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Monthly Archives: April 2010

You’d think that someone who does nothing, such as myself, would have more time to write a silly little blog. And you’d probably be right. But doing nothing is often very hard work. There’s a lot of thinking and planning that goes into it. Do I continue making kissing sounds at Dave the Cat for another hour or should I philosophize about why Velveeta is not per se a cheese in the classical sense. (Yes, I have thought about that. What, exactly, constitutes cheese? But that’s another blog.) In fact, I go so far as to say that doing nothing is often back-breaking and time-consuming—my nothing is so intense that it requires two compound adjectives.

Jealous Cereal.

Take today, for instance. Today I thought about cereal for a while. Let me begin by saying that I adore cereal. In Spanish there’s fourteen-ish words for love and I’d use them all to explain my affinity for cereal if I hablaed Espanol. For now, “love” will have to do. I started the day off with some Kashi Strawberry Fields, which has a hint of sweetness and some nice red (dried) berries and flakes don’t get too soggy in milk. Delicious. There’s the Beatles reference, too, which doesn’t influence the taste necessarily, but does put me bouncy mood. Second course consisted of some banana nut Cheerios. This may sound gross. Personally I remember the fake-banana -flavored stuff that Dr. Gary Vance, DDS would use to numb my mouth just before sticking a needle in my gum. This was always followed by the drilling of and/or yanking at teeth. But banana nut Cheerios do not taste like fake banana. If they did, I wouldn’t eat them. They taste like heaven… heaven wrapped in glorious sunsets and served atop a shimmering rainbow. I love you, Cereal.

But then I couldn’t help but think about all the other things I love to eat for breakfast. Donuts, for instance, make me light-headed. Don’t get me started on omelets, especially when they involve bacon. I made an Italian omelet once with mozzarella cheese and homemade marinara sauce that made me weep. Biscuits and gravy make me want to Sweat to the Oldies with Richard Simmons. (I’m not sure what this means, but I think it’s really, really good.) So it’s not just cereal. I like breakfast… a lot.

Oh, Cereal. Don’t be jealous.

By this time it was almost lunch. Lunch is the lovely intermezzo between the opening tympani of breakfast and the fat lady that is dinner. Lunch, for me, means sandwiches. Holy crap. Sandwiches. I like sandwiches with mayo and lots of black pepper. I like good bread. I like rich cheese and fresh veggies and mustard and… turkey. Dammit, I love turkey. And bacon. I like a Reuben sandwich and I don’t know if they named it after the guy from the bible, but it makes sense given that one of the name’s etymological roots is a Hebrew word meaning, he will love me. A Reuben sandwich will love you and love you good. (This information came from Wikipedia, which we all know can be suspect, but it works so I’m going to run with it. Regardless of its accuracy, trust me, a Reuben sandwich will love you.) I like crunchy chips with my sandwich and an orange soda. I used to make sandwiches out of nothing but hamburger buns and BBQ sauce. I called it a BBQ sauce sandwich. What’s not to like? I like sandwich’s cousin, the wrap. The wrap is a one-handed sandwich. I once made a wrap out of yellow mustard and Gold Fish (the cracker).

Reubens: so loving.

Okay, so I like lunch too. Who doesn’t? Cereal, it’s not a denial of what we have together.

While I’m thinking about dinner I snack on some hummus and veggies. Hummus is a weird thing, but I love it. Wait, I should use a different word. I don’t want Cereal to think I’m cheating on it. Rephrase—I rely on hummus for intellectual stimulation…

No, no, Cereal, it’s not that you’re not intelligent… We just have a different relationship… No, don’t leave… Of course you complete me… How many times have I told you that we’re soul mates… Yes, but I’ve said it different ways… Do I have to actually use the term “soul mate…” But that was just one time… I don’t have a problem…  You’re just being emotional… Come sit down.

Oh, Cereal. Sure I love dinner, too. What do I love so much about it? I love… Sorry, I enjoy casseroles. Come out with me some time and we’ll get a nice chicken mole enchilada. Gnocchi with a Caprese salad to start. No, you don’t pronounce the “g.” Oh, Cereal, now you’re just getting nitpicky… It’s not hoity-toity, it’s part of the language… Yes, I love simplicity… You’re simple, Cereal. Maybe once in a while I’ll eat an entire large pizza with Canadian bacon and pineapple and jalapeños. Sure you can have bacon for dinner… It’s not gluttonous… You can have bacon for any meal… Oh, the Canadians have just as much right as anyone else. Well, now that you mention it I also like a buffalo burger… Yes, bison, tatonka. I’m being unreasonable?  Fine, how about this: I love butternut squash ravioli with fried basil leaves. That snooty enough for you? I love lightly seared Ahi tuna. I love raw tuna for that matter. You won’t even try sushi. Sure I like Velveeta… And bacon.

Bacon.

Don’t bring dessert into this… Because it’s unfair… Well, there are brownies and ice cream and homemade ice cream. Cobbler in the summer… I’m smiling because I like cobbler… It makes me feel nostalgic… I’m beginning to think you don’t understand me, Cereal. What about cake? Everyone loves cake. And there’s banana pudding. My mom makes the best banana pudding… Oh, this has nothing to do with her… Leave Sheryl out of this… Pecan pie and popsicles and bread pudding and cookies and panna cotta and tiramisu and…

What?

Why’d you have to go there, Cereal? I don’t have a problem… Well, yeah… But doesn’t everyone love to eat?… Of course you’re enough for me… Most of the time… Twelve step program? Isn’t everyone a little skinnier in high school? It’s not a coping mechanism… What do I have to cope with? I’m needy? You’ve thought this all along? I’m just craving attention? The blog has nothing to do with it… Sure I eat to make myself feel better. What’s wrong with doing nothing?

I guess I’m bored… It might make me feel a little better… Yes, that sounds nice. Let’s go with the Honey Nut Cheerios. Not too much milk… And a big spoon… Have the Lucky Charms on standby.

-MC JLight

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When I’m in the middle of doing nothing—I mean, when I’m really doing it well—I’ll sometimes Google little questions that I’m looking to answer. Are soul patches cool? Turns out they’re not as cool as they used to be. Where did Waldo go? Somewhere in the South Pacific. How much money should I save each month? More than I currently do. Am I too old to get pregnant? Yes.

Here’s one that I did today, just cause I worry about this kind of thing: How old is too old to change careers? I asked Google this for several reasons. First, honestly, if I got a real job, even my dream job, I’d consider it a career change, as I am currently the VP of Jack Squat. Second, I’m extremely worried that my chosen career path is evaporating before me. And third, because I feel like I’m starting to get past the age where anything is possible.  You know, I’m not sure I can go back to school and I doubt if people want to hire someone my age as an intern and I’ve got to earn money somehow. So basically I wanted to know if all hope for me is gone… And Google seemed like the place to go for this vital info. Besides, my Magic Eight Ball was broken. It just kept saying, “Ask again,” so I threw it into a lake.

The first link that popped up directed me to a message board on which a man of my exact age came a-wondering if he was too old to become a journalist. The responses poured in and were all very positive. Of course not. You’re only as old as you feel. Never say never. One person mentioned many famous people who started careers later in life.

But one response stood out. In it the respondent questions the asker’s negative language, which, strangely, is a lot like mine, e.g. I won’t go back to school. I can’t find a job that makes me happy, etc. He suggested that the wannabe journalist ought to rework his vocabulary. Agreed. For many people, positivity has worked miracles in the past. Our forefathers’ positivity helped found this great country in the face of insurmountable Red-Coated odds. Positivity has helped countless sports underdogs (notably the 1997 Denver Broncos). And who hasn’t used a little positive thinking on a road trip through Nevada when there’s fifty miles ahead until the next rest stop and fifty miles have past since you stopped at Taco Bell for a bagful of bean burritos.

So me and the wannabe journalist should go with positive stuff. I will…. I can… Fine. Sort of. Perhaps I’m a Negative Nancy, but I usually reserve I will for certain things that I will do. I will take out the trash. I will eat some ice cream. I will take you to the airport. These are things over which I virtually have complete control. The wheels stop turning, though, when I try to be positive about tasks of less certainty (I will drive this ball down the middle of the fairway) or, even scarier, goals that depend on the willing participation of others (see below). Those scare the dickens out of me

Most applicable to my “professional” life is something like this: I will sell/publish this or that screenplay/story. **Silence, cricket chirp, cough.** Oh boy. Again, I may be a Debbie Downer, but how can I even begin to utter such a sentence. My brain starts working overtime: I have little control over such an event, I might jinx myself by saying it, I’m setting myself up for disappointment. C’mon, the only way I could convince myself that it was possible for me to write a novel was by getting a few words of it tattooed on my body as motivation. Because who wants to be the guy who had a small portion of an unfinished/unrealized novel permanently etched on his skin? Not me. So what’s next? Do I need to brand myself? (This is the kind of situation that leaves me wanting to eat a carton of fudgesicles and veg out on the couch watching The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. He makes me feel better.) Moreover, if I can’t utter the aforementioned difficult sentence, how am I supposed to get anything done, much less take myself seriously as a writer?

But wait. You’re saying there’s another word between will and won’t. And you’re right. There’s also that lovely word: try. I love this word. I fall back on this word. It’s cuddly. It’s theoretical positivity. It’s exact middle. It’s hoping for the best without being cocky. I like that.

But Yoda had to step in and be a jerk. In The Empire Strikes Back he clearly says, “Do or do not. There is no try.” He took a choice, the best choice, away. I can’t even try to be positive. I can’t try to not try. I have to do or not do. I have to either be negative, which is nearly impossible for me (even though I’m a quasi-pessimist, I don’t like quitting), or there’s that other thing…

Crap.

-MC JLight

My friend Benjamin recently posted the following as his Facebook status: “kinda wish plants would have sex in private and not all over my car. yellow.”  He’s referring to the amazing amount of pollen in North Carolina. It’s all over the road and on every car in town. On today’s run I saw clouds of the stuff. Little particles swarming like Africanized honey bees. I saw a car actually emit pollen from its exhaust. Seriously.

Benjamin - irritated about plant sex.

Sound like a good time? It ain’t. I have what doctors refer to as “allergies.” Which means the abundance of pollen, or male plant sex dust, in the air gives me fits. Honestly it’s the only thing worse than the heat here. And I think they’re doing it on purpose.

Personally, this is the first time I’ve seen plants have sex so haphazardly. No regard for personal boundaries or religious beliefs. Just frivolity. Usually they’re so docile, so Martha-Stewart-ish. But right now it’s like the floral version of spring break. Female plants parading around with belly rings and too-tight bathing suits. Male plants ‘roided-up and glossy, their sexual awareness heightened by a mixture of Red Bull, hormones, and tequila shooters.

When parents around here give “the talk” I doubt it’s even necessary to use the old birds/bees euphemism, namely because the flowers here don’t need birds or bees to make little flower babies. Instead it should go something like this:

Well, little Kenny, when the male part of the flower really loves the female part of the flower it departs its pollen in heavy sheets onto a tall man’s 2002 Toyota. Then the tall man comes out of his house and inadvertently inhales the pollen. The rush of histamines makes him so dizzy that he bumps his head on the car. The yellow devil dust gets in his hair and on his favorite Broncos t-shirt. After a long sneezing fit, buckets upon buckets of snot, eyes so itchy they might fall out, and a lot of cursing, the tall man gets out of his car and a gust of wind blows the pollen off of him and onto the female part of the plant. And that’s how baby plants get made.

Think about it. Little Kenny can go to school the next day and brag to his friends about his new-found knowledge of the Tall Man and the Toyota. Or the Sneeze and the Snot. He can tell the story of an angry man with snot raining from his nose and how that man makes baby flowers. Sure it may lead to years of confusion and a few therapist bills, but it will stick with him.

That isn't magic fairy dust.

Hell, parents of North Carolina, you could even use this copious plant sex as a deterrent. Let’s say you have an allergy-prone teenager in the house and you want to deliver the old Wait-Until-Marriage Sex Talk. Don’t. Talk is cheap. Action speaks volumes. Just sit the kid outside on the patio and tell him or her to breathe deep. As he’s sneezing uncontrollably, crying, writhing in pain, and begging for a Zyrtec you jump out and say, “And that’s what happens when you mess around with gratuitous sex like those hornball plants. Keep your hands to yourself until there’s a ring on your finger.”

I’ve come to blame the tree-hugging liberals of North Carolina and, specifically, Chapel Hill. (Even though I am mostly liberal myself.) I imagine they parade around encouraging the trees and flowers to explore their bodies, to do what feels natural, to make love, not war… Blah, blah, blah, achoo. Colorado allergy season was nothing like this. They somehow keep their plants in order. Granted, there are plenty of liberals in CO. I mean Obama carried the state in 2008. But there’s also the Focus on the Family influence. While I may not agree with everything that organization stands for, at least they keep plants from sexing all over the place.

Yes, I need a hobby. More nothing to come…

MC JLight