Saturday, June 17, 2006

stages of manhood ...

Every boy, as he gets older, passes through various significant events in his life as he progresses toward and through manhood. If he's lucky, like I was, he has a great father to guide him along in this journey.

Some of these milestones are formalized by a person's traditions or cultures, such as the Jewish faith's bar mitzvah. Others are more general, like getting your driver's license.

Here are some of mine:

• Age 5. Learned how to fish from my father, from tying on a hook to catching and cleaning fish. Fishing was one of the things we did as a family many weekends, and almost on all of our family vacations, which were almost always camping trips or visits to my mom's relatives farms (and thus near the great outdoors, creeks and ponds).

Age 7. Was taught that I should never start fights, but once I was in one, I should be the one to finish it. Learned not to punch with my thumb on the inside of my fist.

Age 8. Pop taught me and my brother how to maintain and repair our bikes. The miracles of household oil were brought to light, as was the art of patching a tire, fixing a chain, and basic use of tools such as wrenches and screwdrivers.

Age 8. Learned how to catch, throw and hit a baseball. Pop was very patient with my brother and I, spending hours throwing the ball back and forth and hitting to us. He also showed us how to break in a mitt by oiling it down, putting a ball in it and securing the glove around the ball with rubberbands.

• Age 9. Got my first pocketknife, a military model that had two knife blades, a file and a can/bottle opener. My dad gave me the safety briefing and showed me how to use it for whittling and carving.

• Age 10-11. Learned the value of making my own money. Pop encouraged me to get odd jobs — cutting grass, mostly, and babysitting — from neighbors and people in the neighborhood, so I could know how hard it was to earn cash to get the things I wanted.

• Age 11. Was finally allowed to play football (my parents were reluctant to let me play contact sports because of spinal surgery I had when I was about 4). Learned to stick with something once I made a commitment, to never quit and follow through. Learned a three-point stance, a four-point stance, how to tackle and how to block.

• Age 12-13. Learned how to shoot a hook shot in the driveway.

• Age 14. Beat dad for the first time ever in H-O-R-S-E. Wow.

• Age 15. Pop taught me and my brother how to drive in a beaten-down, beaten-up El Camino out near the family ranches in Radio Barrigada.

• Age 17. Pop bummed a cigarette from me while we worked on my piece-of-shit 1976 Ford Pinto up at Andersen Air Force Base. It was the first time he openly acknowledged I smoked (I started at age 15) and it meant that I could now smoke in front of him, which I did. I still respected my parents though, and wouldn't smoke in the house. We spent a lot of time working on that pile of crap, and I learned a lot about cars, including how to take apart and rebuild a carburetor.

• Age 18. While driving cross-country to our new air base, we stopped at a grocery store in Colorado to buy groceries for dinner (we usually found a park and cooked out). Pop bought an 8-pack of those tiny beer cans; I think they were 6 oz. or 8 oz. As we cooked the steaks, he offered me a beer. It was the first time we drank alcohol together.

Happy Father's Day, Pop.

It's been 10 years, but I still miss you and love you.

Check out some new sketches below.

a sketchy start ...

I bought the sketchbook ... and some pencils, erasers and a sharpener.

Here's a little something I was messing around with ...

(click for larger, more detailed image)

Friday, June 16, 2006

lord I love me some leftovers ...

WARNING: The following post is about food. In all likelihood, it is likely to stir your hunger and make your tummy rumble. The author accepts no responsibility for any degree of food longings he causes in you. Heh.

Note to vegetarians (Kathi): Lot of meat mentioned below! LOL

Some of my favorite foods taste even better, to me, when they're either reheated the next day, or the day after that, or when they're cold after being in the refrigerator overnight.

Now I know a lot of people like munching on leftovers, but I often get some strange looks when I share that I like to eat a lot of my leftovers cold. Is it just me? Really?

I come from a large nuclear family: dad, mom, five kids. And I come from a culture where it's important that there's always enough food, even if unexpected company should happen to show up — like when one of us would ask a friend over for dinner; or my dad would bring home some young airmen (he was a senior master sergeant), who were usually from Guam and hadn't had a real home-cooked meal in forever; or if a relative happened to drop by right before dinnertime. So dinner had an abundance of food, to make sure all bases were covered — that hungry kids got seconds or guests had enough to fill their plate and satisfy their appetites.

That usually meant that there were leftovers, which we'd either sneak late at night, or have for breakfast or lunch the next day.

Now sometimes, I think you really need to reheat leftovers. Spaghetti and chili both taste better the next day, after they are reheated. Soup, of course, needs to be served hot. But for most other foods, that's not the case, at least to me.

My favorite leftovers, like revenge, best served cold:

• Fried porkchops. God I love a cold piece of fried pork or three, along with some rice (hot or leftover).

• Fried chicken. I actually think fried chicken is BETTER cold than it is hot, but that's just me. On the rare occasions when I get KFC takeout, I usually just get a box of chicken (their sides suck ass, except the red rice, which is ONLY served in Guam KFCs ... unless there's one in the CNMI; I'm not sure if there is one there). But I don't eat it as soon as I come home. Instead, I take the box (sometimes the bucket) and put it in the fridge for several hours, to get it nice and chilled. Mmm ....

• Chamorro barbecue. Whether it's spare ribs, short ribs or chicken, I'll take it all nice and cooled down.

• Steak. The first time I ever had my own steak was about age 15 or so, at a Sizzler. In my house, it made more sense to buy those giant steaks that weighed about three pounds a piece. We'd soak them in a marinade made of soy sauce and vinegar, spiced with black pepper and onions. Then we'd grill them up and slice them into strips about an inch wide. Much cheaper and more efficient for a large family. And damn did they taste extra good the next day.

• Roast beef. Is there anything better than making your own big sammiches (hoagies, heroes, submarine sandwiches, whatever you want to call it) out of thick slices of cold, homemade roast beef the day after enjoying the same meat hot with gravy and mashed potatoes? Not to me there isn't. God those sammiches taste divine!

• Grilled beef brisket. My dad would slice brisket into thin little strips, soak them in marinade and grill them up. It was almost like beef jerky, though not anywhere near as tough. And the next day, these little strips of heavenly cow meat were simply divine!

So what did I have for dinner tonight (last night, for you folks reading this in the a.m., stateside time)? I bought one of those supermarket rotisserie chickens that are already cooked and brought it home ... then stuck it in the fridge for two hours so I could enjoy it leftover-style.

In the Chamorro culture we often send dinner guests home with more food, particularly at fiestas and other parties. Good luck trying to leave a fiesta without taking any food with you. If you won't make yourself a plate, odds are your host will make one for you. The term for making plates of food to take home with you is "balutan." What you do is stack up your favorite foods on a styrofoam plate, cover it with another plate, then wrap it all up in aluminum foil so no parts of it spill out on the drive home.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

soccer to me ...

I've heard some rumors that there is some kind of big tournament going on somewhere in the world involving soccer. So I did some research on the Internet and it turns out that it's called "The World Cup" and it involves a bunch of teams representing a bunch of nations in a bunch of soccer matches, who face off until there are only two top teams, with the winner being declared the soccer champion of the world.

Huh. Go figure.

What's really weird though, is that the United States is the only country that really calls it soccer. Everywhere else calls it "football," because there's a ball and they mostly use their feet in the game. Those crazy foreigners!

In its opening game, according to my sources, the United States got beat down by the Czech Republic by a score of 3-0. To explain how bad of a beating that was, that kind of score in baseball would be about 21-0. In the NFL, it would equate to a 55-0 drubbing. In the NBA, it would be like triumphing 125-60. In hockey, it would be like winning ... well ... 3-0.

And seriously ... when's the last time the athletic international powerhouse that is the Czech Republic dominated in any sport? Probably when they were still an eastern-bloc puppet of the Soviet Union, and even then it was only in Olympic sports.

And that's why the vast majority of the USA doesn't really care about the World Cup, or soccer in general for that matter -- we suck ass at it. Always have, always will.

The reason for that is that it's more prestigious to star on a professional minor league baseball team, an Arena Football League team, or, well, a professional hockey team, than it is to be a soccer "star" here. It also pays a hell of a lot more to be a professional athlete in almost any other sport. Thus, the top-tier athletes in the United States will always gravitate to the other professional sports.

When I was a kid, I imagined making the game-ending tackle or the game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl, pictured myself hitting a walkoff home run to win the World Series, or sinking the winning basket to secure the NBA Finals title. Never daydreamed that one day I'd score the victorious (and ONLY) goal in the World Cup championship. To be frank, I never heard of the World Cup until I was in college.

What MIGHT get me to watch soccer.

Sports the DZER would rather watch than soccer:

• Poker

• Golf

• The Spelling Bee

• Cheerleading

• Bowling

• Professional Eating

• Badminton

• Checkers

Anyway, someone wake me up when the "fervor" is over.

Guam's national men's soccer team ranks above only one other team, that of Montserrat. Yes, out of 205 national teams ranked by the sports world governing body, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (said with a French accent), we are 204th. Kick-ass, huh?

poker face ...

In my euphoria, I almost forgot about the early HNT from Guam.

Here ya go!

I'm all in.


Geeze ... I'm continually amazed by the size of my own hands. Is that weird?

OK ... so I'm going to blow some of my winnings tomorrow. I just don't know what I want to splurge on. So I'm soliciting ideas. Right now I'm leaning toward a carry-on bag (just in case), a couple of thick steaks and Sexually Tantalizing Ravishing Individuals Professionally Pole-dancing Erotically Revealing Señoritas (S.T.R.I.P.P.E.R.S.). What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

it must be in the cards ...

On Tuesday night, after initially not planning on going, I decided to drop by the poker game a little late. I had to sit around for a bit before being able to get a seat — got in the game with about an hour and 20 minutes before the closing time, which was set for midnight.

Good thing I decided to make an appearance. I hit a couple of early pots, and a couple of late ones, and ended up doubling my $100 buy-in.

It was nice enough that I’m now seriously considering going to a different game tonight, one that I also hadn’t planned on playing in. But sometimes, when you’re feeling a little lucky, you have to play. If you don’t play, you can’t win, and that’s doubly the case when you’re on something of a little hot streak. So if I’m not around commenting on your blogs at the normal times, you’ll know I decided to risk a little money hoping to win a little more.

• It was a VERY good decision to go play poker ... now I have an urge to splurge using some of my winnings ... about three bills :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

another Tuesday out of the way ...

I had a very productive day at work today, largely because I didn't take a regular lunch break. No home for a meal and surfing the 'Net, no fancy lunch out at a top restaurant, not even a hearty meal at a greasy spoon. Hmm ... I think I'm the first person in two years to use the term "greasy spoon."

Instead, I grabbed a few soft tacos from Taco Bell and a Pepsi, then ate in the parking lot of my dentist's office. Yeah, nothing's better than greasy-ass tacos in the cab of your truck in the afternoon heat of the tropics.

But it was time for my six-month cleaning, and I wanted to go in there with chunks of suspect taco "meat" and hot sauce. Hey, if I'm going to be uncomfortable with a strange woman sticking her fingers and strange implements into my mouth, I'm gonna make her EARN my insurance co-payment, dammit!

"Are you OK, sir?"

"Me? I'm fine -- *BUUUUUUUUURP* -- Are YOU OK?

Well, she got through it and ended up doing a fabulous (bang-up, for the two Brit readers out there) job, don't you think?

She really WORKED that polisher, didn't she? I can't WAIT for another six months to pass by!


New DZERette!
Ladies and gentlemen, there is brand-new addition to the roster of the DZERettes. Everyone join me in welcoming, with the traditional spankings and nipple twists, robyn. With the newest addition, there are now a total of 20 DZERettes! Holla!

Updated sidebar!
A few new bloggers have been added to my list of daily reads. Check them out on the right.

Also, I’ve added the last two movies I’ve watched, both on DVD. And I’ve finally found something to read! I’ve just begun it but I’m loving it so far. Nope, not my traditional high fantasy book. It’s not even a crime/romance novel, which is my usual guilty reading pleasure. The new book is Eats, Shoots & Leaves, a book dedicated to … wait for it … PUNCTUATION! Exciting, huh? Well, it’s like a dreamy chocolate treat for an anal-retentive editor and writer. Heh.

Many a Chamorro parent has kept his or her children in line by telling them to behave or the duendes would come and take them away. Duendes are little goblinesque creatures full of mischief and spite. There's nothing they enjoy more than taking bad, ill-behaved children and tormenting them with pinches and spankings. Beware the duendes, you little brats!

going nowhere ... fast

I realize that there really hasn’t been that I’ve posted of late that has any real depth or substance – just some miscellaneous recounts of my fairly boring life, some usually pointless though sometimes amusing memes, a few little odd rants here and there.

I’ve been struggling with a lack of focus and direction — not just in my writing and my posts here, but in my life as well. There’s just not really any purpose or drive. It’s been this way for a very long time now.

My days are fairly routine and boring. I wake up. I go into work. I do my job. I usually come home for lunch, though sometimes I eat out. I go back to work and do my job. I come home from work. I watch television or a DVD, get on the computer for a while, do some blogging or read some blogs, surf the Internet, maybe game a little bit or play with Photoshop. Somewhere in the middle of all that, I have dinner, then I go to sleep.

Sometimes I go to get my head shaved. Sometimes I do a little grocery shopping. Sometimes I play some poker. On the weekends, sometimes I play a little golf. I do some reading, some crossword puzzles. Lately I’ve been doing some sketching and drawing.

I don’t go out and socialize with people. I don’t go out on dates; I don’t ask women out on dates. I don’t go out and try new things, go to concerts or art shows or anything like that.

I pay my rent, I pay my bills and stay out of debt. I’ve been managing to put aside a couple of hundred dollars every month into a savings account.

There have been so many times lately that I just sit here in front of my eMac and stare at the “new post” screen of Blogger, trying to figure out what to write. I can’t seem to sort out the jumbled thoughts that occupy my mind. There is a definitive lack of clarity. I wrack my brain for something to put into words and, in the middle of that process, I just get lost. I lose track. I lose any semblance of focus.

I think a big part of the problem is the rut I’ve been in for so long. Nothing new of significance ever seems to happen. There are little things here and there, but nothing substantial. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s not.

I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but my Guam pics blog and the erotica blog haven’t received much of my attention of late. No motivation there.

The pictures I take seem to be the same ones I’ve already taken. How many of basically the same sunsets can you post? Or the same kinds of flowers and trees and landscapes, for that matter?

I pretty much have to force myself to write erotica, and that isn’t the kind of writing you should have to MAKE yourself do. When that happens, it lacks the kind of passion and intensity it needs. The inspiration used to be there, but now it’s not. I guess I find it hard to be inspired when I don’t feel you have anyone for whom to write sensual stories.

That’s the same reason I haven’t written any new poetry in forever. I used to write that all the time. On my old Web page, I literally had hundreds of poems up. I lost almost all of them because I lost my site and my old computer totally fried and, of course, I didn’t have them backed up because I’m an idiot.

And I don’t really have any goals other than getting through each day, each week, each month. I don’t have any real ambition or long-term plans. I have vague dreams of things I want to do sometime, someday, but no concrete plans for achieving them. I want to write a book someday; at least one, hopefully more. I want to move, too, sometime in the relatively near future. I don’t really know where, just that I think I have to if I want to move beyond where I am now and past what I’m doing — or not doing — with my life.

But how do you get drive and ambition, when you don’t really care all that much about anything? How do you get motivation if there’s nothing that really motivates you? How do you break years’ worth of ambivalence, malaise and an attitude of “whatever?”

I’m not really looking for answers here. Just kind of thought I should put this jumble of thoughts down in print somehow, for some reason that’s not all that clear to me now. Perhaps it will serve some purpose later.

Who knows?

Monday, June 12, 2006

cows taste sooooo good

Tonight is steak night. I need some red meat.

This weekend has been relatively meat-light, especially for me. On Saturday I had some cereal, some leftover Sloppy Joes for lunch, and a big bowl of pre-cut-up cantaloupe, a banana and a pear for dinner. Sunday I had fried chicken and mashed taters for lunch (between nines on the golf course), and dinner was big salad.

Today (Monday), I went home for lunch and had "vegetable medley" -- raw cauliflower, broccoli and baby carrots -- with some ranch dressing as a dip. I know I don't like a lot of vegetables, but that combo, raw, is one of my faves. And now, they sell it in a bag, all nice and cut into smaller pieces for me!

Anyway, you can see why I need red meat. So I'm going to the store to buy some choice N.Y. strip steaks to grill up, and will serve them with mashed taters and beef gravy.

Dessert ... well, probably a pear. Or a banana.

Gotta stick with this semi-healthy thing.

I ended up having sammiches with donuts for dessert.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

nice sunday, all in all ...

Stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, playing Neverwinter Nights with My Favorite Person, then chatting for a little bit on the phone. She went to nap, I was supposed to go to sleep, but I think a nap earlier had charged me up a bit. So I stayed up for a while longer, watching a DVD and some random television.

Ended up falling asleep around 5 a.m. ... only to wake up at 9:45 a.m., 15 minutes late, as it turned out. I had to meet my pare' and my godsons at the golf course. Luckily, I had showered the night before and just had to throw on some clothes and grab the golf bag before heading out. Made it with two minutes to spare before our tee time.

The day was a blast. But then again, any day playing golf is. And even more so when I get to do it with those two boys. They both had a lot of fun. A still is majorly juiced about the game. During lunch, he kept pestering his brother to hurry up because, as he put it, "I'm ready to play golf!" He's getting better every time. There were a couple of times he caught the ball cleanly and ended up smacking it 60 yards to 100 yards down the middle of the fairway. He's also been getting better at putting, sometimes making two putts that his father and I only wish we could have duplicated. LOL ... J still likes pressing the gas on the cart for me, but also is getting better at swinging the club -- he caught a couple of good shots himself.

I played pretty poorly, but it was mostly a tune-up for our big, annual Father's Day outing at Guam's nicest course next week. Lot of bragging, boasting and trash-talking going on. It's gonna be a great time out.

Anyway, I did manage to chip in on the first green, which enabled me to save bogey. Had a lot of bad holes in the middle of the round, though I did manage to break 100 (97) by shooting three pars on the last four holes -- and I had birdie putts that almost went in on two of those. Need to bring that game next week.

Came home in time to catch My Favorite Person still online and we played some more Neverwinter Nights for a couple of hours while chatting on the phone.

I did have to go into the office for a little bit to finish up some things, and managed to get a whole lot of stuff done in a relatively short time. Then it was to the grocery store for some, duh, groceries, then home again, home again, jiggety jig.

Played Neverwinter Nights for a little bit longer, just long enough to catch up to My Favorite Person in terms of levels and experience. Had a nice big salad for dinner, and healthy strawberry shortcake for dessert (because I used fresh strawberries).

Got to watch two of my favorite flicks tonight too — "Ocean's 11" and "The Fifth Element."

So, all in all, a pretty nice Sunday, no?

In pre-war Hagåtña, the capital city was divided up in what were basically little subdivisions, which were called "barrios," thanks in no small part to the centuries of Spanish colonization. The bombing of Hagåtña during the liberation of Guam changed all that, as much of the village was reduced to rubble. It was flattened out, with the rubble being pushed into the bay to form what is now the Paseo de Susanna, and the village was reconstructed, although along the lines of a stateside community -- nice perpendicular streets.