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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Food, Glorious Food


It's been awhile since I wrote about food.

I was recently inspired to do so after seeing the pics of
AMR's garden which made me hungry for fresh produce (of which I had none myself).

Because of the recent bullshit I have been going through we have been forced to maximize [spelling changed after being pointed out by Dan my editor friend. see comments section. -ed.]our grocery runs as a means to tighten up the budget. This means the house needs to be cleaned out of all edible food before returning to the store.

So there I was staring into a mostly barren fridge wondering just what the fuck I was going to eat when I peaked into the crisper and saw some asparagus that was in need of being consumed as it was on the verge of going bad.

I looked in the cupboards and found some rice but also a jar of roasted red peppers. I went back to the fridge and spotted a container of goat cheese.

I went outside to see if anything from my garden was ripe but was quickly rejected by that thought.

On my way back inside I saw some garlic we grew drying and picked that up.

Within 20 minutes I had this gem of a meal: jasmine rice and roasted red peppers with sauted asparagus and garlic tossed in a bowl with goat cheese and liberal amounts of extra virgin olive oil.

Because this is what I do best: make lemonade out of lemons...
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Thursday, June 26, 2008

And I Try, Tra,Tra,Tra,Tra, Try

But I just can't get no satisfaction.

I went to Social Security today.

This time I had the smarts to get there about an half an hour before it opened making - I was 12th in line.

The waiting room was like equal parts Unemployment, INS and a mental ward.

I stared at this picture for about 40 minutes marveling at the cigar and the placement of the ashtrays on the desk.

The guy next to me said he had previously come to this office only to find that they were averaging about one person per hour: I think there were seats for about 50 people.

I thought about a movie idea where some guy steals another dude's identity only to be royally screwed by the new guy's ID.

He goes to the bank but there's no money.

His credit cards are maxed out and long overdue.

And now the IRS is after him.

Then I remembered some Ben Affleck movie I saw some time back that was sorta like the idea I was thinking about and soon after I flushed it down my mental toilet.


When I got home the phone rang and it was some lady and she asked to speak to my wife and the caller ID said "Mary Handsome" and she proceeded to bitch about how she was gonna call her lawyer on us to get an insurance claim paid for because of the whole stolen car thing.

She got my wife all riled up which is not a good thing to do right now.

This led to a phone call to the police department to rip them a new asshole for giving out our information to this crazy la-dee from the ghetto. Turns out they didn't.

Rather somebody has been calling the department asking for the report. I gather this woman's car was involved in one of the accidents that happened when the thug fled the scene and was looking to cash in on it.

By any means necessary I guess as she was hinting at extortion or some shit.

Welcome to Durham.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Strange Dreams

I had this dream the other night where I was hanging out with Glenn Danzig.

Having been a music journalist for the better part of the last 15 years, it's not usual to dream about your job.

Only I haven't done much interviewing of bands in the last few years because I have been too busy being punk rock dad.

It's not unusual for me to have fucked up dreams

But in this dream it was more or less like two dudes eating lunch and talking shit.

I remember there was a conversation about guitarist Joe Christ, er John Christ, and how he had lived in the Tower B dorms at Towson where I went to college. We chatted about how this guy told his girlfriend that Danzig made him dye his hair black and change his name.

The next day I couldn't seem to shake the Danzig-isms that popped up.

I still can't.

And I still can't stop listening to The Lost Tracks

Back when I was a nut job music fanatic, my friends and I would drive hours to see shows. But when it came to Danzig, we would drive to the end of the Earth.

When the guitarist I mentioned above was recruited for Danzig's band, they played a show somewhere's on the other side of Baltimore for his family and friends - a "secret" show that I had gotten wind of through the dorm room gossip channels. Problem was that me and my buddies had already made plans to go see the Leeway/Cro-Mags show at the (old) 9:30 Club that same day. Fortunately for us, the Danzig show was at like 6pm. So we saw Danzig (well not really, he's so small I couldn't see him because he stood/sang lower than the heads of the people standing in front of the stage) at some cheesy bar that you would never see a band at unless something like this came up.

Or unless you were really into Trixter.

I saw Chuck Biscuits at the fast food place across the street and wanted to say something gay like "that D.O.A. 12 inch is one of my all time favorite punk rock records" but decided for the even gayer "have a good show."

We got lost trying to take a short cut after the Danzig set and walked into the 9:30 Club as Leeway was finishing their set but still caught a sloppy Cro-Mags set.

Some time after that the same crew of friends and I drove to NYC to see Danzig open for Slayer and we stunned when he got booed off the stage by the teething Slayer fans.

They were pits on top of pits at that show.

I can say this: back when NYC was dangerous, I never felt safer leaving the show and getting on the subway than I did that night when it was all longhairs (Secaucus in da house!!).

Return To Normalcy


Some days you just have to take baby steps... or just concentrate on breathing.

Much like addicts and their 12-Step programs, dealing with the recent voodoo juju that has been haunting my family lately, all we can do is take it one day at a time.

My life is in a constant state of unpredictability: every day something changes on the fly and I have to switch gears.

Case in point was yesterday.

One of my many jobs is to deliver promotional collateral around town to museums and hotels.

But when I got to the office to pick up the goods my contact was not there yet this was the only day I could find the time to pick up the stuff and start the delivery process.

I was lucky to have my oldest son to help but he secretly (or not so secretly) just wanted to get paid for it.

So I returned home, dropped off my son and opted to go to Social Security to get a new card issued since that dickhead thug stole my car with my wallet inside. Only when I got there, shortly before 10 in the morning, there already was a two-hour wait. I don't know why I wasn't smart enough to envision the SSA office being like the DMV but I guess I just wasn't.

Then I got the call saying that the contact had come in and I could go pick up the boxes.

So I swung back by home, got my son, picked up the boxes and made most of the deliveries.

One of the new drops I have to make is at the Carolina basketball museum.

I figured I'd take both my kids with me to this one.

Both were completely enamored with the scene and the rich history of UNC b-ball on display. You'd been hard pressed not to get goose bumps walking through the place (unless, of course, you are a Duke, Wake or State fan). I've long been a fan of archivalism and this place was rife with it - from championships rings and coaches' suits to Sean Mays' shoes and Guthridge's "excuse jar" - there didn't seem like there was much that wasn't included.

The trip there was a nice return to normalcy but the cloud of needing a new car and finding the money to buy one still hangs over us...
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Attention To Detail


I thought this was a great idea: to put these display boxes in the the floors.
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My Personal Favorite


By far the best thing for me to see at the Carolina basketball museum was this letter sent to Michael Jordan from the desk of Duke's Coach K.

"I am sorry to hear that you no longer have an interest in learning more about Duke..."

Warning: Duke fans hide yer eyes.
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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Flapjack & Chowder

I'm totally down with being subversive.

Google Cartoon Network's Chowder

don't tell them I sent ya...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

They Found Our Car



Not so much.

As you can clearly see by the following pictures, the car is trashed both inside and out.

But the dude had enough sense to get himself some air freshener.

No doubt with change from the console of my car.

Nice job dude.

In the car were stolen goods (clothes), needles in the glove box (heroin? or just a diabetic thug?), bolt and wire cutters because no car should be outfitted without them, and an all-black Atlanta Braves baseball cap (gang affiliation?).

My only hope is that some kid found the CDs and is now turning on his friends to great bands like Turbonegro, Metallica, Zeppelin, The Nomads and Three Mile Pilot.

Maybe they'll be an art rock slash metal scene sprouting up in East Durham's hood in the next few years?
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Resisting Arrest


Apparently, a thug was spotted driving our car without a seat belt. The cop ran the tags and it came up stolen. I guess once the lights came on a chase ensued and homeboy - after crashing into several cars/objects - came to a stop after missing a turn at a T-intersection (my guess is this is where the rear tire became unoperable), jumped from the car and fled.

He was caught and it turns out this guy has a rap sheet as a long as my arm and was just in court a few days before stealing my vehicle for a probation violation.
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Bolt Cutters


Now why would somebody be driving around with these in a stolen vehicle?
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Stolen Goods and Hypos


Notice the balled up clothes with tags still on them lying on the floor and the plastic bags of syringes about to fall out of the glove box.
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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It Wasn't Suppose To Be Like This

Monday was suppose to be a day of celebration: My youngest was graduating from his cooperative playschool in Chapel Hill and then after that I was going to take the boys to go see Kung Fu Panda.

But that didn't happen.

What did happen was that our car was stolen.

From a church parking lot.

Outside the school.

With my wallet inside.

I could go on right now and list the litany of bullshit I have had to endure since the moment I realized my car was no longer parked in the shade under an oak tree, but instead I'll just let you wrap your head around it as you think about the contents of your own wallets or purses...

Today is Wednesday and the cops haven't found our car yet and - quite honestly - I don't expect them to find it.

[UPDATE: As I pulled into my driveway with my truck after returning from the DMV with a new DL, smoke started billowing from the hood. Today I'm out $700 in repairs. I just spent $600 to get the other car up to inspection last month before it got jacked]

Friday, June 06, 2008

Metaphors Aside...

It's days like this I can't get this Third World song out of my head.

"Real hot!!"


There's a reason behind the current heat wave going on in the southeast: and that reason is the NC Dad Summit.

I've managed to round up a group of stay-at-home dads (future,past, and present) from around the Tar Hell state to participate in some group discussions while eating pork barbeque and drinking beer.

It was a feat in and of itself and one that will surely reap some rewards, just what those rewards are I cannot say at the moment.

For all you last minute planners, here's the info:

NC Dad Summit

3pm-5pm: meet, greet and eat

5pm-7pm: discuss topics such as -
a.) dealing with isolation and depression
b.) blogging for money
c.) financial management and the need to spend
d.) life with a special needs child
e.) dads and daughters

7pm to whenever - solve the world's problems

The last one is where we really get deep.

We got a nice write up over at the News & Observers' mom site - Triangle Mom2Mom - which can be accessed by clicking on the header.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008



Many, many moons ago I began the task of collecting beer bottle caps for an art project.

I wanted to do something fun with them like cover a coffee table or maybe a shed door.


But after a few years it got out of hand and my wife told me to stop collecting the caps.

Then when we finally bought our house in '98, I was told to "get rid of them" because, really, where would we store them until the creative muse struck us?

Well the muse finally did strike.

And it was a funny moment at that: my wife and I were sitting out on our deck enjoying a lovely evening as kids played in the Back Forty when she quipped, "we should totally cover that table in beer bottle caps" and pointed to a table she had made out of wood scraps when we had out deck built.

I'm not quite sure what kind of look I had on my face but it was one that got the retort, "Wh-wh-whaaaaat?"

She followed that up and asked where all the bottle caps were, you know, the ones I had transported across the country and into and out of one townhouse and one mill house.

"You made me throw them all out," I said.

"Uh-huh, yeah I vaguely remember that," she said.

"But did you?"

I brandished a sheepish grin.

"I saved a couple of bags," I said.

Then I ducked in the house and retreived a couple of plastic bags worth of bottle caps that had been stashed under our bed (where else does a dude stash stuff?)

My idea was to just put them on the wooden table randomly but that was quickly trumped by the realization that my wife rarely does anything randomly.

So we had to sort them by color or logo.

I have to say it looks pretty good.

And I could show you a picture of it.

But I found this picture infinitely more intriguing - and revealing - by the caps that I have collected.

I mean, those are Mickey's Malt Liquor bees, but then who drinks Mickey's and doesn't buy the big mouths? Right next to that is a Schlitz Malt Liquor (a.k.a. The Bull) cap. Who knew The Bull came in a bottle that wasn't a screw top? Kind of defeats the purpose now doesn't it? I also found a good twelve pack's worth of Olde English 800 caps in there, again not twist offs.

Clearly I was going through some sort of malt liquor phase at the time but I thought I had outgrown that in college (well and there was that one time I wrote a review of malt liquors for Big Brother magazine and felt the need to sample them all being a fan of participatory journalism and all) but that still predates living in the Carolinas by over a decade.

The outer ring of the table is lined with Red Hook ESB caps, which back in the day was a tasty microbrew before one of the major breweries sank their claws in to it. A bunch of Sierra Nevedas, followed by Fosters and, of course, a smattering of High Lifes.

There's also a few Lucky Lager's in there which are notable because they were the first, if not one of the first, to put little puzzles on the underside of their caps.

But then there's about a case or so worth of caps that say nothing but "pure cold" with frosting on top of the lettering and I haven't the faintest idea what beer these caps belong to.

It's something to ponder...

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Sunday, June 01, 2008



Bacon-wrapped, peppercorn'ed pork tenderloin with a (fresh from my garden) herb rub.




Although I have a sneaking suspicion that one of the pots of plants in the herb garden was a (inedible?) perennial not a herb.

I'm really not sure, I'll have to go ask Alice.
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That Which Does Not Break You Only Makes You Stronger


My wife has been out of town since Wednesday morning.

She had a pre-planned business trip to the Mid-Atlantic region and then - now this didn't come as a surprise - an unplanned visit to her hometown to attend the funeral of her grandmother who happened to pass away the morning she left.

Due to the timing, me and the boys stayed behind it just seemed easier on everybody.

I most likely won't see my wife until late this evening.

Five years ago, the prospect of spending 5 days without spousal support was daunting. Granted the kids were younger and a lot more demanding but I also hadn't developed my ability to go long stretches without so much as a phone call with another adult back in the day.

Wednesday through Friday was a cakewalk: the usual routine of school and backyard shenanigans in place. I was fortunate enough to have my neighbor called Friday to check on my wife and ended up coming over for a cocktail after the kids went to sleep.

Saturday was a beast though as my oldest took part in a 3-on-3 soccer tournament. His bracket had games at 10am, noon, 2pm and 4pm (12-minute halves, 2-minute halftimes and no stoppage of the clock so they were quick ones). I had the foresight to pack a cooler with sandwiches and cold drinks which was a damn good thing because it was hot as hell out there on the pitch. My initial plan was to retreat to the comfort of our home between games because we only ive but 10 minutes from the fields. But that was shattered when we showed up at 9:30am and couldn't find a place to park. It was like the Kentucky Derby of soccer - there were team tents sprawled out everywhere, a concessions tent, some tent sponsored by a local soccer distributor called Eurosport and even a cop directing traffic.

I was ill-prepared.

After game one, which found the Chicago Pizza (hey I didn't name the team) victorious, we headed back home so I could:
a.) get a hat so I wouldn't burn my forehead and scalp
b.) lube the boys up with lotion
c.) replenish the two sandwiches my 5-year-old ate during the first game
d.) buy some Gatorade to keep me and the boys alive during the long haul.

When we returned for game 2, I landed a choice parking spot and the deal was sealed that we would not leave again until all this was over. Between games my 8-year-old's coach would get them to sit in the shade and drink water and chill out. He 's got this collapsible 8-seater bench type thingy that was totally crucial for the day's events.

So crucial in fact, that I believe his smarts to keep the kids hydrated and in the shade led them to bringing home the championship.

It never ceases to amaze me how unfazed kids are by the elements, whether (er,weather?) it be a freezing cold ocean or blazing, 90 degree soccer field. It also never ceases to amaze me how many parents seem to let their children run amuck and unsupervised. Several teams were sucking wind by game three and most of these kids were the same kids that I saw running around chasing each other playing tag or throwing empty water bottles at each other between matches.

After the third game, a bunch of us saddled up in the shade and hunkered down with food and drinks to wait it out until the last game of the day, the game that would decide the championship for that bracket. The coach's wife had these things called Sharkies which I'd never seen before that were little fruit chews except they were packed with electrolytes. I made a mental note about these because they most definitely should be kept around the house for flu-like bouts of diarrhea and dehydration. What kids won't choke down a little baggy of fruit chews?

Several times throughout the day I tried to reapply lotion to my 5-year-old (and even myself) but by the day's end it was clear that the lotion had either expired or that hole in the ozone above us had gotten bigger in the last few weeks because we both came home with patches of sunburned skin.

It must have been the shade (or the Sharkies) but my son's team played like madmen considering it was their fourth game of the day and four o'clock in the afternoon. One of his teammates - Charlie - was on fire and after the opposing team scored first he came back and nailed two quick ones to give them the lead. I joked to his mom that it must have been the Sharkies. Even better was that the other team was coached by a bunch of douchebag dads who barked and yelled and harassed the kids in what was one of the truly saddest examples of the byproduct of little league sports: the dad couch who takes things way to seriously.

Of course after the Chicago Pizza scored two more goals, the other team was in tears (my hunch is that they knew they were going to get an earful, if not a spanking, on the way home) and pretty much just fell apart, resorting to cheap, aggressive play and name-calling.

Medals were presented after the game in Olympic-like fashion by the coach as they stood on the cooler (how awesome is that!) and then I treated my boys to a post-game celebratory meal of tacos and enchiladas.

On the way there my son said, "I want to dedicate this medal to mom and Grandma Sadie."

He watches too much ESPN me thinks.

We all washed up and then crashed hard. But my youngest relocated to my bed and soon was taking up just about as much space as a 5-year-old could possibly take up. My rest didn't come as easy to me as their's came to them.

Beat down and bushwhacked, we (mostly I) spent the majority of the day today doing chores (grocery store, laundry) and chilling out comfortably inside (it's fucking 90 plus degrees out) too hot for even the pool (especially with the sunburn) yet financially-challenged enough to not break out the Sunday matinee at the local cinema.

I shudder to think what they've been doing since I started this epic post, but hopefully it doesn't involve putting Play Doh in the DVD player or Rescue Heroes in the fishtank...

So I am stronger I suppose and a better man, father and husband for taking this all in stride.

I foresee some really cold beer in my near future.

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Bro'ing Down With The Team


The Little Man was a trooper yesterday, holding his own for 7 hours out in the scorching sun while attending his older brother's soccer tourny.

The best part, of course, was even being able to bro down with the team during breaks between games.

Look at that face - is that kid not having a good time?

Much apologies for the sunburn dude but you young tough and made me proud.
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