Monday, April 17, 2017

It Really Tweaks My Melon

Anybody remember the Pauly Shore movie Son In Law from the early 90s? It’s not worth tracking down to watch but there’s one scene at the end (SPOLIER ALERT! If you are going to waste 90 minutes of your life watching this movie, skip to the next paragraph. The movie was released almost 25 years ago, so I’m not sure this actually counts as a SPOILER ALERT!) where the grandfather comes to Pauly Shore’s defense and says, “It really tweaks my melon to see a buff bro like Crawl here get wheezed on by a greasy scumbaaaaag like you.” I don’t know why I remember the “It really tweaks my melon” line, but I do. Maybe this came to mind because I heard an interview with Pauly Shore last week. I guess what I’m trying to say is, here are a few things that currently tweak my melon.

Fearless Girl: Shut up already. The Fearless Girl statue is fantastic. I don’t think either piece of art should be moved but if one must go, lose the bull and have Fearless Girl stare down something else. I don’t go to New York City frequently. Even less frequently with the whole family. If we all go down there, I don’t give a give a damn about seeing the bull statue but I’d make a point to bring my daughters to see the Fearless Girl. And yes, I’d snap a picture of them standing next her. Much like freaking out about anything that isn’t heterosexual, losing your shit over Fearless Girl says more about you than you probably care to admit.

Health Care: The entirety of the situation that started this train of though isn’t really important. The basics are I was at an event, someone needed emergency care and while others assisted this person I was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher. There are two things that tweak my melon about this experience. When I saw someone in need of help, I was quick to get there to be of assistance. However, once there I had no idea what to do. I am completely unprepared for a medical emergency. Totally useless. Frozen deer in the headlights useless. The only help my initial reaction provided was alerting people that actually knew what to do that their services were needed. And there was more than one person in the crowd that knew what to do. So I simply played messenger between the competent people and a 911 operator. Unlike first-aid, I am very prepared to use a cell phone.

The other thing that tweaks my melon about is wondering how hard an event like this might hit the person needing medical attention financially. No idea if this guy has insurance but he left in an ambulance. I’ve got to believe he spent at least some time in an emergency room and possibly a hospital room too. I don’t know what the medical bill ended up being, don’t even know the guys name, and can’t even definitively say what was wrong. It isn’t hard to imagine the billable cost of an ambulance ride, treatment in an ER and some time in a hospital be being over 10 grand. Maybe more. If you are able to just pay that bill in cash, you more than likely have insurance that will pay most of the bill so the cost to you will be much less than10 grand. If you don’t have that in a bank account, that’s the kind of debt that could impact your family for years. And that’s not right. It's been over two weeks and I still think about that guy regularly.

Ed Sheeran:  Awhile back anything that broadcasts music played Ed Sheeran’s song “Thinking Out Loud” on a repeat for what felt like an eternity. Personally, I believe “Thinking Out Loud” took the music from the absolutely classic “Let’s Get It On” and turned it into a generic, sappy wedding first dance song. It’s something I argued should be a crime that involves jail time. My wife thought I was over reacting. Sheeran’s new song, that is currently being played non-stop on all things that broadcast music, is called “The Shape of You” and the music sounds like it was taken from the intro to the television show So You Think You Can Dance.

Taxes: Trump should release his taxes. Regardless of your politics, who you voted for (or against), or where you get the information that helps to form your opinions, you should want to see them…or at least have someone where you get the information that helps to form your opinions see them and tell you about them. And no one paid me to have that opinion.

Pineapple: Until recently, I would have said, “Never put pineapple on pizza. That’s gross.” The topic of pineapple on pizza has come up a few times online. Here, here, and here. It's a important global issue. I was standing by original position and still thought it was gross. Then I saw a pineapple pizza I’d try. Sure it was made in Rome by a very famous pizza maker that only uses the finest ingredients but it definitely made me flip flop from my initial opinion. Maybe I’m opposed to pineapple on pizza if the pineapple is from a can. If there was a wood fired pizza truck parked on the north shore of Oahu making their house specialty pizza that included fresh pineapple…yeah, I’d try that. But I’m still a firm NO on the 7-Eleven spam sushi I saw under a heat lamp when I was there on my honeymoon. Looked like it had been there for 3 days. And I'm not anti-Spamity Spam. Just that Spam.

I made a conscious effort not to do this, but this Tweaks My Melon list is starting to feel like a Chef Dominic “Snippets” rip-off.  Perhaps I’m being too hard on Ed Sheeran. Sorry, Chef.

Monday, April 3, 2017

It's not in the cards...yet.

Back in the early 90’s, I had my first Tarot card reading. It wasn’t done by a pro or anything. It was done by a roommate and there was a lot of consulting a book of card meanings. We may have been were drinking. I was told to think of a general life question while shuffling the deck. I’ve always been a little superstitious and I took it seriously.  I mentally repeated the question while giving the deck a really good shuffle. I shuffled awhile. Probably close to a minute.

The reading was mostly positive things, I remember one thing was upside down which was interpreted as a positive thing that would require work or effort. I look back on the reading without remembering the specifics other than what I just wrote, but to this day, I have a general feeling that the reading was accurate. Really accurate. Kind of scary accurate.

The question was, “Will we be happy?”

My girlfriend was sitting next to me. We’ve since gotten married and have two kids. Unless she’s told you something else, we’re pretty happy with each other.

Last week I was scrolling through Twitter and noticed that Pirate Jeni was looking to brush up on her Tarot reading skills and was offering several 3-card readings to anyone that was interested. I have never met Jeni. I have looked over her blog. No idea if she has even seen mine. We’ve had a few Twitter exchanges and when we were moving I ran my mortgage plan by her. That’s it.

Jeni’s form needed a question, a birth date and an email address to send the reading. I got the reading late Saturday afternoon. The superstitious side of me was reluctant to even open it. But I did. And I read it. Then read it again. And then I went online and looked up more about the three cards. Then I read it again. Wow.

Knowing my question should be kind of general from my first experience. I asked, “Should I change careers?” You know that feeling you are sitting at your desk and you aren’t interested in what you are doing so your mind drifts and you start to daydream about doing something else? I’ve been getting that a lot lately. When my mind drifts, I think about (you’ll never guess…) a pizza restaurant. But I’m in my mid 40s with both family and financial responsibilities. Long term, I was thinking of a mobile pizza business for my retirement. I currently think it would be fun to pull up a wood fired oven somewhere close to a college campus and make a lot of pizzas for students Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Twenty years later at a reunion someone might say, “You remember that crazy guy that sold pizzas near even in February? Those were good pies.” Did I mention it’s easy to daydream sitting in a cube? The general question, “Should I change careers?” has overtones of leaving my current job and opening a pizza shop.

Jeni pulled 3 cards, “one to represent you and where you are currently, one if you were to change careers and one if I did not.”

The center card, “the King of Swords represents you as you are now. Confident in what you know about your current career. I feel you’ve been at this awhile and people look up to you and respect you and your knowledge. You are on top of your game.”

I am confident about what I know about my current career and I have been at it awhile, a bit over 18 years. I wouldn’t say people here look up to me like as a role model, but when things come up in my area of expertise I believe my opinion is respected. There are several of ways to interpret “top of your game.” One that applies to me is that I have reached the top level in my section. A promotion wouldn’t necessarily be a career change, but it would mean leaving my current unit.

“The card on the right, the Eight of Swords, represents the choice to change careers. I feel that this would be a difficult time for you should you decide to make a change. It’s a sense of putting yourself in a very uncomfortable position. But it would certainly light a fire under your butt! Essentially, a change would not be pleasant unless you are up for that kind of stress.”


My daydream may be a dream, but it isn’t ignorant. Running a restaurant or any food business is tough. I’ve read a lot about it. And if I was giving up the financial stability of my paycheck, that would be some serious stress. This is the card I read the most about online. Tarot card images are very detailed and filled with symbolism. At first glance, the person is blindfolded with bound hands. But the hands aren’t bound with anything. So the hands are tied, but it’s more of a mental rope that can be escaped. With free hands, vision can be restored. There’s a beast (maybe a business) and flames (which totally means wood fired oven to me) in background behind a cage of 8 Swords. If you look closely, there’s an opening in the cage. You can get out. You’re trapped, but it is a self-imposed trap. Some descriptions of the card: fear of failure, afraid of making the wrong decision, not trusting in yourself enough.  So yeah, pretty much all that.

“The card on the left, the Ten of Cups, represents the choice to keep things the status quo. The Ten of Cups is a “happy result” card. The feeling I’m getting with this is that there is a lot of safety and security in keeping the career you have. Staying where you are will allow you to keep doing the things you love outside of your career and your job.”

That last sentence is a sentiment I have expressed almost as a direct quote more than once – “allow you to keep doing the things you love outside of your career and your job.” I showed that to a co-worker and he said, “Yeah, you’ve said that.” I thought it even back in the early 90’s when I was torn between going to a culinary school or a university. My decision back then was to go for a job with regular hours and throw dinner parties. If one of my kids gets sick at school, I can leave to get them. My oldest daughter just made a softball team. I can go to the late afternoon games, most likely something that wouldn’t be possible with a restaurant. Plus health insurance. No idea what I’d get if I quit. There is definitely safety and security in postponing career change.

One website said the Ten of Cups is the “happiest card in the deck.” It can be interpreted as happiness, well being, experiencing good fortune, counting your blessings and feeling grateful, happy endings and having it all. I like the look of the card – four people under a rainbow. My immediate family is four. In other decks, the Ten of Cups is pictured with a husband and wife with two kids playing in a country meadow with a house off in the distance.
 (image is from Wikipedia)

I like to think that’s us. There wasn’t anything in the reading that I didn’t already know. I have no idea how Jeni knew it too.  Reading what she sent me did help me organize my thoughts and feeling about a career change. It also helped to clear my mind up about the direction I was already heading. Deep down I knew I wasn’t going to start putting together the pieces of a restaurant in the near future.

I wouldn’t say a commercial pizza venture is completely eliminated from my future, and I don’t think that’s what Jeni was saying either about the uncomfortable position and stress. The cards seem to say now isn't the best time. You don't need special powers to see that - there's fire on one side and Eden on the other. And the cards are right. This isn't the time. I already knew it. The future is still unknown. Things will be different. Ten years from now I might need to send Jeni another career change question.

Keep doing what you love outside of your job….Last night I fired up the oven and made a bunch of pizzas for some extended family. Towards the end, we were all outside. Kids playing with dogs, the weather was was really nice. Kind of like the Ten of Cups card.