Fajitas are the stupidest thing you can order when you go out to eat.
When you leave your house with the intent on becoming the patron of a restaurant, you have forfeited the right to engage in any part of the meal preparation to your desired eatery.
You don’t get to prep the food.
You don’t get to cook the food.
You don’t get to plate the food.
You can only consume the final product in its delivered form.
But you just ordered the fajita. The table-cluttering rebel to the dining standard.
You just made a public declaration that the restaurant is good enough to properly prepare and cook you a meal, but they will fail you when it comes to the meal’s final organization. You, with zero years as a professional chef on your résumé, has decided a team of veteran cooks knows nothing about how your meal is supposed to taste. In fact, that task can only be done by yourself, the person with most knowing taste buds in the history of man.
Then it’s meal time.
While everyone is enjoying their burritos, or enchiladas, their self-contained and fully completed meals, you pretentiously and artistically drape grilled vegetables across soft shell tortillas. You add some form of sizzling and seasoned meat, perhaps a salsa, carefully balancing and shaping an edible slap-across-the-head-chef’s-face in your hand. By the time you’ve even finished creating the first fajita, we’ve finished a third of our meal because you wasted time finishing a job someone else was already hired to do. While we huddle over our one plate, you continually do a dance shuffling around a dangerously hot-handled skillet, several small dishes of toppings, and the weird plastic tortilla container.
The fajita is a nuisance in the dining world. It’s an unfinished, over-complicated insult to those eating with you and the entire food service industry. If you wanted to make your own dinner, you should have just stayed home.
At the most southern point on the continent of Africa is the country known as South Africa.
A week ago today, we packed our bags and tried our best to mentally prepare ourselves for the thirty hours of travel time it would take to get back to our own bed in Los Angeles. After spending almost two weeks in South Africa myself, there was a touch of sadness knowing that South Africa isn’t the easiest place to get to from this side of the world because I really want to go back again.
Cape Town is a fantastic city still benefiting from the 2010 World Cup and still showing its beautiful and once turbulent history for all visitors to see. The road into Cape Town is lined with the legendary shanty towns, built from the colorful and battered remains of whatever could be fashioned into a wall. Above their corrugated steel rooftops is a web of power lines all illegally tapped into the nearest light pole or transformer.
Cape Town itself is a clash of new glass buildings and old European influences hiding in the shadows of development. The downtown area might be mistaken for any mid-size city if your ears didn’t pick up the sounds of foreign languages. The food was fantastic, the people friendly, the beers very cheap. A cable car ride (with rotating floor) up to Table Mountain right before sunset will let you look out over the city and see it tucked tight into the mountain side, shaded with oranges and purples.
The delicious filling to our journey took us east to Port Elizabeth by prop-plane and another hour north by car to the Shamwari Game Reserve. 55,000 acres of once-farmland that now houses and strides to protect Africa wildlife.
Shamwari is not a zoo. You ride high on the back of an off-road truck and your game ranger heads out into those 55,000 acres with nothing but the direction of some dusty paw prints on the road and the help of other rangers cruising the land. It took us four days to finally come close (VERY close) to a herd of elephants. One would think it would be hard to lose elephants, but you can, and apparently for as long as month sometimes.
Shortly into the stay at Shamwari, I realized (ten years too late) that I wanted to be a reserve game ranger when I grow up.
We saw the legendary Big Five. We parked the truck and walked into an open field to sit near cheetahs. We had drinks overlooking amazing sunsets while bats flew overhead and lions roared in the distance. We watched lions chase down (and miss) their meals on several drives. We held on tight as we raced away from a bull elephant that let us know we were getting a little too close. We met great people from great countries and shared great food by campfire and candlelight.
On our final morning as we were headed to the lodge, a pair of bickering monkeys kept us pinned in our room. Monkeys.
We spent a couple more days in Cape Town before flying home. But I would tell anyone looking for a new adventure to go to South Africa. I know we only scratched the surface and maybe one day I’ll get back.
Below are just the highlights. There’s a much bigger gallery here.
I’d like to respect the fact that he’s again proven Microsoft Word to be a contender in the design and layout world. Also, I appreciate that requests for photo approvals from the family were listened to and executed with love.
Happy holidays, dummies.
He did use my most favorite family photo ever though.
This weekend, I cracked open my classy IKEA bookshelf to reveal an extensive collection of dying media discs.
Many of these titles were collected during the late 90′s DVD boom, many more collected because they were $8 or less in the FOX Store during my FOX years. It seemed that I was certainly prone to purchasing “editions.” Collector’s, Director’s, Ultimate, Unrated, blah, blah, blah. And I’m certain that I never watched the bonus features, never removed that second disc from the case, and never listened to any commentary tracks.
I don’t even really know what to say about most of these. There’s few good in a sea of terrbile. Did I REALLY need the unrated version of American Pie? Did I REALLY need Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo?
I cringe to think about the couple thousand dollars wasted on the below. I’m going to use the few dollars I get from selling these to build a time machine to tell younger-Dave not to buy DVDs.
Adventures in Babysitting Akira Alien All the President’s Men Almost Famous Amelie American Beauty American Pie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Army of Darkness Arrested Development: Season 1 Arrested Development: Season 2 Arrested Development: Season 3 Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery Back to the Future: The Complete Trilogy Batman Batman: The Movie Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries Being John Malkovich Better Off Dead Beverly Hills Cop II Big Big Lebowski Big Trouble in Little China Billy Madison Blade Runner Blues Brothers Bourne Supremacy Braveheart Bull Durham Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Caddyshack Charade Chasing Amy Clerks Close Encounters of the Third Kind Conan the Barbarian Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete First Season Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Second Season Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Third Season Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Fourth Season Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Fifth Season Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Sixth Season Dark Crystal Desperado Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo Die Hard Die Hard With a Vengeance Dogma Edward Scissorhands Empire of the Sun Escape From New York Evil Dead Family Guy, Vol. 1: Seasons 1 & 2 Family Guy, Vol. 2: Season 3 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Fifth Element Fight Club Flashdance Flight of the Conchords: The Complete First Season Flight of the Conchords: The Complete Second Season Footloose Fringe: The Complete First Season Futurama, Vol. 1 Futurama, Vol. 3 Futurama, Vol. 4 Garden State Ghostbusters Gladiator GoldenEye Goldfinger Graduate Greg the Bunny Grosse Pointe Blank Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Heat Hedwig and the Angry Inch High Fidelity House: Season One Hudsucker Proxy I Am Trying to Break Your Heart Incredibles Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade Jumpin’ Jack Flash L.A. Confidential L.A. Story Last Starfighter Leon: The Professional Life Less Ordinary Lord Of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Lord Of the Rings: The Two Towers Made Major League Matrix Memento Men at Work Men in Black Minority Report Monkees: Our Favorite Episodes Moulin Rouge Mummy Mummy Returns Mystery Men National Lampoon’s Van Wilder Natural NewsRadio: The Complete First and Second Seasons NewsRadio: The Complete Third Season News Radio: The Complete Fourth Season NewsRadio: The Complete Fifth Season O.C.: The Complete First Season Office Space Old School Once Upon a Time in Mexico One Crazy Summer One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Orange County Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure Perfect Strangers: The Complete First and Second Seasons Phone Booth Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Predator Princess Bride Princess Mononoke Prison Break: Season 2 Pulp Fiction Reservoir Dogs Road Trip Robocop The Rock Royal Tenenbaums Running Man Rushmore Say Anything Seven Simpsons: The Complete First Season Slap Shot Smokey and the Bandit Snatch Sneakers Spirited Away Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Star Wars Trilogy Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith Suicide Kings Super Troopers Superman II Swingers Terminator 2: Judgment Day Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead Top Gun Total Recall Trainspotting Travis: More Than Us – Live in Glasgow Tron True Romance UHF Waiting… Wall Street Wedding Crashers William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet Willow Wonder Boys Zoolander
Saturday morning, about eight hours after one of Los Angeles’ major traffic freeways was shut down (to continue work on what will no doubt be a completely useless widening), Kevin Osborne and his Ocean Park 26 organization held the First Annual Ocean Park 26 Surf Contest in southern Santa Monica.
While my photos below seem to be heavy in dark clouds and beach-focused action, they do not reflect the true spirit of the day. Through the morning and into the afternoon, Kevin was in his element hosting an event that proudly brought the Santa Monica surf community together and was a fantastic payoff to months of his own personal effort. Before noon, the sun would break through the gray and blue skies would backdrop the luau show during the lunch break.
Sitting on the beach watching each heat of surfers attack that morning waves, I was inspired to head into the surf myself and I really hope there’s going to be a Second Annual Ocean Park 26 Surf Contest.
Bonus rear-view trick shot of a deserted 405 freeway.
[Editor's Note: I titled and wrote this post while flying home the night of July 5th. I debated posting this tonight, but felt that it might serve as a reminder for those who need it most right now.]
It certainly seems that I’m changing.
Years ago, I didn’t understand the need to visit Libertyville. I had just left its two main roads and townie bars for Los Angeles and Los Angeles was big and bright and so very, very shiny. But after repeated years of Christmas freezes tucked into a barely-useful full size bed, and two back-to-back, tradition starting, summer visits in the ‘burbs and Chicago-proper, there’s a pull back to familiar.
After leaving the nest far later than one should, I honestly took family for granted. And in the last month I realize how much I miss my family (even if their soap use etiquette needs improvement). I guess it just took time a distance to understand that.
Eight years ago it was a lot easier to leave home. Now it’s hard to fly away from those dummies.
“We’re happy when you’re happy. We’re sad when you’re sad.” – Mike Sliozis
Dave Sliozis: Rod. I’ve seen Andrew W.K. perform three times in my life. Rod Naber: That’s actually, legitimately incredible. Rod Naber: Seriously? Dave Sliozis: Yup. Dave Sliozis: I don’t think I ever paid more than $10 to see him. Dave Sliozis: And each time, I might have paid $10, but got $1,000,000 in radical. Rod Naber: You’re a party millionaire.
It wasn’t very long ago that I couldn’t get on an airplane without fighting through anxiety and panic attacks the entire day before followed by armpit-soaking nervous sweat during the entire flight. The smell of airplane exhaust made me nauseas. Any unannounced turns in midair were met with silent prayers and wondering if my cell phone would work 35,000 feet up if I had to say good-bye to anyone.
Then last year, I flew somewhere in the neighborhood of 25,000 miles around this little rock. And now I just want to back a bag with camera gear, clothes and a toothbrush. I’ll come home when I need to update my iPhone, or major holidays. Paris, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Russia, Lithuania, India, so much to see, so little time.