Category Archives: Life

Anyone Can Cook

“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.

But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.

Last night, I experienced something new, an extra-ordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core.

In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto: ‘Anyone can cook.’ But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.” – Anton Ego, Ratatouille

Father’s Day 2015: The Cinnamon Roll Test

This Father’s Day I found myself in a unique situation: I was the first one up this morning. Usually I’m the one that has to be rousted out of bed with a cattle prod on the weekends, but I had to be out late the night before so mostly everyone in the house went to bed after 2 AM. I already received the most amazing gifts on my pillow for me to find when I got home, so my wonderful wife and kids let me know how much they love and appreciate me and because my schedule threw them out of whack I figure why wake them, at least directly.

It still being an early hour I decided to step out to the grocery store to get a tasty treat for us all to start the day with. I don’t know what it is like in your household but in ours I enjoy cooking, baking, making yummy tasty food for us to eat. Because I like to cook, Father’s Day is a pretty solid choice in our house if you want to have a dinner made by some white guy with a bbq trying to pretend he’s Guy Fieri.

Once I held the tube in hand promising Grand things from a tiny baker wearing nothing but a hat and scarf name Pillsbury (seriously, we’ve been letting this androgynous little streaker tell us what’s good all these years? America, we’ve got to talk…)

Pillsbury Doughboy

I thought it would be a fun little experiment (with way too many variables to be scientific) to see, like in the commercials, if I bake these cinnamon rolls the family will smell the sweet gooey promise of love will they wake up and come downstairs?

09:04 AM PDT: The oven has beeped, letting me know it is ready to receive the non-stick pan filled with the unending promise of good things to come.

09:14 AM PDT: The air has begun to take on the scent of cinnamon and temporary lifts in our mood from the sweet blessed butter and sugar. I hear no movent yet, except for my dog Jack who is wandering around, trying to understand what’s going on.

09:24 AM PDT: You can’t possibly be in any part of the house and not smell the sweet baked goodness that is already beginning to overtake my senses as I begin to visualize pouring the white sticky frosting all over the… wait a second, this is taking on an entirely unintended tone. Let’s move on and not discuss what just happened.

09:26 AM PDT: Back on track. The rolls are almost done and I’m starting to lose all faith in the promises and dreams that the advertising world has been selling me all these years. I may have to face facts and realize that I can’t buy happiness in a box, or in this case a round tube. (Side note: I love opening a Pillsbury Roll can because it gives you a brief moment to pretend you are unraveling some secret spy tape to reveal the code that will save humanity… just me? Again, let’s move on…)

09:32 AM PDT: Reflected on how much I regretted admitting to the spy tape thing while I took the pan out of the oven because these things are done. I apply their frosting in a tasteful and respectful manner and then realize the air conditioner has been running. No one has come down because the air intake has been stealing all of the smells! That’s got to be it.

09:40 AM PDT: It’s been eight minutes, no air conditioner running, there’s got to be cinnamon, sugar and bread smell all up in the nooks and crannies of this casa. I should have known commercials were a lie since I never had as much fun as these kids had with their toys.

Where the hell is this play area they are in? Is this a mini-recreation of a part of Death Valley or some pseudo-valley somewhere? Was there ever a Dad in America that built all of these intricate play surfaces for their kids, because if there is than THAT guy is the guy we’ve all been celebrating Father’s Day for since the 80’s.

Oh yeah, still no one up.

09:55 AM PDT: No, I haven’t been watching 80’s and 90’s commercials on YouTube for the past 15 minutes… I swear. I got excited when I thought that there may be some movement upstairs, I think it was just the house settling (and when it comes to me, boy are we talking about settling). I may have to pull out the backup plan of brewing some coffee to at least peak the interest of my beloved wife. Again, this is for science folks.

10:05 AM PDT: I have brewed what may be classified as the first diabolical cup of coffee, or at least strategic coffee. As I sip said coffee I am left wondering, “What ever happened to the Honeycomb  Hideout? Did the land get re-zoned and now a drive-thru Starbucks stands where pro wrestlers and other random types would happen by to measure the size of cereal?”

Diabolical Coffee?
Diabolical Coffee?

10:10 AM PDT: I have contact from the upstairs realm. A textual message has been delivered to my mobile smart device from my marital partner. Cinnamon rolls and coffee have had nothing to do with this. Although the experiment can be considered a failure, there’s still coffee and cinnamon rolls so who cares?


This Was a Dumb Idea

There’s a  good reason that I, historically, don’t make New Year’s resolutions. It never goes well, it always leaves me with a feeling of failure, and now I’ve got several back days of entries to do. I suppose I should have said that I would write an entry for every day of the year, not every day. So that’s 365 things that I will write during this year, and this way I don’t have to be overly concerned about writing something every day.

I finally went back and read the entries of the past and did see that I did talk about traditions (a standing question for at least two posts). The thing that I neglected to mention about traditions that I’ve talked about before is that they are important to me because I know that I’m also creating memories right now. I don’t mean that in a cliche way, I know that the things we do now our children will carry with them forever. I know this because there as a time where my Dad and I had our own tradition. Saturday morning I would wake up and wait for my him to wake up as well. After giving him enough time to gather himself we would hop into the car and get donuts for the family and donut holes for me. We would get back home and I would have my little white bag of donut holes to eat while watching Saturday morning cartoons, providing my Dad with a bit more solace on his Saturday morning.

There are other things that we did as  a family that I’d like to do with my family as well, like “camping.” I put the quotation marks around it because my Dad’s idea of camping was similar to the my wife’s idea of camping, with the use of camper instead of a tent. I’m OK with camping either way, but I don’t own a camper.

Maybe I should make a resolution to go camping this summer with at least Emily. Camping can be real fun, especially in the right area. I love camping around the redwood area. The sheer magnitude of older redwood trees amazes me.

Thanks for dropping in.



Hello again. The date and time of publishing is a lie, but if you are reading this chronologically (why? there’s so much better enterainment to read out there) than you know what’s going on.

During this commute home I’ve been, for whatever reason, insisting on using my iPad to do these entries. I’ve got a cover that also doubles as a keyboard, so it’s not like I’m trying to auto-text this entry (although that may be a fun thing to try to do from the Android phone, without fixing any errors try to swipe-text an entire entry). I don’t know why I’m doing this when I also have a laptop that isn’t much bigger but has a bigger keyboard. It may be the geek in my driving this, I don’t know. I do know that using an online platform to do it isn’t practical, and I should really write them up somewhere else (maybe bust out the Hanxwriter…) instead of having the lag that can sometimes come from using this setup in this manner. It doesn’t help that this thing seems to also be cutting in and out just in this text field, you know… the place I’m trying to do all the typing (first world problems fo’ real).

I do have to appreciate, however, that we live in a world where I can almost replace a computer with just a tablet. That’s probably the reason that I’m insisting on doing the entries this way, this is the stuff that I dreamed about as a kid. A little tablet that I can access all this cool stuff from. It truly is nerd-vana.

Train rides done!


Still a Cry Baby….

Yeah, another day of not feeling well leads me to another day of trying to come up with an original thought to write about when all I did the day before was to sleep while having episodes of Workaholics play un-watched through my medicated eyelids. It was either this day or the next where all I did was sleep until close to 2 PM. Those days are frightening to me because the medicated sleep can just go on so long. I can’t even imagine what people on hard core medications must have to deal with.

In the entry for yesterday I said I was going to go back and see if I did write about the weekend traditions that we have. I didn’t look back yet though because it spawned another memory/thought just now. I’m sitting on this here commuter train at nearly 44 years old and there is a possibility I’ve sat on this very same train when I was countless different ages. I don’t think there has been a decade in my life where I haven’t used BART in some capacity.

This means I could have been on this train when I was 9 years old and riding out to spend the weekend with my Dad. Could you even imagine putting a nine year old on a train for an hour in this day and age? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it was bad for my parents to do this. It was a different time, somehow. Kids would walk to the nearest park or store on their own. Parents were OK with sending their children out into the world on a nice summer’s day and only expected them back for lunch and “before the street lights come on.” Sorry, where was I?

So I’ve been on the geography of this train system many different moments in time and space. I’m sure, speaking theoretically with taking the theory of the ever-expanding universe, I’ve never truly been on a train at the same spot at a different place in time, but I’ve ridden this bit of geography quite a lot in my life time. Noticing these types of things are the dangerous thoughts, I have to wonder if they are the mid-life thoughts? “What else could I have done with the entire time I’ve spent on these trains?” I’m going to say right now that those are also the stupid thoughts because  they can’t ever be answered. I’m going to say that those thoughts are also stupid because every trip took me to where I needed to be so I could be at this moment right now.

Moral of the story? Don’t think on the train. It’s better to take a nap. I’ve never looked back on my life and regretted the naps.