Pronouncing “Appalachia”

Even though I’m a Southern boy, I do try to pronounce things correctly. For example, it bugs me when people mispronounce the German car by saying “Porsh” or “Porch.” Especially when it’s mispronounced by owners of the marque (It’s more correctly pronounced “porsh-uh”). Or when people say “Oddy” instead of “Awdee” for Audi. It’s not like “audio,” it’s like “Blaupunkt.”

I’m more forgiving when the pronunciation is probably wrong, but has precedence. For example, the University of Tennessee Volunteers play at Neyland Stadium. Until recently, it was commonly pronounced as it is spelled, with the “Ney” part sounding like “hey,” “whey”, “they,” or any other example you can think of. But apparently Mr. Neyland pronounced it like “knee”, or the “ney” in “journey.” I chalk this up under the same category as the “Colin” in Colin Powell, or the odd “a” in Nevada (like “apple”), Wrong, but tolerated.

However, nothing bothers me more than the incorrect pronunciation of “Appalachia.” I don’t know why, but it bugs the crap out of me. Say this out loud, “I’m going to throw an apple atcha.” Now repeat it.

THERE IS NO LONG A IN APPALACHIA. Why on Earth would one of the A’s be pronounced differently than the other 3? Find me a single example, ANYWHERE, where this is the case?

Secondly, there is a CH in “Appalachia” but there is NOT an SH. CH. Church. Chalk. Chum. Not Sh. It is not pronounced “Appalayshun.”

I don’t know if Northerners decided that it was a bad idea to pronounce something they shared with Southerners the same as the Southerners pronounced it, or what. “The Appalachians run through the Deep South to New England, but we don’t want to be associated with those rednecks, so let’s call it ‘Appalayshuh’ instead.”

I watched a documentary last night on the Appalachian Trail and I was about to throw a rock at the TV hoping to hit the narrator. Fortunately he substituted “AT” to cut down on the number of mispronounced “Appalachians.”

Finally made it back from Napa!

We had a great two days in Napa. Unfortunately our two days of travel were terrible. Delays added 6+ hours to our departure and 3+ hours to our return flight. Although that taints the mood a bit, the time we spent in California Wine Country was amazing. I only revisited two wineries. Everywhere else we went was entirely new. We only joined one wine club, but when all is said and done, we brought back 22 bottles with us. I’ll write more later.

Napa Valley next week

Looks like we’re a week away from leaving for SFO and Napa Valley.  Finally heard back from Ferrari-Carano, so we have tours there, Newton, and Artesa.  That should be plenty of scheduled stops, and includes two I’ve never visited before.  I’ve heard good things about Artesa and Ferrari-Carano, but have never even tried their wines.

I found myself trying to figure out if we’d have time to swing over to Tahoe while we’re out there, but it’s probably best to leave things simple.  Besides, there are a lot of wineries to visit.  I typically try to cram in as much as possible on a trip, and have been told on numerous occasions that my schedule wasn’t even possible.  No sense messing up this trip, although usually I manage to work everything out.

Almost time to put on my wine tasting hat!


I’ve always been a runner and hiker.  Unfortunately adulthood has kept me off my feet.  Approaching 40 and the waist is wanting to catch up (not there yet!).  Every time I try to start running again, something happens.  It gets too cold, too hot, starts raining, starts snowing.  So I tried again just now.  Ran as hard as I could, almost to the point of puking.  Did a mile in 9:38.  Still got a long way to go, but at least I got out there!

I really miss Yahoo Launch

The original version of Yahoo’s Launch (or LaunchCast radio) still has no equal.  I was so disappointed when they terminated their pay service and switched to the new model.  Now I’m stuck with Pandora and Spotify.  Each of those products has their benefits, but what really made Launch was its method of rating songs and artists.

With Launch, I could rate a song or artist on a 10-point scale, thereby giving weight to my ratings.  If I liked U2, but only a little, I could assign them a 5 or 6 and they’d get played less than an artist I assigned a 10 to.  If I didn’t like an artist, I could rate it low or tell it not to play.  The system also chose music based on what other people with similar tastes liked.  So if I liked Depeche Mode, it looked at what other people who liked Depeche Mode liked, and played me some of that, exposing me to a wider variety of music.  You were much more likely to hear something new that you actually liked.

It was a more accurate way to match my preferences than Pandora’s Genome Project.   Pandora matches on styles.  So if I liked a song with jangly guitars, it would find me other songs with jangly guitars.  That is no way to find satisfactory matches.  Additionally, I have no recourse if it decides to over-play a song or artist.  There is a set of songs I hear literally every day, and there is nothing I can do about it other than ban the songs.  Even if I tell it I’m tired of the song, it’ll be back in full force in a month.  Likewise, it gets fixated on an artist, and even though I like that artist, I really don’t want to hear them two or three times an hour, and there’s no way to fix it.

Spotify is useless unless you already know what you want to hear.  That’s good when you remember “that song” and want to hear it, but bad when you want to discover something new.

So I am on a quest to find a new music service.  One that is also iPhone-friendly.

Continued planning of Napa Valley trip

In just a couple of weeks, we are heading back out to Napa.  Hoping to recreate the fantastic voyage that was LAST February’s trip out there.  The missus was annoyed because she stayed home while I went with the guys.  Yes, we took a guy’s trip to Napa Valley, and we had a blast.

So far, we have scheduled tours/tastings at my favorite, Newton Vineyard, and a new one, Artesa, and I’ve never had their wine.  Newton usually does a great food pairing with their tasting session, and the property is just breathtaking.  Artesa is going to let us drink straight from a barrel.  Hopefully using a straw.  The pictures of that winery look fantastic.

I’m waiting to hear back from another beautiful estate, Ferrari-Carano, to see if we get to tour there as well.

Other wineries we hope to stop at are Merryvale, Jessup, Inglenook (formerly Rubicon—the Coppola Estate), and Castello di Amorosa among many others.

Will keep this place updated as we go along, although my typing might become slurred after the first hour or two.  Napa Rule #1:  You don’t have to drink every drop from every glass they give you.  The first day of tastings is usually the most fun though, up until you learn that rule.

First concert in awhile…

Bought tickets to see Gaelic Storm at the Square Room in Knoxville on Friday night, Feb. 3. The missus doesn’t know it yet.  I gave her some warning, but she doesn’t know I actually bought the tickets.  If you hear yelling later, that’s why.  We need a nice night out, and here’s hoping we can find a seat.  Yeah, we’re old.  Nothing like standing for two hours on hard floors.  I sound like Abe Simpson, don’t I?


Welcome to Adrian’s Adrift!

Adrian’s Adrift has been around in various forms since probably 1996-1997.  Back then it was just a “home page” with imagery of a frog floating on a raft.  Today it has apparently evolved into a Word Press site.  This is the first post for AA2012. There isn’t even a site design yet.

Just who is Adrian anyway?  He’s just a guy.  He’s a software engineer of the Microsoft variety.  He hikes.  He likes food.  He likes wine.  He likes music.  He likes cars. He likes to travel.  He likes to write in the third person.  All of that stuff will be discussed here, because it’s his blog.

Coming up in a couple of weeks, he will be going to Napa to enjoy two of his favorite things:  travel and wine.