Tuesday, December 28, 2010

best of 2010

we're almost done with 2000 plus 10, so i thought i would join the masses and release the list of my favorite (since they're my favorite, they are most definitely the best) music, movies and TV of the past year.  buckle up, and here we go...

-"brothers" by the black keys
-"sigh no more" by mumford and sons
-"contra" by vampire weekend
-"recovery" by eminem
-"the suburbs" by arcade fire
-"my beautiful dark twisted fantasy" by kanye west
-"high violet" by the national
-"teflon don" by rick ross
-"sea of cowards" by the dead weather
-"come around sundown" by kings of leon

-the social network
-the kids are alright
-kick ass
-winter's bone
-the town
-toy story 3
-the fighter
-black swan
-true grit

-mad men
-the walking dead
-it's always sunny in philadelphia
-sons of anarchy
-modern family
-30 rock
-breaking bad
-friday night lights

there you have it.  any thoughts?  just remember, if you disagree it doesn't mean that i'm wrong...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

why i like john mayer

well then, the title says it all doesn't it?  i am not ashamed to admit that i'm a john mayer fan.  i own all of his recordings and i celebrate his entire catalog.  obviously, some of his stuff is better than others.  and continuum is one of my favorite cd's.  ever.  go ahead, give it a listen.  i'll wait.  actually, i don't have that kind of time so you'll just have to take my word for it.  anyhoo, on to the list...

1. he collects watches.  not just any kind of watches - rolex watches.  yeah, he's rich.

2. he dumped taylor swift.  probably because he realized how freaking annoying she is.  why do teenage white girls have such awful taste in music.  between her and bieber, they should probably just stab their eardrums because it's essentially the same as listening to that crap.

3. he plays a mean guitar.  really mean.  i'm talking like ari gold mean.  and it's not just pop.  check out his blues records, they're pretty killer.  did i mention continuum is badass?  i did?  okay, moving along...

4. he has a dope sleeve tattoo.  i want one.

5. he romanced aniston, love hewitt, simpson (in her prime) and who knows who else.  i'm impressed.

6. he is funny.  check out his appearance on chappelle's show.  classic.

7.  he's the same age as me.  that makes him cool in my book.

i'm sure there's more, but i'm tired and i don't want to write anymore.  bottom line, if you don't like john mayer, you're dumb.  but we can still be friends.  maybe.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

all i want for christmas

since we're in december, i figured it's time to post my list of my 10 favorite christmas movies of all time.  most of them are newer (within the last 25 years or so), only because old movies tend to suck. the truth hurts...

so here we go (in no particular order):

1. bad santa - the funniest and most crude entry on the list, in my opinion.  billy bob was in rare form and the fat kid was awesome.  billy bob eating all the advent calendar candy and replacing it with tic-tacs and candy corn was awesome.

2. trading places - not really a true christmas movie, but it took place around the holidays and dan aykroyd was great when he was piss drunk in his dirty santa suit.

3. national lampoon's christmas vacation - it gave us this classic: "You checked our sh*tters, honey?"

4. a christmas story:  everyone's seen it a million times, but it's an all time classic.  

5. miracle on 34th street - the only old movie on the list, and only because it really is a christmas classic.  seen the remake, but it's crap.

6. love, actually: probably my favorite of them all.  again, not a true christmas movie but it's very funny and has multiple arc going, all related.  and i have a thing for laura linney.  deal with it.

7. the santa clause - just because it's one i can watch with my kids and enjoy.

8. gremlins - one of my earliest "theater" memories.  my dad took me to see it and i wanted a mogwai for christmas.

9.home alone - macaulay culkin at his finest.  not that that's really saying a lot.

10. elf - "santa! i know him!"

10.1 scrooged - just because smarmy bill murray is one of the greatest things about movies.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

hell of a life

i type this as i listen to the new kanye west cd, which is AMAZING.  i know there's a lot of people who hate kanye because he's such a dick, but he's a genius.  plain and simple.

so anyway, the song i'm listening to is "hell of a life" and it got me to thinking how good my life is.  so here, in honor of thanksgiving, is my list of what i'm thankful for.  some are serious and some are silly, much like the dichotomy that is my life.

-the national league (the dh is stupid)
-my family.  i have the best wife and man could ask for.  and my kids are my entire world.
-america.  living in a country where i can say things are stupid is nice.
-my mom and dad.  for putting up with all my shenanigans for 17 years.  and then some.
-music.  i am consumed by it.  i breathe it.  it's like an extension of me.
-writing.  we're living in an age where every schmo has a blog.  but how many are actually worth reading?  other than this one and "the mighty rib", of course.  we take these things for granted and good writing is going by the wayside, my friends.
-aggie football.  it's nice to be able to say that again.
-texas a&m. i grew up there.  i learned what it is to be a man there.  i miss my 6 years there.  haha.
-good bourbon.  scotch can be so pretentious.  and bourbon is america's.  embrace it.
-my friends.  you guys make my life more fun.  it's awesome to share this world with y'all.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

hit the road, jack

I’ve never really been one to want the plug pulled on a coach mid-season unless it’s clear to everyone that the situation would be markedly improved with said coach being removed from the equation.

However, the time has come for the Houston Texans to turn the page on the Gary Kubiak era and start fresh with a renewed focus on the defensive side of the ball. Professional football teams tend to take on the personality of their head coaches. By all accounts, Gary Kubiak is a fair, honest and decent man who is respected by his peers and his players. Heck, he’s an Aggie which normally would be enough for me.

But football coaches aren’t paid millions of dollars to be liked or to win popularity contests – they’re paid to win football games, plain and simple. And Kubiak definitely hasn’t done enough of that in the 4-plus years he’s been in charge in Houston.

Since he’s been the head man of the Texans, I can count on one hand the number of times this team has come out of the locker room with swagger and punched the other team in the mouth from the opening whistle. Sometimes a team has to play dirty to win. They have to be mean and they have to want their opponent to suffer. There are certainly some players like that on the Texans roster, but largely, players take their cues from their Head Coach. If the coach doesn’t get fired up and instill that “F you” attitude, then most likely the players won’t either.

And before you try the old argument of “the coaches aren’t the ones playing the games, the players are”, remember this – 1) you can’t fire all the players, and 2) Kubiak has said to lay the blame on him. Well okay, it’s on you. There’s the door, don’t let it hit you on the way out.

The next step is to write an open check to Bill Cowher, a coach who knows a little something about toughness and winning football games. He’s a player’s coach, a taskmaster and a disciplinarian. He has earned respect as a hard worker and a Super Bowl winner. If he hired a top notch Offensive Coordinator, the Texans would be in good shape.

They would learn how to fight. They would learn how to come out swinging. They wouldn’t take any BS. And most importantly, they would learn how to win and not fold like a cheap card table.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

no myth

There’s something rotten in the state of America.  Yes, I know America is not a state.  But if you’re complaining about that first sentence, you’re obviously not a Shakespeare fan.

We have become a country of instant gratification.  We’re all guilty of it, yours truly included.  Nothing can ever happen soon enough; if change for the better isn’t here tomorrow, then we’ve got to do something about it.  Like vote everyone out of office.  To these people, I offer this advice – Rome (America) wasn’t built in a day.

Things take time to develop, like a fine wine or a good Scotch.  Can you imagine a distiller saying, “Screw it, I can’t wait anymore”, and selling a 2 year old batch of Scotch?  But that’s exactly where we’re at in this country.

I know I’m going to receive some comments, but Republicans refuse to believe that President Obama can do a good job and they are trying everything they can to tarnish his accomplishments.  Is it possible that they don’t like the idea of a black man succeeding in the ultimate position of power?

Look, some people are ignorant and many will believe what you tell them when they refuse to think for themselves.  Democrats are most certainly guilty of this, too.  Which is why I think the two party system is also largely to blame.  I’m a liberal, but I don’t need the Democratic party to tell me what to do.

We’ll seemingly never elect the right person as long as people vote along party lines and not for who deserves the job.  We have gotten too comfortable as a society and don’t challenge ourselves to try something new.  We tend to live where our parents live, we socialize with people who are similar to us and we tend to believe the same things our parents did.  Which often times leads us to vote as our parents did.

And we’ll never be truly united as a country as long as people buy into the “change is not coming soon enough, let’s try something else” mentality.

Many of my friends are Republicans.  I am not.  But for the most part we can have an intelligent discourse on what we think and why we think it.  And I respect them because they can articulate their opinions and support their opinions.  Too many people just go along because they are upset and don’t know what the answer is.

Well here’s a newsflash.  Most of us don’t know what the answers are.  But to think that wholesale changes are the answer every time something doesn’t happen as soon as we want it to is irresponsible. 

I’ve said this many times and I’ll say it again.  Please make informed decisions.  We urge everyone to use their right to vote, but I’m taking it a step further.  If you don’t understand what you’re voting for, then don’t do it.  You’re only adding fuel to the fire.

What does the future hold for America?  I’d be a fool to say I know.  But I am still hopeful because, what’s the alternative?  I won’t get angry, but I am largely disappointed in how quick we are to give up on things.  I am hopeful that one day we can say we live in the United States of America and be able to mean it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

supermassive black hole

so, the title of this post is a muse song.  today's entry is "monday musings".  do ya get it?

-Hit the jackpot at lunch the other day – saw “Soul Patch” guy AND “I Wear My Sunglasses Inside” guy.  Sitting together, no less.  Quite impressive…

-Quoting Major League never gets old.
                   ~This guy’s dead.
               ~Cross him off, then!

-My second favorite holiday is coming up.  Christmas will always be #1 for me, Thanksgiving is #2, New Year’s is #3 and Halloween is #4.  I think Halloween is a little overrated, especially now that I’m older.  I really think the candy companies are in collusion to keep this thing going, much like the greeting card industry keeps Valentine’s Day going.  But back to Halloween – the thing I like the most is all the horror movies and assorted paranormal programming that’s on.

-I’m turning 33 in 6 days (or as I call it, “my Larry Bird”; next year will be my “Hakeem Olajuwon”). If I didn’t have kids to remind me every day that I’m a grown up (some people will argue that I’m still not a grown up), I would feel like a kid playing house…

-Football is the greatest sport ever invented.  And it’s not even close.  If you were to think of my favorite sports as a pie, football would represent roughly 50% of that pie.  Following football would be soccer and basketball, tied at about 15% each. Then golf and baseball follow, tied at 10% each.  Hockey?  I couldn’t care less.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

funny the way it is

i am a huge college football fan.  one of the things i can't stand is a t-shirt fan (like most texas fans), people who didn't go to school there, couldn't get in if they tried, and talk more trash than anyone else.  it maddens me to no end that someone picked a popular team to follow for no real reason other than the fact that they're good, then proceeds to dog my team every chance they get.

my biggest rule for trash talking is this - if you went to school there, you're allowed to do it.  if you didn't, support your team but keep your mouth shut.

well, a while back i called someone out on a situation on facebook and they didn't like it.

let me start by saying this person is a texas fan.  texas plays in the big 12 south.  this person was openly rooting for oklahoma state.  oklahoma state is in the big 12 south.  there's issue #1.

oklahoma state was playing texas a&m.  i went to texas a&m.  there's issue #2.  i called this person out and told them it was kind of contradictory to be a texas fan and root for oklahoma state, since they're technically rivals and all.

let me also say that this person has routinely talked trash to me about how good their football team is.  the football team of the school they didn't go to.  in the state they're not from.

needless to say, i was not happy.  since i have to deal with this fairly regularly, i decided to put an end to it on my side.  i removed this person as a friend on facebook.  we probably never should have been friends anyway, because in any social setting i likely wouldn't be friends with this person.  childish?  maybe.  do i feel better about not having to deal with it anymore?  more than you'll know.

the funny thing is, as soon as it happened this person went to facebook to discuss being "unfriended" due to football.  which is a part of it.  but the bigger picture is that this person annoys me, plain and simple.  the fact that they had to go to facebook to get some reassurance from their friends that i was silly and immature for doing it just made me feel even better about my decision.

i'm not perfect.  but i won't apologize for not wanting to deal with this when i don't have to.

Friday, October 22, 2010


there are some people in this world that, for whatever reason, just know how to and enjoy pushing your buttons.  i try my best to not let it get to me, but sometimes it really hard to just let it go.

the best way i've found to combat it is to just not associate with them.  i refuse to let other people make me feel miserable when i don't want to feel that way.

patience...it's more than a virtue.  it's a gift and sometimes it's not given to us when we need it or would like it.  so when you have it, use it.  you never know when you're gonna get some again.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


so this post is bound to turn some people away.  but it's something i believe in and i write this for myself as well as my (6) readers.

tolerance.  look, we've all been bigoted in some form or another in our lives whether it be racial prejudice, homophobia, sexual discrimination, religious persecution, etc.  i'm guilty of it, too.  but i also like to think that i've grown enough as a person over time to know that we're one, though we're not the same. (thanks, paul hewson.  don't know who paul hewson is?  look it up.)

anyway, back to my point.  a friend of mine posed the question on facebook today (indirectly through a linked article), what would you do if your son wanted to be a princess?  it got me to thinking - i know a scary proposition.  but what i came up with surprised me a little, and i'm not afraid to admit that.  the bottom line is i just want my kids to be happy.  and if being a princess made my son happy, then i'll be happy too.

10 years ago, i wouldn't have felt that way.  and even if i did, i would never have admitted it.  in my eyes, you were less of a man if you were gay.  in a society where masculinity is predicated on how strong we are, how many animals we kill and what our sports iq is, it is easy to buy into that notion. but what really defines us as men more than how we treat our families?

i really am comfortable enough to know that it's okay.  my wife loves me and i love her.  my kids love me and i love them.  to me, that's really all i need.

a few weeks ago, we were asked in our church group by our pastor what we wanted our church to be known for and what we should strive to be.  i simply wrote, "love everybody".  it really is that simple.  people who hate us still deserve for someone to love them.  and at some point in their life, somebody did love them.  maybe they went astray when that love was taken away.

just something to think about.  try a little tolerance (or tenderness...thanks, otis).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

don't think twice, it's alright

we’re into the last quarter of the year and as we approach thanksgiving, i always like to look back on everything that’s gone on this year.  it’s been a good one, albeit with some challenges thrown into the mix.  so, here’s what i’ve done so far this year:

-went to the mls all star game (bonus: i got to go with my son)
-got to walk on the field at fenway park (and sit in the seats on top of the green monster)
-had a beer at cheers
-got fired from my job
-got a new job
-got my insurance license
-coached my son in both soccer and baseball
-went to nantucket
-met bill belichick and jeff van gundy
-ate fresh lobster
-went to the salem witch museum
-drove a convertible
-saw some rockets games from a suite
-almost caught a foul ball at an astros game
-grew a beard (and shaved and re-grew it)
-helped start a church
-learned to let go of my life and trust God
-celebrated my 10th anniversary
-quit smoking cigars
-drank a lot of good bourbon

what have you done this year?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

i remember you

yes, i'm listening to skid row right now.  if you don't like skid row, then you're dumb.  okay, that's a little drastic, but you should at least rethink your position.

i've talked about the evolution of my musical taste before, but i want to expound on it a little more.  middle school, specifically, was a key time in my life.  i went from safe, parent-approved hip-hop (think Fresh Prince) to dangerous, middle-class scaring rap (Ice Cube, Public Enemy).  I also started to dabble in hard rock and metal.  I think I even had a quasi-mullet in 1988 or 1989.  Bad stuff, thankfully there's no photographic evidence.

I still listen to some of those rock and metal bands, notably Guns N Roses, Metallica, Faith No More and yes, Skid Row.

What bands or singers that you liked 20 years ago do you still keep in regular rotation?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

have a little faith in me

ok, first things first.  john hiatt is pretty badass.  been listening to this song a lot lately and it fits in perfectly with where i'm at in my life right now.

between taking my exam to get my insurance license, trying to stay on the straight and narrow to lose weight and just living life the way i want to, it gives me hope and makes me want to keep going.  let's face it, we have to live with ourselves first and foremost.  so if we don't like who we are, then it doesn't matter what others think about us.

i lived for a lot of years obsessed with how others viewed me or what they thought of me.  when i got older, i realized that it doesn't do us any good.  we're only as good as we think we are...

so, i got some nerdy looking glasses because i like them.  i shaved my head because i don't like combing my hair.  i grew a beard because i've always wanted one.  i don't wear shoes if i don't have to.  i listen to music that may not be cool.  i carry a satchel (indiana jones had one).

i'm getting more comfortable with who i am.  i'm not done yet, but i'm getting there.

so my message to myself this week is to have a little faith in me.  because we're pretty badass in our own right.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

a change would do you good

i promised you guys more consistency and that's what you're going to get, dammit...

today's post isn't fantastic, but i'm in a hurry and this is the only thing i have time for.  sue me.

random thoughts on a wednesday (idea stolen from my friend kevin over at http://themightyrib.blogspot.com)

i hate red light cameras.  it makes cops lazy (or lazier, depending on your perspective).

sometimes, i wish i didn't like sports.  it would make life so much easier.

have you ever looked at someone and wondered how they function in life without a manual?

i'm comfortable enough to admit that i will watch any movie with one or a combination of the following actors: matt damon, leonardo dicaprio, woody harrelson and brad pitt.

why do they call wednesday hump day?  shouldn't wednesday at noon be known as "hump hour" instead?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

road full of promise

there are times in my life when i get down and feel sorry for myself.  i won't lie, i spent a lot of the past 6 months like that.  but something eventually comes along and slaps you upside the head, telling you to snap out of it.

i tell you this because i hope others can get something out of it.  it's okay to feel down on yourself.  it just means that you expect better from yourself.  most of us are our own worst critic - i know i fall into that category.  but it's important to make sure you recognize that we are all God's children and we will all fall short.

so, allow yourself a pity party every now and then.  but keep it short, and move on.  life is too short to beat yourself up when you can be out living it up.  hard times will pass, be strong and know that you're here for a reason, even if you don't know what it is yet.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

In Defense of the Pig

There seems to be a cultural movement afoot, a shift to embrace healthy living and a departure from all things deadly – beautiful and satisfying though they may be.  To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with losing a few pounds and adding years to one’s life.  But in our haste to eliminate waste (or more appropriately, taste), have we forgotten the things that define us as Americans?

For every Mega Super Fitness that opens, there’s a new gastro pub or wine bar going in across the street.  Don’t get me wrong, fitness is definitely important.  But so is embracing and enjoying life.  What’s the point of living longer if you’re miserable while doing it?

In that regard, let me state my position as that of pro-life.  That is to say, let’s live life and enjoy it while we’re here.  Let’s go walk for an hour and when we’re done, we’ll enjoy a glass of red and a bacon-wrapped filet.

Food is one of the simplest ways to derive pleasure, slightly behind the most obvious one (but not always).  To bite into something that literally melts in your mouth elicits a feeling of bliss akin to winning the Super Bowl.  At least that’s how I imagine it.

Almost as satisfying is watching someone enjoy something you’ve prepared, especially if it’s an original creation.  And sharing that experience with others is close to a religious experience for me.

Now, I’m a big man and I enjoy food.  I wish I weighed about 100 lbs less than I do and I’m working on it.  But I also recognize that I’m a foodie and there’s nothing I can do to stop it; it’s engrained in me.  So therein lies my dilemma – do I embrace the food or do I embrace the health?  I gotta think there’s a middle ground, some shade of gray where I can move to and become mayor.

All I really ask is that we temper our pain with pleasure.  Don’t give up on the pig so easily, especially when he tastes so good.  By all means, do that 45 minutes on the elliptical, but don’t deny yourself that chicken fried steak and cheese grits if you really want it.  Give and take people, good with the bad, yin with yang – balance.

In the mean time,  I search for truth and try to make other people feel okay with the decisions they make.  My feeling is, bacon is good.  Ham is good (especially if it’s from Spain).  Fried pig ears are good (don’t knock ‘em until you try ‘em).  If God didn’t want us to eat pigs, he wouldn’t have made them so tasty.

So let’s belly up to the bar, get a glass of wine (or bourbon), share some laughs and fried pig parts, and be merry.  After all, life is good!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

she goes around

first things first, if you haven't heard of the damnwells, go check them out.  like right now.  don't wait, open up iTunes or amazon.com and go buy some stuff right now.  or go visit their website and get the track that's the title of this entry, "she goes around".  it's disarmingly catchy...

anyway, i was e-mailing back and forth with my friend kevin today.  basically i was bitching about nobody reading my blog.  but i know there are a few of you and i was basically just feeling sorry for myself.  look, i know i'm a good writer.  but i also know i don't post consistently enough to keep people interested.  so, here's my promise to you the reader (all 4 of you) - i will do everything in my power to update this blog at least 4 times a week.

content will vary, but by now you know what to expect.  tomorrow will include my essay "In Defense of the Pig", in which I rail against exercise without compromise.  kind of like no taxation without representation, but a lot more lively.  There will be no tea parties on my watch...

so in conclusion, a big thank you to those who continue to read my unique brand of humor, sarcasm, disillusionment, etc.  i live to serve.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

music picks of the week

some of these have been out for a while, but i've either just gotten around to buying them or i've had them for a while and just got around to listening to them.  here we go...

mumford & sons - "sigh no more"
brandon flowers - "flamingo"
the avett brothers - "i and love and you"
arcade fire - "the suburbs"

i really dig the avett brothers album.  i listen to it when i'm driving and it helps me mellow out.  mumford & sons is different but cool in a quirky way.  definitely not like anything you're hearing on the radio now.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


so, this is purely a list of the things i like and the things that irk me. here goes...

good bourbon
cajun cooking
singers who actually sound good live
acoustic guitars
new music tuesdays
sons of anarchy
my beard (before i shaved it off...but it's coming back soon)
football (high school, college AND professional)
standing up for convictions
good friends
my daughter sleeping on me
going to movies with my son
my wife (actually, that's a love)

what irks me
lip synching
french food
religious persecution
bad grammar and spelling
morning radio shows
the designated hitter
nfl overtime rules
bad mexican food
dudes with nose rings
affliction and ed hardy shirts
regis philbin
texas tech

any opinions? what do you like/dislike?

Thursday, September 9, 2010


it's amazing to me, the power of music. in my life, music has been there every step of the way.

one of my earliest memories is putting a hall and oates tape on in my mom's oldsmobile. the only problem was that the tape had been sitting on the dashboard and had melted. we couldn't get the thing out so my mom had to drive to the fire station so my dad could fix it. bad mikey...

in 4th grade, i discovered rap music. it started innocently enough, listening to ll cool j, run-dmc and non-threatening things like that. then in middle school, i traded my dj jazzy jeff and the fresh prince tape to my friend ed ashton for a too short tape. who got the better end of that deal?

from then, i was hooked. it morphed into nwa, ice cube, geto boys, etc. and was essentially all i listened to until high school. in 9th grade, i had a rediscovery. i found pearl jam, soundgarden, nirvana, smashing pumpkins and those led to weezer, the breeders, green day and so many more.

i can remember sitting in mrs. brashear's 11th grade english class listening to cannonball and always doing to drumstick intro.

i know some people think of me as a music snob and i take it as a compliment. the funny thing is, i'm really not. i see myself as a less pompous version of rob gordon from high fidelity. i enjoy listening to the jonas brothers alongside joe jackson, miley cyrus next to the killers. however i refuse to listen to that new canadian girl, justine bieber or whatever her name is.

what has music done in your life? do you have a playlist for when you're depressed, like i do? do you still make mixtapes for people (albeit on CD's now)?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

music suggestion

if you like the killers, go buy "habits" by neon trees. been listening to it in heavy rotation for a couple days now. should have bought it a lot sooner...

learn to fly

so many times in life we're presented with opportunities. sometimes we take them and make the most of them, sometimes it's not what we wanted. other times we don't take the chance.

i've learned that we can't be scared to fail. a couple years ago i stepped outside my comfort zone and took a job i probably had no business taking. but i wanted to do something else. it didn't turn out well, as roughly 75% of the company was laid off within 3 months. economic downturn and all that jazz...

i was a little jaded, a little weary of trying anything new after that. but why? the people who we remember in life are routinely the ones who don't play it safe. there's a reason the saying goes, "nothing ventured, nothing gained"...

we can't be scared to take chances and we can't be scared to fail. for me personally, i have a great family and wonderful friends who will still be there even if i stumble. so what do i have to be scared of?

i know God will provide for us. with that knowledge, i am comfortable taking risks to strive for greatness. it has taken me a while to figure this out, but it is extremely gratifying and liberating to realize it.

i hope there is something in your life that you want. don't be scared to go for it. the worst that can happen is you don't get it. but then, you can try again.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Restaurant Review #1

here's a first on the new blog, a restaurant review. this one comes to you courtesy of gatlin's bbq at 1221 w. 19th st. in houston.

first impressions:

the place is small. i mean tiny. there are 2 card tables to sit at if you want the luxury of air conditioning. since i went in august, i wanted that luxury. unfortunately, there wasn't enough room for everyone in my party so outside we went. parking is limited in front of the restaurant, but there is parking along the ditches on either side of the road.

the menu:

no frills, just straight ahead bbq. brisket, chopped beef, sausage, turkey, pulled pork and ribs highlight the meat selection while potato salad, cole slaw, dirty rice and baked beans make up the standard sides. they also have a small assortment of desserts, including homemade cookies, red velvet cake and a lemon cake. i was told they will be expanding these selections down the line.

okay, how did it taste?

i ordered the two meat plate with pulled pork and ribs; I chose dirty rice and ranch style beans as my sides. all meals come with bread, pickles, onions and jalapenos.

okay, i like bbq and this place didn't disappoint. the pulled pork was tender and extremely tasty. ribs were some of the best i've had. they were unbelievably tender, but didn't fall off the bone. to me, that's how a rib should be.

and the sauce. let me tell you about the sauce. they serve it hot, which i don't necessarily prefer. but it was AWESOME. it's a traditional southern, tomato based sauce but it has some heat to it and it's not overly sweet. i literally drank the rest of it once i soaked my pulled pork, it was that good.

the sides were above average. the dirty rice was excellent, served a little more moist than most others i've had. i enjoyed that (there's nothing worse than dry rice), and the spice was perfect. the beans were good, nothing to write home about but solid.

i also tried a couple pieces of the sausage links. wow. moist and with a good snap to the casing, but not greasy. excellent taste.


the two meat plate was $8.50 for a more than adequate portion. i was stuffed when i left. drinks range from $1 to $1.50, so my total was about $11.00. pretty competitive, especially when you factor in how tasty the food is.


i may have found a new favorite for bbq, in the heart of the neighborhood i grew up in. i give this place 4.5 stars out of 5, with the only negatives being the lack of air conditioned seating and less than ideal parking. i'll definitely be back.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

show me what i'm lookin' for

sorry for the absence - blame it on vacation. we were in dallas visiting friends last weekend and in new braunfels until thursday of this past week. i don't take my laptop on vacation, so i rarely am able to update the blog when i'm gone.

i've had lots of time this week to think about where i am in my life and where i want to go. i feel like i'm at a crossroads in my life. normally this would be cause for concern with me, but i am at ease with things. there's a certain peace i feel with where i am and i give all credit to God.

i trust that there's a plan for me. i have no idea what it is, but i know there is one. i just have to remember to pray for it to be revealed to me when the time is right.

i feel somewhat disconnected to some of my oldest and most cherished friends, but i have to let that work itself out. i truly feel like i am being called for a greater purpose.

don't confuse what i'm saying about my faith. i'm not someone to shove it down people's throats. but i am vocal about what i believe and i feel like my experiences in life can help others who have been through or are going through similar situations.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

king of new orleans

i love to cook. i love planning menus, i love prep, i love executing a dish properly, i love people enjoying what i prepare for them.

what i don't like is hype. and unfortunately, that's what a lot of cooking has become. it's a corporate machine. and one of the entities i love and admire is the main culprit - the food network.

instead of showcasing the joy to be derived from cooking, it's been turned on it's side and is now no better than "the bachelor" or "jersey shore". what i mean is that the innocence is gone and it's now all about stunts and ratings.

take "the next food network star" for example; we now have a show about someone trying to get their own show. i don't care about some schmuck who works for a catering company trying to get rich quick because they can make a banana tart.

why not identify up and coming ACTUAL chefs who are both innovative and personable? give them a show. but i think i'm straying from my point.

we live in a culture that, for better or worse, is obsessed with celebrity. and cooking/food has become no exception. i'm not saying emeril, gordon ramsay, etc. aren't good chefs, but why the worship? i tend to agree with tony bourdain's perspective on this topic. that is, who cares?

let's get back to honest food prepared by people who know what they're doing and who want to pass along their knowledge and passion to the consumer. i want chefs who are more interested in their food being appreciated than what their overnight rating was. is that too much to ask?

Monday, August 2, 2010

place in this world

days like today make me wonder what's in store for my future. i had an interview with a staffing agency this morning, but i never get too excited about them. for some reason, i'm just not having any luck lately.

it's hard not to get discouraged, but i am trying to put a positive spin on the situation. for one, i am getting to spend more time with my kids. i take braden to school/daycare pretty much every day and pick him up as well. i'm actually able to get yard work done. i'm caught up on my dvr.

but i'm not kidding myself. i don't have a job and i feel like there's a giant hole. it's nice to have free time, but i'm not built for this. i need to contribute and feel like i'm actually a productive member of society.

this is where my faith has played an important role in my life. i know that God has a plan for me. maybe it's nothing that i can see or something i'm not ready for yet. but i am comforted in knowing that ultimately the decision is in His hands.

now that's not to say i'm going to sit around and just wait for something to happen. while i'm a firm believer that God will provide, i also know that the only way to get ahead is to work. though some would argue what i'm about to say, i don't consider myself a lazy person. i acknowledge that i may take a short cut here and there, but i also value the feeling of a job well done.

i also believe that we create our own luck by staying the course, not giving up and knowing that things will work themselves out in the long run. hopefully that long run is in the home stretch for me.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

everybody plays the fool

i am a sucker for my kids. sometimes they do things that make me wonder what we were thinking for wanting children, but 99% of the time they make me appreciate my life more than i ever thought possible.

as i'm typing this, my daughter is putting diaper rash cream on her face. the party never ends, it seems.

back to my original point...

i never thought i could feel so vulnerable as i do when something bad happens to my kids - sickness, cuts and bruises, etc. i am fiercely protective of them, probably more than i should be. but i can't help it.

thursday was my daughter's 2nd birthday. i melt when she smiles or when she says "i love you, daddy". my son is almost 6 and is entering the stage where it's not cool to give his dad a kiss anymore. it makes me sad, but i was there once so i understand. he's playing soccer, baseball and is in swimming.

every day i have with them is a gift from God. there's nothing i wouldn't do to protect them.

i wish my friends without children knew what they were missing.

Friday, July 30, 2010

the day i tried to live

i don't know why, but there are some days when i just don't "get it". as good as it should be, i can find a way to ruin it.

this week has been awesome. i've been to an astros game and the mls all-star game, both with my son and some good friends. i went to texans training camp today with another good friend. but something is still off.

i think sometimes i go into self-destruct mode. not sure what happens, but it's not cool and it feels like i suck the energy out of everyone. it also seems like i tend to start fights. i label this disease as "a**hole mike syndrome".

what do you do to break out of a funk? and more importantly, what can i do to avoid this behavior?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

don't panic

as any loyal follower of the various incarnations of my blogs (if there are any) can attest, i am pretty much obsessed with music. most, if not all, of my entry titles are song titles.

the one above comes from one of my favorite soundtracks, garden state. i have, in the past, been completely anti-soundtrack because i feel like they're sometimes stale, forced, and don't inform the tone of the movie they're representing. garden state changed that attitude for me, and now i have reigned in my hatred of soundtracks to something more closely resembling apathy.

getting back to me being a freak over music, i can pretty much relate any era in my life this far to a song. for instance, when i hear "meet me halfway" by kenny loggins, i think of "over the top" (the greatest movie about arm wrestling ever made). which makes me remember that i saw it at willowbrook mall with my friend phillip anderson. which leads me to remember that we drove past a fuddruckers, at which point phillip said something completely inappropriate for a 9 year old to say in front of my mom.

so i'm curious, what soundtracks mean something to you? and what memories do particular songs evoke from your past?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

on to the next one

unlike my last blog, i hope to update this at least 4-5 times a week. it all starts today as this is post #2.

as a reminder, this is my forum to talk about what ever is on my mind at the time. you can expect to see random musings, (hopefully) philosophical discussions/ruminations, new recipes i'm trying out, music/movie/restaurant reviews, and whatever else i deem worthy.

so, you tell me - what do you want to see on here?

the song remains the same

i lost my job a few months ago. since then, the days seem like they run together. i get really bored - there are only so many times i can mow the yard, wash the dishes, watch my dvr, etc.

but thankfully, kathleen and i have taken on something new and ambitious. we are part of a team that is planting a new church in sugarland. things are picking up and we are starting to really move forward. i know some of my friends think i have changed since we started participating in this. and i guess maybe i have a little.

but it's sad to me that some people view this as a bad thing, or don't know how to approach me. i'm still the same person, just with some different views and a slightly altered outlook on things.

have any of you ever been in a situation where you lost friends or had strained relationships as a result of something you changed in your life?