Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Cereal Milk

Texas Hall. Seated around square cafeteria tables was Troy and myself. We sat long after everyone had eaten and left. It was a rare day that we didn't make it to the Duval Study Hall, on 32nd and Duval. I pulled up to my rice krispies and grabbed my plastic glass of milk when I was struck by a moment of enlightenment. Reaching beyond my own creativity, I grabbed the sugar packets and poured them into my glass of milk. With a feverish intensity, I stirred the milk until not even the finest grain of sugar remained. And then, like the first drops of sunlight hit a dew soaked meadow, the cereal milk splashed around the puffed rice.
Never before had cereal tasted so good and never again will I experience such a tongue-asm. Troy and I sat and planned out our marketing strategy.
First, we test market around Austin in college cafeterias and high school and middle schools. Then we find a wholesaler to flood the local groceries with (Sweetened Just for) Cereal Milk. Imagine, not having to spill sugar all over the place as you prepare your morning meal. Imagine a perfectly mixed sugar and milk in every bite.

Second, we introduce Semi-Sweet and Super-Sweet Cereal Milk for the discerning type.

Third, Cereal Milk. It's not just for Cereal anymore. individual portions to make all our fat American kids just a little bit fatter.

Fourth, we partner with a Cereal producer to develop flavors such as Cocoa Krispy, Lucky Charms, Trix and Reeces Cereal Milk. With this final coup de gras we achieve long term branding and households and dorm rooms all over America sucking down the two greatest blessings from God: Sugar and Milk.

But it's not over. What about those poor people who need that pick me up in the morning but due to genetic disorders, can't stand the taste of coffee. What about those poor people? Who cares about them? Cereal Milk does. Because you can get it caffinated.

Why am I not a millionare?

Saturday, February 19, 2005


It's really an anachronism. Families just don't do this kind of stuff anymore. Twice a year, my mother's family gets together in Bulverde, Texas. My grandmother grew up in a family of 6 kids. during the depression. With a single-parent mother. incredible.
My great-grandmother, Frida Stoudt, had 5 kids with with her husband (McNeil) when they took in a 16 year-old girl who had no where else to go. An affair began between this girl and my great-grandfather.
Picture this, it's the 20's. The country is in a depression. My great-grandmother has 6 kids. What do you do? She marches up to him and says it's her or me. He chooses the teenager. She walks out, raises 5 kids, working 2 jobs, washing clothes and raising chickens. My grandmother's aunt and uncle offer to raise her, but great grandma refused.
Later, she gets remarried to the man I know as my great grandpa. this brings the kid total up to 6. They raise these children together, despite the times when grandpa Stoudt would drink and gamble all of their money away. But great grandma knew that in spite of his flaws, he was faithful to her and he loved her and the kids.
My fondest memories as a child were visiting the farm where they lived and throwing feed to the chickens who scurried around, sitting down on the weathered wooden steps with a plate full of toast smothered with preserves that great grandma had made. I have never tasted an equal. Great grandma would tease me and ask "what's my name? Puddn' Tame. Ask me again and I'll tell you the same." I still don't know what that means but it made me crack up then and it still makes me smile.
What makes my family unusual is how those 6 kids have stayed connected and committed to their family and they have instilled this same set of values in their children and their children's children. Twice a year, young and old drive across the state to get together in the old Bulverde Community Center for a potluck meal of German potato salad, venison sausage, deviled eggs, stuffed cabbage and other family favorites. We eat and we talk. A family update is given by each of the heads of family, and the kids (i'm still included in this group) head over to the school next door and play our annual game of "tag your cousin with a tennis ball". The game is much more sophisticated than that, complete with rules and boundaries, but the whole point of the game is to hit your cousins very hard with a tennis ball. I love it.
As a young kid I never really paid attention to who all of the old people were and I still can't say exactly who everybody is, but there was a time when I started to make connections of who all great grandma's kids were and I kept coming up with an extra old lady. I finally asked my sister "who's that old lady over there? Does Happy (my grandma) have a sister I don't know about?" She takes me over to a corner and explains to me that the white haired old lady sitting with all of the family, the same white haired old lady that Happy would go and visit in the nursing home, she was the 16 year old that my grandfather had run off with. My family had once again taken her in, because she had no where else to go.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

2 nights. 2 dates. 2 purty ladies

that's right. i'm lining up the ladies. Sunday night I went out with a younger woman and fed the ducks and then went to her favorite...Red Lobster. I hate that place but the look she had when I was treating her all grown up was incredible.
tonight it is out with the wife. what a life!
the short story is...Daddy-Daughter-Date Night was a big success.
It was so cute to see her all-dressed up and even kind of nervous, and then that smile creep over when I gave her roses. Sugar Plums. that what she said they smelled like.
Sugar Plums.

We did the duck thing and of course those stingy ducks can't ever sit and wait for the food. they have to come and attack you so that nobody gets any food. we walked around the little lake all the while with her little hand in mine.
from there to RL. We played "what's your favorite?" and had Shrimp Scampi. always shrimp scampi.
When we got back into the car to head home before her curfew, she leans forward and says "this was the best night ever!"
dad melting like butter.

bread: 10 cents
roses and balloon: $10
Red Lobster: $37
a daughter who knows the way she should be treated on a date: priceless

1 for 1 so far...

Monday Night, my other princess and I did our Valentine tradition. you know, driving to one place, seeing the long wait and then driving to another and not liking that place and then driving to yet another on the other side of town and finding the wait there even longer than your original wait.
the one deviation from the Valentine norm, was that we actually didn't fight this time. no seriously, we didn't fight at all.
I think maybe it was my new getting ready routine: while she does her hair and whatever else she does that takes 2 hours, I go out on the back porch and have a cold one... or two...
so by the time we are driving all over the greater west houston area, I don't care anymore.
some say it's dysfunctional, but i say anything that keeps the two of us from fighting on V-day is very functional.

2 for 2. life is good.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

my Valentine

this I wrote about 5 years ago when I was reintroduced to the most amazing woman...

You have become real to me
more than a dream
more than a vision
thoughts or ideas
You existed for so long
as my ideal
always unreachable
inside my head
but now I see you
walk, talk, laugh, kiss and smile
I realize you exist apart from me
with every step, word, and giggle
I see more than ever
you are
a part of me

Saturday, February 12, 2005

forks up

I have seriously been out lately.

One of those weeks when you have that pressure behind your eyes like you're going to cry but you don't feel like crying and don't know if you could cry if you wanted to. that sounds really sissy, but it's that itchy eyed, dragging tail going through the motions thing that i hate. but find myself here more often than not it seems.

life was simpler as a teenager. everything was huge. a huge problem or a huge success. nothing was boring or mundane. life wasn't great then but it wasn't so darn long.

I'm ready to not be in transition anymore. I'm ready to be settled in and stick to one place for a while. one set of friends. one job. one church. one school for stinkbug.

So this is one big contradiction. tired of the mundane but hating so much change. I need someone to sift out my feelings like one of those mechanical kitty-litter boxes (you know those ones on the infomercials where the sensor notices when the cat gets in and out and the big "fork" comes and scoots all the poo-nuggets into a poo-bag) well, I need that big fork to comb through my brain and get rid of all the crap that is confusing and weighing me down.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Super Ash Sunday

Our church doesn't have wednesday services so last sunday we had the imposition of ashes and it was really cool - they encouraged parents to ash their kids and spouses/sig others to ash each other and say "Jesus forgives you of all your sin" nothing blogworthy so far but later on that day I met some people in Schulenburg at Frank's and when i walked in every body was staring at me and I was thinking "hey, I must be looking pretty good". I went into the restroom and when I washed my hands, I jumped back because I had forgot about the giant black Markings on my forehead.
I debate on washing them off, but decided to let it ride. all through lunch, the Schulenburg socialites noted their interest in my black markings (probably discussing 2 things: 1. why does he have ashes on Sunday and 2. what's this darn Catholic doing in Schulenburg)
My business done, I trek back to Sugartown and decide to catch the game at Wing N' Things (horrible service, plastic mugs, no clue what the "Things" are but dang those Gold Fever Wings are good!!) I'm sitting with my wings and pitcher of bock like the cat what swallowed the canary, when this 16 year old waiter, alerts me to some dirt I have smeared on my forehead. before I can catch my bearings, I inform him that it's ashes and my church doesn't do Wednesdays. then I realize why everybody has been staring at me:
1. I'm the only white guy in the place
2. I'm the only guy with sleeves and buttons on my shirt
3. I'm the only blaring horrible witness of Christ in the room

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

They found me

Two days had passed since we escaped the Swedish Seance and their propaganda winds up in our mailbox (well not really, it was actually at the post office because when we first moved in we needed a key to get into our blasted mailbox and because the "guy" who made the keys only worked on Thursdays and because it took him 1 week between recieving an order for the keys (on a Thursday) and making the key (on the next Thursday)...we put a hold on our mail and picked it up at the post office. then we got the key made and picked up our mail and told them to drop the hold, but they didn't kinda...sometimes yes, sometimes no. so we went for about 2-3 weeks only getting a letter here and there and finally i went up to black hole that is the Sugarland post office and we had an entire box full of mail) sitting right on top was our IKEALOG.
no big deal you say... except we never spoke with anyone, and didn't buy anything. best i can figure out, when we used the restroom, they collected a "sample" and ran DNA tests on it tracked it through interpol and found our supposedly safe house.

If any of you guys tick me off, I'm going to give your info to IKEA. and I'll do it too. don't test me on this. you'll be buried under a pile of laminate and swedish instructions.