Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Monday, March 23, 2015

My Appetite For Appetizers Is Insatiable

Recently there were two social meetings I wanted to attend that were scheduled on the same evening.  Because the venues were only a few miles apart and the meetings overlapped, I decided to attend both.
The primary challenge was finding something to eat during the evening so I could “power” network the entire night. Fortunately, this would not be a problem as you can see from the invitation to the first meeting (names hidden to protect the guilty):

This meeting would have free appetizers.  It was an important aspect of the meeting and a big incentive to attend, as you can see by the use of not one, but three, exclamation points promoting these appetizers.

This was going to be a long evening, but thanks to the free appetizers from the Holiday Inn it would be very manageable.  I would be an energetic, networking machine, powered by free, delicious, foods.

I strategically planned to get to the meeting right at 5 p.m. so  I could get to those free appetizers before many people arrived.  Last time at this meeting I made the costly mistake of arriving after 5:30.  Some low-life, low-class, moochers had raided the tables and most of the really good appetizers were nearly gone.  I ended up eating much more cheese and crackers than I wanted.  This time would be different; I would get there promptly and then stuff my face with enough Swedish meatballs, bacon-wraps and potato skins, to satisfy me for the entire evening.

I hurried to meeting room and I was the very first person to arrive.  I said my complimentary greetings to the meeting organizers, and then headed straight for the free appetizers.  But there were no free appetizers, just a bare, cold, wood floor.  There were no tables, there were no steaming trays of food, there were no plates to pile my food upon, and there were no napkins to wipe the creamy, ranch sauce from my mustache.  There was nothing - just a vast emptiness.

I felt betrayed, I felt rejected, and I hungered deeply for free appetizers.  What type of cruel world do we live in where free appetizers are promised and then upon arriving you discover there are no free appetizers?  I refer you back to the invitation:

“Free Appetizers!!!”  Three #%¢&ing exclamation points and not one d@#& meatball!  Will somebody please explain how this happens?  Somebody tell these people the recession ended years ago.  There is no justification, none, for stiffing people on the free appetizers.

I didn’t ask why there were no appetizers. I didn’t want to look like one of those greedy parasites who only show up for the free food.  I overheard someone say that the Holiday Inn decided not to provide them anymore.  It’s probably because certain appetizer scroungers were showing up early at the meetings and eating way too much.  How disgusting, I hate those types of people; I mean come on, show some class!   And apparently someone was too lazy to call the Holiday Inn and confirm that appetizers would be available, before issuing the three exclamation point invitation.

Since there were no free appetizers, I left early and very hangry for my second meeting.  As I sat at the traffic light I noticed the sign for “The Tilted Kilt”.  They have good appetizers, but they are not free.  The restaurant is very deceptive, however.  I thought it was a place when Scottish men could wear Scottish garb, eat haggis and hoist some ale.  However, it turns out that it’s the waitresses who wear the kilts and it appears their outfits they wear run a couple sizes too small.  The tilting part comes in as the waitress do waitressy type things, such as leaning and bending over, which provide a nice view of
the Scottish lowlands.  The outfits also offer an ample display of the Scottish highlands, which in this case are much more mountainous than hilly.
I decided to eschew the tour of Scotland and continue down the road.

However, at the next light I could see the “gentlemen’s club” up ahead.  This place is always advertising free appetizers. I’m sure the appetizers are hot, spicy and mouth-watering and the strippers are ho … , okay you get the idea.  Now while the appetizers are free, I’m guessing the strippers are not.  I’m sure they are very good at satisfying certain appetites, but I decide to proceed to the meeting.

Unfortunately the people at the second meeting find my plight of being stiffed on free appetizers rather amusing.  None of these cheapskates offered to buy me any appetizers (which would then be free for me). They suggest that perhaps I should blog about it, which is a dumb idea.  Who would want to read an entire post about … oh never mind. 

By the time I leave, I am famished.  I make sure not to drive past the strip joint on the way home.   Maybe I could demand that my woman make me a sammich. Instead I decide to carry-out at Taco Bell.  Taco Bell is also very deceptive.  They tell you to “make a run for the border”. I would never get there because I always “make a run for el bano” after my meal.

Interestingly, a few weeks later I found myself in the same predicament.  I had two events on the same night and needed some food to make it through.  The first event advertised a “reception” which means you get to “receive” some interaction with people.  But much more important is “recepting” some free appetizers.  

And this time my free appetizer expectations were greatly exceeded.   It was a high-class selection of delectable foods, most of which I could not identify, even after eating it.  There were choices from the six main food groups, including bacon.  It was so complete, there was even asparagus.  I hate
Free - but not a good appetizer
asparagus, it is disgusting.  But it was a nice touch.  Incredibly, I was the first person in line for these awesome, delectable, free appetizers.   Therefore I got the first bite of the apple, and everything else, except for the asparagus of course. 

My faith in free appetizers has therefore been restored, thanks to my friends Matt, Cassie, and Willy, who were responsible for providing this feast. These guys understand the concept of free appetizers and know how to deliver the goods.  So if anyone is holding an event which includes free appetizers, please send me an invitation.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

There Is Something Fishy About Lent

Many people always eat fish on Friday for Lent.  A friend told me he does this to be pious.  Well I want to be pious too. I want more pious than average. I want to be the epitome of piousness.  So if these people are eating fish on Friday, so am I.  My friend did caution me, “Remember, this is Lent, so it all has to do with sacrifice”.

I couldn’t wait for that first Friday to begin my pilgrimage to piety.  I went to a restaurant, but was faced with an arduous choice.  Should I get the Blue Fin Tuna?  Perhaps the Red Snapper Livornese?  The Baked Dijon Salmon looks simply decadent, whoa, better scratch that one. It kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

Mmmmmmmmm - Sea Bass!
I finally choose to sacrifice with the Pan Roast Sea Bass, imported of course, with the stuffed courgettes.  Now you may not think this meal was grueling but it took considerable time and effort to truly savor the scrumptious flavor of the sea bass.  And the peppers stuffed in the courgettes caused some mild gastric discomfort.  You may not consider this the holiest of meals, however I must point out the courgettes were sprinkled with olive oil, just like they use in the Holy Land.  And finally, the imported sea bass strained my credit card balance.  So this meal had many sacrificial aspects.

Don't forget the courgettes ........
However as I left the restaurant, I did not feel very sanctified.  I felt stuffed, as stuffed as those courgettes, which were exquisite by the way.  Maybe I went about this wrong. I decided to try something different the following week.

That Friday I went to the local fish fry at the church down the street.  This is perfect I surmised.  If eating fish makes you righteous, then what better place to consume it, then in an actual church building?  Plus, I would be hanging out with the pious crowd and maybe some of their piousness would rub off on me.

It was an all-you-can- eat deal, but I ate two pieces and was full.  I was about to leave when I noticed the guy at the table next to me get a third piece of fish. This gave me pause. If eating fish produces piousness, then doesn’t it stand to reason that the more fish you eat, the more pious you become?

I was not going to let this guy be more righteous than me. I mean I am righteous. If I had a brother, then we would be the Righteous Brothers. Actually we would be the Ake Brothers, but you get the idea.  But this guy was not going to out righteous me, so I ate a third piece, and a fourth and a fifth, matching him filet by filet. But I could not finish the seventh piece and I watched in dismay as my adversary devoured his eighth.   Oh yeah, this guy was righteous all right. I’m not worthy.  He did have this aura of holiness around him, just like the Buddha.  Come to think of it, he looked a little like the Buddha, I wonder?

I waddled to my car and I was saddened that this second attempt to achieve piety had also failed.  By stuffing my face full of fish, not only had I not achieved virtue, the opposite had occurred. I had committed the sin of gluttony.  It was then I realized something was seriously wrong.

Yes, something is suspicious here. Something is strange, something is dubious.  Something doesn’t smell right.  It smells wrong, it smells…, it smells …. Sorry, I just can’t come up with a good word to describe it.

So I am declaring “Shenanigans” on all this fish eating nonsense!   There cannot be a sacrifice when this stuff tastes so good. And if it doesn’t taste good, just dip it in some tartar sauce, the universal antidote for bad tasting fish.  How can this be a penance when it tastes much better than what people eat it third-world countries? (Especially with a side of coleslaw) Shenanigans, I tell you! MAJOR SHENANIGANS!

If you really want to sacrifice, eat tofu on Fridays. Maybe a nice big kale salad?  Or how about some of that quinoa crap?  Eat that stuff all day and you will not only sacrifice your Friday, but spend most of Saturday morning getting “cleansed” and I don’t mean spiritually.  

Or if you wanted to really want to obtain nirvana, eat a vegetable burger. And not one those generic veggie burgers.  No, eat one that contains pieces of multi-colored gunk in it, so you have no idea what you are ingesting. It’s like the ultra-modern version of mystery meat, only it’s not even meat. It’s gobs of who-knows-what, fused together into patty form and scandalously referred to as a burger. Like it resembles a cheeseburger in any other aspect but its shape. If you can eat that monstrosity and not ralph it up, then you have really accomplished something.   
Therefore, I have made a new Lenten resolution. I will march to the beat of a different drummer. I will take the road less traveled. I will swim against the tide.  When everyone turns to the left, I will turn to the right.  That is correct: I am giving up fish for Lent!  Unless of course, I can persuade someone to make me a fish sammich, then I just might be tempted to indulge.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

This Post Is A Pile Of Dog Crap

A strange set of circumstances led to an unfortunate incident at my house last week.  My wife was home sick with a nasty virus, I had an early breakfast meeting, and the temperature that morning was a brutal negative 12 degrees.

Usually my wife gets up before me and feeds, then walks, the dog.  I knew that would be my responsibility that morning and set the alarm accordingly.  Normally I would tend to the dog first thing in the morning because his breakfast time was already somewhat delayed.  But because of the breakfast meeting, I elected to shower first.  However, right after the shower, nature called. And of course I needed to answer the call right then because of the breakfast meeting.  While I was attending to my business, I received a visit from the dog.  He did not appear very happy that his breakfast was now considerably late.

I finished up, got dressed and hurried down stairs to start the day.  It was then that I was greeted, not by the dog, but by a pile of dog crap on the floor right in front of me.  It was right in the walkway, presented where I could not miss it.
I was glad the dog crap was on the tile portion of the floor, where it could be
Thinks I did a shitty job that morning!
easily cleaned. That was until I saw a second “gift” about eight feet away on the carpet.

The dog obviously was not happy with my performance that morning.  He had sent me a message, actually two messages, to communicate his utter displeasure with my level of customer service.  However, as I stared at the crap before me, I realized there were some deeper messages, some life lessons if you will, expressed here:

Life Lesson #1 – Do not put your trivial needs ahead of the more important needs of others.

If you break this rule, there are consequences.  The offended party may decide to crap on the floor.  At work, they may figuratively crap on your head.  Of course it is wrong for them to do this, and they may get the blame, however you still look bad, and smell bad, with a pile of crap all over your head.  Once the crap is let loose, it is too late. Better to make sure other people’s needs are taken care of, than having to deal with the resulting crap.

Life Lesson #2 – Do not yell at others when you contributed to the mess.

I wanted to yell at my dog, but I didn’t.  Even though he did the crapping, I created the environment to make it possible.  I was largely responsible for the crap, I owned some of it (actually technically I owned all of it).  How often do we yell at others when we are the ones that help create the mess?  What do angry outbursts accomplish except to make others feel as terrible as we do at the moment?  My dog had already had a traumatic morning because his routine had been altered, why should I make it any worse?

Life Lesson #3 – When life gives you crap, instead of complaining, just figure out the best way to deal with it.

Under normal circumstances it would have been a hassle disposing of the crap, however there was 16 inches of snow on my backyard.  So I collected all the turds in paper towels and flung them like a monkey at the zoo, far out in the yard.  I now realize why the monkeys do this, because it is kind of fun.

Life Lesson #4 – Even when life gives you crap, find something positive in the pile.

As soon as I heaved the crap into the yard, I had an epiphany.  The worst part of my morning was going to be walking the dog in frigid, negative 12 degree weather.  Because he crapped in the house, I no longer had to do that. I let him out on the deck to whiz and the entire job was completed without me even having to put on a coat!  Waking up to dog crap was disturbing, but something positive resulted from it.

Life Lesson #5 – Give others credit for wise decisions, even when then cause you some discomfort.

I realized the dog had the choice to poop in negative 12 degree weather or inside where it was 82 degrees warmer.  Maybe the dog is shrewder than I thought.  Well played, I mean, well laid doggy, well laid.

And yes, I extracted all off this, from a pile of dog crap …….