Trick-or-Treating For Adults

The title of this entry is a quote from my friend Dave. This was how he described wine tasting in California. We'll start there.

This was my first time out in California since the late 1980s. Much has changed out there since then; the tech industry exploded, the 49ers franchise has collapsed, and the wine industry has taken off. I was most concerned with the changes in the wine industry.

After a couple days of bouncing around the city, my friend Dave, his roommate Jeremy and I headed north to Napa. The drive was totally easy, not what I was expecting from both a traffic prospective and a geography prospective. I had visions of the road from SF to Napa being dominated by small inns, massive grape fields, rolling hills, and singing birds. Nope. A lot of it was marsh lands - something I hadn't known even existed in California before I saw it up close. We of course made our way to the inns, and grape fields, but the journey up was just different.

We began trick-or-treating on the early side - 11am - at Cakebread Family Vineyards. This is one of those wines that started as a big cult wine and has exploded across the country. Bottles now are between $100 - $200 at restaurants. The three of us had a private tasting in a very fun private wine room. Enjoyed some good stuff - picked up a bottle and headed further north.

This process continued for the next 5 hours.

We made friends along the way too. Namely a 55-year old tipsy woman from San Diego. Here's the story. Dave, Jeremy and I stopped at the Silverado Brewing Company for lunch and the opportunity to catch some of the Pats v. Chargers game. It was packed, and we were forced to sit outside (by ourselves) and watch through a glass door. Next thing we knew, this woman from San Diego came out and took it upon herself to find us a place to sit. First, she got us two seats at the bar, then came back over to us and said she'd saved a table for us right in front of the big screen. The three of us were in awe of her dedication. Perhaps earlier in her life she had been a hostess at a restaurant - that was the only explanation we could think of.

Overall, the trip to the Bay Area was fantastic. The weather was great, the food was incredible, and the wine was top-rate. The one disappointing part of the trip was that there wasn't an earthquake. I had been hoping for at least a small one - what's cooler than saying that you've been through a San Francisco earthquake? Not too much.

I'm out in Tuscon, AZ now and will be updating this space more frequently.



For Christmas, I received a pair of Bose noise-cancelling headphones. I had been looking forward to getting a pair of these for years now - and now that I use them all the time, my life is a lot quieter.

For those that haven't had the opportunity to use these yet, let me assure you that they work. I put them on as soon as I step onto an airplane, and I suddenly feel like I'm in an orb of quiet - my own secret garden. It's incredible. I've enjoyed using them so much, that I walk to the Metro with them on, ride the bus with them on, ride the Metro with them on...and sit at my desk in the office with them on (usually without music playing).

It got me thinking.

I remember when I was using my first iPod, with my neat little in-ear earphones that made all the noise of the New York City streets fade away. No longer would people ask me for money on the street as they'd notice my white earbuds, people wouldn't ask me for directions either - I became very insulated. Now, as I walk around in even more quiet around Washington, DC - I feel like the city has disappeared around me.

By their nature, cities are noisy places - honking horns, screaming people, public transportation, and the unmistakable drone of air conditioners in the summer. As more and more people put on headphones, more and more people are redefining the city experience...in a way. As much as I've enjoyed wandering around Philadelphia, Washington & New York listening to Robert Plant and or/ Mick Jagger sing to me - what have I missed? People asking for help? Sirens? Someone sneaking up on me? Laughter?

It's time for me to take off my headphones and pay more attention.