Category Archives: Anecdotes

Don’t Pinch Me, I’m Making a Recipe

Just me

A tale of intrigue, recipes, and a Weekly Writing Challenge.

The room was dark.  Amidst the hodgepodge of grainy unused shelves and dusty boxes, a sudden burst of light filled the otherwise vacant room.

The television.

The sound of static soothed the air, and the newborn image upon the television screen slowly changed from chaotic black and white scribbles to something with shape and form.  A sexy shape and form.  A woman.  She slowly tossed back her burgundy hair and gave the camera a dazzling smile.  Was this the late night adult channel?

The batter-covered whisk soon came into view, and it became apparent.  This was no X-rated flick (though the woman was most definitely worthy of such fame); this was the Cooking Channel.  Pots and pans littered the large kitchen counter, faintly covered in salt and pepper.  You could almost smell the cayenne pepper wading through the air, almost see it flying with a grace that only cayenne pepper can exude.  The bright fluorescent lights shone down on the scene and created a cheery and clean atmoshphere.

“Good Evening,” the woman crooned, seductively licking batter off the whisk, “and welcome to Cooking with Totally Hot Women Who are Great at Everything.”

As soon as the woman finished the absurdly long albeit highly accurate title of her cooking show, a scuffle was heard from above and a group of ninjas unexpectedly descended from the ceiling and attacked the defenseless woman with the ferocity of a tiger in a monsoon.  Swords were drawn, daggers thrown, nunchucks unsheathed; the distinct battle cry of the veteran slaughterers filled the air as they kicked with the flurry of one thousand badgers intoxicated with energy drinks and skittles.  The battle carried on for some time until a sudden plume of smoke burst forth and blanketed the surroundings with silence.  As the debris slowly settled, a form could be seen standing triumphantly, a large object in hand.

“The first ingredient of today’s recipe,” the woman announced breathlessly, “is the head of a fallen ninja.”  She deposited her foe’s cranium into a cast iron pot (the type her mother had always used) and sprinkled a dash of cinnamon to compliment the strength and determination the ninja head represented.

The crowd was silent.

The woman flashed her dazzling smile once again.

She began to sift through the cupboards, grabbing an array of ingredients to add to her mysterious recipe.  A gallon of coffee for brutal honesty; a squirt of lemon juice for humor; a teaspoon of vanilla representing innocence; and one cup of dark chocolate to keep it classy.

“The next ingredient in our recipe is-” the woman suddenly stopped, her well-crafted face turning as white as the piano keys she often played.  A mailman had arrived on set carrying two tiny packages, one in each hand.  He approached her cheerfully, his friendly smile and eager eyes a dangerous omen of the trouble that was soon to come.

Socializing.

“HELLO MA’AM!” the mailman cheerfully bellowed, his whitened teeth blinding the woman.  “I have two packages for you today, but you can only choose one.  Sorrryyyyyy.”  The woman rubbed her eyes and cautiously scanned the two packages, indecision tormenting her brain.  Finally deciding on the package in the left hand (she was left-handed after all), she quickly snatched the small box from the mailman’s sweaty hands and clumsily backed away from him.  He tipped his hat and was on his way, but not before depositing the other package into the cast iron pot where the woman’s concoction was slowly coming together.

“Well folks,” she started off shakily, plastering a smile on her face in hopes that nobody had noticed her weakness, “let’s open up this package and see what the surprise ingredient of the day is!”

Inside the box crouched a tiny bat, his wings wrapped around his fragile head in an effort to avoid the sunlight and intruding gaze of the crowd.  It was evident that he needed comfort and interaction, but he appeared too scared to reach out and ask for it.  Night-dwelling, lonesome, mysterious…the bat and the woman were a good comparison.  She sighed and gently lay the bat in the pot, stroking its battered ears.  A small chirp resounded from the unopened package next to the bat, but the woman didn’t dare open that box.  She feared birds, even though this one in particular was bright and cheerful and completely harmless.

She ignored the paradox of her recipe and continued on, the crowd attentive and tense.

“Next I will add a sloth’s toe for awkwardness, and finally-” she paused to deposit the hairy limb, “a dinosaur egg covered in salsa to represent the absurdly nonsensical side of me.”

The crowd gasped.  She had been using a recipe about herself?

Slowly a form rose from the pot, much like the rebirth of Voldemort in the 4th Harry Potter but less creepy.  More like a really hot swimsuit model emerging from a pool, if you think about it.  The form tossed back her cascading hair and smiled at the dumbstruck crowd, her satisfied expression highlighting her egotistical nature.  She was strong, and determined, and honest; she could be funny at times, but she was also a very classy individual.  Although she liked to think of herself as intelligent, she was often too innocent to understand things.  Somehow she possessed both introversion and an outgoing personality, much to her confusion.  But deep down she was gripped with fear; she was scared of people, and being in public, and forming relationships.  She was too stubborn to admit to her faults though, and that was the way she liked it.  Most of all, she was an individual.

“Hi, I am MediocreNinJa.  And I like to party.”

The crowd cheered.

The Stalker Bench

Dearest Stalker-Like Patron of the Park, 

                I understand that my ninja t-shirt and pink flower pajama pants are a real turn-on, but averting your obtrusive eyes and pretending I don’t exist for a minute would be greatly appreciated whilst I eagerly await the arrival of a certain puppy’s early morning dump.  Perhaps the sun’s reflection upon my grease-laden hair is too much to resist, in which case I sympathize with your inability to control yourself.  Either way, this whole awkward stare-off could have been avoided if we had both just pretended that this fence separating my backyard from your spot in the public park was made of bricks.  Or Adamantium.  Because that would be bad-ass.

Sincerely,
Too-Hot-For-Privacy

Since the dawn of time, there has existed a mythical land just beyond the confines of my humble backyard.  It was a place of magic, mystery, and beauty; filled with grand tournaments between cleat-laden midgets, jogging warriors fighting to reclaim their youth and all that’s in between.  One day, the Law of the Land enacted a decree stating that three royal benches would be erected around the land to guard against their enemies and stand as a monument to their greatness.  One of these benches was erected directly facing the territory of the Greatest Enemy of All.

A.K.A my freaking backyard.

This bench has now come to be known as The Stalker Bench.

Extremely well made map of my predicament.

Extremely well made map of my predicament.

At first my family was in denial.  There’s no way the city would put a bench directly facing our house; there had to be a mistake.  But as time went on, it became evident that the putrid-green bench was there to stay.  And with it came a host of awkward stare-offs and parties I was never invited to.

Take this morning for instance.  As I stood in all my pajama-wearing unshowered glory waiting for my two dogs to evacuate their bowels, a young man sat upon the Stalker Bench.  And stared.  Just stared.  In defense I ignored him, then eventually conceded to a battle of glaring.  Usually at this point people will awkwardly look away or leave the bench altogether, but this man aptly deserved the title of Stalker bestowed upon him by the bench.  His staring abilities were the stuff of legends.  It wasn’t until my hulkish father appeared that the young man awkwardly coughed and looked away, and even then he would steal occasional glances.  I get it, I’m irresistible in ninja t-shirts; but please exercise some self-restraint.

However, self-control is not something that happens very often around the Stalker Bench.  If I were asked how many times I have been witness to sexual acts, the Stalker Bench would greatly skew the results and I would probably land in jail.  First base, second base, third base, thirteenth base…One time a couple went All The Way and I almost got my confetti cannon out and threw them a celebration, but it was over before I could even get the party hats out.  Drinking, smoking, partying, dancing, fist fights, sleeping, choking on apples, contacting the spirit world and the likes are also common occurrences.  It’s amazing just what people will do on a public bench.  And its even more amazing how much I’m never invited to these functions, no matter how big I make my puppy eyes.

Thus I am forced to out-stalk the stalkers and scare them away from the bench with intense stares and crazy body convulsions.  If only they knew they could avoid this whole ordeal by inviting me to their seances.

Or just leaving.

Half-Marathons are 97% Bueno

The time was 6:30 AM.  The temperature was somewhere between 30 degrees and Absolute Zero.  Though the conditions were less-than-optimal, the eager spirit of those wandering wayfarers pacing atop the mountainside alit the atmosphere with energy and anticipation.

My first half-marathon.

With a whole two weeks of training and a pocket full of running ambrosia (AKA Gu), I laced up my super high-tech $20 K-Mart running shoes and headed out the door, my soul filled with oblivious confidence and my mind ready to get it over with.  What started as a last-minute promise to my dad would now become the 6th greatest endeavor of my life, not counting the time I had consumed an entire watermelon.  I was vastly unprepared and overconfident as usual, and I was ready.

With the 30-minute busride to the top of the mountain came the realization as to just how impossibly LONG 13.1 miles is.  To put it into perspective: I was able to eat a second breakfast, take a nap, and defeat an evil chinese warlord before the bus was able to reach the start line.  Sheathing my sword, I stepped off the bus and into a crowd of people chaotically searching for bathrooms and emergency bananas.  Then suddenly a shot went off, and the pandemonium coalesced into a single body of people.

It had begun.

The young and fit, the saggy and old, the reborn middle-agers; we all gathered at the start line, a sense of hushed anticipation buzzing through the crowd.  600+ people from all walks of life readying themselves for one single goal: 13.1 miles.  The reasons and seasons for these people were all different…to get fit, to become sexy, to fight off depression, to find onesself, to lose onesself…but every single one of us was focused on that finish line.  For the next few hours we would be teammates, family, life support, One.  A sense of camaraderie I had yet to experience linked us together and pushed us to lengths we’d only dared dream of.  Synergy.  Determination. Success.

These were the grand emotions I experienced before I began my descent into Hell.

The first three miles were a breeze.  They always are.  Keeping a good 2 hour pace and only occasionally being passed up, I finally reached the Mile 4 marker which I now realize was the Gateway to Hades in disguise.  My lungs began to burn (from the sulfur of demons barbecuing innocence) as did my legs (its difficult to run atop the souls of the damned).  With every passing mile another one of my organs would shut down.  Arms?  Who needs them.  Liver?  More like DEADer (bad pun) (really bad pun) (I apologize).  Still trying to run more than walk, I pathetically kept pace with an ultra-fit octogenarian who had probably accomplished more in one day than I had in my entire lifetime.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned from running, its that anyone could be a runner. ANYONE.  They walk among us, unseen and undetected, but always present.  ALWAYS.

Anywho, if Mile 4 was the Gateway to Hell, than Mile 12 was the stairway out.  And it was anything but pleasant.  As I jogged/limped/walked toward the finish line, I could feel blood pooling in my shoes and every muscle in my entire body spontaneously combusting.  The burning in my legs I had experienced earlier had decided to kindly transform into a simpler but more effective form of pain, known as pure pain.  My legs were the very definition of pain.  With volunteers cheering/bullying me to finish, I sauntered across the finish line like a pimp who had lost all use of his kneecaps.

2 hours, 12 minutes.  A full 30 minutes faster than my anticipated finish time.  Am I a total boss? Yes, yes I am.  Am I an idiot?  Indeed.  Though I finished at a speed I had only dared dream of, my body experienced severe repercussions for the next week.  My stiff legs caused me to walk like someone who didn’t make it to the bathroom in time.  Soreness consumed my mind, body, and soul.  The processes of my brain shut down entirely.  I was one large bruise from head to toe.  And I do not regret a second of it.

Though there are consequences to running that would leave the un-runned man in a state of pure agony, the benefits outweigh the setbacks.  Firstly and foremost, running makes you sexy.  Your muscles get all sculpted and fit and you become a total beast.  You also get really high from all those natural drugs that hide in your body.  You get to join a very supportive (albeit mostly insane) community of runners.  There are medals.  And super stylish sweatsuits.  And a lot of milk for some reason.  And most importantly, food tastes A BAJILLION times better after running.  Like, over 9000.

And I would do anything for food.

How Not to Save a Bird

One time I rescued a baby bird.  And it was nothing like those feel-good movies make it out to be.

It was one of those drowsy summer days, the type that leave impressions of infinite warmth and blossoms.  My mother and I were on a walk in artificial suburbia when we came upon a fuzzy baby bird screaming for food upon the sidewalk.  TO SAVE OR NOT TO SAVE?  My selfish desire to be a superhero kicked in and I brashly decided to conquer my previously unknown fear of natural animals.  Swallowing the panic that was slowly creeping into my throat, I tried to figure out how to pick up the fragile creature without damaging the bird or my sense of well-being.  With my mother making the “you’re a total wimp” face at my failed attempts to pick up a harmless baby, I gritted my teeth and finally got the ugly infant to hop into my palm.  Man did that freak me out.  When the bird stretched its wings, it became evident that it was not the innocent baby bird I had first thought it to be, but rather a skeleton decorated with tufts of fur.  Not to mention the fact that it viewed my fingers as food.  Fear gripped my entire being as the ugly creature clung to my hand.

However, the thing that scared me above all else was the thought of the baby dying in my hands.  No matter how much I feared the beast, the need to nurture this tiny life and ensure its survival cancelled out all other emotions.  I WAS GOING TO BE A SUPER HERO ONE DAY, DAMMIT.  The weight of responsibility pounded through my veins as I tried to walk with a combination of speed and grace (a motion that rather made me look like I had just pooped my pants) so I could get home and save the helpless creature from its imminent doom.

Fantasies of dancing around my backyard with my lifelong bird friend (who I would name Chastàin because that’s an EFFIN CLASSY name) and a montage of my little friend growing from a helpless baby into something like a noble Pidgeot with a scarf waltzed through my head as I slowly made my way back to homebase.  I was going to be Jean Craighead George!  I was totally one with nature!

Oh how little did I know.

I couldn’t figure out if excessive chirping was a good or bad sign, so I tried to keep the baby at what I thought was a moderate noise level by occasionally shaking the bucket I had made as its temporary emergency vehicle.  Once I finally arrived home, I booted up the laptop and iPad simultaneously to devour as much knowledge on baby birds as quickly as possible.  TIME WAS OF THE ESSENCE AND THE LIFEFORCE OF MY PRECIOUS BABY BIRD WAS DIMINISHING WITH EVERY PASSING SECOND.  I not-so-gently transferred my captive into a makeshift nest and got to studying.  The bird soon quieted down, but this silence was not golden.  This silence was what I believed to be an omen of DEATH.  My studying quickened.

Following the directions from the all-knowing internet, I softened dog kibble in hot sugar water and attempted to feed the bird with this mystical life-saving ambrosia whilst my mother rolled her eyes and watched to make sure I didn’t let the “germ-infested” creature loose.  Fantasies of my gentlemanly pidgeot and dances with birds were then slowly crushed by a truth I had sensed all along: I am not fit to care for and save little lives.  The infinite knowledge on birds I had gathered during my 20-minute search on Google was not enough.  My inadequacy was further confirmed by the baby’s complete unwillingness to partake in the soggy dog food fated to save its life.  A sense of dread filled my entire being as I realized what I must now do: I had to take the fledgling back and undo the ignorant mistake I had viewed as a potentially heroic story.

Thanks, ego.  Good intentions + overstatement of ability – actual ability = FAILURE.

During the car ride back, the baby decided to stop playing dead and instead HOP OUT OF ITS FREAKING BASKET WHILE I WAS FREAKING DRIVING.  Between trying to keep the baby from killing itself and trying to make sure it didn’t peck out my eyes, our lives were put into jeopardy by oncoming traffic and curbside trash cans.  I arrived at my destination in a state of panic and jumped out of  the car, terror striking my face white.  Mustering up the remainder of my courage, I opened the car door and began my hunt for the minuscule bird, using my sonar location skills to pinpoint the origin of the deadly tweets.  Eventually the baby hopped out from under the driver’s seat, looking annoyed and pissed off.  I used my worm-like fingers to coax the baby back into the basket and flung the nest and its inhabitant into the grass before quickly driving off to freedom.

As I glanced into my rearview mirror, I saw the bird immediately hop from its makeshift nest and begin prowling in search of its next victim.  I realized then what an idiot I had been.  Rescuing a “helpless” baby bird based off of feel-good movies, Pokemon, and the irrational desire to be a super hero?  Good intentions, but not well thought out.  The baby was definitely safer in the hands of nature than in my sweaty worm-like ones.

If there’s anything to be learned from this post, it is this: baby birds are not as helpless as you think and Pidgeot will never exist in this reality.  The End.

Final note: with this post I wish you the best of luck in all areas of life, Chastàin.  May your creepy wings take you to heights unsoared and your gangling legs walk you to the nearest worm-buffet.  And also I hope you get trapped in a tub of soggy dog kibble because you are a freakishly annoying creature and you deserve it.  But only for a little bit.