Weird Holidays, aka #weirdholidays

Back in September, I changed desks at work for a couple of months. We all have whiteboards at our cubicles and offices to let people know where we are, and this new desk had an extra-large whiteboard, prominently placed on the outside of the cube. (My current cube has its smaller whiteboard up on a cupboard behind my chair, so it’s not as easy to see.)

I figured I should do something with the whiteboard, so I decided to start doing doodles for all weird, unusual, or just plain cool holidays. For example, this last Saturday, May 25th, was both Geek Pride Day and Towel Day. So sad that I couldn’t do a doodle at work.

After my two months at that desk were up, and I came back to my current desk, the doodles were already popular enough (and I was having enough fun with them) that I knew I’d have to carry on with them. So I got a cool little picture frame (the TOLSBY frame from IKEA, for a whopping 99¢), a package of 4×6 notecards, and some crayons, and carried on with the daily doodles.

Sometime earlier this year I changed from a heavier felt-tip pen to a lighter Flair. And I don’t always color them in; some of the details can be lost if they’re colored in crayon. I’ve kept all of the note cards, and I take a picture of each one. So here are some of my favorites.

The number of holidays I combine depends on how many there are on a given day, and how creative I’m feeling about combining them. So far my record is four holidays in one doodle. It’s kind of surprising how many oddball holidays there are out there. I put my list together from several sources, including BrownieLocks, Holiday Insights, and Days of the Year.

If you’re on the Twitters, I try to post them every work day with the hashtag #weirdholidays. I used to use Instagram to put them up, but since Twitter and Instagram don’t like each other so much anymore, now I use a nice little service called Streamzoo.

In Vino Veritas

I’ve never been a wine drinker. Many times I’ve tried, and many times I’ve failed to enjoy it. But through the years, I’ve made it to the point where I can drink a glass of Champagne (or other non-Frenchy sparkling celebration wine) without trouble.

But still, wine eluded me.

That is, until we went to Texas de Brazil, our favorite churrascaria in the world, with a wine drinker. He ordered a bottle of red wine (I had no idea what variety) and offered me some. I decided, why not, I’ll try a splash.

AND IT WAS GREAT!

(This picture of my trip to the Texas de Brazil salad bar reminds me that Scott still has his birthday coupon for a free dinner. I think it expires in a week and a half. Which means we may have to go have a meat festival in the very near future.)

Maybe it was the combination of red wine with all of those delicious meaty foods. Or maybe it was just the right kind of red wine. Turns out it was an Oregon pinot noir from King Estates. And immediately, I was on the hunt for other (less pricey) red wines that I might enjoy.

I’ve tried a number of things so far, and pinot noir is definitely one of the styles that’s up my alley. I’ve tried bolder wine, but can’t handle the tannins (which has always been my problem in the past) — that sharp bite that makes my tongue want to curl up and die, and makes my mouth suddenly feel dry as a desert.

I visited our local Total Wine superstore, where they also pointed me toward a variety of red wine blends. They’re meant to be lighter, fruitier, “juicier” (as the lady at Total Wine said, which is kind of disturbing), and generally meant for casual drinking without having to pair them with any particular food.

So far, my favorite is from Costco — the MacMurray Ranch Central Coast Pinot Noir, 2010. (That’s MacMurray as in Fred MacMurray, actor from days of yore.) But I also enjoyed Sexy Wine Bomb, one of the red blends. I’m in the middle of Ecco Domani’s pinot noir right now, and have blends from Barefoot and Fancy Pants (as well as a fresh bottle of Fred MacMurray) waiting in the wings. I got the Fancy Pants pretty much for the name, although the description on the back sounds good.

It’s cheaper for me than even cheap beer (and I like the cheap beer) — I can make a $10 bottle last two weeks, because I only have a half-glass or so at a time. And since our room temperature here is usually 76 to 78, and red is apparently meant to be consumed at cellar temperature (more in the 58-65 range), I drop in a couple of those plastic reusable ice cubes and it chills perfectly.

(I still haven’t bought wineglasses, and I doubt I’m going to. I just use our regular glassware (Old Fashioned size) from IKEA. I believe the product name is GODIS.)

So let me know, one and all — any red wines to recommend? Especially if they clock in at under ten bucks.