Tuesday, February 25, 2014

7 Reasons Why Your Life Isn't as Fun as Mine

Change is scary.  A fear permeates the very being of uncertainty.  We desire, foolishly, to be in control when we never are.  "If you wish to hear God laugh, tell him your plans".  Whether you believe in God, an eternal, black nothingness, or the flying spaghetti monster, the saying hits home.  Your plans are forfeit!

 BUT! You do have a choice in your answers to adversity.

You can really bitch out
You can smile through it.

As of this coming Friday, Feb 28, 2014, I will be out of a job.  I will be, essentially, a leach on society, a glorified homeless person, and barnacle on the financial ship that is the (sinking) economy. 

Secondly, I've been planning a trip across the country for more or less 4 years.  I have planned the route, the budget, and the person I wanted to take it with.  Last week, she dropped out on me.  Granted, she is pursuing her own dreams and desires, and she received a job offer she would be a fool to pass up, but that leaves me in the lurch.  I'm a captain with no crew, and my ship is leaving very soon. August soon, so I will need to figure out my shit by then.

Seventh, and lastly, that trip I mentioned will land me in L.A. where I will be living once I arrive.  I was saving money so I could, ya know, survive once I got there.  Now I'm out a job and I'm out a partner in crime for my trip to get there.  That doubles my expenses and excommunicates me from that trickling font of income I once had.

All that being said, this is GREAT!

It is all new. It is all something different.  It is all something I can handle.  I look forward to handling it.  

 I've got plans for my life, I got a good place to eat and sleep, and I am a smart (enough.  I can figure out all the details as I go.  

Now, I'm hunting for a new job, preferably one that will get me some applicable skills I can transfer over to my new City when I get there.  (If anyone knows of any places looking for Bartenders, lemme' know)

With all this on my plate, I feel as though I need a rally call.  A call to arms to help me figure this out.  "No man is an Island" and all that.  And this is something of that. I'm therapeutically writing this all down to rally myself and light that fire that will get me out and about. Keep me active and keep me focused on the tasks at hand.

I skipped the video this week to write about this.  No pictures, no clips, no nothing but the truth of my life as it is happening now. I look at it in shambles, and I can't help but be excited by what can come from it. 

So here's to a new start at something, a new experience in my life.
Let's get to it!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Whats Hot in the Pot? ... Or. Memories of April!

In a previous post in a previous life, I mentioned and posted about a wonderful Chinese Dish named "Hot Pot".  At that time in 2012 I had no idea that it even existed until I was all of a sudden thrust into eating it with my Chinese Flatmate and her many friends.

The smells of the bananas and apples cooking in the pan along with the hot pot base was magnifacent, and the display of food on the table ready to be cooked within the boiling concoction was a sight to behold.  Lamb, lettuce, mushrooms, potatoes, yams, krab (with a k), cuttlefish balls, and so much more was ready to be tasted and tried for my American palate.
In a classic American fashion, I ate until I could eat no more, then continued eating and eating, eventually excusing myself from the table and the room because I needed to get away from it all.  I needed to leave the entire kitchen because I would have continued eating until I died, as a goose when you fatten it for Foie Gras.

The only thing that dwarfed the experience of the flavors and smells was the comradery.  The sheer amount of fun the friends were having together.  As much the food enchanted me, the friendship and open way everyone ate and spoke (often in a dialect of Chinese I do not understand*) was just the purest amount of fun I could think of. It combined two of my favorite things, cooking and people (note: We did not COOK PEOPLE).

I fell in love with that meal that day, and perhaps it was just my experience with wonderful hot pot chef and her friends that made it such, but I was determined to make myself a Hot Pot when I got home!

Fastforward a year or so later and I still had not made one.
I decided it was time.  I set out, ordered 5 Hot Pot soup bases from the Amazon, and set to gathering my ingredients.

Hot Pot, as best I can describe it, is a mix between a fondue and a soup.  It is a boiling soup in the middle of the table where you and your guests toss raw foods in to be boiled and cooked.  Once cooked, the foods are fished out using chopsticks and placed within a dipping sauce, of varying spice and flavor, and are subsequently consumed.

It was surprisingly easy to find most of the ingredients.  April's note to me on her recipe(both in Chinese and English) stated the heart and soul of Chinese cooking was the Salad Onion, Garlic, and Ginger.  I just so happened to have those things at home, so it was a simple task of rounding up the rest.  The hardest bit was the Cuttlefish Balls and the Lamb, but it was all sorted in the end.

Cooking took a very short amount of time, but the preparation and display of the foods you were to cook took a bit.  In the end, I believe I created a proper hot pot.  It tasted, from what I recal, similar to the Hot Pot April had created for me, and I shared it with my family members.

Now a self proclaimed master, my Hot Pot skills have surpassed the greatest in history (to my knowledge) and I am ready to unleash my skills on a home near you!

For that meal, that memory, and the knowledge that she imparted on me so that I may make more of my own memories and meals, I must give a shout out to my friend April!

April, thanks a bunch.  I hope this finds you well, Camera in one hand, law degree in the other!

Xie xie


*It should be noted that I understand no dialects of Chinese.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Music City Sites - fooBAR

So, from my previous posts, you've seen myself getting into antics around Nashville Tennessee.

Previous posts, previous videos.  Those previous videos would not have been fun without music.  Sadly, music is not something you get to steal for your personal use, and why would you want to?


No, I needed music for the videos to keep them uptempo and flashy.  Something to catch the eye and the ear.  Also, I wanted to try my hand at editing, and music is easier than synching sound from an external mic!  But where could I get music?

Simple, it is all around me. 

I live in MUSIC CITY

So, one of the major themes I wanted to work on in this blog is music.  Local music. I need it, theres plenty around Nashville, and I wanted to show off the local talent we have here in Nashville.  I wanted to showcase bands that are working hard out there, that have a great sound, and that need your attention!

My favorite part of finding new music is the action of hunting for it!  You get to keep your ear to the ground or, if you're like me, you just show up places and pretend like you're cool enough to be there.
All of a sudden you're talking up your mega successful blog, people are gathering around, everyone wants to be part of the thing, Jack White sends you messages on your phone but you're way to busy talking to this awesome crowd in front of you, people start comparing your writing to Hemingway, reporters be all trying to besmirch your image because you wouldn't give them the lead story, the women be all up on you, your phone buzzes and you sit up and realize you are face down in a drained pool somewhere, empty bottle of booze and you missed the show you meant to go too, so you try and make the next one... *possible fiction

The Coyotes in Boxes are obviously the main band I've ensnared into this whole blog thing, and the past three videos have featured their music.  Its good music.  Its fun music.  Something like My Morning Jacket had a love child with a drumset.
They rock, they're fun live, and I am sold. Literally. They sold me their CD.  I own it now.  Click on their name up above and you can too!

They are not the only band in town though, and now I'm searching for more!  My video this week features two other localized artists here in Nashville.  An infinitely talented Elise Davis, and the power couple known as the Smoking Flowers.  SO! If you've got a show coming up, or a band I need to listen to, drop me a comment and tell me where to go, when it is, and if there are samples online.  I'd love to hear your local stuff, and I'd love to go out to more shows around town!

That being said, check out the video.

Oh!  and fooBAR

Monday, February 3, 2014

Nerding Night Out at The Next Level Games

I would consider myself a nerd.  Not a smart one mind you (though, I'm not dumb... I don't think.)  No, I would consider myself a gaming nerd.

I love games.  Starting with my NES and SEGA from years past, I've owned every single system, often multiple iterations of them, whenever the next generation came out.  SNES, Super Mario World was my jam. N64, I was there slamming Gannon/my controller in the Water Temple.  PS1, Cloud, you are really letting Tiffa and the crew down.

My favorite games were definitely the fantasy ones.  Tolkien got me Hooked with the Hobbit, and my forrays into the Elder Scrolls took(take) a toll on both my psyche and my social life.  I loves swords and sorcery!

My entire bookshelf in my room is devoted to wizards, fairies, swords, and elves
and personal finance...

Somewhere into my forrays into Everquest, I realized that their world was somewhat... boring.  I didn't think my character should look that way, even though it is kinda cool.  I want him/her to look different.  I want to use my own imagination, not borrow the vision of others.  I want to create my own place, and story, and have others join me in its creation.  I want to avoid MMO Trolls at all cost.

Dungeons and Dragons was my game!

Dungeons and Dragons takes time, and gathering people is difficult, so perhaps, when I am not felling orcs (or, in most cases, Being said Orcs, goblins, and all the other foul and fair creatures the game has to offer) I needed something else to do.

Pathfinder, D&D 3.5 and 4e. Glow in the dark binder full of magic cards... for the win.

Gathering people was difficult, so Magic the Gathering seemed like the obvious choice.


Note* This isn't exactly cannon, I had in fact encounter Magic in my youth, around Ice Age and Tempest series, but I began anew in 2012 during the summer months.  I spent too much time, and way to much money getting back into the game, but then three months ago I stopped.

While it was fun, I moved on to other hobbies. I still enjoy playing though, and, upon hearing the new set was coming out, I was moved to rejoin the ranks of players, if only for one night!

So, the prerelease set, I traded my sparse, miniscule, tax ravaged income in for one more foray into the unknown.

I sat beside friends, neighbors, and other cool cats who play this game, and I held my own in their ranks!

"Where," you may find yourself asking, "can I take my first look into this 'Magic the Gathering'?"

Well, while there are many places you can go close to you that are simply one google search away, I spent my time at The Next Level Games. 

The venue is large, often times loud, and hot on pre-release nights, but their usual crowd is more than happy to help first time players get a grip on how it all works.
The staff is patient (impressively so) and will help answer any questions you have, and their collection of games and nerdery doesn't stop at Magic.  Dungeons and Dragons, comics, board games and more line the walls of their kingdom of nerding.  If you're looking for a place to start a new game with friends, The Next Level Games is a great choice!

The important part of all these games is that they are interactive.  People are present and, more often than not, happy to be a part of the interaction.  You meet new friends and make new rivals, and its all in good fun.  You tell stories and you can let your imagination run wild. 

So get out off your computer, grab some dice/cards/miniatures, and bring some friends or make some new ones, and start playing games!