Monday, January 31, 2005

Hey Jealousy

There's a jealous girl in my life. She envies any attention that I hand out to anyone or anything - but her. She demands that I spend as much time as possible chasing her, walking her, feeding and rubbing her belly.

I'm talking of Trudy, of course.

This problem became evident a few weeks back when I continued my role of taking in my mother's pets - she can't have the cat in her temporary apartment - hence, I have a cat until April.

At night, when I used to enjoy sleeping, Tigger (the cat) would hop into my bed and rub against my hand or arm until I pet him, and Trudy would immediately hop into the bed too. Which is weird, because she hates cuddling - unless she has competition.

If the cat comes near me, she chases him off. If he looks at me funny, she chases him off. If my neighbor talks to me, she barks at him, hoping he'll run off (doesn't really work - she'd look far more menacing without the wagging tail).

And she'd probably be really happy, except that I have a girlfriend now, and she could probably handle it a little better. For instance, if I'm hugging or kissing D (my girlfriend), Trudy (my dog), will start jumping up and down, greeting us and trying to work her way in.

She hops onto the couch when we watch movies, and she's never, never far from me these days. I feel like I've grown a new limb sometimes. So far, violence has been averted, but Trudy, while kind of dumb, is shifty. But I don't wake up in the middle of the night convinced she wants me dead - which I can't say about the cat, but that's another post entirely.

In any case, it's kind of sweet that she's so possessive and jealous, but it's also a little weird. (And yes - I'm sticking with the girlfriend no matter what). Ultimately though, if this is the worst problem I can muster up right now, I'd have to say things are going pretty well. Hopefully, the dog won't hurt me in a jealous fit of rage - or shit in my shoes. Either one would kind of stink.

Shameless Self-Promotion

See? I'm still alive . . .

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

What's the . . .

four words that generally lead to horrible injury?

"Hey guys! Watch this!" Or words to that effect.

It's very sad that she died, and my heart goes out to her family and friends.

But don't you think she might have tried her little trick say, ON THE FLOOR BEFORE THE BALCONY? Good lord! It's not rocket science! Sigh.

Hey! Two posts in one night! Do I rule or what?

I Feel a Great Disturbance in the Force . . .

Ego is a powerful motivator. Normal, simple statements of fact, when given an ego wash, become exercises in hyperbole. But still, I consider myself a fairly honest person, so in my eyes, when I mean I make some pretty damn good cookies, it comes out that I make the Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookies in the Western Hemisphere.

That's a tall order to live up to, let me tell you.

So you might have divined that I'm dating someone right now (subtle hints like the layer of dust and clouds of moths around this corner of cyberspace), and she invited me over for dinner last night. "Of course!" I said, looking forward to a quiet evening with her. "What would you like me to bring?" I asked, expecting a wine request.

"I keep hearing about those cookies - I want some of those," she said. (Okay, actually, I offered to bring them, but the story sounds so much better this way - like I said, honesty).

So Monday evening, I crept down to the basement and unearthed The Recipe. I dug out the Golden Bowl. I gathered the ingredients. I put on my apron. Yep - Brian was getting his bake on.

I sifted the flour, mixed the dough and folded in the chocolate chips. The oven? Preheated. I put the parchment down on the cookie sheet (no amateur here, kids), applied the dough with my special Cookie-only ice cream scoop, and sat down on the couch, dreaming of the sheer appreciation in her eyes.

The first sign of trouble was the smoke alarm going off.

Smoke seeped from the open oven door, and there was a mess of burned chocolate chips all over the parchment paper.

Now, I've been baking cookies since I was about eight. My father and I used to do this a lot. He showed me the basics, and I've developed a few tricks and wrinkles along the way. But I've never, never, never, never burned a cookie. Until now.

The appreciative look in her eyes turned to scorn. I started sweating. What the hell was happening?

I put the second round out on the cookie sheets and cut the time by a minute. And still they burned. Tragic. What could I do?

Baking relaxes me; it's easy - I think while I do this, my hands know the motions, so it's a simple activity for me. And yet, here was a black, bubbling mess - a chocolate chip holocaust.

No longer can I claim the Greatest Cookies Ever. No longer can I brag about my baking acumen. But, more importantly, what the hell was I going to do about tomorrow? A bag of Oreos? No. Store-bought chocolate chip cookies? Never!

I went with a nice cheesecake, and a healthy helping of humble pie. My tinkering with my recipe finally blew up in my face - at a most inopportune time. It's back to basics - and hopefully appreciative looks (as well as no scraping black chocolate residue off my cookie sheets).

In any case, it was a lovely evening. Even if my ego took a little slap-down.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

2004 in Review (Briefly)

Since 2004 has been over and gone for about two weeks now, I thought I would mention my favorite things about it . . . and that's it - no more mention of it ever again. Ever. Not a bit. None.

So here we go:
Favorite albums from the year (in no particular order):

  • Arcade Fire - Funeral
  • Brian Wilson - Smile
  • Hem - Eveningland
  • Rogue Wave - Out of the Shadow
  • Garden State Soundtrack

Favorite books I read (again, no particular order):
  • Chasm City - Alaistair Renolds
  • To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (I know, I read it in high school, but it's just that damn good)
  • Alexander Hamilton - Ron Chernow

Best night of sleep:
May 29 - We'd just come off the trail. Two hours later, we were in a small cabin near Olympic National Park, and as cold rain pelted the roof, I collapsed on the futon, warmed by the propane stove next to me.

Other stuff:
New job, new car, plus a few other changes that I'm excited about. All in all, 2004 was a good year. Now, I promise not to be as lazy and start writing daily again. Okay - weekly.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Bullies and Table Etiquette - Final Vegas Post

If Chris were any more a retiree, he would have been wearing his bathrobe. I kind of figured that out when he sat down at the table - his plaid shirt, knee-lenght shorts, salt-and-pepper mustache and black socks told me all I needed to know.

And since we were reveling in stereotypes, he was crabby, but to be fair, I ate too much - playing the role of chubby white kid.

Our first encounter started when he started yelling at me over where I held my cards. He proceeded to lecture me when he almost mucked my cards along with his. The second time it happened, I snarled, "Dude! My fingers are on my cards? What the hell do you want?"

He muttered something under his breath, and then our rivalry really began. I was dealt K2o on the button and limped in. Generally, I don't play this hand, but I was bored - not having seen anything in awhile, so I figured what the hell? Rainbow flop - but there was a 2. Everyone checked to me, so I bet. And everyone but two callers folded - Chris being one of the foldees.

My king popped up on the turn, so I started betting in earnest and wound up winning the pot. Chris lost his shit. Badly.

"I knew you had a second pair. Knew it. You guys always just get lucky. You don't know how to play. I know how to play the game - it's not luck." Blah blah blah.

I'm not going to lie. I didn't like this guy. At all. And for the next two hours, when I went on a monster rush and wound up $100 (at a $1-$3 table, to boot), he seethed and muttered.

Then he gave the luck speech again. Finally, I looked over at him and asked "If you're so damn good, why are you short stacked at at 1-3 table?" He shut up and moved to a different seat. After that, I contented myself with raising him every time he tried limping into the flop.

Eventually, I left the table and moved out into the cool night. I shouldn't let jackasses like that bother me, but bullies just push my buttons and I can't seem to force myself to turn the other cheek. He's just a lonely old man trying to feel important somewhere. And maybe I saw more than a little of myself in him as well.

In any case, the trip ended the next day. The real world beckoned off in the distance, and like all things, this trip came to an end. I swore no more Vegas for at least a year - or at least six months. I just need a little time to forget the exhaustion.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Lessons Learned

Here's what I've learned so far in 2005:

  • Ear infections are painful
  • Without constant vigilance, my house and life will revert to utter chaos
  • Is there anything more fun than a wedding reception where you know virtually everyone?
  • My couch is not a good make-out couch

Now that the holidays have ended, I'll revert to a more normal blogging schedule - and there may be a few changes hereabouts.

Happy New Year, everyone.