Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sometimes I Suck

So I sat down at the piano tonight. It’s been a while, but I figured since Andrea was at boxing class, I would try to figure out a tune or two.

Turns out I really, really suck at playing the piano. 

Of course, over  my 44 years (did I just admit that) I’ve probably spent a total of like, three hours playing the piano, so it’s no surprise that I suck, but it’s still a bit disappointing.

I’ve always been pretty musically inclined. I’m no Eddie Van Halen, that’s for sure, but I can belt out a few cool tunes to sing along with on the bass or guitar.

But back to this piano bullshit (and that’s exactly what it is) It just doesn’t make any sense to me. There are no frets or strings (on the outside anyway.) It’s just a bunch of white keys with some black ones tossed in every once in a while to fuck with you and make it even harder.

Seriously, I can sit and figure out a tune with one hand, then figure out the other hand but asking me to try to play them together at the same time is like asking me to not be handsome first thing in the morning. It’s just impossible.

I really shouldn’t even get so bent out of shape about sucking at the piano. There are lots of things I’m not good at. Hell, I may as well make a list for you, so in the future, if you ever ask me to do any of the things, you can expect a half-assed job

  • Sewing – On by best day I can sew a button on a shirt, but it’s guaranteed to be crooked and fall off within a day. God forbid I try to darn a sock
  • Yodeling – Yeah, not gonna happen and I don’t even know why I thought of it.
  • Lying (not to be confused with exaggerating or my bad memory) – I really suck at lying. I just can’t pull it off. Firstly, I’m too dim to actually remember what I lied about and I think I have a tick when I do it anyway. So if you ever see my rubbing my eye and scratching my ear at the same time, I’m probably trying to tell a lie.
  • I asked Andrea what I’m not good at and she said “Humility and self awareness” wtf does she know?
  • Also, according to Andrea, I suck at cleaning. I don’t think I do, but maybe I’m just faking not being good at cleaning so I don’t have to do it ( would that be lying?)
  • Leaf blowing – I SO suck at this. I really try to be cool like those gardeners you see that can blow leaves into nice piles with such finesse but I just end up blowing shit all over the place and making more of a mess than when I started.  It’s not like I can practice in my garage or something
  • Typing – I’m a shitty typer. You have no idea how long it takes me to type this stuff
I could go on and on, but that would get boring and I like to keep my blogs lively and fun.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m good at lots of stuff and in no way do I dwell on the stuff I’m not good at (except maybe the leaf blower thing) but I think it’s sometimes good to appreciate our ineptitudes (look at me with my big words) so maybe we can sit at that piano, grab that sewing kit or leaf blower and work at it. 

After all, shouldn’t we all be striving to be better at all the things we do?


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

One Moment in Time

No, I’m not talking about that Whitney Houston song, although now I have it stuck in my head...

No, I’m talking about those once in a lifetime moments that make you go “Holy shit! I did this!”

The reason I’m even thinking about this is because of Romo’s final strike to win the World Series the other night. I mean, holy crap! How awesome must that have felt to be up there and throw that pitch to win the effing WORLD SERIES!? 
I imagine there are millions of kids (and adults) that dream (or have dreamed) of a moment like that.
Some will achieve it, but most won’t to that extent.

We’ve all had these kinds of moments though. If not yet, we certainly will.

Remember that wedding day? The birth of your first (or second/third/eighth) child? Your very first taste of Top Ramen? That day you got your first dog?

Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

For me, it was crossing the finish line at my first Ironman. No, I didn’t win it, or even finish in the top 50% that day, but I did it and that was my one and only goal. It put me in a place emotionally that I’ve never been that can’t be duplicated. 

A lot of people task my why I’m always doing Ironman races. Why I train so much, why I put my social life on hold and put my body through hell.

I do it because crossing that finish line is MY “moment in time” and I have to say, there’s nothing in the world like it.

Yeah, some people may think I’m crazy for doing triathlons, but I tell ya, I think they’re crazy for not doing them.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Childhood Memories…

Childhood memories are a funny thing. We have good ones and bad ones and as many as we have, it seems our parents have even more.
I swear my Mom pulls the most embarrassing stories out of nowhere at the drop of a hat. Like that damn flamingo tie I used to wear when we went to the symphony together. You’d think it was the only article of clothing I had from ages 12-17 as often as she brings it up.
She recently brought up the time when I was 5 and I kept stealing cherries –one at a time- off the cherry cheesecake she made, thinking she wouldn’t notice. Yeah, apparently I ended up eating them all. And she noticed.

Don’t remember that one.

We all have certain special memories though, ones that really stand out. That one day or that one thing or moment we think back on that brings a smile to our face. Some are stupid and insignificant to anyone but ourselves, yet some we barely remember and others will never forget.

Whether we cherish them, hate them, laugh or cry about them, they’re there and always will be.

I remember one day –I must have been around 10 or so- some friends and I decided to ride our bikes out to this little creek. I don’t recall if it was raining when we left, but it was certainly pouring when we got there.
We tossed our bikes on the side of the road, walked down to the creek and jumped right in, clothes and all.
The mud had to have been a foot deep and I remember jumping around and playing in it thinking “this is the best day I’ve ever had” and, while life has brought me many more memorable and much happier days (in my adult mind), I’ll never forget laying in that mud, staring up into the sky and being 100% genuinely happy.

I remember sitting on my Mom’s sewing room floor and telling her my legs were “two feet long.”

I remember walking home from work one day in the rain when I was 18 and a giant raindrop hit me square in the middle of the head.
I don’t know why I remember that, but I do, and every time a big raindrop hits me in the head, I wonder if I’ll remember it the way I remember that one from 24 years ago.

I never do.

I have a million other memories and believe me, most would bore you to tears (like I’m not already doing that?) but there’s also much I don’t remember from my youth.

I wish I had more pictures…

I sometimes wish I had a better memory so I could look back on my youth and smile about it more than I already do, but if I did, would that lessen the degree of sentiment I carry for the memories I do have?

Monday, January 2, 2012

I’m Probably More Psychic than You

Over the past couple of years I’ve come to the realization that I’m pretty psychic or something.

I sometimes wake up with crazy premonitions and occasionally have random things pop into my head throughout the day that sure enough happen and I’ll say “Man! I KNEW that was going to happen!” but have no proof that it would other than saying I knew it would.

While I barely have enough of an attention span to remember to finish flossing and often find myself with a piece of dental floss hanging out of my mouth wondering how it got there, I do have the ability to focus on things I want and things I want to have happen. And no, I’m not talking about the manipulation of people or situations to get these things. I’m talking about weird metaphysical type crap.

I’m a big believer in positive visualization. I like to think I can think about things and have them happen, sometimes that same day, sometimes a few days later or sometimes even months later.
Of course this isn’t always the case. If it was I’d be driving a Ferrari with my imaginary girlfriend (you know who you are) wearing bacon underwear (me, not her) and getting million dollar checks in the mail on a daily basis.

It's really pretty simple..

An example:

After a charity chili cook-off at work, they raffled off a bunch of stuff. One of the prizes was a gift certificate for a dozen gourmet cupcakes a month for 6 months (yeah, like I really needed that). I thought about how much all the other raffle prizes sucked and I pictured myself stuffing my face with gourmet cupcakes, showing up for parties with dozens of cupcakes, sharing cupcakes with the hot Russian girls in operations and pretty much being the cupcake guy. 
I knew I was going to win it and, sure enough, much to the chagrin of my office mates, I did.

I once went out on a Saturday to garage sales with the sole intention of finding a particular kind of desk and chair for my living room. Sure enough, that day I found exactly what I was looking for and here I sit, at that awesome desk.
Another recent example is the ipad2 I won at the company Christmas party. Earlier that evening, I was in the bathroom getting ready. I looked in the mirror and said out loud “I can’t wait to win that ipad tonight” I seriously almost updated my FaceBook status before I left to say that same thing, but didn’t.
Sure enough, I won that ipad.

So now I’m wondering if I should start keeping a log of these cool “premonitions I have and check them off as they happen. Or would that screw up the whole cosmic deal and change it so these things won’t ever happen?

Really, I have no idea how it works. Whether it’s just dumb luck, random cosmic mojo or the reality of positive visualization,  I do know that it’s better to stay focused on the things you want to have happen and the things you want in your life, rather than the things you don’t want to have happen or the things you don’t want in your life.

It's like that simple old mountain biking tip. When you see a rock, focus on the space next to the rock where you want your wheel to go and you will miss the rock every time. Focus on the rock and how much you don't want to hit it and you will hit the rock damn near every time.

This is a big part of how I live my life and -not that I'm some wise man or anything- I think a lot of people would be a whole lot happier if they did the same.

Or maybe I’m just a bit kookoo…


Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

So here we are, in a nice and shiny, brand new year and I have to say, as far as years go, 2011 was pretty awesome. I met a lot of amazing people, did some really cool stuff and I think I ended up a better person than when 2011 started, which is sort of the goal anyway, right?

I’ve never been one for New Years resolutions. I think they’re silly and in many cases, just set people up for disappointment. A lot of people make their resolutions and within a few weeks, find themselves at the donut shop rather than the gym or at a happy hour with friends, rather than the juice bar.

But in the spirit of the season, I decided I’d make a list of a few resolutions for 2012 and with some hard work, determination and a little help from my friends, family and coworkers, I think I can make them stick.

1)      Stop stubbing my toe so often - I have a habit of walking into things on a pretty regular basis and I have to say, this is something I believe I could do without. I’m also going to include hitting my funny bone, poking myself in the eye, falling down in public and cutting myself while shaving in this one. It’s kind of a resolution bundle.
2)      Get pedicures more often - If you’ve ever seen my feet, you know this is a good one.
3)      Get a new office chair - I love my office chair, but it has a habit of randomly reclining and usually only does it when someone walks into my cube. It’s kinda funny, but it also sometimes does it when I’m on the phone with attorneys and it’s embarrassing when I go “GAAAH!” in the middle of a conversation. Totally not professional.
4)      Spend more money - I like having new stuff. Who doesn’t? Saving money is stupid, so I’m going to make an effort to buy more cool stuff for myself and other people. Maybe I’ll start with a new coffee table that is less prone to toe stubbage?
5)      Eat more bacon - As much as I love bacon, I don’t eat it as often as I should. And if my whole “bacon underwear” plan works out well, I’m going to need to stock up anyway.
6)      Drink more coffee - I love coffee so I should drink more.
7)      Be nicer to kids - Actually, I know this isn’t going to happen, so forget it.
8)      Be better looking – This one is pretty superficial, and yes, I know you’re probably thinking “That’s impossible”, as I'm already too good looking, but I honestly think I can make this happen.
9)      Stop using regular eating utensils and use only a spork - This needs no explanation.
10)  Use bleach when washing my whites – They’re just not white enough
11) Work on my posture – They say that the quickest way to lose 10 lbs is to stand up straight, so I’m really going to make an effort here. Maybe if I learn to do a back bend, I’ll look like I’m at my optimal weight and won’t have to exercise or watch what I eat.

Wow, that’s a lot more stuff than I thought.

Yes, there are a lot of silly resolutions I could make, like watching my diet, going to the gym, learning a language, doing more charity work or spending more time with family and friends, but I thought it would be better to make a list of things I may actually do.
I’m sure as the year progresses I’ll come up with a few more things I would like to start/stop doing and it's likely I'll blow it on a few of these, but I’m going to do my best to make these stick. Yes, it's going to be hard, but the payoff will be worth it in the end.

Happy 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Like it or not

I was recently given a bag of walnuts by a guy who, um…raises walnuts? Maybe he’s a walnut farmer? Or would it be a picker or processor? What would you call that? A Walnuteer?

Anyway, I have this bag of walnuts I was given and initially, I was thinking “wtf am I going to do with a bag of walnuts? I hate walnuts!” because without a doubt, if I eat a brownie or cookie or pretty much anything baked with walnuts, I’ll spit it out.However, I remembered that I like them by themselves or on salads (especially candied) and in oatmeal (but not oatmeal cookies) so I gladly took this nutty gift. I'm even eating walnuts as I type this.

This makes no sense to me. If I like walnuts I should always like them, right?
Same thing goes for tomatoes though. By themselves or in a nice caprese salad or bruschetta, I could eat them all day long. Put em on a sammich or a cheeseburger and I won’t eat it. I shudder at the mere thought.

This has got to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever written about…

Now I’m wracking my brain trying to think of other stuff that I sometimes like but sometimes don’t,  but I can’t think of anything I’m really wish-washy on. Just stuff I either love or hate.

I like chocolate pretty much all the time.
Bacon is out, as my love for it knows no bounds. I would wear bacon underwear if I thought I could get out of the house without Tex chewing my pants off or causing a ruckus in the office because of the delicious aroma of bacon sizzling from my pants because it's next to my hot booty. (I may try this as a dating tactic, I'll keep you posted)
I love Top Ramen more than anything. It’s stupid how much I love it. I would eat it three times a day every day if I knew I wouldn’t die from it.  My next tattoo is going to be the Maruchan logo. I kid you not.

 I guess celery and carrots qualify, as I can’t stand either of them. Give me a celery stalk or a carrot stick and I’ll probably feed them to your dog. If you don’t have a dog, I’ll hide them in your underwear drawer (next to the bacon underwear?) for you to find a month later. But on the other hand, I can’t make chicken soup without them.

Liver is one of those things I can’t eat in any form.
I’m really not crazy about lemon pepper seasoning, but that’s not a food, so I don’t think it belongs in this blog post.
Rye bread bread is...actually, there are no words to describe my hatred for rye bread.
Years ago, oysters would have been on this list, but I like them now. Same goes for mussels. This I cannot explain.

Maybe if I make myself a walnut sammich on rye with carrots, celery, tomatoes and lemon pepper liver I’ll get past this.

This pointless drivel has been brought to you by the letter zzzzzzzzzzz and the number 7.


Monday, December 19, 2011

You wish your soup was this good!

So I decided that since I make pretty much the most amazing chicken soup in the history of the world, I would share it with the average layman folk (that’s you).
It’s so ridiculously simple I almost feel guilty that it’s so delicious, but if you follow my detailed, easy to read directions, you too can make soup better than anyone (except for me).

I’ll start with the chicken. You could season and roast your own whole chicken, but I prefer to just pick up one of the rotisserie chickens from Costco.
I eat about 1/3 of it and then use the rest for soup the next day. So basically, I'm getting three or more meals from a $5 Costco chicken.

Now this is the part where you need to read very carefully. Veering from any one of these steps will certainly result in failure, so don’t say I didn’t warn you if your soup tastes like crap. It's your fault, not mine.

Pop the chicken carcass (that sounds so gross) into a pot of water and boil on medium high for about 30-40 minutes.

Got that? Good, you’re well on your way.

Now for the list of ingredients-

  • 2-3 carrots -  I hate carrots, but you can’t make chicken soup without them, so put em in and shut up. Stupid carrots!
  • 3-4 celery stalks – I hate celery too, but you can’t make chicken soup without it, so get it in there.
  • 1 medium onion – Onions rule!
  • A bunch of mushrooms – I love mushrooms, so I put a lot in there. If you don’t like mushrooms, you’re an idiot and should just stop reading now. Really, they’re delicious and there’s something wrong with you.
  • Some wild rice stuff – I like this because I think it’s better for you than plain old white rice and definitely adds more flavor, and even though I kinda feel like a hippie for using it, it’s purty.
  • Salt and pepper to taste (like you have any)
 So there you have it. Now start chopping all that crap up while the chicken is cooking so you’ll have it ready to go. We need to be efficient, people!

Okay, now here’s where it may get tricky for some of you, so  r e a d  t h i s  p a r t 
s l o w l y…

Put a strainer in a big bowl and dump the pot of dead chicken sauce in it. Take out the strained chicken and set it aside.

Then take your chicken sauce and pour it from the bowl back into the pot through one of these strainer things to get all the gross little leftover particles out.

Dump all your perfectly sliced vegetables in the pot (don’t worry if it seems full, the vegetable will…um…what’s the word for it? Yeah, cook and they will get smaller.Add a few cups of water and
simmer on medium heat.

 While all that yummy stuff (your house should be starting to smell really good, by the way) is cooking, start stripping the chicken carcass of all the meat, being VERY careful not to get any bones and also being careful not to throw up because you're stripping the meat off a dead chicken carcass and it's just gross to think about.
WARNING: If you are an idiot like I am, you will burn your fingers like I do every time because this chicken just came out of a pot of BOILING WATER!

Anyway, when you’re done, you’ll have this giant pile of chicken and all you’re going to want to do is shove your face in it like a cokehead at a swinger’s party in 1978, but please refrain. It’s chicken soup and you kinda need the chicken for it.

 So now that you’ve added all your ingredients, just add a couple of these…

And one of these…

 And 2-3 of these and let it simmer on low until the rice is cooked.

 That’s it and that’s all I have to say. Well that and if anyone wants to come over for some delicious homemade soup, I’ll have a bowl waiting for you.