Minimally Shindo

I’ve used the Vigilance template for little over a year and it got old. For a while, I reverted to Colors, the one with all the color pencils. It did the job for a bit before I came out of my hiatus. And then began the search for a minimalist template that didn’t look like it was a WordPress default, and I found Cleanr, which really lives up to its name: a white background with clean, bold sans-serif headers and legible Roman font. Even with all that prefab wonderfulness, I still have to clean some things up, such as my links page and a few other things. Sometimes I think about tweaking a few things, such as link colors, because I prefer to have links in pale violet blue (not to be confused with lavender). Overall, it’s an attractive and efficient design, so I have no complaints.

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Rest In Peace…

In my late night Net-browsing, I came across this obituary on Queerty, only it was about a blog, not a person. The Boi from Troy abruptly wished his readers farewell.

A year and some time ago, Scott-O-Rama took a sabbatical from blogging and planned a comeback. He even set up a spiffy blog template a few months ago to return in style. Ironically, his most significant post after makeover was one to say goodbye. He even took it a step further and got rid of much of his social networking accounts such as Twitter and Flickr.

Both blogs had large readerships and were heavily blogrolled. Both felt blogging became more of a chore than something they wanted to do after a while, so they called it quits at some point. They were big trees in their niche of the blogosphere forest and we heard them fall.

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At the Linkery – Again

I went to the Linkery the second time this month. Last week, it was a crowded dinner party affair for Jen and I got to meet some interesting people. This time, I met up with my longtime friends Sharon and Nadia. I haven’t had the chance to hang out with both of them at the same time in a while, so it was nice. Plus, I haven’t been able to go out to lunchtime foodie adventures with Sharon in a while, and going out with her for lunch or dinner is always fun.

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Much to Nadia’s amusement, Sharon and I took pictures of the food, starting with the chorizo and goat cheese flat bread. This was our starter.

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Nadia ordered the picnic plate with the potato salad and cole slaw. This time, there was no confusion.

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I ordered the same thing as I did last time. I freely shared the sauerkraut with my friends. Sauerkraut’s going to have it’s day and Trader Joe’s will stock it. Only, they don’t carry it now. Trader Joe’s, how do you expect me to replicate this $$ experience on the cheap?

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Sharon ordered the butternut squash with Israeli couscous. Wonderful vegetarian option, but Sharon has a link.

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After dinner, before dessert, Sharon gave us some Dove’s chocolates. The insides of the wrappers were like fortune cookies.

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Mine said “Be Fearless” and “Smile Before You Go To Bed. You’ll Sleep Better.”

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Sharon’s read, “There’s a time for compromise. It’s called later.”

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Nadia’s read, “Send a love letter this week.”
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Dessert was lovely. Sharon, Nadia, and I all shared the carrot cake with lemon cream cheese icing.

While the food was great, the best part of the evening was being able to catch up with Sharon and Nadia. Happy Holidays, friends.

Confoundingly Fun Fondue

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There is never a dull moment whenever I hang out with Melodie. For her birthday, something completely unexpected happened – her chocolate fondue caught on fire!

Melodie was after an interactive kind of dining experience – one where the everyone was active participants in cooking the dinner, so something like the Turf Club or the Strip Club sounded good or even Benihana. Fondue fit the concept nicely, so Fondue Fusion & Bistro, formerly known as Forever Fondue, seemed like a perfect choice.

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Saturday night was her birthday, and a lot of Melodie’s friends showed up, including some mutual friends of ours Gema and Rob, also known as Downtown Rob. We know each other through Twitterville, but several of Melodie’s other friends know her through other contexts, such as work and yoga classes. I got to talk to some of them as I was seated at the other table.

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The owner obviously loves Picasso, as there were reproductions of his work on every wall. However, Gema found the display of a Guernica print very disquieting. Perhaps the owner didn’t think through the effects the painting may have had on the diners. However, the lack of thoughtfulness didn’t seem to end there.

The menu itself was bewildering, especially the fondue combinations. It took the waiter several times to explain to all of us how the combos (or All Inclusives, as they were called) worked, and even then we were all confused.

I found the booths to be very cramped, but I’m a very big guy. Thankfully, there were a few chairs at my table.

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To a minor digression from my mini-rant: Drink Porn. These martinis were very lovely.

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Rob wanted to get a signature shot of him holding a martini, so here it is. In the short time I’ve known him, I can tell lots of stories. He’s that colorful a person. He’s also very fun to party with, which is a source of all those stories.

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In spite of my earlier complaints, the food was actually very good. My newfound friend and I got to enjoy Queso Fiesta, which consisted of beer, Wisconsin Cheddar, and some jalepeños. There was plenty of sourdough bread, apples, and vegetables for dipping. Then there were the salads, which were satisfying, but were too much. Then, the main course, which consisted of meats and vegetables to be cooked in broth were delicious and easy to cook.

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Some more cheese fondue. Yum!

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Here is the birthday girl enjoying some of her fondue.

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While waiting for the broths to boil, it was was fun to watch the vegetable broth. With the vegetables swirling about, it looked as if there were tiny fish swimming around.

The dessert fondues were also wonderful. My neighbor and I ordered the same items for our inclusives, so we got a chocolate and Irish creme sauce. Melodie’s was simply a chocolate fondue. How it caught on fire I don’t know, but our friend Rich poured something on it to get it to burn brighter. It took a few clicks to get it right, but I finally wound up with the intense photo at the top of the entry.

Overall, a very good time was had by all despite whatever confusion occured. I even got a pleasant surprise in the end. In the tab shared by me and my neighbor, we expected to pay $37 each for our All Inclusive. We were only charged for one, so it was cheaper for both of us. After that, a few of us went out for drinks and karaoke.

Wasn’t Funny Then and It’s Still Not Funny

Every once in a while, people tell me I need to lighten up and get a sense of humor. I use to believe that, but the truth often is the person who says that is also the perpetrator of a joke that absolutely was not funny. A couple of months ago, someone I thought was a friend of mine made some hurtful jokes about me to me.

My friend Tamika‘s post on confrontation addresses how some bigger problems could have been averted if they were confronted sooner instead of later. I am on the other side of this issue since I’m not fond of confrontation (unpleasant business) and if I did confront someone right away, I wouldn’t be very nice. In this situation, I wanted to tell my friend to shut the fuck up or to go fuck himself when he was making those jokes. However, easier said than done.

We were doing one of those large turnout annual walk-runs that go to a good cause when this friend decided to make incessant jokes about my wieght. Several times on the route, he pointed to a group of bears and said I should join up with them. If that wasn’t enough, he went up to a mutual friend’s five year old son of a  and tried to get him to say that I was “curvaceous.” His mother was shocked and asked my friend what he was trying to do with her son. Fortunately for him, she didn’t bitch him out (which some parents would).

I know I would not have accomplished anything by going off on him, especially in front of someone and her children. I did say a few times that I wanted to kill him, but this came off more as a frustrated attempt to make a joke of dealing with it. Easier said than done, I could have told him to stop his jokes and that they weren’t funny. Instead, I waited to calm down so that I could peacefully confont him.

I chose to address the issue a week later when he called me on the phone. Despite calmly bringing up the issue, he was offended that I waited this long and then he lost his temper. He then tried to bring up an issue with me and went on about it until the conversation was over. By the time I hung up, I decided I didn’t want to talk to him at all.

I didn’t want to go through the hypocrisy of pretending all is OK, so I just avoided a whole group of people just so I I wouldn’t have to say hello and act chummy with him. I could have met them in the social context without acknowledging him but it took too much energy to do so. I wound up losing out because I avoided people who had nothing to do with my issues with him.

Sorry about the vagueness of the post. It would be easier to be more specific. Recently, I decided to stop avoiding the social context (which is more than social), and decided to make nice with the friend. He invited me out to coffee and the whole conversation was small talk, skirting the issues that drove us apart in the first place. Towards the end, I told him I thought I’d never talk to him again. When I detected this could have turned into a repeat of the phone conversation a month and half before, I thanked him for extending the olive branch. With that said and done, I’m not sure if I could ever hang out with him like we use to. I don’t want to be in a situation where he thinks he can be comfortable enough to insult me again.

First of December

Apart from Thanksgiving, I’ve had a restful weekend. On Thursday, I had too much food without any room and I hopped around between several parties. The first one with my local friend Brian did me in as I visited him and his family, only to be done in with the traditional turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes, and gravy. Then, I stopped by my mother’s party at her business where she was serving sukiyaki and oden for her employees. I had my sampling, enough so neither she nor her friends nor employees got offended that I didn’t eat anything. I then went off to another friend’s gathering where they were having a gay movie marathon and I escaped being there until 3 in the morning. Last year, I wound up staying too late as Jaylen got us all watching The Book of Daniel, the entire series in one night’s sitting.

David, a longtime friend of mine and fellow Netflix subscriber, showed me the link for Netflix’s Instant Viewing Beta Program for Mac. It’s frustrated me for a while that I was paying all this money to subscribe to Netflix and I was getting bupkis as far as the Instant Viewing program was concerned. It’s safe to say I wound up watching a lot of movies and TV shows this weekend as it saved me from A) installing Vista on my Mac and B) buying something like the Roku player. Below is a screenshot from the documentary Helvetica, which is available for instant viewing.
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Oh, here’s the link if you’re a Mac user and want to get on the beta test for Netflix’s Instant Viewing.

I avoided the whole Black Friday thing. Not really. I didn’t take part in the tent cities that sprouted around places such as Best Buy, Walmart, Target, etc. At the Mission Valley Best Buy, there were some people who set up tents near the entrance on Tuesday. I hope it was worth it for them to get stinky and rained on and shiver a bit in the late November San Diego nights. However, I went with Brian to the Otay Ranch Town Center in the late afternoon. We were simply browsing around a few shops which have already been wiped out by the early morning nonsense that took place at every retail outlet in the country. I did get to see the ultimate spectacle at Macy’s, which was a salesgirl in Ugg boots.

It’s back to reality, of sorts, on Monday morning. It’s also the second day of Advent, which means Christmas isn’t too far behind. Maybe I’ll have a grinchy VLog post once again. 😉

Oh, Happy December to you all. Please keep the Christmas music away from me.