Saturday, May 25, 2002

A Life Examined
"Be All That You Can Be"
- US Army recruiting slogan

Last night I fell asleep in front of the TV, and woke up to an indepth look/reality tv at Navy Seal basic training. Although its been done to death, I kept flipping back to the program as it unfolded, for it dealt with a single class going through the brutal BUDS training,

It made me wish that I had joined the military. Almost.
To see these guys, many of them veterans, push themselves to do things they didnt think possible, made me wish I had gone through such a program.

Heh. I have gone through such a program, although we call it life.

But that training, with its emphasis on both physical and mental conditioning, would have been an accelerated program to help live an effective life.

refused to even consider going into the military when the recruiters came sniffing around, lured in by my PSAT scores. I thought it was because I didnt want to bossed around for reasons I didnt necessarily agree with.
Twenty years on, I will admit now to being scared to go and do things I couldnt imagine.
I sometimes wonder if I didnt miss out on LEARNING to be all that I could be.

The tenet of military basic training is to break down people and re-assemble them so that they react properly when put into combat. You end up doing things you never thought you could do.The Navy Seal BUD's training (as well as training for special forces the world over) takes that to another level, where you step up your mental and physical abilities to the point where the extraordinary is ordinary.

"The first lesson I learned as a plebe came from an upperclassman yelling in my face.
He told me that there were four acceptable answers:

'Yes, sir'; 'No, sir'; 'No excuse, sir'; and 'Sir, I do not understand.'

He'd ask, 'Why aren't your shoes shined?' and I'd say, 'Well, it was muddy, and I didn't have time.' He'd be all over me. He was trying to teach me something:
If you have to take men up a hill and write letters to their moms that night, there's literally no excuse.
If you have to lay off thousands of people from your company, there's no excuse.
You should have seen it coming and done something about it."
--James Kimsey, West Point class of '62, founding CEO, America Online

I shouldve seen it coming and done something about it.

I was warned about that person multiple times by multiple people. And although I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, that shouldve been my heads up to treat her like a drunken suspect.

No excuses.

In the Seals training, that lesson is reinforced.
One team arrives for training, to find out that theyre late because the schedule had been changed. On purpose.
Off they go for PT in 60 degree surf.
They all fail room inspection for things like sand in their gear.
Off they go for pushups in the courtyard, sprayed by cold water.


No excuses. Pay attention. Prepare.

It sounds heartless, but it does get them into the mindset of being prepared mentally as well as physically when going into harms way, where a moments inattention can get them, or worse, their teammates killed.

No excuses. Hm.


(Adding and rewriting as I think this through...)

Thursday, May 23, 2002

I am mad.

I was made the butt of a practical joke, and I was angry.

Grown folk.

I am mad.

But I didnt show it. I never do.

When it became clear I was aware of the joke, contrition was shown and an apology (of sorts) was made.

I am mad.

I told Kate about it. She was speechless.

(No Kate, I only seemed calm. Trust me, I am mad. Not upset. Mad.)

I could become belligerent, accusatory. Whine, cry. Plot revenge. Payback.

Nah.. That would be unwise.

Dont let idiots see you hurt.

Dont let them see how mad you are.

Dont give 'em the satisfaction.

Ive been here before. As a child, as a teenager. As an adult.

Having been through this game, I know what I need to do..

Dont give them another opportunity.

Eat shit now. Shrug it off.


Simmer down. Chill.

Return the favor? I can serve a dish best served cold. Or not.

My choice.

Because this too will pass. I will get over it. I have power over me.

Just be myself.

But as I write this now, I am pissed.

Today's Horrorscope..
You'll subject yourself to a lot of self-analysis over the next few days.
You'll keep asking yourself why you allowed yourself to feel the way you did about issues that are of no real importance.

It's good that you should question yourself this way, but just don't take it to extremes or you'll find it difficult to function in the world at large.

Yep. Quite right.

But grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.................

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

The Way I Walk.

When I go walkabout, I usually have to have a reason to go somewhere.
Once I find that reason, I have a destination.

The actual journey itself though, is never really planned out.

Walkabout means going from Point A in the direction of Point B.

In other words, I go walkabout exponentially.

This partially explains how I ended up in Mississippi and North Carolina on my way to New York. Or how I wandered Kentucky, Southern Indiana and Southern Ohio on my way to Florida. Or how I got to Florida on my way to California.

Walkabout exponentially. I like that.

Sunday morning, the destination was Starbux coffee. Which meant I would be going in the direction of downtown Ft Lauderdale.

Which meant I was going walkabout.

A thought occurred to me as I was lost, driving around...

What? You have to become lost to find out where you are.

Sometimes you wanna be lost to get somewhere.

Anyhoo, a thought occurred to me as I was looking around as I drove..

One of the things I did in New York was to take pictures of signs.

Signs define an area....

So here are some random signs from that walkabout.

Noo comment.

Booby Trap. Free Lunch.

Boobies. Lunch.

Sounds like a deal.

However at the Jiggles Cabaret, there is no free lunch, but Happy Hour lasts until 9 pm. Hey now.

In the city of Plantation, west of Fort Lauderdale, they take speeding very seriously.

Very seriously.

The heavy condensation in the window showed the mugginess of the approaching rain

And sensing the approaching rain (clued in by the large drops falling on the windshield), I decided it was time to get my sunday coffee.

With the coffee, dark chocolate and Sunday NewYork Post in hand I headed home ahead of the approaching downpours.

Home in the Rain

I like the rain.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

"..I jumped out of bed, washed up, slid across the hood of our jeep like The Dukes of Hazzard, and off we went.
(Well, three out of four of those things, at least.)"

Medea Sin

Welcome to the world Sun Su Liles, son of Dr Scott and Amy Liles.

I was thinking he was NEVER coming.

(I never sent in my due-date guess entry .. but I was thinking May 19th...)

Congratulations. :-)

The Dr Scott Chronicles grows and almost writes itself ...

Book Two.
Adding up

In South Florida, people tell me, the rainy season starts now at the end of May.

Also happens to be hurricane season, as they tell me of the preparation and evacuation procedures.


Why am I here again?

Hurricanes are cool things to see... from afar.
Someone contacted me, full of viperish drama yesterday morning.

He wanted to tell me just how pissed off he is at me.


It put me into a mood, and inspite of my vow to avoid chanelling the drama - I saw myself channeling that peevishness yesterday afternoon.

Thats not good.

I dont need karma repaying me in kind.

Via Julies blog
Filmmaker Steven Spielberg to Graduate from Cal State Long Beach on May 31st

Steven Spielberg, one of the most accomplished filmmakers in the world, has completed his bachelor's degree in film and electronic arts at California State University, Long Beach.

Spielberg began work toward his degree at Cal State Long Beach in 1965, but left the university three years later to pursue what he hoped would be a successful professional career in filmmaking. The following year his 22-minute short, "Amblin," was shown at the Atlanta Film Festival, which led to his becoming the youngest director ever to be signed to a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio.

Having already taken a majority of degree requirements while a student in the mid-1960s, Spielberg was determined to demonstrate his regard for college education by completing his degree at Long Beach. He re-enrolled in the university's Department of Film and Electronic Arts in Spring 2001.

He plans to participate in the College of the Arts' annual Commencement exercises at the university on Friday, May 31.

Part of the reason to go Cali was to be a student, starving if need be.

Im not in Cali.

I may be losing sight of what is important.
Todays horrorscope...

Nah. It doesnt matter what that says.

I feel like Im losing focus of what Im trying to do creatively, personally and professionally.

I trust my instincts, and I know that my time in South Florida is coming to a resolution.

The nagging voice at the back of my mind tells me not to assume anything and not get comfortable.

But things are adding up and Im concerned at what the results are indicating...

Monday, May 20, 2002

Today's Horrorscope
You've made more than enough sacrifices lately - now it's time to do something for yourself for a change.
It won't be too long before you feel much happier about yourself, which will make it easier to relax and have fun.

Can you remember what that is?

Saturday, I caught Star Wars and Spiderman on the matinee.

Mini review:

Star Wars: (To use LilBro's rating system)... was garbage.

I actually dozed off for abit somewhere in there. I know its a prelude for the main action, and its setting the story for the later events - but GOTDAMN.

Why did we need TWO films, when all this coulda been done in one?
Laura: since episode 2 was already 2 1/2 hours long
Laura: i suppose they could have added 1/2 an hour and called it a day


The action during the last third couldnt come fast enough.And even then., it was almost not worth it. Lotta noise packed into 20 minutes.

Ooh wee.

Its not a good flick when the audience barely responds when it ends, and no one sticks around to check out the credits.

Im glad I missed Episode 1. Jayzus.

Spiderman: Rocked. Oh yeah, LilBro's rating system : Madd Sublime.

I was scared the movie process woulda effed up the Spiderman story. Nah, they did a good job.

My way of rating a movie boils down to this question.. Would I pay full price to go see it again?

Stars Wars? Oh hell no. Im glad I didnt pay retail to see it. Im also glad I didnt download it. :-P

Spiderman? If I can pay matinee sure, but even if I hadda pay full price.. absolutely.

Why did West Coast Intellectuals have a problem with this flick again?.
Walking out of the theater, I saw a huge lake in the parking lot, I thought a water main had broken.

Nope, it was just a passing South Florida shower.

People hadda wade though ankle deep water to get to their cars. So did I.

So I decided to chase the rain cloud to the beach...

The thundercloud was spitting lightning as it headed out to sea

I thought the lifeguard stand was interesting

By the way, Brian.. was this the hotel you and your family stayed in when you were in Ft Lauderdale?

This is the Howard Johnson on the beach. Or was it the Marriott, that looks similiar?

A prelude to the yesterday's day long downpour...

Sunday, May 19, 2002

Cooking lesson

Rainy sunday, wet and downpouring all afternoon. The water coming down in rivers off the roof.

Good, Florida has been hella dry. It hasnt rained since Ive been here.

I love rainy weather.

But I have no urge to go get soaked in it. ;-)
Reading Linda's jambalaya recipe and talking to my friend Lily in Jax made me want to cook a comfort food I havent had in years.
Lily's fried rice.
She used to make large tupperware jars full for me.
Id drive her crazy (as only a Virgo can do to a Pisces), for her fried rice.

So good, I didnt even want anything else.

Ive never actually cooked fried rice for myself so...

(imagine a deep southern accent, and you'll understand Lily's cadence)
JPennant: you know, Ive never made fried rice on my own
JPennant: How do I make your fried rice?
tigerlil: Its partly technique too besides the ingredients. Quick cooking, but lots of time preparing the ingredients ... of course, if you like cooking then it is a pleasure to prepare.
JPennant: cool.
JPennant: wanna give me a quick tutorial now? or ya dont feel up to it?

tigerlil: Quantity for you ...
JPennant: hehe

tigerlil: 2 cups of cold cooked long grain rice ....leftover rice refrigerated overnight is best.
JPennant: huh? why? You used to make it fresh for me in your rice cooker
tigerlil: I know how to work the wok for the dampness of fresh rice which is more difficult to handle ... I have a real wok, you will probably be using a frying pan,right?
JPennant: yup.. I cant afford a wok right now
JPennant: although, my girlfriend in Jamaica (chinese family) her mom used to make fried rice with leftover red rice and beans (used chicken, shrimp and beef)
JPennant: Think I used to tell ya
tigerlil: Yeah, you told me.You will have to make several batches in a little frying pan.
JPennant: okie
tigerlil: Heat up a frying pan, coat the bottom with about 2 Tablespoons of Peanut Oil.
JPennant: k
tigerlil: Add 3 cloves of minced fresh garlic, let it sizzles to extract the garlic essence ... this burns quite easily, be careful not to burn ...
JPennant: k
JPennant: can I use crushed garlic or powdered garlic?
tigerlil: immediately add 2 eggs to make omelet style, chop the egg while in the pan with the edge of the spatula. Move the egg pieces to a separate mixing bowl. (You use 3 cloves of FRESH garlic from a bulb of garlic)...
JPennant: ok
tigerlil: make sure you pan still retains a good coating of oil, add 1/2 cup of diced fresh onions, vidalia makes the best.
tigerlil: stir the onion until translucent crisp and remove the same bowl the eggs are in ...
tigerlil: meaning put the onions to the bowl with the eggs.
JPennant: hmm. Are vidalia onionsstill in season?
tigerlil: Vadalia is not in season starting this week. On sale big time now.
JPennant: mmmm

(I normally dislike onions, never cook with it. But I will kill for Vidalia sweet onions. They make unbelievably sublime onion rings.)

tigerlil: Add 1/3 cup of frozen English peas to the frying pan, add 3 Tbsps of water and maintain heat with cover for about 2 minutes to unfreeze the peas and cook to bright green and tender ... then move same to the bowl with the eggs and onions....
JPennant: soy sauce?
JPennant: <-- looking at the history of Chinese folk in Jamaica
tigerlil: Maintain the coating of garlicky peanut oil in the frying pan (remember the technique of minced garlic in peanut oil) heating up to hot sizzle. Add 1 cup of diced fresh shrimp, chicken, ham or whatever meat you choose, stir to cook with spatula, now add the cold rice and stir fry until you get a toasted effect on the rice. Add La Choy soy sauce to get a golden brown effect while stir frying.
JPennant: :-)
tigerlil: Add the onion, peas, eggs into the rice and meat. Keep the pan on hot heat. Stir fry an incorporate all in a grand toss effect.
JPennant: ok
JPennant: I should get a wok
tigerlil: Let the rice toast on the bottom of the pan, stir up and toast again, when you get enough toasting effect to your liking, turn the heat off.... add add about 1 cup of fresh raw beansprouts and 1/2 cup of diced fresh green onion. Toss the sprouts and green onions into the rice, the heat will wilt the sprouts and the greens. Add black pepper to taste and soy sauce to taste and go town on it.
Rice, a cold bottle of pop, and the TV.
JPennant: LoL
JPennant: Or working on your computer in my case ;-)
JPennant: Thank you hon :-)
JPennant: Im gonna try it tonight
tigerlil: The trick of the flavor rests in the basics. You gotta use the fresh garlic, you gotta use pure peanut oil....
JPennant: okie
JPennant: the shrimp.. how do I prepare it?
tigerlil: Fresh shrimp from the seafood counter. You need half a pound.
JPennant: okie
tigerlil: Wash, shell, devein, rinse, and cut up in 1/2 inch pieces.
tigerlil: If you want to be thrifty, chicken and ham combination is tasty too. Ham pieces mix well in any meat combination. I love shrimp and ham combo best.
JPennant: I actually have link sausage I could chop up too
JPennant: kosher sausage
tigerlil: If you do choose to add ham, adjust for soy and saltiness. Sausage is not recommended, unless you want to go Carribean style.
JPennant: ok

tigerlil: OK, if you plan making this you better start now to the store for the ingredients, which you will see cost a good bit.
JPennant: lessee... all I need is garlic, peanut oil, english peas, onions, shrimp and beansprouts too
JPennant: 20 bux should cover it
tigerlil: It will be cheaper to go down to the Chinese restaurant and order and tell them to add extra shrimp and still be cheaper.
JPennant: Lil, I have had the CRAPPIEST chinese food down here in South Florida. MAN.
JPennant: Not just bad, horrible.
JPennant: All the fried rice Ive had tastes like they serve day old frozen rice, reheated with a dash of soy sauce
tigerlil: The Chinese folks down there are out to make money using the cheapest ingredients and thinking the outsiders don't know and will buy anything. Trust me, they aint using peanut oil for the customers. I made sure I didnt do that in my own restaurant.
JPennant: I remember you tellin me :-)

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the restaurant she owned. She's a pro.

Later on, too late for strenuous cookin...

tigerlil: Aren't you going to buy stuff for your fried rice? It's getting late and the preparation will take some time.
JPennant: Looks like I wont be making my fried rice today
JPennant: I'll just do some rice and tinfoil chicken
tigerlil: Yep, it is heading towards 6:00. For me it would be nothing to create but for the non-cook, preparation is tedious.

tigerlil: Hobo the meal, put all your veggies and meat and rice on aluminum foil, add spices, cover with aluminum fold on top and crimp edges. Bake in the oven 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
JPennant: will do :-)
tigerlil: or longer depending on the quantity and size of your stuff inside.
tigerlil: Hobo meals work best with hamburger meat. Best to roast the chicken uncovered to get the roast flavor.
JPennant: what about ground turkey?
tigerlil: Pan fry the ground turkey, hamburger style to get sear and brown the juices. Spice with garlic salt and blk pepper and a couple of shakes of soy sauce. Saute some onions along with it.

JPennant: You should teach cooking
tigerlil: I cooked since I was tall enough to hover the trash can, climbed on the chair at 5 yrs old to wash the rice so I can say I have been cooking for 50 yrs. My mom is one of the best cooks alive. I learned my craft well.

Im here to tell ya: Yes, she did.

Lily's Fried Rice ingredient list then...

2 cups of cooked long grain rice
2 tablespoons of pure Peanut Oil
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 eggs
1/2 cup diced onions
1/3 cup english peas
1 cup of fresh cookedmeat (shrimp/ham/chicken/beef etc)
La Choy Soy Sauce

Looks simple, but this stuff is sublime.

I guess her technique is what makes the difference.

Heh. It has rained so much, the kids are out playing in the ankle deep water.

*sigh* Im an adult. I'd look retarded splashing around.