Saturday, May 31, 2008

birfday greetin'

Happy birthday to one of my favorite blogs, Ugly Sheet Cake. The name pretty much says it all. If you love getting to see some truly ugly cakes and the occasional less ugly cake, then pay Collidah a visit.

Friday, May 30, 2008

without children

The newest topic for the Thinking Parents wiki asks what we would be doing if we'd not had kids. I hadn't really considered one aspect that I've only seen with Doc and Molly, and it was the latter who mentioned it, but I add myself to those that didn't necessarily intend to have kids before doing so.

Okay, admitting right now that I attempted a couple times last night to write this post and didn't quite like the direction it turned any of those times. I'm trying yet again, and we'll wait to see how this one turns out. It's partly the entrance of personal history that I didn't really consider when considering how to approach this topic..

What would I be doing if I didn't have kids? Where would I be?

I can't imagine where I'd have ended up living. Hailing from Atlanta, I moved to Charlotte in the mid '90's, happily and often loudly proclaiming myself bisexual, though I really did know better. I'm somewhat certain that, considering Big Brother's approaching arrival prompted our move to Knoxville, I'd not have moved here, though I'm equally certain I'd have moved or at least attempted to leave Charlotte.

There was a summer, my first in Charlotte, of sort of breaking away from the old person I'd been, though I can't claim I did a great job of that. We could also accurately call it the summer that I began drinking in earnest and sold enough acid to pay for the acid I ate or shared with friends. I spent days at a time tripping wherever I was. I dropped alone and even dropped alone when I had other things to do. I was high at work. I tripped so often that summer that people often didn't know whether or not I was on any given day.

I met Momma at this time. There was no interest between either of us, in fact quite the opposite. We both eventually went through a bit of trouble separately, and life pulled me in new directions and pulled us closer to each other. I had no concept of future and certainly no concern. In fact, her becoming pregnant was what really pushed me to a point where I was finally thinking about things outside of how high or drunk I was or was soon going to become.

I'd likely still be in kitchens as far as work goes. I'd be drinking a lot. I'd probably be a fairly slutty person but in a totally good way. If possible, I can see myself even more cynical than I find myself now.

I can't honestly say that any scenario is certainly what would have occured. I can imagine lots of things as well as give a best case scenario. I'd probably be a bit more of the punk I was. I'd have come out much sooner. I'd be that anomaly, the gay punk, as opposed to the married with kids gay I became instead. Perhaps I'd have controlled my drug/drink intake and have climbed a corporate ladder at any of the chain restaurants I worked around the time, though one must admit that drug/drink control will likely never be a trait featured by most of us in the business.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Yesterday's day at work actually began the night before. I was one of the closers Tuesday night and pretty much ended my night taking out the trash.

I could hear a lovely sloshing sound at the bottom of the first can, so after I hefted the tied at the top garbage bag out I flipped the can over, upside down. I repeated this operation with the four remaining trash cans, leaving them in a row, half on the concrete slab behind the gpub and half off in the gravel next to the concrete.

I opened the next day, and after the owner, I was the first person in. My first job of course was to go and fetch those same four trash cans, line them and place them around the kitchen. The previous night ended weatherwise with a bang, showers and downpours leaving our town damp and my place of employment a muddy mess, at least in the back where I'd left my trash cans.

Each of the trash cans had picked up their share of mud and funk in the little turned edge at the top. I flipped each can upright and dragged them into the dish area. My idea was to quickly spray off the mess, but my plan wasn't quite what I ended up with.

The first couple of cans were easy enough if a bit unweildy. I think it was the third can that was the worst. Wrestling it into submission I lost control for a moment. It flipped upward to where the rack is that holds racks for dirty glasses. I knocked one off, an extra large one that is tall enough to hold our unusually tall wine glasses.

I think we lost four wine glasses, another miraculously not breaking as it landed. The glass rack itself bounced off my hand. In addition to the mud and gravel I knew I needed to clean I now had a mass of broken glass. Conscience dictates, or should, that one insure they've cleaned up all broken glass when one has an accident involving glass. I picked up the biggest pieces and squeegeed the remaining contents of the entire table into the trash can.

Adding insult to injury, my attempt to do right also resulted in a huge muddy trail running from the door to the dish area. Someone else was nice enough to clean that mess while I was busy cleaning glass and wondering how hurt my hand really was.

At some point later in the day two coworkers had a bit of a tiff over space issues. We really don't have a lot of room for prep, but when we work together (and certain of us can stop being pricks) it all works. Today, these two people just would not even bother.

At one point, the bitchiness involved one person banging dishes and foodstuffs around in anger. This brought the other to the tipping point as he began his own stomping and banging and bitching declaring that everything the other person was doing was, and I quote, "faggot ass shit."

I tried to ignore this and did for an hour or so, sort of, but the general shittiness of him saying such, with me standing right there a foot away, I was taken aback at the time. Beyond that, his anger was not worth inserting myself in the middle of. So I tried to forget it and put my head down and work. I do too much of that. Also, while he was bitching I somehow managed to accidentally bang my head on the corner of the wall.

Coworker finally realized that something was bothering me and asked. I asked him, considering the situation, what about it was exactly faggot ass shit? He didn't quite get it, so I reminded him what he'd said.

He laughed for a moment and tried to assure me that he hadn't been talking about me. I told him that I knew for a fact that he hadn't been talking about me, that I knew exactly what he was discussing at the time and asked again what it was about the situation that was faggot ass shit. He again tried to assure me that he hadn't meant me, but I had to make him understand my point.

I'll take a moment and provide the knowledge that this particular coworker is black. We have another black employee that was working at the moment, and adding to the nonwhite kitchen population we'll include the three Mexican coworkers.

"Look around the kitchen," I told him. "Do you see anyone here about whom I could think of words to use that, though I may not mean that person would still upset them?"

I'm pretty sure he understood what I meant. He ended the conversation basically laughing at himself for what he'd done.

The rest of the shift was uneventful.

I left work around three. Momma let me know when I got home what she'd done supper wise which included having almost everything ready for me to cook. I debated with myself whether to cook before or after my shower that I desparately needed. The decision, a surprise, was made for me as I washed the press pot and my cup for some coffee. The water was obviously not right, not hot enough and not staying hot.

I knew immediately it had been the previous night's rain. My basement had flooded because, most likely, the pump had gotten clogged, and the water heater's pilot had been extinguished. This was in fact the case, and while it was soon remedied as far as getting the pump working, I still had to wait, listening for the pump, making sure it kept working, staying ready to go back into the basement and tilt it or stir up the muck.

The boys got healthy enough snacks as I watched the clock. I needed to be somewhere, preferrably around sixish. I arrived at seven, insisting first on a shower once the water was hot enough.

The appointment was at the new venue for bouts for our derby bouts. We have a bout Saturday, and last night was last minute sort of dry run/practice so our girls would have as early a heads up as possible about the quality of the floor.

It turned out I didn't need to go in the end. It was good to see everyone again, as we don't see the derby girls often at all since Momma dropped it. Plenty of kids were there, even a couple that we don't know. As usual the boys immediately made friends with the kids and played well all night.

So the night didn't end as poorly as the majority of the day would have one think it must. And what seems especially sad as I consider it, this doesn't even seem like a bad day at all considering some of the asshole days I've had lately. It was full of annoyances and the smashed hand from the glass rack, but it wasn't (or was it?) as bad as it seemed at the time.

Monday, May 26, 2008

not entirely gone from blogville

In a comment to a recent post Molly of Red Molly's Picayune Democrat blog asked about my well being. I knew it had been a while since I'd posted, but I looked today to see that it's been a bit over two weeks since my last post, and it was a sort of weekend update.

I will say up front that I can't be in too bad a shape. I manage to wake up everyday, go to work, feed the kids. I do what I have to do, but I can't say that I'm in especially great shape either. Too many things just seem pointless too many days of too many weeks.

Throughout my life I've run up against any number of questions. I'm good at questions, but all too often I just can't figure out answers that seem to make any sense. Maybe one day soon I'll post a list of all the stupid questions that keep me flummoxed.

I'm just generally in a place where I feel very depressed and very discouraged, and that makes it difficult to want to post. I don't want to end up posting the same whiny drivel over and over. I don't want to keep wallowing in my bad feelings. I do want to find my way out of ending up here again.

And that's where I am. I keep wanting to post more, but life doesn't make it easy. I'm not going anywhere anytime soon as far as blogging goes, but there will sometimes be dead air when you tune in.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Yesterday was mostly fun, birthday party and no soccer. The Boy's season is over. Big Brother should have played his second to last game yesterday, but late-ish Thursday night the opposing coach called to try to postpone our game to later in the day. That was not possible because we had The Boy's birthday party. We now have that game to make up as well as the first cancelled-due-to-weather game of the season, and then we have the last scheduled game which will likely actually be the second to last game.

The Boy is quite the child. The picture of him in my mind has longer hair than he has now, because Grandma decided to cut it for him. He didn't want it cut, we didn't want it cut. The only person that wanted it cut had to offer him a ride on the lawn mower to convince him to let her cut it. I'm still pissed, and Momma and I both mentioned it to Grandma, expressing a bit passively our frustration.

He got all sorts of gifts. Great Grandmother watched him for a bit Friday night while Big Brother and I quickly shopped for him, the day after his birthday I'm afraid. He watched Cartoon Network at her house and expressed interest in the Hot Wheels Speedracer race track. One of the things Grandma found for him is a t shirt that says, "First let's do it my way, then let's do it my way." Even if the shirt itself doesn't, the sentiment fits him, and whether or not he gets the joke that the rest of us do, he's been quoting it all day and laughing. Big Brother took his own money Friday night and bought him a couple of the smaller Playmobile sets, one just a pair of soldiers with pikes, swords, plumed helmets, and he also got him a Playmobile chariot complete with horses and rider. Momma and I got him the toy he's played with the most, the one he fawned over the most upon opening, The Littlest Pet Shop clubhouse. It only had a monkey and squirrel, so I grabbed a dog too to go with it. He's loved all his toys, but The Littlest Pet Shop is where I keep finding him.

Okay, I don't know or care what that says about him. He's a great kid. His favorite color right now is blue, and he has blue eyes and a sprinkling of freckles across his nose. He loves sugar and crunching any candy he gets. He would eat cereal and oatmeal all day if we let him. He is teaching himself to write by copying things he sees. He asked me to spell out Momma's real name so he could write it in the Mothers Day card he made. He's been writing his own name lately. He wrote his name one day completely backwards, but the letters were also backward, so it's arguable that he was seeing it correctly. In Momma's card he wrote his name as well, and it's not backward.

He interrupts people constantly and complains the loudest when he is interrupted. He likes for Momma and I to do things for him, but he likes learning how to do things as well. He refuses to do what Big Brother tells him to do as often as he emulates Big Brother.


Audrey was nice enough to tag me for a meme, and I need to stick a post out there anyway, forcing myself not to go an entire week of not posting again. I'm supposed to post the rules at the top, and I had highlighted and copied them to do just that when I decided to just not do it. I'm not going to tag anyone at the end anyway. I treat it more like a Myspace survey that all your friends get when you post it as a bulletin. They can do it or not, and so can you.

What was I doing ten years ago:
As of this date, ten years ago I'd lived in Knoxville and been married for about three weeks. I was working at a brewpub, now closed, though the original is still open in Clarksville. Momma was about four or five months pregnant with Big Brother.

Five snacks I enjoy:
In honor of the new job and the fact that it sadly makes up much of my diet these days, I will give you my five favorite things that I snack on there.
-grana padano-a hard Italian cheese similar to parmesan(sort of) though I'm not sure if ours is really Italian or the same thing produced elsewhere, though knowing the owners it'll be as close as they can get. I take the vegetable peeler and shave off a nice flat piece
-lamp chop-has to be rare. I've noticed a certain love/hate relationship I have with lamb and realized it most likely has to do with rareness. This is probably also the rarest snack as lamb is expensive, and we try not to overcook it, and when it is overcooked no one really wants it.
-haricot verts-thin French green beans. We steam them just a bit so that they're perfect for salads. I love them cold with nothing but bean, though a quick toss in a saute pan with some butter and salt would be nice too.
-bread pudding-ours has dried cranberries and is made with fairly big hunks of the baguettes we use. One day I grabbed what I thought was a bite of bread pudding and got a mouthful of chunk of sugar. It was a bit much, but I ate it anyway.
-prime rib-we cook off three or four a day, and at least one is sliced for sandwiches. We reheat them when we need to make a steak sandwich using a sautee pan and a little au jus and demi glace. Often there are little chunks of the steak still there after finishing the sandwich, or I could just admit that sometimes I save myself a bite.

In the real world I am:
way more neurotic than people realize

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
My source for the tag doesn't say Five things, but Audrey put five. If someone would be kind enough to contact the meme authority regarding whether Five should be added to this line I would appreciate it.
-travel-probably the very first thing I would do is decide with Momma where we want to go as a family and then invite some friends with kids and go there and do stuff. If I had the money I would travel my ass off.
-help out some family and friends
-I want a loft downtown and a house just north of downtown, assuming after all the traveling we haven't decided to move elsewhere
-open a restaurant
-after setting up my children to be as financially independent as they want at a certain age I'd start finding good ways to get rid of the excess. No one needs that much money.

Five jobs that I've had-
-security guard-for three years, my personal record for length of time working for a single company, matched only by the pizza place
-dishwasher-do you have a Darryll's in your town? I hated that damn job. They use more random dishes than any place I've worked. So many plate sizes and bowl sizes and glasses for desserts and boats and crocks and ramekins, and the place was huge, and it turned out the general manager and the accountant were getting busy which has nothing to do with the story
-junior counselor-at a christian youth camp in western Wyoming. It was one summer and all I earned was the experience, but it was worth it, hearing people talk about driving over Gyp Crick, archways made of antlers, learning to drive stick shift driving up and down the driveway of the ranch family I spent weekends with
-kitchen manager-I thought I'd earned this job at the aforementioned brewpub, but as the GM had pointed out at some point, I was generally a bit of an ass and spoke my mind much too often. Those weren't her exact words by a long shot, but it is an accurate enough version. I was KM at the pizza place for quite a while.
-cook-the thing I do. I'm not a chef and don't generally like the title. I don't like the idea of referring to someone as "Chef" and don't plan to. I really just think it's silly, like people correcting you if you forget to refer to them as Dr. Douchely instead of Mr. Douchely

Three of my habits:
-chew my fingernails-I actually quit once, many years ago. I had nails for some time and even had to clip them on occasion. Then I started again for some unremembered reason.
-I still yell too much, though I'm really working on it and am doing it less and less
-smoke-I still enjoy smoking. I know how bad it is and that I should quit. I'm quite aware of all of that thank you very much.
-speaking of smoking, a fourth habit-when I finish writing a post I go out and smoke before coming back in to edit and post the post.

Five places I have lived:
story time childrens. This almost seems familiar, so if you've read it before you can read ahead in your book while the other children read along, or you can read along with everyone else, or you can just lay your head on your desk until we're done.
-Atlanta, GA-technically south Dekalb but the mail said Atlanta. Born and raised until one fateful evening when I got drunk at a boy's house and let a girl talk me into leaving for . . .
-Charlotte, NC-attended the pride parade within a week of moving there, had an apartment with mostly high school kids, washed dishes at Darryl's Restaurant and Bar
-Rock Hill, SC-after my "friends" sold and/or ate my stash of acid instead of selling it to get me out of jail I made new friends, one of whom was a cook at Darryl's and needed a roommate to live in a tiny shack
-Stockbridge, GA-back to Georgia for about three month and we were so ready to move back to Charlotte when a friend called needing a roommate
-Knoxville, TN-my favorite of the bunch. Ya'll come see us some time.

What do you want others to get from your blog:
I don't know quite what to say here. In some sense I blog for myself and write what I feel like. In some other sense I do understand that I'm presenting a certain something that is me to the world, and I even edit myself to a small degree out of some respect for the variety of readers I might have. I like the idea of making friends with people from hither and yon through the blog. Also, Robin Williams sucks.

And I changed my mind. I'll tag Franklin who in less than a week has gotten linked from me twice.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

an art discussion

My slightly more clean than a week ago garage was home to an argument recently between me and a friend, Franklin. He decided to bring the argument onto the internet tubes which requires I answer in kind. Feel free to click over and pay Franklin a visit and read his misguided opinion as my post mostly answers his arguments with my own as opposed to a more normal presentation and discussion of ideas that I might go into were this one of my normal rants.

The argument is whether or not food is art. I will allow that foods can be used to create art, and I will even add that I feel food can be presented artistically, but I do not believe that food is art.

A main argument is that art can be created out of disparate elements, things that would not generally go together, and they can be put together in a way that tells the story the artist intends or to elicit some feeling or emotion. Food however, if one intends to create good and edible food, needs to be created with elements that go together.

The suggestion that anything edible appeals to someone is invalid in my opinion. Certainly we have to accept that certain cultures enjoy foods that other cultures wouldn't recognize as food, but that suggests that culture has less to do with it than familiarity.

The majority of foods people eat are rather old combinations. Over time, as people have experimented with food combinations, things that don't work were allowed to fall by the side. They don't work because the vast majority of people have agreed that they are not good combinations, that they don't produce good food.

Art encompasses a variety of mediums, and it is possible to create work that some will call art while others see as not art. Food is created from a variety of elements and can be produced using a variety of tools, but in the end the food must taste good and be edible. Art can be either ugly or beautiful and need not even make sense. Food, along with being edible and good flavored needs also to be presented well. A diner presented the very finest dish of perfectly seared scallops atop a perfect portion of garlicky grits will indeed be happy, though if you place it under a dome covered in shit and vomit, even though the shit and vomit never touch or befoul the food, the same diner will likely move along to the next option.

It's really more about certain inherent rules. Art need not be pretty or attractive to be appreciated. Food must maintain a certain dynamic of attractive and flavorful in order to be acceptable as food.

p.s. a little edit to add that the great and mighty Wordpress apparently is neither as great nor as mighty as some would have us believe, otherwise they would let me sign in. I am registered there at least twice, one of my own and one via Franklin, and neither of them work.

I'd rather be

At the end of a recent post, Bigg said,
But that's the tragedy of being gay; not that we are so oppressed (because that's what makes you strong), but that there are so very few of us. Kinda makes me wish sometimes that we really could recruit the way the televangelists say we do, you know?

The first part of this quote has been stuck in my head since I read it, and it's been joined by another line that was said to me at work recently.

There's a guy there who is, while not especially fat, certainly contains a bonus share of girth. One of my first days I referred to him quite thoughtlessly as "biggun." I admit it was shitty, but to my lame credit, the moment he said something about it I stopped. I've even pointed out to another employee that it was sort of shitty to continue to refer to this person in terms of his weight issue.

This same large coworker was recently making jokes about my gayness. I truly don't want to be overly sensitive, and I don't expect the entire kitchen to restrain themselves. I understand fully that I work in a professional kitchen and that the norms of the environment require that we all be a bit thick skinned. But I also support the right of everyone to be able to feel safe and respected within that environment. I won't stand for racism or sexism at work, directed at me or at anyone else, and I also won't take homophobic comments.

I will remake the point regarding the environment. It's a kitchen. I understand and accept exactly what that means. I know the cucumber joke is going to come up, and I know I can either counter it with a snappy comeback neatly skewering the person making the joke, or I can fully agree with the comment and give them the shock that comes with that.

The large coworker, though I now don't recall what was said, was making comments that I felt were a little over the line. There was a certain intent in his voice that bothered me. I took a moment to remind him of the "biggun" day, pointing out that based on a single comment from him I had ceased making size based comments and had not made those comments since. If I thought that would help I was mistaken as his next comment proved . . .

The line that keeps running through my head much like a song that gets stuck, he said, "I'd rather be fat than gay." Of course I immediately told him I'd personally rather be gay, but how much can that really help when someone's opinion of you is automatically less based solely on such a minor detail as sexuality?

Monday, May 05, 2008

true holy days

Just learned another reason May is such a great month. I'll admit that I'd love to celebrate this with some friends, but at the moment, the only person I can guarantee would be involved is myself. I guess I'll start thinking about taking a shower soon.

However you do it, whether or not we join in personally or just through the knowledge that we are all doing it in private, perhaps at the same time, help celebrate National Masturbation Month.

It's not going to pull itself.

who does stuff like that?

One of the cool things about living in my town are the myriad recycling centers, most of which are located at a particular grocery store. It's so easy and convenient to know there are so many places to take that trunk full of empty beer bottles, though it doesn't mean I haul all that out nearly as often as I should. Too often my garage looks as if a recyclable shit bomb just exploded.

Weekends the recycling bins are often full. I haven't checked the schedule of when the company comes to tote away the full bins, but it's early in the week. I've had plenty of recycling weekends that saw full bins.

At least a couple of times, because of the bins being so full at one location, I've driven down Broadway to the next closest, usually finding those bins nearly as full. Either way, I've usually managed to get my shit in. If not I suck it up and take back home what I couldn't cram in. There's always another day.

Apparently not everyone sees things the way I do. It seems some people feel it's okay, if the bins are too full, to just leave their recycling laying on the ground next to the bin. I'm sure it's not their job to do anything any different, and certainly if the bins are full it's their right to leave their shit on the ground.

I kind of don't think this is okay, and I got to watch it happen recently while dropping off my recycling with a friend. He was shouldering other people's mixed paper back, holding the tide at bay so to speak, while I was cramming my own mixed paper in while simultaneously catching Game Informer magazines that were intent on escape.

I mentioned to my friend the piles of recycling littering the ground, vocalizing my point about it being not okay, wondering aloud what sort of douche would do such. As I asked these questions I realized the woman who was also dropping off her recycling had done the very thing I'd just questioned.

My point: when the bins are picked up, there is very likely one person driving a truck. His or her job is to pick up the full bin, possibly having just dropped an empty replacement bin, and repeat with each successive bin until they are all fresh and empty.

So now the problem of the lazy locals who felt it okay to dump their goods on the ground. Who do they think is going to come behind them and clean up their mess? Whose job is it really to make sure that their recycling makes it into a bin? Would that there was a way to contact them and make them come back and finish the job.

And to take it probably a little farther than makes sense, I'd say this is a sign of some why-Americans-are-dicks/selfish sort of thing. There are people doing this very thing, leaving their shit for someone else, and there are many of them doing it. They can't possibly think it's all right to leave their shit, can't possibly believe it's not their responsibility.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

cheese with my whine

In the past couple of weeks I have rammed my head into the corner of something metal more times than I can remember. From dish racks to wall mounted food thawers, if it's metal and at the g-pub, I'm likely to have hit my head on it.

I have a small cut, almost paper cut size, on the knuckle of my right thumb and no memory of how I acquired it. I have a near puncture on a finger from a staple courtesy of helping break down boxes. I got the tiniest of cuts on my right arm, thanks to a tiny bit of metal left over from drilling into the door of a walk in cooler only to learn that the handle/latch needs to go somewhere else. I bumped the door open as it was closing one day and happened to hit the tiny barb. Later in the day I took a piece of gravel from next to it (it's an outdoor cooler) and ground the door back to safety. Dropping fish into the large fish fryer, I've felt the oil on the tips of my fingers, yet I have to noticeable burns to tell the tale.

I've been making my U10's run a lot more in practice. It's become evident that eight and nine year old boys may just end up beating the shit out of each other if some sense of order is not forced. Also, it's good for both them and me to just run, and I always run with them unless it's some sort of punishment. A couple of the kids just don't know when to stop, so I've sent them running when they get out of hand. I give warning, and I try to be fair. At some point though, too many kids just won't shut up, and everyone has to run. Also, I've just noticed that some of the kids just don't run in the games. I feel like I need to show them they can or that they're doing it all wrong or something.

So I'm sore from all that too. I've gone from not running before the season to some light jogging to sprints. I've never liked running for the sake of running, but give me a ball to kick and chase, and it's somehow suddenly different. The soreness is random and would be less of an issue if I exercised more often and got my body used to it and in shape. Seems like I've heard this story somewhere before.

And that's a whiny rundown of random irritants. I won't mention that any amount of head injuries I may have suffered at work may just be the fault of yet more too little sleep. I can't say for sure, but I think I was slightly asleep for half of my drive downtown this morning. Add to that the fact that I didn't really talk any shit till after lunch and snapped at almost everyone at least once, and today was just an all round . . . something bad? Leaving work was nice, and sitting around outside reading an article about a couple of local high schools actually making attempts to stop anti gay bullying while also smoking too many cigarettes and wishing either of the cups of coffee would work, listening for the boys two yards over to hopefully not get into any trouble.

I suppose today wasn't the worst day after all. It wasn't great by any means what with the repeated head bashing, but in the end, in the immortal words of one Ice Cube, "I didn't even have to use my A-K."