The #MeaningOfLife: Carb, Cheese, Meat, Sauce, and Sometimes Vegetable

If I recall correctly, comedian Jim Gaffigan had a bit in his stand-up act, concerning Mexican food restaurants in the Midwestern United States. Apparently, Gaffigan was once a waiter at a Mexican restaurant in the Midwest. Gaffigan's humorous observation was that everything on the menu was basically the same thing: Tortilla, cheese, meat, and beans. Burrito? Tortilla, cheese, meat, and beans. Tostada? Tortilla, cheese, meat, and beans. Enchilada plate? Tortilla, cheese, meat, and beans. You get the idea. It's basically true, when it comes to the general American idea of what Mexican food is; anything more or different will stray into (gasp!) a non-superficial study of culture and cuisine.

I've come to realize that Gaffigan's archetypal idea of Mexican food can be adapted to become a formula for many kinds of delicious food: Some form of carbohydrate, cheese, meat, sauce, and sometimes vegetable.

Let's repeat that again: Carb. Cheese. Meat. Sauce. Sometimes vegetable.

The cold-cut sandwich in the photograph above contains most of the elements: Bread for carb, American cheese for cheese, pastrami for meat, sandwich spread (mayonaise with pickle relish) for sauce, and those bits of pickle in the sandwich spread might pass as the vegetable. Okay, maybe there's no vegetable here; that's why the formula says sometimes vegetable.

Related to the introductory paragraph are nachos. Tortilla chips are the carb. Nacho cheese is the cheese. Taco meat is the meat. Salsa, guacamole, and sour cream are basically the sauce. Salsa is also the vegetable.


How about a cheeseburger? Buns are the carb. The slice of cheese is the cheese. The hamburger patty is the meat. Ketchup, mustard, special sauce, and whatever else are the sauce. Tomato, lettuce, onions, and whatever else are the vegetables.


Did someone say chili cheese fries? I did. Carb? Fries. Cheese? Melted, shredded cheese. Meat? Probably bits of ground beef in the chili. Sauce? Chili. Sometimes vegetable? Beans, I suppose ...


Pizza might be the exception that proves the rule, or however the saying goes. Carb? Crust. Cheese? Yes, please. Meat? Sometimes. Sauce? Of course. Sometimes vegetable? Depends on your mood.


According to legend, alchemists sought a magical item called the Philosopher's Stone. The item could transform lead into gold, risking economic inflation. The item could create an elixir of immortality, risking eternal boredom. The third formula of the Stone would have to be, of course, carb-cheese-meat-sauce-sometimes-vegetable. The formula is definitely the inverse of the immortality elixir, but it does tend to make life deliciously ... golden.

Three down, three to go for November. Cheers!

The #MeaningOfLife: Carb, Cheese, Meat, Sauce, and Sometimes Vegetable

If I recall correctly, comedian Jim Gaffigan had a bit in his stand-up act, concerning Mexican food restaurants in the Midwestern United States. Apparently, Gaffigan was once a waiter at a Mexican restaurant in the Midwest. Gaffigan's humorous observation was that everything on the menu was basically the same thing: Tortilla, cheese, meat, and beans. Burrito? Tortilla, cheese, meat, and beans. Tostada? Tortilla, cheese, meat, and beans. Enchilada plate? Tortilla, cheese, meat, and beans. You get the idea. It's basically true, when it comes to the general American idea of what Mexican food is; anything more or different will stray into (gasp!) a non-superficial study of culture and cuisine.

I've come to realize that Gaffigan's archetypal idea of Mexican food can be adapted to become a formula for many kinds of delicious food: Some form of carbohydrate, cheese, meat, sauce, and sometimes vegetable.

Let's repeat that again: Carb. Cheese. Meat. Sauce. Sometimes vegetable.

The cold-cut sandwich in the photograph above contains most of the elements: Bread for carb, American cheese for cheese, pastrami for meat, sandwich spread (mayonaise with pickle relish) for sauce, and those bits of pickle in the sandwich spread might pass as the vegetable. Okay, maybe there's no vegetable here; that's why the formula says sometimes vegetable.

Related to the introductory paragraph are nachos. Tortilla chips are the carb. Nacho cheese is the cheese. Taco meat is the meat. Salsa, guacamole, and sour cream are basically the sauce. Salsa is also the vegetable.


How about a cheeseburger? Buns are the carb. The slice of cheese is the cheese. The hamburger patty is the meat. Ketchup, mustard, special sauce, and whatever else are the sauce. Tomato, lettuce, onions, and whatever else are the vegetables.


Did someone say chili cheese fries? I did. Carb? Fries. Cheese? Melted, shredded cheese. Meat? Probably bits of ground beef in the chili. Sauce? Chili. Sometimes vegetable? Beans, I suppose ...


Pizza might be the exception that proves the rule, or however the saying goes. Carb? Crust. Cheese? Yes, please. Meat? Sometimes. Sauce? Of course. Sometimes vegetable? Depends on your mood.


According to legend, alchemists sought a magical item called the Philosopher's Stone. The item could transform lead into gold, risking economic inflation. The item could create an elixir of immortality, risking eternal boredom. The third formula of the Stone would have to be, of course, carb-cheese-meat-sauce-sometimes-vegetable. The formula is definitely the inverse of the immortality elixir, but it does tend to make life deliciously ... golden.

Three down, three to go for November. Cheers!

#LEGO #Sigfig Photo: #Unselfie or #UltimateSelfie?

My Instagram profile -- and by extension, my Facebook profile, my Twitter profile, and my Tumblr blog -- has become a repository of photos depicting my LEGO signature minifigure, or sigfig, in random places.

A sigfig is essentially a miniature, plastic avatar of a person, usually either resembling the individual in some way, or a plastic LEGO version of that person's favorite fictional character (or historical figure). Personally, I cobbled together a minifigure that kinda-sorta resembles me. My sigfig's hair is usually a black plastic "wig," with the length roughly corresponding to my actual hair at the time of the photograph, unless my sigfig is "cosplaying" as someone else. (It gets a little complicated sometimes.)

My sigfig's face comes from a Jurassic World character named Simon Masrani, or at least the LEGO minifigure version of the character. I haven't seen the movie yet, so I have no idea who Simon Masrani is supposed to be. Perhaps he gets eaten by a dinosaur. All I know is that that particular head is made of "medium dark flesh" plastic, and the printed face has facial hair. The head actually has two facial expressions on either side:  A snarky, sardonic smile and a shocked, scared gaping mouth. I use the smile for most photos; I use the open mouth for more humorous photos, as well as a "singing" face for my lazily-produced music videos.

My sigfig is cosplaying Doc Brown, with some flux and a capacitor.
The typical sigfig usually "wears" the same thing everyday, like a superhero costume. In contrast, the torso and legs of my sigfig will usually correspond to the "outfit" I am actually wearing that day, which begs the question: Do these minifigure parts dictate my fashion choices, or do my fashion choices dictate how I assemble my sigfig? We'll never know.

My sigfig's hands usually are medium dark flesh in color, and that's how you make my LEGO sigfig. To summarize, my sigfig consists of an approximation of my current hairstyle, Simon Masrani's minifigure head, the outfit-of-the-day torso, the outfit-of-the-day legs, and medium dark flesh hands.

The frequency of these sigfig photos on my social media profiles has got me thinking about why I take these sort of photos, and why I post these photos on the Web. I could easily take frequent selfies, just like almost everyone else, but I'd rather not do that. Do I take sigfig photos to appear less "narcissistic"? Is the sigfig photo an "unselfie"?

On the other hand, nothing can me more "narcissistic" than cobbling together an avatar that kinda-sorta resembles oneself. It's basically like chiseling a gigantic marble statue of oneself, but as a tiny, plastic, cutesy thing. Do I take sigfig photos to appear satirically and/or exaggeratedly egomaniacal? Is the sigfig photo the "ultimate selfie"?

We'll never know. Okay, I think I'm trying to go for "satirical narcissism," at least I hope I am.

What I do know is that the sigfig photo has one advantage over the selfie: I get to be behind the camera to compose a shot, like a proper photographer. With a selfie, the person is also the subject of the snapshot, so his/her eyes will usually look into the camera's lens, and not at the framing and composition of the shot, at the moment of the shutter. With a sigfig photo, I get to control the shot as much as possible, and I get to place my avatar into unusual, amusing situations.

Also, food photos are exponentially more interesting with a sigfig in the foreground, holding tiny plastic versions of the actual food (in the background).

We're having second breakfast at a car dealership's service department.

This Star Wars torso is the closest I can get to the dark grey Oswald the Lucky Rabbit T-shirt I wore that day.
It's like the LEGO version of Inception -- LEGOception? Foodception?

In any case, the sigfig photo is a fun way to express my own fluctuatingly healthy and unhealthy sense of self. It's a parody ... in which I am fantastic and self-effacing at the same time.

My real denim jacket isn't the same shade of blue as my sigfig, but the dark red V-neck jumper is spot-on.

May everything be awesome in flesh-and-bone, as it is in plastic-and-ink.