Saturday, February 26, 2011

Annob's Drunken Books

Annie and I have long discussed the small business we intend to open when we get older (or when we can't stand being engineers anymore).  It will be a used book store, with a wine bar in the back.  We're going to call it Annob's Drunken Books.  I'm not positive that the word Drunken can be in the name of a store that sells alcohol, but we're going to try real hard.  (The word Annob is described here.)

We have most of it planned out: I'll be in charge of wine.  Annie is going to be in charge of cheese plates at the wine bar.  She'll most likely run the finances and pricing for the store (we think she might get an MBA in the future), but we'll make most of the decisions together.  We want a screen that we can roll down and project onto for hosting Michigan Football parties.  We'd like to have some maize and blue photographs/paintings, but we'd also like to have a local artist use our wall-space as a gallery for selling their art.  We'll each have sections of books that we choose/specialize in (I'm a Fantasy/ Sci-Fi guy).

There are a few things that we still haven't agreed upon: I want the bar in the back, but Annie pictures a circular bar in the center.  We also have no fucking idea where we are going to open it.  (We don't really know where we'll settle down.  Ann Arbor?)

This week, we've hit a snag with our plans.  What if people don't read paper books anymore?  It sounds ridiculous, but is it that ridiculous?  We've debated that books are more timeless than items like records, since you don't need any special equipment to read them.  People still buy records, regardless.  However, our generation, in general, is really into the next big techie thing.  What if people have no interest in paper books in the future?

It's kind of mind blowing to think about.  At least, for those of us that still read regularly.

Forever reading paper books (please don't let me sell out),

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Read Your G@#D%&$! Email

Does anybody read an entire email anymore?  Are my emails too long?  Is it that hard to take an extra 2 minutes to figure out everything I've told you, before wasting my time next time we see each other?

Oh, HOMOphones!

I imagine it is just one of the curses for people that simultaneously think and type too fast.  My emails are regularly too long, and I understand that.  I pray that you are a good skimmer, because I'm incapable of ridding the text of all the details I deem necessary.  Yet, I've learned time and time again that NOBODY is a good skimmer.

I understand.  Most of us went to college (or at least finished high school).  We're handed a baker's dozen of textbooks and expected to read a chapter from each every night.  It's way easier to read the questions at the end of the chapter and find the answers via highlighted examples or our mad honing skills.  We've been trained to do this for years, even though nobody seems to do it well.

This is a little hypocritical of me, since I have certainly done my fair share of 'kind of reading' textbooks throughout college.  I expected things to change a little when I entered the real world.  After all, emails from colleagues about upcoming meetings are way more important than that chapter on the unit circle, right?

My emails are important, and should be treated as such.  They are from me, after all!

Not an Angel

Angel's been a little out of control.  Lately he's been tearing through the garbage or breaking into his food or eating shit off the counters/tables while we're gone.  He even ate a whole batch of cupcakes off the table (wrapper, candles, and all)!

A few nights ago was the worst.  We put him in his kennel (3' tall), and that was apparently not an obstacle for him.  We came home, and he had eaten 2 CLIF Builder Bars (mint chocolate), several CLIF Bars (oatmeal raisin & blueberry crisp), a few yams, chewed up a wine cork, and who knows what else.  For those without dogs, chocolate and raisins are bad for them.  That much fiber and protein won't do great things to them either.  We decided that for the first time, we weren't going to force him to throw it all up (hydrogen peroxide does wonders).  It was time for him to finally pay for his compulsions!

The gas that emitted from him seemed ludicrous.  Quietly we tried to lay around a few times, but he kept squeaking them out.  You could hear them as he was walking around.  Just like Granny, he tooted with each step.  Speaking of Granny, she's finally home from the rehabilitation center.  I talked to her this morning after she got settled.  She sounds way better.  I'm a little worried she might have stroke face, though.  Lord knows I can't handle being that distracted when I'm talking to somebody.

We came home today to Angel laying on our bed, wiggling away.  Problem?  When we left, he was comfortably in his kennel.  We had placed a blanket over the top of his kennel, in order to deter him from trying to jump out.  Instead, he brilliantly found his way out, tore into some Advil Cold & Sinus, and ate one of Annie's headbands.  I can't bitch too much the headband, it was hideous.  That's one point for Angel, but things are still about to get real!

Uh oh, pups, look up.  Daddy rigged up your kennel.  Try and get out now!

Naming a dog Angel: the opposite of self-fulfilling prophecy,

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Food & Sex

I'm always the moody one.  I have really severe mood swings sometimes.  I even spent a few sessions with a psychologist exploring rather or not I am bipolar (I took an online quiz through my medical center, and it said to do just that).  I'm pretty good at controlling myself in public, but I usually let it fly when I'm home.  Two things are the reasons for 90%+ of my tantrums: food & sex.  If I'm deprived of either for too long, I turn into a monster.  I'd like to say that it happens slowly, but that'd be a lie.  Something clicks, and I crave misery in every human being around me.  I've never actually been violent or anything, but I certainly have crazy scenarios flashing in my head.  Wow, that sounds so sociopathic (word?), I should probably delete it.

Last night, Annie pulled one on me.  Driving home from TJ's, I hit a turn that knocked over our single bag of groceries, that she had just paid for.  A carton of eggs topped the bag, and she was infuriated at my inability to either pack it securely or drive appropriately.  She was convinced the eggs were broken, and she got all Italian on me: yelling, hand motions going crazy, slamming the door, general craziness.  When she got out, I drove away and left her in the rain.  (I had the keys, since I was driving.)

I got mad at her anger, and it only got worse as I realized that she snapped... just like I do sometimes.  There's absolutely no room for introspection in this damn blog, so here's a crazy simple cake recipe, passed down from Annie's grandfather's lady-friend.  I made it yesterday (used up all the eggs), and it was pretty good.

Triple Chocolate Cake
1 pkg Chocolate Cake Mix (I prefer Duncan Hines Devils Food)
1 c Chocolate Chips (Nestle Toll House, as if there were others worth buying)
3.9 oz. pkg Instant Chocolate Pudding (Jell-O)
1/2 c Oil (I use Canola, Safflower, or Olive, in that order)
4 Eggs
1-1/4 c Water (I hold no allegiance to any water)
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 40-45 minutes (I did 45 mins).

I served it with Chocolate Cabernet Sauce drizzled over it, making it Quadruple Chocolate Cake, and certainly crossing the threshold of appropriate chocolate consumption.  Crossing lines.  That's what I do.

No eggs were actually harmed in the making of this post; she was wrong,

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Name Mnemonics

Picture a toilet in an old, abandoned cabin.  It's the John in a Lodge.  A picture that helps you to remember the name John Lodge.  In high school psychology, I remember learning about how associating pictures when you are learning/introducing something can help people retain it more successfully.  I was immediately determined to find my own mnemonic.

My first and last name are comprised of relatively simple and common words.  I should be able to come up with a brilliant mnemonic for my name. 

Rob Reed:
Stealing a mouthpiece from a wind instrument? 
Snatching a fancy aroma diffuser from Bed, Bath, & Beyond?

The main secretary in high school always said "Rah Breed" over the P.A. when she needed me.  Hooray for sex?

I've yet to find those words that paint a perfect picture,

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Unauthorized Standing Zone

Oakland has great signs.  I'm the last person that should enter this place, though it stands in the center of a Trader Joes / Walgreens parking lot:

I shouldn't even stand near it.

I just really appreciate the ingenuity in making this sign.  They didn't just rearrange letters like some church marquee.  (One-a-day Bananagrams calendar skills made me think of 'A PORN KING'.)  They wen't outside of the box and made the letters into whatever they could imagine.  The extremely high quality of the original sign probably made the whole caper quite difficult.

I can't help but think about a story from one of my best friends from high school.  His kid sister once asked "What happens when it comes out in the front?".  I still can't keep my shit straight when she's around.

Forever farting, far away from the dumpsters that this sign protects,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Today's Awkward Moments

First of all, let me explain that when I usually refer to my parents, I'm referring to my grandparents.  For most of my life I lived with (and was primarily raised by) my grandmother (by blood), Granny, and her 3rd? husband, Pops.  *Insert Golden Girls / Family Matters / Cosby Show / Walker, Texas Ranger jokes here.*  My mother was always kind of around, but she was super flaky, and it was better that I wasn't left solely in her hands.  Don't worry, when she was around we shared a bedroom (through high school), so we got tons of 1-on-1 time.  Anyway, my grandparents aren't really that old, since Granny had mom at 16 and Mom had me in her early 20s.  My grandparents are probably the same age as your parents.  I digress.

Today, Pops sent me an email, all in bold caps, with the subject: BIRTHDAY.
Thank you, Pops.  However, I was born in 1985.  This is actually my 26th birthday.  The only father figure I've regularly had throughout my life is apparently a little bad at math, or just doesn't know when I was born.

Other moment, though not birthday related, was during my pre-employment drug screen.
Tech: Sir, you understand this is a urine sample, right?
Me: Yes.
Tech: Are you prepared to donate right now?
Me: Always.

If you've read my blog from the beginning, you'll understand that I likely have some sort of bladder problem, since I pee constantly throughout the day.  My answer was truthful, but it made an already tense situation more awkward.  He just gave me a funny look as if he didn't quite catch what I said but didn't want to ask me to repeat it.  It's like I force these interesting moments in my life now.

Always prepared to pee,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"A Day in L.A." - Craziest Day of My Life

I posted this on facebook June 25th, 2009, but it fits as a great blog post.  Enjoy the craziest day of my life:
I woke up knowing that my only real commitment was a Red Cross presentation in Beverly Hills. I did the regular morning routine. I had to drive to the Red Cross to pick up a projector and a laptop, then I paid to park for the day at UCLA.

Farah Fawcett died. Not really a big deal, but it gave me something to Tweet about. Life stayed pretty uneventful until about 1pm, when I headed to Beverly Hills. Just before leaving I made sure to check the Sprinkles Facebook page to see if they had a 'word of the day'. They did (some French word, calubear?, for the chocolate they use).

I was giving a Disaster Preparedness Presentation for low-income seniors in Beverly Hills. I had to call the service coordinator to let me in to the building (their building is over a Whole Foods). I was starving and hoping I could set up quickly and grab a snack before starting. Out comes this HOT girl (apparently the coordinator is a 25?-year-old, Beverly Hills hottie). They provided ice cream sundaes to the people who showed up, so at least I got to eat something. The laptop was password protected, so it took me 4 phone calls and discussions with a few people to actually get my presentation running (I was sweating-- a little worried that it wasn't going to work). The presentation was actually for twenty or so old ladies, which some of you know is a perfect audience for me. It couldn't have gone more perfect (except for the argument that broke out between two old ladies: "Don't you tell me. I survived World War II!" As I was wrapping up, the coordinator told me that Michael Jackson had died and was rushed to UCLA.

I had to return to UCLA, but I thought I would swing by Sprinkles and see if there was a line. Nope. I parked, walked in, got a 4-pack, and asked if I was in time to say "Cal-ah-bow". The girl laughed. I raped the pronunciation, but apparently was early enough in the day to get a free cupcake. A FREE Sprinkles Cupcake! As I was getting back in my car, I got a text asking if UCLA was a mess. I hadn't thought of that. I was on my way there, but this was the first time that I was worried it was going to be a zoo.

UCLA was a zoo. There were a half dozen helicopters over the campus. News vans lined Westwood. Traffic was moving slow enough on Westwood Blvd that we probably could have stepped out of our cars. People (mostly students) packed around the hospital. I managed to get my exact same parking spot (so the pass I bought earlier was still good). I got to tell my Chinese office-mate about MJ's death, and he asked me to come with him down to see the craziness. We did. I soon realized that it was going to be impossible to get anything done. So, I got an idea.

It was 5pm. Rush tickets for Dirty Dancing at the Pantages start selling at 6pm. I have my car on campus... there's a chance. So I got in my car and headed over there. Between getting back off campus (I took back streets through the fancy neighborhood east of campus), and getting through traffic, I got to SMB & Vine around 6:30. I had to pee so bad that I thought I was going to have to pee in a water bottle before getting out of my car. Just after Sunset & Vine, I saw an empty street spot as I was cruising by. I hit my brakes (got honked at) and backed into it. Shit, no change. I used 2 quarters to park at Sprinkles. I found 1 in my book bag. It got me 8 minutes. Can't help it, gotta make it happen. I had to pee, and I had to run to Pantages (only a block or so away). As I rushed out of the car, I saw news vans across the street and 2 cop cars parked around me. Oh well, no time to see who it is.

I ran to the Pantages. They had tickets, so I got a ticket in the Center Orchestra for $25. Awesome! As I walked away from the ticket line, I grabbed for my keys in my pocket. Nope. I must have pulled them out with my wallet at the counter. Turn around. Nope. Shit, did I drop them? Retrace my steps back to my car. Did I mention I have to pee pretty bad by now? Nope. Keys are in my ignition. Everything is locked. I guess I can go see if the cops can help. Guess what? MJ's star in Hollywood is at 1555 Vine. That's what all the commotion was about (incense and dramatic people stopping foot traffic and singing MJ songs). I asked one of the entertained cops if they could help. They offered to call AAA. No thanks, I can do that.

So, I call AAA. They respond "No problem. It's been a crazy day everywhere, especially over at UCLA." News reporters and crazy MJ fans having a party across the street (literally) from me, locked out of my car, doing the potty-dance. AAA shows up in a Yaris, jimmies my lock open in 30 seconds, and takes off. I figured things were finally going to calm down.

I drove to the Pantages parking lot, paid $10 for the rest of the night. I knew my best chance to pee and eat for cheap was at the McDonalds south of Sunset on Vine. So, I took a road parallel to Vine (to avoid the MJ party). I was a block south of the parking lot. Around the corner I saw a crazy accident. A taxi had hit an SUV so hard that it had rolled over on its side. It was the craziest accident I had ever seen, yet there was nobody around. Where are the ambulances and tow trucks? My eyes were huge and were clearly giving away how impressed I was with the caliber of the collision. I saw a guy in a security outfit looking at me. I figured he was there to protect my car in the lot next door. Then I realized it was a New York City Taxi. Holy shit. This is a movie set. Sweet! I kept walking knowing that I just happened upon my first Hollywood set blocking off a road.

On my way to McDonalds, there was a 3rd Eye Blind concert on the next block. It's funny when that's the least interesting thing to happen in a day. A guy out front was looking for tickets... in a Michigan Jersey. I threw out a "Go Blue" and continued to McDonalds. Upon returning from Mickey D's, I asked one of the bored-looking security guards what the set was for. Apparently, it was for the Heroes Season 3 Premiere. As we were talking, a Universal Studios Truck pulled out of the street and drove away.

Dirty Dancing was quite disappointing by Broadway Musical standards. I would have left before the curtain call if I had an aisle seat (hell, I went outside to walk around during intermission and almost left then). More than anything, the dancing (since it was mostly ballroom and they had a big name choreographer) should have been more precise. I found myself annoyed with just about all the characters (except Penny, who was hot and a great dancer). I don't think they had one amazing singer. Driving home lacked any events, and I finally passed out.

Beverly Hills hottie. Old lady presentation. Free Sprinkles Cupcake. UCLA a zoo for MJ. Managed to get Rush tickets without peeing myself or getting a parking ticket. Hollywood a zoo for MJ at his star, while I locked myself out of my car across the street. Stumble across a set for Heroes. Dirty Dancing was lackluster. That's a day in L.A.
Hope you enjoyed that little novella,

Racist or Not?

I'm not sure why, but I feel like the word Mexicans is racist, even when I'm using it correctly.  For example, I was watching the Mexican soccer team play on television.  When the announcers referred to the Mexicans, I cringed.  It made me laugh that I was so sensitive to the word, even when it was politically correct.  I think that is where most white people are these days... at least those of us that don't want to offend anyone (blog not included).  "Did I say black?  I meant African American permanent marker...?"  The slightest verbal misstep forces us to write long-winded apologies to coworkers and/or peers.  Does it make me racist that I am uncomfortable with the word Mexicans?

'Midget' and 'handicapped' work the same way, just because I either don't know the more appropriate term, or because I don't find the politically correct term more appropriate.  I can't talk about anyone with those conditions, no matter how careful I'm trying to be, without feeling awful.

I might actually be 1/4 Mexican,

Annob's Valenbirthday Wine Weekend

Annie and I went on a little wine trip for my birthday, mostly, and Valentine's Day, coincidentally.  We stayed at Old World Inn, a B & B in downtown Napa.  Our plan was to walk downtown Napa so that we could taste a lot and not worry about driving.  That is exactly what we did.  We had initially planned to buy the tasting card, but our innkeeper gave us enough complimentary passes to deter us from that itinerary.  The Old World Inn was everything that's great about B&Bs without the grandma decor; the evening chocolates were the best (cake and chocolate covered strawberries set out for late night snacking).

Annie will probably provide a more detailed listing of the day on her blog in the upcoming days, but I would like to give a shout out to the lady that made my day, Trisha from Mason Cellars.  We were the only ones in her tasting room for about 30 minutes, so we talked for a while.  She gave us wonderful advice, the tasting was complimentary, and the wines were dirt cheap for Napa standards yet really good.  She explained the rise and fall of Copia (which we had toured years before) and even offered to drive any wine we bought that day (from any winery nearby) back to our hotel and drop it off for us.  We took her up on her offer, and she ended up dropping off almost an entire case of wine to our B&B (we only bought 4 bottles of Mason wine)!!

The juicy part: skip ahead 5 hours and 6 tasting rooms.  We decided to head back to our B&B for wine/cheese hour, and we thought it would be a good time to drop off our freshly purchased cabernet chocolate sauce from Ceja (amazing) and the other bottle of wine we bought there.  The wine hour wasn't all that interesting (I blame the clientele), so we went back to our room to prepare ourselves for more tastings, and eventually dinner.

Annie immediately passed out on the bed.  She woke up 30 minutes later and ran to the bathroom to throw up.  She didn't actually throw up, but laid down for a little na-na and waved her glasses around until I grabbed them and set them on the dresser.  She laid around for a while, so I snapped a few pictures of her on her fancy, new HTC Incredible.  Those of you lucky enough to catch them posted on facebook know exactly what they looked like.  She deleted them as soon as she got her shit together around 11pm.  I also snapped another picture that made it to twitter (and gmail), but that got deleted even faster.  Needless to say, we slept through our dinner reservation and didn't eat anything substantial until our amazing breakfast at the B&B the next morning.

Sunday took us on a little tour of Napa & Sonoma Valleys.  I'm hoping to write another post specifically regarding Bottle Shock, so I'll save the details for that future post.  We made one stop at Dry Creek Olive Co, where I am a member and receive regular shipments of fresh, amazing olive oil.  The day ended at Hook & Ladder, a favorite winery from our trip back in May.  I've long considered joining their wine club, since I loved so many of their wines from their last vintage.  As soon as we started tasting yesterday (a new vintage), I immediately filled out their wine club membership application.  I consistently love their wines.  They are the first wine club I've ever joined, and I'm super excited.

(Annob is what are closest friends called the two of us in college, cuz she followed me around like a lost puppy.  I made up Valenbirthday just now.)


Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's Official (reprise)

Yesterday, I finally accepted the offer at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in upstate NY.  I will be a physicist associate helping to design nuclear submarines, used by the Navy.  It takes a while to get through the hiring process at labs, so I'll be in the Bay Area for a few more months.  Though I spent some time trying to get their offer to go up, it remained at 5% below X dollars until I finally accepted.  Secretary Chu froze the salaries for all labs similar to KAPL, so I know exactly what I'll be making through 2012.  It is a little depressing, but at least I'll be making three times the $$ I've been making in grad school (while living somewhere dramatically cheaper).  I only have to work for them for a year without repaying my relocation expenses, so if it sucks, I'll only have 12 months of it.

Also, last Thursday, I started an internship at PowerWorks, the company in charge of the windmills along Altamont Pass.  I'm a Project Engineer: currently analyzing wind data from last summer to find inefficiencies, and soon I'll be siting and proposing new projects in wind energy.  This will hold me over until I start my real job at KAPL later this year.  One good thing when I was hired here is that when they offered me the job, I counter-offered $3 more an hour, and they accepted!  At least I have one $$ win this year!  It's not great money (certainly not what I'm used to getting paid at internships), but it isn't awful considering that I'm temporary and that I wanted to find something quick.

I thought that accepting the KAPL job and landing the PW internship would really set me at ease.  I mean, my life is figured out now.  Not true.  More questions just keep coming along.  When will I move to NY?  Will Annie be able to come with me immediately?  Should we stay somewhere temporarily and be able buy a house?  Will it be fun?  Will my job suck?  What if we don't make friends?  Am I truly ready to return to the crazy winters, like they've have this year?

Is being a real person always like this: constant worry?

Friday, February 11, 2011


It's that time of year again, and already things have been interesting.

I got my first birthday card yesterday.  It was from my aunt.  (I posted about my crazy family, but my aunt is the lone person that kept me this side of crazy as I grew up.)  It has a bunch of stuffed monkeys on the cover hopping around yelling 'Yahoo!!' 'Whoopee!!' 'This is gonna be great!!  I'm so excited!!'  The last monkey exclaims "I can't wait!!  I... I..." and the inside says "... I think I just pooped myself."  She signed it: "(maybe I should stop reading your blog) haha."  How perfect is that?  The check inside made it even better!  Thanks, Aunt!  (I don't use people's names other than Annie [and Angel]).

Today, at work, I easily got off next Friday to go skiing with Annie and all of her friends.  I told them it was for my birthday.  I also scheduled a drug screening on my birthday, so things can get crazy that night!!

Then things made a turn for the worse.  I came home, and Angel was in trouble.  He had eaten one of my birthday presents!  Chocolate covered Oreos that Annie had found in some fancy chocolate store.  This is the same dog that ate our roommate's cupcakes that I made her for her birthday.  Angel is the birthday ruiner (word?)!  (Don't name a dog Angel; it's setting everyone up for failure.)

We brought it back a little with a birthday card from my mom.  The front is a bunch of plastic flamingos and reads "If this is the first thing you see the morning after your birthday celebration, you may want to ask yourself these important questions:" inside "Am I naked?  Is this my front yard?  Who are these people...?"  Mom doesn't read my blog, but she apparently knows me nonetheless.  Only downer is that it came with a post-dated check.  That makes me feel really guilty... like she felt obligated to send me money that she can't afford.

Similarly, I never got a/an Xmas present from my grandparents, and I don't know if they'll send me a birthday present.  It's not really a big deal, but I wonder if they actually did send something and it was lost along the way.  Considering the current granny situation, I'm not going to ask.  Am I awful for caring rather or not they sent/are sending something?

Anyway, things are in full swing, and Annie is whisking me off to Napa for the weekend.

Hello, good wine, I've missed you,

Country Remedies

I've had a sore throat for two weeks or so.  A few days had some coughs, my chest has felt congested, only a day or two of sniffles/headaches, but mostly a sore throat.  I've tried a bunch of things: Mucinex, Nyquil, Motrin, Advil Cold & Sinus, Halls, Tea, Cold Water, Wine, etc.  Nothing has rid me of the damn sore throat yet.

The other day, all I wanted was what my parents used to do for my sore throat.  Onion juice.  I don't even know how they made it, but I used to wake up in the middle of the night and beg for it to help me stop coughing.  I always wanted it immediately, but it took them a while to put it together.  Looking back, I think it was just onion and sugar, but I honestly have no clue where it came from or how they came up with it.  It always worked!

Soon after I got to thinking about this old, country remedy, I thought about how I've despised onions until recently.  I really like them now and add them to everything, but I wonder if I used to associate onions with sickness, and that's why I never liked them.  Just a theory.

I vaguely remember there being a book or two about country remedies in the mess under my microwave stand.

Anybody know what's in onion juice?  Anybody else want to share a country remedy?

Container Store

I walked into the Container Store for the first time today.  Annie had been shopping around online for solutions to her shoe predicament.  She came across some things from the Container Store that she got really excited about.  So, we drove 30 mins to Walnut Creek to find one.

The Container Store is the most ridiculous store I've ever been in.  Wrapping paper getting out of hand?  How about a wrapping paper organizer!  Been looking for shoe racks/shelves/hooks?  We've got aisles of 'em!  'You won't be able to Contain Yourself!'

I was surrounded by millions of pretty boxes, 5 fat cashiers, and 2 gay guys.  I felt like someone there should have burped up a purse like Kurt on gLee.  Meanwhile, Annie is running around like a sugar-high toddler in an orange grove.  At one point she dropped a heavy box off to me, then I saw her head poke out of a few aisles from across the store, as she gallivanted around finding things she suddenly needed.  We showed up for 2 things, and they didn't have one of them.  We still spent an hour there.  Awesome.

Also, we were apparently bickering in front of our other roommate this evening.  So much so that our roommate asked Annie if she was ok after I went out to jog with Angel.  It's funny that I don't even notice when we're going at it anymore.  It's a hobby.  First thing wrong: Annie is the mean one.  People should be checking my feelings after we argue.  Second thing wrong: we've been dating forever, so we are fully aware of everything that's wrong with each other.  We point it out regularly.  Nothing is for serious.  We reserve door-slamming, yelling, and crying for real fights.

I only wore an undershirt for my short run, but the nips were burning again,

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Nothing is Simple

I've said for a long time that my life is interesting.  I guess most of that is due to its complicatedness (word?).  Yesterday is a good example:

My car tire had been slowly losing air over the past month.  Since I didn't have the dough to fix it, I just let it go flat.  Yesterday, I got some dough.  So, I went out to my car to put on the donut, in hopes of simply dropping it off at a nearby tire place to get fixed.  While kicking my tire iron to get the last lug nut off, I actually busted the stud in half.

Shit.  $15 tire change turns into a major ordeal.  First of all, I could only find 3 places that would fix it.  The first place had a reasonable price, but couldn't get me in for 2 more days.  The second place gave me an AMAZING quote, so I ran out the door to get there before they forgot about how AMAZING the quote was they just gave me.  By the time I got there, they put it together that the AMAZING quote was just for fixing the flat.  No stud included.  Damn you.

I returned to my car to call the 3rd place.  Kim Jong-il answered the phone (or at least the South Park equivalent).  His quote was even better than the first guy's, so I drove straight over there.  I didn't want to deal with it anymore, so I just gave him my keys and left.  I ran downtown to meet Annie for lunch.  When I got back 90 minutes later, everything was fixed.  Plus, he charged me half what the second place quoted as a 'base price' (which we all know that's 1/2 what a mechanic will actually charge you).

So, a simple leaky tire turned into a day-long tribulation.  At least that keeps things interesting.

I saw a few interesting things in Oakland throughout this whole thing.  First of all, look up Michael Mischer Chocolates in Oakland.  Zoom into it on Maps until you can see what's directly next door.  Unfair, right?  The street view helps, but it's hard to read the chocolate sign.

Similarly, you should check out street view at 1940 Broadway, in Oakland.

Undershirts have helped my nipples, but then I get too hot,

Monday, February 7, 2011

There's No Line...

... cuz I stole it, bitches!

Exactly one month ago, I started this blog.  It has been everything I needed:

  • a way to connect to all of my peeps that I don't really talk to all that often (I hate phones!)
  • a therapeutic journal documenting my currently chaotic life
  • an artistic outlet that works on my writing so that I can publish a book one day
  • a way to work on my comedic punchlines
I had over 2000 pageviews in January.  I'm hoping I can double that in February.  Facebook and Twitter are my only means of spreading the word.  If you enjoy this blog, feel free to pass it along to people that aren't already talking about it.  Not that I think it's all that amazing yet, but I truly think that my raw, line-crossing writing could be appealing to a lot of people (even if they don't really wanna talk about it).

If you have ideas that would make this blog better, or topics you'd like me to discuss, hit me up.  Nothing is too taboo, and I hope I can make the mundane insane!  I tried the DIETY segment, and I don't doubt that I'll continue it, but there's certainly room for more ideas.

Plus, smack-dab in the middle of this month lies my 26th birthday, so pass it on as a little digital present to me.

Here's to February,

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday Food

I've mentioned I'm a little bit of a foodie.  I like to consider myself a budding chef.  I cook a lot for Annie (I told her that she should have a segment on her blog called "Things Rob Puts in My Mouth".  She didn't think that was an appropriate food segment title.)  Anyway, in celebration of the big day, I thought I'd let you all in on my menu:

The day started off with Monte Cristos: thick-sliced bacon with cream cheese and Mary Ellen's pure boysenberry jam on two thick slices of french toast, freshly sliced from a large french loaf.  My french toast egg-wash is made with eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and cinnamon.  After the sandwiches were pressed together, I topped them with cinnamon/brown sugar and powdered sugar.  So good!

On the menu for the big game are:
  • Spicy/Cheesy Guacamole, a recipe from Tamarindo, Annie's favorite Mexican restaurant in Oakland.
  • Chili Cheese Dip: bottom layer of cream cheese, a layer of Hormel No Bean Chili, and top layer of a blend of shredded Mexican cheeses all melted in the oven.  Tortilla chips help scoop this deliciousness in your mouth.  Ritz work, too!
  • Speaking of Ritz, we're making two recipes from Guy Fieri's Super Bowl Ritz Recipes.  I was really excited for the southern Chicken 'n Slaw Ritz.
  • Annie really wanted to try the Asian Zing Shrimp Ritz.
  • Cream Puffs (These are store-bought, frozen, but they're good.  Best with hot fudge and confectioner's sugar.)
I'm sure the food will more than live up to this big day.  I hope you all will get to enjoy great food, too.  Have a good one!

Cheering for the (Fudge) Packers cuz they're not the Steelers, and they're reppin' NFC North,

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I've mentioned that I've been seriously cleaning Annie's place.  My decision to move in created a giant mess.  Now that things are all tidied up, we're having that fight that's been done on too many shitty sitcoms to mention.  However:


I'm not very manly (a post I'm working on for later), and she's not super girly.  We apparently hover in some comfortable androgynous zone.  Whatever.  Then--- you move a piece of furniture--- and BAM!  Heels and flats and tennis shoes and sandals and flip flops and boots all get scared and scurry.

I sarcastically told her that her '35 pairs' of shoes are going to disappear.  She told me not to be ridiculous.  She counted 19 pairs.  Much like when a guy measure's his penis, you have to add a few.  You know she overlooked some cuz they're still hiding... or she didn't want to consider 'flip-flops' as a pair of 'shoes'.  Regardless, 2 dozen pairs of shoes covers enough surface area to repave a Walmart parking lot.

Picture a cute, tiny, little apartment.  Picture two people trying to shove their lives together in the same small bedroom.   Now picture those people (bed, dressers, nightstand, and all) floating on shoes.  That's us.

What's up ladies?,

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

That Damn Cake

I told y'all that I was making a Sweet Potato Cake.  Annie got some yams from the farmers' market last Friday, and I wanted to use them.  I'm on a baking kick right now, and I had never had a cake like that before, so I tried it.

I mixed up the batter (used olive oil instead of vegetable oil to combine 2 favorite savory flavors [yams the 2nd]... like Cupcake Wars!), poured it in the bundt pan, and threw it in a preheated oven.  Since I'm always nervous about homogenous cooking, I threw aluminum foil on the top so that heat was distributed as well as it would be through my thick bundt.  After about 45 minutes, I pulled off the foil so it would brown.  I'm so smart.

The recipe said to bake it for 1h15m, but I only baked it an hour.  Burnt cake sucks, and so does dry cake.  Err on the side of undercooked.  I pulled it out, and pressed on it.  It sprang back.  I considered that good enough.  No toothpick; I am fancy pants after all.

Turns out it tastes good, but it didn't cook thoroughly.  It looks great, but when Annie was eating a piece this morning, she let me know that there's a small layer of batter still hanging out in there.  It's edible, but that pisses me off.

Damn me not letting it go 15 more minutes w/o the foil.

I threw it back in the oven for 25 minutes today.  The outside just got crunchier, but the inside didn't finish cooking.

Did I really apply to be a baker?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

If I took the ACT again

My score would be higher (maybe only a point or two, but that's huge above 30).  I took the 2004 ACT at Huntington Learning Center as part of a tutoring interview.  I got a 32 on the Reading (missed 4/40), and a 28 on the English (missed 10/75).  I didn't have to take the math or science, since I got a 32 on the Science in high school, along with a 34 on the Math.  I got a 31 overall in high school, and that was with english/reading in the mid 20's.  I'm not sure how ACT calculates the composite score, but I'm guessing I'd do pretty well now.

They called to tell me that, and offer me a tutoring position.  I turned them down because I didn't want to work all my weekends through June.  They asked if they could work around me leaving every other weekend, if I would consider.  They apparently really liked my enthusiasm, personality, and background.  I told them I'd consider it, and I'm supposed to call them after my PowerWorks interview tomorrow.

When it rains, it pours, or snows like a mutha%$#@!,

Raw Nipples

I just jogged Lake Merritt with Angel.  It's our goal to be able to run the whole thing in consecutive days.  I've ran 5Ks before, but never within the same week (or month, even).

When I came home and walked into my kitchen for water, I lifted up my shirt to wipe my sweaty face.  It made me realize how raw my nipples were.  I think it was a combination of them being hard from the cold and exercise, and the design of the high school tennis shirt I ran in.

Raw, painful nipples were a regular occurrence during my ballroom dance competitions.  Tight, heavily starched shirts rubbing against sweaty, erect nipples makes for an irritating situation.  On more than one occurrence I had to unbutton my shirt beside the dance floor and apply bandaids to my large, purple-y nipples.  It was more awkward when I asked my ballroom coaches for advice.  They recommended Body Glide.  Rubbing vaseline on your nipples before putting a shirt on is almost worse than raw, painful nipples.

I feel like the lake is going to be inspiration for a lot of my best posts,

It's February!!

You all know what that means:
Well, that's true, but that's actually not what I was thinking.

On Valentine's Day, 1985, when my stripper-named mother was eating a nice dinner with her (now ex- ex- ex-...) husband, she was rushed to the hospital in Hattiesburg, Mississippi with labor pains.  I was pooped out the following afternoon at 1pm.  My original last name was Henderson, but I was adopted by my mother's future (now ex- ex-...?) husband, making my last name Reed.

Robert Reed, the actor who played the father in The Brady Bunch, who died from complications due to HIV.  Awesome.  Robert was shortened to Rob in 6th grade.  There were like 5 Roberts in my class.  (Real unique name in the mid-80's, Mom.)  One kid grabbed Bobby, and I went for Rob.  I honestly don't remember how ~RoB came along.  I think I typed it accidentally one day at the bottom of my emails, and I liked it.  I've used it ever since.

Anyway, Annie made awesome plans for us to stay at a B&B in Downtown Napa the weekend before my birthday to drink a ton of wine.  That's a birthday!!

Tomorrow I have an interview at PowerWorks, the company in charge of the windmills in the Altamont Pass. So, I'll at least get a glimpse of renewable energy in my resume before my next job.  That'll help if I ever wanna go back to college.

Thursday night, Annie and I are heading up to Tahoe for Super Bowl Weekend.  I'll be rooting for NFC North for 2 reasons: they're representing the same division the Bears are in, and they're not the Steelers.

Let's hope that February will be the month that everything straightens out,

Life Update (and a package of bacon)

I finally hooked up my computer, and I seem to be over the cold that had me all fucked up this weekend, so expect more of this... at least until I get a job.

Haven't heard much more about granny.  She's currently in a rehab center, which is a step up from the hospital.  She had a small stroke.  Add that to the lung cancer, and now a diagnosis of severe diabetes, and she's surprisingly alive.  Since the last time she went home, she ended up back in ICU, the doctors thought it would be best to have her in a supervised facility before sending her home to rest up for cancer treatment.  My mom is staying there, so it didn't seem logistical to fly there and plug up the house.

One of my favorite people of all time happened to be in town this weekend.  We went out to dinner at Waterbar on Saturday night.  It was so fun to see him and meet his fiance!!  He said they've planned the wedding in Omaha, Nebraska, so I totally want to make it there over Labor Day.  I didn't hear how traveling back to Chicago went, considering the Snowpocalypse, but I hope he's ok!!

I'm pretty much finished cleaning and decorating Annie's apartment.  It's pretty snazzy.  The bathroom, though less functional, is probably my favorite room.  I've also been cooking like crazy: blueberry muffins, monte cristos, vegetarian chili, burgers (2 kinds), and bananas foster were all things that I made from scratch last week (not counting everything else that I cooked that wasn't entirely 'from scratch').  Annie and I polished off a whole package of bacon between Bacon Blue Cheeseburgers and Monte Cristos on Sunday, which I don't even feel guilty about, though it definitely lowered our life expectancies.  I'm planning on making a sweet potato cake tonight, as soon as I grab some eggs from the store.

I emailed out my official counter-offer today, and I didn't get my new, fake ACT scores back yet.

I'll bring the funny later,