Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Jonas and Frank

There’s this kid I see in my Kung Fu class, named Jonas. He’s a sandy haired young-looking guy -- I thought he was 13 but I’ve talked to him more lately and learned he’s 16, and a sophomore in high school. After a 4-year break, I continued my martial arts training this past May. That’s when I first met Jonas. Only back then he seemed so slight and scrawny I thought he was 13. I remember having to spar with him and thinking I could take him. Ironically, he kicked my ass and I learned fast he’s a skilled adversary. He was a little shorter than me when I met him, but I think he took vitamins and had a growth spurt this summer. He looks all big and thick necked lately. I worked with Jonas tonight and he beat the entire class in the endurance contest we had – he did 21 sets in 20 minutes. Each set consisted of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 squats. I told anyone I talked to that I did 15 sets, but to tell you the truth I was so burnt out and tired I completely forgot to count. Jonas was pretty proud of his score, as he should be. I made up my score, and told Jonas I did 15. After we completed the drill, the teacher started talking about the purpose of the drill, and I figured if we all had to disclose to the teacher, I would tell him whatever amount that was one more set then this big fat sweaty guy Frank did.

Frank annoys me, he’s built like a pregnant rhino, and when he spars, his gloves are foam or some kind of absorbent material, and absorb all of his sweat. It’s so fucking gross. If you’re not careful, he’ll cuff you on the side of your head with one of those sweat sponges, and you’ll have to fight your gag reflex not to vomit. Knowing this (having suffered this disgusting fate), I learned fast how to dodge, and be aware of where his mitts are at all times. I tire him out by moving him all over the training floor, and I have much more endurance then he does so I hop around, shuffling in and out like Bruce Lee (but not as good). It makes me feel good, to see him and his sweaty mullet and steamy glasses all huffing and puffing, but then I think at least he’s attending the class. It can be pretty tough sometimes. Frank’s been in and out of the class like me since 2000, but he’s always been fat. He’s a blue belt; I don’t even believe that he was able to get that. The belt orders are (lowest to highest) white, or no belt, orange, purple, blue, green, brown, brown/red, brown/black, black and degrees of black and so on. I’m an orange working toward purple, which I can test for the next time they do adult testing. But as far as Frank’s blue belt is concerned, I’ll have to pay closer attention to the belt requirements. Frank had a wife and teenager son that attended for a while, but they were fat too and didn’t last. His son was 14 and had man boobs.

Grease 2

do you think Michelle Pfeiffer is puts Grease 2 on her resume?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

havoc wreaking

barbie party

marcus is on my lap

hot dogs and dna

hot dogs of death

They're a poet and they know it!

dinner tonight

mmmm....we had a quick and generic baked vegan pasta.

We were pretty tired, so this was a quick and easy dish to make, it just had several steps involved. As always, try to get organic or the best quality ingredients you can. Remember you only get out of your body what you put into it.

To make this recipe, there are a few key ingredients involved:
  • pasta of some sort (I used the short fusili pieces)
  • sauce -- you can cheat and get a good jarred sauce or make your own quick sauce (see below)
  • sausages -- if you eat meat you could get the meaty ones, but Boca makes a great soy Italian sausage. Make sure they are cooked before incorporating into the recipe.
  • cheese -- I shredded soy cheese, and am drawing a blank right now about recommendations for good brands of soy cheese. Trader Joe's makes a great soy cheese, and there are different varieties, like pepper jack and mozzarella flavor. This brand also melts well and tastes good. I can eat it plain.
Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 350. Get a casserole dish, and lightly oil the pan with olive oil. In the casserole dish, combine chopped sausage pieces, two handfuls of shredded cheese, the bag of cooked pasta, and three cups of sauce. Combine, and spread one more cup of sauce on top and sprinkle another handful of cheese. Bake for 1/2 hour, or until cheese on top is melted.

Make your own quick generic sauce:

Chop an medium onion, and saute in 2 tbsb of olive oil over medium heat until soft and translucent. Add 5 or more chopped, pressed or smashed garlic cloves and cook for a few more minutes. If you have mushrooms, carrots or any other kind of produce floating around you can chop and saute as well. When starting to brown, add a can of plain tomato sauce, a can of chopped tomatoes, and a can of tomato paste. Add seasoning--oregano, basil, rosemary, salt and pepper, a little splash of balsamic vinegar, and a handful of raisins. Stir on medium heat until bubbling, then cover and turn to low. Let that cook while you're cooking the sausage, or cooking the pasta.

The raisins are really good in tomato sauce. Trust me, it's great. They plump up if you cook them for a while (like if you get busy and it's like an hour) but don't be scared of them, pretend they're olives and just eat because they really add to the sauce. Tomato sauce is great because as long as it's on low, you can cook it for a while and the flavor just gets better and intensifies. Make sure to refrigerate unused portions.

I didn't use ricotta cheese in this recipe, but really like it and like using it in a baked pasta dish. I haven't ever tried any kind of soy or non-dairy ricotta, but I imagine it's not as good as the real thing. I also like fresh mozzarella, the kind in the liquid. I don't eat dairy because I'm lactose intolerant, and bad things happen when I have dairy. But I like it and every now and then have a little. It's hard to not eat it sometimes, I can't always tell when a cake or scone has been made with butter milk, or large quantities of other dairy products. Milk chocolate is another hard one to avoid. I really try to read chocolate labels, and I really enjoy one of those deep dark over 60% cacao chocolate bars.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

chicken rotation

We've been getting to know our new neighborhood, and about two blocks up there are a few chickens in a wire cage the size of a large dog kennel on the ground. Since we've lived here (about 2 weeks) I've noticed that the cage moves slightly around the outer perimeter of the yard. The chicken keepers spread straw around the areas the chickens had previously been, and yesterday the chickens and cage were on the adjacent side of the property. Pretty neat, especially for in the city. Although I wouldn't quite call this a city, it's more like a large town.

Last Thursday Marcus escaped (he's not allowed out yet) and I suspected that he went to go harass the chickens. There were chickens in our old neighborhood, but I never saw them. I heard them clucking alarmedly sometimes, and often wondered if Jim or Marcus (or both) were aggravating the chickens. I wonder how eggs would taste from a chicken that's in a constant state of annoyance or anxiety?

Marcus used an opportunity to slip out in the early morning, and bolted towards a dumpster (go figure). He was soon unlocatable, and I'm sure he was laying low somewhere watching me look around and call for him. No other way to get to know new neighbors by striking up conversation identifying your missing cat. After I got home from work that day, I spent that evening looking for him, and about 11 o'clock that night I gave up. I sat on our stoop and said out loud "Boy, I wish Marcus would come home." Right on cue, he scurried down the street and under Ric's truck. He came from the direction the chickens resided. Marcus seems a little annoyed that I'm not letting him back out, but other than that he's fine. At least he knows where his home is, because that was my biggest concern.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

i'm tired and i forgot

I forgot to mention in the previous post that I have lots of pictures that I'm getting developed, 4 rolls from NY and Provincetown that I'll be able to post later this week.

picture updates

We are still in the unpack phase of our move (a.k.a. locate important misplaced stuff). Here's a picture of what lays before me on our bed, a hodge-podge of laundry, blankets, books, games, a guitar and various pieces of defunct electronic equipment. Not in view is our crappy answering machine, which finally died this afternoon. I felt its time was near, I have had this answering machine since 1996, and received it from a friend who had been using it for a few years already. Ric always hated it because you couldn't choose what messages you could keep or listen to, if you had 7 messages but only needed information off of one, you had to listen to all 7, let the machine reset, press the playback button, listen to all 7 messages again. If you still didn't get all the information, you had to endure the whole process again.

To the right is a poor quality web cam picture I took of a glass experiment I did a while ago, and it had a lot of mistakes, but I like it and stragetically prop it in my indoor plant arrangements. It is two 3mm fused 6x6 squares of the light neo-lavender shift glass, and in between are copper wires I fashioned into squigglies an hammered flat. The result is easily viewed in this picture, but what isn't seen are the large unintentional air bubbles that randomly formed around parts of the copper. If you look close, it is apparent in the picture. I believe this is due to the inconsistent diameter I flattened the copper coils to. Another neat effect is the copper wire, pre-fired and sandwiched between the glass looked copper, but since the firing it looks bluish-purple, except where an air bubble touches the copper. That part stayed copper looking.

Glass is pretty neat stuff. I miss working with glass. I do have a few things going on at my friend's studio, but I now I need my own set up. I moved all my equipment into storage and I have to set up my art space next. Glass is intergrated into my life, I have unfinished pieces and shards of it everywhere: in my purses, in drawers, in containers and boxes, in my car, it amazes me where it shows up.

Right now I have some glass showing at The Perking Latte in Staten Island, NY.

bad razor karma

I was hesitant to bring my *super* razor with me on vacation, because of the TSA and the other various security measures that have been implemented and vary from airport to airport. Well, after much deliberation, I threw caution to the wind and packed my shiny, new, high-tech ultra-expensive razor, the Quattro by Schick. It's pink; I guess they designate the female razors pink to prevent guys (Ric) from accidentally grabbing that piece of precision machinery and shaving his unsuspecting face with it. It's got four blades, man, for super close shavability, complete with a swivel head and an aloe strip on the TOP and BOTTOM of the razor!!

I successfully transported and used the Quattro without incident for much of my vacation, but when we left the timeshare on Cape Cod, and unpacked after we got home in NY, I realized that I left it in the shower of the timeshare.


I finally bought a replacement razor last weekend. It has found a place in my super nice new bathroom, and hopefully this will end the saga for a while.

Friday, September 09, 2005

so this will probably sound mean

But it's just honest. I have to coordinate things with a woman in an agency that we partner with. I had met her several years ago through another agency, and felt that she was a pain in the ass. She was annoying in a sweet way, kind of like salt water taffy that stuck to the waxed paper wrapper. After several minutes of wrangling, you either eat it and ingest waxed paper (and feel free to view an early blog entry "these cookies taste like styrofoam") or give up and throw the whole thing away, and you're left with sticky fingers, wrists, and stick shift (if you drive a manual transmission, anyway). I'd see her or be at a meeting where she would be, and at the sight of her I would groan. She had such a nice way of insulting you, or picking apart your efforts.

I was out of the field I work in for a couple of years, and when I returned I didn't hear anything about this woman (she normally was a busybody,and on every type of committee and group possible. She even "facilitated" a few groups). I soon learned that she had been on medical leave, she had been diagnosed with cancer. I immediately felt guilty, and felt bad for her. Cancer sucks, and chemo seems like it sucks too. I did have an opportunity to see her soon after I returned to the field, and it was apparent she was wearing a wig and her face showed gaunt outlines of cheekbone. I wished her a speedy recovery and the usual "if you need anything..." offer. I kept in touch with her throughout her recovery efforts.

It's about a year later, and she called to tell me that her cancer had completely gone into remission. She is back to work full time, and feels great. I was really happy for her, then in the same breath, she criticized some information about available positions I had emailed her in that familiar condescending sweetness. Like water rushing down the tub drain, I remembered what a pain in the ass she was, and thanked her for her feedback.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

42 (the answer to life, the universe and everything)

Happy September!

September is derived from "Sept" meaning seven, and "ember" meaning burning ash. So, in that sense, September could mean seven burning ash piles. Or something like that.

Okay, I made that up. Anyway I haven't updated in a while due to an overdue and exciting vacation taken with my cousins Grapenut and Jae. Here's a miniscule sampling of pictures taken by Grapenut and Jae, compared to the collective hundreds we took. My personal picture theory is that if you take many pictures, at least one will come out good. So, without further adieu:

Nothing beats the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean, except of course, the Pacific Ocean. I'd have to say they're two different peas from the same pod...or something like that.

I received this dollar as change from a store in Portland, OR and spent it in Provincetown, MA. I mailed this person a postcard from the cape, too! I felt I had a duty to follow up on the message scrawled on this creased and tired dollar.

When I was about 7, my elementary school had a baloon relase festival, a fund raiser I think. The process was this: In addition to the usual fair fun (cake walks, competitions, pet shows, etc) You purchased a balloon, affixed a tag with your name, address, and other information on it, and during a specific time everyone relased their balloons into the air. I don't know what the point of that was, I suppose to see if someone found it and where they did. I had a very fortunate experience, my balloon was located by Big Bird somewhere in Massachutettes, and I had a postcard sent to the school I attended. I became a celebrity of the moment because not just anyone, but Big Bird actually intercepted my balloon and took the time to write me telling me he found it.

Here's a sandcastle Jae and I made. It was pretty elaborate, we had hotels, love island, a rock washing station and a little warming pool, free from unknown sealife that may or may not have pinchers to cause your lower extremities pain. I couldn't believe how coarse the sand was, but it was also damp and really easy to mold and work with. A highly recommended medium, if you have the opportunity.

Here's what's left after most washed away.

Here's a pier with several quaint living spaces in Provincetown, MA. We spent a great deal of time on the shore and under the pier taking pictures and taking it all in.

Isn't this frog small?

I'm still a rebel.

Commercial Street, a shopping district in Provincetown, MA. It was a long and colorful street, filled with people, restaurants, stores, and access to the bay.

A tibetan prayer wheel in a Global Exchange shop.

The outside of this inn was really cool, there were many fun and different barbies incorporated into a diarama. I have to develop those pictures, but I suspect they will be interesting, to say the least.

Here's a picture taken of me on Commercial Street, conveying important information to Ric regarding our move (which I'll blog about in the near future).