take a long drown with me, of california wine

And the wine it tastes so sweet
as we lay our eyes to wander
and the sky, it stretches deep
Will we rest our heads to slumber
beneath the vines of California wine?
Beneath the sun of California one

-The Decemberists: “California One Youth and Beauty Brigade”

Yesterday evening, I saw my father in his element as he showed me the first steps of transforming grapes into wine. I popped Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc grapes, whole, like candy. I taste-tested the sugar levels and distinct flavors of each grape. As he told me to taste carefully, I realized for the first time there really is a difference. Of the three grapes, the Merlot has the most distinct flavor, which accounts for its dryness. It’s my personal favorite.

I was almost sad to see the beautiful, dark-as-midnight grapes go into the crusher. Over three-hundred pounds of California-delivered wine grapes, left up to our own artistic vini-talents. I’ve never seen my father this happy in my life. I think it’s time to take the old man out west.

Published in: on September 24, 2008 at 1:40 am  Leave a Comment  

a phobia…

“…is an irrational, intense, persistent fear of certain situations, activities, things, or people. The main symptom of this disorder is the excessive, unreasonable desire to avoid the feared subject.” -Wikipedia

I have a phobia. Mottephobia is (un)commonly known as: THE FEAR OF MOTHS.

I know, I know. Why in the world???

“…When the fear grows intense there must be some incident in the past linking to moths that triggered the cause of fear in your mind.

A real life scare usually give rise to the phobia that resides in the mind for so long that at a point it becomes impossible to get it out of the mind. ”

I don’t at all recall this incident that occurred in 1986. But, according to my parents, it happened. It was a late summer night like any other. The wind must have been howling, the lighting and thunder so fierce that a power line probably blew. And it did. Naturally, I probably wailed for the comfort of my mother’s arms. The lights were all gone. Will they ever come back? Why can’t I see? What in the…?

And then it touched me. Something. All over my face, unevenly, awkwardly. My neck, my hands, persistently. My theories of bedroom monsters were confirming themselves right before my blind eyes. Soon enough, Mom came dashing in haphazardly with the flashlight. Through the weak trail of light it emanated, something flew in crooked, hazy circles. My bedroom monster–a dark brown moth.

Though I have no recollection of this incident, I’ve never been able to allay my paranoia that somewhere, in some corner, a winged creature that rules the night is out to make my life a living hell. All my life, I’ve dreaded dark summer nights when moths would have the opportunity to escape inside and make their way to the nearest source of light. INSIDE MY HOUSE. Make no mistake: that was then, and this is now. And my fear still persists.  

Over the years, my father took on the unofficial role of moth terminator, always with the neon yellow fly swatter in hand, the “chitta mosca”, as he’d say in Italian. Until the winged creatures were killed or completely vanished from the house, I wouldn’t even begin to consider relaxation. It just wasn’t an option. I’d spend an hour, at least, inspecting windows, corners, door hinges, and the ruffles and folds of curtains for flat, triangular, brown, white and black bodies. It never ended.  They all had to die.

To my luck, our upstairs “play room” had a moth infestation shortly after we bought our hamster Pumpkin. They left their larvae in his bag of food and reproduced more evil for me to encounter. They were everywhere. Walls, lights, ceilings, filing cabinets, toys, curtains, my clothing, and made their way into my bedroom. The infestation lasted around a year. I don’t want to talk about it.

Moths with holes, moths with stripes, black moths, white moths, brown moths, grayish moths, little ones, big, fat, hairy ones…would collect in dead heaps by the hallway light. Victory at last. Stupid creatures. Something they’re so attracted to can fry them in an instant, and they don’t even realize it. No matter, they all needed to die. 

To this day, I cannot be in the house when a moth lurks about, or my night will be very sleepless. When an image of a moth flashes in my brain, I immediately turn around and expect something awkward and winged to fly in my direction and invade the personal territory of my face.  I hear a simple flutter somewhere around the room, immediately shield my face with my hands and inspect every corner meticulously. I feel a tickling on my arm and I’m inclined to slap it. Most of the time, it’s just nerves doing their usual work.

Just the other day (Friday morning), I was brushing my teeth before work. I heard the infamous fluttering right behind me. A black moth was slamming itself repeatedly on the newly installed shower tiles. I screamed, hurting my throat in the process. I immediately grabbed the nearest flip flop I could find. Too afraid to come too close, I threw it at the creature…a failed attempt. It flew toward my face. I slammed the door shut, locking it in there for its demise later. In the process, I landed on my shoulder, bruised it, and twisted my neck. My hands and arms tingled, my eyes twitched, and yes, I felt stupid. Humiliated. Childish. Pathetic. Pretty much all of the above. And, I have a nice, aching black-and-blue.

Guys, I’m not acting. I’m not faking this for attention. I’m often alone when this happens. I acknowledge that this is a ridiculous fear. It’s completely irrational and pales in comparison to real-life fears like terrorism, war, death, murder, destruction, mayhem, or what have you. But, this is a real phobia that my mind has created out of its own free will. It often affects my day-to-day routine. 

I’m not afraid of butterflies. Just moths. However, a butterfly has yet to escape into my house.

Many of you have asked for an explanation, and, well, there you have it.  Laugh all you want to, but I’m pretty sure I’m not joking. At all. I need to do something about this.

Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 2:53 am  Comments (1)  

a warm welcome, extended to myself…

For reasons unknown to me, I started to feel like the glitz and glam of LiveJournal was inhibiting my ability to write. So, I’ve decided to switch blogs. For purely selfish reasons, I want this blog completely closed to the public, community-free, Google-free, and accessible to only my close friends. I plan on reflecting on some pretty deep shit in here, something I felt I haven’t been able to do in a long time.

So, without further ado, I’d like to welcome myself to the crisp, clean, user-friendly world of blogging. Officially. For real, this time.

I suppose this is my cue to say, “stay tuned for more.” Probably, I won’t have an audience for awhile. I’ll close with an excerpt from some lyrics I wrote recently:

Take me on a trip

A trip inside your mind

If you can find the time

Because I can’t understand

How your world’s so defined

And it’s not like mine

Not like mine at all


Throw me on the battlefield

Strip me of my branded clothes

Tattoo me in camouflage

Hang me like a wounded rose

Carry me around the globe

Leave me to your regiment

Maybe I’ll see you

when the storm clouds go.


I had a lot to learn

I could have kept it all

But the world inside your mind

Would ruin us over time

And it’s not like mine

It’s not like mine at all

Published in: on September 7, 2008 at 3:03 am  Comments (3)  

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Published in: on September 7, 2008 at 2:51 am  Comments (1)