Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Culinary Catechisms

Let’s talk about food. Obviously having food around and eating it is an important part of our lives. Too often, I think, we are too casual about the things we put in our mouths and fail to take time to appreciate what we are doing and why we are doing it. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert to all things gastronomical, but as an armchair scientist/philosopher I believe I have excellent observation skills. That's gotta count for something, right?

The two people I eat food with and observe the most are my wife and the boy. My wife of course is a ruthless, despot of a dietitian. She lives and breathes everything food: she teaches people about it, she reads about it every day, she cooks it every evening, and, more often than I’d like, she gets on my case about it. I mainly reap the benefits of living with a dietitian. I’d say she’s taught me to consider many important things about food, like calorie counting and diminishing my carb intake. All that is great. But I secretly feel that she wants to condition me to the point where I have nervous tremors and waking nightmares about eating a brownie. Oh yes. I’m on to you woman.

My boy’s perspective regarding food is much, much simpler. To him, his mouth is his primary sense organ and everything is either food or not-food. This is apparent by the way he interacts with the things around him. When I give him something, I imagine his thought process is something like this: (1) Grab new object; (2) Insert in mouth; (3) Chew; (4) Swallow or set aside; and (5) Poop. What a simple way to look at the world! I have learned a lot from his way of doing things, and have from time to time implemented his simple, 5-step method to success.

Now, the above approaches to food are just two of many. Some take the simple minded position that the only food groups are rice, chicken, and 1% milk. Others foolishly believe that eating meat compares to jumping in the sack with Satan. Obviously there is more than one way to chuck food down your gullet, some maybe better than others.

Overall I’m a broadminded person when it comes to food. Generally I don’t care what people consider savory or nutritious. But I do feel at this point I must lay out and publish for all the world what I consider the irrevocable laws of caloric consumption. Now, in my opinion these laws were decreed from the eternities long before the world began. Yes, long before any man or woman set meat to the flame or water to the lips, these laws fell from the heavens and should be ingrained into every beating heart. They are the following:

1. Thou shalt not mingle any raisin-like substance with thy cookie. The raisin-cookie mingler shall be cast out and no light will dwell with him.

2. Thou shalt not defile thy pizza with the fruit of the pineapple, for he who does so shall be called a liar and hypocrite.

3. Thou shalt not blaspheme thy brownie with the whore known as nuts. The brownie blasphemer shall be thrust to the third ring of Hell.

From these laws flow all that is the Culinary Catechism. Many bad experiences have taught me that failure to abide by these laws leads only to disappointment, sadness, and uncontrollable crying. So go forward, my friends, and with this knowledge may you never shed a tear again from eating a crappy cookie.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Gangsta Cyclist.

Few of you know that I’m a hard core gang banger. Some of you may have inferred this due to my usual salutation, e.g. “What up, gangsta?” It’s just my years of hitting the streets bleeding through into my everyday speech. As they say, “Once a gangsta, always a gangsta…beee-aauch!!”

I first joined a gang in second grade. It all started when Mrs. Conrad’s class, a.k.a., the “Rockin’ Roosters,” started moving in on our merry-go-round during morning recess. Our leader, Juan Carlos De la Virgin Santisima, rallied us to a game a smear the queer, where we would go toe to toe with the Roosters and finally send them home cryin’ to their mammas. Just as the game started to get interesting, the recess police put a stop to it. Needless to say…I spent some time with the principal that day. It was the first of my many experiences dealing with the man.

I bounced from gang to gang since that time, all the while improving my thumb wrestling and jack knife skills. Perhaps the meanest, most bad ace gang I joined after second grade was the Barracudas. We were a rough bunch, recently immigrated from south of the border. Our families were just trying to catch a break, but bigoted home-bodies kept tryin’ to bring us down.

The roughest gang we dealt with was the Bombers. These guys were hard core. Apparently to even join you had to know how to tap dance, sing in tune, and stab a cop. Their motto was “Once you’re a Bomber you’re a Bomber till your dyin’ day!!” They always sang that in harmony when they hit the streets for a throw down. The craziest thing I remember was when little Frankie of the Bombers tried to hook up with the little sister of Nacho de la Virgin Grandisima, ruthless leader of the Barracudas. To make a long story short, Frankie ended up with a torn hamstring, never to dance again…

My days with the Barracudas taught me some hard lessons, mostly that I can’t keep a beat for crap. I had various offers to join gangs since that time but nothing has ever felt right…until recently. About two months ago I was approached in a dark alley and asked to join a bicycle gang.

The leader was called “the Nutritionist de la Virgin Saludisima” and is known as the most exotic gangta dietitian east of the Spokompten valley. Her right hand man, simply known as “Soup,” is built like a cinder block. I’d heard stories about these two before. The word is that the Nutritionist won’t take no for an answer and doesn’t mess around when it comes to shakin’ your booty. The Soup doesn’t say much. All I know is he won’t think twice about biting your finger off. So, as you can imagine, I couldn’t resist when I was offered a lifetime membership, full protection from other biker gangs, and a brand new Diamond Back, 21-speed, steel beast from Hell…

We’ve been rollin’ hard since that time, kickin’ trash and takin’ names. The Nutritionist takes the lead, and Soup rides shotgun with me. Nobody messes with us when we hit the trail; most of the time other bikers just speed on by, afraid we might try to stick ‘em if they look at us the wrong way. Yeah. I think I’m in this gang for life, whether I like it or not.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Doc Complex.

The Bairds have been battling a flu-like death virus this last week. That’s an exaggeration, but we hardly get sick so being sick is a rough experience for us. Cambell, the boy, was the first to come down with it. Last Monday he woke up from his afternoon nap with green boogers all over his face and two snot trails coming down his nose. The poor kid. It’s the first time he’s been sick.

Being the rockin’ awesome dad that I am, I scooped the boogers away with my hand (it was all I had available at the time). I also thought I was immune to sissy kiddy viruses. My body has 26 years of virus butt kicking power behind it! I’m invincible! Wrong. Friday morning I woke up after .2 hours of sleep. I proceeded to lie in bed and various other places and positions the rest of the day. The “Cambell Green booger flu” laid me up for the whole weekend.

Today I stayed home from work. I’m feeling a wee bit better but now I’m having problems with my ear. I feel like my head is underwater. I stand up and I feel like I’m on a circus ride. Pain in the ear is usually a big deal (that’s what the internet said, and the internet knows all). You should go to the doctor if you have pain in your ear (the internet said that too).

I hate going to the doctor... Most of the time when I hear a doctor’s advice I think: “Gee thanks, I learned that one from watching TV.” Or “So I should rest when I get a cold. Fascinating.” I feel like doctor’s get off on playing hide the ball. Of course, a doctor is the closest thing next to a demigod on earth (again, something the internet said). Inevitably you have to visit the doctor time and again.

You can imagine I wasn’t too thrilled when I decided to go to the doctor today. I went with the expectation that he’d give me some magical solution to my ear problem. After some probing and prodding and ooohing and ahhhing the doctor came to his conclusion: “Mr. Baird, you should go home and rest.” What the frak? Give me some drugs man! I was at least expecting a prescription ear pain relief drop thinger. Gosh.

I think I’m in favor of home brewed health care. When I got home, I downed a Diet Mt. Dew, ibuprofen, and chocolate-chip cookie cocktail. Now I feel right as rain, besides the whole ear thing.

Friday, June 6, 2008

June 6th: The Day of Days.

On June 6th, 1944, the greatest off-shore invasion in the history of this earth took place. An allied force of more than half a million men, from the United States, Great Britain, France, and Canada stormed the beaches and dropped from the skies of Normandy. The operation was code named Overlord. The beaches were named Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, and Sword. And little did anyone know that 59 years after this fateful day the author of this glorious blog would step through the door from boyhood to manhood. That’s right, my friends, 5 years ago today I disembarked from my own personal amphibious landing craft and stormed my own beach.

Just so no one is confused, on June 6th, 2003, I got married. Today Heidi and I are celebrating our 5th anniversary of marital bliss. It’s sort of a cool thing that my wedding day also coincides with D-day. I’ve always sort of been an amateur World War 2 buff, so the fates aligned when, unwittingly, my wedding day/anniversary fell on the same day our boys stormed ashore, and initiated the beginning of the end for Adolf Hitler.

So today, on this day of days, I must send out my hearty congratulations and thanks not only to the many veterans of WW2, but also to my lovely wife. Without their sacrifice, none of the happiness I enjoy today would be possible.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Happy Mudder’s Day.

This post is about mommies. I know mother’s day was like three days ago, but whatever. I still got moms on the mind.

I have to say that I didn’t really appreciate or understand mother’s day until I was married. I have to admit I was sometimes a thoughtless child when it came to doing things for my mom; I’m still a flake from time to time. I remember the first mother’s day I experienced with my wife. I thought, “Hey, we don’t have any kids, so she’s not a mom. I don’t have to do anything then, right?” WRONG… That was the first of many, many disappointments for Heidi.

I like to think I’ve gotten better at this mother’s day thing over the years. I’ve gone from groveling for forgiveness to “Hey, thanks for the gift card.” I know. Gift cards are sorta lame. But it’s better than spending a night on the couch.

In my opinion, mother’s day is a good time to say those special things. That’s why the Halmark card is usually a no brainer. It’s also good to write a short message in the card, to show that you care. My son Cambell is already a pro at this. His first mother’s day he gave his mommy a card and then wrote a special message. I was so impressed with what he said, I feel it’s important to repeat it here verbatim:

Dere Mummy,

Fanks yu for luve mee lots. You’s a best mum eva and eva. I wuv the waye u take caree uf mi and dive food, diaper and sleepy. I tink u best. Most all, tanks for boobie. Me likey boobie lots and lots.

Wuve bubby boye,


I don’t think you could say much more. Thanks moms. Thanks for all you do.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

At a loss for words.

You can always tell when it’s time for law school finals, the library fills up with panicking students, there are high levels of caffeine and other stimulants consumed, and a slight hint of body odor wafts through each and every classroom. Oh yes. It’s a glorious time. A time for cramming. A time for praying. And, if necessary, a time for crying.

I finished my evidence exam about two hours ago. As with most of my finals, I brain barfed all over the place. Generally I’m a thoughtful and provocative person (extremely provocative), as you can note by the other works of art on this wondrous blog. But there’s really no time to be artsy fartsy in a law school final. There’s really no time to be thoughtful, or thorough, or any of the qualities that are required of a good attorney. Normally it’s a three hour typing race, where the person with the fastest fingers tends to get the A. And everyone else hopes for the all elusive and coveted B-. Yes. How I yearn for you B-...

So, as you probably can tell, blogging has been hard lately. My creative / funny juice organ is on vacation. I write this post now saying that I will return, my friends and fans. I will return.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Here a Nerd. There a Nerd.

This post is about the so-called nerd. We all know the stereotypes associated with the term “nerd” and its synonyms, such as, dweeb, geek, pimple-faced loser, et cetera. I’m sure most of you imagine some four-eyed nose picking D&D junkie when you hear the term. I propose that the general conception of the term “nerd” is incorrect, as I myself have been dubbed a nerd and do not have four-eyes or pimples.

Usually when I’m looking for the definition to a term I go to the dictionary. Dictionary.com gives the following definitions of nerd. First: a nerd is “a stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person.” And second: a nerd is “an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit: as in a computer nerd.” These definitions are wrong. For one, if I’m a nerd, then I ought to be stupid, ugly, irritating, et cetera. Those of you who know me also know that I’m an uber sexy beast. And I can’t be stupid cuz I’m super duper smart. And finally my wife, Heidi, will certainly tell you that I’m the least irritating person she knows.

The second definition comes a little closer to a correct conception of the term “nerd” but still falls short. This is because the definition narrows the class of persons who ought to be considered nerds. The term “nerd” ought to include a great many people. I think a proper definition of nerd is one who has an obsessive tendency to master an area of esoteric and potentially useless knowledge and acts out in furtherance of that knowledge. Considering the term nerd with this understanding means we are all potentially nerds my friends. Yes. All of us.

Here you might say, “Adam, I think you’re totally full of crap. I’m no nerd.” To this I say, “My friend, do you have some sort of semi-unhealthy obsession, not necessarily related to Star Wars, Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer, Star Trek, Anime, space aliens, goblins, or anything stereotypically considered nerdy?” Invariably 99.35% of you will answer, “Hmmm, yeah, I’m totally into [fill in the blank].” Your obsession could likely be reality TV, or sports, or political news, or fashion design, or pretty much any area of potentially useless or esoteric knowledge. My wife, for one, is totally into being healthy and nutritious. Who gives a rip about that? Right? Well, she does and that’s okay.

Anyways, after considering my new and improved definition of nerd I invite you to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I a nerd?” The self-realization that you are in fact a nerd will be traumatic, but it’s okay. Wipe those salty tears from your eyes my friend. Put your fist in the air and say, “Yes, I’m a nerd, and proud of it!” Then go back to your 40k game and roll your D6 and scatter dice for your deep striking terminator assault squad, may the Emperor protect them...