Monday, June 28, 2010

Hot dog blog

It’s summertime, the sun is out and I feel like grilling, which got me thinking: why do men get so excited about barbecuing? Not all men love to grill, but only men love to grill. I’ve never seen a woman get super stoked about grilling up some burgers and dogs. They don’t even get that excited about steaks or ribs. They’ll eat them, but they’re not that interested in cooking them.

(This is my Roswell, NM apron)

Where does Man's primal urge to grill things come from? Like many things, it can probably be explained by evolutionary psychology and dates back to Caveman Times. (“Caveman Times” is a scientific era. Look it up, smarty.)

First of all, in Caveman Times the men were the primary hunters. Back then women didn’t concern themselves much with throwing spears and running herds of animals off cliffs. They were more into shoes and handbags.

Second, the Caveman had just figured out how to make weapons and hunt right around the time he learned to make fire. Throwing a freshly-dead animal on a crackling fire was the pinnacle of caveman civilization up to that point. It kept the Caveman and his family fed, perpetuated the Caveman species and resulted in lots of Caveman high fives. It was evidence that Man was evolving and it was not uncommon to hear a caveman say, “They’ll stop calling me a Neanderthal after they’ve had a taste of my smoky barbecue ribs. The mammoth falls right off the bone.”

Thus, the deep-seated need for men to take raw meat and cook it over an open fire has been passed down through the generations as an evolved psychological mechanism. We have even evolved propane, match light charcoal and the George Foreman Grill.

I received the latter as a wedding present. I like nothing better on a summer evening than to take the George out on my balcony, plug it in and grill me up some sausages made of leftover animal parts. That’s right: hot dogs. Hot dogs are actually made of “meat slurry,” which sounds delicious, don’t you think? I think “meat slurry” is an evasive way of saying, “Seriously, you really don’t want to know and if you research any further you'll be sorry.” I find the best way to eat a hot dog is to not think about what you are eating because you enjoy it a lot more.

Once when I lived in Eugene, Oregon I accidentally stumbled onto a vegan cookout. There was nothing but grills, smoke and vegans as far as the eye could see. It was marvelous. They all had lids on their barbecue grills so I couldn’t see what they were grilling. I was dying to know what it was because it smelled delicious. I chatted politely with the cooks awhile, but none of them volunteered. Finally I had to come right out and ask them what the heck a bunch of vegans could possibly be grilling.

“Eggplant!” several of the cooks responded in unison, as if grilling anything else was ridiculous.

A cruelty-free cookout! You eggplant-eating geniuses. I felt kind of bad for assuming that a cookout had to have meat, like that was kind of racist. Or meatist. Foodist?

You know what I mean.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I'm not on probation anymore OR More talk about getting older

This week is the one year anniversary of me getting my first “real” job since graduating from graduate school. I approach this momentous occasion with mixed emotions.

(me as a student intern in Fall '08)

The happy emotions are that I am no longer a “probationary” employee. Being on “probation” just makes you feel crappy, you know? You haven't done anything wrong except for being new, but you're on probation like a criminal. Now that I'm not on probation I am 10 times harder to fire. Before they could've just said, “Get out of here!” but now they have to, like, document my mischief and misdeeds, write me up a bunch of times and hold the obligatory overlong bureaucratic meeting before they can even dream of canning me. My how the tables have turned. These days I just strut around the office all cocky, knock things out of peoples hands and say, “Try and fire me now, punk!” My boss isn't thrilled, but what can he do?

(me as a full-fledged employee in my glamorous office)

My job is a good job but still a job. I like what I do, but it's not like I get all excited on Sunday night and think, “Alright! I get to go to work in the morning!” If you get paid to do something, does it automatically become un-fun? I think so. If I got paid to eat Ben & Jerry's and watch Battlestar Galactica on DVD for 40 hours a week plus health and dental, would it cease to be fun? I don't know, but I'm willing to find out. If anyone knows an ice-cream-eating-DVD-watching place that is hiring please let me know and I will get them my resumé.

The sad emotions are that I am getting older. My 10-year high school reunion is coming up next month and I am still not planning on going. My wife wants to go because she thinks it will be hilarious to talk to my old high school friends about what a dork I was in high school. I was toying with the idea but it turns out that it costs $50 per person to go. I didn't want to go when I thought it was free and I am certainly not going to go if it costs money. I am not paying money to remember high school.

Also, my wife keeps finding new gray hairs for me. I don't think they really are coming out of my head. I say she takes one of her gray hairs (which are fewer than mine, but longer) and cuts it up into sections and then plants them on me.

That's not realistic because my wife is sweet and wouldn't do anything like that, but when your vanity is at stake you'll make up any excuse.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Crying over spilled milk

This past week was the worst of my career. Nothing was going right, nothing I did was good enough and it was time for our monthly office meeting. If I were into crying, I would have cried.

And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse our boss told us that our unit was responsible for bringing food. I got assigned to bring two dozen doughnuts which meant I had to pay money out of my own pocket to feed my co-workers and get bored into a coma in a super useless meeting.

I was feeling pretty low when I arrived at the doughnut shop. Like a true sugar addict and emotional eater I ordered my own little stash of doughnuts to make sure I got some before my co-workers descended on them like so many velociraptors. I also got a bottle of milk to top it off. I was so depressed I splurged and got whole milk.

I loaded everything into my car and headed off to work. While driving I tried to open my milk bottle and it proceeded to rupture and spew milk all over the place like a lactating volcano. Most of the milk landed in my lap and the rest splashed all over the steering wheel, which made steering a tad bit tricky. I was able to keep control of my Geo Prizm and I was ok, but I couldn't say the same for my pants, which had absorbed enough milk to feed a small calf.

After the milk dried my pants smelled like rotten milk. Fortunately this happened at the beginning of the day so I didn't have time to go home and change and I got to go through the day smelling like a cow with udder incontinence.

While I was being bored to smithereens I flashed back to when I was ordering the doughnuts. The doughnut place also sold cupcakes and they had one species called “Ticklebelly” cupcakes. I was really curious what a Ticklebelly cupcake was and what it tasted like, but I wasn't about to order it. I couldn't bring myself to say “I'd also like a Ticklebelly cupcake.” I just couldn't do it. All my manliness would be gone.

Basically I can't order anything that sounds stupid. For example, at IHOP they used to have this one dish called a “Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity” breakfast. Now I don't care how much fruit comes with it or how fresh it is, I would not order a “Fresh and Fruity” breakfast if it were my last meal. I'm not about to say “Can I please have the Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity?” out loud to another person. I just can't.

If I ever spent time in the U.K. I would be up a stump because some traditional English dishes are called Bangers and Mash, Bubble and Squeak and Toad in a Hole.

Maybe I could order some online or over the phone, like a Ticklebelly Toad in a Hole place that delivers. Mmmmm-mmm.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I've got baby fever and the remedy is hermit crabs

Ok, everyone listen and listen good: Wifey has baby fever for real and I'm panicking. I don't know what to do. I need help.

It's not her fault, really. We're getting more married friends now and a lot of them have babies. When there are copious amounts of babies around you end up holding them and the trap is sprung.

Let's face it: babies are cute. All babies are cute. Even a baby rhinoceros is probably cute.

Yikes. Or not. Most babies are adorable but let's not forget that babies grow up. Nature is the ultimate false advertiser. Talk about a bait-and-switch: cute baby turns into nasty, dirty cranky adult. And the parents have to be there all along the way to clean up after them though all the middle parts.

But baby fever forgets all the “terrible twos” and teenage years. It's kind of like a zombie plague how it infects almost everyone it comes into contact with. Wifey is infected and if I have learned nothing from zombie movies it is that people who are infected take an active role in infecting others, i.e. chasing them down and biting them. Any minute now Wifey will be coming after me, trying to give me baby fever and I am afraid. In movies if your friend gets infected you just have to man up and shoot him in the head, but I think that is a little extreme for this particular situation.

Wifey rated her baby fever as a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10, but I've seen her look at babies and I fear that it is much higher than that. My situation is dire.

The best solution I can think of is to get a pet for us to care for, like a hermit crab or something. Hermit crabs are unique because they fight a lot amongst themselves, which is a lot like kids, isn't it? Breaking up fights and mediating shell disputes would be good practice for parenting, I think. I'm not sure Wifey will go for it because, for one, they aren't cute enough.

Also, they “moult,” meaning they shed their old skin periodically. I don't imagine she'll want to clean up old crab skin, but I say if you can't clean up crab skin then you probably can't hang with poop and vomit either.

Perhaps we could get a baby on a trial basis. We could rent one for a weekend and I bet that would get rid of baby fever right away. The only problem is baby fever comes back.

My brother does child care part-time and he said he'd let my wife come over and hang out with a plethora of snot nosed two-year-olds for about an hour. He thinks that will cure baby fever almost instantly.