Thursday, April 30, 2015

Evil Cake

I'll admit, I love to eat, but I'm enjoying cooking more.  And because I'm OCD about cooking, the people around me reap the rewards, keeping me from devouring all of that crap myself.

Seriously.  A few years ago, I decided I had to make the perfect pecan pie.  I make about 8 of them in one week.  I didn't share.

But now that I have more confidence in my cooking, I share more, and my friends really love it.  Which brings me to Mother's Day and how I'm preparing to make my mother a special cake.  I'm not sure what I'm going to be doing for her, but the techniques themselves need practice.

I'm terrible with frosting.  I've only recently learned how to make a decent butter cream frosting.  Now I need to work on my application of said frosting to the cake.

And then a diabolical idea hit me--what if I made a ghost pepper butter cream frosting and put that on a cake?

Sure, it's a fucked up idea, but it could be more awesome than a pack of ninja wolves that play in a heavy metal band at night and then fight crime later in the night after the show.

I used my ghost pepper jam for this endeavor and two yellow cakes.

As I said above, my frosting skills need work.  Don't judge me.

Well, okay, judge me, but be nice about it.

When I cook, I cook for keeps.  And those red flakes in the frosting?  That's ghost pepper joy, my friend.

The recipe I used was simple:  

2 sticks of room temp butter
1 package of cream cheese, also room temperature.
1 cup of ghost pepper jam
7 cups of powdered sugar

Whip the butter, cream cheese and jam together until smooth and then add the powdered sugar one cup at a time.  

Next, stand back and watch your awesomeness double.

Finally, prepare to be an evil genius in the eyes of your friends.  Or at least the ones that count.  

Here's the deal about the heat--it starts off really sweet and just as you start to relax because it's not that bad it attacks you and builds until you want to cry.  Yeah, it's like that.

I gave the left-over frosting to a guy we call Twitchy because...well, he's twitchy.  I suggested to him to dip Nilla Wafers into it.  He loves me a lot now and I'm thinking he's getting ready to propose or something.  It's awkward.

As for the friend I made the cake for?  He loved it and it's not a birthday cake he'll forget any time soon.

I guess the moral of the story is:  Be awesome and burn your friends from the inside out.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

We Aren't That Great

Once again the black rhino was announced to be extinct.  It's been extinct before.  The first time was in 2006.  Every few years, just when we think we've rid the world of the pesky nuisance, another one pops up.

I'm sure glad the Chinese are bravely offering bounties on these animals.  As a side benefit, they can use the one, single part from this animal that makes it unique in a variety of miracle-cure applications to cure cancer and impotence.

The same can be said for the Vaquita's swim bladders.  The vaquita, which is Spanish for "little cow" is a mammal (porpoise) that lives in the Pacific near the Northern California region.

This vaquita was thankfully killed in a gill net meant for sharks.  While nobody has ever been injured or killed by a vaquita, I don't feel comfortable knowing they are out there, swimming in my waters.  It's just a matter of time before they swim up the Mississippi and cause all kinds of problems for us in Wisconsin. And another thing, it lives on small fish and squid, depriving hard-working fishermen of their catch.

I don't know about you folks, I'm fucking tired of these shitty little water cows taking food away from us 6 billion humans, and it's high time we showed them who is in charge of this planet!  Maybe the various worthless whale species will see this as an example of what happens to those who don't pull their own weight around here.  I find it difficult to understand why these lazy whales don't do something useful, like pull a boat or help us with our fishing nets.  Maybe they really are smart, but they certainly aren't very industrious.  And having creatures on this planet with no other ambition than to swim around, shit in our water, eat our food and flop around lazily just won't do!

Thankfully, the Chinese are helping us out once again with this matter. While the vaquita tastes like shit, their dive bladder is a super-food that, when eaten will allow a person to live for an extremely long time.  Forget vitamins!  Fuck eating other foods that are healthy!  It's a proven fact that every Chinese citizen knows but our Mass Media has blocked out for propaganda purposes.

But the Chinese aren't the only ones to thank for this.  While they are bravely doing their part to rid the world of these useless species, the Vietnamese are also worth mentioning.

Despite having no scientific proof whatsoever, Vietnamese people swear a rumor is true that a Vietnamese politician cured his cancer by ingesting ground rhino horn, because everything about a politician must be true.  Plus, this miracle-cure is also good for hangovers.  Just put some ground-up rhino horn in your coffee and you'll feel just fine in a day.  A miracle!

Traditional Chinese medicine has really done wonders for a lot of species on this planet.  Bears, normally a worthless creature, finally had a use when it was discovered their bladder was good for "men's health".  Honestly, it's supposed to be a natural Viagra.  When I lived in Korea, my first boss was a lecherous piece of shit named Mr. Woo.  Mr. Woo always had a look on his face like a sixth grader that was just told a dirty joke.  He lied, he stole, he cheated.  He tried to force one of the teachers to sleep with him.  He used to go through my desk and look for personal stuff to get into and he'd steal any food I had in my drawers.  And while he had plenty of money for his girlfriend and her apartment, he was constantly having a hard time paying us teachers and would often be late.

Poor Mr. Woo!

But thanks to Chinese traditional medicine, he was able to get a piece of dried bear's bladder that he put into a bottle of rot-gut soju, and would he would have to drink that all throughout the day.  I felt sorry for him, having to drink all day, just so he could get it up for his girlfriend.  His wife was always furious about one thing or another.  The shrew wouldn't leave him alone.  I'm sure the soju helped him deal with that, too.

When I asked him why he just didn't get a Viagra prescription from his doctor, he got mad, and told me traditional medicine was better.  I asked him why he thought hundreds of millions of men were wrong and a multi-billion dollar industry was worthless but some witchdoctor was right, he got even more angry at me.

That was about the time I started flirting with his wife and making him think she and I were having an affair.  She liked the attention, too.  I'd always wondered how far I could have taken it had I not clued him into what I was doing but I needed him to fire me or trade me to a different school.  It was winter, I hadn't gotten paid, and my apartment didn't have hot water.

Good times!

Chinese medicine has helped a number of animals become worth something.  The tiger in China was really more of a pain in the ass until somebody realized that if you grind up their bones, and add that to wine, it's good for impotence.  This was an important breakthrough in medical history that really doesn't get enough attention.

These poor Chinese businessmen!  Impotent from old age and too much alcohol, embarrassed by their lack of vigor in front of the underage sexual slave they paid for, finally they could perform for (rape) their hostess (victim).  I mean, who cares if she was abducted or sold as a child?  She was destined for a boring life of poverty anyways.  At least this way, she can meet people with money, and if her owner allows it she might even get to hold it briefly as she delivers it to him.  And they have the tiger's bones to thank for that.

So let's applaud humanity in all our various splendors.  From Asian businessmen who have more money than they know what to do with but really care a lot about what others think of him to our consumer culture flooding our oceans with plastic, toxins and radioactivity.  We are really an awesome force and something to behold.

As for this rhino population--let's hope they're gone for good.  No animal deserves to be on our planet unless they're good eating or working.  I've tried to get a rhino steak at the local grocery store but couldn't , so I'm going to assume somebody else ate one, and it didn't taste very good.  I'm told the Passenger Pigeon was tasty if you put enough ketchup on it, but who wants to drown their food in that stuff?  We humans are too sophisticated for that!  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

If You Only Knew....

This week I learned there is a word for what I've done for most of my life.

Apodyopsis Mentally undressing someone; picturing someone naked.

I do this a lot.  In fact, I'm pretty good at it.  I can look at a woman and within a matter of seconds instantly picture her totally naked. 

It's a skill I have cultivated over years through practice and research.

It has gotten me into trouble a few times.  Plus, a number of women have assumed I'm engaged in apodyopsis when in fact, I'm really just staring off into nothing while I plan how to destroy the world.

When I was in high school, I had a teacher who was stunningly beautiful.

Well, okay, not really.  But she had a body that was killer and legs that, to this day, are the template of what great legs are supposed to be.  And while I'm not into feet, she had these delicate high arches and would sit with her legs crossed and let one of her high heeled shoes hang off the tips of her toes.  I would sit all through class and watch as she flipped that shoe back and forth.

But as you can imagine, I creeped her out.  Seriously.  I gave her the willies, the wiggins, the heebie-jeebies and the bad vibes.  She was genuinely disturbed by me. 

I'm used to that now.  Most women are really bothered by me. It's as if the very act of looking at them sends up a giant flag announcing my apodyopsis skills.

On my report card, my lovely teacher wrote, "Ted appears to be paying attention."  In truth, I was honing my apodyopsis skills, and carefully studying those amazing legs. 

When I was a Junior, she couldn't take another year of me looking at her like a wolf watching Little Red Riding Hood so she created a Special Project for me to do.  It was something that I had to go off to the library alone for and wouldn't have to be in class.  She got rid of me.

I still think about those legs.  And while I'm not into feet, her's were delicate and seductive, and I have yet to see another woman do that flirty little flip with their shoes.

But no, I no longer need prolonged time for my apodyopsis skills.  I can get a mental image quite fast.  Now, I watch people to see their reactions.  I'm a student of body language and the non-verbal cues we all have.

I use a lot of non-verbal communication in my writing.  Fingers slowly intertwine and females play with their braids.  Men scratch their ears and sometimes rub their cheeks.

Right now I'm working on a short story I wrote several years ago.  It was a good premise with decent characters but it was lacking in something.  As I tried to edit it, I realized what it was missing--the non-verbal cues so common in my other stories.  Those little things, like taking one's shoes off and clenching your toes while sighing deeply. 

So this weekend's project of fixing the short story and adding the non-verbal elements has really made the characters more alive.  I have found that including descriptions of a person's body, just small parts, really adds depth.  The way an eye blinks, or how a person grips a pen, or a smile that spreads across their face.

I work with a woman I have come to read quite well.  She probably thinks I'm engaged in apodyopsis but that's not it--I've already seen her naked.  No, I watch her to see those little fidgets, the small tells people have when they're under stress.  Or the anticipation of an evening with somebody special.

The non-verbal vocabulary of men is boring and limited.  Men are pretty simplistic.  Woman, however, are amazingly complex.  I love watching them interact with each other, or how they motivate and command, depending upon the situation.

What has always stunned me is how women compete with each other and their little body language stances do little to hide their aggression towards each other.  They way two women speak to each other fascinates me.  The words begin but they don't look at the other person until a single word is used.

That word can be different.  When it's a noun, they usually begin eye-contact then for understanding.  When they initiate eye contact on a verb, there is hostility there, and they're making a point that has nothing to do with the conversation itself.  They might be talking about blue pens, but they're making a point about something else, too.  The way one stands in defense while another acts as if there is no opposition to them at all.  The walk says so much.

A few years ago, a woman I work with came dressed in a pair of jeans so tight they were painted on.  She walked with such a hip-sway it was as if she were a dancer.  Over and over again she walked up and down the isle like she was at some honkytonk bar and she was looking for her future baby-daddy.
I said to a friend, "She'll be knocked up in a month."

I should have taken bets because I was right.

Knowing non-verbal cues isn't always fun.  It can really suck if you happen to be attracted to a person who can't stand you.  This has happened to me a few times.

There is a running joke I have heard most of my life.  Because I'm an introverted fat guy, people like to make a joke about me being with an attractive woman, because to them the idea of a pretty woman wanting to go out with me is so absurd.  To them, it's like a monkey playing golf, or a dog riding a bike.  The pretty woman and I just don't go together and that's the joke.

"You should ask out NAME OF PRETTY GIRL."  Or, "Are you going to go out with NAME OF PRETTY GIRL this weekend?"

The joke is always said in front of the pretty woman and it's always meant to humiliate me while poking fun at her.  It has never been funny.

But the worst part is the non-verbal communications.

Some women react in exaggerated gestures, making faces and sticking out their tongues, as if the very thought of being with me on a date gave them extreme nausea.  

Other women laugh at the proposal, because somebody like me having the audacity to even ask them out is comical. 

While others freeze like deer in headlights, hoping to God I don't look in her direction, praying they don't react at all because if they give a negative reaction my feelings would be hurt.  And if my feelings were hurt, they would have to do something about it, just to make up for that emotional beating.  Or, they freeze and hope like hell I don't look over at them and see a glimmer of a smile because then I'll have the wrong idea and ask them out.

I respect the freezing.  I respect how they try not to react.  It's a behavior born out of a violent childhood where a wrong reaction meant physical attacks or worse.
Not too long ago, this joke was told to a woman on the phone, while I was standing next to her.  It was said by somebody in another office, who could see us.  I didn't need to hear the joke.  I didn't need to see him.  All I needed was to see her reactions as she tried not to look at me and told him to shut up.  It wasn't the words, either.  It was how she said it while her eyes moved towards me again and again, only to be forced to not look in my direction.  When somebody is trying not to look at another person, it can be very obvious if they happen to be talking about that very same person.  

And let me tell you, I love being rejected by a woman without even asking her out.  Love it.

Men are so much easier to deal with in those situations.  They say what's on their minds and that's it.  If not, they look down at the ground, kick a rock and that tells you they don't want to talk about it.  Simple.

One of the best male, non-verbal communications I have ever seen was Bill Murray.  He can do more with a single blink than any actor I know.  I use this often.

Watch one of his early films, like Stripes, Ghostbusters, or Meatballs.  

Somebody says something stupid, Bill Murray looks at that person and does a single, two-eyed blink.  That single blink conveys so much!

And now I've given you an excuse to watch an old Bill Murray movie, and you should thank me, because those films are some of the best ever.  Watch his non-verbal language and you'll see.