Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Travelin' man goes to....

This week's letter from travelin' Uncle Matt sees my life's journeys having brought me to.... Hamilton, New Jersey, near Princeton.

Specifically, I'm sitting on my brother's back porch, sipping a glass of rather good cognac, and smoking a cigar in about 35 degrees of a clear, crisp "what is a Miami boy doing in the north in March" sort of night. There's something poetic about the whole thing --- which perhaps is what drove me here --- anyway there's a thin line between creativity and boredom.

So, what is a Miami boy etc etcing? Tomorrow morning I stand as godfather to my nephew, the first born and very adorable little boy of my brother and s-i-l. Today was the first time I got to see the little Michelin Man (we are a well-fed family)... so at this point just about any jokes about being named godfather to a baby in New Jersey are more than a little bit funny. Though it was only mildly and politely received when I asked before if this meant that I had to settle all debts with the five families... mostly fell on deaf ears. So I guess tomorrow I have to limit it to, like, four bad Al Pacino impressions tops.

That notwithstanding, the whole thing is a considerable honor. Best man at the wedding, and now this. 90% of the time it's true what John Lennon said, "Life is what happens while you're making other plans"... but there are also the events that come along that you know in advance are going to be significant life experiences. This is doubtless one of them. Pictures will be taken, if you'd like to see some let me know --- if you're reading this, there's a good chance I'm going to thrust them upon you whether or not you ask!! :-)

I may be starting another journey too... one that has me, so far, finding myself happy a lot more these days. More on that, well, whenever. A definite stay tuneder though.

Completely arbitrary and transparent change of subject, I've just started reading "The Great War: American Front" by Harry Turtledove. It's an alternate history book, the second in a series. The idea behind the story is that he goes back to a single point in the history of the Civil War, a pivotal point which it can be argued eventually led to the South's fall, and what-ifs out the possibility had that one event been different. In the first book, "How Few Remain", it's about 1885 and the South ultimately was victorious in "The War of Secession". Lincoln is still alive, having been voted out unceremoniously in 1864 having failed to gain real traction in the war. The book plays out a new war betwreen the confederacy and the union, and features significant story lines for Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain, General George Custer....

This second book continues about a generation later on the dawn of WWI. I won't get too much into the second book --- partially because I don't want to ruin the possibility of reading the first for you and partially because I'm only on page 35... but consider: If the French and English had, as they were so close to actually doing, supported the South... where would that have left the US in European relations? Suddenly the Germans fall in a different light.

I seem to like alternate histories, I read a very good one when I was in Washington as well.


I should have more to share after tomorrow's big doings. I enjoy spending time with all of my brother's in-laws whenever I come up here, and we have some cousins and such scattered around as well who may also join in, so it should be good times.

I think... think I am sufficiently appreciative of the fact that I have been blessed with drawing the card in The Big Deck that says "good family life". I know there's nothing like it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Remember there's no i in recipe... oh, wait...

Here's something I posted on my old website. Now generally, the closest I ever come to real cooking is a really bad Swedish Chef impression. However, this was fun to put together and is a damned tasty dish.

I've kept it in my original phraseology... see I used to be a really sarcastic guy with a fairly random sense of humor. Thank goodness that phase was short-lived... err...




SPAGHETTI ALA GERBER!!!!



NOW PAY ATTENTION, DAMMIT.

(cuz we're not responsible for anyone you kill if you don't follow the directions carefully!)



IN GREEDY YENTS

spaghetti (duh)

one egg, the kind that come from chickens and don't have lil' chicks in them.

*do not use dinosaur eggs*

butter

bacon (none of that phony stuff neither)

parmesan cheese

garlic salt



WATT TOO DUE

1. Fill a pot with water and boil it ("it" being the water). When the water is boiling, insert the spaghetti.
2. Cook the spaghetti for EIGHT minutes. Thou shalt not cook to 7. Neither shalt thou cook to 9. 8 is the number of minutes thou shalt cook to and thou shalt cook to the number of 8 minutes. 10 is right out…

6. While your spaghetti is cooking, melt a few Patz of butter and beat up one egg.

9. Cook a few pieces of bacon.

11. Strain the water out of the pot, throw the eggs and butter into the pot. The spaghetti should magically cook the eggs enough so as to not risk your insides getting eaten by diseases and little germie critters, but just in case you may wanna throw the whole mess back onto the oven.
12. Tear up the bacon into tiny pieces and sprinkle fortuitously throughout the spaghetti.

14. Add proper seasons. The garlic salt and parmesan cheese work well here, so do winter and spring. Don't go using, like, brandy or Mad Dog 20/20 as a seasoning .
15. Put it on a plate. Find something good on TV and eat it, dammit. A glass of milk goes well with it.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Do you know who I am?

"No deary, but if you ask at the nurse's station up front, they'll tell you."


The following story is true. The names have been changed to protect the search engines.

When I was in college I did an internship with an arena football team. I did most of their day-to-day PR work. One day I had to attend the cheerleader / dance squad tryouts so I could write a press release about the girls that got selected. I know, horrible fate, right?

We invited a couple of "celebrity judges" to help with the selection. I use the term celebrity loosely because, well, this was Tallahassee after all. Turns out I didn't know how far into the barrel we were going.

I was walking down the line asking politely the names of all our guests --- I needed to write them down so I could include it in the release. A local radio DJ, I think a former beauty queen... Everyone was being very friendly and good-natured, and at the end of the line a thin, dark-haired woman just stared at me. I looked back, and after a beat she turned to the lady next to her and said "Well! I GUESS he doesn't know who I am!"

Having only been in town a few years and working as an intern at that, I thought perhaps I'd missed something. I said "No, ma'am, umm I'm sorry?" Thinking she'd tell me she was, perhaps, the state secretary of education or something and I just didn't know better. Certainly someone copping that sort of 'tude would be recognizable by her name?

She deemed me fit to be let in on the secret. "I'm Julie Monta----".

You know how in cartoons when they used to ring up the old-style cash registers and the "no sale" flags pop up? That was probably my expression.

"Hmmph". She sided. It probably was added insult to injury that I had to ask her to spell it to make sure I got it right. The name meant nothing to me.

I found out a bit later on she was the weekend TV evening news anchor for the local NBC or CBS or whatever affiliate. Mind you, Tallahassee is, what, something like the 120th biggest media market in the US. Rah.


Seems like it's never the Jimmy Stewarts of the world who say "Don't you know who I am?" It's the D-listers that think having played "2nd Ex-Girflriend" in a straight-to-DVD teen movie that think they can throw their weight around.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

ohmmmm......

I used to be developing this theory that in Heaven, you get to go back to points in your life and see how your life would have unfolded differently if you'd made different decisions along the way. So you can see how things would have happened if the one true love hadn't gotten away, or if you'd taken that job in another city, or if you stopped someone from going into a hospital they never walked out of.


Then I realized this was probably just an overly dramatic way of dealing with the fact that I just second guess stuff a lot.


Now after the crisis of faith I'm just left with crappy science fiction TV shows and their time travel.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Mueva te!

I used to think that people didn't place nearly a high enough priority on getting the hell out of my way... whether on the road or in the grocery store, it should be a) your own personal health and well being, and b) getting out of my damn way. And really, if you think about it, the second one directly relates to the first.

Then I thought about the poor homeless. The man who hasn't shaved in a month, whose hair is all matted down, and who probably doesn't have a change of clothes. And I realized...

I bet people don't get in his way. Maybe he's not really down on his luck --- maybe he just flipped and was tired of having people clogging up the aisles in front of him at Walgreens. If you see someone who smells like their religion prohibits toilet paper, you'd get out of his way.

Lucky bastard.