Cupcake chaos

Hello, world!

This month’s Absolute Write Blog Chain has me in a bind. The topic is to be thrown by the previous poster, creating tons of excitement and mystery. Well, not really, just a couple of seconds of slight jitter before opening Internet Explorer to find the topic, my topic is: Cupcake Disaster.

Before getting to the story: here’s the link to all the great posts from the great blogs participating this February.

orion_mk3 – (link to post) Yuppies Who Hate the Family Business
ConnieBDowell – (link to post) Unexpected Library Encounter
bmadsen – (link to post) Cupcake Disaster (You are here!)
MsLaylaCakes – (link to post) Topic
HistorySleuth – (link to post) Topic
writingismypassion – (link to post) Topic
katci13 – (link to post) Topic
KitCat – (link to post) Topic
Briony-zisaya – (link to post) Topic
CatherineHall – (link to post) Topic
Angyl78 – (link to post) Topic
randi.lee – (link to post) Topic
Lady Cat – (link to post) Topic
pyrosama – (link to post) Topic
Ralph Pines – (link to post) Topic
dclary – (link to post) Topic
meowzbark – (link to post) Topic

And here we go.

The topic, as mentioned, is Cupcake Disaster. We are in February. Cupcakes. February. It falls into place. I’ve decided that my blog is a bit depressive and sad (well, not decided, but rather someone told me), so here’s a bit of humorous parting stories before I move to another blog.

Why do animals scratch and sniff everything? Because they are smart. That’s why. So on February the 13th, I was getting ready for a romantic dinner with my girlfriend. I had been juggling the thought of baking her some molten chocolate cupcakes (which I’ve never made before). The recipe seemed quite easy and on the light side, which I’m all about. It was just a matter of taking cocoa powder (always in the glass jar), yogurt, peanut butter, apple sauce and honey, mix it with flower and baking powder. Boom, bam, done!

The cooking process took just fifteen minutes. The baking process took about twenty. And she arrived. Stunning. Her long, slender legs trying to escape from that sexy two-piece dress. They gracefully teased me and then hid again. Beautiful tanned skin flashing just enough. She smiled as she kissed me and I took hold of her hand.

The candles flickered as I closed the door and she opened her eyes wide in amazement. I was on the right path. We sat down and dinner began: first course was a simple arugula and pomegranate salad with an Asian honey dressing.

I felt on the right path.

Then came a Yucca-crusted Salmon filet over a bed of Jazmin rice and oven-roasted bell peppers. She just kept smiling and thanking for taking my time in coming up with such a great dinner. I had rented her favorite movie so I knew I had this in the bank.

But then came dessert. As the oven went “bing!” I made the mistake of saying “wait for this”. I went into the kitchen and pulled out my wonderfully appealing molten chocolate cupcakes. I mean, how could I lose? Just reading it seems enticing. But no. I placed it in front of her, after sprinkling powder sugar over it and sat down. She gently cut in with a spoon and the thick mixture oozed out at a gentle place, immediately clashing with the white china. I had made it. I had succeeded in creating the perfect dinner.

Then she took a bite.

There’s something about cringing you don’t ever get used to, and she did just that. She tried to smile but I knew she wasn’t a good actress. For a second, my heart went racing. Her eyes, big and dark, wondered around from side to side like a couple of drunken dancers looking for a place to sit. She found the napkin.

That’s when I knew something had gone wrong.

“I’m sorry,” she sighed in a confusing, defeated tone, “it’s. I can’t. It’s inedible.”

“What?” I asked. I’m pretty sure I stuttered like crazy.

“It’s just. It tastes awful, honey.”

“But it can’t be. It’s not. I can’t.” I immediately tried to apologize and only managed to after breathing deeply for a second. I rushed back to the kitchen–leaving her by herself to have all the water she wanted to–and began a quick CSI scan of the ingredients.

Damn it, nature. Why don’t humans scratch and sniff?

Have you ever seen Costa Rican five spice? Well, here’s a hint. It looks just like cocoa.

At least I though I could save the night by watching the movie. But it turned out five spice stays in you. For a long time. It stays in your throat, in your teeth, in your tongue. Long enough to spark the sentence: “I’m going to go home. I had a good time.”

Moving on

Greetings, world!

Thanks to a dear friend I met in a Writer’s Conference, I came to the conclusion that I must move on from this job. There is no need for a depressing blog in this world. Heck, there’s just no point at all.

I began organizing another blog and should have it up and running within matter of weeks.


The End

Hallo, people:

It’s that time of the month in which Absolute Write gives me a chance to participate in the Blog Chain. For December it’s THE END OF THE WORLD. Or, just The End. Here are the instructions:

This month’s prompt:
The End (of the World)

Yes, since the predicted Mayapocalypse only fails to materialize once every 500 years or so we are piggybacking on it. Write what you will about the end of the world (those disinclined to eschatology can write about “the end” in a broader sense). Hopefully, after these ends of the world as we know it, we’ll all feel fine.

Participants and posts:
orion_mk3: (link to post)
dolores haze – (link to post)
randi.lee – (link to post)
writingismypassion – (link to post)
bmadsen – YOU ARE HERE!
Ralph Pines – (link to post)
SRHowen – (link to post)
AllieKat – (link to post)
MsLaylaCakes – (link to post)
katci13 – (link to post)
meowzbark – (link to post)
Angyl78 – (link to post)
Aheïla – (link to post)
pyrosama – (link to post)
Araenvo – (link to post)
CJ Michaels – (link to post)
SuzanneSeese – (link to post)
BBBurke – (link to post)

If someone, right now, comes in and interrupts you reading my blog, he or she gently grabs your chin and lifts it up, then smiles with a hint of irony, you will probably ask yourself: what the hell? And, you will probably just stutter like a frightened, wandering child, when he or she says: it’s all over by tomorrow morning. That’s it. Your world ends in twenty-four hours.

And then what do you do? I find it most interesting to see that people, the selfish, complex beings that we are, all react the same way: oh crap, I have to do everything I wanted to do. I must pronounce my love to the girl I always liked, I must visit as much countries as I can, I must run naked in a crowded shopping mall, whatever rings your bell. But you’re screwed because all you got is twenty-four hours.

Most likely you end up eating tons of ice cream, cookies and watching a movie, moping about the fact that life is going to end in one day, and as the clock winds down to zero, you cry, and then cry some more.

That’s because we humans have fear. It’s fine. Society tells us to be afraid, after all it’s what society wants from us–a bunch of people afraid of acting for themselves, just looking to get a paycheck at the end of the month and carry on with our routines until it’s time to retire and eat apple mush and die in Florida.

Well, things do not work out that way. If you do something about it. The end is only the marking of a new beginning. Yes, corny and cliché, hollywood, Bryan Adams and Hallmark cards all rolled up into one. But true nonetheless. Let’s just look back.

On December 3rd, 2011, at exactly 8:30 am I arrived at my office. On December 3rd, 2011, at exactly 11:30 am I was admitted to a private hospital where doctors told me not to move, there was a big chance I wouldn’t walk ever again.

It was the end of a very particular way of thinking: I’m invincible. And why wouldn’t I have thought that? I was twenty-six, I had a good job, I was healthy and had a college education. Anyone in my position never thought something wrong would happen.

And now, one year later, I realize one thing: the end of a way of thinking has just started another one.

I cherish moments that are simple yet powerful like laughing. I like laughing, a lot. I see the world by what I can learn from it and not what it wants me to learn. I write whenever I can and not when I feel like it. I see my friends but also I see myself. I praise silence. I see colors, sounds, smells and combine them. I talk to people, whoever they are, I might never see them and they might have a lot to teach me. I appreciate my body, though it has flaws, and I strive to make it better. I look at the stars whenever I can. I wake up early and walk outside, just because. I have learned from my mistakes and now say “I don’t know” or “I made that mistake and I’m sorry” with actually giving a damn what people think. I know money doesn’t make me happy; it didn’t stop me from falling and, by the way, Newton was right, there IS gravity. I listen to rivers. I’ve even begun organizing my exit from the beautiful world of Biomedical engineering to seek what I like the most. I just do!

But most importantly, I don’t plan. I do. And when I don’t feel that momentum, that drive, I think about it. Why is it that something is braking me? Am I still afraid? Of course! But I face my fears, there’s no reason not to.

Yet, I know that, no matter how much I write and tell people what to do, for good, they won’t do it. Because it’s not the end of the line for them. It’s the end of a way of thinking that was only mine. All people need to get to the end of their line to understand what I’m talking about. I just hope they do. I hope, within all that I’ve been through, that people really break that chains that bind us to the ground, to what people tell us to do and not what we want to do.

When I boarded my plane, on the way to the Niagara Falls Writer’s Conference, my girlfriend told me one thing that’s so true, it hurts to say that I didn’t come up with it. It was Lao Tzu who said:

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

So I hope all of you meet an end. All ends mark a beginning. And one you should take full advantage of.

Rivers speak wise words

Rivers speak wise words

People I meet: Archibald

There are people you want to meet, there are people you’re fine with never meeting and there are people you wish you never met. Archibald was sadly on the third category. We were in San Francisco in a technical training, about two years ago, and we had been taken directly to the factory–factory trainings are great because we see everything that takes place–and we learn much more than any regular training.

I arrived late of Sunday with my coworker, about fifty years old, and we stayed at the Grand Hyatt, just a mile from our training. During dinner I spotted a latino just like us and realized that he was on the training as well. He was Gerson from Panamá. On Monday, we were driven to the factory and there we met Archibald. He had arrived late and woken up early to discuss some “financial” issues with other factory employees.

You see, Archibald worked for his brother, and he had sort of a manager-technical-sales rep mix. Let me tell you: that never works. Because there’s not one focus point.

But Archibald failed to see that. He thought he could do it all. We started our training with very tiny machines, no bigger than a laptop, and it was our job to cram a pump, an antibiotic dosing system and a control system all inside. From the start, Archibald failed to accomplish not one single unit.

But that wasn’t my problem. You see, the first night, after a tiring day, we went for dinner, the four of us. Archibald suggested: Hooters. Oh boy. Not a good sign.

“All I want is to see ladies,” he said with a stupid grin on his face.

And so we went.

To make the long story short, the waitress kindly said: “Please, sir, I’m trying to work”. And this is a Hooters waitress.

As the week went on, Archie became more and more frustrated with the machines. He just couldn’t fix them. He kept complaining that he was made for this, that he was made to sell. We all just kept quiet and carried on. Until Friday came along.

The factory guys had told us that there would be a volleyball game and we were welcomed to join them for a few beers while the “younger” ones played. Archie was ecstatic. Finally, his field of play. We got there and he started drinking like crazy. By night’s end, he was too drunk and started hitting on the Sales Manager, telling her he wanted to climb and conquer her. Great.

Add to this that I was the only driver, because the company had given me the rental.

He then started hitting on a complete stranger who felt attacked. She screamed. Archie screamed. I broke the conflict-to-be up in no time and took Archie back to the hotel. Or at least I tried to.

He didn’t want to leave.

“This is what I’ve been waiting for! Yeah!” He mumbled.

Damn it.

He kept insisting that he was going to bang the Sales Manager (who wasn’t pretty by the way), but she grew so uncomfortable, she held hands with one of her employees just to drive him away! And he didn’t! He kept screaming and causing chaos.

I got pissed. And I said: “Alright, I’m checking out.”

Archie grudgingly got into the car and asked me to turn up the volume. Damn him, he kept shouting and singing. The Panamanian only nodded and laughed along. He was enjoying. But my coworker was just about to kill him.

We got to the hotel and I bolted to my room. Archie headed straight for the bar. I just ignored him: I’m a writer, I’m not made for partying. But turns out silly Bernard left the hotel keys in the car. So I went down the elevator and guess what?

In a matter of seconds–I still do not know how–San Francisco’s finest had Archie cuffed and escorted to a cruiser. As he was walking towards the lobby’s exit, he turned to me and was about to call for me. I just slid back in the elevator.

A year later I found out his brother had to fly to San Francisco from Peru and pay his bail. He was fired. Oh, Archie….

Mr. Archibald, please come with us.

Archie’s been bad.


Flying First Class

There are no better words than: dear passenger, you have been upgraded. I paid for economy. But the seventy thousand miles a year and airline loyalty both stood up for me.

Let me tell you: that blue curtain that separates those two worlds makes a huge of difference.

Forget the: “Dear Mr. M, thank you for flying with us. For today’s flight we have Belgian Chocolate Ice Cream (meaning Hägen Daas). Would you want some?” I don’t care about that! Let all the passengers have ice cream! And cookies! And wine!

I don’t care  about the “gourmet” meals packed tightly into a ceramic dish, looking like a playhouse kit more than anything else. I don’t care about the movies and music.

I especially don’t care for the passengers flying next to me: succesful businessmen flying to tropical paradises to “flaunt” about in front of beautiful local women; Latina hips or Asian punani. Or young entrepeneurs so rich, first class seems like coach to them. Just because Daddy invented facetwitter and they inherited a four hundred gazillion dollar fortune. They’ll still blow it all by their 31st birthday. Screw them!

All I care about is leg-room. I’m 6’4″, I’m built as a wicker-man, with long legs and arms, and I find coach class to be cruel and unusual punishment so, when I get upgraded in a 13-hour-long flight, going back home from seeing open-heart surgeries in a rural hospital in the outskirts of Gwan Zho, I’m taking it.

I sit comfortably, I have room in front of me. My knees won’t fall victim to a twelve-year-old who just discovered reclining. I even moan when I get to stretch my legs. The pleasure!

And then, it hits me. I’ve had too much cheap wine, too much water and that darn air-conditioning is pressing my bladder up to the point in which I’m nervously mumbling when I reach the bathroom. I push the door and lock it.

It is strictly forbidden to smoke in the lavatories. Punishable by law.

And I’m always baffled. THIS is the first class nobody shows you. I brace myself by pushing my shoulders to the side and planting myself flat, I unzip my pants and praise the heavens around me that the aircraft doesn’t hit a speed bump at 30 000 ft. My head must lean back, there’s no room, so aiming happens blind. Oh dear.

So. Why is it that First Class is so cute and posh and nice but the lavatory is as cramped as a mine service elevator? I can’t even stand straight. Check your heads, United.

And, if you don’t believe me, just check this out:

A cramped john

Hoping for no turbulence

(Yes, yes, hispter self-portrait, I know)

People I meet: Enrique

People I meet: Enrique.

This is a series of articles about the people I meet year in and year out. I travel—on average—twenty times a year and the most valuable thing I take, over the miles, the layovers, crappy hotels, faulty A/C and stale cookies, is the people.


I met Enrique in the U.S. in 2011 when I visited San Diego for training. He was a thick man with a bushy moustache, eyeglasses and gray hair.  We instantly clicked as both us used sense of humor to cope with everyday life. The thing was, his everyday life was completely different from mine.

It was after meeting him that my perception of the medical industry changed.

Enrique had been working for IC Medical for fifteen years already. When the recession hit in 2008, IC Medical had to cut costs and it meant milking the living crap out of every single one of IC Medical’s tech minions, Enrique included. The manufacturing shifts—in which he was included—went from the normal 9 hours to a 13-hour permanent overtime shift. But the salaries didn’t proportionally. IC Medical claimed a lack of income as the sole reason.

Granted, it was a problem that hit all of the U.S. and the world.  But, if it only had been that their lives were the same, with just a bit more work then there’d be no problem. But Enrique’s wasn’t.

His wife had suffered an accident, displacing three vertebrae on her back and, ironically, needed the equipment IC Medical sold to fix her condition.

Given that healthcare in the U.S. doesn’t use a socialist basis, Enrique could only afford certain hospitals. Hospitals, by the way, which were not willing to use IC Medical’s products to cure her, because the hospitals were “married” with other companies. Enrique was left with an alternative: either dig and burrow through his house for more money or turn to his employer for support.

So he turned to IC Medical. If his own company could pay for a hospital that did use the products, then his wife would make it. IC Medical didn’t even flinch. At the moment, providing the products for free was out of the question. I’m talking about two or three consumables and one machine: a cost of about 1000$.

So, as he told me this, whispering of course, I started thinking about all that I’ve done throughout the years. I’ve sold to doctors just because they want something cheaper, I’ve sold to doctors just because the brands I distribute are prestigious and I’ve sold to doctors just because their employers bought our brands. And in all three cases, I’ve wondered if they’d even flinch when I ask them for help.

Just like IC Medical with one of its own employees. A veteran nonetheless.

I kept in touch with Enrique after the training. I send him emails every once in a while and the most recent email I got was that his wife is now permanently disabled. IC Medical offered to pay for a percentage of the insurance required to have her home all day. But nothing else. Enrique is still being milked for every last drop of effort he can get. And I still sell IC Medical.

Why? Because I have to. Because Enrique has to. Or else, we f***ed.


A shadow walks by.

Staring at a window, at myself.

I breathe deep. Everything goes dark.

I open my eyes. I force them open. I know they’re open. But there’s only darkness.

I scream. But it muffles me. I move. But it pins me.

I want to cry. I can’t.

I see myself as I walk away, staring at a window then staring at myself.

I feel the pain, the saw, the scraping, the blood dripping down.

I want to cry. I can’t.

I want to go back to sleep.

About 17% of patients awake during surgery. Some are lucky enough to open their eyes, thus alerting the staff. Some can’t open their eyes. People have referred to the sensation as being “sleeplocked”.


Hello, World!
Here are the instructions to this month’s Absolute Write Blog Chain!

In the spirit of NaNoWriMo, write a mock review of a writing project that you have done or would like to do. Make sure to either give a brief, one-sentence description of what the project is or work it into the review somehow. You can review anything (poetry, prose, collected blog posts) and in any way you like (funny, serious, Dadaist).

And here are the participating blogs:

Participants and posts:
orion_mk3: (link to post)
Ralph Pines – (link to post)
bmadsen – (link to post)
dolores haze – (link to post)
SRHowen – (link to post)
Angyl78 – (link to post)
writingismypassion – (link to post)
meowzbark – (link to post)
pyrosama – (link to post)
randi.lee – (link to post)

wonderactivist – (link to post)

Here’s the post:

Chad Sorrens is a young and talented soldier facing his biggest challenge yet: to survive Project Archangel. In B.M.’s first novel, Project Archangel, the protagonist faces a series of challenges outlined by an underground terrorist war in Russia. Written at the age of 15, this novel has predictable twists and turns, but does have a gem somewhere beneath the troupes.

Within the gunfights, cliché love scenes and crummy dialogue we are forced to endure if we want to finish the novel, there is a harsh criticism towards war and the psychological turmoil soldiers endure. Sorrens, in the end of Project Archangel, regrets every second he spend holding a machine gun in the middle of the Russian Winter. Not because of himself, but because of the changed lives around him.

Overall Project Archangel, at 120 thousand words, is an ambitious creation by a young writer with much to learn. If the book is left to mature (and the writer) for a couple of years, it just might turn into a decent novel comparable with Ludlum, Forsyth and the earlier Clancy.

The review is of my very first book.

Stretcher 303

A doctor once told me life mattered little if one did not die with dignity.

“Forget about being a hero or having a golden plaque on your grave, highlighting what a wonderful person you were,” he swatted the disappointment away with his hands. He combed his mustache with his index and thumb then fixed his eyeglasses. He exhaled, “it’s not that. I’ve seen it enough to understand it’s not that. By time you’re buried, no one remembers you.”

I didn’t reply. My gestures did. He smirked.

“Confusing?” I nodded. Good salespeople just nod along. “Everybody remembers the you before death, right? Good. Everybody remembers the death: the heart attack, the car crash, the quiet gasp in the middle of the night. I could go on, but neither of us wants to. But after death, we don’t remember much. And it’s fine. That’s what we are meant to do.”

And so, as his voice turned into a muffled mumble, I started thinking back. I thought about my brother and his best friend, Kyle. Back in ninth grade, there was a party in Kyle’s house. Booze, weed, a thumping bass. Kyle was a bit of both: high and drunk, cruzado we call it in my country (crossed senses). He got up and told everybody he was going to take a shower. They all laughed.

Seconds later, Kyle pulled the trigger on himself. My brother once described the sound as cracking a coconut with meat inside.

What happened next? I don’t want to remember. My brother doesn’t want to. He remembers Kyle the friend. He remembers opening the door and finding him–I know because of the recurring nightmares for the following years–but he doesn’t remember Kyle after he died. He doesn’t remember Kyle, the friend who betrayed him, because he doesn’t want to. Nobody does.

“And that’s why, Bernard, death is just as valuable as life,” he said.

“How do you want to go, doc?” I asked. He nodded, just once, and smiled with accomplishment.

“A small room, just my family, no rush, no stress, nothing. Just relief.” he said. Far too young to think about death, far too experienced to get away from it, at forty-four he’d probably seen more death than all my family put together. “No rain, no weather, no cold air, I hate cold air. Just four walls, a floor, a roof and silence.”

And so, there I was, in the country’s second biggest hospital, five minutes to seven a.m., just minutes away from fixing the orthopedic operating table. Once I had finished, I walked out to a long hallway that led to the exit. The disgusting radioactive green used in the walls drained my energy, as it always did, and the fluorescent lights hummed loudly. Then cold air seeped into my pants and tickled up my legs.

Damn, doc, you were right.

I turned to my right after reaching the corner and stopped. I gasped but no one saw me; I was alone. Just me and stretcher 303. There was a white sheet resting over a lump of branches and cylinders, a patch of gray hair peeked from the top and nothing moved. I shook it off. It’s just a hospital. Someone would come.

At three thirty in the afternoon I got a call from a close friend in the hospital; I’d left my tool belt. I rushed back to reclaim what was mine. So happy to see all my tools in place, I completely forgotten about the corner. Again I stopped. There he was, 303.

To my right, no one. To my left, no one. Just the speaker in the corner: Operating Room assistant to the third floor. Operating Room assistant to the third floor. I inched closer, peeking about like a shoplifter eyeing its bounty, until I reached the foot of the bed.

Name: Unknown.

Last Name: Unknown.

I don’t know but at that moment I had the urged to photograph him. I knew I couldn’t: it’s against the law. So I checked around again and pulled out my notebook and a pen. I sketched it rapidly.

Damn, Doc, you were right. I never want to be stretcher 303.


A lonely body