Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tracy's In Town

I miss Tracy. We'd have drinks after work and see who suffered the most slings and arrows the previous week. She turned me on to Jager Bombs. Always something of the big city mouse in the small country town, Tracy went back to Las Vegas last year. Or maybe it was two years ago? God, time flies. She still comes back on occasion, usually to Jazz Fest. Caught up with her, and her boyfriend (Rex), at Jazzeppi's tonight. 

Couple of drinks. Lot's of talk. Plenty of laughs. Good to see Tracy again. Though all too short a visit. Wish I could have stayed longer. Wish I had less stress under my eyelids. Wish I didn't have to work tomorrow. But it is what it is. And I'm thankful for the couple of hours I was able to spend with her. 

Maybe I'll meet her on a trip to LV. Or maybe I'll have to wait until next Jazz Fest. But we'll hang out again. At some bar. Somewhere. And we'll always find something to laugh about.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Liam's Big News

Sitting at the office, putting out the usual horde of fires, and Liam messages me:
 And there was MUCH rejoicing for us McDougals.

I never made NJHS. Cindy never made NJHS. As far as I know, he's the first lad in the family down here to do it. Very proud of him. He deserves it.

And there was a big cookie cake waiting for him when he arrived home today!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Paleo Pollo en Tomate

Long, non-stop day. Non-degraded biodegradable stitch dug out of my belly. Lunch on the run with Liam. And clearing the smoldering debris from multiple themobaric bombs that I inadvertently initiated at the office. Two steps forward. One step back. All resulting in a massive case of tired tired tired.

Didn't feel like being overly creative today. So I tried something simple and quick, but eventually delicious: Paleo Pollo en Tomate.

Rotisserie chicken torn into manageable pieces. Tomato sauce. Farm-grown, grass-fed cheese. Dash of oregano. And a line of Sriracha. Mixed in a skillet. Heated until the cheese melted. Thrown into a bowl. Scarfed down rapidly.

Prep time? 1 minute. Cook time? 5 minutes. Enjoyment level? Very high! Happy tummy time.

And to all a good night.

Monday, April 23, 2012

BVE Strings Concert - 2012

Both of my lovelies played today. Fantastic way to start off the morning. Post workout, mind you. Chest & triceps then a concert.

Meg with her perfect posture. Singing along to Rolling In The Deep. Old McDonald pacing faster and faster. Plucking. And her favorite part: bowing to the audience.

Liam and his tall, looming bass. Notes bouncing off the gym walls like slow bluesy balloons. Sail. Scheherazade. Adele. And the thrum of Antagonist.

Cindy took the day off. Glenda in tow. Beautiful day. Beautiful tunes. I'm twice blessed. More so than I could have ever imagined.

They concluded with something of a duet. Meg's band (4th & 5th grade) backed up by Liam's chamber orchestra (mostly 7th & 8th.) I grabbed a video of it.  See how well the computer dork can make use of his technology.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Could Have Been Worse

See how my thumb sinks into the tire? That's shouldn't happen.

Prepare for the irony.

On Friday, I told Keith & Greg, "I haven't had any tire issues in two years." Bad karma. And it caught up with me less than five miles into a twenty mile bike ride. Pedaling suddenly sucked. Balance sucked worse. Steering sucked the most. Was hoping for a slow leak. Hit it with CO2. Then the whole thing went flat again within fifteen seconds. Had a spare tube. But no spare air. Fortunately Jenn was able to go back for her truck. And I limped home.

Could have been worse. However, I did manage a new personal record in the lake. Four laps x 440 meters. Nearly a mile. Longest distance I've ever swam in open water.

So I got that going for me...

Friday, April 20, 2012


My old mentor, the globe trotting technophilospher, Chris Miller, asked me to eyeball a recent pet project of his. The result? Two hours. Two big beers. And a week of notes to wade through.

No time for reading during the day. Work too brackish. Tackled it after-hours. My favorite haunt: Rooney's Irish Pub. No smokers tonight. Nearly vacant. Tall mug of ice-cold Woodchuck. iPad for  easy references. Ballpoint pen. Half-inch-thick stack of Miller's stream of consciousness. And a blues playlist on the jukebox.

Surprising stuff. Expecting to read one thing. Finding anything but. If it hadn't come from Miller, I'd suspect a prank. Just THAT crazy.

Not sure either of us know how far down the rabbit hole this will lead. But definitely potential for much adventure. I'll either spend too little time, or too much on it. Only one way to find out.

Friday, April 06, 2012


Minor out-patient thing. Get some lumps nipped. Nothing vile or dangerous. Mainly a victim of my limited vanity. Mom and April (my massage therapist) noticed one on my back. More pronounced after my weight loss. Couldn't bear the thought of somebody eyeballing it while I'm topless. At a race. Or training. Them wondering: What's that mutation he's sporting? So out it comes.

Bit of a wait. But interesting discovery. My physiological stats are quite excellent. Blood pressure: 125 over 72. Resting heart rate: 56. Nurse commented: You have the stats of an athlete. Told her: Wish I could perform like one.

Eventually, made it back to the operating room.Cold and comfortable. Nurse takes a razor to my belly. And back. Shaving off two thirds of my body hair in order to operate on a patch of skin the size of a quarter. Doc "numbs" my abdomen first. Trying not to breath. Trying not to pull away as the needle bites. One. Two. Three times. Then I hear the tone of the cautery. Knowing he's slicing me open. Not feeling, but still knowing. Something warm slides trickles. A daub of cotton from the nurse. And he says, "It's out." Thankfully I don't feel the stitches. 

Then over to the mutation on my freshly-shaved back. (Didn't even know I had hair there!) One. Two. Three "Big Sticks" from the needle. The third biting deep. Heat spreading briefly before I'm numbed again. Familiar tone. He's cutting. I imagine a whiff of charred flesh wafts past me. The tone changes, even higher pitched. For the briefest microsecond, I light up with pain. Like a towel snapping my ass in the locker room. Gone before my voice can find a scream. Not sure what happened there, but it (thankfully) only happened once. Then the stitching. Many more, this time. "I put some extra in there," he says. So I can train sooner. No stitches on the outside. Medical Super Glue. It will "flake off" in a week, Nurse says. Lower the table. Unfasten the grounding strap. And I'm done.

No sedation means no delay. I change into my street clothes. Sign a document that proves I survived. And off to work I go. 

Thursday, April 05, 2012


Not much personal downtime here. Seriously. Either working, training, reading, writing, brainstorming my next adventure, or occasionally catching up on DVR. Some kind of pathological aversion to boredom.

Enjoyed a touch of downtime tonight. With Meg. Watching The History Channel. Feature on the Shroud Of Turin. Digitalized rendering of a face.More questions than answers. Then Meg asks, "Why is it called Good Friday when Jesus died? That wasn't good..." I have no reply for her. But we enjoy the show. And the time together. With her stretched out. Weight on my back. Head on my shoulder.

I could get used to that. At least enjoy it while it lasts.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


I'm teaching a class later this month. Based on my twelve suggested changes for 2012. A ninety minute lecture of sorts. Light and entertaining. Informative. Hope to help some people. More on that later. For now, I need a picture. Of me. That other people will see.

I don't share this often, but I have a deep seated fear of being photographed. Goes back to my awkward pre-puberty years. Acne. An emaciated build. 80s hair. Glasses thick enough to see through time. Didn't make for pretty pictures. So I've never felt photogenic. And I avoid pictures. 

Anyway. Went to the beach. Liam. Bike. Camera. Goggles. Snap snap. Click click. Pictures along the shore. Gulls in the background. Serious look. Happy look. Encouraging look. Trying Not To Be Scared look. Hopefully the girls at work can Photoshop Ol Jon into a semblance of presentability. 

If not, my class may have fewer students than I'd like.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Monday's Karma

Eleven hours behind a keyboard. Slayed my digital villain, though. Tired. On the edge of angry. Driving to my usual lonely haunt. And the sky explodes. Peals of lightning lick the ground. Instant deluge. Everyone center-laning. Though there is no center lane. Crawl through the puddles into downtown Gulfport. Daylight dimmed to a purple bruise. Still pouring. Wind turning it nearly sideways. Perfect parking. Ten feet away from the door. Jump out my car. Bolt for it. Half soaked in three leaping strides. Drying my glasses, I ask for a pint. The barmaid says, "Storm blew a fuse. All our kegs are down. All of them." I blindly stare at her fuzzy outline. No need to finish drying. "Back to the rain for me," I say. "I sorry," she says.

And this is Monday's karma: Sober and angry on a defeated ride home through the laughing remains of a dying monsoon.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Paleo Food - Mustard Chicken & Sweet Potato Fries

My second stab at Paleo. Still learning as I go. Today's menu included mustard chicken. I mixed up stone ground mustard, spicey brown, and a few other ingredients. Then let the chicken marinade for several hours. Turned out nice, but I should have tenderized the breasts a little. Made them flatter so they had a more consistent surface. Some were thicker than others, and didn't cook evenly. And I should have grilled them differently, more traditionally. Had them in a pan and they sort of simmered in their own juice. But the chicken came out nicely and I added some left over sauce to the top of the finished product.

Also made some sweet potato fries. Interesting lessons there. One potato produces a ton of fries. Not knowing this, I cut up two of them. Easily enough fries for six people. And I'll have to experiment more with the baking process. After 25 minutes at 450 degrees they were cooked, but not crispy. I want crispy!

My favorite part was brewing up a batch of homemade ketchup! Far easier than I thought. Fairly cheap. And super double extra delicious. Far better than any store bought supplies. Without the carbs. Without the High Fructose Corn Syrup. And one batch will last weeks at our rate of consumption.

Another fun and healthy experiment. Plus Cindy's digging the Paleo. Or at least she's doing a good job of fooling me. But at least I'm cooking?