Monday, November 25, 2013

The Epic of Giftamesh

     On Saturday the family and I went to Target.  The reason for this trip to Target was for the kids to sort of get an idea what they wanted for Christmas.  You have to provide a list for Santa Claus, at least that is what I was told.  The old bearded fat man in the red suit needs us parents to supply him with gift ideas, and I totally understand.  Who am I to question good old Saint Nick?  I've got stuff that I want for Christmas too, and I don't want the jolly fat man to get ticked at me.  We had to do the gift search this weekend, because we are about to head to the beach for Thanksgiving.  Fired up about that for sure, but before we can go I have to tie up some loose ends on my Capstone History Project.  Doing research and a subsequent paper and presentation is taxing, but rewarding in the end.  However, I went through quite a few potential topics before one was chosen.  So this edition is dedicated to the Epic journey of the fam in Target on a Saturday, and some of the rejected history Capstone project ideas.  Counting down to some Holiday fun around here, and I've got the Christmas music cranking.  I'm definitely in the mood for some Turducken and Pumpkin Pie.  I LOVE this time of year!  Bells will be ringing......
     So the morning started off well enough with a nice cup of coffee, and a good episode of Bat Masterson on the Western channel.  Then an hour or so spent in my dungeon, where I go to do my bidding.  Pushing, Pulling, and Throwing some iron, as part of my continuing; working every day to dominate philosophy.  All was going pretty dang good, until...right in the middle of "Round and Round" by RATT (on my iPod), while I was turned upside down doing inverted Dumbell Presses, a blonde ghost scared the ever living heck out of me.  Yep, it was Maddie.  Who came out of nowhere, and she looked like one of those ghost babies from a horror show.  Kind of like Gage from Pet Semetary or something.  I screamed and almost dropped two 60 pound dumbbells on my chest.  This would have produced an early exit from this plane of existence, but I was able to keep my composure long enough to stop my demise from occurring so soon. (The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated)  I took off my headphones, and asked Maddie, "What's all the hubbub, bub?"  She told me, "Mama is ready for you to go now."  The "go now" part was a reference to the Target adventure that awaited us.  I quickly finished my last few sets, and went to get ready for the day.  We left in the Prius listening to Big Time Rush early on Saturday morning.  We arrived at Target and I was immediately attracted to all the dollar stuff at the front of the store.  I found some really cool "Airheads," and threw them in the buggy.  We continued on until Cheryl and Maddie decided to shop for shoes.  I can't shop for shoes, especially little girls shoes.  That is almost as bad as shopping for women's clothes, and you have to prop yourself up on one of those metal racks and fight sleep.  It's like a sedative.  So I decided to implement my escape plan.  I took Jesse to "look" for other gifts, although I knew that our destination would be in the electronic isle.  TV's, iPads, headphones, video games, awesome had it all!  Jesse wants one of those new XBOX things, and I want it all!  In fact I believe I said, "I want it all, and I want it now!"  That's my inner 10 year old, but unfortunately my inner 10 year old does not have an "in" with Santa Claus.  My only hope is that Jesse will get some of these wonderful toys and share them with me.  Eventually the girls located us and directed the herd to the little girl toys isle.  Yawn......Little girls toys are not fun.  Jesse made his escape by making something up about, "a video game I want to see."  He's a player, and he plays the game so well.  I followed his lead, and went to "assist" him, but I really went to read magazines.  The magazine isle is a great place to hide.  Not only can you hide effectively from those that seek you out, but you've got stuff to read while you're there.  I decided that I wanted my cake and eat it too, so to speak, and I grabbed up a book on "Embarrassing Family Photo's" and headed to the candy isle.  Now you're talking books and candy.  That's right, I got it going on.  Then the long arm of the law (my wife) pulled one for the ages (or the blog.)  As I was standing in the candy isle with Skittles and reading material in hand I got a phone call.  It's one of those times when you look at your phone and know exactly who it is, but you are unsure whether or not to answer it.  I debated for a moment or two, but then I realized that Jesse could have lost a finger in the video game isle or something, so I answered.  I said "Hello" in a weak soft voice, and then I got the response, "You need to get out of the candy isle and come help me!"  How in the heck did she know where I was?  That's not cool.  She's got like ESP or something.  Some kind of Sixth Mom Sense.  It's really not fair, because I don't have a Sixth Sense, heck I don't have much sense at all.  I left my comfortable home in the candy isle and went to help the others.  Basically, I ended up toting Maddie around Target as she yelled, "Pick me up again Daddy!!"  Such is the life that I have, and am thankful for it!  If you were in Target Saturday and saw a guy with a little girl picked up over his head, a 10 year old boy executing a perfect form tackle on him at the same time, and a pretty lady walking behind all of them shaking her head, then you saw us there!
     I know I have mentioned before that I am a 42 year old college senior that studies History in my spare time from my Uber Dad duties.  This semester, amongst the other classes on my schedule, I had to top off my History curriculum with a Capstone project.  This is an independent study where you perform research present a proposal, write a rough draft and a final paper of said research, and finally perform an oral presentation.  I finally settled on "Ancient Helike: Plato's Inspiration?" as my topic.  The idea being that the disaster at Helike inspired Plato's story of Atlantis that he wrote about in his dialogues Timaeus and Critias, but the really interesting part of all this was the topics that were rejected.  I have compiled a Top Ten List of Rejected History Project Topics, and they are as follows:
#10- Mark Antony coined the term, "Don't Hate the Player hate the game."

#9- I should have kept my Big Mouth Shut- The Patrick Henry Story (He said Give me Liberty of Give me Death, FYI)

#8- Rasputin was really the first person to bring "Sexy Back."

#7- Hitler's mama's got a wooden leg with a kick stand. (Part of a Making Fun of Hitler idea, that didn't pan out, kind of modeled on the Messing with Sasquatch commercials)

#6-  Rick Springfield is really the love child of Dusty and Buffalo.  (Wait for it.....)

#5- Xerxes was really a soft and cuddly guy who liked puppies and daisies.

#4- Aliens didn't build the Pyramids.  It was Bigfoot.

#3- The Krispy Kreme Donut is the greatest thing to ever happen to Western Civilization.

#2- If there were no Ancient Aliens, then how did they build all that stuff.  I'm not saying it was Aliens, but it was Aliens.

#1- I am the Walrus.  OOO KOO KA CHOO!

Well there you go, the Top 10 rejected history project ideas, and thank goodness they were rejected.  I think I made the right choice with the topic that I have.  That's all I got for today, and I hope everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving.  I know my clan will!  To put everyone in the spirit of the Holiday season I have a Maddie original, the "Christmas" song, as recorded by that great director Jesse Christopher Perry.  Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!


Monday, November 18, 2013

The Curious Story of the Runaway Juror Who Loved Indian Food

     So what have I been up to lately?  Quite a bit, let me tell you.  I received a summons for Jury Duty, and had quite the adventure trying to get out of it.  I also had an awesome excursion with the "History Guys" on a quest for Indian Food (Taj India to be specific, I could just about live there.)  Then I had an occasion to be a forager.  Yep, a forager.  It was me and my fellow History Guy, Tim.  We were a team of foragers for an experiment in our Environmental Science Lab.  I could add some more events, but I think the attempted escape from Jury Duty, Indian Food, and Chris and Tim the foragers should provide plenty of material for this particular post.  To describe this I'm going to mash-up a Winston Churchill quote with one of mine.  "We shall defend our Indian food, whatever the cost may be, although it is normally $7.50 for the buffet, we shall fight the Jury Duty summons, we shall fight the heartburn, we shall fight skinned knees from foraging, we shall fight all those who oppose any of these things.  We shall never surrender, unless of course there is some Gulab Jamun in it for me."  On to the story.
     I have been called for Jury Duty several times over the years, and I have never once served on a Jury.  Normally, they don't pick me due to my background in Law Enforcement.  I've had pretty good luck getting excused, and when I received a summons recently I figured that I could do the same.  I was mistaken.  Sadly mistaken.  They just don't let you out of Jury Duty like they used to in the good old days.  No matter how many fake maladies you try to invent.  It doesn't matter.  I suppose you have to say, "The Voices told me to be here, so I came" to get out of it, or talk about how much you loved that book on "Anarchy."  I was able to get it delayed once, but then I had to appear.  I spent about a week letting everyone know that I had jury duty.  I assumed that I had all my bases covered, but you know what happens when you assume, right?  Sure enough, the one thing that I forgot to fix was my duties as the Uber Dad.  Yep, in all that arranging and notifying, I totally forgot about my kids' welfare.  Come Monday, the first day of Jury Duty, I had absolutely no child care set up for my children.  Now, this caused me quite a bit of stress, but then I thought to myself, "Hey, you know what?  This is an excuse to be dismissed!  That's right, they can't deny my stay at home dad needs, now can they."  I thought that I had it all figured out, and my horrible mistake had led to quite the silver lining in the proverbial dark cloud.  I arrived at the Jury room that morning pretty confident.  While I was waiting for the judges to give directions I overheard the people behind me talking about, "Uncle Moses" and his "Bad Prostrate."  Didn't need to know any of that.  Then a lady wearing what looked like fish net stockings and leg warmers sat beside me.  She asked, "Sweetie, you don't mind me sitting here do you?"  I responded, "No," but then she began to tell me her life story.  Which is cool and all.  Heck, I'm quite a talker too, so I don't mind it all that much.  However, this lady not only had questionable fashion choices, but she smelled like pickles.  Hard core vinegar pickles.  Kind of like those that Granny used to can back in the day and keep in the basement.  Pickle girl told me that she had recently had surgery on her pinky toe, and that had left her incapacitated.  She put her hands in the air and started waving them exclaiming, "Thank you Jesus for them Lortabs."  I began to wonder if she wasn't still under the influence of opiates at the moment.  Finally, the judges arrived and began to give their pep talk about how important Jury Duty is.  I realize that in a free society, and under the umbrella of democracy that Jury trials are very important.  We should all understand how important this service is, and I don't dispute that at all.  However, there is quite a bit of time wasted in this process, and the one judge even wanted us to waive our $10 jury fee.  I thought, "Heck, I'll pay you 20 if you let me go."  At the end of the pep talk they always give the prospective jurors a chance to come up with any last chance excuses to be dismissed.  I left pickle girl, and she really seemed saddened by this, but I had to go and tell one of the judges that my daddy duties called.  I waited in my line to speak with the Judge, and she seemed a bit gruff to say the least.  I walked up to her and said, "I'm sorry, but I am a Stay-at-home dad, and I am my children's sole provider during the day.  I have had an issue with child care, and I have no one to care for my kids today or the rest of the week."  I began to walk toward the dismissal area, but she stopped me and said, "Well, that's no reason to be excused."  I said, "In all due respect Judge, I truly have NO ONE to pick up my kids.  I can't just turn them out to the wilds of North Jefferson County."  She reiterated, "That's just not good enough.  You have had ample time to take care of this."  I was getting a little miffed with Miss Crusty Judge by this time, and I said, "Look, I understand what you're saying, but I don't have a lot of options.  Trust me, and my Saint of a wife cannot change her entire schedule for Jury Duty.  I'm really sorry, but she can't.  Furthermore, my kids have nowhere to go this afternoon, and that's the main point of this whole thing."  She didn't like that.  She told me go and stand in the corner and wait.  Seriously.  Now, I have never been discriminated against in my life, at least not that I was aware of, however I got the distinct impression that if I would have been a woman this would have gone more smoothly.  I can't be 100% sure, but it seemed that this was the case from the other interactions I saw on this day.  Let me say this, that was not a good feeling, not a good feeling at all.  I stayed in my corner until the Judge finally dismissed me, and put the well-being of my children ahead of whatever court case they wouldn't have put me on in the first place.  Once she released me I waved goodbye to the pickle girl and got the heck out of a hurry, just in case she changed her mind!
     Well, the History guys were able to eat some awesome Indian food at good old Taj India last week.  Awesome food all the way around.  This time, like every other time, we all crammed into my Nissan Xterra and drove down to the restaurant.  However, we had a couple of new additions to the group on this day.  In addition to Sir Tim, Kerry Wallace-Reagan, Carl the Conqueror, and Cristos the Spartan (that's me) we had none other than the Tyrant of the Athens game: George the Great.  I expect great things out of young George.  He could very easily be a fine politician, maybe even President one day.  He could also make a fine Shakespearean actor if he would so choose.  Now the other addition, and a drumroll would be in order..........(pretend that the periods are a drumroll).........(still drumroll)...........The Man who will forever be known as the reincarnated Gaius Julius Caesar or Pericles ghost, and the King of all things Greek or Roman.  The Man with the Iron Beard, and you definitely need to fear the beard.  Dr. Walter Ward!  The man, the myth, the legend, joined us History guys for some fine Indian cuisine.  FYI, he did not ride in my Xterra.  My wife has forbidden any person with letters behind their name to ride in my Xterra.  She is ashamed of the inside of my vehicle, but hey old French fries, Dora Dolls, and Baseball/Football equipement add character to an interior.  Fun was had by all, and many important topics were discussed.  Like, "Who Really Killed Kennedy," "Alcibiades is Awesome," "Tim descending from Othello," (if that's possible, I think that Othello is a fictional character, but I'm not sure) and "Phrases that are misunderstood in other countries and could lead to some very uncomfortable moments."  Just don't ever say "Animaniacs" in Jordan.  Like ever.  Trust me.
     I'm going to close it out with a little foraging.  My main man Tim and I were a part of a foraging experiment where we actually had to do some searching for tiny food stuffs, kinda like birds or something.  Not to ruin the story, but we died.  Died rather quickly, at least in the last two experiments.  It's kind of hard to look cool while you're on your hands and knees searching for macaroni and kidney beans in thick grass outside of Campbell Hall.  I did my best though, and in true Cristos the Spartan form I left with bloody knees from the sheer discipline and determination shown in the foraging exercise.  Or was it stupidity... tough call.  Needless to say, I will never look at kidney beans the same way again.  We had one exercise where we were supposed to harass the foragers any way we could, and this was pretty fun.  Hootin and Hollerin running around waving my arms and stomping like a Wildman.  A very unusual sight, unless of course you happen to be in Mt. Olive on a Saturday when the Crimson Tide is on TV.  Then that's a regular occurrence.  I also tried to play Spandau Ballet to harass my fellow foragers, but I couldn't get it pulled up in time.  I had to settle for "Cult of Personality" which was already queued up on the ole iPhone.  Unfortunately, this song fired up the surviving foragers and my plan backfired.  Oh well, live and learn.  It was real.  It was fun.  But it wasn't real fun.  That's all I got.  By the way, if you are ever on the Southside of Birmingham and are looking for a fine meal, stop by Taj India.  Get the Saag, it's like heaven on a plate.  I'm going back tomorrow, and I'm going to try not to tick off any Judges along the way.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Saturday at the Chuck and The Funeral Story

     It's been quite a busy week around the old homestead, and it doesn't look like it's going to let up anytime soon.  Cheryl has been down in Nawlins, that's New Orleans to any of you yankee folk, and me and the kids have been holding down the fort.  Well, at least a valiant effort in attempting to hold down the fort anyway.  There's been a few issues of late involving amongst other things, fashion choices, food service, and marker involved picture drawing.  We're all gonna make it to the next Episode I feel sure.  However, that is not the reason for this particular post.  The reason for this post involves the Chuck.  The Chuck is the term I use to describe that "Hell on Earth" called Chuck E. Cheese.  Where a kid can be a kid, and where good parents go to lose their minds.  That would be the Chuck.  We had an occasion to attend a birthday party at the home of snotty ill-mannered children and lousy pizza over the weekend.  Saturday night to be specific.  It was a night that will live in infamy....well, not really, but it was bad.  At least I got to see BAMA win after surviving my latest stand off with the ole money grubbing rat.  Also, in addition to the tale of horrid conditions at Chuck E. Cheese, I've got a story that I want to share.  They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and this would qualify.  I heard this story second hand, and it is a good one.  I couldn't have come up with a better one.  It involves a funeral, and that's all I'm going to say for now, I don't want to spoil it.  Sit back and relax, things are going to get bumpy from here.
     Saturday at the Chuck, I think I want to lose my mind.....duh, duh, duh.  This particular trip to the home of the giant rat and his lousy pizza was due to one of Maddie's friends having a birthday party.  This is the young man that truly believes that I am Batman in the flesh, so I had to make an appearance.  Keep the people happy, you know.  So, I forced Jesse to go with us, because I'm the Despot around here, and that's how I roll.  If I was going to suffer on a football Saturday then I wanted my best and brightest to suffer with me.  Bad, I know, but it's the truth.  Plus, I needed his support so I wouldn't punch somebody in the throat or something.  Hey, you never know at the Chuck.  We arrived at Chuck E. Cheese's place, and it was packed.  I could not believe they could fit that many people into one place.  Unbelievable, I tell you.  Standing room only.  This was Saturday evening for goodness sake.  There's football on television people, why in the world are you at Chuck E. Cheese??  Same reason I was there, I suppose.  Well, we met up with our party and the journey began.  Tokens, soggy pizza, a man in a rat suit, and wild eyed kids running everywhere.  It was on.  In the first fifteen minutes a little girl stole some of my tokens, a little boy, whom I did not know, took food off my plate, and I almost had to choke slam a very aggressive and hefty grandmother.  She should be warned that I have put many an unsuspecting grandmother into the wall at go-cart tracks from Alabama to Wisconsin, and I ain't afraid to go squirrely at the Chuck!  This was a minor disagreement that involved her grandson pushing my sweet Miss Madison, and I voiced my displeasure to her.  She didn't like my tone I guess, but if you come to this place and let your kids go wild without any hint of manners or raising, then I'm just the guy to call you out on it.  It was settled with no blood shed, but I can go from zero to redneck crazy in about 2 seconds, so be careful Granny.  Maddie spent most of her time on one of those climbing, slide things.  This thing was shaking from the shear weight of all the kids that were going in and out.  Those things must be reinforced with some kind of serious steel to withstand the onslaught of these children of the Chuck.  Jesse was collecting all those stupid tickets just so I would have to stand in line behind the slowest people known to man, and be rewarded with 10 cents worth of crap.  As I was standing there I began to look around at the people in this place, and I felt really good about myself.  No offense, but the clientele at the ole Chuck is less than stellar.  I've always felt like the kind of guy that is pretty straight forward, and what you see is what you get.  These folks...I really hope that was not the case.  You had the non-parents over there, who didn't care at all what their kids were doing.  On the other side of the room you had the parents who looked like their dog just died, and they probably wondered what they had done to be in a place like this on a Saturday night.  Sounds familiar.  Then there is all sizes and shapes of kids.  Good kids, bad kids, clean kids, dirty kids, smelly kids, sweaty kids, sticky kids, and pizza sauce wearing kids.  They're everywhere.  We had an incident with sans-culottes kiddie revolutionaries or in plain English:  kids without pants who wouldn't listen to their parents.  Which is the point, but you must be on your toes, because things get hairy in this place.  Whether it be snotty little kid hands or unidentified fluids in the air and on the floor, the Chuck is not for the faint of heart.  Long story short, the birthday party went well.  The pizza still sucked, but Chuck E. himself sang to Maddie's little buddy.  Well, really it was a recording and the guy in the rat suit, but that's how they roll at the Chuck.  We escaped unharmed, at least physically.  The mental damage will not really be known for years to come.
      This next story was told to me second or third hand, I can't remember.  I'm probably taking a little poetic license here, but truth is stranger than fiction, to be sure.  The story starts with an obituary.  This obituary was read by a friend of the deceased, and the friend decided to pay final respects to the dearly departed.  Upon arrival at the service the friend noticed that there were many people at this celebration of life, and many of the faces were not familiar.  The friend expected to see many of the members of the church that they attended together, but did not see any.  This was odd, but the friend went to pay personal respects and pray over the body.  The friend was struck with the not so-good appearance of the deceased, and immediately felt remorse for what stress must have occurred in the final days of life.  Then the friend spoke with many of those who attended, and told stories of what a fabulous life was lived by this fine person.  This went on for quite a while, because there was many in attendance on this day.  The friend left the funeral pleased with the service, and felt positive for the new journey that awaited the dearly departed.  The following Sunday the friend attended church services as usual, and expected to hear a fitting tribute to the life of the one that was lost.  While walking into the church the friend came face to face with....the dearly departed.  The shock of seeing the "Walking Dead" so to speak, was significant.  Immediately, the friend asked, "Are you alright?"  Mainly, because the right thing to say to someone who is supposed to be dead was hard to find.  After some small talk, the friend realized that the obituary must have been misread or the name very similar to that of the now alive friend.  Then the thought occurred, "I went to some random funeral, and said who knows what to people I don't know."  Goodness gracious, this was a predicament for sure.  A wise man once said, "Death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back."  One thing is for sure, the departed was definitely smiling, because they were no doubt still alive.  The moral of the story;  Obituaries should be read very carefully.
     Well there is my story, and one that I stole.  Stole it fair and square, but it was theft to be sure.  So it goes for a guy in my shoes.  The Uber Dad.  I've been the one that has laid in a Dora the Explorer bed, and watched an episode of Little Einsteins on my iPhone to make a 4 year old girl go to sleep.  I've cleaned cheese sauce off my 50 inch flat screen Samsung Smart TV.  Point is, I've paid my dues, and I should be exempt from being charged with story theft.  Anyway, gotta go.  Jesse just said he's feeling funny, because "he's all geeked up on Airheads."  That's all I got.  I'm out.


Friday, November 8, 2013

The Facebook Cult of Personality

     I'm a student of History, and I know propaganda when I see it.  Figures throughout history have portrayed themselves in a more than positive light.  Joseph Stalin's Cult of Personality, Louis XIV's Sun King aesthetic, and Xerxes and Alexander the Great viewing themselves as deities, just to name a few.  However, you can see this type of thing every day and much more frequently with modern technology.  With the advent of the internet, social media, and smart phones that allow us to always be connected, people tend to glamorize their lives to a sometimes ridiculous extent.  This is the "Facebook Cult," and it can be quite a study in perception.  Not only does a certain propaganda exist on Facebook, but as it turns out it is a culture all its own.  An almost Cyber-Civilization that has norms and morals that are unlike any this world has ever seen.  So, I want to take this idea and expound on it.  The Facebook Cult of Personality is worthy of further examination, and unless I die from not re-posting one of those chain status things, then I will do just that!  So, if your excitement level is peaked when those little red bubbles with numbers pop up in the top of the screen or your heart goes all aflutter when a new friend request comes in- This post is for you!
     My background is in Law Enforcement, Uber Parenting, and History.  My Facebook personality has had the following job titles:  Love Machine, Domestic God @ Jesse and Maddie Inc., Burden on Society, Entrepreneur, and Uber Dad Extraordinaire, just to name a few.  The thing about Facebook is there are no rules.  You can put what you want out there, and like most folks you kind of sweeten the deal when you do.  You want people to think, "Yep, I'm awesome. I've got an awesome life.  My kids are awesome.  You should really believe I'm awesome."  Now, I know that you're really not a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, because I saw you at the Dollar General buying 2 dollar wine the other day.  I also know that you didn't marry a Supermodel, because I saw her in the Ice Cream isle at the Wal-Mart.  However, you like to put this alternate reality version of life on Facebook, and that's OK!  Heck, that's kind of the idea.  Everybody does it.  If you saw my page, you may think that I'm a kinda cool guy, but the honest truth is that I believe that any given day is a success if I get through without puke or other body fluids on my person.  CEO, I'm not, P-S-Y-C-H-O maybe.  I got plenty of Crazy, but folks don't need to know that.  They don't need to know that the tag team of Jesse and Maddie have pinned my shoulders to the canvass many times, and I have submitted to the very will of wife and kids.  This is all par for the course in Facebook land!
      Some other issues that I have found with Facebook are as follows:  Game Requests, undoubtedly make people go nuts.  These people have such an adverse reaction to people wanting them to play games that it appears that they want to do them bodily harm, and potentially hack them into little pieces for that Candy Crush request.  God forbid, you get one of those imaginary farm assistance requests from the infamous Farmville.  I too have fell victim to the charms of the imaginary farm, and to this day I cannot tell you why.  I don't know.  I had a fine farm.  With fine little animals and crops, but one day I began to contemplate all the things I could be doing with this time I spent harvesting non-existent crops.  Like writing a blog?  Why is it that someone could write a Robert Frost like poem or another version of War and Peace and receive a tepid response, and someone else could post a fart joke to the tune of 1,000 likes.  It's a mystery.  Facebook is like ancient Rome, and is a mob.  Win the Mob.  Win Rome...or Facebook in this analogy.  Even if you're posting crap.
     Finally, there always seems to be a conspiracy that Facebook plans to sell my information, and use my personal pictures to take over the world.  Could be?  Who knows?  Zuckerberg is really a space Alien, and has plans on world domination.  To quote that great seeker of Knowledge Giorgio Tsoukolous of "Ancient Aliens" fame, "I'm not saying it was Aliens, but It was Aliens."  What's the deal with the abbreviation deals.  The LOL's of the world.  I literally thought that LOL meant "Lots of Love" for quite some time, and my messages would go, "I'm so sorry to hear about the passing of your mother, I am very sorry for your loss.  LOL."  Obviously, this caused some issues.  Also, what the heck is up with this bathroom mirror/ duck face stuff?  For the Love of Pat Sajak, I can't figure that one out.  Ok, I've done it too....but honestly I don't know why!!  I can't stop!  It's a sickness.  Facebook be the end of civilization as we know it!!!
     Well, that's all I've go time for today.  I've got to go wish the guy I haven't seen in 30 years a "Happy Birthday!"  At least this Facebook thing makes things interesting.  If you don't think so, let the WiFi go out or lose Cell Service, and then tell me everything is OK.  We live in a constantly connected/immediate gratification society and we may as well get used to it!  For better or worse, It is what it is!  Personally, I think Facebook is a great way to stay connected, and I do enjoy keeping up with the people I've encountered at different stages of my life.  That is a cool thing.  Just don't try to tell me that you were once a Ninja Assassin, and now you're producing movies in Hollywood.  The Facebook Cult of Personality is here to stay....whether we like it or not!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The History Guys take on Korean BBQ

     I know that I have mentioned many times that I am a student of History.  I am a forty-two year old college senior, and I am a self-admitted History geek.  True story, no doubt.  Since my most recent life journey began at the University of Alabama at Birmingham I have been very fortunate with the people that I have met.  In addition to awesome Professors (shout out to Drs. Ward, Demshuk, Keitt, Jefferson, and Corley), I have been accepted into an exclusive club of History aficionado's and all around great guys.  I will refer to this group simply as "The History Guys."  There has been many a great time spent with these fine fellows, and I would like to introduce everyone to them.  First off there is Carl.  Carl is of Irish descent and let's just say he has an extreme fondness for Asian culture.  He quite possibly is the most free-spirited guy I have met in quite some time.  Positive outlook from the jump, and very colorful to say the least.  It has been inspiring to know a guy like Carl.  He reminds a person not to sweat the small stuff.  He has been quoted as saying, "Don't worry, C's get degrees."  Next would be my partner in crime, fighting those Environmental Sciences, the man who was once a Friar in Spain, in addition to his stint as an ancient Greek historian who wrote the history of the Second Trial of Socrates, and a well known Satisfry Revolutionary, my main man Tim.  Tim is about 7 foot tall, and could have had a great career as a professional wrestler if he would have chosen to do so.  However, Tim is a gentle giant and it is my pleasure to call him friend.  Next would be the President of the George Wallace fan club.  The man who believes that Ronald Reagan should receive sainthood, and who is on a first name basis with half the professors in the History Department, Kerry.  Kerry was the first person that I befriended in my journey as a student in Dr. Corley's New South class last fall.  Great guy, and he was my main adversary in the Athens vs. Sparta reacting to the past game.  He played the role of a Dirty Oligarch to perfection.  Last, but certainly not least, is Charles.  Charles may just be the smartest one of the whole lot.  He has been an extremely convincing Socratic, and a leading member of the Spanish Audiencia.  Quite accomplished.  I truly expect to see Charles on the cover of "Fortune" magazine one day.  He's also the man with the plan when it comes to the ladies in the front row.  You know it's true Charles!  It was a dark and STORMY night (Inside joke, sorry, Charles will get it though.)  Ok, enough with the introductions, it's time for our story.  Recently, the History guys and I have been on a culinary adventure.  We've had Indian food several times, breakfast and lunch at the Commons on the Green, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and most recently an excursion into the unknown......Korean BBQ.  Pray for our safe return.
     We finished up an epic discussion about the Grachii and Sulla coming along and putting the Roman Republic in the toilet, so to speak, in Dr. Ward's Rome class.  We have been talking about doing this Korean BBQ thing for a while, but it just hasn't happened.  However, on this day, for better or worse it was going to go down.  We arrived at the restaurant, and I immediately noticed that this place doubled as a video store/grocery store/health food vendor, and who knows what else.  The eating area was empty, and this always concerns me.  We were seated abruptly by our hostess, and given menus.  The menus were in a different language, Korean I would guess, but thankfully an English description of the food was underneath each item.  The funny part was listening to Kerry attempt to actually pronounce these food items, upon ordering.  I didn't try to say the name, I just pointed to what I wanted.  I do that at Chinese restaurants too.  I always say, "I'll have the #13."  When I pointed to my selection, the lady said, "No.  You can't have that."  I looked at her and said, "Well, give me the one that I can have."  She did.  We sat there and talked for a while, and then a funny sounding music started.  I don't know how to say this, but it sounded like a Bow Chica Wow Korean.  I felt a little uncomfortable, because I've heard stories about these kinds of things.  Eventually, food was brought to the table.  Appetizers, I guess.  Green stuff.  Mushroom thingies.  Some red stuff.  And other stuff I couldn't identify.  That wasn't the biggest problem.  There was not a fork to be found at the table.  Only chopsticks.  I don't do chopsticks.  Carl tried to give me a remedial lesson in Chopstick Science 101, but I failed.  It's also hard to stab food with a slender piece of wood.  I was able to locate a spoon, and I used that.  Next, the lady came out and plugged up what looked like a Wok right beside me.  She said, "You cook your food."  This came as a surprise, because I can't cook American food, much less any type of foreign cuisine.  This fact didn't seem to matter though, because she told me I could have into this Wok thing, gave me the food, and handed me some tongs.  Yep, here I was...hanging with my crew The History Guys, and cooking Korean Pork....I think it was pork.  I hope it was pork.  The look on my face must have expressed my incompetence, and the lady helped me through the cooking process.  I was still worried about botulism, but I was strong.  I wondered how exactly I was going to eat this stuff, but I need not worry!  She brought me some lettuce and some rice with some brown sauce of unknown origin.  She showed me how to build these lettuce sandwiches, and I did the best I could.  You are supposed to use chopsticks, but I used my hands.  They must not have forks everywhere in the world.  I have to say, though, the food was wonderful.  Awesome even.  Really good stuff.  All my History brothers enjoyed their food also, and we had discussions about Life, Philosophy, The Greatness of Sparta, and Charles' allergic reaction to dark and STORMY nights. (Inside joke, again, sorry.). We finally finished and went to pay, and I think I got to hear a guy curse in Korean when his wife, our lovely hostess, went off on him at the checkout.  All in all it was an awesome culinary adventure.  Eat your heart out Anthony Bourdain or even the Bizarre Foods guy, because there were ox tails on the menu.  I don't do ox tails, sorry.
     Since I have introduced these guys I wanted to share one other experience that happened on Friday.  Kerry and I had told Carl that there was a young lady we wanted him to meet.  We had seen her many times, and she looked to be exactly Carl's type.  Carl and I had eaten breakfast that morning, and we met up with Kerry at our home away from home, Heritage Hall, and sure enough the young lady appeared as if it was fate or something.  This day she walked straight up to me, and said, "Do you want a cupcake?"  Without missing a beat I responded, "No, but I bet this guy right here would like one"...pointing to Carl.  Carl who is diabetic, responded, "No, I can't eat sweets."  She left rejected still with cupcake in hand.  What are the odds?  That's how it goes I guess.  Matchmaker I'm not, although she did fit with Carl's affinity for Asian culture.  I kind of feel like the Pater Familias when it comes to my friends The History Guys, because I am about 20 years their senior.  Maybe, next time we can find a Greek restaurant and invite the cupcake girl to come with us.  I've got vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals.
     Well, there you go.  The adventures of the History Guys!  At least one of the adventures.  I have a feeling this may be a recurring theme on the ole Blog.  There are always some interesting things going on with History Folk.  In fact, Carl is currently trying to get a job in Japan teaching, Tim is looking at graduate school and continuing his expertise in 15th Century England or was it 14th Century, Kerry wants to head up the upcoming campaign to elect Hillary Clinton President.  Just kidding.  He wants Dr. Corley's office in the History Department.  Charles was actually looking at getting into Law Enforcement, and he would me make a fine Officer.  That's one area that I know extremely well.  Let's hope he doesn't run into any dark and STORMY nights while on patrol. (Sorry, couldn't help myself.)  That's all I got.