Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rick's Roadshow: Sonoma & Napa

As much as I enjoy wine, I equally enjoy visiting California's wine country, Napa and Sonoma. I'm heading to Sonoma again this weekend, and thought I'd share some photos of my last trip. Here I am standing next to rows of Opus One French oak barrels. I never pass up an opportunity for a photo op! I always enjoy visiting wineries, touring their facilities and of course, the wine tasting itself.

above: Inside the restaurant "Farm", enjoying a glass of wine at the bar inside. I just love the decor of this restaurant.

above: I was tasting several wines over dinner and enjoying the flavors with different courses of the meal. Above right: For some reason I was fascinated with this light fixture. Perhaps it was the wine speaking to me.

above: After dinner I sat outside by the gas fire and enjoyed a nice glass of Cabernet. It was a perfect way to end the day. Tomorrow I head back up to Sonoma for a fantastic wine party at one of our favorite wineries. You can be sure I'll have more photos to share of that trip!
-Rick Rockhill

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wisdom Wednesday: Featuring Dr Sidney Wang

DR WANG, Our resident oracle betta fish

Deep within the waters of his fish tank, beyond The Great Bubble Wall, Dr Wang presents his weekly dose of fish wisdom to readers young and old alike:

"Nothing shows a man’s character more than what he laughs at." Interesting, isn't it?

This week's main quote is from actress/author/reincarnation spiritualist Shirley MacLaine:

"It is useless to hold a person to anything he says while he's in love, drunk, or running for office. "
Thanks for stopping by,
-Dr Wang

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Padres Game with Cesar Millan

Last night I went to watch the San Diego Padres take on the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was a great game, for two reasons: first, our Padres WON, 8-5! It's been a rough season, so this win was a welcome celebration. The second reason is because Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer was in our company suite as our guest. Cesar was in town promoting his new line of Dog Whisperer dog food and supplies. You may recall me doing a post about it this past Saturday. Last night, Cesar made an appearance before the game started, then was on TV during the game from our suite. He brought two dogs from his pack, "Daddy" and "Junior", who are such great dogs, and very well behaved. If you like Cesar Millan, then check out his special video message.

above: Cesar watched the game from the balcony in our company suite. You can see his two dogs next to him in the photo above left.

above: This was me kneeling down to pet "Junior" who is such a sweet dog with a great disposition. For what it's worth, not only does my company carry the exclusive line of Dog Whisperer products, but I am also using them myself. I am also trying to use Cesar's methods to train our puppy Sheldon. Hopefully it works! Anyway it was a fun night at the ballpark.
-Rick Rockhill

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Magical Moment..

I passed by this garden recently and took a photo to capture the sensation I felt. The garden was welcoming and had a calming effect, so much so it stopped me in my tracks. It was an interesting sensation, as if someone was trying to speak to me through the garden. I have learned never to question things like that, but rather to accept such occurrences as a magical moment, so I continue on. I'm glad I took the photo, it perfectly preserved that wonderful moment that day. And not knowing what was at the end of the garden path is actually quite fun.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Art Review: The Bright and The Bold

Like so many things, art is subjective and open to individual preferences and perceptions. I recently had the opportunity see some fun, vibrant paintings in a relaxed, casual setting. Perhaps the best part was that I was able to do so with a nice glass of wine in hand, hence the reason for my big smile in these photos. What? You say I always have that same cheesy smile plastered on my face in all my photos? For all of the regular readers who've never seen me in jeans, well here you go. These photos aren't the best for admiring the paintings, but it's all I have of them, so if necessary, squint, turn your head and try to check out this series of what I am calling:
Sunday Art Review: The Bright and the Bold

above: "blue Dog"

above: "Fresh Bell Peppers"
above: "Fruit and Veggie River"
above: These are "Tomatoes on the Vine" and "Happy Koi"
Do any of these appeal to you? Let me know what you think- leave a comment! Thanks for stopping by.
-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Shameless Plugs and Boasting

As most of you know I generally avoid discussing work related things on my personal blog, including specifically mentioning the name of my employer (but it is that pet specialty retailer known as "Where the Pets Go"). If you check out one of my celebrity photos on the left side bar, you'll see me standing next to that person who is known for working with dogs. He sort of "whispers" to them in fact. Anyway, our company just launched a new line of stuff with his name on it. I'm not posting this to try to sell you anything, more just to send you to a cool link with a video of him. Oh and there is also this article that I was interviewed in about it too. But since I'm somewhat shy I wouldn't DREAM of asking you to read it.
-Rick Rockhill

The Saturday Seven: Simple Pleasures

This morning was not unlike most Saturdays. I woke up with a spectacular view of the morning sunrise shining on our mountains here in the desert. No two mornings are alike here in Palm Springs. After letting the beasts outside to relieve themselves, I brewed a pot of organic coffee and settled down with my laptop to write the Saturday Seven. It occurred to me how happy I am, fortunate and blessed in many ways. By most measures I have lived a charmed life, but not every step has been as good as it is today. And who knows what tomorrow brings, not even the great Dr Wang can foresee that. This being said, what's important is to always have an appreciation for the things in life that can bring joy, regardless of the material things that we possess. And so, this brings us to another scintillating edition of The Saturday Seven: Simple Pleasures

#1: Morning Sunrise- it is one of the most beautiful sights to see, free for all, everyday.

#2 Smelling the Roses- Forgive me for being cliche, but to be honest for me, this is one of the rules I strictly live by. I ALWAYS stop and smell fresh flowers, particularly roses when I pass by. No matter how busy I am, there is always time to appreciate this gift from our plant's soil.
#3 Smiles- It's amazing how something as simple as a smile can completely change a person's mood and attitude. They don't cost anything (usually) and they are catchy too!
#4 Bird Watching- Birds are amazing critters to watch. Stop, slow down and take some time to see what they do all day. You'll be amazed, and it may even relax you a bit.
#5 A Nice Cup of Cawfee- Among life's simple pleasures and affordable if you make it yourself!
#6 Fluffy Pillows- need I say anymore?
#7 Ice Cream- C'mon, you didn't think I could have a list like this without something chocolate do you?

-Rick Rockhill

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Virgin America- What a Cool Airline!

Yesterday I took a Virgin America flight from San Francisco to San Diego. It was my first time flying with them (so I guess that makes me a Virgin virgin?) Anyway I was pleasantly surprised at what a terrific experience I had. For those of you who may not know, I travel quite frequently by plane. The only kind of air travel I remotely enjoy anymore is being on a private jet. All other times when I am flying commercial, it just isn't an enjoyable experience anymore. Except on Virgin America. These guys know how to make flying fun. I checked in on what looked like an Apple touch screen monitor, which printed a small boarding pass, which seemed so efficient. From the moment I stepped onto the plane and entered the cabin, I was in awe of the decor. It had mood lighting, black leather seats and hip and trendy music playing.Each seat had a nice size TV screen, with touch screen applications to order up your choice of news, music, TV, music videos or games. It also had a Google map with the flight, weather and travel facts.

above: the interior of the Virgin America cabin. I felt like I was in a hip nightclub.

Following are a few facts Virgin touts about their US domestic air service
* Virgin America is the first U.S. airline with mood lighting.
* There are 3000 MP3s on board every flight.
* You can plug in to 110v power at your seat.
* You can order fresh food when you want it, from the screen at your seat.
* Their in-flight entertainment system has over 25 pay-per-view Hollywood movies on demand.
* Virgin America is a cashless airline. If you want to buy something in flight, you can place your order, swipe your card, and you’re done.

Finally, a Safety Video Worth Watching:

So that's my opinion. Now all they need to do is add more flight routes so I can start flying them more often. Well other than when I'm not on the private jet that is...
-Rick Rockhill

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wisdom Wednesdays: Featuring Dr Sidney Wang

DR WANG, Our resident oracle betta fish

Deep within the waters of his fish tank, beyond The Great Bubble Wall, Dr Wang presents his weekly dose of fish wisdom to readers young and old alike:

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle"

This week's quote is from psychic/modern prophet Edgar Cayce: "Dreams are today's answers to tomorrow's questions"
Thanks for stopping by,
-Dr Wang

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Update on Spike

Last year, on July 2nd, I wrote a post about a new cactus we purchased and planted in the front driveway. I asked readers to Name My New Cactus . Bunnygirl suggested "Spike" which is the name I went with. Spike is doing well, growing quickly (well as fast as a cactus can) and lost his training sticks

Above left: Spike back on July 2nd. If you look closely you can see the top of cactus is below the ledge. Above right: Last week, in just a year, Spike has grown higher than the top of the ledge. All those cactus vitamins and warm sunshine seem to be working. Ahhhh the life of a cactus....
-Rick Rockhill

Monday, July 21, 2008

Adventures of Sheldon: The Paper Towel Massacre

Today is yet another fun "webisode" of the Adventures of Sheldon, the story of a 13 week old Standard Poodle puppy growing up in Palm Springs. After last week's Spanish Moss Incident, we learned a lesson. So, before young Sheldon was left alone in the house once again, we carefully checked to see that there was nothing of any consequence that would be tempting to a youngin'. How mistaken we were. When we returned home having been gone a span of two hours, we discovered what shall now be known as "The Paper Towel Massacre". Before I go any further, let me describe the victim: A roll of Sunrise brand paper towels, which are made from 100% recycled material. We like this brand because it is "kinder to the environment", or so the package says, even though it is printed on the plastic wrapper.. But I digress. Made from 80% post-consumer content and manufactured without chlorine bleaching, these Earth-friendly paper towels were destined for special jobs, and previously stood proudly next to the natural dish soap in the kitchen. A noble clean up job was just not on the cards for this roll of recycled paper towels. Instead the roll was subject to a brutal attack, for fun, no less. It was none other than our young Sheldon Gryffindor. Apparently he decided that roll had lived long enough, and it would make a fabulous toy. I'm still trying to figure out how it made it to the floor from the kitchen counter. I suspect he may have had a feline accomplice in obtaining the contraband. At any rate, young Sheldon proceeded to entertain himself by shredding every last piece of the paper towels and the cardboard tube as well. As you can see from the main photo at top left, it barely resembled its former state.

above: caught red-handed. Or should that be red-lipped. Or red-mouthed...ah I don't know, but here he is with shreds of paper towel in his mouth.

above: Enter into evidence exhibits "A" and "B", said puppy with paper towel pieces in his mouth.
The Evidence Was he Plead Guilty for a Plea Bargain...

We struck a deal whereby young Sheldon, the accused would perform public service by helping to clean up the paper towel pieces strewn throughout the house. He was quite willing and helpful with the dustpan brush...

After the job was done, young Sheldon carries the dustpan brush and apologizes for his role on The Paper Towel Massacre. All was forgiven and once again he returns to the good graces of the Household.
Editor's note: The evidence photos, "exhibits "A" and "B" were re-enacted, thanks to the all to willing Sheldon to help dad with material for the blog.
-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Art Review: Lightning!

And now, something completely different. Earlier this morning I was awakened to the sound of heavy rain. I thought it must have been a dream, because this is Palm Springs, it's not supposed to rain here. Apparently there was some freakish storm that blew in from LA and doused us with tons-o-rain. The nifty part was that we had thunder and lightning, which is even more of a rarity for us. This was my inspiration for today's Sunday Art Review: Lightning!

So first, a few stats for you: Lightning is an electric discharge in our atmosphere, usually seen during a thunderstorm. Lightning bolts can travel a third of a mile per second and can get as hot as 54,000 °F. Amazingly, there are over 16 million lightning storms every year on our planet alone. Now on with the photos for this art review:

Lightning is truly a fascinating sight to see. I hope you agree that these are some fantastic photos, and in my opinion can be considered "art".
-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Saturday Seven: Vice Presidents Worth Remembering

For some reason I've been curious to learn more about the role of a US Vice President. I am a bit of a Presidential historian, and have read many books on past Presidents. Recently I decided to start doing some research on a few of the past Vice Presidents of the United States. Often times VPs get forgotten or lost in the shadow of the President. I started digging around the web and found some interesting reading. It was there that I found inspiration for this week's post. I should disclose up front that all content here on out is directly from our friends at Wikipedia, which I selectively borrowed. According to Wikipedia: "The Vice President of the United States (sometimes referred to as VP, Veep, or VPOTUS, is the first person in the presidential line of succession, becoming the new President of the United States upon the death, resignation, or removal of the president. As designated by the Constitution of the United States, the vice president also serves as the President of the Senate, and may break tie votes in that chamber. He or she may be assigned additional duties by the president but, as the Constitution assigns no executive powers whatever to the vice president, in performing such duties he or she acts only as an agent of the president." This brings me to another scintillating edition of: The Saturday Seven: Vice Presidents Worth Remembering

#1 Thomas Jefferson- The 3rd Vice President from 1797-1801 who went on to become the 3rd President. He was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and one of the most influential Founding Fathers. He was a literary genius and overall intelligent person.

#2 Nelson Rockefeller- He was the 41st Vice President, and the 49th governor of New York. He was known as a generous philanthropist, and a very successful businessman. He launched many construction and modernization projects in NY and contributed to many advancements in the state. He was, of course a descendant of one of the world's richest and best known families in the US.

#3 John Adams: was an author of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and one of the most influential Founding Fathers of the United States. He served as VP from 1789–1797 and went on to become President.
#4 John Tyler- A long-time Democrat-Republican, he was elected Vice President on the Whig ticket . His term as Vice President began on March 4, 1841 and one month later, on April 4, incumbent President William Henry Harrison died of what is today believed to have been viral pneumonia. His most famous achievement was the annexation of the Republic of Texas in 1845. Tyler was the first president born after the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.
#5 Hubert Humphrey-In 1968, Humphrey was the nominee of the Democratic Party but narrowly lost to Richard Nixon. A popular elected official from Minnesota, he famously gave a speech at his party's convention with this memorable line: "The time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states' rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights," and won support for a pro-civil-rights plank in the Party's platform.He served from 1965-1969.

#6 Lyndon B Johnson- often referred to as LBJ, he became the 36th President two hours and 8 minutes after after John F Kennedy was assassinated. He was the first President sworn in by a woman Federal Judge. He is also the only President to have been sworn in on Texas soil. Johnson was not sworn on a Bible, as none could be found aboard Air Force One; a Roman Catholic missal was discovered in Kennedy's desk, and this book was used during the swearing-in ceremony. His office as Vice President was 1963 to 1965.
#7: Millard Fillmore: He was the second Vice President to assume the Presidency upon the death of a sitting President, succeeding Zachary Taylor who died of heat stroke. Fillmore was never elected President; after serving out Taylor's term, he failed to gain the nomination for the Presidency of the Whigs in the 1852 and 1856. He was known for not favoring slavery but was not in a position to eliminate it at the time.
Do you have a favorite VP? Go ahead, leave a comment. Thanks for stopping by!
-Rick Rockhill


This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally, with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

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