Some Shit About Calories

I’m beginning to think I weigh too little. I get hungry at work all the time and my blood sugar is crazy, like I’ll start shaking and shit, and anyway I can’t eat shit for twelve hours straight while running around making drinks, so maybe that kind of shit would happen to anyone in that situation. But I used to weigh about 165 and I have been under 160 for months now and I never really thought about it. I’ve been trying to find a way to consume calories at work like with meal replacement drinks or something but it’s all expensive and so far ineffective. I just bought a bunch of Clif bars and some Naked juices so we’ll see how today goes.

Yesterday I bought a grapefruit and made palomas, a cocktail that’s basically a margarita with grapefruit juice. Today it’s back to work after two days off. GF went to work super early and I didn’t go back to sleep. Just read some of The Brothers Karamazov which I randomly had next to my bed and then got up and ate some toast. I’ll probably eat three more breakfasts before I leave and then maybe stop at McDonald’s for more breakfast and see how that feels. It can’t feel much worse than usual so fuck it.

Sitting on the Stoop

I was reading through some of my old posts last night, before I went to bed, and then in bed I had this idea of a blog as a kind of front porch, or a stoop as some would say. It’s a place where I can sit down and just kick some old bullshit with whoever walks by.

And what more does a person need in life than a boiled potato, a sprinkle of salt, and somebody to kick some bullshit with? Maybe some music.

I started to think about what a person really needs in life to be happy and I think it’s really just some good food on an empty stomach with some music. You can be happy for at least five minutes with that, and if you’re happy five minutes a day, well you’re pretty lucky.

Thoreau, that old bastard, he got me thinking of this. Check this out:

I learned from my two years’ experience that it would cost incredibly little trouble to obtain one’s necessary food, even in this latitude; that a man may use as simple a diet as the animals, and yet retain health and strength. I have made a satisfactory dinner, satisfactory on several accounts, simply off a dish of purslane…which I gathered in my cornfield, boiled and salted… And pray what more can a reasonable man desire, in peaceful times, in ordinary noons, than a sufficient number of ears of green sweet corn boiled, with the addition of salt.

Yes, but even that old bastard wanted a bit of salt.

But seriously, that is real. I used to think, back when I had two or three jobs and was constantly working, that if I only had time for a shower at the end of the night, then I was living the high life. And God knows that’s true. Jesus Christ, that a mother fucker could stand under a spray of hot water, how fucked up is that? Mother fuckers can’t even drink water in this world and here I am just standing there. I’d work a whole week to take a hot shower. Ha, that’s funny to say, too, because poor bastards without hot water work their whole lives and never have a hot shower.

But anyway, back to the analogy of the stoop. I was getting pretty down as I always do about what the fuck am I doing with my life and so on, and on top of that having zero-view days, I don’t know. Shit was fucking me up. But then I thought last night, well, if it’s like a stoop, what does it matter if one good friend comes by or a thousand strangers walk by? One doesn’t go out on the front porch with an appointment. You don’t call a bunch of your friends up to go sit on the porch. If you call people up you go sit in the backyard. So you sit your ass on the porch to watch the world go by, and if someone happens to have the time, they might sit down, too. And maybe somebody will make some sun tea.

Whiskey and Ginger

Suddenly I feel like an old woman. I listen to the clock ticking, like it used to do at my grandmother’s house when the TV wasn’t on any more and there was nothing left to say. It’s late at night. We are going to sleep soon and things have been done well today.  Things have been checked off the list. I achieved a kind of high. It didn’t last all day, but anyway the day went pretty well. Just because I can’t write anything worth writing right now doesn’t mean that the day has been a failure, and after all I am very comfortable and clean and warm underneath this blanket, even if I didn’t really need dessert.

GF and I are on the couch with the blanket over our legs and she is reading Saveur magazine. She just dropped it so I guess she has gone to sleep. I’m there on the verge, too. I was trying to write a story something like a PG Wodehouse story with characters from small town America, but not the small towns there used to be, like Mayberry, but rather like small towns are now, where people hang out at Wal-Mart.

But then suddenly I felt tired and old and like an old woman and the clock was ticking and I just stared at my dining room table and thought fuck it. The world is a crazy place. Especially because at work all they do is play “A Boy Named Sue” every day and “Mad World.” Who can eat anything when that song is playing?

I had a whiskey and ginger today when we came home from grocery shopping. I felt like an old white man then, and it felt pretty good.

I don’t know what I had in mind when I started writing on here again tonight. I thought I felt like writing, once again, but I get on here and just freeze up. The floorboards creak whenever the heater stops clicking. Once in a while a car goes by outside. I remember I used to sleep sometimes in my sister’s room when we were young, and car seemed to pass more often in there. Now that I’m listening it sounds like a lot of cars are going by out there. And maybe it’s raining, too. We cleaned the apartment from about 8:30 to 9:30. We vacuumed and dusted and I put tape all over the rugs and lifted it up again to get all of GF’s hair out of it. I forget how I thought of that method, but it really works much better than my cheap Dirt Devil from 1989 or some foul year of our Lord. There’s half a glass of milk on the table. I started to drink a lot of it and I remembered my stomach last night. And after all I didn’t stop early enough. GF tore up a mango and pulpy shards of it stick out from the core where she ate around it. I had two different kinds of desserts that she made in school today. She brought out Saveur and a book about cheese because she hasn’t been able to read anything about food since she started school. But she didn’t get far today before she turned to her iPhone and looked up some restaurants. She decided we should try Hot Pot.

My eyes are getting heavier and heavier. Everything is monochromatic. Greys and whites and blacks. Even the green of the potted plants takes on some of the gray. The lamps are silver with orange gray shades and so the light has a silver tone. And GF is wearing a yellow hoodie that barely peaks out of the white and black floral printed quilt. The mango pops out, too, in a wholly unappetizing manner. And then there are the cold blue lights of the modem underneath of the empty entertainment center. The clock is gray, the doors are white, the kitchen is bathed in black.

It’s definitely raining out there now. The weather reports had it raining and snowing today, or at least that’s what I’d heard, I never look at weather reports. And it was sunny and nice all day. And then as it began to get dark around 7 or 8, something like that, it started to get cold and windy and I knew this would happen. Long as it doesn’t snow. I need to actually make money at work. Last week it snowed right before my Tuesday, too. And besides that I don’t feel like riding my bike in the snow now.

The upstairs neighbors were playing Yeah Yeah Yeahs really loud today, and not the regular stuff but some extra bassy remixes. Then they got delivery like they always do. The strangest thing happened yesterday. Thepeople downstiars were having a super kick ass party with dancing and loud karaoke and everything, right in the middle of the day. GF was not happy at all. She likes her Sundays quiet. So I had to go talk to them for the first time since they moved in a month or so ago. And the amazing thing was that after I talked to them, the party disbanded. Within an hour, all was quiet. Silent night.

We’ve got to start looking for another apartment soon. We should’ve been looking already. Apartments around here go in September but they’re sold around this time. It’s a real bitch because we hardly just moved in here.

Anyway. I was thinking I was going to do some kind of writing, I don’t know what. It’s back to the grindstone tomorrow. And anyway that’s good. Got to make money for the Eurotrip.

Only If For a Night

Shit I couldn’t hardly sleep last night after a long day of working I came home and ate some seafood pizza that GF made and drank half a bottle of Californian psuedo-champagne I got for free from a man in a bejeweled blazer. The pizza was delicious. I ran out of bubbly halfway through so I also had a beer. And before that, I had a shit ton of caffeine, so my dreams were lucid yet horrible.

I dreamed I was serving lemonade, bartender style, at a bus stop where these cranky bitches who brunch were yelling at me and Lawrence Fishburne wasn’t taking any guff. It was awful. And with GF turning on and off the lights and whatnot shit was getting psychadelic in there.

She had to go to this volunteer thing at like 6:30 in the morning, so all this was going on around 6. I was like fuck it, I’m getting up. And that rarely happens but the dreams were so bad and I felt like a ball of fiendishness.

I’ve been up for a few hours now and watched the sun not rise at all behind all the clouds from the windows of the office.

Shit I did my taxes. Just got my last W2. Got some money back but for the first time in my life I don’t need it desperately to make a payment. I mean, the loan companies want it but they can wait. I’m just going to bank that bitch and I’m sure the IRS will come calling wanting that shit back anyway.

Yeah but then I thought about asking GF to marry me. I would have a long time ago but never had enough money for a ring and we’re in no rush anyway, since we’ve been living as a married couple since 2009. But now I got this credit card with six months of no interest so fuck it!

Now my landlord is outside walking around with that weird Saturday morning gait, checking license plates and whatnot.

So basically all is right and good with the world, and my life is a tiny sphere of perfection. Just waiting for other shoe to drop, as it were. A mother fucker really can’t get this lucky forever.

Repetition and Metaphors

It kicks like a sleep twitch. I just been listening to a few songs on repeat, yesterday and today.

I listened to The Xx for the first time two days ago with GF on NPR and really liked them so I’ve been playing Crystalize and Angels alternately three times, and then Anyone’s Ghost and Conversation 16 by The National, and then Crystalize and Angels again, and then Papillon by The Editors just to mix it up.

Most of the time I write in silence or else I’ll start to put in lyrics of the songs because I just can’t help it. But I played this little playlist like 10 times yesterday before work and I’m on my way to doing the same thing today.

And I’m doing almost exactly what I did yesterday.

And it’s awesome.

I’ve been really sore from riding my bike to work and apparently a lot of the pain has to do with the bike being too big for me. I’ll let you figure out the metaphor in there.

But other than the fact that it hurts to bend over, working at the bar has been pretty cool. I do have to suppress my ego like a mother fucker as people treat me like a non entity, both on the road and at the bar, but that’s a good exercise anyway.

I finished reading Blown Away by Caitlin Kelly a couple days ago. I meant to get up early today so I could get some reading in but I went to be at 2:30 and just slept through all my 9:30 alarms. I wouldn’t have gotten up if American Express hadn’t called me at 10:30. Thanks guys!

I got enough money this paycheck to almost pay the rent, so that’s good.

I made an omelette with chicken sausage and cheddar and peppers and it made me want to throw up, so that sucks.

I’m going to make some coffee soon, that’s going to be sweet, in a non-literal way.

I’m about halfway through my second reading of Great Expectations. It’s good.

I don’t know, in this part of time I’m feeling less realistic and literal. I feel like expressing my emotions and ideas at this moment all comes out in absurdist bullshit or song lyrics. Fuck it I’ll just go with it for now. It’s working okay anyway.

Live on coffee and flowers.

A List of Things I Did Today

It’s been a wild day. I spent a lot of it outside the house. Most of it up to now. And now we are home and GF is doing yoga to a video and the people downstairs are practically yelling at each other as a means of communication. We can’t wait to move out of here and not hear these people any more.

But whatever. Big deal. Better than having suicide headaches.

I’m kind of hungry now. I went to PS Gourmet Coffee for the first time today and if you haven’t seen their campy ad on TV you’re missing out.

It’s a lot smaller than it looks in that commercial. I hung out there for a while. GF had some meeting and she wanted to go out for lunch in the city so I figured I might as well go with her, even though it meant missing out on some writing time. It’s President’s Day or something so she didn’t have to go to school.

I sat there and read an Irish newspaper article about this owl getting stuck in an SUV on a Florida turnpike and living through the 140 mile ride. And then I read some more about women and guns.

Then we went to this super cool coffee shop called Barrington or something like that.

Then we went to this Thai restaurant called Brown Sugar Cafe. It was awesome. There were fish swimming around.

Then we went grocery shopping. At least that’s over. Trader Joe’s was mobbed with cars.

And now I’m here, trying to get into the writing groove, but all this noise…and shit I don’t know. I’m not feeling it.

From the back heel through the hands you want to be one long diagonal line. Really feel both legs working evenly. Inhale lift the body, exhale vinyasa.

We Got Another Thing Comin’ Undone

The National just knows how to write whatever they want and make it a song. The words can’t hardly make sense but they are just right for the rhythm and they manage to somehow evoke feeling.

I was thinking about tasting wine. I’ve never been very good at it, or good at all. In fact I didn’t even like most of the wines I tried, and I tried a lot that were supposed to be good.

But I’ve never tasted as many as I have in these past couple of months. And the more I taste and the more I drink, even if it’s not tasting new wines it’s like drinking a whole bottle of each kind…so I guess what I’m saying is the more wine you drink, even if it’s the same two wines, the more wine that goes into your body the better you start to understand what you’re supposed to be looking for. It’s like tasting is a kind of relative thing. The first thing you have to do is drink enough so that you know what grapes in general taste like, and then you can look for the other subtleties if you want to.

It’s like Vonnegut says in Bluebeard, if you want to be able to tell a good painting from a bad one, you only need to look at a million paintings. Then you can never be wrong.

Tenuta Delle Terre Nere 2011

Oh yes, Beloved, the time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things. Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings, and why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings. Damn I need to memorize the rest of that poem. Now GF is home and brought Venison Wellington and also a cold virus. So now I’m drinking wine and eating Wellington and drinking Emergen-C. I can not miss any work! Although I’d love to stay home and write, it just don’t play that way in the service industry.

Yeah but shit I better get on this wine training thing. I was thinking I’d learn about wine while I was at work, but I’m always too busy working so got to figure it out otherwise. So I thought I’ll just bring home the bottles that we have for wine service and learn about them one at a time.

This wine is Tenuta della Terre Nere and I think it’s from Sicily. I’m reading The World Atlas of Wine on Sicily now. And GF and I are hacking and sneezing and my eyes are watering now. Shit!

I’ll just take one of these unlabeled pink pills I found in the medicine cabinet. That should do it. And more wine thanks.

Ok so it appears that Sicily is a place where a lot of other civilizations, or a lot of civilizations just, have made their mark and then evaporated. There’s some Greek temples, some Roman shits…something else up in there I’m sure. And it’s got so many different kinds of wine growing regions that the Atlas raves that it should be called a continent instead of an island.

You know, it sucks to get sick but I don’t mind so much. Just imagine if I had “suicide headaches.” Those are the unexplained headaches featured in such films as Darren Aranofsky’s Pi, where the pain is purportedly on par with childbirth (they know so because a mother contracted them). Well, you can do a lot of good living if you think, well shit, this sucks but what if this. Like yesterday I was kind of bored, but I thought about all the times I’ve been so hung over that I had to run to the bathroom to throw up between waiting on tables and how much that sucked and how I thought in those times that I would be so grateful to the world when the alcohol had gone because anything would be better than to have that hangover (not including suicide headaches of course). So at least I’m not hungover and working at a restaurant right now. Or at least I’m not inside an MRI. I did a bunch of MRIs at the NIH to get paid and I didn’t think I was claustrophobic but turns out I’m a little claustrophobic. I really had to focus on my breathing. And the first time I thought, well, once I’m out of here, normal life will seem like paradise in comparison to this shit.

But back to wine then.

Sicily is perfect for organic growing because it’s so damn hot that you don’t have to worry about pests. On the southern tip of the island, winds from Africa bring the grapes to boiling point, but inland, apparently, it is cooler. They grow these grapes that they usually use for Masala, called Cataratto…at least I think so.

In the mid 90s and I guess before that, Sicily made strong wine that the Italians would then use for blending. Now they are focusing more on quality wines that can stand on their own. The Planeta family has been largely responsible for this. They are trying to make the native varieties viable, even standing up against Merlot and Chardonnay, which apparently the Planetas are famous for.

Nero d’Avola is the most famous grape so far. Avola is in the southeastern part of Sicily. There is also Nerello Mascalese from the slopes of Mt. Etna, which I think is where my wine is from. The bottle just says Etna Rosso. Mt Etna is a live volcano, so these motherfuckers are crazy to be growing grapes on that shit. Oh shit! They’re talking about my wine now. Apparently Nerello is a part of Etna Rosso, which is supposed to be “spicy.” Well, yeah, I think this wine is pretty spicy. It tastes like dark fruit, even though I don’t eat dark fruit, and I guess really grapes could be a dark fruit, so it pretty much tastes like grapes I suppose. Big surprise there. It doesn’t seem to go very well with my venison wellington either.

Cataratto is the “workhorse white grape of the west.” And they got some moscato type grapes round there and some malvasia, which is a word I hear a lot.

So looks like Terre Nere uses simple vinification processes instead of getting all fancy with it. They put the wine in 25% new oak and they bottle it without filtering it after 18 months. The vineyards are way up on the mountain so they get hot direct sunlight but cold nights, which makes for elegant wine as opposed to the high alcohol intensely flavored southern Sicilian wines. This is some of the highest grape growing type shit going on. This is some risky business going on. Anyway I got all that from a “Winemakers Note” on some wine shopping web site.

The volcanic eruptions leave deposits of volacnic soil, which creates an easy draining terroir with little nutrient density that makes the grapes struggle to grow, which can generally make good wine.

Well, everyone is saying it’s light bodied and great with red meat but I did not find it to be so. Of course, I am having a hard time smelling so that could do it. Also I don’t like wine. But I’m working on that.

An American importer of wines from Northern Italy, Marco de Grazia, started the vineyard in 2002. The wine is a little tannic, tastes like dark fruit, has a light body I suppose. I don’t like it.
So bottom line:
Marco di Grazia moved to Mt Etna in 2002 to take advantage of the volcanic terroir and high elevation in order to make some outstanding and unique wines. Terre Nere is his entry level wine made with nerello grapes. It’s light bodied and well balanced and goes well with red meat and white fish.
There you go. Wine post. Done.

Back in the House

It’s cold out there ya’ll. Snowing last night and shit. Snows like a mofo in this town. But I am so warm and toasty now I got the space heater and the regular heaters rocking. And I heated up some soup from last night, the squash soup, and opened up a bottle of red wine I bought from work to learn about since my wine education has been slowing down to the point it’s falling backwards. And now I got a head rush. And I’m eating this roasted duck,what’s left of it. Oh my God I can hardly function this way. And I just finished reading Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires. An amazing book that talks about food all the time, so I am in a food place right now, a food paradise. A paradise of the senses. And fingers on the keys too so I got the touch and I’m listening to The National so I got the ears going too. Life just doesn’t get much better than this.

I wanted to link to this interview about Seth Godin if only to remind myself later that I read it at this time, because I think it’s going to change the way I look at writing, or at least change a little bit, or at least start a change to the way I approach the idea of writing. This is how Seth Godin writes. This was the part that really made me think:

What’s your best advice for overcoming procrastination?

The deadline focuses the mind, of course. The curse of the traditional writer is that the publisher wants a book no more often than once a year. So procrastination is part of the process.

But blogging? Once a day. Not every minute like Twitter, which provokes mediocre writing because there’s so much of it. But every day? Better write something, better make it good.

Oh my god I’m like the posterboy for gluttony right now. This class I took once, Biblical and Classical Literature, one of the five major contributors to my renouncing my Christian faith, we had to illustrate the seven deadly sins. I could take a picture of myself right now. Shoving basically an entire duck in my mouth. Oh my god oh my god.

Though I’ll remember not to recommend this wine with duck.

“Better write something. Better make it good.” I’ve just been thinking that over and over again today.

Tonight should be a good night for writing. GF has a lot of reading to do and I don’t think we have anywhere to go. Tomorrow I’m going to take this rusted bike to the bike shop and see what’s what. I’ve been having to take a taxi home after work too many times  and it’s not financially sustainable so time to consider other options. Helmets probably cost a shitload. Or a shit-ton. Or at least a guinea.

I’m slowly making my way through Great Expectations. The last time I read it was in…ninth grade or before that. I’m at the time when Pip is taking leave of his old friends and he’s being a total douche. Poor Joe.

I’m going to try to write something about something specific today. Maybe instead of being a food critic like Ruth Reichl I could be a book reviewer. I need more time to read books though. Fuck it I’m already a bartender. I’ll write a post about this wine.

Things I Just Ate

Yeah that’s how it’s going down around here. I don’t give a fuck to the point that I’m actually going to publish what I just ate. Millions of people do it every day. Take pictures of it. Blow it up on instagram. And that wild bastard, Matthew Inman, harpoons they’re stupid asses with dead on scalding satire straight a la Jonny Swift style. Man, I’m losing it. But yeah, The Oatmeal…oh shit my girlfriend just put on my old jam: Look What You’ve Done, by Jet. It’s got the John Lennon piano going and it’s repetitious. I love repetition. Anyway…The Oatmeal is the best thing going.

So for dinner, we just got up and started making some shit, just like we do this kind of thing every damn day. She brought home a whole damn chicken from school and I just ripped that shit up with my fingers and made some mayonnaise out of eggs and safflower oil. She threw some Trader Joe’s bread in the oven with some cheese on that shit and made a big salad with almonds and red peppers and Gorgonzola. Hot damn that shit was so good. I put the chicken salad on top of the salad. God damn. I don’t usually like to talk about food but that shit was banging! And we ate here at the table where we are both working, which is the highest high a mother fucker can get around here. Got damn, got my laundry too, and folded all that shit up and put it all over the table. We got dirty dishes up on this bitch, too. We’re just fucking splayed out.

So that’s what I ate for dinner. Hell yeah that shit was good. And I bought some Caramel Cone Haagan Dazs from the store today too so we’re going to eat that shit later. Then we’re going to wake up early and she has to read more and then go to school early so I’m just going to write my ass of then, too. I should write about some cocktails or something, shit. Plus I just got a new book on the Philippines. Two of them in fact and they look really bad. I’m thinking of rewriting one of them and selling it. I always think about writing some educational type shit in a more engaging style, but I haven’t tried it yet.