Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Scarf and The Tattoo

These days it is rare to see a woman protect her coiffure with a scarf. In the sixties, women commonly put fashionable scarves over their hairdos to keep the wind from negatively intervening in their appearance. I remember my mother had a number of decorative scarves; silky ones with patterns, nylon ones with simple polka dots, and filmy colored ones that looked like colored smoke.

I hadn’t thought of this in years, but this morning at Taco Bell in my preparations for Chinese School, the little bent lady put a scarf on her head before she headed outside.

Her scarf reminded me of the time when my dad was in charge of the Cub Scout banquet and awards ceremony.

An average sized man, my dad was an ex-Marine, had a wiry, athletic build and a haircut that bordered on a crew cut. This was when I was in second grade, so that would make me seven-ish. I am not sure where the plan came from, but it was decided that he would wear an American Indian costume. This consisted of his brown work jeans, a vest fashioned from a chamois skin, and a headband. With or without a feather, no one can remember that part. The reason for the lapse of memory on that minor point was the major point on his arm. There was the matter of the tattoo of the eagle with a banner in its beak bearing “TEXAS” and “USMC” above and below the regal bird. This was superimposed over a three and a half inch star. He was not particularly proud of the tattoo, but also felt that the effect of a Native American wearing a Texas star and eagle on his bicep would not appear authentic.

I suppose the thought to wrap a scarf around his upper arm came from old western movies where waves of the red man (in truth mostly Mexicans and Italians) ran to their cinematic deaths in the face of heroic Caucasians firing Model 94’s from behind wagon wheels. Those guys had scarves and bandanas and wampum all over the place.

The effect of the scarf really did add quite a bit to the overall look of the costume, but the filmy red one let the blue of the tattoo show a little too well. So they covered it with a yellow one. The proud eagle could still be seen through the colored smoke. A blue one, an orange one, a green one finally did the trick. Of course, it would look lop-sided not to have at least one or two on the other arm. But they didn't carry the same urgency, and thus were not as critically regarded. The most colorful Swedish Apache was ready for the banquet.

As he stood up there in front of all the Cubs and their parents, I was proud of my dad who was no longer a machinist from Monsanto Chemical Company; he was the tough, wild, wearing-a-chamois-vest-with-no-shirt warrior, passing on the honors to the young adventurers in the ancient light of fluorescent tubes in an elementary school cafeteria, back in the historic days of 1967.

And I tell you, the effect of the colorful cloth strips around his arms made him look downright brave.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Adios Cinder

Adios, Mi Amiga

Well, in our office, the double-edged sword of luck has made its return pass. Two and a half years ago, good fortune smiled on us and Our Cindy got here as a web writer. We were privileged to acquire such a clever, intelligent and dynamic addition to our team. Now she is leaving. Dang it.

Cindy had reluctantly ascended to the bullseye that is the Director of Publications. An impossible job with impossible demands and no real authority to get things the way they are supposed to work. She has done as well as anyone could do in that position. And all the while, we still like her. THAT’s an accomplishment.

Cindy is mischief incarnate. She can’t be trusted in situations where decorum and conventional wisdom dictate straight faces. Ever-ready to instant message me with a comment that makes me either nearly spew my water/coffee in the direction of my monitor or suppress a laugh until it makes me koff-out-loud, the infamous KOL. I even snorted once. Once. JUST ONCE! pretty much.

With impeccable taste in music and great trivia and pun skills, CinderGonz will likely liven up her new place of employment before she takes over and makes them all Cindy converts who would never trade her for anything.

Here, we will be sad, and although she doesn’t take up hardly any space physically, she fills the office with amusement, a quick smile and contagious laugh.

Oh yeah, and she’s a good writer, too. I guess that’s how she escaped.

We will sorely miss you, Cindy, but stay tuned for bulletins and updates as they occur. We could never replace you, because if we tried, you just wouldn’t come back!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What the HECK?

I fear I am revealing too much of myself to you, my “readers”. I hope the high esteem you hold me in does not suffer from the revelation of more of my peculiarities. Let’s see, you already know that I (sort of) like the smell of skunk, I eat Jack in the Box tacos, and I feed my daughter at Taco Bell, no matter how impaired her food handling skills.

I now reveal yet another unexpected bit of information; I like Circus Peanuts. Nothing like a real peanut, the only thing that the Circus Peanut has in common with a real peanut is the overall shape and the pattern of slight indentations on the surface. The bright fluorescent orange color is pretty far from an actual peanut. They are a little on the large size in the realm of peanuts, and the taste has no resemblance to peanuts here on earth.

The overall experience of eating even one or two of these freaks of candydom comes together in a remembrance of a simpler time before serving sizes and nutrition information on packages. The thing that I like about them is the compression that I get when I put tooth to peanut. It’s like you’re getting something accomplished.

I got a package the other day at CVS when I paid for a prescription and got my big winner CVS reward of a dollar. The peanuts caught my eye on my way out and at 99¢ fit nicely into the budget of the coupon.

When I got to the car, I tore into the bag to experience the age-old sensation of the first bite. It had been a long time, days really, since I had acquired a bag of them, so the payoff did not disappoint.

I realize that the provided photo looks a lot like something from a CSI show. One can see the clean shear on the peanut (along with the semi-flattened pattern) showing that it was a little al dente. But that didn’t stop me. They’re usually pretty soft, and that’s good, too. I don’t think there is any way to mess up the experience of something so messed up to begin with, there are only subtle shadings of guilty pleasure. And it’s not like I could eat these things more than once or twice a year (yes, the above reference was a joke). It’s just that sometimes, the thought or memory of something so weird catches your eye.

You hate me now, don’t you?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

OMG, Funny stuff

OK, I have this Sitemeter that I can log on to and see where the visitors come from, what url referred them and if there was a Google search or whatever led them to the venerable GeezerChron.

SOooOOoo, awhile back, you may remember that I reviewed a quaint little BBQ joint by the name of The Naked Rib in Manvel. I have been getting a lot of hits on that particular archive from October, and they are coming from all parts of the country, continent, and even Europe! I am truly international, it seems. The only thing is, Sitemeter shows the duration of the visit, and a great number of them (usually not from around here) come for less than a second.

Then it dawned on me; Mr. Google picks up words that are Googled, and apparently, my title seems to show up in, ah, unSEEMLY searches. When the clicker sees that my review is for food and there is a coy little pink pig on a welcome mat, they go someplace else.

This cracks me up. I am thinking of slyly naming some of my other posts to frustrate the obviously already frustrated web sufers out there across this sick, nasty globe of ours.

The Washing Machine post comes up about the same amount, indicating to me that there must be a lot of dirty people out there!

It's fun to get our fun in funny ways!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What Was I Thinking

This afternoon, my wife called me. She asked if I had any money. That’s never a good sign. Especially when my answer was, “Seven dollars”. I knew the context of the conversation was going to be centered around dinner.

Apparently, she had done some preliminary work, because my spouse noted that for seven dollars, I could acquire 14 tacos at Jack in the Box. This I knew because the name of my youngest was invoked followed by the information that she was ready for the aforementioned delicacy. Photobucket
Great. I am not a huge fan of the Box; in 30 weeks of Chinese school, I only resorted to J-n-the-B twice. So to receive the mission to actually go there to procure eats was somewhat disappointing. But the thought of the Jack in the Box Taco began to intrigue me.

This I must admit; though repulsive to look at, that wallet of leathery corn tortilla and greasy meat plus who-knows-what carries a certain allure.

I remember my first Jack in the Box taco. We were on the way home from our neighbor’s little league game and for reasons I still don’t understand, we stopped in at the Box for a quick dinner/snack. I remember standing in the store, at the corner of Palmer and 21st street. The cold fluorescent lights buzzing overhead and the paper-hatted staff leaping to our order like a cheery little army. The taste of the taco was so different, as was the entire experience. I wasn’t the taco connoisseur then that I am today, but that was a singular event in my development.

I got to the Alvin restaurant this evening and ordered the fourteen tacos. The vapid staff oozed over to the taco station and fulfilled my order. Shuffling to the front, the girl limply put the two bags on the counter. I counted the order and found that she had satisfied it correctly. I congratulated her for her excellent work, and I got a smile in return. That shocked me. I wasn’t aware that anyone in that establishment knew how.

On my return to the car, I plopped the bags in the floorboard of the passenger side, well aware of the grease content of the cargo. Surely, had the bags of tacos sat on the seat the entire ten-minute trip home, I would have smelled the entrée for several days. However, the aroma that filled the car on the way home was intoxicating. I could barely control my salivary glands. They threatened to drown me. Waves of taco scent washed over me as I struggled to control the vehicle on the way back to my starving family.

On arriving home, the banquet was poured out on the kitchen counter. One of the tacos slipped the bonds of its paper envelope and I pounced on it like a duck on a junebug. I didn’t even get a plate. A napkin sufficed as I tore into the treat. I crouched at the corner of the coffee table and informed the girls that the tacos were here.

I ate five of them and by the time the dust and tortilla shards had settled, I could have eaten five more. As good as they taste though, I find they lack substance. I can’t identify one or more of the internal workings of these creatures either, but I maintain that there is a secret ingredient that makes the eater want more. And more. Yes, and more.

My hope is that you, gentle reader, have not altered your opinion of me, knowing the weakness I have for something as far from a real taco as one can get. I mean, a food reviewer with my credentials (weight, mainly) can’t eschew certain cuisine just because of where it came from. Please forgive me my apparent lapse.

It could be Secret Sauce. You think?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Vindication and The Grace Period


I was driving along, minding my own business this lovely overcast evening, on my second trip to The Discount Warehouse Hangar, when a police cruiser behind me lit up his lights. I was just about to pull into the parking lot anyhow, and so I went ahead and drove in and snagged an open space. The police car was close in behind me, and he turned on his spotlight to make the inside of my little car like high noon. I remembered a police sergeant friend of mine telling me that the best way to avoid getting shot, beat up or tazered is to sit still and wait for the officer to ASK for license and proof of insurance; don’t immediately dive for the glove box or grab for your wallet. Just wait until they can see every move you are making. Especially at night. Everyone feels better about the situation.

So, officer Green nonchalantly strolled up and asked for my license, since my proof of liability card was in the visor. He had his 4 cell light handy and casually checked my stickers. He did a double, threeple, fourple-take and said, “Did you just get this?”

“Yeah, December 30...” grinning. I was beginning to feel pretty sly at this point.

“Hmm, well, the computer says that you’re expired. I guess you’re not in the system yet. If you get stopped again, that’ll be why,” he said, grinning.

Before I could stop it, the triumphant “HAH!” escaped my foolishly grinning mug. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he had put the tazer up my nose. But he must be a generous soul, and I thank him for that.

Just for your information, the Grace Period is over. Get your tags and inspections up to date.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Dining Hints For the Casted

If you decide to eat at Taco Bell, be sure you can bend both elbows sufficiently. For some menu items, this is not an issue. But if you are twelve years old (right arm in a cast) and can't hold a Crunchwrap Supreme with both hands, get something smaller.

My daughter was lunching with me today, and she is a sad reminder that you need full mobility and/or hands the size of a catcher's mitt to wrestle one of these into submission. It was akin to watching a dog chase its tail; an exercise in frustration. Except in the dog's case, nacho cheese and sour cream don't get everywhere.

So unless you have help, a plate and a lot of time, choose carefully!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Cold Start to 2008

Yes, this morning was the coldest of this entire winter, which started yesterday. The newspeople were clamoring about the lows being bitterly cool, as opposed to the normal "tepid" for this time of year on the Texas Gulf Coast.

There were, however, reports of just barely sub-freezing temps all up and down the coast and inland, mainly. There was even a report of 17 degrees at the windshield factory in Conroe.

In Alvin this morning there was no ice in sight, save for the frost-ish sheen on the roof of my car. But the dawn was really beautiful, before it turned gray. Glad I was up.
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