Monday, January 29, 2007

The Curse of Thai Beef

On Friday, I made a commitment to stave off an impending epidemic, so Saturday Liz and I were set to order take out from our favorite Chinese restaurant. We were rather horrified to find that they were closed for a vacation, so suddenly we were faced with the dilemma of not knowing where our next meal would come from. Trying to be a savior, I suggested the Thai place we've tried going to before only to find it closed at the time (between lunch and dinner). Having found a solution, I felt rather good about myself.

When we got there, we were pleasantly surprised with the decor, and the menu seemed to be equally delightful. We decided on some items to dine upon, including an appetizer. The appetizer was excellent, complete with perfectly cooked spring rolls (everything was fried just right). We also enjoyed the Thai iced tea and Thai iced coffee. All seemed to be going rather well, until...the SMELL!!!

The waiter brought the food out, and something smelled bad, real bad. I couldn't figure out where the smell came from, but it reeked of stinky nasty unhealthy feet. I imagine boots worn by a hobo for a month or two straight might be close to that smell. Note that people typically don't dine within close proximity to a bum's feet. This fact hit Liz hardest, as it was her entree that smelled so bad; more specifically, the beef in her entree. I suppose the hodge podge of interesting sounding one syllable words she uttered as a part of her order must have translated to Foot Stink Beef. She eventually needed to request a box, just to seal in the stank as she ate some rice and a part of my entree, which was very good. I guess we can not relate to that old woman who lived in a shoe.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I'm doing my part

Today at work I noticed a poster by the elevator from the Mid-Ohio food bank, which said (among other things):

Over 1.8 million Ohioans don't know where their next meal will come from

I re-read that trying to figure out its significance, as well as understand how food can collect interest at a bank (I tend to only get mold, which isn't exactly the kind of returns I look for). Anyway, these bankers seem rather concerned at the lack of planning, so I emailed Liz to verify what we will be eating. Based on that and the restaurant we discussed last night, I think I know where we will be eating tonight.

Fuck they have THREE locations! Where will we go? Where will OUR next meal come from. Damnit!!!! Over 1,200,002 Ohioans won't know where their next meal will come from. We need to get on top of this people. We'll get our act together, you too! Make plans!!!

No need to compete for 2007 Nobel Prizes

Every once in a while you bask in the glory of pure genius (usually someone else genius, but bask nonetheless), anyway, today is such a day:

Scientist develops caffeinated doughnuts

I could develop cold fusion, room temperature superconductors, or figure out how to cleanse Lindsey Lohan's liver, but it would pale in comparison to this moment of brilliance. Hell, I'm sure the great minds who will accomplish those feats will do so using the power of caffeinated doughnuts (or even donuts), as will the person who cures cancer, solves world hunger, and unravels the mysteries of SPAM.

Perhaps only Guinness (beer that is a meal) can match this achievement.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Help our friends out west

This morning while I was disbursing salt on the driveway and sidewalks as snow floated down, I thought, as I often do, about the less fortunate (being an ordained minister it's my calling to be compassionate and concerned, that's why I watch so much COPs). Anyway, thinking back to my last entry, I couldn't help wondering if there was anything I could do to help the people of California with their snow/ice mitigating technology. You see we Ohioans have discovered that salt dramatically lowers the melting point of water, thus making less snow and ice (snow and ice are in fact water). Unfortunately, California seems to be close the technology (relying upon sand), but the real solution is beyond their grasp.

This is where we can come in. Remember after Katrina when we forgot that most of Louisiana and Mississippi is full of inbreds and other backward folks and held food drives and shit (I think a liquor drive would have been better received though)? Well we should have a salt drive. We can collect a bunch of the salty goodness and ship it out west. Maybe in time they'll understand how to use it, and all will be well (they'll have to figure out what to do with all that fucking sand). So is everyone ready to pitch in?

Monday, January 22, 2007

We came, we saw, we took pictures (finally over)

Before long it was time to depart SoCal and head back to Sacramento. We decided to take a detour via San Francisco to make our trip all that much more interesting. Mother nature almost made us make a detour of her own, but we were able to go as planned via I-5--unfortunately all was not well there. You see they had quite a bit of snow (a few inches, which might as well be a few feet in Southern California). Folks there just don't know how to handle snow. When I say that, I'm not just speaking of the average Joe, as the folks taking care of the roads appear clueless too. Rather than use something sensible, such as salt (likely plentiful too--they have that big ass ocean to get some from) , they used the only thing that is more plentiful--sand! While salt and sand may appear similar at first, only one of the two helps melt ice/snow, and they chose the wrong one! So to make things safer (both from the snow/ice and the man made obstacle: that stupid sand), they insist on escorting the cars at a ridiculously slow speed to make it all safe and retarded. I officially started to miss Ohio.

Spending an afternoon in San Francisco certainly falls short of seeing it all, but we packed quite a bit in. I got to see the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and we ate at Fisherman's Wharf. My quest for Rice A Roni went unfulfilled, but we enjoyed some great seafood with nice views.

Speaking of views, we got to spend a while admiring the wonderful characters that were at Pier 39. These included so many interesting people that Liz had to refrain from commenting to keep her voice in check, and there were the sea lions too. Even if I did get some Rice a Roni, the highlight still would have been the Sea Lions. They were huddled onto a few floating docks--packed almost like refugees (they likely smelled better though). These big fellas seemed to enjoy the sun and the tourists. Whenever a boat would pass, they would stand at attention and great the guests with a loud chorus and many waves. Every once in a while one of the sea lions would want to crawl on top of the others, which would create quite the ruckus.

The only other memorable moment of note after returning from San Francisco was flipper boy, a dude who wore a tank top that would qualify as long sleeves, since his hands were attached to his shoulder. Miraculously, we were able to watch him eat ice cream and watch others watch him eat ice cream (which was even more entertaining). Sadly no pictures.

California was interesting, enjoyable, and a nice diversion from our day to day life, but we were very glad to be going home after a week. Thankfully everyone was safe and sound when we got home. We're definitely going back (Liz's parents newfound liking of me would cease if we never went back), and hopefully we can spend more time towards to top half of the state, perhaps touring wine country as well.

We came, we saw, we took pictures (continued again)

After our in Monterey, we departed on our journey to the southern part of the state, driving near and occasionally on the Pacific coast. Our destination was Valencia, and we were gonna chill with Liz's friend, who had us parading around in a police car in our last encounter. This encounter would lack a police element, but it still was quite entertaining.

The highlight of the stay in SoCal was to be whale watching off of the Channel Islands, but people watching stole the show. While on a late night quest for food, which was rather fruitless in sleepy Valencia, we stopped to fuel up Erika's Saab. Liz and I waited in the car, admiring the Saabyness of Erika's ride while she fueled up. Before long the overhead lights were eclipsed from our view and shadows fell upon us. All we could see out the passenger side was this giant monstrosity of a truck. Someone had put four or five foot tall tires on their shiny new Toyota truck. Growing up in the land of Skynard, I've seen my share of jacked up trucks, but this one may be the only foreign truck I've seen with such, uhhh...redneckenss. The irony is that when the truck opened, out came this midget dude trying to look all hard core and tough. He had this stern and absolutely ridiculous tough guy look on his face as he hopped out. The dude went in to get something (extra small condoms perhaps), and his chick pumped gas. She was no giant either, and she held the gas nozzle over her head to fill the truck with gas. At this point Erika was done fueling, but we all wanted to watch the dude get in, so we pulled out of the station but remained nearby. The dude reached high over his head, opened the door, grasped the door and the seat, and pulled himself up and in like a gymnast. I don't know how his shorty got in, but I'm guessing it wasn't very lady like.

The whale watching was awesome too, but perhaps not as memorable as watching midget dude hop into his truck. We got to see seals, dolphins, and yes whales. Like Gilligan's Island the three hour tour was extended a bit, but fortunately only to four hours. The scenery was awesome too: water, islands, the views of the coast. Oddly enough big lumbering gray whales can be hard to photograph, but we got to see them, which was cool. For me the highlight was the dolphins, as they were so playful and at ease with the boat, often jumping in and out of the wake of the vessel. The numbers were quite impressive too.

We did have some fun people watching on the boat, as there were the usual 'bow dorks' riding up front in the breeze and waves of an impending storm. Each dude had to be as macho as the other and tough it out, despite the fact that the 40 degree weather, high winds, and the vessel going into the wind doubtlessly had their junk freezing to the point of damage. There were also quite a few green faced travelers queasy from the choppy seas. A few people prayed, and the rest just took pills. We were unaffected (no prayers or pills needed), and we went up the coast to Santa Barbara for great seafood and awesome (and highly unusual) sushi.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

We came, we saw, we took pictures (continued)

Well, the first sights of Sacramento and California left something to be desired. We arrived in the quaint older part of the airport and I think the walk from the gate to the baggage to the car was about 250 feet total. It all was rather convenient, but odd just the same. After we left the airport, we drove through Rio Linda, which seemed to lack a river or anything that one would call pretty. Perhaps my understanding of Spanish needs to grow a bit. Anyway, it could have been called Trailer Park Vista or Mucho Trasho Blanco. Fortunately, we drove through it (Liz's parents aren't white trash. I dunno what I'd do if they were).

The next day brought a trip to Big Sur, which is right on the Pacific, south of Monterey. The journey brought to my attention that California is rather brown--so much so that Crayola could make a box, a big ass box, of just shades of California brown. Now I'm not referring to the Mexicans, rather the vegetation, which seemed to be clinging to the faintest semblances of life. En route, we past the Casa de Fruita, a lovely tourist trap near Gilroy, the 'Garlic Capital of the World'. After gawking at the hokeyness, we continued on to see the elephant seals.

Every year elephant seals, which are more seal than elephant, return to the same beaches (there are two in California) to gawk at tourists. Trying to do my part, I made myself into quite the camera toting tourist, so the seals could enjoy themselves. The mamas had their babies, which they protect and mentor, and the papas ... well they want to make more babies. The mamas resort to burping and covering themselves with dirt to send the message to the soon to be blue-balled boys. Quite an effective strategy.

Big Sur was nice, especially the drive along the coast, which is unlike anything in Ohio or even Florida. The sunset was awesome (I'm told that the smog helps produce surreal results). We went to the aquarium in Monterey the next day, and it was everything I'd hope it would be.

Pics of the whole trip can be found here.

We came, we saw, we took pictures

In my last post, I wrote about our upcoming trip to California, and what was once the future now is the past. A week of California Dreamin will take much more than a single blog entry--well, I can write and write ... and write, but alas few can read that much, so this likely will have a "to be continued" somewhere before too long.

Fearing the outcome of the Donner Party, we decided to fly to California, and the cheapest airfare led us to fly United. Soon we discovered that United was divided. Like most airlines, there is the fru-fru first class, divided by a curtain to keep the riff raff of coach away from their brie and crumpets, but there was a more sinister division among the ranks of coach. We noticed this when we along with our comrades all filed into the back of coach, with no one sitting towards the front. The imbalance was almost so dramatic that a wheelie wasn't out of the question. Folks crowded well within the realm of one another's personal space sought to stretch out in their own row, but they were thwarted by the forces of evil. You see those empty seats towards the front of coach were in fact Economy Plus, complete with a humane amount of legroom (enough to make an average person feel like a midget). To enjoy such comforts, one had to pay an extra $40. What a shakedown.

Anyway, we managed to make it to Sacramento, and I met Liz's parents. They pretty much were what I expected, and besides being deathly tired, all was well.

To be continued ...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

California, here I come

After completing a successful first encounter of the parental kind with Liz and my folks, soon I will be embarking upon a cross country journey to do the same with the parental unit of my boo. I'm not too nervous based on Liz's accounts of her parents, and I do have the ability to turn the charm on as needed. I'm actually excited to be meeting them, and I've always wanted to go to California.

Until recently my enthusiasm has been tempered by some of the uncertainty of the situation of those we'll be leaving behind--our furry children. Fortunately, a kind soul has come forward, and that seems to be under control. It's hard to find a solution for nine pets. Nine pets seems bonkers, but my two cats, three guinea pigs, and a bunny is relatively easy to tend to, and Liz's two dogs (we added a mutually acquired cat) are a handful, but nothing extra ordinary. When all nine join in to form a four-legged version of Voltron, it takes a special person.

What's really cool, is that I'll be able to go to the same aquarium as Star Trek IV (the Voyage Home). We'll also get to see whales, if not save a few, and maybe we'll break a few laws with Liz's fun and wacky friend.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

At least they still have that darn band

Yesterday I wrote about the upcoming match-up between good and evil; right and wrong; culture and hillbilliness ... The battle was waged, and despite a bad beginning, all went well (kinda like the Rebel Alliance loosing Alderan, but winning the war). What made it all so much sweeter was enjoying it with my comrades (that and the free food).

Leading up to the game, all we heard were tales of how unworthy Florida is and how great the Buckeyes. What is a buckeye? A nut--a poisonous nut. I'm not Steve Irwin, so I'll take my chances with a nut any day over a Gator. I think a few more people realize that today. Anyway, before the games meat markets had 'gator meat', which was advertised as tasting like chicken, as that's what it really was. I haven't seen any cock fighting, but I've seen an alligator tear apart a dear. There must be a difference. A local pizza chain had a special 'Block O' pizza, which was really a clever scam to sell a pepperoni pizza with less pepperoni (up until recently Ohio State didn't have any admission standards, so this was like taking candy from a baby). When I wasn't being oppressed within the economy, I was being badgered at work (now a badger can be kinda scary, kinda like a wolverine, but I still would rather take on both than a Gator--silly Buckeyes just didn't know what they were up against).

The Local chapter of the Rebel Alliance Gator Club hosted a viewing party, so we figured we had to join in the fun. Liz was a trooper and joined me in our early attempt to case the joint and establish a foothold on some prime real estate. Our efforts quickly paid off with rather good free food and various beverages. Soon we were joined by Steve, Malachi, and Darlene, who brought us good luck by rubbing her Gator-to-be belly. Soon all was left was to graze the free food and wait and wait.

Imperial spies penetrated our stronghold, but they were outnumbered (not to mention outclassed), and when the game began, they were delighted with the early happenings. They were short lived, as good prevailed over evil, and freedom reigned over the formerly oppressed. For one night, the evil clutches of Buckeyedom were crushed and obliterated. Through it all, alcohol helped keep the agents of evil in denial, even prompting them to play the Imperial March Hang on Sloopy. Undaunted the rebels just danced away, and low and behold, that slutty crackwhore bitch sloopy let go. In the end, the distraught, beaten, and humiliated couldn't bear to make eye contact. When I could catch a glimpse of their expressions, it almost seemed like they lost a piece of their soul.

As you can see in the picture above, even the modestly named "The Best Damn Band in the Land" (Ohio State is also good at Synchronized Swimming--football is really the only weak link. Shit, they lost in basketball too).

Well today is a new day. The skies over Columbus are Buckeye gray, and there many eyes scarlet from a night of tears. I know down in Florida, it is warm, sunny, and folks are happier for the win, but they're not obsessed. They have the beach, nice weather, and so much more, and football is just a game. Maybe one day the deranged Buckeyes up here will get that. Buckeyes really are poisonous--they lead to an unhealthy obsession with all things scarlet and gray.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Today is the day

After a month of anticipation, weeks of badgering and teasing, and the dread of dealing with sore winners (or more likely sore LOSERS), the day is upon us. The mighty Florida Gators, my alma matter and all around great school will face off against the hellions, hoodlums and hicks of THE Ohio State University. Unfortunately, I live in Columbus, home to all the aforementioned hellions, hoodlums, and hicks (fortunately many can't read and many more lack computers to read this).

Tonight I will join my brothers and sisters of the Gator Nation attending a viewing party at a friendly night spot, which hopefully will be safe if only through the strengths in numbers of concentrating all of us easy going pacifists in one place. Regardless, a fire extinguisher and bullet proof vest can always come in handy (this is Columbus mind you). Liz, my brave and too good for me girlfriend, who has no football disposition (though a hatred of all things Buckeye obsessed does brew within) will join me, which is rather kind of her. I hope she doesn't have to be a shoulder to cry on or worse, someone to bail me out.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I'm a Horrible Person

Every now and then I head home from work a little earlier than normal (because I went to work early, I'm no slacker ;-). This sometimes leads to an encounter with the ultimate roadblock: the short bus. Yes, I mean THAT short bus. For a variety of reasons, there are so many short bus worthy folks living nearby that you'll see a long 'short' bus. I know that sounds confusing, but bear with me.

Anyway, these buses make frequent stops, and it can take FOREVER. I know I should take the time to be thankful that neither I nor anyone I care about is differently abled, but come on, it takes FOREVER. You see these folks tend to need constant supervision, so someone has to come out from the house to meet the bus. The bus needs to lower its lift, and then the person on the lift needs to slowly descend. This all takes a while, then it repeats, as these homes must be halfway houses for handifolks (or someone didn't realize their genes weren't were the jiz they travel in). Oh, btw, these folks aren't just physically gimpy, they're also 'tards, so it can take a while for them to navigate their chairs on and off the lift.

So I wait 5-10 minutes behind the short bus, sometimes behind short bus A who is stopped waiting for short bus B to unload, which sadly means than once one unloads, I can only proceed a block or two before short bus A begins the process. Fortunately this second trip is a bit shorter, as that bus has biped 'tards. These folks wear helmets, and let me tell you, they need them. I've seen folks just fall flat on their face mask (thus saving their face) for no reason. Note I didn't say they tripped, as any normal person will trip on occasion (I'll do so more often than most)--these people will just fall, like they forgot that they wanted to stay upright. It's sad, but somehow I'm such as ass that I can laugh (hell it's better than crying, though sometimes my laughter brings me to the brink of that).

So in short, I'm a horrible person. I don't appreciate my good fortune; I curse the less fortunate; and I laugh at those whose lives must suck. I'm going to hell; join me if you like.

A modern take on the birds and the bees

Fortunately I never had to undergo that conversation with my dad (or mom), but I think I have it down. Anyway, in a seemingly unrelated note, Liz and I got an Xbox 360, which is an awesome little gizmo if you know how to use it right (many folks don't know they can stream music, videos, pictures, and even TV from their PC), and our favorite game for it is Viva Pinata. So where am I going with this?

Well Viva Pinata is a game, intended for all ages (complete with its own cartoon on TV) where one raises pinatas (knowing their cute side, I don't think I could ever smash one any more). These pinatas come in 60+ varieties ranging from worms to elephants (and yes, there are bids and bees), eat, drink, sleep, cause a ruckus and breed. Oh, there is a point to this blog, isn't there?

Yes breeding, the pinatas breed, and you have to do so to succeed in the game. You first have to have a pair (lesson 1: it takes two to tango); next you need to get them a crib (no sleeping in the bushes); then you need to make sure they both are in the mood (only consensual pinata sex here); and lastly you need to play matchmaker (you did see Fiddler on the Roof, didn't you?). The act of nookie is preceded by a minigame, where you must lead one gallant member of the breeding pair to the other. Note there are no set genders, so it's all very progressive. On the way, you collect coins (lesson 2: "Now I aint sayin she a gold digger, But she aint messin wit no broke niggas"). After the quest, which has various pitfalls (lesson 3: don't mess with her friends, as they can ruin any chance at romance), you get the prize. A few moments later, the game breaks into a cut scene; this is where the magic happens. These animations range from cute, to outright National Geographic grade animal porn--some even are too bizarre for words.

After all of this, an egg appears (all pinatas, even mammals, spawn from eggs), and you must wait it out for the youngin'. Oh and once it hatches, all bets are off in terms of Oedipus issues. These issues aside, it sure is nice that parents can just give their kids a game to accomplish what hokey videos and awkward talks used to. You also can learn how to be a pimp, run a puppy mill, or even a sweatshop. Basically, if replaces the need for most schooling. $50 never seemed like such a good investment. Those Leapster gizmos seem like a ripoff in comparison.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Put a fork in it, it's done

Well 2006 has come and went, beginning and ending with uneventful New Years' Eves at home. Don't get me wrong, sitting at home and watching morons with those hokey glasses with the middle 0s as lenses can be a hoot (Liz posed a ponderous question, what will they do in 2010?). Plus the more recent eve was one of contentment rather than apathy.

A lot has happened this past year, mostly good, highlighted with meeting Liz, my boo. New additions include two dogs (one a goat-like basset hound, and the other a cross between a pony and a cow, otherwise known as a St Bernard) and a new kitty, and sadly I lost a piggy and my old dog my parents held onto. The greatest loss was my old friend Kevin, who wasn't at all old--far too young to die. I still feel bad for not keeping in touch more.

All in all, many of the things that I struggled with have become distant memories. No longer do I worry about selling the house, paying bills, or figuring out where I should go with my life, as the path has shown itself. To put it simply every aspect of my life has changed for the better.

What will 2007 bring? Well, likely a week or so of mistakenly writing 2006 instead of 2007, trips to Cali and Florida, and hopefully a national championship in football (who woulda thought 2006 was the year for Gator basketball?).