Saturday, August 28, 2010

Going Wine Tasting: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I hate wine. Always have. Nothing against wine, but I'm not a drinker in general (I have maybe 3-4 drinks a year, and when I do, it's your "girly" drinks like Kahlua and cream or mudslides) and simply never developed a taste for wine. Red, white, dinner wines, dessert wines, religious booze like Manischewitz; it's all the same to me.

So the idea of wine tasting, quite frankly, always bored me. I simply have no desire to go to vineyard after vineyard, regardless of the view and pretty plants, drink battery acid (which is essentially what wine tastes like to me) and pretend that I'm cultured.

Conversely, I have no desire to go to vineyard after vineyard and simply get plastered.

So at either end of the spectrum, there's simply no place for me.

That said, recently my wife Ramona and I spent a lovely few days in Pismo Beach, Calif., celebrating our one-year anniversary. Pismo Beach is right outside of San Luis Obispo, home to some of Southern California's most picturesque wine country. Ramona likes wine, and a happy wife means a happy life, so I agreed to take a trip with her to nearby Edna (population 1,600) to see our good friends at the Tolosa Winery.

When you walk into Tolosa, it's like you died and went to the movie Sideways. I mean, you got your wine glasses hanging upside over the bar; you got your huge room of barrels; you got a guy behind the counter wearing silk shirts and moccasins, talking about fermentation, temperature and crispness. All that was missing was Sandra Oh.

I tried seven wines: Pinot Gris, "No Oak" Chardonnay, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Legacy Sweet Viognier, and Viognier.

I have no idea what I just said.

The guy with the moccasins -- Greg -- explained each wine to me. And honestly, it was jibberish. He talked about sommeliers and tanins. He mentioned lighting rings and crystals. He talked about bonding with the wine and letting "your pallet engulf your spirit."

And all I wanted was a Pepsi.

I did what the guy said. With all seven wines. I examined each in the light. Saw nothing. I swirled. I'm an excellent swirler. I sipped and held each one in my mouth, letting it go over and under my tongue for full effect. It was like gargling with Listerine, without the plaque-fighting element. I spat into cups. One time, I slightly missed.

In the end, I discovered what I already knew: That wine tasting wasn't for me. Maybe if I had smelled something other than bad apples in one of the wines, I'd feel differently. Maybe if I found a wine that didn't taste like piss, my mind would change. But for now, I'll leave the wine tasting to the wannabe wine snobs and the folks who just want to use wine tasting as an excuse to get drunk.

For either group, I'll be your designated driver.


And now for this week's:


Did you know that there is fantasy sports insurance?

I mean...


Saturday, August 21, 2010

My One-Year Wedding Anniversary: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Marriage is like pizza.

That's the best way I can describe marriage.

Like pizza.

Pizza, in my opinion, is always good. It's never bad. I can never recall a time I've ordered a pizza and thought to myself: "This sucks." It's always been good. Oh sure, some pizza has been better than others. Some pizzas haven't been all that great. There have been "bad pizza days." But all in all, as a whole, the pizza in my life has been very, very good.

Like marriage.


This Sunday, Aug. 22, is my 1-year wedding anniversary. For myself and my wife Ramona, it has literally flown by. So much has happened over the course of a year. Our jobs have dramatically changed and given us more responsibility and success; we bought our first house; and we're talking about dogs.

Lots of things, folks.

But the actual "marriage" part? Once you get used to calling each other husband and wife and wearing the ring, it really is like a Meat Lovers Plus pizza from Pizza Hut. Always good, never bad. Oh sure, some days the Meat Lovers Plus pizza is particularly meaty and you think to yourself: "Damn, it doesn't get better than this." Some days, the meat toppings seem a bit skimpy and you think to yourself: "This isn't what it could be." But always, in either scenario, you eat the pizza. Because the pizza is good. It makes you happy, familiar, comfortable, warm, occasionally surprises you, and always knows just what to do to make you feel better.

That's marriage. That's pizza.

Ramona and I were together for more than eight years before we got married. So the "pizza" concept was already very much in effect before we said "I do." And once we got married, everyone was asking me: "So how does it feel being married? Is it different? How different? Do you feel more adult now? Are you two stronger than ever? Is your bond now officially, now and forever, unbreakable?"

And here's the thing: It's not exactly like that right away. Don't get me wrong: It's not that things are bad at the beginning; the Meat Lovers Pizza hasn't been replaced by one of those organic veggie pies. It's that the Meat Lovers Pizza is still the Meat Lovers Pizza. The recipe hasn't changed just because you've now made a commitment to Meat Lover's. So at first, nothing really feels any different.

But it's only after some months have passed that you realize what the difference is: You've grown to appreciate the Meat Lovers Pizza more than ever before. You've grown to realize how much you appreciate it -- both its strengths and its flaws, it's great meat and cheese, its occasional too-oily crust. You've grown to understand just how great of a pizza it is. You've come to understand that if you replaced the Meat Lovers Pizza with another type of pizza, it just wouldn't be the same.

That's pizza.

That's marriage.

Always good.

Always getting better.

One year already.



And now for this week's:

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE now has more than 5 million registered members.

Said Moses Brown, president and founder: “The phrase ‘booty call’ has made its mark in pop culture and we were thrilled to trademark such an iconic term.”

Some SOTAs...just write themselves.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Going Purse Shopping For A Friend's Birthday Gift: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

My friend and co-worker Tiffany had her birthday a few days ago, and in anticipation of the day, I had our other co-workers chip in so we could buy her a gift. Now I'm someone who really likes to get gifts that I know the person will like, so to ensure of this, I asked Tiffany's mom for gift idea's for her daughter.

Mama Tiff's response:

Well, she mentioned to me that she wanted a black Guess purse from Ross. You could probably find one for $50 or $60.

So I went online, saw that there were 3 Ross stores in a 6.5 mile radius of my house, and said to myself:

How hard can it be?

And thus, an adventure began.

Now before I begin my purse-buying experience, know the following:

1) I have never bought a purse before, for any woman.

And 2) I did not enlist the help of my wife Ramona in this endeavor. Now, although hindsight will show us that it would've been wise to enlist the purse-buying wisdom and experience of Mrs. Nev (and Ramona and Tiffany are friends) Ramona likes to shop for hours at a time. I like to shop for 4 minutes. So it's hard to find a middle ground.


I had never been in a Ross store before, and this is the lesson I learned:

In order to get what you want, you need to be willing to push the old lady in front of you out of the way, onto the ground, and even – if necessary – bash her head in repeatedly on one of the metal bar racks.

This way, she won’t grab the purse you’re looking for.

5 women died in the search for the purse.

So when I went into the first Ross store, needless to say I was ill-prepared. I mean, these places are zoos!! It’s like being in a Hippo cage at feeding time!! All the purses are in one place and there’s no rhyme or reason as to what brand is where. I was pushed around, bounced around, stepped on. I simply wasn’t ready for the war zone I was about to enter. Finally, some poor customer service kid looked at me in pity, went through all the purses, and saw they were out of Guess.

So onto Ross store # 2.

This time, I was more ready. I harkened back to my teenage fighting days and decided on a strategy:

I went low.

These women go high, I duck and dodge and shuffle on my knees. I managed to get right in there, going through purses like a 75-year-old who is waiting at 3 a.m. for the store to open for a day-after-Thanksgiving sale.

I even found a Guess purse!!

The problem:

It was zebra.

And my friend's mom said:

No Zebra.

So onto Ross store #3.

And by this time, I thought: “To hell with it, I’m going right into the line of fire.”

So I pushed down a woman looking at the Tommy Hillfiger purses.

“MOVE BITCH!!” I yelled.

I gave an elbow to a 60-year-old looking at the Nine West rack.

“OUT OF THE WAY, SEA HAG!!!” I declared.

I gave an 80-year-old a knee to the stomach.

“Because I just have a bad feeling about you,” I told her, hovering over her hunched body.

And after all of that…

No black Guess purse.

So instead, I just bought a Visa gift card.

My friend can find her own damn purse.


And now for this week's:


Southern rapper Birdman recently bought a $2.1 million Bugatti Veyron, a European sports car.

The car requires $300,000 worth of annual upkeep, can get up to 267 miles an hour, but at its top speed the fuel runs out in 12 minutes and the tires start disintegrating after 15.

But on the flip side, the key is shaped like a Swiss army knife.

That's something.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Turning 31 Years Old: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

When I turned 30 last year, I admit I was a bit surprised that I really didn't fret about it in any way shape or form. I mean, I didn't freak out, I didn't search my face for wrinkles or gray hairs, I didn't even put on an exaggerated sad face that my 20s were over with.

You see, when I turned 30 last year, I felt exactly like I did when I was in my 20s. No different. No changes. In a way, I was 30 in number only. My heart, my spirit, my physicality remained in their 20s.

Last year, I simply couldn't figure out why turning 30 wasn't a big deal.

Turns out, I had to turn 31 to figure it out. :-)

For those of you who don't know, this Friday, Aug. 6, is my birthday. I will be the ripe old age of 31 years old.

And it made me realize something:

You know why 30 was no big deal? Because I was still close enough to my 20s. I was close enough to be in my 20s; to remember what they were like, what I did, how I felt as a younger man. Sure, if I looked ahead, all I saw was 30s. But if I looked behind -- a few days, a few weeks, a few months -- the sunshine of my 20s was still very much in my sights.

In a way, it was like moving out of your parents' house and into their garage. Freedom...without the real responsibility.

But then something happened:

I'm turning 31.

And the sunshine that was behind me is a lot harder to see.

Now, I am officially in my 30s. I'm not just 30. I've added an "s". I look ahead: 30s. I look behind me: 30s. And if I look far enough back, I can still see the Nev of the 20s. But his face is covered in shadows, and the expression on that face is one of sadness, knowing I'm never to return.

My dying. :-(

Now several good things have happened since I've entered the 30s realm. I've gotten married to an amazing woman. I bought my first house. I'm watering plants and they're not dying. My 30s have been kind to me thus far, and I have no reason to suspect they will not continue to do so otherwise.

But it's hard to say an official goodbye to 20s Nev. We were together so long, had so many laughs, that it's difficult to just turn your back on that relationship and move on. There's history there.

So I'd like to say a few parting words to my 20s self:

Live on. Live on in spirit. Live on in memory. Live, 20s Nev. Live for me, your 31-year-old blood brother who has no choice to grow up. Be carefree, have fun, get into fights with random strangers at Subway restaurants (it happened not once, but twice). Chase the ladies (during the period in your 20s when you weren't dating your future wife), blow money in Vegas, get in trouble!!

Because I'm 31 now.

And my 20s are covered in shadows.


On the other hand...

31-year-old Nev owns a house.

And a backyard so he can now get a dog.

I like dogs.

"Floppos" is on the short list for names.

20s Nev couldn't think about getting a dog.

He lived in an apartment.

You know what?

I guess 31's OK.


And now for this week's:


Meet Antoine Dodson.

Just trust me.