Monday, November 24, 2008

Escolar, Migraines and True Blood.

Melina and I went over to Stadium Golf on Friday night and swung the bat at some softballs in the batting cages. We tried both the fast pitch and slow pitch cages. The fast pitch wasn't aimed properly and we had to stand almost 6 feet in front of the plate to get a good cut at it. Melina went first and had a bunch of good hits. She said her whole body is sore though. I went next, and after 40 or so pitches without batting gloves, my left hand was getting pretty raw. I still had more pitches to go so I flipped over to the other side of the batter's box and took a few hacks at it left handed. Whack! Pitch after pitch I drove them solidly into what would be the right center-field gap. Now, its been years since I played baseball or softball, and even during that time I never once attempted to hit the ball left handed. As it turns out, I probably should have. My stride and form was much better from that side of the plate. Who knew?

Later we stooped by the liquor store and got a cheap bottle of pinot Grigio. I woke up with a head crushing pain the next morning. I figured I'd get some water and food in me and all would be better. Yeah...No. I must gone through 1000 mg of Ibuprofen and still wasn't able to get much relief. This continued on Sunday as well, forcing me to miss JBC. It wasn't until I bought some excedrin Migraine medicine later that I finally killed the pain.

Melina and I went over to Blue Water for dinner over the weekend. If you live in the area and you've never been, I highly reccomend it. All they do is fish. This night they had a sign that advertised they had a special on Escolar. I happened to already know a few things about this particular fish after reading about it in another blog that I follow.

..."oily orange diarrhea, discharge, or leakage from the rectum that may smell of mineral oil. The discharge can stain clothing and occur without warning 30 minutes to 36 hours after consuming the fish. The oil may pool in the rectum and cause frequent urges for bowel movements due to its lubricant qualities and may be accidentally discharged by the passing of gas."

Fuggetahboutit. Nothing tastes that good.

We went about ordering and consuming our meals. While we were finishing up, a gay couple came in to shop for some fish to bring home. "Hmmmmm. What is this Escolar?," he asked. The man behind the counter described the texture and taste of the fish, but left out the gastrointestinal side effects and suggested serving size. I suppose that would not be the best selling point. I was half tempted to let these poor gents know what they were in for, but I have a feeling the management wouldn't appreciate me grossing out the customers like that. So, we just let them go. Have a nice dinner boys.

The season Finale of HBO's True Bloodwas on Sunday. We've been hooked since the first episode. The finale was not dissapointing and it'll be a long winter until we get new episodes again in June.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Notes on a Weekend Indoors

An expected field of 48 players was slashed to 30 in the span of two days, for the PCC Fall Classic, a poker tournament at my home that I organize and play in. The discrepancy is attributable to the general chicanery that surrounds invitations and RSVP's. Last minute dropouts are commonplace unfortunately. One could speculate on the countless psychological reasons that some people initially respond in the affirmative when they, in fact, have zero real expectation of attending. I suppose its mostly done with the best intentions. The invitee assumes that the event planner might be personally or emotionally troubled by a negative response so they reply "yes" initially, sometimes going so far as to add a comment indicating just how excited they are to attend. A last minute "something popped up" translates to "I'd rather be somewhere else doing something else" is then offered 24 hrs prior to the actual engagement, as if to say, "I really wanted to come, but darn it, I had this emergency, and well... you know how it is." Thereby the invitee isn't "snubbing" so much as just being really popular and unable to attend multiple events. It should be noted that this excuse is often real... and explains why they make such great disguises for a lack of courage to actually tell someone you're not interested. Its such a laborious routine when a flat "No" is appreciated so much more. We had 10 of those. Having said all that, the "last minute dropout" is a transgression that I find 1000 times more acceptable than its ugly cousin..."the no-show", which translates to "I woke up and felt like doing nothing all day... including telling you that I'm not coming." We had 8 of those.

Utilizing a re-buy format that allows you to get more imaginary money in exchange for real money, we managed to achieve a respectably sized prize-pool to fight for. After 8.5 hours, I was eliminated in 2nd place earning $1500. Additional side bets and gratuities on top of that number made it a profitable, if not enjoyable way to spend a Saturday indoors.

Sunday brought wind and cold temperatures, nasty enough to cancel Jena Boot Camp...a weekly hour-long routine of drill-type exercises led by its namesake. Probably good for at least 800 burned calories, its absence is noticeable...especially if you decide to stay immobile and eat cheesecake all day.

Last night we renamed our dog Peter Eastgate...mostly because its a cool name to call a dog, and because he kind of looks like a little danish kid with a mouth full of marbles.

Friday, November 7, 2008

One blog to unite them all

Yeah, I figured having 1 blog is better than starting a new one every month. So from now on everything will be posted over at The new main blog.

Too many blogs - interesting morning.

I haven't decided whether to to delete the old blogs or just move them over here, but's its much neater to just have one place for everything. So, here it is. This will be the place for the blogging and the subject matter will be...everything.

I had a morning on Wednesday that reads like a sit-com script. I woke up a bit later than usual, because I was playing golf with the rest of the Engineering team for a "team builder" rather than going into the office that day. However, I did have to run an errand first.

The water bill now comes every two months, and I had not paid the most recent bill, mistakenly thinking that it wasn't be due for another month. Well, I got the RED ALERT notice from the city explaining that my water would be shut off on Friday if I did not come down to the office and pay the bill in person... alas it was too late to mail it. Unfortunately i had left the notice with the payment information at my office. This would prove to be a forgetful oversight that would set a whole chain of absent-minded numbness into motion.

Rather than boot up my computer to find the information online, I just called 411 to get the number of the water department. Just as the operator went to connect me, I was disconnected. I called back. Same thing...weird. On the third call I was finally the California Water Conservation Committee. Um, ok, slightly annoying. I finally got the right number. If you want to hear the most over annunciated, slow spoken, strangely accented automated recording menu EVER please call (619)515-3500. You will hear a woman that sounds like she is talking to a 3 year-old retarded refugee.

Resisting the temptation to gouge out my eardrums with a barbeque fork, I navigated my way through the menu and spoke to a person who gave me the downtown address where I can go pay my bill. It turns out to be in a high rise and street parking wasn't readily available nearby. I opted to just pay to park in the garage. I get up to the office, and wait in a longer than expected line for about 15 minutes, only to be told at the window that this office only accepts debit...just checks. Sigh. The clerk tells that the city Treasurer's office will accept cash and credit.

So, I pay the $5 minimum parking fee, and head down to the city Treasurer's office...just a few blocks away. Apparently i was a bit distracted because the next thing I know, I have run a red light into the middle of an intersection on a one way street. An elderly woman in a slow moving Chevy Cavalier is able to hit the breaks and bring her car to a halt just inches from from T-boning me. But then her foot slips off the brakes and she does, in fact, t-bone me. CLUNK. I am now in the middle of the intersection and the other cars start honking while I try to pantomime to her to back her car up. She doesn't get it and just stares at me blankly. I roll down my window and tell her its better for her to back up so they we can avoid damaging our collided vehicles any further. She doesn't get it and just stares at me blankly. More horns...mad faces...increasing tension. Fuck it, I go ahead and back up to the ear-piercing sound of her license plate scraping through my passenger side door. Yay, a slight dent and touch up just turned into a panel replacement. Woot. We pull over and she looks at the front of her car, which is dented and torn to shit. She says there is no damage and that she is fine with just driving away. "Was this already like this?" I asked. She nodded. Cool.

I make it over to the Treasurer's office and parking is even more of a scarcity over here. I see a yellow zone and grab it, knowing that I will only be right inside on the first floor for a few minutes. I run up to the door to find a note on the door, "Be back in 10 minutes". I wait 5 or 6 minutes with a few other people before just deciding to scrap the whole idea and head to the golf course. After all, I can come back this afternoon. Gone not more than 7 minutes, I return to my car to find a parking ticket tucked neatly under my windshield wiper blade. Radical, best morning ever.

Whatever, lets go play golf and forget about this. Headed down first ave toward the 5, my car reminds me that I have a few drops of gasoline left.I stop at the Exxon near the 5 ramp. I start pumping and then head inside for a Clif bar and Energy drink... my version of breakfast. I return to my car, hop in and drive away.

Ca-Clunk. BANG.

Luckily gas hoses have a quick release coupling that snaps the hose off under enough pressure and closes a valve. This helps prevent idiots like me from incinerating the whole place. I drive back to the pump...dragging the hose, undetected by the attendant, and reattach the coupling. The guy at the other pump is just staring, mouth agape. I finish filling up, and laugh at the hysterical look on the witnesses face, and then laugh even louder as I notice I've added yet another dent to my car.

If this is what I am like now, I cringe to think about me at 65.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Monday, November 3, 2008

before we forget...

Wrap up

I will post a few pictures and a video from the last few moments of Sober October, but I can go ahead and give you the recap.

At midnight on November 1, Melina and I, along with Rees and Vlad, chugged a beer. I was asked, "Was it everything you thought it would be?" I thought about half a second and responded enthusiastically that it was far more enjoyable than I imagined it would be. It was. I felt the effects of the alcohol almost immediately. Mark arrived soon afterward wielding a funnel and a helmet. He led me outside to the courtyard where I took a gravity bong (or two) to ensure that my first night off the wagon would be a doozy. I suppose I had it coming after telling everyone in the place how much I couldn't wait to have a drink after a whole month of self-imposed sobriety.

Right as I was getting cranked up, the party was cranking down. We said our goodbyes and walked the 2 blocks home and went to bed.

At about 2:30 AM the street was filled with the sounds of a man shouting "KILL ME! YOU LEFT ME! JUST KILL ME!" over and over. This went on long enough to rouse me from bed and look out the window to see my two neighbor's having what would later be determined to be a violent lover's quarrel, fueled guessed it...copious amounts of alcohol. How fitting. The two men wrestled and pushed each other around the front yard of their home, while one continued to scream and wake the entire neighborhood. The things he was shouting and the time warranted a call to the police. I sat on hold with 911 for a few minutes (likely because everyone on my street was calling in). Melina and I walked outside in time to see one man push the other down a flight of about 15 concrete steps leading from the curb up to the house. He fell into a crumpled pile on the sidewalk while I told the dispatcher they need to get someone out here quick before someone gets killed. Oblivious to the growing numbers of neighbors collecting on the street, heads pressed to their mobile phones, the attacker walked down the stairs, put his lover in a headlock, and began to pummel his face repeatedly. Somehow the guy who had fallen down a flight of stairs and taken three right hooks to the nose was still conscious. I decided it was time to try my best to break this up before someone got killed. A neighbor walked over with me and as we got closer we saw that they were bloodied and still grappling in a sort of half-hugging, half wrestling way that is hard to describe.

"You guys need to cut this out," my neighbor said. The attacker looked up, a look of surprise on his face quickly replaced by a furrowed scowl, to respond ever so lucidly and ever so gayly, "Umm excusssse me, but we not making any noise anymore so you need to go back into your house and stop invading our privacy..." I finally spoke up. "You've woken the entire neighborhood, thrown a man down a staircase and you're now beating him on a public sidewalk." There was a look of recognition on his face, but no response. I didn't want to inform him that the cops were en route (giving him a chance to bolt), but I did want to stop him from killing the other man. Just then another neighbor strolls over in her blue nightgown and lets the cat out of the bag that she called the cops. As expected, attacker gets up quickly and disappears up the stairs, leaving his battered domestic partner bleeding on the street.

After what seems like forever, the cops finally show en masse, along with an ambulance and a fire engine. I give my statement and my information and head back to bed. I doubt that I will be asked to testify in any hearing, as I think its likely the battered man will fail to press any charges against the other.

Don't forget to vote NO on 8, as "roommate beating" and "wife-beating" are altogether different crimes, with the latter carrying a much stiffer penalty.