Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Delicious Duality

There is a crock pot cooking chicken and beans in my kitchen right now. My workplace meal (Is it lunch? Dinner? Who knows! Guessing is half the fun!) consists of salmon, whole grains, kale and other greens. Most days involve lots of veggies, lean protein, and various other nutritious and delicious stuff on my plate or packed for my shift, and when there's food in my cupboards and fridge it's generally pretty good for me. I give some credit to this not-so-terrible diet for getting over the cold I caught a couple weeks ago, and I think it's why I'm feeling unnecessarily energetic today.

Earlier, I walked my energetic butt to work like I usually do during the week, taking in the warm weather and the brief moment of quiet before manning the desk. The sun was shining, the mountains to either side of the valley glistened with much needed snow, and everything was pretty alright... but something sinister hung in the air. It got my attention as soon as it hit my nose, and it barged into my nostrils like an uninvited house guest.

It was the scent of the McDonald's across the street. It smelled like greasy mystery meat products, dubiously edible and definitely not good for you. As I made my way up the street, the smells from the other restaurants in town blew my way; burgers, pizza, things fried and grilled and liable to cause a heart attack in the long run wafted at me like a tidal wave of delicious, and my packed sandwich seemed a little less appealing.

I'm a big fan of health foods, sure, but I'm also kind of a junk food junkie.

I've talked about my love of pizza, and anyone who knows me knows my fixation on Taco Bell and cheeseburgers. Maybe it's because of being restricted from the crap as a kid, and maybe it's because years of science backs that the shit's addictive, but every now and then I get a pretty strong urge to get down on something processed and bad for me. I eat a balanced diet most of the week, conscious of what I'm stuffing my face with, but sometimes there's nothing I want more than an entire frozen pizza and some chicken nuggets washed down with a Mountain Dew. Some baked mahi-mahi with quinoa makes for a good dinner, but something from the drive-thru is both easy and tasty.

Luckily for me, though, I don't go overboard with the crap all the time. After gorging myself with copious amounts of junk I get lazy, and even though I don't mind being lazy every now and then it still makes me feel bad. There's so much more I could do other than loafing around to digest a bag of McDonald's cheeseburgers that when I end up in a state of McHibernation I feel guilty. After having a daily fast-food diet for a number of reasons for awhile, and being lucky enough now to not have to eat the crap all the time, learning the balance of eating food and eating "food" has been a slippery slope.

I'm stoked on the food slow cooking at home, and I'm pretty excited for the sandwich in the fridge here at work, but I'm also excited for the prospect of a bunch of fast food and junk at some point later this weekend.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

On Los Angeles Freeways

Last Saturday I had the privilege to visit the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History with my girlfriend for Valentine's Day. After all, nothing says "I love you!" quite like a megamouth shark preserved in alcohol (rad), taxidermy bears and rhinos (also rad), and dinosaur fossils (hella rad), so Stephanie and I had a really good time. A couple nerds doing nerd shit on a mushy holiday is more than I could've asked for. In fact, I'd go as far as to say it was one of the best dates I've ever had ever.

However, it wasn't without a challenge.

Now, I like to think I'm a patient man. I do my best to accept most things, and it's helped me in my professional and personal life for many years. Empathy is my middle name, and I strive to keep a level head when it comes to people and most situations.

But dammit, I really hate Los Angeles freeways.

Like, a lot. A lot a lot.


The last year or so has lead me to the roadways of the greater Los Angeles area more often than I'd ever had or wanted to before. As if my opinion on the City of Angels wasn't so high before (that water thieving bastard Mulholland is to blame for that), having to navigate--or even to just sit in a car-- through the I-5, 405, 110, and the myriad of other roadways too horrible for actual names is a real life nightmare. Throw in holiday traffic and my less-than-stellar navigation skills and you have yourself a challenge. It's amazing I made it with all (or most) of my hair. Worth it to spend the day with my girlfriend, but still, President's Day traffic is evil.

Southern California traffic sucks even without a three-day-weekend though. The roads always have junk in them consistently, even though they should have work crews on them constantly since they seem to be perpetually doing road construction. Despite people commuting on the freeways every day, nobody seems to know how to use a blinker or accelerator properly, and the concept of staying in one lane is apparently lost on too many in the Southland. God forbid a cop car or fire truck needs to get through, because almost no one is perceptive enough to give two steaming shits about their surroundings while driving on the 5.

I've never been a fan of LA. I'm not opposed to freeways in general, but I would much rather stay away from the swirling mess of concrete that leads into the heart of LA if I can help it. I'm glad Stephanie drives when we go down below because I'd probably end up in an accident after having a stroke from stress (or after Stephanie kicks my ass for driving too slow). I've been spoiled with where I live because of the lack of real traffic and how straightforward the 395 is in this neck of the woods. I do like maneuvering through some freeway traffic because the ease of driving at home makes actual driving a little more challenging, but it's a little different when the assholes on the road are moving either at lightning speed three inches away from you or cutting you off before dropping your speed in half.

Anyway, check out the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History because the museum is way awesome and informative, and do so sometime before rush hour and not on a holiday weekend because the 110 is bullshit.

Seriously, City of Los Angeles, get your shit together.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I Got A Peaceful, Icky Feeling

Monday morning started off pretty well. I was well rested, full of energy, and ready to tackle the work week that was sure to be a breeze. The weather outside was warm and clear after raining during the weekend, and I soaked in the sun and fresh air before going in for work later in the day. Work was the same as it always is, but I was clear-headed and energetic enough to do my work as well as possible. It was a good sign that the week was going to be promising, so I went to bed on Monday with plans to knock out my to-do list by Friday.

Tuesday morning came, and I woke up feeling like dog shit.

Where did this cold come from? Why is it not bad enough to call in to work but also not mild enough to ignore? When was the last time I even actually got sick?

It's my second day feeling icky from whatever bug I managed to pick up from last weekend, and while I'm feeling a little better than yesterday I'm still coughing up half a lung every other minute and aching all over. When a big part of your job is speaking to people, both over the phone and in person, plugged up ears and a sore throat don't make things easy, and being tired and cranky makes wearing a smile for eight or nine hours a superhuman feat. I still managed to go through yesterday as well as ever but I would have rather been laying on my couch with some soup and Netflix instead of rushing around the desk and answering phones.

I shouldn't be complaining too much. If anything, I'm getting off lucky so far. A fair chunk of people I know have been getting bronchitis, some so bad they've been sent to the ER. While my ailment should be able to get cleared up with patience and sucking it up, my friends have to take antibiotics and confine themselves to bed. Some people are getting the flu ('tis the season after all) and are stuck waiting by a bucket or the toilet for something less than desirable and all kinds of gross. Kids of terrible parents are getting measles from Disneyland too, which doesn't even mention the other kinds of diseases theme parks full of children can carry.

Basically, I'm not doing too bad by comparison, and as long as I remember that fact I might be able to ignore the congestion headache and the raspy feeling in my throat. If I manage to convince myself I feel fine it should come true.

If you're feeling ill today, get well soon. Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, intake plenty of vitamins and stuff to help your body out, and catch up on some TV shows. If you feel bad enough to take a day off-- and you're able to-- do it.

Otherwise, take my lead and pretend to be in perfect health in-between coughing fits and groans.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

My Wristwatch

I had a few minutes before I had to leave for work earlier today, so I grabbed my lunch from the fridge, tied my tie, and put on my watch. I glanced down at my wrist to see what time frame I was working with, but realized the watch read half past noon. I looked at my phone, which said the time was a quarter 'til three. Glancing between the watch and the phone, I let out a groan at the realization that my favorite watch had died. I tossed it onto the chair next to my bed, grabbed another watch from the dresser, and made my way to work.

In an age where people carry veritable computers in their pockets, it's not really all that necessary to even wear a watch; if you want to know the time you can look at your phone, and while you're at it you can check your email, calendar, Facebook, bank statements, and essentially run circles around the arm clock. Regardless, I like them. I didn't always wear one, but dressing for work doesn't seem complete until that slight weight is on my wrist. I'd say it "makes the look" but that's probably just my imagination, even though it might be more professional looking than reaching at my back pocket whenever someone asks for the time.

I bought the watch about three years ago. I don't remember why; probably because I thought it looked cool or I had some extra cash, but it was a good investment as far as I was concerned. I wore it rock climbing and cracked the face, during hikes and got it dirty and dusty under the glass, and occasionally while sleeping and stretched the holes on the band. It was a little worse for wear, but I still liked it best. I've worn it to work almost every day for the last three years regardless of the dirt and cracks because it served its purpose of keeping time and being super comfy on my arm.

I might find a jeweler to replace the battery or whatever at some point, but I'm not in that big a rush. Besides, with how beat to death it looks it might be worth investing in another one. Now that I only have one working wristwatch it'd be a good idea to have another backup for when the other croaks.

Plus, it'll help me look sharp for work.

That's important I guess.