Friday, June 28, 2019

"Cause I Speak of the Pompatus of Love

Recipe from Taste of Home
I had a customer yesterday that came in with a list that his wife gave him but it was unclear exactly what she needed so I asked him if he'd call her to verify.  He immediately got tense and started mumbling frantically.  It became clear he was scared to death of his wife!  He was a serious man, about 35 I'd say, Caucasian, bad shorts, a little conservative.  He seemed perfectly capable albeit a bit beaten down in confidence.  He said things like she made it super easy for me, she doesn't trust me, she wouldn't give me anything complicatedCan't you just look again on your computer, I don't want to have to call her.  I said, I'm sorry is she at work or something?  No, he tells me she's home.  Okay, so what's the problem?  I became curious to know what makes a man frightened like this.
I halfway felt sorry for him but was also slightly irritated.  Where's your spine boy?!!  Don't take it lying down like that!  You're scared to call your own wife?!  I felt like Foghorn Leghorn coaching him on.
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And don't you know he handed the phone to me when she picked up.  She was perfectly nice, but sighed a lot and I could tell he might take a tongue lashing when he gets home for botching it up and inconveniencing her.  What was the big deal?  I tried to give him a little pep talk in the two minutes it took to ring him up.  But also make him aware that this is not a good look for a grown man, or woman. 
After he left I thought to myself how lucky I am in some respects to have a kind, but strong, mutual partner.  Neither one of us takes much shit from the other at least.  We're far from perfect but if we ever were treated like that man, I can guarantee we'd walk away. 
So I'm riding home on my bike stopped at the intersection and I see this super huggy couple all intertwined like a pretzel on the corner.  He was giving it all, the constant reassuring stroking of the back, unnecessary kisses, the whole nine yards and then I notice he's carrying her purse too!  It wasn't a big purse and she didn't have any other bags.  Really?  Ewww! I snapped a picture.  Most people would probably say 'Awwww, that's so cute!' Not me, I wanted to throw up.  Right before the light changed I yelled 'Hey is that where she keeps your balls?!'.   Because you know, I'm 14. Actually, I didn't yell it but I thought it and looked to my right to try to share a smirk with the car next to me hoping he was catching this ridiculous PDA display but instead he was getting ready to gun it at the light to cut me off and turn left.  Like everyone else, he probably hates bikers. So the joke was on me.
The lesson here, don't make fun of people, ever. Even when they're ball-less candy asses.
Made a great Shrimp, Avocado and Corn salad with Black Rice.  A refreshing lighter meal for a 88 degree day like today. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

It's Tradegy, With No One Beside You, You're Going Nowhere

I dropped my phone in the toilet at work.  I didn't realize until now, what a tragedy it was going to be.  It was submerged for a millisecond before I fished it out with my bare hands.  As I found out later, I immediately did what  you're not supposed to do.  I took it apart and ran it under the hand dryer.  Later, I put it in rice overnight to no avail, she's gone Captain.  And now I've been without a phone which is a very great existence by the way.   However, it's interesting how many ticks I have now, reaching for it every two minutes,  or how I can't form a solid thought before my brain pauses and I feel the need to check on miscellaneous nonsense.  An adult pacifier for sure, it's embarrassing.  I haven't been disconnected with my sister for this long in years.  We would usually have discussed the morning and weather and various other light subjects by now.  I do miss that.  It soothes me to know sister is out there and everyone else that I could reach out to when needed.  I have to send my mate idiot morning sentiments because it helps me feel connected. However he usually just has one word responses which tells me he's busy or that he just isn't that into me.  We've pretty much kept our phone time to as needed for emergencies in the past.  But I entered a new era where I try to kick up a little banter, because I believe we're all going to die in a catastrophic disaster soon and the time is now to begin having fun.   I had also become accustomed to a new word game that helped me pass 10 minutes before I had to mount the bike and roll it to work or home.  But without all of these distractions your mind chills out and I felt a lot better for a longer stretch, more able to concentrate and be in the present. 

In a desperate attempt to revive the little Galaxy this morning, I plugged it in and pressed on but got an unexpected eery sort of goodbye.  A phone pic sent to my computer from my dying phone.  It shows me that it's 100% charged, so I can stop pumping it's chest now.  I must have pressed the screen shot buttons. The screen is never going to light up again.
After that set in, I ordered the new phone and let it go.  After all, this isn't a live human person, it's an inanimate object.  But one that holds almost everything I hold dear and my way to reach the world.  It's a little sad but only if you let yourself go there.  Otherwise it's just an inconvenience. I'm actually torn up about it but trying to convince myself that people are flooded in parts of the country right now, and have much bigger problems. 

To get my mind off of it, I got some chicken legs and thighs to stew.  I had some leftover vegetables and felt it would be a good way to use the leeks, green pepper and cilantro stems, so I made a casserole with brown rice and Green Enchilada Sauce that I bought online.  I have never bought canned enchilada sauce but since my amazing luck with canned tomatillos, I figured I'd keep it around for a rainy day and here is that day! 
After browning the chicken, I added all the rest of the ingredients, the can of sauce and about a cup of water, the uncooked brown rice.  Then put the lid on it and stuck it in the oven.  Two hours later on 350 it was so fall off the bone good.  And the heat was just right on that edge where it should be to make you slow down to eat it.  The only thing missing was warmed flour tortillas.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

I Felt in Touch with the Modern World

So as a very slow edging towards vegetarianism, there is a category that I'm inventing that is heavy on the vegetables in the meal and the meat sort of playing 3rd fiddle.  Like here where I roasted these carrots and mushrooms but underneath is a bed of ground beef in a white gravy with potatoes and more mushroom.  Topped with some carrot greens.  This really worked to eat all the vegetables yet I wasn't wanting for more in a half an hour. 
Plus, it's kind of pretty!

Another gorgeous item; I could not love my new bike bag any more!  It's a Roadrunner purchased from the 718 Cyclery website at 10% off.  It's just the right size, it still holds enough and everything you need.  One side pocket sort of stops you from adding too many small items.  I love it!  Still waiting for my free t-shirt but I would not be me unless something went wrong with my on-line purchase.  But my bud actually hand delivered this one to me, so no complaints.  

Friday, June 14, 2019

I'd Pay the Devil to Replace Her

As I write this, Pelicana Chicken has already closed up shop here in Fort Greene.  At that time I became very excited to know that we had our own little Korean KFC down the block.  A box of crispy, spicy chicken with sides at low for downtown Brooklyn prices.
It may be a mixed blessing that we no longer have this option, but it sure was cool while it lasted.  These Brooklyn neighborhoods change like the wind but we still constantly pay outrageously.  You'd think we could sustain a few more cool take out restaurants. 

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Yangneyom chicken (μ–‘λ…μΉ˜ν‚¨) is a crispy and tender Korean fried chicken smothered in a sticky, spicy red sauce. It literally translates to seasoned chicken, and along with dakgangjeong, it's one of many variations of spicy chicken dishes that are made popular by fast food chains in Korea

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Idiot Wind, Blowin' Down the Back Roads Heading South

Now more than ever, I appreciate how friends can talk about anything, even the taboo subjects.  When considered from a place of love or truth, I feel you should be able to discuss anything openly.  And we do, and we did!  A diner dinner and a movie with my bud at Kitchen Sink on 2nd Ave on the lower east side.  There is this safe zone that I feel exists with people you trust.  They know you're not an asshole and you value their feedback when bouncing off not so popular thoughts.  This is heightened by doing this while eating grilled cheese sandwiches and tons of french fries.
My friend has biked for years and now has added Brooklyn to her road adventures due to work.  I was thrilled that she shared some of these hilarious thoughts on the new wave of riders.  Female bikers become bigger in number each spring.  I always assumed that would make the road a cooler place because women are more considerate, careful.  But no, turns out many of the young gals are competing with the big, dumb aggro males, which is so disappointing and surprising.  This has become comedic at times if it wasn't so dangerous.  Everyone racing to be the fastest most daring jerk, whizzing through lights on what should be easy, commute lanes.  These are real vibrant neighborhoods, with school kids popping out in the street, dog walkers, stroller moms, delivery trucks, opposite side parking hustlers, morning joggers in the lanes.  I mean anything can happen in a second. No one should be riding at these high speeds. We both have ridiculous stories of riding along with these herds.  You begin to notice common behavior.   
Citi bikers can be super annoying because they're so unpredictable.  Its an amazing program and I'm happy people are taking advantage of it's accessibility.  But there are a lot of giant goofballs on these things that are out of control and now they think they can compete on the road when they should just peddle and try to stay out of the way.  They'll never win races on those fat tires but for whatever reason, they get it in their heads to act up.  If you find yourself sharing the road, most likely some asshole will come flying past within inches of you(without announcing himself). Remember when everyone was so cool as to say, 'on your left', such a courtesy that I really appreciated.  It was as if to say, no worries, carry on, no big deal, just gonna pass you with absolutely no silliness.  In the past this was usually the 6ft Jamaican guy that has been biking for centuries or the giant calved white dude with all his expensive bike gear and five thousand dollar bike.  I knew my place.   They would glide by and you'd notice them in the far distance seconds later, never to be seen again.  But now it's these clowns that you will ultimately have to awkwardly pass one minute later because they are not equipped to keep their speed.  Usually you'll find them stopped at the next light in the middle of the crosswalk, as you pass through, usually checking their phone as if this somehow makes them look cool instead of like a big asswipe that's blocking pedestrians.  We laughed at how many times they insist on these idiotic games back and forth.  It becomes embarrassing for them and a true nuisance when you're just trying to get to work. No wonder everyone hates bikers.
These are just some of the incredible conversations you can have at a great New York diner with a good pal.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Bring 'Em All In

Trigger warning: Awkward girl tries to explain herself below
Enchilada Platter from Pequena in Fort Greene
In the end the joke was on me because Latin Heritage Month is in September but I could have sworn it was in June.
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At a Mexican restaurant recently I went on about how the gays not only stole my Cinco de Mayo celebration at work, but they took over the whole darn month of June, which I thought was when we celebrated Hispanic heritage.  Overall, I was a little short with the whole gay spectrum and I was trying to understand why.  At first I figured it was because they had the gall to celebrate an entire month when most groups barely get recognized for their one day (I also didn't realize it was the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall).  I have this same reaction with people that claim entire birthday months.  This is unusual for me though because I have big love for homosexuals. I have always seen their struggle and frankly in my youth I thought they were way more interesting than straights 99% of the time.  But now I admire good character in individuals regardless of who you're schtooping. So I broadened my spectrum.  I'm all for everyone having the right to get married, and equal benefits, access to needed support and care. Of course we should have all of that.  I certainly see the huge steps the world needed to take from the 1980's to now for the LGBT community, absolutely.  But I was feeling somewhat pressed this year, in 2019.  I struggled to see what they could still possibly want.   What I mean is sometimes I see us all in lines like at the DMV and in those lines we have our Blacks, Asians, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Whites, Women, overweight people, soldiers, poor whites, uneducated whites, Jews, the 99%, Midwesterners, Southerners, Refugees, Immigrants and the line really goes on quite a ways.  In other words ALL of the other oppressed and suppressed groups.  And so the next number comes flashing up on the screen and who keeps getting to go from the same line?  The gay activists! This is the way it feels to me anyway.  I like things to be fair.  I totally see there are big issues but they exist for many people in many forms and shouldn't we prioritize based on the urgency?

We are in a strange time where I struggle to understand if our improvements are positive or ridiculous. Sometimes it feels we've been completely turned around and shaken off our axis.  We've been completely distracted with this fight between parties, where every topic is politicized.  It reminds me of how in families oftentimes we despise the one who we are most similar.  The far right and the far left are not so different suddenly.  We've taken truth and reason out of the discussion.  But truth is a funny thing because it's like lemons, it can cut through just about anything and come out clean.
speaking of lemons, a delicious lemon seltzer with scoops of lemon sherbet, super refreshing! 
You never know what will surface with all this muddling.  People seem to be searching out and finding more critical thinkers that are having unmediated, long form discussions without the influence of corporate branding.  And these folks are willing to dish out but also take truth from both sides of the argument.  A proper discussion, how refreshing.

Another positive thing surfacing from all of this is instead of regurgitating trusted news source rhetoric the every day Joe's are challenging each other to form their own unique viewpoints around these complex subjects.  It's not enough anymore to come armed to lunches with friends quoting articles because we all have access to the same bullshit. It's time to have your own thoughts again.

So I was corrected the other day on my use of the current and ever growing acronym of LGBTQIA+.  They added an I&A plus a '+', which is; "Not just a mathematical symbol anymore, but a denotation of everything on the gender and sexuality spectrum that letters and words can’t yet describe".  New York Times.  Someone must have yelled Infinity!  Why add so much specific terminology on descriptions so personalized?
Gah!!! Honestly, wouldn't the gays be the first ones to call complete bullshit on all of this if the straights were to start charting up all these Scattergories???  I'm sure there are just as many ways to identify in the NON-LGBTQIA+ spectrum.  And don't we all bounce around a lot in expression?  Where is the science in all of this?  How are we abandoning that humans are only male or female or a version of something in between?   This just feels very fast moving to me.  And maybe this isn't the radical lefts doing but I'm still shell shocked from the masses making such swift moves on the condemnation of all the men that behaved badly recently.  How they took everything away and marked them forever bad without any proper legal means.  That hit like a tornado.

If we accept that someone is not male or female legally, then identity is fluid for everything.  Where could you then draw the line?  Age and race would then be subjective.  How could we manage that within our structures financially or otherwise? Someone is suing right now and it's not the first case. Not kidding.  What if you don't feel like being white any longer and prefer to identify as black.  How is this any different?   Who's rights are more valid?  I feel more 14 than most 14 year olds I know.

And if you think this is not going to be an issue and people are making too big a deal, consider that in Canada if your little girl starts claiming she's a boy and you don't take her to begin counseling for transition, she can be taken away from you.  And there are a lot of those little gems that I had no idea were already laws.  I see wording sneaked into our harassment training, 'even if the person perceives something, dot, dot.  Companies are financially liable if a worker does something that could be conceived as disrespectful, even implied.   Of course this is making companies so fearful that they're trying to get ahead of the curve putting in policies to save their ass and operating out of fear. Now you must do things that I would have been happy if asked but when you enforce a policy, I don't support that.  I back up not allowing racial or slurs of any kind, that's obvious.  But how is making me call someone xyr rational?  I can't get my company to call me by my preferred nickname which is only a shorter version.  But I could get fired by not using a made up pronoun and be faced with a $250,000 fine.

At work we had a whole company policy and shift in the way we could grammatically address a group of new hires, some in order to protect their right to identify as non-binary people.  I'm not yet down with non-binary as a term recognized by laws and government. With the people I have no problem.  I'm very pro self expression of any kind.  I think the science should be there though in order to declare yourself another human specimen.  I do want better lives for transgender folks I'm just afraid we're not staying reasonable. As a matter of fact, I am so happy to learn of parents and schools not pushing binary toys and letting the lines blur as they will for kids.  I've been on the pink princess hating bus for years.  I never liked that we guided kids to certain types of toys.  I loved going into my dads tool shed and pounding nails and building stuff, getting dirty and running like a wild dog in the woods but I also loved fashion and my sister and I would draw out wardrobes for the next semester year in grade school.

At a home furnishing store you would expect to find lots of gay men and they are represented but the number of women has grown by leaps and bounds in the last year.  Not only your garden variety lesbians but gender fluid, gender non-conforming, non-binary, trans, gender neutral and its been interesting to have this new evolution happen so quickly.  I feel a bigger connection.  If indeed it's true that 40% of the transgender community attempts suicide and that number is only 4% for straights, I want to listen because those are drastic emergency level numbers.  I think people are ready to have humane discussions outside of our political leanings that could be resolved without the government.  But that requires respectful honesty.  I think some liberals are operating solely on empathy.  Sometimes you have to tell people they're full of shit. That's something I actually learned from my gay friends.

I think we can support, respect and give credit when its due and stay clearheaded.  Just because you're gay doesn't make you a hero.  The real heroes in the community were the men and women in the 70s, early 80s, the thousands who took beatings and constant jabs throughout every facet of their lives but still stayed true to themselves.  Yes people still get violated but so do blacks, women, Mexicans, short people, nerds, etc.  Americans are cruel motherfuckers.  It's a horrible reality.  If you come out today, good on you and for real.  I'm just saying social media puts people on pedestals for the wrong reasons.

The truth is I like all of the new theys much better then all the other Cis hes and shes at work because they're different and I feel more connected to different.  But in the end, I'm much more concerned with identifying as cool, humble, kind individuals seeking to work because I'm old like that now.  My problem was never with the thems but the lawmakers and the radicals who took it way the fuck too far, too soon and put the money and pushed the bills to create all this unnecessary distinction without proper consideration for how it affects everyone, businesses, parents, schools, etc.  In their rush to save the world, I feel it's created its own new set of problems and division.

I am not yet equipped to counter the argument that we don't need to acknowledge up to 31 different protected genders in New York, several of which are not actual genders but expressions thereof.  See 'priorities'.  But by the way here they are and I am keeping my lips tight when I read that 6, 7 & 10, 11 differ only in abbreviations. Don't get me started on the definition of gender-gifted:
  1. Bi-gendered
  2. Cross-dresser
  3. Drag King
  4. Drag Queen
  5. Femme Queen
  6. Female-to-Male
  7. FTM
  8. Gender Bender
  9. Genderqueer
  10. Male-to-Female
  11. MTF
  12. Non-Op
  13. HIJRA
  14. Pangender
  15. Transexual/Transsexual
  16. Trans Person
  17. Woman
  18. Man
  19. Butch
  20. Two-Spirit
  21. Trans
  22. Agender
  23. Third Sex
  24. Gender Fluid
  25. Non-Binary Transgender
  26. Androgyne
  27. Gender Gifted
  28. Gender Blender
  29. Femme
  30. Person of Transgender Experience
  31. Androgynous
One would think the easier but turns out just as serious subject is the laws are such that you must address these new genders by a plethora of new pronouns, some words new to anyone on the planet.  How did we get here so quickly?  I sat and watched about 30 Ted Talks with people unwrapping this topic for us Cis folk. Could that term be anymore abhorrent by the way?  It sounds like a soulless clone born out of a laboratory.   After watching various transgenders describe gender identification and pronouns as if its nothing out of the ordinary and how we should just abide by their wishes and if you screw up then apologize quickly and move on.  Okay, so far I don't follow on the actual gender descriptions, I see them more of expressions, and as far as the pronouns, they, them, sure no problem.  But then it keeps going and they explain the list may grow to whatever (currently we have 56).  Respectfully, there should be a middle ground here.  I'm not so concerned about grammar, although that's also hard to change, as I am opposed to being force fed some new behavior.  Like I said, logic has to play in.  I can definitely get the link between identifying yourself and feeling respected. One separate pronoun is reasonable and easy enough for folks to adapt.  In Sweden they say 'Hen' to describe gender neutral as opposed to Han or Hon.  My bud suggested some are using 'friend' which I love! I don't like guilt tripping people by citing Cis privilege though.  Just because you're labeled straight doesn't mean you're free from oppression.  These are very complicated concepts and I don't think it's fair to expect everyone to just hop on board without proper discussion.
My question is will all this new language and categorizing truly make the situation any better or widen the division gap?  Time will tell when the chromosomes settle.
A quick last thought: I had an amazing therapist in my 20's and she once told me one of the hardest things for me will be to realize that I am much more like other people than my fear of being so different.  It was a huge bombshell for me.  Sometimes I feel like all this division from the 'norm' is coming out of hurt, anger and rebellion, as well as preference.   Dividing us up further especially legally is a sad way to deal with this opportunity to come together individually to see that everyone is always many things.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Getting So Much Better All the Time

Many soups get better overnight but of all of them, I think posole yields the most flavor boost on the second round.  And the thought of it, sitting in that fridge working its magic, just waiting for you is like foreplay for the mind.  All day you visualize that piping hot dressed bowl when you get home.  You have the condiments already because you prepared for this. You take posole seriously.   I'd even go as far as to say you could concentrate on what ails you before eating.  Perhaps its not just a thick Mexican soup but a brew, a concoction of elements together that have the power to heal. 
Chicken and Pork Holiday Posole

Friday, June 7, 2019

Yet You May See the Meaning of Within

stirring the posole
Only when you make pork posole can you truly love yourself or anyone else.  This was that with a twist.  I had a huge pork shoulder bone leftover from a slow roasted pork that we had picked over but it still had so much love to give to the broth.  So I baked some chicken thighs and shredded them in.  And as a personal touch I added roasted poblano peppers. 
Eating posole is like Ayahuasca for your tastebuds.  Flavors from another dimension take hold.  You go places.  It's always an experience to remember.  And it also has similar healing effects.  I like mine chocked full of hominy with all the add ins like lime, cilantro, Mexican oregano, green onions, radish. The only thing I missed was some crunchy cabbage.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

You Took You're Lucky Break and Broke it In Two

The great thing about cooking at home is that you have zero rules.  This was an answer back meal to the shoddy taco day presentation at work that same day.  A quick Chile Relleno with roasted Poblano peppers and Harissa Fontina cheese.  This was another Chopped: Home Edition so I only had 30 minutes.
I charred the peppers stove top, stuffed them with cheese and stuck then in the oven just to melt, heated and spiced the pork and put it atop a quick Corn meal masa spiced with Chipotle.  In the traditional version you would have a simple tomato sauce and a light egg batter but there was no time for all of that.  Plus the peppers were so fresh and their flavor is bold enough to be the highlight.
I love taco day at work but sometimes they make several violations.  The buffet consisted of cut up chicken nuggets, white rice, cardboard shells, a sweetened ground beef and that liquid cheese sauce.  All sins against food but of course by 2pm you're so hungry that you make it work.