Friday, November 22, 2013

A Song For That Guy On The Street

Just cruising down Mount Pleasant, yelling out a song in Spanish.  I think it was a love song because I heard "corazon" and all the latinas were giggling at him.  This video goes out to you, amigo.

Monday, November 04, 2013

CDC: Jennifer Garner, LeChuck, Blonde Hollywood Teen Star #7

Just had a dream in which I was living in a lovely duplex house above a seaside cliff.  The duplex had a huge yard with some lovely hedges, a nice garden, and a bench by the cliff for assignations.  There were several acres of gardens, and no real reason for the house to be a duplex which might explain why the other half was empty.  There was a large pile of newspapers in front of the door to the other house, and it bothered me daily but the real estate agent said I couldn’t clean it up.  I had moved there to research some super-rum invented by the Pirate LeChuck from Monkey Island.  I had possibly nefarious reasons for this research, and was trying to hide it from my neighbors in the duplex.  Even though there was no one living next door, I was still secretive about my super-rum recipes and research.  I closed all the curtains and watched old 16mm films of LeChuck in action in the basement.  These weren’t fiction, they were like family films from the 50s and 60s, but filmed by a member of the Pirate LeChuck’s crew.

It was Halloween, and I had forgotten to purchase any candy.  The man from down the lane brought his children to my door for Trick or Treat, along with an enormous Grizzly Bear-sized dog.  The dog liked me.  I answered the door and was confused about the kid’s constumes, and said, “All Saint’s Day! Of course!  Hold here a moment while I locate some sweeties.”  I put my Model 1865 revolver on the floor behind the door, and dropped the crossword over it so the kids wouldn’t see it.  The father did, and was only slightly bothered. 

It was then that I realized I was Dracula teaching Biology or some -ology at a college, and my students and I were preparing for a whitewater rafting trip, upon which I was only planning on feeding on some of them.  I also realized that I had just used an entire bag of Starbursts in my latest batch of super-rum, and only had a one of each basic color left, but they were soaking in a coconut-husk mug of extremely potent, but ultimately not the super-rum, rum.  I sheepishly turned to the family, and nearly walked into the enormous dog who was perfectly silent  in my creaky duplex, and held out the Starbursts.  “These have been soaking in some rather potent rum, so I doubt you want your delightful children eating them.  I’m sorry, children! I let my research overwhelm me sometimes, you know how it is.”

They shook their heads and stared at me, and I realized I probably just showed the whole family my fangs, good thing it was Halloween.  The father started waving the kids on, saying that they would try the next house, and that maybe those people were considerate enough of the long walk down the drive to actually have some candy.  I said that wasn’t likely as the other half of the duplex was empty.  I promised to deliver some candy tomorrow night, as that was All Soul’s Day.  The father gave me an odd look and hustled his children out the door.  The gigantic bear dog stayed with me, and it must have decided to move in because it had red eyes now.

Jennifer Garner was one of my students, but not one of those I was planning on devouring.  She had left her laptop and mountain bike at my house after one of the planning meetings for the whitewater rafting trip.  She was annoyingly nosy, and trying to discover my secret.  We had to make a trip back to my house to allow her to collect her bike and computer, and she tried to slip into my basement.  I told her that I kept it locked because of the rum brewing equipment.  I didn't tell her about the coffins.

The evening before the trip, we were all staying overnight in the biology department's hallways.  One of the students had said that he had noticed that I could hold my breath for a really long time, during an incident on a practice trip wherein I had saved a couple of my students from drowning.  During this incident, I had learned that these students were also supernatural, the boy some sort of tree-fairy person, and the girl some sort of rock-fairy person.  I resolved that I would feed on and kill this annoying blonde student who looked a little bit like any fungible blonde Hollywood actor.  No one would notice his disappearance, but until I murdered him I was going to mess with his head by forgetting to breathe around him.  I think I actually held my breath because the next section of the dream was dominated by an increasingly loud heartbeat and pressure building in my chest in a way that shouldn’t happen to Dracula or any other vampire because they don’t need to breathe unless they are talking.

Someone suggested a game, and broke out a copy of Geeks Bidding on Closing Game Store Merchandise, with art by John Kovalich and a rules combination of Munchkin and Fluxx and Uno.  We played this for a while, and then my brother suggested we watch his Lord of the Rings fan movie.  I had not noticed that he was on the trip before this.

The movie covered various aspects of the Silmarillion, primarily dealing with Faenor fighting Morgoth, Gandalf smoking his pipe and talking, and the Fall of Gondolin.  It didn’t make a whole lot of sense even from my perspective as a dreamer.  I think Gandalf may have been meant to be a narrator.  He was played a rabbit in grey robes and not a man with a beard.  This movie featured stop motion animation, looked like a modern Terry Gilliam Monty Python animation, and had music by the choir from the Lemmiwinks episodes of South Park.

A large mouse in a white wizard hat, maybe Saruman, picked up Morgoth’s hammer after Morgoth’s defeat and used it to smash several characters back to life.  They were lying in circles on the ground, and the mouse smashed them with the gigantic hammer and the sprung to life and started singing, then the God from Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail showed up from behind some clouds and the smash resurrected people walked off into the clouds.  All I could think was that all of this was completely non-canon. 

I’m not exactly sure how I was going to survive on a whitewater rafting trip as a vampire, but this was a dream, so I’m not responsible for making it logical.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Money Laundering: A Quick How-To-Get-Away-With-It

On Wednesday, May 29, 2013, the Washington Post called the Liberty Reserve "one of the biggest laundering operations in history."  Liberty Reserve stands accused with laundering six billion dollars.  For certain definitions of big, this statement could be considered accurate.  In the real world, this is like called a house sparrow one of the biggest birds in history.  HSBC was accused with laundering an estimated two hundred fifty billion dollars for Iran, as well as failing to properly monitor another six hundred seventy billion dollars of wire transfers and almost another ten billion in purchased US Dollars.

Let's put those amounts in numbers:
Liberty Reserve: 6,000,000,000
HSBC:              930,000,000,000

Hey, that's a lot of zeros.  Let's strip these down and ask an eight year old which is bigger.
Genius Nephew, which of these two numbers are bigger: 6 or 930?
* Not pictured, my nephew laughing at me, calling me silly, and pointing at 930.

Seven people have been arrested in the Liberty Reserve case.  Not one person has been arrested relating to the HSBC laundering case.  Let's go back to my Financial Investigator, my eight year old nephew:
Genius Nephew, which of these two numbers are bigger: 7 or 0?
* Not pictured, my nephew laughing at me, calling me silly, and pointing at 7.

The lesson is quite clear.  If you're going to launder funds, go big or go to the big house.  Laundering money is fine as long as the amounts involved are staggering, and you use the profits to expand your business into credit cards and other types of loans.

You might think that I am an anarchist advocating that the government shouldn't bother prosecuting cases like this in the new age of the internet, the greatest social experiment yet, but I'm not.  I am a progressive with some mild anarchist tendencies, usually only expressed while inebriated, advocating the radical idea that governments apply their laws to everyone, not just the conveniently prosecuted.

I'm also disappointed with the Post for the lazy reporting.  Calling Liberty Reserve "one of the biggest" when HSBC was two* orders of magnitude larger is ludicrous.  $6 billion is chump change compared to $980 billion.  Even the Republicans wouldn't argue too much over six billion in a budget debate, but nine-hundred eighty billion gives anyone pause.  To put that in recent news perspective, that is more than 2,940 massive Powerball jackpots.  Imagine if three people won 300+ million dollar jackpots every day for the next two and a half years.  Just ludicrous.

* Thanks, Pinko

Friday, May 24, 2013

So That Happened

Some moments you feel utterly wrecked and confused, while other moments you feel nothing.  Some moments you're so angry you can't speak because you will unleash a fury on an innocent, while other moments you feel only slight loss.  Most moments you just wonder what the fuck to do now.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

To George and Susan on Their Wedding Day

This is not the toast I gave, but the toast I wrote before I was convinced that this toast was better absorbed through the eyeballs than the auditory nerve.  The actual toast I gave will follow on a later date.  Following that, I may give a lecture on how to give toasts, depending on how these two posts are received.*

"There's been a lot of talk about the definition of marriage lately. *Pause for laughter*  People have argued this til the boring end, and yet I do not stand here to speak about the definition of marriage.  I wonder about the meaning of marriage.  What does it mean for two people to stand in front of their friends and family and declare that they will be married.  What does it mean in this world, in this time, for two people to be married?

We hear no end of suffering, we see no end to bloodshed, we see no peace among the disparate groups of humans on this planet.  Misery seeps through our lives, infecting every aspect.  Cynicism rots our core until we can no longer raise a hand in aid of another.  What does it matter that two people wish to join their lives, to entwine their fates, in the face of such utter hopelessness, despair, and cynicism?  What can we do as witnesses, but bear the silent burden?

Bear with me, folks, this does lead to a point. * Pause for nervous laughter.*

When two people stand up to be married, they are defying the naysayers, the broken ones, and the fearmongers.  Two people who love each other enough to stand in front of those they value most in the world to say "I love you, and will hold your heart above all else in this world" are expressing defiance.  Defiance in the face of despair, hope in the face of suffering, and romance in the depths of cynicism.

Marriage is the ultimate rebellion.  Marriage is punk rock.  Marriage is a middle finger held up to an uncaring universe.  Marriage is a defiance of the unending wave of terror that floods our lives from all directions.  Marriage is a beacon of warmth, love, hope, and romance in a threatening world, and we witnesses will always be ready to remind you of this day.  This day when you stood in front of all the people who matter to you and said, "I love you, and take thee to be my partner in all things."

* Received has always looked like a misspelled word to me.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Varying Degrees of Awful

Last Saturday, I was walking into my local Metro station when I was asked for spare change by an allegedly homeless person.  The exchange damn near broke my spirit because it happened like this:

"Hey, man, spare some cha-oh, sorry, bro."

I was wearing some green, heavy-duty carpenter's pants that I use as hiking pants.  They are durable, but have wide enough legs that the thick denim isn't stifling, even in a DC summer.  These pants are pretty faded, worn around the hem, and have some permanent grass stains at the knees.  I was also wearing a green, long sleeve shirt that I always think makes me look like a revolutionary.  Apparently, I looked so pathetic that even a homeless man didn't want any change I might have had.

Thanks, Universe.  I needed this.  Everything is now cobagulating.

I try to remind myself that my life could be so much worse, but this doesn't feel helpful.  Everything can always be worse.  There can always be some other, larger, more hideous monster around the corner.  As much as I sympathize with the plights of so many people in the world, reminding myself that other people live in utter terror for their lives doesn't make me want to thank the Good Lord Pasta for my life.  I am torn between feeling guilt for being lucky enough to be born who I was born, and for trying to assuage that guilt by remembering that I didn't have any choice in the matter, so far as I know.

At least I can go to sleep, reminding myself that life isn't fair, there is no plan.  This comforts me more than any other platitude.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Goofy Confessions Used to be Thing

Confessional Mondays or whatever used to be one of those go-to joke posts or go-to emotional posts that people would use for inspiration in the days before Facebook consumed all everything.  To remind myself to attempt to live up to my own ideals, here is a hopefully funny, but probably lamely egotistical posts.*

I often confuse Cracker Barrel with Crate and Barrel.

I thoroughly enjoy and support high school robotics competitions, but worry about the use of drone technology by any entity.

I don't read as much as I'd like, but I am playing video games much less than earlier times in my life.

I can barely keep up with the pace of the New Yorker's print schedule, mostly because I spend so much time in my garden during the day.

I have not applied to jobs because I was worried I would be offered those jobs.

I find mowing my lawn tedious, but will spend hours weeding around my roses, hyacinths, irises, and lilies.

I am willing to shoot a deer, but almost cried when I ran over a hiding rabbit with my lawnmower. 

I refuse to look in medical textbooks, unless I am forced to perform surgery after the whateveralypse.

I have many books on my shelves that I haven't read because I want my guests to think I have read them.  This desire has greatly lessened since Lady Chemisty joined my life.

I like to think advertising doesn't work on me.

I have yet to finish writing a single story.

* 90% of this sentence is redundant.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Cooking With Reckless Abandon: Bacon and Egg Biscuits

So here's the thing about these amazingly awesome breakfast cupcakes: I was inspired by a picture I saw on Imgur.  I didn't bookmark it, so I can't link to it.  Imgur uses a shit-ton of my monthly allotment of internet, so I am not able to go searching through piles of pictures.  If you have a problem with this, go blog about it.  The only reason I am prefacing this recipe with this information is to explain why I am not naming these biscuits anything fancier than Bacon and Egg Biscuits.  Had I invented them, I might call them Grandmother's Revenge, or perhaps The Uncanny Canadian's Secret Desire.

Let's get down to biscuitness:
Coffee - Preferably hot and fresh, like my women.  Ha.
Bisquik - Yeah, this is straight up unpaid product placement, but I don't care so you should shut your dirty mouth.
Milk - Thanks for the check, cows.
Garlic - I put this in just about everything now. Deal with it.
Bacon - Whatever kind you like.  I used some Costco thick-cut, hickory smoked.
Eggs - The kind that comes out of a chicken.  If you have access to ostrich eggs, you may need less of those.
Spices - You can forgo these if you are Scandinavian or live in the Midwest and claim a specific ethnic heritage but can not actually speak the language of your ancestors.

Make some coffee.  Start your oven preheating your oven to 450, if you're using a convection oven this should end up at 425.  Drink some coffee.  Slap that slab of bacon on your cutting board, take a look at your cupcake pan, and cut some strips of bacon into thirds.  I chose thirds because I didn't think I had enough bacon to provide a full lining around the edge of each cupcake divot.  If you have a full bacon lining, that might be more grease than you would like, but you can always eat a few more salads next week, maybe go for another jog next month.  Put your bacon sections in the cups, and drink some more coffee.  Remember to wash your hands.

Make some biscuits from the back of the Bisquik box, 2 3/4 cups of mix and 2/3 cup of milk.  Think about the total package for a minute while drinking some coffee.  Refill your cup while you remember everything about these biscuits, the bacon you're using, and every egg that you have ever consumed.  Drink some coffee, and then grab some garlic.  Smush your cloves with the flat of the blade, just like Anthony Bourdain or The Half-Blood Prince would, then dice the cloves.  Throw the garlic into the bowl with the mixed biscuit dough, drink some coffee, and then knead the garlic into the dough.  Tear the dough, knead it, and really mix that garlic into the proto-biscuits.

Wash your hands, drink some coffee, and then contemplate the nature of cupcakes and biscuits.  Even if you are using a non-stick pan, I would recommend smearing the bacon around the cupcake divots to grease the divots, just in case.  Tear a bit of dough, about a one to two inch thick ball, and squash that into the bottom of each divot.  You want to fill the divots no more than half-full. 

Now, you are ready for the egg phase of this masterpiece.  Drink some coffee, and then grab an egg.  Take a spoon, or maybe a knife, and whack the narrower part of the egg.  You want to crack the egg, but not shatter it.  Pour the egg into the cupcake divots, over the dough.  The bacon will fill the role of the paper lining people sometimes use with cupcakes.  When you've finished topping all the divots with eggs, wash your hands, and drink some coffee.  Maybe remind yourself that you won't stay up until 3 am cruising Imgur again.  If you want to cut down on the number of eggs used, you may not own a flock of chickens.  As I was saying, if you want to cut down on the eggs, you could try mixing the eggs before pouring them over the divots.  I would estimate that you could probably get away with only 2/3 the eggs, as compared to the eventual biscuits.  For today's recipe, I could have probably used eight eggs for twelve biscuits.

Grind some fresh pepper over the eggs, drink some coffee, and then put the whole pan in the oven for about 12-13 minutes.  I set the timer for 8 minutes, since the Bisquik box said 8-10 minutes for pure biscuits, but I ended up leaving them in for another 5 minutes.  The eggs developed large bubbles, and I poked these after 8 minutes because I knew that the thin egg in the bubble could get burned or crusty.

Anyway, once the eggs look done enough, take the pan out of the oven, wake up your sweet babboo, drink some coffee, consume the biscuits, and marvel at my genius.

Variants: You could add cheese to the dough, or sprinkle some on top of the egg.  You can use other spices, like some provincial herbs on the eggs, or chopped fresh rosemary from your garden in the dough.  Chives would also work, but I would put those in the dough or between the dough and eggs.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Throwing a housewarming party, or a wedding, is not that hard at the core of it.  You invite friends and family, maybe some neighbors, maybe your real estate agent, and then a few people who you don't expect to show up.  You organize some snacks and a selection of drinks, coordinate some musical entertainment, and the party handles itself as long as people actually show up.  Typically, there is some gift-giving, unless you are in the habit of throwing these sorts of parties less than once a year.  The typical gift is some sort of useful home tool or accent.  You know the crap of which I write, candles, towels, big spoons, breadmakers, wall hangings, etc.

These gifts are all supposed to help you make the place a home.  Your friends have given you these things to ease your transition from one space to another, and in the case of a wedding, from one lifestyle to another.  There you were, with those things that were yours, and here you are, with these things that are the happy couple's.  You don't need to worry about how you will grate your cheese from now on, but you will worry about who will shower first.  You can focus on the two of you, now that you have an automatic coffee maker.  You can throw away that towel that other women or men have used, but you can not throw out those memories.  You have the time to talk while the slow-cooker makes dinner for the next few nights.  You have an unsafe number of scented candles gathering dust on your bookshelf, but now you need to buy a new bookshelf because that one doesn't quite fit the style you're aiming for in this room.  You buy furniture with a style, formerly second to purpose.

Somewhere in all this, the relationship will fall into place.  These gifts will aide you in merging two lives into one.  All fear for the future will be eased matching flatware and silver.  All doubts will disappear as the home becomes a comfortable place.  All desire will dissipate under the relentless wheel of routine.