Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Week 8: Vegging Out.

Pish challenged us to eat vegan for a day this week. So I cut out my two eggs on Monday. Done.
The day looked like this: 

Breakfast: Steel-cut oats, no salt. Water, coffee with cocoa powder and sweetener.
Lunch: Whole-wheat Bagel, almond butter, water, green tea. 
Dinner: Vegetable soup I made. Red lentils, mushrooms, spinach, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, celery, onions, bell-peppers. Veg broth and canned tomato soup. Turned out more like a veg stew, but very nice and very filling.
No added salt from my hand. The canned soup was a cheat, and added both salt and sugar, but that was an indulgence that saved me time and put a little "fuck this" into the mix when I needed it. It was all OK. The soup was a highlight of my day. The wife even liked it. Sorry, I didn't Instagram any of it for you.  
You're welcome.

Monday, October 22, 2012

News: The Happy

This is late, but the timing fits. I need the prompting to focus on this, because I'm a bit of a downer when left to my own devices. Other people seem so much more interesting that I enjoy myself the most talking about their lives. Nevertheless, there are:

Things That Make Me Happy

See how damned happy I can get?

The List:

Sunday, October 21, 2012


My parents asked me to look after the dog once.

I was 20, and living elsewhere, and they were going away for a four-day weekend. The dog was an idiot, and I truly believed that it might need someone to keep it from getting its head stuck in its own bowl and flailing around the house until it caught fire.

Friday, October 5, 2012

My Secret Weapon

Still holding to this challenge, managing my weight, with another pound lost, and a confession.
I have a secret:

I can drop all that food without feeling too bad about it.

I did for a year once before. I'm good at giving up things. Costs me nothing, and it's only food.
So much easier than doing extra things.

But I'm finding the time to run for the moment, as well. And I mean to continue that.

And I just learned something very important to all this:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Week 4. The Sacrifice: You Shall Not Pass

WARNING: I am drawing the line, and there is some harsh language and some hard truths in this post. Some of your "friends" are going to get what they deserve. They aren't really anyone's friends.

I have had it up to HERE with you, Cheese! You stink, you're sticky and greasy and you gum up my throat, you have enough salt in you to cure a ham and you're fat, Fat, FAT!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pish-Posh Challenge Week 3 - The Playlist

  The Pish-Posh Challenge Week Three:
Music to Run From

I am terrible at following directions, and pretty bad at keeping to my own plans unless they are really simple, preferably involving not doing things. I do not know why I ever thought I was bright, since that shit is important to getting by. It's a wondrous miracle that you can be a writer without most of that part of your brain.
Just not a really prolific, successful one, like Asimov in his time, or even Stephen King, who apparently generated more text every waking minute of his heyday than a possessed coke addict.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pish-Posh Challenge Week Two

The Pish-Posh 8-Week Challenge:

Week Two

This week I am proud to say that I walked 21.76 miles and burned 2359 calories, which is the equivalent of a whole pizza. Without toppings.

Still, let's see, I lost a total of ... +1 pounds.

I gained a pound.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Pish-Posh: 8 Week Challenge

Week One:

The Pish-Posh has started another challenge and this time I was awake enough to get in on the ground floor. I want to be posting more, and to lose two pounds per week. That would be excellent.

So far I have had three long walks and lost two pounds. Trying to keep the diet under control. The weekends are always the hardest time. I used to run 5k every day, and if health permits I would love to be doing that again.

The first time I went to a gym a friend took me. We were 19 or 20, and he was deeply dedicated to becoming a cop. This gym was seedy looking on the outside, but decently outfitted inside. He told me the cops used it in the evenings.

The day we arrived it was early, and no one else was there but us and one woman. She was Asian, seven feet tall, with a huge head of wavy black hair, and in full makeup. She had a couple of volleyballs badly hidden about her person. All of this confused me, and I remember trying to get a look at her feet, because, seven-feet tall?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Book!

Some time ago The Pish-Posh invited me to contribute to a collection of stories she was going to publish with The Lady in Red. Most of the blogs I love to read were involved. These are all hilarious and wonderfully talented writers (and artists), and I was thrilled to have been included.

The stories are all from our experience, and each one is a gem. I am responsible for two of them.
More on them later.

The book was just published as All Cracked Up, and is currently available here on Amazon for $2.99!

These are the writers:

Dogs on Drugs           
Creative Devolution

You can't find better anywhere. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Baby-Poop: An Advanced Guide

In my loose series of Pre-Parental Advice, imposed without request:
Number 2: POO!

I don't get people who spend a few hundred on a dog, knowing that they'll be retrieving its poop off the ground, all warm and sticky, reeking in their plastic-wrapped hand. For twelve years. Before the little creature eats it himself. This I have seen, and it haunts me.
What the hell people? At least cats have some shame!

How wonderful are these animals? I've seen other people's dogs, and sure, they seem really nice. But the ones my family got a few years ago were all insane, frenetic little creatures. Giant rodents. They lost battles of wits with craneflies.

The dumbest insects on any planet.
I did not pick up their poo. They were not my dogs.
That would have driven me mad, to commit to that.

I've mucked out a few sheep barns, and among the many unskilled jobs I have held, cleaning hospital rooms was one of the worst. More on that later. I am not afraid of poop, in any way. I have done my time shovelling, wiping, and pitchforking shit for good and all, if there's any way I can get out of it.

But I did clean my son's ass for three years. I was his anal hygienist, and I am proud to say I kept him pretty damned squeaky the whole time. I wanted that outcome more than I wanted to completely avoid the sight, the smell, and the feel of poop. It would have been a fair trade.

But ladies and gentlemen, I tell you, you don't have to make that choice. I had it all.
Finally revealed:

The Ninja Parent's Guide to Poop

First off, this is wrong. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Recipe Time: Enchiladas Acapulco

Like all my best recipes, I stole this from several sources and fiddled it into shape to my tastes. There are apparently many versions of this under the same name.

I have never been to Acapulco, but this recipe says good things about eating there. 

WARNING: This is off, off, OFF diet. But SO good.

Chicken Enchiladas Acapulco
Serves: 3-6

Picture from a slightly less complicated version, which also looks good.

Friday, July 13, 2012

True Camping Part III: "The Human Smore"

Disclaimer: Camping is actually a fun and relaxing thing to do with your family. It's a cheap and easy way to enjoy the outdoors and get away from your worries.

Unless you're me.

You would think that previous mayhem would have been enough to change my expectations. Perhaps you know me, and can't believe that once, not too many years back, I had the heart, the energy, the sheer gumption to persevere in the face of defeat. That wasn't really me. Normally I fold like a deck chair in a hurricane.

I assure you that whatever it was, it was only temporary; that keen defiance, that impervious drive to make things happen, that denial of danger was a byproduct of late-blooming infatuation. For ten years in the middle of my life I suddenly and completely refused to believe that fate or God or Mother Nature or Buddha had it in for me.
They loved me. Us. I was so happy.

For some people Love is as toxic as crack, and twice as addictive.

This is your brain in Love.

My wife still wanted to spend her vacations camping, and I still wanted to be wherever she was. We went back to camping alone, happy still, in denial. We dealt with a massive fish spawning that ruined the river next to us, and tenting under a screech-owl nest, and a few other things that don't even register with me now.
Not after this:

The second-last trip was to a campground closer to home, and closer to town.

Why so close, when we had always planned remote destinations, surrounded by trees? A recommendation by Chuck and Dick. Before you ask "Whaaaa?" I remind you: we were in our 20's, and I had dumped my natural caution like a Kevlar vest at a love-in. With hindsight most things I did then look equally dumb.

OK. Here we go:

Fort Langley

The name alone causes me full-body sense-memory shock. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Advice to Pre-Mothers

At least two people I know who vowed never to procreate, or claimed a lifelong aversion to the idea have recently announced that they are expecting. Just when I had come to terms with respecting Unburdened as a Lifestyle, too.

Congratulations on your pregnancy. I'm no expert, having not had one in me, but I've learned a lot from the blood spawn I am raising, and watched closely the tiny lives of several others as they grew.

There is good news and bad:

Ladies, a squalling, snot and poop dispenser is growing in you, with amazing mind-control powers.  
It will change your appetites and direct you when and what to eat. You will grow huge and ungainly, and complete strangers will offer you stupid advice constantly and touch your stomach, where It lies in wait to push Its way out of you one random day and feed.

"Sleep lightly, Old Man."

Parents, when It emerges, It will eat your future and you won't sleep properly or finish a thought for the next ten years. You won't wear clean clothing for the first four. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

True Camping Part II: "The Swarm"

By request, and because I'm procrastinating on other things today:

Not too shabby, eh?

True Camping Part Deux

When we were young, fresh, and full of hope my wife and I used to see signs that we were Meant to Be everywhere. Sundogs, coincidences--pretty much anything. We weren't reaching, it just seemed that the Silly Lovesongs were written for us. This was a stark contrast to the signs I had been born under, and the day-to-day bullshit Fate prepared for others' amusement at my expense.

Sound crazy? Resentful? My high-school classmates coined the phrase "L____ Luck" after my last name, since they had no other words for what they were seeing, day in and day out. It got so that they would encourage me to take risks just to witness the incredibly unlikely fallout. I got used to watching my own back and shrugging off most of the humiliation, particularly as it never seemed likely to kill me.

This is why I dream of a quiet life.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Getting tired of the "monkey" thing? All part of the long-con branding strategy.
Anyway, I stole this recipe from someone on TV, revved it up and drove it into two other recipes at top speed.

They can't be disentangled now, and as I was driving that fateful night the wreckage is all mine to share.

It's a great soup, particularly in winter. Not the season for now it in most parts of the world, but since it's still cold out here half the week and raining often enough that no one's joking about it for the first time ever, here it is. It's hearty, and healthy. Healthy-ish, anyway. No sides needed, but a really fresh whole-grain bun (with or without olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip) is perfect on the side. Red or white wine, somehow.

Plus, it's vegetarian for Pish, although she might want to skip the beans for a while. No reason.

This looks about right. A full meal for a cold day.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Sweep the Leg

Sometimes teaching your son a lesson can lead you down very strange roads:

I was a solo 46-year-old man at the Pokemon Regional Championships.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Flaming Babies

Why cain't I quit you?
I didn't mean that Baby, come back!

My family likes the burn, myself most of all. When I was diagnosed with gastric reflux I thought I would never enjoy another meal. Luckily it was just my gallbladder, so I'm back eating Louisiana Red and Sriracha, and of course good old Tabasco.

My father used to love spicy foods before boutique hot-sauces and trendy posters and Scoville ratings were cool. Someone gave him a jar of pickled Yugoslavian hot peppers for Xmas as a joke, and as soon as we got home he broke the seal and popped one in his mouth.

A sudden scream from across the house brought us running back to the kitchen. We found him prone, mouth open, eyes wide and streaming. Red faced, straining to survive.

Anyone else would have called an ambulance, but we knew he was enjoying himself immensely.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

For a Friend

I hear you say you dread this weekend. It's the same thing all over again, every year for longer than you can remember. I get it, I really do. As much as I could, anyway.

All in one basket.
I want to say I have faith in you without having to pay tithe or get uncircumcised.

But it seems to me you have to face it as a crap-shoot, or it becomes a meaningless charade. So logically there has to be worst-er-case scenario where it's all for nothing.
That, I do believe about everything.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

True Camping, Part the First: "First Blood"

Spring is here, despite the random sleet and hail. They took back that borrowed hour and it's all going to get better from here on in. Especially if I could photosynthesize food, and live outside.

My wife introduced me to the Camping Phenomenon shortly after we met, in the late '80's.

However, I grew up going to summer camp on a large island mostly devoted to that; young hippies looked after us when they weren't tanning or painting peace signs or boinking furiously as soon we had taken the drugged hot chocolate every night. Seriously. The church that paid the tab had no idea what was going on, nor what was to come. That's another post. Nevertheless, many good times, and a few really decent people made it worthwhile.

Later there were some crazy long hikes and a lot of sleeping out with just our pack of supplies. We got lost a couple of times, and hiked through the rough for 14 hours once. But it was all amazing.

Recipe Time: Monkey Curry

I have a post on the way, but I won't finish it today. Instead, please consider this curry recipe, which I have bastardized until it only reflects the way my family used to do it, and not really any region of India. 
Makes lots, and freezes really well. 

Update: There were no monkeys hurt making this curry. It's by a Monkey, for Monkeys like you all, and you can monkey around with it. If you put monkeys in it (or bats) you're on your own.* 

*You'd want to increase the cumin, pepper & ginger, for one thing. 
I mean, I would guess.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Not "fat" just friendly.

I used to live in the nicest, most integrated neighborhood in the area. Every kind of person who could afford 50% more rent than the rest of the city lived there in old rental units that were beautifully kept up and reasonably spacious. 

Everyone got along well, and there were great little restaurants with cheap but excellent lunch specials. The scenery and the people-watching were unparalleled. Everyone seemed to own a dog, and there were all kinds, even unto a number of Great Danes.

In the summer, art galleries would mount outdoor sculptures by various artists along the beach walks to surprise and delight the locals. There was Tai-Chi and yoga in the parks and green-spaces and outdoor and indoor chess  almost everywhere there was a table. People flew beautiful kites along the short stretch of beach, and we were a short walk from the bustling downtown, with its theaters, cinemas, malls and and pretentious restaurants and nightclubs.

Every year there was a world-class fireworks festival in August and the streets would be jammed with tens of thousands of people from all around.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Welcome Aboard, it's LOVE!

Happy Valentine's Day!
Love for Everyone

Thank heaven for the lover(s) and friends who make living worthwhile; rest assured that your love will deepen and grow as the years pass, and that life has many more treats in store for you both.
Milk of Human Kindness is sweet and filling, and it will keep your heart young. Science has proven that it will prolong your body as well as your soul's melody.

Finding each other really meant something, and changed the path of your lives. If anyone can make a difference in this crazy, hurly-burly world, even just to each other, it's you two!
It's suddenly possible now. Now that you're no longer alone.
Congratulations! Enjoy the day. 

Seriously. I'm happy for you.

We looked up and found another Special Moment to Treasure for Always.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Tonight before the poker game I was sitting with John, who is very Zen, being deaf and for all I know, mute.
I like him. He is very relaxing to be with, and his hand shakes when he's got great cards.

This happens:

Ancient Bart, beard like a shoe-brush, dressed as always in his flannels, down vest and baseball cap, collars me, pulls a baggy out of his back pocket and says "Wouldya smell that?" while fixing me with his beady eyes.

People there are always trying to sell each other things, most recently golf-club covers, of all things. I saw no immediate harm in it.

Fool. It was something biological.

What was I to do? 
What would you?

Life in Our Fishbowl - Updated:

As I posted earlier, we got a new Betta and two replacement neons. Everyone seems happy.

Day 1:
Last night 3 neons were brutally slain. 3 Black-stripe tetras have nothing to say without the Betta present. I'm looking at you, Mr. Catfish, a.k.a "The Cleaner". You know something.

Day 2:
OK, earlier the largest black tetra was looking kind of beat up and concussed. The betta was hanging close to him, claiming he was helping him swim. Now that tetra is just gone. I know he has been terminated and stuffed in the weeds, just like one of the neons was this morning.

I am registering "Underground Fish-Fighting Ring" so that I can use it exclusively.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I thought I heard something ...

Oops, I got Disqus-followed. There might be Visitors. That's a surprise, and me here, blogging into a mirror with the door open.

Anyway, I will put that last one away for further editing and carry on at my snail's pace.