Tag Archives: humor

I’m Back in San Francisco. Guess I Better Find My Jacket.

Found it!

Found it!

50 days and 6,000 miles (ish) later, I’m back in San Francisco and wearing a sweatshirt. I’m not going to try to do one of those here’s-all-the-crap-I-learned-while-I-was-traveling blog posts so don’t get your hopes up. That’ll come later this week.

While I was on the plane from Denver, stuck in a special non-reclining torture chair, I kept on thinking about what it would be like to touch down in this city and reenter life as I left it, but with some profound differences. In all my imaginings, I saw a beautiful sunset, delicious frozen yogurt and a clear night sky.

I get into town and of course (duh duh duh duh duh) it’s foggy as all hell, I get Indian food instead of froyo because I’m craving hot food after a day of exclusively eating Cliff Bars, and I remember I don’t have a towel so I’ll have to air dry tomorrow morning before I can go to Target to get one. Yippee.

On the bright side (and there is a very bright side), I don’t have to go into a job I don’t care about, I have Indian leftovers for lunch, and I get to wear an outfit that I haven’t already worn 30 times this summer. Yes, there is much to be thankful for, even in the fog.

So goodbye, brick houses and warm summer nights. Goodbye styrofoam and mosquitoes. Goodbye short sleeve shirts and sandals. Hello San Francisco.

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Pancakes Are the Stuff of Heaven.

imageI saw a vision of paradise at a Guatemalan restaurant in Oklahoma City called Cafe Kacao. It was in the form of the most delicious pancakes I think I’ve ever tasted, and I’ve tasted a lot of pancakes. In fact, I had 98 from 2013-2014 alone.

Let me describe these pancakes for you, so you too can see the vision of paradise as I saw it. Like the Apostle John, I will relate to you my experience of the otherworldly and the choice is yours to believe, or not.

“On an indistinct stretch of North May Avenue in Oklahoma City I saw a vision of paradise. It was late August and the LORD led me to Cafe Kacao with my family after going to Body Pump at Gold’s Gym.

It was there that God revealed Godself to me when lo and behold, the crowds of people parted and thereupon appeared two cakes of a most miraculous sort, smothered in a light creamy sauce and drizzled with a blackberry reduction, the two sauces mixing together in a way so sublime I knew it was a sign from above. The fresh berries piled on top of the cakes was also a sign from heaven – strawberries and blackberries so plump and so awash in flavor in the land of blackberry reduction that I almost prayed for the LORD to levitate me to heaven right then and there.

But my work on earth was not yet done. Seeing the cakes before me, I knew I was meant to eat them and thus taste the bread of heaven yet while I lived. Eat them I did. My first bite revealed more wonders and knowledge to me than my 25 years here on earth. Has there ever been a pancake so crispy but so tender, so giving in flavor, so receptive to the tongue?

In that very instant I saw everything clearly. I was to be like this pancake, firm but yielding, flavorful but able to work with the flavors of other people, tender, warm and loving. In short, I was to be perfect as this pancake of heaven was also perfect. I at once felt a sense of peace descend upon me as I heard a voice say, ‘This is my pancake, with which I am well pleased. Now go forth in the full knowledge of the pancake and spread the word among the lost.’

I awoke with a stain on my shirt and a faint memory of something all hazy and golden. This blog post had been written in its entirety, and I’ve remained faithful to the original text. Please blame any typos on my vision-seeing dream self.

Also, eat these pancakes.

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Dear God I’m Becoming One of Those Crazy Dog People

imageThe only living thing I own besides the millions of bacteria in my gut is my plant Deb, who is a succulent. She prefers to be watered about once a month but can live forever without any moisture whatsoever, because she’s a badass. She’s not like other pets.

In contrast, Rosie – my sister’s dog who I’m taking care of for the weekend – needs to be watered daily, even multiple times a day. She’s an English Springer Spaniel puppy that is part demon, part beauty queen and completely adorable.

I’ve enjoyed spending time with her and cuddling with her and all of that, but I’ve noticed that I’ve taken on some of the more annoying mannerisms I see in “dog people,” the kinds of people who throw their pooches birthday parties and refer to themselves as the dog’s mom or dad, which I find disturbing. Here are some of the most pressing ones:

1. Referring to my sister and brother-in-law as Rosie’s parents i.e. “Rosie, do you miss mommy and daddy?”

2. Talking to Rosie is a high pitched sing song voice and saying thing like, “Rosie, do you see the birds? Do you know what a crow is? I bet you wish you could fly.”

3. Taking bad pictures of Rosie and then posting on social media.

4. Telling family both what you did during the day and everything that Rosie did and ate and how cute she was and wondering why they don’t care that much about Rosie.

5. Bragging about how pretty Rosie is at the dog park in an underhanded way. “Is that your dog? She’s beautiful!” “Yeah, Rosie’s my sister’s dog. I’m just the dog sitter, but yeah she is gorgeous. Purebred.”

6. Planning my day and life around the dog, avoiding staying out too late because I need to go back and give Rosie night cuddles.

7. Picking up dog poop and forgetting how disgusting / weird it is.

8. Thinking life with a dog is better than any other life that could possibly exist.

9. Feeling very proud for very small things, like if Rosie plays with another dog at the park, or does a good job fetching. Telling family members about her small accomplishments.

10. Obsessively try to get Rosie to make friends at the dog park and talk to her in that high sing song voice, “Rosie, go play with that dog! She’s the same size as you. Be friends!”

11. Talk to Rosie even when there are other humans around. Ignore the other humans.

12. Thinking Rosie and I have a spiritual connection that spans species and life expectancies.

All in all, it’s been fun. I’m not ready for a furry pet yet, but I’m sure I’ll overwhelm Deb with attention when I get back to SF next week. She’ll need strength.

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What Do Bad Coffee, Buicks and Budget Films Have in Common? They’re Awesome.

imageThe first car I drove was my parents’ (formerly my grandmother’s) ’89 Buick LeSabre Limited Edition. It was a beautiful, bronze boat and it was a pretty big deal. No one would ever accuse the Buick of being a fancy car, but it was the car I drove and it was perfect. I loved how it felt rocking over the speed bumps and treated it like it was my chariot. When it was finally totaled, it was probably worth no more than $1,000 but to me it was worth at least $8,000. I didn’t have a good grasp on the worth of the dollar back then, but $8,000 would have seemed like a ton of money.

Since my first car, I’ve ridden and driven many vehicles. I’ve made money and tasted fancy food and spent $14 for a cocktail. In a particularly low moment, I think I paid an extra $6 for one pancake at a restaurant. One mother-flipping pancake, just so I could have a bite of it. How embarrassing.

The city I live in, San Francisco, is fairly shiny in that you’re likely to have a curated experience in whatever shop or restaurant you enter. Things (not everything, but many things) look professional, perfect, and take themselves seriously. And if you’re a young professional like I was, then it kind of makes sense. You have all this money that you’re making and no kids and you’re just kind of living for yourself so why not blow it all on jeans for your dog and artisan caramels after investing.

And I don’t have a problem with that. I really don’t. Artisan caramels should exist because they provide artisans with meaningful employment and dogs deserve to wear comfortable, fashionable clothing made just for them. I just feel like in getting caught up in all this business of seeking out the nicest or the best things, we miss out on other equally interesting experiences.

There was a quote in this book I read once on how formality tends towards uniformity, and I think it’s true. So maybe that’s why I’m drawn to the everyday wonders and the backstage freaks. These places have the stories. They have the stench of humanity all over them and I love it because they’re imperfect just like I am.

Watery coffee from a Jewish Deli. Greasy menus with strange trivia from a Greek restaurant outside of Chicago. The dollar cinema in Cupertino. A giant blue hippo sculpture. Second rate museums. Church bathrooms. Ridiculously cheesy Baptist artwork. The unrefined. The unpolished. The cheap, functional and random. The amateur and homemade. The tacky. The ugly. The gaudy.

These are the things that make up the spectrum of life, and all of it is interesting and fairly wonderful in its own way. So here’s to you, golden chariot. May you forever boat over speed bumps in the sky.

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Live Free. Die Hard. Use Gym Equipment Properly.

Live free or die hard.

Live free or die hard.

There is a gym at the intersection of 2nd and Danforth in Edmond, Oklahoma. Edmond is a suburb of Oklahoma City and is like most other suburbs in the world except maybe a little more spread out and far from major bodies of water. We don’t even have a river.

The gym used to be called Aspen. It was fun to say, “I’m going to Aspen,” and imagine that you were going to the mountains to ski wearing a white mink coat. It was also fun ask people, “How’s your Aspen?” It almost works because most people would go to the gym to do something to their Aspen, to shrink it or firm it up or make it more bubbly.

I’ve spent many cumulative hours in this gym, though it is no longer called Aspen. It was purchased by Gold’s some time ago and now has all those really annoying signs around it with attractive people wearing shorts and sports bras lifting 5 lb. free weights or stepping in a puddle: “Pain is temporary. Quitting is forever.” “Your body can stand almost anything. It’s your mind you need to convince.” “Work hard. Work hard.” I don’t really get the last one.

Growing up, visiting the gym was usually a bit stressful for me. I was uncomfortable with strangers seeing me sweat or exert myself in any way. I was convinced, incorrectly, that I was not athletic because I was not thin. If I could have exercised in a dark room away from the glaring fluorescent lights and television screens broadcasting Fox News and Maury, I certainly would have chosen it. In fact, I would have paid a premium to hide the shame of my perspiration somewhere even I wouldn’t have to see it.

My teenage gym dream has come true. There is now a cinema room at Gold’s Gym. A cinema room is a darkened enclave within the larger gym complex. It is so dark, in fact, that if you walk directly into the room after having been outside in the noonday sun, you won’t be able to see anything, and you’ll have to grope each piece of equipment to find out if it’s an elliptical trainer, treadmill, or stationary bike. This is probably what aliens feel like when they probe people.

The machines are arranged in front of a movie screen that is showing  – unsurprisingly – a dude movie of some stripe. Granted, I’ve only been in there twice, but the first time they were playing an Adam Sandler film (not Punch-Drunk Love), and the second time was Live Free or Die Hard.

I visited the gym today and was very excited about getting to use the Cinema Room and experience the joys of working out in the dark. True to form, when I walked in I almost immediately ran into a machine in the pitch-black room. After touching every piece of equipment, I finally found an elliptical trainer and placed  my feet on the landing pads and started to ellipticise. At that moment, I looked up and saw Bruce Willis, covered in dirt and sweat and blood, giving another man a wiener-withering glare. This is what I was working for, that kind of power.

I’d burned 235 calories after being on the machine for 17 minutes. Sweat had completely soaked the back of my shirt and my chin was dripping too. On screen, I watched Bruce single handedly break into a federal government building and throw a Russian assassin through a turbine. He was doing everything he could to save his sassy but still kind of wimpy daughter. I pushed my mph to 7.5.

At 43 minutes, everything on my body was soaked in sweat. I was going backwards now since my toes had gone numb and I thought, “Should I end it here?” But Bruce had just commandeered an armored semi-truck and caused millions of dollars of damage to Baltimore’s infrastructure while fighting off a fighter plane before shooting himself through the shoulder in order to kill the man who was holding his daughter captive. So I kept going.

Soon the movie ended and for the last seven minutes of my workout, I was held captive to the DVD intro as it looped.  It was kind of painful, but then I thought about what Bruce had gone through to save his daughter, and what I’d gone through to find that Moroccan place for lunch, and I knew that my body could stand almost anything, including this DVD repeat torture in the darkened Cinema room at Gold’s Gym Edmond. Needless to say, I stayed. If I live an extra two minutes because of that workout, Bruce will have saved yet another person from dying too soon.

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