Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kittens and Cougars, Oh My!

Ah....Thanksgiving is here! This is one of my favorite holidays of the year. This is when Cowboys and Aliens can set aside petty differences and break bread mano a mano (I believe that is Swedish for "cheek to cheek"). I have so many things that I am grateful for, that I decided to write a list. Let's see how many of my thoughts make your list.

I am thankful for:
  1. Serving a forgiving and a loving God
  2. My smokin hot wife
  3. Cheech, Baby-girl, and The Boy
  4. My ridiculously good looks
  5. My dance battle skills
  6. My writing skills
  7. My extremely good taste in clothes
  8. The internets/interwebs and The Google
  9. Sugarpop Music
  10. Pirates
  11. My friends
  12. Having a G.O.B. (That's how we say J.O.B. in the ghetto)
  13. Being recognized as Cougar-Bait Kitten Dreams
  14. Being of sound mind
I'm sure that some of you will argue with #14; but hey, you're reading this aren't you.....

Point number kinda hurts...but I have crossed over from Cougar-Bait to Kitten Dreams. This is the year that everything changed. I'm now 35, and of course older women are attracted to me, but I can longer be labeled as "cougar bait."  That esteemed title now belongs to much younger men (teenagers) like Isak Adamson and The Fresh Prinze.

Before going any further - Cougars are older ladies that like young dudes; kittens are 20-somethings that like older dudes.

As some of you know, I was running a social experiment that I fiendishly dubbed "Project Fauxhawk."  I won't go into the details of said experiment, but I did get some surprising results. Only 2 people ever commented on my hairstyle but so many more were staring. Looking as good as I do, this is a normal day occurrence. The difference was that the kittens were not only staring at me like I was fine ham sandwich, they were no longer pretending not to look when I noticed. They were blatant in their oogling of my goods. I was ready to credit "project fauxhawk" for this change when something surprising happened. As part of corporate restructuring (I got a new G.O.B.) I had to end the experiment and go back to a more "professional" look. I naturally assumed that things would go back as they were - with men cursing me and women undressing me while I was unaware. Things did change...more kittens are making it a point to let me know that I'm hotness.

This usually happens during lunch. If I order a burrito, I get some extra guacamole free of charge. If I get a side of tots, they are magically upgraded and topped with chili and cheese. This last week I ordered a 2-scoop sundae and the girl behind the counter stuffed about a gallon of Mint n' Chip into my little cup.

Being a Kitten Dream is actually better than being Cougar Bait. The older ladies still gawk and make off-hand remarks as I stroll by, and that's awesome, but they are set in their ways and have no need to try to make me happy. The Kittens, by contrast, are still getting themselves established. This means I get free food a lot. The Kittens are also aware that when I'm with my wife or kids that they should not look my way. The cougars take a more "museum" approach and look but don't touch. This, of course, gets Nelly ready to cut someone - meaning me. Is it my fault that the older ladies make it obvious that I'm hot?!

Ultimately, I am thankful that I still look as good as ever and am generally the most attractive man in the room. Sexy isn't easy - but I wouldn't want it any other way.

To all my friends in Cyberspace, I wish you well this Thanksgiving. Eat. Drink.Read. Be Merry!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I know the most finicky man on the planet. He is a Persnickety Little Texan (PLT). Very high-brow kind of guy and is fond of peacocking. He hasn't had an idea or opinion that he hasn't loved. I ran into PLT last week during lunch; he was wearing a hand-tailored, very fitted, cream colored suit with a pumpkin orange Forzieri, a crocodile belt (brown) and stingray boots (black). Every time I talk to PLT he is quoting the Harvard Business Journal or Yogi Berra. To my surprise, and enjoyment, he referenced my blog. You can only imagine my amazement upon hearing this news. PLT has known me for the last 5 years and has seen me accomplish technical and business miracles - the only compliment he ever gave me was on my choice of clothes (I was wearing windowpane pants). To hear that he read my blog was like hearing the Pope say was hooked on 16 and Pregnant. That's when I realized that my blog was his Guilty Pleasure.

A Guilty Pleasure is something that you shouldn't like, but you do anyways.

I'm fairly certain that PLT wants to institute the caste system here in the states, but he thinks my blog is absolute genius. He can NEVER admit that he believes I'm the voice of my generation; but he will read every post (mindful not to comment). In my quest to become famous, I'll take any fans I can get.

That little run-in made me think about the whole "guilty pleasures" thing. I'm sure that everyone out in the world loves doing something that they dont want to admit to. It could be a that a very handsome, ridiculously talented blogger enjoys a nice hot bath at the end of a long ass day. With bubbles. And Candles. That smell like vanilla. Maybe some bath salts. With a chilled Zima. With a pixie stick. I don't know who this guy is, but I'm sure he wouldn't admit to this, even though it's like a little piece of heaven.

My guilty pleasure?  90210. I have seen every episode since it debuted. Every Monday at 8/7 Central. I actually DVR it so that we can watch after the kids are asleep. Every Monday at 9, I have a 2-scoop sundae and am enthralled in the high school drama. I've been waiting for the return of Ethan since the 1st season. I don't think he's coming back, but he was my favorite character. I think that Navid deserves better. I think that making Teddy gay was the wrong move. I think that Adriana will always be her own worse enemy. I think that Dixon and Anny aren't selling me on being brother and sister. I think that I know way too much about this show. I shouldn't like this show, but I do.

Some of my buddies have guilty pleasures of their own.

Dallas Jabbawockee is addicted to Jersey Shore. This may not sound bad since most people like this show. But most people are ghetto and dig raunchy stuff - like Jack Ass. Dallas is an Artsy-Fartsy cat. His entire life is centered around the arts. Very abstract and profound - like a modern day Socrates that looks like Joe Jonas. Because of his stature in the art world, he can't come out and say that he loves watching the train wreck that is Jersey Shore. This would be like Edgar Allen Poe thinking that Stephenie Meyer is pure awesomeness.

Big Ass Guy has a simple, but delicious guilty pleasure: Heath Bars. He is roughly the size of a real-life Shrek and is addicted to this chocolate-covered treat. He sneaks them from his wife and has a drawer full of them next to his bed. He is like a 6'6, 280lb 6 year-old sneaking candy. Awesomeness.

Zergio Jutierrez has some guilty pleasures that puts everyone else to shame. I've said before, Zergio is as close to a clone of me that this world will see. Because of this, I find his general ridiculous logical. Here we go! Zerg is hooked on the Rachel Zoe show. I never heard of this show, but after a quick google, I can see why this made the list. He hates it but can't stop watching it. Like the good husband he is, he watches other chick shows with Zara, but he secretly loves them. Another good one, and probably the best guilty pleasure that I have heard of, Zerg watches the "hot topics" portion of The View.

I'm sure that all of you out there have things that you're embarrassed to admit to - I'm thinking that the comments field will be light today ;)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Holy Frijoles!

I am an American-born Mexican from California. This means I have a kick-ass surname, attractive olive-colored skin, and speak absolutely no spanish. It also means, while growing up, all the holidays were spent at Grandma's house. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easters, Labor Day, Boxing Day, Yom Kippur, Teacher-in-Service Day, Saturday, Sunday; all of them spent with cousins, aunts, uncles, and people that were some how related to us via marriage. My parent's cousins and their cousins' cousins were all "family" and introduced as aunts and uncles. The best part of all was 99% of the "family"only spoke spanish. So we would generally have 156 people in a house drinking and eating like only Mexicans can do, talking at each other, and trying to communicate with me as I clung to my mommy. Like a stranger in a strange land, I navigated my youth with all the gumption and care of Magellan mapping out the Straits. As I grew up, beginning my journey to become the FamousRay that you have all come to know and lust after, I put that world behind me.

For those of you that don't know, my wife is a Central American import. From the land of San Salvador she flew on angels wings to be delivered to me. Not really - she rode on the back of a coyote and landed in Los Angeles. Most of her family is in the States and spread across from LA to the Inland Empire. Her childhood was much like mine, but she can actually speak spanish. So every holiday (Sundays included), her entire extended-family would show up at her parent's house and party like it's 1999. Two hundred Salvadorians packed into a house and doing pinatas in the front yard. Nelly absolutely LOVED it and figured that the whole world was this way.

Being Latino, there are just somethings that we must do as a people. The "family-get-together" is just one example. Here are a few more so that you get a better understanding:
  1. We must stay with a family member when we visit...even though I have a million Marriott points
  2. Because someone will end up Butt Hurt if we're at a hotel
  3. We have to eat meals with the family
  4. Grandma, grandpa, tio, tia, and cousins all having dinner together
  5. Every night
  6. If we leave the house, the entire herd is coming along
  7. All in the same car
  8. Even if we don't have enough seats for everyone
  9. Only 1 car is used to transport up to 15 people at a time
  10. Leaving the house without everyone will result in Butt Hurtness and we just can't have that

Since I have lived in the Great State of Texas, we go back to Cali every summer; that's how the above truths were revealed to me. Every summer I find myself in the whirlwind that is Chino aka El Salvador. I can remember a particular 4th of July when I drove from Irvine to Chino to Rancho Santa Margarita to Chino to Montclair to Chino to LA to Chino. For those of you not familiar with SoCal, let's just say that I was on the road for 26 hours that day. I'm sure that looking at the list of places we drove to you can see one place pops up more than the rest. The best part was that the family was Butt Hurt because we weren't making time to be with them. All the holidays are this way. We are split driving between families trying to keep emotions at bay while enjoying my relaxing vacation.

As an added bonus, there are subtle difference between my extended family and Nelly's. My family plans get-togethers - complete with menu and start time. If they say 3 o'clock they mean 2:55. If we are not there by 2:57 the phone calls start. They will not start eating until we are all there. Together. Nelly's family doesn't plan anything. Ever. People start showing up at her parent's house throughout the day. And they never go home. If we are not at the house when they randomly show up, they get their feelings hurt. Then the phone calls start.

This last trip out I had a revelation. While I took 20 people with me to Sam's Club to buy toilet paper and cereal it hit me. I was surrounded by at least 1 million people from morning to night, all eating and drinking and talking at each other, all in spanish, and I still don't speak a word, people are trying to communicate with me and I'm there clinging to my wife. I was reliving my youth and remembering all the reasons I joined the military when I turned 18. Nelly was reliving her youth and still loving it. She was wondering why we just didn't sell the house and move back in with her family.

The only reference I have of El Salvador comes from watching HGTV's House Hunter International and FX Network's The Shield. I know for damn sure that I'm not at Playa El Suzal but I'm not being chopped up into little pieces either - though Nelly has threatened me a few times. I'm somewhere in the middle of those extremes. I love going home and visiting family. It makes me feel like a kid again. It makes me realize why I love Texas so much. In a twist to this whole thing, I'm contemplating retirement in San Salvador just to get away from them all.

In all seriousness, everyone's family is jacked up. I just get to write about mine. I'm sure my kids and their spouses will say the same about us. For all their dysfunction, I love and miss them all very muchos. I'm sure they will be Butt Hurt when they read this and the phone calls will start. That's why I have Caller ID.