Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving...Woot Woot

On this second favorite holiday...I hope you find things to be thankful for...not just the cliched things, but also the little things that only you know how dear they are.

I am thankful this day for the big things...friends and family, a God that loves me and a country I am proud to be a part of...I am thankful this day for little things like baseball and chocolate chip cookies, good coffee, sushi, good music and garlic mashed potatoes...I am thankful for silly things like online bill pay, the Wall Street Journal and Blogging. I am also thankful for the life that I have been entrusted with...

I am especially thankful this year because I know what it is to be loved by someone who doesn't "have" to love me...someone who chose me...someone who said yes when I cheesily asked her to marry me.


On Friday, I will be continuing a tradition that I stole from some good friends of mine...I am going to buy a Christmas tree, decorate it and sing Christmas songs all day.

I will then put presents under the tree to taunt Claire.


Scotty and I are supposed to be doing a Turkey Trot on Friday morning...that should be fun.


I hope your Thanksgiving is great!

Monday, November 24, 2008

"That's Not Very Funny"

As most of you know (or can tell if you have read my blog long enough), I am a fairly conservative person...not just politics, but also in many of the choices I make in life. Sure, I am an adventurous eater and traveler, I want to skydive, basejump and kite-surf and I like to ride a motorcycle, but I don't know that I have ever really been called is more of a controlled, daring conservative. This includes my is typically clean and tasteful. Usually trending to one-liners, witty retorts or funny least I think they are funny.

However, Claire said to me that one of the things I found funny was clearly "guy humor". No, not GAY humor William, GUY humor. It was a little bit on the risque side and while I found it funny, Claire was not laughing, nor did she take pleasure in my devilish joy.

That reminded me of my mom always insisting that the Three Stooges and Bevis and Butthead were clearly a "guy thing". Which, of course, made me begin thinking about the difference between "Guy Humor" and "Girl Humor" and I know it is more than just how we Experience It.

I think some of the differences could be pointed out best by example...

Girl Humor is the laughter that follows a wise-crack that some fashion guy makes about a woman on America's Next Top Model. Guy humor is the laughter that ensues when said woman falls off of the runway during her turn.

Girl Humor does not find sex, kicking cats or punching each other even the wee-bit humorous. Male Humor is entirely based in some way on one of those three things.

Girl Humor means laughing with Rosie O'Donnell. Guy humor means laughing AT Rosie O'Donnell.

Girl Humor can be catty. Guy humor is almost always downright mean.

Girl Humor rarely appreciates bodily functions. Guy Humor relies on them.

Did I get it right? Did I miss any differences?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Considering Ramen

They say that necessity is the mother of invention...I think it has more to do with boredom, but that is a debate for another blog. Instead, I want to share a little about cooking one of life's most important staples. Ramen. I came across an article about Ramen Noodles and started thinking about all the things Ramen.

My mom eats them while still slightly crunchy...I like them that way too.

My sister boils them, pours off the soup, fries them and then makes them like chow mein.

Claire cooks them, pours off the soup and mixes in mayo.

Then of course there are the Prision Recipes...Cheetos Flavored...Spicy Slam Ramen...Jailhouse Ramen Pizza...Orange Chicken Jail Ramen

How do you eat your Ramen?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tiger Attacks

Around mile 14 of our dehydration odyssey this weekend, Claire and I began postulating the best way to fight off a tiger attack. You know, just in case one escaped from the zoo and went into the state park we were running in.

Claire remembered that while she was in Kuwait, she read about an escaped tiger in the newspaper. The article said that if you encountered the animal, the best way to survive would be to offer it an non-essential body part.

So our plan was to let Claire hold out her left arm to be which point I would jump on the beast's back and choke it out.

Think that would work?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Death Becomes Me

Claire and I are in the middle of our training for the Disney Marathon in January...this weekend, we had to do a 15-mile run, so we thought it would be great to visit one of the great Virginia State parks and do some trail running.

When we arrived, we found a map, plotted the course and took off. Sure we forgot our water at the car, but we would be circling past the car at mile 6(ish), so we could just grab it then.

16 miles later, we found the car. Somewhere we missed a sign or the trail is stupid.

16 miles is a long way to go without proper hydration...

Did I mention Claire had 1 piece of toast, 4 hours prior to running...and that was it?

16 miles is a long way to go having only eaten a piece of bread that day.


People swear up and down that trail running is easier on your knees and back, but I have a tough time believing that. I can't tell you how many times I came down awkwardly on a root or an unseen hole, jarring my back and turning my ankle. Claire kept telling me to look down as I run, but she forgets that at 6'5, many branches are lying in wait to decapitate me.


On Saturday, we spent 6 hours running errands...which translated into man speak = shopping.

Bed, Bath and Beyond (x2 locations) and Nordstroms...that was it.

Come to think of it, that is crazy. 6 hours at both places and all I have to show for it is some pewter wipes and a fiance who looked smok'n on Saturday night (she had her makeup done at Nordstroms).

Maybe I did win that deal.

Going out to dinner and seeing Bond tonight. Wooohooo!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Answering Two RFI's

Fulfilling two requests...

#1...from my very good friend Stacey...8 things:

Eight Favorite TV Shows
1. My Name is Earl
2. The Office
3. Top Chef
4. 30 Rock
5. Iron Chef
6. Bizarre Foods
7. The Colbert Report
8. CBS Sunday Morning

Eight Favorite Restaurants

1. Pamplemousse Grille
2. Commander's Palace
3. Szechuan Mandarin
4. N9ne Steakhouse
5. Georgetown Cupcakes
6. Di-Chan Thai Restaurant
7. Todd Jurich's Bistro
8. My own kitchen

Eight Things that Happened Yesterday

1. Volleyball
2. Dinner with Claire
3. Read the Wall Street Journal
4. Cooked a pizza
5. Visited the chiropractor
6. Fixed my car stereo
7. Had a lunch of roast duck, kous kous and hot wings
8. Made myself sick on gourmet popcorn

Eight Things to Look Forward to:

1. Kickball
2. Thanksgiving
3. Christmas
4. Claire's parents visiting for a week
5. My buddy Teddy coming up for Thanksgiving weekend
6. The Disney Goofy Challenge
7. Getting a job
8. Wedding

Eight Things on my Wish List

1. New Job
2. Moving out of an apartment
3. Flat Screen
4. Having Claire as my wife
5. A Yellow Toyota FJ...with the roof racks!
6. Jumping out of a plane
7. Finishing my masters
8. Chocolate Chip Cookies

Eight Things I Love About Fall:

1. Cooler weather
2. The smell of fires in fireplace
3. Pumpkin everything!!
4. Getting ready for Christmas
5. Time with family and friends
6. Christmas Music
7. Thanksgiving
8. October baseball, college football and the NFL

#2 from reader Stacie...6 Random Things...

1. I sleep on my back
2. I am a morning person
3. I have a crazy obsession for all things chocolate chip cookies (with NO NUTS!)
4. I have a cigar humidor, despite only smoking five or six cigars a year.
5. I like the taste of a good scotch, tequila, vodka and rum, yet I can still count on one hand how many times I have had too much to drink.
6. I pray, multiple times every day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


This past weekend, Claire and I visited Chicago. It was a great time with wonderful food and a lot of cold.

When I arrived there last Wednesday it was 70 and sunny. Reminded me of a great fall day in San the time Claire got there Friday night it was in the low 30's and it was even snowed on us as we went for our training run on Sunday morning.

One quick note then some pictures...I have said a number of times that Mexican food outside of SoCal or Mexico just did not add is usually bad and often inedible, but a place in Chicago made me rethink this. Claire emailed me late Friday and said that she had surprise dinner plans for I picked her up at the airport, we dropped off her stuff at the hotel and we walked a couple miles to a place called Salpicon.

It was wonderful. We had a flight of tequila to start us off with appetizers of Tostaditas de Tinga (Crispy small tortillas mounded with shredded pork and chorizo in a roasted tomato-chipotle sauce topped with Mexican crema and avocado) and Queso Empanizado (Sliced Panela cheese lightly breaded and fried, seved with a salsa de molcajete and a roasted tomatillo-serrano sauce).

All of that was a GREAT start...we shared a special for dinner, it was a roasted quail served on a chipotle sauce...AMAZING.

We skipped dessert, but a number of them looked great!! If you are in Chicago, I highly recommend this, a couple of shots:

On Saturday night (prior to a great Italian dinner) we visited Millennium Park. There was a lot of cool things there including The Bean, a public area for concerts and a couple colorful walls called the Crown Fountain...
We followed that visit with a drink and snack at the John Hancock observatory...we had front row seats for a great view and had a wonderful time!
Just look at the view!!!

On Sunday afternoon we visited the Navy Pier...they had a collection of Tiffany stained glass windows and was a great way to end the trip!


I did have a chance to give a quick press conference at the request of Pres-Elect Obama and Senator McCain. Being in Chicago, it made sense for a peace maker like me to put those two together and to assure the public that we have to continue to hope for a brighter future for America. As you can see in the pictures, Pres-Elect Obama loved what I had to say and Sen McCain was a little more unsure.

For the record, there is no truth to the rumors that Pres-Elect Obama has offered me a cabinet post. I told him I was not interested.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In Awe

Today is Veteran's Day. A day that is getting big play in the news and warm-fuzzy commercials.

For me it is a day that I can thank my father, both of my grandfathers (who are no longer here) and now, my fiancee.

So thank you...thanks both Gramps and Grandpa. Both of you spent years overseas fighting battles for our country...thanks to my father for spending that time in Vietnam...and thanks to Claire for volunteering to go to Iraq.

All of you sacrificed more than I will ever know. I hope I can continue to convey the awe and appreciation I have for who you are and what you did.

Thank you...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Turning in my Man Card

Growing up, I often spent my summer's in Nebraska visiting my grandparents. For a city boy like me it was a wonderful adventure.

Sometimes the G-Rents were living in a farming community, other years they were living in a ranching community. I got to experience driving a tractor, cultivating corn, rustling cattle, and other miscellaneous "country" adventures...this included Branding Day.

Branding day was a celebration. The family and ranch hands would get together to grab the newly born calf's to inoculate them, brand them and in some cases castrate them.

Of course the castration led to the most obvious thing you would do to celebrate...

Eating Testicles...
Yes, we would castrate those poor bulls that were not going to be bred, put the little testes in a pot, clean and cook them. Then we would have a feast of testicles. Sounds like fun, no?

Well, that is what we did. And when I came home from that trip, I felt so guilty for partaking I went to every guy I knew and apologized for dishonoring the race of Man by eating an animal's "Family Jewels".

I still feel pangs of guilt whenever I see a cow.

Sorry little thing...I knew not what I was doing.


No, they really did not taste that bad. Yes, I have had them fried, boiled, grilled, broiled and steamed...I would probably do it again.


Thanks to this post over at WWoW for reminding me of that trip!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Photos of the Rents Visit

A couple of weeks ago, my mom and pops came for a visit. 5 days with them. We had a great time, a lot of site seeing, museum visiting and, of course eating.


Claire's parents are next...they are coming out for 7 days the week of Thanksgiving. We are really looking forward to it!


Claire and I are in Chicago this weekend...I had a work trip there this week and she is joining me tonight for the weekend. She has never been there before and we are super excited to see yet another classic town. Just hope that the cold does not kill us.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Celebrate Capitalism

On Sunday when we were headed back to the airport to fly back to VA, I saw a beautiful site...It moved me so much, I had to take a picture to share it with you:
That's right, gas UNDER two bucks a gallon. I felt rich. It made me want to go out and buy a Hummer or a Bus.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations Are In Order

Congratulations to Senator Obama...nay, President Elect Obama.

I hope this concludes any discussion in America as to which country provides the best opportunity for its citizens. Any child, regardless of race or background, can truly be anything he/she wants to be.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Trip to Indy

This past weekend, Claire and I flew to Indianapolis for a wedding. I have to say, my thoughts on Indy and the reality of the city were very different...

If you have never been there, close your eyes for a second and picture what you think Indianapolis might be like. Come on, do it. Seriously.

What did you picture?

I pictured something like this:

A run down city that was more farm land and heartland...instead, what I found was this:

A vibrant city full of beautiful sites. A city that embraces the arts. A progressive city with a lot of good food, walking trails and activity.


Claire and I were there for a wedding of some friends. They held it at the newly renovated was a great setting.

The bride wore the dress her mother and grandmother both got married in, cut the cake with the same knife her Grandparents and Aunt/Uncle used to cut the cake on their 50th anniversaries. The cake was made to look like a stack of books and each seat had a brand new book for the guests to take. I think the bride and groom bought the top 300 selling books over the past year and made sure everyone got to take one home.

It really was beautiful.


Of course, Claire and I found time to walk that entire city including the zoo, the botanical gardens, a couple of "wineries" and a few museums. We had a wonderful time!
Did you remember to vote today? If not, get out there and do it. Seriously. What is taking you so long?