Comment dit-on, l’anecdote?

I studied French for several years starting in grade 7. During my first full year of French (grade 8), I was in French club with several of my friends, Clint, Bill, Sam, Lisette, and others. I have a couple of special memories of those days.

  1. There was a passage from our textbook or something that said (paraphrasing), “Carol intended to say, ‘Quel dommage!’, which means, ‘That’s too bad!’ (‘What a pity!’) But instead she said, ‘Quel fromage!’, which means, ‘That’s cheese!'”
    For whatever reason, this has always amused me and I think of it every time cheese becomes the topic of conversation.
  2. My friend, Bill (Guillaume), and I wrote and were performing a little skit. For some parts, we were using words and phrases that we really hadn’t learned yet. We wanted to say, “My wife left me.” but we didn’t know the verb, to leave, so we looked up in our French-English dictionary how to say “left”. So the line I delivered was, “Ma femme a gauche moi.” Our teacher, Mrs. Egenberger just started laughing and laughing.
    Sometimes I still say, “Ma femme a gauche moi”, and of course, nobody knows what I’m talking about.

Salsa Fest Week 1 roundup

In my opinion, humble or otherwise, I think that all the salsas have been quite good (enough). I’m really rather pleased with how this is all turning out!

I will use the following scale to rate the overall awesomeness of each salsa: 7 will be the lowest score. It represents a dismal state of suckitude analogous to how uplifted one is likely to feel after seeing Biutiful. 42 will be the top score. It is also the number on the football jersey that my friend Tim sent me for my birthday. A score of 42 is a theoretical score, unlikely to be found in nature. This grader tends not to give perfect scores as I feel it leaves no room for something better. So an average score would fall in the 23 – 28 range, while a score upwards of 33 indicates great approval.

Monday – Pat’s green salsa. I liked it well enough. I’m not a big green salsa fan, but this gets extra points for going first. Also, it had a sweet sort of flavor. Which was nice. 30

Tuesday – My cabbage salsa. I was pretty disappointed in how this turned out. It was better than my first attempt, and really, it was fine. But it wasn’t what I was shooting for. High hopes + thwarted expectations yield a score of 28.

Wednesday – Amy’s Texas caviar. I liked this a lot, and so did the rest of the office. The bowl of salsa went very quickly! I think this could easily be a side dish for a meal and never mind the chips. 37

Thursday – Kelly’s cream cheese and red salsa. How can you go wrong? But this gets bonus points for having whipped cream cheese and three temperatures of salsa! 35

Four more offerings next week!

Puccini deux

I mentioned before that I was in an opera a few years ago, Gianni Schicci. I want to relate a couple more anecdotes from that experience.

The first one I find amusing, but I wonder if anyone else will. I do often crack myself up and I often suspect that I am far more impressed with my witicisms than are others.
Anyway, I was receiving some acting instruction from the assistant director. He was telling me that as he watched me perform, he could really see the inner dialogue that my character was having, but that my gestures weren’t large enough for the rear of the house to see. I asked if what I was doing was somehow wrong. He said no, but my gesticulations (Good word!!) needed to be bigger if the back row was going to see them. I replied that my more subtle movements were a gift to the front rows.

Well I found it amusing.

Second story. There was a line that I was to sing, “They’re the cream of the crop!” My first note was the same as the last note of the preceding line, which someone else was singing. To make sure that I came in on key, I would sort of hum along with the line before mine. Well, I was doing it quietly, but I didn’t think about the fact that I was essentially leaning over another actor’s shoulder such that my mouth was very close to his ear. So, unknown to me, my fellow cast mates took to poking fun at me by mimicking me, “mmmm mmmm mmmm, mmmmmm mmmm mmmmmm THEY’RE THE CREAM OF THE CROP!” When I found out, I thought it was hilarious! And in a way, I felt like I belonged to this group.
So, a few months later, when I went to get a tattoo, I had that phrase of music applied around my left bicep.

Now the number one condiment in America!

Last week here in the office, we took a bunch of cheese and melted it down in a crock pot. We dipped chips and bread into our cheesy goodness.We did this three days in a row. I might do it again tomorrow.

I bring this up because this cheese fest has inspired me to create a similar dipping extravaganza. This one will be a two week salsa spectacle. The four days prior to, and the four days after, Presidents’ Weekend, different coworkers will bring in home-made salsas and related creations. So a green salsa is allowed, but so is a block of cream cheese and jar of salsa. My intention is to take sign-ups for the event and then space out the varieties so that we don’t get two of the same type back to back.

So, you may begin your eager anticipation for the photos that will serve as my daily posts for those two weeks.

This is called planning ahead.

Someone answer me before I pull out the plug

I am a fan of witty and clever use of language. I love a good turn of phrase. And I think some words are just good words.

A few years ago I had a good buddy, Matt. Matt was the accompanist at the college where I work, and where I was taking classes. Matt loved words too, and when he heard one that he particularly appreciated he would respond with, “Good word!”

One semester, I was in an opera being staged by the music department. During one of the rehearsals, I was on stage with the music director, and Matt was seated at the keyboard beneath the stage, in the orchestra pit. The director was giving me some acting advice/instruction; something along the lines of, “move your arms thusly” or “point at that thing when this action is taking place”. I don’t really remember. Anyway, I responded to what she was saying by using the word “gesticulate”. At the same time, I pointed ‘through’ the stage to where Matt was sitting as if to cue his response. Sure enough, Matt clapped his hands a couple of times and exclaimed, “Good word!”

Good memory! God, I miss Matt!

Cultural Collision

I mentioned that I like music, I pretend to play some instruments.

Here is my latest acquisition, a cuica.
Burning Sky 1012.31 - 029

This is also my facebook profile pic, so sorry to those of you who’ve already seen it way too much.

A cuica is a friction drum that is played by rubbing a stick or dowel attached to the drum head. It is supposed to sound like a lioness mating call. You can simulate the sound yourself by rapidly moving a straw in and out of the lid of a soda cup. You know what I mean?

Anyway, it’s used in samba music. Well, typically used in samba music. I hope to use it in tribal polyrhythms that I’ll play for belly dancers.

A Backstory in two Acts


I think perhaps that I should have written this post first. I hope that it will serve as an introduction as well as provide explanation and perhaps justification for the existence of this collection of ramblings.

Act I – Wherein we meet the protagonist

I am Seán, your narrator and guide. I am 40 years old as of this writing. I live in the Central Valley of California, in the grand metropolis of Modesto. I have many interests that I hope to share with you over time. These include music, dance, television, movies, languages, technology, role-playing games, Catholicism (my faith tradition), science fiction, photography, and many other things. I am single and trying to remain patient until the right woman comes into my life.
I have a very goofy sense of humor sometimes. Not everyone gets me. I hope that over time, you will.

  • Bands/Artists: Barenaked Ladies, Depeche Mode, Garbage, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Roberto Leal
  • Movies: Aliens, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Strictly Ballroom, Princess Bride, Matrix, Big Trouble in Little China, Inception
  • TV (Currently): Chuck, Castle, How I Met Your Mother, The Good Wife, Modern Family, Big Bang Theory, Smallville, Blue Bloods, V, Dexter, True Blood, Mad Men
  • TV (All time): Sopranos, 24, Firefly, Heroes (but only season 1)

Act II – Motivations are revealed

Earlier this week, a young lady acquaintance of mine, Rachel, posted on one of her blogs that she had begun this WordPress postaday2011 challenge. This inspired me to make a similar attempt. Another friend of mine, Betty is a very creative individual and this kind of endeavor is right up her alley. Being friends with people like Rachel and Betty motivates me to try to be more creative and expressive. So I happily hitch my wagon to their stars and try to be a content generator.

Here is a link to the original post of the WordPress challenge


I am not the king of follow-through. Your encouragement and support will be invaluable if I am to be anywhere near successful with this. Please and thank you.

There can be only one!

My office is in the process of trying to determine what the best burger in Modesto is. We’re conducting this investigation using a tournament bracket model. Using a highly unscientific selection process, we started with twelve burgers that would be in contention for the title of Modesto’s Best Burger. Every other week, during our office staff meeting, we would sample three burgers and rate each of them in the following categories: taste, value, burger construction/ingredients, and how well the burger appeals to the other senses. Of the three burgers, one advances.

We’ve completed two preliminary rounds so far with two more to go. Once the field has been narrowed to four contenders, we will have a semi-final round to identify the two best burgers in Modesto. Then, at the end of the semester, the final round will determine the champion.

Here are our results from the first two rounds (points can range from 8 – 40):

Round 1
#3 Firken & Fox Mushroom & Swiss Burger with 26 points
#2 Firken & Fox Guacamole Swiss Burger with 27 points
#1 Bacchus Kobe Beef Burger with 28 points

The Kobe Beef burger advances.

Round 2
#3 Mike’s Roadhouse San Francisco Sour Dough Burger with 23 points
#2 In N Out Burger with 25 points
#1 Chili’s Shiner Bock BBQ Burger with 27 points

Chili’s Shiner Bock BBQ Burger advances

Round 3 will happen on September 29 and will include burgers from P Wexford’s, Fudruckers and Fast Eddie’s MOAB.

Round 4 will take place on October 13 and will feature burgers from Sips Bistro, Barking Dog, and Harvest Moon.