Archive for October, 2009

Human suggestibility and my victory over whoredom

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Your typical store-bought sweetened and fruit-flavored yogurt is like a junkie prostitute who has taken a shower and put on make-up and heels (and a tight long-sleeved shirt) for you. The illusion is fine and even a tad pleasing, but beneath the surface appeal, you do realize that what you’re really getting is a disconcertingly diseased rendition of one of Mother Nature’s gifts.

And as far as the yogurt is concerned, despite all the evidence and warnings I care to read that yogurt is most beneficial when unsweetened and unflavored (in its pure form when it actually is allowed to perform fully, and unencumbered by chemicals, its pleasant duties upon your digestive tract), I nevertheless find myself answering the whore call of Ms. Dannon or Ms. Yoplait over and over.

My aversion to plain yogurt has been nothing short of legendary. I simply couldn’t do it. The notion of fermented milk struck me as an intolerable consumption of sour goo, something like what kids used to vomit in the 1st and 3rd grade classroom. No way Jose, no go. No can do.

Well, I’m pleased to announce, I’ve surmounted (and dismounted) my reliance upon the yogurt whore.

I literally shifted my thinking, I’ve circumvented my gag reflex, I’ve redefined plain yogurt, and now it’s fine. It’s not plain yogurt anymore.

It’s sour cream.

Wow. I just had a bowl of the stuff with some Triscuits. Delicious, this sour cream.

East L.A. Makeover: Bathroom and Kitchen updates

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Now that they are running “concurrently,” I can group these suckers together. A very time-saving measure!

Anyways, a quick rundown, courtesy of a day off from work (this was Monday):

Bathroom
Slowly but surely. I’ve put my containers to use. I’ve cleaned out and wiped the cupboard shelves which were looking a little gnarly during my intro. As you can see in these photos, I’ve separated out most of the crap that had been sitting in the dust or on the counter top. I’ve also put the drawer organizer thing to use as well and shifted some stuff around. What a difference. I’ve also cleared out the cupboards on the other side of the sink to house 6 rolls of toilet paper at a time (you never know, some big shitters might come over) as well as tall bottles which didn’t fit so well in the containers in the opposing cupboards.

I predict this will be complete by the end of next weekend:

-The medicine cabinet is almost there, but I need to clean the glass shelves and dust it out a little. Maneuver some stuff around in a final coup d’grace.
-I’m a little daunted by the mess under the sink. Blah, don’t wanna go there.

-I noticed today while mopping that the walls are a little nasty. Lots of weird discolored stains. Don’t ask. They need to be scrubbed.
-Final purchase will be a new shower hose.

And that should mark the end of stage 2. Woo hoo. It doesn’t get more exciting than this!

Kitchen

When have I officially started work on a room?
The first time I mention it, right around the time of the video intro? The first time I wipe dust? Who knows…as far as I’m concerned, the first time I buy anything for the room constitutes a “beginning.” And today I did that:

I am learning one thing…I’m fond of plastic containers. Step 3 is begun!

My first sojourn into the badlands of the kitchen, the “west” cupboards:

Amazing what a difference throwing unneeded crap in the trash can do.

The Bailout Culture

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

It seems that in the past couple of years the word “bailout” has become the catch-phrase for all good, cheesy politicians and politics (which is about 98% of them).

The original incarnation of this bailout phenomena was the revolting rescue of financial institutions done in the name of saving the American economy from sliding into the abyss. Then came bailouts of the car companies…but once again, ostensibly to rescue the displaced and unemployed American blue collar worker.

Now bailouts seem to be filtering to the common man. Bailouts for homeowners, for pet owners, who knows what else they’ll dig up. The reason I thought of this was an ad I saw on the Facebook sidebar this morning:

So in order to legitimize yet another bailout program, let’s call it “bailout for dads” because once again, it’s for a good cause: children. After all, everything for the children, correct?

I can never know why people have credit card debt over $9200. I’m sure in some cases it was the only means for survival for certain families.

And I’m sure in many other cases it was a case of overindulgence and blind, keep-up-with-the-Jones’s consumerism. Does everyone deserve a bailout?

Actually, I don’t give a damn who the government wants to bailout…more power to all the poor money managers. If a multi-billion dollar corporation can get government handouts, why not some poor Joe Blow struggling to make ends meet because he never learned the value of a dollar. Fair is fair, after all…

All I want to know is when will the government reward people like me who have no debt, depend on it for very little, generally are self-sufficient and do not seek governmental or quasi-governmental assistance. All I’m asking for is a little positive reinforcement for living a simple and unobtrusive life. That’s all. The government is there to help and to bolster (supposedly) but I question its role as a financial co-dependent.

Xboxicide: Project Gotham Racing 4 (New York City)

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Let me take you for a ride.
A wild ride.
I will be your driver for this excursion and I can guarantee that you will be vomiting by the end of the trip.

Apparently no match for my son’s Call of Duty prowess, I thought I would challenge him to a racing duel on Project Gotham Racing 4. Racing games have been my forte in the past…and as proven in this video, it shall remain in the past. Any chance I had to reclaim my dignity in this video game battle of the generations went right into the Jiffy Lube oil dumpster after this pathetic display.

In case you’re curious, I was listening to the Radio Valium of internet radio, Drone Zone on Soma FM, at the beginning. Realizing this heavy dose of chill was not conducive to racking up crazy lap times, I muted it during the initial sign-in. Uhm, yeah, didn’t help one bit.

Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance: Chapter 3: Ghosts

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

 

Our fearless crew of riders barrels forward into a descending storm.

 

The Narrator describes eerily as the gray and foreboding clouds descend from the heavens and begin to engulf the landscape which they can witness clearly here on the level ground as they speed along the road. Small rain drops begin to pepper them and bolts of lightning strike the ground around them. As if that’s not scary or dangerous enough, they decide to step on it so they can “beat” the storm. Quickly they ramp it up to 90 miles per hour. The Narrator alludes to the fact that the rain drops feel like needles at 90. And he also describes, with a sense of pride, the musical note of his motorcycle engine and just as it appears he is getting lost in his riding zone (see chapter 2!) a nearby lightning strike illuminates a farm house and water tower.

 

His reverie is shattered.

 

And now the story takes a turn for the strange.

 

After the farmhouse whizzes by he falls into a spell in which he experiences an odd sense of “deja vu” and other senses of familiarity in which he keeps referring to the “he” or “him” who has been here before, here on the road. “He’s been here,” the Narrator thinks. And quickly winds down his speed while John and Sylvia race ahead.

 

Chris asks his father why the sudden slow down and all he can tell his son is “too fast.” Naturally the little Evil Knievel protests, but they continue driving on at slower speeds and eventually catch up with John and Sylvia just outside town. The Narrator keeps mentioning that this disembodied and unknown “he” has been here and you get the sense that the Narrator has visited the town before as well.

 

After meeting up on the side of the road, they decide to pull into town and the Narrator mysteriously propels them toward a hotel which they would never have seen or noticed without his foreknowledge. John asks the Narrator about that; how he knew about this motel. Did he stay here before….and the Narrator merely volunteers that he doesn’t remember.

 

As they check in at the front desk, Sylvia watches the Narrator and notes that he is pale and asks if the lightning shook him up. He looks like he saw a ghost.

 

Ghosts are the theme of this chapter.

 

Later they eat dinner at a local diner then trudge back to the motel patio and it turns out that John has bought a bottle of whiskey and some good ol’ 1970’s vintage fun is about to ensue. Thankfully Chris’ presence prevents this story from degenerating into a raucous and swinging Love American Style philosophical debacle. Chris keeps it clean.

 

Chris is amped. The ride, the food…he’s ready to have a campfire. He wants to sing songs and tell ghost stories. The adults are tired from driving and they just want to drink up. Chris persists with his ghost story requests and he knows what he’s doing, because a few swigs of the demon juice and now his father is ready to talk ghosts alright. Philosophical ghosts!

 

Chris must be thinking his pops is a real buzzkill because instead of talking about spirits of dead people, the Narrator launches into a deep philosophical diatribe with the ostensible question being “if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it…” and spends a good deal of the time treating the group to his monologue. A monologue wherein he questions and doubts the concrete nature of reality; where our thoughts are but fluid expressions of our interpretations of the world and where our world view is basically stunted by the boundaries and mores imposed by mankind’s reliance on the cognitive legacy left behind by previous generations of mankind. It is deeply mysterious and plays out like some strange campfire ghost story minus the strange apparitions hiding in the shadows.

 

Their little pow wow comes to an abrupt end when Sylvia, amazed (and erotically intrigued?) asks the Narrator where he gets all his ideas.

 

The Narrator then describes to us how he thinks he might have gone too far. And he steps back, ie, shuts up. John makes small talk about the mountains.

 

And just like that, talk of philosophical ghosts is over. Sylvia’s amazement will have to wait another day.

 

And again I must twist this cool little philosophical motorcycle venture and turn it into smut, but I will not be surprised if Sylvia and the Narrator hook up (if they haven’t already) while John is out buying marshmallows or taking a shower. Actually, this is the 70’s, so maybe all three of them will join in the marshmallow-fest in a very “The Ice Storm”-ish kind of way.

 

The chapter concludes when the Narrator and Chris retire back to their room and Chris still persists in talking ghosts. He asks his father if he’s ever known a ghost and as usual, the Narrator skirts the issue. Interestingly, he finally surrenders a little info…he tells Chris that he once knew someone who searched for ghosts. And he found a ghost, then became one himself. Hmmm. This story is going odd places, isn’t it? And in a final mysterious touch before they go to sleep…this person’s name was “Phaedrus.”

 

Oh so mythological. As Chris falls asleep the Narrator is laying there in his own thoughts and suggests that he could have told Chris a ghost story, once he knows well…but the thought is too frightening. And now he really “must go to sleep” and Chapter 3 ends.