Grin > Chagrin

From seeing them together on the street to sharing great company with new girls, from bringing cheer to a dark hospital to painting on a smile while making drinks…

Every face I peel over this skull is determined to win the moment, every persona I deliver to every different room either fuels my desire to distract which feeds my spirit or drains a little bit of my blood and soul away. Every time.

The smile you see means one of two things: either it’s genuine in its foolishness and happiness or it’s a cloak and a dagger masking my eye roll and exasperation.

I’ve heard that a fresh eye roll is a delicious type of sushi. Or is it a pastry? I can never remember.

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VN Jan 21, 2013s

Where does it begin? Rise early in Hue, fog lines the roofs, grab a steaming bowl of soup for an American buck, a cup of coffee then hop our eager rears on the backs of rented motorbikes and off we go down Highway 1 in search of the beach.

4 hours of meandering, bombing through beautiful, backwoods neighborhoods, past translucent green paddies where lumbering, glistening water buffalo wallowed away from the heat. Vast, vibrantly colored cemeteries line hillsides and roadsides, dozens of schools where hundreds of students strolled, biked, played, mere feet from where these wheels would zip by.

After about 4 hours of winding roads, canopies of palms and endless farms, we reached the bridge that led us to the beach. That sweet, salty tributary of the South China Sea, the water was balmy but more than warm enough for us to strip down and dive in.

The random house where we stopped for food (banh xeo) greeted us with a heaping plate of fresh greens, peanut sauce and delicious delicacies only found in the inconspicuous reaches of town. The family was glorious and generous, absolutely wonderful people.

About 25 kilometers from town Uncle took a dip on the motorbike after avoiding a truck and other obstacles, gashed up his knee and elbow, I had to ride his crooked wheeled scooter home.

After fouled spark plugs, running out of gas, cock-eyed handlebars, being lost virtually the entire time, it was a pretty incredible time.

In The Presents Of A Woman

Picnics are the best. Even when it’s a solo venture to eat someplace divine and serene, away from furniture and awash with sunshine.

On the other hand, the sandwich would be even more savory if it were enjoyed in the company of a girl foolish enough to share a moment with such a mental boy.

Bouquet of sharpened pencils, for a teacher or a lover, stuffed in foam on cardboard paper or right in your face, the heat and vapor of this bourbon resting in a snifter burns my face like gasoline and stings like neatly arranged lead.

BFF as opposed to GFE, better to stay calm and let the world turn for the best.

Some woman drove her car through Salmon Street Springs, plowed through the concrete sea wall and plunged into the Willamette river. They decided she did it on purpose.

When people are kicking a hackey-sack around and hula hooping, it’s hard to take their cause seriously. Occupy that.

I’m thankful that when I’m entertaining guests that I’m the one usually acting the most foolish and accidentally knocking things over.

Being rakish is something that should come without effort.

There is something terribly disturbing when a child gets needlessly snapped at.

Bands who do a cover song should deviate from the original in such a way that it takes the listener a moment to actually realize it’s a song they already know.

Sometimes I close my eyes when passing a woman on the street and enjoy their fragrance without any other distractions.

Gender arguments aside, chivalry is losing its art and air of importance and it’s unfortunate. Doors should be opened and ladies should be tended to and protected, monkeys.

The presents of a woman should be her presence to begin with.

Love Me A Good Bender

Lulls in mood swings sometimes explode into great lapses of judgment. They also provide the clarity needed to laugh about all the little stuff that don’t mean nothin’ anyhow.

Milk chocolate bars, sweet potato chips, hours of football and over-produced Hollywood movies cranked as loud as the walls can handle, this sweet and weary body just spent three days in a blur of hiding out and saving dividends. Dodging streetwise savages and perfumed women of inebriation by holing up and battening down. Or more accurately, battening up while glazing my donut eyes over 72 hours of big screen television. Even if the bag of M&M’s is pushed over to the far corner of the table, it will inevitably be pilfered by my deviant fingers. Pastries, I love you. Dirty baked goods infiltrate my prurient inclinations. Peanut butter, caramel, nougat, I’m bound by evil while devouring my vile secrets behind drawn blinds, feeding my gnawing face-hole with decadent poisons until I weep with glee and shame. Crammed every piece of junk food not bolted down deep into my gullet until my stomach sat rotting and bloated with sugar, butter, sweet cream and animal fat. Wallowing in horrible splendor, I realized that living for a moment without visible restraint or apparent self-respect sometimes affords unexpected and delicious rewards.

3 days to wander off the radar and throw discipline over the ledge is a beautiful way to burn a weekend.

Lascivious For Cheese

Predating modern history, one of my favorite things on earth has no agreed upon origin, no real geographical birthplace, probably a couple of stone age stoners who happened upon the milk of their livestock after it had separated, curdled and soured into something that they just had to taste. Luckily, some of it was remarkable and delicious. 

Cheese is some of the best food on this big, blue marble. I absolutely love it to the point of dreams and nightmares.

Light bodied and sweet like a Robiola Bosina or a sultry, stinky, cave-aged Camebert, I love ’em. What’s a better sheep’s cheese than Manchego? Etorki. Though some would say Pecorino or Roncal. I love ’em all. Goat, Cow, Buffalo, Rat, if rats made cheese, I’d probably eat it. And so would you if it tasted good. Apparently a 1997 Sangiovese will make anything desirable. Back to cheese. I’ve even been known to eat a Kraft Single slice once. Or twice. Laughing Cow wheels, Tillamook baby loaves, those big mozzarella balls, cheese is cheese is cheese. Good, bad, it’s like pizza or sex, even when it’s not very good, it’s still kind of ok. I’ve packed bleu cheese crumbles into my lip like a big chaw of toe-backy, I once sat and inhaled a large slab of black wax Gouda while watching a Farelly Brothers movie. Easily.

I believe my love affair with cheese started as a small child with the ooh-la-la la vache qui rit. Middle school was the sickening discovery of 7-11 nacho cheese but it was in high school when a girl showed me the filthiest, most trailer park sandwich I’d ever witnessed in creation. It was two pieces of white bread slathered in mayonnaise, sliced cheddar in the middle, wrapped in a paper towel and thrown into the microwave for about 45 seconds. It was so gross but so melty good and I’ve made plenty of them since.

Package it however you want, fancy in wax and a washed rind or humble like a peel-apart string cheese wrapper, or even a moist and freshly nuked paper towel, it doesn’t matter. Because what’s inside just tastes so good.  

It gives me tremendous pleasure to be a human among other humans enjoying wonderful and fun things, varied and interesting things, small things and grandiose things. Cheese is all of that and more but most importantly, it just tastes so stupid good.

note: Thanks to dude at the local trendy deli for hipping me to some international cheese. Unsurprisingly, he had little sense of humor when he heard about my microwaved white trash sandwich.