Hahn Chardonnay – The best $10 bottle of Chardonnay I’ve found this year. Essence of Vanilla with a slight overtone of toasted almond. Actually, I’m making that up, but it is good. And it has a bright red rooster on the label that looks delightfully tacky.

Last season of “Angel” – Weekly shows with ‘Crouching Tiger – Hidden Dragon’ style swordplay and other more wicked looking instruments of dismemberment mixed with brutal, bone crunching, face mashing fist fights broken up with occasional firefights with automatic weapons. That would be good enough, but the end of the season finished with Angel’s Jihad against evil killing off almost everyone, including pretty much all of the main characters (well, two of seven were left, three if you count the one bleeding to death while the hordes of hell descend on them as the show ended). I also have to give it big points for the episode when Angel is hit by a magic spell that turns him into a muppet, which was funny and poignant… no, it was just funny.

Life of Pi – I don’t know that I could sit down and read this book end to end in one sitting, but in small doses it was both entertaining, touching, and very well written. It starts out with a writer who goes to a Hill Station in India to write a story he’s been dreaming about with a mesmerizing plot line, strong characters, and well researched historical detail… and finds that, despite all that, it fails to develop into a book. Then he has tea with an old man who promises to tell him a true story, a story that will make him believe in God…

Electra – Mostly, I think, because it tanked so badly in the box office, I wasn’t expecting much. But it was pretty good… I liked it as much as Spiderman 2 even it if didn’t have all the special effects. Even Kate liked it… well, more than “Troy” at least, which I personally thought sucked.

Fluffy Pembroke Welsh Corgi – That is, our dog, Patric. I’ve never been much of a pet person, but I love that dog. In the morning, if I don’t kneel down and hug him as soon as I get to the Kitchen, he’ll nip gently at my knees to remind me to say hello, and in the evenings he bounds down the stairs, obviously happy to welcome me home. The Corgi is a herding dog, which means that since Patric could walk he’s detested things running in a straight line, and will run alongside and nip at ankles in order to turn the runner back in a circle. Recently, on our walks, he’s taken to sprinting out ahead of me, and when I run to keep up, slowing down until I pass him… then he tries to herd me. And it’s not because I can catch up… Patric is much faster than I am despite his stubby little legs. He’s just playing a practical joke on me.

Alhambra – Yet another German board game, it’s a fun, fast tile laying game where the strategy is not obvious. Like Settlers of Catan, where Will has won several times recently despite using rather poor tactics, it allows you to make tradeoffs, some obvious, some difficult, but in the end, not making much of a difference because winning or losing is based almost entirely on the dice roll (or card pick for Alhambra). So you can play, stay interested since there are so many sensible options, pay as much or as little attention to the game as you want, and in the end blame your loss on bad luck (and believe it).

Firefly – All right, so Joss Whedon scores twice. Except I highly recommend you DON’T watch this show, as its mid season cancellation was a crime and will leave you bitter and suicidal. A mix of “High Noon” and “Fifth Element,” it had an intriguing storyline and cast of characters that didn’t get to go anywhere… but it was a wild ride while it lasted. For extra jollies, if you follow Buffy and/or Angel, see how many actors/actresses you can pick out from those series who show up… and the major characters are the obvious ones.