|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Saturday, December 04, 2004
When Getting Your Ass Kicked is a Good Thing
Just a quick note on a Saturday night...
My brother and I are believers in karma. Basically, if you have good luck before you need it, you won't have it when it matters.
So, I think that the chances either Bob or I hit something decent in Vegas are increasing. Let me give you a basic recap of the recent luck experienced by the men in my family:
Bob - has been getting brutalized in SNGs on PartyPoker lately.
My Dad - was a bloody mess and $1200 poorer, but foiled the carjacking attempt on his Buick on Thursday (and I'm not telling this story until after Vegas).
M and I - both lost money playing blackjack at the casino this morning ($80 and $45, respectively)
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Longest Week of My Life
I’m fucking groggy this morning. When 9PM beers turn into 5AM bladder pressure, sometimes you just know it’s going to be a long day.
And it will be.
When there’s this much anticipation in the air, when there’s a goal so close as if to actually touch the felt that’s eight days in my future, the days of my life stretch themselves taut, forcing me to experience every moment along the way. Savor them, dread them, loathe them, or close my eyes and hope they pass more quickly than they’re going to, I’m stuck.
Pauly’s going to ping me on the IM soon and type in all capital letters, “EIGHT DAYS!” I’m about to do the same to Al. I’ve been reading everyone’s anticipatory posts, some jubilantly giddy over the prospect of plowing through Vegas nearly thirty strong, some almost shell-shocked with that “what the hell am I doing” buyer’s remorse.
Vegas will do that to you. Both in anticipation and in retrospect.
Although I’ve physically been to Vegas three times, I’ve only been to Vegas once. And it’s all true. Vegas is amazing, overwhelming, a complete overload on your senses and sensibilities. The second you get on that plane behind the airline counter where the screen clearly reads “LAS VEGAS,” there’s a tangible tension in the air. It’s a giddiness that is pervasive from each and every person on the plane. Remember when you were ten years old, and one of your friends was lucky enough to get a birthday party at Showbiz Pizza or Chuck E. Cheese? Remember how you could talk of nothing else with your friends in the days leading up to the big day? “I’m going to play so much skee-ball, that’s where you win the tickets.” “I’m going to eat so much pizza they’re going to have to get Chuck E. Cheese himself to carry me out of there.” It’s the same sort of feeling, sans the animatronic jug band.
Like Chuck E. Cheese to a fourth grader, Vegas is all about the action. But unlike just about any other vacation destination, Vegas is about risk. With or without anyone else joining Bob and I for our four days out there, we’d be finding our own action, and defining our own exposure to the adrenaline laced gambling risks on the casino floor. But with thirty bloggers, friends, and family in attendance, some of us – maybe most of us – can see this convention of the unknown in its own light, and as its own sort of risk.
What if I embarrass myself at the poker tables? What if I’m the first one to bust out of the tournament? What if I come off as an abrasive asshole to someone? Worse, what if I spend four days with these people and can’t think of one goddamn funny thing to say the whole time?
It’s the pessimist in me talking, absolutely. It’s the fear combined with the eager anticipation that keeps my knee bouncing involuntarily under my desk all day long. But I’m not worried about these things as much as I am worried about one big glaring possibility…
…What if I come back from Vegas without a good story to tell?
I love the fact that I can call myself a writer at this stage of my life. I believe that’s why the vast majority of us blog. We’re not diarists, for the most part. Most of us aren’t looking to turn what we’re doing “into something bigger.” I believe that for most of us, the community we’ve developed is a pleasant and somewhat unexpected side effect of our efforts to create something for ourselves.
I’m a writer. I’m a storyteller. I want to be able to come back from Vegas with something swimming in my head that I just can’t wait to get down on paper. This is my anticipation, this is what I hope to be the end result of my risk and my action.
The more I write this post, the more I realize that I want to dedicate this to Maudie, whose neuroses are probably allowed to work overtime these next eight days in comparison to the rest of us. I don’t know of another blogger who’s walking into this trip as blindly as Maudie. Most, if not all of us are coming out with someone, or at least have met another blogger previously. I can completely understand how part of Maudie must be absolutely freaking out inside.
But I absolutely admire her gumption to get on that plane and walk into this situation completely alone, completely unsure of who’s who and what’s what.
And here’s hoping Maudie (and the rest of us) comes away from this weekend with a great story to tell.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Due to their size, Pringles brand potato crisps must be cut from the middles of potatoes. What do they do with the ends?
Anyway, nothing says 9AM like a dozen salt and vinegar flavored potato crisps. I’m already hungry, and there’s precious little I can do about it right now. Except, of course, ramble aimlessly and pointlessly on my blog for a little while to hopefully make the time roll by more quickly.
And you should take note… I’m going to try my best not to mention where I’m going in nine days and how freaking excited I am about it.
I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I probably look marginally better with hair on my head than I did with a shaved head. I had spent (roughly) seven or eight years taking the guard off the clippers and cutting my head down to the peach fuzz, but was asked to grow my hair out almost two years ago, and did.
There really are a few problems with having hair again. First, after seven years of not paying for haircuts, I’ve got to now get one every month or so. Second, I’m far too cheap and lazy to pay for a “good” cut, so I spend $13 (plus $2 tip) at the Cost Cutters “salon” in the strip mall by the Blockbuster. This is where they sit me down with some girl who barely eked by in her College of Cosmetology final, and let her wreak havoc on my head. Third, I have impossibly ridiculous hair. The stuff up front, no matter how short or long it is, stands up at weird angles. So there’s one lousy haircut I can get (short of shaving my head again), and I ask for it so short that I need two weeks to grow into it and look normal again.
And just so you don’t think I’d be okay with creeping baldness on my scalp, I’ve noticed my hairline is starting to run away faster now than it was a year or two ago. It started when I noticed one hair left growing from where a bunch of hairs used to grow. Now there are a few scattered troops mere millimeters from the rest. It’s not noticeable unless you’re really looking close, but I know it’s there, and that’s enough for me.
I keep having this recurring fantasy lately about AO the restaurant hostess, who I used to bang about ten years ago. I had just started falling for my ex-wife up at school, but she went on a previously scheduled weekend trip with her ex-boyfriend (we weren’t official at the time, not for me to stop her) to Chicago instead of spending the weekend with me. So I’m home alone on a Friday afternoon, and AO shows up at my door, her breath smells of beer, and she’s holding one of those ridiculously large plastic cups they give you at the gas station if you want to buy 56 oz of soda. That too is full of beer.
Yes, she was drunk, or at least very tingly.
Anyway, it had been a couple months since anything had happened between us, and I was holding the belief at the time that no matter how good the sex was, I couldn’t go back to the well, as she’d end up stalking me for the rest of my time up at school. I was probably right about that. So I let her in, as she wants to “talk,” and by “talk” I mean “has enough liquid courage in her to ask me why I had to let her go.”
But she wasn’t listening. She didn’t really want to talk. That became obvious when I was sitting on the kitchen counter, and she started pawing at my thighs and running her hands around my waist while half-stumbling around the kitchen. Of course, somewhere between “she’s more trouble than she’s worth,” and “I really dig this girl that’s in Chicago getting porked by her ex right now,” I didn’t react back.
But good god I really should have. I could have gotten anything from her at that moment. “Go home, get slutted up, bring all your dirtiest lingerie – you’re spending the weekend.” That could have been a good answer. How about “I know what you’re looking for… if you bring your friend over and share, you can have anything you want.” I’m pretty sure either of those would have worked.
Sadly, there is a reasonably recent picture of this girl online*. Actually, the sad part is I found it. Anyway, she’s a minimum of 25% bigger, and she wasn’t a small girl to begin with. She’s also got the type of hair that says “it’s too humid, I’m just matting it down with water today.”
If I didn’t have such a vivid imagination when it comes to the couple of months I had my fun with this girl, the fantasy would be completely ruined.
*(No, you can’t see it.)
I’ve been kicking around an idea in my head for a longer piece of fiction (I’m not getting near the “N” or “B” words, but you get the idea) that is semi-inspired by this sort of recurring fantasy about a girl from the past. I’m really just trying to figure out a way to make stalking funny.
And no, I have no intention of stalking this girl. It’s just a freaking idea that I thought might be funny. Sheesh.
In other news, I got another email asking for a “partnership” where I would advertise someone’s online poker site, and they would (presumably) pay me. I’m guessing they find a site like The Blogfather’s and just shoot emails out to everyone on his blogroll.
Seriously, would you want this blog to be a mouthpiece shill for your poker site? I mean, I am more likely to talk about some girl I didn’t pork nine years ago than I am poker on most days. Is that the audience you’re aiming for?
I’m guessing most of these arrangements work like referral programs. I toss a banner ad up, I keep saying “BONUS CODE: STILLTALKINGABOUTMYDIVORCE” and I get some sort of kickback when you guys sign up and play a few orbits at the site formerly known as Choice Poker or something. I just can’t see this being a winning situation for me. I don’t think poker newbies are flocking to my site, and I’m pretty confident a ringing endorsement of someone’s software or soft games from me doesn’t mean a whole lot.
Well, that being said, if I’m saying a game is soft, then most of you should be able to kill it.
I’m tempted to email this dude back to see if he can engineer some sponsorships that might make sense for the content this blog delivers on the daily. I think something like a specialty foods mail order house, featuring awesome deli meats and cheeses would be a start. I could pimp the shit out of Wine.com. And Al suggests that I could form allegiances with divorce lawyers, or perhaps even the Canadian Defamation League.
All worthy endeavors, I’m sure. I just can’t see myself in a situation where I’ve got to say, “BONUS CODE: YESIJUSTCALLEDALLMEXICANSGAY” three times a week, and talk about how I’m cutting through the lower limits at the new site like a cuchillo through frijoles. Plus, I’m constantly checking my site stats and comments throughout the course of a day. If I had to monitor how many raked hands eleven people under “BONUS CODE: CANTBELIEVEIDIDNTPORKHER” were playing on the daily, I think I’d just flat-out overload.
Ultimately though, I think it’s awfully flattering to be offered some sort of advertising partnership. I’m not as widely read as people like Mimi Smartypants or Sarah B. at Que Sera Sera (both linked at right), but I bet they don’t have “the man” throwing offers their way.
Well, except for Mimi’s book deal, and the fact that Sarah B. has been published in print and at McSweeny’s, and both have at least 1000 a day – if not well more – visiting and reading and, well, I bet they both have had the man throwing offers their way.
Shit. Every time I try to play the “I’m cooler than someone” game, it just blows right the hell up in my face. Pbbfffttt…
The Shining Light of Understanding
At what point do you, Mr. Pedophillic Googler, figure out that there are no such thing as nude pictures of Maria Sharapova?
Seriously, she’s only 17. Come on now.
If I had pictures of Maria Sharapova nude, or Hilary Duff nude, or (in one ugly and shocking Google search from way back) Raven Symone nude, I think I’d best be keeping them from public view. They’re not just jailbait to the touch good sir. Ask Pete Townshend.
A long, long time ago (I can still remember how the music used to make me cry… no, wait) I had planted a few phrases in the archives for Googling purposes. Would it surprise you that, to this day, I continue to get at least one weekly search for “Bea Arthur Naked?”
People are certainly interested in their naked pictures of celebrities. What’s interesting though is when a celebrity somehow disappoints when she gets naked. A perfect example is Nicole Eggert. She did that terrible movie “Blown Away” with Corey Haim (and, lest we forget, Corey Feldman), and couldn’t have been built more like a twelve year old boy. Hence, the boob job that brought her to “Baywatch.” Drew Barrymore in Playboy too. I don’t want to call this one fully disappointing, but I’m just not a big fan.
You know who looked awesome in Playboy though was Shannen Doherty. And don’t forget about Alyssa Milano making every red blooded male between the ages of 25 and 35 happy as hell with her turn in “Embrace of the Vampire.”
But for every actress, model, and musician who has taken it off, there are scores who haven’t. And that’s just sad. If I were a Hollywood producer during the last fifteen years or so, I would have declared a solemn oath to the Internet generation to provide them at least one high-quality shot of the chest of every actress in Hollywood.
Speaking of Alyssa Milano, like most men who are within a year or two of my age, she was definitely one of my first celebrity crushes. She had that tomboy thing going on, and looked like she could throw a football besides being cute as hell. Definitely my generation, only about 18 months older than I am. Loved her in “Predator,” was the only reason to watch “Who’s the Boss?,” and still have a massive crush on the girl.
You know who I really dug as well was Danielle Fishel, who played “Topanga” on “Boy Meets World.” I don’t think I watched more than one or two of those shows all the way through, but that girl was cute as hell. Plus, as she grew up and gained some weight, she got awfully juicy and curvy – not to mention stacked. One of those rare girls that actually looked better ten to fifteen pounds overweight, which is kinda how I like them anyway.
Of course, I can’t forget Tiffani-Amber Thiessen in all of this. When she got her augmentation, she did some photos with some sort of fishnet bikini top on that showed nipple silhouette (I’ll bet someone Googles that phrase within the month) and looked awesome.
And just to set the record straight?
Jo > Blair
Jennie Garth > Shannen Doherty
Kelly Kapowski > Jessie Spanos
Laura Leighton > every other Melrose Place Vixen
Katie Holmes in her prime = Alyssa Milano in hers
So I guess I have to apologize to Puerto Ricans now too. Sorry guys. Truth be told, I think I’m in the one half of one percent of American males who finds Rosie Perez’s voice (she’s New York Puerto Rican, right?) actually kind of sexy. Well, maybe not full-out sexy, but at least she’s not like fingernails across a chalkboard to me either.
Speaking of haters, the dotcom squatter on the domain Iggy took too long to buy ended up transferring ownership to someone dubbing himself “gpoker,” and that person has started a blog there that takes a few shots at Iggy and others. Al and I were trying to play amateur detective yesterday to figure out who this domain usurper and potshot taker was behind the mask. Your clues…
He uses the name “gpoker”: Now, Mas had used that alias online for the PJK tournament he won way back in the day. That being said, although one of the other clues (below) points to Mas as a possibility, we don’t think it’s him. He seems too good-natured, and a couple of these clues nearly rule him out.
He’s a “Movable Type” blogger: You’ve got to figure a Blogger.com user is not going to learn Movable Type just to throw the rest of us off the trail. This almost 100% certainly must be a blogger who has used/is using Movable Type currently.
His beef with Iggy is that Iggs uses other people’s stuff in his blog without permission: I think the line was something like, “Since Iggy has no problem stealing other people’s stuff, I’ll just take this picture (of the grotesquely naked hairy man) for my site.” These past two clues seem to rule Mas out. Mas is a Blogger.com user, and I don’t believe he’s had anything “stolen” by Iggy.
He takes a shot at a few other bloggers, and refers to his “other blog”: This would obviously point to someone who is already a poker blogger.
He says he’ll be there in Vegas for the tournament, kind of: Scanning the list of entries, Mas is on there, but again we don’t think he has a “beef” with Iggy.
He says he “negotiated” the transfer of the domain Iggy wanted from the “German Guy” who had purchased it initially: Interesting, because when Al and I tried to “Whois” the domain when it first went up, there was no available contact information. This would point to the “German Guy” being a set-up for a punchline to be delivered later. Is this that punchline? I don’t think so.
He seems to know that pushing Iggy’s buttons is a great way to get his attention: No one likes a flame war more than Iggy, trust me.
So who then are the likely suspects?
Well, Hank and Iggy are friends. And one theory is that Hank bought the domain and threw the “German Guy” smokescreen out there in order to maybe surprise Iggy with the domain as an Xmas present or something. Of course, once Iggy took that potshot at Hank with the naked hairy man, maybe that prompted Hank to fabricate this “gpoker” persona in order to take a shot back at Iggy in fun. Of course, that doesn’t answer how there are a couple days of posts prior to the naked hairy guy pic, unless the dates on those were faked too.
Of course, this could very well be someone with a beef against Iggy (and Felicia, if you read the post) who is just being a dick. Iggy posts stuff from 2+2 all the time, and maybe this is someone from that forum trying to knock Iggy down a couple of pegs. Or maybe it’s a poker blogger who is tired of Iggy’s crap (what crap, I don’t know). It’s conspicuous by the way that Felicia was the first person targeted here. If I were “gpoker,” I would have hit myself first to deflect suspicion. Is there a possibility Felicia constructed this anonymously? The more I think about it, it’s absolutely not Felicia’s style. Trust me, if she had a problem with you, you’d see it on her blog under her name. No two ways about it. I still think Hank is a more likely target.
I told Al yesterday that I wouldn’t have put it past him to acquire that domain, play with Iggy for a few weeks, and then just turn it over. Al is generous as hell, but has just enough evil in him to dangle the gift over your nose just out of reach for a bit first. Still, if it were Al, I think he would have told me what he was doing first.
Which brings us around to an unlikely target, but maybe a simple solution… Iggy himself. Why do I suspect Iggy? Well, first off he’s got an absolutely evil sense of humor. This is totally the type of thing he’d do for fun, just to dick with the rest of us and get someone like me to write 1000 words in speculation. Second, if “German Guy” who bought the dotcom really did exist, he most likely would have asked Iggy first if he wanted to acquire the domain. Although, to be fair, unless you know how to reach Iggy already, he’s not an easy person to find contact information for. Third, I’ve seen Iggy respond to perceived “low blows” before, and a single “Who are you, why are you staying anonymous” comment on the “gpoker” site is definitely not his style. The “gpoker” stuff is really not that funny, and is actually borderline mean-spirited. So taking this stuff rationally and politely is not in Iggy’s character.
I really do think that it’s even money right now that this is Iggy’s way of telling us he’s coming to Vegas. We’ll see soon enough, I suppose…
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
The Canada Thing
I know I can be funny sometimes, and I know that other times I’m absolutely not-so-funny. Like in yesterday’s post about Canada. This is what passes for humor when I write six words, answer the phone, write a dozen more, do some more work, and so on.
Although tp and habsfan didn’t exactly make their point (give me something cool that comes from Canada… Eugene Levy?), it was a point well taken.
Canadians are productive members of this hemisphere. I apologize to all Canadians. You guys don’t deserve it.
Now if we could just figure out what to do about those freaking Puerto Ricans…
I’m not going back to school, Daddy.
The South has had a pretty good year. I’m thinking between the Jesus movie and now the ESPN Dale Earnhardt biopic, Southern man has had plenty of occasion to see his two biggest heroes immortalized on the big screen. Maybe if we’re lucky someone will notice the connection and start marketing stickers for trucks where Dale Earnhardt and Jesus are both pissing on a gay couple trying to get married.
One can only dream.
I’m actually figuring that since they’re premiering the movie on the Saturday we’ll all be in Vegas, that the Rodeo group will likely be in their hotel rooms watching for those two hours, and our little blogger group should have the run of the city.
Speaking of Vegas, which I am wont to do a great deal lately, I just paid my December 1st bills, did the math, and found myself $200 ahead of initial estimates. Thanks, of course, to gambling. All I have to do now is get myself on the plane in ten days (TEN DAYS!) without spending more than $200 on myself.
By the way, this is how anal I’ve been about projecting my Vegas bankroll. I have an index card on my desk where I took my expenditures from the past month and outlined them, estimated $7.50 per weekday as my lunch average, totaled up all the tanks of gas I bought, and subtracted what was realistic from my expected influx of cash. Sitting here, right now, the difference is almost precisely my poker profit from last week.
Back to TV though, you know what I’ve been itching for? More Princess Diana coverage. I’m just fascinated by the Royals, and by Princess Di in particular. If I could just have had the chance to meet Princess Diana, just once, I would have said, “It’s my honor to meet you, Your Highness. I have all your collector plates.” Thankfully, we are going to be graced with the “Lost Diana Tapes” tonight. I’m sure this is as monumental a television event for you as it is for me. The media has always erred on the side of class, so this will be a beautiful and enriching hour of television, I’m positive.
I don’t actually have any collector plates, and I can’t say I’ve ever bought anything out of the Sunday circulars like that. I’ve never felt the need to buy a gargantuan tomato plant, I don’t think statues of golden retrievers are cool, Sans-a-Belt slacks don’t fit me right in the crotch, and Thomas Kinkade can go blow himself.
But those fake leather shoes with the Velcro clasps are kind of intriguing…
I’m not sure if those coming to Vegas realize how the genesis of this whole trip occurred. Al Can’t Hang invited a bunch of us down to the Bash at the Boathouse in September. Pauly and Derek came down as well.
We were up late, and unfortunately had to get up in the wee hours, as Pauly and Derek offered to drive me back to the airport for my egregiously early 7AM flight. On the way to the airport, Pauly offhandedly said, “You know Derek and I are thinking about Vegas sometime in December. You oughta see what you can do to come along.”
That was Sunday. Wednesday morning Bob and I booked. By Wednesday afternoon, Pauly and Derek were locked in. And then we both went to work on Al.
And the rest, my friends, is soon-to-be history.
Monday, November 29, 2004
Ashley>Mary-Kate, just in case you were wondering.
So Thanksgiving was nice. We spent it at my mom’s house, where she cooked another in a streak of non-turkey Thanksgiving meals. I read somewhere that 97% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving, which I guess lumps my family in with the 3% of Americans who eat Soy-urkey or something native from their homeland instead.
Anyway, this meal was a good one: Crown Roast of Pork with stuffing, fresh green beans, twice baked potatoes, and gravy. I made the gravy, and it was good.
I’m not really sure when this turkey-free Thanksgiving thing started with my mom, but it probably has a lot to do with Bob and Mike not being real enthusiastic about the bird to begin with. So sometimes it’s a pork roast, and twice we’ve gotten lucky enough to have prime rib.
Well, once we were lucky enough to have prime rib, and the other time my mom insisted on overcooking an excellent piece of meat into a dry chunk of beef. I could have cried. My aunt and her husband were joining us for dinner, and were just shocked that we were not featuring a turkey. When they heard it was prime rib, the bitching started. “I know the boys like their steaks rare, but I’m not touching that beef if it’s bloody.”
Fine. No problem. I only worked in a goddamn prime rib restaurant for five years, I think I know what I’m doing. So I told my mom that I had a plan, and that she could pull the rib roast out when it was rare, and I’d take care of it from there.*
But nooooooo, my aunt started bitching louder and louder, and despite my pleas to the contrary to just pull the goddamn roast out and let me take care of it, my mom left this $80 piece of meat in the oven until it had shriveled up into jerky. I was so goddamn mad. She could have bought $11 worth of chuck roast and had gotten the same effect.
*All you have to do with a slice of prime rib to bring it from rare to well done is to have a sauté pan with some au jus hot, toss the rare piece in, and cook it up to temp. Then at least you have a reasonably juicy piece of brown shoe leather. Fucking hell. I can have my rare piece of meat, and everybody else is happy too.
I’m a food snob, if you haven’t figured that out already. I’m not one of those $1,000 a gram Beluga caviar and foie gras types, I’ve never actually eaten that stuff before. I’m more of a “whatever you just made, I bet I could have improved it” type. This, of course, endeared me to no end to the ex’s mother. Let’s paint a picture, shall we?
There were always family dinners on Sundays at her parents’ place. Now, I liked her parents. Well, most of the time at least. When my ex’s mom was interfering in her (our) life and making her cry, not so much. But they usually meant well. Anyhow, I didn’t much mind the Sunday dinners (when the Lions weren’t playing) as a social thing, but the food was invariably mediocre. The mother-in-law’s cooking reminded me of that Marge Simpson line when she found a spice rack at the store (paraphrased), “Eleven spices! Some of these must be duplicates.”
I’m not culinary master. I’ll admit that. But I think I know a few things about making food taste good. And I also know what Rice-a-Roni should look like when cooked properly. This was tested on my first Sunday dinner with the (future) in-laws. My ex had apparently told her parents what a wonderful cook I was (first meal cooked for her: a Greek bruschetta that was just buried under feta cheese with fresh herbs), and I think the mom was a bit self-conscious about her cooking.
She should have been too. The Rice-a-Roni was so effed up that it shared more with a soggy bowl of Corn Pops cereal than anything Uncle Ben would whip up. I swear, bloated, sticky, and clumpy is no way to serve a side of starch. Yet, I politely and quietly take a spoonful of rice. I take some “salad” (chopped lettuce), and some blackened, uh, I mean grilled chicken as well.
It was fine. I don’t expect much when the vermicelli in the Rice-a-Roni has swollen to the size of a cocktail weenie, and I am more than capable of eating with a smile on my face. As long as there are no mushrooms, sour cream, or ranch dressing involved, I’ll pretend like I like it.
Of course, the topic of conversation turns to my prowess in the kitchen. I talk about my years of restaurant work, and how at one restaurant I was given free reign to develop the weekly specials on my own. And the mom is torn between being interested in the conversation, and feeling increasingly intimidated to have made the meal I’m eating for me in the first place. She’s growing more uncomfortable by the second, and finally can’t hold it in anymore.
“So is this dinner any good?”
What the hell kind of question is that? Am I enjoying getting to know the people who are probably going to be part of my life for the foreseeable future? Sure. Am I happy to have a free meal? Absolutely. Is there anything on this plate full of food that I’m having to hold my nose to eat? No.
But “…is this dinner any good?” compared to what I could have done given the same ingredients? No. Is it good compared to what I’d pay $25 a plate in a restaurant for? Uh uh.
I think I said something like, “Sure.”
“Sure” has always gotten me in trouble. It’s not a ringing endorsement, although sometimes it’s meant to be. It seems like the most sarcastic answer possible at times, but isn’t always intended for that effect.
Sometimes “sure” just means, “Yes, I’m content, thank you.”
The mom cocked her head to the side and narrowed her eyes, as if trying to break the code. I purposefully took my fork into the pile of inflated rice on my plate, trying to let my actions show her that I was really okay with the food. I was eating it, wasn’t I?
“Well, I know you’re eating it, but do you like it.”
Now I had to figure out how loaded that question was. Fucking women, I swear to god. Especially in that family. You’re always playing with some sort of surprise sub-text that invariably paints you into a corner, then bites you square in the ass.
“Yeah, it’s fine.” Oops. “It’s good. Thanks again for cooking tonight.” I hoped she didn’t take that “fine” the wrong way.
“You don’t like it, do you?” In retrospect, I think this was the moment in my life where I first began to understand one of the nuances women possess that much more clearly. You have woman-as-woman, you have woman-as-sexual-being, you have woman-as-equal, and I could go on and on. What I was seeing here was “woman-as-trial-attorney.” I wasn’t going to give her the answer that she needed to hear to toss the noose around my neck with that question. Not yet at least.
“It’s good, really.” I think I had to qualify that statement there as much for me as for her.
“It’s okay, you can tell me if you don’t like it.” This is where the sticks and leaves were placed over the giant pit she was about to lead me across.
“Really. I like it.” I stabbed at my chicken and took a couple of quick bites to hopefully prove my statement beyond reasonable doubt. She wasn’t done with me yet though.
“Well, I know it’s not great… What would you have done differently?”
If this were Monday Night Football, this is where John Madden would stop the replay and break out his telestrator:
(Circling me onscreen)”See, what you’ve got right here is a classic trap. If this young man were a veteran of this situation, all sorts of bells and whistles and sirens and lights and stuff would be going off in his head, and he’d take a step back and regroup and come up with something here that isn’t going to cause a fumble.” (Starts the action up again, stops it the second my mouth is starting to form words) “But right here, BOOM, this is where he’s starting to talk, and you know nothing good is going to come of this. Nothing good ever comes of this. He’s going to be replaying this one over and over and over in his head for awhile.”Yeah, I thought it was okay. I walked headfirst right into it. I probably told her that she overcooked the rice. That it rice grains weren’t “supposed” to be bigger than Tic Tacs.
And, of course, it wasn’t just at that moment that I was destined to pay for my egregious mistake. Sure, she was upset a bit that I didn’t like her food. I don’t think her kids even liked her food. If it wasn’t for me, there’s a good chance her daughter would still be drenching well done filet mignons with A-1. Where I paid my penance for that mistake was in every single dinner she prepared from that point forward. There was always a moment where she said, “You know, if you don’t really want to eat what I made, I think I have some roast beef for sandwiches in the refrigerator. It’s okay. I don’t mind.”
But she would have. She definitely would have.
Actually, I should probably thank my ex-mother-in-law for times like that. Like most women, she was insidious in her intentions. But most women weren’t as blatantly obvious as she was. At least you knew before she intended to blindside you. Kinda helps a little bit.
Milk Thistle and Dandelion Root
Since lil bro M has taken a blogging sabbatical, he’s sadly missing out on being able to relay a story from this weekend that’s probably a pretty good one.
My cousin came down from college to spend the weekend in town with us. Friday, her new boyfriend came into town for introductions.
And then Saturday, M caught them in my mom’s hot tub getting it on. Apparently, they were able to cover for themselves for a moment. Until, of course, the bubbles turned off and they scrambled madly to turn them back on.
Heh heh heh…
So according to a list of “warning signs” on an article from CNN.com, I, BG, am a “Problem Gambler.”
“Have you ever lost sleep because of gambling?” God yes. Who hasn’t gotten nailed in (what ends up having to be) their last hand of the night, getting sucked out on brutally, and laid awake for an hour or two ticked off that you can’t reach across the virtual table and bitch slap the guy in 3s who never should have seen that preflop raise with those cards?
“Have you ever experienced regret because of gambling?” Absolutely! You’re telling me you’ve never beaten yourself up over pushing all-in with a ten kicker that you were pretty sure was going to be no better than second best?
Yes friends, my name is BG, and I am a problem gambler.
Actually, my problem this weekend is that I didn’t have anything to do, and therefore didn’t do enough gambling. Oh, I had the money. My $230 score on Monday was coupled with my $52 score on Friday, and I could have let myself have a couple hours at the track as a result. Really.
But nooooooo… Gotta save the money for Vegas. Which, by the way, is only eleven days away. Actually, in exactly eleven days, I will be in Vegas. Aqueduct will be running, and I should have a few bucks on a medium priced horse in the fourth race. Again, don’t forget to look for me at the Race Book in the Excalibur – I’ll be wearing a green hat with a shamrock on the front.
I was talking to America’s Wingman and Internet Celebrity Al Can’t Hang today and asked him if his wife was excited to go. He said, “I guess. We haven’t really brought it up.” (Funny, says I – that’s all I could talk about all weekend) I told him that she’ll have fun, and that, “Her and Felicia and Maudie can go shopping and do each other’s hair and stuff.”
Because, you know, isn’t that what girls do in Vegas?
So we got absolutely pounded with snow on Wednesday last week, landing about five inches of accumulation. Thursday morning my mom told me that her gentleman caller was going to be making his special blueberry pancakes, and that I could come over at 10AM if I wanted to.
I like blueberries, and I like pancakes. What’s not to like.
Anyway, I only mentioned the snow, because I pulled up to my mom’s, and her GC’s truck is out front with five inches of snow on the windshield. I said, “Gee Steve, it’s awfully lazy of you to drive all the way over of here this morning without cleaning your windshield off.” My mom was laughing, but Steve just looked puzzled for a moment.
Yeah, I know my mom is sleeping with the guy. Wanna fight about it?
Anyway, I get in and the whole house smells like scrambled eggs. I really don’t like scrambled eggs. The one time in my life I ever tried a diet (two years ago), I had to eat and drink all this weird-ass holistic herbal junk that tasted terrible. I had to eat a salad at lunch, but the only allowable dressing was apple cider vinegar. I had to drink two glasses daily of watered down cranberry juice (non-sweetened) with psyllium husk powder, dandelion root, and milk thistle in it. I couldn’t use oils or butters or leafy herbs to cook with. It was only fragrant stuff, like cinnamon, ginger, or mustard powder.
But the worst part of all to me was having to choke down two scrambled eggs every morning. Ugh.
So my mom’s place absolutely reeks of eggs. Well, whatever. I’ll eat my pancakes and I’ll… what the hell is he pulling out of the oven? That’s not a pancake? That’s a…
…Blueberry quiche souffle or something!
It didn’t even taste like a pancake. It tasted like scrambled freaking eggs.
I was duped, I was cheated. I demand a refund.
Whatever, they let me eat most of the ham steak instead.
Who Da Champion?
Apparently, there’s an effort on Canadian TV to crown the “Greatest Canadian Ever.”
Quick, name five Canadians who didn’t have anything to do with hockey. No, “Terrence and Phillip” don’t count. I got Pierre Trudeau, Mike Myers, Alanis Morrisette, and I think Martin Short. That’s as far as I got.
My favorite part of the article was this:
During a chippy two-hour special Sunday night, celebrity advocates such as Rex Murphy, Paul Gross and Sook-Yin Lee, made their final plea for their choice in the contest.Has anyone ever heard of Rex Murphy, Paul Gross, or Sook-Yin Lee? Are these the Canadian equivalents to Michael Ian Black, Christian Finnegan, and Jessi Klein? As a matter of fact, weren’t they able to get Joel Stein for their show? Was he mysteriously unavailable? And Don Cherry for the title of Greatest Canadian? Are we voting based on abrasiveness and dress code, or legitimate contributions to culture?
I know so precious little about our neighbors to the north. Here’s an absolutely comprehensive list of Canadian things for which I am grateful:
Canadian Bacon (the meat, not the movie)
Having surly French people in our hemisphere
You Can’t Do That on Television
Bob & Doug Mackenzie
The Kids in the Hall
Strip clubs in Windsor
Amusement whenever I hear someone say “Eh?” or “Aboot.”
I’m stuck. I think that’s all they’ve given us. Really. I mean, what was the last book you read set in Canada? The last movie you saw from up there? If they weren’t so damned nice, we’d have taken them over by now.
You know what’s sad too? The way the dollar has devalued, you can’t really even make fun of Canadian money anymore either. You used to just know that funny money was worthless. Now? I might be bringing American ones to the clubs in Windsor.
Name me one good thing the Canadians have done that isn’t on my list without mentioning hockey. Seriously. I’m begging you.
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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