This really is a gift: the funniest thing I’ve seen in ages. I should start a Tumblr dedicated to this rarefied art form: the inspirational fitness quote, overlaid on a photograph of someone determinedly working their way through a bender.
Originally stolen from TheChive.]]>
Today is Flashback Thursday: flashing back to July (gawd, has it been that long?) and the special event was the Similkameen BBQ King competition. For non-Canadians, the Similkameen Valley is a gorgeous part of Southern BC. The river is perfect. The mountains are perfect. The grassy plains are perfect. And, as you can see from the above picture, they are all over the Hipster fashion trend.
I was once on a Greyhound going through the valley; also on the bus was a French Canadian fruit picker and his girlfriend. The girlfriend was from BC and had talked him into coming with her to Keremeos, “the” town in the valley, to pick fruit in the summertime. He was deeply skeptical about this decision, but deeply in love, so he had said yes and there he was on the bus, the scent of Montreal still wafting off of him (it smells like cigarettes and beer), trundling through the Similkameen valley as the sun rose. The mountain caught the light, the huge K (the legacy of a landslide) glowed pink, the valley glimmered green and silver with mist, and the bus stopped, let them off, and he fell to his knees and kissed her hand for inviting him to a place as beautiful as that valley.
So that’s the Similkameen.
Forgive my crappy iPhone pictures, but I did what I could without my trusty photographer Cathy Browne.
The setting? The Grist Mill and Gardens in Keremeos, an historic grist mill, ie where the farmers brought their wheat to be ground into flour. It’s in the hands of my old friend Chris Mathieson, the only person I know with both a degree in Philosophy and skills as a blacksmith, so he’s perfect for this gig. That’s him, along with his wife Kyla, in the top picture. His first words when he saw me there, hundreds of miles from my normal dank cavern in Vancouver? “What are YOU doing here?” A warm welcome indeed, if not heated.
The challenge itself was Chopped-style: in other words, the competitors were given a set basket of ingredients from particular suppliers, and told to do what they could with them on the barbeque.
The ingredients were all local; the valley, along with the nearby Okanagan valley, is famous for its produce, and is now beginning to wrap its head around the very un-Canadian action of tooting its own horn. This event was an exercise in horn-tooting, and featured local wines along side the BBQ creations. Full disclosure: I got a media pass for the event, but only after contacting the organizers and asking if I could pay by Paypal, because I would have come up just for the day, all five hours each way on the 80-seat limousine. And lemme tell ya, it would have been worth it.
There were some very professional plates and some outstanding tastes. I’d come primed for ribs (BBQ, right?) but the chicken as a black box ingredient meant that chefs had to think outside that very box, and some of the solutions were very creative indeed. Chicken sliders, sure, but chicken sliders with a skewer of chicken bacon to garnish? That’s a different level, a level not generally found down gravel roads.
I don’t even like risotto, but the risotto was so good I went back for thirds. People were whispering, “Have you had the risotto? Have the risotto! They may run out. Psst, have you had the risotto?…”. And the basil ice cream was velvety, perfectly sweetened, and paired perfectly with the pound cake. Some of the wine pairings were more successful than others, but the main discovery for me was Forbidden Fruit Winery, whose fruit wines are sophisticated, layered, and miles away from Boone’s Farm.
And the winner was Karl Schorb from the Branding Iron. From the remarkable number of “Congratulations, Karl” blog and Facebook posts from his competitors, it’s clear that he’s a key figure in the tight-knit Okanagan and Similkameen gourmet community. Here’s the winning plate:
My notes (after perhaps six tasting-size pours of local wine) “Truly yummy.” Yes, I am a master of subtlety when it comes to reviews. Now take a look at the competition (and forgive my iPhone shots through the window of the shuttle bus from Penticton, because what choice do you have, really?).
In any case, I ran across this on Etsy and given my well-known weakness for a man in a mask, had to put it on the Birthday Registry. You can ship it to “raincoaster, c/o Legion, Vancouver, BC.”]]>
Well, you could say I always have some reservations about what I’m doing at any point in the future, but what YOU might want to be doing next Wednesday, July 10th between 8-9pm Pacific time (eg LA or Seattle), is hanging out on Twitter looking at the #BCWineChat hashtag. Full disclosure: Sandra Oldfield of Tinhorn Creek, who moderates, is a client of mine and I helped her with part of the website. But next Wednesday I’ll be on a bus headed to the glorious Okanagan valley, and so will be unable to be checking Twitter, what with passing through remote Canadian mountains and suchlike.
The topic next week is “Great Patio Wines” and believe me, BC has a lot of them. Well, technically the title is “Patio Pounders. Easy drinking BC Wines” but whatever. Chat participants include winemakers, restaurateurs, bloggers, retailers, wine reps, and even some enthusiastic civilians, and the chat is accessible, easy to understand, open, and often pretty heavy on the double entendres, especially if the incorrigible Black Cloud is on the hashtag.
You can see the archives on the site and get a sense of what the professional wine world is chatting about. And yes, it’s a BC wine chat, but that doesn’t mean that other wines are not discussed. As for patio wines, well, anything from Tinhorn Creek calling itself 2Bench works for me; or the bubblies from Sumac Ridge, for lo, I am very fond of the middle of the day patio bubbly.
At least, as far as I can remember…]]>
“I assumed they were already in the public domain on other wine review sites and liquor store sites.”
So says Canada’s #1 wine writer, Natalie MacLean, in a statement as disturbing as it is wrong-headed. It seems that, despite seeking legal advice (where, in a bar after closing time?), MacLean is under the bizarre notion that just because copyrighted work is posted to the internet, it is thereby stripped of copyright.
Allow me to disabuse her, and everyone, of this notion once and for all.
All original work published online, whether paid for or not, from CNN.com to the humblest Tumblr, is copyright the creator, as of the moment of publication, automatically and by law.
MacLean, as you can see here, has been copiously copy/pasting reviews written by other writers into her blog and website. Previous to this going nuclear in the media towards the end of last month, the posts said “By Natalie MacLean” with only the initials of the original writer, and no link to where the reviews had first appeared. And, apparently, no permission requests whatsoever.
As PalatePress says:
Ms. MacLean’s use of others’ work clearly fails the Fair Use test because she publishes entire reviews, they are appropriated for commercial purposes and her use is not for any of the legally permitted reasons.
There is a difference between an attributed quote, which you can see here or right above this sentence, and is protected by fair use law, and an outright theft. In her defence MacLean claims that she always included the initials of the original writer…which is a bit “other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln” of her.
I’m a writer. I write for a living. That still leaves me time for several hobbies, one of which is seeking out people who have stolen my writing and posted it elsewhere without permission, attributed or not, and having their websites taken offline with no warning. And now, in case any of you also write and value your own talent and original expressions (paid or unpaid), I am going to teach you how to do it too. I wish we didn’t live in a world where you had to have these skills, but selah, we do.
Web hosts are legally obliged to take offline copyright-infringing content, and they don’t really give a rat’s ass how “important” the blogger is in his/her niche. If they don’t act on a DMCA notice, they risk losing their entire business, and they are not going to take that chance. That’s why this is the heavy-handed, but more productive, way of dealing with copyright infringement. It’s rare that anyone with a blog is stupid or ignorant enough to think they’re really allowed to do this, so asking them is often a lesson in fruitlessness. When their web host removes their entire site from the internet, that teaches them a lesson they won’t forget.
Now, go forth. Go forth and Google, and I raise a toast to your splogger-hunting success!
EDITED TO ADD: if you’re super-extra nasty like I am, go to the stealing site, click on their ads, not the ad itself, but the part that says “Ads by Google” or “Federated Media” or whatever, and report them there. Every ad network has a way to report sploggers, and when they confirm what you say, they will pull all their ads and probably NEVER let that person have another ad account. Hit them where they live, people!
Hat tip to the ever-vigilant Marquis Wine Cellar on Twitter
Another in our ongoing series of really, really practical wine measurements.]]>
I spent several months in the wine country recently, and as per standard procedure I visited my Therapist. That is: Therapy Wines. They’ve got a stunning line in smart, punning titles: Freudian Sip, Pink Freud, Freud’s Ego, SuperEgo, you get the picture. And the taste… well, listen to this thing a very wise man (Steve Latchford, the winemaker at Therapy, in fact) told me.
When you’re drinking a new wine, rate it thusly: would you buy
Simple. Nuanced. Easy to remember. This is my new favourite rating system for anything that is good enough that it makes it past the “oh, no, I’m on antibiotics” little white lie.]]>
Just something to keep in mind as you build your Wine Cellar/Boozeteria.]]>
Spotted at the Bute and Alberni liquor store in Vangroover. I wonder what plans they have for them after the display changes…hmmm…does anyone have some wirecutters I can borrow? I have a screwy idea…