Sunday, August 27, 2006

Lazy sunday alcobloggage

In February, I'll regret not having gone out and done all sorts of summery activities today, but I'm making the choices for today and not for six months down the road, so I'm slouching on the balcony with a drink and something to read, and I thought I'd blog about it so I can go back and read this in the dead of winter and wonder why the hell I wasn't at the beach, or out wakeboarding, or driving the MG with the top down, or whatever. Well, it's because I wanted to, and I can, I guess. And I agree, that's a lame reason, but there you have it.

So I have 3 things in front of me. First, we have "Ultimate", the Sunday paper's glossy new foray into the ultra-luxury lifestyle segment. The cover story gushes about the latest gazillion-dollar hobby ranch development out near Bend. The new gimmick is that all the McMansions there must be done in a style the developers call "Napa/Tuscan". Seriously. A bunch of fake Tuscan villas out in the middle of the desert. There's even a small vineyard as part of the "grounds", growing what the article describes as "French hybrid grapes". Hybrid in this sense means hybridized between European and New World varieties. These hybrids are generally not well thought-of in the wine world, but they'll grow almost anywhere, even in the middle of a desert, a desert with extremely cold winters. It's not really Tuscan without a vineyard, and this is all that'll grow here, so hybrids it is.

The article profiles the retired couple who bought the first house in the new subdivision. Seems that now that they're experts on the Tuscan lifestyle, they're considering a trip to Italy to see the "real thing". Wow.

There are also articles on $35,000 outdoor grills, and Lamborghinis, both of which are incredibly practical in our drizzly climate. Not. Overall, the magazine invites public ridicule, as does following its dictates.

The facing page across from the end of the Tuscan ranch blather contains a house-for-sale ad, for the house discussed in the article. If they really loved the place so much, why is it for sale so soon? The world can be so damn mysterious sometimes.

The second item is a 70's paperback, "The Serial: A Year in the Life of Marin County", by Cyra McFadden. It's a great satire on an era that deserved it. Gold chains, hot tubs, cults, drugs, it's all there. In other words, the larval stage of people who are now scrambling to buy gazillion-dollar Tuscan hobby ranches in the middle of the freakin' desert.

I bought the book some time ago, at a great used book store down in McMinnville. We went back yesterday, to discover that the bookshop is gone, replaced by... an upscale wine bar. Seriously. The place was empty when we walked by, but it sure looked sleek and expensive. We didn't go in. And why bother with a pretentious wine bar when Golden Valley Brewing is just down the street, I ask you. Mmm.... Red Thistle Ale...

Item #3 is a stack of geeky math papers, which I probably won't get to, y'know, with the booze and all. (The booze is just a mundane gin & fruit juice concoction, whatever was here w/o going to the store, basically.)

Actually I haven't gotten around to any of the 3 items yet, due to this moblogging business. It's not really a lazy Sunday if you sit and write about it instead of living the moment, so I'd probably better wrap this up. See ya!
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

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