Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bad News

Anyone who knows me will already know this: I am unhappy with my career. It's had its ups and downs, and without going into specifics, it can be very exciting. But overall, I find the negativity of my industry and its lack of schedule flexibility to be inconducive to family life. So I've been looking for another job in a sort of half-assed way. Midge is a hardcore job seeker, so she'll tell you that I haven't looked much. She's right, of course.

Recently I applied for a job with the state in a field that's ancillary to my current career, and right before our Vegas trip I got an email telling me that I was one of 8 finalists. Mind you, it was a good 6-8 weeks since my initial application, and I had already taken a grammar/proofreading test on a Saturday. I was emotionally invested in the opportunity. I was told the interviews would likely be completed by April 7th. Two weeks after this date, I had still heard nothing, so I wrote my second email, asking basically "Hey, what up with that?" And today I got my answer. The state can no longer afford to hire the position for which I was a finalist. Bad economy and all. George W. Fucking Bush can lick my nuts.

I rate today a 0 out 100 points.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Good Rap Music in Bad Commercials

At first I thought it was cool: songs from hip-hop artists whom I respect, showing up on national tv commercials. But I now am starting to find it annoying. One of my favorite hip-hop groups, Portland's own Lifesavas, have a sweet beat off their newest album on a GMC commercial. You can watch it here.

And now, last night, I heard a track off the latest Pharoah Monch album on a SEARS commercial. Fucking Sears? Really? One of the best "underground" rappers in the biz is in a Sears commercial? Yikes. And I say that as a former Sears employee. I worked there for 3+ years. I know how lame that place is. I can't find the video online yet. I saw it for the first time last night. You can listen to it on Pharoah Monch's myspace page. It's called "Body Baby."

These are great songs, by great artists. I'm sad that TV commercials are apparently the best platform for their music.

I give this trend 1 mic out 8.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Makin' Ribs

The weather was nice this weekend, and was the first opportunity we've had to barbeque in quite a while. So Midge and I went over to her parents' place to char it up. I haven't got my barbeque in working order as of yet. Anyway, we decided to make ribs, because I like to make them, and all three of us like to eat them (Midge's mom is out of town). We got the jumbo pack at Costco, which has 3 full racks. That requires 3 separate sauces, and I was happy to oblige. One of the sauces was Thai Sweet Chili sauce, which I purchased. The other two I made myself. I was really rusty, though, and they didn't quite turn out how I wanted. I don't really follow recipes too well, and kind of winged these from memory. They only turned out so-so. Here's a rough recipe for each:

Whisky Molasses Sauce
- A pour of whiskey
- A scoop of tomato paste
- Water
- A good pour of molasses
- A big scoop of brown sugar
- A pour of vinegar
- Mustard Powder

Blackberry Jelly Sauce
- Half a jar of Seedless Blackberry Jelly
- A good pour of vinegar
- Mustard Powder
- Cumin

These are not the ribs I made. These are likely better.

In my opinion, the Whiskey Molasses sauce was the weakest, with too much molasses and whisky. They overpowered everything else. I liked the Blackberry Jelly sauce overall. The sweetness of the jelly burned off on the grill, and left behind the mustard and cumin nicely. The Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce is always delicious.

Here's what I need from you, and if the comment page is left blank, I'll be disappointed. What do you put in your sauces, and do you have any suggestions for me?

I rate the Whiskey Sauce 2 whisks out of 6, and the Blackberry Jelly Sauce 4 whisks out of 6.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Midge posted that picture of Ron Jeremy!

Enjoy it here.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Viva Las Vegas!

The wife and I hit Las Vegas last week, and boy was it sweet. I'm turning 30 this year, as are several of my friends. So we decided to meet in Vegas for a last stab at our 20's (even though 2 of them are already 30). It was a great week, and here are some notes.


We flew in Monday night, arriving at 10:30 at night. Midge's friend H picked us up at the airport. She and her boyfriend moved there earlier this year. We hung out and drank beer. Nothing too exciting.


H lives near Red Rock Canyon, which is west of town. It was pretty there. I had a tough time doing too much walking, because I sprained my ankle a few weeks ago. I can walk just fine, but balancing on rocks was tough for my weak ankle. I've been to Las Vegas 5 times, and this is the first time I've really left the strip, so it was nice to see something else. After the hike, Midge and H dropped me off the Stratosphere Casino, where I hooked up with 3 of my friends. Tim was only in town for a couple of days, whereas Dan and Micah were there for the week. As the only day where all four of us were in town, Tuesday became our "guys night." Midge and H hung out at her house, and we hit the town. Tim had a time share a half-mile off the strip, so we started there. He put his wife and 3 young daughters in a different time share across town. We were all quite relieved. Those 3 a-holes all ate a really late lunch, but I was anticipating eating dinner with them. So I had to order the world's most expensive sandwich at the Wynn for dinner. $20 for a reuben and potato salad. And that was the cheapest restaurant in the casino. The Wynn is pretty new, and swanky. I have another story to tell about the Wynn later in the week, but that will have to wait. After the Wynn, we walked over to the new Trump building. It's not a casino, but rather a condo building. We were somewhat disappointed. We walked in to the glitzy lobby, and were the only ones there. It was only the second night it was open. We had 10 dollar drinks at the lobby bar. We figured we had to since we walked all the way there. The bartender was a cool guy, and we slowly drank our booze and talked. Then, inevitably, it was off to the strip club.
Micah did some research on the interweb, and we decided on the Olympic Gardens. I have to tell you, I was really disappointed. First off, the cover was $30 on a Tuesday night. Then, we were blitzed with strippers asking if we wanted lap dances. I understand that they're trying to make money, and it can be a fun game to fend them off without insulting them. But after awhile, enough's enough. I only say that because I was not interested in lap dances. I'm married, and that's a line I choose not to cross. Anyway, Dan and Micah got some, and we had fun. That was until the bill came. Turns out, it was $10 beer night. Had I known that, I may have shown some restraint. After way too long at the club, we headed to Fatburger on the strip. It was okay, but I was again disappointed. Unlike In'n'Out Burger, it did not live up to the hype. We crashed at the time share at like 3 AM. While it may seem like I'm saying I didn't have a good time, I can assure you that I did.


Wednesday was a tough one. We had to vacate the time share by noon, but couldn't check into the Tropicana until 3-ish. Tim left for home, and Dan, Micah and myself went in search of a local disc golf place. If you haven't played disc golf, it's like golf, but instead of hitting balls at holes, you throw frisbees at baskets. I can't lie here. Disc golf is kind of boring. I like golf, and walking the course was cool. But I can't throw a frisbee worth a damn, and I don't care enough to learn. Then we went back to the Stratosphere for a buffet lunch. Dan was convinced that the buffet was on top of the tower, but it was actually in the basement. Yeah, not worth the 14 dollars. We checked into the hotel and crashed for awhile, then met up with Midge. She had a better afternoon, learning how to shoot handguns at a shooting range. We were all a little jealous.

That evening we went to New York, New York to see the Cirque du Soleil show "Zumanity." It's the topless one. It was Dan's choice; he's a pervert. I like him in spite of that (or because, one of the two). It was interesting. The show was like many Cirque du Soleil shows, lots of audience involvement, some funny moments, and some amazing feats of strength. Plus, tits! Jokes aside, it was cool to see the performers' muscles as they did their tricks. It's impressive enough to see them do mind-boggling gymnastic stuff, but to see their bodies work was incredible. After the show we gambled at New York, New York. I've never been a huge fan of that casino, but I may be changing my tune. We won a little bit, the drink service was steady and polite, and the atmosphere was fun. Midge wanted to hit up the roller coaster late at night, but we missed it. Dan was feeling a little sick and went home early, so Micah, Midge and I went out for some late night disgusting food at the Tropicana.


On Thursday, Midge and I checked into the MGM Grand. It's our casino of choice in Vegas, and we wanted a couple of nights to ourselves at a nice place. We stayed in the West Wing, which is a cool part of the hotel. The rooms are very modern, with a lot of glass and steel. The views aren't great, but the amenities make up for it. We spent the day at the pool, which is awesome at the MGM. It has a lazy river you can float in, along with 4 other pools. We read and swam all day. That night, the four of us went out for Indian food, which was fucking awesome. Then the night got interesting.
We were at Planet Hollywood, and frankly, we were running out of steam. We decided to sit at one of the bars and have a drink. The waitstaff compeletly ignored us, and we sat there at least 20 minutes without a waitress approaching us. We were talking about leaving, when a flamboyantly gay guy named Joe sat down at our table. I only mention his sexual orientation because he was a caricature of a gay man. He was drunk, and claimed it was his 32nd birthday. He said he was alone on his birthday, and wanted to have fun. After a couple of minutes, he announced that he wanted to go to the Hard Rock Casino. So we ambled down to the taxi area, and got in a van. An asian man was driving, which is important. About 30 seconds after we left the driveway, Joe said "Chinese man, take so-and-so street." We all kind of stopped talking, because it seemed like an offensive thing to say. A few minutes later, he said "Excuse me chinese man, we need to go this way." The driver, understandably, slammed on the brakes and said "Get the fuck out of my cab!" As we walked to the MGM and its taxi area, Joe pretended not to know why the driver was offended. Midge believes, and I think she is right, that Joe was not actually drunk. She thinks he was trying to fuck with people. He was shouting things at people on the street, and clutching my arm the whole way. I was mildly uncomfortable. We caught a cab at the MGM, and thankfully, the driver was a woman, and she thought Joe's act was funny. We got to the Hard Rock and Joe knew people there. Oh yeah, I forgot. He claimed he was from Las Vegas, but none of us believed him. But then we did, once people started recognizing him there. Anyway, he had been talking for the last half hour about going bowling. Joe claimed there was a bowling alley we could use upstairs. After he mooched some free drinks of some Canadian guys, and pornographically lit a cigar (use your imagination), we were like "Joe, what the fuck? Let's go bowling." He said okay, and we walked toward the elevator bank. Midge and I, sensing an opportunity to ditch this albatross, fell behind the others and announced we wanted to gamble instead. Micah was clearly not pleased. Dan didn't care. He's the kind of guy who really enjoys the foibles and idiosyncracies of others, and he was getting a kick out Joe's ridiculousness. Dan, Micah and Joe got to the elevators, and Micah asked them to wait while he used the restroom. Joe loudly announced that he wouldn't wait for anyone, then walked out of a side door. We never saw him again. At some point, we figured out that the bowling alley is in some private suite, which at the time was being rented by that no-talent douchebag Fred Durst (of Limp Bizkit fame). Undoubtedly he would not welcome us in with open, overly tattooed arms. We gambled a bit there, then went home. All in all, it was an interesting night. And I really like the Hard Rock. It had a fun vibe.


I can't believe you're still reading this. It was too cold to swim on Friday. It was in the low 70's, which isn't super cold, but still. So we read by the pool, and then headed out for our "alone" night. We had a fantastic dinner at the Italian restaurant in our casino, called "Fiamma." I had seared scallops and Midge had rigatoni with sausage. Hers was okay, but mine was really tasty. You know it's an expensive restaurant when the mashed potatoes are called "potato puree." Then we had a drink at the big bar in the MGM, "Centrifuge." We had a free drink coming to us as part of our room deal. We then caught a cab to the Wynn. We were playing slots near the entrance of the nightclub, when we saw our only celebrity of the week: Ron Jeremy! Midge got a picture, but it's not available on the web yet. You'll have to believe me. We also saw this guy: who I recognized but could not place. Turns out, it was C.C. DeVille from the shitty 80's band Poison. Every rose has its thorn, and as it turns out, every Vegas nightclub has its d-list celebrities. After a couple other stops, we were back at the MGM. We had a 2am snack at the Nathan's in the casino, which turned out to be a mistake. The chili in our chili cheese fries gave me food poisoning. I puked. It was gross.


After getting up late, we headed back over to the Tropicana with our suitcases. We had one more night to go in Vegas, and we were staying with Dan and Micah again. After a crappy breakfast, the men went back over to the MGM sports book to watch the final four games. Kansas rocks! It was a fun experience with hundreds of people cheering for the teams. After the games, Midge and I hooked back up, and had dinner. Later, H, Micah, and H's friend met up with us for a drink. I left my debit card at the bar. Sweet. We got back in at around 1:15.


We woke up at 5:15 for our 8am flight. We walked out of the gate when we landed, and you'll never believe who I saw standing at the gate: MY FUCKING BOSS. What better way to announce that the vacation is over, than to be greeted by your boss. Obviously, he was there to greet someone else, but it was a bit awkward. He asked, "Where'd you go?" After I told him, he said "for the weekend?" "Um, no, the whole week." Clearly I was missed at work.

Anyway, that was the Vegas trip. Jealous?