let me explain… no it is too long… let me sum up

One of the regretful things about not updating more regularly is the temptation to clear up the back log of entry ideas with one monster entry. While I do try to avoid doing that, I cannot resist the notion completely.

Or, in other words, today’s entry is going to jump around a bit.

I was glad to see that Boston won the World Series. Eighty six years is a heck of a long time to wait. I’m not a Red Sox fan, but I was rooting for them to win over St. Louis (even though a good friend is a die hard Cardinals fan.) I wanted them to finally win one this year. I just hope that New Englanders can figure out what to do with themselves… since they obviously won’t have to spend the winter in numerous bars, diners, and coffee houses dissecting exactly how exactly they were robbed this year. I suppose that the big thing will be trying to figure out if new Red Sox fans who follow the team now that they’ve won are “real” Red Sox fans.

Still, part of me is worried on a karmic level. I hope that this Red Sox win hasn’t used up the entire reserve of luck, or mystic energy, or magic around New England this year. Salon.com put it this way a few weeks back when they asked a few prominent liberal New Englanders the following question: “If you could have the Red Sox win the World Series or John Kerry win the White House but not both, which would you pick?” As I write on the eve of what seems to be the most important Election Day in the United States in a generation, I hope that it never, ever comes down to that question. I want a sweep, damn it.

On the culinary front, I got to spend some of the weekend experimenting with buttermilk. Mrs. Geek’s Stepmother was out of town over the weekend, and she asked us to invite Mrs. Geek’s Dad over for dinner… just to make sure he got out of the house. Invite him we did and I intended a dinner that was a “homage” to my Dad’s Southern roots. So, I tried to make real fried chicken in a cast iron skillet… which of course had to be soaked overnight in buttermilk before cooking. I also attempted to make buttermilk biscuits. To round out the meal, I could not get my hands on any butter beans… so I cooked some green beans with ham hock. I cut up a frying chicken myself to make the fried chicken and roasted the giblets and remaining carcass to make some gravy for the biscuits. Finally, I used some remaining buttermilk to make pancakes yesterday.

It all came out more good than great on average. The buttermilk pancakes were excellent… large and fluffy. The chicken was good, but I let a few of the larger pieces cook for too long on one side… but were otherwise juicy and flavorful. The beans were the beans… not much to screw up there. The buttermilk biscuits were a bit of a disappointment. The dough didn’t rise much upon baking. Then again, they were thrown together at the last minute. I may have missed something. Overall, not a bad first effort… but more practice will be required.

Finally, an incident over the weekend reminded me of what I’ve written previously about how more than one woman at our wedding found my cousin J. so wonderfully charming. Mrs. Geek and I attended a wine and food event at a nearby winery over weekend with our friends D. and Ja. D. remarked that if she wasn’t married to Ja. and my cousin J. didn’t live several states away, she chase after J., no question. I sighed, and remarked that I’d heard that before. Mrs. Geek then stepped in and explained how I always felt a little in my cousin Ja.’s shadow because of this effect he has on women. D. tried to cheer me up by saying that I am the good reliable guy, the one that you keep around for a long, long time. She went on to comment that J. is just that hottie you like to have as a toy; once used, J. can be discarded. To this I said that I thoroughly knew and understood that… but the grass is always greener.

The sum of this sentiment and some other thoughts that have been rolling around in my head recently has interesting implications for any mid-life crisis I may embark upon when I turn 40 in a few years. Part of what I think spurs such a crisis in men is a certain longing for “the good old days” and desire to re-live them… often where women are concerned. As much as I might occasionally ask “what if” about some of my choices and some of the women I met when I was in my late teens and early 20’s… I know that I don’t want to go back there.

Yes, I can imagine what life might be like if I were 19 again with more of the wisdom, confidence, and self-knowledge that the intervening years brought. Even with all that, I could not be the kind of Don Juan that many middle aged men wish they could be… or be again. I’m not built for that role. I tend to believe that one of two qualities is required, and I lack both: you either have to be a total bastard willing to break hearts in the cause of getting laid, or you have to the kind of charm that J. has. Being a total bastard is just not me. Experience has made me see sex as an emotionally vulnerable experience… and I have refused sex in the past when my feelings were not right. As for charm, I think my best qualities come out more slowly… and do not fill up a room. Yes, I can definitely say that I’ve made it hard for women to know me in the past… but being the guy who women say “he’s hot” about is something I still don’t know how to do.

As for J., Mrs. Geek correctly points out that he’s a sweetheart of a guy. With everything else you can say about him, he’s actually a good guy to know and be with. Hearing women talk about him is something I just need to live with.

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