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The stark blue winter sky

January 26, 2014

Issue 16.
Vol. 3

angel-bampw-black-and-white-cemetery-gothic-graveyard-Favim.com-42201

I think I am the only person that liked Yeezus, Kanye West’s newest album. I am a huge fan of his music, if I knew personally Kanye though I am pretty sure I would avoid him altogether and never want to be seen with him in public. Kim, however I think I would get a hug from her. She may be a vapid, stupid, talentless, skill-less socialite but her body is…I can’t help myself, I am a sucker for a fat ass.

Death

It was October 25th 2013 and I was sitting in my room, no particular plans on that Friday night when my Father called me and told me my Mother had died. Earlier that week I had received a similar phone call while I was in the bookstore and he, with sadness in his voice, told me that my mother was going into hospice. She was not long for this world. The entire week it was always, in some fashion, on my mind. I had convinced myself that there was still a chance, and that was good enough. My mother didn’t need my fear or my pity, she needed my hope and prayers. So that’s what I did up until I reached down and looked at my phone. I saw two missed calls, in quick succession and I knew what had happened.

It really didn’t hit me until I was walking into my house back in Missouri. I broke down and cried that night, longer and harder than I had in years. I was there when my Grandmother and Auntie showed me and my Father the dress they were to bury her in. I was in the room when I heard Father Mark, the catholic priest in the church my Mother was confirmed at, St. Nicholas. I stood in front of my entire family and friends and spoke about her and in the end I carried her, my mother, to her final resting place wearing my dress blue uniform. I cried randomly throughout the entire weekend. Standing alone in my room I broke down and asked, out loud, how I could live in a world without her.

Its hard, weeks later, when my dad shows me pictures she took with her phone. It must be cathartic for him to look through these because the room is filled with his sad laughter and I just pat the chair twice before I leave. I can’t stand to look at her face for too long. I even found a voice mail from her. I can listen to her voice once more but I can’t do it now, or maybe ever, so I’ll just hold on to it.

The thought of my own death has circled around in my mind for years. I have imagined how it would go, how I think I will die and if I had to choose how I would die what kind of death it would be. My mother’s death has changed how I will think about it forever. I never hated death and I still don’t. Its a natural part of life. Given the chance I wouldn’t bring her back. Given the chance I would only speak to her once more and find a way to tell her that I didn’t just love her, I respected and looked up to her and that more than anyone else I was so, so, very proud of her. Proud to be her son, proud to even be related to her, proud to know her. More proud of her in more ways than I could express.

I am in the military and while I am in the Navy, and have seen no real combat, my life has been in danger. Either from an enemy country or environmental hazards. It is no secret that Iran isn’t exactly our biggest fan and I have handled dangerous voltages and currents. I haven’t seen combat but I want to, that’s a truth that I am a little ashamed to share. Born  less from curiosity and more from a desire to prove myself, my mettle, my courage. And I know that if I did there would be a chance that I could die or be maimed. Before this, all of this, the idea of my death really didn’t bother me. I have, and had no death wish but still the idea of my death was met by my apathy. In the end no matter what happened the sun would rise tomorrow and life would go on. The pain would subside in all of you and I would fade into memories.

It has been only a few months since I laid my mother to rest and I know, even now, that no matter what I do, how long I live, or who I meet nothing can replace my mother, nothing can make the pain any less than it is, and nothing will make her fade from my memories. An ever present influence on my life if there isn’t an afterlife then she will live on my my mind, my heart and my actions. And as I held her hand in the casket one final time, I knew that, I was the same. Like my mother, or any other friend, my impact on your lives would not be so easily forgotten or pushed away.

Does anyone else remember those obnoxious posts on facebook that followed the “5 Years old – I love you, Mommy…15 Years old – God I hate Mom…etc…55 years old – I wish my Mom was here.” That sort of insipid, pandering to the lowest common denominator, bit of stupidity got a few people unfriended. If It took you a lifetime you realize the importance of your Mom you’re a fucking asshole, the worst kind of asshole in fact, a worthless one. I would give anything to have my mom for another 25 years, anything.

So I started to think about myself in that way. How I impacted your lives, my friends and families. This notion wouldn’t leave. How my or anyone’s death can affect so much and so many. I have quoted Watchmen before and I will paraphrase it this time: If you consider all of the countless things that had to happen and go perfectly just for you to be alive, living right now, reading this, and consider all of the things had to happen just right so that your parent are who they are, and so on and so forth ad infinitum into your past. If all that is true then your life, anyone’s life, is a miracle. I believe that.

One of the most profound things I have ever read.

One of the most profound things I have ever read.

This is so hard to articulate how I feel now. When I sit down and write something it sounds like I am idolizing or worshiping death, pain or loss. I’m not. I was always fascinated with it however. Moreover the idea that I could choose how I would die and if I could choose a death that would somehow justify or lend gravity to my own existence. When my mother died it was like I was given her courage. In the past death, my own end, was acceptable. If I wanted something or was driven towards something I would often express the sentiment that I would “die before I gave up.” My death was acceptable, my life was trade-able for anything that I wanted bad enough. Now I’m less inclined to die for anything because I saw the pain, the fear, in my fathers eyes the night we drove home from the airport. That pain will haunt me forever.

On the best days, my best days, I still see her warm smile and I miss her but I know whatever drove her is with me still and I hold it because that was her gift to me. From mother to son.

Man with a pan

Why did Kevin just happen to have a plan to make his house a war zone?

Why did Kevin just happen to have a plan to make his house a war zone?

Last year I had a new years resolution to read two books a month. Looking back I can see where I went wrong. The plan was simple, but too simple. Looking through Goodreads I see that I logged only 4 finished books. A little ashamed I must admit that one was an audiobook, two were video game adaptations and the last was a decent enough book. The goal was simple I had to read two books a  month and that was it. I need something more direct and goal oriented if I want to be the avid reader that I know I can be. So I got myself a plan.

I have a list of 26 books. 26. Thats like 2.1 books a month, a slight increase from the last years pace but this time its different. I have a list staring me in the face.

Just a small sample...ok a big sample....CLEARLY HALF MY READING LIST...

Just a small sample…ok a big sample….CLEARLY HALF MY READING LIST…

When I get to the east coast I am going to hang up my list in poster form. I have a beg thinking though. Why did I fail so miserably last year? Lets take a closer look.

Reading for me is like drinking: When I am into it I am INTO IT. Its an obsession for a few days. When I find a good book I read it, furiously, in the beginning every chance I get I am reading. Reading. In the middle 50% though my intensity wains and my focus shifts from the book that I am reading to the TV show that I am into at the moment, or the video game (which I treat like books, but I digress). If I am able to power through, or pick up and finish where I left off, I read the last 20% just as furiously. I am not sure why this is. Like I said this is the same thing that happens to me in video games. I stopped playing Splinter Cell: Blacklist in favor for GTA V and I stopped playing that in favor of another game. I picked both back up recently, finishing Splinter Cell recently and getting farther now in GTA than I have ever in any other GTA game.

Its the damned middle that I can’t get interested in. I read some where that you should publicize your goals because your simple monkey brain gets gratification from the praise of making a goal and thus making you lazy, too lazy to go out and actually DO what you want (read my last post if you want a sneak preview of my year of failures). I think the same thing can be applied to my reading and not just to resolution I made last year. I life the fact that people think I am a reader and that maybe giving me enough gratification/brain warm and fuzzies that I don’t actually feed the need to read. Once I was in a book store browsing and thumbing through a book, twas the fashion of the day, and this pretty girl (read big boobs) from class walked up to me and said “You read? Most men only read magazines.” I smiled and said something hilarious and the entire bookstore erupted into laughter and applauded my joke for no less than 15 minutes of solid clapping and cheers after which several women became simultaneously pregnant because what I said was so funny.

LET ME HAVE THIS!

LET ME HAVE THIS!

I am a big fan of disciplines. The time it takes to learn and do something is far more impressive than anything that can be done quickly. And reading, no matter how fast you read, takes time. It takes effort and the things that I have learned in books I have used in arguments, papers and even in this blog. I love books and I need to get back into the habit of reading again. There is a wealth of incredible information that is only found in books and I need to find it.

Fire, Time and a Little salt: A story about a Ribeye

I love steak. I really enjoy bacon, but there is only so much you can do wit bacon itself. You add bacon to things to make it better but steak, just steak alone, if done correctly, can be excellent. Cooking a steak, or its story, is easy enough. It doesn’t take much “know-how” to cook a steak but if you know what you are doing you can make something amazing.

I used to like New York Strip. It is am elegant, flavorful cut of meat but there is something almost regal, authoritative and noble about the Ribeye.

Gorgeous.

Gorgeous.

A lot of people would avoid the steak with the flakes of fat in it. If you take any advice away from this post then take this. Avoid those people. Those flakes of fat, the “marbling” is what gives the meat its flavor. This looks like a cut of meat I would get from a decent grocery store, I could work with this. Google marbling to see some truely extra ordinary cuts of meat.

There is a saying from some far away land that “the best dressing for a bone is the meat that comes on it.” All I use to season a steak is salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil. The oil is there to help with something else and we will get to that but the salt and pepper have there reasons also. Salt doesn’t just add its only flavor but something about the ionic properties of the crystal itself help to bring more flavors out of what it is cooked with. The pepper is there to balance the salt. I think pepper is my favorite seasoning.

I pour some olive oil onto a plate along with salt and pepper. I set the steak down, spinning it once or twice to make sure I have even coverage. Before I flip it I add salt and pepper again on the top. I make sure each side is covered in oil.

I don’t bother with probes or anything so fancy when it comes to cooking a steak. I use time and heat. The heat is self evident but depending on how done you want your steak is how long you leave it on each side. You could make shoe lather, and if you want that then by all means let it cook on both sides for 5 minutes but I am 3 minutes on each side tops. The heat is tricky though. Depending on how hot your grill gets is how long you should let it sit on each side. This is my secret and the most fun when it comes to cooking for me.

I have a grill just outside of my door, a gas grill provided to me from my apartment complex. All I have to do is clean it. Its a grill so it gets hot enough to cook anything but I can get it hotter. By this time i have used maybe a quarter of the olive oil but before I light the fire on the grill I pour a half of the bottle on to the cold grill itself and use a spatula to spread it around. I light the fire with a long stem match and watch it grow and consume the entire grill with flames as high as 8 inches. The grill is hotter than I can stand as I throw the steak on from the side and I watch the flames, orange and frantic reach out and start to cook the meat before it hits the bars.

If I am 30 seconds too late or even 15 seconds the meat can burn. With the extra oil on the grill the fire is damn near out of control but with a spray bottle (set to stream), a spatula and a little nerve I am able to retrieve my now perfect steak. A black char on the edges and the fat and the rest of the meat is a glistening brown. if I am really on my game the center is a perfect medium rare but I can put up with a medium well. Some where in between.

Cooking a steak like that is so much fun and anyone can do it. There are a handful of things you must keep in mind. Simple seasonings are the best. Light olive oil. Hot, HOT, HOT fire. Timing is everything. And last by not least make sure to let your steak rest after you pull it off the fire.

Perfection.

Perfection.

~ Adam

2 Comments
  1. You’ll be thrilled to know that I eat bacon now. Well, turkey bacon. But that’s progress for me, as you should know. It’s not bad.

    Also–Hugs from afar.

  2. Adam M. permalink

    This is random but I thought of this today. When I hugged my cat goodbye she made the same noise you used to make when I hugged you.

    Also I’ll count this as a victory seeing as you eat Turkey bacon. But the truth is I want video. Or to hear it from Adam. On maybe Tavi.

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