Quake live

You can now play Quake online, for free, using your browser: www.quakelive.com

...Of course, I tried this, and was greeted with the following:

In case that's still too small to read, that's saying I am #32,730th in line to play.
I closed the window.  : )

Nice graphic, though!

Port: Osbourne Tawny

On a lark, I decided to swing by the package store today and pick up one of the cheaper ports on my list. The store I've been going to doesn't have many things on my list (and most that they do have are the pricey ones), but they did have an Osbourne Tawny Porto. So I grabbed it (for $13).

I was going to save this one until I'd finished off one of the three (!) other bottles I've opened, since ports generally stay fresh for only three weeks or so (and I go through them slowly), but I lost patience and tried it tonight anyway.


It is similar to and slightly better than the Fonseca Bin No. 27. A little sweeter, a little less "alcoholic". About the same complexity. But in the end, I put it in the same category: I'd drink it if it were offered, but I wouldn't buy it again.

...And now I have four (!) open bottles in the fridge, so I won't be buying any new port for a month or more.

Never know until you try.

Update: After drinking a very fine cup of ginger tea, I had another half-glass of this and the Fonseca, and enjoyed both. Again, I preferred the Osbourne, which, upon reflection, had a little more complexity. The Fonseca was a little more mellow in flavor, despite the notable alcoholic strength. The ginger tea (Yogi's--best brand I've found for Ginger) may have contributed to the change of palate. I think I'm underselling both of these: they are fine drinks. ...But, as usual, I'm looking for something even more extraordinary. And I do (still) prefer the Victoria Tawny. : )

Port: The Hit List

Since I had port on the brain this evening, I decided to revamp my "hit list" with prices and quotes reminding me why they're on the list. : ) For the curious (or those who land here via Google), these are the ports that I would like to try over the next year or so (note that I skip over lots of popular ports because they were described as either "dry" or particularly "alcoholic", two traits I dislike):


  • 10-y Tawny $30-32 "delectable,fruity,warming and palatable surprise that certainly stands alone in a market burgeoned with a dizzying array of exquisite notables. The Tawny Porto is exceptional in both its aroma and texture", "Unquestionably the finest Tawny I’ve tasted in years. What makes it profound is its complex fragrance of roasted nuts and sweet fruit. There is impeccable definition and richness, a velvety texture and a long lusty finish. It is all a Tawny should be."
Faun (Californian, this could be hard to find, however):
  • Porto $23 "Luscious and delicious with lots of sweetness and intensity of dark fruit and chocolate flavors."
  • Tawny $14 "It explodes with caramel on the nose and has nice concentration of fruit as well. Nice and mellow."
  • Ruby Porto $14 "Fruity, sweet, and smooth."
  • Master of Porto $18 "very easy to drink 'cause it's very sweet and light bodied. Great aroma!"
  • 2003 LBV $14 "deep plum-prune fruit with spicy notes."
  • Ruby Porto $12 "Concentrated flavors of sweet black cherries, vanilla oak and a mellow finish", "Clean, sweet and rich.", "Youthful fruitiness with a surprisingly soft complex style rarely found in younger Portos."
  • 10-y Tawny $15+ "Lively aromas of plum, cherry and vanilla combine with rich, full caramel flavors enhanced by a long, lush – and slightly sweet – buttery finish.", "Lively aroma of Plum, Cherry and Vanilla. Rich, full caramel flavors enhanced by a long, lush buttery finish. Slightly sweet."
  • 20-year Tawny Porto (375ML) "Elegant and complex with intense nutty flavor joining butterscotch and oak. A wine of exceptional character with a deliciously sweet finish.", "Elegant and complex with intense nutty flavor married with butterscotch and oak. A wine of exceptional character with a nicely sweet finish."
Ramos Pinto:
  • 2001 LBV $20 "Intense and elegant, it offers a very fruity nose of grapes and figs. Fresh and velvety form the start, this is very fruity and full-bodied with smooth tannins and a velvety aftertaste with a hint of chocolate."
  • Collector $15-20 "It has full aromas unveiling dry plum, fig and berry scents with a touch of pepper. On the palate, the attack is soft and succulent. This is a rich, subtle wine with a fine, generous structure and remarkable persistence."
Taylor Fladgate:
  • 10-y Tawny $26 "Elegant and smooth, combining delicate wood notes and rich mellow fruit", "My favourite 'everyday port'"
  • 20-y Tawny $40 (When you've got something spectacular to celebrate) "Taylor's tawny ports are the best of their type. When tasted against other tawnys, they all exhibit more aromatic personalities, greater fruit and ripeness, and a wonderful sweetness and length."
  • Tawny $10 "Although on the fruity side for a tawny port, this one offers exceptional depth and character for a $10 bottle. Candied cherry, subdued nut flavors, and not too "hot" despite being an inexpensive fortified wine."
  • Warrior $13 "With dark, intense fruit, a deep red color, with intensely rich aromas of ripe red fruits and spices. On the palate well balanced and full-bodied, with a long and complex finish. A superb Port in the traditional style and one of the finest available for everyday drinking."
Yalumba (Another Aussie):
  • Antique Reserve Tawny Port $15-20 "I have had many ports, and love the stuff. One day following a hike in Yosemite I stopped in at the hotel bar and got the port sampler. This one blew me away! It's rich and has a little tang to it. This stuff is the most incredible port ever.", "Nose of raisins, molasses, allspice. Thick and heavy on the palate with raisin, honey, brown sugar."

For the record, the winners among what I've tried so far are the Taylor Fladgate LBV 2000, and this Australian R.L. Buller & Son Victoria Tawny. If I don't find anything better, those will be the two I keep in the fridge after this year of testing.

Port: Fonseca Porto Bin 27 and R.L.Buller & Son Victoria Tawny

I recently got paid for some consulting work and decided I would "celebrate" by buying myself a nice bottle of a very fine port. I went to the only package store in town I was familiar with (the one that my parents took me to while they were in town... cause, you know, I've never gone to one on my own!) and they had a very large selection of ports. After talking with the guy there (who evidently knew less than I did about ports, actually), I let him convince me not to buy a nice bottle of something pricey, but instead a $15 tawny. Since I thought that was cheap, I picked up another $10 half-bottle of something I knew I wanted to try. I'll start with that one: a Fonseca, called "Bin 27".
It's good! ...It's not that good. It's like a fine, slightly sweet wine. ...Well, one can definitely taste the grape, which I guess isn't great for a wine (but I wouldn't really know), although it also has a very slight fig flavor to it. ...Overall, it's decent, but I won't buy it again. I'd rather have the Taylor Fladgate, of course. Update: I was underselling this port. It's actually quite good, though I do believe the next port was better...

The dude (yes, dude) from the package store was very nice, and enjoyed talking port, and encouraged me to continue with my little obsession. ...But he wasn't really well-versed. He'd tried a couple, but not even Six Grapes (which, I understand, is sort of a go-to port). That said, when I mentioned I had enjoyed Old Cave, and said it was Australian, he heartily recommended the Victoria Tawny, which he said was also from down under.

My first taste of it was just a sip, and it was warm, and I was unimpressed. It wasn't even as good as the Old Cave.
However, my second taste was chilled, and it was fantastic. Especially for $15. It's definitely fig-flavored, kind of like a Sherry, but with very distinct (and gorgeous) cherry "overtones" (as they say in the wine tasting community, I gather). It's not nearly as complex as Old Cave... it's less for sipping and much more drinkable. ...But, honestly, I think I like this more than Six Grapes, even. I would absolutely buy this again. Well worth the $15.

Still no contest versus the Taylor Fladgate LBV, which remains king of ports.

...So far.

I <3 Accuracy

With apologies to my religulous friends, males do not have one fewer rib than females.

Also--and this has little to do with religion--the human heart is pretty much in the center of your chest, not over to the left.

Sure, it's a little left of center, because one of your lungs is slightly larger, but I've long gotten in trouble for doing the pledge of allegience by holding my hand over the center of my chest. But that's where it lives.

Not here:

And not here:
Not even here (sorry, prez; dug your talk last night):

And probably not in this general area, either:

Pet peeve?

Port: Sandeman Founders Reserve

This week, I picked up (with some appreciated help from my wife) a bottle of Sandeman "Founders Reserve" port. (The one in the background). It comes in a really nice bottle, which I'll be keeping. Nice green glass (which looks black with the port in it), nice logo, well laid-out, nice shape/size/heft. ...But that was about the only really positive thing I could say about it. : )
I'll be drinking the rest of it (slowly) over the next month... maybe it will grow on me. But I can't recommend this port. It's dry, it's not at all sweet, and it's very... strong. More like a (strong) wine than a port... and not a particularly good wine, at that.

I might try their other ports, however... I like their style a lot, and I'm such a sucker for style! ; )

Update: It has been weighed, it has been measured, and it has been found wanting. ...I actually used some of this for cooking, a few days ago, to good effect. ...Not that I would spend $17 on a port just to cook with it. : \

(Image by inspector_81, cc-by-sa 2006.)