Thursday, March 27, 2014

Remember When I Lived in North Carolina?!

Feeling a bit nostalgic today, listening to The Shins album, Oh, Inverted World and thinking back about 10 years to when I lived in Charlotte, circa 2004.  Which I suppose was a few years after this album came out, but I do remember listening to it a lot back then.  Especially during those lonely spring days when I'd drive around town watching a wind gust blow the white, small flowers off the dogwood trees.  To this day, when we have a blustery spring snow storm in Denver, and snow is blowing in every direction, it reminds me of those days in Charlotte, and I think, in 10 years, so much has changed, but some much has stayed the same.  Back then, I was one of the first of my friends to leave the nest of Florida for whatever city my job would take me in.  I should point out that Charlotte, while not my first choice, was at least not Little Rock, Arkansas, which I inexplicably had as a choice for where I'd be willing to relocate.  And I did love the city....from the long winding roads through a forest of trees hidden in various crevices throughout the city, to the surprising ethnic diversity in food, to the general friendliness of strangers.  That last one was something I wasn't used to, growing up in the rather angrier parts of the Gulf coast. 

I think it's important for everybody to venture out at least once in their life, away from family....away from friends.  And that's what I did.  I only lasted a year, but I wouldn't call it a failure.  If anything, I learned more about myself in that year, than I have in the 9 years since.  But the long weeks working in small towns in South Carolina, and the weekends wishing I could share some of the scenery around me with took its toll and I jumped at the chance to come back to Florida when it presented itself.  I still feel kind of ashamed that I told my boss in Charlotte that one of the reasons I needed to go back was to be closer to my "ailing parents."  But you know, I was just a year out of college, and sick family members still seemed like a good excuse to get out of things.  Or cities.

If I had to pinpoint what it was that finally made me leave, beyond wanting to be closer to friends and family, I think it was probably how much time I would spend meandering around town and just thinking.  Thinking is very dangerous for us Walter Mitty types, who spend entirely too much time creating long drawn out scenarios which never seem all that plausible, especially when we have several uninterrupted hours a day to do it.  Typically, all the daydreaming and fantasizing dissipates and you're left with having to get really real with yourself.  And that's scary!  Luckily, I was able to avoid facing any kind of hard truths and retreat back to the warm embrace of Miami, with its cheap Latin food, insane Cubans, and beautiful cyborg women.  But every once in awhile, I think back about my days in Charlotte and wonder what it might have been like had I stuck it out a few more years....then I remember the only people I ever met there were these weirdos who played role playing games and liked "giving each other raspberries."  I'm not kidding.  They asked me once if I liked them.  I never called them again.  Thank god I left that hell hole.

PS - Now I'm listening to Chutes to Narrow, and while it's clearly the better album, I still like the other one more.  What's that say about me?

Freedom Park, Charlotte, NC
Dogwood trees outside my apartment in Charlotte

atop Grandfather Mountain

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gender Reveal Party Surprise: Turns Out She Was Just Fat!

Yesterday, after about 2 weeks of waiting, I finally got my new Driver's License in the mail.  Getting my license solves the problem of having to carry my passport everywhere I go.  It wouldn't be so bad...I mean, it does add a layer of mystery to anybody watching.  Who is this mysterious foreigner buying beer in this establishment?  Oh wait that's a US passport?  Who's this douche trying to fool?  Instead of buying him a beer, I'm going to throw my beer at him!  Man...that went south fast.  But anyways, at least I don't have to show my horrible passport photo to anyone anymore.  The picture, which is about seven or eight years old, looks like I just got kicked out of a Country Buffet.  Let that all sink in.  The new DL picture also solves the problem of having to fake laugh whenever somebody would look at my old DL and say, "we're gonna have to draw beard on here with a sharpie HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA."  Ha ha indeed.  Of course, now I can never shave.  Having two pictures of me to look at is like giving permission to people to immediately and vocally judge my appearance.  "Oh I liked you better with the beard."  Well sir, I liked you better before you opened your stupid mouth.

But anyways.  As I sit here in my too hot office this afternoon, sipping on a hot almond boba tea, thinking about the fact that boba straws would be the ultimate mind eraser straw, (your mind would be erased so fast, your ears would probably start bleeding.....Butterfly Effect style) I am thinking about many things.  I'm thinking about:

1.  How am I going to finish this memo I have to write in two days when the very thought of it sends me to the far reaches of the's like when you had to write a 60 page report on why your farts don't stink for your honors class in college...and you instead watched a MASH marathon for 13 hours straight instead.  Anybody?  PS - everything we did in Honors classes in college were to somehow prove our farts didn't stink.  That's just fact.

2.  Speaking of which, what's the best distraction from having to redo your sub par honors thesis that you had 3 semesters to write but got a C-, and redoing it would be the difference whether or not your graduate with honors?  Getting a job with the Federal Government!  Luckily they don't expect better than C- work.  Also, now that I've written this out, I see the not so subtle irony in that With Honors is my favorite movie of all time.

3.  Another reason I may not finish this memo this week is if my friend, currently in Vegas right now, wins the agreed upon sum of money to fly me out there to spend 24 hours gambling with her.  Which I will do in a heartbeat.  Part me hopes I would just leave my work when I hear the news, computer still warm, and hop on a plane and go.  Part of me also hopes I get fired over it, which may be the only way I'll ever leave this job.

4.  I'm also thinking about the gyoza I made last night.  Thank god I didn't go running right after work, given how long it takes to make each individual gyoza.  A process which I assume a 96 year old Japanese woman with stringy hair but somehow perfect teeth could do in ten minutes, took me over an hour and a half.  Of course, the Japanese woman probably wouldn't wash her hands every 10 minutes because dried egg white feels gross on your hands.  But maybe you should stop comparing me to an old Japanese woman then you jerk!

5.   The other day I got a sandwich called a Banh-Bano.  Half Banh Mi / Half Cubano.  Sounds amazing, but the execution was not that great.  It ended up being a decent sandwich, but lacked the distinct cruch and punch of flavor the banh mi is famous for, nor did it have the gooey cheese and hot pressed bread that make the cubano so great.  But it got me thinking about other good hybrid food ideas.  Like the pizza burger, which DOES exist, or the Breakfast Bao (sausage and eggs inside a steamed bun) which SHOULD exist!

6.  I seriously just came up with that Breakfast Bao thing as I was writing this.  I'm so bleeping genius.  And sure most of you are probably instinctually like, "oh gross, that's nasty...." but all I have to say is the word bacon and you'll be like "OMG THAT'S GENIUS GIVE HIM THE NOBEL PRIZE!!!"  Freaking lemmings.

7.  Aziz Ansari's instagrams of Japan are making me want to go there immediately.  IMMEDIATELY!

8.  Tonight's my last Project Angel Heart in awhile.  Yet some how I volunteered to help clean up at an event this summer.  I'm not completely sure if I'm even going to BE here for it.  Oh well.

9.  I look stoned in my Driver's License photo, which i'm currently obsessing over.  I guess it's not that shocking here in CO, but now i'm worried that's what people in other cities will think when they see it.  "Damn he looks stoned!  Oh wait he's from CO, that makes sense.  They're ALL stoned out there."  Now I'm misrepresenting my state!

10.  Oh yeah, I'm also thinking about the fact that I have to help coordinate / plan a baby shower in a few months.  My friend is due in July and has asked me to help with some of the details of her baby shower.  You know....send out invites (which she's preparing), collect RSVPs, and oh yeah, REVEAL THE GENDER OF THEIR BABY TO THEM.  I've never been to a "gender reveal party" but was sad that it didn't involve anybody getting an operation.  After looking on pinterest, I've decided that nobody original exists on the internet anymore.  Everything is blue m&m's or pink balloons, or confetti or something dumb.  My ideas are more, people vote on 1 of the 50 facebook gender options, and whoever wins, that's the gender the baby has to become.  Science will do the rest.  Or for something less life altering but equally frightening, maybe a pinata filled with bloody baby boy figures or baby girl figures.  Sort of a...commentary on the violent nature of childbirth.  No?  My last idea is a real winner.  I give them an envelope but when they open it, it says, 
"You're having a girl.  Now scramble with what little pregnant energy you have in the next few weeks to buy clothes for your child.  And all the gifts people got you?  They're all diapers, because you refused to tell them the gender ahead of time so they could buy cool outfits, which is the only gift that's fun to buy for a baby, so thanks for taking the joy out of this for everyone."
She really picked a good friend to help with this, huh?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mason Jars, French Food and Facing Your Past

This time next Monday, I'll be on a flight to DC to start a three month rotation working at my office's headquarters.  I accepted this rotation as a way to fulfill my 9-5 as it were, with something other than blogging, watching Frozen on  youtube, and mindless searches on pinterest for DIY projects I'll probably never do.  Not to say that I expect the work to be any more interesting...just more beauracratic red tape.  I've noticed that people I work with seem to pat themselves on the back for navigating through layers of nonsense that they created.  Trust me guys....nobody else is applauding....But into the heart of the nonsense I go!  Into the land where mouth farts are a normal occurrence, and performance is based on the number of questions you avoid answering.  At least there will be more variety of terrible coffee!

It never ceases to amaze me that the sense of dread stemming from knowing something is ending has always been a prime motivator into getting my butt in gear.  What I'm saying with those fancy words there, is that sine I'll be out of the house so much on this rotation, I've been cooking like a fiend in my last few weeks here.  I've perfected the oatmeal to go, by using the appropriate size jars....and appropriate oatmeal.  So, basically by actually following the recipe.  I'm still working on the frittata in a jar, but with a dozen mason jars from Target for only $7.99, I've moved one step closer to hipster.  I plan on telling people that see my jars that I got them at a yard sale, or "back from my canning days" because I doubt real hipsters shop at Target.  Also, why I am trying to be a real hipster?

It's not like I'm making some French sounding asparagus and boiled egg sandwiches with picked onions on fresh baked baguettes as my Friday afternoon....

....or making fish tacos just because I want to try some new slaw recipe that sounded like it would go good on a fish taco....

...or eating dim sum while continuing to not be Chinese...

Crap.  Oh least all my hipster tendencies are currently only in the food industry.

In other news, I went out to dinner on Friday night to celebrate a friend's birthday.  This is an old friend from Florida that I've known since I was about five years old, and I was quite surprised to see how many people from Florida were at this dinner.  It was a veritable who's who of the different phases of my life.  The guy I went to punk rock shows with in middle school....the kid from high school who is way cooler now that he's not a drug dealer.  Although his unnecessary story about doing acid seemed a bit much.  The dumb guy from college who for some reason I used to call, "Belch."  He's still an idiot.  The guy I worked at Publix with.  He's still an idiot.  Another guy who I don't remember but remembers me.  I assume he's also an idiot.  It was all a bit surreal, but I happily got it out of my system.  It was like....having to face your past, then call your past an idiot, and move on.  I win!!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A TUT for Spring!

If I were to tell you that last night I went on an adventure that involved locking myself out of my house, having my spare keys 30-40 minutes away from me, only to find my keys in my coat pocket after I drove out to get the spare and back, you'd probably say, "Oh D.O......that's SO you" and then cue up some Benny Hill music or something.  Although most of you probably don't even know who that is...

But, with validation to my entire existence, I'm happy to announce that I was only the helpful friend in this circumstance, and accompanied another person on their bonehead adventure!  As a long time sufferer of degenerative key loss disease, I know too well the feelings of failure that locking yourself out of your house can bring you.  I mean, I once dropped my keys down an elevator shaft.  Seriously...who does that?  I once locked myself out of my house and my car on the same night!  I locked myself out of my Miami condo so much, I had the locksmith on speed dial!  (I named him Lock Smith, which I thought was SO clever.)  I've locked myself out of my car while it was still on.  Heck, one time I locked myself out of my car, roughly 4 seconds after the AAA guy unlocked my car.  So....yeah, I'm sort of an expert at these situations.

But the key, no pun intended, to all of this, is that the situation seemed dire, but we persevered and had ourselves a nice little evening!  A car ride to the countryside, margaritas and mexican food, and a funny story to tell for years to come.  Because I will remind my friend of this for years to come.  We took a sad turn of events, and rebirthed it into a fun adventure.  And in essence, isn't that what Spring is about!

(Pause as you admire this segue)

As the dark, cold bleakness of winter sheds its wintery coat, and rays of sunshine break the thick clouds, we find ourselves entering into Spring.  Today, on this birthday of Spring, we celebrate many things.  The start of spring training, the fools of April, the even worse programming that MTV will play for an entire week....but here in Denver, we typically see Spring as winter's last attack on mankind, as 70 degree days are split by blizzard like conditions.  Typically these blizzards only occur on the day you've actually made plans to go hiking, or a free day at the zoo, or on a training day for your 5K that you stupidly signed up for.  But despite the vicious change in weather, it's still the first glimpse into the glorious summer that awaits us.  So do your worst Spring!  Berate us with your battalions of bees!  Send Swaths of Sweaty Skiiers into our afternoon commutes!  And even in the latest of April snow storms, just know that we're still strapping on our boots, digging out our shorts, and giving a big, pervy Hey Girl to Summer, which is just around the corner!

Eff YouWinter!  Happy Thumbs Up Thursday!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

An Open Letter to IT Customer Support

Dear Ray Tucker,

I know you are just a contractor working at the technical help desk at my job, and perhaps you were thrown into the role of having to actually speak with other human beings, as opposed to hiding behind your binary code walls, but please allow me the time to give you a few pointers on customer service.  Consider these life lessons that you can take with you to any job you see fit, once you realize what a crap organization this is that you're working for.

Lesson #1 - Don't grunt on the phone.

Hey.  I get it.  Sometimes that meal you just ate is just sitting's making you breathe loudly...grunt periodically....and generally makes you too tired to have a normal conversation.  Then some bozo calls saying he needs some password reset.  Last thing you feel like doing.  Totally understand.  But maybe....just maybe...when you're talking to that person, you could cover the receiver or turn your head away when you need to grunt.  Think about the person on the other end of the phone.  They don't want to hear what sounds like animal sex noises while waiting for their new password.  It's.....gross.

Lesson #2 - How to use the "hold" feature on your phone.

Like this clip from The Office, just declaring you're putting somebody on hold, doesn't actually put them on hold.  So when you say, "please hold for just a second, and then scream at your boss for help, it does, in fact, blow the ear drums out of the unsuspecting caller who's patiently waiting for their issue to be resolved.  Unless their issue was they could hear too which case....RESOLVED!

Lesson #3 - I don't need to know EVERYTHING you're doing.

The only thing worse than grunting, is your stream of consciousness speaking, where you mumble through every single keystroke on your computer.  Now don't get me wrong, if you were an airline ticket agent, I would LOVE to know why it takes you 6 minutes of furious typing to tell me something that I could have done on expedia in 30 seconds.  Also, if you are going to talk through everything, at least try and do it with an interesting voice over of what you're thinking about.  Maybe in the 3rd person.  There's people on that will even do it for you!  Just think how much more interesting it would be to the caller, instead of hearing, "1215....F5, go to user profile.....mumble", you could hear,
 "Ray took a deep breath as the menu loaded.  This was 4th call of the day, for the same inane reason, and once again he reflected on his life, and the path he took to have the job that could have been easily outsourced to India.  Getting a call from an Indian to a guy that should have been working in India.  The irony didn't escape him.  And just like that he stared longingly at the 7th floor window, wondering how high he would have to be for the fall to instantly kill him."
 Anyways, you can take that with you to the bank!

Denver Omlette


In my latest running news, I'm now into week 2 of the Couch to 5K program.  Week 2 has brought a new fresh hell to my running regime, in that the total running time has increased from 8 minutes to 9 minutes.  My appetite after running has increased exponentially, and I'm now convinced that I should be on some Michael Phelpsian like diet to ensure I have enough energy to run the rest of the week.  This may also be my body's way of rebelling against this foreign body (exercise) invading and reshaping it's entire network of laziness.   But I will persevere!  By my calculations, the race will hit somewhere around the end of Week 7 of this apparently 9 week program, which means I'm supposed to be able to run at least 2.5 miles by then.  Last time I did this program I quit around Week 4, so I'm really only hoping to make it to say week 6 this time around....  It's a process.

Today is the second run of Week 2 and I'm hoping for a little bit better "breathing" scenario than the first run of the week.  I assume random vomiting doesn't start till week 3, and heart explosion is somewhere in the midst of week 5...but I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Tao of Denver Omlette

If you're not already watching it, I highly recommend the new series, Cosmos: A Spacetime Oddyssey, which comes on Sunday evenings.  It's a 13 part series exploring nothing short of the entire timeline of our universe.  The show, hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, is sometimes cheesy, but does a great job explaining some of the most complex scientific theories and makes them into digestible 1 hour segments.

During the first episode, there was a 10 minute stretch where NDT discussed our cosmic address.  Earth, part of the solar system, which is a tiny part of the Milky Way galaxy, which is just one of many galaxies which make up the Local Group, which is just an insignificant cluster of galaxies that make up the Virgo Super Cluster, which is just one of an infinitesimal number of clusters that make up the Observable Universe, which in essence, could just be one of many multiverses or something....time without end.  I'm not sure about that last the time he got there, I was hiding under my blanket.  The idea of billions upon billions of other unknown galaxies really stresses me out for some reason.  The idea that there is so much unknown outside our planet, yet we spend so much time debating the origins of life on our, insignificant little world, when our lives make up a microsecond of the history of the universe, makes me a little....unhinged.  Like we have no connection to the vastness of space around us.  Clearly this is why aliens invade us all the time.  They think we're just gonna be like, "oh snap, where'd you come from??...and then become their slaves."  They don't know of course that we have people like Will Smith and that one drunk white dude to fight them. 

To try and combat the stress caused by thinking of the size of the universe, I retreated to the internet, and it's own neverending supply of bleakness.  In it, I found the worst possible website for somebody in my condition.  The website, Future Time Line, uses scientific hypotheses, researched predictions, and other theories to basically map out the future of the universe, starting from around the year 2000, to oh...say.... 100,000,000 AD.  So yeah...I'd say after reading about how we all basically turn into robots, clutter up space with more stupid tech, terraform worlds, and yet we still don't inch more than a fraction outside our own galaxy, basically left me feeling very isolated and inconsequential. 

So in order to turn things around, I've decided to time capsule myself, and leave the next immigration of alien species with the knowledge of what they'd need to know about me, should they find my DNA dust floating around in about a million years or so.  In this way, I hope to preserve my future, NAY, ALL our future (no wait.  Just mine.)  So should you find this blog, aliens, please know that THIS is what was important to me:

1.  This list will be a Top 10 list.  All lists should be.  Anything less than 10 is lazy, and more than 10 is indecisive.

2.  Dirty South rap was never good, no matter what the history books will eventually say.  It is just people yelling at a microphone from their couch, too lazy to finish whole words.

3.  LOST ended horribly.  If you find old DVDs of it, just don't even watch anything after season 2.  Seriously, you'll just get pissed and probably laser explode the whole planet.  And you NEED those resources!

4.  If you find any old craigslist advertisements floating around the web, I'd like to apologize for the phrase "well loved."  I know it's gross...why can't people just say used, or old.  Well loved sounds like they were grinding on it for years before they sold it, right?

5.  It's pronounced "meem", not "may may", and yes, it WAS the demise of our species.

6.  Despite advancements in science and knowledge, and our ability to replicate or clone pretty much anything, people will still sent money to websites like this, and react like this.

7.  Try not to glean too much from our current television programming of 2014.  It is not an accurate record of our world.  We are not in fact a world ruled by divided factions of Armenian women, or a dynasty of ducks, who force ordinary citizens to compete in singing and dancing competitions or exile them to an island where they have to perform menial tasks while constantly talking to a camera.  We ARE all afraid of a monster called Honey Boo Boo though.  That part was pure fact.  Oh, and Walking Dead is REAL.

8.  Oil pulling happened.  Seriously.  We, as a race, did that.  And yet we still ruled for hundreds of thousands of years.

9.  Fox News wasn't our fault.  We were too busy oil pulling to realize how big of a machine it would become.  It took over all our minds, and it was only a matter of time before we started nuking each other as a way of saying "Hi, Nice to Meet You, Somebody Different."

10.  Finally, if you could just take one last thing away about our pivotal memory that we want to carry forward for as long as the Universe is's that we never, EVER claimed that Justin Beiber or Miley Cyrus were human.  In fact, I'm fairly confident they're not.  If you know anything about their species, please warn any humans who've moved on to other worlds.  It's important to warn them, so as to not harm future species in future worlds of the disease that is...bat shit crazy entitled child singers.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Can't Stop, Won't Stop

There's nothing quite like the knowledge that you will be out of your house for 3 months to inspire an entire weekend of non-stop cooking.  Which is pretty much how I spent the majority of my weekend, making things like oatmeal in jars to-go, salted caramel french toast and slow cooker roast beef po boys.  I mean, it's pretty clear I have a pinterest account right?

But before we get to the cooking, there was first cavorting.  This weekend I did something that I rarely do anymore.  And I did it TWICE!  (pause, as sexual innuendo processes....)  I went OUT drinking!  Friday night I went to this Denver "mixology" bar, as one does, called Ste. Ellie.  After the initial confusion of finding out where this hidden bar, downstairs from a restaurant, actually was, I spent my first 5 minutes there trying to figure if Ste. meant saint, or suite, or something all together different and in French, and how I would I ever be able to tell somebody the name of this bar without floundering over the name, and god why can't bars just have normal names like Jack's Bar, or Draanks!  But anyways, this bar is considered a speakeasy, which is ironic given it's ridiculously impossible to say name, but stood true to the mixologists tradition of making delicious, yet complicated drinks that have 10,000 ingredients but still taste like liquor and twigs.  I actually liked what the bartender made me when I left it up to them.  Probably because I didn't watch them make it.  Anyways, this birthday party had an interesting group of people...about half of which I'd met.  The half I was meeting for the first time were an interest make up of people that deserve  a short description.  There was the former roommate who was tall and athletic, and who I assumed had every advantage in life because of that.  There was the super hot Latina who could have been straight out of Miami, both in annoyance and Latina-ness.  There was the guy who may or may not have been part of the party but was always just almost about to start dancing near the group, so I assumed he was.  There was the cute girl who I was getting along famously with, but who ended up leaving me to talk to the taller, athletic guy, because that guy has every advantage in life.

But who did I spend most of the evening with?  The funny guy who paints star wars paintings in his free time and makes fun of his wife's Wisconsin-ese (She calls water fountains, bubblers), and disappeared at some point because he "wanted to get a drink with absinthe in it."  I think I won that round.

On Saturday, after completing almost every item on my weekend to-do list, I decided to start cooking.  And just like Forrest Gump, I didn't stop once I got to the end of one recipe, I just kept going.  First, I made a week's worth of make-ahead oatmeal.  The recipe, which I think I got from, calls for steel cut oatmeal, pint size mason jars and about 3 minutes of your time.  I used semi-instant oatmeal by accident, and had enormous canning jars, but still was able to create something consumable in the mornings.  The people at the deli downstairs will be devasted that I've replaced them.

After completing that project, I decided to get a head start on Sunday brunch by preparing a recipe I've been wanting to try for awhile now.  Nothing special, just SALTED CARAMEL FRENCH TOAST.  The process, which requires cooking up some salted carmel on the stovetop before adding some challah (pronounced hkhkhkhkhkhkallah) bread and the custard and letting soak overnight.  The before picture looks like this:

Saturday night, I met up with some friends to do a little brewery hopping to do a little St. Patty's Day adjacent celebration.  In Denver, a typical 20-something will make their way to one of the douchey LoDo bars on Saturday (if they're not already there since the day before) and drink themselves stupid on cheap beer and kamakaze shots.  This is not something  I wanted to do.  Instead, we went to a couple cool breweries in the RiNo district, because short names for districts is just cooler, and tried some great beers.  You know how you always remember those nights where you had a great conversation?  Probably not, if you're in LoDo doing kamakaze shots, but this was one of those nights.  Topics of discussion ranged from what we'd do in a zombie apocalypse, to the right way to commit suicide, the paralymipcs, yada yada yada, vaginal landscaping.  I think the term upper decker was thrown around a bit too.

Finally, on Sunday, a bit hungover, I prepared for some more friends to come over for a late brunch.  In addition to some spinach polenta and of course, bacon, the star of the show was the french toast.  I mean....seriously:

After brunch, and a walk around the neighborhood enjoying some of the amazing t-shirt weather we had yesterday, I decided that I hadn't cooked enough, and started making this roast beef po boy recipe I found.  I was about 30 minutes into it when I realized that it would be well after 9 PM before this was finished cooking, so I decided this would make for some nice lunch the rest of the week.  The weekend was finished catching up on Cosmos and finally resting after a long, fun weekend.

I also ran more this weekend, but this post is long enough.  I can update you on that tomorrow.

PS - What would I do in a zombie apocalypse you ask?  I would voluntarily become a zombie, like, immediately.  I mean, what part of lazily walking around and groaning, only stopping to eat because you literally walked into your food, doesn't sound like me?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy FPF From One Pyscho to Another!

This morning, I started my work day by trying to read an article titled, "How to Spot a Sociopath (Hint:  It Could Be You)", but I quickly lost interest when I realized it wasn't a buzzfeed quiz.  Because there's nothing quite like an online quiz asking which fast food restaurant chain you like the most to indicate what kind of psychological state you're in.  I think all those quizzes are rigged usually to one question, let's say question #5, and the rest is just fluff to make you think it's actually doing some deep analysis.

There are probably better ways to tell if you're crazy.  For example, if you're into oil pulling.  I read an article yesterday that described oil pulling as this new fad in which a person gargles oil.  The benefits to oil pulling, according to this article, are for better oral hygiene, whiter teeth, and better skin complexion.  Who knows of course if that's true, but that didn't stop me from trying it last night.  I don't know if there's a specific oil you're supposed to use.  I used the "reach in the cabinet and grab the first one" technique, and i think it was grape seed oil.  So i gargled the oil for like 30 seconds and then rinsed out.  It was less gross than I thought it'd be, but still seems like a waste of oil.  If any of you out there have any recommendations for brand of oil "mouthwash" let me know.  I figure I'll keep doing this until somebody ridicules me in person about it and then I'll stop.  Like everything else I do.

In other, product defect related news, if any of your are in the market for large appliances for your kitchen, despite it's high price and clean, sleek look, I would really like to steer you away from any Bosch brand appliances.  Their appliances seem to have problems with the touch pads, or buttons.  First my microwave stopped working, and I had to get the touch pad replaced.  I think it might be close to another replacement.  I don't use the microwave enough to get a sense of it (thanks to my Miami microwave is a pantry days), but as long as these things are resolved in the first 2 years while it's all under warranty, I guess I don't care.  Last night, my dishwasher stopped working.  Oh, it turns on and off all right, but that's about it.  No actual starting of the dishwasher.  I'll tell you what, I never had this problem on an old dishwasher.  Technology is NOT always better!  Hopefully nobody else has realized this problem yet, because I don't really want to deal with having to negotiate with the repair guy to give me my neighbor's part again.

But you know what?  Today is Friday, and all the problems of the week can wash away.  Tonight I'm going out to celebrate my neighbor's birthday, and tomorrow I'm celebrating St. Patrick's Day, and Sunday I'm celebrating Brunch.  So yeah....pretty solid weekend.  One that I think deserves a fist pump, because it IS Fist Pump Friday after all!  No amount of deep hellish psychosis I'm suffering can take that away from me!  So to everybody out there who counts this day as the end of their work week, happy Fist Pump Friday!!

Here's a collection of Muammar Gaddafi fist pumps to make things weird.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Running and the Art of Escapism

On Tuesday at Project Angel Heart, I told the chef that I would be taking a 3 month hiatus from volunteering.  When she asked why, I told her I was taking a trip of self discovery....sort of an Eat Pray Love situation.  She just stared at me for about thirty seconds and then said, "Ok, no really...why?"

After my short day trading in the dog market, I was thinking about my life here in Denver.  While it's great, I thought I needed to maybe shake things up a bit, and it's not like I'm doing much at work that couldn't be done by a slug right now, so when the opportunity arose to do a 3 month rotation in DC, I felt like this was a good time to jump on that.  I had no idea that i would be starting in 2 weeks, which once again, makes it all too real.  It's been over 2 years since I was living out of a suit case, and a 4 hour flight every two weeks doesn't sound that appealing, but once again I find myself about to be on the road, leaping from hotel to hotel, wondering when the next flight, will be the flight home.  (Yes I DID just steal that from Quantum Leap.)

The timing of this rotation is also kismet.  I was literally prepared to join the Stapleton rec center gym yesterday after work, but with the rotation starting so soon, it seems better to put that off until later.  My only reason for joining the gym, by the way, is to have a place to start training for my next 5K, which is unmovably on the last weekend in April.  It seems like every time I plan on starting to train, it snows the day before, but luckily, despite a Tuesday snow storm, the roads were clear and the air was warm(ish) by Wednesday evening, and my 5K training officially began.

As part of my training, and to hold myself accountable, I've decided to blog about my runs as I get closer and closer to the race.  I'm going to call this sub-Blogit (Reddit joke), the C25K SOS OMG.


Day 1 - I started the Couch to 5K training program once again for the same race I failed finishing the program for last year.  But like rehab, if you fall off the horse, you have to just get back on.  PS - horse riding would be way more fun than 5K training.

Day 1 started out fine enough.  The most important discovery was learning that I don't mind running outside.  I also run into or at least run by a lot more neighbors this way.  This might be a good substitute for the dog when it comes to meeting the neighbs.  But anyways, Day 1's total actual running consisted of about 8 minutes out of 30.  Which makes today's soreness and tight muscles more pathetic than anything.  But whatever, it's been a little under a year since I did any discernible amount of exercise, and it's a start.  The other discovery I made was how to control the volume on my C25K app...which unfortunately didn't happen till after I was finished with Day 1.  At least the next run won't have the thunderous voice of God booming down at me when it's time to walk or run.

One good thing about running in my neighborhood is that as it continues to build out, I will have more and more interesting things to look at while ignoring my body's screams to quit exercising.  Of course that means suffering the endless cat calls and whistles from the construction workers, of which I receive none.

I just re-read that "blog about my runs" line, and realized that it could have a different meaning...

Anyways, this is the 5K that I'm doing.  You may recall some pics of this race from my blog a year ago.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It Took Me 33 Years to Finally Get a Cake Made in an Easy Bake Oven

Last Thursday, with minimal cursing of gods and gnashing of teeth, I boarded an airplane bound for Seattle.  Actually, there was some gnashing of teeth, as I somehow managed to lose my driver's licensing somewhere between the TSA undressing station and my gate.  Thinking it better to be a fugitive of law, with no identity, than miss my flight, I boarded the plane anyways.  Before take off, I once again asked my neighbor, who's done more than her share of favors for me this month alone, to overnight me my work badge, so that I'd be able to fly home on Monday.  PS - My work badge's sole purpose in the last 11 years has been to get through security at the airport.  I am still not sure what else it does....or what I do for that matter.

Anyways, I DID make it to Seattle and spent my weekend with a wonderful friend who I haven't seen in two years.  She is very pregnant, so our activities included things like, looking at baby clothes, shopping at Costco, and resting.  Of course, these are all activities (aside from the looking at baby clothes) that I'm well versed in, given my lifelong struggle with the less-advertised condition known as Afternoon Pregnancy.  Anybody familiar with this debilitating disease knows that Afternoon Pregnancy exhibits its symptoms as lower back pain, shortness of breath, tiredness, bloating, headaches and the feeling like something is headbutting your insides.  This usually occurs post lunch, and is especially strong on days when you don't get enough sleep the night before.  One day, somebody will run a 5K for the cure of AP.  Of course if you can run a 5K, you probably don't suffer from AP....

What was I talking about?  Oh yeah, Seattle!  So it just so happened that my birthday was also this weekend, and it was made very special by hanging out with this piece of work.  My friend's daughter is self-admitted fiesty-pants, and I have to say, she was pretty hilarious the last few days.  Here's some pictures from an impromptu modeling shoot the day I left:





Also thanks to her, I will probably have the lyrics to every song from Frozen in my head for the next 3 months. 

In other news, I've determined that if I'm going to be serious about running this 5K in April, I need to start training this week.  No excuses now.  It's now or never.  Eye of the Tiger.  or something.  Last time I got to about Week 4 of training, then stagnated in that for like 3 weeks, then quit for a couple weeks, than tried to jump back into week 6, than claimed I had a hurt foot (it was an over exaggeration), and finally decided to just run about 1/3 of the race.  This time I have to do way better.  I'm already stressing about it.  Let's just go back to this instead, from her cover of Asian Super Market Weekly:

Oh yeah, on my flight back to Denver, we started getting ready for landing about 45 minutes before we landed, because of some expected turbulence that happens when a plane thinks it can overtake a mountain.  This turbulence was blown way out of proportion.  But that seatbelt sign came on right at the same time that I realized, as I was stuck by the window with two large people next to me, that I had to pee like nobody has ever peed before.  It was bite your tongue, dig fingernails into your palms kind of torture waiting to hit the gate, so I could scramble in an attempt to not relive my first day of kindergarten and wet myself.  I guess after 11 years, I still haven't figured out how to fly.  Whatever.  At least I wasn't on that flight from Vietnam that landed on the LOST island.  Come on you know you were thinking that too!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Lower Rung on the Ladder of Success

You know that cliche in every show where the young teenage girl insists on doing something dangerous, stating that she fully understands the risks and can absolutely handle them with no problem, only to immediately regret the decision minutes upon doing it?

I would describe that as my short experience as a dog owner.  After months of saying on this here blog that I was going to adopt a dog, said dog was brought to my house on Sunday afternoon.  A little over 48 hours later, the same dog will be removed by my dog by the rescue agency tasked with finding her a home.  So at this point in the story, I know you're wondering what happened.  You're trying to continue to hold me in high regard by asking what disastrous behaviors the dog exhibited that made me rush to return her.  Aggressive?  Hardly.  Super mellow dog.  Kept me up all night barking?  Nope.  Not a single bark from this one.  Destructive?  Again no...she just liked chewing on her toys a bit and laying on the couch.  Shy bladder?  I'll let you know when I get home at 4:30 today to find out if she's desecrated her crate.

So what was the earth shattering, life threatening reason behind my shunning of this quiet, sweet beast?  Basically she's too big, she sheds everywhere and she needs more training.  All qualities I myself possess, but in the end, if i'm going to have a roommate that has those flaws, I guess I'd want them to be able to talk and maybe cook meals sometimes.

Now that your image of me has shattered like a million shards of glass, let me at least try and pick up some of the pieces.  I don't think this decision was rash.  I think my blind acceptance of this dog was rash, especially since those same traits that I'm rejecting were known to me before I officially adopted her.  And before you cast judgment, know that she's going back to her foster mom, who had set up a heated, air conditioned, palacial outdoor kennel, complete with laminate floors and multiple rooms.  Oh and misses her tremendously.  It's a much better deal than spending 5 hours out of a 24 hour day outside her crate, don't you think?  The truth is, this experience has taught me that I just don't want a dog.  I want TV.  That is my pet.  She needs a monthly cleaning, and storms seem to scare her sometimes, but basically she's a good companion. 

Now that you're all organizing to lynch me for my lifestyle, I will distract you with youtube videos of good life hacks told by a strange Russian.  It's....mesmerizing.