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Monday, February 28, 2011

Life soundtrack, goodbye letter, and I think that's all I got

The blueberry pie from Harbor House in Sunset Beach is to die for. Just thought you'd all like to know.

So today I was driving around listening to my IPOD and I realized that I really identify with a lot of music. Ya's like sometimes a song comes on and I feel like it was written about me or for me. It's really weird. I decided that I'd like to create some soundtracks of my life. So far it's been a cool exercise. The first soundtrack is basically--if I had to describe myself in 12 songs--these would be the 12 songs:

1. When I Rise by Second Nature
2. Travelin' Thru by Dolly Parton
3. Forever Young or Young Forever--several artists have covered this song
4. Beautiful by Eminem
5. We're all in this Together by Old Crow Medicine Show
6. The Great Pretender by QUEEN
7. So What by Pink
8. Born this way by Lady Gaga
9. Live Your Life by T.I.
10. WTP by Eminem
11. Firework by Katy Perry
12. Ease on Down the Road by Michael Jackson

There it is. You should all try's a fun exercise.

I did another cool exercise today that I have done in the past--it's very healing. I wrote and sent a goodbye letter to someone. See--if someone really screwed you over or hurt you or whatever and there was never an opportunity for closure--create that opportunity and write them a letter. Take back the power and tell them what you think about what they did-- then maybe you can let go. It's kinda hard to do but once it's done--you'll feel a million times better. I highly recommend it.

Ok--that's it. I blogged twice today. That's kinda awesome. Thanks for reading. I'm shooting for 10,000 hit by April 1 so if you like my blog---please share it with your friends. You are all rock stars. Comments are always appreciated.

The Oscars, observations, and I am

Happy Monday. Weekend was good--so glad the weather was nice

Alright- I'm gonna start by talking about the Oscars. They are SOOOOO overrated. Does anybody really care? Most people watching them haven't even seen the majority of the movies that are up for awards. The show should take about an hour but it always takes at least 3 and 1/2. What a waste of time. I heard on NPR that over 1 billion people tune in for the big night. Seems silly to me. Growing up in Iowa I did used to love watching the Oscars--dreaming of the glitz and glamor--even though I never got to see any of the movies. Of course now I live in Southern Cali and I have been to the Oscars--up close and personal--not that big of a deal people. I promise. I do have some good stories though after working at the Kodak theatre for a number of years:)

Now--let's talk about the movies. Some of them were great but others were just too artsy and annoying. Oh and that movie The Kids are Alright was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. How oh how can that be seen as one of the years best? My two favorite movies from last year were Machete and Easy A. Now those both deserved some recognition. Whatever. Moving on.

Here are a few things that I think are underrated and some more that I think are overrated:

1. Poached eggs
2. Iowa
3. Casseroles
4. 12 Step programs
5. Roller Skating
6. Journaling
7. Music on Vinyl

1. PF Chang's
2. Pro Basketball
3. Fancy Martinis
4. The Office
5. Will Ferrell
6. Eat Pray Love
7. Dane Cook

Just some observations.

Recently, I had all of my students write and share an I am poem. They were really good. It's a fun exercise and I recommend it to everyone. I even did one to share with the classes. Here is mine:
I am TJ
I am 39 and 1/2
I am a comedian and I am hilarious
I am a college professor and am very good at that job
I am white and am from a working class family
I am female and I am male
I am masculine and I am feminine
I am queer in every way
I am a child at heart
I am an academic nerd and a pop culture fanatic
I am a friend to most animals--just not reptiles
I am in a long term relationship
I am in a recovery program
I am a member of the NRA and the ACLU
I am a bleeding heart liberal
I am a Buddhist
I am a pot smoker
I am a chef, a noted cheese expert, and a certified bbq judge
I am a huge fan of Sesame Street
I am a blogger
I am white trash chic-ghettopolitan
I am empathetic-sometimes to a fault
I am afraid of snakes, ghosts, aliens, flying, and failure
I am a lover of hip hop but not R+B
I am a performer and a storyteller
I am a fan of haiku and roller derby
I am wise and kind of a baller with the ladies
I am a prison pen pal and an advocate for social justice
I am unique, awesome, and fun
I am TJ and I'm 39 and 1/2

Ok--yeah-you should all do one. That's it for now. Thanks for reading everyone. It's gonna be a great week. I can feel it.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Russell Brand, food, and walking dogs

Happy Friday. It's been a pretty good week except that it's raining now AND it is supposed to rain tomorrow. Myriam says that there is even a 30% chance for snow. I am not sure where she heard that but it better not snow--that is all I have to say about that.

Ok so it's Saturday now because I was too tired last night to finish my blog. It is no longer raining, there was no snow, and it's a beautiful day. Cool. Perhaps a bike ride is in order.

Here are a couple of cool things happening in my life: Russell Brand is now following me on Twitter AND he sent me a message saying he liked my blog. Yes--it is the Russell Brand and no--I have no idea how or where he found me but it's kinda neat.

I have been nominated for professor of the year. Yes, I am that much of a badass. It's pretty exciting. After having my self esteem and spirit crushed last semester by someone--this nomination has restored my faith in others and myself.

Well--lots of things actually did that but this was like the cherry on top. It's so weird how you can have like 1,000 people that love you but you focus on the one that rejects you or is mean to you. It's actually still a daily struggle but it's getting easier. It would also be easier if I could just dislike the mean people but I can't. I have a big heart and I think there is good in everyone. I'd even still be helpful to them if asked. Sometimes this is a cool trait to have and other times it can be destructive. Oh well--what doesn't kill us is supposed to make us stronger. Since I'm not dead--I must be hercules.

Wow--I went off on a little therapy rant there didn't I? Anyways--professor of the year nomination is str8 up awesome. I will focus on the positive today.

Classes are going well. Love my students this semester. Love them.

I am about half way done writing my latest one person show. It's gonna be awesome. The goal is to perform it this summer. I think that is a realistic goal. Maybe Russell will come:)

Ok--lots of food finds and food adventures in the last couple of weeks. I have already discussed coftea but some of you have requested some recipe ideas so at the end of this post you will find a few. Here are some food adventures that I have recently had:

Went to Slater's 50/50 yesterday with my friend Alan. Ok--Slaters is A....mazing. The burgers are 50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon--YES--I know. We shared two burgers. One came with chili, nacho cheese sauce, raw onion, and thousand island dressing on a brioche bun (very ghettopolitan indeed.) The second burger that we shared was the burger of the month. It was--50% ground beef and 50% ground sausage. On it was marinara sauce, mozzarella sticks, pepperoni, mushrooms, and green peppers--a true pizza burger. It was delicious.

Tried a sweet potato for the first time. Not a fan. Too sweet--too mushy. I'll stick with mashed potatoes.

Trader Joes now carries...wait for it....peanut butter cream cheese spread. I have been eating peanut butter and cream cheese together for years--I am very excited that others have recognized the brilliance of the two together. $2.49 for a 7oz tub. Try it. Seriously, it's wonderful.

Tried a sub place called Lil' Pickle in Costa Mesa with my friend Randy. Love the name, love the sandwiches, loved eating there with Randy. I'd recommend it to everyone.

Next week I am going to see a Turkish woman who reads your future in coffee grounds. I think it will be fun.

Went to Wing Stop this week with Jamie. It's underrated. The potato salad is yummy. She got boneless wings--I opted for the bone in. Which do you think is better?? Jamie loves the idea of coftea though is also a little hesitant.

The cupcake place in Orange on Glassell has raspberry vodka cupcakes AND they have chocolate peanut butter bacon cupcakes. Delicious.

That's it for the food stuff.

I am now an official dog walker for the Seal Beach Animal Care Center. It's a pretty cool. I get to spend time with dogs and I get to exercise. Win win.

Ok--that's it for now. I'll post some coftea recipes later this evening. I think I'll try a few before I suggest them.

You are all awesome.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

San Diego, Coftea, cyberbully, new clothes, and classes

Hey everyone. I have been trying to blog all week, but I've been so busy....time just got away from me. Just an FYI.....everything is going well.  I am happier than I've been in months. Myriam and I are doing great.....this whole mid life crisis thing has brought us closer together and for that I am truly grateful. After my vacation from sanity last semester---I just wanted my old life back. Well, I got it and because of lessons learned I am able to appreciate it much more. I'm actually now a stronger and better person and my energies are going to positive things and people. Just wanted to give you all an update cuz I know you've all been rooting for me.

Ok......a lot has been going on. Myriam and I just returned from a little getaway. We spent the weekend in San Diego and it was awesome. We went to the zoo, to some of our favorite restaurants, to the outlet stores, and to Tijuana. It was a weekend of reconnecting and it could not have gone better. Myriam is amazing and I am so glad for her patience and support. We are rebuilding and it's pretty cool. Honesty is always the best policy. It may not always be the easiest but it is always the best. The easiest things usually don't end up  being the best....just so ya know.

So, San Diego was fun. My favorite animals at the zoo were the Galapagos Island Tortoises. I seriously did not know that tortoises could get so big. We watched them for like an hour. Some of them were nearly 500 pounds and a few of them were over 100 years old. They looked happy for the most part but I think a little lotion may be necessary to secure full happiness. We were going to feed the giraffes but the line was taking forever so we decided to skip it. Maybe we will do that next time. The weather was great. It was supposed to rain but I'm glad it didn't.

We had linner (lunch/dinner) at DZ Aikens which is one of my favorite places to eat. We had soup, latkes, Caesar salads, corned beef sandwiches, and decaf coffee. They make homemade ding dongs there and they are worth the 100 mile drive.....let me tell you.

So we went to the outlet malls and I believe that we found the sale of the century. It was so awesome--I got like 9 new pairs of pant, 20+ new shirts, and some fancy new socks. Myriam also got new pants and sweaters. Normally I am not a huge fan of shopping but these sales made it super fun--and the fact that I am now a size small and a size 29 made it even better:)

So.....I am a fan of coffee and tea. Sometimes I cannot decide which one to drink in the morning. Well, lately I've been thinking that a combination of the two may be interesting. I tried it last week and it was delicious. I am sure that true coffee or true tea fans would be appalled at the thought of the two drinks together--but it really is something worth trying. Basically, you take a nice cup of hot coffee and add a tea sachet of your choice. The beans and flowers together create a wonderful aroma and I find the taste to be bold yet balanced. Some friends tried it with me and 3/4 loved it. Myriam was the only dissenter. She said that there was too much going on and too many flavors competing. I can see her point, but I loved the competing smells and flavors. It was an adventure. The combinations are endless--so you should all give it a whirl. I've decided to call the drink coftea--I know that it not very original but it's what I came up with.

I would like a DJ name. Any suggestions would be appreciated. It has to be cool though.

I have a cyber bully. It's all good though--it's just weird. It's just an overpowering arrogant controlling person that apparently needs to feel better about himself and his relationship so he decided to email and threaten me. It's actually sad. He has no idea what he is talking about and that's all I'll say about it. Oh.....but I will add that people should not hide behind others or make them do your dirty's cowardly. Oh and I will add that I do not deserve to be treated that way. I deserve much better--so there ya go.

One of my students is 4ft 10 1/2 inches. She's on the basketball team which I think is really cool--and she's really really good. I asked her the other day why she feels the need to add the half inch when she tells her height and her response was "because if you are 4ft 10in or shorter then you are a legal midget and I want to make sure that people know that I am not a midget." I love her insight.

 I have signed up for Tai Chi classes and for African drumming classes. They start in two weeks and I'm super excited.

I am sad that Borders is going out of business. These damn ebooks have taken over.

That's it for now. Thanks for reading. I'd love to get 10,000 hits before March 1 so I'll post a few more times this week.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Song lyrics, 40th birthday party, and reclamation

Hey everyone. Happy almost Valentines day. It's a stupid holiday really. Most people either spend WAY too much money buying unnecessary things or simply feel like crap cuz they don't have "an other half." Just tell those that are important to you that you love them then move on. A card is always nice but no need to go into debt. Anyways.....that is my Valentines day rant. In Michigan they actually have another holiday in October called "sweetest day." That's right....they celebrate two days of "love." Well.....either way.....I hope that you all have a nice day. Love yourself. Buy yourself something cool. I did. Oh and to all of my family and friends.....I love you all. I could not have gotten through these past five months without you.

I seriously love Lady Gaga! Her new song is amazing and her Grammy performance was super sweet.

Ok....lately I have really been listening to song lyrics and here are two lines that I like:
Lady Antebellum "It's a quarter after one, I'm a little drunk, and I need you now." HA!!! Sounds like a super healthy relationship to me. Hmmm...maybe that's why the divorce rate is so high. This song is basically saying....You may not be important enough to me to go out with, but when I'm are all that I can think about.
The other one is Bruno Mars "Tell the devil I said hey when you get back to where you're from." I love that.'s not very nice but it's a great line to say to someone that has totally screwed you over. I sing it super loud when it comes on. It's a shout out to a certain someone. HA!!

So I have been planning my 40th birthday party and I am super excited (not about turning 40, just the party). Let's just say that it's gonna be awesome and it involves skating. I'll be sending out invitations soon so if you want to be part of the action....send me your address. I'll make sure you get the 411. Even if you live far away...I'll still send you a sweet invite. It's always fun to get something in the mail.

I replaced my ipod.

 B.o.B. and Janelle Monae are two of the most beautiful people that I have ever seen. Was Justin Beiber dancing with ninjas?

As many of you know, I lost a lot of myself recently. In order to get me back I've had to create new memories with things that are important to me. I am proud to say that I have reclaimed the following: Def Leppard, banana pudding from Johnny Reb's, and crossword lottery scratchers. I'm very happy.

I recently watched the movie Pay it Forward. I thought it was gonna be a feel good inspirational film, but I was wrong. It was so depressing.

A movie that I do recommend is: The American Mullet. It's a great documentary about....well....the mullet. Loved it.

Ok that's it for today. I had a super busy weekend so I'm headed to bed early.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Republican ribs,breaking a vegan cleanse, and Cornel West's Wednesday, Feb 9th and I'm feeling really good. Haven't felt this good in months---so it's kinda awesome to be having such a great day. I feel like it's a sign of things to come and that makes me really happy and grateful. Today's blog is for Erin Bartoleme. Erin has been a constant supporter of me. She is an amazing, quirky, fun, positive, selfless person and I'd really like to spend more time with her. I think she may be magical if you rub her head. Ok Erin.....this one is for you!! Thanks for making this world a better place.

The Super Bowl was pretty cool. I went to my friend Jamie's house which was great.  We all ate an obnoxious amount of food. In fact, I am still eating the leftovers. Brian (who is Jamie's other half) made some of the best ribs that I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. As many of you know, I am a certified bbq judge---I know what a good rib is--- and I can honestly say that the ribs Brian Wiles makes are right up there with the best of the best. Not bad considering he's a Republican:)

Ok...anyways...the Super Bowl was fun. LOVED the EMINEM commercials. Made me want to go buy one of those cars and move back to Detroit. A lot of people are saying that the halftime show sucked. Um, I beg to differ. I loved it. The Black Eyed Peas had so much energy, there were hundreds of people wearing GLOW SUITS which was awesome, AND Slash made an appearance. Slash!!! It felt like Christmas morning. Oh and I thought Fergie did a great job singing Sweet Child O' Mine. It was very Ghettopolitan and I loved it. Stop hating on it's called entertainment. Oh and Way to go Packers. Never underestimate the power of the Midwest.

Had lunch with my friend Jessie on Monday. We had a blast. She's one of those fiesty yet laid back people. She'd make an awesome lawyer by bein all mellow while she kicked people's asses in court. Jessie is waiting to hear from Berkeley about fall. Send good vibes her way. So Jessie had just come off of a week long vegan cleanse...which to me sounds terrifying.....but nonetheless it's what she does. I decided  the best way to break a vegan cleanse was to take her for a pepperoni pizza. She loved it of course. We split the pizza, sipped diet cokes, and pondered life's biggest questions. It was a great day.

Ok... so I am a huge fan of Cornel West. He's a philosopher, author, professor, and civil rights activist among many other things. Anyways.....I own all of his lectures and have read many of his books. I find him fascinating. He was at CSULB last week and I missed it:( I didn't even know that he was coming. If anyone has a video of his appearance please let me know. I cannot believe that I missed an opportunity to see him. I gotta get on the ball cuz that cannot happen again. Yes, I know that I am a huge nerd.

Rainn Wilson from "The Office" was at Chapman on Monday. He is the author of the book Soul Pancake---which is an awesome book about self discovery. I recommend it to everyone. Anyways...he was at Chapman and I stopped in for a few minutes to check out his talk. It was really cool. You all should really check out the book. If you are open to being honest with yourself and open to your own creativity then it can be life-changing.

OK..that's it for now. I have a lot more to say but I think I'll blog again later tonight. Look for it!! Have a great day everyone and thanks for not giving up on me. 8,000+ hits is awesome. I'm so glad I'm finally starting to feel like myself again. Some advice.....never give more than you can afford to lose. It takes a long ass time to get it back and it's never worth what you thought it would be. Oh and also.......never mind....I'll share it later. Comments people.....come on.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Evaluations, R.I.P., and I have a new nephew

Happy Friday everyone. Today was a good day. Class went well, weather was awesome, and I got some new socks. I love new socks. They feel so good when you put them on for the first time. Sigh. Today's blog is dedicated to Jessie Morris. Jessie is a wicked smart, mellow, happy go lucky person with a big heart and a gentle soul. I'm glad that she is in my life. You rock Jessie. Katie Fazoli really wanted a "shout out" it is Katie. You also rock Katie:)

So today I was evaluated at Saddleback by the head of the speech department. My students were amazing and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect class. One student brought me coffee, everyone read the assigned chapter, comments were well thought out, and my jokes were all a hit. I think I'll hire someone to "evaluate" me every week so my students will be on their best behavior. LOL. I was truly appreciative of the efforts by all. Needless to say...the evaluation went well. I was actually encouraged to apply for the open full time position. That was pretty cool. I really am a great teacher and am so glad that I love what I do. IPOD has died and is no more. While listening to a lecture on facing your fears I dropped it into a cup of coffee. I had always been afraid of doing that. Guess I had to face that fear sooner than I wanted to. I tried to dry it out by putting it into a bowl of uncooked rice but it didn't work:( I'm not sure when I'll be able to buy another one which really bums me out. Santa doesn't come for 10+ months. Oh well. Maybe I can find a used one on craigslist or something. We'll see. I'll keep you all posted because I am sure none of you will sleep until you know what I'm going to do about getting another IPOD. I'm kidding of course.

So.....I have a new nephew. He is a little mexican polish english jew and I couldn't be happier. His name is Moshe Akiva Weinstein and he's really really cute. Yasmin (Myriam's sister) just finished her nursing degree at NYU in December then gave birth in January. I feel so unproductive compared to her. Hopefully we can go out to New York this summer to see him. That would be cool. Mazel Tov!!

OK.....that's it for today. Looking forward to the weekend. It's supposed to be warm and sunny AND I'm going to a super bowl party.