Saturday, December 30, 2006

Shredding, Slamming Fun


Yeah, I'm closer to 40 than 14, but that doesn't mean I can't pretend to be in that band I always wanted to be in.
And no, I can't play the guitar for real, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the tar out of this game. In fact, that's the whole POINT.
The second version of this Playstation 2 diversion, called Guitar Hero as you can see here, just came out, but I'm too busy woodshedding on a borrowed version of the first one to care about that yet. At first, I sucked so thoroughly the game kicked me out of the song and the crowd booed. Yet now, I can successfully hit 80-96% of the notes on average of tunes ranging from Boston's "More Than A Feeling" to Audioslave's "Cochise."
The cool thing is, songs you don't even like much and dismiss as crap, you get new respect for when you try to play them. You also learn how Nikki Sixx must have felt when his fingers and forearms ached from the amount of rockin' he was doing, but his paycheck at the end of the night was only $100. (Yep, I need a new manager.)
I suppose Slash isn't losing sleep over my impending guitar goddesshood, but it's still a hella lot of fun.
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"I've got blisters on my fingers!!!" -- John Lennon

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Cookery


Seasons greetings, blogpadres!
It's hard to believe it's been a year since my last post about cooking, but certainly it has.
This year, instead of Candied Nuts, I decided to make Rum Balls. Though there may be some hidden symbolism in my two-years running choices of recipes that could be euphemisms for cajones, I choose to believe differently.
That yellowed paper next to the plate is the recipe of old, typed on the ancient, black, 50-pound manual typewriter I was given by my grandmother as a kid. (Yes, even 25 years ago I was a writing, typing dork.) The recipe came from one of the neighbors on our street, who still lives there. And yes, my mom did make these and allow us to eat them as children. Who knows what current freakitudes (such as a simultaneous love of chocolate AND rum!) I can blame on this underage intake of hard liquor in candy form.
This year, instead of rockin', I watched a DVD I found of the 1982 Leslie Nielsen series Police Squad, instead of egg nog, I was drinking Keystone Lights, and I wasn't making these as gifts, just for personal consumption and sharing with friends.
These tiny differences are only the beginning of what's different for me this year, and what will be different on Christmases forever. Against a mounting tide of things that will never be the same, I can stir together these ingredients and conjure up one thing, at least, to count on... one talisman against loss and time.
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"Take away my worries of today, and leave tomorrow behind." -- Gary Wright

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Workpolitik

When I was a youngster, toiling away at what used to be Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems (now Cingular Wireless), I swore off office politics. I reported to work, fended off oldsters who hit on me and my "sexy voice" daily, pretended to sell extra features, took much too long constructing a faux jellyfish from a styrofoam plate and bits of plastic for a team decorating contest, just generally toiled there in my cubicle from morning 'til night, fixing glorified walkie talkies. Then (usually a few minutes early), I went home. As a result, I never got the attention (nor the raises) of my superiors.

Then I got ten years older. The world and its ways slowly and painfully revealed themselves to me. I realized, that in all kinds of realms, you have to do as Freddie Mercury suggests, and "Play the game, play the game, play the game, play the game!"

With a single email that could have been utter bullstuff (it wasn't, but the point is, verification of my lofty claims didn't occur), I convinced my old asshole boss that I knew something after all. He decided that perhaps I was in fact the cat's pajamas. I had made myself, and hence him and the school, look good.

This feat, after 3 or 4 years of indifference and/or hassling from him, convinced me completely. Now, I jockey for position as all who get ahead seem to.

I don't misrepresent my deeds, and I do work a good bit harder than I did back then, 'tis true, but now I frame my doings in gilded rectangles, wrap them in festive tissue paper and present regular news of them like gifts to my overlords. I am my own press secretary.

What are 'principles' in youth look like foolish obstructions of prestige and cashflow in slightly older age.

Print that on a batch of fortune cookies and distribute at your next office holiday party.




Sunday, December 10, 2006

Churrascaria!!!


(English Title: Meat My Blade)

On the potentially dismal occasion of my 36th trip round the sun, I visited a Brazilian churrascaria. If you haven't been to one, it's a magical place where you first take a stellar trip around the salad bar, which is really a buffalo mozzarella/kalamata olives/proscuitto/steamed asparagus/marinated mushrooms and more bar, then are whisked back to your table to delight in what you found there for a few moments while sucking down caipirinhas (a.k.a. Brazilian margaritas).
Next, enter the intricate communication system in place akin to the sign language used by Drasnian spies, in the form of a circular card, one for each person at the table. One side of the card is red, the other, green. Flip that red card to green and wait. Within seconds, a fleet of smartly dressed, hot, Latin gauchos descends upon you, each bearing a rod of steaming, delicious meat for your consumption. Each meets your eyes as you communicate your most intimate carnal desires: Oh yes! Spicy sirloin! Ahh, filet mignon!! Most of the time you get a just-right portion of meat slid skillfully onto your plate; sometimes you have to use tools to assist in the process. If you don't want a particular cut, you dismiss the offering gaucho with a word (much simpler than with a failed third date).
While my arteries are probably not happy for this meat-fest, and vegetarians would surely be offended, I think all in all a trip to the churrascaria is enough to remind me what life should be like: delicious meat from hot guys when you want it, peace, salad, cheesy bread and flan when you don't.
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