Business Attire

Throughout my working life in the UK I wore a suit and tie. Here in the US, I have not worn a tie, much less a suit to the office since I started working. The dress code at work stipulates business casual, which translates to not jeans and not tee-shirts. I usually wear a collar shirt, but polo shirts are acceptable. A recent relaxation in code has allowed jeans on a Friday. This may be relaxed by UK standards, but is apparently strict by the norms of Northern California, where jeans and tee-shirts are just fine. It took me many months here before I stopped feeling under-dressed at the lack of a tie.

Recently, we had a week long event at work, to celebrate Californian life.

Monday was sports day; I came to work in an Oakland’s A shirt. The A’s we the most popular choice, followed by the Raiders and the Sharks.

Tuesday was dress like a nerd day. I wore a tee-shirt with a programming joke emblazoned on the front and wrapped tape around the bridge of my glasses. This latter touch was a very common interpretation of the day’s theme.

Wednesday was dress in gold day, to reflect the state’s nickname (The Golden State). I wore a hold colored shirt.

Thursday was hat day, I am not sure how that related to the California theme. I wore my sun hat, that was described by several people as an Indiana Jones hat.

Friday was beach day. It was then that I strode so far from my comfort zone for work attire. I wore swimming trunks, a tee shirt advertising Kenyan beer, and carried a beach towel over my arm. I did not quite manage the bare foot look, but I have never been so under-dressed at work.

None of these clothing choices, stopped me from working normally. It certainly gave me pause to wonder why the tie and jacket is still considered compulsory in so many places.

Published in: on 30 June, 2012 at 16:34  Comments (1)  

Business Attire

Throughout my working life in the UK I wore a suit and tie. Here in the US, I have not worn a tie, much less a suit to the office since I started working. The dress code at work stipulates business casual, which translates to not jeans and not tee-shirts. I usually wear a collar shirt, but polo shirts are acceptable. A recent relaxation in code has allowed jeans on a Friday. This may be relaxed by UK standards, but is apparently strict by the norms of Northern California, where jeans and tee-shirts are just fine. It took me many months here before I stopped feeling under-dressed at the lack of a tie.

Recently, we had a week long event at work, to celebrate Californian life.

Monday was sports day; I came to work in an Oakland’s A shirt. The A’s we the most popular choice, followed by the Raiders and the Sharks.

Tuesday was dress like a nerd day. I wore a tee-shirt with a programming joke emblazoned on the front and wrapped tape around the bridge of my glasses. This latter touch was a very common interpretation of the day’s theme.

Wednesday was dress in gold day, to reflect the state’s nickname (The Golden State). I wore a hold colored shirt.

Thursday was hat day, I am not sure how that related to the California theme. I wore my sun hat, that was described by several people as an Indiana Jones hat.

Friday was beach day. It was then that I strode so far from my comfort zone for work attire. I wore swimming trunks, a tee shirt advertising Kenyan beer, and carried a beach towel over my arm. I did not quite manage the bare foot look, but I have never been so under-dressed at work.

None of these clothing choices, stopped me from working normally. It certainly gave me pause to wonder why the tie and jacket is still considered compulsory in so many places.

Published in: on 30 June, 2012 at 16:29  Leave a Comment  

The Cost of Wine

I wrote previously about our tour around the Italian castle style winery. During that tour we were stood in the barrel lined cellars as the guide discussed the aging process. She mentioned the cost of the barrels, but observed that each one could be used twice. A quick exercise in mental arithmetic resulted in my realizing that the cost of the barrel spread out across each bottle produced was about two dollars. 

It is possible to buy wine here in California for two dollars a bottle; Trader Joe’s sells the most famous example – Two Buck Chuck. It is clear that they are not using French Oak Barrels to age that wine. I mentioned that to the guide and she explained that cheaper wines age in massive stainless steel vats and use oak chips or liquid oak extract in lieu of using real oak casks. 

Published in: on 24 June, 2012 at 10:36  Comments (1)  

Castle in the Clouds

Last weekend I took a couple of visitors from the UK wine tasting. One of the wineries that we visited was Castello Di Amorosa (Castle of Love). The building was completed in 2007, but looks like neither 21st century, nor Californian. The owner spent fifteen years building an Italian castle on a hill above Calistoga.

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He used a mix of architectural styles to mimic a building that had grown organically over centuries. He included a chapel and a torture chamber. The latter must offer interesting opportunities for staff motivation.

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We took a tour, where a very knowledgable guide told us the story of the castle and the techniques used to make the wine. We were shown all over the castle before being lead into the cellars where we saw racks of wine maturing, tasted some young Cabernet Sauvignon from a cask, and then had a private tasting of several wines. They aim for a more Italian style of wine, reflected in a tasty Sangiovese. However, the stand out was the 2007 Cab, which clearly owed more to Napa than Italy.

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Published in: on 14 June, 2012 at 21:10  Leave a Comment  

Sunshine and Rain

I arrived in Florida, which is known as the Sunshine State, in a rainstorm. The rain lessened as I arrived at the hotel and i was able to walk down the street for supper.

It was overcast, but not raining when I left for the office; it was at the end of the day. I was driving down the freeway in pouring rain. The traffic report on the radio notified me that Orlando was encountering light to medium downpours. I laughed, for the rain was coming down in a manner that did fit the description of moderate.

This morning as I drove back to work I realized that the radio had been right. The downpour on the previous evening was moderate compared to the rain through which the traffic was moving. It was less cats and dogs and more lions and dire wolves.

I am convinced that Florida’s nickname is the least accurate one of the fifty.

Published in: on 7 June, 2012 at 7:42  Leave a Comment  

Haircuts

I am in Orlando, Florida for most of the week; for work and not to see Mickey. I am in meetings in downtown. On the way to lunch I saw a man holding a sign for a nearby barber shop. It offered a very unusual incentive to have your haircut; free beer. Unfortunately, I had to return to work after lunch, so my hair is no shorter than it started the day. Not sure that drinking whilst clippings fall from your head is ideal – although in the case of Coors it could not worsen the flavour.

Published in: on 6 June, 2012 at 14:00  Leave a Comment  

Christmas Shopping

I know that June has just begun, but we bought a Christmas ornament today. Fortunately, it was not because the stores have brought out their decorations even earlier this year. Today, was our local garage sale. Many of the houses in the neighborhood were selling stuff from their garage and driveways. By focusing the effort on a single day, it brought many people out.

We had intended to browse, but we ended up making several purchases. The first one was the aforementioned ornament, that was just $3. The next one was a pair of barstools, ideal for our outside bar. These were $30 for the pair. We paid and told the seller we would be back later with our SUV to collect.

Not all of the sellers had wares that we wanted. Much of the stuff should have gone straight to the garbage. Of course, this is the Bay Area, so cutting edge technology was available; VHS, music cassettes, even 8-Track tape players.

Our final purchase from a group of young woman who had designer shoes. My wife bought a pair for $15. She was lusting after a Coach pair, but they were too small. The sellers told her that they had someone try to haggle over a $5 price on a pair of designer shoes; there is bargain hunting and there is being totally unreasonable.

I was restrained and did not purchase any of the tie-dye shirts that one couple were selling.

This was a delightful way of spending a few hours wandering around on a warm, breeze temperature limited morning.

Published in: on 2 June, 2012 at 15:44  Leave a Comment