Tuesday, January 24, 2012

One Snake at a Time Pt. II Day 13 - A Close Call with Serious

OMG you wouldn't believe what I almost just did! I sat down with something really serious to talk about, something that I felt strongly about, and I was going to title tonight's blog "Integrity" and actually talk about the lack of it in corporate society - can you believe it? That's kinda like talking about the lack of toilet paper in Mexico. Everybody knows the situation, but very few are about to say anything about it. "Hey, amigo, what's this newspaper sitting next to the toilet for?" Thank sock monkey I came to my senses and decided to blather on about crunchy roasted nibs instead.

But before I get started on the health benefits of crunchy roasted nibs, I'll just quickly share with you what prompted this temporary insanity about integrity. First as we all know me talking about integrity is kinda like Rush Limbaugh talking about an America where the fortunate take care of the less fortunate. I mean, that's not a topic he's any more likely to take on than I would take on the lofty subject on integrity.

But I digress and I know you're eager for me to get to the nibs, so let me just share real quick what got me thinking about this: I have a friend, single mother of two almost college age kids,  that works for a huge company which I won't name - it's not BFC but same general league. Anyway I just found out that after many years she is being let go - actually her contract expires at the end of Feb and the company that she's just done this outstanding job for is not going to renew it. And it really has nothing to do with her performance. As it turns out the finance department of the company gave the hiring manager just enough money to hire a contractor out of what we used to call a third world country, but not enough money to renew her contract. No big surprise, right? The company can get somebody from this other country for probably a fifth of what they would pay my friend. I mean, this stuff is happening many times a day, every day, in our country. Some folks would say it's a good thing too, because it helps these big global corporations stay competitive. A lot of these global corporations might have started in America but in this day and age it really doesn't matter - now they're global and they have to compete globally right? So for some reason I was really upset because it seems like my friend is losing her job to somebody for whom English is a second language and normally this wouldn't bother me except that she's a writer

"Such are the harsh business realities of global business", as an important executive was so kind to redundantly point out to me which was a real wake up call because I've only been in the workforce for 35 years or thereabouts and this gal has an MBA so I really appreciated that. But what does any of this have to do with integrity? Or should we even be wondering if a big corporation can have something like integrity? We know they can have values because they're posted in the lunchroom, but integrity?

Let's pretend for a moment that a company is able to possess such a quality as integrity, and that acting with integrity meant being able to justify decisions that effect the lives of human beings - what if it meant taking responsibility for decisions that affected the lives of people, their families,their pets, their nibs? Now that might entail some really tough business decisions! What if we decided that we expected businesses, like we expect the government, to act with compassion, to be fair, to be just, and to be loyal to the country and the people in that country that got them started in the first place?
Well the next thing you know we would be talking about the evils of globalization and man that is not fun to talk about at all! I sure hope my friend doesn't have to explain to her daughters that the reason their going to the local community college is because of globalization. But you know on the flip side think how happy that family in India will be when they can send their kids to Harvard! So I guess it all balances out, right?

So it's ironic because one of the dishes that you can eat while you're on The Cleanse, or on The Eliminator Diet, is curry! I love me a nice spicy curry - you gotta skip the dhal, and you have to make sure the curry doesn't have potatoes, corn, or tomatoes in it but besides that you're good to go! Make sure you have it with brown rice, and top it with crunchy roasted nibs. And if you're in Mexico be sure to bring your own toilet paper 'cuz you are going to need it, amigo!

Hey if you think this is just kneeslappingly funny share it with a friend - have a few laughs over globalization maybe you'll have a few friends that have been shitcanned too! And don't forget to follow my blog so I know who you are and can send you a xmas card!

Monday, January 23, 2012

One Shake at a Time Part II - Shakin' All Over!

So here's what you do: You take a cup and a half of hemp milk (that's milk made from rope), a scoop of flavorless powder A made from invisible anti-matter, a scoop of vanilla or chocolate flavored powder B made from white or brown sea monkeys and you have your basic shake. Then, depending on how much substance, or heft you want, you start adding things to it. Stuffed animals, for example (rabbits work best). I tried throwing a few bicycles in there the other day and it was really good! Kinda trashed the blender but it still works. But it's really up to you. I am going to try hospital furniture tomorrow!

Y'all keep up the good work!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

One Shake at a Time Pt. II Day 11 - Call Me Crazy

I'll be you can't guess what's in the "Move" jar!
Hey - Call Me Bwana! So guess what. Yep you guessed it I start back on the cleanse tomorrow because I've realized that for some reason my pain is back and it doesn't matter if I'm cleansing or not. Plus there's also a chance that by cleansing I will beat the pain back and eventually be able to drop the pain meds altogether. Given the events of the last 3 years that all seems pretty pie in the sky but as I've said I'm willing to try anything except gay sex to get rid of this and who know if it's the right guy, there some nice relaxing music on the the stereo and...no. Not going there. Sorry fellas I know I'm disappointing a lot of my really close guy friends but geez guys you know all these pain meds really make guys even more unattractive than they are when I'm just boozin' along like a wacky spankity ass sailor.

So basically I'm gonna take up where I left off and I'm not gonna whine because I've had just as much pain, today especially, on the Schwarzenegger Eliminator diet as I was having on the cleanse. Also I have to say after 3 weeks of cleansing my lovely Hollyberry is one slender sexy little cajun thang so much so that I'm having trouble keepin the pup in the pound, or the old horse in the corral, the train in the station, the trouser snake in his cave...whatever the proper metaphor is. Also now that football season is officially over this shouldn't be a big deal cuz all my friends won't be inviting us over for beer, chips, dip, and heroin. To tell you the truth I watched one game two games all season, today and the Ravens game, both of which we lost, which tells you why I didn't watch more games because I am clearly a jinx.

Get your hands on some of this stuff before it's illegal.

So I know y'all are just so tickled you could puke, now that I'm going back on the cleanse and I can blog on my progress every day, keep a running tally as those pounds melt away and the gargantuan growth between my boobies and my belt buckle goes away. How about those boobies anyway. What does an old fart have to do to get rid of his man boobs? There pretty big if any of you gals out there would like to buy 'em off me. I'll send you a pic and then maybe you'll wanna come over and take 'em for a test drive!

I'll be peein' like a 12 year-old before you know it!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 1 - The Eliminator Diet

It's actually called "The Elimination Diet" but i just can't groove with that name 'cuz it really does sound like the idea is to sit on the can until there's absolutely nothing left in your body at which point you briefly achieve you desired weight and then you die.

But "The Eliminator Diet"...now that's a cool name for a diet. It conjures images of Ahhhnold the former Governator (what's happened to him, by the way? Is he off making snuff flicks? Did he go back to Transylvania and crawl back into his coffin? I mean am I completely out of it or has he simply dropped out of sight?), back in his chiseled youth, clad in nothing but a skimpy fur loincloth and wielding a bloodstained battleaxe, hacking his way through legions of heavily armed dairy products, flying french fries bouncing off his shining musculature like harmless pins while giant snapping hamburgers nip at his sculpted butt and gluten-heavy baked goods - bagels, cinnamon rolls, almond danish and bear claws - try to force their way down his throat. Just when we think he's vanquished his foes Juan Valdez appears with his trusty donkey to defend the coffee plantation, pummeling our hero with coffee beans from his pea shooter while donkey smacks him upside the head with pork chops and T-bone steaks. But the Eliminator is on a mission - he must destroy the evil deep fried prawns, crispy golden tater tots, chicken McNuggets and corn dogs.

But the Eliminator is only getting started. He also must eliminate the soy products that have been posing as health food for so long: The Silk, the edamame, the tempeh and tofu, the soy ice cream, yogurt, cheese, sausage: all of it is deemed evil by The Eliminator and it must be neutralized! And so our hero sneaks onto the fields of ripening soybeans with his flame thrower, grenade launcher and surface to air missle systems. He shelves his battleaxe for an assault rifle and abandons his loincloth for a hygienic cup and at night he makes his attack, slashing and burning the fields, pulverizing the peaceful bean farmers with dirty bombs, and destroying every last vestige of the soybean industry.

Whew! Now that's what I call a diet!

So, let's review with a quick rundown of the day's culinary activities, and their impact on the corporate droid's productivity. (God forbid the droid engage in any personal health initiative that would in any way be a detriment to "The Company", as such behavior is certainly cause for immediate termination.)

(The following key should help if you're in a hurry. Red = BAD, NOT ON THE DIET. Everything else is okay). 

So, today's first conference call was scheduled for 7am. That is, of course, a comfortable l0am for The Company's power elite whom all reside on the East coast. It's just tough titty if you live a few time zones away or, in the case of one of the team members, on the other side of the globe where calls with the East Coast happen late at night.

I got out of bed at 6:30 so I wouldn't be completely brain dead for the call, and had a cup of coffee with hemp milk, which is really quite delightful as the hemp milk is very creamy and has just a touch of sweetness. Then, to temper my morning medications which I am instructed to take with food (hey I can't help it that's what it says right on the bottle!) I had a half of rice english muffin (wheat-free, gluten-free) which are delicious as long as they are thoroughly toasted and crispy, otherwise they are too chewy. I like 'em better than regular muffins now. On that I had Barney Butter, which is crunchy almond butter and should be illegal, with honey.

The call last a half hour and was completely unremarkable such that I didn't hear a word that was said and instead read my Facebook notifications. After I poured myself another half cup and before I knew it the next call - my annual performance review - was upon me. Now, if you've noticed that I am not writing with my usual manic enthusiasm, it is because 5 minutes into my review I realized that I had worked my ass off and my fingers to the bone all year for a fuckin' kick in the teeth. I'm not going to go into what happened last year at BFC until I am a safe distance away and this year wasn't quite as bad but almost. Worst of all it has caused me to question my future there, because given the fact that I really can't work any harder than I did this year and I still got a shitty review only means that I can't compete in this company anymore. There are younger folks who are willing to work 70 hours a week to my 60. So please excuse my depression and despondency it is a dark, sobering thought to realize that, aside from the biweekly paycheck, working for BFC is a big waste of time and I have completely sold out my own career for the sake of the almighty dollar. This will change soon, but regret is a powerful emotion and it's got me by the balls at the moment. Wouldn't it be great if we could just flip a switch and say hey that's all water under the bridge tomorrow's a new day hip hip fuckin' hooray and maybe some of us can do that but it's never been my strong suit.

Needless to say I didn't do jack shit for BFC the rest of the day and instead just fucked around on Facebook and twiddled my thumbs, staring out the window wondering how I could repay these corporate goons. I was also working to save a good friends job - she's a single mom with college age girls who is getting laid off and replaced by someone who costs a quarter of what she costs from Bangalore. Yes, that's in India. Yes, offshoring is a reality, yet who gives a shit until it affects someone you love? Corporate America isn't America at all, is it?

So after that lovely experience I was in need of several American Spirits. I switched to black tea and didn't have anything else to eat until around 11 when I had some dried mango and raw wheat and gluten free cookies and another cup of coffee. An hour or so later I had lunch which consisted of a salad with chicken and almonds and a wheat gluten free granola bar from Lydia's raw foods. No oats or sweetness allowed so it's a bit like eating a suet cake for birds, plus you need to dip it in your tea to choke it down but it does taste good. I topped that all off with a coco-roon, another raw delicacy with no bad shit in it.  Then I was good until six or so when I had a rice cake with barney butter, followed an hour later by a pear/pomegranate salad and a turkey dosa from Table Cafe in Larkspur. Now I am stuffing my face with the raw cookies, my feet throbbin and just barely choking back tears after watching "Everything Must Go", a Raymond Carver story played by Will Farrell. Not funny, but who would expect a Raymond Carver story to be funny? Even if it has Will Farrell, who can be one sorry sad looking fuck when he wants to be. Ironically it is about wasted life, and after wasting much of mine for the past year I guess you could say it hit home.

I would say that I don't plan on lifting a finger for BFC for quite awhile, but then my manager or some other BFC person that I thought was my friend could read this and I would be out on my ass. Which would probably be the best thing that could happen to me. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Zero Shakes at a Time - Day 10: Don't Try This at Home

Clearly I am a victim of divine intervention. Or perhaps diabolic intervention. Either way to be thwarted in my efforts to purify my confused and poorly wired physical infrastructure is both a relief and a disappointment.

The high school kid in me is like "cool! I didn't wanna do this stupid cleanse anyway it was like my parents made me do it and if I didn't they weren't gonna buy me a car for graduation, which like totally sucked!" There is some psychological irony in imagining that the diet and the cleanse were a parental requirement, as my mother was a card-carrying but also meticulously well-managed anorexic - she weighed about 75 lbs when she passed away - and eventually my father more or less got on board however his motivations for eating less were actually to get my mother to eat more. When they went out, which they did frequently in their late seventies, they would always split something, which was my dad's way of getting my mom to eat, even though he would have been far happier with a full club sandwich than a half. So before my mom slipped into complete dementia and my Dad was just beginning to slip into full time grumpmentia, they both railed on me for being fat, and this was way before I started toting a bowling ball under my T-shirt. So for them to threaten to withhold some lavish prize in order to get me to lose weight, though very far-fetched in high school (I was a bean pole) would have been prime psychological fodder for Tuesday afternoon therapy in more recent years.

So while the high school kid gloats on his weasly avoidance of what would have been a very painful and miserable three weeks of privation, the overweight 57 yr-old feels cheated out of an opportunity to not only lose a little weight but, if you buy the promise of the premise behind The Clean Program, feel good in the process(see Day 3 or 4 when the prospect of losing the incessant ringing in my ears along with the ability to piss like a 12-year old was promise enough). "Damn the back surgery!" shouts the aging overweight ski bum. Because, if I've neglected to mention, STOPPING THE CLEANSE HAS ALL BUT ELIMINATED THE FOOT PAIN! Or, stated more precisely, by ceasing to load myself up with anti-toxins the pain medication is working again. I can't say I am where I was before I started the cleanse but I am much improved. So, if we believe the scientific method, evidence would indicate that The Clean Program is probably not prescribed for folks taking opioid medications for chronic pain. And I am living proof.

So now I am back on the "elimination" diet, which is probably the worst name for a diet I have ever heard because it sounds like the participant is going to spend most of their time on the can. Speaking from experience such is not the case. So my guess is they are referring to all the foods you must eliminate from your diet, which as I've mentioned before isn't so much of a stretch for us because we already eat like monks.

So, tomorrow starts a new blog: Day 1 of The Elimination Diet. Oh frabjous day callous callay you chortle in your joy!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One Shake at a Time - Day 9: Medical hiatus!

If one day you were so unbelievably bored that you decided to read through The Clean Program's literature, you would learn that there are certain people and accompanying conditions that should NOT be embarking on THE CLEANSE, and being the every day run-of-the-mill renaissance dork that I am I never imagined that I could possibly be one of those people. And it may yet prove to all be a big mistake. But for the next several days I have been advised to "shitcan" (their term - it's a really casual crew they have over there at Project Clean, and as you can see they are very fond of complicated medical terminology) the cleanse for 3 or 4 days and return to the elimination diet. So who are these outcasts? These folks with so much damn dirt underneath their fingernails that it would take dynamite to clean them up? Who's in this group of undesirables that I have so unwittingly joined?* The Clean Program is not recommended for people that are:
  • Pregnant or nursing
  • Are under the age of 18
  • Have active cancer
  • Have liver disease, hepatitis
  • Have Type 1 Diabetes
  • Are on medications for bipolar disorder
  • Have an allergy to any ingredient listed
 So you all guessed that I must be on medication for bipolar disorder, right? You know that makes me very angry but that's ok. I mean, it really pisses me off but I still love you but right now I could wring you neck right after this sloppy french kiss how could you think that about me? Interestingly enough your observation would not be that far from the truth, in all honesty, but first let me provide a little backstory.

It was the spring of 1966 and an orthopedic surgeon who was also a golfer was having a drink next to the putting green at the Meadow Club, where an 11 year old boy was practicing his stroke. After watching the boy for awhile the doctor turned to his golfing buddy and said "Stew, your son has a back problem". Of course the son was me and I had a condition called spondylolisthesis (say that 10 times fast) which was not a particularly supercalifragilisticexpealidocious thing to have but the only immediate impact was that I was not allowed to play football which didn't bother me that much because the coaches were all mean sons of bitches that couldn't talk without yelling. It cropped up in my early thirties from the jogging addiction that I shared with most of the population of Marin at the time and laid me out such that I had to wear a brace for several years. Then I discovered a fitness class that consisted of geriatrics and...me. But the gentle exercises and breathing worked a miracle and within weeks I threw the brace in the trash and went back to all my outdoor recreational activities. My good fortune lasted until just a few years ago when, in the wake of the passing of both my parents and my wife's mom, a shoulder surgery and an elbow surgery, L5 decided to slip just enough so as to effectively eliminate the remaining space above S1, creating a bone on bone situation that was intolerable. After a couple of more years of pain management, which became an exercise in pill management, I had spinal fusion surgery. 3 months later my feet went numb.

And so begins one of those medical cluster fucks that will one day become a bittersweet backdrop to a romantic zombie thriller, but for now only feels like someone is dining on my flesh, specifically the flesh of my feet. The condition is described as "peripheral neuropathy", which is common among diabetics but in my case was caused by nerve "damage" - the reason I quote that is because my sciatic nerve may not actually be damaged but is behaving as if it is. However it may be that it was impinged for so long - 40+ years - that suddenly having so much real estate to play around in has caused it to be a little overactive. At any rate it causes debilitating pain in my feet which only recently, after two years of trying every pain remedy known to man and some that are only known to chimps, is finally under control. That is until 9 days ago, when I started THE CLEANSE.

I noticed the pain returning within 48 hours of my first shake, and by day 3 it was if it had never left. So naturally I got in touch with the incredibly kind and supportive people at The Clean Program and told them what was going on, and they informed me that it was possible that the detoxification agents in the powders that are added to the shakes could be interfering with the absorption of the opioid medications that I use to manage pain. Also, the medicine I use to help me sleep, which has been a sore spot for many years, is also used to treat bipolar disorder (so you weren't completely wrong!), even though my dosage is a 100th of what would be used by the manics. We felt it was an unlikely cause. By day 7 my misery had compounded and the folks at the clean program told me to back off the cleanse and go back to the elimination diet for a few days to see what happened. But I wasn't about to give up so easily and stuck with the shakes, until tonight. Tonight, and I don't know which is more painful - sitting here writing this blog or listening to my lovely companion rail at me for sitting here writing this blog. But now, after an hour or two of relative calm and relatively high doses of schedule 2 medications, the pain is creeping back.

So, in 3 or 4 days I should know whether I'm cut out for this cleansing business or whether I shall appear pregnant forevermore. Actually I think the elimination diet will be very effective at eliminating the old jelly belly but right now I really don't give a rat's ass so long as my feet stop hurting!! But don't go away...for the next several days rather than "One Shake at a Time" it might be "One Mango at a Time". Perhaps I won't be such an ornery cuss with a couple mangos in me.

*Of course all of my characterizations are gross exaggerations and none of what I've said from the day I was born and until the day I die is meant to be taken seriously and on the rare occasions that it is you will know because there will be a gravitas so downright depressing that you'll want to slit my wrists. This disclaimer is the direct result of being browbeaten by my beloved for "dissing" the clean program which is really the most effective and user friendly cleanse out there but when I told her I was only trying to get laid she was okay.

Monday, January 16, 2012

One Shake at a Time - Day 8: My Uncle Jim

There's something coming between us, I'm afraid. I'll bet you can imagine how difficult it is to say that to thousands of your loyal followers, especially those that stay up way past their bedtimes counting the minutes, all roly poly in their little nighties in front of the computer, painting their nails and reading past blogs just waiting for that facebook post to come along that says tonight's blog is ready. And then there's the silent majority, lonely, drunk and naked, ceaselessly smoking in their kitchens and staring at their iPads awaiting a word. Is it any surprise that they are silent, sitting there all sweaty, fat and naked in front of plates heaped with bacon, waiting for me to lead them to the land of clean livers. Imagine their disappointment when I tell them as I am now that something has come between us and I am going to leave them blubbering and hopeless on the cool vinyl of their kitchen floors staring at their refrigerators. Just be thankful that you're not one of them! Good God it's hard enough just knowing they're out there in towns all across our great nation gnawing on pork rinds and aluminum cans, pods of them gathered together all dressed as their favorite WWF wrestlers, reading MY blog to each other! Well I won't have it!

No, tonight I am being called to the fireside to read the latest Jim Harrison novel, The Great Leader. Uncle Jim, as we all call him around here, is the novelist who always has a painting by the great Russell Chatham on the covers of his books, which is as good a reason as any to read them. In truth, I was drawn to a novel of Uncle Jim's many years ago precisely because I was so moved by the painting on the cover. So moved that I took up painting myself (I was way past taking up writing at that point, having already been making my living at it for a couple of decades). At any rate, The Great Leader is calling me, and since I have had my two shakes and a couple of chicken sandwiches on rice/almond bread, and have been staring at this infernal monitor since 7AM, I am now gong to take my leave.

HACK the novel - Pre release reviews

To be published by Harper Davis Publishing, May 2012

When it comes to painting beautiful landscapes of Northern California, Henry Griffin is anything but a hack. But when it comes to everything else, he is a hopeless bumbler, lost in dreams of his childhood sweetheart, hanging out with a shellshocked vet who is unwilling or unable to speak, (or bathe), and volunteering at the local immigrant community center in exchange for tequila and empanadas.  When Hack’s kindergarten paramour appears on the art collector’s scene attached to a rich and famous rock star cum multimedia impresario, our artist realizes that if he could only be rich and famous (like her current boyfriend), they could be together and everything would be all right. Or perhaps, Hack supposes, he might be better off dead.

Such is the logic of the lovesick starving artist in this often drunk and naked suspense that promises to keep readers on the edge of their seats when they’re not rolling in laughter on the floor. Jeb Harrison’s debut novel has all the spunk of a 12-foot crocodile with a stolen slipper:  sharp, slippery, surprising, and strangely loveable. You’ll find yourself wanting to escape into Hack’s world of turpentine and tequila every chance you get!

"Quiet Waters on Bon Tempe"  JS Harrison, 2008 - Courtesy Stan Chervin Collection

Pre-release reviews for HACK

" 'Perception is more important than reality' is one of the oldest unspoken governing truths of Hollywood. In HACK, Jeb Harrison reveals how this rule also applies to the art world, and its painters, agents, and collectors, with comic and bittersweet results.  Struggling painter Henry “Hack” Griffin’s brief reunion with his long time unrequited love, Hadley Scofield  – and with a complex, charmingly off-beat character like Hadley, the reality is always far more complex – sets in motion a series of ever-escalating ruses that eventually exposes how all the characters in the novel are unable to perceive what is real from that which they so strongly want to be real.  Harrison creates a topsy-turvy carousel of disguises, mistaken identities, lies, half-truths, misunderstood motivations, and perhaps even a fable (in the form of a quasi-mythic homeless man) then sets it spinning until it ensnares all of the characters who inhabit the Bay Area’s “see-or-be-art-scene” – from bisexual ex-wives and Marin County divorcees to gay Scottish make-up artists and a rich music video producer and his ex-WWF bodyguard. Harrison gives each of these characters enough credibility to convey that he’s obviously met and known their real counterparts in his life, and an equal amount of hyperbole that makes them both funny and sad, often at the same time.  Reading HACK is like a weekend getaway in Marin County: a very enjoyable way to spend your time." - Golden Globe nominee Stan Chervin, screenwriter of Moneyball

Stan Chervin and unknown actor

"I laughed my ass off, and then at times stopped and felt a sadness, almost like I was actually Henry Griffin, haunted by the ghost of a childhood girlfriend, left wondering how perfect life could have been. Thank you, Jeb Harrison, for letting me read this wonderful story. I can't stop thinking about the book, and that's the only real compliment one writer can give another."
Frank TurnerHollon
author of Life Is A Strange Place which became the movie Barry Munday. Novel "Blood and Circumstance" now in production as a feature film.

“Jeb’s writing is not unlike his signature sound on the bass guitar; under the melodic surface is a rhythmic, soulful groove, with enough space for the almost improvised narrative to breathe and ultimately tell itself with simplicity, energy and Jeb's trademark twisted humor. Jeb also writes like he paints, creating beautiful pictures that have their own subtle spirit and direction. Jeb writes a quintessentially male story here, but inserts a couple of strong, independent, intelligent  female characters into his  protagonist's life to keep him honest and, of course, ultimately save his sorry a**.  Jeb's creativity seeps into everything he does, but this may be a pinnacle; he is one heck of a story teller. Read it!” - Bonnie Hayes, award-winner singer/songwriter, producer and performer.

 Bon wailin'

"I applaud Hack not only because it is riveting and brilliantly written, but because the male author has created two believable female leads who are the ultimate voice of reason, and can lead the bumbling Hack out his life-threatening pickle. I have to say I savored every minute of it!" ~ Patricia V. Davis, bestselling author of "Harlot's Sauce" and "The Diva Doctrine."

Become a HACKER! Join our incredibly small tribe of pre-publication HACK fans on YOU-KNOW-WHERE!

If you can possibly stand more of this shameless self-promotion please visit www.jebharrison.com, where the Renaissance Dork lays it on even thicker!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

One Shake at a Time - Day 7

Oh my dusty tallywhacker has it been a week already? Well then let's do what all the cool cats do on day 7 and take a break, I say. Take a break for a big ol' plate o' Pad Thai, or a grilled cheese sandwich, or, please, just a bowl of my yummy Wallabee yogurt and granola jammed chock full o' goodies. Make it two bowls!

Unlike the armies of wide-trackers that populate our country from approximately 50 miles inland of either coast, our diet was already pretty damn Marin County pure before we got on this cleanse jag several years ago. In fact, it started when we lived in Ridgefield, CT, in the East Coast version of Marin: Fairfield County. I can't remember how we got hooked up with the nutritionist in Mt. Kisco, NY, Dina Khader, but it was with her that we did our first cleanse and subsequent "blood type/food combining" diet. We each lost a ton of weight and felt like spry spring fawns and kept it up for quite some time until some major stress event came along and sent us reeling for the comfort food. And her cleanse was far more heinous than what we are doing now.

So what the hell are we doing now, you may be wondering after 6 days of senseless, pointless, mindless off-topic meandering through this blog. Well, it's simple:

Breakfast: a shake (consists of a cup of fruit, no bananas, a cup of feaux milk like hemp or almond, no soy, the magic powders, a little agave syrup and a dash of vanilla); a handful of mysterious supplements, in my case a little solid food like an apple to counteract some of the other shit I take for depression, pain, etc.

Lunch: usually a square meal minus all the obvious and some not so obvious toxic foods, like carrots (high sugar content). Could be brown rice, a chicken breast, some steamed veggies and a salad. This meal can be had at dinner time or lunch, just so long as you substitute a shake.

Dinner: a shake or a square meal depending on what happened at lunch

In between meals: any number of healthy snacks. The watchword is don't eat if you're not hungry, which is really hard when you stare at a computer monitor all day it's nice to do something with your hands besides type and jerk off. But for folks like us who were already shopping at the hippie market and eating all sorts of strange natural shit for years, this idea of wheat-free, gluten-free, non-dairy, sugar-free, caffiene-free, organic, free range, raw and sustainable is an old saw. Top that off with the sad fact that we both started Transcendental Meditation in our teens, like any native Marinite worth their Himalayan pink salt, doing a cleanse is quite second nature.

However, those of you who know me also know that I have been around the Marin music scene since high school and also know that the food is not the only thing that is pure and of the highest qualilty around here. And if you started with me back on day one of "One Shake at a Time" you know I've had my share of setbacks the last few years. I mean had I been a true wellness organic granola pivetta freak all these years I most likely would not have developed this gargantuan growth between my chest and belt buckle.

So I admit Day 7 has not been a real knee slapper - it's probably the "Sunday Sadness"that working stiffs get when they realize that Monday is unavoidable and chances are all the ninnies and cretins you were so relieved to take leave of on Friday will be there waiting for you at the office Monday morning. Plus you have that sneaking suspicion that there was something you needed to do over the weekend you start practicing your excuses before bed like "I had a wart on my tummy" and stuff like that. But once back in the absurdity of the corporate groove, usually by Tuesday, everything starts looking ridiculous again and I can start hummin the diddy and blogging like the hopelessly twisted phd in scatology that I truly deep down am! Plus we got two fun-filled weeks to go!

And by golly I know you're gonna wanna stay tuned for that!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

One Shake at a Time: Day Six in Joe Montana Stylee

Did you say Niners? Did I say Niners? Did we all say Niners? Does anybody in their right mind give a flying frappucino about a fat fifty something on the freakin' Clean Program? What could be more boring, especially in light of the glorious heroics of the manly men on the football field, most of whom will not remember this game 30 years from now as they sit drooling in their wheelchairs babbling incoherently from permanent brain damage suffered from one too many hits to the helmet. But now is not the time to question the civility of American Football, for our home team has triumphed for the first time in many a sorrowful year, not since the days of Steve Young and his mentor, the greatest quarterback of all time, Joe Montana.

But these days blogging about the great Joe is probably as boring as babbling about peeing like a 12-year old. Because it's only us old guys that remember Joe and Ronnie and Dwight and "The Catch" that beat the disgusting band of pedophiles The Dallas Cowboys and their TV preacher coach Jimmy Johnson. I would venture to say that a good 80% of the revelers out there tonight have never heard of Bill Walsh, or even Joe Walsh, and the badass West Coast Offense. No they're more likely to know more about the badass Honey Badger than they know about Jesse Sapolu or Jerry Rice. I'm the first to admit this pathetic reminiscence about the good old days when brain damage was really only talked about in the context of Muhammed Ali is exactly that: pathetic. But how's anybody that's on his umpteenth set of retreads NOT going to have a, shall we say, historical perspective?

Interestingly enough, it was after a long dry stretch, not unlike the deepening doldrums that followed the demise of old twinkletoes Steve Young, that Joe Montana and Bill Walsh lifted the Forty Niners up by their bootstraps to their legendary dynasty of NFL dominence. The names of those sorry Niners teams of the seventies are mostly forgotten but bare a striking resemblence to the teams that preceded this year's fabulous run. No doubt there will be comparisons between this team and the team the emerged like a phoenix from the ashes back whenever the hell that was (this freaking cleanse is not helping at all with my search function). And there were plenty of beyond middle-aged matrons that would have laid it all down for Ronnie Lott then as they would for Vernon Davis now. I'll bet you could find a few on Lagunitas Road and Shady Lane tonight, right now, as we speak.

So let's just say Day Six of The Clean Program was, while true to form in overall content, was only remarkable because of the infectious joy that now pervades the Bay Area all because the hometown team has emerged victorious in the savage and exciting game known as American Football. Hooray! Go Niners!! (Personally I will be more ecstatic on March 3...please ask me why!)

Friday, January 13, 2012

One Shake at a Time - Day 5: Men's Urinal

I heard from a former bandmate today about his adventures in cleanse land and sure enough the dude has drank the kool aid or whatever has replaced the popular drink from acid test days - Perrier with lemon perhaps. As Tommy says,  he lost his gut, his acne, his tinnitus, his fatigue, his hair started growing back...ahhh, well, no. The hair is still lost. In his own words: "Then on the 8th day, I was able to eat protein like fish, chicken, tofu and the diet eased up a bit, but still no Salt, Sugar, Yeast, Dairy and Caffeine. As I proceeded to stay on the procedure, eat really healthy, my skin started to clear up, my gut started going away. I started peeing like a 12 year old, my energy increased, my stamina increase. It was like a new me....and I'm sitting there at lunch one day after about 2 weeks...it was so quite I could hear a pin drop...no ringing in my ears. I was amazed and delighted."

PEEING LIKE A 12 YEAR OLD! The folks with The Clean Program never said anything about that! I mean losing the gut, the acne, the ringing in the ears, the fatigue, the drooling, then tendency to stumble around with my fly open, the mysterious lack of awareness of visible boogers peeking out the nostril, the loud, sonorous flatulence that accompanies the increasing flaccidity of the glutemus maximus, the paper thin skin on the shins that sparkles in the sun, the cracked calluses on the heels and the raw bunches of leathery skin on the elbows, the increasing penile dormancy...these are merely bland annoyances when compared to WEAK STREAM. So imagine my excitement when I read Tommy's bold and refreshing confession. First, the implication that he too had perhaps noticed that the old pump wasn't pushing out the same PSIs, or CFSs, or BTUs or how ever the flow of pee pee is measured, like it used to. Of course when we're talking about cubic feet per second of pee pee, we are not talking about the strength of the tool itself but rather the flow control mechanism inside at the pumping station. Has the pump grown rickety, rusty perhaps? Would a shot of WD-40 with the morning prune juice help lubricate the machinery such that bladder musculature would regain it's elasticity and thus produce a more manly flow, versus a pathetic periodic dribble that neither warns of it's arrival or effectively bids farewell?

But imagine that by simply having a shake in the morning, a shake in the evening, and a healthy lunch in between, plus any number of midday snacks from a list that's not too godawful horrible...imagine that by cutting out the coffee, the booze, the sugar, the red meat, the chips, the cookies, the peanut butter and jelly (but keeping THE BARNEY BUTTER)...imagine that after 3 weeks of such an insignificant and wimpy sacrifice i could end up PEEING LIKE A 12 YEAR OLD!! Imagine my pride as I stand at the precipice of El Capitan, the sun rising in glory over the Yosemite Valley and catching my powerful golden arc in it's rays as it sails over the Awahanee and Curry Camp, across the steam rising off the meandering Merced river, across the valley to Glacier Point where it quickly forms a spectacular golden waterfall that the tourists hail as the Second Coming. Imagine that if I just kept cleansing that, in awhile, I could be PEEING LIKE AN 8 YEAR OLD!


Whew. Thanks Tommy. It's always good to have a goal!

PS If you're having fun reading this scatological, puerile and sophomoric drivel then join the thousands of folks that are following "Various and Sundry", just don't tell anybody!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One Shake at a Time - Double Indemnity: Days 3 & 4

Day 3

Yesterday I apologized to thousands of my followers for not reporting the hair raising events and near-death experiences of Day 3 of The Clean Program cleanse. I can only imagine the throngs of  frantic nail-biting, teeth-grinding, hair pulling acolytes as they sat by their computers awaiting word of the dangerous and often deadly Day 3. I thank each and every one of you for your heartfelt concern. Honestly it means so much to know the faceless hoards are there beside me as I descend deeper and deeper into the madness, the hallucinations, the abject misery of detoxification. From the bottom of my soon-to-be sparkling clean and glimmering colon,  I say someday we will break bread together once again - it may be gluten and wheat free rice/almond bread, which may actually bend instead of break, and we may have to wash it down with sugar free hemp milk, but one day all three of us, or maybe just me and the site administrator, will party down.

Day 3 was absolutely horrific. I awoke at dawn as usual, eager for my 15 mile run over Bolinas Road to Alpine Dam and back before sunup, hoping I might catch a mountain lion on their way home from a night of ripping the flesh off of furry little bunnies, when, without warning, I tripped over the sleeping dog and went sprawling across the hardwood bedroom floor as the air compressor I use for sleep apnea came flying off the night stand, spilling the water from the humidifier all over my sleeping wife. "You dork" she mumbled, "you forgot to take your breathing mask off again." But I barely heard her for the tinnitus ringing in my ears from years of starring in a major rock and roll band was already at full volume, crickets screaming "good morning shit-for-brains", and on top of that I was sure I had re-torn my ACL and perhaps damaged some of the titanium rods that are holding together my lower back. It was with the depressing thought that I might have to cut my run down to 10 miles that I went into the bathroom to remove the overnight blue whale baleen suppositories I had installed the night before to combat my ever-swelling prostate. Then I realized I was hungry. I was so damn hungry that I thought I could probably eat a whole gluten/wheat free English muffin with Barney Butter for breakfast, just like I used to do every morning. But no. I was on The Cleanse.

So I had an apple. Under normal circumstances and according to the rules of The Clean Program I was to wait until I could have my morning shake, which my wife makes as she is the keeper of all things Cleanse, doling out the shakes and the required supplements in a little dish like a nurse at the psych ward. I had the apple because of the two dozen or so medications I take each morning to help me stand upright and avoid speaking in tongues, and some of these meds (the more powerful psychoactive varieties that in higher doses are used to treat seizures and schizophrenia) need to be taken with food. Like an apple. Not necessarily a crispy English muffin dripping with honey and Barney Butter, no. A plain apple would do.

Then after thinking about running 10 miles for about 30 seconds I sat down at my computer, checked my work email - I only had 75 or so unread messages - checked my calendar to see how many inane and senseless conference calls I was scheduled to attend - there was one going on at that moment but I was only on copy so I figured I could blow it off - and logged onto Facebook. Hours went by and it wasn't until my boss sent me an email telling me to log the fuck onto instant messaging and to call intellectual property law immediately because I was already 3 hours late (I live on the west coast, she lives on the east coast. I will always be three hours late and there's not a damn thing I can do about it) and just like that my 2-hour Facebook bubble had burst, just because of an overzealous and rude over-achiever needs to get something done!

But by now I am feeling faint, so I plead with Holly to please make me a shake. With chocolate and espresso ice cream! Please! And put some crunchy roasted nibs in there! And a cup of coffee, for god's sake! But she knew I was just joshin' around so she blended up the almond milk, the super laxative cleansing powder, frozen peaches, the rhyzome detox protein powder and...and...water? I don't know I don't wanna know what's in these things but they don't taste too bad so I quaffed it down, hoping the dizziness would abate and I could call intellectual property law before I passed out and got fired. But the dizziness did not abate in fact it only grew worse to where I thought I was going to fall out of my chair as I stared at my computer screen while little chocolate chip cookies squeezed out the bottom of my monitor then lowered themselves to my desktop one by one until there were several hundred of the little cookies then one started singing a little cookie song and they all joined in "well I like me a chocolate chip cookie/like me a little glass o' milk/like me a chocolate chip cookie/ and a frisky 23-yr old hooker" and the next thing I knew they were in a conga line around my monitor then down my desk and back again and now the sock monkeys have joined in and my little dog boo is standing in the doorway in a 3 piece tuxedo with a glass of champagne reciting ts eliot and at this point I dare not eat a peach for I am slowly slipping into delirium.

Now I'm alone. I don't know where my wife and daughter and dog and all those little cookies and sock monkey have gone but there's nobody here, as my mother often said in the depth of her Alzheimers "there's nobody here!". She would yell it out and I was sitting right across the table from her and I would say "what am I mom, chopped liver?" At least she laughed. And now I know exactly how she felt, being deep in a cleansemare, a horrible state between life and death, eating and starving, awake and sleeping, Republican and Democrat, to be or not to be...this is where I am, terrified to the tips of my hungry little toes, when I see a light coming in through the window, and on it a slides a little Disney nymphette, sliding down the beam of light like a pole dancer, no bigger than a mouse, until she lands on my desk and I swear to god it’s Tinkerbell in that rather revealing castaway Lost Boys outfit and suddenly my hunger is gone and I’m thinking about sex! Sex with a little cartoon! And she says “that’s the last thing you need in your condition big boy” (she doesn’t know how sensitive I am about my bigness) “Guess what”? she continues. “There are no cleanse police here right now. Nobody to bust your chops. Oh sorry did I say chops? I mean balls. So, anyway. You look sleepy. You sleepy? Have a cup of coffee! Have two! Have some cookies! You can eat whatever you want so long as you do it soon. The wife and kid are not gonna be back for at least an hour.”
So that’s what I do. I have always been good at following directions so I make a pot of coffee and a couple of Barney Butter on Rice/Almond bread sandwiches and midway through the coffee I start to feel better and by the end of the first cup I and the first sandwich I am feeling fine. So I cheated a little bit. The rest of the day I was clean as a whistle. I just needed a little taste to get back on track. A little slip. A little cup o coffee and Barney Butter sandwich – on rice almond bread mind you!
 I’m only glad I lived long enough to keep cleansing another day, to have my evening shake with gratitude with a bowl of brown rice, to truly savor those supplements. And what do we learn from this, oh ye massive unwashed hordes of humanity?
Never underestimate the power of Barney Butter.

Day 4
After day 3, who gives a shit?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One Shake at a Time - Day 2

Stardate Tues Jan. 10, Day #2 of Mission "Clean".

I wanted to get started early on today's blog entry before the weakness, hives and hallucinations make it impossible to distinguish food from, say, dog poop. And as you can imagine it's very difficult to type when you're scratchin' like a hound and there's tiny pink piglets wiggling their little curly tails in unison while dancing in a conga line around your computer.

So, while I'm still relatively perspicacious, let me provide a little context to what many may perceive to be a hopeless effort to retrieve the shape and energy of an individual who, many excuses down the road, has let things slip just a tad, and in the process has developed a massive growth between the chest and the waist that was once a rather appealing and sexy testimony to advanced wisdom and maturity but has now simply become a gut. A big fat gut.
 With my lovely sister, Katie, New Years Day 2012. Watch out he's gonna blow!

A fifty year-old in his birthday coat, 2005. He still has all his teeth!

Ahhh. I have just finished shake #2, a delicious blend of frozen peaches, almond milk, coconut oil, a dash of vanilla and agave syrup (my additions) and a veritable shitload of the inscrutable mystery powder. So, just now I am starting to feel that rush of toxin busters into my bloodstream and I can hear the clang of swords and axes as the mighty supplements meet their enemies, the toxins, of which there are many and they have grown strong and powerful for they have lived in my bloodstream for a very long time. And I can feel that  there is a vicious fight going on in there.I am feeling a great physical weakness come over me as the battle rages within. I must blog now or blog nevermore!

But WHY you ask! WHY are you torturing your body so? Good question. Besides the globe that has taken up residence in my midsection, I really have no desire to get clean. Shit when folks my age with a rap sheet as long as mine try and get clean it usually kills 'em. But I think I mentioned earlier in today's offering that I let things slip, just a tad? It occurs to me that I'm probably not the only guy that has encountered rough waters in decade #5. I'm just guessing but, having always been average myself, I assume the average 50-something has parents in somewhere in decade #8, and that it's check out time for many of them. Well it was for my folks anyway, back to back, and in each case the final curtain call was preceded by several years of high maintenance geriatric care, which I found to be so exhausting that things like a balanced diet and exercise just simply got shitcanned. Not that we were swingin' by Mickey D's on the way home from the rehab, but we did hit Hi Tech Burrito more than usual. Deli sandwiches, chips and cookies became respites of comfort, especially once the breeders could no longer eat and I had to eat for both of us. Then, shortly after Dad moved on it was time for a long postponed back surgery, which resulted in a dramatic reduction in back pain but also in peripheral neuropathy in my feet. Neuropathy, when it is unrelated to type 2 onset adult diabetes, is a bitch to treat or at least it has been for me, and there has been a virtual cornucopia of various medications parading through my medicine cabinet for several years, most of which cause weight gain. So take the middle-aged man off the bicycle, the skis, and the golf course; throw every painkiller known to man at him until something sticks (which has finally happened), and sit back and watch him blow up like a fuckin' balloon! That's what I call slipping, just a tad.

Now you have the backstory and that's all y'all is gonna get! The battle within rages, supplements battling toxins tooth and nail while giant globs of fat slink off into the corner to watch TV and eat Doritos. Get out there and fight you lazy sacks o' shit!

(Stay tuned for Day #3, when "Doris Gets Her Oats!")

Monday, January 9, 2012

One Shake at a Time

Today was my first day of "The Cleanse" as we like to call it here at our modest beach-house-without-the-beach in lovely Sleepy Hollow, where I have spent the last 7 years looking in vain for a headless horseman. That's not to say there aren't plenty of headless, or at least brainless, folks in so-called privileged, yet unincorporated neighborhood between Fairfax and San Anselmo, and there are many horsemen and horsewomen or should I say horsey women in this neighborhood. At one time there were stables where the current Sleepy Hollow Clubhouse and Pool are, and my father would take me riding there. After a couple of times Dad thought I should be able to ride alone, without being led by him and the other horse, but I was scared to death of horses and was perfectly happy to daydream in the saddle and not worry about steering or stopping the beast. And now I live just a 15-minute walk away from the old Sleepy Hollow Stables and often walk the dog on the path that we once walked the horses on, for there is one bend in the path where the oaks and bays are gathered further up the hillside and the grassy slope stretches down to the path just around the corner from a small outcropping of fieldstone. I can see my Dad on his horse ahead as the trail inclines slightly up to where the rusty and twisted stakes of an old barbed-wire fence are still sticking out of the ground and of course this leads to other thoughts of the old man that, as I endeavor onward through The Cleanse and I grow weak and dreamy from malnutrition I am sure to recall . Lucky you.

The Cleanse is not of the sort that many folks may conjur in the wake of relatively recent events in Serbia, Croatia, and across The Balkans, as it is not particularly ethnic, unless you habitually identify food with ethnicity (as in Roma Tomatoes, or Idaho Potatoes - yes I think of Idaho as home to a particular ethnic group that I'm not going to discuss right now - or Greek Yogurt, Middle Eastern Hummus, French Fries, English Bangers, and Scotch). Actually The Cleanse is simply how we refer to a very common and popular cleansing and detox (aka weight loss for most of us and especially me of the heroic tummy) called The Clean Program, which claims that it is "the most supportive cleansing and detox program on the planet". I'm not going to repeat a lot of info about The Clean Program that you can find out for yourself at www.cleanprogram.com. Suffice to say that there's 32,000 card carrying members of The Clean Program, and, as of Day #1, I am not one of them.

But time will tell. When you read some of the things these clean-niks say about the program: how it builds strong bodies 12 ways; makes you run faster, jump higher; melts in your mouth, not in your hand; and on and on and on I actually looking forward to finding out what it will do for me! After all, how hard can it be?  shake for breakfast, a few snacks, a nice lunch (off of a pretty generous list of gluten-, wheat-, lactose-, sugar-, soy-,salt-, dairy-free foods that includes celery AND beets but no carrots), followed by a few snacks.

So, today. First day, right? Don't wanna shock the system, plus I have to have some food with my morning meds (and something to soak up that 8AM waker-upper), plus NO COFFEE. For a lot of folks that's a deal killer right there. But not for me I went years without coffee not for health reasons but because it gave me a tummy ache and made me sleepy but recently on the advice of my nutritionist (should I make that ALL CAPS?) started having a cup in the morning, which turned into two cups and recently I was having a little booster in the afternoon too and LOVING IT but none of that on the clean program nosiree this is about getting those toxins like wondrous flavorful odoriffic and delicious Sumatran coffee OUT of the system. So, I started the day with a Honeycrisp apple, which was just fine because I love honeycrisp apples then onto conference calls with BFC corporate zombies and brown nosers except for Deb and Tiffany and a few others but I digress so now it's midmorning and I'm getting a little twinge so I reach for a Lydia's vegan bar which made me think momentarily that I had sprouted a beak and a pair of wings (which would have been nice) for I was reminded of the SUET CAKE I have put in the bird feeder then I noticed on the package that it was suggested that the product be HYDRATED first so I poured a big tumbler of vodka and hydrated that puppy and it was MUCH BETTER!! Now it's getting close to lunch which is a real lunch so my female companions are expected home soon with some yummy vegan selections from the GOOD EARTH IN FAIRFAX which as you probably know if you're serious about natural and organic food this is a store that is not to be fucked with nor are the people that go there for they will take you to serious task for improper dress, unwanted fragrances and incorrect attitude in general. Anyway I add the chicken from a packaged chicken caesar to my hearty lunch of brocolli, bok choy and brown rice which is quite satisfying except I realize in the middle of my lunch that I am missing my baggie of pain medication which is a totally inappropriate topic for a blog on The Clean Program (I have long been accused of building up with one hand while tearing down with the other) and now there is concern throughout the household that Boo the wonderpup has snaked the meds and will soon be headed to the vet for a little afternoon stomach pump so my lunch is interrupted and is allowed to grow cold and lonely on my desk. By the time I find the pills eating the rest of my lunch is both necessary and unpleasant but since it's all I get I better eat it because the only repast between me and bedtime is another shake. But before I close today's entry let me say that the shakes are surprisingly appetite supressing, especially when chased with a Perry's Deli Surfer Special, a bag of salt and vinegar chips, and a mudslide cookie from The Woodlands.

I am so looking forward to tomorrow!