Pet Cobra

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Monday, February 28, 2005

If Movie Critics' Oscar Hype Were To Be Applied To My Work Day

"Jason's day at work with a head cold is the hip, cool, roller coaster ride of the spring - one that should not be overlooked by the Academy." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"Jason may not be able to smell - but I smell OSCAR!" - Gene Shalit, The Today Show

"Mr. Avant's darkly humorous portrayal of a mid-level HR professional stricken with a sinus infection reminds the audience of such classic experimental European films as Truffaut's Les Comps du Vichyssoise Banal and Werner Herzog's Mein Gott, Wo Is Der Kenufenhoesgenstermietegnessenwalt, with a hint of the unique brilliance of the great Don Knotts. " - James Lipton, Inside The Actor's Studio

"That Mr. Avant was able to make through the day while suffering from a massive head cold is a triumphant reassertion of the human spirit! Thumbs way, way up." - Roger Ebert, At The Movies

"A sad foray into self-pity, made the more unbearable by cheap remarks about Sean Penn. Thumbs down." - Richard Roeper, At The Movies

Weekend Update

A busy one. Saturday was Lucas' birthday party (his actual birthday is this Wednesday, so I have a couple more days before it hits me that OHMYGODHESONEWHEREDIDTHETIMEGO????); as you can tell by the picture below, it was met with mixed reactions. Who can blame him? A bunch of people show up, bring a bunch of new stuff, pick him up, get in his face, pass him around like a rugby ball (literally - our house was packed to the rafters with friends, grandparents, other babies; it was very scrum-like), make him wear funny hats...the Scarring For Life has begun. After the intital bout of sensory overload, he settled into the groove and had a good time.

Sunday was spent cleaning up. We went to Kelly and Ian's for Oscar Night; pizza and champagne was served, as is the Circle's tradition. Tivo enabled us to delay the start, meaning that we got to skip the commericals, the acceptance speeches for Best Short Film, Animated and Best Art Direction, and Beyonce's 20-odd musical numbers. Chris Rock did well; his opening bit was hilarious (I'll take this opportunity to address one of my readers directly. Sean Penn, please do us all a favor. The next time you feel like imposing your sense of drunken self-importance upon the rest of us, I want you to take a deep breath, pause, and say the following two words: "Shanghai Surprise".) and hopefully we'll never have to sit through the likes of Billy Crystal or Whoopi Goldberg again. I was emotionally detatched from the whole thing; the only nominated movie I saw was "The Incredibles". At least I got a bit of my Kate Winslet Fix. I loves me some Kate Winslet.

The bummer was that I was sick the whole weekend; weather changes caused my sinuses to inflate to the size of Hummer tires, and as of today I'm not feeling any better. In fact - I now have a sore throat! Huzzah! I'm seriously considering checking out early today.

Happy f-ing b-day. Posted by Hello

Friday, February 25, 2005

Cruise Control






No, scratch that. I ate two slices of cold pizza and chased them with a mug of Trader Joe's Instant Miso Soup.

Had a major scare. Time Warner cable, my provider, has dropped Fox Sports World. "Egads!" says I upon discovering this. "Does this mean NO MORE RUGBY?" Did my research and discovered yes, there will be rugby, only it'll be on something called the Fox Soccer Channel (no, I'm not kidding). And for the time being licensing problems mean that matches (like this weekend's Super 12 kickoff) will be subject to a two day delay. That eats - Lucas and I used to watch the matches on Saturday mornings. Oh well. We sit have our DVR'ed "Battlestar Galactica" time.

Daddy Bliss

I'll start by telling you how friggin' tired I am. Ever have one of those nights when you just can't stop thinking about things? And thus can't sleep? Mine started at about 2:00 a.m., when the following thoughts being looping through my brain: Xterra is making a funny banging noise which we will have to fix, Boss is a moody control freak who may be pissed at me for something that got messed up yesterday (and she's one of those bosses where you constantly feel like ANY deviation from the way She Thinks Things Should Be could result in you packing up your desk), termites still inhabit the kitchen, there's another job in Virginia that looks promising but it's in Virginia. I'm kicking myself for not popping a couple of Benadryl. Good news: I finally fell asleep. Bad news: that happened at 6:00 a.m.

Ugh. Sometimes EVERYTHING is such a chore (not a "struggle"; people who are living on tsunami-decimated beaches in Southeast Asia are experiencing "struggle"). I try to counter that with optimism and humor, still the two best weapons against the entropy that Life often seems to be. (I'm also trying to curse less. And failing. Fucking miserably, I might add.)

So I was downright morose on the drive into work, and continued to be so until posting a comment on Rude Cactus this morning, when I suddenly remembered that an astounding moment happened last night.

I got a First Word from Lucas!

Well, sorta. The thing he loves above all else, even more than Mick, are balloons. He has two left over from Valentine's Day; red, heart-shaped mylar ones filled with helium. They're hanging a bit low, as aging helium balloons do, but he still digs 'em. We were sitting on the floor yesterday evening (Beth was still at work), Lucas was tugging on the balloon cords and giggling. I kept saying "Balloon. BaaaLOOOOON." Lucas then looked at me and said "BOOOOOOON". Then we both cracked up.

He didn't repeat it, even though I kept urging him to (Me: "BaLOOOOOOON." Lucas: "Heh heh heh!").

Yeah, it wasn't a full word, and it wasn't DADA, but still. To these ears, it was pure poetry. And my advice to you: if anyone gives you any shit today, you know what to say to them. "BOOOOOOOON!"

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Thursday Coasting

Sunshine, glorious sunshine. No rain for at least a couple of days, so they say. I'll give the ocean another day to clean itself up and paddle out early Saturday morning, before Beth and Lucas wake up. Big day Saturday; we're throwing the Walkin' Dude his first birthday party.

I got a message yesterday from another recruiter, looking to see if I'd be interested in openings with his company. I did some research on the company; they're a staffing agency. Never mind (or, in Jayspeak, "fuck that"). Giant leap backwards in my career? No thanks!

Turns out those flying bugs in the kitchen are termites. I spoke with our landlord and he says the building (we're connected to two other townhomes) has had 'em for years. Every so often they crawl out from the foundation and make their presence known. Which makes me glad we didn't spend $500k+ on one of these places. Sometimes renting has it's advantages.

Sorry I'm not more interesting today.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Hump Day Updates (Hupdates):

Very cool - Chris, aka Rude Cactus, has added my humble site to his blogroll. Much Respek and Multiple Props go out to him. One of my favorite bloggers, Whiffleboy, has also put me on his roll at Confessions of a Novice Surfer; I live vicariously through him, as I'm WEAK and don't surf nearly as often as I should.

We had a fire drill earlier today. Which actually was nice, since we got to go outside and instead for pouring rain, the sky was an odd bluish color, and there was a big fiery ball overhead. We were frightened, and there was much grovelling, but then we pulled a virgin out of the crowd and sacrificed her, thus appeasing the big fiery ball.

It's The End of The World As We Know It, and I Feel Like Ass

A recap of last night:

5:00. Arrive home after drive in the pouring rain. Lucas now has an Effective Walking Range of about 15 feet, roughly the length of our hallway. He is roaming around the house on two feet, pausing occasionally to fall on his ass, which doesn't phase him in the slightest. The Walkin' Dude.

5:30. The weather guy tells us that San Diego is under a Tornado Watch. WTF? Were we suddenly teleported to Trailer Town, Oklahoma? (Note: I can make Oklahoma jokes. I have that right. I lived there for three years.) The idea of tornados in San Diego is laughable. And yet...I crack open a couple of windows. When I lived in the Midwest we were told to do this during Tornado Watches. Something about equalizing the inside and outside air pressure. Prevents your house from exploding.

6:00. I AM BREAKING OUT IN HIVES. They are on my hips and thighs. This also happened the previous evening. I pop a couple of Benadryls. Hives? Are you kidding me?

8:00. I'm asleep on the couch. Ah, Benadryl.

8:30. Beth tells me to go to bed. I mumble something and obey.

12:00 a.m. Lucas is crying. One or both of us gets up and gives him a pacifier. He goes back to sleep.

1:30 a.m. BOOOOOOOOOM! Thunder. Lightning crashes. A new mother cries. Mick leaps on to the bed, scared shitless. Dog + storm = nervous wreck. He does this routine for about an hour: hops up onto bed (Thud. 55 pounds of dog.), breathes in our faces, hops down, paces around the room panting, repeat.

Let's see - did I forget anything. Oh! Wait! Right as we were sitting down to dinner we found a bunch of little winged bugs that we think are termites crawling out from under the fridge and roaming around the kitchen floor.

So, to recap: pestilence, floods, hives. Hmmm. Better mark the door with sheep's blood tonight. And I'm inviting Charleton Heston over for dinner, just to cover all the bases.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

My idea for Lucas' next Halloween costume - a homeless man. Posted by Hello


Many of you know that back in Tha Day, I spent a few years working for SeaWorld in the park's Education Department. As you can imagine, I got to do some pretty exciting things - swim with dolphins, work with stranded sea animals, and teach the public about the oceans and the critters that live there. One of my favorite "jobs" (hard to call it a job, since I would have done it for free - actually, considering what I got paid, I practically DID) was doing the Penguin Talk at the park's Penguin Encounter. The Encounter is a remarkable exhibit; six species of penguin, about 300 birds total, housed in a huge facility that simulated both the cold weather (the air temperature inside the enclosure hovers right at 25 degrees) and extreme daylight cycles of the Antarctic regions. During the presentation, I'd bundle up in cold weather gear, and with mic in hand go inside the exhibit and talk to the outside audience about these great birds. Penguins are pretty amazing; highly adapted to live in some of the most inhospitable places in the world, one of the few species left that hasn't been screwed up in some way by humans.

So I was pretty flippin' furious when I saw this.

My fervent hope is that these sick degenerates ("Penguins live in the jungle!") lose all of their money and end up in jail. My PSA for the day: PENGUINS ARE NOT NOR SHOULD EVER BE CONSIDERED HOUSEPETS. IF YOU WANT A BIRD, GET A FRIGGING PARAKEET.









Monday, February 21, 2005

Excerpt from Scientific Journal

Morning observation, 10:05 a.m.: when 30" tall child crawls into 24" inch cupboard and attempts to stand up, child's head (opposing force) meets with cupboard shelf (immovable object). Results: impact, crying.

Morning observation, 10:15 a.m.: Possible loss of memory in subject child, as he is attempting to crawl back into aforemetioned cupboard.

Subject Mick (male dog, approximate age 6) engaged in repeated pacing, pausing occasionally to stare at author, in an apparent attempt to communicate to me that I need to stop the rain.

Subject Beth (female human, age 29.85) on couch, watching "The View".

Walls continue to close in. Expect Satan to appear at any moment, welcoming me to the Seventh Level of Hell.


Let me tell you something: when Beth, Jay, Lucas, and Mick are confined to a two-bedroom condo for two straight days, nerves become frayed. Ever see that movie "Das Boot"? I feel like running around shrieking "ZE RIVETS ARE POPPING!!! ZE RIVETS ARE POPPING!" The walls are closing in.

I woke to the news that Hunter S. Thompson finally checked out, thanks to a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Sad, but the only surprise was that he lived as long as he did. He kept writing up until the end, and was doing the occasional column for, the last of which ran Friday. Way back in high school, when I was the editor/humor columnist for my school newspaper, my newspaper advisor gave me his dog-eared copy of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" for inspiration (yeah, kind of a questionable book to give an inpressionable senior, but there was no lasting damage).

So my day off will be spent in front of the TV and the computer. Hurry up, summer.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


If you've been following my adventures, you know that Lucas had Kawasaki Disease back in December (if you're new, read about it here); yesterday the International Kawasaki Disease Conference was held in San Diego. There was a parents' symposium, so Beth and I went to check it out.

It was interesting; lots of doctorspeak, but when your kid gets a rare disease that very little is known about, you suffer through the nomenclature. We're past the worry stage; long-term studies show that when caught and treated early, the vast majority of kids grow up to lead normal lives. One bit of advice given to us: make sure Lucas leads a healthy life. As the disease impacts the circulatory system, vessels and arteries can become a bit harder; that can be made worse by smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, etc. Doctors who know Kawasaki Disease agree that sheltering your kid from sports and exercise is a bad idea. Frankly, I'm not sure we COULD keep Lucas from running around; given that he spends every waking minute hauling ass around our place,I'm surprised college football recruiters aren't stopping by already.

Afterwards, there was a Happy Hour(is that really the best name for a gathering of people whose kids have had a terrible disease?), and we made a couple of new friends. Steve and Dona Neves (yes, one "N" in "Dona") came to the conference from Abilene, Texas. Both are teachers there. They're a young couple, a few years younger than Beth and I. We spent time talking about our kids, and Kawasaki Disease, of course, but we also spent a lot of time chatting about San Diego, and Texas, and work, and other stuff that you talk to people about. They're thinking about moving out here, getting out of the small town Texas life.

Their son's name is Luke. He caught Kawasaki's back in December, but unlike Lucas he didn't get the treatment he needed. He was 14 weeks old when he died.

How do you go on after that?

Friday, February 18, 2005

Still More Interview Fun!

Damn! I'm prolific today! Here's some questions directed at me from Libby, who has TWO good blogs.

"Okay, Jason, here are your questions:

1)If Beth became addicted to one daytime television show and you were forced to watch it with her every night. What would be the best possible show and what would be the worst? Keep in mind that Beth LOVES this show and will probably want to talk about it. EVERY DAY.

See, this is the kind of question I hate, because Beth is home on Mondays and Fridays and could very well use this info against me. But in the spirit of universal truth, I'll answer:

Best possible show: "Speed Racer" reruns on the Cartoon Network. Worst possible show: "The View". Pardon the involuntary shudder of revulsion.

2)How many children do you hope to have?

2, tops. That's a question that I find tough to answer, in that I wonder if it's possible to love another kid as much as I love my son.

3)What is the one piece of advice you would give Lucas today?

Today? Clumps of dog hair that you pick up off the floor are not snacks. As a general bit of advice when he's older - find the one thing that inspires you, whatever it may be, and let everything else come from that.

4)You’re in a hotel room in Las Vegas with a group of your closest guy friends, 5 strippers, and Beth’s ex-boyfriend; Beth is not there. You’ve all been drinking all day and for some absurd reason a game starts: The ex’s question to you: truth or dare? (and you HAVE to tell the truth or complete the dare)

Truth. The five strippers will probably have something to do with any dare, and I'm not going there.

5)In previous questions you said you’d do anything for love (except THAT, of course) but you said you wouldn’t convert to Catholicism for an awesome house. Would you convert for the love of a good woman?

An excellent question, and my answer would still be no. And it has nothing to do with Catholicism, or any -ism for that matter. Faith and spirituality, IMHO, must come from a person's own desire to establish a personal relationship with the Divine (God, Buddha, Allah, Odin, whoever). It has to be, in essence, a selfish act - your belief system is your own deeply rooted mechanism for interpreting and understanding the intangibles that life throws your way. Now, if during the course of my time spent with that good woman, I found that her beliefs were appealing, fit with my own beliefs, and helped me to enunciate my spirituality, then yes, I would. But to simply say, "I've met a great gal, I love her, she loves me, one problem - she's Catholic/Jewish/Muslim, so I'm gonna convert" does a disservice to her as well as oneself. It's a disservice to her, because (and I'm assuming this) she's spent her whole life establishing and building on her faith; it's an integral part of who she is, and for me to come along and say "Sign me up!" trivializes that. It's a disservice to me, for that same reason. I'm an agnostic, but for argument's sake let's say that I was a practicing Jew. That faith would have been a bedrock for 30+ years of my life; can I honestly say that I can turn my back on it?

So for those reasons, I say no. Of course, the other way to look at that question is this: if my gal loved me for who I was, she wouldn't ask me to convert. (It worked for my parents!) I wonder how much different the world would be if we celebrated each others' differences, instead of trying to change them.

Wow - heavy stuff for a Friday! Are you sure you don't have a surfing question for me?

Announcing the Pet Cobra Library

As promised/threatened, here's my running list of what I'm reading, listening to, and watching. I'm going to play with it this weekend, and see if I can come up with a better way to link it, but this will have to suffice for now.

The Pre-Three Day Weekend Ritual

Gonna be one of those Fridays; if there's a company in the world where people actually work on the day preceding a three-day weekend, please let me know so that I NEVER end up there. I made the colossal mistake of putting together a "to-do" list yesterday; all the tasks that I needed to complete before week's end are done, leaving me with plenty of time today to sit and languish. I'm torn: I hate being bored, and yet I hate working. I brought a book today. I'm thinking of adding additional stuff to the blog; I like bloggers who have recommended reading and music lists, so I'm planning on following suit, and I may spend some time (and your valuable tax dollars!) doing that today. You can learn volumes about a person based on who they read and listen to. And I'm a staunch evangelist when it comes to my favorites (stop whatever you're doing and go buy a Mason Jennings CD. NOW! And while you're out, pick up "True History of the Kelly Gang" by Peter Carey.)

And of course, we are being hit with yet another Major Storm. (STORMWATCH 2005!!!). Rain all weekend. Actually, rain through Wednesday. If I were still a snowboarder, I'd be happy. As a surfer (I still consider myself one, even though it's been WEEKS since I've paddled out), I am disgruntled.

Mas Interview

This is from Jeana; her blog is Check it out; she's a good writer.

Jason... your turn!
1. What does the Hibbity Gibbity's circle of evil do--cause mayhem on our streets, cause mothers to worry for their babies, tp trees, or fork yards? Do tell. A Mug shot of the circle of evil would be appropriate here.

Worse. It causes people hands shake as I write this...TEAR THE TAGS OFF OF THEIR MATTRESSES. The horror...the horror...and I've heard rumors that some people are (gasp) TAKING MORE THAN 6 ITEMS THROUGH THE EXPRESS CHECKOUT LANE.

2. How did the Hibbity Gibbity circle of evil form itself?

This interview meme is actually a ritual found in ancient Druidic texts. Mr. H-G has opened the gateway to the Seventh Level of Hell. Only Keanu Reeves can save us.

3. Have you ever been arrested?

Arrested? No. Committed? Let's just say that typing while wearing a straightjacket is difficult, but not impossible. And the voices help me come up with new material for my blog. Which is nice.

4. What kinds of concerns should I have living so close in proximity to the Hibbity Gibbity circle of evil?

Seeing as how you're in Kentucky, I'd be more concerned with what that nefarious, evil mastermind Colonel Sanders is plotting.

5. Does this circle of evil resemble any saturday cartoons? If so, which one? If not--make up a cartoon that would.

A cartoon? No. But there's a kids'show on PBS called "Boobah"; my one-year-old son loves it. It's insidously creepy.

Them Duke Boys Are Livin' Large!

It's actually cool, in a twisted sort of way.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Profoundly Disturbing Blog of the Day...Perhaps Year

  • Why do I get the feeling that this will end in bloody dogfighting tragedy?
  • My Wife Interviews Me

    I threw down the gauntlet to Beth. Here are her questions; my responses follow. Oh, and I surpassed the 1000 hit mark. Very cool - thanks to all for reading. A movie deal is in the works.

    1) What is your favorite font?

    Wingdings. I often use it for offer letters and other important documents.

    2) If your Grandmother said that she would give us her house tomorrow free and clear and leave her entire estate to us if we convert to Catholicism and go to church with her every Sunday until she dies, would you do it?

    As much as I'd love a house sitting on four acres of property within five minutes walking distance of the ocean, no. Three reasons: 1. I don't have any issues with Catholic people, but I do have a problem with an organization like the Catholic Church that goes to great lengths to maintain its POLITICAL power, uses that power to shelter priests who rape young kids, is directly responsible for the spread of venereal diseases and overpopulation in Third World countries, and promotes hatred of homosexuals. 2. Converting to a religion for financial gain is morally reprehensible; even if I don't believe in Catholicism or Christianity, I have friends and loved ones who do, and I would not disrespect them like that. 3. I've eaten a communion wafer, and they taste nasty.

    3) What state do you smell like?

    California. Especially on weekends.

    4) Tapir or Octopus – and why?

    Octopus. Tastes better than tapir.

    5) What is the one thing that you would not do for love?

    As you know, I would do anything for love, but I won't do THAT. (Can anyone tell me what the hell Meat Loaf is referring to in that song?) For me, "that" would be what the Japanese call a "hot plate". If you've never heard of this, look it up on

    Wednesday, February 16, 2005

    Interview Redux

    As a reminder, the Interview Game is still on. Here are the questions I posed to Beth, and her answers:

    1. How do you explain your skyrocketing popularity?

    I flashed my boobs once… and my readers just keep coming back in hopes of seeing the girls again.

    2. What is the stupidest pop song ever written, and when you answer this how will you keep that song from running an endless loop in your mind?

    Does it have to be a pop song? I have this problem with TV Commercial jingles. I can’t remember the last time I actually ate a slice of pizza when the flippin’ bagel bites “Pizza in the morning, Pizza in the evening, Pizza at supper time (dah-da!) when Pizza’s on a Bagel – You can eat Pizza at any time!” running through my head. Now it’s going through my head! Egh. That was a trick question wasn’t it?! Damn you!

    3. What is the worst possible name you could give a boy?

    Hyman. And we could have – it was Jason’s Jewish Grandfather’s name. Yup.

    4. Quien es mas macho - Chris Judd o Kevin Federline?

    Ohhh… that’s a hard one..They both look hot in wife beaters, neither one of them could actually afford the ring that was their wives “engagement” rings, and I think both of them danced in Club Wed commercial for Target (And you know I have a thing for Target dancers)… But let’s see. I will have to go with Judd. Just because he didn’t leave his 7-month pregnant with his SECOND child girlfriend for J Lo. Plus, everyone knows that curvy, latina J Lo is WAY hotter than trailer park trash Brit.

    5. When our kid drops out, becomes an acid freak and follows the remnants of the Grateful Dead around the country, how much money do you think we'll get when we sue the wackos who are responsible for "Boobah"?

    Please, if this was really the case, our biggest problem would be you wanting to join Lucas in the stinky VW bus, boring all of Lucas’ friends with tales of the Phish concerts you went to in the 90’s.

    Mad props (at what point in my life do I stop using the hip hop lingo?) to Stacy for being the latest player. She's now in the Bloggage section, and well worth a visit. Again, the rules:

    1. If you want to participate, leave a comment below saying "interview me."
    2. I will respond by asking you five questions - each person's will be different.
    3. You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions.
    4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
    5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions
    6. I will answer reasonable follow up questions if you leave a comment.

    Technology Gone Horribly Wrong

    Don't believe the hype. Campbell's "Soup At Hand", hailed (by those who hail such things, namely the advertising folks at Campbell's) as the greatest thing to happen to soup since the spoon, is the Spruce Goose of the microwavable lunch world. Due to its pseudo-soda can container, dipping ancillary lunch items (i.e., bread, crackers, or in my case, the quesadilla that I packed) into the soup is not an option, unless you remove the plastic lid and pour it into a bowl, which begs the question: what's the goddamn point of soup-in-a-can?

    Wednesday Quickie

    A couple of things: first, I did a "guest post" on Rude Cactus (click on the link in the Bloggage section). I'm whoring for additional readership; my post is the one that begins "Ah, Wednesday", so feel free to go to Rude Cactus, read it, and make a comment about how cool it would be to read my blog, etc. Second, I've apparently been forgiven for my Valentine's Day fuckup. Thanks to you all for not swamping my comments box with hate mail. More later.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2005

    Very happy that Green Day won a Grammy. Posted by Hello

    A New Word to Add To Your Vocabulary

    When I come across a good new word, I like to spread the wealth and share it was as many people as possible. Now, today's word isn't really new, but it's worth some discussion. The word is shitheel.

    Now, shitheel (pronounced SHIT-heel) is a perjorative, of course, but it's one that fits a certain type of person. For example, a shitheel is a guy who comes home from work on Valentine's Day and bitches to his wife about the house being a mess, his wife having rushed home from the grocery store after purchasing the stuff she needs to make him a nice Valentine's dinner, on the day when she's been working hard trying to care of the shitheel's son while planning a nice evening. Thus, the shitheel ruins another Valentine's Day. So the moral of the story is simple: regardless of the day you've had, or your perceived problems, don't be a shitheel. And no, my confession does not make me feel any better.

    Monday, February 14, 2005

    Another weekend spent in L.A. Saturday night Beth and I did our Valentine's Day celebratin'; Lucas stayed with her folks while we went out for what we enivisioned to be a fun night of Eating and Carousing. We'd have dinner at a Cool L.A. Restaurant, then...perhaps we'd go to a bar! Or dancing! Or bowling! (Seriously - it's apparently the Hip Thing To Do In L.A.)

    We ate a fantastic meal at Marrakesh, a Moroccan restaurant. Having no idea what to expect (I once made "chicken tagine" using a jar of Tangine Sauce purchased at Trader Joe's), we were a bit nervous. No menus - the waiter explained that four courses would be served; soup and a plate of variuos salads, bastilla (oh, bastilla! Pardon me - just drooled all over the keyboard), a main course, and dessert. For the main course, we opted for couscous served with vegetables; along with that, Beth got roasted lemon chicken, and I went native and ordered braised rabbit (yep, Bugs, Roger, Peter Cottontail. Any time I try a new foreign food, I order what your typical Yankee would consider the weirdest thing on the menu, and it invariably turns out to be amazing. If you've never eaten alligator, for example, you're missing out.)

    I could devote an entire page to bastilla. Simply put, it's a pie, with a filo-type crust, filled with a mixture of ground chicken, almonds, egg, and dates, topped with cinnamon and sugar. Such flavor as to make a grown man weep (which I may just do, considering that my lunch today is a can of Stagg chili). I could also sing the praises of Moroccan braised rabbit; it doesn't really taste like chicken, more like dark turkey, but not as gamey.

    So we ate like pigs, and the resulting food coma sent us back to Beth's parents early; no L.A. Hipster Night for us.

    Sunday - uneventful. Monday - still in progress.

    Friday, February 11, 2005

    Friday afternoon! Rain! Boredom!

    The Interview Game is off and running, thanks to the mysterious Jenny. Don't shy, folks! Run towards the light!

    With less than two hours to go before I drive home in the rain (always a white-knuckle experience here in San Diego, especially in a rear wheel drive pickup with a stick shift and bald tires), I'd like to point out the following:

    Kevin Federline is a hero. The fact that he married Britney, even though he possesses all of the qualities of a Death Valley gas station attendant, is reason enough to applaud him. But here's what makes him a real winner. He has released the bottled up trailer park chick that we all knew was struggling to break free. He has shown us the True Nature of Britney. And when she shows up in the Vivid Video production of "Oops, I Did Britney Again" in a few years, as we all know she will, we'll have Kevin to thank. So hang in there, Kevin. A lot of guys are rooting for you. (I have no idea what prompted that.)

    Ben Folds Five kicked ass. I was listening to their compilation of B-sides, rarities and live tracks entitled "Naked Baby Photos" earlier. Hands down, not even close, the best concert I've ever seen was their performance at UCSD back in 1997. I have a penchant for bands that feature honest-to-God pianos (Coldplay, Keane, and Phish chief among these), but nobody came close to the Five. They broke up a couple of years ago; Ben Folds does solo albums, which are o.k., but do yourselves a favor and seek out bona fide Ben Folds Five albums.

    I may bail out at 4:00. I'm crazy like that.

    Friday Morning Fun

    For shits and giggles (and to generate additional hits), I took part in a n old school "interview game" sponsored by Mr. Hibbity Gibbity ( Here, is his words, is The Deal:

    "Ok, so apparently either "blogging" isn't en vogue and I missed the memo, or all the authors of the blogs that I visit have died in some freakish, blog-related incident, because most haven't updated in over a week.I need my fix people. I'm suffering serious withdraw here. Don't hold back your wit, sarcasm and/or narcissistic tendencies. It's those brief glimpses into your minds that helps get me through the day.*sigh*Now I'm forced to dust off a relic of blogdom - the interview game.

    Official Rules for the Interview Game
    1. If you want to participate, leave a comment below saying "interview me."
    2. I will respond by asking you five questions - each person's will be different.
    3. You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions.
    4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
    5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions
    6. I will answer reasonable follow up questions if you leave a comment.

    Of course, this is all dependent on people actually asking to be interviewed . . .Don't make me interview myself! It won't be pretty!"

    Following are his questions. My answers are in italics.

    1. Who are you? Read every entry in this blog, divide by 9, stand on your head while drinking a Guiness, and you'll have a pretty good idea.

    2. Are you a native of San Diego or are you a visitor? Neither. I've lived here since 1987, which technically does not classify me as a "native".

    3. Did you know that San Diego is German for "whale vagina"? That's actually a common misconception. "San Diego" is Portugese for "Land of Great Beaches, Hot Women, and Excellent Mexican Food, and If You're From Arizona, Please Do Us A Favor And Stay The Fuck In Phoenix Where Miscreants Like You Belong".

    4. Which do you prefer: a shrubbery or a hamster? Why? A shrubbery. It's much less likely to have spent time in Richard Gere's ass.

    5. Three parter . . . if you were offered a chance to play "old school" rugby, would you? If yes, whose head would you choose to sever and play with? Why? Yes, but you have rugby confused with other "old school" games that used human heads. These included polo, lacrosse, and four square (whose "human head" phase was notably short, as it was very unpopular with easily frightened sixth-graders. Plus skulls don't bounce very well.) If I were to play rugby with a human head, it would have to be Oprah Winfrey's; her melon has somewhat of an oval shape, and she really really bothers me.

    So if you'd like the chance to jump on the bandwagon, ask me for an interview. Same rules apply.

    I'll back in a bit with more.

    Thursday, February 10, 2005


    An epochal moment last night. We were eating dinner at our favorite Greek place. I offered Lucas a small grape tomato (looks like a grape, but is a tomato. Hence the name. Some people have never heard of them. They exist. And if you like tomatoes, they are manna from Heaven. I like tomatoes. More on that in a second.) and he ate it. And loved. And ate the second one I gave him.

    This was a profound moment. For, as mentioned, I fucking love tomatoes. I will slice 'em up and eat 'em straight up, no chaser.

    Beth hates them, despises them with the white-hot intensity of a collapsing star.

    So now there are TWO tomato lovers in the house. And our will shall be imposed!

    Other momentous things: Alex Garland, who wrote the excellent novel "The Beach" (subsequently made into a shitty Leo DiCaprio movie - say, do I even need to put "shitty" in front of the phrase "Leo DiCaprio movie"? Is it not axiomatic?) and the excellent movie "28 Days Later" (worst title for a great horror flick ever - people who aren't hip to it think it's the Sandra Buttock-in-rehab "comedy") has been tagged to write the screenplay for the "Halo" movie, based on the videogame that punts ass 50 yards into the wind. And we visited the rabbi today. She was our age. I liked her. So we'll see how it goes.

    And it started raining today, and the rain will be with us all weekend. We are going to L.A.; Beth and I will be going out Saturday night to celebrate Valentine's Day early (and I will feast on tomatoes!). The big USA Sevens rugby tourney is taking place in L.A. this weekend. Unfortunately, I won't be going - not a big fan of sitting out in the rain for anything, and the cheapest tickets are $35 each. Which is ridiculous, and will NOT help USA Rugby achieve its goal of bringing the sport to the unwashed masses. Yes, the expats will pay that and more to see their teams. But those new to the sport won't (even those curious about what type of game can prompt a man to cut off his own balls). Simple as that. Attendance will be poor, and this may be the tournament's swan song.

    Wednesday, February 09, 2005

    Wither Thou, Billy Corgan?

    I'm inspired to drop another post. I'm listening (not quite "rockin' out to", as being in the office and the small speakers tasked to the job preclude that) to Smashing Pumpkins' pretentious, bombastic, too-long and totally fucking awesome "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness". Worth the price of admission for the trifecta of "Galapogos", "Muzzle", and "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans" (what a song title! Remember that prog-rock band Yes? Billy Corgan sure does!). Billy, what the hell happened to you? You shaved your head and jumped the shark and did the theme song to that horrible Batman movie with George Clooney. Come back to us, Billy. America needs you now more than ever.

    Adventures in the Corporate World, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Interoffice Politics

    The machine chugs on. I've made close to ten hires over the past two weeks, and am close (so close I can SMELL it) to filling the elusive Technical Director position that's been haunting me since the holidays.

    Working for a recruiting agency has its advantages. It's all about the bottom line. You fill positions, you get paid, and the questions are few and far between. Do your job well and everything else falls into place. I was a star at my last agency. Worked hard, kept the clients happy, which kept the boss happy. (I maintain a good relationship with Ed, my old boss; we've gone surfing a couple of times since I left; he has a new daughter, but once he's settled into the groove I'm sure we'll paddle out again.)

    On the corporate side, there's a whole new paradigm to deal with. Up until this morning, I was quite convinced that our HR administrator hated me (you know the type - when something isn't done correctly, something as miniscule as a typo, she feels the need to CC everyone and let them know. My boss, the managers I work with, the division VP, the CEO, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Donald Rumsfeld, EVERYONE.) and being the new guy was constantly walking on eggshells around her. So she comes into my office today, shuts the door, and says "We need to talk". Great. Fuck.

    Turns out that she can't stand my boss, and is planning on quitting, and wants my help to either find a new position within the company or something outside. She's worked for my boss for six years and has finally grown tired of being treated like a "whipping boy". It suddenly dawned on me that everytime she did the CC-the-world-about-Jay's-mistakes, she was engaged in the time honored practice of CYA - cover yo' ass. And I suddenly felt really bad for her -she's in her mid-fifties, single, with a daughter in college, and she's been dealing with this for six years.

    Now, since it's always all about me, I'll say this - I have a decent, but not great, relationship with my boss. I'm friendly, and if co-workers ask me about myself, wife, kid, hobbies, etc. , I'm more than happy to chat about them on a very superficial level. But I'm not a social butterfly at work. And I'm not an asskisser (shocking!). I wonder how anyone could play that game with the same person - who by all accounts treated you like shit - for six years and not jump out the friggin' window. Needless to say, I'm more than a bit concerned.

    But I'm always thinking, always putting out the feelers. To that end, I did a little Goggling and found the email address of an old friend of mine. Back in the SDSU days, I spent a year as a Resident Advisor (yes, I provided advice and guidance to young impressionable freshmen. I, who earned my fraternity nickname for passing out headfirst in a toilet filled with my own vomit.) and worked for a great Hall Advisor. I found out that Allan is now the Associate Director for Student Development at UNC. So I sent him an email yesterday asking how he was, and seeking advice on working in the college recruitment area. He sent a gracious reply with lots of helpful info. It might be nice to get out of the corporate world and work for a university. I could go to toga parties.

    Tuesday, February 08, 2005

    Why I Loves Me The Rugby

    Words do not suffice. Further proof that only rugby, The Greatest Sport In The History of The Universe, can inspire such support. Go Dragons!

    The Sleep Factor

    Last night we went to bed at 8 friggin' thirty. No "24", no "Las Vegas". Mondays seem to be kicking my ass lately. So much so that I scrapped plans to go work out after work and just came home and collapsed on the couch. No energy.

    In fact, I've turned into a regular couch potato. All the benefits that came with the running and working out during the Rugby Phase are rapidly fading. It's really fucking depressing, in fact. I think I've gained back ten of the 20 pounds I lost prior to December. It's really easy to fall back into bad habits. Oh, well. Run, work out, surf. Problem solved. Next up: what to do about our need for a new home entertainment system, a new car, buying a house, getting Lucas into a good preschool, and solving the Israeli-Palestinian problem.

    Monday, February 07, 2005

    Regarding that chili...

    I've logged four separate treks to the shitter this morning. Yesterday I was jokingly referring to my Grand Chili Experiment (I used AN ENTIRE POT ROAST, fer chrissakes!) as Death By Chili. My words were eerily prophetic. I think I flushed part of my large intestine down the toilet.

    Post-Super Bowl Monday

    Massive amounts of chips and chili (in my long history of making chili for Super Bowl Sunday, this may have been the best batch ever, made with black beans, turkey smoked sausage - which gave it a chipotle-esque flavor - and A WHOLE POT ROAST THROWN IN FOR GOOD MEASURE. My god, it was good.) were consumed by Beth, Ian, Kelly and I. The commericals were a disappointment, with a few exceptions. Personal favorite was the MBNA credit card ad featuring England's national rugby team and Gladys Knight. Geekdom during the "Batman Begins" and "War of the Worlds" ads. I'm not sure what is, but their ad was very effective. You can see 'em all here:

    The game itself was pretty good. Special props must go out to Eagles receiver Freddie Mitchell. Mitchell gained some pre-game notoriety by running smack about the Patriots' defense, singling out veteran Rodney Harrison. Mitchell's one - single, only, sole, count'em - ONE reception in the game occurs with 2:44 left in the game, with the Eagles trailing by 10. Now, if you watched the game, you know that Philly's clock management in those last few minutes was atrocious, perhaps the worst I've seen in ANY football game. And so, with 2:44 left, precious seconds ticking away, Mitchell makes his ONLY catch of the game, and instead of doing what any smart player would do (run back behind the line of scrimmage and get into formation to save time)...he does a little celebratin', jumpin' around and talking shit to the Patriots (who presumably asked him if he a.) knew the score of the game and b.) was aware that that football games only have 4 quarters ). Philly fans are a bunch of savages. I predict that they will hunt Mitchell down and douse him with gasoline and immolate him.

    Moving further back through time, Saturday was fun, as we took a trip to the Wild Animal Park. Lucas, as seen in the picture below, had a close encounter with a lorikeet.

    Saturday, February 05, 2005

    Son, you got a lorikeet on your head. Posted by Hello

    Friday, February 04, 2005

    It's nice to be busy at work. The past couple of days have zipped on by, and it's getting to be Yabba Dabba Doo Time again. Nothing on the agenda, not even a Super Bowl party to host or attend.

    Last night's meeting with the financial planner went well. We actually have some money to save and invest. And now I can use the phrase "Our financial planner told us..." in conversation! I feel so grown up. (There's probably something seriously wrong with me, in that I have a son who'll be turning a year old in a month, and it took a meeting with a financial planner to further push me into responsible adulthood.)

    Ah, responsibility. I drove past UCSD on the way back from lunch (time well spent with Beth and Lucas, who got himself a new pair of shoes to help him with his learning to walk). I never cease to shake my head at the fact that I'm now 13 years removed from my college days. Not that I want to return to the days of binge drinking and angst (well, our old friend angst still stops by for extended visits every few weeks). I'm just amazed that there was a time in my life when the only thing that really mattered was knowing where the parties were going to be that weekend.

    Not that I'm a grumpy old man these days. Far from it. The days are getting longer, meaning that pretty soon I'm going to be bringing the surfboard to work.

    Yep, I have my moments of regression. But it's safe to say that I'm bit more tightly wrapped than this guy:

    Thursday, February 03, 2005

    Even more staggering than my recent announcement that we will meeting with the Rabbi: tonight we are seeing planner!(Lighting crashes. Shot rings out. Woman screams.)

    I'm as confused as you are. Seeing a financial planner assumes that one actually has FINANCES that require PLANNING. Since I feel queasy every time we put gas in the car, and am overwhelmed with guilt when I buy a $17.00 used Xbox game (I've almost completed "Halo"! Welcome to 2003!), I'm not quite sure we're in a position to start building a portfolio. Still, this is part of being a Responsible Adult. And I am a Responsible Adult. Even if I spent a good three hours today chatting on the Television Without Pity Forums. (The consensus, by the way, was that last night's "Smallville" rocked.)

    Wednesday, February 02, 2005

    Some minor changes: note the new Bloggage section. These are links to, yes, you guessed it, blogs that I enjoy reading. I'll add more as I find 'em, and don't expect to see the standard Bloggie Award nominees. I'll give a shout out to those blogging on in relative obscurity (although if Beth's hits continue on pace, she'll have lapped me after only blogging for a few short weeks. Good on ya, wife o'mine.)

    I'm starting to hate the template that I use, but can't seem to find one that I like. I've gone to to see what they have, but no luck. The templates there seem to be written for and by 15 year old girls. I don't know that a "Hello, Kitty" themed format would be right for Pet Cobra.

    Meanwhile, in Lakerland, the L.A. Times has reported that Kobe is O.K. with bringing Phil Jackson back. And Phil, in an interview with an Australian paper (excuse me for a second while I pause to choke down my bitter jealousy over the guy who leads one of the most charmed lives on the planet. Legendary NBA coach. Best-selling author. Retired globetrotting multi-millionare. Oh, and his girlfriend is the daughter of the guy who signs Shaq's checks. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.) has said that he's mulling over the possibility. To that, I can say only this. PLEASE. PLEEEEASE. PLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE.

    You'd think, after all this time, that the man would be incapable of topping himself. But no. And will this little Freudian slip prompt Michael Moore to investigate the ties between the Iraq war and the makers of Viagra?

    Tuesday, February 01, 2005


    Well. Didn't take long for Rudy T's "health" (i.e., headaches and ulcers caused by having to "coach" Kobe) to cause him to resign his position as head coach of your Los Angeles Lakers. According to ESPN, Tomjanovich will announce that he's stepping down after tonight's game with Portland. The guy spends 12 years at Houston, gets them 2 NBA titles, and he can't make it to the All-Star break in his first season with the Kobe Show.

    I don't blame him. Why even bother to hire a replacement? Kobe thinks he's Jordan? Let's cut the bullshit, shall we? Jerry Buss, don't bother hiring another head coach. Sew a big "C" onto Kobe's jersey (and while you're at it, how 'bout a big scarlet "A" to boot?) and let him be in charge.

    Phil and Shaq must be laughing their asses off.


    I'm uninspired today. Primarily because I'm stuck in an office, and the weather outside is spectacular. I'm going to zip over to the local mall in a few and get some air. Some random thoughts:

    I was bit hard on the female bloggers mentioned in that New York Times article. No, scratch that - they deserve it for blatantly copying Heather B.'s style. Really, I should have mentioned the male bloggers. They're equally lame.

    I hooked up some speakers to the computer here at my satellite office. Just listened to a Poi Dog Pondering mix CD given to me by Kelly and Ian. They're good, and I'm wondering if they are still together.

    For lunch I had something called Spanish Chicken Stew. It came in a jar, courtesy of the food mavens at Trader Joe's. (I'm not sure if I used the word "mavens" correctly, but I like the sound of it.)

    It's staying lighter longer. Post-work surf sessions are just around the corner. I wonder if Lucas will enjoy watching Dad catch waves. It seems to freak Mick out; he tries to run out into the surf after me, barking with concern, but stops when the water reaches his doggie chest.