The bad... and the good!

What a lame title. There’s good and bad in everything. The exclamation point makes it sound like it’s something new, or at least that i think it’s something new. That and the clever reversal of “bad” and “good.” I think I’ll go kick myself in the ankle with toes that still hurt from rock climbing shoes.

At any rate, thanks for all the comments, everyone but “Harrigan,” because, 1. he’s not real, and 2. i’m not so sure I’m glad he’s “on the hunt.” But for serious, it’s nice to log on and see “9 comments,”… thanks!

More seriously, I have a few happenings to report, happenings that distinguish one day from another in a way that “I worked today” doesn’t.

Monday: I made some shrimp, grilled, in a lemon butter garlic sauce. On the side, some roasted vegetables, including peppers, squash, asparagus, onions. And some brown rice. Utterly delicious- one of my true culinary victories. I think. See, right before the shrimp were done, I brought them inside. Now, my dad speaking through my mom’s voice said that they weren’t done yet.

My family trusts seafood as far as they can throw a manhole cover. It better be not just done but Done. Of course, to be fair, I may have served them seafood in the past that was as done as a 76-101 (interp) paper the day before it’s due. Which is to say, not enough. But this shrimp was clearly Done, and if it stayed in a couple minutes longer, the O and the N might start to capitalize.

So, genius that I am, I burned myself. So strange that a competent person, like me, could stumble on such a basic principle of life as “Don’t Touch a Hot Thing.” I proceeded to jump on a porcupine and play freeze tag on a NASCAR track. Please.

Said burning was accompanied by a loud shout of a popular expletive (I believe the word du jour was “FUCK!") followed by an insatiable desire to Throw Something Heavy. By insatiable, I mean “not sated by throwing an oven mitt on the ground, picking it up, and throwing it again. and banging the lid to the grill.” Umm, I kinda scared my family. I brought in the now-DONe shrimp and gobbled down everything on my plate faster than John Kerry in an ESPN speed eating contest (specifically Round 3: Unborn Babies)

It was delicious! But my frolicking tastebuds were overcome by the melancholy of the rest of me, which just went nuts. I haven’t felt so despairing in a long time- everything crashed down like a poker chip tower at a table full of dorks. I didn’t even have much to crash down- it sure wasn’t about the cooking. My family is the most appreciative cooking audience one could hope for- they’ll eat anything I make, even my ordinarily-picky dad. (he won’t eat onions or mushrooms. what?) They usually love it, even when it is kinda subpar. What was it? Maybe the breakneck speed at which I live my life- not stopping, barely slowing to go to sleep. Never on time, always trying to cram more into less time. When I’m awake, a lot of the time, I’m stressed. Not necessarily badly stressed (distress) but sometimes helpful stress (eustress). It happens. I choose it. I’d rather stress than boredom… “Rest is a good thing, but boredom is its brother” - a fortune cookie.

I was also more reflective then than I have been in a long time. I don’t remember most of it though. That’s probably a code phrase for “it’s too personal.”

Anyway, Tuesday was a day like any other. Except I made some fajitas… with steak… that made it better than most. They turned out really well. Here’s an idea: fajita/burrito party. Basically all the mexican food you can think of, and some tortillas, make your own. There are so many mexican things, they’re all delicious, healthy, and cheap. I guess besides meat, that’s not cheap, but shoot, some chicken or something, no big deal. (not ground beef, we’re shooting for Chipotle here, not Taco Bell.) Black beans? Corn? Peppers? Salsa? Rice? Guacamole? Lettuce? Tomatoes? Hot peppers? Yep.

Onward to today, and let’s skip past work, it’s the boring parts. Also known as the parts where I kinda let my eyes glaze over all day because I didn’t have enough energy to work, and we kept having meetings with people who threw new requirements at us, and I didn’t understand them. So skip past it.
5:00- read Kemal’s email saying he can go climbing.
5:10- talk to Kemal on phone
5:15- read Cleveland Rock Gym website, remember I have to pass a Belay Test to be able to belay so any of us can climb the big walls. (belaying- holding the ropes to prevent falling)
5:25- get to Dick’s Sporting Goods to talk to the rock climbing people, see if I remember how to belay (I did it a month ago).
5:27- leave Dicks, frustrated that a store that big has hunting rifles, but no rock climbing stuff. Damn!
5:30- enter Barnes & Noble.
5:35- find book on rock climbing. learn to tie appropriate knots. (you think I’m making this up, don’t you?)
5:40-5:45- practice knot tying with my HEADPHONE CORD. from my computer headphones, which I took from work, expressly for this purpose.
5:50- talk to Adam and Pete, Pete’s in, Adam’s not.
5:55- go to bank.
6:00- meet Kemal, eat some cauliflower.
7:00- get there!

Everything in that last section was true. Man, I win at life. By 5:10, I was on a mission, and I was going to get as many of us out there as I could, and by jiggery*, I was going to pass that belay test.

*jiggery: see “pokery, oh no dokery!”

Long story short, I passed the test. Long story long, I did, but they do everything slightly differently than Exum Mountain Guides in Grand Tetons, Wyoming. Given the choice between the two of you, I’d take the seasick crocodile. Given the choice between the two of them, I’d trust Exum. The guy I climbed with, Al, had climbed huge things all over the world: what a master. These people: probably masterful, but not as much so. But fair enough, their gym, I’ll belay their way.

Anyway, they passed me enough to belay today. And a guy named Eugene* was there climbing too. He was from DC, but in town on business, and just doing a little climbing. He was good, he’d been doing it for 2 years. He needed a climbing group, so he joined me, Pete, and Kemal, giving us 2 belayers for 4 people, which worked out all right. Super-nice guy too, he’d not only belay for us schmucks, but also give us advice on what we were doing right/wrong, help us out a bit.

*Eugene: see “the man.”

Plus, rock climbing was great fun. I could gush, but I’ll save that for later. As I’ll save for later the stories about part of the reason I broke down on Monday, which include two of my friends vanishing forever soon. Time to continue my BREAKNECK LIFE, full speed ahead!
now: 1:50 AM
wakeup: 7:40 AM
work: 8:30 AM
Wish me luck!


Danica -

how yah doin?!i was just browsing through some blogs and happened to read yours today..fantastic!..hope you’ll also take a glance at my blogs ..leave me a comment or anything..good or bad,i would certainly appreciate it…

chicken -

Tass… where are these people finding your blog??? Oh my god…

Brian -

how come when you get a wee bit emo it’s always introspective and still entertaining? when i do, it just gets stupid and people stop reading my blog. oh, it’s probably because i suck at doing anything but complaining about my life.

I can’t believe I have any friends.

Dan -

yea, this is pretty bizarre. blog spam is a new one. i guess i shouldn’t have entered the URL into that site where it said i could get a free laptop computer…

Germit -

I know you didn’t make reference to it in this post, but I have a keen desire to play racquetball with you this fall. I started doing it this summer because, well, it’s free and they have all the stuff, and I LOVE IT.

So, you just keep that in mind. I’ll be downstairs.

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