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

Sunday, July 31, 2005


Without the customary 'in-school' stack of reading I was temporarily free to roam about the city. This weekend I did a bit of just that.

Friday night, the first installment of the 'ITS OVER' weekend. Tara and I are OVER our summer sessions of school and Noeha is OVER her divorce (now official) .

First stop, De Tapas in Addsion for some Sangria and Spanish food. Shown here in front to clockwise: Karim, Noeha's son -- The quick-witted and beautiful Lauren, a new friend from school -- The handsome and very personable John -- And the lovely, talented and now, thankfully single, Noeha.

Later we went gathered at Noehas for the obligatory Old Monk nightcap; Old Monk is a wonderful molasses based rum from India, you can't find it in the states but Noeha is usually willing to share her stash. After a little Old Monk we all took our personality tests online. And trust me this is very entertaining after a few Old Monk and Cokes. LOL. Lauren, we discovered, has the 'Enforcer' personality. She wasnt too happy with this proclaiming, 'Thats not very interesting.'

Well Lauren, with a heavy German accent and perhaps a purse-sized riding crop, it could be.

Onward to part two of the 'OVER' weekend, my friend Tara finally, after a year of home ownership, invites us to her house. She's taken on a renovation project of Jim proportions and it looks great. Congrats on the bang-up job, chica! It didn't help matters that her 100 pound puppy decided to exit the house through her sliding glass door several days before the party; the door was closed at the time of his gracious exit. Then there was the surpise kitchen pipe that sprung a leak. 'I am having this party, dammit!', unmoved by the pre-party deterrents. And she did.

Tara with her near twin, Noeha. Noeha, sporting the lastest in post ACL surgery fashion accessories. Nothing keeps Noeha down.

I love animals but have none of my own so I made friends with Tara's 100 pound puppy, Dante, making an appearance with Paul. Very good natured and playful, but look at those eyes. Hey, I saw Pet Cemetery! Good boy, Cujo, I mean Dante.

I also had the chance to have coffee tonight with two fellow bloggers visiting Dallas . Its funny, they were both much like the personalities they project through their posts. While blogging doesn't give you even a partial view of the whole person, IMHO, the view you get is more accurate than say, an AOL profile.

Also had a chance to chat with my internet buddy, John several times while he was in Dallas. Its too bad I didnt get a chance to meet him in person but our schedules unfortunately never seemed to coincide (sorry John!)

Since I'm handing out apologies, Chris & David, thanks for the invite but I was out later than expected!

Friday, July 29, 2005


WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Friday threw his support behind House-passed legislation to expand federal financing for human embryonic stem cell research, breaking with President Bush.

"It's not just a matter of faith, it's a matter of science," Frist, R-Tenn., said on the floor of the Senate.

clip from this morning's Yahoo News article

Good for Frist, finally a voice of reason. I'm glad this happened. Not only does this event potentially benefit my industry, it benefits anyone that has or may develop a life threatening illness.

I was reading more about this in the paper while in the student union building on campus.
Being shy and having a hard time meeting people, I've already chatted up the 2 guys sitting next to me. Both are furiously working on picking out Fall classes. During the lulls in the conversation I continue to read. When I finally finish the article I ask them how great they think this is.

"Its horrible, it like supporting murder!" -- cried out one, the other one, the smart one, remained silent.

"Murder?" -- I'm shocked, "What do you mean?"

"In order to get stem cells you have to murder a human life!", he says.

First, if you are not up to speed on stem cells, these are cells that are "blank", they can be made to grow up and be any kind of cell -- a liver cell (to replace a damaged liver), a muscle cell (to replace a damaged muscle) and I'm sure you can extrapolate from there. The issue with stem cell research has been where the scientific community gets their stash -- it comes from embryos collected at fertility and abortion clinics.

Familiar with this line of logic I baited him, "So what is your definition of alive?"

"Life begins at conception.", he professes.

"I'm sorry, apparently I've made a horrible assumption, I thought you were a student not an MD or PhD in Molecular Biology" -- you know I'm looking to make a point.

"Oh, I am a student, I will have my bachleors in Computer Science in December" -- proudly and defiantly said.

"And yet you still feel qualified to make the determination of when life begins."

The people opposed to stem cell research are usually self-branded as 'pro-life' and label stem cell use as encouraging the killing of a human life.

Heres the thing, there is a plethora of theories about when life begins; some say conception, some say at birth, some say at viability -- the point at which the embryo could survive outside of the womb. If life begins at the first sign of a brain wave, then life might begin at 6 weeks. If life begins at the first moment the embryo could hypothetically survive on its own, maybe life begins at 20 weeks. And so on. No one definition has surfaced as the de facto.

These debates rage on and mostly they are fought on a religious front, which is of course ridiculous since this is a question of biology, of medicine, not religion. And really, who cares? Is it of any importance that these people continue to play a game of tail wagging the academic dog? When music stops and one chairless opinion of 'when life begins' is jettisoned from the game, pouty-faced and emotionally scarred, will this make a difference? No, it doesnt matter.

Regardless of when life begins, the fact remains -- women will still have abortions and go to fertility clinics. Put aside your personal opinions of how things should be in an ideal world and stare bravely into the eyes of the steely-cold statistics -- this has been, is , and, if we extrapolate in the purest of mathematical terms, will always be the case. So what if abortions become illegal, even that is completely irrelevant. Do you really think people have stopped using illegal drugs because they are illegal? No, if anything, it just makes them all the more appealing. Look at any survey or study in which statistics have been compiled year over year - it happens, continues to increase, and it does so with a complete disregard for legality.

I guess the poor guy misinterpreted my sarcasm as anger, it wasnt.

"Hey, I didnt mean to piss you off." He said, looking a little sheepish.

"I'm not angry and honestly you aren't to blame, I think the university is."

"I dont get it?", I guess I had him really confused now, lol.

"Well, I'm sure after 4 years at this university you have great academic knowledge of computer science, which will probably land you a good job. However, it seems to me that the university system has failed you in a much more important way-- they didnt teach you how to think analytically."

With that said, I will end this diatribe, put away my soap box for this day and meet my friends for a pitcher of Sangria.



We call him Spike; I think he's giving spankings for his birthday.
Happy SIX OH!
I know, its disturbing that hes 60 and looks like that.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


courtesy of my friends Chris and David ....

Most of America's populace thinks it very improper to spank children, so we have tried other methods to control our kids when they have one of "those moments".

One that we found very effective is for me to just take the child for a car ride and talk. They usually calm down and stop misbehaving after our little car ride together. We've included the photo below of one of my sessions, with our son, in case you would like to use the technique. Its very effective

Adicto de Sexo

Or in English -- Between Your Legs

Right, I know, it sounds like porn. I rented it solely because I love Javier Bardem and Victoria Abril. The synopsis sounded trite -- two sex addicts that meet at a 'therapy session' and run away together. Well, there's a bit more to it than that. This is more of a murder mystery with a background forbidden love story. Couple of steamy scenes with Bardem and Abril. Also there were some very interesting plot details revealed in the last 15 minutes; didn't see those coming at all. I did like the film, but no more than that.

I invited my friend Giddy Boy, aka Luis, over to watch it since again, he is one of the few people I know available at 11pm on a Wed. night to watch a 1 1/2 hour movie.

'Jim, this movie makes me want to be a sex addict!' - Luis

'Oh Luis, you're always wanting what you already have' - Me

Overall 7/10, good mid week rent.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Junk Mail Genius

My friend Alana forwarded this bit of genius in email. Its how to turn junk mail into a weapon to stop junk mail. Andy Rooney inspired. Might have to try this :)

When you get "ads" enclosed with your phone or utility bill, return these "ads" with your payment. Let the sending companies throw their own junk mail away.

When you get those "pre-approved" letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and similar type junk, do not throw away the return envelope. Most of these come with postage-paid return envelopes, right? It costs them more than the regular 37 cents postage "IF" and when they receive them back. It costs them nothing if you throw them away!

The postage was around 50 cents before the last increase and it is according to the weight. In that case, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these cool little, postage-paid return envelopes. Send an ad for your local chimney cleaner to American Express. Send a pizza coupon to Citibank. If you didn't get anything else that day, then just send them their blank application back! If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn't on anything you send them. You can even send the envelope back empty if you want to just to keep them guessing! It still costs them 37 cents.

The banks and credit card companies are currently getting a lot of their own junk back in the mail, but folks, we need to OVERWHELM them. Let's let them know what it's like to get lots of junk mail, and best of all they're paying for it...Twice! Let's help keep our postal service busy since they are saying that e-mail is cutting into their business profits, and that's why they need to increase postage costs again. You get the idea! If enough people follow these tips, it will work---- I have been doing this for years, and I get very little junk mail anymore.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Its still Sunday night ...

Bill left with his hands full of denim and I think he successfully scared JR off with the evolutionary discussion he was having so passionately with himself. I suppose, since I was now by myself, that this was an invitation for Idiot Ken to come over with his Idiot friends.

I just dont like Idiot Ken, never have. Have you ever met someone and right out of the chute they just grate against every nerve, no particular reason, they just do? Idiot Ken is tall, heroin-chic thin and has nasal whine instead of a voice. I always smirk slightly when I see him, if only because, to me, he looks like Ms. Jane Hathaway from the Beverly Hillbillies. If that wasnt bad enough, he constantly brags about his sexual conquests. To see him you would wonder why anyone would submit themselves to such torture, particularly when they are, according to him, all young and gorgeous. Idiot Ken is telling the Idiot friends about his latest. All the while he is looking at me, I dont know why, maybe he's expecting me to 'Oooh' and 'Ahhh' like the Idiot friends. Frankly, I couldn't care any less. Back to watching BBC sitcoms.

I think its healthy to talk about sex, I think its blowing smoke to boast about it. Plus, as I look at Idiot Ken, all I can say is 2am and and whole lotta Vodka must be his only allies.

"Jim, you should tell us one of your sex stories!"

"I don't think so." I started laughing mid swallow and Vodka came out of my nose. Idiot Ken is a gossip, even worse he will take a breadcrumb and turn it into a fucking Sara Lee bakery. Everyone knows to tightlip around him unless you want details of your life amplified and broadcasted to the farthest reaches of the Metroplex.

"Well, this is what we do! And they all do it too!", Idiot Ken says pointing to the crowd, tone becoming haughty and arrogant, maybe even defensive.

Who are these 'we'? Are 'we' related to 'they'? Are these mythical spirits that through incantation of 'well you know, they say ...' magically appear above the invoker's head forming a halo of spectrely prosecutors determined to win the case; to change your vote, to sway the verdict in favor of the invoker?

Please, show me the data that leads you to believe that 'we' or 'they' are going to back your claim. Where is the random survey, the statistics, the credible accounting. How many standard deviations above or below the median of 'they' before your claim fails to hold water? Prove it. If you can't do that then 'they' are just simply the phatom lingerings of imaginary power in a pathetic attempt to impose your opinon on someone else. Nice ego you have and apparently it has now assumed control of your mouth.

Or as Matt would simply say -- you're talkin' out your ass.

Yes, I am fully aware of this translucent attempt at applying peer pressure. No effect on me, I'm 41, not 13, I know what boundaries I have. I also know I've had two drinks and now I feel compelled to make a point. There is a young man sitting next to me on a stool so I just lean over and ask --

"Hey, would you be willing to talk about your sex life with us?"

"Um, Im gonna pass." -- He seemed more interested in the BBC sitcom, which I could totally understand.

"So, you see Ken, by finding a counterexample I have just disproved your theory".

Welcome to the scientific method, Idiot :)

Monday, July 25, 2005

One Way

I've had my post-semester weekend of cleaning out the Summer session crap, scanning Ebay for the Fall books, returning emails and phone calls that have been stacking up for months, preparing for several trips during my break and most importantly -- getting back into a social life.

I decided to step out last night. I dont know why this struck me as so funny but it did and now I'm writing it down.

One of the first people I met in Dallas, even before I moved here, is my friend Bill. He's a landmark in Dallas and there isn't enough blog space to describe his eccentric personality. One of the things that I find interesting about Bill is his ability to talk endlessly about anything. Despite what some may have assumed from my blabbering in blogland, I am not a huge talker in person. I do have conversations, I respond, I have opinions, I offer them forth. But -- I am a bottom line person in conversation, I strip off all the detail, toss out scene description, character development and yank out the one sentence that is essence of the communication. Bill, on the other hand, is my polar opposite.

Bill is the first person I run into this evening. He's happy to see me since its been about 10 months since our last get together. The obligatory how have you beens are exchanged, I get my drink and Bill starts talking about the 'origins of man'. This one way conversation started at 10:30pm.

"And so my theory is that we are all of the same essence, the physical, spritual, emotional clay. I think God intended it to be ..."

Bill, please, I didnt come out to get a lesson in Evolution. Besides, I learned that in Biology 1.

"And furthermore my theory is corroborated by current genetic research, I mean do you know that we human beings share over 99% of the same genes as chimpanzees, its like a grand master plan that was perfectly excuted and ..."

Actually, its 98% and the research that proved that is old, very old.

After the first 5 minutes I simply tuned him out. I've heard many Bill disserations, usually they will go on for 10 minutes and he won't bother to inhale until all of the speech has been delivered. I never even looked at his face during this time as a subtle hint that I was not paying attention, in fact, I was watching some BBC sitcom on the bar TV, 'Chef' I think.

"I feel like there is a master plan that unites all people and creatures of the universe, yes, a universal force that makes us related and connected, feeling all as one and ... "

Obviously my ignoring him has no effect, why should it, it never has in the past, lol. During this time a nice man, Juan Roberto (aka JR) comes up and we have a short chat. Then my friend Robert. Then some idiot I cant stand, Ken. Meanwhile Bill is still chatting away.

I looked at the clock on the wall, 10:49pm, wow, he has been on this diatribe for almost 20 minutes -- a personal record, I think.

Finally at 10:55pm Bill steps in front of me, hands on his child-bearing hips, blocking my view of the BBC sitcom.

"Are you listening to me??" -- he asks all Bette Davis eyed and faux mad. I started laughing hysterically.

"No Bill, I tuned you out about 25 minutes ago, didn't you notice I was having conversations with other people." -- I'm laughing so hard tears are starting to run down my face

"Well, no. Next time you should tell me to shut up!", he laughs and he is truly shocked that I was having other conversations during his monologue.

"Bill, babe, when has that ever done any good?"

"Oh, yeah, good point.", he laughed. And really, he is good natured about his eccentric behavoir.

Then something in a tight pair of jeans caught his eye and he was off without so much as a word. I would have been able to have a moment to let my eardrums rest but Idiot Ken came back.

Hangover B Gone

Jim's Hangover Cure


  • 2 Milk Thistle Capsules
  • 1 Dan Active

  • Water

  • 2 Milk Thistle
  • 1 Dan Active
Next Morning

  • 1 bowl of oatmeal
  • 2 glasses water
  • 2 cups coffee
  • 4 swears that you will never drink again

This really does work ( at least for me)

Sunday, July 24, 2005


The degree I'm working on is what they call interdisciplinary. I think thats a euphemistic way to say one-who-attempts-is-crazy, a lovely and light-hearted blend of Math, Statistics, Chemistry, Biology and Computer Science. Yeah, master all of those in 2 years.

The degree is housed out of the Math department, which is unfortunate since I already have a Math degree and don't need anymore assistance in that area. This makes my advisor, who is brilliant and who I respect greatly, somewhat a hood ornament since he cannot give me advise in the areas other than Math.

I decided after taking the HIV course, that I would make HIV Prof my unofficial Biology advisor, really the bulk of the next year will be all graduate level bio. I made an appointment with HIV prof.

I walked into the waiting room for his office, the door is partially cracked. I hear

"Fuck, fuckity fuck fuck, what the fuck, you fucking shit box piece of crap mother ..."

"Hi, am I interrupting?" I blurted, almost laughing at the obvious lashing out at his computer.

"OH, Hi Jim, not at all, come on in", swiveling around in his big cushy chair.

"Trouble?", I smirked, as if I didnt already have a clue.

"Well I cant get my file with the grades to save! Fucker!", snarling again motioning to the computer.

I fixed his problem simply and we went on with our meeting. During our meeting I wanted his opinion on a variety of classes still left to take, some classes he teaches, some from other professors.

"Oh HIM, hes a dickhead"

"Oh HER, yeah shes got a stick up her ass, cant stand to be questioned."

"Oh, maybe I shouldn't be talking so freely with the door open."

Of course he did cover himself by explaining that these were stories related to him from graduate students who worked for these professors. But still, this is extraordinary in academia where every word is highly scrutinized, every response is strategic and politcal in nature, every action must have a contingency in the unfortunate situation of academic feuding.

I have to say that HIV prof is my all time favorite instructor, not only for his obvious dismantling of social protocol, which of course appeals to my 'keep it real', uber contrarian nature but also that he is intelligent, ultimately concerned that you learn something and he's never too busy to help.

I look forward to Fall since I will once again be in one, perhaps two of his courses.

Skipper, Barbie's Sister

Thanks to


Skipper, now known simply as Asphyxia, not be upstaged by her better-known older sister, moved to Manhattan where she opened a full-scale dominatrix service to the stars.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Dominatrix Barbie

Ken, you've been a very, very bad boy.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Jim Playing Dad

Happy Birthday Jimbo. What is it this year? Lets see, first start with my imaginary age, add 4, carry the one, divide by 10, um, screw it, I just decided -- you're 36.



Just discovered a few more blogs worth a look

Sangroncito's World Totally amazing writing style, I *felt* "The Best Mirror"

And following a breadcrumb trail from his site

Living Above Ground More engrossing writing! Loved the "Your Mama Knows ..."


Hi All,

I just finished two finals and two 10-page papers. I'm taking a short break from the blogging. My eyes (and fingers) need a break. See you all soon.

Namaste, Jim

OK, Just one more shout and birfday wish then I'm breaking.

Knock Out

Million Dollar Baby

I'm not sure where to start the praise.

Morgan Freeman - Well thank goodness you finally won a freaking Oscar. I think you should have won for Shawshank Redemption and Driving Miss Daisy too. Freeman is one of my favorite actors. He brings his own strong but yielding style to the film as a former boxer, Eastwood's friendly antagonistic sidekick and omnipresent narrator. He is the centered paternal balance to other character's spinning out of control.

Hillary Swank - Another well deserved Oscar. You have to hand it to her, she picks the hardest roles imaginable and consistently comes out on top. Between this film, Boys Dont Cry and The Gift she's taken a lot of punches. She burns up the screen again as the from-rags girl that fights her way into life and just keeps right on fighting. Swank is hard to top when it comes to being able to get into head of someone that struggles with life on so many fronts.

Clint Eastwood - Frankly, he too deserved an Oscar for his acting, although if I had to give him just one it would have been for his directing. The directing is brilliant in this film; emotionally charged moments are downplayed from normal levels to let your immagination take over rather than being overwhelmed by heavy-handed on screen production.

The surface story is of course really a metaphor for struggling through life; how do we define who is our real family, do we hold onto people for selfish reasons when we should let them go, what constitutes a loss, when do we know when we've won at life, how do we know when we've made the right choice?

While the film itself is heavy there are some moments that are just priceless and funny; the philospohical discussion between Freeman and Eastwood about 'morning socks' versus 'sleeping socks' was such absurd contrast to the preceeding scene that I just rolled on the floor laughing. I let out a 'yes!' when Freeman throws a KO in his 110th fight, exiting the ring with one glove and a 'get a job, punk' line to an opponent 40 years his junior.

Filming is great -- I loved the through the ropes view of Swank taking her KO shots as opponent after opponent go flying through the air to hug the mat and hear the 10 count.

Editing is great -- the initial part of the movie flows from scene to scene in superimposed and fade style.

Two other aspects of the film were very impressive; makeup - my god, Swank looked fantasically beaten up in so many scenes; lighting - long corridors lighted only at the end give the feeling of a long path ahead, excellent night time scenes with partially exposed faces or minimal backlighting as the only light source.

This is an inspirational story but you will have to do some thinking before you can get there.

10/10 Must see.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Idiot Stick Figure With No Soul

Hi All,

If you've been on my blog for any length of time you have heard me talk about my friend Noeha. She is coming into the home stretch of a divorce. Its been particularly challenging for many reasons. I encouraged her to blog it; this is afterall a good vehicle for soulful catharsis.

Shes' just getting started but check it out. I doubt she will post with my regularity since she works crazy hours and has a 10 year old son but things will get very, very interesting as the story progresses. Even I will be posting my 'involvement' in the saga when the time comes.

Idiot Stick Figure With No Soul


Following Scott and Matt, heres my personal trivia list. Enjoy

  • I subscribe to 10 magazines but only pay for one.
  • I read one magazine, Nutrition Action, the rest I stack in my hallway, lol.
  • I am a natural blonde
  • I've worn a size 30" since I was 16
  • Cooking is a hobby, wait, a passion.
  • Writing is a hobby.
  • I've done yoga for 5 years
  • I can put my head between my knees from a standing position
  • I spent most of my life near water
  • I dont really like water, lol
  • I gravitate towards mountains/deserts and large urban areas
  • I'm a vegetarian, but I cheat.
  • I'm Buddhist, but not a good one.
  • Pet peeve - people who whine about their weight.
  • My bedtime is usually 2-3 am
  • I am decidedly not a morning person
  • I am a coffee whore
  • I love ethnic food
  • I started graduate school at 40
  • I've had one major relationship (10 years), 3 smaller (2-5 years) and scores of trivial dating experiences ( year or less )
  • I dont believe in Astrology but it is entertaining
  • Strangely, of the above mentioned relationships, all of them are Leo or Cancer.
  • I prefer being single (see above, lol)
  • I'm allergic to wasps, grass, thistles and strawberries
  • The smell of liver makes me physically ill
  • I feel most at home in New York City
  • I feel least at home in Los Angeles
  • I speak bits and pieces of Spanish, French, Italian, Korean, Russian and Portuguese.
  • My main impetus for moving has been better salary
  • Pet Peeve - People who wont try new things
  • I am a movie whore
  • I've been in every state except West Virginia
  • I once window shopped with Sarah Jessica Parker in NYC
  • My undergraduate degree is in Computer Science and Mathematics
  • I minored in Psychology
  • I think education is the key to advancement
  • Not a big phone chatter
  • Purple is my favorite color
  • My birthday is on an important day in history - September 11th
  • My aunt married a man who's twin brother produced Wicked, Hairspray and La Cage
  • Life gets better as I get older
  • I forget more as I get older
  • What was I saying again? lol
  • I worked for the CIA, NSA, Army and Navy
  • I held 20 different top secret clearances
  • I once slept through a presentation I was supposed to give to the CIA office in Australia, I woke up in an empty conference room with the lights out. (My boss gave it and he tortured me about this for years, even after I quit! lol)
  • Below 70 degrees is cause for jacket
  • Below 60 degrees is cause for a jacket, scarf, gloves, hat and lots of whining
  • Below 30 is time to pack up and move
  • I competed in the NRHA
  • I'm a member of AQHA
  • I ate dinner next to Clint Eastwood at a restaurant in Napa
  • I want to be Clint Eastwood when I grow up
  • The glass isnt half empty if you get a smaller glass :)
  • In 1984 I saw 27 concerts
  • I had a beer with the lead singer from Green Day at Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco before he was in Green Day
  • I was at the first concert the Eurythmics performed in the US
  • I crowd surfed at a Ramones concert
  • I stole my mom's car when I was 15
  • I stole my dad's Jack Daniels when I was 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 (then I moved out, lol)
  • I once got sick off an evening of Jack Daniels, Vodka, Gin and a whole box of Captain Crunch Crunchberries (no, it was not pretty the morning after)
  • I started my own business when I was 24
  • In a two year span I lived in California, Colorado and Texas.
  • In 1985 I had very short blue hair (then yellow, then magenta, then lime green)
  • My parents live on a island off the coast of Georgia
  • My sister lives in Ohio
  • I have one aunt that lives outside of Tel Aviv
  • All time favorite vacation - Italy
  • I visited the former Yugoslavia (I wasnt supposed to working for the CIA but boo hoo)
  • Places left to see - Korea, Tibet, Russia, Germany, Sweeden, Morocco, Argentina, Costa Rica, Egypt
  • Biggest turnon - Inner strength
  • Second biggest - Good kissing skills
  • Biggest turnoff - Irresponsibility
  • Second biggest - Pretense
  • Favorite fruit - Blackberry
  • Favorite vegetable - Sugar Snaps
  • Favorite liquor - Vodka
  • My biggest downfalls are my love of cheese and my ability to be harshly honest
  • My biggest asset is my ability to be harshly honest
  • I would have never read a list this long, lol
  • The only relationship worth having involves two people that dont need each other.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Grad Grub - Entry 3

Jim's Spicy Black Beans (adapted from my sister's recipe)
  • 2 lbs dry black beans
  • 4 red onions
  • 5 heads garlic
  • 1-2 T chipotle powder
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • water

Soak the beans in enough water to cover overnight. Drain. Refill with water to cover. Bring to boil then cook over low heat for 2 hours, stirring occassionally. Let cool.

Slice tops off of garlic heads. Place on oven proof dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes. Cool. Squeeze out garlic from pods (remove all the pod paper). Process into paste.

Slice onions thinly then sautee over medium high heat in a little olive oil until carmelized.

Add onion, garlic and chipotle to beans and return to low heat for another two hours, stirring occassionally. Check for spice, add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, cool, refrigerate overnight.

(I know this is monotonous but ... ) Return beans to low heat and cook for another 2 hours or until the desired consistency.

The batch costs $5 and will make enough for weeks and weeks of black bean rollups (good with goat cheese and veggies). Freezes well.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Cuba, Kinda

Little Havana
3520 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206
Phone: 214-370-0400

My friend Tara and I are both grad students which means dining out is mostly inspired by low cost. Friday evening, a 25% off coupon to Little Havana sets the course.

Greenville Avenue hasnt been my haunt in Dallas, its nice but its crazy-busy on weekends and parking is murderous, even valet lines can stack up for a long, long wait. Plus the few times I've been it seems inundated with drunk, surly SMU students -- not at all the people with whom I want to spend my minimal free time.

But tonight, even with wicked storms, I looked forward to the outing. Next week is finals and term paper wrapup so this is the last night out for a week.

Tara brought her friend Paul (both to the right and below with yours truly). Yes, I felt like the old guy out with the young'uns. We did have a great night though, I can still keep up them, well, until midnight, then I'm out. LOL

I liked Little Havana. Over half of the restaurant/bar area is outdoor, tropical colors, purposely mismatched tables and chairs, very casually dressed servers. It has a very easy Gulf Coast beach-front atmoshere. Defintely a place to feel comfortable in your shorts and flips.

First up, the Mojitos. No. Ick. Bleck. Yak. Eww. Gross. I know I am presdisposed to not liking sweet things but the Mojitos were way too sweet; I couldn't detect lime, rum or mint. You would think that a Cuban restaurant would be good at the national drink of Cuba, yes?

Next up, the Magaritas. Good, very good. These make up for the Mojitos and my thanks to Paul and Tara for switching to those while I was away from the table. Raspberry version was very good and Melon version was equally as tasty - refreshing and a balanced blend of flavors.

The menu is mostly casual and very affordable: $5-15. There are some authentic Cuban items on the menu much like there are some authentic Thai items at Mango, there is also quite a bit of fusion. This is fine with me. I've had authentic Cuban fare in dives in and around Miami. Its great food but its heavy food; pork, potatoes, plantains, black beans. The menu is relatively small and broken into tapas (small plates), sandwiches, salads and entrees (only 4-5).

We tried tapas: Calamari, Crab & Conch Fritters w/ Spicy Aoli, Chorizo Empanadas with Chimichuri Sauce, Crochettes. I thought all were good but the Fritters were my personal favorite: crunchy lighted seasoned crust, chewy on the inside, large morsels of both crab and conch, dee-licious spicy aoli to top. I liked the Empanadas too but Tara thought the Chimichuri sauce was vinegar overload (which is what I liked about it).

I tried the Jerk Fried Chicken Salad for dinner. You need to keep your hands away from my damn plate when I'm eating this or I'll fork them, lol. Great combination of jerk spiced chicken, chorizo, lettuce, mango, tomato all with a mango vinagrette dressing. Perfect size too, just enough to feel satisfied without feeling like you need to be harpooned.

Tara tried the Stuffed Avocado Salad which she seemed to enjoy. Shrimp and crab stuffed and resting on a beautiful mixed salad base with the same mango vinagrette. I did notice that the avocado seemed to be missing, or maybe it was just lost underneath the shrimp and crab.

Paul had the Cuban Scampi. A nice sizzling plate with tail-on garlic sauteed shrimp piled in the middle, black beans to one side, rice to the other. The smell from Paul's side of he table had a gravitational pull, I will try his dish next time. I heard no complaints and he did smile quite a bit.

Service is excellent -- personable and efficient but not intrusive. Our waiter even circled the table until I was finished telling a story before he approached. Very good.

There is a live band playing great latin music, some campy 1950's Ricky Ricardo style, others more popular. Whatever was playing seemed to draw a crowd of young ladies with strappy tank tops and tight low rise jeans who seemed intent on dancing in the ailses.

People are having fun at Little Havana.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


Everyone, I'd like you to meet Flossie Wong-Staal.

Flossie is a PHD in Molecular Biology with a staggeringly long list of accomplishments in the field of virology. She may also be the one person that can kick HIV to its well-deserved place in the gutter.

This week HIV prof covered the research and possibilites of creating an HIV vaccine. I wont bore you with all of the details but it could be a long road until we get to a point where that can happen.

On the plus side there is the work of Dr. Wong Staal. She has a completely different concept than most. Rather than detecting the virus in people then treating them with the cocktail (which tries to disable separate icky things that the virus does to your body and has varying levels of success depending on your body chemistry and virus strain) she wants to create an injection that simply disables the entire HIV replication mechanism based on a common mechanism shared by all strains. She knows this common point.

Not only does she know this commonality, she has developed gene therapy against it. Gene therapy basically takes HIV, cuts out all of the bad stuff that will kill you and sticks in known genes that can pistol whip the virus. When injected into a subject the new gene therpay version of HIV integrates like a trojan horse into all of your cells. When the fatal HIV comes a knockin' it simply whips out a shotgun and blows its face off, then goes quietly back to sleep. Cool, isnt it?

She has successfully injected her gene therapy into virus-free chimps, then repeatedly challenged them with multiple strains of live, infectious HIV. They remain uninfected. Unfuckingbelievable, huh? Her gene therapy product is in clinical trials, which is exciting, of course. But there are still issues surrounding this type of therapy. (1) The FDA cycle is long, sometimes 15 years long and gene therapy is a new technology that is not widely accepted so it could be even longer (2) Is this therapy going to be cost effective to the population that needs it the most (Africa, India and SE Asia).

The bottom line for me was that an effective mechanism to obliterate the virus seems much closer, which should definitely convey a cautiously optomistic feeling for the future. Its definitely not time to throw away the condoms and go back to the 70's but that day may come in our lifetimes. Lets just hope that the superior minds of our time, like Dr. Wong Staal, will keep pushing, keep experimenting and keep believing that it can be done.

On a side note, look again at Flossie's picture and convince yourself that this lady will be 59. Yes, FIVE NINE. You know people are going to write her.

Dr. Wong-Staal:

Whats up babe?! So, that whole erradicating HIV from the planet thing is pretty cool. Go, Flossie!

Anyway I had a very important question a little off topic. What facial products do you use? :)

Go Alex

Another shout out - Alex at R2K

Check his post on Julian Beever's pavement drawings -- awesome!

Go Bouncer

The NYC Bouncer blog (listed under Fun Blogs) that I have been stalking just got a spot in NYC's Gawker. I guess we bloggers are the new wave of journalists. Not to mention that we are so much more real and eccentric.

Gawker Article

Go Bouncer. I see an HBO series, seriously.

Friday, July 15, 2005


I'll preface this post by saying yes, I am a movie HO.

Keep in mind most of my free time comes early in the day or after midnight, limiting me in activities and available persons. I could go out to clubs, but really, IMHO, picking navel lint would be more entertaining.

I got another request from a friend in Las Vegas to review Equilibrium, an older Christian Bale movie. So here goes.

Equilibrium is a dark movie asking a rhetorical question -- How would life be if none of us felt any emotion?

The world has just survived World War 3. In the catostrophic aftermath the new world ruler, The Father, has decided to excise the one thing that makes us humans engage in destructive behavior, our emotions. There is a new police force, The Gammatron Clerics, they keep the peace by enforcing and taking down those that violate "Sense laws". These are harsh: no books, no music, no color, no feelings. All citizens of the new world take a daily drug that mellows them into unemotional droids. All public places have screens that play The Father's video messages repeatedly.

Bale is a Gammotron Cleric, a high ranking one. He does his job with robot like efficiency. One day he inadvertently skips a droid pill. First, he rescues a puppy.Then he helps save a woman sense offender. In short, he starts to remember what its like to be human. Another Cleric becomes suspicious. Thats when all hell brakes loose.

Who will win? Can the human race truly survive without that which makes us by definition, human?

Overall this is a decent film, although Bale carries all of it on his 6'2" frame. Its nice that he's eye candy, better that he can act. This role primed him for Batman, physically intense.

There were too many Bale scenes that reminded me of The Matrix. Even the sound track reminded me of The Matrix. Come to think of it, even some of the clothing was very Matrix. Not bad, it did work with the Orwellian bleakness of the film, it just seemed an obvious hijack.

I give it 7/10. Good for aThursday night rent.

On a funny side note, I invited Yvonne and Clay (from the Fauxmosexual Post) down from their digs on campus to watch this with me . They are about the only people I know that are available at 11pm on a Thurs. to watch a 2 hour movie. During a bathroom scene with a bare-chested and well-toned Bale (pic above) , I almost laughed out loud when I heard this,

Clay: "Dude, Bale is hot, I could have a man-crush on him!"

Um, yeah, I bet you could Clay.

Yvonne, punching Clay in the arm: "Back off bitch, I saw him first!"

I'm starting to worry about the two of you, seriously. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Faith, 75219

Oaklawn, 75219. Its rare that I stop in this hood. I drive through it everyday -- on the way to the grocery, post office, Office Depot. Last time I stopped here I had lunch at Cafe Brazil and the Date 3 episode began. Its odd that I am here again at the corner coffee shop but it was such a nice day, only 90 degrees at 10am, I should take advantage of it before it gets really hot ;)

Ah, Blueberry Pie Coffee, a end table with an umbrella, my yellow highlighter and my oh so exciting stack of research articles for the term papers due next week. Lets get started!

"Excuse me sir?"

Black suit, white shirt, black tie, black skinny tie, wing tips and carrying pamphlets. You so don't blend. What do you want?

Me: "What can I do for you?"

Suit boy: "If I could just have a moment of your time, I'd like to talk to you about the Lord our ..."

Me: "I'm going to stop you right there, not interested."

Suit boy: "But sir, if I could just explain the power of ..."

Me: "Look, I'm not interested, I'm not a Christian, my faith is different, I'm Buddhist."

Mentally I have just cut him off. A skill developed years ago in reponse to being stopped on every street corner on Market St. in San Francisco or every street corner on Broadway in New York City or every street corner on Main St. in downtown Houston.

Suit boy: "But ... kingdom of heaven ... sir, if ..."

Me: "Look, I appreciate what you are trying to do and I think it comes from a good place. But really I am already happy in my beliefs, my faith, my way. Honestly I think its great that you are so enthusiatic about yours that you are willing to take time out of your day to tell me about it. But you know, all faiths are bottom line compatible, arent they?

Suit boy: "But sir ..."

I am suit boy, resistence is futile. Must deliver pamphlet. Must DE-LIV-ER.

Me: "I mean really if you think about it, strip away the minutae and dogma, aren't all faiths trying to give you some peace of mind, lay down some path in life that will make you feel good about yourself and life in general , to bring reason to the unexplainable -- to get through it."

Suit boy: "But the lord ... let me ... pamphlet ... better way to happiness ..."

Quit trying to sell me something I already have, you are starting to piss me off.

Me: "Keep it, I wont read it. Like I said I am happy the way I am. By giving me this pamphlet you are telling me there is a better way to happiness, its like giving me a problem I don't have so that you can fix it; its retrojustification of your beliefs. I'm not participating in that and its time for you to leave."

Then I put my headphones on and went back to my Blueberry Pie Coffee, HIV article and gave him the look that was genetically engineered in Brooklyn -- The 'I don't have a quarter, I don't want to party, I'm not lookin' for a good time, leave me alone, I don't care what you're sellin' cuz I aint buyin', this conversation is now over' look.

Beliefs, faith, religion, whatever you want to call it, is a personal thing; I think you find it when you need it and you grow it like you want it but it is never coming to you on a pamphlet in 75219.

Darwin 2005

Yes, it's that magical time of the year again when the Darwin Awards are bestowed. Yes, the Darwin Awards, commemorating individuals who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it in a sublimely idiotic fashion.

Here then, are the glorious 2005 Darwin Award winners.

1. When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a holdup in Long Beach, California, would be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked...

And now, the honorable mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat-cutting machine and, after a little hopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence, sent out one of its men to have a look for himself.

He tried the machine and lost a finger.

The chef's claim was approved.

3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't discovered for three days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter.

The total amount of cash he got from the drawer...$15.

(If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?)

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinderblock through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinderblock and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinderblock bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, "Yes, officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from."

9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at 5 a. m., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.


10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake.

The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Mysterious Skin

My friend, Bob, asked me to give him my take on this film, Mysterious Skin. I was supposed to go see it last week but alas, scheduling difficulties occured.

I saw it yesterday-- outstanding; well-produced, well-cast, dark but inspiring.

What happens to an 8 year old boy who is the victim of sexual abuse? Meet Neil and Brian. Neil and Brian have alot in common: they are the same age, they are from the same small town in Kansas and they were both sexually abused by their Little League coach.

Brian buries the truth and instead grows up believing that he has been abducted by aliens. Neil, on the other hand, accepts the truth easily but becomes numb to the world, stoic and a gay hustler. While their paths cross at 8 years old on a Little League team, their lives remain separate until they cross again 10 years later.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Neil) and Brady Corbett (Brian) did phenomenally well in these roles. Gordon-Levitt has come a long way from 3rd Rock From The Sun, this was a very difficult role to play and not just because he was partially clad (at best) most of the time. Corbett was, I have to say, even better as the somewhat bookish and overly trusting contrast to Gordon-Levitt's calloused and harsh. Keep your eye out for these two, this is totally a breakout film for the both of them.

The film did a good job at giving us detail about the situations surrounding the abuse without being too graphic; details filtered through a gauze of inuendo, clever filming and suggestive speech. Still, even though the film tastefully approaches the taboo, I have to warn you. There are scenes in this movie that would be very diffcult for anyone to watch, particularly true for anyone that has been the victim of some abuse. Bring your courage to the seat with your popcorn.

There is an enormous amount going on in this film: how does our youth shape our adult relationships, how do we deal with pain, how do we process, how do we recover. I think they do a good job of focusing on those aspects without dwelling gratuitously on the precipitating events.

The final scene of the movie has the young men on a sofa in a living room, Brian's head resting on Neil's shoulder, talking, venting, healing, both sets of mysterious skin starting to shed. The camera is directly overhead, ascending and the scene becomes smaller and smaller until it fades to credit roll. Symbolic -- since in the end, after all of the confusion, the denial, the anger, the confrontation and the grief, these two young men found what they needed in each other -- release.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Happy Two Seven Matt!


Midterms Round 2 are in, I seem to be in a rut since I got exactly the same scores

HIV - 99
Immunology - 94

EIGHT more days then summer out!


I've befriended this 22 year old girl at school, Yvonne. She is a knock out beautiful girl with an equally attractive boyfriend, Clay. I don't know why I always ask this question of couples, since it has no relevance at all, but I did ask her where they met.

"Round Up", she says

Puzzled I ask, "You mean the Round Up, as in the gay country and western bar?"

"Yeah, weird isnt it!", she says.

Yeah, it is weird to think that two straight people meet in a gay bar. Not that they arent welcome there but it just seems odd. Very odd.

"Yeah, theres a story, tell it!", since I know I'm missing detail and this will make for good blog fodder.

"Well I know this great gay couple and they take me dancing there since neither one of them can follow and I can. I like it there since I can have fun and not worry about swatting away horny little boys. So one night my friends introduce me to some of their other friends and they introduce me to Clay".

"So, he just wandered into the Round Up without knowing where he was?" - I ask, still curious and not really believing this.

"No, he went there with his gay friends too." - she said in a matter of fact tone.

Okie dokie, I am a well-educated, well-travelled and cosmopolitan person, I realize there is not a division between orientations anymore. Certainly gay and straight mix and get along just fine. However, I find it a little odd that Clay not only knows gay men, he spends whole evenings in gay bars with them.

"Didnt you find him being there a bit odd?", I asked still not believing.

"No, hes a fauxmosexual" - she said as if I knew what that was.

"A what?"

"A fauxmosexual, you know, a straight guy that befriends gay men to get up to speed on fashion, socially acceptable behavior, romantic pointers -- plus gay men usually know the hottest straight women -- you know, like me!", Yvonne giggled

"So, this is like a self-imposed Queer Eye For The Straight Guy thing?" - I said, saracsm noticeable.

"Uh huh, plus he's told me that he kinda likes the attention and being unobtainable. He's very secure in his sexuality, which is hot." - she said, smirking.

Well, you learn something new everyday.

She adds - "I'm just glad he isnt a metrosexual!"

Yes, theres more -- Metrosexuals.

Metrosexuals are different. They are a breed of heterosexual men that have been bombarded by inner city metro style, culinary skill, day spas and high-brow art. They do not attempt to meet women by leveraging off of the fact that gay men have many straight women as friends. They speak and do as gay men but aren't.

So, in essence, Fauxmosexuals are pretending to be Metrosexuals in order to meet Heterosexuals.

Just when you thought life couldn't get any more complicated.

Monday, July 11, 2005


Got a few questions this AM. Sometimes you sign off your posts with "Namaste", what the heck does that mean?

Namaste is Hindu. It literally means "I bow to you." Figuratively it means "You and I are equals." This is, of course, my interpretation as a white boy. I obviously do not have the life experience in Hindu ways to give an authentic defintion.

A lot of times I sign off that way in comments to people to let them know I think of them as equals; no better, no worse, just human.

I could write volumes about why I gravitated towards Buddhism in my late teens but I'll save that for some other post. It works for me, its a good path for me. I'm not a good Buddhist but thats really not the point.

I'm on a path and I like where its going.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


The big garage sale was a success. I turned crap into cash, bonus!

I have to say that our group has honed down the formula for garage sale success. It should be hosted by several people -- men and women. It should have a wide variety of items -- small and large ticket. There should be the items from the requisite categories: clothes, kitchen items, kitchen appliances, picture frames, furniture. Dont try to sell winter items in 100 degree heat, not even for $1.There should definitely be alcohol and food, this is afterall an all day event.

6am to 6pm, almost $500 -- not bad.

At closing time a kid on a mountain bike rode up and asked if he could help us -- for a price, of course. He offered to round up all of the signs from the hood in exchange for some of the unsold items.

Deal, go!

Later he returned. My friend Terry was loading up 2 chairs that didnt sell. Great chairs: big, heavy, leather, Moorish detail. She wouldnt back down on price, happier to haul them home. Random blue Lexus stops to look at them. This kid, who knows the driver, looks at Terry and says,

"Hey, if I can sell those chairs to that guy for asking price, can I get a commission?"

Deal, go!

The kid talks to the guy and the blue Lexus turns around, parks and the driver gets out. The kid gets in the back of the truck and plants into one of the chairs.

"Oh man, these are the most comfortable chairs. So sturdy and stylish too. These would look great in your office!"

The guy buys them for asking price. As the blue Lexus guy walks back to his car to get his checkbook the kid adds.

"Oh yeah, remember when I helped you out with 'blah, blah, blah'? Well, while you are making out her check, you can make me out mine. $50, please. By the way, you got a great deal on those chairs and they are going to look great!"

Terry gave him his $20 commission for selling the $250 chairs.

The kid made $70 in 30 minutes plus walked away with a box of items that he intends to resell at his own garagae sale.

I should mention that this kid is twelve years old. 12!

He'll be a millionaire before graduating high school.


Tales Of The City

Im sure almost everyone has heard of Armistead Maupin's "Tales Of The City", the quintessential voyeurs guide to San Francisco in the halcyon days of the 1970's. Living in the area during that era I had the chance to read these stories when they were published in the San Francisco Chronicle. In their way they so accurately and eloquently captured the spirit of the era and the city that they self-propelled to iconic stature overnight.

I happily waited in line for hours on Market St. to purchase my copy of the book. Enough time had passed that I had forgotten most of the details; I gulped down the entire book in one evening.

When the movie came out I decided not to see it; my imagination had already developed the characters to their fullest extent and I was afraid Hollywood would not be able to do justice to my creative mind.

Pre-rental, I surveyed the reviews in Netflix: "outlandish", "highly controversial", "explicit", "graphic". Ha, controversial and explicit my ass. Comments from people who were not there at the time, apparently. Frankly, having been there, these films are a tame, albeit accurate representation of the time.

Now, some 14 years later, I finally rent them, all of them: Tales Of The City, More Tales Of The City and Further Tales Of The City. I suggest, if you haven't seen them yet, rent them all and just have a weekend movie fest.

There are many outlandish plot details. Just one, for example, so I dont give away too much - Didi is the socialite daughter of one of the most powerful businessmen in San Francisco, she is married to a good-looking, gay bathhouse frequenting jerk. Didi gets pregnant by a Chinese delivery man, twins. Later, she meets a lesbian model and discovers that she too is a lesbian. Didi, her lover and children move to Jonestown, yes, that Jonestown. Didi develops a dysfunctional relationship with Jim Jones who apparently claims her children as his own. All of them miraculously escape the massacre days before it happen. In the movie Jim Jones also survives ... and moves to San Francisco.

This is one of dozens of plot lines that you have to keep in your head, which is why I suggest you see them all at once, lol.

Every character presented is in some strange way related to or involved with one or more of the other characters. And they are all characters!

Central to the movie is Mary Ann, fresh out of sleepy middle America, she lands squeaky naive in the middle of drama. Her character is the one that evolves the most. By the end of the movie she is quite the seasoned San Franciscan; aggressive, street-smart and worldly.

Mary Ann's neighbor and best friend, Mouse, is the happy go lucky gay man. He frolicks with anyone and everyone but secretly wants love, not the flesh buffet that is constantly offered forth.

Olympia Dukakis steals the show as the mysterious Mrs. Madragal, land lady of 28 Barbary Lane, where many of the characters live.

The film is an incredible time capsule. They have paid so much attention to the detail of that era that I was immediately plunged backwards through time to surface in my high school days.

I love my Farrah Faucet wings, tight bell bottoms and shiny polyester shirt. Right on!

Highly recommended.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

12 Pak

I fogot to finish my AC story.

Steve McQueen, the usual AC guy, couldnt make it the other day so they sent Junior Samples from Hee Haw. Nice guy, he couldnt fix the problem so he didn't charge me for the service call. Thanks Junior! Problem - bad breaker. Speed dial to Jose, my electrician. Jose comes out to fix the breaker. While he's repairing he lifs up his shirt to wipe his brow, yikes, he doesnt have a 6 pak he has a 12 pak!

So I ask Jose, "How many crunches do you do to get abs like that?"

Jose: "I don't work out."

Now if it were anyone but Jose I would know they were being coy but Jose is one of the nicest most unassuming and honest people I know.

I'm surprised, "You don't work out?"

Jose -"No, I dont have time, I work 7 days a week."

And he does, sometimes 12 hours a day.

Me - "So you're telling me this is just natural?"

Jose - "I guess so, I never really thought about it."

OK, thats totally unfair, I could crunch my brains out for hours a day on a slant board and never look like that.

Jose wouldnt take my money since he "didnt really do anything". The nicest guy in the world, I'm lucky to have him as a handyman.

I'm glad hes gone now, I can eat my ice cream in shame. Here's to you and your 12 pak, bastard :)


I started stalking this blog, NYC Bouncer.

I suggest you sample it. Phenomenal writer; raw introspection and dead-on-balls accurate accounts of NYC nightlife -- from an internal vantage point.

Best seller bound.

Friday, July 08, 2005


The title should have been GodSpare, as in God Spare me from this piece of crap. How can so much go so wrong with one movie? And a movie with Robert DeNiro, the shame.

The plot sounded interesting; young couple loses their 8 year old son to a tragic accident. A pioneering genetic engineer offers to clone an exact replica. Poof, they get their son back. Not exactly the same son, there have been a few changes, bad changes.

Bad acting, bad filming, bad music, incongruent situational emotions, situations that could never possibly occur and worse, whoever wrote the script should be banished to some island where there are no implements for script writing. Yeck. I had the cliffhanger ending figured out in 20 minutes. My 3 year old niece writes better endings.

Poor Robert DeNiro, lets hope that God sends him a better film next time.

Raising The Micro Management Bar

My friend Alana (aka Fifi, Joan Crawford and Serial Mom) has had quite the eventful recent past in the employment realm. She was laid off, with so many others, in 2002, after giving ten years of her life to the same company. It was quite the blow. Instead of jumping back into the corporate game she decided to take a little time off and think about her next move. She already knew she didn't want to go back into the corporate world and she had been saving cash to have the time off.

She tried real estate, insurance, sales and eventually landed in education.

She was really excited about the education job, they loved her too. Well, at least it started out that way. Then the details started to trickle in. Her manager started showing some signs of micromanagement; checking up on her once too often during the day, reviewing everything she did, quizzing her on all aspects of all processes. Initially Alana thought - ok, this lady is just covering her bases since I'm new. But after then newness wore off, the management style became tighter and tighter.

The final blow came when this manager announced to Alana (and the whole staff) that everyone was to send an acknowledment email to each email that she sent out. I had to laugh out loud at this. What maniac wants 300 acknowledgement emails a day? Besides, Outlook (which they use at the office) allows you to return receipt any email sent. I've been a project manager before. When I've sent out emails to delegate tasks I dont want acknowledgment, just do the dang task and we'll cover the details in a weekly status meeting. Keep it simple is my policy.

But Alana complied. She would get emails from the manager then send confirmations. One lined emails: "Confirmed", "Got it", "Acknowledged".

Apparently this was not enough. Alana got called into the manager's office for a scolding.

"This is not appropriate response to my emails !!!"

The manager had printed out each acknowledment email and taken a highlighter to each one to emphasize the bad thing that Alana did. "You're kidding me, right? Who has time to do all of that? That's crazy with a capital C.", was my response.

Apparently psycho manager girl did not think one word responses were appropriate, complete sentences were supposed to be used.

I've seen alot of micromanagers in my day but this chick sweeps every category. Congrats to her, she wins the crazy micromanager of the year award! Grand prize - one year's supply of lithium. And this is probably better used on her husband, poor bastard.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Brazilian Boobs

The mail came, no bills, good, Netflix movies, yay! I can watch those until Steve McQueen gets here. Oh, my package from the Brazilian consulate, yay, this must be my visa. WTF? They have sent back everything! Nice form letter, box checked, you forgot the processing fee. WTF? How could they claim that when the money order for the processing fee was in the package of crap they sent back to me! Idiots! GRRRRRR. lol

I need to get Whatevia all over these people :)

Love, getting sweatier and more annoyed!

Steve McQueen returns

The sequel.

Didnt I just have my AC fixed a mere 2 weeks ago?

Today both units are on strike, GRRRRRRRRRR! lol

Steve McQueen, my AC guy is on his way this afternoon. I'm glad its only in the 80's and not 108 like it was last week.

Love, gettin' sweaty and annoyed :)

Why Blog?

In talking to one of my classmate tonight post-exam, I was telling him how I've been blogging HIV Prof and his witty classroom style.

"I dont get the whole blog thing, why do it?"

Interesting question. Not one I cared to delve into after a 3 hour exam but interesting just the same.

I can't answer for everyone but I do this for several reasons.

For myself: I've been journaling since I was 19. Its a good way for a person with a horribly bad memory to remember the random bits and pieces of their life. Its also fun to look back at something from years ago and realize just how much you have changed.

For my current friends: For a long time, as the seasoned foodie in Dallas, I have been annoying and entertaining my friends with word versions of restaurant reviews and cocktail recipies. Now they can come to one place to see them all and I don't have to clog up their email. Also, most of my friends don't live anywhere near me so this gives them a way to catch up on some pieces of my life while not having to be glued to their cell phones.

For future friends: Its interesting that blogs contain more honest text than you will ever find in profiles and instant messaging. Its a different head in blog land, different MOs. I'm getting to know some people I wouldnt otherwise have known existed.

So, in the am or pm I try to post at least one thing.

Also I try to pop over to My Buddy Matt's and see what is going on with him. Matt is the person that got me going on this - Thanks Matt! I think I've known Matt since he was a wee pup of 23. Its interesting to see how much he has changed now on the eve of his big TWO SEVEN :) Thumb through his blog and you will he that he is intelligent, witty and he stuggles - work, romance, political issues, etc. Its great to see the struggle and how he works through each one.

Click. Out to Hawaii to check in on BFLJock79. Are there any new chants? He has an incredible piece that he had written right after 9/11, very powerful. You'll always find the male body posted in volume here, they must be visual motivation for his quest for muscleboydom! :)

Then there are the blogs I started stalking from other links ...

Click, out to DC to sample E-Breechi , fellow grad student and social commentary extraordinaire. Good posts about the state of affairs in DC. Tune in to see if he still wants to be a dad :)

Click, over to Baton Rouge to see whats happening at Brett's Place. Will his friends guilt him into another shirtless competition? Stay tuned!

And then theres Sam, ah Sam. A little word of caution before you sample Sam's Painfully Honest Blog, if you are easily offended by language, sex, drugs, STDs, and the like you are better off not treading here. I can't condone much of what Sam does, BUT neither will I condemn or criticize. I think Sam deserves alot of credit for being painfully honest about his life; if only we could all put our lives out there to this level. This is courage most will never achieve. A truly incredible (and at times scary) path and I wish him nothing but the best.

There are others too, dont feel bad if I left you out, its getting late and I probably need to get my ass to bed! But one more ....

Of course, no evening is complete without a slice of campy pie. Click. Over to Bitch, Please!. I love this blog, its hysterical. I'm sure I will tire of it like an abused SNL skit but not soon! I'm not sure about the Amercian Idol origins of the character, Whatevia, but it looks authentic enough on the site. Check it out, or in the words of Whatevia - "Y'all bitches bettah read ma blog or I'll cut you!" lol, its wrong but funny!

Since I dont watch TV this has become the equivalent of others' addiction to reality shows. Just one difference, these people are real people.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Another Body On The Pile - RIP Date3

I have a neighbor, I call him Gladys Kravitz. I've been calling him that for so long I've forgotten his real name. He's nosey, damn nosey and he lives right behind me. I cringe that his back windows face mine; I keep my blinds closed and make all my guests come in and out through the front.

Apparently I need to step up the stealth. I ran into Gladys in the courtyard.

Gladys: "So who was that I saw you with the other night when you were getting into that nice Infiniti?"

Me: "Date."

Gladys: "Really? How many does that make for you this week, I think I saw you on another earlier this week. "

Me: "I dont know, four or five, its been a slow week." :)

Gladys: "My god thats too many! Why so many? Thats not healthy!"

Me: "Im kidding of course."

Gladys: "Well how did the last one go?"

Me: "It didnt."

Gladys: "Oh well I guess thats just another body on the pile for you, isnt it?"

Me: "Pretty much. Good seeing you again, I've got another victim lined up so you'll understand if I dont stay and chat. "

Gladys is annoying and bitter. Its always a fun house mirror conversation with him. I can remember telling him about my aunt moving an old 1890's house onto her property and renovating it.

Me: "Its just great, its like 4200 square feet, its amazing that you can move a house that big!"

Gladys: "Oh thats nothing, my parents house is 9000 square feet"

Me: "But did they move it?"

Gladys: "No, they had it custom built, everything is imported."

And? Try to follow the conversation please we were talking about moving a house. Funny, in each conversation his parents house has grown another 2000 square feet. I think the next time his parents house comes up they will have annexed New Mexico to handle the additional square footage.

Although Gladys exaggerates in most every way, the date analogy was correct. This is also the reason they get DateX names intially. No sense in getting any closer until they earn the minimum - trust and respect.

Date3 and I had great dinner. I found out Date3 is an attorney, patents. This would explain the sauve ability to argue a point and win, not a feat most are willing to take on with me. The post dinner conversation is where things went south.

Date3: "So listen my friends are having a party Sunday, you should come. You will like all of my real friends, they are A-list people, everyone is 30-35, extremely good looking and they all make 6 figures. "

A-list? 6 figures? Extemely good looking? 30-35? Where to begin? I feel a rant coming on.

Me: "I'm not sure what you mean by A-list, I think that is a term I heard in the 70's but noone has used that since Donna Summer had a career. "

Me: "Also, I am confused as to why would you limit yourself to people that are 30-35, extremely good looking and make six figures. I dont mean to sound judgemental but that sounds superficial, not to mention monotonous."

Date3: "Not superficial, we just dont really have anything in common with folks outside of that age range. And honestly unless someone makes quite a bit of money they will not be able to participate in activities that we enjoy. "

Me: "This might be a good time to tell you that I will be 42 in September. "

Date3: "Oh."

Me: "Also I am in graduate school so I am on a limited budget and probably wont be able to participate in your activities."

Date3: "Oh. Well I still think you will fit in, you have a great face and you dress well."

Me: "LOL, now I feel like I'm pledging some silly sorority. You know counselor, personally I am looking for people that are a little more open minded and let me tell you why. I have friends that range from 19 to 84 years old. They come from all socio-economic, religous and cultural backgrounds imaginable. For example, Clair Luce, you've probably heard of the little company her grandfather started, its call Time, Inc. Shes a billionaire. Then there are my friends in college that work retail for slightly over minimum wage. I find them all attractive in some capactity but I doubt they would measure up to your friends' alternative standards. Clearly they do not fall into your restrictive parameters."

Date3: "Oh. "

Me: "And back to my original statement to you a week ago, we travel in incompatible circles. "

And now that vaguely familiar sound; the subtle thud of another body on the pile :)

Protease Inhibitors - Keep The Boat Docked

Its another week of midterms, my bed a.k.a the study station looks like a book graveyard. I woke up this morning with a yellow highlighter stuck to my forehead. Nice, lol! So I'm back to posting about school stuff in an effort to stay focused.

The interesting thing about HIV is that when it finally does replicate itself inside your T cell then buds off as a seperate virus particle, its inactive. Yes, inactive and therefore not infectious. At this point the virus is like a boat tied to a pier with a thousand ropes, its stuck and it isnt going anywhere.

There is a problem however, the boat has a stowaway - protease. At some point this stowaway wakes up, grabs a knife out of the kitchen, runs out on deck and cuts all the ropes. Off goes the virus in an infectious state.

Protease inhibitors work by surveying all ships and stealing all of protease's knives. This leaves the boat tied to the dock indefinitely. Well, in theory it does. Protease inhibitors work great in the beginning but at some point their efficacy begins to fade. The problem is that protease, in the beginning is using a chef's knife and in the beginning protease inhibitors take all the chef's knives. Then, at some point, some of the proteases get sneaky and switch to a chinese meat cleaver. Protease inhibitors don't recognize chinese meat cleavers so they leave them alone. Ruh, roh.

All is not lost though. I know they are developing broader band inhibitors, ones that will steal any knife that protease carries. Also, I understand that taking two different inhibitors makes each one more effective in the long run.

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Dancer Upstairs

Javier Bardem and Juan Diego Botto star in this slow, curious, sometimes subtle, sometimes violent film.

Bardem is an underated and relatively unknown actor in the States. In his homeland of Spain he rivals Banderas as that nation's film icon. He has been in film since the age of 4. I think this is the first time I've heard Javier Bardem even speak English. The other films I've seen him in, Pedro Almadovar's Live Flesh and Before Night Falls were both in Spanish.

The Dancer Upstairs takes place in some unknown Latin American city. There is a revolution brewing. An unseen, shadowy anarchist, Ezekiel, is picking off members of the established government one at a time and he's using cult indoctrinated women and children to do his dirty work. Bardem is part of the local authority investigating the crimes, Botto is his right hand. Bardem and Botto investigate each one of these incidents, never accumulating important information until a random set of events allows Bardem a critical clue that leads him to Ezekiel's identity.

I laughed out loud when El Presidente stops his car and rolls down his bullet-proof window to oogle three young girls in Catholic girls gone bad outfits. Um, Senor Presidente, don't you find it odd that those girls in the short plaid skirts and thigh high white stockings are just standing around your gated complex? Oh my, what do they have in their skirts? Are those 357, nickle plated, high performance revolvers? Why yes they are! Silly El Presidente!

Bardem has a boring marriage, his wife's only passion is in selling cosmetics. An irony in the face of martial law and a rapidly disappearing government. Bardem, in the course of the investigation, develops an affair with his daughter's ballet teacher, a seemingly dainty flower who is afraid of the dark. Bardem goes to great lengths to protect the dancer. But when is the cost too great? Bardem makes some unbelievable choices in the name of love.

The music that runs through this film is eery and appropriate, I kinda liked it. Its sometimes jazz-blues ala Etta James and sometimes reminiscent of Argentine Tango.

Good film, definitely rent worthy on a night of introspection but not Bardem's best. I still think his best is Before Night Falls, the gut-wrenching true story of Cubano novelist, Reinaldo Arenas.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Blackberry Mojito


  • 2 ounce light rum
  • 12 blackberries
  • 10 mint leaves
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 ounce simple syrup (just equal parts sugar and water)
  • soda water
  • garnish

In a 12 ounce highball glass muddle mint, syrup, berries and lime juice. Fill glass with crushed ice and stir. Add rum, stir. Add a little soda water, stir. More ice, stir. Garnish with left over mint and berries.


I tried a Splenda version but yuk, don't, its hideous. Maybe I did it on purpose just so I would have to make another? Hmmm. Also tried a version with blueberries, very nice!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Don't Suffocate Your Child

Oh yeah, good advice. I'm sure most parents wouldn't think about not suffocating their children. Sheesh!

I went to Target today to get some more storage bins to stuff with garage sale items. I almost died laughing when I saw this sticker on the inside of the bin.

I guess this warning is for the same lady who didn't realize that coffee is served hot.

A Tale Of Two Thais

Thai Nipa
4315 Lemmon Ave
Dallas, TX 75219
Phone: 214-526-6179

I whined and I whined about how there are no good Thai restaurants in my neighborhood.

"I have to go all the way up to Lovers Lane go get Thai food at Mango and really its not even real Thai, its schizo Thai!", I whined to my friend Mark

"How 'bout Toy's?" - Mark said.

Oh yeah, thats right, I always forget about Toys, its so small and in such a strange strip mall.

"How 'bout Thai Nipa?" - Mark said.

Thai Nipa? No, I think I've seen it though. Isnt that on Lemmon?

So off we go to Thai Nipa.

Don't bother getting dressed up, really. In fact, I think you if are still in your jammies or maybe boxers and wife beater, that would be entirely acceptable. It seems to be largely take out service anyway. You will not see or be seen here; noone will care if you drive a freshly detailed 500SL or rusted out El Camino filled with empty Whataburger bags. This is about the plate.

The Thai Egg Rolls surprised me. I was expecting light summer fare; the clear rice paper rolled variety with herbs. Instead, the plate the server brought had two large torpedos, HUGE. The torpedos were stuffed with all forms of cabbage plus pork granules and some herbs; they were deep fried and a spicy sweet sauce with chopped peanuts tagged along. DEE-licious.

I had the Spicy Eggplant with Basil & Shrimp. YUMM-y. I had a similar dish at Toys which was also good but Toy's uses much more herb in their preparation. I think this is because Toy's is vegetarian only. Nipa's rendition was just the right amount of basil, hot pepper and fish sauce. I felt comfortable full after finishing, not like I needed to unbutton and assume the Al Bundi position.

Mark had the Thai Chicken with Black Mushrooms. He wanted it a little spicy but there must have been a communication gap. The server responded as though she understood. "Oh, you like a spicy, I make a spicy". She giggled and covered her mouth in that cute Asian girl way then mumbled something in Thai or whatever to the cook. Whatever she said must have been Thai for launch a flame thrower and scorch the hell out of Mark's mucosal linings. A wee bit warm. Even I could see the red pepper flakes were far more numerous than they should have been. Ouch. Mark is a good sport though, he managed to eat half of it without spontaneously combusting.

"Uh oh, I think I feel the ring of fire coming later on." - Mark said

"Dont worry, I'll bring over the blue ice boxers for you later." - I said, being the good friend.

Hey, what are friends for?

Be careful when asking for spice at Thai Nipa.

Thai Nipa is very inexpensive, except for the large fish dishes, everything is about $6-8. I would imagine that the lunch menu is even less expensive. Service was good, not surprising since we were 2 of 3 people seated.

Also good and on the other side of Lemmon

Toys Cafe
4422 Lemmon Ave Ste B
Dallas, TX 75219
Phone: 214-528-7233

Toy's will only do cash.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Dallas: #1 Real Estate Market In The US

Its true. It also explains a lot of what I have been seeing in Dallas since the early 2000's.

CNN Money did a study of large and mid sized real estate markets in the US. The overwhelming message was that, in general, real estate values will start to level off or in some cases they predict it will even drop, thus ending this major boom we have been experiencing. But, there are exceptions - Dallas, Houston, Tucson, Las Vegas, etc.

Basically they calculated the median home cost and the median salary then ranked cities in terms of affordability. Dallas came out number one; our real estate values are the lowest considering our relatively high median salary. This explains why in 2000, 2001 the construction of these $500,000 townhomes accelerated rather than diminished. Take a look around OakLawn and Love Field, there are so many of these 1/2 million dollar townhomes its staggering. Welcome to the new neighborhood for empty nesters and dual income no kid families.

Take a look at these that are going up across the street from me.

ParkCities Townhomes Posted by Picasa

ParkCities Townhomes Posted by Picasa

ParkCities Townhomes Posted by Picasa

These start at $300K for the small 1500 sq ft units and they go up to $500K. I have a 1050 sq ft townhome that sells for $125K. You can see the huge discrepancy. This will definitely be good for owners in my complex, we have nowhere to go but up.