After lunch I decided to tail Veronica. Which is the very definition of coals to Newcastle. She needed tail like Robert Mondavi needed a heat lamp. So I decided to follow her instead. This was a distinct pleasure. Watching her from behind was like watching a latex lava lamp. Veronica had missed her calling. She could have been a coffee grinder at Starbucks. I'd certainly pay to explore her grounds.
I was hoping that she'd lead me to her friends, but I didn't really expect her to. But it was a lovely day for a stroll, and I'd had worse jobs than following a gorgeous blonde pulling a trailer with two lovely lug boxes. I was so fixated on Veronica that I nearly missed spotting Fugly, the midget who'd held a gun on me in the late Lorna's room. So I was wrong; it turns out it was a lovely day for a troll. And I didn't think Fugly had spotted me at all, if you don't count the easily Wine Away-ed urine stains on my fly that the sight of his gun had caused to mysteriously appear. What was really strange was that the little guy appeared to also be tailing Miss Veronica. Why would Fugly want to know what Veronica was up to? What could be so important that he'd run the risk of following her too closely and end up getting bitch slapped by her buns? Which is better than having midget skid marks. Veronica was taking her time, just wasting a day window shopping in the cutesy little boutiques Healdsburg was overpopulated with. Fugly was trying to look inconspicous by hiding behind fire hydrants and trash receptacles. Nothing more invisible than a midget humping a fire hydrant. Veronica seemed completely oblivious to her two tails. Or so I thought. I looked away for a moment and she ducked into a public restroom. Well, that made sense. You call it. Head or tails?
She was in there for a long time. But she was a woman, and that didn't seem out of the ordinary. So Fugly and I waited. And waited. This was getting weird. I was thinking about going in after her, hell, I'd been in lots of Ladies Rooms before, usually with a drill and a minicam, but if I went in after her Fugly would undoubtedly see me. I was weighing my options when Fugly disappeared. I scanned the Square, I looked behind every trash can, fire hydrant and Labrador retriever but that fucking midget had vanished like a Murphy-Goode Social Media Consultant.
I casually walked over to the Ladies Room where I'd seen Veronica enter. I waited for the appropriate moment when no one was looking and I walked in. The stalls were emptier than Charlie Olken's arguments for the 100 point scale. Where the hell had Veronica gone? I don't mean where had she gone, I know where she peed, but where the hell was she? Now I'd lost her and the midget. I guess I'm not much of a tail. But maybe that comes from having a rather small coccyx.
"Hey, Hosefitter, you want to explain to me what you're doing in the Ladies Room?" It was Chief Jokes. This wasn't our first time together in a public toilet, we'd met at IHOP once, but that's another story.
"I'm looking for a client." Yeah, I know, that didn't come out right.
"Number one or number two?" I guess I had that coming.
"Were you following me, Jessica?"
"No, Hosepimple, don't flatter yourself. Even cops have to take a wiz now and then. Mind if I tinkle on the taxpayer's money?"
"You always do."
"Oh, in case you didn't know," Jessica said as she locked the door to her stall, "I'm going to take the M.S. exam next week."
After 19 years as a Sommelier in Los Angeles, twice named Sommelier of the Year by the Southern California Restaurant Writers' Association, I moved to Sonoma County to explore the other aspects of the wine business. I've spent, OK wasted, 35 years learning about and teaching about and swallowing wine. I am also a judge at the Sonoma Harvest Fair, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the San Francisco International Wine Competition--so I can spit like a rabid llama. I know more about wine than David Sedaris and I'm funnier than James Laube. Stay tuned for an informed but jaded view of everything wine and everything else.
I'm living proof that alcohol kills brain cells.
What the Critics Are Saying About HoseMaster of Wine
"If you want a great hoot and howl moment or two...go read the HoseMaster's year-end reflections...that guy is without a doubt the funniest SOB in the blog-world...and thank him for having the brains and balls to target his laser of laughter on anybody...HoseMaster for President...HoseMaster for Blogger of the Year...although he would be the first to say the bar is so damn low for that award, he should win it every year..." --Robert Parker
"No one is immune from California sommelier and wine judge Ron Washam's skewering. He polishes that skewer with boundless enthusiasm and acuity."
"Please let this guy write the scripts for Saturday Night Live which has gotten so lame...his newest "wisdom" is worth an Emmy....I wonder if he is the genius behind all those Hitler/Parker,etc. clips? No one else is remotely as funny or as talented.And the wine world sure needs someone to poke fun at all the nonsense and phoney/baloney unsufferable crap out there."
"Washam uses his own blog, HoseMaster of Wine, to skewer the industry in general and wine blogs in particular. If your mouse scoots to your browser's close box while reading a wine blog, Washam may be the blogger for you."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"...that guy Hosemaster has real talent...if you ask me sign him up for Comedy Central...he's the funniest guy since Adam Carolla's hilarious book...IN 50 YEARS WE WILL ALL BE CHICKS..."
"Ron Washam, former sommelier, is easily the most bitingly funny blogger/wine writer that we have ever come across. He is an equal opportunity crusader who pillories big wineries and amateur bloggers alike, as well as everything and everyone in between...One needs a sense of humor and a tolerance for earthiness to enjoy reading The Hosemaster. We must have both because this guy deserves a wider audience, in our humble opinion." --Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
"In my opinion, and that of many others, his blog is one of the best. And in terms of satirical or parodic wine blogs, it has no peer. Ron’s alert eye catches every pretense and skewers it with laugh out loud mercilessness."
"This site should carry a warning label. It's sort of a Dave Barry/George Carlin approach to wine. The Hosemaster (real name Ron Washam) skewers fellow bloggers and industry savants with glee, while offering hilarious wine guides such as his Honest Guide to Grapes..."
--Paul Gregutt, Seattle Times
"Washam is a skilled wine judge (I have judged with him) who is willing to judge wine double blind, in public. To my knowledge, Parker does not do this and never has. So Ron's credentials are in place, and so is his sense of the absurd."
--Dan Berger, VintageExperiences
"...I consider Ron a very talented writer and I’ve long been an admirer of his scathing wit..."
"And if any free sites think they can conquer the world, there’s always the Hosemaster to take ‘em down a notch."
--Tyler Colman "Dr. Vino"
"Those of you who know Ron either love or hate him, because he throws jabs like a punch drunk boxer, and we’re all in the firing line. He’ll throw them if he hates you, and he’ll throw them if he loves you. He’s a satirist of exceptional quality."
--Jo Diaz "Juicy Tales by Jo Diaz"
"I must say you are an idiot. I've never liked you. I have no idea why people find you funny."