Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

I am fortunate to have four families (or is it five?), the blood family I was born into it (and had no choice about) which is now split in two (well, almost three really), the Fausch's, the Manning's and the Travers. Then we have my NA family, also not really a choice, but if it was, it would be an excellent choice (as is the blood family of course). And finally, the McNamee's, my adoptive family, which includes three older sisters, two older brothers, a mother and a father, an uncle, dozens of cousins and many more I don't even know of yet. For Thanksgiving this year, I chose the McNamee's, namely because they are local and I only have the one day off of work, and also because these people prepare more food than a family ten times its size could ever hope to consume. (It doesn't hurt that they are a great deal of fun and very loving as well.) The result? Leftovers, enough to feed me for the next week, as long as I have an affinity for mashed potatoes, yams, turkey, brussel sprouts, broccoli casserole, green beans, carrots, pie and a number of other foods I have already forgotten about.

Steve, who is married to Lynn, one of my sisters, preparing one of three birds (20lbs plus) for today's meal. (It will be easier for you to remember each sibling when I tell you that each's name begins with the letter "L," as in Link, Lee, Lynn, Lorie and Lisa.)

And the dinner spread. In addition to what you see, there was enough food to replenish this supply three times over. I'm not joking.

And the desert table, which again, could be replenished at least three times. The table was actually too small to display everything that was baked and bought for today's dinner.

Okay... now I have to place names to everyone. In the leftmost picture, third in from the left is Russel, MacDaddy's brother (MacDaddy would be my daddy for reference). Third in from the right is David, another adopted son and his wife _______ (I'm still learning). The others? I need nametags. On the rightmost picture, I'm drawing a blank. The guy in the flag shirt is Michael, but I couldn't tell you who he was. Everyone on the right I met for the first time today (same with the missing folks on the left) so I will have to get back to you on that one.

Now this one I can do. Starting with the leftmost picture, on the left, we have Ron, who is married to Lisa (remember, one of the five "L's"), then Ron's father Ron (that's an easy one), then my sister Lynn (married to Steve, the turkey carver), then Alex and Charlotte (Steve and Lynn's two kids)with Steve sitting at the head of the table. Next to Steve is Sam and Jackie, Steve's parents, then two people whose names I have now forgotten, let's just call them "the blonds," then Ron's wife (forgot her name... shit), and finally Alex, Ron's son. Got it?

On the rightmost picture, beginning on the right we have cousin Chris (one of two Chris cousins that I always mix up), who is sitting next to MacDaddy, then Ashley, (I'll explain in a minute), then Ashley's husband, then Keith, who is married to Lorie, and Ashley is Keith's brother's wife's daughter, and Keith is sitting next to one of Lorie's friends from work, next to her is Lorie, and then Bob's wife and Bob, who no one in the McNamee family really knew, but Bob was nice enough.

I suppose it would have been easier to label each person in Photoshop, but I have to be up within a few hours to return to work, and I don't really care enough to do that. If you really need clarification, come over for dinner some night and we'll do it in person. The only soul missing from the photograph (that I care to mention) is Sandy McNamee, our family matriarch. After negotiating with the leftovers (I told her I would forgo stuffing if she would take a picture with me, she countered with making me take the creamed corn which she knows I don't like) and in the end, we both decided that I would take the stuffing, forget the corn, and we would take a photo the next time I saw her. One word of advice when dealing with Sandy: Don't fuck with Sandy. And so I didn't. I will take what I can get, and I get a lot.

Time Lapse Observations

Remember those nature videos with the flower blooming in fast forward or the five-second version of a spider building its web? Well, tonight I created my own time lapse nature video, sans the video, which you will thank me for after a few more lines of this post.

For the past week or so, I have been working eight or ten hours, then a trip home, a quick dinner, a meeting and an hour workout by 11PM. Arrive home, pour a bubble bath (jasmine of course), light a few candles and enjoy a romantic moment, with myself (and an episode of Burn Notice). The routine has been greatly rewarding, after which I put myself in a robe, climb into bed, tweak on the internet, and then fall asleep. Tonight, a change in plans. With the holiday approaching and the roommate out of town, I opted out of the robe and enjoyed the evening "in the buff" as we like to call it around here.

Given my late lunch today, I waited to eat dinner until after the bath, and chose a simple meal of pot stickers, and well, pot stickers. While I am supposed to avoid excess sugar (I did cut out the peanut butter cups and the pint of Hagen Daaz each week), I enjoy a root beer in the late evening, my reward for a good day's work. As an aside, frozen pot stickers, encrusted in little ice crystals, tend to snap, crackle and pop in a pan of hot walnut oil. Normally, this doesn't bother me much. I have a habit of scorching my hands and arms on a semi-regular basis when cooking with hot oil (or just heat in general), and my personal safety is typically an afterthought when it comes to a good meal. Food tastes that much better when it requires a personal sacrifice. Tonight, not so much. Le buffe and scorching hot oil, not a pleasant experience. This is why the ex likely never cooked me a meal in nothing more than a see-through apron nor I for her. Fortunately, I managed to minimize my exposure, and that is why I am writing this little anecdote.

You see, when I retrieved my cold treat from the fridge tonight, I had just exited a very steamy bath environment. Typically, when one is hot, it is pleasurable to cool down, whether with a cool rag, a cool breeze or in my case, a cool beverage. Not only was I hot, I was nekid (say it out loud, it will make sense). If you are male (which I am) you understand that our body has several self-defense features we have no control over, but which we are grateful for. Our biological mission is to reproduce, and our contribution to that process is located in the testes, often two (though sometimes one) oval-shaped marbles encased in a stretchy piece of soft, hairy (preferably shaven) skin, located in between the legs, directly below the Chosen One (or King James if you're an English bloke).

One of those self-defense mechanisms is to regulate the temperature of the gonads, which is accomplished by either expanding or contracting our soft kangaroo-pouch to warm up or to cool off the "boys." Temperature change is often a gradual process, and given that we use additional protective layers to shield "lefty" and "Pancho," we rarely, if ever witness this climatologically-influenced change. Instead we are subject to its results, as when we exit a warm bath or wake up in a snow bank with no clothes because we drank too much and our friends thought it would be amusing, even if hypothermia was surely inevitable. As you might imagine, the ball sack (technical wording, not my terminology) will expand when exposed to heat, causing the testes to descend away from the body such that you can stretch it (the ball sack that is) over a softball (or for the truly ambidextrous, a basketball). Cold then has an opposite effect, resulting in a tight, firm ball sack, even though the amount of skin remains the same, it contracts, resulting not only in a smaller "package" but a thicker protective covering over the testes. If you are ever lacking an outdoor thermometer, buy yourself a bull (or otherwise sufficiently large mammal with exposed junk) and you can judge the temp by the distance between the ground and his nuts. Crude, yes, but effective.

We now return to my predicament: A hot bath, a nekid body and a cold bottle of root beer. It is here that my experimentation began, and not to spoil the surprise, but I assure you, it was a success. Simply place the 40ยบ beverage sideways, underneath the outstretched ball bag, and in a matter of seconds, the volume of the sack rapidly decreases, revealing the aforementioned biological protective process known as shrinkage. I know of no human being (I don't really know that many honestly) who is unaware of this concept, and I am sure that many of us have witnessed its aftermath, but few of us, including myself until tonight, have ever seen it in real time. If you are so willing (or for your girls out there, if you have a GGG partner) you might want to give it a try. I will be honest with you, watching a time lapse of blooming orchids or the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly is a touching experience with nature, but neither compares to the sheer joy derived from this little moment I had with myself tonight. Now if only I had a video camera...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


If you're looking for a little romance with a headless drunk man with hard nipples, I found your guy. And if this one is for you, can you do me a favor and tell me why? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for getting drunk with strange men who like to take advantage of me, especially when my self-esteem is lost in an old pair of drawers I left in the alley outside of that club I can't remember the name of, but even I couldn't bring myself to write this guy back.


Sonoma State University, just after sunset. I am told the squiggly black and white "art" is known as the bacon, the base of which represents the eggs. And to answer your question, no, SSU is not known for its art program (no offense to art students, but isn't it about time we thought about a serious art installation rather than this).

Sunday, November 23, 2008


The Guthrie Theatre (I am continually irked that Americans entertain the spelling "Theater," jerks). Actually, the first photo is overlooking the Mississippi River from a 178-foot "bridge" that just as in Alaska, leads to nowhere, but the view is nicer. The second is the front of the theatre, designed by Jean Nouvel, who won the Pritzker in 2008, as well he should have.

The start of the bridge and a flour company next door. At 11PM, there is only so much you can capture, and neon tends to stand out.

The public library. A far cry from the brick and mortar public library from my childhood.

BA: Remembered 1988-2008

Dinner, For One

Cooking for one still results in cooking for two; after all, if you're going through all the trouble, you might as well pretend to be the second person.

Two leg sections, trimmed of excess fat and skin. A garlic, lemon, white wine, butter sauce, chopped red onions (or shallots or white onions or anything onion-like), leftover spices from steak night (red pepper flakes, ginger, three types of sea salt and four types of pepper), fresh lemon, chopped garlic, chicken stock and more wine. Coat the chicken in the butter sauce (helps the browning process, holds the seasoning on the chicken, and tastes spectacular), then season both the top and bottom. Sprinkle the garlic and red onion around the chicken, then pour in some chicken stock, white wine and a bit of fresh lemon. Be careful not to disturb the seasoning on the chicken. Seasoning has feelings too. And it tastes better when it stays on the chicken. Bake at 350 for thirty minutes (why 350? Because I needed the extra time to finish an episode of Burn Notice), then start the qunoia in a cup of chicken stock, fresh garlic and some sliced mushrooms. Reheat the oven to 400, set the timer for 10 minutes. When the timer sounds, set the oven to broil, place the chicken close to the top of the oven, and crisp the chicken to your liking. Another five minutes on the qunoia and enough time to cook the green and yellow beans.

I was out of root beer and I don't drink wine. I consume enough milk to cure osteoporosis in an 80 year-old man, so what's a guy to do? Quick, iced tea. I know, you're supposed to brew it in the sun or something, right? Not this tea. A couple of pear tea bags, brewed extra strong. Boil some water, sugar and a few slices of lemon, then combine with the tea and a dozen ice cubes. Instant iced tea. Dinner is served.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Three Cats, In Repose

Tony II: Tony I would nap in the kitchen sink, even with the water on. This same demeanor is what earned Tony II his name. You could punch this cat in the face, set him on fire, throw him in the bathtub, and after all of that, he will still cuddle with you. But if you try anything of the sort, I'll fucking cut you.

Jezebel I: After a brief musical obsession with Dolly Parton, Jolene somehow became Jezebel when I found this one at a local shelter. What began as a small, petite, darling young adult morphed into the rubenesque jewel you see here.

Soren: Think Miles' cool.