Sunday, June 30, 2013

Château Vaissiere 2011 Minervois

I was delighted to see a new Minervois at Trader Joe's, Château Vaissiere 2011.  It was less than $9 a bottle, sported a colorful label (which often would dissuade me), but it was a true Appelation d'Origine Controlee.  The French system of quality control did not let me know.  Château Vaissiere 2011 was refreshing, and akin to Château Landure and other fine Minervois.  It is bottled by another negotiant, Olivier Mandeville, but it does not suffer from any lapse in quality.

Imported by Lattitude Wines, Danville CA for Trader Joes, this is highly recommended.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Château Mayne Guyon Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux 2010

Château Mayne Guyon Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux 2010 is another fine, affordable, Trader Joe's red wine.  Less than $9 a bottle, consistent quality, delicious, drinkable, under-appreciated, well recommended.  Yes, it is bottled by a negotiant, and sometimes that can make a slightly "lesser wine", but not this time.  I enjoyed it.  You can too.

Chabanneau Cognac V.S.

Chabanneau Cognac V.S., I stumbled upon this gem at Total Wine in Laguna Hills, where they were selling it for just $18 a bottle.  Eighteen dollars a bottle, for actual cognac!  Yes!  Sure, it is not XO (which I often fine offensively overwhelming to my nose), nor is it VSOP (as most cognacs are), but it is fine.  Imported by Cil Amerique - Manhasset NY.

I try to keep a bottle on-hand and handy for a digestif after dinner from time to time.  At one or two dollars a glass, and no hang-over whatsoever (since is it Cognac) it is wonderful.

Château du Buisson 2009

Château du Buisson 2009 is only $5 at Trader Joe's.  It's very drinkable, affordable, and great quality.  I've had 3 bottles in the last 3 months, and it is great.  "Vinifie en propriety par nos oenologies" par Ginestet (a negotiant) - but I won't hold that against it.  I like it.  And I will continue to enjoy it.  Next time you are at Trader Joe's, you can look for it too.

La Finca Malbec

La Finca Malbec, oak aged from Mendoza Argentina, is not a bad wine.  A whole $6 from Trader Joe's, it was very drinkable and paired well with the pollo asada I grilled several weeks ago.  One could do much worse.  Pretty good for a young 2012 vintage.  It won't be my last bottle.

Futile Snorkeling Attempt

Trying to snorkel at Dana Point's Strand Beach and see aquatic wildlife is about as effective as trying to look for wildlife during a blinding NW Indiana Region "Lake Effect" snow storm while wearing glasses and no hat, where you can't see more than 2 feet in front of you and the falling snow keeps collecting on your glasses.

I bought an O'Neill Psycho 3/2 wet suit on Sunday morning.  It fits great, feels great, and I wanted to try it out.  So I headed down to the beach on Monday, snorkel & mask in hand, electronic car key in a double plastic bag to keep it dry inside my suit, and sun screen massaged into my scalp.  I was enthusiastic, and naive.  

Once I got down to the beach, I finished zipping up my suit, with a early-20-something life guard
saying "dude, you're not gonna need that wetsuit today".
"The water temp is 68F".
"Yeah man, that's warm."
"No, there's no gulf stream here, 68F is cold. I would not swim in Phoenix unless it was over 73 or 74F"
So I waded into the surf, put on my booties and flippers, secured my mask, and dove through several waves, determined to explore the kelp beds.  200 yards out beyond the surf, I still could not see my hand when it was fully extended under water.  There was far too much roiling sand stirred up by the waves.  I didn't know I was in a kelp bed until I felt it wrapping around my arms.  The water's surface was undulating 2 to 3 feet up and down, often swamping my snorkel's check valve.  Now, if one is looking at the bottom of the ocean, and focusing on fish and rocks and vegetation that are visible, it provides a certain serenity that can compensate for the sudden CUT OFF in air supply.  But, if all you can see is swirling, roiling sand, and you're disoriented, trying to stay afloat in an unfamiliar environment, and Then your air supply is CUT OFF, it makes it very disconcerting.  Then, tangle your arms into the kelp, add a outward flowing current, swimming alone, and I called it quits after 15 minutes.  The Pacific Ocean proved to me, at Dana Point's Strand Beach, that it rejected any attempts to be snorkeled.

I may try again down at 1000 Steps, where it is more rocky, or off the head lands where there is very little sand.   I've heard that "30 feet" of visibility is "normal"in OC on a good day.  I didn't even have 3 feet of visibility yesterday.  The Psycho suit will get used, both in the Winter (it is very warm) and in the summer when the water is too cool to swim comfortably.  I have a body board that I plan on riding waves on.  Il faut voir.

$8 Cranberry Juice

This year, I developed a new drink that I enjoy, but I am not sure how sustainable it is, due to cost.  The recipe is simple:
1) Get a large glass (plastic if near the pool, glass if inside)
2) fill 1/2 to 2/3rds with ice
3) cover ice with organic cranberry juice - real cranberry juice, not pear or apple or other juices with some small percentage of cranberry in it, but actual real cranberry juice like R.W.Knudsen 100% Organic Cranberry Juice
4) add one or two (or three) shots of Costco vodka or Cruzan rum
5) put in either organic Stevia, or, organic Trader Joe's pineapple juice, to sweeten

All of these ingredients are cost effective, except for the organic cranberry juice, which is running $8 a bottle at WholePayCheck, Trader Joe's, and at Gelson's market on the PCH.  Large chain grocery stores (like Ralph's and Albertson's and Von's) don't appear to carry any 100% cranberry without added sugar or HFCS.  Oh well.  The tart cranberry does promote healthy renal function, and the Stevia makes it very low calorie, while the ethanol does help one fall asleep before 9pm to get up at 4am... but I need to find a more sustainable source of cranberry juice.

Minorities Today, Gays Tomorrow

SCOTUS today struck down the key enforcement clause in the voting rights act.  John Roberts handed Reince Priebus exactly what Republican state legislatures have been working so hard to do: suppress the minority vote.  It's not a big surprise, since Roberts has wanted to do this since he was a lawyer int he Bush whitehouse.  Sad how the voting rights act was last renewed 98-2 in the Senate, and +400-30 in the House, but can be struck down because of 5 activist Republican "Justices".

Tomorrow, I would be VERY surprised if SCOTUS does not uphold DOMA, and rule against equal rights for gay couples.  While SCOTUS referenced an "antiquated map" in the voting rights case, there will probably be no mention of an antiquated paradigm.

Maybe the silver lining will be that these stupid states who keep voting against their own self interests, will begin to change their defective state legislatures and governors... but I doubt it.

Welcome back to the trends of the segregated 1950s....  =(

Thursday, June 20, 2013

8 Drinkable Craft Beers

After my Stone Brewery tour and conversion last December, I've sworn off corporate watered down swill and have tried throughout the Winter and Spring, to sample non-corporate, non-mass produced, true Craft beers made of better quality, with better ingredients, by people who love to make beer rather than just by a cooperation who is trying to increase share-holder wealth.  Some Southern California grocery stores have wider selections than others, but very few carry the Stouts and Porters that I have figured out I like the best.  There's a preponderance of hoppy IPAs, and a mad arms race to see who can concoct the most bitter, overwhelmingly hops-y beverages possible.  But since I am not a masochist, and I prefer to enjoy my beer, I'll leave those bitter glasses to others who like them.

This posting is a summary of affordable craft beers that are drinkable, but not my favorite  Some are not trying to be a Porter or Stout, and so they fall far off the spectrum of what I'd find delicious.  Others are trying to be their own version of "Awesome!" and perhaps, for someone who likes an IPA or other varieties, they might be enjoyed.  Regardless, they're made by smaller breweries who are trying their hands at craft beer, and for that aspect alone, I applaud them.

Misssissippi Mud, Famous Black and Tan, Porter & Pilsner Beer, Mississippi Mud Brewing Company, Utica NY (New York? sure…).  1 quart "jug". Found at Trader Joe's for less than $5 a jug.  While this was by far the most interesting bottle in shape and size, it did not live up to my expectation of an awesome porter.  Perhaps it was too much of a pilsner, and if you like pilasters, that's fine.  It was good, and drinkable, and for the price, not bad.

KBC Porter - Kennebunkport Brewing Company. Portland Maine.  I think I bought this one at Ralph's (a California version of Fry's / Kroger / Bi-Lo) for $5 or $6.  It was OK, and smooth.  It falls short of the Stone Smoked Porter or a Shipyard Pugsley masterpiece, but it was not bad.  Traveling all the way from Portland to Orange County put a rather large carbon foot print on this little bottle.

Hangar 24 Alt Bier Ale, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Redlands CA. "Carmel, Toasty, and Clean" the back label said, so I bought it.  I like Hangar 24 beers, they're fine quality, local, good beers.  But I am not much of an Ale fan.  Perhaps the years of drinking Little Kings creme ale in college have ruined my pallet for Ales for the rest of my life… and now only Porters and Stouts will do?  I don't know.  There was a hint of carmel in this bottle, but it was less than I hoped for.  Good and drinkable, please do not mis-interpret my personal preference as any negativity towards Hangar 24.

Rogue Mom Hefeweizen, Ale Brewed with Rose Petals, Rogue Ales Newport Oregon.  Rogue is another fine west coast brewery who makes a fine product.  I used to drink Franszaskanner Hefeweizen before they were corporately bought out, so I tried this bottle to see how good it might be.  It was fine for a Hefeweizen.  It was nice to see that Rogue states clearly on their label that no chemicals, preservatives or additives are included in their beer.  And the "6 ingredients" were simply "Wheat & 2-Row Pale Malt; Sterling Hops; Oregon Rose Petals; Free Range Coastal Water & Pacman Yeast".  Nice and SImple.

ACE Perry Hard Cider, California Cider Company, Sonoma County.  Found at Trader Joe's for < $4 a bottle.  Well, if you're a cider fan, you might like this.  I'm not a cider fan, so I didn't.  Dr Desert Flower is a cider fan, but she winced at her first sip from this very pear-heavy bottle. I tried to enjoy a cider... oh well.

Nero's 1st Century Double Dark Malt Ale, Imported Italian Craft Ale, 500ml, Birra Amarcord SA, Rimini Brewery, Apecchio Italy.  Trader Joe's was selling this for < $5 a bottle, and I thought "why not?"  It was OK.  It was not very dark, but it was all right.  

"The Beast Grand Cru Ale" Avery Brewing Co, Boulder Colorado, "The Demons of Ale".  The back label stated  "Ale with Raisins, Dates, Molasses and Honey".  I found it at WholePayCheck, $6 for a 12 ounce bottle.  It was definitely a complex Ale, with lots of flavors.  Very sweet.  It was good.  Too sweet for my tastes.  Avery is a highly regarded brewery, and makes a quality product.  I cannot say anything bad about this beer.  It had a great deal going on within it.  

Maudite Amber Red Ale On Lees, Unibroue Brewery, Chambly Quebec Canada.   Maudite (Damned) was a good red ale.  It's not a bad beer.  Unibroue is a good brewery, and their "End of the World" (La Fin du Monde) is a fine beverage.  The Maudite I found was from WholePayCheck and ~$6 a bottle.  I'll stick with the La Fin du Monde in the future.  

Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout, Great Divide Brewing Co, Denver Colorado.  An Imperial Stout! My expectations were unrealistically high.  I also drank it on a Friday evening when I was already somewhat sleepy - Friday evenings, having gotten up Monday-Friday at 4am, are typically 5-hour-Energy or coffee or espresso fueled, so that I can try to stay awake and spend quality time with Dr Desert Flower.  Had my expectations been lower, this would have been an awesome stout.   It was good.  It was Not bad.  I enjoyed it.  I just had hoped it would be more like a Shipyard or a Stone Imperial Stout.  I will drink a bottle of this again if given a chance, and I highly recommend you try it if you enjoy stouts.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Black Socks & Shorts On Clueless Californians

When I was growing up, men and boys wore black socks with trousers.  If you were wearing shorts, you might wear white socks that went up to your mid calf or higher.  If you were wearing sandals, you didn't wear socks.  It was "gauche", in bad taste, looked bad, and - as my mother used to tell me - the darker socks held smell more, and could not be bleached out and sanitized as well as white socks could.    So I went more than 4 decades not seeing any respectable man or boy wear long dark socks anywhere, except during a soccer practice, if the team colors required dark socks to be worn.  Any man who wore dark socks with sandals was an obviously clueless social inept.

Then I moved to California.  I guess, back in Arizona there COULD Have been long dark socks being worn but most Phoenicians wore their barrio shorts so low that they were longer than most girls' capri pants hems, so I never saw them.   But here in California, boys, young men, middle aged men, old men, fat men, thin men, guys of all ages and ethnicities and marital statuses are wearing long black socks with tennis shoes or sandals and short pants.  When did that become socially acceptable, or even a preferred way to wear socks?  I've seen it outside Sports Chalet, in malls, at gas stations, walking down the street, in grocery stores, at COSTCO, and even at the beach.

I will not embrace this silly trend of long dark socks with shorts of any hem, I will not like it Sam-I-am. I will not wear them near to dusk, I will not wear them on a bus, I do not like the looks of it, I think in fact it looks like sh*t.  Just as I have refused to wear shorts that extend far below my knee, or brown-bagged elastic waisted old-man pants, or over-priced Ed Hardy shirts.  I'll leave those to the sheeple.

Just when did this "fashion trend" begin, and who can I credit (or blame) for promoting the acceptability of such poor choices? What "personality" thought it was a good idea, and now so many sheeple want to be just like their icon?  Put some trousers on, a kilt, or wear lederhosen perhaps if you're going to sport dark socks in America. Wear dark socks with sandals, and you're demonstrating you don't understand the joy of wearing sandals.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Best Father's Day So Far

- Wake up whenever I want to, after 8:30am, to the sounds of birds chirping outside the opened windows - it's been in the 60s every night this month, and in the 70s every day.

- Have a nearly all-organic breakfast, with my wonderful wife.  (only the bacon bits, portobello mushrooms,  and the Fage Greek yogurt were not organic)  Scrambled local eggs, sweet onions, bacon bits, shrooms, and a bowl of Fage with local raspberries and blue berries.

- Drive down to Salt Creek beach, getting there before 11am (so that we have a parking spot), and do yoga, side-by-side, mats sharing a sheet to keep the grass off the sheet. Ambient temp 72F, light 5mph on-shore breeze, not a cloud in the sky.

- Walk back up to the car (a nearly 200 foot vertical climb) to exchange yoga mats for beach chairs and water.  Walk back down to the shoreline, just soaking up UV and the gorgeous weather.  Other people's toddlers cutely played in the surf nearby... we didn't have to take care of any of them. =)

- After an hour or so, walk down the shore, and back up to the car, and drive to A's Burgers in Dana Point, to have a delicious, lettuce wrapped double hamburger

- Drive home in the convertible, gather reading materials and adult beverages, apply more sun screen, and head down to the pool.

- Enjoy lounging at the pool, reading many chapters of my book, consuming Cruzan rum laden drinks, soaking in the hot tub, swimming with my wonderful wife.

- Sometime after 5pm, walk back up to the house with my wife, have a delicious dinner together, spend more quality time together.

Of the quarter century of Father's Days I've had, this was the best one ever.

Picking Sides In Syria? Lannisters, Tullys, Baratheons, or Greyjoys?

Bill Maher made an excellent observation last Friday on "Real Time":

"MAHER: You mean al Qaeda? Because we're basically arming al Qaeda. I don't understand this --

ALTER: There's a peace conference. If they don't go into that peace conference with at least some victories on the rebel side, the rebels won't show up. So the president is trying to bolster them enough so they can get to the peace conference.

MAHER: It's like picking sides in Game of Thrones. "

Transcript link here. Syrian deaths over time, here.  BBC's comprehensive map of the violent factions who are often fighting each other, as much as they are fighting Assad, here. CSMonitor's take on the chaos here.

Frankly, I'd go with the Targaryens. It's wise to not bet against those who control dragons.  It just sucks that in Syria, the closest Targaryen equivalent are the fundamentalist Sunnis who want to establish an Islamic state...  =(  They both eat hearts as part of bizarre rituals.  =(

Friday, June 14, 2013

Smashed Blueberry Homerun

Shipyard Brewing Company's Alan Pugsley has hit another homerun with this amazing ale "Smashed Blueberry".   Wow!  I found it in the "Seasonal Craft Beer" section at Total Wine, and thought "the Imperial Porter was great... why not try this one too?"

It was amazing.  It had a smooth taste, full of flavor, and after swallowing, it was like a Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory scene - 'the blue berry really tastes like blue berry!'  I tasted blue berries.  I smelled blue berries.  The melodious scent of ripe blue berries filled my sinuses, senses, and total being.  I was surprised to find I was not turning blue and swelling up into a spheroid shape.  "Pleasant" doesn't begin to describe it.  Delicious, and worth the $6 I paid for it.

Alan Pugsley is a master of his craft, and I for one am delighted that he's in Maine making amazing craft beers and ales.  I normally do not like fruity beers or ales, but Smashed Blueberry has opened my mind and outlook to new possibilities.

Grammar & Accuracy Matters: Then?

I was driving along Golden Lantern in Dana Point earlier this month, when I saw this license plate holder in front of me.  "My wife is better then yours".  Well, first of all, that's just stupid.  That Corolla driver has never met Dr Desert Flower, and she is the best wife in the world, so wrong on the premise.  But look more closely, "then yours" indicates the driver doesn't understand the difference between "than" and"then" (it's simple, google it, Corolla guy).  But if I assumed this was intentionally grammatically structured as accurate, and that the driver was implying "First of all, my wife is better, then, your wife may be 2nd best" he's lacking a comma, so that is not accurate either.  Another failure of the American education system.

It is nice to drive around California and see very few "Truth Fish", W, "Rhino Hunter" or anti-Darwinian  placards besmirching my field of vision when I am at a stop light or parking lot (as there always were in GA, SC, and Arizona).  There's alot more "Hope", Obama/Biden, Evolve Fish, Wiccan, Coexist, Surfer, and laid back emblems, stickers, plate holders, and placards.

Absolutely Rotten Mango

Earlier this year, I bought a bottle of Absolute Mango vodka for Dr Desert Flower.  She wanted Citron, and Total Wine was out of Citron that day.  We both love the taste of mangoes, so I thought, "why not?" The Mango Absolute was a mistake.  Our bottle carried a pungent aftertaste reminiscent of what a kitchen garbage can smells like the day after you throw away a bunch of orange peels.  There's a acrid, revolting, intrusive scent and acidic lingering taste that took a great deal of cranberry and stevia to over-power.  It's never a good idea to drink something whose taste you need to "over-power" or "over-whelm".

I won't be making the same mistake again, of buying or drinking Absolute Mango.  If you enjoy the biting taste, stinging scent, and lingering "ewwwww" on your tongue that is similar to rotting orange peels, then this beverage may be for you.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Stevia Delivery Methods

Trader Joe's provides many different ways to deliver real, organic, healthy stevia into your diet.  I've tried each one, and have found that my favorite is the liquid version.
The liquid version uses ethanol as the carrier.  Three or 4 drops from the eye dropper make a cup of tea or coffee as sweet as a heaping teaspoon of sugar, but adds zero calories.  And it is organic, so there are NOT any residual fertilizers or pesticides on the leaves used to make it.  Good stuff.

My next favorite form is the organic stevia extract 1 oz. (28.35 gram) bottle.  It comes with a tiny little 45 mg spoon, that has the same sweetness to it as the 3 or 4 drops in liquid form.  The only minor downside, is that in a low humidity environment (like S.CA or Arizona) the liquid can dry out around the eye-dropper cap can make it harder to open if your fingers are weaker.  Again, it is organic.

The powdered stevia extract in packets is "convenient" for traveling, as there is no mess, no spillage, and it travels well.  Sadly, they use lactose to add bulk to it, since the 45 mgs would be so small, most Americans would feel they're being shorted, so something powdery and sweet is added - which sort of defeats the purpose of using the stevia to avoid sugar intake.

The least favorite stevia delivery method is the GIANT 276 gram "Stevia Extract" (see above on the right).  It is not organic, and it is LOADED with useless lactose.  Sure, it is cheaper than the bottle that is 1/10th its size, but instead of using 45 mg per serving, you're supposed to use a whopping 876 mg!  Almost 20 times more, and most of that is lactose masquerading as stevia.  Bleh!

Of course the first three of these Trader Joe's stevia offerings are better than the Sam's Club and COSTCO distributed stevia packets that contain either sucrose, lactose, phenylketonurics (aka nutrasweet), with just enough stevia content to dupe purchasers into assuming they're really buying something natural and sugar-free.  The 276 gram Trader Joe's cylinder is probably made by the same manufacturers who push their big-box store diluents.

US Craft Beer Map - 2013

I am happy to be in the heart of genuine Craft Beer land, even if it is still < < 5% of total world beer production (it is the best part of the global production).  Coverage at ilovecharts, here.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Peregrine Vs Pelican, Like A Desmosedici RR Vs Lincoln

Earlier this week, I was at the Dana Point Land Conservancy Headlands around 3pm, with my Nikon binoculars, hoping to see some raptors.  On my way down to the cliff side look-out areas, I spotted a juvenile Peregrine Falcon soaring around the north side cliffs, so I thought i might be in luck.  There are no migrating whales to spot this time of year at Dana Point, but there are no shortage of avian species to  see.
One of my friend Nancee's awesome Peregrine images

I spotted a juvenile Peregrine Falcon soaring over "the Hotel" at the north end of the Land Conservancy.  Her brown speckled chest, large beak, signature streamlined aerodynamic shape, and non-flapping wings distinguished her from the crows who struggled to get any altitude, the seagulls who actively avoided her air-space, and the Much Larger pelicans who glided through the air over the cliffs.  I watched her soar, and delighted to see such a majestic aerial display, when she went from almost motionless to beginning to veer in a Southernly direction quite rapidly.  She had spotted something...  but the limited field of vision of my binoculars I could not see what.  Then, she FOLDED her wings, and she Shot Down, plummeting and accelerating rapidly, trying to attain the +260 mph vertical dive speeds for which Peregrines are famous.  It was very cool to watch.  (for more images, see here: link)

Then all of a sudden...  BAM... She STRUCK the tail feathers of a lone soaring pelican who was also headed in a Southernly vector!  The massive pelican, more than 3 times the size of the Peregrine, lost at least one tail feather, hit a stall, pulled up it's wings, turned it's massive head until it's beak was in-line with it's left raised wing, and looked behind it with one eye to see W.T.F. had just happened!?!  It recovered from the stall, and the minor tail injury, and headed on towards the Dana Point harbor.  The Peregrine steadied her dive into a more shallow angle and plunged down below the Southern cliff face and out of site about 200 feet in altitude loss later.

Now, to give you an idea of what this might look like, if you've never seen a Peregrine falcon in a dive attack and harass a pelican, picture an incredibly fast motorcycle....  say a Ducati Desmosedici RR, piloted by a driver who knows that he (or she) is the best, fastest, top-of-the-food-chain predator in the world, capable of speeds, maneuvers, and lethal strikes that involve multiple Gs of deceleration (often used to snap the vertebrae of their targets) diving towards a Lincoln Town Car, and then punching out one of the Lincoln's taillights, or tearing off the leviathan's license plate with a sharp boot kick, not crashing, and heading away at +100 mph unscathed shrieking a "yeah, I own this airspace" parting cry.

I don't know what the pelican did... probably nothing, just had the bad luck to be gliding 100s of feet below a hunting Peregrine on Wednesday... but I am sure that it will actively avoid getting anywhere near a Peregrine again.  And I had heard that the juvenile Peregrines would fly at a pelican or a large sea gull to "practice" their flying skills, but until you see it with your own two eyes, those are just words, and it doesn't really make an impression.  Truly remarkable, beautiful creatures.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Run Away! Flea!

One of our house cats has been acting strangely lately... hanging out in parts of the house she usually doesn't, jumping up on things that she usually doesn't (like the entertainment center), getting under-foot uncharacteristically, sitting and staring on a cool tile floor in the middle of the kitchen or hall... being weird.   So this morning, Dr Desert Flower picked her up to see what's the matter with her, and to DDF's horror, found the cat's entire stomach crawling with fleas!   Pretty disgusting, yep.

Our cats never go outside, are always inside cats, and we've had very few visitors here in California.  But we do live on a corner, and everyone and their brother walks their dog on our block and around our corner, and the previous owners of the house used to have at least one (if not more) dogs...  so if the flea eggs were in the carpet, or on the sidewalk, they were now infesting our 16 year old cat.

Our morning was spent getting flea shampoo, expensive back-of-the-neck-applied Frontline flea medicine (we had a single dose of Oct2012 expired Revolution, that also kills heart worms, but DDF thought buying a new $50 pack of 3 month OTC Frontline was a good idea, and I don't disagree with her on biological issues), flea killer spray, vacuuming, washing blankets & sheets & rugs & comforters on the "sanitize" cycle, bathing cats, calming cats, gently blow drying cats (so they don't get pneumonia), bleach-wiping down all the dining room chair plastic covers where the cats have been sleeping lately, and trying to generally de-flea our home.  Neither DDF nor I have been bit by fleas here in California - when we lived in South Carolina back in the 90s our apartment became flea infested when the neighbor's dog had them and we shared a common entry way - I remember seeing the dern things jump from the carpet to my hairy legs in Greenville (ew!).

Flea (RHCP variety)
The washer is on it's third "sanitize" load now... with one more to go to complete the day (at 2 and a 1/2 hours per cycle).  The Frontline "plus" will continue for the rest of the spring and summer.  The nice Laguna Niguel pet store lady said that "in spring we see alot of people's inside pets getting fleas".  Same thing in South Carolina, where the winters were mild, there was grass and vegetation for the fleas to hide in, and lots of moisture.   In Arizona, it was far too dry, there was almost no grass (only rock) and most people didn't walk there dogs - keeping them penned up in their back yards or homes instead.

So when / if you come to visit us, don't worry.  You won't get fleas.  The Frontline Plus kills the fleas that bite the cats, and prevents the fleas from being able to lay eggs.  Eggs that hatch and try to feed on the cats will then die.  We'll have 95% of the infestation gone by tonight, and the remaining 5% will die out over the next week as the Frontline takes effect.  Then, at the beginning of July, we'll apply a 2nd dose to both cats, and a third at the beginning of August to get us through the summer with a three sigma confidence level of flea mortality.