Fail often, succeed sometimes

One of the many life lessons we can learn from chess

A few weeks ago, I took Nadia to her first chess tournament. She had only been in Chess Club for a month or so, but her coach insisted she was ready. So I signed her up, and off we went to some middle school off Central Avenue (AKA, the nice part of Phoenix).

Nadia was excited to play kids her own age, since I spend at least an hour a day on Chess.com and regularly beat her. Naturally, getting trounced by someone three decades older than you, even if he is your dad, sucks. Continue reading

That creative spark

I need a lead-in for a very important marketing project. Badly. The meat of what I’m trying to explain is there, but the intro — that “sizzle” convincing the reader to endure the rest of what I’ve written — isn’t up to snuff.

Maybe I’m being too kind. What I meant to say is that the intro is sucking, and I need it to do the opposite. Continue reading

Morning coffee

Coffee

And one before lunch, some right after and another in the late afternoon…

Basically, what I’m getting at is that I drink a ridiculous amount of coffee — to the point where I wonder if it might be more effective to just walk around with an IV that delivers coffee directly into my bloodstream at set intervals. I’d never actually do that, though. Unlike most people, I enjoy the taste of straight, black coffee. Why mess with perfection?

From my desk, a yawn,
but am I really sleepy,
or just crashing hard?

An ode to eggs

Nature’s perfect food

I could eat eggs at every meal. Like, my ideal restaurant would serve nothing but breakfast. Eggs and bacon, Eggs Benedict, omelets, scrambles — heck, even French toast has its place (it is soaked in eggs, after all).

My love of eggs goes back to childhood. One of my favorite dinners growing up was hard-boiled eggs and potatoes. My parents w0uld do them in the same pot. When the eggs and potatoes were peeled, I’d get a plate with a bit of both, mash them together and slather the whole thing in ketchup. It sounds simple — and it is — but simplicity is the essence of comfort food. And who doesn’t want eggs for dinner?

For the most part, however, I save my eggs for breakfast. Four or five days a week, I go for a run, shower and then hit the kitchen. I toast up some sourdough bread, and while that’s going, I preheat my non-stick pan. Into the microwave goes the sausage (sometimes I’ll make bacon on the stove if time allows).  When the pan’s hot, I drop in just a touch of butter. Four eggs go in. I cook them until the whites are just set, kill the heat and flip the eggs over. The toast gets buttered while the eggs hang out, usually for about a minute. Once the toast is done the eggs go right on top.

The beauty of this whole setup is that when you slice into the egg, all of that awesome yolk goo saturates the toast. When you get a bit of egg white together with that yolk-soaked bread, it’s like a one-way trip to Flavortown. Variations for this breakfast abound: sometimes, instead of butter, I’ll mash up some avocado on the bread and let the egg go to bed on top of that. When I’m feeling luxurious, I’ll do a slice of smoked salmon – almost a poor man’s Eggs Benedict. You could probably melt some cheese on the toast, too. I don’t know. You do you.

Unfortunately, my wife isn’t into eating eggs at every meal because she’s a normal person with regular tastes, so I only get to indulge my obsession with eggs when the dish calls for it, such as when I make spicy Chinese noodles. But I’ll always have breakfast.

Fool’s Gold Loaf

Fool’s gold loaf

If it’s good enough for Elvis, it’s good enough for me

Hollowed-out bread, with
PB, jelly and bacon —
you’ll be all shook up.*

*Like, seriously, this sandwich is 8,000 calories. Elvis didn’t mess around when it came to food — or amphetamines.

The War on Christmas

War on Christmas

Can we make it a thing? Where do I sign up?

As we rolled into Whole Foods on Saturday, my daughter, Nadia, noticed the Christmas signs adorning every single lamppost.

”But it’s not Christmas yet,” she protested.

Kathleen and I laid it all on the table. Retailers want people to start thinking about Christmas shopping. Brick and mortar stores do the majority of their sales in November and December. And so on, and so forth.

This seemed enough for Nadia. Since we celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday, her concern basically begins and ends with how many presents she has under the tree, and whether or not Santa got her exactly what she asked for — you know, the kinds of things a five-year old usually worries about. Continue reading

What is “content?”

I used to write on Medium. I mean, I still do, but that’s just because everything I publish here gets cross-posted to my account over there. And, maybe because I’m a nihilist (most definitely) or I just don’t have much respect for myself (the jury’s still out on that one), but I would subscribe to posts about “writing.” Littered among the slew of articles about “gaining an audience,” “finding your voice” and “developing your writing habit” was this. Continue reading

Opinions about writing

opinions about writing

I have a few, and I don’t feel like keeping them to myself

I’m a writer, not just by trade, but by blood. Words flow through my veins and out onto the page to the rhythm of my beating heart. The sentences are fully formed in my head long before my fingers are able to hammer them out. And, looking back, there was probably a period in elementary school where I wrote more than I spoke.

Try as I did to deny this nature — through brief stints in computer systems, middle school Language Arts and ESL education — I landed, career wise, where I was meant to be. I know this because despite my repeated protestations that I’m a functioning derelict (kind of), a serial slacker (in my personal life, probably) and a closeted nihilist (damn it, did I just come out?) I am guided by one simple, inescapable truth. Continue reading