what he wanted done with his body once he, eventually, passes away. He’d never thought about it before! Didn’t really care one way or another. I know exactly what I want to happen to me: cremation, ashes scattered in water and a memorial bench in my name, somewhere with a great view.

Do you have a death plan? Does it matter to you where you end up? Or would you be just as content if you were added to the boneyard?