Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Musical Retrograde

I lived through the music of the 70's and 80's, some I liked and some I didn't. I have a chunk of my collection is from that era but I like the new stuff to come out in the 2000's.

What fascinates me about the 20-something people that I know through school and otherwise is that they are deep into 70's and 80's music. For instance, I am at school last night a little early, sitting in the library, listening to my MP3 player, reading a little Cell Biology. I had just recently downloaded The Eagles, Best Of. Funny, I can still remember all of the words to "Take It To The Limit" and "Hotel California". One of my classmates, John, plops down at the table with me and picks up my player and screams.

"Oh man, The Eagles, I love them!"

John is 22, he was born in 1983. The Eagles heyday was mostly the mid to late 70's, they stopped churning out hits when he was in diapers. I'm thinking, OK, his parents must have played this and he remembers it from them.

He hands me his iPod, "Here look at my collection, maybe we can swap!"

Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, Earth Wind and Fire, B52s, Gogo's, Foghat, wow. The only current music I saw was Coldplay and Interpol. I dont get it, my generation couldnt stand older music.

I'm curious, "So whats with the 70's and 80's fascination?"

John, "Come on, all the music from my generation is crap! You were lucky to be around back then when music was good, man, youre like history, walking!"

Ok, Im not sure I like that ... lol.

But come to think of it when I have gatherings at my place I tend to play a lot of 70's/80's music interspersed with new. Usually the 20-somethings know the old stuff better than the new. Interesting.

Has the earth entered a musical retrograde?

Quadruple Venti Cap, Hold The Memory Loss

HIV Prof is getting good at analogies.

Last night we start talking about the pieces of the HIV virus that are different than other viruses. Viruses are like little packages, they come with the pieces they need to put themselves together. Of course they can't do it themselves which is why they invade and hijack your cell's assembly mechanism. One of the pieces it contains is called TAT. TAT is an accelerant, it makes your cell replicate the virus efficiently.

HIV Prof: "So you see without TAT the assembly mechanism is like a 60 year old man that has gotten up in the middle of the night, gone to the kitchen to get something but due to memory loss simply gives up, turns around and goes back to bed. Without TAT the virus cannot assemble. Now, with TAT, the virus is like some 22 year old who has just finished a Quadruple Venti Cap from Starbucks. With TAT its like go virus, go!"

LOL, I think I get it ! Thanks HIV Prof!

Ex's In Dust Bunnies

Im getting ready for a huge garage sale the weekend after July 4th. I have been attacking a room or closet a night for weeks, gathering up the old stuff to haul out to Lakewood.

Last night I finally mustered up the courage to start dragging stuff out from underneath the bed. Yikes, you never know what kind of crap you've shoved up underneath your bed. Hmmm, old Scrabble game, keep, I have neices and they like to play. Hmmm, riding crop? Oh yeah, that was a gag gift from years ago, keep, I'll regift sometime. Hmmm, a Herseys kiss? Yeck, how long has that been there? I should probably be wearing gloves. Hmmm, a big plastic box with no cover. Nice dust bunnies! I Dustbuster the bunnies away and viola, its the box of ex pictures! Wow, I should probably look at these from time to time then I wouldnt date the same people twice because I forgot about the first time! (oh, and this is totally true and the subject of some post some other time :)

Exs are probably reading so I will be kind ( kind for me that is :)

Look here's Ex-1, a picture at a party in Ft. Worth, that was a fun party and what a freaking incredible house! Ex-1 got promoted and moved to Houston. "You should come with me". LOL, right, I left Houston for a reason. Good luck and don't forget to write. I'm oversimplifying, of course, but Ex-1 was too young anyway.

And here is Ex-2, typical melacholy pose; pouty and moody. Another, here we are in OKC at ex-2's parents house, I'm the happy one with the chicken leg.

And here is Ex-3 and I in Santa Fe. Ex-3 had never been to Santa Fe so it was a good trip for the both of us. Here's another of Ex-3 at my sister's place when they lived inMadison. Here's another of Ex-3. Wow, how many Ex-3 pictures were there? Pictures, keep, but these frames are so going to Lakewood!

Ex-4, yak. Ex-4 was just a collosal mistake that wound up moving to NYC. I ran into Ex-4 on the street in NYC. We both doubletook each other and we both kept walking. It was a total NYC moment. LOL

Oh lord, Ex-5, from the Houston chapter. I remember towards the end getting a call from Ex-5 "I'm the reincarnation of Jesus, I have all the signs." Oh yeah, I think we are done now you whack job. You can understand why I don't keep in touch LOL.

OMG, Ex-infinity. This has to be circa 1989, look at my cool haircut, I look like Duran Duran. How funny, I cant even place a name to ex-infinity's face.

OK, enough of memory lane I have to focus on getting rid of stuff.

Keep in mind when I say Ex, I just mean someone I dated and for some reason it just didn't work out. There is only one real Ex for me and that, frankly, was quite enough :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Late Night Rationalizing

I think we all do this, I know I have -- You do a dumbass thing with absolutely no forthought and then two days later you think yourself into a good reason why you did the dumbass thing. Example: I tell people who I dont know that I moved to Dallas for the good opportunities in real estate and the solid job base. Sounds reasonable doesnt it? Noone can argue with the logic. Well, the truth is I was on my way to Manhattan from Houston but stopped in Dallas for a really high paying contract. Hell, I only had $800 to my name, what was I thinking trying to move to the most expensive city in the US! Oh well, I was young and immortal at that time! I fully intended to move to Manhattan afterwards but it just never happened. Believe me, real estate and good job base never entered my mind. I was thinking yay -- bigger city, more interesting people, restaurants at 3am, woohoo! Forget about how I was going to pay for all that ... lol.

Now Date3 is doing the same thing. As I'm walking back to my car after class, I check my cell. Hmm, 2 messages. One is afriend from Florida, 11:30 his time, too late to call him back. The other is from Date3. Interesting. So I listen to the message.

Date3: "Just calling to say hey. I know you're a late night person so give me a holler when you get back from class. I'll be up until 2 or so."

Ok, lets test that theory.

I come home, eat, do a little reading, then at 1am I call Date3 back.

Me: "Hey I got your message, sorry for calling you back so late."

Date3: "Not late at all its only 1am. So how was class?"

Some idle chit chat then ...

Date3: "I wanted to explain about the other night."

LOL, this should be good.

Date3: "I guess I did that, well, you know, that socially unacceptable thing since you know those people and you know, they are all into that too. So, you know, I just thought it would be like no big deal."

Backing up and in all fairness this is somewhat plausible. When I was at Cafe Brazil I was eating lunch by myself when a random bar buddy comes from another table and starts yapping. I can't ever remember his name since I only see him when I go out and it could be a span of 6 months from the last time. So random bar dude asks me to join his table and I do. This is how I meet Date3. I don't really know any of the people at the table but I recognize most of them from bar hopping. They are fun people in a disposable way and they are always very nice to me. But, they are immature and irresponsible so I limit them to bar interaction. Definitely they are drug users, I think one of them is a dealer but I can't be certain. Not a big deal, I can eat the rest of my salad with them and chat for 30 minutes, they are always good for a few laughs.

Me: "You've been conjuring up that rationalization for 2 days havent you? LOL"

Date3: " Yeah, totally, did it work?"

Me: "Ok, I can believe it a little but still you understand my position on this matter."

Date3: "Yes, crystal clear."

Me: "Good."

Date3: "So when can we go to Cafe Istanbul?"

Me: "Are you not paying attention?"

Date3: "I am, you said getting to know someone on a drug was a waste of time, I agree. So next time I wont be. That seems fair, doesnt it?"

Me: "Fair, but you understand we do not operate in compatible circles."

Date3: "I think you are judging me in the same unfair way that I was judging you."

Dammit, I hate it when people make good points and I have no comeback.

Me: "Ok, good point."

Date3: "I'll see you Friday then."

Me: "Ok, but you are paying."

Date3: "Of course, I asked"

Me: "Good, I have very expensive eating patterns."

Date3: "You don't scare me. Honestly, I like the fact that you are outspoken and dealt with the situation quickly, most people would not have chosen that method."

Me: "I'm not like most people."

Date3: "I know! So, we are done with this one issue and dont have to talk about it anymore?" (Laughing)

Me: "Yes, good idea, I'd hate to have to verbally flay you again." (Laughing)

Date3: "I might like that." (Sarcastic)

Me: "I'm hanging up now."

Get Me A Fucking Tissue!

Blog space is just as small as any other. I got an email tonight with the subject line "Greetings from a friend of Jeff's in Chicago". If you ever wonder why I write about HIV, I mean, I know it isnt a popular topic, this should clear things up. Let me just cut and paste.


My friend Jeff gave me your blog and email address, he said you wouldn't mind, so I hope that is true. I have enjoyed your blog over the past month and I'm still catching up on some past articles.

Since our tastes in film are similar, I choose to let you do the investigation, I simply follow by renting your choices. I am a lazy bastard.

Your dating articles are funny as hell, they remind me of situations I have been through! I'm glad I'm not the only magnet for odd people.

I have tried and enjoyed your Grad Grub entries.

The cocktail recipes are unbelievably good, thank you for those.

Most of all, thank you for taking a leap and writing entertainingly and informatively about HIV. As a 22 year survivor of this virus I sometimes feel the issue has been shoved to the back of the closet. I was very encouraged to hear in an earlier message that they are now teaching whole classes on HIV and that your HIV class was full. I'm even more encouraged to hear about the new generation CCR5 inhibitors. Something to discuss with the doc on my next visit.

Having been part of many clinical trials and the subject of much poking and proding in the name of science, I can add that there is another possibility in list of research efforts. I don't understand the inner workings of cell but apparently I have killer t cells that are very effective at keeping the virus under control, my count is consistently over 500. I am not of European descent and I am not an African prostitute (just a former Chicago ho, thank you). Have they talked about this in your class? Please let me know, I am more than curious.

I have to say my favorite story so far was "Dressing God In Versace". I cried like a bitch but it was inspiring to know that your friend Johnny lives on through your writing. We should all be so lucky.

Keep on!

Later, Tom

I bet you're glad I didn't post all of this as a comment =)

I am not going to cry dammit ! :-) LOL

I know I already said in email but since I know you will read this, thanks again Tom, I do appreciate it.

And, Tom makes a good point.

So T(killer) cells come in flavors, each flavor is for a particular piece of crap like a flu virus. Each person will have T(killer) cells that operate at different levels of efficiency. (This is due to a buttload of factors that could take up pages). Lets say I have flu T(killer) cells that are 80% effective and I never get a really bad flu, it just feels like a head cold. Where as say, my buddy Matt has flu T(killer) cells that are only 40% effective and he winds up in bed for two weeks wishing he could be put on total sensory deprivation drugs.

This is also true for the T(killer) cells that are directed to HIV. There are some people that have T(killer) cells that can arm wrestle the virus for an indefinite amount of time. Like Tom, after 22 years of infection he still maintains a T(helper) count of 500+ which is incredible and rare.

Go Tom, Kick HIV in the ass!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Light At The Start Of The Tunnel

HIV Prof was on a roll last night. Too funny, now he is making analogies between the virus and Osama Bin Laden.

HIV Prof:
"So you see HIV is kind of like Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda in that it can hide from the immune system here (pointing to memory T cells). So your memory T cells are kind of like that lawless area between Pakistan and Afghanistan where noone really has any jurisdiction or wants to!"

LOL, where does he get this stuff? I think he's totally adlib too.

I probably should give a mini immune system primer, since many of my friends are curious and everyone should know how it works at a high level.

Immune System - basically it involves 3 types of cells. B cells, T(killer) cells and the infamous T(helper) cells.

B cells run around your body looking for crap that doesnt belong (viruses, bacteria, etc). They gobble up the crap and spit out antibodies. Antibodies are like little flags for a specific piece of crap. The antibodies snuggle up to cells that have been infected with a specific piece of crap (like a cold virus) . The antibody acts as a radar signal to T(killer) cells.

T(killer) cells are single focused soldiers. Their only job from birth is to destroy cells infected with a specific piece of crap. They find the cells that has been tagged with an antibody and kill it. They can also kill infected cells without antibodies.

T(killer) and B cells will not operate without T(helper) cells. T(helper) cells send out the "go" messages for both. Basically the T(killer) and B cells are the front line operations while T(helper) cells are command central.

Sadly it is the T(helper) cell that HIV infects. This disables the B cells from sending out the signals that cause the T(killer) cells to destroy infected cells. Also, T(killer) cells cannot work unless the T(helper) cell gives the "go" message. Worse, while some T(killer) cells are still alive, they wind up killing the T(helper) cells since they themselves are infected.

This is a total nightmare scenario. Its amazing that this battlefield will continue for decades before the immune system finally sends up the white flag. This is known as the asymptomatic period, you feel fine but your body is working overtime to rid itself of the invader. HIV is not latent, per se, it is very active from day 1.

Despite this horrible scenario there is light at the start of this tunnel. There are anti-virals which trick the virus into stopping its replication (AZT and the like). There are protease inhibitors (more on these cool things later) which keep the virus in a state of suspended animation so it can't do anything. Now, the most recent promise, the CCR5 blockers.

More background - your cells contain locks all over the outside, offically these are known as receptors. Each thing that needs access to the inside of a cell must have the corresponding key or keys. Viruses are tricky in that they mimic keys for specific cells. For example, the cold virus contains a key for the ICAM lock on the cells that line your nose. Products like Zicam work by jamming up this lock so nothing, including the virus, can unlock it.

HIV mimics keys for the locks on your T(helper) cells. One lock is known as CXCR4. Any article that talks about HIV infection will talk about CXCR4. But, the key to CXCR4 alone will not grant access, it also needs a key to another lock, called CCR5. Interestingly your body has other non-fatal things that also get into cells through CCR5; its a competition of numbers to see if those things will get to the lock first and block HIV access.

Its the CCR5 lock that is a screaming hot area of research and shows exciting promise. Scientists have found people that are resistant to HIV infection, they can be exposed to the virus but never produce antibodies and there is no trace of the virus in their system. Some of these people are of European descent. About 1% of all people of European descent don't have CCR5 locks at all, so there is no way the virus can access their cells. In those few people the virus just wanders around aimlessly and in vain until the immune system finds it, kills it and spits it out.

Then there are the African prostitutes, some of which have been repeatedly exposed to HIV-1 and HIV-2 yet much like the European resistant people, dont show antibodies and do not have a trace of virus. The prostitutes have been studied. They do have CCR5 locks but their systems produce exaggerated amounts of the things that compete for the CCR5 lock , effectively denying access to HIV.

There are several "CCR5 lock jamming" drugs in clinical trials as we speak. Lets hope one of them proves effective and soon.

This is the kind of work that I hope to do in the next year or so. HIV is really pissing me off so I aim to destroy it before it destroys the 60 million people it currently holds hostage.

And That Marjorie, Is The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia

Julia Sugarbaker Posted by Hello

So now everyone knows I used a Julia Sugarbaker line on Date3. It just seemed appropriate for the moment.

Designing Women was probably one of my favorite shows and Dixie Carter portrayed one of my favorite characters on television. I think everone likes her because her character is strong and is impassioned over injustices - more importantly, she is willing to speak out about them. This in in nutshell would also describe my mom. The irony is that my mom is also an interior designer living in Georgia.

This is by far my favorite Julia Rant -

JULIA: Excuse me, aren't you Marjorie Leigh Winnick, the current Miss Georgia World?

MARJORIE: Why, yes I am.

JULIA: I'm Julia Sugarbaker, Suzanne Sugarbaker's sister. I couldn't help over hearing part of your conversation.

MARJORIE: Well, I'm sorry. I didn't know anyone was here.

JULIA: Yes, and I gather from your comments there are a couple of other things you don't know, Marjorie. For example, you probably didn't know that Suzanne was the only contestant in Georgia pageant history to sweep every category except congeniality, and that is not something the women in my family aspire to anyway. Or that when she walked down the runway in her swimsuit, five contestants quit on the spot. Or that when she emerged from the isolation booth to answer the question, "What would you do to prevent war?" she spoke so eloquently of patriotism, battlefields and diamond tiaras, grown men wept.

And you probably didn't know, Marjorie, that Suzanne was not just any Miss Georgia, she was the Miss Georgia. She didn't twirl just a baton, that baton was on fire. And when she threw that baton into the air, it flew higher, further, faster than any baton has ever flown before, hitting a transformer and showering the darkened arena with sparks! And when it finally did come down, Marjorie, my sister caught that baton, and 12,000 people jumped to their feet for sixteen and one-half minutes of uninterrupted thunderous ovation, as flames illuminated her tear-stained face! And that, Marjorie --- just so you will know --- and your children will someday know --- is the night the lights went out in Georgia!

Yo, Cho

I just watched Margaret Cho's "I'm the one that I want" show that was filmed at the Warfield in San Francisco.

She is so hysterical. It really has nothing to do with her material, its her facial expressions, they are priceless. Particularly funny is her impression of her mom during the "Ass Master" skit, just hysterical.

The show is standard Cho, a little bit raunchy, very funny and at times sad as she takes you through her emotion peaks and valleys following the cancellation of her sitcom and her brush with drug abuse and alcoholism

Good rent.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Freakshow - Date3 Update

Over the cold episode, car is operational, upstairs is cool. Lets get onto this Date3 thing and see what its all about.

Date3 decides that we should do dinner at Cafe Istanbul, nice, Turkish food is in my Top 3 flavors.

Date3: "I'll come pick you up since its on my way."

So Date3 arrives. I've made some Moscow Mules, since Date3 has heard about them but never tried. We talk, we drink and inbetween I am finishing up some laundry (now that it is cool enough to go upstairs :)

Date3: "Mind if I smoke?"

Me: "No, just do it outside, my head is still a little congested."

Date3: "Ah, well thats ok, I'll wait till later, I just really like one with a drink."

Me: "Totally understand. I'll be right back I'm just going put some clothes in the dryer."

While I'm upstairs I hear this sniffing sound. But its not the I have allergies sniff its more like one big long sniff. Hmmm, wonder what that is about? I think I already know. Now, what to say in a situation like this? I fiddle around for a little while longer with my laundry ... thinking. I must be witty but still make my point effectively.

Sure enough Date3 has turned my mirrored coffee table into a cocaine sniffing station.

Date3: "Want some?"

Yes, I did think it was weird that smoking would require prior permission but cocaine wouldn't.

Me: "Umm, no. And I'm going to have to ask you to move your car.

Date3: "Oh ..... ok, why?"

Me: "Because you're leaving. "

Yeah, I know it was a cheap Julia Sugarbaker ripoff but I've always wanted to say that to someone. And now I had the perfect opportunity. This night is turning out to be fun afterall :)

Date3: "What?"

Me: "Look, you seem nice and all but coming over to someone's house and using their coffe table to coke up is just not cool. FYI, I don't do any drugs."

Date3: "Oh, Jim, I'm sorry, I really didnt mean any disrespect."

Hmm, calm and sincere.

Me: "I didn't notice any but this is not socially acceptable."

Date3: "Again no disrespect but don't you find that a little polyanna?"

Me: "No, actually I don't. Polyanna means unjustifiably optimistic. Frankly of the thousands of people I've met in my life you are the first to do this im my house. That you assume this is ok to do defines you as unjustifiably optimistic."

Date3: "Oh, its acceptable in my circle of friends."

Date3 really was very apologetic and I think sincerely suprised. But this tells me alot about Date3's world.

Me: "I think we travel in incompatible circles."

Date3: "So, I guess this is a deal breaker?"

Me: "Yes"

Date3: "Could we still have dinner?"

Me: "You know, I dont think so. When I get to know someone I like to get to know the real person, not the person on some drug. Whats the point of that? Its a waste of my time."

Date3: "I guess I see your point, I never thought about it like that."

I'm thinking - You never thought about that? You're 30, how could you NOT?

Me: "You have a good night."

Off went Date3, still looking a little confused but not upset, smiling and waving while walking to the street.

I think even with the incompatibility that the night was good. The discussion was mature and we discovered early on that there is no reason to continue; this is what the dating game is all about.

I didn't delete Date3's info, I like the fact that we could discuss things maturely with no hurt feelings. Maybe we'll be friends later, maybe not, who knows but there are more important things to think about.

Dallas is a perpetual freakshow but at least it makes for disposable entertainment for my friends. Sadly that was the best date of the last 3 ... lol.

I went to Cafe Istanbul solo, which is always fun, seriously. Those Turks will not leave you alone if you are by yourself, I think its cultural or something. I had my favorite - Istanbul doner. I smiled and nodded alot during diner, its all I could do, I never understand a damn word coming out of those Turks mouths.

There is something rewarding about being happy ... by yourself.


So I had to cheat on my normal AC guy since he never did make it here. The new AC guy kinda looks like Steve McQueen, the early years, squints like him too :)

Anyway its 11:00pm Steve McQueen just left and finally I have some coolness upstairs, its gone from 93 to 88.

Brrrr, I knew I put my wool sweater away too early!

Friday, June 24, 2005


OK, its almost 5pm and I havent heard from AC guy. Glad I have a downstairs AC that works, its 92 upstairs! LOL

Speaking of colds, there is a great cold remedy product on the market called Zicam. Its homeopathic, not a drug.

How it works - the cold virus infects certain cells in your body. You can think of the virus as holding a key and your cells as having the lock. The virus unlocks these particular cells, enters, then uses your cells to replicate itself. Zicam works by jamming your cell's lock so the virus can't open it, enter it or hijack it for its replication purposes.

Its quite effective if used early. Of course some of the virus will get into your system, otherwise you would not know you had a cold. But, in my experience, it lessens the symptoms to the point that you dont even need an aspirin. Plus, again in my experience, its shortens the virus' vacation in your body from 10-14 days, to 4-6 days. The cold I noticed on Monday is nearly gone in 4 days.

I definitely keep this on hand at all times.

Commandment 13-A, Date1 Update

Date1. After about 6 dates I am noticing a disturbing trend, Date1 continues to violate Commandment 13-A, thou shalt not whine compulsively about thy weight.

First, Date1, IHMO, needs to gain, not lose weight. But everyone has their own body image. Certainly I can understant the frustration of trying to accomplish something but not being able to do so. I can even understand occasional whines about weight but this has become persistent and matastisizes in every conversation. I did ask if there was a weight problem before, sometimes people overweight in their youth carry a negative body image around even after the weight loss. This was not the case.

Even at our last dinner, Date1 was continually whining. I wanted to say something like "Well, maybe you should put down that third mohito, I would imagine each one is about 500 calories. Oh and the flank steak in cheese sauce is not really a good dieting option." Instead I just ate my chicken and drank my water. "I'm sorry", was all I could muster, for the millionth time. Whining and not doing anything about it, this has to end.

I had a brief stint after Spring semester where I went on a food and drink binge, a big one. Also during this time I could not be bothered with working out or yoga; arm curls and triangle pose don't go so well when you have a vodka tonic in your hand. Hey, I deserved it after taking 20 hours of all science classes! About a week later I noticed one morning that I was not able to fit comfortably into my favorite khaki cargos. Uh oh. Wrong fitting clothes is my only impetus for getting on a scale. 164, yikes, I gained 9 pounds from that episode. Smiling, and it was totally worth it!

So, I dig back into my closet for the fat boy shorts, head out to the grocery. Salad stuff, chicken breasts, fruit and as God as my witness I'll never drink again (ok, at least for two weeks :) I know I can lose 2 pounds a week if I eat smaller sensible meals, go back to working out and stop drinking. OK, destination 155, in about a month. Fast forward 4 weeks, hey, I'm 155 again! Done.

So, I relay this story to Date1, its meant as inspiration not a personal attack.

"YOU DONT UNDERSTAND!", inside voice becoming a little hysterical.

I'm thinking: Correct, I don't understand, furthermore, I dont want to!


I'm thinking: Find new friends, maybe some that aren't superficial high school girls?

I've abandoned the nice and subtle approach for ending things. Some people may claim I've never been nice nor subtle in this capacity, I won't argue, but I find that technique is not effective. I'm also not cheesy enough to do the no response treatment, I'm an adult not a 12 year old girl. So, I just told Date1 this was not working; after 6 dates all I knew was that there is the perception of a weight problem in addition to a year in Sao Paulo during high school and graduate studies in International Finance.

Call me when you can navigate beyond this very small bump in the road.

Honestly I think dating is highly overrated but it is entertaining and at the very least you get to know something about yourself; likes, dislikes, your own fabulously dysfunctional personality quirks, what boundaries exist or don't. I guess this I why I keep saying things like - "Sure that sounds like fun, I'll see you Friday" when I really should be saying - "No, I'm too busy and I'm not really interested in dating".

Now enter Date3 from Cafe Brazil.

After I get over this cold I will have more details.

The Who's Calling Who Game, Date2 Update

I'm trapped at home today. Upstairs AC on the fritz. Great, has my bad car karma now spread to home appliances? AC guy said he would be here sometime between 8am-5pm. Nice, thanks for narrowing that down. Saturday morning at the latest. Oh OK! LOL. Lets hope the AC just needs a freon recharge and not a total makeover.

This may be a heavy blog day. Well, if I can take the heat :)

A few emails last night. What ever happened to Date1 and Date2? Oh yeah, that. Since dating has gone down a few hundred notches on the priority scale, I tend not to mention those things.

So, Date2. Apparently Date2 likes to be chased and if you've known me for longer than 2 seconds you know that I don't do that. We shared a dinner and a coffee, not exactly like we are best friends or need to catch up at length with each other's lives. After, I don't know, a week or so I get this call from Date2:

Date2: "How come you haven't called me?"

Right, dont you love phone calls that start out like that.

Me: "I'm fine thanks and you?"

Date2: "Very funny its been almost a week."

Yes, I suppose it has. I have much I have to do and a lot that I want to do and I'm not a big phone chatter anyway.

Me: "I guess it has, how are you?"

Date2: "Fine, how come you haven't called?"

Me: "Just been busy, of course you know you can call too, it goes in both directions."


Me: "Yes, but you are calling to ask me why I haven't called, I find that a little antagonistic, which I don't appreciate"

Date2: "FINE!!" Click, dial tone.

Ok, that was a very mature reaction from a 34 year old.

Let me find Date2's contact info in my Outlook. Ah, there it is ... and delete.

Thanks for playing ;-)

Grad Grub - Entry 2

Spanish Smoked Tomato Omlette

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3-4 roma tomatoes, charred and chopped
  • 1/2 - 1 ounce manchego cheese, grated
  • 1 t smoked paprika
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Whip together the egg whites and one yolk with some salt, pepper and 1/2 t of the smoked paprika.

Put tomatoes in a baggie with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Shake. Either broil until charred or dry fry over high heat until charred. Cool. Chop. Put in a bowl and mix in remaining smoked paprika.

Heat some olive oil in medium sized pan over medium heat. Add eggs, cook until set, add cheese, cook until cheese melts, add tomato.

Fold omlette in half, cook some more. Flip omlette over, cook until not runny.

** Smoked paprika is difficult to find, I get mine at Penzey's Spices

Screaming Peach Bitch

  • 1/2 peach
  • 2 shots Skyy Melon
  • 1 shot Peach Nectar

Muddle peach in bowl. Add to tall glass with ice and other ingredients. Stir. Scream. Bitch.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Big One

The Big One.

Michael Moore, you just have to like a guy that is willing to walk calmly into major corporations and politely flay the skin off the coroporate drones. I will agree with anyone that says Michael Moore can be self-aggrandizing and downright annoying after an hour of his films. Totally agree, however, lets not understate the power of his technique and his ultimate goal. IMHO, Moore is simply trying to shed light (albeit a very biased light) on details surrounding a situation that some people may not know.

Take his movie, Bowling For Columbine. Gun control, good or bad? There are both sides of the issue and Moore clearly sits far to one side. He isnt trying to hide his personal opinion, he puts it right out there. But more than that, I think he draws awareness to the issue and insists that you come to your own conclusion. Personally I had a much lower opinion of Charlton Heston post movie, not that it was too high to begin, but he just totally walked away from very simple questions. Wow, got something to hide Chuck? Why agree to the interview at all? Saying no is better than saying yes then looking like a total idiot.

But I digress. The Big One is an expose on corporate America gone layoff happy in the midst of record profit. Common response to "why are you laying off in a time of record profit?" was "to stay competitive", read to attempt to generate bigger return on investment for shareholders. Not news by any stretch, anyone in corporate America knows that your boss holds a precarious position because you really work for the people that buy your company's stock. Hello? This is America and its still a bottom line profit agenda.

Disappointingly Moore never acknowledges this reality. Instead he focuses on the tactics corporations use to achieve this reality. I agree with Moore that these tactics are disturbing; I personally know many boomers that, due to repeated layoffs, have had to give up on their dreams of retirement and will now work until they drop. But what to do about that? Corporate America plays a sick game of follow the leader. If a market mover lays off their customer service department because they are moving it to the Phillipines, China or India, chances are their competitors will follow suit. Cheaper labor means more profit and that will mean happier investors.

Moore also never gives the viewer any recourse, just in case they are not in favor of this trend. Its a simple thing really, if you don't like a company's business tactics, don't invest in them and don't buy their products or services. Before you say, "it wont make a difference", please note this is exactly the same logic that passive, lazy people use when they don't take time to vote.

Example: I buy Dell computers. Several years ago I had some issues with one. I called Dell Customer Service. The rep on the line had such an undecipherable accent that I asked to be switched to someone else. This switching game went on for an hour, I was switched to 4 people before I got someone that I could understand. Dell had moved their Customer Service to South East Asia. After this episode I wrote to Dell explaining that I was paying for Customer Service and I didnt feel I was getting it. No reponse. Then I had another issue with another Dell computer and the same experience with Customer Service. Again I wrote to Dell but this time I wrote to Investor Relations telling them that not only would I never buy another Dell product but that I would liquidate my position in Dell stock. I got an answer the next day, a form letter from Investor Relations stating that they would be terminating their Customer Service abroad and bringing it back to the states.

I'm not delusional enough to think that my letters were the cause for the relocation. Rather, I believe enough people spoke out and wielded their power as consumers and investors and caused a change.

I do enjoy Moore's films, if only for entertainment value. I like the way he can turn a coporate PR person or CEO into a trite human jukebox of platitudes; they always wind up looking like assholes. However, it would be nice if Moore could add some paths for consumer power rather than just preying on the emotional upheaval of the moment to slap down a point.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

East Wind

East Wind Posted by Hello

2800 Routh St.
Dallas, TX 75201
Phone: 214-745-5554

Vietnamese food is wonderful, particularly good in the summer since most of the fare is herb and vegetable heavy, making for lighter meals and more energy for later.

In my neighborhood we are Vietnamese deficient since the sad demise of Edamame. Yes, I am aware of Green Papaya's existence, I just don't like them. Most of the Vietnamese that I have tried are clustered on Greenville Ave in Richardson, very authentic family geared restaurants with incredible offerings however not terribly convenient to the house.

But there's East Wind, yay. I dont know why I never think of this place, maybe because its in the Quadrangle and I never go down that way. When friends Laurel and Connie suggested it for lunch, I was there.

I've been to East Wind several times, mostly when they took up roost in Deep Ellum but a couple of times for dinner in the Quadrangle location. Lunch offers a thankfully smaller menu (dinner menu is huge!) and much smaller prices ($8-11). I located my favorite, the #10, bowl of vermicelli, herbs, veggies and grilled lemongrass chicken. The #10 comes in layers; the bottom is a blend of chopped lettuce, cilantro and possibly basil, next layer is vermicelli, then the grilled veggies, and on top, the sliced chicken. There is an accompanying sauce that is made from fish sauce, vinegar, and hot pepper. Pour the sauce over the whole thing and go!

Post lunch feeling: you're full but can still get on with your day, no fear of an involuntary carb-overload nap looming in the afternoon.

At lunch there is the bonus of an egg roll and soup or salad. The salad is very good; chopped lettuce, veggies and shredded grilled chicken in a lightly sweet peanuty dressing.

If you arent in the mood for Vietnamese there is also a sushi bar. I've tried a few of the basics like Yellowtail, Tuna and Scallop, all stack up to other high-end sushi in Dallas.

East Wind makes a good date place, its quiet, elegant and solid. White linen table clothes, big cushy dining room chairs, heavy silverware, flowers, rich and dark tones, noise absorbing carpet. Service is polite and efficient. Parking is easy near the Sigels end of the complex.

Mommy Coolest

No wire hanger hang ups, no hacking up rose bushes, no late night bathroom scrubbings with a toothbrush and comet - Mommy Coolest won't have that.

My sister, Kristie has been fortunate to meet the most interesting people as she and her family move from city to city. There were certainly some interesting folks to cross her path during their 3 years in Memphis. Her friend Cathy certainly registers at the top of the list.

First, to look at Cathy you would think that she herself is in college. You would squint, cock your head and probably let out an uncontrolled laugh when she told you that her children are in college.

Following on the youthful look is the youthful outlook. I've never seen Cathy without a smile and something positive to say, she takes everything in stride and keeps moving.

Then there is her job, she works for the Flim Commission in Memphis. Her latest assignment was working with MTV to create "My Block Memphis", which included the filming of some local musical talent. Apparently there was a trial run of the "My Block" series in Houston. It will spread to Chicago, New Orleans and Miami if well received. Lets watch it, it airs on MTV July 6th and MTV2 on July 3rd. I don't think I've watched MTV since the late 80's so this will be a nice visit back to my youth.

So, how cool is that to have a mom that gets paid to party with the MTV crew?


Round 1 midterm scores are in:

Molecular Biology of HIV - 99
Immunology - 94

If only I could apply myself I would do better - I'm such a loser ;)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Wright Amendment

Well here is an issue that is near and dear to all DFW residents, The Wright Amendment. Even if you dont live in the Dallas - Forth Worth area you should still be interested, since it could effect air traffic (and therefore potential income) to your city. I am not completely up to speed on all of the details but here is my off the cuff take.

The Wright Amendment was, IMHO, a silly piece of legislature born in the 1970's to protect a budding DFW airport from competition from a then more established Love Field. This might, and I repeat might, have made sense over 25 years ago, but does one of the nation's largest airports and largest airlines (American) still need protection from an airport with flight volumes 1/20 of theirs?

There are still those that would uphold the Wright Amendment. Their arguments usually follow two trains of thought (1) Southwest can afford to offer lower prices and would seriously damage American Airlines. (2) More locally, people in the immediate area of Love Field should be against this since air traffic would increase.

Point 1 - Is that true? Where is the compelling financial analysis? I've priced both American and Southwest on similar flights to come up with prices that are very similar. Also American offers a greater variety of departures and is entirely more convenient to the 2 million people in the mid cities and Fort Worth areas; I doubt they will drive all the way to Love Field to save $25 and fly at less convenient times. Also, American flight volumes from DFW are some 20 times more than Southwest's from Love Field, wouldnt American score more on volume? Beside isnt this an argument against free enterprise and for monopoly?

Point 2 - Is this true? I would think without Wright that the flight volume would be about the same. Reason - Now those people flying from DFW to Las Vegas are not stopping in Albuquerque or Amarillo, they are going direct. This takes the pressure off those "puddle jumping" smaller markets reducing the number of flights to them. Also as a current Love Field resident I can tell you that the noise is not bad. It could be that I am immune to the plane traffic but I really dont notice it. Plus there must be volume limitations at Love Field considering its size and the fact that it can't expand much more beyond its boundaries.

What I fear the most is that if the Wright Amendment is not repealed that Southwest Airlines will simply relocate to another area. That, I would imagine, will have severe ramifications to this area, losing those employees and their spending dollars.

Wright Amendment Poll

Repealing Wright

Interesting reading for sure. At this point I would vote for the repeal unless I hear a compelling argument against which should be supported by verifiable data.

Desperately Reaching

I'm a big fan of John Waters; Polyester, Hairspray, Pecker, Serial Mom, etc. His brand of gross out comedy appeals to the sick humor gene that I inherited.

However, the latest John Waters movie I saw, Desperate Living, is all kinds of wrong. Maybe its because its one of his earlier works (1977) or maybe he was just having an off day.

Granted the first couple of minutes are funny and the premise sounds good: Mink Stole is a housewife just released from a mental institution. She thinks everyone is trying to kill her. When a stray softball crashes through her bedroom window she is sure that her children have turned terrorist. Her husband who tries to give her medication is, in her mind, trying to inject her with cyanide. Mink does great hysterical! Its even funny when her very large cleptomanic mental nurse comes to her rescue, believing her husband IS trying to kill her. The mental nurse suffocates the husband by sitting on his head.

After that scene the movie runs off the tracks into freakville. It could have been funny but it was just plain stupid, poorly acted and incoherent.

Serial Mom was a funny cult classic. You have to love Kathleen Turner beating Patty Hearst to death with a public phone because shes wearing white shoes after Labor Day. But watching assorted freaks vomiting and living in squalor, where is the humor in that?

Bad John, Bad!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Double Header, Cairo Party

From Mesquite I zoom home, caffienate, change clothes, then off to Addison.

Noeha's parties are also very fun, not only in sheer volume of people but the variation. Ages usually range from kids up to grandparents, cultures are even more diverse. If you don't learn something interesting at Noeha's party its probably because you're dead.

Cairo Mistress Posted by Hello

Doesnt she look mysterious in her Egyptian clothing. Her dad actually brought this back direct from Egypt. That curly hair is natural, I'm sure those people that pay $200 for those curls are secretly plotting to iron it all out. There isnt enough room on the blog to give justice to Noehas very colorful and wordly life, you'll just have to get to know her for yourself! You'll be amazed by her 10 year old son, he is more of an adult than I am, quite a testimony to Noeha's abilities, Supermom!

Living room crew Posted by Hello

Yamath and Arjun (on opposite ends and I'm sure I butchered the spelling of your names, sorry kids!) are Noeha's friends from the neighborhood. I found out from them that serving dinner at a party in India before 1 AM is considered unacceptably rude, 2AM is the norm and usually the first guest doesn't leave until after the sun comes up. Can you imagine? Its a whole new time table for the party goer. Their son made an appearance at the bottom right as I clicked. Cute kid, eh?

Kitchen Crew Posted by Hello

The only person I knew in the kitchen is my friend Ken, towards the right. I call him Godfather, since he is, in fact, Sicilian :) Ken travels internationally and frequently for business. It usually exhausts me to hear his travel schedule. He even traveled to Europe like the day after he had knee surgery - Superman!

Galina Posted by Hello

Galina is a good friend. Look closely at her and keep in mind she the mother of two boys. I think she looks more like she should be on a runway in Paris. She was describing her recent trip to France in so much interesting geographical and historical detail that it was hard to keep up.

There is always a good one liner to remember from a Noeha party. Last night's came from my friend Don and his girlfriend. I'm talking to Don about my new career post grad and how it is blending medical and computer sciences. Don is curious; he is also getting bored of straight up IT. He starts talking about how we should start our own business.

Me: "Well the bio part is alot to take in, are you sure you're ready to go down that road? Its a ton to absorb! "

Don: "Oh Jim you know me I love to get deep into something new, I'll get on that horse and ride it hard and long!"

Don's Girlfriend: "Don, I knew I liked you"

We like Don's girlfriend.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Double Header, Birthday Pool Party

With my school schedule free time has been minimal for the past year. This is a really good way to get your name removed from everyone's party list. Funny how when you decline 2 or 176 times in a row people stop inviting you :)

So, its odd that on a random Saturday in June that I have 2 parties.

Party 1 - Friends David and Chris are celebrating their birthdays, cool. Neither of their birthdays are in June but they wanted to wait until the weather was warm enough to enjoy their pool (they throw THE pool parties). I think 102 heat index qualifies as warm enough.

I load up the 6 million dollar car and head out to north east Jesus, just south of bum fuck Egypt :) Actually its funny, even though they live in Mesquite it only takes me 20 minutes to get door to door.

Pool Babes Posted by Hello

Birthday Boy Posted by Hello

Pool Crew Posted by Hello

It was strange talking to one lady there had the exact same heart surgery that my sister had last year ... and almost on the same day. Keep in mind only 100 of these surgeries happen in a year. Creepy.

I had to leave early to help set up for the next event but the kabobs looked great. Its always sad to leave David & Chris's parties since everyone has such a good time and their wild friends keep everyone in stiches with their stories. It was also sad to leave the Malibu punch after only one cup :(

So It Begins

Batman Begins.

Much darker. Comic strip feeling abadoned along with the tech wow of the rest of the series. More serious slant on good versus evil. This is almost a movie to keep your younger kids from seeing, definitely geared toward adults.

Questions answered, as in most prequels. Why bats? What happened to the parents? How did he attain those superhuman skills? Where did he get all those badass bat toys?

Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are the comic relief and really steal the show with their smaller roles.

Scarecrow was eye candy but not a convincing villan, that was the only small black mark on an otherwise impressive film.

Stacking up former Batmans: Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, I think Christian Bale is the Batman. His character is more haunted by a past and he has the look of a determined soul searching for justice. "I'm Batman", sounded official from Bale's lips.

I could also picture Bale saying "Bond, James Bond".

Sex And Mom In The City

First up in the friends expose series, Tara.

My friend Tara is seeing a great guy; strong, handsome, good personality and scary smart ( like full scholarship to Harvard smart). He has a few 24 year old quirks but he passed the friends panel interview, we liked him (and the panel is one set of picky bastards too). We thought it was cool that they met each other on a trip to Spain, much better than say some drunken spree at Obar. Both Tara and her guy are in their twenties, adults, quite capable of making mature decisions about what is best for their lives.

But you know, parents never seem to let go of their parenting urges.

Tara has a nice conversation with her mom recently and mom asks "So, does he spend the night?" I know you can see this coming. I'm thinking that doesn't require any thought at all; they are both attractive 20-somethings and they have been seeing each other for several months. OF COURSE HE DOES.

Then comes the question that all children dread their parents asking, the sex question.

Background on Tara - sexy, smart, assertive, quick, rebellious and she doesnt back away from confrontation, not even with the MOM.

Tara laid down the reality to mom with clarity and stark efficiency, she is in management after all. Apparently this did not sit well with mom, judging by the no sex before engagement emails that she received post-confrontation. Then there was the no sex before engagement lunch chat followed oh-so gleefully by the no sex before engagement dinner chat. What a beating.

Me: "Why would you tell your mom about your sex life?"

Tara: "She asked, I told."

Good point.

Tara: "She shouldn't ask if she doesn't want to know."

Another good point.

Me: "I think I would deflect the conversation, its really none of her business. She's done her job as mother now she should trust that you will do whats best for you".

Tara: "Hmm, interesting angle and worthy of consideration however I'd rather lay out a bunch of sex toys on my coffee table and be like ' Here mom, this one is my personal favorite, its called The Rabbit, notice the special angle it makes here at the midsection' ".

Did I mention that Tara is very direct?

I can understand mom's concern, I know my parents are still my parents and that will go on forever. However, I also know the reality of dating life in the society present, particularly for the 20-something range. Don't get me wrong, I think its great if someone can wait until they are engaged to have sex. However, I don't think I have known many that fall into this category. This paradigm puts those folks that have no interest in marriage, which seems systemic in the 20-somethings I know, in an awkward and somewhat unfair position.

I love my folks and I'm glad that they are involved in my life. They have never asked me about my sex life and I have never volunteered information. This works for us.

Is Tara's situtation a case of parental over-protection or over-involvement; have some boundaries been compromised? As good as it is to have your parents involved in your life is there some point at which the line is drawn and access is simply denied? Or alternatively, should we tell all to the parental units in the name of open communication, not fearing judgement?

I'm curious to see how Tara will handle this awkward situation. Outcome notwithstanding, I must say that she continues to amaze me with her ability to direct her life, her way with a minimum of drama to those around her.

Roll on, T.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Raspberry Lemon Coolers

My sister made these for me the last time I visited. Not only is she a yoga and kickboxing mistress, she mixes a mean cocktail.

I swear we aren't alcoholics, we just don't like drinking the same thing twice, really!

I'm trying these for Noeha's Cairo party. Beware my guinea pigs :-D

  • 2 6-oz Containers of Raspberries
  • 3 Cups Citrus Vodka
  • 4 Lemons, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 T Sugar
  • 6 Cups Lemonade (from concentrate)
  • Ice
  • Mint

    1) Muddle berries in bowl, add vodka. Cover and chill overnight
    2) Strain vodka.
    3) Place lemons and sugar in pitcher. Smush lemons with wooden spoon. Add lemonade and raspberry vodka, stir to blend.
    4) Add ice to pitcher and stir.
    5) Divide smushed lemons and ice among 8 glasses. Pour in cooler, add springs of mint. Go.

Are you kidding me ?

Be gone bad car karma! LOL, more comedy.

I had my car back for what, 2 days, after a month of back to back repairs.

I wake up to a flat tire? Are you kidding me with this crap? Ka-ching - $300.

Hey Matt, can I get a loan? ;-)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Gandhi Party

Marie, Noeha, Lady In Green, Jadeen Posted by Hello

The Sister Posted by Hello

Tara, Noeha and someone that had a few Mango Martinis, oh, thats me ! Posted by Hello

Wow, am I bad at downloading pics from my camera or what. I think these are from March. It was friend Noeha's Gandhi Party. I like her parties, there is always a diversity of ages and cultures.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Dear Camry

Dear Camry,

Its really nothing you said or did, its me, totally. I will always remember you fondly; your smooth ride and slow acceleration. But theres someone else, Porsche. Porsche has many qualities you don't; responsive handling, speed and frankly Porsche has a better body and looks better topless.

I hope we can still be friends.

Best, Jim

LOL, Finally the Camry Hell episode is complete.

Tickets, Money, Passport!

I went to visit my friends Laurel and Andrew in Allen yesterday. They gave me directions from campus, which is in Richardson, already 20 minutes north of home. Directions said about 20 minutes north of campus. I hate to admit it but I have become one of those highly localized people; I rarely go north of Northwest Highway except for classes.

So this will be an adventure, off into uncharted territory. Directions say take Custer north. Ok, simple enough. Pass McDermott. OK, I'll look for it. Hmm, typical suburbia; strip mall, Krogers, subdivision, strip mall, fast food, subdivision. Hey, wasnt that the same subdivision? No, wait, the brick they use on this one is an entirely different shade of beige! Silly me.

Strip mall, Blockbuster, Mexican Food, subdivision. Subdivision, strip mall, cows. Cows? Yes, cow pasture, big one. Where am I, Oklahoma?

Strip mall, bitter soccer mom in Expedition, wait, is that a vodka bottle shes holding up to her mouth? Dang, I dont blame her, if had to drive this far up this road I would drink too.

Strip mall, subdivision, AH, McDermott, good, a marker. Now I need to turn right somewhere up here. Strip mall, subdivision, strip mall, teenager - probably on heroin, geez, what else is there for them to do up here. I doubt he's really into cow tipping.

Strip mall, subdivision, corn field. Corn field? I'm in Kansas apparently. Subdivision, subdivision. What state is north of Kansas? Isnt it Canada, I think thats where I'm heading. Do I need a passort for Canada?

Ah, my turn!

Then there's the house. Oh my god. This isnt a house its a indoor stadium. Is this where the ColdPlay concert is? Yay, and I got such a good parking space. I dont think I've been in houses in Highland Park that are this nice. In fact, those Highland Park houses seem like mobile homes in comparison; trailer trash with Gucci sunglasses I say. What detail - turret ceilings, granite, marble, wait, is that a glass block window in the kitchen? Oooh, two story living area with catwalks, cool. Wow, the "bar" area upstairs is bigger than my bedroom! A sunken media room with flat screen TV? I think I'm seeing the advantage of living in Kansas now.

I have dibs on the upstairs bedroom that looks out over the pool and spa area. I could just live there until I'm done with school, they'd never even spot me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Grad Grub, Entry 1

If you are or have ever been insane enough to attempt graduate studies you know your free time for doing luxury things, like eating or sleeping, is limited. Here is the start of an installment of meals/snacks you can make yourself, they meet the unofficial Grad Student Guidelines; quick, cheap, healthly and good.

Egyptian Breakfast Beans

  • 2 cans Fava Beans, undrained
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 t Cumin
  • 3 T Olive Oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped to death
  • pinch o' salt
  • pinch o' black pepper

Crush about half the beans with a fork. Combine everything in a pot over medium heat until warm. Done.

My friend Noeha, who is Egyptian, makes these for breakfast. I usually eat them with pita for a snack since breakfast for me is attempting a DanActive and a cup of coffee between cursing slow drivers in the fast lane.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Whos your daddy now, Brad?

Mr & Mrs Smith.

Some movies are just cute and disposable, Mr & Mrs Smith is definitely one. Prizzi's Honor with less plot and more techno. Slow to get started, schizophrenic in personality but ultimately somewhat entertaining. Some good one liners, explosions and a bit of priceless situationally dark comedy. Brad and Angelina are always good eye candy for a couple of hours, if nothing else ... there was some chemistry working on the big screen :)

Lines to remember
  • Brad cocky to Angelina after knocking her to the floor "Come to daddy, baby!"
  • Angelina defiant to Brad after rebounding and a nice roundhouse to the privates "Whos your daddy now?"
  • Brad to Angelina after she stabs him in the leg "We're going to talk about this later."

Matinee worthy or wait to rent.

X & Why?

I like ColdPlay, they are one of the newer groups who's music, IMHO, differs from the rest of crop. I downloaded their new offering "X & Y" from my Russian MP3 site, I burned, I listened, I liked.

Now I find everytime I log onto the internet there is some inframe ad about the album, or the pending concert tour, or some scientist decoding the hidden meaning of X & Y's cover.

Why is ColdPlay getting more press that the Jackson trial?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Dressing God In Versace

HIV Prof was down to business in our last class, probably trying to make up for some lost time. We covered at least 60 pages of notes in our session AND ... we watched the final 10 minutes of "And The Band Played On". If you haven't seen this movie and you want to I recommend being prepared for the end, its high emotion. The final 10 minutes are nothing but somber frames of people that have died of AIDS; Rock Hudson, Arthur Ashe, Liberace, children, women ... its a staggering hammer to the head after an already emotionally volatile rollercoaster.

I suppose living in the Bay Area during the era 1976-1990, I had my fare share of exposure to the emotional upheaval HIV created. I had to be able to place it into perspective in order to make it through day by day, which I did.

After the movie I noticed basically everyone was teared up, particularly the young guy sitting next to me. Poor baby, he didnt know he was going to be sucker punched with that emotional bomb. We took a short break and my neighbor bolted out of the room. I ran into him in the hallway.

Me : "Everything ok?"

Classmate: "Yeah, its just so horrible, all those people!"

Me: "I know, but some of those people had incredible lives. Probably better to remember what they accomplished and how they lived rather than the fact that they aren't here"

I dont know why but a story popped into my head about my friend Johnny so I told it to him while we were on break. I thought it might help him put things into a clearer perspective.

Johnny was my friend Donny's roomate. He was hysterical, witty, sarcastic, campy, feverish, high energy -- chaos in a tall, slim Italian frame from Boston. He was also a fashion designer, an incredible one. To say that Johnny was into fashion was an understatement, he lived it. Many times I can remember passing him on the street, Vogue up in his face, cursing - "Those idiots, what are they thinking bringing back the A line skirt, noone looks good in that! And plaid? Great, now everyone will look like fat, bloated, PLAID Christmas trees!"

This was typical Johnny. From the time he got up he was sketching, buying fabrics, buttons, sewing, fitting, reading, cursing, criticizing, praising ... and all of it fashion related.

If you were in the house on Sunday morning you were going to church, Johnny's church. This included a strong cup of coffee and the perfect seat in front of the TV since you were watching "Style, with Elsa Klench".

He had a shop in the South Of Market area of San Francisco, a huge warehouse filled top to bottom with all of his work; formal, casual, business, retro, you name it, he made it. Each piece was so highly customized it was like looking at art - you'd always miss some detail the first time. His collection spanned from elegant to professional to punk but all of it had a street wise edge. I'm sure he could have put Prada out of business, he was that good and that ahead of the time.

His genius was truly revealed one weekend when a group of us decided to go to KD Langs very first concert in San Francisco. He had been such a huge fan of KD's and weeks prior to the concert he had been going on and on about how he wanted to whip up something of "form, function and fabulous" for the event.

The day of the concert he had finished his sketch. Yes, a sketch. That afternoon he mumbled around the house "OK, now fabric, yes, suede, no, well maybe. Black? No, not black I look bad in black. Conchos? Yes, but where can I find ...Ooooh FRINGE, yes, I've got to have ... Damn, what boots, where can I find ..?" The door shut and he disappeared into the city.

Six hours later he meets us at the Warfield dressed from head to toe camel suede; pants with fringe and conchos and the bolero jacket to match. The darker brown detail on the jacket and pants was staggering. He looked great ... and he knew it!

Its really the last memory I have of Johnny but its one of the best. Sadly Johnny passed away in the early 90's, he was in his mid 30's.

Classmate: "Are you trying to kill me? Thats horrible, he was snuffed out before his prime!"

Me: "You're missing the point. Johnny had a gift. He used the gift to follow his dream, one that he was fortunate enough to live every day. Not too many people I know fall into that category. While you cry over the quantity, I smile over the quality. I'm glad Johnny had a quality life while he was here".

I think my classmate finally got it but who knows he was still a little blank as we headed back to class.

What I know is that Johnny is still doing what he loves; probably trying to get God into a pair Versace jeans.

I can just hear him now ...

"Trust me babe, it works for you -- Form, Function, Fabulous!" :)


Wasabi was the best Japanese and French language action comedy film I've ever seen! lol

Friday, June 10, 2005

Atkins, South Beach - Weight Loss Is Still Just Math

I have this friend, who will remain nameless, he is desperate to lose weight. I have to admit I dont understand why at all, he is 6'2" and 200 pounds, as far as I'm concerned he looks perfectly normal. Maybe he is trying to measure himself against the current heroin-chic thin trend, I dont know, but he is going on the Atkins diet. Yikes.

A few comments on the Atkins diet. First, it was created by Atkins, a cardiologist, to prepare his patients for heart surgery. Yes, the diet does clear out your arteries and it does allow you to drop weight quickly. But it does so by forcing your body into an unnatural state. This unnatural state puts additional strain on your kidneys, liver and eventually the heart itself. It was not intended to be a lifesytle, it was intended to be the lesser of two evils in preparation for major surgery. There is also a portion of the medical community that will recommend Atkins for those people that are obese; health risks of the diet somehow eclipse the health risks of being drastically overweight ( and there are many!). But this diet was not intended for those people wanting to lose 5 or 10 pounds.

Yes, I've tried to warn him about the pitfalls but he falls into the category of I-only-hear-what-want-to-hear. I guess the quest for others approval via thinness outweighs the short term health risks in his mind.

I mentioned Southbeach, the healthier, friendlier version of the low-carb diet but it didnt seem to register; I guess the idea of eating steak, butter and cheese all day is more appealing than egg white omeletes and limitless green veggies.

Weight loss is just math. Calories in, calories out, metabolism. Eat less, exercise more. Take it from a hypoglycemic, spreading out your 3 meals a day into 6 smaller meals will increase your metabolism, it tricks your body into thinking it must always be metabolising, so it does. Building muscle also helps in the metabolism area.

I've known a million people to go down these low carb diet paths only to go back to carbs, tired of feeling low energy and cranky, they always gain their weight back.

Oh well, I've spoken my peace and ultimately he'll pick the path that works best for him.

Camry Hell, Additional

Acutally I am growing to like the Camry, now that I have had the opportunity to drive three.

I have to admit the ride is much smoother; German cars are not built for comfort, they are built for performance. Another bonus is that it is automatic, now I can talk on the phone without endangering my life. I was missing driving with the top down but now its too hot for that anyway!

Camry Hell

Well, I was hoping I wouldnt have to post this but now its become a comedy so I will.

May 16th - I go to my car getting ready to start my day and for some strange reason I cannot get my key into the ignition. Weird! I fiddle with it for about 15 minutes, finally get it in, then attempt to start it. The key wont turn. Great. I fiddle with it for about 10 more minutes and finally get it started. Hmmm, this may require attention. I drive it down to Park Place and hand it over. They give me a loaner car, a Toyota Camry, its maroon.

May 18th - Park Place calls, I need a new ignition switch. Great! And that will cost $500, oh and by the way your warranty expired 2 weeks ago. I finally convince the service advisor to call Porsche and see if they will cover some of the cost since I am still under 60,000 miles (even though I am over 4 years by 2 weeks).

May 19th - Porsche agrees to cover 70%. Super! Go ahead and start that repair.

May 30th - The repair is finally done, yay! I go to pick it up and they hit me with, oh, and you need a 60,000 mile tune up and 2 new tires and an alignment and a radiator flush. We'll give you a discount it will only be $2200!

"I'll get back to you!"

I give back the Camry and I'm on my way!

May31st - I take my car to Firestone and get the tires and alignment at 75% of the cost.

June 1st - I head toward campus early to get some administrative nonsense done. I stop at Central Market to get a salad to eat before class. I come back to my car and ... it wont start. I call AAA, 2 hours later they arrive. They get it started. Its 5:30 . I call Firestone but are not going to be open. So, I call Park Place, they are open until 7:00. I drive all the way back down the tollway drop the car off, pick up my new Camry (this one Black), drive all the way back up the tollway and I'm only an hour late to class. Whew

June 3rd - Havent heard from Park Place so I call. They are still charging the battery.

June 6th - Havent heard from Park Place so I call. They are still charging the battery.

June 8th - I call again. Its ready. I pick it, up drive to the grocery store then come home. ONE HOUR later I go to start up the car again. Dead. I call AAA again, they show up 2 hours later and I take it back to Park Place. Now I have a BLUE Camry :)

June 9th - Now I have a bad alternator? The car is 4 years old and has 59000 miles, strange, very strange ... almost too strange. I'm hoping Porsche will cover some of this cost too but we will see.

How much longer will this crap go on?

Anyone want a 2001 Boxster, cheap? :)


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Mr. Big Vocabulary

My HIV Prof is great!

Monday we are still going over the migration of SIV (chimp version) to HIV.

Student: "So, how exactly do you get a chimp virus into a human"

We go over the basic routes, we go over the history of how polio was the big virus scare in the 50's. The prof has memories of this era and gives us inisght.

Prof: "In my day we were concerned about polio and the perceived incubation venue was public pools."

Student: "I dont get it why would people be afraid of public pools?"

You can see this coming ...

Prof: "Well you know how kids are, they are not getting out the pool to go to the bathroom when they are having fun"

Student: "Right, so wouldnt chlorine kill the suspect in urine?"

Prof: "Lets put it this way, I can recall many times looking around in the pool and seeing a big turd floating towards me"

Wait, did he just say turd?

Prof: "So shit is a pretty good medium for transfer"

Wait, did he just say shit?

Student: "So are you saying some human ate chimp, um, matter"

Prof: "Not probable but there are other ways to come into contact with shit"

Wow, 2 shits in one minute, I like him!

Student: "You aren't telling me that some human had anal sex with a chimp are you?"

Prof: "No, we arent talking about Arkansas"

Wait, did he just totally slam Arkansas? This guy is my personal hero !

Student: Blank look of amazement.

I asked the Student after class what she though of the lecture.

Student: "He certainly has a big vocabulary"

For your own info, the most plausible theory of the migration from chimp SIV to human HIV is the hunter theory. Back in that era chimps were hunted for their meat, its considered a delicacy in some parts. I know, gross. So the theory goes that those hunters while processing their catches came into contact with alot of blood and fecal matter, some infected. (Back in that era they had no knowledge of things to come). They probably cut themselves too and there you have virus-to-blood contact, bingo.

Honestly I think our prof is being blunt and candid for 2 reasons. (1) Coming down to student level language breaks down walls and fosters communication; he is very well known and well repsected for his rather progressive and interactive classroom technique. (2) There are over 60 people in his class, far from the expected 40 that would comforatbly fit in the lecture room. He may be getting rid of the weak element.

It will be interesting to see tonight if the class is smaller.

Good Fat Gone Bad

We know saturated fat is bad. We know trans fat (partially hydrogenated) is bad. Apparently extra virgin olive oil, when used at high heat becomes oxidized (also bad for you). Regular olive oil can be used at high heat without becoming oxidized (and its cheaper too).

The literature did not mention the definition of high heat however so who knows if you could even achieve this on your stove at home?

Another random pearl from biochemistry.

Update: Confirmation from UTD Biochemistry Prof that the heat required to make good fat turn bad is so high that this is not a concern in home cooking.

Cruise and Crowe, Publicity Dogs?

Gee, do you think Crowe and Cruise are behaving badly as a publicity stunt to generate movie sales? Both have new movies out soon if not already. Hmmmmm.

Decide for yourself.

Cruise Oprah Episode

Crowe Phone Throwing

Jim's Royal Fuck

And heres another by popular demand.

Jim's Royal Fuck (adapted from my sister Krisite's Royal Fuck)

  • 1 part Jack Daniels
  • 1 part Melon Skyy
  • 1 part Peach Nectar (Kerns)
  • 1/2 part Peach Schnapps

Mix all in shaker with ice, pour over short glass filled with ice.

Now you're a fucker ! :)

Moscow Mule

So many people have been asking me for my Moscow Mule recipe I decided to post it here.

Moscow Mule
  • 1 shot Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka (good luck finding it locally, Absolut Peppar with 1 teaspoon honey works too)
  • 1/4 shotRoses Lime
  • 1/3 bottle of Ginger Beer (not ginger ale, its not the same, you can find Ginger Beer at Central Market or Whole Foods)
  • Splash of Club Soda

Fill tall glass with ice, pour in first two ingredients and stir. Pour in Ginger beer, splash of soda and give a quick swizzle stir.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

School System Causes Puberty

People are entertaining.

Im talking to one my best friends and she relays this funny story about one of her friends who lives in Allen, we'll call her Susan. Susan has a pre-teen son that she recently caught downloading porn on the internet. She was disturbed. OK, I can understand her concern a little but come on, her son is a pre-teen, he is going to become interested in sex. I can also agree that internet porn is probably not the best introduction to sex.

So Susan in her outrage cannot accept the fact that her sweet little boy is growing up. She has an older daughter but never experienced this change with her. Instead of accepting the fact that her son is entering puberty she has reassigned blame to the school system. I'm not kidding. She and her family are moving to another part of Allen to enter a new school system so that her son can be away from those "bad influences".

Funny, I didnt realize that the school system caused puberty, must have been asleep that day in basic human biology.

Discretion, Deception, To-May-To, To-Mah-To

Another annoying reality of internet connection.

I'm online last night downloading stock quotes, chatting with a friend in NYC and doing research for my HIV class when I hear the familiar sound of an IM window opening.

Bling. In the following recollection of this conversation I will be Me and the other person in the IM we will just call, The Idiot.

The Idiot: "Hey, whats up?"

Me: "Hey, not much chatting with a friend"

The Idiot: "Nice pic".

Me: "Thanks, can I see yours?"

I have a picture posted online. IMHO, this is simply common courtesy but opinions vary. I think talking online to someone without knowing what they look like is much like walking into a bar blinfdfolded.

So a picture comes over email. No head, just one arm and a torso.

Me: "I sorry to see you were decapitated, did it hurt?"

The Idiot: "I have to be discrete"

Me: "OK, why? You make it sound like talking on the intenet is something to be ashamed of"

The Idiot: "Well you know how it is most people online are looking for sex"

OK, at this point I must inteject. Yes, this does happen, people do look for casual sex on the internet, so what? Its 2005 and this is Dallas, its not 1950 in Tyler. Plus of the hundreds of people I talk to online, my data points indicate that the casual sex seekers are a minority, a very vocal minority. The idiot's intention has just been revealed.

Me: "Are you?"

The Idiot: "Well I'm available :-)"

Me: "So in other words you are not being discrete you are being deceptive"

The Idiot: "Fuck you asshole"

I also interject at this point that The Idiot is female. I find this happens equally with females as it does with males, somewhat dismissing the myth that men are the sexually predatory majority, at least this is the case in my mind. I don't think that myth has held water for decades, if ever. You should hear my friend Joyce (now 84) talk about how things were in the 1930's, makes the throw down days of the 1970s sound like a church picnic.

So this episode along with the 1000's of others like it begs the question - "When does discretion cross the line to become deception?"


Scary Numbers

I was talking to my friend George in Colorado recently, its hard to believe we have remained friends since I lived in Colorado, I dont think we've seen each other but maybe 3 times in many years.

My Colorado experience only lasted a little over a year, that winter thing just about killed me. I had a great time in Colorado and talking to George reminded me of wehn we went to a rodeo in Phoenix one year. I was in my 20's and loved getting on a plane and going anywhere, travel was and still is a passion. Phoenix was fun, the rodeo was fun, we drank, ate and carried on way too much. One drunken night we were standing in a bar and I was reading a flyer tacked to a corkboard, "NUMEROLOGY CHART - $15". "Lets do this!", cheap beer buzz and no reservations we go around the corner to get our numerology charts done.

Witchy Woman takes our full names, birth dates, cities of birth and $15 and slinks off to a back room. We hear typing then an archaic printer straining to chuck out a 45 page document detailing our lives. No, I didnt believe in numerology at all, I simply wanted something fun to read on the plane back to Denver ... there was also that cheap beer buzz clouding my judgement.

More drinking, eating and carrying on. Poof - we're on a plane to Denver. I pull out Witchy Woman's novel and start reading. My life had been broken into age ranges or pinnacles as the novel called them. Pinnacle 1 - birth to 17, uh huh, skip. Pinnacle 2 - 18 to 31, yes, thats the one. Strangely there was a lot of scary true stuff about relationships, moving, career, and family. Some of the things the novel said could have been true about anyone in my age range but there were particulars.

One freaky thing in novel was that I had always lived on a coastline but never had an affinity to water and I would move to a land-locked area. Oooooo, yeah, at that point I had lived in Tampa/St. Pete, Mobile, San Francisco - coastlines and I had just moved to Denver, non-coastline. Frankly I am not a water person either. Ooooooo. It went on to say that I would work in a transportation industry, I had just landed a contract with Federal Express. Ooooooo. Then it went on to say that I would go back to a coastline and I did I move to Houston after Denver. Oooooo.

Tonight I'm frantically looking through my box o' crap trying to locate Witchy Woman's novel. I found it! Quick, Pinnacle 3 - 32 to 45. Crap, crap, crap .... oooooo, here's one. I will change careers, yep, I'm in grad school for exactly that. Ooooooo. Here's one that hasnt played yet but ... I will start the most meaningful relationship of my life in this pinnacle. The person is supposed to enter my life twice, the first time it will be casual, the second more serious. Oooooo. Hmmm. With my memory I could have dated the same person twice and not remembered it (and I have, I'm not kidding!).

Then there's this - during this pinnacle you will invite odd people into your life in order to study them. Do I do that? I mean, I do tend to like people that are somewhat different but do I study them? Time for an outside opinion, click, speed dial to giddy boy. "Hey, do I invite odd people into my life to study them?" Silence, "Jim, what in the hell are you talking about???" Oh, right he needs the necessary background. "Well .... yeah, you do talk to any random freak but you do keep your distance, its like youre just trying to figure them out or something" Oooooo, scary.

So the Witchy Woman novel says I will go back to a coastline by the end of this pinnacle, major relationship in tow. I still don't believe in numerology (even with all the scary coincidences) but it will be interesting to see what happens next.

Back into the box 'o crap, checking back at pinnacle 4 :)


Sunday, June 05, 2005

Modern Fort Worth

The Modern, Fort Worth

I love Fort Worth. IMHO, it outranks Dallas as a place to live; friendly people, little traffic, affordable real estate, an inhabitable downtown and most importantly, culture. Its freaky that outside of NYC, Fort Worth has the largest modern art museum in the country. I guess what most people dont realize is that Fort Worth is where all the money is, not Dallas; wherever the money is, culture will follow. Imagine.

I've been bad about getting to Fort Worth. It seems sooo far away when your life is already too busy. TodayI had to go, one exhibit I've wanted to see for 3 months was ending .

Dan Flavin. Cool work. Flourescent lighting. I know what you're thinking, who the hell wants to see a bunch of kitchen lights on a big white wall? And basically thats exactly what it was; varied colors and more interesting patterns but still flourescent lighting. I think I must have inherited the art gene from my mom the painter, cuz I liked it. If I ever get a big open lofty space I'm going to do something Flavinish in a room.

I wonder if The Modern would consider my empty Rose's Mango Martini mixer bottles, which I have cleverly filled with varying shades of orange and yellow colored water, art? :-D

Where To Find "Old" Dates

Im talking to one of my 20-something friends last night. He was running down his date of the week and this one "will last forever". I have to pretend to be happy for him because, in fact, I am his friend. Of course all of his dates start and end the same way and I know there will be a different one next week. He will go through this eternal yo-yo happy-sad see-saw until he figures out that being drunk and meeting other drunk people isn't really the best way to establish something of importance (certainly not important enough to call me about!). Will I be the one to tell him? Hell no, I've got enough on my plate already! Plus at 24, what he really needs is experience, which he seems to get plenty of, its unfortunate that it seems to be exactly the same experience every week. He could no more participate in an actual relationship than I could be 6'4".

After giddy boy settles down he asks me about my dating life, since this seems to be front ans center to a 24 yo life. I told him I went on two this week; one coffee, one dinner. I loved his response "TWO, but, but you're OLD!" LOL. Well, I had to laugh and really from his perspective I am old. "Old" is always 10 or so years older that you. I remember being 18 and feeling sorry for 25 year olds thinking they were too old to get dates. Then I turned 25 and discovered that assumption was incorrect. Then at 25 I felt sorry for 30 year olds for the same reason, then I hit 30, wrong again. Now I know better than to make anymore of those assumptions.

So giddy boy gets sarcastic "Where do old people like you meet other old people?" LOL, yeah, I'll definitely smack him later. So lets call the them date1, date2 since there is no way I'm about to tell a loose mouthed 24 year old any information. date1 I met at Pei Wei in Plano. date2 I met at Home Depot.

Giddy boy gets inquisitive. "So how exactly do you approach someone in Pei Wei?" I didnt. I stopped there before going to campus to get something cheap, good and fast. It also gave me a little time to look at my Portuguese. I'm reading my book and listening to Lesson 10 on my iPod when date1, who was sitting next to me, taps me on the shoulder. "You're studying Potuguese?" Nice, I like people who have eyes. "Yes, I am, just started last week". Date1 still curious, "Why?" I can understand, Portuguese isn't terribly popular since its only spoken in 2 countries. "Oh, I'm going to Brazil this summer". Turns out Date1 did and exchange program in high school and lived in Sao Paulo for a year, obviously with very fond memories since for the next 30 minutes I listened to them non-stop. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed the dissertation and I did get a chance to finish my Korean Tofu but man, what a talker! "Wow, what a great experience!" I finally managed to wedge in, looking at my watch, the international sign for I have to get the hell out of here. Date1 falling into the beautiful but not to quick on the uptake category starts the familiar questioning pattern when out of context. "Where do you live?" Oaklawn area. "Cool, I love that area" "Where do you hang out" I throw out a few places, not that I actually go to any of them. "Cool, I love those places". More confident now Date1 presses - "Hey, why dont we get together for coffee sometime, I can tell you more about Brazil". Why sure that would be nice so I write down my email and say drop me a line sometime and we'll do that.

I'm used to this sort of courting dance, its familiar territory in the dense area where I live but I never expect anything to come of it. Wrong again, I had an email waiting when I got home.

Giddy boy seems miffed, "How come I never meet anyone at Pei Wei, its only at bars?" Gee, I dont know ... because you only go to bars? Of course I cant say this out loud even though its true. I just say, "It isnt your kind of environment". Then he remembers "Right, thats for old people! hahaha". I didnt have the heart to tell him Date1 is 27, smirking was good enough for me :)

More on where to find your old dates later. Gotta hot date with an art museum :)