belly of the whale

Given recent events I needed a change of pace. Normally I would go camping, and I still plan to, but haven't planned a trip yet. This time I decided to head to the last place I would ever want to be at. Los Angeles. Around city hall no less. Why did I go there? To play Ingress! It was the final Recursion event. It's basically been a worldwide multi-city event that's been taking place over the last month. Yesterday was the final battle between the teams. The event kicked off a little after noon, and ended around 6pm. There was a lot of walking around a hilly part of downtown LA, and Little Tokyo. I managed to pick up a little color despite it being a 70° overcast day. I kind of wished I had brought my bike because I would've been more effective than I was on foot. Then again I wasn't sure what to do since this was my first time at one of these things. I didn't prepare as well for this as I should have, but managed to get by despite. I also gotta thank my friends/fellow teammates for having bigger eyes than stomachs. I was able to enjoy a nice Shabu Shabu dinner on them. This definitely made up for my paying $13.80 for an OK turkey sandwich and small bottle of water at lunch. Stupid overpriced LA!

Each event (simplified) is based on three challenges, with one special bonus round. The first three are straight out battles, we won two of them. The bonus event was (for our team) a game of keep away, while the opposing team had try and score a goal. We won that one too. Due to how points are scored we technically lost the final round by eight points. However we had won at all the other events resulting in us winning the war.


we are family

I'm not sure where I was, or when, how my view of family changed for the better. I guess it was when I lived out of state and got to see what normal happy family life is supposed to be like. Since returning to mine, that visage has slowly been stripped away and replaced with the cold hard version I grew up with. I still care about each of them a great deal but think it may be time to leave instead of staying and trying to help. I realize people always think and say the grass is always greener in situations like this, but the level of dysfunction here is beyond words. What I'm about to share with you is by no means every thing that's driving me to leave, nor it is the worst of it, it's merely the straw that broke the camels back.

Recently I was frustrated and infuriated over some news my mother delivered. I learned that I am being blamed for something I fought and fight against. Waste! A few months after I arrived (last year) I noticed the amount of waste that goes on in my mother's kitchen. Basically she prepares more food than can be eaten per meal, and (worse yet) has groceries spoil before getting to them in time. This is the source of the misplaced blame. My brother in law (or soon to be ex bro in law/since their separation) has been telling my sister that I'd better not be eating the groceries he's buying. I don't blame him one bit for feeling that way because I would feel and want exactly the same were I in his shoes. Even though he's not living there now, to his credit, still buys the groceries for his family. Mom has been staying with sis since the separation to help her out, and has taken over the cooking while there. The bro in law used to eat the leftovers when he was living there but hasn't since leaving. Mom has started bringing them here now. I've told her that she doesn't need to bring us food, that we're ok but she still does it. So when she told me what my bro in law was upset about I let her have it. My sister has seemingly shut down regarding my inquiry about this. Although I can hardly blame her for not getting back to me with everything on her plate right now. It's extremely disheartening that this is happening at all.

I'm miffed about this situation because I do buy my own groceries to cook and eat. I have been since I arrived here, and still am to this day. Well, unless someone else has been making weekly charges against my debit card at the local supermarket. I also shell out for food as well as various other items for them. I digress. To be honestly fair to my bro in law. I do eat some of the leftovers mother has brought home. I'm also eating what I buy because I'm trying to avoid waste. Here's yet another part of the issue. Dad, mostly, doesn't eat what mom cooks because of his medical issues (type 2 diabetes and gout). His diet is very specific and mom has failed to grasp that (in addition to needing to cook smaller meals) she needs to adjust her recipes based on dad's issues. She hasn't. Dad, as a result, shops and cooks for himself mostly. The worst part of this is the leftovers mom brings here, which I can't finish, go into the trash. I tell her this, but that as well as everything else I've said falls on deaf ears.

The amount of waste (not just food) here is astounding. I work against it and always do my best to give back. When I become the point of blame for something that I personally fight against, something is seriously wrong. This is beyond help and absolutely insane. I've done my best, but seriously think I'm done. 

Eat a dick Sister Sledge!


some guys have all the luck

I never made it to my French Baguette class last week. Instead I got the flu and spent roughly seven glorious days in bed (mostly) consuming gallons of chicken soup, hot tea, and plain old water. Most of the time was spent watching reruns of Undercover Boss and/or Star Wars: The Clone Wars which took place between many fever dream laden naps. I sort of took a break from the cooking shows, sort of.

During that time I entertained myself with the idea of making hand made pasta. I even learned that a decent pasta maker runs roughly $30 on amazon. Somewhere in between that and fever dreams I came to several conclusions. I should first be sure this is something I want to do on a semi regular basis since that's how often I eat the stuff. Nothing tastes better than hand made but preparing the dough is time consuming. It was at this point where I got the bright idea of going native and making Chinese hand pulled noodles. By the time I was back on my feet I had read several hundred versions of the recipe and equally watched as many videos on the subject. I was thoroughly confused as to what was the actual right way. I decided on what seemed to be the most authentic yet simplest version. I was so wrong. Kneading dough for an hour straight proved to be a bit more than I cared to deal with. I see now why so many of the more complex versions of the recipe called for use of a dough maker instead of doing it by hand. Normally not a big deal but its not an additional piece of kitchen hardware I want to carry. Hand made is great but I think I'll make it on special occasions only. At any rate my first attempt wasn't pretty. They were very tasty, but the end result wasn't exactly aesthetically pleasing. I know I'll get better with practice, but will leave the kneading to a dough maker. I mean whilst I'm in my current holding pattern.

Unfortunately the week wasn't without further misfortune for another family member. My niece was involved in an accident which totaled her car and a semi truck. Yes there were injuries, but thankfully nothing fatal. Poor kid was in the middle of finals too. Luckily her dad happened to be working on a project near her campus and was able to be there to help her. Finals are done and she's home for spring break for some much needed R&R.

Still no word from the sanctuary, and I've got about a week and a half left on my junior college application acceptance/denial. Turns out they take up to 21 days to process and not a week as I'd mistakenly thought.


how to save a life

Things are on the mend and getting better for the involved parties, but I still felt kind of powerless and depressed in terms of being able to help out in any meaningful way. I've barely left this house over the last month and that doesn't bother me in the slightest. Actually, everything is still packed and I'm still ready to leave at a moments notice. Instead I've buried myself in catching up on Gordon Ramsay shows (F Word, Masterchef, Behind Bars, etc). It's been the perfect diversion while I mentally sorted a few things out.

Sis recently helped me apply with the local junior college and with FASFA. I haven't yet heard back from the JC but FASFA processed very quickly. Unfortunately no pell grants for me, but I may qualify for some local grants yet. I have to wait for the JC to process my application and review my FASFA data to see what they say. If there's a way I can do this without having to shell out too much out of pocket I'm going to do it. I also concluded that I don't want to work in a professional kitchen if it can be helped. I want to take this course for my own personal knowledge and experience. I'll take the certificate though, I'd have paid a small fortune for it so it's only right.

Still no word from the animal sanctuary on that job, but I expected that this will take some time.

I started forcing myself (on a limited basis) to go out and do stuff again. Over this last weekend I got together with some close friends and cooked dinner. Bridgette was also in tow. She rekindled relationships with three past pack members she'd not seen in years. She was in a quandary over who to run to first and had kind of an emotional meltdown. Before the night was up she got the chance to sit in the laps of all three for some lovin'. Dinner went well as everyone loved it. I made a Peruvian dish I grew up with called Aji De Gallina for anyone interested. Everyone was in agreement that we need to do on a regular basis. This is good and gives me something to to do every so often.

Tomorrow night, I think, I'm going to sign up for and take a class on making French Baguettes. Bon appetit!

How To Save A Life by The Frey on Grooveshark