Friday, December 30, 2005

Alien head

Alien head
Originally uploaded by banteron.
I've had a lot of fun with this software called "Photobooth". I just turned off the lights and started making faces using the various filters. I further tweaked them in Photoshop to get just the look I wanted. This is the best time of the year to work inside on the computer. It is raining and cold outside. These are the days when I am glad that I bought this contraption.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Lag Time

During the days between Christmas and New Year's Eve we have a lot of people who are tired of looking at their relatives and want to get out and explore a little. The restaurant has been pretty busy because folks are either still on holiday or the kids haven't returned to school. The weather has been pretty nice today, but the past few days have been a heavy downpour. The Russian and Napa rivers were on flood watch.It's a good time to catch a flick or go to a museum. Unfortunately, there are no lunches being served for the staff until around three-thirty, and it is a family style meal which is held in the Simi room. Hey, I will take whatever they are dishing out. I already had a bag of "Inka Nuts" and a Red Bull to tide me over.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Work.... it just is.

It is come to my attention that some of the perks that I was fortunate enough to have as part of my position here at the CIA are being compromised. From now on I won't be receiving a dinner for two as a token gift for giving group tours after hours. From now on, concierges will recieve 3 points for each tour, and those points will add up to 9 which will THEN qualify you for a $100 dollar coupon at the restaurant. I for one, am not impressed with the nickel and dime squeeze that is taking place. Since I love my job however, I will put up with this scaling back even though the incentive for giving tours after hours makes me feel less appreciated.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Festivities Galore

Last night was the annual Open-House Holiday Party at Greystone. There were Gingerbread houses, Cookie decorating, A choral group singing Christmas songs and Plates of oer duerves. There were lots of people and kids amping up on sugar and sodas. I stuck around until after six to take pictures and most of those are on my other computer. I am too lazy to get off my butt to go over and get them onto this computer to make this post appear relevant. Instead of having a stupid picture of a holiday party , I am adding a more interesting picture of myself mugging the camera with one finger admonishing the viewer... Capiche?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

My 55th Birthday

Well today I reached a speed limit of sorts in terms of the number of years I have gained here on earth. I celebrated at the CIA's Wine Spectator Restaurant with my family and a my friend Reid. There were nephews, nieces, brother-in-laws and babies. Hamish, Rita, Martha, Ernie, Terry, Camille, Ian, Mary-Kay, Antonella and her mom, Edward, Reid and of course little Maisy. She was warm and comfortable throughout dinner and did not make a peep. Camille entertained herself by crawling under the table exploring. Dinner was great. We had the temptations which included Foix Graux (sp?) Acorn Squash soup, Olive Tapanade, and then came the first courses. I had Spinach Risotto and Trout, Rita had a Hangar Steak, Martha had Scallops and Reid had some sort of Chicken Dish. The food was fantastic and so were the desserts which include Creme Brulee and a Hot Chocolate Lava cake with Grand Manier Cream. We had a delightful evening and It was great seeing everyone. Plans have been made to meet at Martha's for a White Elephant Christmas on the 26th.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Birthday Time

As my 55th birthday approaches, I ma reflecting on the idea that I have reached a metaphorical "Speed Limit". I am in the autumn of my years so to speak, and every day I look for ways to insure my comfort as time goes bye. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go to the employee Christmas Party this year, but glad that I did because of the delicious food and wonderful setting. The band was terrific and even though I didn't stay late, I had a good time. This year they had a little puppet chow called, "le Cirque de Cafe" which featured knives, forks and spoons in a fantasy circus motif with accordian accompaniment. It was entertaining and silly all at once. Next Tuesday evening I will be celebrating my Birthday in the Wine Specatator Greystone Restaurant with family and friends. My hope is that a certain special someone will show... we shall see.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

December is here

Today I slept in... It is still my vacation and I am taking full advantage of it. We had a wicked storm hit the west coast last night and It looks like that it will be around for the rest of the week. I have been playing on the computer here, learning new things like how to hack web pages, how to post awesome pics that I have created in Photobooth/Photoshop and tonight I am going to create a lightscribe DVD. What fun !

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Today is a good day to sleep and putz around on my puter. Yesterday, I drove to Mont La Salle to take a bunch of pictures of the grounds there. I was pleased with the result, so I made a slideshow out of all the pictures. Last night I stayed up and talked to my online friend Andrew. It proved to be a rather uneventful day except for the fact that I didn't actually get to bed until around 3 a.m. Oh dash it, it's my vacation I can stay up late when I want to!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Vacation time

Today is the first day of my vacation. I haven't planned on going anywhere except to my neice Terry's house for Thanksgiving. I will sleep in, work on art projects, perhaps shoot a video dvd, or take a bunch of pictures. I want to meet new people and make new friends with interesting people who can show me how to use my mac better.I guess that's about it for now.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Charity Event

I find a lot of the volunteers from St. Helena who arrive for charity events here will behave in a particularly annoying and self-serving way. Everytime I try to extend myself to assist them, they walk all over me and make thier arrogant demands. I feel that many people who visit the Culinary Institute take on an attitude of entitlement, especially the locals who think that because they approved the insitute as a commerical entity, that they have the right to barge right in and do whatever they want in this space. This is a sacred space to me. It is all about building community, and food is the vehicle.Charity must begin at home. This is a home for the community of Napa.Respect, Tolerance and Appreciation are the watchwords.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Nights getting darker earlier

Now that standard time is upon us, the sun goes down around 4:45 PM in the evening. Winter is approaching very quickly. The basil in our herb garden is flowering or going to see like the fennel. Tour groups still come in to take advantage of the slow season, especially to take a peek at our teaching kitchen. I feel that there is change in the air, but I really can't put my finger on it. I'll keep you posted when I learn more.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Having fun uploading Pics

Today I have been taking lots of pictures of the neighborhood kids, vineyards and liquid amber trees that all look colorful and beautiful. I signed up awhild ago for a Flickr account and have enjoyed uploading my images to both this site and the Flickr site. If you would like to see more of my images, just go to :


You can start a free account and be a photojournalist either here at or at Flickr. I am still trying to find a sight where I can easily upload Quicktime videos too. I just bought a gigbyte chip for my fujifinepix 3300 camera because I can take Quicktime movies very easily and the modify them using Quicktime Pro before I upload them to my mac site.
I want to be able to do all of this easy and effortlessly, and to be able to have others access my sites real easily.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Big Push

Now that the World's of Flavor has passed, halloween is over and the winter season is approaching I have a little more time to blog. When I say this, I don't mean that I have a lot of time on my hands and that I am sitting around staring into space. This past week I have trained three new people who will be working at the concierge desk. They are all young women who are very pretty to look at... and my hope is that they will all perform well. I appreciate those that take the initiative to greet guests as they come through the door. On another note, I have sent Kitty a letter expressing my feelings for her. I don't plan on returning to the Friday night meeting any time soon. I think that I will be attending the Wednesday night meeting in St. Helena. Every time I attend the Friday night meeting, I am reminded of the love I lost.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween 05'

Today I stayed inside even though it was a gorgeous day. I got hung up on my computer all day. I feel sad and depressed today. I should be happy, but I am not. I am feeling sorry for myself. My nephew's wife Kate had a baby girl and I haven't even called yet to congratulate them. I am sad because I have never married or had kids, or have been able maintain a relationship for longer than a year or two. My friend Reid and his wife Jenny invited me over to spend halloween with them and thier kid, William. He is cute, and they were just planning on just stay home, eating pizza and entertaining the trick or treaters as they came by the house, but I couldn't even get my interest up enough to go. I called him right at the last moment to tell him I was bailing. Now I am writing about it...Oh blah dee, Oh blah da.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

First Rain of the Season

The clouds were thick and grey today when I woke up. It looked earlier than it actually was, and next week is the beginning of standard time. The weekend is starting off well for me. We have four new hires for concierge. The women are drop-dead gorgeous, but the acid test will be to see how well they perform. So far, they all seem pretty competent.I went to the dentist on Monday to have my teeth cleaned. My, the things we have to endure to look suitable for our guests.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Life Challenges

I don't really understand how computers work, but I do know how I go about fixing a computer when it is not behaving the way I think it should. I set about very methodically and sequentially, attempting step-by-step to remedy the problem. Computers always follow a certain protocol, but electricitiy and processing speeds will vary, thereby frustrating us as we try to determine if a certain process takes time or has already occurred. The law of unintended consequences will rear it's ugly head at the worst times and we usually are at our wits end. It is then time for a break. Anyone who has ever owned a computer has experienced this type of frustration and some of us have learned the hard way, to: follow instructions to the letter. Be patient. Listen and look for clues. Be patient. Endorse yourself for making the attempt... and again most importantly, Be Patient.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Cool Fall Day

It's overcast and cold. The weather people say that another hurricane is brewing off the Gulf Coast. This one we will call "Wilma." I work with a woman who informed me in no uncertain terms that her name is "Vilma" not "Wilma." I stand corrected. I don't know how much more of this we can take. I am back at work, feeling a little better since my flu episode on Friday. I had a couple of productive days off and bought a new keyboard and mouse for my old computer. Now hopefully, It will operate much better.

Monday, October 17, 2005

My Titanium

I actually love my Ti book. I bought it for 800 bucks about two years ago from my friend Ried's old girlfriend, Carol. I beefed it up with 768 MB's of RAM and an Airport Express Card. It is loaded with some good apps, like Photoshop CS, Illustrator 10, Firefox and Safari browsers and the ILife 04' Suite to boot. Although it is running Panther ( OS 10.3 ) The interface is just a joy.I can pretty much do anything on this machine that I can do on my e-mac or mini-mac. Two drawbacks are the fact that it does not have a CD/DVD burner or enough juice in my CPU to run an ISight on IChat. But hey, I have that stuff if I need it.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Saturday Night Taiko

Here it is, Halfway through October and what makes this day momentous are two things. The first thing is that I had to take the day off because I was recovering from Food Poisoning. I had eaten some soy beans from Trader Joes that did not agree with me and i could barely keep down a bowl of Oatmeal. The second thing that made this day memorable was a Taiko Show that Ellen Ushioka, Ed Ohde and a large Troope had performed at the Jackson Theater in Santa Rosa ( I work with Ed and Ellen at the CIA). Ed was the MC of the show, and did a very good job.He was witty and informative as well as being wickedly funny. Taiko is the art of Japanese drumming from centuries ago, but reborn near Sebastapol in 1995. This celebration was the 10th year of Taiko in Sonoma County.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Visit to the City

To see my sister, Rita. Which was just great. We went for a nice walk through the Haight street district where we went for a Pesto Pizza. later we ambled down towards the Hall of Flowers and eventually to the "New" De Young Museum, which will be opening shortly. Already thier were people up in the observation tower, but they were privaledged members who got an early preview.I was snapping lots of pictures which regretably were deleted from my camera after I downloaded them to my IPod, not thinking that I would'nt be able to upload them again onto my computer, AAAaaaarrrrggggghhh !!! After returning back to her place, we had a nice steak dinner which my brother in law prepared, and then watched a football game until it was time to head back home to Napa.Also, in the world news, there was a terrible earthquake in Pakistan. Yikes! this sure has been the year for natural disasters!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Banteron from Boca Raton

Greetings Mi Amigos !

This is my first little Quicktime movie that i tried to post to "Ourmedia." A website which offers public videoblogging and an RSS feed for free! (yeah, nice when/if it works).The link to the movie goes to my earthlink website which is where it has been for ages. Since I am just beginning to go public with these bizarre flicks, bare with me. I know this is an old video which was made around 1997, but hey! I made it on my first web cam which was a logitech ball that plugged into my 7200 Power Mac using an 8-pin connector. I ended up getting so frustrated with the thing one time, that I swung it around my head a couple of times and flinged it across the room in a moment of rage. I am not proud of those moments because they have cost me time, money and friends in the past. Today is a new day though, I am enjoying my life and making the most of what I have learned with this new tech.( A nod to Wellbutrin® as well.)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Cat Butt Gum

I just finished giving a tour and felt a little self concious while talking to some guests because I had the dreaded "coffee breath." Thankfully, after asking Eileen if she had anything that would remedy the situation she provided me with a couple of pieces of "Cat Butt Gum." Well, needless to say it was delicious!... and helped me overcome my dilema. Now ain't that sweet ? Speaking of sweet, check out this great site for learning how to decorate cakes!

Cake Decorating Tips from Wilton

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

October Blues

Today, I learned that my friend and co-worker Melissa has given a two week notice, and is leaving the Culinary Institute. She stated that she took the job because she didn't want stress to interfere with her effectiveness on the job. Apparently, she was yelled at for omitting something that should have been posted in our daily events newsletter.This type of behavior is so unnecessary so I don't blame her... considering the source of this aggravation. She is a highly skilled professional who is very talented and doesn't need someone "barking in her face" for a simple oversight. It hurts me that she is chosing to move on, because I thing she is a real class act. Nonetheless, it is her choice and ultimately it does come back to choices. My attitude about these types of situations is: " This too shall pass. "

Soap on a rope

Gee, October sure snuck onto to the scene quite promptly. Last night I went to a going away party for Mario at Ristorante Allegria in downtown Napa. Mario is Edward Clunies-Ross' brother in law and a decent chap who is joining the Air Force. The next ten weeks will determine if he has the "Right Stuff." The dinner was held in an old bank building. I arrived early and had myself a Seven-up with Roses lime juice (my favorite non- alcoholic drink). I sat at the bar waiting for the rest of the party to arrive as I watched the Los Angeles Angels get spanked by the Yankees in a playoff game that will determine who goes to the world series. Eventually, a gentleman named Gavin arrived and after he introduced himself we chatted for a bit and I asked him to watch my camera and sunglasses while I went back to my car to fetch my wallet ( I don't feel secure in restaurant with only my change purse ) . Later, when everyone arrived, we proceeded to the old bank's vault where we were seated for dinner. Edward brought the nice bottle of "Arida" from Vineyard 29 that I gave him. Dr. Marco said it was quite smooth after he took a sip. Dr. Marco is Edward's Croatian friend from the Queen of the Valley Hospital where he works as a Radiologist ( I think ). The dinner was great as we indulged in a variety of Italian dishes. I had the Pasta con Polle . Their was much talk around the table about wine, sports cars, the military, work, television commercials and food. All in all it was a very pleasant evening.Edward paid for the whole meal, to which I am very grateful.Mario was given the nice gift shown around his neck by Gavin.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Damn Bills !

I missed my men's group meeting at the church this evening. Part of it had to do with the fact that I recieved a bill that my insurance company was supposed to pay to the anesthesiologist after my knee operation.I tried calling Don, who is the president of the men's club but he did not answer his phone. I got up and drove to the church to see if the meeting was still going on after nine pm. The church was dark. I went back home and re-dialed and still no answer. It makes me wonder if the meeting actually occured. Tommorow i go to the dentist to have a crown replaced. I wanted gold but I am getting porcelain. No one asked me.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Rita Strikes !

This morning, I am a little relieved to report that Hurricane Rita has been downgraded to a one, on a scale of five.I talked to my friend, David Good who is down there in Texas and he reports a lot of wind and rain. I also talked with my sister Rita last night and she is taking a little ribbing because of her name. Right now I am at work and will be giving a tour of Greystone. To be continued...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


As I write this, Hurricane Rita has been upgraded to a level 4 Hurricane and it is beginning to bear down on the Gulf Coast. It looks like it might give New Orleans and places like Galveston, Texas ...a BIG wallop. If Katrina was not destructive enough, the people of New Orleans will not be able to return to their homes... probably not EVER if this hurricane raveges what is left of an already raveged area. Catastrophic events have been on the increase in the past couple of years, and many feel that the end is near. As a nation and a people, we must keep the faith and remember that, "This too shall pass."

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sunday's Struggle

Today I ran the cameras in the DeBaun Theater. Our demo chef was not on her game. She stammered, she answered questions blithely, and generally disappointed me. The problem as I see it, is that she is an alcoholic in denial. She fixed her last fallout by going to an acupuncturist and taking three weeks off ( she should have entered rehab at that point). Luckily, I only have to work with her one day a week but even that is becoming very difficult to tolerate because of my behavior around her, and her behavior in general. I really cannot help her because I have let her use me and hook me into her seductive web of sexual horseplay and acting out. As a sex addict, I am playing with fire here. I am powerless over my sexual addiction and my life has become unmanageable. Right now I will continue watching the Emmys and then go off to bed. I pray that I may be able to change and move on with my life in a successful way. This must be put behind me.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Thursday's Muse

Meet Marvin. This wonderful image was created by Alex Murawski and was found in the book, " Dynamic Black & White Illustration." One Hundered years of Line Art from 1900 to 2000 by Leslie Cabarga. It feels like I knew this guy. Like maybe he was a former mob boss from the local union, or perhaps a bouncer at a club downtown. I would not want to meet this guy in a dark alley after midnight that is for sure.His gaze tells me that he does not believe my bullshit. He will take a pair of pliars and crush my fingertips until he gets what he wants. Perhaps he heard that I slept with his daughter... whatever. I don't want to cross paths with this guy. At bocce ball tournaments, he sits on the bench with his arms crossed watching every move and usually makes comments in a deep baritone from years of smoking White Owls and Juan Coronas. Nuff said.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Today, I find that it is easier for me to decompress at home instead of jumping in my car and going somewhere, just to go. I am working on a brochure for Ana Borquez today which is keeping me busy. She wants 50 copies and some business cards prented out the next time i see her. This is no easy task. Printing costs are pretty high and labor costs are high too, if you take into account that if I were to print these out on my inkjet at home it would easily take 8 hours to do... not to mention a lot of aggravation. So who needs this? I am still going to drive to Staples to buy a scanner and perhaps have these printers printed out there. Now I am having trouble remembering what the protocol for uploading movies to my .mac site is. Oy!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Looking alive with caffiene

I could have stayed in bed all morning. Originally I had planned to go see the Giants take on the Cubs at SBC park but I decided to go to work instead. It's not like I don't have some vacation days coming. Truthfully, I am not that big a Giants fan although I enjoyed myself at the game I went to earlier in the season, although I can't remember who played except that the Giants lost.A very nice lady named Margie McCartney gave me three tickets after I provided her and her friends with a tour of Greystone. She said that she was going to sing at the game and wanted me to come and enjoy it. I gave two of the tickets to Lori Novak, who was shadowing me on the tour.She wanted to take her boyfriend. I ended up giving the one ticket left to Jose, a chef who prepares the employee meals during the week. Lately, I have been feeling rather ho-hum. My energy level has been managed by lots of Coffee and Cola drinks. I think I need more exercise. good food and rest. Check back with me later.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Labor Day 05'

Today, a lifeguard at Bothe Park Pool asked me why we celebrate labor day. I guessed that it had something with honoring the working stiffs in this country, but I wasn't sure. Leo and I went for a bike ride there to go for a swim. Leo is going to be fourteen in ten days. He must've grown about six inches taller over the summer after coming back from Mexico. He is my friend. Later we drove our bikes into St. Helena to the Coffee Roastery for a some Mango Tea and Coffee. Leo filled his drink cup with sugar cubes and proceed to drink the whole syrupy conncotion. We sat down and played a game of chess. After I reminded him how all the pieces moved, he proceeded to beat me. When we got back to Calistoga later, he asks me about my Palm Pilot (which was in my closet, apparently broke) that he has been bugging me to sell to him for about a year. To get him off my back I told him that he could have it if he could fix it. This was also a ploy to get him to go home.He excitedly agreed and left for his house. Exactly one hour later I get a phone call asking me if I have a particular kind of screwdriver. A little annoyed, I told him that I didn't, and that if he could find the tools to fix the Palm Pilot he would have to track them down himself. A half-hour after that, Leo is knocking on my door telling me that he has fixed the Palm Pilot. My mind is a little blown now, and with Leo's birthday just a week or so away I am all to happy to have this be his present , Definately a win-win situation.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Life happens all over

It's Friday and it has been almost a week since Katrina hit New Orleans with a knock out punch. It was only today that the troops and government agencies were really able to impact the region. Here I am in the most beautiful part of the country and I cannot help but feel real sorrow for the desperate and poor people managing to hang on down at the Gulf Coast. Even though I sent a few measley bucks, I feel like I would like to do something more to alleviate thier misery. I have a vacation coming up and I was thinking about becoming a red cross volunteer for a couple of weeks just to do my part. I still want to take a step back, and not just be guided by my first impulses. Perhaps after the first relief efforts have passed and things have become less chaotic, I would be able to make myself useful. We shall see.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Life as a Concierge

Today is the tenth anniversary of the opening of Greystone. Even though thier were other "openings", this one is significant because it ws the official date... even though the restaurant opened it's doors later. Students here go about their business and I am here to book cooking demos, dispense information and to give a good, general overall impression of the grandeur which is Greystone. To learn the history of this place. you have to do more than just read about it.It must be experienced. Standing in the atrium you cannot help but to look up. Especially if you have never been here before. All the stonework was quarried at the Palisades just north of here. The building was the largest stone winery in the world at one time. The building itself is over one hundred and sixteen years old.For more information about the school, check out this website:

Greystone Campus California

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


I have spent the last couple of days working on my macs. As much as I love these machines, I go absolutely crazy with frustration when things don't work out just right. Especially after I have tried every thing I know to remedy a tech problem late into the evening. Calling for tech support from Apple and Earthlink added to my mounting aggravation. I cannot tell you what it is like to listen to Pacabell's "Canon in D" for the fifty-eighth time before some automation FINALLY answers the call. The technicians are usually pretty placid and I USUALLY get a networking problem resolved in short order. On Tuesday morning I finally go my Airport Express Base station working correctly, to extend the signal of my DSL Wireless connection. Today I took pictures,made movies and recorded an interview with my pal, Don. When all my Macs and thier appendages are working flawlessly, I am a happy camper.Now here is a movie and interview of Don trying out my Ipod and commenting on the horse dung in Bothe Park.

The Movie

The Podcast

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Uploading to Flickr

I just uploaded a bunch of photos to This is a great site if you want to add a whole gallery of your shots for relatives and friends to see. You can catalog a trip, picnic, party or whatever suits your fancy. Check out:

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Keeping things tidy

Okay, you can call me neurotic, anal- retentive, fussy or even obsessive. I don't care.I like things neat and tidy. I don't like seeing things just lying around (especially trash on the ground). Stop being a lazy cuss and put your garbage ( or more aptly ) your recycleables , in their proper place.
Start taking personal responsibility for your environment. I am the same way with what I put up on the web. I cannot stand when my links don't work or are outdated. I would also like to say that everyone appreciates information that they can use. If you take the time to make something that others can navigate, make sure that you are not leading them on a wild goose chase.

Nuff said.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Knee Surgery

Okay, it's rather boring to tell fifteen people at work the same story about the procedure, but it's the only thing going on in my life right now. I am on the mend as my knee continues to improve on a daily basis. I would recommend arthoscopic surgery to anyone who may think that this would be a way to alleviate joint pain due to a torn meniscus or arthritus ( I never suspected that, but at my age... one never knows). Yesterday, I went swimming at Bothe State Park for a couple of hours. The leg/knee felt strong hiking back to my car. I will get my stitches out next Monday and I hope to be able to run long distances pain free after that. We shall see....

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Final week in July

This picture is of Michael McClure who was my freshman English teacher when I was a student at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. Standing behind him with a six-pack in this picture is Jim Morrison of the Doors. Apparently Michael was not pleased with having his picture taken here. Recently, we had the good fortune of having Ray Manzerek visit the CIA for a cooking demo around a month ago.He was the famed keyboard player for the group. I got his autograph and found him to be a very congenial fellow.I told him about my association with the beat poet Michael McClure and as it turns out, Ray is a good friend of his and they have done some events together long after Jim Morrison's passing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Wednesday Wonderland

Today is a beautiful day here in the Napa Valley. The sun is shining and the birds are singing. I will be giving a tour later on today for the Nextel people who are visiting Greystone. My job is a blast. I meet people all day long and they are generally in a good mood when they get here and hopefully in a better mood when they leave. Our company picnic is coming up soon and I will be helping out Susan from the campus store with the games. I think that thier will be a cherry pie eating contest where some lucky person from each department will be quaffing down a gooey red, syrupy cherry pie. Oh what fun !

Friday, July 15, 2005

Middle of the month

Already? Gee, it seems like I hardly have any time to digest my day to day experiences however mundane they appear to be. Friday is not MY Friday... It's my hump day. I work weekends, so Sunday is when I can sorta let my hair down. I'm still waiting for my digital camera to be returned to me from the people that are fixing it's download port. When it arrives, I will be able to download the pictures I take onto my IPod Photo. Then I will be able to do slideshow presentations on someone's TV using only an adapter cable and my IPod. I can hardly wait.I will also be able to start taking pictures again that I can add to my website, weblog, videoblog etc. I MISS MY FUJI MX 3200 !!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Taking my time

It is cold this morning. It feels good because the days have been hot. I had two oatmeal cookies for breakfast. During the week, the Spice girls offer me cookies to take home with me. I usually take a bag of cookies and a loaf of bread. I give them to the families in Tortilla Flats ( my hood ).The kids here appreciate the gesture. Most of them are sugar junkies who leave their wrappers strewn up and down the driveway here.It seems like it has been a long time since I've had a good nights' sleep. I average about five or six hours a night.Today it is very slow at the CIA because it is still semester break here. Besides that, their are no Special Events happening today.
That suits me fine, because I could easily curl up behind a stack of books and go to sleep for a few more hours.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

July 6th, Wednesday

Today I chipped my tooth ( a midsection molar) while biting into a Chicharone which is basically a pork rind. My Mexican neighbor Raphael, prepared this delicace for me and I didn't feel the roughness of my chipped tooth until later.All I was thinking about is how I am going to have to make an appointment with my dentist to have a crown put on or just have the tooth filed down.Other than this event, my work went okay today. I am going to give Charles Henning a grand tour tommorow at 2pm. He is our new Operations Manager at the Culinary Institute. I think that this will be a good oppurtunity to shine. Right now it is 11:30 PM and I am still experiencing a little indigestion from the Chicharone. I hope I have a good night's sleep.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence Day

The car alarm in the neighboring yard woke me today with continuos honking. Then the guy downstairs started his day by dry heaving or trying to cough up some kind of phelgm.Wonderful. It's July fourth and I am here at the computer, plucking out my experiences. I have few plans other than perhaps taking in the fireworks tonight at the fair. But then again, if I stay home, it won't disappoint me because I have followed this same ritual in years past. I have a bug bite on my thumb that is bothering me, If it turns out to be a "Brown Recluse Spider" I will be in for some added problems.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Back on Wednesday

Here it is, Wednesday. The sun is out and the swallows seem to have taken off for other destinations. They came the first week in Spring , made their babies and left a big mess and eventually moved on... Summertime is a bit too hot up under the eaves of the building here.Most of the education staff goes on Vacation this time of the year. It does not mean that it is quiet at the Concierge's desk.Thier is a lot of foot traffic heading towards the restaurant or the campus store. I do a lot of busy work here besides making reservations. I make sure that the light bulbs get changed, that the magazines and colateral material are properly displayed on the rack, and that people get thier questions answered promptly and without ATTITUDE. God forbid I should have a crappy day. So, with that in mind... Have a SWELL DAY !

Monday, June 27, 2005

Monday feels like Tuesday

Already I am thinking that I have to go back to work. All work and no play makes Chris a very dull boy. Today I went to have my knee looked at because I think that I have been running for 3 years now with a torn meniscus. Dr. Diana ( his real name ) looked at it and explained the procedure. I hope that my insurance covers it. I will have an MRI scan done and we will decide after that if it really is a torn minimizes or just a little arthritis. In any case, the day was boring. I later went shopping at Trader Joe's. I like that store. Always feel like I got some good stuff for low prices. Anyway, I am back tinkering on my puter, hoping that tomorrow will be a better day.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Saturday and pondering...

Nothing to do, nothing to do... put some mustard in your shoe. Drive a nail in your foot, fill your hair full of soot. Rub some jelly on the wall, lick it off and call for more. I think that this was the Shel Silverstien poem that I started to memorized back in high school. I like it because I sometime's feel bored and yet I am still trying to think of things to do to keep my mind occupied. I don't need that much anymore. I am trying to assess what I have left up there.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Freaky Friday

Yesterday, a group of us went to see the Giants play at SBC park. We drove from Greystone in the company bus and got there about an hour before game time. Our seats were located in the left field bleacher section. The Game was sort of ho-hum. The Giants ended up losing to the Arizona Diamonbacks. The big drama of the day happened when one of our staff passed out (not from alcohol, but from dehydration) and the medics had to be called. He turned out to be okay after he was observed for about an hour. We all had plenty of snacks and a lot of fun the whole afternoon. Sam did a great job of getting us there and back around 9pm.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Wednesday's Wurlitzer

Well, I sure say "well" a lot. Today has been busy. I have been designing the picnic flyer for our company picnic and it has turned out to be an ordeal. Should it be color or black/white? Should I say this or should I say that? Oy vey. As much as I enjoy composing posters and flyers, I must say that it involves a lot editing. If I were just involved in making posters and flyers for a living, I would not make it through the winter months here in St. Helena.The other thing I wanted to mention is that I discovered a new search engine for looking up long lost friends and relatives. It is called Check it out.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sunday will never be the same

I liked that song when Spanky McFarland sang it. Today is turning out to be a pretty one. Of course I am pleased that I will have the next two days off. Last night I went to William Bennett's first birthday party. The kid is very happy go lucky, but don't tell him " No " or he will burst into tears. He got lots of presents related to sports, so if the kid turns out to be nerd it won't be his parents' friends fault. I was fed a steak and sausage dinner and spent the time chortling about youngsters and the changing times. I think last week I said that I was going to ride my bike and swim on my days off. These next two days I intend to do exactly that.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Moving beyond my last blog

A Big Thanks if you listened to that last audio blog...but if you hadn't, you would be no worse for the wear. I promise not to kivetch like that in the future. It was just an experiment like I suspect the next one will be, and as I get more comfortable with the medium, I'll perhaps be more creative. I spent the last two days working on the computer and it sounds like one is actually accomplishing something when they say that, but you know and I know that this can perpetuate a myth. The myth I am thinking about is the one that the computer is making your life easier. Just as nature abhors a void, I think the personal computer necessitated a growing population, a more complex business and living arena, and has facilitated a large playing field with an expanded dimension to our everyday reality.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Banteron's Muse or Musings (?)

Well, what do you think? Is the name catchy? Does it spark your interest? Give me some feedback...

Anyway, here is another blah... blah...blah Download it here.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Sunday at Greystone

This morning I got up after a long evening of re-organizing my itunes library. It looks like I will have to upload a few songs that I had burned to CD's and lost out of my playlist when I upgraded to Tiger. I felt pretty good this morning though, and work today should be fun. I am looking forward to having a couple of days off, however. I intend to ride my bike at some point and go swimming this summer with the kids in the neighborhood. Arturo finally graduated from High School this year and he is not sure if he wants to go to the J.C. in the Fall. I am trying to tell him that the J.C. is a lot better than an extended however sunny vacation in Iraq.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Attempting to Podcast

Hi There. If you would like to listen to this little experiment then...

Download my podcast here

Thanks !

All Wet Wednesday

Today is my Monday since this is my first day back after two days off. It is raining today and it is very busy. I have had constant interruptions and weird, offbeat kind of guests have been appearing at the door with a variety of nosey, stupid questions. I don't suffer fools lightly and their are quite few today. Around 10 am was a high school class from St. Helena with a whole array of obnoxious teen agers, and an even more obnoxious teacher.Then their's the visitor from Tibouron who prefers the Pacific Northwest. Well my attitude is... WELL GO THERE and stay the hell out of my face!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Monday all over again

Okay, So I haven't kept up with this blog for a couple of days... big whoop. I am off today and plan to go have my tire fixed. I drank too much coffee yesterday and stayed awake last night. Grrrrrrr ! Today is another beautiful day in Calistoga. The sun is shining and the birds are chirping. Now Isn't that swell? Nuff said. I am reluctant to put anything in this blog that someone might actually read, because then I would have to be accountable for what is written. Now I know why what is written has more clout than what is said because their is no wiggle room ! It has been transcribed.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

My yearly review

I was called into the Administration Office for my yearly performance/Salary review. I met expectations on all counts,and exceeded expectations on only one... Technology. My pay will stay the same but I am getting a one time bonus of 5 hundred dollars. I am a bit disappointed because I had higher expectations. I have received numerous letters and cards thanking me for being of service. I even went out of my way to create an employee database, a map of the herb garden and a scrapbook of the CIA at Greystone. I deserve more.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Monday, once around again

I spent the last two days trying to find out how to compress an audio file and upload it to my website as a downloadable MP3 file for my IPod.Pretty exciting stuff, huh? I did get a few things accomplished, however. I did my laundry, shopped, wrote letters paid bills. You know, the important stuff.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Tuesday in the world

Today they revealed who "Deep Thoat" was in the Watergate scandal. It was Mark Felt. He was the second man in the F.B.I. during the Nixon administration. That was a a big deal during the investigation because the country was divided and they didn't want it known who the man was that was to bring down the president.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Monday's Meandering

My knee and my left heel still hurt today after the 10 mile hike I took with Don a week ago. I have had this same area of pain ex-ray'd about a year ago and the doctor found no "structural damage" yet I am still in pain. I want to have arthoscopic surgery done on it. If Joan Benoit can have arthoscopic surgery done on her knee a month before running and winning an olympic marathon, an ol' codger like myself should be able to have it done with similar results.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Saturday's sigh

Today I am still thinking about my friend, Kitty. I was at the meeting last night and left her a loaf of bread, some cookies and the key to her house. Nothing was said. After the meeting I went to put the literature away. She opened the closet door form me to put the literature inside. Nothing was said. I left without a word. Hmmmm....

Thursday, May 26, 2005

No Posts, so far...

Well this blogging stuff is definately starting to feel a little vain. Not that I have really advertised that I keep a blog, but it seems that no one has even visited this site. Okay. I have plans this year sometime to show my art, to make a DVD of my tour at Greystone and to make a podcast. Those are three simple tasks that I have yet to make any progress on, whatsoever. It is certainly not because I don't have the equipment. I have everything I need.That is all for today.

Monday, May 23, 2005


Well in a moment of frustration, I fried my 10GB IPod. I was updating the most recent version of ITunes and I disconnected my IPod when it said not to... then I couldn't get my IPod reset. Then I pressed the buttons VERY HARD, getting more and more frustrated. Needless to say, today I am the owner of a new 30GB Photo IPod. My old IPod sits there quietly with the Apple logo neatly burned into its little screen forever.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

IPod Troubles

I went to upload a song to my Ipod and it froze my Ipod in the "Do not Disconnect" mode. I tried resetting it to no avail. The buttons,screen and instructions for trouble shooting were no help either. I may end up going to the Apple store on Monday for servicing.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Making Up

Dear Diary,

I am not such a pill that I hold grudges over trivial annoyances. My friend Kitty will handle her pain her way. I just have a need to be needed and would have liked it if she said, " Oh Chris, could you come over and massage my aching body?" Then, I could be a hero and perhaps get lucky ( wink wink nudge nudge ). She has been going through a lot lately, but she is a strong person. That is why I questioned her decision to take a Vicoden in the first place.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Cat Fight

I am having a disagreement with my friend, Kitty. She thinks it's okay to take a Vicoden without doctor's orders if her wrist hurts. I disagree and feel that their are other ways to remedy this ailment. I would have tried icing it along with some analgesics like simple aspirin or tylenol. I may have even rubbed some tiger balm on it... but Vicoden? No thanks.

All Wet Wednesday

Yep, it is still raining out here in the Wine country. One would think the May flowers would be dancing in the sunshine, but not quite yet. I am going to work in a few minutes, and I am looking forward to it. It seems that even two days off are too much for me now. I end up wasting time and feeling bad about it. Monday went well though... a ten mile hike with Don Freeland through the outer regions of Bothe State Park. Tuesday sucked. Kitty is trying to manage her wrist pain and takes Vicoden when she can't sleep. Alas, she feels crappy the next day and doesn't want to see me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Tuesday Afternoon

I went to do the Food Bank this morning like I have been doing for the past four years. Only this morning "Jim" came by to pick me up in his van. We will be using his van from now on since the blue truck died and the Chateau Montelena van is an "iffy" lend.Jim seemed like a nice guy, a Rotarian to be sure and he expressed an interest in being of service so I got him oriented to the monthly program.Usually, it is a lot of hustle and bustle, both down in Napa and especially back in Calistoga where the food is distributed. I get a stipend of $20.00 each month for my efforts, and I consider that to be hard earned. I am grateful to the Napa County Food bank for helping those in need.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Oops, missed a day

I was busy all weekend long. Their was the Chuck Williams dedication at the Culinary Institute. I gave around 6 tours and collected the all important VIP business cards. I ate like a pig. I celebrated Terry Aten Bennett's Birthday at Don Giovanni. I saw Rueben and Tim Ryan there having dinner ( what a serendipitous event that was ). All in all, everything had a particular significance which would take to long to go into at this time.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Friday the 13th

I don't know if I was born on Friday the 13th, but I had my 13th birthday on a Friday. I think of it as a "Lucky Day" but the 14th can be a little spooky. My sister Ellen got in a serious accident on Saturday the 14th, 1963. She survived through a lot of prayer and good doctors. I know I would have really missed her.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Thursday's musing

Dear Diary... yea right. Like I have ever been able to keep a diary. I have usally ended up trashing them for fear that someone might find out what I really think of them, or ME ! Today it is Sunny and I am still in my underwear trying to figure out what else to put on. Perhaps I will go to work just like this. I am sure that I would be arrested or committed in very short order.
Anyway ( which is what I say when I am about to wrap things up ) That's it for now.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Wednesday's musings

Today is going to be a busy day. Shara is sick and i will be running the camera in the Pesto demo. I have to make some signs for Ellen and it is my first day back at work. I also have to refill my prescription for Flonase.I feel pretty good though after getting plenty of exercise cutting down trees over at Kitty's house yesterday. My body aches in a good way. That's all for now.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Kickin' back

Kickin' back
Originally uploaded by banteron.
This picture was taken last year on a hike I took with Mz Kitty. We had a great time, but were pretty spent by the time we got down off the mountain.


Originally uploaded by banteron.
I am going upload this nice picture to my blog.

Monday Morning Mood

The Mommas and Pappas had it right. Monday, Monday can't trust that day. I am pleased that I have Monday as the first day of my two days off on a weekly basis. I used to find it unusually depressing because it marked the beginning of a work week where I would/should be working. Always looking forward to the weekend when I could party hearty with the best of them.Now I just accept it as a day to regroup and prepare myself for the week ahead.
My friend Don and I are getting together at some point today for a cup of coffee , a hike or just generally catching up. We have not really had much chance to hang out with one another since I worked weekends and those were his only days off. Now that he has retired, the landscape has shifted. I look forward to putting together some kind of project with him.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Me, Myself and I

This blog is just a short commentary on my last blog which was an experiment... much like this one where I will explore different fonts, text sizes and colors. I am also going to see how well this interface handles orientation, bulleted lists and hypertext links, like the ones to :

  1. my website -
  2. The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone
  3. Wikipedia
Hmmmm... so far, so good !

Okay, now i have to go and do something else, so I will continue this later.

My very first blog

Hello and welcome to my one and only weblog. I am going to finish this when I get home, but suffice to say that I am pleased to finally be able to express my musings online to anyone who might be interested.