Dentist, Prudential sent me a credit card

I don’t know what happened with the website today. I seem to have lost that long entry that detailed the events of this past weekend. I really don’t feel like typing all of that stuff again.

I took a long lunch today and went to the dentist. I haven’t been to the dentist in three years. Elise went late last month. We both should have gone when I was working at that place in Temple and had really good benefits.

I’m not waiting that long to go to the dentist again. I know Mom, I said that last time, but this time, I mean it. Luckily your humble narrator didn’t have any cavities, but it did take Marilisa a while to jackhammer all of the tartar from my grill. I like my dentist, Dr. Cox. He’s a pretty cool guy. He was ribbing me about the time I knocked my front two teeth out when I slipped on the icy ground and fell on my face back in February of 1996.

They all know to be gentle with me. See, when I busted my choppers out back in ’96, I had to go to an oral surgeon because I had broken my upper mandible (I guess that’s what you’d call it – I cracked the bone under my nose). Mr. This Won’t Hurt a Bit Oral Surgeon didn’t really wait until the anesthesia kicked in before he straddled my body and broke my jaw back into place with his bare hands. That hurt. Ever since then, I don’t hesitate to tell a dentist or endodontist that I’m a wimp.

Marilisa was very nice, as always. While she was chiseling away, she sang a few of her songs for me.

I was adamant about scheduling and appointment for a cleaning in six months. Luckily, this go-around I didn’t have any cavities. I was pretty surprised seeing how I hadn’t been to the dentist in so long.

In other news… I woke up early yesterday, took a shower, ate breakfast – my usual morning ritual. I walked to the mailbox, came back upstairs and sat on the patio. The first piece of mail that I opened was from Prudential Financial. I thought to myself: “Hmm… this must be important, this is who handles my IRA – A solid company that I’ve trusted for a few years now”. I opened my mail and was amazed to find that I had been approved for a $10,000 Quantum MasterCard with a shockingly low interest rate (even after the “introductory term”). A little piece of paper fell out from the mix of return envelopes and authorization forms telling me that it’s okay to have more than one MasterCard as well. Prudential wasted a stamp and some paper on me.

I laughed. We don’t use credit cards. If we don’t have the cash, we don’t need it. If we need something that badly, we’ll save for it. If I can’t sleep at night, I think about the other people in this world who lose sleep because they can’t find a way to pay their MasterCard bill and are about to lose their house. That usually puts me to sleep. That or that Trading Spaces show that Elise likes to watch.

For a split second I thought: “$10,000 could get me on that Harley pretty quickly!” I laughed again. Then I got on my bicycle and rode to work.

Duck herding

I missed out on a great opportunity this morning. I’m still kicking myself for not carpe dieming… You see, I’m still riding my bicycle to work. I ride right in front of an elementary school each morning. Today traffic was noticeably slow near the school. As I got closer, I realized that there was a mother duck and her 8-10 ducklings, waddling behind her in the middle of the road.

I laughed out loud. As I pedaled away, I notice a woman who seemed to be the owner of the ducks, walking up the street, slowly chasing her herd. She had on a sun dress and a pink bonnet-thing that tied beneath her chin. The ducks continued on their western trail, waddling underneath cars that were attempting to get their owners to work. I believe the number of cars involved in this hold up had grown to a crippling four.

I was running late. I was late to work on Wednesday, I didn’t want to be late again. I really wanted to turn my 7-speed steed around and do some suburban duck herding. I guess I was just caught up in the notion of baby ducks causing a traffic jam in front of an elementary school, so I kept pedaling and laughing. I should have turned around though. I’m sure that lady could have used some help. I’m sure my boss would have understood had I stopped to help rustle up some web-footed yard birds.

I sat at work all day and thought: “Man, I wonder if that was my one chance in this life… my one chance to be a real cowboy. I could’ve herded them ducks real good – yessir, I sure could’ve. I could be a real cowboy if I was just given the chance…”

I just might stop and lean by a fence post over yonder at that there Sunset Valley elementary school at days-end. I reckon I could stand there for a bit, a dried weed twixt the ol’ cheek and gum, kick the heel of my faithful Avia Cantilever running shoe into the dust and wait for the owner of them ducks to come around. I figger I could ask her how she fared this mornin’ with that loose herd. I’d really like to know. It can’t be an easy life, what with ducks gettin’ through your fence and all and tyin’ up city dwellers fancy traffic time.

I reckon I could ask the owner of them ducks if maybe she’d like to have me keep an eye out for stray ducks on my ride to work each morning. I reckon I wouldn’t mind helping out a little.

Grilled Herb Shrimp with Mango Salsa and Gazpacho

We went over to John and Christine’s last night for dinner. Being my own worst critic, I am happy with the fare I created.

Here are recipes for a light spring/summer dinner a la the Barefoot Contessa (all can be prepped the night before):

Gazpacho – Serves eight to ten

2 cucumbers, halved and seeded, but not peeled
3 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
5 bright red medium tomatoes (from vine)
2 red onions
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 46-ounce can tomato juice (not from concentrate)
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food-processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not over process! Place each vegetable, after it is chopped, into a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, cilantro, salt and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop. I let mine sit for 24 hours.

Mango Salsa – Makes two cups

2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion (2 onions)
3 teaspoons peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 ripe mangos, peeled, seeded, and small-diced
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño pepper, to taste (1 pepper)
2 teaspoons minced fresh mint leaves

Sauté the olive oil, onions, and ginger in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the mangos; reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 more minutes. Add the orange juice, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, and jalapeños; cook for 10 more minutes, or until the orange juice is reduced, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add the mint. Serve chilled.

Grilled Herb Shrimp – Serves six

5 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, small-diced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons Cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
2 pounds jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled (tails left on) and deveined

Combine the garlic, onion, parsley, basil, mustards, salt, pepper, paprika, Cayenne pepper, olive oil, lime and lemon juice. Add the shrimp and allow them to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals, and brush the grilling rack with oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Skewer the shrimp. I use 5 or 6 shrimp on a 12-inch skewer for a dinner serving. Grill the shrimp for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Serve with Mango Salsa.

Happy Easter

… they (Australia) celebrate Easter the exact same way we do: commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus by telling our children a giant bunny rabbit left chocolate eggs in the night. Now, I wonder why we’re f***** up as a race. Anybody got any idea? You know, I’ve read the Bible. I can’t find the word bunny or chocolate anywhere in the f***ing book. Where do they come up with this s***? Why not goldfish left Lincoln logs in your sock drawer? As long as you’re making s*** up – you know – go hog-wild. At least the goldfish with a Lincoln log on its back going across your carpet has some miraculous connotations:

“Mum, today I found a Lincoln log in me sock drawer.”

“That’s the story of Jesus…”

Bill Hicks

Casino El Camino, rose man

It’s Saturday morning. It’s 7 a.m., Saturday morning. It’s 7 a.m., Saturday morning and I’m showered, shaved, have eaten and am ready to…. take a nap. I don’t know why I got up so early today – guess it’s habit. I wish I could get out of bed that easily during the week!

I took Elise to Casino El Camino for hamburgers last night. Well, I had a hamburger, Elise had a veggie thing, it being Lent and all. I had been wanting to eat there for a really long time. I’ve always liked Casino El Camino – it’s one of those bars on 6th that’s been in Austin longer than I have. It’s one of those establishments where you can come as you are and you’d probably get laughed out the door if you asked for an apple martini or a spot to plug in your laptop. In my opinion, it’s homey. It’s a place by which the masses walk quickly on their way to the to-be-seen bars and pubs downtown.

I ordered a Coke on tap, Elise had a hefeweizen. I then went to the kitchen window to order our dinner. Elise chose the Blackjack – grilled eggplant, roasted tomato, provolone cheese, romaine, olive tapenade and shallot mayo on a multigrain bun. I opted for the Buffalo Burger – a half-pound burger grilled with hot wing sauce and smothered with bleu cheese. The cook asked me if I wanted mild, medium or hot sauce. I asked “is the ‘hot’ hot?” He replied, without even the faintest smile “That’s why it’s called ‘hot'”. I chose the medium.

Best burger I’ve had in Austin – though I think that’s why I woke up at 5:45 this morning. Oh well, it was worth it. If you want a really good hamburger, you don’t mind music from the darker side and enjoy eating below a gargoyle with green glowing eyes, try Casino El Camino.

Another reason I’m glad to be back in Austin: we saw the rose man on East Riverside. He’s been in Austin as long, if not longer than I. He’s always there, singing. Even if the windows are rolled up or the cars around me are too loud to hear him sing, I still find solace in knowing he’s there, singing.

We came home after dinner and watched Igby Goes Down. Interesting movie. I’m such a verbose movie critic. Every movie I watch now is just interesting. I think I’m going to go outside and wash the trusty Shadow now. Then I’ll wake up sleeping beauty and then we’re going to Kohl’s to get some new digs for yours truly. After that, we’re going to go get some new lenses for the old glazzies.


We just did some serious shopping. While at Kohl’s, Elise saw a pair Hawaiian print swimming trunks that she said she liked. She said “I like that design, the one with the hibiscus”. I said “I would like to paint a picture of a couple of buttermilk biscuits sharing a marijuana cigarette… they would be high biscuits.” She laughed.

We went to the mall to get my new glasses. When we left the mall, Limp Bizkit was playing on the radio. Elise changed the station. I said “What, you don’t like Flaccid Pastry?” She laughed. She said “you’re on a roll…” We’re retarded.

No Evites

I just don’t like Evites. From my recent five minutes of research, there is no immediate indication that Evite spams. Even still, that’s a fist-full of lit firecrackers in my opinion. Ticketmaster currently owns Evite. Ticketmaster was notorious for price gouging in the past decade or so – why wouldn’t they sell Evite along with a database chock full of e-mail addresses? That list of e-mail addresses is a Faberge egg just waiting to be cashed in.

I received an Evite today. I only received it because I had neglected to setup a server-side filter to immediately delete Evites. With a snap-o-the-fingers, problem’s solved now.


People with MSSW after their name scare me. They don’t scare as much as say… this tune.

I just got back from a lengthy interview with a social worker from Big Brothers Big Sisters. Your humble narrator is going to be a Big Brother (henceforth known as a “Big”). It was a complete background interview. It was kind of neat, but kind of scary in the same breath. I was on trial – I was proving who I was. I was more nervous during this interview than I was at my last job interview. I don’t have anything to hide, I was just afraid that I might answer a question incorrectly or in a way that would exclude me in the matching criteria.

I was asked some tough questions that I thought I would never be asked. I had to voice opinions on certain issues that I hadn’t really taken into consideration. It was really interesting. I’m still thinking about some of the questions that were asked.

Philip’s ‘girlfriend’ (who we’re yet to meet) inspired me to become a Big. As noted in the first annual Janicek Christmas Newsletter, I’m moving forward in my efforts to be more active in the community. I’m really excited as well as nervous about this new undertaking. I’m excited about the enlightenment I will gain. I’m excited about making an impact.

I’m going to a mentoring coaching session later this month. After that, I don’t know what happens. In the meantime, BBBS will be running a criminal and driving record background check on me. I’m clean, but I’m sure it’ll be a while before I get matched with a Little.

In other news… I don’t think there is any other news. Work is consuming my brain cells. I’m tired and sleep like a rock at nights. I’m still walking to work, though I rode the trusty Shadow yesterday and today.

Tracy and her boyfriend came into Austin yesterday evening. We met them at the Iron Cactus last night. No social or political issues were solved, we just caught up.

I bought a Sunrider soft top for the Jeep for Elise – well, she paid for it with the money she’s earned working for us, but I pushed the bid button on eBay. Now we have a huge box in the living room. We’re waiting until we go see my parents later this month so I can install it. The weather is so nice right now, I wish we could install it now.

The Archos MP3 player came loaded with several instances of the Nimda virus. Guess that happens when you buy used computer hardware. I wonder if it was malicious. Oh well, hence having anti-virus software.

That’s news for now. I need to start thinking about organizing my life. After that, I’ll probably play with whichever cat is at my disposal, drink some milk and go to bed. I have a lot of ‘side projects’ that need to be tended to before I actually become a Big. As a personal goal, I need to work on my time management. I’m timely by nature, but it’s been a while since I’ve really had to delegate what I do in my spare time. ‘Side projects’ sounds cool. Sounds like I’m in a really big heavy metal band and working with another band on an album. Okay, that’s retarded.

I’m tired now and am yet to talk to Elise about my interview.