Posted in Uncategorized on January 18, 2011 by avymandias

So, as my loyal reader mayg have discovered by now, I’ve been away for awhile. Figuratively, that it. Literally, I’m away now, but that’s a recent development and has nothing to do with my noted absence from recent bloggification. The point is, with the departure of my employment in office drudgery, I’ve had very little motivation to sit at my computer and think up clever witticisms for your amusement (you’re welcome, by the way). instead, I’ve been devoting my time to more worwhile concerns, such as recording music, sleeping in, and beating the classic Nintendo game “Mike Tyson’s Punchout” using only my right hand (so far I’ve only gotten up to Mr. Sandman).

So it’s clear that I’ve been busy enriching the fabric of modern society. But some may ask why I would be updating my blog now, given my newfound fulfillment and apparent disdain for you all. The answer, my unfortunately intuitive “friend,” lies in the emerging of pockets of boredom (such as now, where I find myself standing on a streetcorner waiting for a friend to finish a phone-call). These bits of boredom, coupled with my recalling that I’d downloaded a wordpress app to my phone, are currently resulting in the updating of my blog. And what’s more, I find it entirely plausible that these circumstances could repeat. Which means, my currently-groaning-yet-oddly-massochistic reader, that you may yet have more of my ramnblings, rantings, and recipes to look forward to.

I’ll let that sink in for a minute or two so you can bask in the joy that is doubtlessly now permeating your very essence.

So I’ll not linger, lest I begin to bore both yourself and mine, but consider youself forewarned internet. I have returned with an apathetic vengeance (not a bad song title, if you’re going ska, metal, or punk)!

Wouldn’t it be crazy if I had ended on a parenthetical tangent? (It totally would). 

Goodbye, Cruel Paycheck

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 15, 2010 by avymandias

So, as I may have occasionally mentioned around this blog, the main reason for the creation and weekly updating of said blog is my crazy amounts of free time and boredom at work. Tomorrow is my last day at this job, and this leaves me with an interesting dilemma. Actually, two interesting dilemmas (I wholeheartedly believe as of 2 seconds ago, that the plural for “Dilemma” should be “Dilemmi.” I’m initiating the switch.). Anyway, back to my dilemmi. The first one is simply paying rent. The second, and far more worrisome (because after all, home is where you hang your hat. And head. In shame, because you’ve been evicted and now live in a cardboard box, or in Iowa) of my two dilemmi is all about what I’m going to do with this blog. Do I heroically continue with my blog in the face of overwhelming apathy, much like the founding fathers rallied the American Colonists to defy the British on their blogs? Or do I take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, obtain a job that would maintain my interest? To work without wanting to be asleep. Well, I can dream.

The truth of the matter is that, while I will be going on my Kinky TSA Adventure to New York and LA to seek employment in my brand-spanking-new field, that’s not going to happen for about a month. And until then, I’m left with no job to bore me, and no school to interest me. In fact, I’m probably going to be left with more free time for the next month. The key difference is that, in an unprecedented switch, my free time will occur when I’m at home, as opposed to when I’m at work. And I have far more fabulous toys to play with there (guitars, microphones, audio-editing software, and a Rubik’s Cube). Still, it’s likely that boredom will eventually set in and cause me to come back to this blog. For the next month, at least. So for the next month, I may have to pull a D.J. Jazzy Jeff, and worry about not having a job.

Before I get going with this fresh topic, I’d like to make this clear: I’m not actually living paycheck to paycheck. I can probably afford to take the next month off, if I need to. That being said, I need to find me a 1-month long job that I can use to keep my interest, make some dough, and then abandon like a/n [insert topical joke/reference.] (Get it? Because I abandoned that attempt at humor? It’s funny. Ah, you don’t know what you like. Call me). So I need to craft a list of good part-time jobs that I could pursue for the next month-or-so. Here is what I have so far:

  • Fast Food Drone: I’ve done this in the past, and it does have the fantastic perk of occasionally making fun of dull-witted customers to their faces. Without repercussions, because repercussions would require comprehension on their part. However, the demoralizing nature of this work, especially right after having graduated, could be too much to bear.
  • Freelance Audio Engineer: This has the bonus value of being my actual chosen profession. It’s something I’m good at, and that I enjoy. I could record bands and do the live sound thing for them at smaller venues. The only problem is “freelance” nature. This could end up bearing the same financial fruit as the money tree I tried to grow by planting a quarter when I was 5.
  • Insurance Fraudsketeer: There’s nothing quite like the taste of free money. Or so I assume, never having actually eaten money (free, earned, or miscellaneous) before. And who is really harmed by me fleecing (another pro for this profession is giving me the opportunity to use phrases like “fleecing”) insurance companies out of money? The people who pay for insurance, who’s premiums go up so the insurance company can maintain profits despite my thievery? That sounds like communist talk to me.
  • Hobo/Grifter: Some may argue that this is one of my current professions. They may be right, but I’m certainly not putting all the energy into it that I could be. I could spend my days playing guitar for money, spending it on booze, and then drunkenly attempting to swindle pedestrians out of their money with my fabulous games of chance.

So I have options. The only question is which of these incredible paths do I take? Or maybe there’s an even better option that I have yet to think of! Who knows? And since I have little-to-no emotional investment in what temporary career I choose (except for the joy getting to use hilarious words like “swindle,” “fleece,” and “bamboozle”), I leave it to you: my loyal reader. Reply with your suggestions, and I’ll see what I can make of them in the next 30 days.

Poppycock and Twaddle

Posted in Rants with tags , , , on December 9, 2010 by avymandias

So, for the first time in the long and storied history of this blog (I count about 3 months of my boredom-driven ravings, recipes and obscure references to Oregon Trail) I am going to deal with an issue that’s actually at the forefront of the national consciousness, at least according to late-night talk-shows. I’m not sure how comfortable I am with that, but this blog operates by a strict code of conduct whereby I commit wholly to the first idea that comes into my head, mostly because thinking up other ideas is a waste of time that could be better spent playing Angry Birds or Paper Toss.  So I’ll delay no further in letting both of my readers know that today I’m talking about the New TSA Crotch-Fondling Guidelines (Lightning/Booming Thunder/Frightened Horse).

The reason that this topic is currently concerning me is because I’ll soon be traveling in rapid succession, to New York, Los Angeles, and then back home in search of a coveted Assistant Engineer spot at a recording studio. Failing that, I plan on grifting on trains, using my mad 3-card-monte skills. But the point is, I’m in for a good deal of airline travel, which leads me to be concerned about these new Travel Guidelines (Lightning/Booming Thunder/Screaming Woman).

According to my exhaustively thorough research (occasionally watching The Craig Ferguson Show, and quickly typing “New TSA Guidelines” into google), it is the responsibility of each TSA employee to grope and fondle the genitals of prospective passengers, and then take a naked picture of said passengers when the party is over. Which raises a number of important concerns, including whether or not the TSA is currently accepting pledges, and how harsh the hazing usually is during rush. Also, do we have to include a Belushi in this, because there aren’t any good ones left. [Shocked gasp/Slow Realization that I (me, not you) am right].

Who exactly are these rules in place to stop? I understand that dignity is a controlled terrorist substance, not allowed in airport travel, but TSA’s already taken care of that by making everybody take off their shoes and belts. And any terrorist who’s hiding their bombs and razor blades in their genitals is crazy enough to find a new place to hide them now that genitals are for public display. As a quick aside, has anybody even considered the potential these new guidelines have in catching sexual offenders? I mean, yes: simply working at the TSA does not guarantee that you’re a rapist or pedophile (in most states), but I’d hazard that anybody who’s begun applying for TSA jobs since these new gropey-guidelines came into place is worth investigating.

But seriously (somewhat), I’m not necessarily against this step towards airports becoming Sadomasochistic clubs, provided that they start hiring more attractive personnel, and offer opposite-gender-screening.  The biggest problem is that this is a mandatory step for anybody wishing to travel quickly around the country. This is no more right than the government coming into your bedroom and demanding that you use whips, chains and a ball-gag (which has been unheard of since the Clinton administration).

The obvious solution is to offer the new guidelines as an extra that passengers can opt for when purchasing their tickets. In fact, in addition to their bondage package, I can think of a couple other pornographic options that the TSA could start offering. They can have the mile-high package, the Find-The-Egg-Challenge around Easter time, and even the Daniel LaRusso (you’re severely beaten, and then sold into servitude to an elderly Asian man). Who knows, I may have just saved the floundering airline industry. But I don’t want your accolades. All I want is for my flights to go smoothly, for me to land safely, and 5% off the top. Oh, and also to schedule another flight around Arbor Day, because that’s when things get crazy.

Flightless Delight

Posted in Recipes with tags , , , , , on December 2, 2010 by avymandias

Last Thursday, in the tradition of my people, I celebrated my thanks to my maker and my country through the consumption of approximately 85 pounds of food. It’s a tradition that dates back to Pilgrim times, when early settlers would celebrate their survival of the myriad dangers untamed America offered (Cholera, Scurvy, getting run over by a wagon wheel, getting washed away while fording a river, and the computer crashing), by maxing out their credit cards at Trader Joe’s. My family had a small and pleasant dinner, for which I prepared a couple of the dishes. Bear in mind, this is a holiday recipe, so the ingredient list is a bit high, but it’s still relatively simple to make. So, in this particular order, here is the humbly delectable turkey recipe that I completely winged over the holiday:

Sage and Black-pepper Turkey, with Cranberry Reduction:

  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • half  of one onion
  • 1 head of garlic (for those unfamiliar with the concept, a head of garlic is the larger body from which each clove is pulled.  I’m fairly certain that this is due to a garlic head’ s resemblance to the stereotypical shrunken head that cartoons have taught me witch-doctors keep around their condos)
  • 1 handful dried/rubbed sage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 turkey (deceased)
  • 3 cups cranberry juice
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds

Take your dead Turkey, and utterly desecrate both its corpse, and your hands. To accomplish this, remove the surprising large number of feathers that have been left attached to the bird. If your turkey is anything like mine, you’ll want to save these feathers and get yourself some tar, so that you can properly punish your foes. Insert your hand into the “cavity (read: anus) of the bird, and root around for any extra gifts your turkey manufacturer may have left behind, such as necks and plastic bags full of kidneys (I do this same procedure whenever I pick up anything from a Dry Cleaner). Cut off various fats, veins, impurities, and a small chunk of your soul, and discard them.  Take your defiled bird and place it into a roasting pan.

Peel the garlic, retaining a small amount in each of your pockets, in case of vampiric thieves (another awesome band name: The Vampire Cutpurses)  Chop carrots, celery, and onion into large chunks. While visibly cringing, place garlic, carrot, celery, and onion firmly up the turkey rectum and into the “cavity.” Any that doesn’t fit, disperse along the bottom of your roasting pan. Pour chicken stock over your turkey, into the pan. Combine the sage and black pepper in a bowl. Rub turkey with olive oil, and then apply sage/black pepper mixture. Cover with lid, and cook at 325 degrees for about 3 hours. Uncover, and continue cooking for another 1-5 hours, or until a relative decides that it must be done by now.

In the meanwhiles, pour the wine and cranberry juice into a medium saucepan over medium heat (at a medium hour, of a medium day). Add the cayenne pepper, the fennel, and the honey. Bring to a boil, then lower it to a simmer, and reduce it by half . There are two main forms of accomplishing this type of reduction. The “hover” method, and the “drunkard” method. For the Hover Method, stay within 2 feet of the pot at all times, spoons in either hand, ready to leap into a flurry of stirring if even a bit of burning looks like it may occur. For the Drunkard Method, forget about it, grab some beer, and watch football. Check on the cranberry mixture every other commercial break, and in the occurrence of a safety (for safety reasons). In either case, let the water cook out of it until there’s about half as much in the pan as you started with, and it’s looking a bit thicker, and more sauce-like. Slice the turkey, place it back in the oven to finish cooking, slice it again, and enjoy!

Lyrically Unhinged

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 1, 2010 by avymandias

I’ve touched recently upon the fact that people play music loudly on the train. This is seen (by me) as something truly irritating, but I would never assume somebody’s crazy just because they do this (Note: This is dependent upon the music being listened to by the individual. Everybody’s entitled to their own musical taste, for the most part. But there is some crap out there that I can’t believe anybody sane would like). However, if I choose to sing along to the music somebody else is blasting, I get people looking at me as if I’ve removed my pants, and performed both sides of the “Who’s on First” Abbott and Costello routine.

It’s not just the train either. Singing in public carries an odd stigma. It may come from the assumption that if you’re singing, you have to be singing to somebody. And to the casual observer (for the sake of the observer being awesome, let’s say it’s me), if there’s nobody who you’re apparently  singing to, the obvious options are either that you’re singing to your invisible rhinoceros friends, or else you’re singing specifically  to me. Frankly, either of those scenarios would freak me out. Why are you singing to me? We’ve never communicated in a personal or professional manner, so why do you think it’s appropriate to communicate in a musical one? And why do you only hang out with invisible Rhinos? What did the other animals in the invisible wild-kingdom do to offend you, you burgeoning bigot?

However, all of these hypothetical and dashingly charming arguments fail to take into account that some people just like singing. If this weren’t true,  music would never have evolved to include vocals. And it stands to reason that if some people enjoy singing, it’s likely that they’d feel compelled to do so, even when in public. I tend to sing in public regularly, but I get a free pass because I usually have a guitar with me. Actually, my guitar tends to get me a free pass for a lot of things. It lets me sing in public, has gotten me girls’ phone numbers, has enabled me to drink for free, and has even gotten me through a security checkpoints (true story, wherein I played guitar all night for the guards at the Kotel/Western Wall/Wailing Wall, and subsequently was rushed around the line, and through the checkpoint whenever those guards were on duty).

I think that instead of responding to singing in public with suspicion of mental defect, we should respond in a more classical way as set down by Tom and Jerry. Offer flowers to people who sing well, or sing songs we like, and throw rotten fruit and vegetables at people who sing poorly, or sing bad songs. This would allow people who enjoy singing to do so without stigma, would encourage more people to take an interest in the arts, and would finally create an excuse for me to start carrying a slingshot. I dare my readers to offer a single downside to this proposal that I can’t easily refute with a sweeping hand-gesture and the word “Bah!” Go ahead, and try. Neither one of you could do it, could you? I thought so. Bah!

Public Transportation Rant

Posted in Rants with tags , , on November 23, 2010 by avymandias

My people (both owned, and leased)! I beg of you the following question: Why are there no mattresses on the CTA? One would think that in this day and age, where we have such rampant luxuries, entitlements, and whatnot, we would at least have the ability to get some decent shut-eye in during our morning (and late-night) commutes. The fact that we have not yet risen against the oligarchy in revolution, and demanded our rightful place and position in this world (supine) is appalling. Just this morning, I stepped on to the train after a meager 3-hours of sleep and took my seat. As is my tradition in such situations, I proceeded to enter “The Sleep Of The Damned” (Wherein you just barely enter a state of unconsciousness. The key is to  stay in the waking world just enough so that if anybody attempts to steal from you, murder you, sit next to you, or exhale suddenly, you’re able to leap up in a flurry of groggy motion, physically stunning several passers-by. This fools your body into thinking you’ve gotten some rest for about 17 minutes, until you crash hard.) This morning, however, the combination of uncomfortable seating, jostling commuters, the hacking cough of the woman 4 seats away, and the mysterious phenomenon of anal-dwelling-butt-monkeys (Bruce Almighty was on TV yesterday) playing their crappy music choices loudly on their cellphones without even using ear-buds/headphones prevented me from achieving even my half-hazard pseudo-sleep. Were I not so tired, I may have Made A Scene.

The obvious solution to this dire situation is to just give me my own private train car already. This would solve all of my sleep and comfort issues with the CTA, and would also greatly contribute to my ability to throw ridiculous train-parties. As of yet, I’ve received no answers to my numerous letters and petitions to the CTA, which just goes to show something, probably.

But in the face of the CTA’s failure to capitulate to my perfectly-reasonable-thank-you-very-much demands, the only solution I can see to the national crisis of me being tired is the installation of some form of mattress onto the trains. There are several viable methods that have been tossed around by a leading expert in the last couple minutes, while he brewed some coffee and began to write a blog post. Lofted cots could be installed above the seats, or maybe just lay down some mattresses and bean-bags in the corner and let people use them like a dog-bed. However the clear front-runner in sleeping-on-the-train technology has to be the stereotypical “Japanese Sleeping Tube.” These tubes could be installed relatively cheaply (probably), and would offer both a place to lie down, and a modicum of privacy. Additionally, they tend to be small enough to only accommodate one, stymieing the efforts of tube-burglars (Another decent band name).

With so many fantastic options available to us, the time has come for us to make a change. When voting for your various aldermen and whatnot, make sure to keep CTA comfort in mind. Take to the streets, the voting booths, and the court of public opinion (Which is in Australia, according to a quick Google-maps search), and stand up for your right to lie down!

Oh, The Places I’ve Gone

Posted in Uncategorized on November 18, 2010 by avymandias

I feel a bit Zen saying this: I’ve known for years now, that most of what I know is useless. I suppose it was inevitable for a number of reasons. I have a propensity for memorizing movies and TV shows, without trying (with classic Simpsons episodes, from back when the show was watchable, I’d see it once, and have it down almost word-perfect).  Of course, not everything I know is utterly irrelevant. I’ve managed to pick up some good habits (for me, not necessarily for other people), occasionally at the same time that I’ve picked up useless things like the Fundamentals Of Poetry (thunder-clap/lightning/frightened-horse). How can these two things occur simultaneously? Well, there’s my roller-coaster education to consider. Which is too much for this paragraph alone to deal with. So let’s jump down to the next one real quick.

Alright, now let’s look at my education.  I attended religious schools for elementary school and high school. This hypothetically should have provided me with both a “secular,” and “religious” education. What it practically did was educate me in the art of creatively ending my boredom. I did learn a good deal in the subjects I liked. In several cases this was without instructor approval or consent. And I also had a tendency to absorb some knowledge, even from classes I didn’t like, just by sitting there and spacing out. But most of what I did was screw around.  So I now know how to combine rubber tubing from the chem lab, long rows of lab tables, and a couple common school-desks to create 2nd-period bobsledding.  I also know that it’s possible to hang a desk up by the window blind’s cord, so that the desk is actually lifted off of the ground. I learned that homework is best-accomplished in class, moments before it is to be turned in, and that Seniors would pay me $10 per-page to write their papers for them. And most importantly, I learned that certain bars on the highway to Milwaukee will serve beer to 16-year-olds without hesitation (I wasn’t actually intending to be on the road to Milwaukee when I found this out, but that’s another story).

Then I arrived in college. The first time, at least. I was a music major at a state school, and one of the first things I learned was that I can be a devious bastard. I’m referring, of course, to the great exam escapade of `05. I was supposed to be preparing for my one-on-one sight-singing (yes, it’s a real class. It was mandatory, and it sucked) final. Instead, I was playing “Simpsons Clue” with a girl named Christy (surprisingly enough, not a euphemism for anything. There was an actual Simpsons Clue board, and we were playing).  My exam time was approaching, so being the enterprising youth that I was, I ripped my pants with a house key. In several places. I then smeared a bit of “strategic grime” on myself, and ran into the professor’s room all out of breath, ranting about how I was hit by a car, but was still gonna make it to my final. Then I took the final, and sucked pretty bad.  I got bumped up 2 letter grades out of sympathy. For the record, I also took an ethics class and did quite well. It just doesn’t seem to have stuck.

I spent some time abroad and learned all about irresponsibility, heartache, responsibility, and Cirrhosis Of The Liver (Also how to tune a broken guitar with a needle-nose-pliers. I learned that too) before winding back at the same state college, this time as an English major. I learned Symbolic Logic, for some ill-defined reason, a good deal of History, and  how to properly ditch a college course. I took a physics class that taught me the importance of the TA liking you. My political science course required me to make a presentation in front of the 150 student class, which taught me the power a guy playing guitar has over certain types of women.  I also learned that I didn’t want to become any of the 4 professions available to English Majors (English Teacher, Lawyer, Journalist, and Hobo). A friend told me about an Audio Engineering program, so I switched in to the beginning of their 4-year program. And it’s here that I’ve learned my chosen trade, as well as how to lie on my resume.

And there it is. A post full of valuable lessons, learned from close to a quarter-century of living well. Which reminds me that I’ve gotten depressingly old. Which could explain the mildly cantankerous approach I have to most of the “typical college students” I meet. Maybe I’m just gradually turning into an angry old man. Perhaps what I really need is a Banjo, a rocking chair, a bottle of whiskey, and a shotgun.