Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Vacation to the Red Rocks

At long last, here are the pictures I took a few weeks ago when I went to St. George and spent some time at the Red Cliffs Recreation area. The place is a natural playground.

Behold... a visual feast!This is a view of the main canyon from above. As you can see there is a small stream running below . It really makes the canyon look much prettier than in the late summer (when there is no water.)

Wildflowers were everywhere! I like how this flower appears to float in midair.

Of course you've always got cactus in the desert.

I've named this plant "Firecrackus Rojus"

Mmm, that pollen looks good.

More flowers.

What makes this picture amazing is the crowd of people nestled into the bottom of the picture. It really gives you a good indication of how large the rocks are!

Somebody lost a water shoe and now it sits lonely in the bottom of the canyon.

I should be on the left side of the frame. It would have been so much more compositionally sound.

This ravine literally comes out of nowhere and is 60 to 80 feet deep! Creepy!

Mom, Dad, and the Grandparents are all checking out some stuff while browsing lots.

Grandpa Jim, Me, and Grandma Shirley. They are AMAZING grandparents. It's always fun to see them.

Well, that's that. I'd write more, but I gotta get to bed. I'm up in 6.5 hours to go to the gym.



Monday, April 28, 2008

The day I ruined Mike's Food

Okay, first off, damn you people and your incessant demands for more posts. Isn't one every two months good enough for you? :) You know I'm kidding. I appreciate the pushing. I feel like a mule stuck in the corroded mire of a wet, Mexican road; and you, those who are pushing me to keep blogging, are the cursing Mexican farmers wondering why I'm such an ass. It's all done in love, of course. (And yes, I am allowed to make Mexican-related allegories because I served there. I know my beans!)

Anyway, as I've been thinking about what to post (because I hate posting about the normal stuff, ya know.. eating, pooping, and sleeping) I found, in the dewey decimal system of my mind, a colorful little card titled, "The day I ruined Mike's Food."

It happened about a week ago. I came home one night hungry and ready to buzz my breast. (Slang for microwaving my chicken) As I turned on the microwave, however, the 80's era outlet it was plugged into tripped, like it usually does. So, I went into the back room and reset the switch, then I unplugged the mini fridge that resides next to the microwave so I could press the reset button and thus attempt once more the process of making dinner.

Fast forward to the next day at 6:00pm.

I was sitting in my room, researching Tetris strategies online, when I heard a groan in the front room with sounds akin to somebody sawing off an appendage. My first reaction was concern, which quickly matured into a full-fledged scare when I heard something slam shut and yet another horrific groan. I entered the kitchen and encountered a furious bear, throwing items from the fridge into the trash can with such raw force that it seemed miraculous to me that the bottles and such weren't breaking. Oh, and it wasn't a bear. It was Mike.

All of the food in the fridge had gone bad - soymilk, capers, lunch meat, mustard, and some mayonnaise. It was a disaster. When he explained the situation to me, I wondered what moron would unplug the fridge. Then, like a bucket of cold water, I realized that I, Barry, was the moron who had unplugged the fridge.

I didn't tell Mike immediately. I wanted to figure out how I was going to do this. He was pissed, and I was NOT in the mood to be mauled. So I went back to my room and let my thoughts simmer while I played Tetris. Five minutes later I walked into the front room. Dirty jobs was on TV.

"Hey Mike."

I acted completely nonchalant.

"I unplugged the fridge last night when the microwave tripped the breaker."


"I'll buy you new food."

"Cool, man."

And that was the day I ruined Mike's food.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Waiting in Line

Last week I wanted a hamburger. I've been eating healthy lately (i.e. eating a bowl of delicious raisin bran for dinner, drinking vitamin water, etc) which inevitably leads to the "revolucionario" inside of me to break out and demand fats and/or sugars.

"Is for de peeple" he always says. "Sink of dee cheeldrin!"

Who can say no to that?

Well, when revolution struck last week, I drove to a small joint that I had (ironically) spotted while running. It was a little dive called "The Rocky Mountain Drive-Through". The small building was painted in the earthy colors of the 80's - deep, poopy browns and whites that had faded into the yellow-Grey of a smoker's teeth. Such charm must certainly mean good food.

I approached the drive-thru with an eager smile. There was a little sign on the menu that said "Please say 'hello' when you're ready to order." I scanned the array of coronary nightmares and chose the "Rocky Mountain Burger." The picture looked like it was taken in the 80's, and to be frank with you I couldn't really tell what all was on the burger, but the burger was generously stacked with a variety of heart-healthy meats and cheeses.

I cleared my throat and said hello.

... nothing happened ...

I put the car in park and took my foot off the brake pedal. It was a nice night and with the window rolled down I could just begin to smell the grassy scent of spring.

Saying hello to a mechanical box is always awkward, ya know? So after another moment I cleared my throat again, hoping that whoever was on the other side of that speaker would hear that and say something. But they didn't.

"Hello?" I asked again.
"Oh, just a sec"

And then I sat back and waited ten freaking minutes. I know it was ten minutes because at minute eight I had decided that I'd give them two more minutes.

"Umm. Hello?"
"Oh... just a sec"
"That's what you said ten minutes ago."
"Oh." ... "Okay, what do you want?"
"I'd like a Rocky Mountain Burger combo."

Seriously? Who the hell says, "oh" to an order?

"Umm. And that's all I want."
"Okay. The total is *garble garble* around to the first window."

I pulled up to the window where a kid - with a face that lacked any hint of intelligent thought - stared vacantly at me. I stared back, puzzled at why he didn't say anything. This faceoff continued until I cautiously handed him my card and the window closed. At that precise moment in time I had my "Oh " moment.

I realized that the restaurant was being run by four or five others with similar brain capacity. They stumbled even at the most primitive of fast-food tasks, such as filling a drink or mixing a shake. And they all had that same thoughtless look in their eyes.

I would have forgotten the whole thing right there and just taken off, but they had my credit card. So I waited. From my previous experience with the ordering process, I decided to turn off the car, rather than let it idle and risk running out of gas.

At five minutes, I saw the lady that was behind me in line pull away from the line and roar out of sight. I envied her like much like a prisoner would envy a visitor who walks away into the free world.

At fifteen minutes my patience got up, flew out the window, and straight into the side of the restaurant. I watched it flap it's wings in useless futility for a moment before its death. That's when I knocked on the window and that kid came over.

"Hey" I tried to keep calm. "It's been about 15 minutes. My food should be ready."

"Oh, yeah. Yours must be this one right ... here."

He handed me the food and my drink and then ran the card. HE HADNT EVEN RAN THE CARD YET!? I gaped, literally GAPED, with disbelief as he handed me the receipt. The whole process was so entirely wrong that I couldn't really grasp how mad I should have been at the moment. Nevertheless, I proceeded to stay calm, signed my name, smiled at the kid, and handed him the receipt back. He smiled, which was nice. But not worth the price of a cold, undercooked meal and 30 total minutes of waiting in the drive-thru. I think I saw a hair in my burger, too, but wouldn't allow myself to examine it for fear that I may vomit upon discovery of it's contents. I just threw what was left of it away.

So what's the moral of this story? Don't eat at the Rocky Mountain Drive Through. It's gross. It's run by a bunch of drugged-up, hippie thugs. It's a disgrace to the concept of "fast" food. If you must eat, and the only restaurant in sight is this one, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a pinecone from the park across the street. It will hold you off until you find a decent place to eat.

That is all.