Monday, August 26, 2013

Six Months... And Counting!

Enough apologies. I will start writing about the trip to Portland... ish. Me and the BF were scheduled to fly out to Portland on our sixth month anniversary. I showed up at his house promptly at around ten or eleven in the morning. Our flight was not until two in the afternoon but the BF likes getting to the airport two hours in advance. Just in case. I was still early enough that we had a chance to go out to brunch and to exchange gifts. I know, six months does not seem like a gift day but, at that moment, it was the longest we had been together and we felt the occassion merited presents. I won't bore you with the details of my present but will tell you that I received a beautiful decoration owl. If you think there is something out there that would say happy six month anniversary better than an owl, you obviously don't know me that well. Anyway, around noon, we headed over to the airport so the adventure could begin.

Before the adventure can begin, I must inform you of a small situation that happened a few weeks before the trip. I think I have mentioned before that the BF travels a lot for work. Because of that, he was able to book the two flights for a very, very, ridiculously low price by using points. On top of that, we had decided to get a rental car while we were in Portland and he was able to get one at an incredibly affordable price thanks to points too. At this point, I felt like I was taking advantage of his generosity. That's why I decided to pay for the hotel. I figured it was the least that I could do. We were looking around for hotels near the area where my friends live. There was a local hotel called Aladdin Inn within half a mile of my friend's house. This, to me, seemed ideal as the closer to my friends the hotel was, the better it was for me. We tentatively decided on that one but we didn't book anything. A few days later, I was talking to the BF on the phone and he informed me that he went ahead and booked a hotel. I asked which hotel and he said he had booked a different hotel about five miles away from where Hillary and Zeke lived. I was a bit upset. He thought I was upset because of the price difference since the new hotel was a chain hotel and about fifty bucks a night more expensive. I told him that it was not the price, or at least not just the price, that upset me but that he would make that decision without consulting me. He said that the other hotel looked shady, which it did, and that he felt safer at the other one. I told him that that was all well and good, but he should have let me know beforehand instead of going behind my back. Why do I tell you all this? I have a point, believe me. I will make it later.

Back to the begginging of the adventure. We got to the airport and I let him take care of all the details about getting the tickets and going through security. Btw, I hated going through security. It felt invasive... and not in a good way. I mean, I had to take my shoes off, and I don't like doing that, and I didn't even get a patdown. It was very disappointing. The airport was kind of boring but that changed the minute we had to board. I started getting a bit nervous as I had only flown once before and I did not really remember it that well. The BF gave me my boarding pass and told me that they were going to scan it at the gate but to hold on to it. I said ok. I am following him and I see that they are taking the board passes and not just scanning them. Before I get a chance to ask him about that, he hands his pass to the attendant and walks down the gate. At that moment, I figure I might as well just hand over the pass since everyone else is doing so, but I still had some misgivings. I come to find out that the reason the BF left me behind was that Zeke had asked us to bring his guitar to Portland and the BF was letting me carry it on because he was not sure if it qualified as a carry-on and he did not want to deal with that. I was not happy when I found out about that. Fortunately, guitars apparently qualify as carry-ons because there was no incident. We have a seat and get ready for take off and I am decidedly more nervous. The BF has pulled out a book and is attempting to read it. I say attempting because I keep reading over his shoulder and asking questions and just generally bugging him. He then tells me that he hopes I don't get motion sickness as it tends to happen to some people. At this point, I am very grateful that he informed me, a confirmed psychosomatic, of this little detail as I was sure to get motion sick now. The plane started taxiing and I get even more nervous, not to mention a bit nauseated, so I ramp up my rambling conversation and intrusion into his book reading. I am debating whether or not my life should be flashing before my eyes but I can't quite decide. I felt the way I feel when I am being carried up the first big drop of a rollercoaster and all I can hear is the chains clink as I ascend higher and higher. In the midst of my panic, the BF turns to me and plainly and clearly states, "I am never flying with children." I am not gonna say that I was happy with that comment but, let me tell you, anger does wonder to calm your nerves. I focused my gaze on an open window and just enjoyed the view while I worked on slowing my breathing and calming down. I still think I did great on the flight for a guy that does not like heights and has control issues, regardless of what the BF said.

The rest of the flight was uneventful. I took out my copy of 1984 which I was trying to finish. I failed at my attempt to finish it but it kept me busy even if it almost put me to sleep. After we landed, we got into the rental car and we started driving towards the hotel. I am so grateful we live in an age that has GPS. I did notice though that the address the BF put into the GPS was not the address for the hotel we were staying at. Here's where that second paragraph comes into play. I had asked Hillary and Zeke if we could meet Thursday instead of Wednesday so that I could spend the anniversary with the BF. They had agreed and that is why the BF booked the hotel without tellling me. He had booked the one that was five miles away for the rest of the stay, but he had gotten a hotel in downtown Portland next to the river for that first night. It was really romantic, actually, which made me feel a bit bad about giving him such a hard time before.

We checked into the hotel and this is the view out our room window,
Forgive the glass glare, or, enjoy the BF's selfie. Whichever caption you prefer.
It was a very beautiful sight. That night, when I got up to have a drink of water, the moon was reflecting off the surface of the river and shining upon a white boat. It was a very pretty sight and I thought of taking a picture but then decided that I would just go to bed and keep that image to myself. I am selfish like that.

That evening, we went walking around Portland and my aversion to bikers and runners started, but more on that later. At that point, I was not bothered by the bikers yet. We found this pub and decided to have dinner there. We walked in and saw what I imagine heaven would look like if it existed.

That wall contains more than 600 different kinds of bottles of liquor. As I said before, heaven!
 It was supposed to be an authentic Irish pub, and the menu informed us that it holds the world record for the biggest Irish coffee. I ordered me some sheppherd's pie that closely resembled Mexican ground beef stew and had vegetables in it that I had never heard of before or since because I just spent ten minutes trying to remember what vegetable the BF told me was in it and I can't remember it. I think it was rhubarb but I want to say that's wrong. Regardless, it was ok and had freaky vegetables on it. Afterwards, we walked along the waterfront and saw one of the drawbridges rise. I asked the BF to take a picture of it but he was too slow and looking elsewhere and he missed it. Drawbridges aren't quick, mind you. He was just really focused on something that he thought was a boat but turned out to be a pillar for one of the other bridges. He IS smart, y'all. I don't know why I felt the need to write that but I think that sometimes I paint a less than flattering portrait of him. It's just that it's the blond moments he has that make him special, not shortbus special mind you, and funny and that I share with you.

After that, we had a few drinks at the hotel bar before retiring early as it had been a long day and we had to meet with Hillary and Zeke the next day. I shall stop for now as I don't want to write all about Portland in a single post and because I only have twenty minutes to edit this before it posts. Talk to you all next week.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Yet Another Apology

I have been meaning to write about the trip to Portland before I forget all the details. Unfortunately, I have been swamped at work and have been too busy to start writing the long post that the trip will undoubtedly be. Also, I spent all day yesterday sleeping and recovering from a night of drinking. I have also been super busy watching Supernatural as you all know how important it is that I watch my shows. Yes, even if I have watched them in the past. And, no, I do not just watch it for the guys, though they are a nice incentive. Anyway, I don't even have a picture to share with you guys today. I figure if I was just going to write an apology, I should just make it short and not waste too much of your time. I swear to try and have better material next week. Hope you are all have a great week and I will be back next week.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Procrastination Continuation, or, The Good Night

So, I know I should be writing about my trip to Portland before I forget but I have a feeling that writing all that will take forever and I just haven't had time to sit down and start writing everything. However, this post will not be a last minute post like the last two have been. I actually have a story to tell this time and I am writing it a couple of days in advance. Now, the story I am about to tell may not be the greatest story but I am sure it will do. Before we get to the actual story, though, I will give you some background.

I have a tendency to enjoy the darker side of human emotions. It doesn't make much sense to most people but it does to me and that is all that matters. It's actually kind of hard for me to get depressed because, as soon as I realize that I am depressed, I get excited about it which alleviates the depression. I still try my hardest to be be depressed as I believe that the whole gambit of human emotions are to be experienced and, dare I say, enjoyed as they are what makes us human. Along these same lines, I tend to enjoy when things go horribly awry. I don't like the middle ground as I prefer the extremes. Things either have to go perfect, or near perfect, or terribly wrong for me to enjoy them. If only a few things go wrong, it just ruins it for me and I get annoyed. However, if nothing or everything goes wrong, I tend to enjoy it. Point in case, a few weeks back the BF and I were going to watch a movie. That's not relevant so don't pay it any attention. Before the movie, we decided to have a bite to eat. We were not too hungry so we decided to just go to Subway. Now, my favorite Subway sandwich is the foot-long meatball sub on jalapeno cheddar bread with pepper jack cheese, olives, a little bit of onions and Parmesan cheese. You don't need to know all that. All you have to know is that I like the meatball sub. We arrived at the Subway closest to the movie theater and the BF, being a gentleman, let me go first. Mainly because I don't let anything or anyone stand between me and my food. It was a Saturday night which apparently is a slow night at Subways because there was only one employee. I ordered my sandwich and the sandwich artist, their preferred title, informed us that this was his second day on the job. He asked me if I wanted my sandwich toasted and I answered with a resounding, "Yes, please." I know that does not sound resounding but believe me when I tell you that it resounded the way I said it. He put my sub in the toaster oven and he started making a second meatball sandwich for the BF whose choice had been influenced by my own. The toaster timer went off. I looked at the sandwich artisan but he did not seem too concerned by it as he continued making the BF's sub. The toaster timer went off again and a creeping suspicion that something was off spawned within me. The sub virtuoso did not seem at all concerned though so I chalked it up to my paranoia. When the Subway handicrafter finished fixing the BF's sandwich and opened the door to the toaster to switch subs, we noticed that mine had been burnt. The poor guy got all flustered and apologized about the burnt sandwich and offered to make me a new one. I happily agreed and he started making a second sandwich for me after he put the BF's sub in the toaster. This is when he realized that he did not have enough meatballs to make another sub. Unfortunately, this was after he had already spread marinara sauce all over the bread. He apologized one more time and I just told him to make me a different sandwich that would go with marinara sauce. At that point the toaster timer went off but the sub creator's attitude towards that ringing bell continued to be very blasé.  I helpfully pointed out that the timer had gone out and he replied that the oven would stop heating by itself. Seeing as to how my first sub had burned I insisted that he open the toaster door and we found the BF's sub crisper than was expected but, thankfully, not burnt. The sandwich maker then asked if I wanted my new sandwich toasted and I replied with a kind, but emphatic, "No, thank you." At this point, I could tell that the whole situation was unnerving the BF. The sandwich artiste had already finished making the BF's sandwich so I asked the BF to find a table, which wasn't hard to do on the nigh empty diner, and to get our drinks while my sub was finished. With the BF gone and my sandwich completed, the sub composer/cashier/only employee proceeded to ring me up. I handed over my card and when I got my receipt back I realized that he had overcharged me. He had charged me for three drinks and we only really needed two what with the free refills and all. At this moment, I could not feel worse for the guy if I tried. He had a few other people waiting to be helped and he did not know how to fix my ticket and, when he tried calling his manager, his call went to voicemail. He kept apologizing and offering me some cookies in exchange for the drink price. I just smiled, declined his cookie offer as we really did not want any cookies, and instructed him to just give the extra drink to the people waiting in line behind us. He thanked me with a sheepish lopsided smile of relief and hurried over to help the next customers. I grabbed my sandwich and headed over to the table the BF had chosen and sat down. He looked up at me and asked me why I was smiling and I told him that I had really enjoyed my Subway experience. When he asked me why I told him that it was not because it made me feel superior, it's not that at all (really!!!), but because it reminded me that people were still human and that we, as humans, can cause hiccups and disrupt even the most streamlined designs that scientific management can throw our way. In a way, it reminds me that mistakes are what makes us human and they remind me that we are alive. I don't think he really quite got it. I think he usually thinks I am crazy and just goes along for the ride because it is easier than arguing with crazy. But, there is a method to my madness, or, at the very least, I have to believe that.

Why did I tell y'all that story? Was that the whole point of this post? Maybe, but no. Not at all. We are just getting started, so, buckle up. The reason I mentioned that story is so that you can maybe understand my frame of mind yesterday night which could possibly be considered a very bad night. It all started with a horrible week. It had been a terrible week at work. I was actually having to work and I am a strong believer that my current employers are paying me enough to show up everyday and work every once in a while, but I am not getting paid enough to actually work all day, everyday. So, last night, after I got off work, I had a plan. Let me set it up for you bullet point-style,
  • I was going to go to the store after work to pick up some wasp spray as they were building a new nest right outside my door.
  • I was going to go home and change into shorts and a t-shirt in order to go into the very hot shed and look for a post-hole digger Dad wanted and that Sister would take to him on Friday.
  • I was going to spray the wasps with the recently acquired wasp spray.
  • I was going to have some dinner.
  • I was going to do dishes and clean the kitchen.
  • I was going to clean my room and bathroom.
  • I was going to take out the trash as Thursdays are trash day which I made clear in a previous post.
  • I was going to take a shower.
  • I was going to watch an episode of Supernatural.
  • I was going to go to sleep.
I had everything planned. I had even planned a bowel movement but figured I would leave that out of the list for the sake of decency. The best laid plans... though. At first, it started out smoothly. I went to the store and bought two cans of wasp spray. One to use that day and another just in case I they decided to build a new nest again. I would have made a great boy scout since I am always prepared except for their whole anti-gay agenda of course. I also bought stuff to make sandwiches because that sounded good for dinner. I even bought some bolillos, a type of Mexican bread, and some avocado. I digressed from the plan a bit, but I had to have something for dinner so I did not feel that bad about it. Usually, it is when I get home that I abandon all plans I have made for the evening and end up just watching TV. Not yesterday though. I got home and, since I was not hungry yet, decided to change and head out to the shed. I grabbed the keys to the shed and locked the door behind me. I, however, failed to grab my house keys, a mistake I realized the moment the door clicked shut behind me. I don't have an extra key. I used to have a key hidden outside but we changed our locks about a year ago and I never hid another copy. My first instinct was to panic. Then I realized that the Old Man should come back soon. The time was around 6:30 pm and he can't drive in the dark so he should be home before sunset. With that in mind, I decided to head to the shed to get the post-hole digger. The temperature yesterday was over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. It was a lot hotter inside that shed. On top of that, and despite the many wonderful qualities Dad possesses, being organized is not one of Dad's strong points. He tends to hoard stuff, which has worked to our advantage before, but without an organizational schematic, that shed, to continue quoting The Big Bang Theory, was a swirling vortex of entropy. Scratch that. It was a sweltering, fever-inducing, blister-creating swirling vortex of entropy. In Dad's defense, he did have all his shovels and long-handled tools in the same area in the back. In Dad's offense, if that is how you say it as I am not clear on the correct terminology, there was no clear path to them. At one point I was stepping on a lawnmower while straddling a bicycle and using a crutch to try and move the handle of the digger within arm distance. Needless to say, a misstep would have been a very painful, and dangerous, development. After about fifteen to twenty minutes of acrobatic feats the likes of which I never thought myself capable of achieving, I was standing outside the shed with the post-hole digger in hand. I felt accomplished. At least I did until I remembered I was locked outside of the house. Then the wait began.

The Old Man has a cell number but I did not want to disrupt his evening with my stupidity. I went back to the porch and, being careful to avoid the wasps, had a seat in a white plastic chair and started waiting. I realized that I may have to cut my to-do list down depending on what time the Old Man made it back. I figured I would still be able to get the wasp nest because that way I could spray it after the Old Man went inside and that way he would not be exposed to the harsh chemicals. The bottle even recommended that one spray in the evening when the wasps are less active. I figure I could at least get that done and then get at least some of the cleaning done. While I was waiting, I decided to play Candy Crush Saga. I refuse to play anything on Facebook as I refuse to get on Facebook much anymore. Also, I know how annoying it can get to keep getting requests for lives and stuff of that sort so I decided to play it solo. What that means is that at the end of every section, you have to pass three specific stages to unlock the new section. Each time you pass one of the stages, you have to wait twenty-four hours to play the next one. I was in the middle of one of those twenty-four hour periods so I started playing from the beginning again trying to beat my own scores. That kept me busy for about an hour. Yes, an hour. Bear with me, I still have a ways to go. Next I decided to text people whom I have been meaning to contact but hadn't had time. I had time now. I had nothing but time and about forty-five percent battery left. Well, I got to catch up with some people and I did not hear back from a few others which made me question whether or not I should keep their numbers. I have not decided yet. After another hour had passed, I looked around and noticed that, although there was still some light, the sun had set. I decided to give in and call the Old Man. Unfortunately, he did not answer. I figured I would give him a few minutes and call him back. At around 9:00 pm I called him again. This time, he answered. When I asked where he was, he had no qualms in explaining that he had found a boil in his fundillo, as he put it, and he was at the hospital. If you did not follow that link to the Urban Dictionary definition, the word he so eloquently used is crude Mexican slang for "butt". Point being, he was going to have to spend the night at the hospital. I told him about my predicament and he said that I could come by and pick up an extra key he had. I was now faced with the daunting task of finding a ride to the hospital. I called Sister but she didn't answer. She sent me a text saying that she would call me back in a minute. I texted back telling her to make sure to do so. Well, it was after nine at night and I had ten percent battery left and there was only about a fifty percent chance Sister would call me back. I decided to look online for locksmiths but then changed my mind because I don't want to know how easy it would be, for someone with the know-how, to break into my house. I decided to start walking to the hospital, as I only live about two miles away, and hope for the best. I figured, worst case scenario, I would call a taxi and pay them once I got into the house. I started walking and I thanked my lucky stars that I was wearing a white shirt because most of the way I had to walk did not have a sidewalk and I had to walk on the shoulder. I remembered from my Driver's Ed class that, if you had to walk on the side of the road, it was better to walk on the side of oncoming traffic. The reason for that is that you can see a car coming and have a chance to get out of the way if the driver fails to see you. Despite the fact that I had very low battery, I was texting Preggo while I walked. When she was caught up on the whole situation, she said she was sorry I was having such a bad night. The problem was that I was not having a horrible night. I was quite happy in fact. Almost euphorically actually. I tried to explain it to her but she replied by saying that she did not understand me but that it did not matter as it was part of what made me special. Luckily, fifteen minutes and a quarter mile into my journey, Sister called me back. I answered and asked her if she had a key to my place and she said she didn't. When she asked me why I was asking her that, I told her that I had been locked out of the house for about three hours and was currently walking towards the hospital to get an extra key from the Old Man. I think at that point she was kind of exasperated with me. She kept asking me how come I had not told her that earlier. I said that I had called her and that she had texted me saying that she would call me back so I was waiting for her to call me back. She then informed me that being locked out for three hours was an emergency and that I should have texted her back informing her of my situation and that she would have come sooner. I was not aware that being locked out was an emergency but I am glad to know that for future reference. Actually, I thought being locked out was a very stupid, thoughtless mistake but to each their own. Sister and Brother-in-law (Bil) came to pick me up and, after a failed attempt to jimmy my door open with a Starbucks gift card, drove me to the hospital. BTW, I was very glad to find out the house could not be broken into using a five dollar Starbucks gift card. If there was a silver lining, that was definitely it. When we arrived at the hospital, Sister told me to tell the Old Man that I had gotten a ride from a friend so that he wouldn't go into long health explanations. I walked into the hospital and was immediately reminded of the horrible state I was in. I was wearing blue basketball shorts, a white undershirt, gray dress socks, and slip-on blue plaid shoes. To say I was embarrassed to be seen in public like that is an understatement. It did not matter that there were people dressed worse than me at the emergency waiting room, this was probably the low point of the evening. I arrived at the Old Man's room and was careful enough to knock before I entered to give him enough time to become decent. It did not matter though. He was wearing a hospital gown but we all know that those things don't close in the back and I got an eyeful of old man tighty-whiteys. Scratch what I said earlier, this was definitely the low point of the evening. He grabbed his wallet and handed me a spare key. It was not the house key. I told him that and he insisted that it was. I told him that it looked like a car key and that is when he remembered that he had made a copy of his truck key. He dug into his wallet one more time and fished out two more keys, one for his P.O. Box and the extra key to the house. I tried to leave as soon as possible, just as my sister had instructed me, but was unable to extricate myself from the room without first hearing about how they had given him a shot in the buttocks to numb them and that then they had lanced the boil and squeezed a whole bunch of pus out of it. As bad as hearing that was, it still did not take the low point of the evening prize from the earlier exhibitionist show.

The rest of the evening was uneventful. I made my way back to Sister and Bil and they proceeded to drive me back to my place. I gave them the extra key for them to keep in case of future "emergencies." as they called them, as I know I am careless enough to lock myself out again. After they left, I made myself some dinner and sat down to watch Supernatural as I ate. It was eleven o'clock at night, my whole plan was shot to hell (pardon my French but it seemed appropriate), but I had had a very pleasant evening. As near perfect as I am, I like having these kind of nights when I am reminded of how human I still am. Ironically, as much of a misanthrope as I am, I do cherish when my humanity shows up unexpectedly. I know this is not a perfect story, but that is why I like it. I am tired of perfection. Humanity is imperfect and it is time we let our imperfections shine through. I am getting off my high horse now. 'Til next week.

Monday, August 5, 2013

I Have Failed You...

I know that today y'all were expecting to hear about the wonderful vacation I had and I am ashamed to say that I have failed you.I procrastinated, as I often do and failed to get anything written down. I was planning on writing the post last night but I did not get home until midnight and, considering I had to be at work this morning, I had to go to bed. I am still trying to keep up with the one post per Monday theme and that is why I am writing this short post. I don't have much to write so I will just try to make a bulleted random list. I know I don't do well with those but right now it is all I have so here goes nothing.
  • To begin with, I am kind of disappointed that no one requested a copy of the awesome picture I posted last week. I thought it was pretty awesome but I guess I overvalued how good it was.
  • I started eating oatmeal in the mornings because I have heard that it is good to eat breakfast.
  • I have learned that I don't really like oatmeal but I already bought a whole box of the little packets so I think I will stick with it for a while.
  • I watched the movie The Heat twice this weekend.
  • I am pretty sure that the guy in front of me the second time was annoyed at me for laughing before the jokes happened on screen.
  • I also saw the Smurfs 2 this weekend.
  • I did not put a hyperlink to the smurfs movie because I refuse to submit you guys to it.
  • What little entertainment can be gleaned from the smurfs movie is from reading the reviews on by the critics on the moviefone app. I tell you that some of those critics are pretty witty.
  • That being said, the movie was not all that bad. It was better than the first one but that is not really saying much now is it?
  • The BF and I are very excited about the discovery of adults only theaters.
  • No, not that kind of adult theater. Just the kind where they show regular movies but they ask for ID as they do not let anyone under 21 in. They are pricier than the average theater rooms but the commodity of not having a kid kicking the back of your seat is totally worth it.
  • Also, they have recliners. 'Nuff said.
  • My sister has been working hard to decorate my niece's bedroom while she is away with my mom in Mexico. She painted that room a shade of pink so bright that, in the picture she sent me, it seems like the ceiling, which is white, and the carpet, which is a light beige, are pink as well.
  • No, the brightness of the color are not assuaged in person. I swear that when I close my eyes I can't see black anymore and all I see is pink. Pink is the new black.
  • I will not post the picture because I care about you and your eyeballs. You can thank me later.
  • "That cat took one look at your shitty life and said I'm outta here." He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
  • I was gonna post a new picture in lieu of a good post today but, since demand for the previous photo was less than satisfactory,
I was gonna write more and even proofread this post but it is one minute to lunchtime, and my personally set deadline to post, so I gotta go.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Very Short Excuse for a Post

Dear everyone,

I have just come back from my trip to Portland and I have many things to tell you. Unfortunately, I haven't had time to write it all yet. That is why today's post will be more visual than verbal because I want to keep up with having a post every Monday. Here is a panoramic picture of the Cannon Beach in Oregon. I tried uploading it at maximum file size so that way you could, if you wanted to of course, download it and have a better look. I don't think it worked though. I hope you enjoy it anyway.

The guy with the camera in the picture is some random guy from the beach. I could not get him to move so I could take my panoramic picture.
Sorry the picture is small and hard to see but that was the only size it would show up in the blog. Feel free to download it to try and get a better view or leave me a message with an email and I can send you a copy of the original which may be easier to see. I think for it being my first panoramic attempt, it came out pretty well. The beaty of the landscape helps as well so I can't take all the credit. Screw that, I am taking all the credit. I took an amazing picture and I hope you like it as much as I do.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Few Random Thoughts

This week's post will probably be very short, but I have a very good reason for it. I will be going on vacation on Wednesday and I am still not ready. There is so much stuff to do, mainly because I have procrastinated but there is no point in assigning blame, that I am starting to feel a bit overwhelmed. I will be going to visit Hillary and Zeke in Portland, Oregon. I am very excited about it, I think. I don't show excitement well. It will be cool to visit Portland and to see if it is anything like Portlandia portrays it. For those in the know, I am very worried that when I am done packing I will forget to put a bird on my suitcase. Cacao! (It means something, I promise though it may be more of an inside joke.) Since I still have a whole lot to do, I will attempt a random post. I apologize it for it in advance as I know that my attempts in the past have not gone so well. Anyway, here we go...

  • The way I ended that sentence made me think of when Noodle says "Here you go" in the song 19-2000 by Gorillaz.
  • Yes, I go on tangents like that quite often.
  • Point in case, I lost like fifteen minutes from the first bullet point to the next because I started looking up Gorillaz and whatever new music they have out. 
  • I am actually listening to them right now. 
  • About the vacation, I will take a plane for the first time in my life and I am a little bit nervous.
  • I just lied to you in the last bullet point. It will be the second time I fly but the first time I was fifteen and it was right after my brother passed away so I don't remember it well.
  • Plus, this will be my first time flying after 9/11 and, again for those in the know, my middle name sounds kind of middle eastern-y and that is of concern to me.
  • If I had one, I would wear a sarape or sombrero so that it will be clear to TSA officials that I am Mexican and not middle eastern.
  • And, more importantly, I am definitely not a Muslim. As an atheist, I can't stress that enough.
  • I really want to avoid going through any invasive searches. I have only been frisked once and it was only nominally fun so I doubt that something more invasive would be more fun.
  • Not to disparage those that would enjoy it. I mean, to each their own.
  • The BF is coming on the trip and I am kind of worried that he will be bored as his sense of humor and mine differ greatly and Hillary and Zeke share my sense of humor. I can just see Hillary, Zeke and me in laughing fits and the BF just looking at us with a tilted head trying to figure out what is wrong with us.
  • That being said, I am glad he is coming. If nothing else, he will help with the flight anxiety, if there is any.
  • Also, Wednesday will be our six month anniversary so it will be a reason to celebrate.
  • Something else that worries me, and this may be TMI but I often over-share anyway, is the bathroom situation. I always been uncomfortable with bodily functions and I will be sharing a hotel room with the BF for four and a half days.
  • I know that should not be a big deal but I am childish about somethings. For instance, I hate the word "fart." I don't find it funny and it makes me uncomfortable.
  • On a different, and quite less disgusting note, Preggo sent me this pic a few days ago,
    She sent it with the caption, and I quote, "Memories :(" 
  • I know that the picture itself means nothing to you, but that was the park where I sat for three hours hoping to hear from my parents the time they left me in Odessa. 
  • I am glad to finally have  a pictorial reminder of the time my parents taught me that I should not expect them to not leave me 300 miles from home.
  • I think I had it coming, it's been three years now so I don't remember it, but did it ever open my eyes.
  • It wasn't all bad though. I like to believe that I am stronger for it.
  • On a sadder note, that was the last time I saw my then best friend Jenny as she gave me a ride home after a took a bus to Abilene.
  • There is a wasp nest outside my house and I went to buy wasp and hornet killer yesterday so I feel pretty butch about that.
  • Now I am kind of scared of using it and being stung so any butch feeling is gone. I will get it done though. I just don't know when.

I think I shall end this post now. Once again, I apologize for it but I do think it is better than nothing. I mean, it even has a picture on it so what else could I have done to make it better? Plus, it's 1:37 p.m. right now and I have yet to have something to eat so I need to take care of me now. Hope you all have a great week. I know that after two days of work my week will suddenly get way better.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I Am Learning, Little by Little Mind You, That I Am Human.

Before I get into the details of my humanity and all, a quick update on last week's post. Yes, I am still a vegetarian. No, not for much longer. I will actually be giving it up in two days. You may be asking yourself why while raising your hands above your head exasperatedly. Well, there are several reasons. The main one being that of the three people that started in July, I am the only one still doing it. It's a lot more fun being a vegetarian when everyone else is doing it and you have someone to commiserate about the fact that you have to pay the same amount for a dish with four sides and no entree even if it is not as fulfilling as what everyone else is getting. Another reason for giving it up is because I am going on vacation to Portland in a week and a half and I want to be able to enjoy my vacation without having to worry about what to eat. Also, I am starting to eat meat a week in advance of my vacation so that my stomach gets used to it again and to avoid any episodes as I know I will be stressed enough by the travel alone. Other than that, I did enjoy my little forage into vegetarianism. I do believe sometime I will be able to do a permanent transition to a vegetarian diet but that may just be wishful thinking.

On a different note, they have changed my work duties, however temporarily, so I am unsure if I will have time to type this from work as I used to do it in my down time. It's not really good news though. Duties have been added to my schedule and I will even have to spend time away from my desk but there will be no pay increase and I am already frustrated with the way things are being handled. Since I am unaware of how much down time I will have, I may have to start writing from home. What will this mean to you? Nothing really. I will still try to do a new post every Monday. However, the length of the post may be considerably shorter to allow me time to go about my daily life, i.e. watching TV, drinking and such. Anyway, enough with the intros and on with the main point of this post.

So, after much thought and consideration, I have arrived at the conclusion that I am human, after all, with human emotions and everything. You may be wondering why my humanity was up for discussion but I am not a typical human. Especially when it comes to emotions. Yes, it is possible to bring me to tears but it's not through typical means. A good poem, recently W.B. Yeats Easter, 1916, a good movie, Fernando Leon De Aranoa's Princesas, or a good song, Stavesacre's Gold & Silver, will have me bawling like an infant. Yet, the tale of someone's misfortune or death just revs my brain into overdrive trying to find the most hilariously inappropriate comment I can make. I am often accused of being heartless and when that happens I often have no more recourse than to shrug my shoulders and agree with my accuser. It's not all great though. It does bother me that sometimes people don't tell me things because they are afraid that I will make fun of whatever they are going through. They don't understand that I am totally capable of exercising restraint and, though I will make light of the situation, I know when not to do it in front of them. I guess some people will always find a way to make everything about themselves though.

I have no idea where my callousness comes from so I will simply have to blame Medea. She was never really expressive of her emotions and I guess I learned from her. I remember that when I was a kid and used to hug her she would ask me what had gotten into me and if I had dreamed that she had died again. Most of the time, she was right as I would only hug her if I had a particularly vivid dream in which she died and when, upon waking, I was glad to see that she was still alive. However, that gladness was short-lived by her abrupt reception and accusing remarks of how I did not appreciate her unless I thought she was dead. Thus I learned to not express any emotion that may be seen as weakness and preyed upon. I called this living.

I have recently realized though that, even if I don't acknowledge them, the feelings are still there if buried deep within me and so strange to me that I almost do not recognize them when they dare surface. Two such cases happened a few weeks ago and they all happened due to the amazing person that is willing to put up with all my quirks, the BF.

The first one happened on a Tuesday. I don't remember exactly what was going on. I think he was in town but for some reason we had not seen each other in a while. We had talked daily but only for a few minutes because we both had things to do. On Tuesday, we talked as soon as I got off work but once again we had to cut the talk short for some reason or other. We always said we would talk later, but I knew that he would not call back til the next day. After I finished dinner and while I was watching TV and with no good reason for doing so, I called him. When he answered, I had nothing to say. I really had not thought it through. Nothing had happened since we had talked earlier and I found myself telling him that I had called him because it seemed like we had not talked enough even if I had nothing more to say. He gave a quick laugh and said that I had called him because I missed him. I immediately recoiled at his accusation because missing someone is something that I just don't do since it seems a sign of weakness. After all, I don't need anyone because I can take care of myself. I balked at his arrogant assumption and told him nothing could be further from the truth. The subject was then changed and we ended up talking on the phone for about an hour. While I was falling asleep that night, I was still thinking of his accusation that I missed him. I realized then that he was right. I was missing him but I did not recognize it because I have never really missed anyone in my life. I live a pretty independent life and I stay in touch with the people I want to stay in touch with when I want to stay in touch with them. I do not even miss my family. I feel more comfortable when my parents are here because my mom cooks and I know they are all right, but I never have the desire to call them and just talk to them. In fact, since they are in Mexico, I have to remind myself and force myself to call them once every two weeks. I was not aware that I could miss someone and, at first, was embarrassed that I could miss someone. I felt weak and stupid for letting someone influence how I felt. Thankfully, the second case which happened two days later changed my perspective.

Two days later, we had started making plans for the weekend. I was planning on spending the weekend at his place. We had been texting plans back and forth all day but when I called him after work he told me that the plans had changed. See, the BF has a dog, puppy as he likes to call him as he dislikes the word "dog," named Diesel. Since the BF travels a lot for work, he leaves Diesel with a friend of his that also has a dog, Nora. Therefore, whenever the BF is in town, he has to take care of two dogs, puppies, as they keep them together. That however is not important. What is important is that he told me that his friend was coming into the Dallas area for the weekend and that he was going to stay at his place so that our plans had to change. I felt an uneasiness at that moment but chalked it up to the fact that I don't like it when plans change. I told him that it was OK though because we could change our plans to accommodate his friend easily. I was not aware of anything unusual until the next morning when I woke up and remembered what I had dreamt. The BF's friend has a name that can easily be seen as unisex. I don't feel comfortable revealing his name so let it suffice that, in my dream, the BF's friend turned out to be a woman and that, upon meeting "her," my mind was put at ease. It took me a minute to realize that I was jealous. I have always stated that I am not a jealous person, but I have never really had a relationship, so I did not know for sure. In this case, the BF has a friend that shares with him his animals and love of animals and whom I never met and I was a little bit jealous. I was not even aware of it on a conscious level but, obviously, subconsciously I was troubled by it. Now, I have always maintained that jealousy is pointless but I should amend that to say that "excessive jealousy" is pointless. As things stand, I don't begrudge the BF having friends, but it is nice to know that I care enough to feel some jealousy as long as it does not affect the relationship.

I was super excited that I was jealous, to say the least. It was then that I realized that if being subconsciously jealous of the BF was a good thing, missing him was a good thing too. I told my friends at work about my new discovery as soon as I got to work and they were surprised and were the first to say that I may be human after all. I was elated for the rest of the day and told the BF the good news as soon as I saw him that night. He was not as excited about the new developments as I was but I don't think he understood how monumental these changes were. They kind of re-defined who I was which is not easy as I try to be a very self-actualized person. Also, I had proof that I was a person because persons miss people and get jealous. He still did not quite fully grasp why I was so excited kind of like he does not understand how I can enjoy being depressed. He's got a lot to learn about me but the good thing is that, apparently, so do I and I can't wait to find out what else there is to learn. I am a scholar after all.

Monday, July 8, 2013

On the Hardships of Being a Vegetarian When You Don't Like Vegetables

As of the first of July and for the rest of the month, I have committed to being a vegetarian again. One may easily wonder why I would do that to myself as I have tried becoming a full time vegetarian before and have failed.  Well, this time I have a very good reason. Dottie decided that she wanted to go vegetarian for a month and I decided to tag along. Why is this a very good reason to become a vegetarian? Well, it's the best reason I have had so far. Allow me to go into detail.

The first time I went vegetarian was a few years back, probably around 2008. I had been watching many documentaries, which I do from time to time, and was appalled by the way the meat industries conduct their business. Not only is the treatment of the animals horrific, but the quality of the meat and the many chemicals involved is revolting. I also learned about the benefits of a vegetarian, or at least meat-lite, diet and was pretty convinced that it was definitely a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, none of that was taken into account when I decided to try my hand at vegetarianism. One morning I woke up more sullen than usual and decided my life was too monotonous. I decided I needed to make a change to get myself out of that rut. That was my sole reason for becoming a vegetarian. Of course, when people asked I told them that I was doing it for health reasons or for the animals because I did not want people to think I was weird. I have come a long way since then. Regardless, or irregardless if you wish, I was doing it purely out of boredom. I do a lot of stupid stuff because I'm bored. Fortunately, this one turned out to be one of the "not-so-bad" ones.

That year, my former uncle was going through a divorce. What do I mean by former uncle? I mean that I don't claim him as my uncle anymore. I guess he is also my former godfather but I never thought of him in that way so I guess that's not relevant. The point is that, although he is out of my life now, he was still considered family then and he was going through a rough patch. I have never been a sensitive person, but I felt bad for him and asked my parents to go to Albuquerque with me to spend thanksgiving with the former uncle. Why do I bring this up? I bring this up because, although my first experience with vegetarianism was a good one, that was the worst thanksgiving of my life. To be honest, I have never really been much into the whole thanksgiving celebration. To be even more honest, I absolutely love thanksgiving food. I love turkey. I love ham. I love stuffing and dressing. I love mashed potatoes and gravy. I love macaroni & cheese. I love pasta salad. I love rolls. I hate cranberry sauce, and I don't totally understand why it is paired with turkey, but I don't often have to worry about that since Mexicans don't use cranberry sauce with their turkey. That thanksgiving, my mom went all out. We even had dessert and we don't often have dessert. We sat down to a great feast and I did not enjoy watching everyone stuff their mouth-holes with happy turkey and delicious ham while I shoveled sad spoonful of bland mashed potatoes down my gullet. That's all I could eat. Everything else had some sort of meat in it except for the mashed potatoes which I made sure were vegetarian. In fact, I made those sad tasteless mashed potatoes myself and I am sure they would have tasted a lot better as a side dish than as a main course. It does not matter how much butter and cheese you add to them, they are not gonna compare to a full meal. I learned that the hard way. There are just not enough seasonings in the world to turn mashed potatoes into an entree. I must say that I am very proud that I made it through without caving in. I wanted to, but I didn't. I held steadfast and the one reason I stopped being a vegetarian that time was because of Medea.

Now, I give Medea a lot of grief in this blog. I don't feel bad about that because, in accordance with Karmic law, she has it coming. But, there are some things in which I have no reason to reproach her. She may not be understanding, or because of denial even aware, of me being gay, but she was one hundred percent supportive about me being a vegetarian. Throughout most of my life, she has held a job because she gets bored at home. However, at that time she was not working. I don't remember exactly why, but I think it was due to a work injury she sustained. The point being, she was at home and would cook two dinners every day. She would cook one with meat for her and Dad and one without for me. I kept asking her not to and telling her that I would cook my own dinners so she wouldn't have to overexert herself but she would not listen. It got to the point that she cooked three different lunches for our trip to Albuquerque. She made regular picadillo, a Mexican ground beef dish, for Dad. She made meatless picadillo for me. And, she made onion-less picadillo for her as she does not like onions. I kind of felt bad that she had to do all that extra work for me. The breaking point came one day when I came home and she told me what she had made for dinner. I don't remember what it was but it was something with meat in it. When I told her that, she said that she had not forgotten about me and that she had made hot dogs for me. I felt really bad when I told her that hot dogs are made of meat products. It honestly slipped her mind that I could not eat them and she had already cooked them. That was the end of my first venture into vegetarianism. Word to the wise, though, if you haven't eaten meat in six weeks, hot dogs are not the best choice for a first meat meal. Just sayin'.

My second and third attempts were more halfhearted, it was during these that I instituted my steadfast rule about not giving up jello, and lasted less time than the first. Let's just say that I would love to be a vegetarian for life, but I lack the motivation and drive to do it. Also, I am not fully sure how people who become vegetarians because they say the respect life can eat vegetables since they were alive too at one point. In a way, I guess humans are just parasites because we have to consume other living things to survive. Anyway, this brings us to this, my fourth, attempt at vegetarianism.

This time I was not even thinking about it. One day we were having lunch and Dottie, completely out of the blue, announces that she is going vegetarian for a month at the beginning of the week. I asked her why she was doing that as it was uncharacteristic of her. She responded that she was going to try it for health reasons. I don't know why, I am thinking it was mainly because she and Connie are my main lunch companions, but I told her that if she waited til July first I would do it with her. And so, here we are. As of this writing, it has only been two days, today is the third. How's it going? Not bad. Connie, although she initially said she would at least do vegetarian lunches with us, has not had lunch with us this week so far. That was expected though. As for me and Dottie, we're trying to do it. It's sad to say we're struggling because it has only been two days, today is the third, but you don't realize how much you like meat and are addicted to it until you can't have it. We are trying though. We had Subway veggie subs on Monday and we made our own salad yesterday. Here's a picture of my salad which, I must say, tasted as good as it looks,
If you were wondering how it looks, it looks delicious. Delicious and satisfying. Also, yes, those are potato chips on top. Don't judge.
I know, that salad is a bit unorthodox, but the potato chips completely changed the flavor of the salad and made it bearable. Also, that's ranch dressing you see in there and I will give you one guess as to who does not like ranch dressing. Me. I don't like ranch dressing. I still ate it though. Besides, if you think that salad looks bad, I should show you the picture of the omelet I tried to make Monday night. I won't show you a picture, because I am a merciful blogger, but it was disastrous. See, I meant to make spaghetti for dinner Monday night because Mexican spaghetti, and yes I know that sounds weird what with spaghetti being Italian and all, does not have meat in it. I bought everything I needed to make spaghetti just the way I like it. I got some tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, crushed peppers and oregano. I did not buy tortillas, even though I was completely out, because even I know spaghetti is not eaten with tortillas. I get home from work Monday night to find that I did not have any spaghetti noodles. I was sure I had some so I hadn't bought any and now I found myself noodle-less. I decided to make something else but the only thing I had that did not involve meat was eggs. I like eggs okay and, after being a vegetarian for a while, I usually crave them. However, I like eggs with tortillas and I did not have any. My solution to that little problem was to try and make an omelet. Now I did not have many ingredients but here is the list of what I did have and ended up being added to the omelet,
  1. Jalapeno peppers
  2. Cayenne pepper
  3. Salt
  4. Three eggs
  5. Parmesan cheese
  6. Mozzarella cheese
  7. Corn flour
  8. Baking powder
I think the list is pretty normal. Well, maybe except for the last two items. I just figured that if I added the baking powder and corn flour to the mix, it would be like eating it with a tortilla. It wasn't. The omelet ended up having a pancake like consistency but it still was not what I was expecting. I ate it though and I have never been more thankful for having an iron stomach due to being raised in Mexico and drinking its water for twelve years.

Now, it is almost time for lunch again and I think I will have the same salad I had yesterday, the picture above, sans the ranch dressing. I am pretty sure I will make it to the end of the month. Ideally, I would love to be a vegetarian for longer than that but I will just have to wait and see how everything plays out. Don't worry though. I will keep you posted.

P.S. If you know any simple recipes for vegetarian salads, please share them with me as we are attempting to eat salads at lunch and I can only eat so many potato chips before I get tired of them.

P.P.S. Please do not suggest a blue cheese salad as the BF already suggested that. I did not mean to laugh at him when he did but he was talking about two Mexicans and a black lady eating blue cheese and that was just too funny. In my defense, Connie and Dottie laughed too when I suggested it. We know what we like.

Monday, July 1, 2013

I Am Very Thankful and a Bit Ashamed

Since I started writing on this blog again, I have been very appreciative of every reader that I have and very thankful for any comments that they may leave. One of the few people to have ever left a comment was a blogger by the name of GunDiva. I believe she added me to her list of blogs back before my writing hiatus and started reading it again when I picked the blog back up. She left a comment back in May on the post about my wedding etiquette. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that other people, other than the friends I am always bothering, read the blog. Well, to make a short story, that I made long due to my rambling nature, short again, two weeks ago she left a message on one of my posts saying that she had an award for me at one of her blogs. I followed the link that she typed at the end of her comment and found a post with information about the Liebster Blog Award which is awarded to blogs with fewer than 200 followers. I have never received any awards but apparently most blog awards have rules. The rules for the Liebster Award are as follows,
  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  4. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
  5. Choose 11 bloggers to nominate and include links to their blogs.
  6. Go to each blogger's page and notify them of their nomination.
As flattered as I am to be nominated, I don't think I can accept the award. The reason for that is that I use this blog as a very megalomaniacal way to vent. In keeping up with that egotistical use of a blog, I don't necessarily read other blogs. Therefore, I can fulfill the first three rules of the award, but unfortunately, I cannot do the last three as I do not know 11 bloggers to nominate. I feel very bad about expecting people to read my ramblings when I don't follow anyone else but I am an egocentric bastard and I can't change that. I know I should strive for personal improvement but that seems like too much work so I would much rather just apologize for being self-absorbed and move on.  As I said before, I cannot fulfill the last three requirements but I will go ahead and do the first three just for fun.

The first rule was that I had to thank the blogger who nominated me and include a link back to their blog. I believe I have already done that in the first paragraph but, just in case that doesn't count, I will do it again. Thanks go to GunDiva for nominating me when she received the Liebster Blog Award for Tales from the Trail. I am really just thankful to have a reader, the nomination is just a very nice plus.

There, I did it. I thanked someone and it sounded halfway genuine. I am still trying to perfect my fake genuine but, for some reason, it is harder than it sounds. The second task was that I had to list eleven random facts about myself. I have proven before that I suck at writing random lists as I tend to elaborate more than I need to but I will give it another try.
  1. Although I do not believe in ghosts or the supernatural anymore, I used to be scared of almost everything when I was growing up. This went as far as me having to wake my brother, who was four years younger than me mind you, in the middle of the night if I had to use the bathroom so that I would not have to walk in the dark alone.
  2. I strongly believe that I don't like seafood even though I like calamari and catfish and crab rangoon and shrimp and sushi.
  3. I have a tendency to try my hand at vegetarianism from time to time but I refuse to give up jello every time because life without jello just simply is not life.
  4. I have a broken record player that just needs a new needle to play but I have no idea how to get that needle so it just sits in my room as part of the decor.
  5. Speaking of record players, the only record I own is Lady Gaga's The Fame.
  6. I cannot work without music so it is very easy to tell when I am actually doing work by listening to whether or not I have music on.
  7. I am a hypochondriac psychosomatic so if you ever tell me you're not feeling well, I will start feeling the same symptoms in about half an hour.
  8. Although I have a B.A. in literature, English class was my least favorite class in high school.
  9. I have two favorite movies; Princesas, and The Bubble.
  10. If you include guilty pleasure movies though you can add Miss Congeniality and Legally Blonde to that list.
  11. This is the post with the most hyperlinks that I have ever written.
How did I do? I hope better than last time but you will have to decide that. The next task was to answer the eleven questions posited by the nominator. The questions, along with their answers, are,
  1. What is your passion?  My passion is literature which is clear to anyone that has ever heard me talk about it. Apparently, I come to life and become very enthusiastic and energetic.
  2. If you could do anything you wanted for the rest of your life, without having to think about money, what would it be? I have actually thought about this before and if I could do anything without having to worry about money, I would be a lifelong student. I find it sad that there is so much out there to be learned and so little time, and resources, to learn it.
  3. What is your guilty pleasure? I don't know if it is a guilty pleasure but I do enjoy taking bubble baths with candles and wine while watching The Colbert Report. I tried reading but the book kept getting wet and, as much as I like it, music is for showers not baths. 
  4. Favorite book ever?  First of all, that is not a question, regardless of the question mark in the end. However, I understand what the question would be and the answer is that I don't have one. I have three books that I list as my favorites; Fyodor Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, and Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis. These may soon be joined by Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, but I think having four favorite books is a bit contrived.
  5. Favorite movie ever?  For the answer to this "question" please refer to numbers nine and ten in my list of random facts about myself.
  6. Have you ever met anyone famous?  Not famous per se. Although one time I did criticize a Spanish Christian rock singer's career for leaving a band and going solo within earshot of that singer. Needless to say, she shot me a very deserved dirty look. Unfortunately, I still did not learn to keep my mouth shut.
  7. Who would you like to meet (living or dead, real or fictional) and why?  This is an easy one. Franz Kafka. I would kill to meet Franz Kafka. I maybe would not kill a human, but definitely a spider or some sort of bug (get it?). He was so far ahead of his time. He found ways to be depressed before depression was even a thing. In all honesty, I find him to be very human and would love to pick at his brain. Metaphorically, of course.
  8. Biggest Pet Peeve? I absolutely hate it when people start saying something and then suddenly stop and refuse to finish what they were saying. I have ended friendships over it. It makes me question whether they trust me and whether or not I should trust them.
  9. If you won the PowerBall or Lotto and wanted to donate a chunk to a charity, which charity would it be and why? I would donate a lot of that money to the Make-a-Wish foundation. It is because of them that our family got our first computer due to my brother's illness and although it is now obsolete and it no longer works, it is still stashed in storage because I can't bring myself to get rid of it.
  10. Favorite place you've visited? I haven't been to many places so I don't really have a favorite place. If I had to choose, I would say Las Vegas though because you can walk around the street with a drink in your hand.
  11. Where do you want to visit that you haven't been able to? I would love to visit Australia, even though I am scared of most of the animals there. A close second would be Prague because that's where Kafka is from.
That was harder than I thought it would be. It was still kind of fun. I think for my future posts I will just look for questionnaires and answer them. The rest of the rules I cannot fulfill as I don't really follow any blogs. However, and I know this is a long shot, I figured I would write eleven questions for my readers. I don't really expect anyone to answer them but it would be nice if someone did. Here we go.
  1. Do you like my blog?
  2. Do you like me?
  3. Do you like me and my blog?
  4. Do you like my writing style?
  5. What do you like best about me?
  6. Am I your favorite, or one of your favorite, person(s) in the world?
  7. If you had the superpower to give anyone superpowers, what superpower would you give me and why?
  8. What animal do you think best describes me?
  9. Which post in my blog is your favorite (feel free to list all that apply)?
  10. What activity would you most like to do with me if we could do anything?
  11. Is there anything about me that I did not ask but that you would like to share?
I think these are some thought provoking questions that we have all been asking ourselves. I know I have my answers already but it would be fun to see what someone else comes up with because I am very interested in my readers and, more importantly, what my readers think of me. Until next time.

Monday, June 24, 2013

I Am a Literal Saint... Albeit Begrudgingly But a Saint Nonetheless

Wednesdays are a busy day for me. No, not at work. I only have like three or four busy days a month at work and they don't often fall on a Wednesday. Wednesdays are busy home days. Why is that so? You may be asking yourself. The answer is plain and simple. Thursdays are trash day. Need I elaborate? Whether I need to or not, I will elaborate because otherwise this would be a relatively short post and, as we all know, I don't kowtow to brevity peer pressure. The fact that Thursday is trash day is important because I need to place the containers by the curb so that the collection truck can pick it up and do whatever they do with trash. In a bit of a side note, I really don't know what they do with the trash. A co-worker was having issues with the disposal of a dead skunk once and I suggested throwing it in the trash and she was appalled. Apparently, it's illegal to dump dead animals in the trash  I have made a mental note of that for future reference. Not that I have ever disposed of a dead squirrel, after the BF's puppy killed it that one Sunday morning, by placing its lifeless body inside two plastic bags and depositing the bags in the trash bin. FYI, the two bags were to make sure that it didn't attract any animals and they in no way indicate that the squirrel was torn in two or more pieces thus necessitating multiple bags. Come to think of it, there was not any blood so I am pretty sure it died because its neck snapped and thus endured a quick and painless death. Also, this probably did not happen because I totally did not put that squirrel in the trash collection bin. I realize that, by now, I have gone on three different tangents. Let's recap: first, there's the main story about Wednesdays being busy; second, we have the skunk story with a co-worker which is being used as a means to illustrate that I don't know what happens to trash once it is collected; and third, there's the non-incriminating story about the squirrel. The squirrel story, just as its titular character, has reached its end so I will finish up the second tangent. As I was saying, a co-worker was appalled that I suggested dumping the skunk remains in the trash because it is illegal and, this she added of her own volition making me pontificate on what happens with trash once we are done with it, because she felt sorry for the people that have to sort through the trash to try and salvage whatever may be recyclable. I told her that I did not think there were people that sifted through the trash but the seed of doubt was planted in me. Luckily, the seed never germinated as I was not curious enough to look up whether trash gets sorted or not. I think it's about time for me to go back to the main story.

Wednesdays are a busy day for me. If you factor in that the house is only occupied by me and the Old Man, it is obvious the house does not get too messy. Especially since I have not really cooked since Medea and Dad left for Mexico and the Old Man avoids cooking because he makes a big mess. I never told him anything about the messes he used to make. I would just go after him cleaning and he finally got the hint. Do I feel bad that he does not cook and has to purchase most of his meals? Yeah, I do. But, not too much because he loves onions and he used to stink up the whole house with the smell of burning onions. He is not a great cook. All this to say that, although I pick stuff up here and there throughout the week, I really only clean on Wednesdays. Now, you will be reading this post on a Monday, but I wrote it on a Thursday so from now on when I say yesterday, keep in mind I mean Wednesday and not Sunday. Are you with me so far? If you are, let's move on. If you are not, I don't know what to tell you. Maybe I will apologize because your education system failed you. I am not sure if I will apologize though because that is not my fault. Regardless of whether I apologize or not, I am moving on because there is no reason to hold everyone else back just because a hypothetical you can't keep up. Try to follow along and maybe you'll get it. Anyway, yesterday (Wednesday, remember?) after work I went home and had a light dinner and started straightening things up right away and worked diligently until I was done. Ha ha, as if! After dinner I laid down on my bed for a while (an hour or two) and watched some Saturday Night Live. It was still Wednesday, by the way, but Netflix has a whole bunch of old SNL seasons available for instant streaming. I really gotta stop referencing all these days of the week. It gets confusing after a while. Well, I finally set about cleaning and I did work for about two hours in the common areas of the house. It's not that I have attention deficit disorder, but I get bored easily. To avoid being bored while I am busy with mindless chores, I always play Will & Grace in the background as I own all eight seasons. Why is that important? You ask. It's not. I just wanted to share that with you. Does everything have to have a point? The answer to that is "I hope not because otherwise I have wasted a lot of time writing about cleaning on an article about me being a saint." I am getting to that, by the way. Don't rush me. Not everything is about the destination, sometimes it is about the journey. This time it is about the journey so allow me to be your guide and quit complaining about the many detours so you can enjoy the word landscape I paint before you. A forced metaphor, perhaps, but nothing is perfect so let's move on. Among my most hated chores, and I hate them all although with different degrees of severity, is washing dishes. Especially since I still wash dishes by hand as I don't trust dishwasher machines since I was raised washing dishes by hand and that is the only way that I feel that dishes are really clean. Washing dishes is not only annoying; and gross; and smelly; and your hands get all wrinkly from the water during; and they become very dry after, forcing you to use copious amounts of moisturizing lotion to regain a semblance of normal skin; but it used to always make my back hurt. I say used to because I have learned that if I sit on a stool while washing dishes, my back won't hurt. Well, I was sitting on my stool washing dishes and watching Will & Grace when the Old Man returned from wherever he goes during the day and attempted to tell me about his day while I washed and watched (dishes and TV respectively).  The conversation did not go well because I am not a great multitasker and, despite the fact that I have watched all eight seasons of Will & Grace at least five times and can quote my favorite jokes in every episode along with the actors, I was way more interested in the TV show than in what he had to say. He eventually got the hint and went quietly to his room where I expected him to stay for the rest of the evening/night.

I finished doing dishes and moved on to sweeping, taking out the trash, and mopping. When I was finished with all the cleaning and while I was getting a glass of water to take to my room, the Old Man slunk out of his room and asked if I would take him to the emergency room. I had just finished mopping and was wearing just a white undershirt and some shorts and was all sweaty so I told him I would have to take a shower first. He then said that he may not need to go to the emergency room right then because he had just taken some medicine and he wanted to see if it would take effect and that he may not need to go to the emergency room after all. He said that he would let me know. I told him that was fine and went into my room hoping that his medicine would do the trick. I was putting some clothes up and straightening out my room a bit when, about half an hour later, he knocked on my door. I begrudgingly opened the door and he said that he would have to go to the hospital after all. I asked him to give me a minute to take a quick shower and change. He told me that was unnecessary as all I had to do was drop him off since he was not expecting me to wait with him. I asked how he was going to get back and he said he would call someone when the time came. Dun, dun, dun... Since I was just going to drop him off, I decided to just throw on a shirt and put on some flip flops as I was envisioning just pulling up to the door for him to get out before I just drove away. I did not even comb my hair or grab my hat or anything. On our way to the hospital, he casually mentions that he meant to grab his handicap tag from his truck so that I could park in a handicap parking space. I asked him why would I need it and he mentioned that he wanted me to go in to make sure that he could communicate what was wrong to the ER staff. I was already unhappy about having to drive him there but asking me to go in with him after not having a chance to get ready was really going over the line. I managed to swallow my frustration and, after dropping him off at the door and finding a parking space, I quickly ran my fingers through my hair and headed for the entrance. Allow me to paint you a picture. I was wearing black flip flops with a pair of black shorts made out of the same material as sweat pants and which people usually wear around the house during the winter. On top of this, I was wearing a t-shirt with navy blue and white stripes that did not match the shorts or the flip flops. Add to that a disheveled head of hair and, although not a miasma, a subtle hint of sweat and exhaustion that one could hardly describe as pleasant. I was not happy. When I walked into the lobby, the Old Man was already in a wheelchair and they were wheeling him into the admissions area. He motioned for me to follow and, surrounded by an aura of embarrassment and defeat, I followed them into the admissions area. Luckily, the lady that came in to take all his information spoke Spanish so I was able to quickly and easily excuse myself and head back to my car to drive home.

As I walked back to my car, the whole nightmarish ordeal now behind me, I started to feel better. Was I happy that I had helped the Old Man? Not really. I am not a selfless person at all. However, I could not help thinking that, independently of whether or not I was happy about it, I had done a good deed and I had good karma coming my way. I felt really proud of myself and decided that I deserved a treat for my saintly work. I mean, I may not be Mother Teresa but I did take the Old Man to the hospital so that should count for something. It did not take me long to decide on how I was going to help the cosmos reward myself. I headed to Chipotle. By now, it was nearly ten at night. In fact, I got to Chipotle just five minutes before they closed. I saw this as a sign that the universe was thanking me for my good deed. When I left Chipotle, brown paper bag in hand containing the scrumptious components of a very late and heavy meal, and got in my car, serendipity surprised me yet again. Upon turning on the radio and switching stations I heard this song and interpreted it as another sign of the good fortune of which I felt I was really reserving,
If you have not heard that song before, please watch the video. I swear to you that it is worth watching. I first ran across this song back in February of this year. It caught my eye because it was on sale on iTunes for sixty-nine cents and it was by the singer of that "Thrift Shop" song that was being played everywhere. I clicked on it to listen to the sample and remember hearing the first two lines, " When I was in the third grade / I thought that I was gay." I was not sure if I had heard right so I headed over to YouTube and listened to the whole song and by the end of the song I had tears in my eyes. No, I was not blubbering, but I could have if I did not have an instant urge to share it with everyone I thought would be open to its message. Upon further research, I learned that the infamous "Thrift Shop" was Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' second single and that "Same Love" had been released a few months prior to it. At that point it made me very sad that "Same Love" did not get any airtime in Texas. I was not surprised, mind you. Just saddened. I own the song and the video to "Same Love" and I can't listen to it without feeling a sense of pride and getting a bit choked up. Needless to say, I was pretty excited that it was on the radio. I could not believe my good luck that "Same Love" was getting some airplay in Texas. I, being the humble and reasonable human being that I am, assumed that it was all due to my grand display of charity and turned the volume up in my car as loud as it would go as I drove home. I was walking on air by the time that I got home and I felt that nothing could go wrong. I went inside and feasted on my Chipotle burrito while enjoying one of my favorite British comedy shows, The Catherine Tate Show, on Netflix.

At around 3:30 a.m. my good luck ran out. I woke up and I was feeling nauseated. I figured out pretty quickly that it is not wise to eat a whole Chipotle burrito with spicy salsa, chips & guacamole right before bed. I had to get up and take some Alka-Seltzer and sit up for a minute so that my indigestion would subside. Fifteen minutes later I was back asleep. Unfortunately, that did not last long. At 4:40 a.m. my phone started ringing. Remember earlier when I wrote "Dun, dun, dun..." after the Old Man had said he would call someone to pick him up? Guess who he called? I answered the phone and one of the nurses told me that the Old Man was ready to go home and he had asked her to call me to pick him up. I, naively but hopefully, asked if he would be waiting for me at the door and I was told I had to go in to room seven to pick him up. I was not happy. I was very not happy. I know unhappy is a word but I felt like saying "very not happy." Get over it. I got up and got dressed. This time, I had the presence of mind to wear jeans and a cap so that I did not look as scraggly. The general air of exhaustion, exasperation, and discontent remained around me through the whole ordeal though. As I was driving back, I could not help but to feel I was being punished for something.  I did not know why though as I did not deserve to be punished but rewarded for my good deeds and my humble ways. I was not even pleased, well too pleased, when the song "Thrift Shop" came on the radio reminding me that "Same Love" had played on the radio the night before. I arrived at the hospital to find the Old Man still in his room complaining about what they had done to him and the fact that they had given him fluids. The nurse came in for him to sign his discharge papers and it was then that I found out that he was being discharged because he refused to be admitted. How did I find this out? I had to sign a paper saying that I was a witness when he declined further medical assistance. I begrudgingly signed the paper just to get everything over with. I was seething though. I was woken up because the Old Man refused to be admitted to the same hospital he had made me drive him to the previous night. The nurse may have noticed my annoyance because she asked if I wanted to go get the car and wait out front for her to wheel the Old Man out. I gladly stepped out and drove the car to the front where I had to wait about ten minutes for the Old Man to get all the crap he had brought with him in a Wal-Mart bag. I had been concerned earlier whether or not I was emitting any aromas since I had been sweating in the afternoon but once the Old Man got in my car I realized my concerns were invalid as there is no way anyone would have been able to smell anything on me as long as I was near the Old Man. I almost felt bad for him but then I noticed what time it was and good old fashioned rage surged its way through my veins once again. On the ride home, he kept trying to complain about how they had given him liquids and how he had refused to let them draw blood and how they had not done anything for him and I started feeling bad for the ER staff. He kept trying to complain even though I kept turning the radio up louder and louder. I finally was able to find a song I knew and started singing along and he finally realized that I had no interest in talking to him or listening to his imagined slights from the hospital staff. I am not trying to make him sound hard to relate to but at one point he made sure to point out that the reason the doctors did not know what they were doing was because they were Middle Eastern. I wasn't drowning him out just to be mean, though that was an added perk. I had to do something or else I was going to reply with what was really going on through my head and that would not be good. Let's see, at one point I was thinking that we really need to pass a euthanasia law in the U.S. Even now I am not convinced that a euthanasia law is such a bad idea. We made it back at around 5:45 a.m. and, as much as I tried, I could not get myself to go back to sleep.

I am sorry. I just lied in the last sentence of the previous paragraph. I did manage to fall asleep. I fell asleep a full twenty minutes before my alarm went off. I am actually convinced that it would have been better to not fall asleep again as waking up was a total... drag, for lack of a better word, this morning. Right now, I am exhausted. I have had coffee and chocolate so far and I am still not fully awake. I don't do well if I don't get my sleep. You can ask anyone (BF) and they (he) will tell you how bad I am when my sleep is interrupted.  As for now, I do believe I received a karmic reward last night for dropping him off. I am still very excited about hearing "Same Love" (if you skipped the video earlier, please go back and watch it. It is totally worth it. I promise.) on the radio. However, there has been no reward yet for picking him up and I am about to go from a saint to a martyr, sleep deprivations is among the worst forms of torture, if I don't get what's coming to me. It's not just the fact that my sleep was interrupted but that I have to go the whole day in a somnambulistic state. I guess that is the price I have to pay for being a good person even if I am being a good person against my own better judgment and will.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Review: El Amor en los Tiempos del Colera, or, The Hardships of Being in a Book Club

I have been told that I am opinionated. Personally, I don't see it. I consider myself passionate and have very clear likes and dislikes when it comes to books or movies or people... or pretty much everything. It's not my fault that I know what I like and can articulate my sentiments in a semi-coherent manner and can argue my point of view fervently. I mean, if that makes me opinionated then call me opinionated. Why do I bring this up? Well, it's because I have also been told that I should write reviews. I have never considered myself a critic even if I do criticize everything I come across and am very critical of the books or movies or people... or pretty much everything I run into. I have always thought that critics needed to have an above average understanding of the medium they critique in order to form a cohesive argument. Unfortunately, I have never felt that I have above average knowledge in any field so as to be a bona fide critic. This perceived inadequacy extends to the field which I love more than any other field, literature. But Carlos, you may be asking, don't you have a B.A. in English Literature? To that I respond with a definite and resounding, yet tinged with a bit of sadness, yes. Unfortunately, I have often felt my education did not provide me with enough knowledge to consider myself proficient in the world of literature. I don't think my education failed me as it provided me with the tools to attain that knowledge for myself. Unfortunately, I am not the avid reader I once was so, though the knowledge is an arm's length away as I have a bookshelf full of books I have yet to read, I have not necessarily flexed my literary muscle as of late. In order to remedy that, I joined/co-created a book club. To be honest, although I have always wanted to be in a book club, this club was the brainchild of my friend Hillary. It's a small club consisting mainly of Hillary, The Thing and yours truly. So far, we have only embarked on the reading of one book, El Amor en los Tiempos del Colera (Love in the Time of Cholera) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I probably won't write a real review of the book but I do want to mention some things that came to mind when I read it. However, I will do that later in the blog. First, I want to talk about the book club.

As I stated earlier, I have never been in a real book club before in my life. Granted, there was that small group of kids that would sit around and read during gym class in high school and called ourselves a book club, but I don't think that counts. To be truly honest, I am not even really sure if I am in a real book club now. This may be due to the fact that I am unsure what the rules for normal book clubs are. I don't know how fast they read their books or how often they meet to discuss them. I will detail how our book club is working and then leave it for you to judge and decide and tell me what we are doing wrong because I feel we are definitely doing something wrong. One of my first questions is whether or not three people are enough to constitute a book club. On top of that, one of our members, Hillary, lives in Portland, Oregon whereas The Thing and I live in Texas. This has complicated things somehow as we have to find a way to meet to discuss the book. Our first idea was to use Skype. Then we realized that you cannot use Skype for three way video call for free so we had to look for another medium. The Thing suggested that we use Google+ and that will be what we will try next. I am saying we will try it because, as of right now which is two months after the club started, we haven't really had an official meeting yet. Our club meetings are supposed to be weekly on Monday nights at 8:00 pm Central Time (6:00 pm Pacific). The Thing has so far been unavailable every time. Also, me and Hillary haven't necessarily met at the correct time either. We have discussed the book twice though but both times were over the phone on random days. As for the book itself, it only had six chapters. Six loooooong chapters. We were supposed to read one chapter a week. If we had kept up with our reading schedule, we would have finished the book in about a month and a half. Two months later, only one of us had finished the book. I think that this may be our biggest problem yet. It's not the fact that we don't all live in the same area, or that we don't ever really meet to discuss the book but that we are not really doing the reading. I am fairly certain that a book club that does not read may not really be a book club. Maybe it's just me. I mean, yes, I was the only one to finish the book, but I did finish it two weeks later than it was scheduled so my commitment is not much greater than The Thing's, even if she only read about fifteen pages. The last time I talked to Hillary about the book she had one chapter to go but had no idea where her book was. I had finished the book two weeks late; Hillary was close to finishing it but had misplaced her copy of the book; and The Thing had never even finished the first chapter, so I figured it was time for us to move on to the next book and call this one a bust. It was Hillary's turn to suggest a book and she settled on 1984 by George Orwell. Yesterday, I emailed them a breakdown of the book by chapters and pages and suggested two reading schedules, one that will take three weeks and one that will take five weeks to finish the book. I am letting them decide which route they want to go. We are supposed to have our first meeting about 1984 on Monday, June 24 so we will have to wait and see how it goes. It can't go much worse, right? Right?!?

I think I have talked enough about the book club and should now discuss the book. I liked it. I had read one of Garcia Marquez's books before and I had really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to reading a second book by him. I found Love in the Time of Cholera to be very interesting because we are presented with characters that, though they share conflicting story lines, are all very easy to relate to. I guess I have become jaded by novels that have a clear antagonist to move the story along. I did not find that in this novel. Every action of every character is executed because the character truly believes that to be the best course of action. In this manner, Garcia Marquez presents us with a novel that delves deeply into the meanings of love and the many different manifestations of love even if the results were not always the "happily ever after" we have become accustomed to. He does not put one form of love above the others but presents them all as they are along with their merits and their faults. It is definitely a book worth reading if you like to read.

I guess I thought I had more to say about the book than I did. In a way, I do have more to say, but it is hard to discuss something without giving specific details and it's hard to give specifics to people who have not read the book. I guess having a book club is a good thing after all. I mean, even if we don't follow through on everything, at least we get a chance to discuss the book with someone else. Also, I did not know that writing reviews was so boring. I mean, did you read that last paragraph? It's probably among the worst things I have ever written. As I said, it's hard to discuss something without giving details but it is even harder to review something and try to make it interesting at the same time. I guess being a reviewer is not for me. Believe me, I have opinions. Unfortunately, these opinions are better expressed when other people know what I am talking about and when I am not trying to be serious. I don't do well at being serious. I also don't do well at writing last minute posts, which this one is. Not much has happened lately so I had to write this right before it posted so I apologize for that. Still, I did not want to let a week go by without posting so it's up to you to decide if something really is better than nothing. For what it's worth, I think it is.
Creative Commons License
So What if I am not Typical? I'm Still Fun. by Not Typical, Yet Fun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.