Friday, May 30, 2008

With grades like this, Vicky’s going to expect me to keep going…

Optimally, I would like to not have to go to school, not have to go to work, and only be expected to sit around, play video games, and eat junk food.

… but life is cruel.

Not only did I get a new job but also my Spring 2008 grades have been made official. I didn’t mention my grade (singular – one class) for last semester because, well, it could have been a fluke. (Still could be, in fact.) But then, I received my most recent results and here’s how they add up:

Fall 2007: A
Spring 2008: A, B

Am I proud of myself? Sure… I guess… But at this rate, I’ll be going to decades to come. I’m a Junior now… Senior year seems so far away! … oh well.

The toughest part is that now I have to call my dad and ask if he’ll give me $10 for every A…

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hitting the spot…

Sunday, Vicky and I decided to get our bikes out and actually… what does one do with these things again?…

See, we had been using the bikes as dust collectors/art installations in our garage for some time but we figured using them for the reason we bought them – you know, to actually ride them – might be nice to try, too.

So, on Monday, Vicky and I actually rode down the Santa Ana River for five miles (well, five miles round trip). Vicky did really well and, with the exception of those jerks who think the trail is their personal gym and how dare we share it with them, it was really nice. This got me thinking that, being out of work and all, it would be pretty cool to go for ten miles – even more! That’s the thing with me lately; I’m loving anything free! And I’m lusting after anything that burns fat!

Not that I’m not also a huge pig. After our ride, Vicky and I were both famished, dying for something good to eat. I thought about Mutt Lynch’s, this great burger joint by Newport Pier. Driving down there, we both realized what a dope I was – hello! Memorial Day! Newport Pier! Hello!

So, instead, we started heading south on PCH, when we realized that a Cheesecake Factory was coming up soon, at Fashion Island. We pulled over, went on up… and waited… and waited… shit, Cheesecake’s always so busy! But that’s okay. I can be patient. Because it’s also damned good!

When we got our table, I was so famished – and, by that time, the craving for a big, fat, greasy, sloppy cheeseburger was so strong – I was ready to order a burger with the sliders as an appetizer. Instead, Vicky and I split a salad and we both ordered our burgers. Vicky ordered with burger on a baguette ordeal but I went with something called the Tons of Fun Burger. It was the same price as their regular burger so I figured it couldn’t be that much fun or that much of a ton.

Then, they brought it out.

And this is why I’m calling this “Hitting the Spot”. This thing was amazing. Big. Greasy. Sloppy. It was the size of my head! I picked it up, looking like Guy on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, like an ad for a big, greasy burger, and committed myself to eating it all, fitting the whole mother in my mouth, without losing it to gravity, entropy, and grease. My god. It was amazing. Hot and messy. It transcended eating; I was in bliss.

Just one table over, our waitress had to deal with this problem customer who wasn’t satisfied with anything. I hate those people, the ones who go to restaurants simply to complain and work the manager for a free meal. So, after I was through with my burger – and, I’m telling you, that last bite, with hardly any dripped onto my plate and none dripped anywhere else, was a grateful surrendering into what I knew was the loss of any benefit our bike ride earlier provided – I made sure to express my pleasure to our waitress. I don’t often tell anyone about how good a meal I had, as Vicky knows my life is far too often mostly about regret and the anticipation of regret, but that was the first time in a long time I could remember having a very distinct craving satisfied so completely.

Later today, when the sun comes up, I’m going to take that ten-mile ride. I doubt I’ll have a burger after – the odds just aren’t with me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

We Fit?… hardly…

Let me just start by saying, that thing will kick your ass in ways you can’t even begin to imagine!

I went down to Costco this morning to buy my Wii Fit – only to find that the truck was late… dammit… so I went home. I had a great phone interview with D-Link. Maybe things will work out there. They should, considering my 6+ years in networking. Anyway, we’ll see.

After, I gave Costco a call and – they had it! The Wii Fits (Feet?) Came In!

Of course, I dashed on down there, and bought it. (My $73 Costco rebate took care of most of the $79.99 charge.)

Setting it up was kind of a bitch, mostly because their documentation is WRONG! The book says to sync the Board before starting the game – little did I know that the game walks you through the syncing process… stupid book…

Once I got it up and running, though, I was amazed.

First, let’s get this out of the way. Am I OBESE? You bet! But the funny thing was that it set my Wii Age (which I’m guessing is your physical age determined by the Board) at 42, which for those counting is my chronological age, too. So, maybe there’s some consolation… perhaps.

The thing is a TON of fun. Once I got started, I tried some Yoga, some Strength Training, some Aerobics, and Some Balance Exercises - a little of everything. After 10 minutes, I was sweating! I defy anyone to do the Hoola Hoop exercise without sweating and/or laughing! It’s a blast!

But here’s a tip – wash your feet first! They suggest you use it with bare feet and mine, after walking around the house for a while, left some marks on the Board. Now, Vicky’s never going to use it unless I clean the thing.

But first, some more Yoga!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I see a haircut in my future...

"You look like David Cassidy!" Vicky told me, and I think it was her enthusiasm that made it even worse.

It wasn't the first time I'd started to grow my hair long and ended up hearing that.

A fat David Cassidy... yep, even losing weight won't help that. Short hair, here I come!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Want it. Want it. Want it....

Wii Fit comes out today... not for me, mind you. I'm waiting for the release at Costco. Being out of work, I have to rely on more creative methods of buying, such as using the rebate check we got from Costco! But Costco won't have Wii Fit for another week or so... sob!

In the meantime, for all those who purchase Wii Fit, please know I am intensely jealous. You get to jump around in your house like idiots, losing weight the Nintendo weigh... yes, it's silly and goofy and nerdy. Hello. My name's Ken.

My gay marriage question for Christian whackadoddles…

Now that gay marriage has been made legal in California (and, by the way, even if it is overturned: HA HA) and you Christian nutbars are getting your crosses up your asses (which would seem to make this ironic), I have a question.

I know that in your minds Jesus was all about denying basic, human rights to people, but it still bears asking. How many gay marriages have to occur before all the straight people who are married start fucking animals or puking frogs or turn into primordial slime or whatever it is you people think will happen? How many? Five gay marriages? Fifty? I mean, now that you can’t stop it from happening completely, where are you setting the imaginarily fucked-up bar to complete Armageddon, you intolerant, close-minded, sick mother fuckers?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

So, I went to the gym this morning...

But I took Vicky's car. After all, I wasn't going to let some crazed insomniac behind the wheel of my car!

Lots of time to think…

It’s just after 2:30 am and I’m wide awake. God, how I hate insomnia. I’m not even sleepy. Tired? Sure. I didn’t sleep but a couple of hours yesterday morning. But nothing’s telling me to close my eyes. Instead, I keep thinking.

And I can’t stop.

I’ve got a couple of things on my mind this morning so I’m also posting another thought over on My Side. (Hey, I’ve got the time, you know?) Both come down to the choices we make and the effects they have.

I feel compelled to apologize to Vicky for being out of work. She reminds me that it’s not my fault and that’s true; Allied Schools laid a bunch of people off in a massive reorg. But that’s not why I’m apologizing.

I can’t help but think about my choices in the past few years. I worked at Linksys for about five and a half years and left because the people were not very nice and I couldn’t get any kind of career growth no matter what I did. I was offered and accepted a job at a place called IMC, not realizing that things would be 2000% worse there and that I’d be fired (spontaneously, injudiciously, and inexplicably) one month after getting a sizable raise. It took six months to find my job at Allied Schools and I really liked it. I felt as though I was doing something worthwhile. I felt fulfilled. It was nice.

Now, of course, I’m toast. I know that being unemployed is not entirely my fault but I can’t help but wonder what would have happened had I stayed at Linksys. I might be unhappy – but I’d be unhappily employed!


Friday, May 16, 2008

I’ll have a big shit sandwich with gravy… made of shit…

So, I didn’t get the job.

To make it worse, I was told what a great candidate I was and how I was such a close second choice and how they wish they had two positions and how – will you shut the hell up already?! Seriously, the job market is as empty as… well, my ability to write similes at the moment; I need a job! It’s like those rejection letters I get that read, “Loved your book. Thought it was amazing! Sorry, we can’t take another client.”

With school out, I thought I’d get back to some writing but I forgot how difficult it is to write in this situation. You’re too filled with dread to think of anything clever. Whenever I get close to being relaxed or enjoying myself, I become filled with guilt (don’t ask me why, the layoff was the result of the housing market, not me) and feel like I’m not doing enough, so I look through job sites that I already scoped several times that day… dammit.

… sigh.

Nothing else to say, really. This is just fucking sad.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The magic of the morning smoke…

Back when I drank with more regularity than I do now (or have for some time) and when I used to smoke, nothing met me with more enjoyment and dread than the morning smoke. Both, you ask? Yes, both. Because after you wake up with a hangover, the last thing you want to do is put more toxins in your body… but as a smoker, well, you really want to put more toxins in your body.

I was reminded of this today. Vicky and I were both dying in bed and Suki was dying on the floor, because she desperately had to go outside. I normally take her out around 8am but it was approaching 9:30. So, she was whining, scratching, doing anything to get our attention. Finally, I got up – because Vicky was feeling as bad as me and hers was not self-inflicted. How bad was I? Bad enough to remind me that getting that drunk is just plain stupid. It felt good in a “will someone please kill me” kind of way.

Downstairs, Suki and I went, and then outside. Walking actually helped me a little bit and I was starting to enjoy the morning – in so much as you can enjoy a morning while dragging your stomach five yards behind you – when around the corner came a smoker. This guy was making enormously puffy clouds behind him, smoking with the fervor of, say, a smoker who hadn’t had one all night because he was asleep. And I walked right into a cloud.

To say that I immediately wanted to through up would be an understatement.

To say that I was intensely jealous would be confusing to you non-smokers.
But the thing is, I was also relieved that the cigarette (and smoker attached) was gone and I could return to inhaling fresh air again… or what passes for it in southern California.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Retard Economics...

I just have to throw this out there. Why is it that as gas prices go higher and higher there are more and more of those massive, "2nd home" SUVs parked in my neighborhood?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

That's some serious chili...

So... what's it mean when you go to the gym and your sweat smells... well... just like chili?

I gotta make me some more of that!

By the way, the recipe I posted may turn out a bit thick. It did with us. Next time I make it, I'll probably cut a pound of ground beef. Just a thought.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Five minutes you should watch...

Obama is addressing people's concerns and giving them hope without pandering or dishonesty, which so far have been the tools his opponents have tried to use against him.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Chili Aftermath...

Oh my! Huge thanks to the folks at I'm Just Saying (see link to the right) for posting this. I've watched it three times and I'm just dying. It reminds me of what happened after the chili. (See recipe below!)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Boj… Boj… Boj… something’s amiss…

I haven’t mentioned the job search in a while… mostly because the job search sucks a large ass… a large “post chili” ass, if you get my meaning…

In the last couple of weeks, the well has dried up and the jobs I keeping finding are ones I’ve already applied for. As you can probably imagine, that has me a little… nervous…

There is news to report. For the past couple of weeks, I have been working as a contract employee for a small web design company, writing web copy. This might sound good, until you hear how hesitant this guy is to actually PAY you for your work. Paychecks are late and the Internet(s) are littered with complaints from other people who never got paid. So, I’m wrapping that up and hoping I get all my money… ugh…

Last week, I had a really good interview with Epicor, a business software company. I’d be going back to tech writing but, with the way this economy is spastic like a 95 year old orgasming, I’ll take it. I say the interview was good but it wasn’t without its bumps. The woman I was interviewing with seemed to think it was her job to discourage me as best she could, I suppose to make sure I wanted it enough. She kept saying “You don’t want this. You don’t want this.” And I had to enthusiastically respond, “Yes, I do want it! I want it like a blowjob after a long bike ride!”… with the… you know… bicycle references. And I’ll stop at two sex references…

Things just aren’t looking great. And, as you can imagine, this puts Vicky in the uncomfortable position of having to say, “Don’t worry. We’ll be fine… ONCE YOU FIND A JOB YOU… I mean, we’ll be fine…”

Two months into unemployment, and I can’t help remember that the last time went right down to the wire. Good times!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

It's Chili in here!...

This is what happens when you think you've lost your chili recipe and hanker for something more substantial than the stuff from a can. Enjoy!

Ken’s Chili
Cooking time: 5-6 hours
Serves: So many you should probably half this thing!

2/3 lb. Red beans
2/3 lb black beans
1 lb bacon
1 lb chorizo
1 lb andouille sausage
2 lbs ground beef
3 lbs onion
2 bell peppers
2 poblano peppers
4 jalapeno peppers
4-6 cloves of garlic
12 oz “Homemade Chili sauce” or substitute (eg. Ketchup)
3 15oz cans of tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 cup of sun dried tomatoes
1 cup water/chicken broth
1 tablespoon black pepper
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cumin
3 tablespoons “essence” (You have the recipe, right?)
as many hits of Tabasco as you need

This recipe was cobbled together as I lost my old recipe many years ago. (Many, many years ago.) And I can't remember what I did with my new recipe. (I’m old.)

Start the night before by soaking your beans. Some people say you don’t have to but what’s the deal? It takes five minutes. Just put them in a bowl full of water and put it somewhere safe from pets, bugs, and alien creatures.

Cooking day begins with bacon – and what better way to begin the day? Cook it up, drain it, and let it cool. Also, grill your peppers – your bells, your poblanos, and your jalapenos. Once they’re cool, peel and seed them and clean them up. Put them aside with your bacon. You’ll have fun with those later.

Begin making the chili by browning your ground beef and andouille sausage. Drain off the fat and put aside. Then, brown the chorizo. I can never really get chorizo to brown but do your best. You’ll want to do this in a really, really large pot – you’re going to be making a lot of chili here. When browning your meat, it’s a good time to add some of that essence. Once that’s browned, add the onions. Take your time on a low, even heat to wilt down your onions. Once that’s done, add your beef and andouille sausage to the pot.

At this point, you’ll have big pot of seasoned meat and onions. You could start making meat burritos but let’s continue making chili. Add your canned tomatoes – I like to take a hand mixer to puree the suckers a bit – along with your tomato paste. If you can get ahold of one of those little jars of “Homemade Chili Sauce” that comes in a little 12 ounce jar, good for you! Empty that into the chili. If you can’t, ketchup is one substitute… but it doesn’t come close. Also add your chicken broth now (or water if you don’t have broth).

Things are getting a bit soupy so add your beans - making sure to toss your reserve “bean water” first. Also, toss in your garlic. I like lots of garlic so I probably exceeded the six cloves. That’s just me.

Now, pull out your bacon (watch it!), peppers, and sun dried tomatoes. With your favorite cooking sheers, you can just clip these up into little pieces over the pot! Finish off with the black pepper (I like to use a coarse ground for long simmers), red pepper flakes, chili powder, cumin, and whatever essence you have left. This is going to make things a bit spicy so you might want to add half now and half later. Me? I put in WAY MORE!

Bring this to a good boil, then let it simmer. You’ll want to cook this for at least 5 hours, more if you can arrange it. Give the beans time to cook. Also the longer you let something like this cook, the better it gets.

Serve with cheddar cheese, sour cream, chips, whatever, and eat!