Birthday!

Yes it’s my birthday once again.
So I’ll take a quick 10 minutes (ketchup style) to write about it and then I am off for funs and stuff. Maybe an arcade (yes they are growing around NYC now, and no De Blasio doesn’t want to get rid of the horse carriages for a pinball arena, and no I won’t link to the story about the horse carriages, because to hell with de Blasio)

So what does the Daily News Horoscope have to say?

You’re a unique and interesting person who can control a conversation. This year, draw on the knowledge you’ve learned from others. With abundant Jupiter’s influence moving to your solar third house, you can be in the spotlight. Life is what you make of it.

Alrighty then!

Why do we give all the gifts to the birthday person? They didn’t really do anything, they kind of just showed up. They certainly didn’t plan it. How about a gift for the parents once in a while. They did everything, include carry you around for 9 months, raise, clothe and feed you for many years after. Part of the reason you are so awesome and good looking is because of them. So parents are your agents in a sense. They deserve a cut. So if you are at that age that people get you wine (and you have awesome friends who know what a good gift is – which as an aside, a book is the best gift ever, IMHO) share a glass of it with them. If co-workers bring you a cake, (since you usually can’t drink with them until AFTER 5pm) give em a slice.

Do I have any notable birthdays? Well not really, they are usually fun, and include dinner and drinks with friends. Sometime I take off work (this year is no exception), but sometimes I stay in. Apparently I threw some people off, because I already have two messages that co-workers came to drop off a gift and I wasn’t there! So the mailbox area might look like a wine cabinet…

So…how old am I anyway? Want to guess? Try it. Get it right, and you get bragging rights. Or you win that amount in individual Cadbury Robins Eggs, since they are super cheap now, and yes I still have an open pack in my desk and don’t get grossed out that they are stale or something, because some of you know that you would crack open my desk drawer to get at them. Or ask me nicely, with my arm behind my back. How could I refuse!

Anyway, timer running down (on the phone not my ticker).
One more year in the books!

Ok fine I went a minute over, but I wanted to mention there are a LOT of people I meet that have a birthday on or around the same as mine. Yes they are instantly friends.

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Filed under Fun times, Life

The Spices of Life

I noticed this daily wordpress prompt, and was immediately inspired. Like the Ketchup prompts have instructed lately, I wrote this in exactly 10 minutes.

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Growing up, I was never a fan of spice. When my dad made his famous chili it had to be mild or no one would eat it. I would sometimes get into BBQ sauces and they were a little vinegary, but as far as heat, I didn’t even put pepper on my food. Even in college I wasn’t so daring. I do admit going through a bottle of KC masterpiece sauce every month during those days. In fact by the end of that time, I was also popping pepto-bismol and dealing with what would be severe acid reflux. I had to do on a bland diet and upgrade to Prilosecs for a while, and blandness became a habit. Pretty much was my personality as well!

Then I turned 30 and everything changed. Suddenly I loved pickles. And suddenly I loved spices.

My girlfriend at the time made a mean salsa verde. Essentially smoked jalapeno peppers cilantro and other ingredients. I went to Indian restaurants and insisted that the Shrimp Vindaloo be extra spicy, essentially not to tame it down for the white boy. One time after stressing that the Pad Kra Prow be cooked with extra chili oil, the Thai restaurant waiter ‘playfully’ taunted me with the pitcher of ice water, which he would pour into a very small cup.

To bring the point home, if the adrenaline wasn’t pumping and I was not getting a food ‘high’, it wasn’t hot enough. Even my father couldn’t believe it, and by that time, his own tastes had kept the chili milder. His signature dish, and my mother’s chicken cutlet batter began receiving spoonfuls of chipotle sauce, and sandwiches got a dab mixed in with the mayo.

In my recent trip to Chicago, I went to Frontera, and with the boldness of a blood orange margarita, I generously slathered the house bottled chili sauce on my tortillas, and while spooning up the last of the salsa provided with my appetizer, I belatedly thought – waitaminute, this is habanero sauce isn’t it. Survey says – number one answer. Or number two. Yeah WordPress you wanted to know.

I have calmed it down a bit these days, but I do like my spice. Pepper is now a friend. I make a nice buffalo sauce for wings (but really its easy) and a little Franks or Durkees is on hand for a slice of pizza.

It’s still about the flavor though, spicy doesn’t have to be deadly.

Then again, I haven’t taken the challenge at Brick Curry house. Doubt I will. The description I got from a friend was something along the lines of ‘hurting’. But hey, he got that t shirt.

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Filed under Food, Restaurants, Writing Challenges

Ketchup With Us #39 – Four For 4/4

Ms Mel and ODNT Want a linkup, new or old. Maybe there was some awesomeness that went unaccoladed – now’s your chance! Ketchup With Us

I used this chance to revisit a fun thing I do. Four things on the Fourth day of the Fourth Month.

Also I decided to do it in 10 minutes and so each one got the fair shot of rambling, each bit was 2 minutes 30 seconds.

Mr G I will let you know about burgers soon. I have already met with other ‘online friends’- a term that was dubious back in the 90’s but is absolutely acceptable these days. Still I carry a whisper of that doubt, as I guess people see that I get along with so many people in the real world that it is still somehow different. Let me tell you there are people in your own company that you have worked with for years and never met. One professor who starts after I leave for example. We could have stood next to each other at an event and never knew it, when I met him, I realized…that wasn’t true. Anyway, so there are plenty of burger places and apparently a bar hidden upstairs from a five guys. I think though we’ll be going for ostrich burgers and a Guinness. My ending point being that I traveled to other cities to see some friends now time to make a day for the ones right here. Also you others need to come see us.

So I went to Chicago and Dallas and they were both great. I am exhausted and there is too much laundry waiting to be done, but I am glad I did it at this time. It leaves me open for more travels (that is after the next fiscal year rolls over and or after my tax refund comes back in). I got into the restaurants I wanted. I ate well, rested better, and saw the museums. Two things that I rate a city by, and glad to say that both cities passed. Dallas streets have few people and less litter. I spend way too much on souvenirs. I didn’t spend a lot on coffee, and I got some damn good deals on rooms that were right in the middle of town. One more US destination and then I look overseas. In the meantime my passport application sits in my bag, un-mailed. This weekend. I promise.

When I was younger I was apparently cute or precocious enough for my parents to see if I wanted to try out modeling/acting. I landed a few tiny things like textbooks, none of which I read or to my knowledge learned were defaced with devil beards and horns, until I landed an interview with some lady for a movie. “Why do you want to do this?” she asked. “Because my mom wanted me to.” She laughed and I made a good impression. Apparently also I made the short list for a movie about two boys who suddenly grew older and had to deal with this new situation. The script was changed, the movie was Big, and the woman who interviewed me was Penny Marshall. She never gave me a callback. Ah, well at least I am not on any terrible reality shows or dating late 80’s playboy models. And hey I got a paycheck. That’ll do.

So I now have one week until my windows XP machine is somehow no longer worthy of upgrades by Microsoft. I will be simply disconnecting it from the internet and using it for offline activities like games and writing, as I am sure that there will be a field day on XP machines. Well why not just upgrade they say? Well because in buying the upgrade to 7 or 8 and having to upgrade the hardware which is outdated, I will have to spend more than if I bought a new system. So why not just buy a new system, Good idea. I’ll switch to mac like everyone else is doing these days. So, well played Microsoft. Its days like this that I wonder why I got rid of my commodore 64 in the first place. THAT had Zak McKraken on it- which was the best game ever (shout out?). And dot matrix printers only less noisy than modems would be in later years.

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Filed under Ketchup With Us, Life, Lists, Travel, Writing Challenges

The Vault – Leaving It To The Experts

Note: this is part of a series of posts first written in my previous blog, now shut down.
(Original posting titled “Redefining My Status” – written 8/25/2011)

I did what I did, but would never do it again. This is why sometimes I dread dealing with the humans.

So I am heading to the grocery store one Sunday morning, which used to play 80’s music all the time and now sucks for many reasons (the store, not Sunday mornings), most of which are the fact that they don’t play 80’s music any more. But that helps.

There are a lot of old people around the co-op/apartment complexes I live usually, so an oldster sighting is not not common. There was one in particular shuffling by, but this was different. She was calling out “help! Help! Somebody please help me,” while holding her arms out in front of her as though her cane or walker was missing, and she was a step from falling. So me being part Superman, man of steel (I have some tight glutes) and because that void of the other part of me doesn’t want to be stagmatized with the status of “That dick who walked past an old lady who was crying out for help” by anyone who might be watching from their car or spy satellite, I detour my way to the path she is heading down.

As I caught up to her, I asked if she needed any help. She turned, grabbed my arm, and relayed her situation; she had to get to the building, which was about 30 feet away. Seeing as she was standing out there in the hot sun, I offer to walk her to the front door. She confesses to me that she’s old, and I appreciate the recon info – a passing thought wondered how many Bothans died getting that data. She’s rushing along and I tell her to take her time, and that we would walk up the ramp. She protested this, and proceeded to tell me that no, she needed to go to the corner, to catch a taxi/bus. I have the sudden creeping feeling this is not going to end well, as the bus stop is several blocks away and I pray to Jor-El that she meant an Access a Ride.

As I tell her that no taxi is around and that she would be better going home and calling them again, she gets agitated, refutes my illogical idea, and starts calling out for help again, but with me firmly in grip, making my status “Hoodlum/perhaps geriatric perv who (slowly) kidnaps old ladies”. Considering that people might actually be watching from their windows, which they do a lot of, I’m thinking of what aisle of the store I would be down already, listening to Ke$ha or something equally as dicksandpapering– and speaking of aisles, down this next path are benches! I suggest that we sit on the shaded benches and wait for this taxi, which she swears is here for her (the driver went into the building through the basement somehow and missed her).

She agrees, and my chances of being arrested for grannynapping are slightly reduced. I get her to the benches and reassure her that the taxi will be by soon. She feels better about this and so do I.

So I tell her that I have to go.

“You can’t leave me here! Help Help! Somebody help!”

So now I am “the dick who leaves old ladies on benches on hot days, even though I left her on a shady bench,” or better yet “guys who robs old ladies and then leaves them on a shady bench”. At this point, I’m willing to take that, since it’s at least a step up from “worthless son/daughter who doesn’t ensure that their elderly mother is properly attended, because that would be an expense and really they are just waiting for the parent to die so they can sell their house/condo/co-op”, which are a dime a dozen in this borough believe me. Fuckin’ believe me. Those people are in fact trumped by their very elders who are of the “I know you want the house and money and whatever else you think you deserve so I will stay alive just to spite you, you ungrateful bastard(s)”, which is why I kind of like the elderly around here, and come to their rescue when they stand around screaming for help.

Anyway…

So I look around and there are a few people around, incredibly, they are elderly as well. One of them is someone I recognize; “lady who walks around with an oxygen tank, and whose daughter smokes when taking walks with her mother, which would be really fucked up, except that the mother goes for her evening walks alone sometimes and hides behind parked buses/vans, unhooks the oxygen tank, and lights up a cigarette, so really big fucking deal.” Since I know her by this which practically makes us clan, I ask her in my suave, educated way “‘scuse me, do you know this lady? She needs help…or something.” The lady looks at me, and then to the woman and decides that she knew how to ask the questions, and the old lady seemed more relaxed. It’s a peer thing; maybe only a nurse would be the only type of person to know how to handle it.

So as they talk, the bubble is now around them and I, like a greased up ninja, slink away on my journey to the store.

To say that I would not approach a situation like this, I do not think that it should be criticized. There’s more to any deed than just being a good citizen; it’s about being capable of handling the situation – something I clearly could not do. While calling 911 or flagging down a police car might also seem heavy handed, I also clearly had no idea what the fuck to do with this lady. Being that it was the middle of the day, the bat signal would not have been effective either.

You know what they say – leave it to the superheros. I can imagine only the caped crusaders’ local 321 says that. Well, now I do too.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Humor, Life, Tales From the Vault, Uncategorized, Unvaulted

Ketchup With Us #38 – Homeward Bound

Ms Mel and ODNT Are giving you 10 minutes to write something, anything. Ketchup With Us


I’m on my way to Chicago tomorrow morning, returning home Friday. I will post pictures and stories upon my return. Until then, I began to think about whatever travels we go on, we somehow seek home again.

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What is home to you- Where the heart is? Where your hat is hung? The newly defined dwelling that love turns a house into?
For me it was an apartment building where I spent my formative years. 18 years to be exact, and we lived on the 18th floor. We had 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a balcony. I would sit out there on summer afternoons and ‘plane spot’ – the route to one of the airports was along the way and I would read the rear wing design. Most were American Airlines, sometimes I would see something unique. Alaska Air had an Eskimo on it. I even went to the liberry once and found a book with an entire index of them. The Concord would roar by at 8 or 10 am on weekends, cutting through the air sharp as it looked.

I’ve moved several times since 1995; lived in a house for 3 years, then my parents bought a co-op. I would buy one nearby a couple years later, where I still live. Still in Brooklyn.
I am a vivid dreamer. Colors, words, sounds, the whole shebang. Emotions and tension as well. A vividly detailed dream can be over-stimulating even if it’s a good one, and for someone who watches horror/thrillers, played Quake almost exclusively for several years and used to listen to death metal all the time, you can imagine the types of dreams I had. Sometimes I had to get home – for safety, or pick up something, a home base…not sure. It could have been any of those reasons. It was, many times, run-down. Not always post apocalyptic. But something that fell into disuse and disrepair. Things did change when we were moving, criminal elements started to move in and we really were forced to get out asap. Not the terms we wanted. But still there was something that made me go there. Nowhere else. I would reach my floor and sometimes just reach the door but never got in. Never got to that balcony again. Never looked out my parents window at the NY skyline with the twin towers still standing.

Guess I never truly made it home again in those dreams, maybe the new ones became more real .

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Filed under About Me, Ketchup With Us, Life, Life in NYC, Writing, Writing Challenges

Ketchup With Us #37: Re- Lenting

Ms Mel and ODNT want you to revisit another entry of yours. Ketchup With Us

This seems fitting to update.

in 2012, I wrote this first post on what I was going to do for Lent. I don’t think I actually decided on anything.

In 2013, I made a choice – I gave up ‘seconds’ in food. I was gaining a little weight, but more than that, I was gaining bad food habits; mainly taking more of something- another helping of rice, chips, cookies, meatballs and pasta, etc. I mean, seconds on veggies isn’t so bad, but that’s not what I was doing. So I made the rule – I can pile it on a plate, bowl, whatever, but that’s all I can have. At first, I took the liberties; a big bowl of pasta and 3 meatballs. The thing is that I don’t eat that at one quick sitting, so what was I actually doing? I hardly finished it, and when I did, there were no firsts on dessert! Gradually I realized that I was portioning out exactly what I thought I would be able to eat and not save for leftovers. As my portions and habits went back to normal, so did my weight (also my energy went back up a bit). Even on Easter Sunday and beyond, the one plateful rule was still in effect. Still is.

Now for this year, I am doing something different.

There is a lot of talk regarding the idea of ‘giving up’ something. Much like a new year’s resolution, everything sounds awesome, doable and a mark of your strong character & faith. So you give up chocolate or cursing.

And you last a day, then get Catholic guilt.

So now it is the emphasis of doing something GOOD each day. Good for you, society, your faith, or just your general well being.

I like that last bit. On that note, I had some unexpected news on Ash Wednesday that rattled me a bit.

(Side note – I got my ashes. Dude, check out the job the priest did!)
4sh3z

Ok back to that feeling. I’m giving up something. Doubts.

Doubt that I can lead others in a good direction. Doubt that despite my awesomeness*, (whatever) it (is) can and will happen. Doubt or second-guessing any/every decision I make. None of those fcuking things that keep me everyone up at 3am.

Already I feel this challenging me, and I bite it back and down. I’ll make it, maybe not perfectly, but I will emerge after 40 days having replaced doubt completely with something very different. Something better.

It might make it easier to look at it in comparison – chocolate would be waaaay harder than this.**

*notice that I have no doubts about that.

**Case in point – Double chocolate & cherry brownies.

dblch0ch33rOriginal Recipe found at Kary Osmond.

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Filed under Baking, Ketchup With Us, Life, Religion, Writing

Ketchup With Us #36b – Hi, Tee!

Ms Mel and ODNT are giving me another 10 minutes to write something, anything. Starting…now! Ketchup With Us

I guess this is a sequel to the other entry about T shirts. Or further evidence that I am a hoarder.

Well I found some boxes in my parent’s closet (well what was my closet when I lived there), and guess what? I found another stash of memories and yes they are t shirts. Band/music t shirts to be exact.

Through my college days and for a few years after I used to go to as many concerts as I could. My favorite bands (metal & industrial mainly) toured frequently and hey, it was a night out. I admit I couldn’t stand many aspects of it. Having to stand around waiting between bands, which venues did to boost beer sales or something like that. My favorite venue was Roseland, which has just shuttered its doors, since they had an 11pm curfew. Places like Irving Plaza have 1 am. Not that I wanted to end early (yes I did) but that it made bands go one right after one another when a lot of them were playing. So standing around with the 1-2 friends who actually liked the shows got boring.

People are another factor of course (aren’t they always?). Being squished, pushed, kicked and crushed by others wasn’t fun. I got to stand in the front row to see TOOL, and the forward push thankfully didn’t break my ribs. The crowd surfers were landing on me all night. I would go home, sticky with sweat (mostly my own, gah) and the stench of smoke, patchouli and weed on me (they allowed smoking in most venues back then). The shirts are faded now, and trying them on*, psht I look like the ‘rock and roll will never die’ guy hanging on to a memory. All I need is a mullet and white sneakers. *If I get a dozen likes on this, I’ll post a picture!

So will I keep these? Hell no, I bet some punk would love my broken in metal shirts. I see them at these trendy community flea markets sometimes – they are old enough to be ‘retro’. Somewhere I know I still have the ticket stubs.

One of the last big shows I went to was Ozzfest. Rainy weather, shitty crowd and the bands let me down with the level of their suckage. To culminate, a roadie took out his life’s frustration on me, leading to an ER visit.

October 2001 I went to see TOOL again at Madison square garden this time. SEATS!, but everyone stood?! It was a sold out event but since 9/11 was fresh in minds, people couldn’t give away their tickets.

So I’m done with arena/stand around rock. Now I see my friends and other indie bands in the lower east side. I sit in tiny tables and rickety chairs, sip wine or cocktails, sometimes tea, say hello& thanks afterwards to the musicians, and enjoy it all without injury or strange smells.

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Filed under clothes, Life, Retro