The Evils of The Pumpkin

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You may find this hard to believe but I hate pumpkins.  Not those jolly round orbs with pointy carved teeth sitting on front porches during Halloween that we all grew up with but the insidious gourds that have infiltrated two of the oldest and most prestigious libations ever devised by human creativity. The beverages I speak of are coffee and beer.

Pumpkin must have the ability to alter brain chemistry because for some reason we think a Pumpkin Spiced Caramel Swirled Mocha Frappa Caca Doody Poo Poo Latte or a Harvest Pumpkin Cinnamon Bacon Harvest Shitshow Ale is something to get excited about.  I have yet to see Starbucks create a Zucchini and Butternut Squash Latte or a hipster brewmaster launch his seasonal offering of Pete’s Turnip and Parsnip IPA to the adoring masses.  No- only the pumpkin can circumvent everyone’s culinary radar and convince the weak minded that putting a winter squash into an alcoholic beverage is wise.  The internet practically breaks when Starbucks rolls out the latest Frankenstein concoctions they call Pumpkin Spiced Lattes every fall.

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The Pumpkin Apocalypse has already started

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It is TOTALLY out of control

I will be the first to admit I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to beverages with such longstanding histories as coffee and beer.  Emanating from Kaldi the Ethiopian goat herder’s discovery that his goats got super jacked up after eating coffee beans, the noble and enduring latte, with its strong espresso complemented by the natural sweetness of the steamed milk and froth, (RA* – and it better be milk – the only acceptable reason to put soy ‘milk” in a latte is if milk makes you shit your pants!) is a combination that needs little adornment aside from a bit of sugar to cut the edge of the espresso.  In other words coffee should taste like… COFFEE… not a Thanksgiving desert!
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Yeah I know. I’m a cranky old fool to think coffee should taste like coffee but do you want a hamburger that tastes like a Brussel sprout?  Do you?  I didn’t think so.  So enough with all these “coffee” drinks every fall from the local coffee shop to freakin’ McDonalds (yeah Mc F’ing D’s has a McF*cked-up Pumpkin Spiced Latte now!).  They are disgusting and cruel insults to the nobility of the beverage not to mention they taste like spiced baby poop!

Last winter a friend made the mistake of ordering a crime against humanity that  a local microbrewery offered as a seasonal beer under the label of “Pumpkin Ale”.  She asked me to try the spawn of Satan. Upon the first sip I could feel the torture and nastiness of what happens when you force such an unholy union.  I would simply describe the beer as nice lager that was roofied one night by a very unsavory spiced pumpkin with compromised morals. My tasting notes would be “a strong note of date rape drugs and nonconsensual sex”.  I felt like I needed to do community service after just a sip.  The poor innocent ale didn’t stand a chance!  Seriously this stuff was disgusting!  The brewer should have been slapped in the face and registered as a habitual flavor offender!  I wouldn’t want this dude living next to me because anyone who thought a beer should taste like that is a real sick f*ck in my opinion and  is not to be trusted.

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Do you want this guy living next door to?

Great beers tastes… well…great without putting craziness in them like tuna tartare or Doritos!  Of course everyone thinks those are bad ideas.  It’s that damn pumpkin that somehow convinces us a pumpkin pie flavored hotdog would be wonderful!  So please do not get sucked in by this seemingly innocent fall gourd.  It has nothing but nasty and unsavory intentions and should be avoided…outside of an actual pumpkin pie or pumpkin curry or pumpkin risotto…. Those are delicious of course.

Now GET OF MY LAWN!!!!!!

Rants

* RA– Rant Alerts warn the reading a rant will immediately follow and allow the reader to skip ahead to avoid the angry onslaught of truths, bitterness, orneriness and downright cantankerous diatribes that are about to follow.

Amazing Grace – One Song and Three Funerals

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The last time I played Amazing Grace I swore I would never play a funeral again. I was in a catholic church in Liverpool on a dreary January day.  It is too hard to share in the grief and loss while still paying tribute to the loved one lost.

Today I watched the President of the United States deliver a eulogy to a community with a shattered sense of security. As he launched into Amazing Grace, I felt the heartbreak well up inside and suddenly I am next to the altar in a foreign country with a borrowed saxophone paying tribute to a woman I didn’t know for nearly as long as I had hoped but whom I loved and respected.  Sheila Hurd was my type of lady.  Brash and outspoken yet someone who always had a drink ready for you and a cookie or biscuit on the table.  She was grumpy and lovingly all in the same stroke.  For her saying shut up was the same as saying I love you.  I like to believe she had a soft spot for me since she had fond memories of the American soldiers from the war when she was just a young girl.  She also loved that I was from New Orleans since she loved so many of the songs about the city.

She was found dead in her back garden one morning by the neighbor Tom.  I still remember sitting in bed in New Orleans when Emma got the news her “Nan” had passed.  I was always disappointed I never get to show Shelia the streets of New Orleans she had always dreamed of exploring.

Tom  epitomized the stereotype most Americans’ have of the British. He favored sweater vests and paperboy caps to fight against Northern England’s cold.  It’s grim up North is how the expression goes. Tom  was small of stature and quite proper but not too stuffy.  Sheila loved her brandy and a good song.  Though she often tried to get him to indulge, she only rarely got Tom to partake in more than a gin and tonic.

It was odd to be inside Tom’s little tool shed trying to find the right notes and master the borrowed alto sax that January day.  The shed was so small.  I could barely stand up straight in it.  All of the tools were in perfect order and Shelia often joked how it must be lined with red velvet because of all the fuss Tom made of keeping it up.

I had done this before.  By this, I mean played a loved one’s funeral.  I had driven over 600 miles from Missoula, Montana to attend my grandmother’s funeral in my home town.  After it was over I would get back in the car to head back to Montana and fly home to New Orleans.  As I played the time worn hymn my legs began to shake.  I wasn’t nervous.  I was heartbroken. The song progressed and my legs trembled more violently in an effort to express how profound my world had changed.  The slow mournful tune was not enough to demonstrate the grief I was feeling. I had performed countless shows and concerts all over the country.  Those three minutes were the most difficult of my entire musical career.

After I finished the song at the church in Liverpool that day I felt drained and empty.  Shelia was gone and there was nothing I could do anymore.  Her loss would leave a void in everyone’s life.

Amazing Grace. One song.  Three funerals.  Such deep loss and sorrow. Today my thoughts turn to those who lost those closest to them while they were celebrating their faith in a place of shelter.  The taste of pain coats my mouth and my throat stiffens as I feel their lives tragically altered by one hate filled individual. Obama leads the choir through a verse and the loss overwhelms me.  While it is not my loss, tears flow freely.  May Shelia have found that grace.  May my grandmother Phyllis have found that grace.  My all of those that were so needlessly slain find that grace and may all of those touched by this event find that grace.  Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…

The Art of the First Date Part II: 5 Things Ladies Screw Up The Most

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First dates can blow like Paris Hilton on a sex tape.  As a guy, you’ve already got your nuts on the line because you asked her out.  You end up with a girl with the deer in the headlights look for the entire date who texts you two days later saying she had a great time! WTF!  You have the girl that double books and says “I have to leave now I have another date”. Sweet.  Glad I could be the warm up act for the dude you’re really hot for!!!! One of my personal favorites is “I’m kind of seeing someone right now” girl. Then why the h*ll are you on a date with me instead of having wild monkey sex with him?!?  Here is another one – I was on a first “date” (I know because I used the word “date” 3 times in the texts.  I checked!) with a girl only to find out she was  “networking”!! I somehow found the only girl on Tinder “networking”.  Once again WTF!!!!!!!! Guys the ladies be cray-cray sometimes for sure!

My blog 5 Things Guys Screw Up the Most laid it down for the fellas on how to treat a lady right and survive a first date.  Since I believe in gender equality, I’m telling you ladies to get your pretty heads out of your lovely backsides so you can find your Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper or whoever your latest Romeo crush is.  Girlfriends turn off The Bachelorette and put down that copy of 50 Shades of Gray you decided to reread after the movie didn’t get it done for you and listen up.

The very very first thing you need to know is asking a girl out is terrifying and hard for one simple reason: NO ONE LIKES REJECTION.  It sucks big time. You feel like you are trapped in an episode of Jackass and might get your emotional testicles hammered with a golf ball at any moment.  So ladies before you go all Joan Rivers (R.I.P. you piece of plastic) on him and get hyper critical, remember it took a lot to even make the first move, so at least be kind with your rejection.

Rejection Sucks

Rejection Sucks

Getting shot down is as much fun as a Celine Dion concert with no alcohol.  We understand not every woman is going to be into us but what stings are the absolutely ridiculous reasons why we get turned down. The single WORST EVER EVER EVER is “I am scared because I like you”. Seriously!! RA-So you are going to tell me that you find me interesting, you are attracted to me and you are curious about a relationship BUT because this scares you, the best thing to do is NOT to go out with me!  Really!?!  And yes this really happens!

Another f’d up favorite of mine is “I don’t date in my social circles.” So you are fine with a totally random Tinder date with a possible psycho axe murderer or even better – a lying 50 year old married guy who says he’s 35 looking to tap some young tail BUT you won’t go out with me because if we date and then break up you might  run into me at a friend’s party and it might be “awkward”.  Un-Freakin-Belivable! This shows me one of two things:  you aren’t interested and you don’t have enough guts to say that to my face or you struggle handling your relationships so when they end you have to move to another zip code or enter the witness protection program to avoid your ex.  Do you honestly think you are better off going to dinner with a dude from OK Cupid who is dating 10 other women just to see who will put out first (or how many will put out) instead of having a drink with a friend of a friend?  Here’s a secret – your friends know him so you can get all the covert info on him!!!! You can find out if he has commitment issues or if he just got out of a bad relationship and is just looking for a rebound OR if he is a great guy who just hasn’t found the right girl.

Once a girl says yes it does NOT get easier! You need to find the dream first date for someone you often don’t know squat about.  Well I know she’s into “rainbows and spontaneous mountain top yoga sessions” because she has profile pictures of a rainbow and her doing a yoga pose on a mountain. Too bad the  Bikram Yoga Studio on Mt. Rainier doesn’t take in walk-ins!!!!! Figuring out what to do can be a job in and of itself. I had to plan a date for a girl with these amazingly blue eyes and all  I knew was she liked boating, golf and was second place in her Final Four pool at work. I don’t golf, I don’t like college sports and I don’t own a boat! She seemed classy so I picked a romantic bar and showed up with a handful of tulips, in other words I was totally winging it! The bar had a string quartet playing when I arrived. I quickly realized we weren’t going to able to talk at all.  Suddenly I panicked.  All I could envision was the two of us staring awkwardly at each other for 2 straight hours while she clutched those stupid flowers. What was I thinking? Who gets flowers for an online date?  What is this prom!  God she’s going to think I am such a dork!

I AM SUCH AN IDIOT

I AM SUCH AN IDIOT

In other words I was in deep sh*t and my first date was a disaster before the girl even walked in the door.  A buddy suggested a nice bar across the street and I seriously contemplated ditching the flowers before she showed up! She arrived looking much prettier than her photos and I calmly (I WAS TERRIFIED) explained how I was interested in getting to know her but was afraid we wouldn’t be able to talk with the music and suggested we walk across to the street to another bar.  I also said something like “I don’t normally buy flowers for a first date but it was such a nice spring day I couldn’t pass them up in the store ” (which is actually all true). Tulips were her favorite and I think she was touched by the old fashioned gesture. The rest of the evening went off without a hitch but oh my God did I have a meltdown right before that.

So ladies please keep all this in mind when you are sitting across from that cute guy from your favorite dating app if he forgets to ask you if you’re ready to order or just goes on and on about himself.  He’s probably intimidated by how totally hot you look and he’s feeling the pressure because he wants you to… you know… actually like him.

Ok without further ado here are the 5 Things Ladies Screw Up The Most on First Dates:

  1. Give It Up!

No!  Not what you are thinking!!  Get your filthy minds out of the gutter!  This is a classy blog.

First dates are nerve wracking so please, please, please don’t just sit there and stare at the table! Give us something to work with! Talk… say something… ANYTHING… please… we are so nervous it helps if you break the ice a bit.  Men know they are supposed to be in charge of the date and there is a lot of pressure as a consequence.  Engage.  Put a little of yourself out there. Tell us something stupid that happened at work or how your roommate’s cat ate a tampon or almost anything.  If you clam up it can be like extracting intelligence out of an Al Qaida operative and no one enjoys those dates.  No One. The good news is in the beginning we really don’t care much about what you say as long as you talk.

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Far too many first dates play out where the woman sits there looking adorable while the guy prattles on and on about how bad traffic was for an hour.  Ladies you have more control over the date than you realize.  When he’s prattling on about his boring job FOREVER say “Your job sounds great but I would love to hear about what you do for fun.  What are your favorite restaurants?” or “My day at work was crazy so I would love to forget about work and just enjoy a nice evening with a handsome man so let’s not talk about work.  Do you like to travel?”  If you don’t give us any feedback we will most likely go on and on and on and bore you to death.

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I was on a date and I was really nervous. I asked a girl to tell me “what her story was”, which I will admit is a poor question (told you I was nervous!!!). She got really embarrassed and turned bright red.  It was SUPER awkward and I was sure it was going to be a dumpster fire of a date BUT she started asking me a ton of questions and was obviously more comfortable talking about me. She did NOT just sit there and make me do all of the work.  Before you know it I was launching into stories about riding the range in Wyoming on my trusty horse Lard Ass (yes that was his name) and Christmas time in Paris.  She was entertained. Her questions showed she was interested and was happy to be there even if she felt a bit awkward about talking about herself.

  1. Have You Sh*t Together

A HUGE complaint guys have is women don’t really know what they want or say they want one thing and then change their minds.  If you are on a dating website make sure you are ready to actually start DATING.  If I ask you on a date and you say yes have your sh*t together enough to go out with me! I know, I know.  I’m a demanding a-hole about this stuff but believe it or not this happens to me and my bros all the time.  Here are a few real life examples:

I’ve asked several girls out (THIS IS HARD TO DO REMEMBER) and they say yes.  I pick a great place and get excited about getting to know them only to have them say “I’m not ready to date”!  Hmm… seems like that would have been a good response when I said “Hey you want to go on a date?”  I’ve also had people who were on a dating site tell me they were “too busy to date right now” after we went out a couple of times.  SO you are too busy to date but have time to be on a dating site and want to go on dates? Honestly maybe if you are too busy, a dating app is really not for you.  Just saying.

Story Time again:

I asked a girl out and she immediately said “I’m interested but I just got out of a relationship” and explained where she was emotionally. After thinking about it I said “That’s fine.  I’d just like a chance to get to know you better.  Let’s see where things go.” (I know. Smooth right?).  We went on a wonderful first date (picnic on the beach with a sunset – like I said -SMOOOTH) but when I tried to schedule another date she wasn’t ready and didn’t think it was a good idea for us to date.  I was disappointed but also impressed with her honesty.  I recognized the courage it took for her to be so open, especially so soon.  What happens far too often is a girl never communicates what is going on and a guy’s feelings get hurt because he thinks it was something he did and not the fact that the girl just didn’t have her act together.

One last freebie for you ladies on this topic:  If you kiss a guy, he will probably think you like him and might ask you out on another date. It seems strange that I have to say this but trust me I do because this kissy-kissy then go cray-cray thing is happening all the time.  I know of a few instances where this has happened and the next day the girl has been a bit surprised when the guy wants to see her again.  You’re free to kiss whoever the hell you want. In fact I have a list of hot ladies that I would be more than happy to “allow” to kiss me, BUT just don’t be surprised when you’ve got the dudes motor revved up and his trying to take you to dinner.  We are guys and when a woman, even a drunk woman, kisses us we tend to think you’re interested. In fact, I can’t remember the last time a girl who thought I was a total douche bag tried to kiss me! If you were just a little too tipsy or it had been a long time since you had a little action and your libido got the best of you, just know you can expect a pretty confused guy the next day.

  1. Would it KILL you to say something nice?

We’ve all heard of the legendary male ego.  Our species’ survival relies on it. The male ego, coupled with his desire to have sex, enables guys to withstand the barrage of rejection that even the most adept Casanovas endure.  This ego needs a little stroking every now and then so FOR THE LOVE OF GOD ladies can you just say something nice about us while you are on a date?  Giving a guy a compliment for A LOT of woman is very hard, sometimes even after they’re in a long term relationship, which is so sad because there is nothing that makes a man feel as confident as a good compliment from the lady he is trying to woo!  Here’s a secret about men:  the more confident we are, the more fun we are.  We relax when we get positive feedback from the ladies and we stop over-thinking every d*mn thing which allows our sense of humor (fart jokes) and silliness (more fart jokes) to come out.  We let down our Man Shields. You know- the shields we use to hide our emotions and seem tough and strong which often just makes us seem like pricks and heartless jerks.  Once these shields are down you see the cute little boy we all hide a bit, whether he is the Star Wars geek or the adorable kitty video lover.  You know – that part that actually makes you fall in love with him.  Often you are both so nervous the guy starts babbling on like an idiot about some tech bullsh*t and the lady sits there like she wishes she was home binge watching Game of Thrones.  You both leave the date never really getting to know each other and then complain there wasn’t any chemistry!  Chemistry takes a little fire and a good compliment can go a long way to spark that chemistry.

Ladies here are some options:

Compliment his choice of restaurant or bar

“I’ve always wanted to come here” or “I’ve heard really good things about this place.  I’m excited to try it”.

Compliment his appearance. 

Maybe you’re not ready to tell him he’s a total hottie and you want to jump his bones so try “You’re taller than I was expecting.  I like that” – great when you meet the Asian tech dude who is actually 5’ 8” No offense short Asian Tech Dude!

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“I really like that color on you” for the hipster in earth brown tones and brown flannel, a brown beard, brown hair and brown eyes.  RA My god guys would a dash of color every once in a while kill you?  Plum is NOT just a girl’s color!

The bottom line is you don’t have to go on and on about how he’s Dreamy MCSunshine but a few well-placed compliments will make him feel less like a total loser who is flaying away and hopefully put you both at ease.

  1. Stop Dating an Entire Area Code at Once -You’re NOT buying a dress!

With all of the dating apps out there and the ratio of men to women in Seattle feeling like it is 5 tragic hipsters to 1 single lady it’s super easy for a girl to go on date after date after date.  A LOT of you ladies think this is how you find Mr. Right.  I know you’ve been told you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince.  Total Bullsh*t.  The only reason you should be kissing a lot toads is if you are a total freak who is into amphibians and if you are, that is SUPER gross!

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Dating should be like a wine tasting. When you go to a winery do they line up 40 glasses of wine and tell you to go at it?  H*ll No! Then why would you go out on 10 dates with 8 different guys in two weeks?  All that does is ruins your ability to differentiate what you’re tasting and gives you a killer hang over the next day.  Sound a lot like bad dating? Yeah I thought so!

Find a little out about the guy to see if you have some compatibility and some sort of a spark.  Focus on a few guys and spend a little bit of time savoring them before you make a decision on what you like. You may have to spit a few back in the bucket instead of being a drunken lush guzzling down free drinks! If you are going out on dates with more than 3 guys (and that is really almost too many) all you’re doing is confusing yourself and you’re going to piss off Mr. Right because quality guys are smart and don’t like lining up to take a number behind a lot of jackasses.  The confident guy knows he can go out and get another girl while you screw around trying to figure out if you like Juan Carlo, the chef guy, or Kirk, the barista fire dancer, or Lance, the tech boy wonder.  A good guy will get insulted if you want to shop through the entire city filled with dudes with dubious social skills before making a decision.

You’re not shopping for a new dress for your bestie’s wedding where you go to a dozen different stores and try on dozens dresses in the process. It is impossible to find a real connection with someone this way. I went on a first date on a Thursday then we had dinner the following Monday which was a lot of fun, then we went out that Saturday which was great.  So in 10 days we had been out 3 times.  By date No. 3 we both had a good idea we liked each other and were interested.  So stop going on 50 first dates a month.  You are wasting your time and you are wasting our time.   Try to choose your “wines” wisely and don’t get all drunk on the male attention because you will just be left with a headache and a bunch of empty relationships if you are not careful!

  1. You Better Be Who You Say You Are

I covered a lot of profile pictures missteps the ladies make in my blog  but here is one more – You better look like your picture and be who you say you are.  That means DO NOT have a picture of you in a bikini when you were 30 lbs. lighter from 2 years ago.  You have just raised the bar to a place where I will be disappointed when I meet you in person.  DO NOT post a picture from 10 years ago where you look 10 years younger (and yes people do that).  Your date will show up and will be instantly bummed and possible a bit ticked off.

Also if you say you are single, be single and not in a “we’re kind of on a break” thing with your boyfriend of 10 years who you secretly want to get back together with but you decided to date other people since he screwed his neighbor last week.  If you are available, be able to meet with a guy before the next Presidential Election! If you say you’re laid back, don’t freak out when a guy is honest and says he may not be that interested.  Basically, don’t over sell yourself to a point you can’t cover it because it is just frustrating and disappointing from a guy’s point of view.

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So to recap when you are out on a date you can actually CONTRIBUTE to the conversation instead of sitting there like the Queen of England as we work our freaking butts of trying to impress you.  It’s a little old school but laughing at a guy’s slightly awkward jokes or smiling at him every once in a while goes a long way to letting the dude know you are not wishing you were watching The Real Housewives of Who Gives a F*ck and are glad he asked you out.

Stop wasting our time if you are really waiting for a text from the guy you ACTUALLY like after the date last weekend.  Just don’t go out with anyone else until you figure out what is up with Super McHot Stuff.

Also don’t make yourself out to be a Victoria’s Secret Model who globe trots in her spare time when you are a single mother of 3 who gets down to Portland every once in a while.  You are only wasting your time by being deceitful.  A guy should want to spend time with the real YOU and if he doesn’t then he is not worth your time.

I know some guys are a solid 10 on the douche scale and it’s not easy for the ladies but let me tell you, dating for a guy right now in this shark tank we live in is about as much fun as a prostate exam by a doctor without gloves who didn’t properly washing his hands after downing a couple dozen flaming hot wings!  Ladies, if you really do want to find a good guy and have better first dates you need to get your act together and bring something to the table when Mr. Dreamboat meets you at the bar or else it’s going to be like the last few Adam Sandler movies – a COMPLETE TURD of a date (I mean really dude what happened? You used to be funny!).

Please for the love of God MAKE A FUNNY MOVIE!

Please for the love of God MAKE A FUNNY MOVIE!

Now GET OFF MY LAWN!

Rants

* RA– Rant Alerts warn the reading a rant will immediately follow and allow the reader to skip ahead to avoid the angry onslaught of truths, bitterness, orneriness and downright cantankerous diatribes that are about to follow.

When Life Gives You Crabs Make Crab Bisque – Creole Crab and Corn Bisque

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Disclaimer

The names in this story have been changed to protect the true identities of some because certain individuals may or may not be wanted for questioning by Chinese Custom Authorities.

It’s not often a recipe originates from a clandestine parking lot meeting BUT that is exactly how this one went down.  I received an ominous message simply saying “Bring a cooler tonight” for someone we are going to call “TJ”.  Now TJ is a big fan of Rants and Recipes.  He is also a very “interesting” individual.  He is a mover and shaker.  A man who is always on the hunt for a hot commodity and has his finger on the pulse of what’s moving on the streets.  He favors hoodies and baseball caps as he moves along the shadowy edge of commerce.  He often speaks in code to make sure he isn’t collared in an undercover sting.  He’s half Avon Barksdale from The Wire and half The Shady Salesman from Sesame Street whispering in your ear “Hey you want to buy a letter “O”.  Most don’t know this but TJ is a man with refined tastes who appreciates the finer things: good booze, cool jazz and a cigar every now and then.

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Buyano

If you aren’t familiar with The Shady Salesman check out this video!

When TJ told me to bring a cooler I knew exactly what was going down.  I was about to get crabs.  And a lot of crabs  Normally I not super excited about the prospect of getting crabs, especially from a dude, but this time was different because it was TJ and I knew he could deliver.  The exchange was flawless.  Most people in that parking lot had no idea that he had just unloaded a shit-ton of crabs in my car.

So now I had a garbage bag which could barely contain my crabs stashed in the cooler.  What was I going to do?  Only one thing to do and that was to share the crabs with some of my friends!  I had to keep quiet because you don’t want your friends to know you have crabs.  People kind of get freaked out.  But I was going to show them how good crabs can be.

All bad STD innuendos aside, I decided to make a Creole Style Crab Bisque.  One thing that drives me crazy about the way some people cook is their relationship to seasoning.  Maybe it is just because I’m a loud obnoxious know-it-all but I like my food to be bold.  I love things with flavor like smoked pork products, single malt scotches, coffee porters and Dominican Maduro wrapped cigars.  After living in New Orleans for half my life I have come to appreciate food with a bit of punch.  Lately with the ‘farm to table” craze people seem far more interested in naming the pig and describing what his favorite reality TV show was then smoking that bad boy to perfection.  It’s fine that you read your hog bed time stories and he ate only organically grown apples but you better know how to season that sucker or it’s all a big waste in my opinion.

So I wanted to make a bisque where you could not only taste the buttery richness of the crab and cream but also had a pop from the cayenne and thyme.  From the reaction of my dinner guests they appreciated the flavor not only of TJ’s mysteriously acquired Alaskan crab legs but the Creole seasonings.

You don’t need to have TJ’s crabs to make this dish because any crab will do but it sure makes for a better story.

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Creole Crab and Corn Bisque

3 tbsp. of vegetable oil

3 tbsp. of flour

1 medium yellow onion –  minced

1 cup corn kernels (cut from 2 ears of corn or frozen)

3 shallots – minced

2 ribs of celery – minced

3 garlic cloves – minced

1 ½ tsp of fresh minced thyme

½ tsp of red pepper flakes or cayenne

1 ½ tsp of Creole Seasoning like Tony Chachere’s

2 cups of stock made from crab shells or vegetable stock

2 bay leaves

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups milk

½ lbs of crab meat

Louisiana style hot sauce like Crystal or Tabasco


  1. Heat oil in large pot, preferably a Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add the flour and stir continuously to make the roux.  Make sure you scrape all parts of the pan so the roux doesn’t burn.  Make a medium brown roux (see photos), 5-10 minutes.

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Stir the Roux constanly


Make a Medium Roux

Make a Medium Roux

  1. Add onions, corn (if using fresh) shallots celery, thyme and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes until onions are soft, stirring often.

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  1. Add 2 cups of stock.  If you have crab shells you can make a seafood stock by gently simmering a pot with enough water to cover the shells for 15-20 minutes.  If you don’t, you can just use vegetable stock.
  2. Add bay leaves, pepper flakes, and Creole Seasoning and bring to a boil.
  3. Add cream and milk.  Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for approximately 30 minutes.

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  1. Add crab meat and corn (if using frozenand simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves and check your seasoning. There should be a bit of heat and spice to it. Add some more Creole seasoning and a couple of dashes of hot sauce if needed. Serve in bowls with a warm French loaf.

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Now that you have a bisque recipe that isn’t all chicken shit about spices  I expect you to grab some unsuspecting friends and share as many crabs with them as you think they can safely handle in one night.  Also, if you’re in need of canned salmon or any tools from China TJ can hook you up.

NOW GET OFF MY LAWN

Rants

A Recipe for Love – Simply Sexy Chicken Soup

A Recipe for Love- Simply  Sexy Chicken Soup

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Food is sexy.  No I do not get aroused by a succulent piece of chicken but my senses DO get excited by well-prepared dishes. For me food and romance go hand in hand.  The sight of all that yumminess causes a sense of anticipation.  The smell of the food wafting up from the plate and then the moment of truth as you take the first bite. SEXY! Also there is nothing quite like the look of a beautiful woman taking her first bite and seeing her eyes fill with joy as she savors your handiwork.  I am sure many of my loyal readers have no idea what I am talking about because let’s be honest you really can’t cook.  Feeling a rare moment of kindness and compassion, I’m publishing a series of recipes specifically to impress your someone special because I am a diehard romantic, albeit a somewhat bitter, jaded and grumpy one.

On today’s menu is something that everyone loves: homemade chicken soup.  It’s easy, familiar, and comforting, kind of like cuddling on the couch but in a bowl.  This soup not only tastes great but it feels homemade. This is not that yellowy stuff you buy at Safeway on the way to your girlfriend’s house when she is sick. You do bring your girlfriend soup when she’s sick right guys?!?Don’t make me write a blog about that guys!

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Homemade chicken soup is super sexy.  There is something very attractive about taking something simple and turning it into a tango in your mouth – all sensual and romantic.  We all expect fancy foods to blow our minds but we are pretty stunned when a humble soup becomes a master piece.  It’s kind of like the nerdy girl in high school who turned out to be a total hottie!  This soup works. Trust me.  I gave samples of it to two of the hottest women I know and it got rave reviews. One was feeling under the weather and she ate it for breakfast for the next three days!  It’s never a bad thing when a lady is thinking about you first thing in the morning.

The secret is… drumroll please… to make your own stock. Before you freak out it is SUPER easy.  I actually took a nap last time I did it! Seriously.  I slept for 45 minutes I know some of you have trouble turning on the stove but please tell me you can bring a pot of water and goodies to a simmer and then chill out for a while!  An hour invested in starting from scratch can be the difference between your cutie wanting to curl up with you on the couch for some “quality time” or you binge watching House of Cards on Netflix by yourself!  So here we go!

Simply Sexy Chicken Soup – makes 8 servings

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Stock

2 lbs. of chicken – you can use breasts but I prefer thighs because the bones make a better stock.

1 carrot peeled

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 piece of whole celery

2 bay leaves

12 cups (1 ½ qts) of water

Soup

2 carrots – diced

3 pieces of celery – diced

1 ½ cups of diced red onion (approximately 1 med. onion)

2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

3 tbsp. of butter

1 tbsp. of fresh thyme – finely chopped

½ cup of rice

Salt

Pepper

Warm French loaf if desired

Stock is Sexy

Stock is sexy!  It brings that extra touch of class to a soup that is the difference between a dress being too tight and looking trampy or hugging a girl’s figure just right and making her look totally smoking!  It’s subtle and often hard to put your finger on it but when it’s not there everything seems shallow and dull.  Sound like your last date?  I can’t help with that but trust me when I say stock is where soups get their flavor.

  1. Add the water to a pot. Put in everything else. EVERYTHING. Use chicken with the skin on and everything.  Just throw it in there.  You don’t need to cut it or anything.  See I told you it was simple. You need enough water to cover everything and then some, so add more if needed.
  1. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 45 minutes – 2 hours without a lid. Anything longer than 2 hours is unnecessary for this stock.  I took a nap last time and let it simmer for about an hour. You do want a simmer and not a hard boil.  Simmer is where there are a few bubbles not Mt. Vesuvius erupting for you culinary illiterates out there.  If you need more water add it.
  1. Take and strain the stock through a colander (I use a fine wire one) into another large pot or bowl. Set the solids (meat and everything else) aside and let cool.

The Soup

  1. Put a pot big enough to hold the whole soup on medium heat and add the butter until melted, then the onions, carrots and celery. Sauté for 4-5 minutes and add the garlic and thyme.  Stir for another 1-2 minutes.
  1. Add the stock and a couple of pinches of salt and a few shakes of pepper and bring to a gentle simmer.
  1. Hopefully the chicken is cool enough to shred and pick through. Discard the carrot, bay leaf, celery and everything but the chicken meat.  Now take the chicken and pull it apart with your fingers, carefully discarding any small bones or gristle.  Discard the skin.  You just want the shredded chicken now. This will get messy but it is totally worth it!
  1. Add the chicken to the soup then the rice. Bring to a gentle boil for about 20-30 minutes or until the rice is tender. Add more water or canned stock if the soup is too thick.
  1. Add more salt if needed. Serve with a warm loaf of bread and a couple of pats of butter.

Now all you need is someone special to share this with!  If you don’t have someone invite the cutest prospect you know over and watch what happens.  Voila!  Romance in a bowl.

Damn I got so wrapped up in the romance I almost forgot – GET OFF MY LAWN!

Sincerely,

Rants

Online Dating-Top 5 Profile Photo Mistakes for Ladies

Ladies, Ladies Ladies!  You’re doing the online dating thing because EVERYONE is right?  So your profiles are up and your phone is blowing up with dudes saying “Hi” and nothing else.  You swear every guy in town is a douchebag.  The truth is that the decent fellas are swiping left when you come up. Why? It’s your freakin’ profile picture!  Yeah the one you think you look absolutely adorable as Zombies at Halloween – yeah that one – we think it sucks.

After looking at profile pictures for over a year on every damn dating site some bored Ivy League geek has dreamed up I have some suggestions.  Here are my Top 5 Profile Pic Mistakes for Ladies:

  1.  Don’t Blow Your First Impression

Do you go to a job interview wearing your pajamas and a hoodie?  (I know the answer is yes for some of you but you’re hopeless so I’m not offended if you stop reading right now).  You know that picture you love where you are making that stupid face that is so funny?  DO NOT use it as your first or main photo.  You look kind of weird in that one. Like you accidently ate a whole live fish and are about to projectile vomit!  Don’t believe me?

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Find a photo that you look your best in, preferably in a nice outfit or dress or something that is at least flattering like jeans and a cute top.  Remember you are trying to attract a quality guy, not some Dorito eating stoner.

You don’t have to be in your little black dress in full makup,  BUT if you have a picture like that USE IT!  Here’s the thing – men like hot women!  Yeah it sucks, we are chauvinistic pigs blah blah blah but it’s just the damn truth.  Your first picture should be you looking your best.  Think of the first photo as meeting a guy on your first date. You can save some of the more quirky funny face pictures for when he swipes right to show you with a big mustache (TOTALLY overdone BTW).

DON’TS:
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DOS:
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More DON’TS:
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Mom of the year award! I’ve been looking for a woman who knows how to hold a baby AND drink a beer!  My dreams have been answered!
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I’m an Archer fan but really?

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This says “I will get you so drunk you won’t remember all the nasty things about me” and sorry sweetie but there is no way in h*ll you’re 35 years old like you say in your profile!

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Every guy’s dream girl!  A girl you can shove a beer in front of her face and drink!  So original.  I bet there is only maybe like 3000 girls during Oktoberfest in costumes drinking a beer!  So  so hot.  NOT!

If you know any of these girls please please please help them!!  Be a BFF and take control of their profile!

  1. No Sunglasses – No Baseball Caps!

Ladies you don’t realize this but almost every single one of you has a selfie of you in the car in sunglasses doing the duckface!  Stop it!  Please stop it.  Some girls look pretty damn cute in baseball caps and the trucker hats are trendy but STOP IT.  Do you know why movie stars wear hats and sunglasses in the airport and out in public?  So NO ONE will recognize them!  Unless you are in the witness protection program, is online dating really for you? Just saying. So please lose the hat and sunglasses.
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I have no idea what you look like !!!

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Unrecognizable car selfie                          Vs.                                         Beautiful Blue Eyes!

No I am not saying you can’t use that photo of you at the beach or summiting Rainer because you have sunglasses on or a sun hat but make sure it is just one photo.  I am not lying when I tell you I looked at one girl’s photos and she had sunglasses on in all of them.  Needless to say she got discarded instantly

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Great beach photo-Bad Main Profile Pic

  1. No Freakin’ Seawhawks Gear

If you think the way to a man’s heart is to chant “Go Hawks” you’re wrong because from what I can tell EVERY SINGLE GIRL in Seattle is a Seahawks fan!  I’m not lying.  Every profile contains one photo of her in Seahawks gear at least.  While a chick that likes sports is cool the Seahawks, Huskies and Cougs thing is so overdone it’s totally ineffective.  Not to mention most sports apparel is just slightly fitted men’s shirts and not super flattering.

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I am SO BORED with these!

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And this!  WTF!?!  I guess because you have a pink “12”  you are a sexy Hawks fan?!?

  1. No Group Photos

I can’t believe I have to even say this but DO NOT FOR ANY REASON AT ALL (EVER) use a group photo for your main profile picture.  You make us play detective and try to figure out which one is you.  All that ends up happening is I realize your friend is hotter!  Is that what you want?  Me staring at the faces of all the hot ladies you call friends trying to find you?  I didn’t think so! I have seen many profiles where 85% are group photos.  I forget who I am even looking for after a while!

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The two on the right are super hot!  The one on the left messaged me! I didn’t respond because I couldn’t stop thinking about the girl in the red shoes (those shoes are so HOT!).  Damn maybe I should message the girl and ask for the friends number because those shoes are hot!

  1.  Don’t get too artistic.

Another major crime is the profile full of artistic pictures where I can see half your eyeball next to a tulip as the sunsets at Golden Gardens.  It makes me want to date your photographer (though it was probably taken by your ex!).  Cool photos are great!  The yoga pose off in the distance at the beach is great.  That pic of you silhouetted against the mountain sunrise is gorgeous BUT I want to see YOU not your winning photo for Outside Magazine.  I have seen more than a few profiles that ONLY have photos like this.  If you make it too hard for me to see what you look like it doesn’t pique my interest and it makes me think you have something to hide!  One of these pics is okay but be very very choosy about using too many of them unless you are only looking to date someone super artistic!

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I’m thinking “you must be ugly, but the sunset is pretty!”

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Makes me think “ugly but flexible…hmm…”

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I’m dizzy just looking at this!

The Bottom Line

Guys are pretty simple when it comes to pictures.  We want to see what YOU look like.  Not your friends, not the stars, not the beach or the mountains.  You should choose photos that are flattering, i.e. that you look good in!  If you’re not sure ask your friends – your MALE friends!  Women see each other in a totally different way than men who are looking to date someone.  When I say we want to know what you look like I don’t just mean your face. That does not mean you have to post bikini pictures but I would like to know if you are shortish or tallish, skinnyish or roundish.  If you only have a pics of your face I will assume you are built like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and 5 ft. tall!  Adventure pics like scuba diving, skiing, skydiving are great to show more of your personality but they usually show very little of how you actually look so be careful filling your profile up with these.

The truth is you can have a picture of you rocking a Seahawks cap with your sunnies on and your face obscured by a gigantic bouquet of flowers but you better have just ONE and it better not be your MAIN pic or else you are in danger of being swiped left by that dashing smart man you have been kissing all those frogs to meet!

Wind River Mountains 2014: We hit the WRIR again

My cousin’s trip report on a trip we did last fall.

Rocky Mountain Fly-Fishing Adventures

So I found myself at DIA once again in mid September waiting for a flight from Seattle . My cousin and backpacking partner in crime, Jason (or Sellers as he is commonly known), had relocated since our last  trip to the Winds from New Orleans to the Pacific Northwest. He was due to land in Denver around 10:00 PM and we were going to drive to Laramie, Wyoming that night. It was more towards 11:00 PM by the time we hit E-470 and headed north towards Fort Collins on I-25. We got caught up on the usual details during the drive up and arrived in short order around 1:30 AM, just enough time to get a hotel room and a six pack for a night cap (as liquor stores in the state are open until 2:00 AM, unlike Colorado where you are out of luck after 12:00 AM). This year we had a…

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2014- The Year of Loss

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Me with Stas at SAM Remix

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to put 2014 into perspective but I have to admit I have failed. Though there were many wonderful moments last year, it’s the tragedies that define 2014.  The truth is: 2014 will always be the year I watched my friend die.

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Penticton, Canada is a small town nestled above Skaha Lake just north of wine country in Central British Columbia.  It’s a place where many of the residents of coastal British Colombia come to enjoy the drier climate and the sunshine along the lake.  Above the lake sits Skaha Bluffs, a large climbing area with sticky rock and seemingly endless routes. It’s the type place you go for smiles and unencumbered laughter.

The weekend before Memorial Day I headed out to try the highly recommended climbing at Skaha with my friend Kristi.  Her Canadian friends offered to give us an insider’s tour of the park so we were excited.   Part of the way through her second climb of our three day trip a hold broke and Kristi took a terrible fall.  I can still feel the words in my throat as I shouted “Oh no Kristi” and watched her fall fifteen feet upside down and slam the back of her head into the rock by my knees.  Her helmet surely saved her head from exploding and the impact was so loud that people from further up the crag heard it and came running. The scene that ensued was like nothing I could have imagined as we drove up early that day.  I grew up in the wilds of Wyoming and have been in a few scrapes in the outdoors in my time.  Search planes were dispatched, horses ridden out of the mountains, emergency car repairs done on dirt roads to stripped fuel lines spewing gas on hot exhaust manifolds.  None of that prepared me for the onslaught of EMT’s and Search and Rescue personnel that would eventually appear, including a long line, basket and a helicopter to transport Kristi to the local hospital. It was hard for me to grasp what had happened.  One moment we were climbing and then I was sitting in a hospital waiting room.

Kristi sustained a skull fracture and was suffering severe concussion symptoms.  For four days I spent long hours at her bedside as she slowly progressed from vomiting at the slightest movement and not being able to walk the twenty feet to the bathroom to finally eating a cheeseburger from McDonald’s.   I am not a skilled enough writer to adequately describe the emotions of those days and her suffering as her brain tried desperately to reset from the incredible trauma that had been delivered upon it.  Kristi made the news.  The entire hospital and most of the town knew of the accident.  People recognized me as the guy with the “girl in the climbing accident”.

I returned to the campgrounds that first night and saw her tent standing there empty with a half crescent moon reluctantly cutting through the wetness of the night air.  It had been almost ten hours since the accident and I had remained calm and positive. Suddenly my chest became so heavy I struggled to breathe. I sat at the picnic table, tears dripping into a gin and tonic, looking blankly at the moon while loneliness swept over me. This was not the trip I anticipated.

Kristi left the Penticton hospital after five days and had a long recovery but returned to climbing and the rest of her life without serious side effects, though she has what she describes as a “new normal” due to lingering issues.

For the next month I struggled to find my balance again.  I talked with my cellphone company explaining the accident to reduce my roaming charges.  When the customer service representative called me a “hero” for saving Kristi’s life I quickly end the call as the tears flowed and my voice cracked.  How could anything heroic have taken place when she had endured so much suffering?

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Kristi and I in the hospital Day 4

Kristi and I after her first lead climb after the accident

Kristi and I after her first lead climb after the accident

****

Fourth of July Weekend I was 200 yards uphill when my buddy and frequent climbing partner Mike fell 30 feet to the ground on a climb in Mazama, WA.   Just six weeks after watching Search and Rescue come to Kristi’s aid, I once again had a front row seat as they tended to Mike.  By many accounts the fall should have been life threatening, but, Mike being Mike, he refused medical assistance and took a slow walk down a treacherously rocky steep path.   I walked in front of him to break his fall if he tripped as he plodded down the path resembling a drunken Godzilla trying to navigate his way through Tokyo. Once he finally arrived at the car he enjoyed what had to be the best beer of his life before being driven the hospital close to 60 miles away.

Mike would walk away with no major injuries besides a broken thumb and a cracked rib or two, though he felt rough for a very long time. We would all laugh over a piece of Kelsey’s “I’m Glad You Didn’t Die Cake” at a local bar a few weeks later.  I remember having two pieces and being really happy to see Mike across the table from me.

Mike , Justin and I on Mike's birthday last year in Las Vegas

Mike , Justin and I on Mike’s birthday last year in Las Vegas

****

Labor Day weekend loomed with its extra fun-day so my friends and I looked for an appropriate adventure.  After discussing poor weather conditions in much of our usual destinations, eight of us decided to take on the Skaha Bluffs in Penticton again. I’m not sure if I was the only one of our group who had been to Skaha, but I was definitely the only one who knew everyone on the trip.  I was looking forward to replacing memories of hospital beds with ones of sunny weather and great climbing.

Most of our party drove up Friday night and were already climbing when Jonathan and I arrived in the early afternoon Saturday. We greeted our friends and asked how they were enjoying the climbing so far.  I asked Rachel and Jason about a climb next to them.  Stas came over to peek at one of our guidebooks to get some beta on a route he was interested in.  We talked about his late night journey with Sarah the evening before.  Jonathan and I finished our first climb and were waiting for Jason to clean the route next to us. Suddenly we heard noises that are never welcome at a climbing wall.  There was a shout and then the sound of something moving through the air quickly followed by screaming. A couple of us ran over, unsure of what had happened.   Many of you reading this will know what happened and I am not going to go into details. Simply and inelegantly put, my friend Stas fell from a climb as he was descending. I will never forget the look on Jonathan’s face as he realized it was Stas.   We both knew he was seriously hurt.

The next hours are easily some of the darkest moments of my life.  Climbers with medical training scrambled to attend to Stas.  I spoke with 911. I told them it was bad and implored them to hurry. People went to meet the EMT’s in the parking lot to guide them up the trail.  A few of us ran to retrieve a stretcher just past the spot Kristi had fallen several months before. It was a horrible mixture of frantic activity mixed with excruciating waiting. It was mostly waiting. At one point the Fire Department arrived and I helped shuttle an oxygen tank up the rocky path hoping that it would make a difference. Eventually a helicopter was brought in along with more personnel.

Unlike Kristi, Stas’s injuries were too serious and he died at the base of the climb.  I will never forget the image of the helicopter as it lifted the basket carrying his body up over the trees to the parking lot where we all waited.  There was something so lonely about him hanging by himself 100 feet below the helicopter.  That would be the last time I would see my friend Stas and that image will stay with me.

That evening and the next days were filled with moments that you never even imagine: calls to notify loved ones, the drive back from Canada in Stas’s car with Sarah, calls to my friends and their shocked silence when they heard the news. Labor Day was spent at a barbecue with his closest friends telling hysterically funny stories of his antics and sharing fried chicken, whiskey, hugs and tears.  The following night was spent walking through a bar full of friends with red eyes and stunned disbelief, as most of them had learned of the news less than twenty four hours prior.

Stas and the group at Smith Rock last Easter

Stas and the group at Smith Rock last Easter

Three days later I boarded a plane to one of the most remote parts of the United States.  My cousin and I embarked on an eight day trip into the wilderness of the Windrivers in Wyoming with nothing more than what we carried our backs to experience some of the most amazing views I have ever witnessed.  The harsh beauty of the gray granite and gigantic blue skies seemed an appropriate place to take refuge from the onslaught of phone calls and messages.  At one point we did not see anyone else for 5 days straight.  While there was a serenity that engulfed the landscape that sits on the Continental Divide my thoughts often turned to how Stas’s mom Janet was handling funeral arrangements and I was sure many of my friends would be boarding flights to Kentucky to attend the service.

A quiet moment in the Windrivers

A quiet moment in the Windrivers

Summer had quickly turned to fall. A few days after returning from Wyoming my roommate and best friend in college died a mysterious death.  We had lived together for three years and had been almost like brothers. In late September I stood in front of Stas’s friends and watch tears well up in their eyes as I delivered a personal speech about his impact on my life. Writing and editing the speech was an impossibly sad task as I attempted to use words to capture the essence of a complex and completely original person. When I finished I saw a life lived well and a man who had touched countless people.

A month later my Dad’s cousin’s body was found in a wilderness area outside of Crested Butte Colorado.  She had been missing for two months.  She had fallen and died while on a day hike with friends.

A series of holidays followed, each one progressively harder for me to get excited about than the last.  The traditions established after twenty years in New Orleans had been abandoned and the Seattle traditions were yet to be established. The year ended with tears over Stas as the clock ticked down and an understanding yet wistful look from my date as she hoped for a kiss to ring in the New Year. 2014 had no room for such romantic gestures.

****

Two months into the New Year, I can’t shake the remnants of 2014.  My hope was writing this blog would give me some clarity and maybe a nugget of wisdom to hold onto but I have found neither.  At first I wanted to explore how the pain of loss pointed to a true connection with another person and the value they bring to our life. In other words, the person had to mean something for us to feel their loss but this sounded like a crappy self-help books; bland and devoid of real meaning.

The truth is I am sadder now than a year ago.  I am struggling to deal with last year and there are several of my friends and family who are in similar positions. I REALLY want to tell them we are all going to be stronger and have some deeper appreciation for the good times but I just can’t right now.  All I can muster up is to say that I understand their pain and I am here to share it with them.  Many of us still need to talk about what has happened- the loved ones we have lost and the relationships that have ended  It is rare that I don’t have multiple conversations about friends who have passed away during a given week.  There often are tears.  I have stopped being surprised when people start crying as I speak.

Last year still wears on me. It is an old scratchy smelly wool coat that I can’t wait to discard as the weather warms but it is a  winter necessity so I must wear it a while longer.  I am grumpier and more easily frustrated.  I am irrationally angry about inconsequential things like a bar closing earlier than expected.  There is a tiredness that goes beyond a series of bad head colds I’ve been fighting this winter. There is a dreariness to my personality that goes beyond the winter blues that accompany the slate gray skies of the Pacific Northwest this time of year.

Dotted across this somewhat dark landscape there are moments of true tenderness and joy. I have the best group of friends of my entire life.  I am truly loved and very close to an amazing group of people. Along with being really awesome and interesting people they have gotten to know me in ways I was hesitant to open up about in the past. I have sat down and had heart to heart sessions with so many people over the last year.  The depth of my friendships are absolutely humbling to me.  One shining example is the “Card “Mob” my friends concocted for my birthday.  If you have not already read Kristina’s blog about it you really should.  It was a touching and wonderful moment not only for me but those who joined in.

http://kristinatravels.blogspot.com/2014/11/how-to-increase-your-happiness.html

I watched many of my friends achieve personal and professional goals in 2014.  Their drive to achieve their goals despite their fears or their own personal losses is so incredibly inspiring and challenges me to pursue my own happiness and not get bogged down in the darkness of the year’s end. I am proud of the work and effort so many of them have made to accomplish their goals.  I have celebrated everything from a birthday with Slovakian moonshine on a stormy day in the Enchantments to taking a move forward by selling a house from the past to the first day of work at a dream job to finishing up board exams after three months of nonstop studying.  These moments matter and are times I treasure.

As the days have passed I’ve found a new depth to my compassion for others.  Through the sorrow of the last year my heart has somehow expanded and I am gentler and kinder in ways I have not know before. I have an empathy for others I did not possess before and it has compelled me to reach out despite my own struggles.  I have slowly and quietly become more of the man I set out to be several years ago.  All of this reminds me of the closing section of my speech at Stas’s memorial.

“As time has passed and I’ve had a chance to reflect on my relationship with Stas and everything I have learned about him, I have begun to see someone who lived his life the way I want to live mine.  Stas was kind and accepting of everyone.  He was generous and kind to his friends.  He cared deeply for his family.  He was determined to get the most out of life, even  if that meant being a little unconventional or going against the norms of society.

I have been inspired by what I have seen since his passing.  I’ve seen people taking care of each other in this difficult time.  I have seen friends bury their differences and come together and hold each other.  I have learned of a great man that I was just starting to know and appreciate.

While I am deeply saddened by his loss I am also inspired by Stas’s example.  I too have been on a journey and he has provided me with a path to follow.  He touched so many lives in a REAL way.  While his time here was far too short, he made it count.  He gave all of us some amazing memories and enriched our lives.  I hope when my time comes that I have come close to being as kind and as generous a man as Stas was and I hope that I have touched half as many people as he did in his short time here.  So while I mourn your loss Stas, my friend, I also salute you for a life well lived and thank you for lighting the way for me.”

****

Today Stas Gray would have turned 32 years old.  Later this month will mark six months since his passing.  I am following in his footsteps.  I am challenging myself to be the man I believe I can be and to touch people’s lives in deep and profound ways.  Much of the feedback I have gotten from those closest to me has suggested I am achieving my goals. One friend recently suggested I blog about these moments of generosity and kindness but I am not sure I can tell them in a way that won’t sound grandiose and egotistical.   The gratitude my friends have expressed is real and the impact in their lives is substantial. Honestly I am extremely proud of the impact I have had even though I have spent a good deal of effort and energy to create it.  But in the end the stories are not mine to tell or to share.  They are private times often in a quiet room wrestling with the chaos and turmoil of our lives but I know if I was tragically taken from this earth my friends would stand up in a room full of my loved ones and speak of the impact I made and how I changed their lives, much as I did at Stas’s memorial.

I have no words to ease the pain of this last year or to cut the bite of emptiness many of us feel right now.  I can only encourage everyone to be present in the people’s lives you cherish.  Tell your friends they are great and mean the world to you.  Tell someone how proud you are of the way they handled their struggles or achieved their goals. Take a friend out for coffee that is having a hard time.  Be present in your people’s lives.  You most likely will be unable to “fix” their problems but your presence will make a difference.

So that is what I have done. I spent a lovely Saturday night with Kristi a few weeks ago and endured a rain-filled hike with Mike recently.  Neither is quite physically the same, though both are living full and active lives.  There are not many days that go by without someone talking about Stas, often of the many many wonderful moments of his life but, on occasion, also about his passing.  All of us who were there that day have kept pretty close tabs on one another.  I think of my old college friend often.  Many of my friends have found promising new loves.  There have been a lot of wonderful changes in their lives. Life goes on.   I even heard a depth in Sarah’s laugh recently that has been missing since the accident.  We are healing.  Slowly.  I am not done with 2014 but there is still hope for 2015.

Stop Eat Like Sh*t-10 Minute Tacos

Stop Eating Like Sh*T

People eat a ton of crap these days. It’s embarrassing. My dog Tilly eats better than a lot of you! The part that gets me all fired up is that it is NOT that hard to eat well.  I repeat: it is not hard to eat well.  Why do people struggle so much?  I hear sad excuse after sad excuse.  “I don’t have enough time”.  “I don’t know how to cook”  “It’s too expensive”.   ENOUGH ALREADY.

Rants is here to help you kitchen lameos. I’m launching a series called “Stop Eating Like Sh*t”.   I almost called it “Read This You Idiot” or “Please Tell Me You Did Not Just Put That In Your Mouth” or my personal favorite ” How F*cking Stupid Are You?”  but they seemed too harsh.   SELS (Stop Eating Like Sh*t-duh!?!) will feature recipes that are easy to prepare and have more flavor than that crap you usually shove in the microwave.  There is no need to go to five different stores to find ingredients.  The food is healthy but you won’t find wheat grass or almond milk in it.  RA- Almond milk is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of. I’m serious! How the f#ck to do you milk an almond? Do they have little people with little hands who spend their whole lives waking up at 4 a.m. to milk the almonds?   WTF!    But back to getting you to stop putting garbage in your pie hole!  Many of these recipes will take less time than the Mickey D’s drive through  to get a McHeart Attack with a side of ass flab  so PLEASE no more eating crappy food. For the love of ‘MERICA!

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10 Minute Tacos

You are thinking “I know how to make tacos!”  You are wrong. I am not talking about some random Old El Paso style greasy flavorless crap in a corn shell. I’m talking about tacos that make you want to join a mariachi band and travel around Mexico singing songs about their greatness.  You are also thinking “There is no way you can make tacos in 10 minutes!”  You are wrong.  I timed myself. 9:59. No joke.  It did take me about 20 seconds to figure out how to shut the timer off! So really it was more like 9:43! We all know I am a ninja in the kitchen, so to be fair, for non-kitchen assassins it is realistically like 10 minutes of prep and 10 minutes of cooking time but let’s be honest, 20 Minute Tacos sounds totally stupid.

Taco Secrets

Here is the secret to amazing tacos: They have to have yummy stuff in them.   I mean fire-roasted peppers, seasoned meats, grilled pineapples, avocado, guacamole, sour cream, red onion, or maybe red cabbage BUT DO NOT PUT ALL OF THAT INTO ONE TACO. That is what I call a dog turd!  You might as well put it in blender because you aren’t going to be able to taste anything.  The secret is to keep it simple.

Basics of a Taco

Tacos have four basic 1) Shell 2) Meat 3) Sauce 4) a couple of “Fiesta” items. You can mix and match different things to come up with an endless number of variations. If you are not a culinary God yet, I suggest (I MEAN DO IT) you start with my basic recipe and experiment with the idea to see if you can top it.

Shell – I like soft corn shells.  Soft corn tortillas keep forever, you can buy like a 100 of them for $2 at the grocery store, they are gluten free and when I’m pigging out I can make corn chips with them for some homemade nachos.

Meat – I usually do chicken breast but flank steak (as pictured) or pork are awesome.  Cured chorizo is also fantastic.  For anyone brave enough to be a Vegan you can substitute fried yucca instead of meat.

Sauce – I have included the recipe for one of my favorite sauces Chipotle Sour Cream.  It works great as a cheese substitute and the chipotles add fire and smokiness to the taco.  If you don’t like spicy food just add less of the chipotles.  If you don’t eat dairy you can go with guacamole or pico de gallo.

“Fiesta” Items – A couple of these get the party started in your mouth.  My standards are the cebollitas, lettuce and tomatoes.  This is where you can have fun.  Things like grilled jalapenos or pineapple can give the taco a truly different flavor.  Just don’t get carried away or you will totally f*ck it up!

Cebollitas (pronounced “se-bo-YEET-as” for all my gringo readers)

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Cebollitas are one of my go-to “fiesta”  ingredients.  They are basically grilled green onions with some lime and salt on them.   I like the cebollitas because they add a bit of a punch but not the bitterness of an onion.

3..2..1..Time To Make Tacos!!!

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Makes 8-12 tacos

Dry Rub

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp salt

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Chipotle Sour CreamIMG_4360

1/2 cup of sour cream ( I use low fat for calorie reasons)

1-2 Chipotle in Adobo-finely diced (these are the ones in the can in the Hispanic aisle)

a good pinch of ground cumin

¼ teaspoon of the adobo sauce

Cebollitas

1 bunch of green onions with the roots cut off only

½  tbs of oil

salt

1-2 lime wedges

 Tacos

6-8 oz of meat-chicken breast, pork or beef, cut into small chunks or thin strips.

8-12 corn tortillas

1 cup of chopped lettuce-red lettuce or romaine are my favorite

½ cup diced tomato

½ cup of shredded sharp cheddar or monterey jack cheese (optional)

  1. Make the rub.  Combine and mix the rub ingredients.  Tip for all you cheapskates, sorry, I mean savvy shoppers out there: Most grocery stores have a Hispanic section and they carry very inexpensive (i.e. cheap) amounts of these spices.  Rub the meat with them.  This means put the spices on the meat with your hand.  Yes your hands.  Stop being a pansy about it.
  2. Make the Chipotle Sour Cream by combining the ingredients together.
  3. Cut the lettuce and tomato
  4. Put two skillets of somewhat flat bottomed pans on the stove.  One is for cooking and the other is to heat the tortillas.  Heat one on a medium high heat
  5.  In a bowl or large plastic bag toss the green onions with the oil.  Put the onions in the hot skillet.  Cook on each side for about 1 minutes or until it is starting to blacken just a touch.  Take out of the pan, cut into 3 inch lengths and put on a plate or in a bowl.  Squeeze lime juice and a couple of sprinkles of salt
  6. Put a little bit of oil in the pan that had the cebollitas.  Add the meat. Cook for 5-8 minutes or until the meat is cooked.
  7.  While the meat is cooking heat another pan and heat your tortillas; they should take about 45 seconds a side.

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  1. As each tortilla is done pull it off and replace it with the next.  Spread a spoonful of sour cream on first then a few pieces of cebollitas.
  2. Once the meat is done add it to the tacos, top with lettuce and a little tomato and you’re done.

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There are a lot of options you can do.    I love Tabasco’s Chipotle Hot Sauce.  You can melt on the tortilla or top with a pico de gallo.  There are so many easy options there is no excuse to be eating like crap so STOP DOING IT!

…and GET OFF MY LAWN!

Rants

* RA– Rant Alerts warn the reading a rant will immediately follow and allow the reader to skip ahead to avoid the angry onslaught of truths, bitterness, orneriness and downright cantankerous diatribes that are about to follow

The Art of the First Date and 5 Things Guys Screw Up The Mostphoto

The first date.  It is either a trip through Hades or a night we remember forever.  Admit it.  You have sworn off dating and have contemplated joining the clergy after a few bad first dates.  They can be like a three hour job interview with the Donald -long, boring and full of bad hair. In this day and age of Tinder, OkCupid and Match.com there are more first dates than ever and as a consequence more chances for the clueless to screw things up.

I would love to share a couple horror stories with you but I really don’t have any. I’ve had some pretty amazing first dates.  I have turned a woman asking me for directions to the bus stop while I was walking the dog into a 9 year relationship. On another first date I went to met my date  at an art opening at a  coffee shop at 4 in the afternoon.  By the way she asked me out.  I still remember the smile on her face when I walked in.  Afterwards we grabbed a drink across the street where we sat at the bar and stared at each other for an hour. I touched her amazingly soft cheek for the first time. Eventually, we walked a few blocks away for dinner in what turned out to be her favorite restaurant.  Then I walked her to her car, even though it was in the wrong direction from mine, and we said goodbye in a freezing parking lot for at least two hours.  All in all I spent over eight hours with her and I learned so much about her in that one single night.  It was wonderful and the start of something amazing.  On a different occasion I had a great first date where we did a picnic at a local beach. There was a moment where her silhouette cut through the setting sun with the Olympic Mountains in the background as we talked about living in the South, cooking, cowboys and a horse named Lard Ass. I still carry that picture in my mind.

So the moral of the story?  First dates can be awesome and magical if you don’t “f” them up and if you are not sitting across the table from a socially inept wallflower.

So guys get out your pen and paper, fire up your iPad, tablet, notebook, gameboy , PSP or whatever other ridiculous piece of technology you use to keep your life from being a total waste of time.  I want you to get this right. I’m going to try to break this down and help you out.  Why?  Because several of my lady friends are really hoping I can straighten some of you knuckleheaded, Tinder swiping, OKCupid messaging dopes out. Since I have a lot of foxy female friends I am going to hip you to what all the ladies are complaining about you lumbersexual, game playing fools, and give you some tips on how not to be such a loser.  I am no Cyrano de Bergerac so I can’t make you sound cool, interesting or funny but I can help you avoid a lot of stupid mistakes.   So shut up and take notes so you don’t screw up your next chance to make a first impression.

First, a couple of general statements about dating.  Women want to have fun on dates.  Yes fun. You know laugh, smile, giggle and, when she closes the door at the end of the night, feel that there is excitement about the next date.   She is hoping to have a night that she hopes never ends, the night where you don’t have to work at it, where it clicks, where cupid’s arrow strikes true. Before you freak out from all of the pressure to be Prince Charming, the truth is she will be happy with a night of laughter, thoughtful conversations and possibility of it developing into more. This is not where your fancy car, awesome job or desirable address come into play.

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I thought I told those kids to GET OFF MY LAWN!

Another general rule: There is a certain part of salesmanship that goes into dating, especially the first few evenings.  You want to present yourself in the best light.  You should do what you can to show your best side.  Try to look good.  Even if she isn’t blown away by your appearance, it shows you made an effort and she is not Date No. 23 on your list of 35 potential matches from some stupid internet site. One thing you should never do is lie about yourself on first dates.  EVER. This will come back to haunt you. But you may also not want to start by listing all of your least desirable traits within the first ten minutes of the date.  It’s like the old song goes: “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative”.   Be positive.  No one wants to  a date with Bitter Beer Face Man.  No one.  I’m serious.  No one. Don’t complain about work and Never Ever Never complain about your last date.  At least not at first. There may come a time when you can humorously trade horrible date stories. Try to be happy.  It is much more attractive than miserable.

One last general rule.  Women still like real men.  You can grow a beard, put on your horned rim glasses (that you don’t even need!), wear flannel, and roll up your jeans all you want but that does not make you a “real” man.  Know what you want.  This wishy-washy bullsh*t that passes as a hipster attitude these days is just a bunch of peter pan boys who don’t want to grow

You mean I have to do more than stop shaving?

You mean I have to do more than stop shaving?

up.  You need to make the first move.  You will need to suggest a place to meet (suggest not demand) and you will need to be able to articulate what you are looking for in a relationship if you want a woman to truly respect you.  Real men know how to be decisive.  What she isn’t telling you is that she finds it attractive when you make decisions and are decisive.  What she is telling you is that she hates it when she doesn’t like your decisions.  Those are two different things.  Just trust me on this.  She wants you to have a plan but she also wants to be included so don’t try to boss her around and act like you own her.  I’m going way out on a limb here but I doubt you are going to have much success with that approach.  It’s not that hard though.  Examples that work: “Why don’t we try this new place I have been hearing about tonight?  It sounds like it’s off the chain” vs. “I want to go to the hot new place that Bobby No Game has been bragging about at work for the last week.”  One is a statement a Man makes and the other is the utterings of a sniveling adolescent trying to get laid for the first time.  Which one do you want to be?

Alright without further adieu, here are the top 5 things the hot ladies are complaining about and how to fix them:

1. Talking about yourself too much

This is by far the number one complaint I hear from women.  Case in point: I have a SUPER interesting friend who is an outdoor adventurer, world traveler and has a unique and interesting job.  In fact, she is so interesting that she is one of the people who inspired me to write a blog! She was on a first date with a guy and all he did was talk about himself.  His job. His college. His hobbies. Blah. Blah.  Blah. The sad part was they had A LOT of common interests and if he had only gotten his head out of his backside and ASKED her about herself there was a chance they would have hit it off.

It is easy to get trapped into the mentality that a date is like a job interview and you need to impress a lady, so you start listing all your accomplishments, like the 10 times you made the honor role, the one time you made it on TV (in a background shot at a football game) or how many times you climbed Mt. Si in one day (Twice-you lost your wallet and had to go back and look for it).  Trust me: she is now bored to death and thinks that you are too into yourself. The truth of the matter is woman…wait for it…want to have fun on a date.  I know that sounds so crazy but it is true.  She is not that concerned about your 401k or sperm count on the first date.  She wants to have fun and enjoy herself.  News flash-a relationship is where she figures out if she wants to raise your kids and wipe your chin when you are old NOT the first f*cking date, so don’t lay out your financials, work history or personal references on the first date and DO NOT act like you are on job interview.

Solution: Ask Her Questions

Use caution here because you DO NOT want to make her feel like she is being interviewed by the CIA.  While it is always good to know what she does for a living, that may not really be where her passion and personality lies, especially in this tech world we live in here in Seattle.  It may be hard for her to even describe what she does.  Asking open ended questions will help.  For those of you who did not pay attention to your 6th grade English class, these are questions that require a STORY instead of a “yes” or “no” answer because you are trying to get to know her, remember?

 Example: “Where are you from originally?” (Good) vs. “Are you from Seattle?” (Ugh!)  One allows her to tell you a cute childhood story about how she hated the freezing cold in the Midwest and the other she answers “No.  How about you?” and you are right back to blabbing about yourself and wondering why she doesn’t return your texts a few days later.

More examples:

What do you like to do for fun?

What brought you here? (If you are in Seattle you can assume they are from somewhere else.  If they are a Seattleite then RUN! J/k)

Do you like to ski?  Have you ever been back country skiing? Do you like to cook?-Though these are closed ended questions they allow you to bring up your hobbies to find common interests. She will feel you are interested in her and trying to find out about her versus if you say “I like skiing” I really want to try backcountry skiing” or “I really like to cook”

Follow up questions are a great way to get someone talking about themselves.  If she says “I moved here when I went to the University of _________” you can ask “Why did you choose that University?’ or “What did you study at the University of _____?”

Now I know these questions sound a little canned and square.  Like I said I am no Cyrano de Bergerac so you are going to have to do some of the work and put these into your own voice.  God do I have to do everything?

2. Bragging About Yourself

This is similar to No. 1 but different.  As confusing as it maybe, women like men that are confident and successful but NOT men who talk about how confident and successful they are.  Women like to find this out in the course of things and it is much more impressive to a woman to actually see your nice car or condo then it is to hear about how much you make or how many times in the last year you have been promoted.   Once again this is the difference between a job interview and a date.  Here you are trying to get her to LIKE you not hire you.  For some of you out there that is a much harder task. Oh and DO NOT brag about how great you are in bed either.  I don’t care if you are Duan Juan, just don’t do it!

Solution: Make Fun of Yourself

This is an area where self-depreciating humor can come in handy if you know how to work it.  I have joked about how ridiculous I look doing yoga or dancing (“More like downward facing goat” or “a bear dancing with a ballerina” to describe my salsa dancing).  To be honest I do look pretty ridiculous doing those things but women find these jokes more endearing than hearing how I ran my first 1/2 marathon after training for only two weeks or how I only started rock climbing a year ago and am now able to lead climb harder than many of my friends that have done it for years.  This does come with a warning though.  DO NOT sound like you have low self-esteem!  Make sure you are making fun of yourself, ie it should be funny and not sounding pitiful and pathetic.  Here’s an example.  Pitiful-“I’m not sure why women don’t like me” Funny/Cute/Endearing/Charming” “I’m not use to all this attention from such an attractive woman [said with a sly grin]”

3. Mean, Rude or Self Centered Guys

You don’t want to give women the impression this is dating thing is all about you and that all you care about is getting what you want.  RA[Rant Alert]* If that is all you care about  and you just want to grab what you can and don’t care about building a relationship with a women the get the f*ck off my blog and stay away from me because I hate a**holes like you because you and your self-center d*icks f*ck everything up for the nice guys out there and we are tired of dealing with your mess so do us all a favor and just hire a f*cking prostitute because at least she knows up front she is going to get f*cked.

Hey guys guess what?  She is really not that impressed with your six figure income, fancy furniture and good education if you are rude.  One of the very very very first things a woman wants from a relationship is respect (Cue Aretha-R-E-S-P-E-C-T) so treating them like a lady and being courteous is never a bad thing. 

Here is another news flash for the socially challenged:  Just because you bought her dinner does not mean she is obligated to like you or want to sleep with you. Don’t be an ass like that jello pop selling charlatan Bill Cosby.  Trust me.  No woman likes that dude.  Now there are women who will go out on a first date with anyone, even when they know it will not go anywhere, sometimes because it’s a free dinner.  They drive me crazy but that is a whole other blog post.  So the bottom line is being grumpy, irritable, demanding, cold, uninterested, bored, or expecting some action because you paid when you are on a date is never going to get you anywhere.

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Don’t Be a D*ck!

Solution: Don’t be a d*ck

My experience has been women like to laugh and smile as much as possible when they meet someone and a rude, cold, or self-center dude is always a bummer.  I know there is this idea that bad boys get the women and if you blow women off they want you more.  That may be true in high school but most woman get burned and realize that bad boys are just bad.  If not you don’t want those ladies anyway because they are emotional dumpster fires! So remember what your mom taught you and if not YouTube it or something and act like a gentleman.  So showing manners, like eating with your mouth closed, being polite, asking her if she is ready to order is always a good start.  Offering to walk her to her car if it is dark or raining are nice touches and she can always polite refuse but she will get the idea that you at least care and are thinking about her.

4. Not Getting Her Cues

While this is not always an easy task, I will try to help sort out reading a woman’s cues for you. Is she asking you questions?  Does she seem interested or excited about your answers?  Is she laughing- not that nervous I can’t wait to ditch this lameo but the holy crap you are funnier than Chris Rock ?  These are all good signs that she is having a good time.  If you haven’t talked too much about yourself, engaged her in conversation about HERSELF and made her laugh you are doing pretty well.  Now don’t screw it up!  In my experience if you don’t know if she wants you to kiss her at the end of the night she probably doesn’t ESPECIALLY on a first !  You can ruin a lot of your hard work laying a good foundation by moving too fast and especially on a first date it is better to error on the side of caution EVEN if she is really hot!  Now I will say I almost always kiss on the first date but I am really really good at reading body language but hey I don’t really have bad dates either so there you go.

Solution: Pay Attention to Body Language and Ask Questions

Every girl is different.  Yeah I am sorry you have to figure each and every one of them out.  One girl’s bored look is another girl’s shy look. So the next thing I am going to suggest will freak a lot of you out.  I know it is creepy, scary and down right out dated in this modern world of social media but you will need to look at your date.  IN THE EYES.  Yes.  I know.  It is crazy but you will need to look at her and watch her eyes and facial expressions.  Notice her hand motions, the way she sits in the chair.  Does she seem comfortable?  Does she seem relaxed?  Does she seem nervous? DO NOT STARE AT HER.  This is creepy and she will think you are a serial killer.  If you are a heterosexual male you should enjoy looking at a pretty woman as she talks to you and tell you silly stories of her travel with her best friend and how they got drunk and couldn’t find where they were staying in France.

 If you are not sure how she is doing you can always ask what she is thinking or feeling.  Try to do it in a nice way like “I notice you are playing with your hair a lot.  Are you a little nervous or is my conversation just making you want to run home and wash your hair? (with a smile)” [Ok  the smart ass comments may be too advanced for some of you weenies so start slow and leave off the part about washing her hair] not “Are you nervous?  Are you not having a good time? Are you bored?”  A little tact goes a long way here.  I’m pretty good are reading the ladies  but I never will be able to read their minds so sometimes I just ask them point blank what they are thinking.  Like “I was just wondering what you are thinking about right now because you have this funny expression on your face”.  This gives her a chance to give you feedback on her signals so you can start to learn what her expressions mean.  BTW Feedback is a good thing. Communication is key to understanding what is going on.  “I noticed you yawning. We could leave if you want?” if it is getting late and she is yawning, “Do you like this place or would you prefer somewhere else” if the place is noisy and she seems irritated or “would you like another drink” before you order another round and keep her up too late because she has an alpine start tomorrow. (If you don’t know what an alpine start and you are dating in Seattle, I suggest you find out, because there are a lot of hot mountain climbers here).

5. Being a Mr. Know-It-All

Ok remember when I said woman like Real Men that are decisive. This does not mean she wants you to “explain” the world to her.   I know a lot of very strong and independent woman and one of the LAST things they want to listen to is a guy giving them a lecture, especially if it is something they already have some knowledge in.  A lot of woman find this completely and totally insulting, demeaning and downright rude.  RA– If you want woman that hangs on your every word no matter whether you are blathering idiot the 1940’s are calling to tell you that you are totally f*cked and you should give up now and dedicate your life to charity because those days are long gone my friend.

You are SO interesting!

You are SO interesting!

Woman have their choice of boring uninteresting guys so they aren’t afraid to ditch your “I Know Everything” self at the curb and move on to the next.  So to be clear DO NOT launch into a webinar about how to fix her computer UNLESS she has asked you about it.  For all you know she is a ninja tech person and can slay you with two keyboard strokes. In this case you just come across as a pompous ass when really all you are trying to do is impress her with your knowledge.  Women are smart enough to tell you are smart without you acting smart.  You want to know why?  Because they go out with dumbasses all the time!  By the off chance, if you are a dumb ass you are better to keep your mouth shut because you can at least seem mysterious instead of just stupid.

 Solution: If she seems interested in something you have knowledge about find out her knowledge base and tailor your conversation to HER level, not yours

Let me be clear here.  I am in no shape or form instructing you to talk down to her.  You need to gauge not only her knowledge but her interest.  You may both be in the tech industry but she may not give a sh*t about what you do because she finds it absolutely boring OR she may not want to talk about work and actually have some fun while she is on a date so talking about the latest tweaks to the product launch you are working on may not be that riveting. (See the part above where girls like dates to be fun!) So ask questions like “Do you know much about ______?”  If she says “No” then move on to something she wants to talk about.  If she says “No but I have always wanted to get into ______” then you can strut your stuff a bit but ALWAYS keep her involved.  If the eyes start to wane this is the time to change the subject.  Case in point, I know A LOT about jazz but I am aware that I can totally lose my audience with too much detail.

RECAP

Alright class here is what we learned today.  The ladies like to have fun on dates so entertain them, do not bore them.  If you are covering the bullet points of your resume you are screwing it up.  Even in the modern world women, believe it or not, still like to be treated like ladies and like men who treat them well and with respect.  Oh yeah and can talk to them not at them and can carry on a conversation with something besides their hipster loafers.

Now none of this will create chemistry or a bond that it takes to have a lasting relationship.  It is hard to find that someone special that makes your heart beat a little faster.  None of this will make you able to find better woman on Tinder but it will help you when you are actually on the date to maximize you opportunities to meet that some special.

Ladies no need to thank me and guys you are welcome, but seriously… GET OFF MY LAWN!

Rants

* RA– Rant Alerts warn the reading a rant will immediately follow and allow the reader to skip ahead to avoid the angry onslaught of truths, bitterness, orneriness and downright cantankerous diatribes that are about to follow

The Art of the First Date and 5 Things Guys Screw Up The Most