Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Simple Stupid

I see dead people

I heard a great quote that really sparked some intense thinking.
Truth is simple;
if it was complicated,
everybody would understand it.

--Walt Whitman

It struck me on several levels. Religiously Judeau Chrisitan beliefs would agree with this saying. Christ states many times that His yoke was "easy" and that His ways are simple. What could be more difficult to do? Just believe? Faith in invisible stuff? Act as though it were? Not excluding and other additionals; the "magic" of it all would seem so simple that we are powerless to explain or comprehend such mysteries. Christ admonishes us to come as the little children. Who but children would have the audacity to be so simple. They believe anything at any time. They arent clouded by any lessons life has beaten into them or a thousand people have told them was impossible. Its no wonder that children are the first to be aware of the unseen. Children and animals are so empty of junk and rules that the impossible still has plenty of space to happen. Reality has no limits. Sometimes I think we are all unlimited; but our perception makes us much less....

Scientificly when you consider the human and its mind and its untapped
capacities, you have to wonder what you dont know. Are we only on the
first page of a forty page manual? How much and how terribly terrific are the things we have not the slightest clue? Of course, I'm a sucker for shows like the X-Files and Fringe that focus on the extraordinary; things so fantastic or terrible, they couldnt possibly be true; but what if they are? Then you through in the supercollider and wormholes and time travel and quantum physics and the lines of real and sci-fi begin to blur. Several years ago a cellphone or microwave would have been science fiction to someone. Of course, there are a few people left who dont believe we've been to the moon.

How do we unwrap our minds of life's curses and dissatisfactions? There are those making millions of dollars on self help programs, TV talkshows, a set of tapes, a set of books and any number of conveluted lengthy slickly marketed gems. Most of it can all be boiled down to something very simple; but you wouldnt pay half your earnings for a truth that simple...besides you already knew that. We would rather have some "other" authority's idea of perfection and perfect life than our own. Perhaps children have the best advice of us all. More ironic, its what we fed them because we supposedly believed it or are at least very comfortable deluding them with it very early in life. Perhaps all our solutions were the ones we left, discarded or forgot back in first grade while playing with all the other kids....little SIMPLE things....


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Snapshot, Sweat and Sunshine

The sun feels so warm outside in spite of being comfortably cool behind the huge window before me. I tell you this upfront. This blog has no overarching theme. Read at your leisure. My wifey and I are entering our third week of working out together. She has really hung in there. Beyond my proudness of her for just being who she is, she's a tough little cookie. I dont hold back on working out. She's doing good. I dont remember when it started; but I only hunted (and I use that term in every sense, hunted) women whose audacity to be different made them strong enough to survive what might crush the ordinary/fickle. She's a wonder woman.

Women tend to think strange things when it comes to sweat and what men consider sexy and a whole host of other $50,000.00 assumptions. Meanwhile, this blog isnt clearing up any of those deep mysteries in spite of being fully capable. One of the trainers walked by yesterday and remarked, "if my girl would workout with me like that, I would marry her today!" My response was, "be careful what you ask for." I knew he wasnt ready for that kind of commitment yet. We, men, are always ready with the next excuse/condition. Men are masters at turning a situation back on women and even convincing them it was there fault. Maybe its just our modern culture — its always somebody else's fault. Why does it take men so long to commit, to abandon the field, to leave the game, to walk off the field? Hmmm...boy would my readers increase if I answered any of these questions; so I guess I will just be happy with you being here now. Its one of those subjects that only breeds more conversation; not answers.

I assume its from being a nerd, then a college cheerleader and now in modest disguise that I always have a heart for the "neglected side of life," for the questions that one may have noone to ask or trust and/or those who cannot bear one more joke at your expense. You know who you are. Everyone matters. Everyone counts. Nobody has to be a size 2 or have a cosmetic surgery season pass to Dr. 90210. You dont have to be a Calvin model. Just be you and really understand loving yourself; especially if there is a shortage of those who feel the same way. Now thats not a ticket to be stupid or inconsiderate; just to stand your ground. Afterall, Bill Gates still isnt a Calvin model but....he's just as famous and certainly richer. No color makes you look better than green!

Nonetheless, my little warrior princess deserves a night off. The iron and steel will still be there when we get back. Its a great night for some nice romantic date that we can just enjoy living and appreciating. That's cool too. All work and no play makes mean people....and we know what they do. Hmmm feels like a wine and candles night.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Again

monday iceberg

This Monday has crashed off into tomorrow like an iceberg under the influence of Al Gore's Inferno. The day was cracking from the very beginning when when I rolled most reluctantly from the warm caress of my beautiful wifey onto a carpeted floor to a tiled cool bathroom floor. I knew it would be downhill til I saw her again. I spent this day wondering why I hadn't won the Lottery and resenting that I could be more aid to my fellow man due to my financial richness. I guess its good that I dont want it all for myself and that I would keep working anyway.

teacher shirts
...just for teachers! They dont get nearly enuf praise or pay.

Anyway, I was just remembering some of the most influential folks in my life, teachers. Isnt it amazing how important education is in Tennessee; but we keep hearing about necessary "education" cuts.

Friday, September 19, 2008

All Gassed Out! NO GAS; just Friday Fixins!

alternative fuel

It's another cool Friday...right; how could it not be, it's FRIDAY! It's been a great day for getting things done. In spite of being busy, its also a great day for reflections and for thankfulness. I dont know about you; but I have seen some strange things beginning to happen at gas pumps. My other side might not agree by replying..."but its human nature..." Anywhooo, gas seems to be right up front on everybody's wallets.

alternative fuel

The only other things running close are politics and the economy. I join the ranks of so many wondering how can we pay more for gas after ....well; thats another blog. Its funny odd how far people will drive for a lower price....which kinda defeats the purpose of saving since it just cost you more gas to go get it for less. Of course, thats providing you can actually find any. It would appear that somebody has found a way to recycle plastic bags...."gas pump sweaters!" [seriously...nobody steal that idea;...except Paris Hilton...]

crazy gas prices

I passed 3 stations before I could even get ANY gas which was AFTER I waited in line. My wifey will tell you, personally I dont say much about gas prices because my thought is so what! If I want/need it I'm gonna get it anyway, so why complain about something I either cant do anything about or I'm gonna bow to anyway (gas prices). However; just because I CAN pay $40.00 dollars a gallon doesnt mean I WILL. Enough is enough! Its gotten out of hand and 4 years, much less 8, ain't gonna fix it. I'm getting my bicycle out this weekend. Ok...that's all I am going to rant on this issue. Toons say it all.

high fuel

...so lets just eat; but wait delivery trucks run on gas too....hmmm..I wonder who they will pass along the cost to? Yeah, but I GOTTA eat; so on to the Friday Fixins! Oh this one is really good. What could be better than smooth warm chocolate on a fall day except adding peanut butter (and I PREFER Jif) to the mix. This one is worth all its fat grams!!!

Chex Mix

Chocolate Peanut Butter Puppy Chow

7 cups Chex cereal
2 cups golden grahams
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp fine salt
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup Butterfinger Marble Mix-Ins*
1/8 cup butterscotch chips, chopped
1/8 cup peanut butter chips, chopped

1. Combine cereals in a large bowl.
2. Melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter over low heat, stirring until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.
3. Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal, stirring gently with a plastic spoon until coated.
4. Measure the powdered sugar into a large plastic zip bag (or a bowl if you don’t have a bag that’s big enough). Then add the chocolate mixture, Butterfinger Marble Mix-Ins*, butterscotch chips and peanut butter chips into the bag and shake (or invite your kid into the kitchen to shake it up for you).

* If you can’t find this, chopped butterfinger bars would work great too. Great recipes from Chocolate Peanut Butter site, two of my most favorite things.You might also salivate for some Cheesy Ranch Mix

Thats all I got and I gave it to you! Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fringe Benefits: The Spooky Familiar

Fringe TV Show

Well its happened again. I tried and tried to avoid being in this situation again; but to no avail. It seems that sooner or later every season some new show comes along that hooks me. Last year it was Heroes and before that the X-Files. Other than those, I can take 'em or leave 'em; not including the nightly news so I can see who shot who and current gas prices. Oops...I shouldnt leave out the Sara Connor Chronicles struggling to keep up with the herd. The Fringe: how do I say it and where do I begin....hmmmm.

Well I guess the basics are first. Its a Tuesday night show whose plot centers around a female FBI agent who is forced to work with an institutionalized scientist in order to rationalize a brewing storm of unexplained phenomena. Of course this show is riddled with conspiracies of secret societies, the milk of history. Now let me get this out of the way up front; yes, its kinda like X-Files with its winding and "things that go bump in the night" plots; yes, it has a dramatic flare like the first season of LOST; and yes, (for we older viewers) a twisted reality much like the old Twilight Zone or Planet of the Apes.

Obviously there are some hiccups with the show, afterall its TV; but at the core of all great cult stories and conspiracy theories, there's just enough truth or doubt to give them the spark of life, even if its self perpetuating. Tim Goodman of SF Chronicle writes a great blog story on how to fix the show. Much of which I can agree with except the odd 3-D graphics that show up in a trademark expectation. After watching again last night, I found the premiere show better inspite of watching the characters begin to grow. No doubt, there is much room for character growth; but noone knows everything about someone when they first meet...so thats cool.

The show has cool graphics! There's just no way for a Salvador Dali, M.C. Echer fan to overlook. Yes, they are odd; but isnt that what makes us unique. Its as strong as the LA Law double donks at the beginning...you know whats coming on without even looking at the screen. We all love symbols; baseball, hotdogs and apple pie with the Statue of Liberty in the background cheering us on to victory. Thats grits and gravy with free cathead bisquits!

But on to the meat of this blog. Why I like the Fringe. It has a darkness that can only be located around thin shards of truth that society would never really want to know as in the media following the troops around and erasing what Hollywood has so tainted reality with — the glories of war. Don't get me wrong, freedom isn't free and war is not only hell but manditory. Nothing changes without blood, weapons and conspiracy. Such truths are always enshrouded with religion, politics and the ethics of the button pushers. The Fringe represents the same magic that has kept Area 51, the Bermuda Triangle and Atlantis just on the outskirts of our fears and imaginations. Whether the show makes it our not; its premises will never expire. Its the classic X-File when Mulder finally comes face-to-face with the aliens and then doesnt know what to do but unload his clip which wasnt firing any bullets anyway. We have all these moments of searching and wanting but we have yet to plan what we will actually do in said moment. It's like the old lottery question: What woud you do if you won a million dollars? Ok, you hooked up all your friends and family and paid your debts but there's $999,250 left to be used. What looks back at us when we look at the obvious? We seem to be flooded with media that tells you its one thing thats not that but like something else...ie Secret, strong enough for a man, but made for a woman; pink is the new black, grapple - the taste of grape in the size of an apple....where does it stop? Vice President, pretty as a woman; strong as a bulldog?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Beaches and Rice Pudding Friday Fixin's!

see peace

Get some beautiful images from John Wortham Ahhh....feel the breeze and hear the wind chase the seagulls.

Its finally Friday. The week had drug on like the infinitely long train of a bride milking the moment uncertain of the future with her heart pounding in her chest instead of taking footsteps. We have a great location for viewing little surprises in the city. The sun is extremely warm, like that first cool slice of butter on fresh hot pecan pancakes, we can see things begin moving around, letting the moment plan their days. It was quite cloudy when I left home which made me think it would probably rain. I had my window blinds open but became abruptly interupte when the bright shards of light cut into my computer screen. I had to close them; I could see nothing. I am trying to finish up a 40 page magazine thats been long overdue; due to a pesky client with an unmade mind. I know in advance that I am probably wasting my time by doing something "better" than the way it was requested; but thats not unusual. Such is the life of a graphic artist.

The air felt so good getting out of my vehicle this morning. I had flashbacks of times less constrained and oceans much bluer. Corona got it right! There's something unmistakeable about the sound of the waves lapping the beach. Sometimes I think I will get a CD of just that; but what would that really accomplish. So now I am thinking about food and cooking. So do you know the history of pudding? Who doesnt love it. It goes like this:
What is pudding?
The history of pudding is a complicated topic. Why? Though time, many different kinds of foods have been known by this name. The creamy, rich pudding dessert we (Americans) think of today is more closely related to custard. The history of custard is likewise ancient. This food followed a separate, though parallel, path that managed to converge with pudding in 19th century America.

Food historians generally agree the first puddings made by ancient cooks produced foods similar to sausages. Medieval puddings (black and white) were still mostly meat-based. 17th century English puddings were either savory (meat-based) or sweet (flour, nuts & sugar) and were typically boiled in special pudding bags. The "pease porridge" most of us know from the old nursery rhyme was most likely a simple boiled pudding of pease meal. By the latter half 18th century traditional English puddings no longer included meat. 19th century puddings were still boiled but the finished product was more like cake. These puddings are still traditionally served at Christmas time.

About custard? Ancient Roman cooks recognized the binding properties of eggs. They were experts at creating several egg-based dishes, most notably patinae, crustades and omlettes. These foods were either savory (made with cheese, meat, pepper etc.) or sweet (flavored with honey, nuts, cinnamon etc.). Food historians generally agree that custard, the sweet almost pudding-like substance we Americans know today, dates to the Middle ages. At that time custard was eaten alone or used as fillings for pies, tarts, pastry, etc. Flan is probably the the most famous and widely adapted custard dessert in the world. It is important to note that custard was not unique to Europe. Similar recipes flourished in Asia. more

History was never that fascinating to me til I got older. Now I am always wondering where things came from or how they really got started. The truth is usually far different form the assumptions. Anywhoo, on to the Friday Fixins! It will be a very busy weekend. I will be babysitting my little nephew Saturday which means we may do some cooking between video games and remote control toys.

Smooth Rice Pudding: Friday Fixins

This recipe serves: 6 • Preparation time: 5 minutes • Cooking time: 1 hour

1/2 cup short grain white rice
3 cups skim milk, heated
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup raisins

Cooking Instructions
1. Combine the rice, milk and salt in the top of a double boiler. Cover and allow the mixture to steam for about 1 hour. Make sure to stir frequently.
2. When the rice is tender, allow it to cool slightly and stir in the butter, vanilla, sugar and raisins.

Presonally I dont like rasins in my food; so feel free to add some nutritious nuts or grated lemon rind, anything to experiment with. Recipes are just the building plan for you own creations. Rice pudding is pretty popular. I found lots of other recipes too.

Mango Jasmine Rice Pudding

Rosa Jackson

Arroz Con Leche

Well that does it for Friday Fixins. Have a great weekend. Ge some food, some sun, some lovin' and some rest.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Immortal Moments: Remembering 911


It is the anniversary date of America's most recent wake-up call 9/11: September 11 , the day we got sucka punched on our own front porch. Its odd that events can so stamp their presence and images into your mind that you remember the air temperature, what you were doing and who was around you when you felt what you felt. I was at the office that morning sitting in front of my computer at my glass desk sipping on green tea when the Director of Marketing burst into the room declaring we were under attack! I remember being briefly confused trying to decide which ex-employee was out in the parking lot. Then we were all assembled together to watch TV. I remember watching the first tower falling thinking we were watching that Will Smith movie, Independence Day or something from Terminator; either way, it MUST be a movie. I remember my lungs gasping for air when the second tower was hit as I recognized the New York skyline. The room temperature dropped drasticly as the room filled with low sobs and whimpers. We were told to go home and make preparations. I immediately went home to join my mother-in-law and wife glued to the television screen. It had only been by accident that we had switched her flight a day sooner from LAX. It was impossible not to watch in spite of being played over and over and over by the media. But wait, what are those bug-like things flying around the building? We gasped at the horror when the cameras zoomed in to show that it was actually people leaping to their deaths as the building fires had become so intense, swift death was a better option. It was like the absense of sound at this discovery except the TV and your own heartbeat so loud in my ears that I hesitated to even look outside. It was a day I will never forget, packed with a full range of emotions I had never experienced simutaneously. Who could be so audacious, so cowardly, so evil, so bold to do something so horrific? In the end, the monsters were just people like you and me, with a lot more hatred and a lot less feeling. It was the beginning of a new world view.

We cant let our children walk down the streets alone anymore. Would we dare go to sleep without locking our doors? Do we catch ourselves watching people who may not look like us with a lot more suspicion? The truth is, the enemy doesnt walk around with a tatoo on his forhead that says ENEMY. In fact, it could be anyone you have known for years, grew up with or even be one of your siblings. Our country has been very good at profiling in spite of the afore mentioned fact. The days of the cowboys in black or white hats are gone. We will need much more wisdom in determining who is friend or foe. It is true as well that September 11 showed the world ability of our extraordinary ordinary heroes disguised in everyday smile and caring. America is deeply scarred by today's date; but we need our scars; they empower us to rise up like the phoenix and unite to become a far greater force than the one struck down. The dog on the porch is awake; no longer basking in the warmth of the sun unaware of the snakes beneath the doorstep.

May we never forget our heroes or rest on their sacrifices. America may not be perfect but its a lot fewer steps from here. The red white and blue is made up of many colors; all standing together not only for the strong but the weak and even sometimes for the offender. I dont know how much of God's mercy we have left in the bank or what the interest is paying; but I know we dont need to run out. In the end, what we love and hate may become the same thing and today and tomorrow may become indistinguishable. So long as we have hope and the strength to lift our heads towards the hills, toward the dawn of a new future; we will never stop getting up from the mud.

bad dog

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Visible Invisible: Big Bang!

altered states

Its kinda funny if it werent so painful; but sometimes its hard to see what you are in while youre in it. Obvious truth is invisible if youre neck-deep in illusion. Its a unique time in history with this historic election, super collider being switched on, nose-diving real estate market and a whole host of other drastic changes brewing in our modern times. A hottub on the roof in winter is great until you step out of the water....I think you catch my chill.

Everybody's got their own beliefs and I would be the first to say you are welcome to your own. I certainly wont hesitate to claim my own, as well as just say I dont know. Seems like everything in America is for sale. In fact, someday, the air will be for sale. (I know but that chuckle will stop soon if you consider that the same might have been said about water and/or bottled water).

Meanwhile this blog was headed toward things that we dont see and are practically invisible to our perceptions. Take clear water; once frozen we can see it take form. Snowflakes are a great example, as well as hail. The key is that a change of state is required. Luckily "things" dont have feelings because change REQUIRES some intense effect be it cold or hot to generate that evolution to a different state. The question will be what will it take for man? How will civilization evolve as science changes our perceptions of the world around us? Can our perceptions and science change those beliefs we hold dear?

Change is inevitable. How do we cope with change is what sets us up for success or failure. These are the days to not sit idlely by and do nothing. We must take action and focus, if not refocus on clear goals if not for our own sake, for that of our future generations. The focus of time and history are at steak. Will we be sucked into the wormhole of senseless madness and despiration? Will we eplode into an arena where man is at the bottom of the food chain again? If reason is our only hope, will we find ourselves at the bottom of the hole with no visible solution or one far less hopeful?

science thoughts

Monday, September 08, 2008

Knockin' the Dust OFF!

dust off the mudd

Well I have been told that its been too long since I last blogged. And they're right. I have been trying to communicate with myself. Have you tried that one before? Did you notice how many clones stood in the way and the long winding plot to get to the real you? Maybe monsters and memories chased you along the long black path.... I say black as in obsidian, a rock introduced to me by my third grade teacher, a woman of timeless wisdom and courage. How could something so dark be reflective? Anywhooo, this is a Monday blog to "knock the dust" off these aging fingers waltzing across a keyboard Apple made (well not actually; somebody they paid to add their name--nothing against Eve's affections; its the American way). Hopefully this week will be full of blogness from yours truely. Recently I have been fascinated by origami; at least the parts simple enuf for ole me to comprehend.

tshirt dollar bill

Try this one: http://members.cox.net/crandall11/money/shirt/

Well thats Monday and its definitely a wrap. I am looking forward to getting back to my honey. I suppose after 17 years, thats pretty remarkable. I know I am always amazed. She's been working out with me lately and its been fun. She's coming along nicely. I dont typically want or have partners; but this one exception leaves me with a grin. Speaking of which, I found this great article for ladies trying to weight train or reshape. Its always better wrapped in sweat. Girls, dont be afraid to sweat. Guys appreciate what it takes to generate a good sweat; they arent turned off by hard work.

MaxiFrog out!