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November 29, 2009

UCLA 7 USC 28

Carlos Pacheco
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Carlos Pacheco
I've lived outside of the US too many years for Thanksgiving to be that special to me. That doesn't mean I don't have memories and expectations.Sacrifice
One memory is of my kids (as in my team) in the UK deciding I needed an old fashioned American Thanksgiving feast.
They did their best using their frame of reference. They took over my kitchen and made a typical Brit Christmas dinner with a turkey instead of goose and roast parsnips and turnips instead of corn. It was edible. The food wasn't important. It was that a bunch of young men and women managed to plan and execute and then function as a unit to accomplish a goal.
That the goal was to please me is only important in that they accomplished it for reasons other than they intended.
I had to work this Thanksgiving. It was rough. Most of the regulars were there but the others were dopers and drunks looking for any place that was open. It's been a while since I've felt that I was in danger that I might not be able to handle. I felt vulnerable. Every other joint in town has been robbed. We haven't yet. Thanksgiving morning that felt pretty tenuous. But nothing happened.
My relief came in. The owner decided that everyone but me would work a four shift, his concession to stealing the holiday. My relief was crabby, she usually is. I don't blame her but I was irked that she'd tell me about it.
There's a dispute going on. The guys who worked four hours are getting paid triple time for it while, for some unknown reason they want to pay me only double time!!
That does seem like a rip and an insult and I will quit a job that tries to steal 60 bucks from me. We'll see how it plays out. Fairness says I win. But who knows.
I was planning on using the overtime money to buy a TV so I can watch the playoffs, the bowl Clarence Carter
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Clarence Carter
games and see my movies. If I get shorted I'll hold on to the money while I do a job search. I'm already pretty heavily taken advantage of there because I'm desperate but even desperation has its limit.
I went home and fell asleep in the chair again. Woke up about 1 or 2. Took my puppy for a walk. We played some. She likes to look fierce and attack me. It makes me laugh. Her too.
I'd decided to be alone this Thanksgiving. Share a hundred or so emails with my friend and my other friends and then go to this big buffet place everyone here talks about. They had take out so I had to decide on taking my puppy and getting two meals to go or going alone and bringing her meal home to her.
I followed good advice I wish I'd ignored and went alone.
The streets were pleasantly deserted. Few cars and no other people. The walk takes me past the cardiac clinic which is part of a huge complex. I liked seeing it completely vacant.
As I passed it I saw a bird across the street. I wished my puppy was with me. She loves to watchScandal Inc the birds.
At first I thought it was some sort of exciting omen. I thought it was a wild Turkey on Thanksgiving Day! That got me all excited but I wasn't very disappointed when I got up beside it and saw it was one of the ugliest birds I'd ever seen: an East Coast Vulture pecking at the ground. I guess he was looking for roadkill.
West Coast Vultures are pretty ugly too but I'd grown up with them and somehow thought of them as grotesque rulers of the desert. They The Beatles
Click images for desktop size: "The Beatles"
had a certain majesty and fear to them that this guy lacked.
I was about 10 feet away from him when he acknowledged me. He flew away. I was amazed that he had a wing span of well over five feet. He flew about 15 feet away and perched on a 6 foot fence. He looked impressive there as he watched me walk by. His beak and claws looked pretty vicious but I find it impossible to be afraid of animals and I figured East Coast vultures are pretty much like the guys on the West Coast and don't have a lot of interest in something living.
Thinking of it buoyed me the rest of the way.
The restaurant was crowded. It was a pretty dowdy crowd. I'd dressed nicely (thanks to my friend shipping me some more of my clothes and coats) so I stood out.
Funny place. You have to pay as you enter! You couldn't go in with a friend and just have coffee. You had to pay.
It was twelve bucks for all you could eat, which seemed cool. I was pretty hungry. I also saw that the meals to go were $4.95 a pound! I figured I could score plenty of goodies for my puppy at that price.
I got a glass of unsweetened ice tea and put it on the cafeteria tray. That was two bucks! I didn't Cassandra
Click images for desktop size: "Casandra" by Unknown
understand why the drinks were before the pay station. Now I got the point.
There were several people eating alone but no tables for less than four. I found an empty easily enough.
There were stations with plastic plates. The plates were small, like salad plates really.
I had a salad. The salad bar wasn't much but I was in good spirits and pretty happy with the concoction I whipped up. Then I went for the feast. They had a guy carving roasted turkey breast. One slice at a time. I took it, got some corn bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn and brown onion gravy.
It was okay. Not great but okay.
I went got and got another slice of turkey and some rice, shrimp and some unknown seafood dish mixed with jalapeno peppers.
For dessert I had a huge plate of melon topped with canned peaches and maraschino cherries. I then went and asked about getting a box to go for my puppy and was seriously disappointed to discoverShe Mob my little fantasy didn't play. I figured I'd get a little styrofoam box that I'd take around and fill up, they'd weigh it, I'd pay, happy puppy!
Doesn't work that way. They had food to go but it was all from this case. They had no turkey in the case. So I got a plate and another slice of turkey, wrapped it in a napkin and took it home so my puppy would have a memorable Thanksgiving.
As I walked home I started to get sick. I've been having some pretty bad chest pain this week. Not bad enough to think about taking any nitro pills but annoying. The chest pain started in badly and then full on symptoms of food poisoning.
I doubt I'll be going back to this joint.
My puppy was kind. She loved her turkey and she lie on the bed with me pretending to attack me before falling asleep on me.
My puppy made it a good Thanksgiving for sure. As good as those long ago ones when people brought me happiness instead of sadness. Back when I thought Sartre was a jerk.
Work was bad. I was seriously disappointed to go in and find the place was packed. Somehow it didn't seem right to be away from your home and gambling. It was a repeat of the previous night without any criminal types. I guess even the bad guys stay at home on the holiday.
The next day was better. My puppy and I went on our long walk. She was stoked. Everything looked new to her. She enjoyed the cold weather a lot. I liked the cool crisp day and I liked the light. I was surprised to realize that the light reminded me of the light in Florence Italy. Very peculiar but pleasant to see. Vivid colors covered with a muted patina. I'd never seen it look like that here before, and I notice those sort of things.
We went to a frozen yogurt place that has a great sugar free vanilla. They sweeten with aspartame C and H by Deskto
Click images for desktop size: "C & H" by Deskto
and not malitol. My puppy and I shared a cup of it. She thought I ate more than my share. I had a cherry lime rickey that reminded me of when I was a kid and we'd go to Delores Drive In.
It seemed a shame for our walk to end but I was still shaky. I did buy a new soda pop I quite like. Diet Mountain Dew Ultra Violet. I've only found it one place and only in those pricey buck and half bottles. I also heard that this is a temporary limited offer drink. So I guess my little bottle is precious.
Today we went for a long walk and got tacos and ceviche. Time spent with my puppy is always rewarding.

Last week my friend and I tied at 10-6 . . . I've yet to figure out how she's cheating. It is not inconceivable that she is fixing the games! This could turn into an enormous scandal! Nearly as big a scandal as her bating me nearly every week!
For the season she leads 109 to 105. Not enough to discourage me yet.The Set Up

My picks are in bold.

Green Bay at Detroit - This was my survivor game of the week. I'm still in and I have a good shot at finishing the season and maybe even winning. I'm in the final 4%!! I picked the Packers because they were playing the Lions . . .

Oakland at Dallas - Another Thursday winner! I fell like I have a shot this week! I picked the Cowboys because they played the Raiders . . .

New York Giants at Denver - The Giants suck . . .

Tampa Bay at Atlanta - The Buccaneers couldn't follow up on their only win but they are showing signs of life. Too bad because now there's no way they can sneak up on the Falcons who are desperately trying to make some semblance of a play off run. I look for Matt Ryan to have a stat crazy day.

Miami at Buffalo - When the players are more concerned about who their next head coach will be CGB94
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by CGB94
instead of their next opponent it's a pretty good sign they've given up on the season. Miami still has a chance to make the play offs and have played hard all season long. Ricky WIlliams is insane but what's wrong with that. He has a shot for 200 yards against the porous Bills defense.

Arizona at Tennessee - Vince Young is playing real football again and has the Titans looking positive. Kurt Warner is questionable for the Cardinals and as much as I'd love to see Matt Linehart come off the bench and throw for 400 yards and 5 TD's it seems unlikely. I like him a lot but this rematch of National Championship QB's shouldn't be that close.

Seattle at St Louis - Cruddy game of the week. I considered picking Seattle as my survivor team but jeez they stink. So do the Rams but Steve Jackson isn't banged up and could actually swing theSlither upset.

Washington at Philadelphia - They sold the tickets so I guess they have to play the game. The Redskins are beyond bad but still managed to win 3 games this season. The Eagles lost to the Raiders and are still in the playoff picture. This is my who cares game of the week.

Carolina at New York Jets - Mark Sanchez has been looking shell shocked recently. There's enough film on him now for opposing D's to get a handle on him and play him hard. The Panthers are a real mess though and without Steve Smith they might have a rough time mustering any O. It seems pathetic to have to think about the consequences of two 4-6 teams but I like Sanchez too much to make this a Cruddy game of the week contender.

Indianapolis at Houston - A lot of the experts are picking the Texans to snap the Colts perfect season. I can't see it. Payton Manning is still Manning and Matt Schoub isn't. It still should be competitive but whatever happens it will be anticlimactic.

Chicago at Minnesota - I'm still waiting for Adrian Petersen to break 400 yards! This could be the game. The Bears are looking disheveled and its hard to believe even Lovee Smith can get them up for this one. You wonder what records Brett Favre will break this week.

Kansas City at San Diego - Last week the Chiefs beat the Steelers. I figure they over celebrated to be easy pickings for a team that was already poised to destroy them.

Jacksonville at San Francisco - The Jaguars are 6-4 and surging and the 49ers are 4-6. The 49ers T Hecker
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by T Hecker
have been playing solid football, playing past their talent levels. They've had bad moments but no bad games this season. Frank Gore will give the Jaguars fits even if Alex Smith won't.

New England at New Orleans - GAME OF THE WEEK!! And the only one to get excited about at all. The Patriots are coming in with a chip on their shoulder after the devastating loss to the Colts last week. The Saints are looking to prove that they are as real as 10-0 can make you. Tom Brady in a shootout with Dru Brees is something to dream on for days. If Reggie Bush and Sedrick Ellis are back and healthy that will make this a game to remember. I don't really care who wins but I'm taking the Saints because well, because this is the year its safe to love them.

Pittsburgh 12 at Baltimore 18 - The Steelers can't win without Troy and now they don't have Rothliesberger and have to turn to Dennis Dixon, 3rd string. RAH! Dixon has talent but he's far from ready to start in the NFL. The Ravens will blitz him until he cries. Flacco will get enough of the job done and might even make this a rout.

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