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what the hell?

Sometimes, that is the question. Like when you turn around and realize: Hey, that's not a crock pot!

Or when you find yourself at the Halloween store looking for a crown and sceptre because Someone High Up at work wants to wear a costume for the annual grape stomp, which is Saturday.

And which is not a costume party.

"real tokyo style" in l.a.

In L.A. again and absolutely thrilled by last night's dining discovery: Sake House Miro. Susan and I went there for dinner -- it's a teeny-tiny restaurant on La Brea that's modeled after a Tokyo pub. (I wouldn't know if this is true since I was only 2 years old when I was in Tokyo and obviously not going to sake bars, but from what other people have said online, this place is pretty much dead-on.) The vibe is more neighborhoody than the usual L.A. see-and-be-seen. There are Japanese street signs on the walls, a pink vintage Japanese payphone and lots of Japanese magazines to read while you're waiting. The sake selection is awesome, you can get a huge (huge!) can of Asahi for only $4.50 and the food rocks.

We had some sushi (well, kind of -- I had tamago and she had a spicy tuna handroll, so we weren't that adventurous), the albacore sashimi carpaccio (you can see it in the photo above -- it came in a soy-garlic-sesame sauce of some kind -- delish), a plate of sizzling beef short ribs served over onions and a side of asparagus. And of course, a very nice, floral-ish sake to help it all go down.

I told Susan all she had to do was say the word and I would fly down from the Bay Area for this place any time.

last rosé of the season?

Gosh, I hope not. But the days are getting shorter and the bounty from our garden has slowed down and there's a 60 percent chance of rain tomorrow.


This wine is responsible for the nastiest hangover I've had in awhile. I should've known; it was a Cab that didn't taste even remotely like a Cab (no tannins whatsoever). Something must've been wrong -- especially since I shared the bottle with three other people and still got extremely drunk and woke up feeling queasy and like my head was going to explode.

there are names for people like me

Today at work I got a phonecall from a telemarketer who was trying to sell me some sort of long-distance plan specifically for calling the Philippines.

She had heard I was Filipino, which I guess made me a prime target for her sales pitch.

The conversation went something like this:

Telemarketer: Mee-ka-ella [this is basically how my mom pronounces my name when she's pissed off at me], are you at work right now?

Me: Yes. You're calling me on my work line.

Telemarketer: This is not your cell phone, Mee-ka-ella?

Me: No. This is a land line.

Telemarketer: blah blah something I couldn't understand about a calling plan and then ... Are you Filipino?

Me: Yes.

Telemarketer: Are you full Filipino? Your mom and your dad are both Filipino?

Me: Yes.

Telemarketer: Mee-ka-ella, do you understand Tagalog?

Me: Yes.

Telemarketer: I'm going to explain the plan to you in Tagalog.

Me: OK ... but I won't be able to talk back to you since I don't speak Tagalog.

Telemarketer: But you understand Tagalog?

Me: Yes, but I don't speak it. My parents talk to me in Tagalog, and I talk back in English.

Awkward pause. Telemarketer kind of laughs at me.

Telemarketer: Mee-ka-ella, have you been to the Philippines?

Me: No. Not since I was born. We moved when I was 2.

Another awkward pause.

Telemarketer: Mee-ka-ella, I have a calling plan so you can call your relatives in the Philippines. How often do you call the Philippines, Mee-ka-ella?

Me: Never. All of my relatives live here. All of my aunts and uncles [this is kind of a lie but I hate telemarketers] and even my grandmothers.

Telemarketer: Do you have any Filipino friends, Mee-ka-ella?

Another pause as I mentally review my friends' cultural backgrounds.

Telemarketer: Any Filipino friends up there in Napa, Mee-ka-ella?

Me: Actually, no. I don't really have any Filipino friends.

Which makes the telemarketer start laughing. She tells me I'm very nice, wishes me a good day and hangs up.

And I'm left sitting there, at my desk: The only Asian person in my entire company (unless you count the Japanese sommelier that is working in the cellar right now, just for a few weeks).

nudity always wins

I spent all day today sending out information about the new sales and marketing alliance between Clos Du Val and all of its sister brands. I've been working on launching this "entity" (is that business jargon or what?) for months now -- writing and re-writing press materials, putting the staff through media training, scheduling interviews for our spokespeople, freaking out, etc. Seriously, this project took over my life.

Unfortunately, all anyone is interested in is our naked vineyard manager. He posed in nothing but a cowboy hat, boots and a strategically placed apron for the Napa Uncovered calendar.

And now everyone wants to talk to him. Today, he got phonecalls from everyone, from Spectator to local papers to even someone from the British press.

Meanwhile, I'm practically begging people to write about the global alliance.

(By the way, the fabulous artwork you see today is Todd's pen-and-ink drawing entitled "Naked Man Pen." See if you can find the one truly naked man in the picture.)

I am psychic

Last week I dreamt my friend Leah from work got engaged. When I told her about my dream, she laughed and said there was absolutely no chance her boyfriend would be proposing any time soon. They had just bought a house together, she said. There was no money.

He proposed this weekend.