Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Co-op

I just got back from a lunch excursion in the pouring rain. A jaunt to the local wrap place, where I had the tofu burrito, as always. I don't like to be predictable, but I'm finding that the older I get the more I say "I'll have the usual". Tofu burrito at the wrap place, Mojo beer at the one bar, Tremont always at the other bar, a plain cheese pizza from Same Old Place every time, shocking maki and the sunshine sushi at the seafood cafe without fail. Instead of retaining my adventurous spirit of youth, I'm aging into a complacent state of mediocrity and boring predictability. Oh well, I just like what I like. Whatever.

Upon returning from the local burrito joint, I stopped into the Harvest Co-op, a food mecca for all things organic, soy, and grossly overpriced. But it's on the way home so of course I go there. I'm a victim of convenience.

Now I like to think that I am a relatively healthy eater. I eat lots of tofu and other soy products. I don't drink soda. I am working on drinking more water, and I rarely eat meat. Sure, I like cheese on everything and I always opt for real butter instead of that low fat processed spread. And I drink beer with nearly every meal. And sure, I can eat pizza on a daily basis. But I have my healthy habits too, or so I thought until I started unloading my basket (ha, I said unloading my basket) at the check out. Soy milk, organic cereal, whole grain sunflower bread, peanut butter, (here is where the list starts to descend from somewhat healthy wise choice to what could only be the shopping list of an overweight stoner fresh off the bong), two frozen pizzas, a pound of coffee, a six pack of beer and a bag of Newman O's. I was appauled. I felt like I was in college again. It was embarassing, but I made my purchase anyways and as I eat my 5th Newman O of the day, I feel okay about it.

The Giant Burrito

This is just great. This makes me not only respect journalism and the media, but it also makes me hungry for Mexican food...

Associated Press:
School Mistakes Huge Burrito for a Weapon [4/29/2005]

Priceless!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Mud Pie Incident

I know, it’s been awhile since my last entry. But I’ve been terribly busy. Really I have. Also, I lost interest in writing for a brief spell.

I’m currently on a plane on my way back home from a work-related trip to Northern California – the Bay Area. I have mixed feelings about that part of the country. It’s beautiful, you can’t complain about the weather (well, you can, but if you do then you are a selfish bastard who doesn’t understand how fucking lucky you are to live someplace where it rarely ever snows.), everyone is uber-attractive, and you can get tofu and avocado on pretty much everything. But for some reason, San Francisco disturbs me, Northern California disturbs me, actually the entire state is fucking weird. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived “back east” – as these westerners say – too long. Maybe it’s because I’m originally from Idaho, where the California invasion has soured most people’s perceptions of the Gold Rush state and it’s people. Or maybe it’s because it is fucking weird there. Yes, that is it.

I’ve only been to California a handful of times, and usually for short stints here and there. I went for the first time when I was just a wee lad. I don’t really remember it. I remember the Alice in Wonderland Tea Cups, crying my head off at the haunted mansion (which was lame as hell upon my return 15 years later), and being washed into the pacific ocean after a wave violently forced me to take a bite of my delicious mud pie I had been innocently constructing. It was my first hands-on experience with the incoming tide. I’m from a land-locked state, it wasn’t my fault. I cried then too…perhaps creating an early unhappy association with the state of California.

The second time I went to California was my very first college spring break. It wasn’t your typical “girls gone wild” event. I was with a bunch of Mormons. See, I was going to Ricks College (now BYU – Idaho) a then two-year private Mormon college in Rexburg, Idaho. I had a scholarship which allowed me to not work during my first year of college and also directly defy my Mormon upbringing while surrounded by the church’s people, doctrine, and ridiculousness. Me and a few friends from Ricks College went to LA for four days during spring break. Having no job and not coming from a family that had money to pay for my education (aka lavish spring break trips and nights loaded with drunken debauchery and illicit drugs) we had to keep the trip on the cheap side. We stayed with a friend, used her car for transportation, and used our time in California to continue our Mormon Temples of the West Tour – adding California to the long list of states where we had visited these sacred buildings of secrets, mystery, and curious rituals – our tally totaling three, including Utah and Idaho. The western states are big and besides, do you know how many Temples one can see in Idaho or Utah alone? Sure, we also went to Disneyland, the Hard Rock Café, and Hollywood. But my second California experience, while I didn’t spend my entire time crying or eating mud, did little to reverse my psychological discomfort with the state. As I said, I was with a bunch of Mormons.

My third trip to California was a brief stop over in San Francisco on my way back to Boston from Seattle. I touched down at 10:00 on a Friday night and left early Sunday morning, not leaving much time for sightseeing let alone mending my strained relationship with this western paradise. I was there to visit my friend Luigi, an attractive gay guy I had met years ago over the internet, spent the weekend with (mostly naked) and then kept in touch with him ever since, mostly talking on the phone, but with his occasional work trip to Boston, allowing us rekindle our emotionless naked relationship and grow our legitimate friendship, despite the fact that we have absolutely nothing in common with each other, except for the obvious affection for the male anatomy.

Luigi and I spent my one day in SF doing all of the touristy things one should do if one has only one day in SF. Riding the cable car, visiting the sea lions at the pier, grabbing a burger at In-n-Out at 11 am, driving across the Golden Gate Bridge – twice, heading up to twin peaks to capture the spectacular view of the bay, visiting historic Haight and Ashbury only to discover that it’s home to the first GAP store, Golden Gate Park, sampling the eye cream at Kiehl’s (I told you Luigi is gay), and of course, experiencing the night life in the Castro. I’m not a huge fan of the gay club scene, as a matter of fact; I abhor the gay club scene. But Luigi was determined to change my mind, telling me that the gay clubs of SF aren’t like the ones in Boston or NYC. “They are much better, more fun, nicer and less snobby.” I’ve always heard that San Francisco was the western equivalent of Boston, except better due to the great weather and more relaxed disposition of its citizens, so I went along. I quickly found out that my preconceived, homophobic opinion of gay guys being stuck up; pretentious, drugged up fucks is universally true. Luigi and I spent the entire evening and well into the night going from gay bar to bay bar, Luigi determined to find one that I would actually like. It didn’t happen. We had one drink in each bar and I would declare, usually two sips into my beer that I was ready to go. We did end up at my first (and only) sex club at the end of the night which was quite an experience, but that’s an entirely different (and purely innocent story.) I left early the next morning and–for no apparent reason–I haven’t spoken to Luigi since. This third experience in California did nothing to quell my uneasiness about the state. In fact, it made me even more distrustful and wary, but I blame that mostly on the gays, and partly on my short stay – oh, and the sex club probably has a small part to play in my mindset as well.

I’m not sure what it is. I can’t really put my finger on it. This last trip eased my mind a little. I was able to drive to and from San Francisco, acquainting myself with the freeways, motorcyclist suicide attempts, bridges and poorly marked on and off ramps. I was there for work this time, which put a different perspective on my trip entirely. I was there with coworkers and friends, staying in comfortable home and keeping my self busy meeting wonderful people from around the Bay Area. I even ran into someone I met while traveling in Costa Rica a few years ago…encouraging my ever long quest to find peace with California through familiar acquaintances. And yet I still feel that SF, and California in general, is an unexplainably strange place, filled with oddly mysterious people, foreign stretches of highway employed by motorists with no concept of rush hour and non-rush hour traffic patterns, and temperate air that seems to say “come on, breathe deeply, but not too deeply, we aren’t everything we seem to be around here.”

I’m determined to rectify, if not at the least just figure out, my problem with what I am sure is a wonderful state. But for now, I’ll just visit it, ridicule it, and be ever fascinated with the state of California. But I will never forgive this state that elected the Terminator as its governor. Never.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Bike Path is Not a Picnic Table: A Rant

It's clearly marked. There's a sign at nearly every entrance to the Southwest Corridor Park and you don't even have to know how to read in order to figure it out. There's a picture of a person walking with an arrow pointing to one path, and then a picture of a person happily riding their bike with an arrow pointing to the other path, running parallel to the walking path. So why in the fuck am I constantly dodging walkers, dogs on leashes (or not on leashes) children and strollers that are camped out on the bike path? Is it really that difficult to look at the sign and stay in your own fucking lane? I understand that the park is not a highway and that breaking the rules are not punishable by law, but come on people - at the risk of sounding like a conservative old asshole - it's for your own fucking safety.

I can't tell you how many times I've nearly run over a dog due to the little woofer darting out in front of me (leash or no leash) cause his irresponsible owner is walking him on the bike side of the path. Or how many times I've had to swerve around two mothers and their strollers, dodging trees and trash cans and lightposts, because they are parked in the middle of the bike path chatting about how little Suzy finally had a bowel movement or that little Johnny is onto solid foods.

The last thing I want to do is hit your dog. I love dogs. The second to the last thing I don't want to do is hit a kid in a stroller. I don't like kids, but I don't want to run over one on my bike. I would however, love to run over the parents and dog owners that feel like "the whole park is their park and why should they be restricted to walking along one certain path when their kid likes to walk on the path closer to the train, blah blah blah." Do you want your kid to look both ways when crossing the street? Or use caution and abide by the rules of the road when the bastard finally gets his/her driver's license? I'm sure you do, cause you probably love that little shit you gave birth to. So why not show the little fuckers and teach your kids that there are certain rules that protect the health and safety of everyone.

I never see bikers biking on down the side of the path meant for pedestrians, but I'm sure that if that were the case, the parents and dog owners of the neighborhood would ban together and form some fucking alliance or coalition to enforce the rules against it in less than a month.

So the next time you hear someone yell "On your left!" or better yet "Get off the fucking bike path you fucking fat ass idiot!"- take it as a friendly reminder that the bike path is not a fucking picnic table, it's a bike path - meant for people commuting on their bikes. There's a whole park out there, take a walk on the greener side - STAY OFF THE BIKE PATH.

Thank you.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Frosty Man


Toad and the Frosty Man

It is spring. I know this not because of some groundhog a few weeks ago, and not because of the purple and white crocuses blooming in my backyard, and not because the calendar says so. I know this not because last night was daylight savings and "spring" ahead. I know this because the Frosty Man is back for another season of soft-serve delight.

In case you are a raging idiot, or just one of those people that doesn't trust food purchased from a truck on the side of the road, the Frosty Man sits at the edge of the Public Garden on Arlington and Boylston. He serves the best soft-serve ice cream in Boston - and possible the entire world. I know this because Toad and I scoured Boston a few years back, eating as much ice cream as we could afford. As we trudged along the red painted line looking at overpriced historical sights such as Paul Revere's crappy little house and avoiding gift shop after gift shop full of lobster key chains and baked bean refrigerator magnets, we found the real reason to walk the Freedom Trail: ice cream.

There are ice cream trucks, soda fountains, and parlors dotted along the Freedom Trail (of course there are even more bars, but I was with my sister, so ice cream it was). It was a hot day in June, the sun beating on the pavement, sweat pouring down our faces and ice cream cones melting down our hands as we walked through the Boston Common, scaled the Bunker Hill Monument, and stepped aboard the USS Constitution. We ate ice cream the entire way, finishing one cone only to round the next corner and find ourselves in line for another tasty treat. But it was the Frosty Man truck on the corner of the Public Garden that won the prize. And as I was walking through Boston's Back Bay on this cold, windy, but clearly spring day, there he was ready to take my order and usher in spring, soft-serve style. I called Toad to let her know that spring was finally here in Boston, all was finally right in the world, and it was once again safe to visit me.

If you haven't been to see him, go visit the Frosty Man. Get a vanilla, chocolate or swirl cone. Sit on a bench in the Public Garden and watch the Swan Boats go by while children tease the geese and the homeless bask naked in the sun. It's a perfect way to spend half an hour. And it's the best soft-serve ever.

Thank you Frosty Man. We love you.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The recipe called for cranberries, but instead I used pecans, and lots of them!

So, what do people do at 3 am? Why are they out? They are in cars, driving around the city, sitting out on their stoops, walking down the street. Why? They can't all be wandering drunks like me. So why are they trolling about? I don't know.

I have this problem, where no matter what time of the day it is when I go into a bar, I can't leave until they close. Which is generally 2 am. I have all the best intentions of going in around 9 pm for a beer or two and then Silverman the doorman is yelling at me to finish my beer and get the fuck out. I look at my phone and it's 2:30. I don't believe in watches. I hate the idea of strapping time around my wrist. Being bound by time is horrible. Time means nothing to me, time is on the wall. Or, in my pocket.

And it's 2:30 and I think to myself "I wish I could just have one more beer." But you can't argue with Silverman. Well, that's not true, you can argue with Silverman, but you shouldn't. He hates it, and it's rude. I'm probably a really obnoxious bar fly. If I were a bartender I would hate me. But I seem to make friends with bartenders easily, even hanging out with them outside of the bar (well, at least at some other bar where they are not working). But I'm pretty sure I'm an obnoxious fuck. Ask around, they'll tell you.

I've always been able to ward off the hangover despite my penchant for late night drinking. I fear that my turning 28 is changing that. I fear that soon I will no longer be able to go on a school night bender and still make it to work by 9 am the next day. It's one of the only things I'm good at.

I need a hobby. I don't really have one. I tried claiming watching baseball on TV as a hobby. But Chief told me that doesn't count as a hobby. According to Chief, a hobby is something that is active, not passive. She argues that playing baseball could be a hobby, but watching other people do their hobby is not a hobby. Whatever. If that is the case then reading isn't really a hobby is it? Hobby is a dumb word.

Happy Birthday Mrrr!