Got some free passes to the museum and decided to take a trek to see some dinosaurs and art. The last time I went to see the dinosaurs they hadn't finished...finally got to see the T-Rex...I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't more to see, but cool none the less. I also got a chance to see the international. I usually like to make it down for that every year. Life on mars was pretty cool, but more impressive than that was "worlds away:new suburban landscapes". It was all works related to the suburbs and the impact on art, blah, blah, blah...pretty good overall. Hazel had a chance to try out her new digital camera...
Been spending an inordinate amount of time lately looking for music. Finding new bands, and Rediscovering bands I used to love...one such band is The Dirtbombs. I had been turned on to them years ago, and just sort of forgot. I recently found they had a new album called "We have you surrounded" Check out the Amoeba records site for some cool in-store vids. Also check out this slick little film from Other Music heres a link... About as badass as it gets!
Went to see Walking with dinosaurs live last week at mellon arena. It was pretty damn impressive. Hazel and my brothers kids went along and really seemed to enjoy it. I have to say I really thought it was going to be geared towards the younger set, but it really held my interest. As a fan of the BBC series I was curious to see how they would transform 2D into 3D. They did a great job...I guess 20 million dollars goes a long way when building life-like dinosaurs. If you get a chance, check it out.
I stepped away from the computer for a bit and tried to get down with some holiday stuff. I've been trying to help my friend Denise who owns a bakery in Sharpsburg called The Cookie Connection (featured in this months Pittsburgh Magazine...yes, those are her gingerbread men on the cover...don't get her started!) It's kinda fun to mess around in another kitchen that doesn't have any of the same time and speed pressures. I don't go in and worry about prepping up for a crushing night, no ones yelling...just the smell of anise and the sounds of Bob. Like a couple old ladies we make cookies and chat. Scooping hundreds of cookies and making more pizzelles than a hundred old babushka mammas. Thankfully this year she stepped it up and got two more presses. Last year I worked with only one. This go around it was an honest to god pizzelle station. I got alright at bangin' three presses at once. It's kind of relaxing once you get a flow...As it's almost Christmas, and Denise will be closing up shop on the 21st I guess its time to kick back with a glass of milk (read beer) and a cookie and watch a little Christmas Vacation..."Merry Christmas! Shitters full!"
I hope everyone was able to be with good people this turkey day...I was fortunate enough to get out for a nice ride through the city, and then make my way over to my cousin Tricia's place on the Northside. We had some excellent grub courtesy of her husband Chris, who is a fantastic cook. Turducken, turkey, stuffing...all the fixin's. I even wormed my way into the kitchen to do some cooking and had a blast. We talked about getting together next year to try and fabricate our own turducken...I can't wait! So thanks to them for out doing themselves once again...happy turkey day.
As of late I seem to have less and less to say (luckily no one's reading this fucking thing anyway)...I heard recently that it's a proven fact it only takes two weeks of repeating the same action for it to become habit. That makes sense, and I've certainly made this getting lazy thing stick. Not being happy with certain aspects of life is normal, but when everything is taking a piss on you at once it's a motherfucker. I'm desperatly looking forward to the change of jobs...though it's some time off. When I think about it the creative juices begin to flow again...I've been hittin' the books more lately and trying to find inspiration there, as I have none in my current cooking endeavor. I've resolved to try and overcome the negatives that have overtaken my attitude in the past couple of months (my apologies, friends if I've been a real moody piece of shit.) look for the good shit thats going on and quit fucking crying about work...which brings me back to my point. I haven't spent a lot of time writing because I got nothin' good to say. So bear with me...I'm working on making this page interesting finally.
I realize as I write this that it's hip to celebrate things from a long since by gone era (the 80's)...so shut up already, but goddammit! I really miss the complex simplicity of the classic mixtape. I miss being able to so easily (and inexpensively) pass music on to friends. The ability to compile a moment in time forever...or at least until the player goobled it up, and spit out a heap of wrinkled tape. When yer young and you think that you got it all figured out musically. If yer lucky enough to hang on to them, you can get a good chuckle...you can get a bit nostalgic...or you can be downright embarrassed. In my time I have made many a mixtape. For friends, or girlfriends. One of my favorite people to make tapes for was my buddy Glenn. You see, he had transfered to my high school in, I believe, my ninth grade year. We had a couple of classes together. He was a lanky fellow...kinda squirrely...I was a chubby dork with long hair. I'm sure he was probably wearing one of his classic "Helloween" shirts...when we started talking about bands we liked. We hit it off instantly and became the sort of friends that are attached at the hip. My musical taste was constantly evolving...making it the perfect time to document these awkward years in mixtape form. Glenn and I continued our friendship well after school and are still friends today (though we don't get together enough). I think the last tapes I made for him where during his brief stint with army basic training...It was on a road trip last year that he pulled out a dusty old mixtape that I had completely forgotten about. He told me that he still had most of the tapes I had made...we had some good laughs listenening to what I thought was important 15+ years ago.
Discovering a site called Muxtape.com a while back is what got me to thinking. It was a pretty cool site where you could register (for free) and you got like 12 songs you could upload for who ever happened to stumble across it...it was an interesting idea. I stumbled on it today to find it gone. You can read all the reasons why in a lengthy letter on the site. Then I found this and wondered how it's any more legal?!?! I also saw recently that they are marketing mixtape USB drives. It's a cool idea, but at $16...not so easy to part with. Sure there's always the mix cd, but it somehow seems so cold and impersonal. don't get me wrong...I'm enthralled with all the awesomeness of digital music. It's so much easier to carry an I-pod rather that a bulky walkman and all the music. I don't know. I guess I'm entering my crotchety old man phase. "Get off my lawn!!!!"
Call it the pre-winter blahs or maybe it's just that I'm not getting any younger, but I've been downright nostalgic about dumb shit lately...digging out old records (alright cds...I broke my turntable last time I moved)...looking at, but being to nervous to listen to, old mixtapes & Getting waaaay too excited about how much fun big wheels were. I ran across some old crap I had from my days as a bike messenger, and that got me extra nostalgic. It's made me want to be more serious about commuting this winter. It's too easy at this point to take the bus, or just walk. I'm hoping everytime I consider those options my bike will give me a sign that I don't want to be a lazy piece of shit this winter. Some things recently that invigorated me and put a smile on my face...Bombing down some twisty roads in schenley with a kid in the trailer...taking late night spins through the quiet city after work while the air has that early fall crispness...and the even later rides home while the air is just downright cold after having some beers with old friends. Thats some silly sappy shit, but It's good to stop and smell the roses once in a while (even if they are all dead and whatnot).
Ever get the feeling that yer just living the same day over and over? My life is beginning to feel like one endless day...a struggle to even remember what day it is, not that it's all that important. We better get moving if we're gonna stay ahead of the storm...
Read a good quote on Ruhlman's blog.."if for nothing else every cook in his kitchen respected the chef because they knew that that chef at any moment could walk onto their station and cook better and faster than they could"...That's definitly something that I think rings true with most every cook I know. It drives you to want to get better and be able to rock every station, because not only do you not want someone to have to jump on yer station and bail you out...you also want to be the guy (or gal) who can put out fires when some else is in the shits.That led me to this post. These are the things I read because just when I think maybe I've made a terrible decision...maybe I should have just enjoyed cooking at home and found another line of work, I remember what drew me to this industry. It wasn't tv, or magazines. There was no glitz and glamour...only grease and sweat. I knew I wanted to do this the first time...the very first kitchen where I made it through a rush. I was dehydrated, disoriented, and disheveled, but I had done it...and I wanted to do it again! I like all the hard work of cooking. I like to learn and to teach. So if yer seeking fame and fortune, yer in it for the wrong reasons. I'm not saying I don't want some cash in my pocket...but you can't lose sight of what matters most. Satisfying yer soul...just cook good food, and cook it well.
You can save yer gawking, looks of terror, shock, concern...no need to honk and point. You see, I'm well aware that there is in fact a small child in a trailer attached to the back of my bike. I, in fact, put her there. I ride assertively...well aware of my surroundings and just how much space I need. I've been on a bike navigating the streets of this fair city for many years...I know whats up. A couple of years ago my good friend Glenn was kind enough to pass on the bike trailer that his son had outgrown. It'
s proven to be more useful than I ever could have imagined. Hazel and I take rides every weekend, if only to the park to chill in the grass and chase pigeons. I take her to school in it. She has fun going for rides, and I get to sneak a little more time on the bike...we both win. Lately though, I've noticed that more and more folks feel the need to get involved and let me know that "theres a child in there", I need to "take care of my daughter"...sound advice. Guess what...I FUCKING KNOW!!!! Her safety is the paramount thought on my mind the entire time. I would throw myself in front of a train if it meant keeping her safe. So the next time you see me, or someone else out on the road with a trailer or tag-a-long...Do us all a favor, just watch the damn road!
This weekend I had the great joy of heading up to Bloomfield for the annual 'lil Italy days, or whatever they call it...fuck it, DEGO DAYS MOFO! It was pretty awesome...hot sausage, meatballs, gnocchi, fried dough, cannolis...I'm half Italian (the good half), and half Polish...thats a pretty good mix for Pittsburgh. I was always surrounded more by the Italian side of my family growing up. Lots of time with Nan making pasta and wedding soup. Playing bocce ball @ family reunions, and lots of eating...I love seeing all the old Italian dudes come out all dudded up in crazy hats and cool shirts. It's a good chance for all the Younger mook types to come out in their track suits, and pretend to be a mobster. I would call this year a success. I got to hang out with my dad and step-mom, my kid, and my buddy Jeff. we got sick on fried dough, and I got to re-live some catholic school guilt while laughing at these three old nuns eating funnel cakes
and getting powdered sugar all over themselves. If I wasn't already going to hell...I'd go to hell.
Recently it would seem that my free internet connection has gone away...since I moved in I've been lucky enough to find a signal somewhere in the neighborhood that was not secure. Recently people seem to be getting smarter. Good for them, bad for me. It would seem that my time on the interweb will be limited to time spent pounding coffee and posting all my rants. So get ready for all or nothing...like a retarded fence maker...these posts are all fucked up!!
Starting fresh is often intimidating and scary...this for me is no exception. I assumed when I made the big move over to Soba that I would start on the bottom wrung, making makis and work my way down the line...I was thrown to the wolves...tossed on wok station, the most beastly and daunting of all stations. I hoped to work my way up to wok soon, but didn't expect to start there. Props to Brandy for believing in me, & the rest of the kitchen folks for humoring me...I'm digging it after one solid shift on line. I know I'll pick it up quick...I've got a good coach. Lia is the baddest of bad wok cooks...I think I found my new drive. I'm ready to be a bad mofo. Life is o.k. sometimes.
What's the deal with the angry snotty opinionated assholes on the internet?! I'd like to be able to comment on their respective blogs...oh, wait, they never give up their identities...pretty pussy move. The comments are usually so intelligently worded as well...keep up the good work, anonymous!
I've yet to really delve into my distaste for hipsters on this thing...I think I've danced around it, but let me just say, for the record, hipsters make me want to punch stuff. I'm always amazed by just how much one hipster can out hipster another. This scenario hit a new low for me recently when I became aware of the latest "craze"...crippled chic. Thats right people with crutches that have no physical handicap!!! When the fuck did crutches become cool?! There she was...one crutch, festooned with punk rock decoration, walking with a crew of badly dressed poor young boys who aparently don't have one full length mirror between them. I don't know...maybe it's me. Maybe I'm just an old bitter jaded fuck, but have we really come to this. I was just coming to terms with a bunch of kids born in the late 80's celebrating a decade in which they were still shitting in their diapers...now this. Fuck it! I'll outdo you all...I'll take it to the next level. I'll start wearing diapers again...shitty pants chic! A call to arms...any hipster who has any sort of sway in that community needs to do this, just to see a bunch of kids in a coffee shop waiting in line for the bathroom to change their pampers!!!! Priceless...
Theres a lot to be said for it's all about who you know...Pittsburgh is a small city, and the community of cooks and other restaurant types is even smaller. Good cooks tend to do alright, and when they find a good gig are taken care of...otherwise it's out the door and not too difficult to get snatched up quickly. I've done a lot of learning and growing working with some really fucking talented cooks...it's only made me better, and helped the 'ol resume. I started getting my resumes out early in the week. A little worried at first, I soon landed at the doorstep of Soba. I'm excited to start and can't wait for the nightly maki beatdown!!! I'll be there at the end of the month, so stop in and buy me a Jizake!
Gotten to hang with a few old friends recently...got me thinking it might be a good time for a fond look back at the "good old days" at the Red Room...Please to enjoy some dumb shit! (technically the pic of Tim is at the Bigellow, but it needs to be seen.)
Not being one of the most optimistic people I know...I feel it's time to turn over a new leaf. While the future is uncertain, I'm not sure thats always a bad thing. I'm definitely looking down the barrel of a gun at the moment. Needing to get down to brass tax and find a new living arrangement...get this job thing wired...and pay off some debt is now small task. The disappointment regarding recent developments at work is fading to more of a numb feeling as I wait to see the outcome of clustefuck '08. I'm feeling more positive about some good coming from it, but am getting tired of telling everyone I meet about it. I had the least to lose on that gamble, but it sucks none-the-less. It feels more and more like the time I should make a solid grab for the brass ring. I'm not getting any younger (and certainly not getting any prettier!). Go stock yer station! (p.s. some of you may recognize this photo as a pretty common douche, thanks Tyson)
The stages of grief are not reserved for death & break-ups...I've been going through them all week. The older I get the more I'd like to think I'd gotten some shit down , but you know what? I'm not ready for this level of fuck-ed-up-ed-ness. I knew the risks involved when I came on board, but I honestly thought this might be the last step down I took on the path to righteousness...I'm not getting any younger & the timeline is growing smaller. Believing in something & someone so completely can be a dangerous thing. I just want to carve out my own niche...Getting to the ultimate goal seems to be getting closer, but still seems worlds away. I've managed to take myself pretty far from where I started...I know I can get to a better place, but how many hurdles will I jump along the way? What little optimism I had was crushed today when I was made to feel the full scope of my worth in the eyes of the shot caller. I've got a ways to go, but I'm better than this...
So...as the news sets in that Kevin Sousa is walking away from the Red Room, I'm left completely disillusioned and a whole bunch of depressed. I knew the risks when I got involved and I guess the excitement for kevin and the thought of turning the city on it's preverbal ear got the best of me. Maybe if I hadn't been blinded by the light, I wouldn't be wrapped up like a douche...Instantly I feel like I'm 8 years old again. I've just been told my parents are splitting up. Does this mean I get to visit Sousa on the weekends in his swinging bachelor condo?!?!?! I can't say I didn't see it coming. I think we all knew it wasn't working the way it needed to (not the fault of Kevin by the way)...it just wasn't the right deal. I feel terrible for Sous, but know he'll come back bigger and badder...thats just what he does. As for me who knows...maybe the bat phone will ring soon...
yeah...I'm that dude. I'm the guy that landlords hate...I don't cause any trouble, but I also don't always manage to make my rent on time. My electric has been shut off & I come home to it back on...thanks to a landlord that probably wants to punch me in the nads...invasion of privacy, only if you forget the fact that your a deadbeat...I don't want to be a scumbag any more, but I'm not so stable that I'm reliable...it's a catch 22, I guess. All I can hope for is that the future holds better things...fuck, I wish I could just be a grown up...I'm a work in progress...